Kobold Press

Real Steel: Rumble! What Are You Bringing To The Party?

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's CourtIn physics, an interesting way to work out a problem is something called a thought experiment. This allows physicists to build what is essentially an imaginary environment and create conditions that would be very difficult to create in the real world. What I am proposing to you here is that we craft a thought experiment to make us exercise our minds in a way that perhaps we haven’t tried before. I believe this will be useful in generating more interesting game environments.

Get It Together, Softy

In 24 hours, you will be transported to another world. Whether it’s Earth in the dark ages, Middle Earth, Krynn, or the Forgotten Realms doesn’t matter. You’ll randomly be “dropped” in a village, a dungeon or cave, or a wilderness area. You’ll be provided with a pack containing several days’ worth of food and basic survival tools, including fire-starting supplies, a good map, a big sturdy camp knife, and the appropriate clothing. All you need to select is weapons and armor.

The only information you have to help make your selection is that you will be facing humanoids and possibly whatever the indigenous wild animals are—nothing worse than bears and mountain lions. If you face magic, you’re toast, and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for it anyway. You can only pick weapons that are within the technological limits of the destination…

Weapon Technology

Our limitations for this drop are as follows: you can choose weapons and armor that are made from any wood, leather, plant fiber, non-ferrous metal, iron, or hardened steel. For missile weapons, you may select from any style of sling that does not incorporate elastic, any bow or crossbow that doesn’t have a mechanical force multiplier (that is, compound bows), any javelin or spear, any atlatl, and darts. Obviously, you may not bring any “modern” weapons (such as grenades, firearms, death rays, and such).

What to Wear

Let’s start with our armor selection. There might be a temptation to simply go with full plate, but there are some reasons why I won’t do that. First, the knights who wore full plate trained in it most of their lives and could move well in their custom-made armor. I know I would be encumbered by it. Also, full plate went along with a good destrier, courser, or even a rouncy, and I didn’t put a horse on the equipment list; maybe next time. Walking long distances in full plate just isn’t going to work.

On the other end of the spectrum, I could go with no armor, but for me, it’s a bad idea for a couple of reasons. I’m going to get hit, probably a lot. Hardened leather isn’t going to work for me either, it just won’t hold up. I’m thinking steel breast and back plates, not a cuirass, but two separate pieces, will work well. And a short riveted mail shirt with medium length sleeves will fill some of the gaps. On the right arm, I’m going with a light steel plate bracer. For the bottom half, I’m going with a lamellar kilt: steel splints over leather. Some light plate greaves and steel-toed leather boots round out the package. I can move in it and take some hits, and I have the knees for a kilt, so why not?

Next up is a helmet. A brain bucket. I’m going with a simple leather lined steel half helmet with a nasal, short cheek pieces, and a light-segmented steel lobster tail. It’ll need some extra steel across the brow for head butting when things get tight. It’s strong without hindering peripheral vision.

The Spartan’s Best Friend

I’m giving the shield its own section because it’s not just armor; it’s also a weapon if it’s built right. A good argument can be made to skip the shield in favor of dual wielding, but the argument falls apart when you’re fighting alone and facing missile weapons. I’d feel pretty foolish with each hand full of steel while some undernourished villager whom I could whoop is launching bodkin tipped death at me from 100 ft. away, and I have no cover and no shield. Very embarrassing.

My arrow stopper is medium sized, say 26 in., leather and fur-backed, round laminated hardwood with a thin hardened steel skin. It will have a short, pointed central boss and two dull 4-in.-long hardened steel rods projecting out from the edge in front of the handhold, like an extension of the fist.

It’s big enough to get most of myself behind, tough enough to take arrows or javelins, and outfitted to smash armor.

Bringing the Pain

Weapons are a tough choice if you don’t train with them. Despite my years of training, I’ve done precious little with primitive weapons. I know just enough to understand my limitations. As a general rule, the longer a weapon is, the harder it is to control, and the more training it takes to use effectively. Large swords are out because they are a specialized skill and take a long time to learn. Most polearms (some spears are an exception) are out because they cannot be paired with a shield, are so big they limit the ability to carry other weapons, or are intended to be used en masse. Flexible weapons like a flail or meteor hammer are as dangerous to the wielder as to the enemy without extensive training and heavy plate armor.

