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Old 07-18-2013, 03:33 AM   #11
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Reflecting cultural differences between mountain tribes in equipment and tactics

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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
With such a background, I'd give somebody a distinctively-shaped sword that can be made both in bronze or iron. Something curved, with the edge outside or inside the curve. It's helpful, visually, and I think that GURPS Martial Arts also covers the difference in stats in comparison to a straight blade. So you have both flavor and function.
Just so.

Convex curved swords are popular in the region, with the Threskeli using iron or steel ones that range from knives to polearms in length. Those would be sica, kopis and rhomphaia, respectively. They are, after all, Thracian-like (or Dacian, too, given that these tribes have relatives in neighbouring lands). Here are some good pictures of the shorter versions, i.e. the one-handed ones. Here's a good sword for a chieftain or legendary warrior, while these would be typical for their shock troops in general.

The longer ones would be like this in the hands of a warrior, except his shield would be crescent-shaped and not entirely round.

The Untheri of the reference culture to the east (where the PCs currently are) have a religious reverence and a cultural fondness for sapara sickle-swords. Version of them are in use by the Rammanu and Assurites. Most of them are not as heavily curved as the example in MA/LT, instead looking something like this. I imagine that most would be Shortswords or Broadswords with the Falchion mod.

The Zouavas, meanwhile, have more traditional curved daggers, with the edge on both sides or just on the outside, i.e. like a saber and not a kopis. Most have blades between 6" and 12", but some sword examples exist. They would look something like this.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Reflecting cultural differences between mountain tribes in equipment and tactics

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Indeed.

There's also the different connotations of the sling as oppposed to a warrior's panoply. Slings are shepherd's tools that happen to be very useful in warfare. Javelins, shields, axes and swords have few other purposes than war.

The Rammanu see nothing wrong with every child playing with a sling and their adults viewing skill with it as a point of pride, as well as useful against wolves.

The Threskeli, meanwhile, might value displays of courage, manliness and physical prowess more highly than technical skill with a useful tool. They would compete in athletic feats, throwing javelins and jumping crags with shield and sword in hand.
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Agreed. What kind of fighting style would encourage a buckler for raiding and skirmishing in hilly and mountainous terrain?
The Threskeli might favor darts or javelins used with an atlatl, requiring both hands. A buckler can be easily slung or even hung on the belt without interfering with movement too much. When the initial javelin barrage is over, they pull sword and buckler and jump down into close combat. They have a very mobile style that involves moving in and out of the fray and sudden changes of elevation from jumping between rocks.

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A Threskeli warrior might be expected to have high ST and DX as well as 8 points or more with all of Axe/Mace, Brawling, Shield, Shortsword, Spear and Throw Spear
.
Based on the above and my suggestions, Jumping and possibly Acrobatics might also be skills they'd have points in.

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I'm trying to justify at least one culture (or at the very least, a tribe or two beloning to it) using bucklers, but they seem inferior if you aim to use any kind of missile weapon, as you can't carry spares in your shield hand.
With the javelin+atlatl combo, your spares will be in the dirt in front of you or slung in a quiver. The reason for the buckler is that you can ready it fast when the throwing is done and it's time to mix it up.
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True. I imagine that goat-skin is very popular, as it's far cheaper than anything they have to fetch from further away. In any case, shields would generally be regarded as disposable, as warriors probably often have to leave them behind to climb particularly tough cliffs.
Another reason some would favor bucklers; easier to carry, and cheaper if you have to throw them away.




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In your opinion, what would best fit the Rammanu (Amorite-ish), Assurites (Assyrian-esque), the Zouavous (Berber-inspired) and Threskeli (Thracian-like)?

To give each ethnicity its own flavour of weapon? It doesn't need to affect stats, just a particular decoration of knife, shape of blade or other details.
The ones you mention in a later post look good. You might also find a hatchet-knife like a kukri among the threskeli, as tools more than weapons. The others will probably also have some kind of hatchet or hand axe, for the same reason, but might not have a specifically weaponised version.
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I imagine that the Rammanu and Assurites are likely to use sticks, heavy clubs, maces and axes (depending on whether it's a peasant defending his family or a warrior).
The peasant probably has some Staff skill to go with his sling; the shepherd's crook is a tool with many uses, and one of them is hitting things.

