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Inactive Forums => The Riddle of Steel => Topic started by: Jake Norwood on January 28, 2003, 12:09:33 PM



Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jake Norwood on January 28, 2003, 12:09:33 PM
Gareth brought up an interesting point in this thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=49393#49393), which I have taken completely out of context as a springboard for this discussion.

Quote from: contracycle
The attempt to posit some sort of socially recognised adventurer in order to provide a common structure has IMO generally tended toward the utterly implausible.


This got me thinking about the BladeSlinger. Now, understand, once upon a time the BladeSlinger was going to be a very important part of the TROS mythos (as it were). I would still like it to be.

I think what makes the BladeSlinger stick out, in my mind, is that he isn't a "socially recognized adventurer" at all. He's probably a bastard or a wierdo, really. I'm thinking guys like Kurosawa's Yojimbo or First Knight's Lancelot (ack...we won't talk about First Knight). They are men that value their own values and ambitions, but who aren't seeking world domination. Instead it's something more selfish, more attainable, and more feasable...they're looking for *something* that's just for them and no one else.

I'm not sure what I want to say, except that I want to talk about these guys. I want to "get in their heads" and make something more tangible, more understandable, and more...real...out of them.

Jake


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Brian Leybourne on January 28, 2003, 12:43:11 PM
For me, the quintessential example would have to be "The man with no name" from the Sergio Leone trilogy. Yes, he carries a gun instead of a sword, but he's exactly the kind of guy you're talking about, just in the wrong time period (IMO, anyway).

I think the greatest barrier to those kinds of characters in TROS is that they tend to be loners, but roleplaying is a social activity and usually involves miltiple PC's. I'm interested to hear others' opinions on how such loners fit into a group dynamic though.

Brian.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on January 28, 2003, 12:58:23 PM
Personally I found the blade slinger to be among the least interesting features of TROS.  I think the man who is tied to the world around him makes for a better TROS character than the man tied primarily to himself and his riddle seeking.  The loner whose apart from the world but keeps getting mixed up in it is a staple of TV and movies, but its much harder to pull off in an RPG.  Characters in a movie don't have the option to simply say "nope not interested I'm moving on".  

The TROS SAs are there to define what the character is interested in and therefor what he shouldn't "move on" from, and it just seems to me that this is more powerful and effective when those things are real people, places, things and causes, rather than some more abstract mercenary riddle seeking.

Plus it grates on my historic sensibilities.  There really wasn't such a thing as the lone wandering warrior historically.  At least not on purpose.  There were certainly the disenfranchised (especially mercenaries after their employment contract was up), but these people were primarily interested in forming new ties and seeking new patronages, not in avoiding such ties.

The movie Rob Roy does a great job of highlighting the Fop's quest for patronage (despite being a tremendous swordsman) and the things he's willing to do to INCREASE his ties not sever them.  Likewise the Musketeers were all about patronage and finding a profitable place for themselves WITHIN society rather than apart from it.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Spartan on January 28, 2003, 01:07:26 PM
Quote from: Brian Leybourne
I think the greatest barrier to those kinds of characters in TROS is that they tend to be loners, but roleplaying is a social activity and usually involves miltiple PC's. I'm interested to hear others' opinions on how such loners fit into a group dynamic though.


Yeah, that could be true.  However, Aragorn was a loner that fit into a group dynamic.  Bladeslingers could also be bounty hunters that find their quarry is a also a foe of the group.  How about a person exiled from his family/homeland and is in search of a new group to belong to?  Bladeslingers can want a sense of belonging, too... they are not immune to feeling despair at being alone in a cruel, dangerous world.  Bladeslingers are first and foremost human beings with all the needs and desires that anyone else might have... and life without companionship, especially in a world where you have to stick together to survive just might drive a person mad.

I sort of envision bladeslingers as tragic loners trying to find their place in the world, with the conflicting desires to be self-reliant and to be part of something greater than themselves.  They're on the outside looking in, so to speak, not sure on which side of the glass they belong.

-Mark


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Shadeling on January 28, 2003, 01:09:28 PM
I think that there were men like this in history. I just don't think that it is necessarily a puiblished fact. Humans seek to better themselves-at times byu themselves, and it isn't hard to fathom a warrior seeking his own path and own enlightenment, without bringing others into his crusade.

The myths and legends of are world are at one point based in fact. There are legends of lone masters of their art, who teach those who seek them out. At one point there had to have been real people to spawn this myth. I mean even today, there are lone men who are great martial artists or smith's, who keep to themselves improving their trade, but will teach those who really want it. I think this goes hand in hand with this as well.

So, I hope what I said makes sense.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on January 28, 2003, 01:16:45 PM
I think Shade you are allowing modern sensibilities to color your thinking a bit.  Throughout most of history there was no real concept of individual independence.  Everybody was tied to and beholden to somebody.  The form this took in ancient Rome was different from the form it took in the middle ages which was different from the form it took in the renaissance / age of reason.  But virtually no one was ever "free" to the extent to decide to just up and leave and seek his own path.  Such people usually wound up either dead because they had no one to turn to for protection, or were simply considered outlaws.  It is extremely difficult to conceive of a highly trained phenomenal warrior who'd both WANT and be allowed to wander around on his own doing what he wanted.  Even in the 1800s that concept was pretty rare and was one of the magical things about the west that drew men from all over the world to it...because it was pretty unique.

For most of history there was no upward mobility without patronage for the vast majority of people.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: GreatWolf on January 28, 2003, 01:43:41 PM
Well, there is the example of the ronin of Japan, who could end up in a wandering position.  However, this actually supports Ralph's comments, because no one chose to become a ronin; it was forced upon you.  Even the name ("wave-man") indicated someone who was outcast.  Of course, there were those who took advantage of ronin status (Miyamoto Mushashi being the most famous example), but this doesn't mean that ronin status was sought by the samurai of the day.

Of course, this doesn't help answer the question about Bladeslingers.  I'll have to think on this and come back to the subject.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 28, 2003, 03:18:27 PM
Hi Jake,

For me, it all comes down to whether "bladeslinger" is a metagame concept held by the GM and players, or an in-game concept held by the imaginary characters, PC and NPC alike.

If it's the former, I'm on it, and the title character of Yojimbo is a bladeslinger. If it's the latter, instant yawn, he's not, and I'm going to play with some other group of people.

Best,
Ron


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: prophet118 on January 28, 2003, 08:51:03 PM
i enjoy the conceot of the bladeslinger, and i think one element that people are forgetting....its a game, a fantasy medieval RPG... nothing more, nothing less..

but you dont have to use things you dont like...

the bladeslinger archetype gives people the chance to play cool characters, and not have to owe allegiance to a king......come on how truely fun is it to play a character that is playing second fiddle to an npc?


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: allahlav on January 28, 2003, 10:34:15 PM
Just to add my 2 cents.  There clearly were what we would refer to as 'Bladesingers' in Japan.  Read Miyamoto Musashi.  The title character, a real, documented historical figure, was the embodiment of the search for perfection through arms.  He was not a ronin per se - he was given leave to travel Japan to learn from other masters (which mostly meant fight and kill them), some of whom were militarised monks, criminals, samurai in service and so on.  