I’m going with a leaf-bladed heavy short sword as my primary brawling weapon. It matches up well with my shield, is a good hacker, a great thruster, and the leaf blade makes it a decent slasher. To defeat heavier armor, my backup brawler is a standard war hammer with a pronged head and spike. Not having a distance weapon is a mistake; I choose two light spears that can be used to brawl or be thrown. My first choice for a fighting spear would be a Zulu assegai, but they’re heavy enough that carrying one with a javelin would be cumbersome, and my first choice for a javelin would be a pilum, also a big heavy weapon, so I have to go with a dual-purpose spear that does both jobs pretty well.

Let’s go!

That’s what I would do. You are welcome to critique my choices, but you don’t know me, and you never fought me, so how can you know what will work for me? What I really want is to hear what you would do.

So, cupcake, what are you bringing to the party?

27 Replies to "Real Steel: Rumble! What Are You Bringing To The Party?"

Darkjoy

March 10, 2011 at 2:24am

Leather armor
Steel bracers
Rapier or arming sword
two long daggers
crossbow
bolts for the crossbow ;-)

Steel armor is heavy and slogging around the countryside in it will make you tired, fighting tired makes you slow, slow makes you dead.

bracers: the best way to defend against a strike is to block against the wrist, you don’t want to cut your own wrists.

rapier / arming sword: being trained with an epee should make me quite proficient with either.

long daggers: long arms in a grapple don’t mix.

crossbow: the pope banned them for being too deadly => I want one.

Darkjoy

March 10, 2011 at 3:39am

Reviewing the list leads to only one conclusion: I am a rogue :-)

gdnjr

March 10, 2011 at 5:03am

I’d wear a gambeson and a long hausberk, a plate spaulder on the shield arm, chausses on the legs and a lobster tail pot on head. A Norman style shield, a warhammer, an axe and a long dagger.
Two short spears with an atlatl (is very simple to use).

Ben.

March 10, 2011 at 6:58am

I’ll take a Roman legionnaire’s kit, late republic-early Imperial, which is essentially what you’ve described with a different shield. Pilums for throwing, gladius for in close, good open faced helm. Well-broken in boots are a must, as is a small first aid kit and a book on the local language.

Oh, and the time travel poster, laminated: http://www.joeydevilla.com/2009/04/11/time-travel-cheat-sheet/

Because I’m going to find a way to make sure I’m not going out on the pointy end of this hardware, and that’s the ticket for it.

Charles Ryan

March 10, 2011 at 7:08am

As much as I enjoyed the article, I gotta go with Darkjoy.

The most reliable way for me to stay alive is to not fight. It’s not that I’m a total slouch, it’s just that it’s virtually certain I’ll be far less well-trained than anybody I’m facing. And the training, frankly, is going to have a lot more impact, I think, than the minutia of armor choice.

Of course, that’s not the point of the thought experiment. So, assuming the above, but I had some solid foundational training to go with the gear? Um . . . I think I’m still a rogue. I think I’d have to optimize my choices for mobility and versatility.

Incidentally, I’ve been through an extended version of a quite similar thought experiment myself in recent months, in which I’ve sent a modern guy much like you or I into the 12th Century. He’s having a lot of fun (depending on your definition of fun). You can read all about it at http://www.charlesmryan.com.

Gavin Smith

March 10, 2011 at 9:52am

I’m going to be a complete historical grab-bag/mish-mash of styles, but here goes…

Armor: Lorica plumata, steel bracers and good stout gloves for the upper torso, and I like your combo of lamellar kilt and greaves + steel-toed boots for the lower. For a helmet, I would opt for either a Burgonet or a Capeline. I have fairly good peripheral vision and I don’t want to sacrifice it.