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I wonder if skill with them is transferable to javelins or darts?
No, it's more like throwing a balanced axe.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:30 AM   #13
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Default Re: Reflecting cultural differences between mountain tribes in equipment and tactics

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
The Threskeli might favor darts or javelins used with an atlatl, requiring both hands. A buckler can be easily slung or even hung on the belt without interfering with movement too much. When the initial javelin barrage is over, they pull sword and buckler and jump down into close combat. They have a very mobile style that involves moving in and out of the fray and sudden changes of elevation from jumping between rocks.
Isn't an atl-atl somewhat at odds with the very mobile style? I do think that the Threskeli ought to be mobile, but it seems that an atl-atl is much harder to use on the run than simply throwing a javelin.

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
Based on the above and my suggestions, Jumping and possibly Acrobatics might also be skills they'd have points in.
Absolutely, yeah. Them and the Zouavous, who have adopted many of the features of their fighting style.

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
With the javelin+atlatl combo, your spares will be in the dirt in front of you or slung in a quiver. The reason for the buckler is that you can ready it fast when the throwing is done and it's time to mix it up.
While atl-atl and javelins does give you longer range than any enemies with just javelins, that isn't actually conductive to mobility if you have to keep your ammo on the ground. Not to mention that the shield is necessary while throwing weapons, because it's your best defence against return fire.

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
Another reason some would favor bucklers; easier to carry, and cheaper if you have to throw them away.
They are cheaper, yes. Even so, the disadvantage of not being able to carry spare throwing weapons in the shield hand while you skirmish seems rather to damn them in any kind of skirmish warfare.

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
The ones you mention in a later post look good. You might also find a hatchet-knife like a kukri among the threskeli, as tools more than weapons. The others will probably also have some kind of hatchet or hand axe, for the same reason, but might not have a specifically weaponised version.
The Sica of the Threskeli exist in versions down to a 6" blade. They also have a tradition of less pointedly curved single-edged tool knives, much like the seax.

I imagine that versions of the 'seax' single-edged knife exist among all the tribes except the Zouavas, who use their double-edged curved daggers for damn near everything.

Hatchets will also be a fairly common tool, but I don't know if any of the tribes will like to use them in warfare. They are less accurate and shorter-reaching than javelins. Any armour-penetrating advantage is moot if most of the opposition never wears armour.

For hand-to-hand, I expect they see some use among the Rammanu and Assurites, at least. Probably less wealthy Threskeli too, though they are probably prone to larger chopping weapons than that.

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
The peasant probably has some Staff skill to go with his sling; the shepherd's crook is a tool with many uses, and one of them is hitting things.
Absolutely. Most of the Rammanu will have Sling and Staff as their warlike skills, with specialised warriors being likely to retain Sling and upgrade Staff to Spear. Add a bit of Knife skill for generic peasant utility and they're there.

Maybe some of the more warlike will practise stickfighting in addition to the Staff skill, adding Axe/Mace, Shortsword and Broadsword at some level. Maybe even Optional Specialisations of the skills, that work at full level only with blunt weapons.

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
No, it's more like throwing a balanced axe.
Hmm... yeah. I don't have any axe-throwers there. The Zouavas orginally come from a mountain range where the neighbours to the west use throwing sticks a lot for hunting and the neighbours to the east are fond of throwing darts.

For some reason, all the axe-throwers in real history I can think of were rather more Northern-European. I wonder why that is?

Axe-throwing is fairly impractical as a skirmishing style, of course, being as the 'ammo' is too heavy to carry any number of them. It only makes sense as a prelude to a shock charge.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Reflecting cultural differences between mountain tribes in equipment and tactics

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Isn't an atl-atl somewhat at odds with the very mobile style? I do think that the Threskeli ought to be mobile, but it seems that an atl-atl is much harder to use on the run than simply throwing a javelin.
Good point

Quote:
While atl-atl and javelins does give you longer range than any enemies with just javelins, that isn't actually conductive to mobility if you have to keep your ammo on the ground. Not to mention that the shield is necessary while throwing weapons, because it's your best defence against return fire.
Depending on how much social stratification they maintain, you might potentially have a split force; relatively poorly equipped spear-thrower/sheildman pairs, while those who can put together a hide-and horn corselet, or even a breastplate or the like, along with a decent shield and a passable Seax, Khyber knife, and/or short spear for melee charge in as shock troops in the wake of the missile storm. That may be beyond the bounds of the societies you're envisioning, though.

