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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 14972 times)
Valamir
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« Reply #45 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.
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Irmo
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« Reply #46 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?
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Shadeling
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« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2003, 07:51:44 AM »

Guts from the anime Berserk is definitely a bladeslinger and a half!
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655321
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« Reply #48 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).
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prophet118
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« Reply #49 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

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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #50 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
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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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Brian Leybourne
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« Reply #51 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.
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Brian Leybourne
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Jim DelRosso
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« Reply #52 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. :-)
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JD
Bankuei
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« Reply #53 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
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spunky
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« Reply #54 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
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Vanguard
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« Reply #55 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
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Bankuei
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« Reply #56 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
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Vanguard
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« Reply #57 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 :)
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #58 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
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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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Valamir
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« Reply #59 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.
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