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Mock
July 24th, 2006, 07:35 PM
Okay, I'm looking for weapons experts here.

I've been spending a lot of time plotting out a sort of militaristic fantasy
To put the plot extremely simply: It's about a string of villages on the border of civilization that end up making a stand against an invasion involving a mystical necromancer.

I was considering that my main character, who is ambidextrous and from a race of sort of elf-esque people, masters the style of fighting with dual short swords.

Question #1: Even though this person isn't exactly human, is it just simply unrealistic that someone could be that skilled? And if there's anyone with the experience of writing this, is it difficult to choreograph?

Question #2: While I was outlining, I realized that there is a striking resemblence of RA Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden. Is this too close of a similarity?

Thanks in advance,
Mage- ;)

Edit: If this doesn't work, I'll probably make him more roguish—a sword, dagger, a knife in his boot, maybe a bow. Is that more attractive?

Dazzlinkat
July 24th, 2006, 09:04 PM
Answer #1a: If your villages are on the edge of civilization, that means they are used to defending themselves. A skilled warrior would be very believable. How did he become skilled in dual-wielding? It would be a rare trait requiring intensive training and the average border family couldn't afford it. Perhaps he is a son of a wealthy man/ nobleman.

Answer #1b: Fight scenes are only difficult if you forget where all the players are and what each one is doing. I keep scrap paper on the side and keep a play-by-play of the action. This works whether you are tracking army units or individuals. As for swordplay itself, make it as complicated as you want it to be. If you need to write about all the the proper fencing terms, then research it. If you want to just write about the action, make up names for key moves and the result.
EX: 'He pulled his blades to the Mantis ready and rushed with a Cat On The Fence, making the savage chieftain brace himself, shield up and bloodied axe wide.'

Answer #2: Elf-esque with dual short swords. Hmm. Close. It can still work if you mix it up. Let his skill at dual weild turn his shield into a weapon, slamming into vulnerable areas, maybe even stunning an enemy. Maybe he uses two short swords once he loses the shield. His armor could be leather or even chainmail, giving him some freedom of movement. Also, since he would have to be from a higher class, he would be obligated to be a commander on occassion, giving him command of a unit or maybe of a town's defenses. Maybe he is leader of a small special force hunting the necromancer.

Mock
July 24th, 2006, 09:15 PM
Answer #1a: If your villages are on the edge of civilization, that means they are used to defending themselves. A skilled warrior would be very believable. How did he become skilled in dual-wielding? It would be a rare trait requiring intensive training and the average border family couldn't afford it. Perhaps he is a son of a wealthy man/ nobleman.

Answer #1b: Fight scenes are only difficult if you forget where all the players are and what each one is doing. I keep scrap paper on the side and keep a play-by-play of the action. This works whether you are tracking army units or individuals. As for swordplay itself, make it as complicated as you want it to be. If you need to write about all the the proper fencing terms, then research it. If you want to just write about the action, make up names for key moves and the result.
EX: 'He pulled his blades to the Mantis ready and rushed with a Cat On The Fence, making the savage chieftain brace himself, shield up and bloodied axe wide.'

Answer #2: Elf-esque with dual short swords. Hmm. Close. It can still work if you mix it up. Let his skill at dual weild turn his shield into a weapon, slamming into vulnerable areas, maybe even stunning an enemy. Maybe he uses two short swords once he loses the shield. His armor could be leather or even chainmail, giving him some freedom of movement. Also, since he would have to be from a higher class, he would be obligated to be a commander on occassion, giving him command of a unit or maybe of a town's defenses. Maybe he is leader of a small special force hunting the necromancer.

Answer 1a: I guess I was unclear. The villages are primarily human. The elfyish place is even farther from human civilization. It contains several city-states that vie for power. The main character trains in one place's . . . err . . . training place (academy?).

Answer 1b: I'm confident with regular fighting (like single weapon) but I think I'll take your advice and kinda plan it out.

Answer 1c: He's meant to be kind of a renegade. He's young (the story starts when he's 17) and he has the childish dream of abandoning his home and traveling the world. Which is equivalent to treason in the society; his superiors won't allow it. Eventually he breaks out and ends up making a stand with the human villages. I was expecting him to eventually return to his home and try to unite his race against the growing threat . . . etcetcetc.

btw I was actually thinking that he would be kind of resourceful in combat, using a variety of weapons (like the shield you mention). He'd pick up a knife from a corpse and throw it at someone, etc.