Quote:
They are cheaper, yes. Even so, the disadvantage of not being able to carry spare throwing weapons in the shield hand while you skirmish seems rather to damn them in any kind of skirmish warfare.
This is a point, yes. I don't really have an answer for it. Looking at illustrations of peltasts, it looks like the shields were held with a single strap. It's not far-fetched that you could design them such that they could be strapped to the arm initially, but slid down to a buckler grip for close fighting, I suppose.
Quote:
The Sica of the Threskeli exist in versions down to a 6" blade. They also have a tradition of less pointedly curved single-edged tool knives, much like the seax.
It's a common design for a reason.


Quote:
For hand-to-hand, I expect they see some use among the Rammanu and Assurites, at least. Probably less wealthy Threskeli too, though they are probably prone to larger chopping weapons than that.
It's another classic peasant militia type of weapon.




Quote:
For some reason, all the axe-throwers in real history I can think of were rather more Northern-European. I wonder why that is?
[/QUOTE]
Good question; maybe javelins are at a disadvantage in the thick forests that were still very common at the time?
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Reflecting cultural differences between mountain tribes in equipment and tactics

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
Depending on how much social stratification they maintain, you might potentially have a split force; relatively poorly equipped spear-thrower/sheildman pairs, while those who can put together a hide-and horn corselet, or even a breastplate or the like, along with a decent shield and a passable Seax, Khyber knife, and/or short spear for melee charge in as shock troops in the wake of the missile storm. That may be beyond the bounds of the societies you're envisioning, though.
Not at all. They are sophisticated in their own way, just poorer in material terms than their neighbours.

I see social stratification being very much the norm among most of these societies, with warriors ranking higher than most anyone and with elite warriors able to afford armour and good weapons being nobles and their retinues. Some of that will be cause* and some will be effect**.

There will still be a fair bit of social mobility through personal valour, but it will, of course, be very hard to out-fight the guy who can afford metal armour and to do nothing but raid, train and fight all his life when you are wearing only goatskin and have spent your youth taking care of a few sheep to support your poor family. So even though personal valour excuses poor birth, it's hard to become a successful warrior if your dad is Mukaporis the shepherd instead of Zipyros Trollslayer, a famous noble warrior.

In theory, every Threskeli boy is encouraged to grow up to be a warrior. In practice, a good half of them have little chance of becoming real warriors, either because of physique or lack of wealth and free time, and another half rarely goes on raids even if they may loudly claim to be full-time warrior raiders.

The Assurites are very hierchical and view themselves as the true heirs of Untheri society, with the Gilgeam-worshipping mainstream being decadent and corrupt. They have noble warriors and clergy who trace their descent many generations, often fraudulently thousands of years to one god or another. They just lack the acricultural land and access to good trade routes to really be able to make a complex society with layers of nobility, kings and over-kings work. Their society has farmers, shepherds, warriors, priests and chieftains, with birth being very important.

The Rammanu have known of such societies for a long time, but are far more egalitarian by choice and necessity and have a very small warrior class, in addition to almost completely lacking any dedicated clergy, with religion being a matter of everyday worship by the head of household, as well as special feminine mysteries performed by the women.

In Zouavas society, almost every boy is a warrior, with failure to perform military service being seen as intensely shameful and resulting in being unable to take a wife. Their women are expected to defend tribal lands, as well. Their society, of course, could not exist independently and has for centuries relied on acting as mercenaries for imperial Unther. Since they can no longer do so, they've been suffering a bit, but been able to raid their hated Threskeli foes for much of what they were lacking.

*Good raiders and warriors will become richer through successful raids and/or be sought-after as part of the retinues of the existing nobles, thus leading to their sons growing up with more opportunities.
**Wannabe warriors from the richer families will be able to afford spending more time on swordplay and war-games rather than the needs of day-to-day survival, not to mention go out raiding in finer gear, and thus be more successful at it.


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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
This is a point, yes. I don't really have an answer for it. Looking at illustrations of peltasts, it looks like the shields were held with a single strap. It's not far-fetched that you could design them such that they could be strapped to the arm initially, but slid down to a buckler grip for close fighting, I suppose.
I think that the pelta shield is classed as a Shield in GURPS, not a buckler. After all, you explicitly can carry spare javelins in the shield hand.

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
Good question; maybe javelins are at a disadvantage in the thick forests that were still very common at the time?
That could be.
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