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Author Topic: The T'lark (Kaaer'dár'shín war buckler)  (Read 5596 times)
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Azhira Styralias
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« on: 29 May 2008, 11:57:22 »

Overview:

The T'lark (an orcen/Kuglimz word meaning "Blood Defender") is the name of the war buckler carried by every Kaaer'dár'shín warrior. The shield functions as a personal defense in battle, is light weight and small, and is believed to protect not only against physical harm, but spiritual harm as well. Each war shield is created and decorated according to the preferences of the warrior bearing it, and is a sacred item that is buried with the warrior so that he may keep it with him in the afterlife.

Appearance:

The war shield is a small buckler made of wood and the hide of a Tsor-Shotak lizard. The shield is typically round or oval shaped with two heavy leather straps on one side where an arm could be inserted and snugly positioned.

The shield is slightly concave in shape and is approximately one fore and two palmspans in diameter. The outer frame is formed of wood from a young sapling found in the Themed'lon forest, the tribe's main colony. The outer frame along with a cross tie of two saplings are made in the center, slightly bent outwards, to make the concave shape.

The second phase of shield creation is the actual material that forms the shield itself. The toughest natural material among the Kaaer'dár'shín is the hide of the large Tsor-Shotak mountain lizard found along the Imlith mountain range on the far south borders of the tribal homeland. When a warrior is found to be worthy of a shield, he is tasked to journey alone to the mountains and hunt two adult sized lizards and to take their hide.

Once the hide is brought back, the shaman blesses it and gives it to a weaponsmith to cure and dry. The hide is hung on a tree to dry in the sun for a period of six days before being cured with tree sap to maintain the hide's water resistant exterior. The wooden shield is then brought forth and the hide is stretched over the outer skeleton. For best results, two hides are used for extra durability and toughness. The skin is stretched over both sides of the shield and riveted in place with strips of hide along the outer edges spaced every five nailsbreadths.

The shield is allowed to cure some more in the sun before attaching the arm harness. The harness is made of the same lizard hide cut into two strips six nailsbreadths in length (sometimes shorter or longer depending on the size of the warrior's arm). The strips are tied to the inner shield tested on the warrior's arm for a secure fit.

Once the shield is finished, the warrior prays an oath over it to defend and honor the tribe at all costs while the shaman blesses it once more. The shield is then given to the warrior for use.

Usage:

The war shield is meant to be small and to provide cover for the hand and forearm. The shield is a simple and effective defensive tool and weapon, often combined with a short sword or dagger. It provides effective defense against a sword, club or axe blow and is small and lightweight enough that a typical Kaaer'dár'shín warrior can move and fend off blows quickly. The one disadvantage of the buckler is that it is not as effective against ranged attacks, such as arrows, due to the small size of the shield.

The shield is worn over the warrior's forearm with the first strap gripped in his fist and the second strap secured over the forearm. The warrior still has use of his hand for riding and wielding a small weapon. During combat, the buckler provides several means of offensive and defensive capabilities:

 - Deflecting. The buckler's curved center gives the warrior effective means to deflect sword blows allowing the warrior to move in with a rapid counter attack. The buckler is not heavy and bulky and can be maneuvered easily in close combat.

 - Blinder. The buckler can be used to block an opponent from seeing the warrior's sword or dagger hand thus the weapon hand is blocked from view keeping the opponent from guessing the warrior's next move.

 - Blunt weapon. The buckler can be used as a weapon in and of itself by using it to bash an opponent either on his weapon arm or face and head.

The war buckler provides a warrior a means to record his victories by decorating the inside surface with paint, feathers, animal hides, or pieces of bone. Usually, a warrior will paint symbols upon the inside of his buckler after each victory in a war party or against an opponent. Each warrior must testify to the shaman before doing this or have witnesses to his victory so as to keep the warrior "honest" and not embellish his victory record. A highly decorated buckler is a sign of a veteran warrior, one with many victories, and it is from these warriors that a future tribal leader is chosen.

Upon the death of a warrior, the shield is buried along with the body for the warrior to use in the afterlife. The Kaaer'dár'shín believe there is never a respite from war, even in death, and the shield will serve the warrior well against any evil spirits that he may encounter during his afterlife journey.