Maybe I should stick with the other option I mentioned. It seems better the more I think about it, because a rogue is not as much like the standard invincible hero, but relies more on guile. And less like Drizzt. Damn you Salvatore for stealing my idea!

choppy
July 24th, 2006, 10:20 PM
With respect to dual weapons, my understanding is that it was actually rather common. Often one would have a primary, longer sword coupled with something smaller, such as a dagger, sword breaker, buckler or larger shield. It wouldn't be too much of a strecth to imagine a warrior who simply adopted a style with two primaries.

Don't worry too much about originality. Write your story first. In subsequent drafts you can enhance the original content and downplay the stuff that's been done before.

Ouroboros
July 25th, 2006, 05:35 AM
I can think of a good few examples of historical fighting styles which made use of a weapon in each hand:-

In the East, the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū school of swordsmanship was founded by legendary swordsman Miyamoto Mushashi, and makes use of long and short sword in conjunction with one another.

http://www.tateyamadojo.ca/images/nitencut.jpg

This is actually very out-of-the-box in comparison with other, more orthodox schools.

There's also the húdié shuāng dāo, or butterfly sword, of Chinese martial arts. A pair of these were used in conjunction with one another, and this is still commonly taught in Wing Chun, Lau Gar and Hung Gar schools. As seen in a few kung fu movies, and briefly in Jason Scott Lee's 'Dragon: The Bruce Lee story'.

Also there's Daab Song Meu, the Thai martial way of using double swords in addition to a selection of other weapons. More commonly called Krabi Krabong, although Krabi Krabong also includes a variety of other weapons.

http://www.thai-blogs.com/media/Krabi-Krabong%20310.jpg

Going west, there are a lot more general examples of this approach to combat. In terms of historical fencing, Florentine style or Main Gauche have been used to refer to the use of a second weapon or other instrument.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a3/DuelSwords.png

A dagger or dirk would seem to have been more common than a second sword of similar length than the first. Daggers specifically called Main Gauche daggers typically seem well-adapted for the role, designed in such a way as to aid the parrying and sometimes trapping of an opponent's weapon.

In contemporary or more recently historical material, there has also been a common pairing of tomahawk and bowie knife or stick and knife.

So there would seem to be no practical difficulty with the idea of a fantasy style making use of two weapons at once. The other recurring factor that does seem to crop up is that typically only one of the weapons tends towards any considerable length, or both are shortish in length, perhaps because of the technical difficulties of drawing two long blades at once, let alone manouvering them.

Mock
July 25th, 2006, 08:38 AM
Err... You both just reinforced my second idea. The Niten Ichi-ryu was used with katana and wakizashi (dagger), and both of you mentioned sword and smaller weapon. Which is kinda what my 2nd character is. That was really helpful.

PS great post Ouroboros.

Edit: I do know about the fencing style with a case of rapiers, but that's different from chaotic melee combat. Looking at your last paragraph Ouroboros, the two blades are similar to the ancient Greek xiphos, a short sword with a leaf-shaped blade (60 cm long).

Ouroboros
July 25th, 2006, 07:10 PM
Worth mentioning that what we have records of, what was codified and written down, does not necessarily represent the be and all and end all.

There were undoubtedly people who lived and died, exhibiting a high degree of creativity and ability ... but because they didn't sit down and write the equivalent of the 'Go Rin No Sho', history is ignorant of them.

Elidhu
July 26th, 2006, 08:05 AM
What if you seperate the elvish way of fighting to the human way. You could say that dual short-swords are a human combat weapon. That way you could make him even more the rogue from the elvish way of living and give him his own unique style of fighting. A human technique coupled with the superior strength and skill of the elves etc so the skill will be believable. I think i prefer the idea of a rogue elf to the classic image of them, elves are always portrayed as perfect and i just think its un-realistic. Good luck, :o

Mock
July 26th, 2006, 10:26 AM
Ouro that's a good point; not everyone wrote about it.

And Elidhu, I had never thought of it like that before. Great idea, mixing up the archetypical fantasy roles. I figured since dual-wielding would usually be faulty, because even if you're ambidextrous it's hard as hell to try to manipulate each hand independently. So the typical elven dexterity would counter that, and perfect the fighting style.

Dawnstorm
July 26th, 2006, 12:06 PM
I figured since dual-wielding would usually be faulty, because even if you're ambidextrous it's hard as hell to try to manipulate each hand independently.

I have a hard time playing counter-rhythms on the piano. How do you get your left hand to conform to a different rhythm than your right? Yet, it's something most (competent) pianists do routinely.

Training based on talent. I suspect dual-wielding overcomes a similar obstacle.