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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: What is a blade slinger  (Read 15323 times)
Bob Richter
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Posts: 324


« Reply #30 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.
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So ye wanna go earnin' yer keep with yer sword, and ye think that it can't be too hard...
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #31 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
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Ashren Va'Hale
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Posts: 427


« Reply #32 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......
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Philosophy: Take whatever is not nailed down, for the rest, well thats what movement is for!
Valamir
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« Reply #33 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.
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Ashren Va'Hale
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Posts: 427


« Reply #34 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.
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Philosophy: Take whatever is not nailed down, for the rest, well thats what movement is for!
Bob Richter
Member

Posts: 324


« Reply #35 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.
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So ye wanna go earnin' yer keep with yer sword, and ye think that it can't be too hard...
Shadeling
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« Reply #36 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.
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Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #37 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? :-)
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Vanguard
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Posts: 71


« Reply #38 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 :)
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Ace
Member

Posts: 204


« Reply #39 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.....
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #40 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
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Irmo
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Posts: 258


« Reply #41 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
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Valamir
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« Reply #42 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.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #43 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
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Jim DelRosso
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Posts: 23


« Reply #44 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?
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JD
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