Shield: Again, I agree with you… something that gives me some body cover and can still be used offensively. Protect, push, or punch.

Melee: My main weapon would be a falcata… swing heft of an axe, slicing range of a sword. Yeah, I can work with that. I’ll back that up with a pernach to help deal with the tin can opponants.

Ranged: I tend to be 1s or 20s with ranged weapons, so best not to rely on them. 2 short spears just to get something out at range on an approaching enemy.

Yay! I’m going to give the party a 30% chance of lasting 2 rounds longer!!

Todd the Bladesmith

March 10, 2011 at 10:06am

@Darkjoy – I like your first choices. All of us modern softies would get owned, but we can never admit it if we’re to have some fun with this. A Rogue with the appropriate gear is a good choice also.
:)

@gdnjr – You’re obviously using logic as well as giving thought to your own abilities. That was the whole idea!
:)

@Ben. – I’m digging your choices. I checked out the link, very interesting read.

@Charles Ryan – Again, a properly equipped rogue is a good choice. And you’ll be able to run sometimes, but sooner or later you’ll have to fight – it’s a rule, and I know cause I made it up. I scanned your writing real quick – I’ll be reading it all soon.
:)

@Gavin Smith – Obviously I like a lot of your choices, some of them are sending me to the books… but that’s part of what this was supposed to do.

Baelor

March 10, 2011 at 10:58am

I am making a few assumptions in this reply:

– we have some training in wielding and wearing whatever it is we choose to wield and wear.
– we are not master in wielding and wearing same.
– that we are not masters means we are going to get hit a lot. I suggest that even master fighters will get hit if they fight regularly, and in my example we are not masters.

From this, I would submit that armour choice is more important than weapon choice and that the two are linked, since some armour makes it harder to fight using certain weapons or styles.

Having worn and worked in a number of armours over the years, I have to say that well-made and well-fitted plate is not as heavy or encumbering as many people think. The trouble lies in cheap or poorly fitted plate that clangs and clatters like a tinker’s wagon when you walk. It hangs off the body and you feel every pound. This is equivalent to the field or munitions armour of the period [cheap and usually not worn as full harnesses].

Well-fitted, well-made plate [the sort a knight would wear] distributes the weight over you, like a really good web-harness distributes gear for a modern soldier. The armour clamps your body, rather than hanging off of it. My vote is for a complete set of gothic plate, which is generally lighter and provides better mobility than heavier plate armours [such as Milanese or later armours that add redundant layers of steel to the harness] but still gives you the security of plate armour. I am 6’1″ tall, and the gothic harness I wore back in the day weighed 55 lbs[ Admittedly I did not have a backplate [so add 5 lbs]. I have worn other armours from other periods that weighed less, as much, and more, but most of them felt like more regardless of their actual weight and most sacrificed a fair bit in terms of protection. A mail hauberk and chausses is a killer, even if strapped up properly to reduce discomfort and the feel of it hanging on you [it pains me to say this, because I love mail armour].

There is a lot of debate over the efficacy of plate armour against arrows and crossbows, and I cannot claim to know how much damage these projectiles will do to a plate armoured opponent. I think it is likely that any damage that they do to a plate armoured opponent is likely to be considerably less that they would to someone wearing less armour of any sort.

Well-fitted, well-made plate armour will keep you from taking many wounds that other armour might allow in. In the posited culture, unless magical healing is readily available, that means that over time, you will suffer from fewer infections from open wounds, and be debilitated less from other injuries. In an age or culture where magical or other advanced healing was not available or hard to find – a belly wound of any sort is usually synonymous with a painful death. If we add in infections from the claws of bears, mountain lions and wolves, as the article suggests, the possibility of infection in wounds increases.