As for this type of character being a loner, that may be true in many cases (and was for Musashi), but not in all.  Musashi's first battles were against warriors (the Yoshioka School) whose ancestors had founded schools based on their teachings, in the exact same way other martial arts were taught in China.  These schools were often open only to the same family or to a lord's retainers, but they were used to instruct many students, only a few of whom might have the discipline necessary for dedicated following of the "Riddle"


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jake Norwood on January 28, 2003, 11:47:18 PM
Let me say a little about what I'm seeing here. I know that Ron and some other old forge-ites aren't into the BladeSlinger thing. I think that they are (or Ron is), but they want to see something other that what it is (which is understandable, given how vague the concept is in the book).

See, Yojimbo is definitely a BladeSlinger. Definitely. Is he a loner? Sort of... Is he unatatched? Only at the begining.

That's the thing. Bladeslingers existed in history and are all over our favorite literature...especially pulp Sword and Sorcery. Conan...totally! These are men that *think* they're unatached, but aren't. They get attached quite easily, in fact, which could be part of why they're always on the move...they don't handle relationships well but they always have them. Alternatively, they handle relationships fine but are volatile in the face of conflict (what SAs are all about), and that ruins their relationships (more SA conflict) and sends them packing again.

Let's assume that a Bladeslinger is a lone wanderer. Why is he alone? It obviously is explained in the detailed backstory the player either wrote or has in his head...a backstory that should be apparent in his SAs. Is he going to randomly wander? Hell no! He's going to wander into conflicts that are tied to his own issues, either intentionally or otherwise. That's what literature does...it places people into convenient situations for the creation of a cohesive story.

Examples?
Lancelot in First Knight. He's got nothing to live for, right? Wrong. He's seen Guenevere *once* and he's got "Passion: Love Guenevere 4" on his sheet already. Later he gets "Passion: Loyal to Arthur" (right near the end of the film, as I recall). Add to that "Passion: Hate Mala-whateverhisnamewas" after a little while and you're dealing with 4 of his SAs allready (you know he's packing Luck). And that's a movie about a "loner."

The problem that anyone has with a Bladeslinger is the erronious idea that a loner is actually alone. Loners are people who get so over-involved in personal relationships (which they can't handle) that they avoid them...but they're drawn to them like to flame. Sure, they try to set up something more important (Riddle-seeking, for example), but it's hollow to them when compared to the real problems they have...they can't stay out of relationships that they know they'll destroy. So we have our 5th SA for Lancelot..."Destiny: Destroy what I love."

The real inspiration for Bladeslingers isn't Musashi (though he is the inspiration for Riddle-seekers)...it's Clint Eastwood and the like. It's the gunSLINGER that inspired the like-named bladeSLINGER...someone that will kill more often than a rational person might, because they handle their failed relationships through violence of some form (for example).

A BladeSlinger, I think, is like a hired sword, a wandering (or rather running) man with "nothing to lose" so he'll take to the sword. But that's only the image that the public sees. He's lost a lot, he hurts, and he doesn't want to lose more...but he can't avoid gaining relationships that he's destined to lose. Sad? Heck yeah. That's the beauty.

See where I'm going with this?

Jake


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ashren Va'Hale on January 29, 2003, 12:20:54 AM
ever heard of the story of captain blood, fits this discription to a T jake, the main character was a doctor who was wrongfully (in his view) imprisoned for aiding a rebel soldier. The king sentences him to death and to make the story short he gets away and turns to violence and piracy (the sword) in order to flee his problems and try and right the mess of his life.

To me the blade slinger is ALOT like the famous gunslingers of the west, you have your doc holidays with nothing left to lose, your jesse james crusading types, your lawman who takes the role of judge jury and executioner whether appointed as law enforcement or not. In the end, I suppose the blade slinger to me is a guy who, having failed all other recourses, turns to his blade for answers and solutions. Perhaps he wants to right a wrong or maybe he just wants to get rich, either way he manifests his drives, passions, and maybe faith through his skill with the sword. When a problem confronts him, the blade slingers first instinct is to cut his way to a solution and to hell with the consquences. With several of my blade slinger characters (PC AND NPC) the reason he would do this was because he absolutely was pathetic when trying to solve a problem any other way, another character sought this solution style because having lost everything to some tragedy that could have been solved with a bullet in teh right plac so to speak, the character vowed to himself never to let that happen again.

One of my favorite blade slingers took to the sword because the feudal system had failed him in providing justice so he took up his fathers sword to achieve justice himself while slaying those who would stand in his way whoever teh hell they might be.

I think the misconception that bladeslingers cant have powerful SA's is due to a misconception of teh archetype, every one has a reason for what they do and the blade slinger is no different.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Shadeling on January 29, 2003, 01:14:32 AM
I think the Moorcock's Eternal Champion character, especially Elric of Melnibone' are bladeslinger characters. I mean, they fight Chaos pretty much alone. Definite Destiny SAs for them.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on January 29, 2003, 05:52:11 AM
I see where you're going Jake, I just don't really like the concept myself.  Perhaps that's just a personal preference, perhaps its me seeing the "gunfighter" archetype as having been done to death and has very little left new in it anymore.  Perhaps its me attaching too much importance the obvious historical inspiration of Wyerth where such an individual would be virtually non existant (riddle seeker, certainly.  Blade Slinger...doubtful).  Perhaps its simply that I've NEVER seen this concept actually work in an RPG.  Work in a movie, yes.  Work in a book, yes.  Work in an RPG?  Haven't seen it.  In my experience all "professions" like bladeslinger do is open the door to munchkinized combat monster whose players plead "playing their character" as their excuse to min-max combat skills out the yin yang.  While there certainly is nothing wrong with that for those who enjoy such things, it clearly isn't what you had in mind for the role.

Are there bladeslingers in history...maybe.  Maybe 1 in a generation, although I expect most of those could better be categorized as bandits or mercenaries.  Not enough, IMO to warrant a "class" write-up in the rule book where there will shortly be 3 in every village.  

Its a cool image I guess, but it doesn't light any fires for me.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: prophet118 on January 29, 2003, 06:10:50 AM
you do know one thing though.... you know of blade slingers working in RPGs..... you just dont know them by that name... here let me help dispell the horror factor surrounding that word........do you know what they call a blade slinger in other games ?....... A RANGER.... look at the class from any AD&D/D&D game, or other systems... thats what it is... and do they work?... hell yeh... hell i have a ranger in my TROS game... hes not your typical blade slinger, in that hes mainly an archery guy, but he is simply put, a wanderer, traveling from one place to another, living from day to day by his own hand, and his own weapon


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jim DelRosso on January 29, 2003, 07:05:40 AM
I, for one, really like the bladeslinger concept.

It strikes me as a powerful archetype a player can build a character around, like the knight or the thief or the sorceror.  It's not the whole of the character, but it's an excellent tool for character-building -- a solid part of the character's structure.  The character concept is one that people are familiar with, if not necessarily in this exact context.

I also think that the concept of a bladelsinger fits very well into TROS's world of sorcerors and fae... it's a gut feeling, but it really seems to match the tone well, for me.

