Friday, December 3, 2010

Weapons of Choice

[Article by H.L. Candor, reprinted (with permission) from True Adventure magazine, month of Pluvial, 5887.]

The general public of the New World sometimes finds it amusing to see adventurers, delvers, and other sorts of modern soldiers of fortune, decked out with an array of improvised weapons. Even more puzzling, and usually viewed as colorful eccentricity, are the publicity and autograph photos of such characters brandishing ancient weapons in this age of the machine gun.

These practices are not mere affectations, but rather coldly practical and pragmatic choices made by professionals (mostly) who know their business.

Consider the assort pick-axes, wrecking-bars, truncheons, and over-sized knives the City’s adventurers are wont to carry when bound for the wilderness or some subterranean ruin. These implements are tools as well as weapons--handy for the spelunking, entry-breaking, cracking treasure chests, and other utilitarian tasks facing them. If they can also be used to break the skull of a man-eating troglodyte, or dissuade an inebriated hillbilly giant, so much the better. Bullets are, of course, effective in these sorts of situations, but the prudent--and therefore long-lived--adventurer is always prepared.

In the case of delvers equiped like Medieval men-at-arms, we must look to history. The union of the ars thamaturgica and the practical sciences is uneasy at best, and of recent vintage. Mankind has possessed gunpowder for centuries, but only rarely in all that time have the sorcerer’s talents been used to enhanced these sorts of weapons. Rarer still are they in the ruins and crypts of the New World, where the Ancients never deployed mundane weaponry that advanced. This sort of aid is essential; hard won experience has taught generations of adventurers that there are some creatures which prove resistant--or indeed impervious--to all but magical weapons, whatever the weapon’s deadliness otherwise.

For this reason, adventurers looking to improve their odds of survival and material reward have had occasion to take up the use of weapons found in some tomb or trove which would otherwise be considered archaic. Swords, battle-axes, and assorted pole-arms are found in the arsenals of modern professionals. For some, the use these weapons is merely as adjuncts to their use of firearms; for others, the magical archaic weapon becomes their signature.

So, next time you see a photo of one of the City’s famous adventurers sporting a weapon that looks more at home in a museum or even the tool-yard, remember: these may not be just weapons of choice--they maybe be weapons of necessity!

Ruby Ring - Adventuress, pin-up girl, and sometime actress, posing with her magic scimitar 


Unknown said...

I remember when you first starting posting City-related material and it seemed that you were a bit uncertain as to the prevalence of high technology in the world. Now that the tech level of the world has long-since settled firmly into the Pulp era it's good to see that classic dungeon fantasy anachronism won't be forsaken.

And boy, that picture of Anita Page is smokin'.

netherwerks said...

Autographs, pin-ups and merchandising are important ways for an adventurer to make a fortune outside of the nasty tombs, crypts, etc. I've always encouraged that sort of enterprise. But what about hearing a Word from Our Sponsor? Do adventurers in The City get corporate (or other) Sponsors? Do they wear advertising-logo patches like Nascar drivers? And don't forget product endorsements...

Trey said...

@Risus - While I always intended it to be an industrial level of tech at least, I think you're right in that it wasn't completely established in the early days. And yes, Anita Page is quite fetching. ;)

@NetherWerks - Good question! I would imagine not (as far as patches go) as that's a little post-pulp era, but certainly there are probably sponsorship deals.

satyre said...

Individual adventurers would possibly have their own franchises (P.T.Barnum or Buffalo Bill) or be celebrated for their talents e.g Houdini.

It'd be interesting to see people doing giallos or finding old penny dreadfuls of the exploits of former heroes.

Trey said...

I'd imagine all of that occurs. Probably you'd also have situations like with the Tom Mix radio shows wherein a fictional version of a real person is created.