A shield would be a nice addition, even if it is not used in melee, because it is a great arrow catcher. Leather faced and backed with a central steel boss and a steel rim. Since gothic harness has so many reinforcing ridges and glancing surfaces that serve to reinforce the armour and deflect points, a fairly small round [no more than 24 inches] could do the job. Then depending on your choice of weapons, you can either drop it or keep it to fight in melee, or keep it to throw ranged weapons. Also making the shield a buckler [a single central handle, like holding a garbage can lid] and hanging it on a carrying strap means that I can sling it out of the way in a moment, even with rudimentary training.

I would fit a couple of darts into the inside of the shield, with a few more in reserve. These are not the darts of the pool hall. They were used historically by a number of cultures. Think lawn darts of death – 15-18″ long with a heavy iron or steel bodkin style head, leather fletchings for stability in flight. Given that the number of accidental injuries and deaths was cause to stop producing the recreational version, a model intended to hurt people should do some damage. Also, If I was planning on using the shield in melee, I would want to hurl the darts first, to make the shield lighter to wield.

For weapons, I think a weapon with some reach is essential in dealing with things like bears. Spears or polearms are nice but if your target gets to close with you, as a bear, or wolf pack well might, having something that is dangerous a a lot of ranges is better. My choice would probably be a longsword – not the D&D version, but a 15th century longsword. roughly 4 feet long usable with both hands, but you can wield it one handed in a pinch [though you won’t want to]. A good point for thrusting, sufficient weight and leverage for powerful cuts and slashes. It works fairly well against a lot of opponents and armours, and you can hang it off your belt in a scabbard, keeping your hands free to carry a spear [possibly a boar spear with a cross piece behind the head to stop critters from running up it to their, and your detriment] if you want. The gothic style plate was specifically made to allow the use of two handed weapons like the longsword, whereas other heavier plate armours restricted movement more.

A mass weapon like a warpick would be a useful addition, if others are likely to be as heavily armoured as you are. Then fighting sheild and pick is a good way to go. Leave the darts in the pack because they likely won’t do much against plate.

A good strong dagger or two rounds it out.

Since the core of this outfit is the gothic plate, that may move it beyond the bounds of this experiment, since it would require fitting and manufacture time far beyond the 24 hours. Hadn’t considered that restriction. If you are ‘buying off the rack’, other issues become paramount.

Simon the Overthinker

March 10, 2011 at 11:31am

I think a lamellar armor similar to mongol or western china design of leather and iron would be good start. Simple bracers for wrists. Good boots. Agree with helmet choice. If I have to waer it, I would want to be able to fix it. Defintiely not a smith so somthing with small simple parts makes sense. Would have to think on weapons. Spears and javelins are relatively easy to make or replace if shaft is broken and a good spear works for distance and melee. Round wooden shield with iron reinforcemnt a must. Having done “walks” in full modern gear in my youth, these would push weight limit I would be comfortable with.

Jef

March 10, 2011 at 12:34pm

Agree with Baelor’s choice for gothic armor if a custom suit is available, otherwise I’d go with chainmail as I’ve worn it for 12hr Ren.Faires without effort; add steel bracers and a shield with bashing spike and sharped cutting edge.

weapons would include a 30″ English Agincourt sword (Hundred years war) since the size/weight is right for me, at least a pair of matching daggers, and a hatchet. As per Baelor, I was quite practiced as a youth with the now banned lawn dart so would appreciate several war-versions. A metal-shod staff, ideally with either screw-on or capped end-blades would round out my selections.

Todd the Bladesmith

March 10, 2011 at 2:04pm

@Baelor – Thank you for that in depth response. I’m especially intrigued with the idea of darts. I’m familiar with some chinese variations, but I confess ignorance on darts from other cultures. A heavy iron dart would indeed be deadly, and easy to use with a little practice. It’s only disadvatage being that it can be thrown back, but even that can be overcome with a breakable tip, so if it comes back, it does so blunt. The Roman Pilum were often designed this way.

@Simon the Overthinker – Mongol weapons, armor, and war culture are often overlooked, but it was a powerful force that swept across Asia and Europe – good input.

@Jef – A covertable staff/spear sounds like a great idea. The staff can be a formidable weapon itself.