In terms of ways in which such a character can fit in the group, I think some excellent ones have already been metioned.  One more example that I'd add would the samurai from the Lupin III movies (whose name escapes me).  He became a memeber of Lupin's crew because Lupin offended him, and the samurai declared that Lupin's life was his, and his alone, to take.  Eventually, he actually becomes fond of Lupin, but that's another SA entirely. :-)

So, I think the bladesinger is a viable concept (both IC and OOC) that brings something interesing to TROS.  I also just think it's cool.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 29, 2003, 07:24:47 AM
I guess no one really read my post. (To "really read" = think, internalize, critique, incorporate into response)

Jake, I agree with you - I've been arguing the concept that the Man with No Name, Mad Max, Conan, the yojimbo, and dozens of others are eminently social characters for years.

Which is why I understand them perfectly as bladeslingers while speaking among ourselves, but consider the concept empty as a bucket from the in-game perspective.

Best,
Ron


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jim DelRosso on January 29, 2003, 08:11:50 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Which is why I understand them perfectly as bladeslingers while speaking among ourselves, but consider the concept empty as a bucket from the in-game perspective.


I'm not sure I understand why you feel the concept is so bereft of meaning IC.  The concept of a gunslinger had meaning within the times and places such folks were extant; as did the concept of a ronin.  Why would the concept of a bladeslinger be so different within the concept of Wyerth?  Could you clarify?


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on January 29, 2003, 08:31:49 AM
Quote from: Jim DelRosso
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Which is why I understand them perfectly as bladeslingers while speaking among ourselves, but consider the concept empty as a bucket from the in-game perspective.


I'm not sure I understand why you feel the concept is so bereft of meaning IC.  The concept of a gunslinger had meaning within the times and places such folks were extant; as did the concept of a ronin.  Why would the concept of a bladeslinger be so different within the concept of Wyerth?  Could you clarify?


Quite simply.
Re "The Gunslinger":
First your perceptions of gunslinger are highly colorized by hollywood, most were little more than bandits or hired killers historically.  But even taking the hollywoodizing as a desireable archetype, the gunslinger is an embodiment of individual freedom.  Of personal ideals held higher than social ideals living in a society which allowed such a man to prosper, if only at the fringes.  What made the American West so unique and what drew people from all over the world to it is that this feeling (which legend and story encapsulates in the gunslinger) was something that pretty much had never existed before.  

Can one concieve of a fantasy world where such a devotion to individual freedoms exists...sure (though I suspect not nearly enough thought would be given to the myriad of social ripples that such an ideology should have on such a world).  But I happen to like Wyerth and its roughly 17th century time period.  A time period where such sentiment did not exist to any measurable level.  We're still 100+ years before the American and French revolutions, and 200 years before westward expansion gave rise to the culture of mountain men and itinerant cowboys who are the model of the "slinger".  

This is why Ron says the concept is one he highly appreciates us as players having, but that he has no interest in seeing (nor do I) as seeing it immortalized in game.  Its an anachronism.

Re: Ronin.  I think us westerners identify with Ronin because we superimpose our love of the cowboy onto them.  Ronin were not fiercely independent men who lived by their own means.  They were disgraced outcasts who lived as best they could on their abilities as warriors.  The key difference is that it wasn't voluntary.  Most Ronin would have VASTLY preferred to return to life as an honorable samurai serving an honorable master as opposed to being some Katanaslinger.

There are very few historical examples you can find which fits the bill of what a blade slinger is supposed to be that aren't, after a little digging, more accurately described as bandits or mercenaries.  The concepts embodied in the -slinger designation are simply foriegn concepts to the time we're talking about.  

So its great and fine for us as players to visualize this sort of character concept and build a character that fits the bill.  Its IMO (and what Ron is saying) not sensible to have this idea actually be an established feature of the world.

As a final note to those who may want to play in a fantasy world where such a character is sensible in world, spend some time thinking about what the ramifications of such an ideology would be to the social fabric of the wider world.  Its very hard to envision a feudal or imperial society whose rulers would tolerate the existance of such a man.  A killer, that highly skilled, who does not serve a master...is quite simply dangerous and seditious.  A fantasy world where "Bladeslinging" was a practiced and accepted (if fringe) profession would resemble the wild west far more than some pseudo feudal kingdom common to most fantasy.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 29, 2003, 08:39:02 AM
Hi John,

Please review the thread in its entirety. You'll see people provide ample evidence that in-game terms like "ronin" simply do not correspond 1:1 with the out-of-game concept of bladeslinger (which Jake describes perfectly). You can have a ronin who's not a bladeslinger and a bladeslinger who's not a ronin.

Calling attention to the former ("ronins* existed, man!") doesn't mean a thing regarding an in-game justification of the latter (bladeslinger as a thematic character concept).

Best,
Ron

* The incorrect plural is intentional.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jim DelRosso on January 29, 2003, 08:44:36 AM
Personally, I feel that the responses of the powers-that-be to such an individual are part of what make the concept so interesting as an estabilished part of the setting.  Sure, a masterless swordsman of such skill would be a danger, which is why some rulers will try to secure his loyalty... or try to eliminate him from their holdings, one way or another.  It's the stuff good stories are made of, especially when one considers that such individuals would be social creatures.

Furthermore, as Jake and others have posted, the historical record regarding such individuals is hardly cut and dry.  

I can understand not wanting the concept of bladeslingers in your game world.  But I do not see that the inclusion of such individuals will necessarily destroy the consistency of such a world, any more than the inclusion of Fae and sorcerers would.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jim DelRosso on January 29, 2003, 08:53:29 AM
Ron,

Not sure if you meant "Jim" when you said "John"... but I did want to address the issue.

Why is it relevant whether or not the concept of a ronin (or those individuals who fit that concept) corresponds exactly to the concept of a bladeslinger (or those who fit that concept)?  

While bladeslingers share some characteristics or ronin, or gunslingers, they are not intended to be synonymous with them (from what I've seen).  They are an element of a fantasy world which share some elements with real-world individuals, but constructed as to help explore the themes inherent in TROS.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: prophet118 on January 29, 2003, 08:56:24 AM
sigh.... why get into quoting what the "spparant historical era" is?.....ive had that discussion with jake... he cant really nail down a specific time frame, and from what i gathered from him before, the different places you go to, will color that "apoarant historical period"......how else are you going to explain viking-esque people co habittating with french Ren guys?

valamir, you keep saying that people keep thinking of "the hollywood versions"........well i challenge you to stop referring to Wyrth is strict american terms........

maybe it is roughly close to our 17th century....doesnt mean some dudes from another continent are going to get pissed off at their king and go settle in the wyrth version of plymouth rock....you need to remember, this is a game, not real life, the same kind of historical ideals do not apply


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 29, 2003, 09:48:22 AM
Whoops, Jim not John,

I believe you're misunderstanding my point  - which is to ask exactly what you're asking me. Since the ronin/etc do not correspond to the concept of bladeslinger, I am saying, do not force such characters to correspond to it.

Perhaps people are misunderstanding what I mean by "in-game." In-game stuff is what the characters know about, say, what the culture's like, what its terms are, and stuff like that. Metagame stuff is what you and I, John, Ron, Ralph, Jake, and so forth, say and know about the game.

I'll say it again: (1) "Bladeslinger," specifically referring to Jake's description above, is a wonderful metagame concept and central to The Riddle of Steel (perhaps you haven't read my review; see its comments on the Premise of the game). (2) "Bladeslinger" as a unique entity justified or defined in-game, as stated by the people in the game, as conceived by them, is uninteresting and frankly intrusive.