Origin/History:

It is believed that the famous Kaaer'dár'shín warrior Temejin Tartar and his son first discovered the effectiveness of a small buckler as a means of defense for an agile, strike and run warrior. The practice of stealth and rapid offensive techniques were also methods of warfare devised by Temejin as the burgdeoning half-orc tribe still number far less than their Osther-Oc relatives during his initial calls for revolt. He thought it best to use small groups of warriors, lightly armed and fast moving, and use ambushing to strike the larger, bulkier orcs. Temejin recognized that a warrior needed a means of defense in close quarters battles without the bulky shields used by the orcs.

Temejin's first offering was a buckler made of simple wood strapped to the arm. However, this shield proved to be weak against continuous weapon blows and the wood soon splintered and broke after only a few uses. Working with his son Torroth, also a warrior, they two devised a way of using the hide of the Tsor-Shotak lizard as a shield covering. The hide was beginning to see effective use as a light body armor and Temejin adopted its use on the buckler and, to his joy, the shield was much tougher to break given the hide's extremely tough and durable scales.

The buckler's origin as a spiritual means of defense came much later when the Kaaer'dár'shín had become an independent tribe and adopted the worship of the spirits. The shaman would bless each war party as the warriors applied paint upon their faces and body. Legend has it that one such warrior instead applied the paint to his buckler and asked the shaman to bless it and ask the spirits to keep his buckler from breaking and to shield him from weakness and cowardice. The shaman did so and the warrior returned victorious. Word of the warrior's deed soon became a popular tale and from then on the tribe's warriors all have their bucklers blessed. The warrior made more marks upon his buckler after each victory as thanks to the spirits for protecting him. This has been practiced ever since.

Myth/Lore:

The war buckler holds special significance for the tribe both physically and spiritually. Temejin Tartar himself once told of how he received inspiration to create the buckler from the Great Spirit himself. At the time, he had abandoned the old traditions of the Kuglimz gods and sought other means of divine protection and inspiration. His tale was never written down, but told by mouth for generations and it goes something like this:

"The orcs bring upon us biting steel and gnashing of teeth. I remember sitting and looking upon the shores of the sea, asking for ways to fight the blood cousins. They take from us and rape our women. No longer! I wept freely. I knew there was no hope.

Then, out of the clouds, I saw a sight. A man stepped forth from the sky bearing a great bow made of glittering dust. His armor was light and his legs moved swiftly as he came to me. His face was as solid rock, unmoving and etched with anger! He stood before me and asked me why I wept. I answered that our blood continues to enslave my people and we seek revenge!

The Man of Clouds nodded and told me secrets of the past, the present and the future. He grabbed my arm and stood me up. His face moved close to mine and I felt afraid! I turned to run, but he held fast and would not let go. The Man of Clouds revealed to me a weapon. He held forth on his arm a shield, small and round. He bid me not to fight as the orc bloods do, but to strike as a wolverine does! Swift, sure and without mercy! Do not be as the woolly boar - slow, big and bulky. Speed is your ally! Learn it! Embrace it!

I asked the Man of Clouds how I can make such a shield? He said 'With a tree shall come a shape as the sun. The creature that crawls shall be your cover. With blood shall come a way.'

The Man of Clouds revealed more to me, but this I cannot reveal until the latter days when I join him in death and you are with me. But I saw in his shield a way to fight. Small, fast and deadly. Without another word, the Man of Clouds moved away and was swallowed by the sky."
« Last Edit: 23 June 2008, 01:12:24 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #1 on: 29 May 2008, 23:42:07 »

This is ready for comments.  :D It is a war buckler used by the Kaaer'dár'shín in battle. It is referenced in the tribe entry and I thought it needed a full entry of its own to explain its significance.  thumbup
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
Smee
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« Reply #2 on: 30 May 2008, 00:20:24 »

I like it.  :)

My only comment would be regarding the decorations. It seems odd to be spending time decorating it with feathers/bone etc, only to be smashing it in the face of enemies and having to redo all the decorating again. Technically each time he re-decorates, he'd have to go before the shaman again, make sure he's not adding more.

Given the spiritual symbolism of this decoration, perhaps have them do it to the insides of their buckler. In there it will be protected, wouldn't have to be redone all the time, and kinda visible to the owner at all times, perhaps giving them encouragement and strength before battle.

This doesn't stop them painting intimidating scenes on the front, to scare their foes perhaps. I just think these important decorations should be more protected.