Baelor

March 10, 2011 at 3:33pm

The Romans, and later, the Byzantines used a dart called a plumbata, named for the lead weight used to give the dart ooomph:

http://www.fectio.org.uk/shows/vechten2007_mei_plumbatae.jpg

And as for throwing the darts back, if you are in full gothic plate, the darts are not much of a threat.

I believe that the Aztecs, and possibly the Maya also, used a dart as well. Of course it would not be iron tipped.

I like the lamellar idea too. Far lower tech [not meant as a slight, just way easier to maintain] and very good protection.

Stromgald

March 10, 2011 at 4:20pm

Baelor’s choices are exceptional and I would certianly follow them if custom fit gothic plate were available. My only complaint would be the amount of time it takes to take the armor off and put it back on. I would add the following though:

1.) A book on local plants and herbs along with a guide on poultices. (unless this is included in the survival gear already mentioned)

2.) A short bow with broadheaded arrows. In the event you can get the jump on something. Good throwing axes are a nice choice as well since they can be mutli-purposed.

Todd the Bladesmith

March 10, 2011 at 6:54pm

@Baelor – In the photo in your link it looks like the re-enactor is using a big sweeping overhand throw. As you said, I’m seeing the fletching that will straighten it out in flight; the Chinese darts I’ve seen use a streamer or feather tuft, which probably straightens it out quicker but also gives more drag and less distance.

When you talk about the Aztec and Mayan darts, do you mean the ones used with atlatl, or were there others? Please, take me to school!

@Stromgald – I didn’t include a guide, and that’s a great choice on your part; it could definitely save your life. I like the short bow; they point and shoot quickly and don’t need much space – kinda like a middle ages carbine. Small axes and hatchets, IMO, are in the same catagory as a big camp knife; lots of uses for little space and weight.

Baelor

March 10, 2011 at 7:38pm

It seems that you can throw it the way shown in that pic, underhand, or gripped pinched at the balance point [more like a dartboard style dart] with good result. Here is a Youtube clip I dug up with a guy doing armour testing with a plumbata [in French]:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPQGBsQAcb0

My French is not great but he seems to be getting about 25 to 30 metres of range when he takes it outside He also uses an atlatl [for triple the range].

The Byzantines referred to the darts as martiobarbuli [barbs of war]. I seem to recall that they also had a device that could be fitted to an infantry bow to allow an archer to fire several darts at one time. Essentially a tube that fit to the bow with notches cut for the string to travel in. I would think shorter darts would have been used this way. But conceivably you could get three or more darts in the air at once this way.

All the darts that I have seen from Roman and Byzantine sources have a broad head, often barbed, not unlike a pilum in miniature. My guess is that the neck is left untempered so that they bend upon impact like the pilum [I don’t know that, only guesswork]. Since they are barbed broadheads they seem designed more for unarmoured or lightly armoured targets. This seems to be born out with the testing the fellow does in the video too, where he shows that armour penetration is not great.

The Mezoamerican darts I remember were thrown with an atlatl. My interest in this was some years ago, so I don’t recall much more than that. I seem to remember a comment in a WRG publication that stated that the Spanish soldiers were contemptuous of the darts because of their armour. But I may be misremembering, so if this was not said, blame me not WRG [Wargames Research Group, a fine series of publications].

nobodez

March 10, 2011 at 7:44pm

Armor: Well, I’m not athletic, I’m severely overweight, so I’m going to go a slightly different route that most. From the bottom up, I’ll start with titanium-toe boots with a puncture resistant sole, heel cap, cleated outsole with a suede finish (so i don’t have to worry about polishing). For my legs, we’ll go with a heavy canvas base slacks, titanium-leather shin-guards/greaves (acts like greaves, wears like shin-guards with titanium quick-release buckles), the lamellar kilt works, but with blackened (anodized if possible) titanium. For upper-body protection, start with a titanium chain shirt (sandwiched between layers of black cotton), titanium spaulders, and titanium bracers, all secured with metal quick-release buckles. Gloves are layers, the inner layer a thin cotton, the middle a finger-less leather, and the outer a leather-titanium chain-mail gauntlet. The helmet is based on the WWII German Stahlhelm, but with Roman style cheek-guards.