I'll clarify: Sam is a player and Sebastian is his character. We, the players and people, can call Sebastian a bladeslinger and know exactly what we mean and enjoy it. The people in the game, and Sebastian himself, never use the word or think it. They call Sebastian whatever it is he does for a living among them.

I'll clarify further: Regardless of a character's profession in the game world and what others call them, the character can be a bladeslinger. In-game, he or she is a cook. A prostitute. A pirate. A king. Are they carrying out a role in the story like that seen in the sources already quoted? Yes? Then they're a bladeslinger. No? Then they're not.

As a corollary, no meaningful in-game term or category that exactly corresponds to the metagame term "bladesinger" is needed.

Best,
Ron


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jim DelRosso on January 29, 2003, 10:47:10 AM
Ah!  Now I see what you're saying.

But I was of the undertsanding the th term "bladeslinger" was used as an in-game term, much as "soldier" or "mercenary" would be.  At least, that was the impression I received from the book (and from this discussion).

A bladeslinger might take up work as a bounty hunter, or a mercenary, or even as the Duke's lawman in a remote farming village... but ti would still be possible (likely even), that someone would look at her and say, "Nothing but a lowly bladeslinger."  Or children of a knight, training at arms, would tell tall tales of their futures as wandering bladeslingers, even though nine out of every ten would cast those dreams aside as childhood fancy; of course, the one in ten who chooses that life, or has it thrust upon them, make for very interesting characters... :-)

In any case, I don't see the concept as jarring, or restrictive.  Even if you choose it, I can think of so many different bladeslingers, with so many different motives.  And this would be the same for thieves, and soliders, and sorcerors.

In other words, I see bladeslingers as a definitive part of Wyerth, something that characters in Wyerth are aware of.  I don't think it needs to be limited to the metagame.  YMMV


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ville on January 29, 2003, 11:08:16 AM
Imagine being someone who feels a craving for something.
Something but can't seem to find out what.
You wander the Weyrth, make friends, lose them, make enemies, kill them, travel to mythical places, see kingdoms fall before armies, but nothing seems to satisfy your craving.
Perhaps you embark on the philosophical journey to find The Riddle, whatever that is.
Perhaps you just seek enjoyment in perfecting your martial abilities, living on the edge with the constant adrenaline rush of combat seems to give you something. For a split second you feel alive when under the threat of death.
But still something is missing...
To be whole you'll have to find it.

That is how I see them.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jake Norwood on January 29, 2003, 11:45:13 AM
I think we're getting some intelligent conversation going here. This is good.

Valamir- See Hanson's book Carnage and Culture. It outlines how the idea of personal freedoms throughout European history is exactly what makes Europe (or "the west," if you include America) the most militarily successful region/tradition in the world. An amazing book, btw.

Ron- I agree with you very much in the metagame area, but on some angles I don't. Again, it's a matter of definitions. What was a "gunslinger?" A wandering hired gun. A mercenary without a mercenary regiment. An assassin? Yes, but not the creeping-ninja type. These guys *are* attested to in European history. They were generally commoners who were "masters" of the sword. On and off they ran their own schools, but sometimes there was better money to be made (and fewer strings attached) in traveling about teaching nobility that had a judicial duel coming up and needed to learn to fight...or someone to fight for them. It is a great myth that the best swordsmen were knights and gentry--they were good, sure, but they had some margin for error in the way of laws protecting their persons, retainers, bodyguards, and armor (on the battlefield). The common man didn't have these things, and could be killed in a duel or mugging with only a glimmer of legal "restitution," but not prevention...restitution is no good to the dead. Many of the historical fencing masters fit this paradigm rather well--Musashi in Japan, Donald McBane in Scotland, Hans Talhoffer in 1400's Swabia, Joachim Meyer in the 1500s (TROS is right between Talhoffer and Meyer, most of the time, historically). Not everyone was a noble or a surf. This is highlighted by the idea of a "freeman" in TROS, who in the middle ages would have been someone that lived in a large city (a small percentage of the population, yes, but a real one).

So what if we take these guys, and the in-game people refer to these wandering sometimes teachers, sometimes champions, sometimes assassins as BladeSlingers instead of 'Mercenaries?' The difference? A mercenary has lots of friends. A bladelslinger has few (the "adventuring party") or none (the solo game...fun for 1 on 1 play, but not much else, I'd wager).

Now a very valid point that's been coming out is "just because this works in film/literature, does it work in play?" Some of you say "no." I think that Boba Fett doesn't work in play (there have been several threads that cover this area), but I think that the "Bladeslinger" does.

So here's the question: What elements/aspects of the Bladeslinger make it less attractive to play? (The question is, of course, directed at those of you that feel that way.) This will help us all understand both each other's definitions and ideas, but *more importantly* it will enable those folks that like the idea of bladeslingers in play to do it well.

Jake


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on January 29, 2003, 11:46:02 AM
The reason its jarring to me Jim because it is essentially exactly the same thing as running into a door to door vacuum clearner salesman, or jet pilot, or hobo.  Its the same thing as meeting a family driving down the road in a cart and asking where they're going and getting "well first we have to drop little Jimmy off at Boyscouts and then pick up Sarah from soccer practice".

Its a mentality that is so completely out of time that it just doesn't fit.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jake Norwood on January 29, 2003, 11:57:59 AM
Quote from: Valamir
Its a mentality that is so completely out of time that it just doesn't fit.


Ralph-

I take it that it's the "self determination" mentality that is so out of place with you? Please specify.

Jake


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on January 29, 2003, 12:33:53 PM
More or less yeah.  That and the overall social structure which ensured pretty much everyone was beholden to someone else above them.  I realize I'm making some sweeping generalizations to make a point but it would not be all that inaccurate to say that a man was only safe to the degree that other people feared the man's master.  Being subservient to someone today is considered distasteful.  For most of history being subservient to someone was the road to survival, security, even prosperity.  It would be fairly difficult for a person who grew up in such a society to spontaneously develop a desire to be seperate from the system, to sever those ties, go out on his own and assert his independence.  Sure, on an individual level (like what a PC might be) but not on a level common enough for such behavior to be recognized and institutionalized (as acknowledging a "bladeslinger" would be).

A society where that sort of mentality were common place enough for such a profession to develop I think would have some very significant differences in its social dynamic structure from our own history.  Given that Wyerth is very much grounded in our own history, I find it hard to accept that a 17th century social / political structure exists side by side with with a 19th century frontier social structure.

Brotherhood of the Wolf is an excellent example of this.  Everyone in that movie was beholden to someone above them.  The main character to the King and King's officer, the italian prostitute/agent to the pope and so on.  The main character submitted to faking the body of the beast because his superiors told him to do it and he relied on their patronage.  In fact one could argue that the central force for change in that movie was the italian agent who was working on behalf of the pope against the cult.  The cult priests crime?  Not his machinations against the king, not his satanic cult imagery...rather that he was supposed to be subordinate to the pope as an agent himself, and had struck out on his own setting up his own powerbase outside of the existing power structure.  THAT was his crime (as far as the pope was concerned), he'd overstepped his authority and status.

I'd say that 1) this sort of attitude is vastly more common than any sort of Eastwood character, and 2) for me is vastly more interesting to play.  Choosing between what I know is right and what the people I'm beholden to tell me to do...between suffering in my concience or suffering the punishment for my defiance...THAT is far more interesting than doing whatever the hell I want because I'm an independent badass and relying on my superior swordsmanship to get away with it.   IMO of course.


