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aftermath
June 4th, 2003, 12:37 PM
im trying ot write a battle scene for my novel, but i found, that im not the greatest as describing how the half orc swings his two double bladed axes around at the little gray goblins. can any1 tell me away to help? if u want the story, i tried to post it but i dont know if it is on here. oh,... the axes the half orc are wielding are inchanted so that he can see his enemies next moves.

wastra
June 5th, 2003, 08:19 AM
Axes were larger and harder to handle than swords, particularly double bladed axes. Warriors could not parry with axes, nor could they carry a shield since double bladed axes required two hands.

Therefore, they had to be constantly on the offensive. A double-bladed ax-wielder needed two things above all: space and stamina. Space was required because he needed to swing the ax two ways- not just downward. The axeman would typically keep his ax moving in circular motions throughout a fight, making it tougher for those with smaller weapons to find an openings, since he had little defense. Stamina was needed because, let's face it, if you're banging an axon metal over and over, you get tired, and when you stop swinging, you die.


So in your story, you'd want to describe a constant wirring of fluid motion from the wielder- a flurry of arcing ax swings one way then another that create a perimeter around the wielder. The weapon's (sigh) magic properties would allow the wielder to know which of his adversaries is attacking and where, so he could angle those arcing swings in the correct direction, avoiding their thrusts by moving his feet while bringing his weapon to bear on either their exposed bodies or outstretched arms after he dodges.

aftermath
June 5th, 2003, 09:01 AM
Thank you very much. I needed some help with that. But to the magic properties, they will be the downfall of the half orc when he fights a phsyic. I'm not excatly sure of how that will go, but they will be reading thier own minds, throwing them completely off guard, except that the physic will be prepared for that.

Chlestron
June 5th, 2003, 11:47 AM
Another point to make is that, is that though one can't parry with an axe, one can block with it and strike with other surfaces than the blade. One problem with a larger foe fighting a much smaller one is that usually the smaller one has the advantage of speed and agility. The axeman doesn't have to strike with only his weapon and often times, a shoulder check or a good kick will work wonders. Because he is bigger and stronger than others, such things will be most effective.

choppy
June 5th, 2003, 01:06 PM
Here are some thoughts that might help with writing battles:

1. Look back at battle scenes that you have enjoyed in the past. What did the author do that you liked? What didn't you like? How could you improve on that kind of writing?

2. Research. Look up information on battle tactics and strategies that were used in history around the time that your story is set (if it emulates a particular period in history.) For fighting with axes you might want to look up vikings - apparently swords were for the rich in that culture and most "footsoldiers" uses smaller axes and shields.

3. Focus more on the characters than on the specific actions. How do your half orcs feel leading up to the battle? Are they frightened? Are they whipped into a frenzy? Are they affected by the smell of blood?

4. Incorporating a magical element into a battle is difficult without well-defined rules. For example, why would the half-orcs fight in the first place if they could use their precognitive abilities to trick their enemies into a trap? (Note that I'm not telling you not to do this, just to be careful.) Another thing to consider along this line is that knowing what your half orc's enemy will do, may hinder him from reacting to what he's actually doing in the present.

5. Short, choppy paragraphs tend to work best with action sequences. The reader gets through the page faster (because there are less words on it) and feels like the pace is picking up.

I hope this helps.

aftermath
June 6th, 2003, 07:15 AM
thank you...the magic of the axes only work when the enemy is engaged with the halforc. sometimes he will be able to sense if there is an enemy here by, depending on how much it hates the halforc. also, this half orc is quiet smart for its kind. it does not experence a blood rage so it can think on its feet, but it still follows its instinct some.

Ouroboros
June 6th, 2003, 11:50 AM
I second what Choppy posted : focus on feelings, emotions and the mechanics of writing a well-paced fight scene rather than worrying too much about the technical niceties.

On a side note- As far as I'm aware, historically double-bladed axes were probably not actually used in battle. The ones that surivive from the past are mostly ornamental and for show only.

While they look cool, they are not a very well-thought out design for a campaign weapon.