Shield: I’ll go with a aspis (hoplite shield), again made of titanium, with quick-release buckles securing it to my left arm made of metal. Just for the hell of it, I’ll have it painted (or anodized) in a Captain America style.

Melee Weapons: I’m not a melee weapon specialist, not in the least, though I do have a few machetes and a hatchet that I haven’t killed myself with, so I’d probably focus on that style of weaponry. My primary weapon would be based on the greek kopis, though with a guard bar over the hilt in the style of late-19th century cavalry sabers (similar to the falcata). My secondary weapon would be a kukri-style machete. I’d also add a break-down speak (three-foot lengths of hardwood with steel screw-caps that assemble into a staff or spear).

Ranged Weapons: Although I’ve had some experience with bows (from boy scouts), I’d prefer a crossbow. I’d go with a steel or titanium recurve lathed, multiple bow crossbow with a rifle-style construction and a ratcheting cranequin for spanning the crossbow (based on the ratcheting jacks of some older cars, allowing for a pumping motion akin to a Super Soaker or shotgun rather than rotation). Technically this would be an arbalest, but it’s basically a crossbow. I’d have extra strings to convert it to a stone-bow as well. The bolts would have changeable tips depending on what I’m hunting.

Yes, many of the ideas are stolen whole-cloth from the Dies The Fire series from S.M. Stirling.

Assume any connectors are metal quick-release buckles instead of standard buckles, straps are of the strongest non-sythetic, non-silk weave that is applicable to the application, metal is a non-ferrous titanium alloy, leather is a pliable as possible, and all exposed surfaces (save the shield) are black(ened).

As for accessories, I’d take the time-traveller’s poster (preferably on some durable fabric), a modern two-sided diamond plate sharper as well as the finer two-sided Belgian coticule/blue whetstone, a journal made of either acid-free paper or the limestone/plastic paper, an “uplift” book of either acid-free or lime-stone/plastic paper with the basic fundamentals of technological uplift from a medieval to an industrial technology level (including a short language primer).

Todd the Bladesmith

March 10, 2011 at 8:30pm

@Baelor – Great information, thank you. You’ve at last given me the opportunity to teach you something; tempering is a softening process applied after hardening. Untempered steel that has been properly hardened is brittle. Unhardened steel is soft. Tempered steel has been hardened and then “drawn back” to a functional hardeness and toughness. Check out this older Real Steel: http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/front-page6917.php

Regarding the pilum, and it probably applies to darts as well, I have read both that they were left hardened but untempered, which would result in the shaft breaking on impact, and that they were left unhardened, which would result in the bend you describe. Either renders the weapon next to useless.

@nobodez – ROFL doesn’t even come close to how hard I laughed at all that titanium, Thank you! The bad news is there are good reasons titanium isn’t often used for weapons or armor (one exception I know of is the Ti bathtub a Warthog pilot sits in). Thanks again!

Baelor

March 10, 2011 at 9:08pm

Thanks for the correction, Bladesmith. I was unaware of the distinction. My buddie, who is a blacksmith, armorer and weaponsmith himself would be ashamed of me sleeping in class. Great article on steel, BTW.

Re: actual darts and pila, many seem to have survived intact. Some of the pila are quite obviously bent just behind the neck, presumably at the soft point. So at least some seem to have been left unhardened. Of course, if there were others that broke, they likely are scattered bits buried on battlefields, rather than complete items. So harder to substantiate.

And as for the titanium, it IS a non-ferrous metal, so it fits the experiment’s criteria. Nice one, nobodez!