Title: The Bladeslinger...
Post by: Bob Richter on January 29, 2003, 12:50:39 PM
Forgive me for coming into this a little late.

First, I have to completely disagree with Ron Edwards. My perspective is PRECISELY the opposite of his.

Bladeslingers are uninteresting and silly as a metagame concept. Any form of classifying a character really is. In metagame, all a bladeslinger can really be is "a character with weapon skill." Personally, I prefer the shorthand of "fighter" or "swordsman." But each character I call by his or her name, because each character SHOULD be unique, and not a "fighter" or "swordsman" or "bladeslinger."

"bladeslinger" seems like a nifty term for something the definately DID exist in 14th-17th Century Europe: a professional duelist (it's also shorter.) This is different from a mercenary, or a bounty hunter, or even an assassin. This is a person whose training is in the wielding of swords in a duel, and whose only real skills lie in that area. His job is assassination, though. He starts fights with people for money and kills them. He may work for the law, or against the law, for people in trouble, or against them. Eventually, he becomes so well-known as an infamous outlaw that it's time to move on.

Think "Have sword, will travel," or whatever.

I don't think this concept is at all unworkable in TROS.


As for the idea that the deterministic mentality is out of place in Weyrth: That's just silly.

There's an entire class of people who enjoy, and are in love with, a certain amount of personal freedom. Just because neither the nobility nor the peasantry is yet extinct doesn't mean the concept of personal freedom is anachronistic.

Mules are anachronistic, freedom is not, nor is a mentality that prefers it.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 29, 2003, 01:46:50 PM
Hello Bob,

One of these days, you will, I hope, learn that presenting contrasting views does not constitute disagreement. A disagreement arises when, if we follow your view, I lose something, or vice versa.

You play with your bladeslingers & I'll play with mine. As we're not in the same game, disagreement is impossible.

Best,
Ron


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ashren Va'Hale on January 29, 2003, 03:25:43 PM
this thread has inspired me to create a bladeslinger who is a disgraced outcast..... having failed at resolving the matter of his guilt (falsely accused of course) he up and kills his accuser (minor or maybe major flaw Rage? Major bad reputation) and flees for his life. Now hes on the run from the gov and has only his sword and maybe a few like minded individuals to help him stay alive. Having lost faith in the system he turns to violence to solve his problems and leaves behind most of his social ties and social behavior for that matter.

The more I flesh this out the more I think Savaxen Living in stahl......


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on January 29, 2003, 04:06:29 PM
That's a great character concept Ashren.  But other than the cool sounding name there's really nothing that says "bladeslinger" to me.  Seems to me like he's a perfectly fine outlaw living in exile.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ashren Va'Hale on January 29, 2003, 04:18:51 PM
thats a blade slinger to me, hes an outlaw and an outcast with only his sword which he lives and thirves off of. His blade is all he has and so its th tool of all he does.

Using the gunslinger analogy, this is the criminal gunslinger.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Bob Richter on January 29, 2003, 04:34:09 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hello Bob,

One of these days, you will, I hope, learn that presenting contrasting views does not constitute disagreement. A disagreement arises when, if we follow your view, I lose something, or vice versa.

You play with your bladeslingers & I'll play with mine. As we're not in the same game, disagreement is impossible.

Best,
Ron


Clearly we disagree on the definition of the word "disagree," as well.

Cheers.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Shadeling on January 29, 2003, 04:39:49 PM
Quote from: Ashren Va'Hale
thats a blade slinger to me, hes an outlaw and an outcast with only his sword which he lives and thirves off of. His blade is all he has and so its th tool of all he does.

Using the gunslinger analogy, this is the criminal gunslinger.


Excellent character Ashren.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jaif on January 29, 2003, 04:47:53 PM
I never liked the idea of a 'bladeslinger' either.  Not sure I can be as eloquent as others, so let me try this: how does a bladesinger put food on the table daily?

Now I'd like to quibble with Valamir slightly:

"Given that Wyerth is very much grounded in our own history, I find it hard to accept that a 17th century social / political structure exists side by side with with a 19th century frontier social structure."

Once the new world opened up, you could find evidence of the self-deterministic personality.  Whether it was Cortez burning his boats and ignoring his superiors while conquering the Aztecs, or various trappers and so on who spent a great deal of their time on their own, a growing percentage of the population became more independant.  That sense of independance is what led to the American Revolution.

The new world was the first frontier, not the old-west.

But that's the new world; the idea that lone mercs wandered around 17th century France picking fights then wandering on to the next village seems a tad stretched to me.  Such a person would have been hunted down and killed as he represented a threat to authority.

In the end, I have to agree with Ron.  Nobody calls the Captain of Queen's guard a 'bladeslinger', but everybody knows that he served with Spanish in the Netherlands, then found work as a bodyguard for a German noble until the noble died 2 years later from old age, then he joined the army, distinguished himself, was permitted to transfer to the guard, and 2 years later his abilities led to his promotion to Captain.  He's still a distant fellow, though, and people often hear him mumbling to himself in his quarters late at night.

Ok, stretched quite a bit, but it's fantasy. :-)

-Jeff

P.S. Ron, your whole disagreement thing's confused me.  Did you get like 1,000,000 on your verbal SATs? :-)


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Vanguard on January 29, 2003, 05:31:24 PM
I liked Ville's view.

What seems to be happening here is people arguing over definitions.

As I see it, from what I think Jake is getting at, is not necessarily the idea of the desperately, loner. 'stoic-guy-in-the-shadowy-corner-who-never-says-anything-kinda-bladeslinger'.

For me, the bladeslinger, through a mixture of personality and experience, has achieved a certain level of enlightenment, an awareness that most people don't share.  He has removed the shackles of civilization to some degree, freed himself from its prejudices and stigma.  He (she) sees things more clearly.

There are few people such a character could really relate to, nowhere he truly belongs. That doesnt mean he's not human though - doesn't fall in love, hate, yearn, etc... Nor does it mean that he can't adape, can't conform to society enough to be valued. Such men would settle for sporadic periods, assuming positions within society, but never in their hearts, and eventually move on to other pastures. From beggar to thief, mercenary, trader or landed; teacher, general and sailor - all these paths might a bladeslinger experience through his life.

 If anything, a bladeslinger would find it easier coping with varied cultures, being less burdened by prejudice.  He can understand why people act differently, how customs evolve, and that all life is basically goes through the same shit.

The bladeslinger has great respect for the world. He just lives on a different wave-length to the majority of people.  And there's a part of him which really does enjoy whipping his sword out.

But maybe their ultimate dream is to settle down finally, somehow, somewhere - but they're scared of never attaining that dream.

My take on it anyway :)


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Ace on January 29, 2003, 05:49:47 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
I guess no one really read my post. (To "really read" = think, internalize, critique, incorporate into response)

Jake, I agree with you - I've been arguing the concept that the Man with No Name, Mad Max, Conan, the yojimbo, and dozens of others are eminently social characters for years.

Which is why I understand them perfectly as bladeslingers while speaking among ourselves, but consider the concept empty as a bucket from the in-game perspective.

Best,
Ron


Conan was a very social character, look at his stints as a soldier, pirate captain (Amra) and King.

