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What's the point of firewands?

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  • Sunder the Gold
    started a topic What's the point of firewands?

    What's the point of firewands?

    If the point is to have something kind of like guns, but still appropriate to the setting's technology level, I'm not sure how improbable flamethrowers using semi-magical gunpowder are more appropriate than crossbows. Rate of fire isn't an issue in that regard either, since firewands also have to be reloaded after every shot... and their ammunition is actually harder to come by than bullets!

  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    Originally posted by Aquillion View Post
    Yes, but the combination of that with the imagery of firewands, which already tread the line towards being flamethrowers, tends to evoke something more like World War II than swords-and-sandals raiders. They have to be treated more carefully than other parts of the game because they're already bending the aesthetic slightly, so I'd generally want them to be more "mythologized" rather than going for nitty-gritty realistic interpretations of them and how they'd actually be used in reality.
    This is probably about the look. As Isator says, flamethrowers go back a long, long way (Eastern Roman flamethrowers were why the Arab Caliphates failed to take Constantinople - twice). And the flame weapons in Exalted have a bit more similarity to that than rifles, because they have really poor range. But they are always presented as looking like muskets and flintlock rifles.
    It's not really the fact that they're flamethrowers that's the issue (though few early flamethrowers were that miniaturised), but the way they look.

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  • Sunder the Gold
    replied
    Fully plated knights used guns in real life. Those were two technologies that existed at the same time and thus were used together.

    It’s just that this period of time was so short that it didn’t become romanticized and immortalized in fiction.

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  • Simon Darkstep
    replied
    I was having a lunch time chat with a friend at work, about a Western movie set in about 1892.

    It includes roller skating.

    The roller skating might be historically shaky for that particular part of the world at the time (at least very exotic as amusements go) but as it turns out wasn't anachronistic.

    That said, I'd have to think about including skates if I was writing for a Western-themed game, because it took all of us right out of the movie to look it up, the first time we watched.

    I figure Firewands (and Warstriders, and probably some other things) are similar - great if you want to include them, but if they derail the setting, out they go.

    For what it's worth (Resources **), my current writing includes Firewands but excludes Warstriders.

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  • Epee102
    replied
    Originally posted by Aquillion View Post
    Honestly, if we were going for realism, I'd expect that firewands would be used against fortifications (like real-world flamethrowers), or as an intentional atrocity in order to do as much hard-to-repair damage to a civilian area as possible as quickly as possible during a quick raid in a war of annihilation or when trying to force people to flee the area (like white phosphorus is sometimes used today.) You want a settlement and its population gone, you send some crazy people on horses to ride through lighting it up and hurting people. Firewands are excellent for that. Also, I suppose, for raiding supply lines and the like. Basically you use it when raiding deep into enemy territory or when destroying stuff is easier, simpler, or more desirable than claiming it.

    I wouldn't expect the game to actually have much of this, though, since it also wants firewands to be cool / romantic / fantastic kung-fu weapons, and presenting them as tactical anti-emplacement tools at best and as portable atrocity generators at worst somewhat goes against the genre. I mean, people do horrible things in these stories, sure, but using firewands that way intersects with the fact that they're already a bit of a technology-level bend to produce a very 20th century sort of horror that isn't appropriate for the setting.
    Relatedly, in my Dreaming Sea game--where I failed greatly to imagine Ysyr as a sorcerous kingdom--Firewands were often used as shock and psychological weapons. Royal troops would use them to break up crowds or riots, as well as in close quarters fields. Never put them to "burning fields" but definetly making use of the fact that "suddenly, fire" startles people and horses rather easily.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Aquillion View Post
    Yes, but the combination of that with the imagery of firewands, which already tread the line towards being flamethrowers, tends to evoke something more like World War II than swords-and-sandals raiders.
    Flame throwers are at least 1400 years old.

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  • Wise Old Guru
    replied
    If I'm going for modern war crimes thematic imagery (white phosphorus, Dresden firebombing, etc), my go-to is Pyre flames. Abyssals make good war criminals.

    Also, firewands are probably a decent anti-zombie army measure, once we add supernatural elements to our tactics.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aquillion
    replied
    Yes, but the combination of that with the imagery of firewands, which already tread the line towards being flamethrowers, tends to evoke something more like World War II than swords-and-sandals raiders. They have to be treated more carefully than other parts of the game because they're already bending the aesthetic slightly, so I'd generally want them to be more "mythologized" rather than going for nitty-gritty realistic interpretations of them and how they'd actually be used in reality.

    Leave a comment:


  • Isator Levi
    replied
    Originally posted by Aquillion View Post
    using firewands that way intersects with the fact that they're already a bit of a technology-level bend to produce a very 20th century sort of horror that isn't appropriate for the setting.
    I'm not really sure what you mean by that.

    I know that there are Conan stories, for one thing, in which there are certain tactical uses of fire as a means of fighting, so that's the genre precedent.