Practically, I remember hearing of an experiment where a fellow took a full force strike from a wooden weapon to his head, armoured in a titanium helm. I seem to recall that he got a severe concussion. This is usually not the case when wearing steel helms, btw, but they weigh almost 3 times as much as I recall [inertia is good for something after all, I thought it just made me sleep late on weekends]. Don’t know if the tale was not apochryphal or not.

nobodez

March 10, 2011 at 10:37pm

@Baelor: makes sense, but I was thinking of going straight to Mithril and skipping the Steel, guess I need that steel. And really, if you’re going for a full thought experiment, might as well go hog wild, eh?

As for what I’d personally bring, if it was me, in my situation, I’d be strapping a Kukri Machete to my hip, wearing blue jeans and steel-toe boots with a black hoodie. And waiting until the last minute to raid the first aid and pain reliever aisles of the local Walgreens. Maybe see if I could find/steal/buy on credit a nice leather jacket to go over the hoodie.

Todd the Bladesmith

March 11, 2011 at 1:54pm

@Baelor – Yeah, nobodez was slick with that Ti, I definitely dropped the ball on the rules and he caught me. :)

@nobodez – It’s a simple way to go, but it has merits. Any kukri blade has tremendous cutting power.

Sigfried Trent

March 11, 2011 at 3:55pm

Ok, my strategy….

I want good mobility for running away, some fights you can’t win.
I want to be protected from light wounds in a duel.
I want to hit my foes before they hit me

Armor/Clothing
Best boots I can manage, sturdy leather with good soles and ankle support and built in shin guards up to the knee cap of light steel.
The armor slated kilt is a good idea.
I’m also for breast and black plate as an armored jacket and chain sleaves, possibly a heavy bracer/gauntlet for my left hand.
My right hand gets a fingerless leather glove with a metal wrist guard.
A light steel helm is good.
Also a padded thing steel gorge to protect the neck.

I’m a big exomorph type so this wouldn’t slow me much and is fairly comfy to move in. The down side is heat, the torso armor would be hot.

Weaponry
I want a sturdy short bow and a pack of arrows. Great for hunting and sniping but not too cumbersome.
I want a medium length sturdy spear which is what I’ll walk around with. Gives you first shot and deterrent, is easy to wield and carry and service. Can use one or two handed.
I want a good sturdy short sword, easy to draw, cutting and stabbing up close.
I’m forgoing the shield, my experience is they are super cumbersome and slow you down. Good for war, not so good for survival/exploration.

Sigfried Trent

March 11, 2011 at 4:02pm

Note on helms…

I find them interesting functionally.

The skull is pretty decent at stopping things from poking your brain so hardness isn’t necessarily what your head is missing.

Your head is easy to cut, so a nice skin of leather or metal is good for that. Your face needs this the most… but visibility is pretty important in combat. (SCA knights get good at reading body movement to make up for that.)

To stop concussive force you need to stop your-head from getting knocked about. A tight helm won’t do that, it needs room to move, ideal with padding to slow and disperse the movement from direct transfer to your noggin. So a good hard helm is bigger than your head, but still stays on and is cushioned well. Its also a bit like wearing an oven on your head. :P

Todd the Bladesmith

March 11, 2011 at 4:39pm

@Sigfried Trent – You definitely get the style award for the fingerless glove. :)

Interesting take on the shield. That’s also an issue with full plate – excellent protection but not great for exploring.

HEAT! Especially in the sun!

nobodez

March 11, 2011 at 6:22pm

@Todd the Bladesmith: For the heat issue, there are always reflective means of dispersing heat (metalized cloth), or shade generation techniques (parasols).

As for the Full Plate issue, if you replace the standard buckles with metal (steel, aluminum, or titanium) quick release buckles, it becomes slightly easier to don and doff the armor (as well as making sure the design is modular, which it should be).

Todd the Bladesmith

March 12, 2011 at 10:00pm

@nobodez – I’m likin’ your whole attitude. :)

Simon the Overthinker

March 16, 2011 at 9:53am

If nobdez keeps it up, I will have to completely drop the “Overthinker” and come up with something else! Outmatched at this point!

Todd the Bladesmith

March 21, 2011 at 8:18pm

@Simon the Overthinker – Are you sure you won’t consider that further?