I don't find the wandering bladeslinger archtype very convincing simply for the reason it isn't safe to wander alone

People mistake you for an outlaw or a gang of men will rob you sure as you breathe. If you don't have friends in the past you are as good as dead. Take the menatlity of a street gang (whose your set, who you with) ? replace set with kin/leige/patron and apply it everyone. Thats the Middle Ages. Only in modern times has the loner been viable

If I run TROS I will use Bladeslinger as an epithet, like we would use hoodlum or troublemaker. Only it would imply a certain amount of danger attached-- Don't mess with him he is a Man Killer.....


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jake Norwood on January 29, 2003, 05:52:37 PM
Ralph-

You bring up some interesting points about feudal loyalty. I agree that "self determination" wasn't as big then as now, or even in the 1700s. While everyone then (as now) within normal society was "beholden" to someone, it's worth noting that the decline of the feudal system started in the 1300s, and by 1467 (the "sort of" date for TROS) there were allready "adventurers" like Columbus, and wealthy people willing to sponsor them (this is true of many rennaissance artists and all explorors. If Columbus had no "power of self determination," then why is it that he managed to get support from a foreign power concerning his "crazy idea?").

The next issue--one I'm returning to--is that no where is it stated that a Bladeslinger isn't beholden to anyone. Someone has to pay him or feed him, and so he naturally ends up in someone's service. The idea that he has absolute personal freedom is a myth (much as our own perception of freedom for ourselves is a myth nowadays, but that's another topic).

Independant mercenary swordsman did exist on earth. In weyrth they're called Bladeslingers...that's probably the definition at the core. It's the philosophical presence of "the Riddle of Steel" that has made bladeslingers romantic characters in folklore--thus a public identity as such.

Again, this may not be your style (and that's fine), but I do want this to be a quality establishment in the game, and this discussion is bringing it closer.

Jake


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Irmo on January 29, 2003, 07:49:53 PM
Couple of comments: As was pointed out, the decline of feudalism happened earlier than some people realize. Who someone served was frequently less important than how many hired swords he had. If you look at river valleys in Germany you will find numerous relatively small castles dotted along the river. A lot of those belonged to knights who made a living by simply cashing in on any barge coming upriver, and frequently, they had no license to do so. They were too small fishes for someone to go after them with full force, and for anything else, they had their castle. But even earlier, we have the phenomenon that by far not all knights are landed. And some of those that weren't traveled. Lastly, coming more into a later period, we have Landsknechts and other mercenaries. Whom do they serve? Money. I figure a BladeSlinger could very well be someone like a member of a routed mercenary company which was utterly crushed on the field of battle. He knows how to fight, but he knows little else. He has no unit, and the battle has left him broken and disillusioned. Rather than searching a new unit, he tries to stay out of big battles, were individual skill is of subordinate importance, and tries to rely on his personal skill to make a living.

Just as some brainstorming to this discussion. Gotta run


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on January 29, 2003, 08:25:08 PM
Quote from: Jake Norwood
Ralph-

You bring up some interesting points about feudal loyalty. I agree that "self determination" wasn't as big then as now, or even in the 1700s. While everyone then (as now) within normal society was "beholden" to someone, it's worth noting that the decline of the feudal system started in the 1300s, and by 1467 (the "sort of" date for TROS) there were allready "adventurers" like Columbus, and wealthy people willing to sponsor them (this is true of many rennaissance artists and all explorors. If Columbus had no "power of self determination," then why is it that he managed to get support from a foreign power concerning his "crazy idea?").

The next issue--one I'm returning to--is that no where is it stated that a Bladeslinger isn't beholden to anyone. Someone has to pay him or feed him, and so he naturally ends up in someone's service. The idea that he has absolute personal freedom is a myth (much as our own perception of freedom for ourselves is a myth nowadays, but that's another topic).

Independant mercenary swordsman did exist on earth. In weyrth they're called Bladeslingers...that's probably the definition at the core. It's the philosophical presence of "the Riddle of Steel" that has made bladeslingers romantic characters in folklore--thus a public identity as such.

Again, this may not be your style (and that's fine), but I do want this to be a quality establishment in the game, and this discussion is bringing it closer.

Jake


Well, I wasn't really talking about feudal loyalty.  I was referring more to the system of patronage that extended from the courts of the highest kings down through the guilds and even to the tenant farmers.   More renaissance and Age of Reason than feudal as I think my examples show.

Now I'm sure the concepts of bladeslinger has evolved in your mind.  I was stateing my dislike of it in terms of the description in the book "wandering swordsmen and fighters...they go wherever instinct leads them..."  and comparisons to gunslingers with swords.  

I already said it is hard to imagine any candidate for "bladeslinger" who wouldn't more accurately be labeled an outlaw or a mercenary.  Now if "bladeslinger" is nothing more than a romanticised name for a popular outlaw or a dangerous mercenary with a strange penchant for philosopy, I have no core problem with that as both of those certainly existed.  But from your depictions of it I had taken it to be something more.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jake Norwood on January 29, 2003, 09:01:28 PM
Ralph-

You're certainly right that it's developed into "something more," at least verbally. What I'm talking about has always existed in my head, but how easy it is to not realize what's in your head isn't in everyone else's, too.

That's why I'm so satisfied with this thread so far. I want Bladeslingers to be more than "wandering swordsmen and fighters...they go wherever instinct leads them..." In my head, they were, because what I envision as a "swordsman and fighter" isn't the "D&D" model...it's what I've been describing. And then again, did I really know that consciously? Beats me.

I think your description, "nothing more than a romanticised name for a popular outlaw or a dangerous mercenary with a strange penchant for philosophy," is actually almost perfect for what I had in my head. (As a side-note, this is what a swash-buckler was, but the name has since been romanticized...in their day they weren't too popular).

So what can you do with this character in-game? How do we make him a functional character?

Jake


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jim DelRosso on January 29, 2003, 09:12:02 PM
I think the key question that needs to be answered in terms of making a bladeslinger has been asked (with a different inflection) already:  What does the bladeslinger do to put food on the table?

Hunt down outlaws for a bounty?  Serve in a city guard, or with a lord's army?  Does he train swordsmen for the duke, or kill a crime boss' rival for enough money to last the winter?

And we shouldn't focus only on what the bladeslinger is doing now, but also on what he tends to do (which is where SA's come more into play, I think).  This will help form a basis for his integration with other characters in the party, and with the world around them.

Jake -- I really dig on the comparison to swashbucklers.  Definitely helps to focus things.

Oh, and one more late night ramble: Say you're a feudal lord.  You find out some mercenary with a penchant for philosophy and a mean sword arem has entered your lands.  Which is the smarter move: sending troops out to eliminate him, and thus risking valuable resources; or sending a representitive off to offer the guy a job?


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on January 30, 2003, 04:14:40 AM
Jake, I like that.  Bladeslinger as an expanded version of Swashbuckler, makes sense given Wyerth's slightly anachronistic timeline...the buckler never rose to prominence in all the areas where a bladeslinger might hail.  In fact, that might give Wyerth and interesting cultural flair.  "Swashbuckler" arose in those regions that went the Cut and Thrust to Rapier route of swordsmanship.  "Bladeslinger" in those that went largely buckler free.  Both words meaning essentially the same thing:  young rakes and toughs with more vanity and swordskill than sense, with the true riddle seekers lumped in with the rest in the minds of most.