Oh, and one other thing that occurred to me. Given that using them as a blunt weapon is quite a common technique, perhaps capping the top of the buckler with a small amount of metal, possibly even spiked, might make them more effective without greatly adding to the weight. Something like those iron tree leaves, all hardened, might be quite nasty, poking up from the top. Although I know they are rare, and I don't know the geography.

Cheers,

Smee.  :)

« Last Edit: 30 May 2008, 00:23:44 by Smee » Logged

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Miraran Tehuriden
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« Reply #3 on: 30 May 2008, 00:24:29 »

Quote
Each war shield is created and decorated according to the preferences of the warrior bearing it, and is a sacred item passed down from generation to generation.
How do these two ideas work together? Are they redecorated with each user, or do Kaar' families hoard massive amounts of their ancester's shields?
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Avrah Kehabhra

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Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #4 on: 30 May 2008, 04:08:30 »

Thanks for the comments, Smee and Mira. I have addressed them in yellow.

@ Smee - That is good thinking about the decorations possibly getting destroyed in battle.  :D Keeping the symbols and things on the inside is preferred so I have changed that bit. As for the metal pieces, or spikes, on the shield, it is a good idea and I thought about it, but I feel that would take away the special look of the shield and using metal on a buckler is just not the Kaaer'dár'shín method of creating them.

@ Mira - I have considered your comment and realize that I think it would be better if the warrior be buried with their shield to take with them in the "afterlife". It is more or less an Osther-Oc practice that the tribe adopted. Good point there.  ;)
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
Smee
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« Reply #5 on: 30 May 2008, 06:33:45 »

Haha, glad I was helpful. Felt guilty after my foot-in-mouth incident yesterday.  :P

~

Quote
The Man of Clouds revealed to me a weapon. He held forth on his arm a shield, small and round. He bid me not to fight as the orc bloods do but to strike as a snake! Swiftly, surely and deadly! Do not do as the woolly boar - slow, big and bulky. For speed is your ally!

I like this part, and the metaphor of the snake and the boar. However, typically snakes aren't great fans of the cold, and like the woolly boar, I would see this 'Man of Clouds' choosing a 'quick' creature typical of the north instead of a snake. A mongoose type creature perhaps?

Alternatively, is there a particular type of northern snake you could perhaps expand on for another entry?

In general it could be nice to make more reference to modelling their actions to this snake in your bigger pieces.

Just an idle, before-bed thought.  :)


« Last Edit: 30 May 2008, 06:39:08 by Smee » Logged

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Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #6 on: 30 May 2008, 12:26:33 »

Smee! You're a genius!  :D

I removed the snake reference and did some research and found the perfect creature that embodies the Kaaer'dár'shín's skill at speed and ferociousness - the wolverine. It lives in the North, is hunted for its fur and is small and quite a mean little thing (the smaller version anyway...)

I will work on integrating the wolverine into my main tribe entry somehow...its a perfect little gem that I would never have found on my own!  grin
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #7 on: 31 May 2008, 01:09:06 »

I'm still looking for final comments so this can possibly make the site update...anyone?  :D
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #8 on: 31 May 2008, 03:07:00 »

I'm not a weapons expert, but I would just like to comment on the name.

I think it's too purely orcish, actually.  Their language wouldn't be exactly orcish, more of a combination of Kh'om'chr'om and Kuglimz'seitre, because their "primary ancestry is human, after all.  And because language does change and "mutate" for simplicity, I'd suspect they'd omit some of the extra syllables over the years--things like that.   So it would probably end up being called something like the Tl'ark, which is easier to say anyway, especially in a battle situation, which is where they'd use these things.

What do you think?

Alysse
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« Reply #9 on: 31 May 2008, 03:10:33 »

*grins* I'm sure others will appear soon. In my opinion it seems fine to go up.

One or two last wonderings of mine...  not necessarily requiring additions, just something to think about.

Quote
and is a sacred item that is buried with the warrior so that he may keep it with him in the afterlife.

You added this part to the overview, but don't mention it again. Perhaps this could be elaborated a little in the usage section. Is there any significance to burying it with him? Does it allow his spirit to lie at rest, and not trouble the tribe after his death? Or is it perhaps a form of spiritual payment that will buy him a revered spot in the afterlife, depending on how decorated it is? Or maybe it is simply a nice gesture, and needs no further expansion?