Clearly, as this is a fantasy, this doesn't really matter :D


Originally posted by wastra
Axes were larger and harder to handle than swords, particularly double bladed axes. Warriors could not parry with axes, nor could they carry a shield since double bladed axes required two hands.

Therefore, they had to be constantly on the offensive. A double-bladed ax-wielder needed two things above all: space and stamina. Space was required because he needed to swing the ax two ways- not just downward. The axeman would typically keep his ax moving in circular motions throughout a fight, making it tougher for those with smaller weapons to find an openings, since he had little defense. Stamina was needed because, let's face it, if you're banging an axon metal over and over, you get tired, and when you stop swinging, you die.



Wastra, where did you get this information? Just curious as to whether it's from some reconstrionist manual, guesswork, or what?

wastra
June 8th, 2003, 04:37 PM
I've studied a bit on Saxon history. Saxon England was one of the few races of warriors who have useda double bladed axe.

It was written around 1150 that when William the Conqueror's troops faced Harold Godwinson's at the battle of hastings, it was the first time a Norman or Continental European army had faced the two-bladed axes that Saxon Housecarls used.

Unfortunately for Harold and Saxon England, they were no match for the superior tactics and arms of the Norman forces, and they were nearly all slaughtered.

Most battle axes were single-bladed with a long handle, between 4 and 6 feet long. This allowed the wielder to use the leverage of the heavier head to his advantage, while keeping a perimeter away from him.

According to most sources, the idea that axe fighters used the ax to block or used other weapons in conjunction is false. It is possible, of course, since it's POSSIBLE to block a sworf with just about anything in your hands. but a trained fighter would never stop swinging his ax in the heat of battle, so the idea that he would try to block with it is either a sign of a poorly trained fighter, or a sign that he was becoming weary. A one-handed ax could be used to turn the blade of opposing fighters, and also would allow for the use of a shield or buckler in the opposite hand. The two-handed ax was, in most simple terms, a strictly offensive weapon.

In Saxon England, the Housecarls (skille,d trained, professional soldiers) would stand in front of the fyrdsmen (untrained, ill-equipped levies who were gathered just before the start of confilct from townsfolk) to make use of their axes. When the enemy approached, the Carls would step forward a few steps to make room for themselves and throw their shields to the ground. They'd heft their axes (generally single bladed, two-handed axes).

The general hope was that they'd form a line on moving ax-blades infront of them that the attacking force could not penetrate. That way, the Fyrd behind them could swarm any fighter who managed to break through.

The obvious weakness in this tactic was exposed by William, who led the first non-norse type of force the Saxons had to face. First, the fyrd was poorly armed, and had little or no armor. The Normans, therefore, just shot arrows over the heads of the Carls into the Fyrd, and caused a great deal of damage. Second, this idea is incredibly simplistic, relying on the individual valor and skill fo the warriors in the force rather than battlefield tactics and maneuvering. therefore, it couldn't react to changes in the battlefield. So if the line sagged on one end, the fyrd simply had to step forward and fill the gap themselves, there was no way to reposition the carls from one side of the field to another.

Third, there was no cavalry or archers. English horses were more like large, shaggy ponies at the time, none were warhorses. They were used to transport the army where it wanted to go, not bear them into battle. The lack of archers was attributable to the society of the Saxon England. Hunting deer was illegal except for nobility, and since the common game for common folk was hare and small animals, archery was only a sport for the priviledged (You don't hunt rabbits and small animals with bow and arrow, they're too fast, you try to trap them instead). Therefore, they were pretty much decimated by William's cavalry.

Nonetheless, the damage done by the Housecarls and their axes was great enough to be remembered by historians nearly a century later.

trentdick2882
June 8th, 2003, 04:47 PM
wastra, do you recommend any books that contain good information of a similar sort to what you posted? I've never read any historically correct books about battle tactics, I think I would find it as interesting as your post.

Jacquin
June 9th, 2003, 03:38 AM
It's not specifically about battle tactics but I'd recommend "The Martila Arts of Renaissance Europe" be Professor Sydney Anglo to anyone who is looking at incorporating historically accurate combat into a story.

There was a thread recently about books on battle tactics, I'll see if I can find it...

J