As for what to do with him.  Once you associate the bladeslinger with the outlaw/mercenary model than all of those possibilities open up as character concepts.  He just happends to be a riddleseeker as well...which quite probably will one day lead to a bad reputation as unreliable (to the bandits he leads or the men who hire him) since its quite likely that his dedication to the riddle has a higher place than his loyalty.

He'd be the kind of man that men in power would prey on and seek to manipulate, and by and large they'd be able to do it.  Much like D'artagnon and Porthos and Rochefort were manipulated by Mazaran in the Three Musketeers return (and Rochefort again by Cromwell), in that case by bribes of office of power backed by veiled threat.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Irmo on January 30, 2003, 07:23:49 AM
Quote from: Jake Norwood


I think your description, "nothing more than a romanticised name for a popular outlaw or a dangerous mercenary with a strange penchant for philosophy," is actually almost perfect for what I had in my head. (As a side-note, this is what a swash-buckler was, but the name has since been romanticized...in their day they weren't too popular).

So what can you do with this character in-game? How do we make him a functional character?

Jake


Question, Jake. What do you think of Etienne Navarre of Ladyhawke? Is he a Bladeslinger?


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Shadeling on January 30, 2003, 07:51:44 AM
Guts from the anime Berserk is definitely a bladeslinger and a half!


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: 655321 on January 30, 2003, 07:57:44 AM
Bladeslinger- what do you do with the character in game?

As I see it, the Bladeslinger is a interesting and rewarding concept, tho like all concepts needs to be individualized. It basically breaks down into two parts as relate to playability: Pro/loner and killer. The first part, the loner/Pro is an easy enough concept to handle; tho it takes some thought in an RPG. The Pro aspect is the most relevant for the Bladesinger discussion. Basically, they are people who strive to be the best in their field. This often leads to elements of the loner, if not the whole thing. Experts in any field spend a lot of time training and honing their skills and have a drive not everyone has and or can relate to. In a number of cases, such people can have problems dealing with other people that do not have such drive (or in some cases, anyone who is not well versed in their field). Thus the loner bit. Not all people that are such experts have this problem, but enough do to provide a stereotype. In addition, people are often jealous of such proficiency, and or might view them as arrogant (which they often are), further adding to the loner feel. One way to deal with this is to acknowledge the aspect that separates them from “society at large” and use it as a theme/bond for the group/party. If all of the characters were people driven to be the best in their field, then they have a common ground, and in varying degrees are all pushed together by their alienation (real or imagined). They could be brought together by a patron/lord/etc to do a task (the classic D&D hook), or even just as friends due to happenstance (which could lead to drawing the attention of a local lord who saw their combined or individual power as a threat and want to be “on the pay roll”/kill/driven off. Pros/loners are a rewarding concept because of this “conflict.” Note: I am discounting two dimensional, or Platonic ideal, loners, which are not rewarding, interesting, or realistic (IMO).

The other aspect of the Bladeslinger involves the filed they specialize in: killing. I think this is the majority of the problem people are having with the idea. If you used an different example, like a smith, or a modern example of say a Hacker (which by the way for those of you who do not know is a term for an expert programmer, not for a system intruder- or Cracker), I think there would be less of a fuss. Part of the problem is that most people do not enjoy/like killing and have a distaste for it. Additionally, in RPGs fighting/killing has long been the primary source of conflict and resolution and more mature games try to get away from this. So, the idea of a concept devoted to it seams “lame” and sounds the power gaming alarm. However, the problem is not that RPGs deal with killing or killers, but how they deal with them. This should be no surprise, society as a whole has a hard time with the idea. The way I see it, there are three ways for a character to deal with killing. One, they can romanticize it (it was noble, that person I killed does not fall under their definition of a person/worthy of life, etc). Two, they can be resoled to the idea that it was necessary (them or me, it was the only way, etc). Three, they could synthesis the two, and all of the gray areas in between. Whatever the case, there is likely to be guilt over it at some point over some or all of the killings. Again, this provides good internal conflict and a rewarding character.  How can this be handled in an RPG? You can have the young novice, who has skill and ability combined with an amazingly romanticized worldview (at least in regard to taking life). In the course of the game, he has to face the reality of death that challenges these notions. On the other hand, you could have the grizzled veteran. A man who has faced death time and time again (his and others) and is left with the problem of living with his actions, the guilt he may feel, the ability to see alternate solutions when killing might make a situation worse (or even worse), and who is left with the alienation of a professional killer (good war literature by veterans of conflicts deals with this). Or, you can have anything in between. This is not all that different from what the rest of the characters should be going tho over killing.

What does a Bladeslinger do for money/food? He can teach, apply his trade legally (duelist, judicial champion, Knight, solder, guard, etc), or illegally (assassin, thug, etc). The same things anyone with a skill does. The same could be asked of a sorcerer.

Should the term be used in game? I personally am fine with it. It could be an honorable or dishonorable term, or both depending on context circumstance, just like the term Hacker for example. It does stand out as one of the few pieces of slang/jargon in the book, and in that respect might seam to cause friction with the seaming historic flavor (but hay, walking talking sorceress and fay do that too).


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: prophet118 on January 30, 2003, 08:37:22 AM
in a way, you could look at it as the mountain men in americas history.... they came down from the rockies, and was hired by the easterners moving west, so they could get there.....they were seeling their abilities....maybe closer to a ranger/mercenary, but the same concept could be applied to a blade slinger

"I can insure your safety.."


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jake Norwood on January 30, 2003, 09:33:23 AM
Quote from: Irmo

Question, Jake. What do you think of Etienne Navarre of Ladyhawke? Is he a Bladeslinger?


I would say he most certainly is...not "run of the mill," but still a bladeslinger. He's become freelance, a bit unatached (or so he thinks), and he lives by his sword. And thus we see that blade-slingers have histories...

655321-

Yeah, what you're outlining seems pretty right. Especially the emphasis on killing (seeing as that's Ron's take on TROS's premise: "What would you kill for?" I always add: "What would you die for?"). Bladeslingers seem to generally get that one out of whack--they'll kill a lot more readily then most folks (or will they...?), which puts them in a position to die for "nothing." There are some impressive stories--tragedies and tales of how a man changed--that could come out of playing a bladeslinger.

Ralph-

I think we're finally on the same page, here.
Quote
As for what to do with him. Once you associate the bladeslinger with the outlaw/mercenary model than all of those possibilities open up as character concepts. He just happends to be a riddleseeker as well...which quite probably will one day lead to a bad reputation as unreliable (to the bandits he leads or the men who hire him) since its quite likely that his dedication to the riddle has a higher place than his loyalty.


This sounds like an interesting character to play, especially once you throw in moral quandries (like killing and "what have I become?") as well as the really meaty stuff, SA conflict.

Jake


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Brian Leybourne on January 30, 2003, 11:27:20 AM
Quote from: Jim DelRosso
Oh, and one more late night ramble: Say you're a feudal lord.  You find out some mercenary with a penchant for philosophy and a mean sword arem has entered your lands.  Which is the smarter move: sending troops out to eliminate him, and thus risking valuable resources; or sending a representitive off to offer the guy a job?


Send a representative to offer the guy a job, and then kill him when he thinks he's on your side. :-)

Brian.