    As for the era, people have been using fire for killing one another for as far back as we've had both at the same time. Possibly in some ways that are more horrifying than you can imagine. The ancient Phoenicians would heat braziers full of sand until they were red hot and dump it all over invaders; think of how sand gets everywhere, and of how scalding hot it can get just from being baked in the sun. There are reports of ancient Macedonians having lit pigs on fire and launched them at enemies, particularly as a method of spooking elephants.

    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post

    And let's not forget the time Oda Nobunaga burned an entire castle full of ninjas and their families to death.
    Those weren't ninjas, they were monks.

    Warrior monks!

    Which actually meant that they employed the arms and methods of the samurai while adhering to monastic lifestyle, rather than using special martial arts while still dressed in their everyday garb.

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  • Sunder the Gold
    replied
    I don't think I want Exalted to shy away from the use of fire as a terror weapon.

    If nothing else, horse-riders can carry and throw burning torches to light supply wagons, tents, crates, and homes on fire.

    And let's not forget the time Oda Nobunaga burned an entire castle full of ninjas and their families to death.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aquillion
    replied
    Honestly, if we were going for realism, I'd expect that firewands would be used against fortifications (like real-world flamethrowers), or as an intentional atrocity in order to do as much hard-to-repair damage to a civilian area as possible as quickly as possible during a quick raid in a war of annihilation or when trying to force people to flee the area (like white phosphorus is sometimes used today.) You want a settlement and its population gone, you send some crazy people on horses to ride through lighting it up and hurting people. Firewands are excellent for that. Also, I suppose, for raiding supply lines and the like. Basically you use it when raiding deep into enemy territory or when destroying stuff is easier, simpler, or more desirable than claiming it.

    I wouldn't expect the game to actually have much of this, though, since it also wants firewands to be cool / romantic / fantastic kung-fu weapons, and presenting them as tactical anti-emplacement tools at best and as portable atrocity generators at worst somewhat goes against the genre. I mean, people do horrible things in these stories, sure, but using firewands that way intersects with the fact that they're already a bit of a technology-level bend to produce a very 20th century sort of horror that isn't appropriate for the setting.

    Leave a comment:


  • semicasual
    replied
    Originally posted by Wise Old Guru View Post
    Go read the Back Alive or Maybe Dead Quest.

    That's the point of Firewands.
    Thanks for the shout-out! To elaborate a bit - in my story, flame weapons are explicitly a fantastic replacement for guns, with some caveats.

    I describe firewands mostly using early firearms as points of reference, where dust is both ammunition and a propellant. They're intimidating weapons that make it plausible for a physically weak opponent to punch above their weight class. Moreso than a blade, using a firewand in a fight shows that the fight is deadly serious.

    On a personal level, the biggest difference is that wands are showy. Every shot from a flamepiece is like a firework going off, making them perfect for dramatic shifts in the momentum of a fight or for elaborate finishing moves. Bullets can only puncture things - flame weapons immolate.

    Flame weapons in my interpretation of the setting are relatively common in the south, 'cause that's where the dust is. But they're still not something that most people have, because they're expensive to make and maintain. Firewands did not "win the south" in the way that the Colt SAA is said to have won the west, in part because of the limitations of modern wand-smithing but mostly because firedust itself has several limitations that make it less practical than gunpowder for full-scale warfare. Namely:
    1. It has very limited range.
    2. It can't be mass manufactured.
    3. Setting everything on fire limits your forces' ability to move and may destroy strategic property you'd like to claim.

    Firewands are terrific weapons for a defensive line of infantry. Flamepieces are similarly valuable to cavalry or skirmishers that are harrying the enemy. But those aren't enough to really transform warfare in Creation, and at the end of the day, a lone wand-slinger will probably get more use out of flame weapons than a master of armies would.

    (Also, regarding the title: it comes from a song, and the transcribed lyric doesn't have any commas in it. )
    Last edited by semicasual; 08-07-2018, 10:34 AM.

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  • Frostav
    replied
    I'm fine with guns in creation but then again I'm also fine with magitech and shit so I know I'm in a losing battle. No assault rifles or anything, but I'm down for single-shot rifles and pistols as well as revolver pistols and rifles (yes, the latter existed, but mostly as a crappy experiment). Use the Shards rules and make them a rare first age experiment that didn't go anywhere due to how hideously expensive their ammo was (I used fire pearls).

    Also, I came up with this idea for an artifact...launcher...thing called a "Magma Deathspitter" or summat that basically feeds in a big-ass metal chain, shreds it with magical material blades, heats the shreds up in an orichalcum chamber, and then spits lavametaldeath everywhere.

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  • Epee102
    replied
    Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post

    So, an ammunition check after every six shots?

    Nah--Six shots, and then the slow tag. If you wanted the ammunition check, that could work there but I never found it apporpriate.

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  • Sunder the Gold
    replied
    Originally posted by Elfive View Post
    "I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself."

    *rolls ammo check*
    I’m not denying that such a thing is totally appropriate in a scenario where everyone really has lost track in all of the excitement.

    Doesn’t change my feeling that revolvers should generally require bullet-counting. At least the guns with Evocations based around how many bullets are left in the cylinder.

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