~

Quote
The shield is slightly concave in shape

How is this concaved shape achieved? Is the wood chosen already bent? Or are young saplings chosen because they are pliable, and some kind of mould/frame used to make them set in this shape? Or is the wood straight, but the lizard skin naturally rounded?

~

Quote
It is also advised that the warrior bring back the animal's meat with him to eat on his return journey.

This sentence seems odd. Surely the warrior isn't dumb enough to leave the meat if he doesn't have enough supplies to make it home! Perhaps they are advised to save some of the meat to bring back to the village/town to form part of a celebratory meal on his return? Afterall, you claim it is some honour to be deemed worthy to make this hunt.

Cheers,

Smee.




« Last Edit: 31 May 2008, 03:15:18 by Smee » Logged

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Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #10 on: 31 May 2008, 03:17:21 »

I'm not a weapons expert, but I would just like to comment on the name.

I think it's too purely orcish, actually.  Their language wouldn't be exactly orcish, more of a combination of Kh'om'chr'om and Kuglimz'seitre, because their "primary ancestry is human, after all.  And because language does change and "mutate" for simplicity, I'd suspect they'd omit some of the extra syllables over the years--things like that.   So it would probably end up being called something like the Tl'ark, which is easier to say anyway, especially in a battle situation, which is where they'd use these things.

What do you think?

Alysse

To be honest...languages are not my thing. Of course, my goal is to combine orcen language with Kuglimz for the Kaaer, and I fully agree with you, but trying to find that happy medium is not working for me...so I am glad you came around to comment, Alysse.  :D

I have changed the name to Tl'ark...which does sound better, thanks!
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #11 on: 31 May 2008, 03:24:56 »

@ Smee - Once again, your sharp eye and logic has found another way to make my entry make more sense! Bravo! Your comments are in Orange.
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #12 on: 31 May 2008, 04:48:18 »

Quote
The harness is made of the same lizard hide cut into two strips six nailsbreadths in length (sometimes shorter or longer depending on the size of the warrior's arm). The strips are tied to the inner shield tested on the warrior's arm for a secure fit.
Just a quick question: How are the strips tied to wood, and why not riveted or nailed?  Plus, if they do tie the harnessing to the shield, what's preventing the straps from coming loose in battle?

Quote
The one disadvantage of the buckler is that it is not as effective against ranged attacks, such as arrows.
How is the shield inefficient against archery?  Most shields were thick and sturdy enough to stop arrows that hit the shield.  The only real problem about shields is that most of them did not protect the entire body, which meant that many times arrows would bypass he shield entirely.  If you're trying to point out the disadvantages of the shield, I'd say the size is the first thing to point out.  It is small, which does make it light, but it cannot be relied upon to protect the body like a pavise can.

Outside of these two things I noticed, I like the idea and execution quite well.  I think the only other thing I can mention is how these warriors deal with fire arrows.  I know many siege engines used a special proofing on animal hide to make the engines effectively incapable of burning.  A similar tactic could be applied to your buckler, I think, and would be easy to explain in your crafting section.  That would also stop someone from lighting an entire Kaaer'dar'shin army aflame lol.

I love what you've got, and I am glad to see you giving some thought to the specific armaments of your tribe's soldiers.  Keep up the good work!
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Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #13 on: 31 May 2008, 05:03:33 »

Good points, Ruil! Thanks.

I have changed tying the straps to riveting the straps in place...that way they wouldn't come loose in battle.

As for the shield, according to my research on bucklers, they are not as effective against ranged attacks due to their size as a large shield would be, true. The Kaaer is concerned with light, stealthy warfare and a big shield would get in the way. The trade off is that they have minimal protection against a volley of arrows, but that is the risk. I've edited it to reflect that.

I have not thought as far as a defense against fire arrows as fire arrows doesn't seem to be a typical weapon used by orcs, the Kaaer's traditional enemy, so I never implemented such a thing (unless Tharoc comes along and wrecks that idea... :P)
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #14 on: 31 May 2008, 05:25:37 »

Very interesting, Azhira. I'm going to be doing something on Orc weaponry at some point, and I'll definately draw inspiration from the way you've written this.
I especially like the legend told by Tamejin, it could have come straight out of a Mythology book!
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