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jim DelRosso on January 30, 2003, 11:40:53 AM
Quote from: Brian Leybourne

Send a representative to offer the guy a job, and then kill him when he thinks he's on your side. :-)

Brian.


This is, of course, a perfectly viable third option.  Or at the very least, a very solid back up plan. :-)


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Bankuei on January 30, 2003, 03:11:07 PM
This is a great thread I'm sorry to jump in late on...

As a metagame concept, what I think we're looking at, more than loner/killer, is that a bladeslinger is a person whose philosophy, ideals, and moral code are more important than the social structure or relationships around them.

The classic bladeslinger type story is the hero comes into town, folks either warn him away or attempt to get him to help their particular cause, he identifies the true victims of the situation, decides to act based on one of their pleas/injustices, and then fixes the situation.  After which, he doesn't stay in town, he moves on, because the same forces(crusade? quest?) that sent him into town, sends him out.

Its not so much that he's not beholden to someone, its just that any social structure is either subverted or out and out ignored when it comes to his moral code.  Look at how Yojimbo changes sides, certainly not part of the way people do things in the village.

The defining point of the bladeslinger is that his philosophy drives him into conflict, and away from the situation once its resolved.  The fact that he has weapons, or has chosen to use violence as one of the tools is secondary.

The only difference in a Bladeslinger in terms of play, is that a normal character's SA's stay with the things close to him, while the Bladeslinger's is probably stable only in one or two (Drive, Conscience, Destiney, and/or Faith), while the passions change with the conflict.  Whatever is the main "drive" of the character is going to pushe them on after the conflict resolves.

Chris


Title: Lieber's Bladeslingers
Post by: spunky on January 31, 2003, 01:14:42 AM
While less epic in tone, I feel that Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser reflect the ideal bladeslingers for TROS.  Beneath all the badinage and posturing, both rely solely on their steel.  While each saves the other countless times in the stories, never do the two comrades act with the assumption that the other will save them.  They are ultimately two loners who have found friendship, in their case, based on terrible loss.  They serve as an excellent model for players who want to construct badass loner characters, but then struggle with getting their characters to interact with the Seneschal's story or even other characters.  And the thing that unites them is their lost loves, which would be an interesting Passion to play.

Wandering off-topic (forgive me, it's late) it seems that when beginning play, the Seneschal should have a couple pre-determined SAs for the players to choose from, things that tie into the campaign, or would unite the characters on some level.  Considering there are 5 SAs, a little overlap won't compromise the individuality of the characters.  

And a last plug for old Fritz: Sheelba and Ningauble make perfect TROS sorcerers.  They are 1) mysterious, 2) powerful as demi-gods, and 3) utterly incomprehensible.

P


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Vanguard on January 31, 2003, 06:25:12 PM
Bankuei's interpretation of what I think Jake means as bladeslinger is a superb articulation of what I had in mind.  And it justifies the presence of a Bladeslinger PC perfectly without having the seneschal unsure about how the world will react to such an independent person.

Even in a feudal society where social hierarchy is very stringent, there will always be leninancy.  People are more likely to ignore a stranger than challenge, unless a threat is involved.  A feudal mindset, especially for the peasant, would have been to just get on with their lives without attracting unecessary bother. Paying excessive attention to a heavily armoured man with sword and a steely gaze would have contituted such an unecessary bother.  Ok, so the sellwords poked your daughter, he didn't burn your barn down did he?

And Spunky's choice of Fhfard and the Grey Mouses as typical Bladeslingers is simlilarly perfect.  Both clever. enlightened and driven individuals, they are nonetheless susceptible to human weakness and insecurity.  They are not the David Caradine (of Kung-Fu fame) wandering monk which would make such a character dull as dishwater.

And aye, Sheelba and Ningauble are perfect TROS sorcerers.  Anyone who hasn't read Fritz Leiber's works, I strongly recommend to do so.

take care


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Bankuei on February 01, 2003, 12:46:19 AM
Quote
Bankuei's interpretation of what I think Jake means as bladeslinger is a superb articulation of what I had in mind. And it justifies the presence of a Bladeslinger PC perfectly without having the seneschal unsure about how the world will react to such an independent person.


Although in this case, I'm only speaking from the metagame concept.  I can't see enough people walking around for the people of Weyrth to call them, "Bladeslingers".  

It's kind of like having enough Idealist/Visionaries walking around, doing Gandhi/MLK/Nelson Mandela type stuff to grant them a career title.  The closest in-game sort of thing I can see is parallel to the historical Shugyo(sp?), the wandering swordman/student who is travelling to test his skills or the Chinese knight-errant, which is pretty much as close as you're going to get to "adventurer" in folklore, although in both of these cases the archtype is primarily a folklore character, you don't hear tons of cases of these guys historically.

In game, I'd say Bladeslingers wouldn't even get that name.  They'd be called what we call them in real life; Heroes.  Someone whose ideals are more important than following the accepted social structure, is willing to make sacrifices for it, and isn't concerned with the secondary rewards beyond advancing their cause.  Of course, this description also applies to fanatics and lunatics too :P

Chris


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Vanguard on February 01, 2003, 06:09:27 AM
Agreed.

But I do believe the term bladeslinger might be applied to a certain kind of person in-game.  Though in this case, it would apply to wandering swordsmen iregardless of higher ideals.

Of every hundred bravos, one might well typify what Jake has in mind - the philosophical, wandering fighter.

Take care


ps. And what an intelligent forum we have here.  A lot of clever people play TROS it seems :)


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Jake Norwood on February 01, 2003, 09:16:46 AM
Other "Bladeslingers:"

-Knights Errant (potentially)
-Kozaks (Cossacks...you know what I mean, Ralph...Bohun, baby!).

I see "Bladeslingers" as being an in-game thing, but as has been stated it's a romanticized name for an itinerant thug, really. Any swordsman wanders into town, people say, "Is that a bladeslinger?" Seeing as they've probably never met one, but heard stories (I know they've heard stories because "the riddle of steel" is concept known by many...so there are stories of men searching it...in the stories, they're *usually* good guys). But the local nobility and folks in-charge are not happy to have this guy around. To them, "bladeslinger" means trouble. It's someone who may not recognize their authority...so they start treating him like Yojimbo...alternately offering him work, trying to kill him, or trying to make him move on.

Quote
The only difference in a Bladeslinger in terms of play, is that a normal character's SA's stay with the things close to him, while the Bladeslinger's is probably stable only in one or two (Drive, Conscience, Destiney, and/or Faith), while the passions change with the conflict. Whatever is the main "drive" of the character is going to pushe them on after the conflict resolves.


This does seem like the "right way" to make this work in-game.

Jake


Title: What is a blade slinger
Post by: Valamir on February 01, 2003, 10:19:44 AM
Quote from: Jake Norwood
Other "Bladeslingers:"

-Knights Errant (potentially)
-Kozaks (Cossacks...you know what I mean, Ralph...Bohun, baby!).



Yeah, as I was writing to this thread I actually thought of him.  But what made it possible IMO is the radically different notions of personal freedom and geographic mobility held by the Cossacks vs. western Europe at the time.

BTW:  The Deluge and Fire on the Steppes just arrived today...woo hoo.  You can order the whole series direct from Hippocrene and skip Amazon and BN who are perpetually out of stock of the right translation).

Quote

This does seem like the "right way" to make this work in-game.

Jake


I thought so also.