Introduction to Arms Design

Table of Contents

Once the Narrative Group has chosen the basic Arms Archetypes which exist within their campaign environment, they need only to design the particular Arms encompassed within those Archetypes before Combat Resolution may be resolved. Because there are two systems of Combat Resolution presented in ARIA, there are also two procedures for Arms Design. The more simple system, termed the Narrative Design Process, concentrates on the more descriptive features of Arms Design. Basic Design may be preferred by either novice players or experienced players who are mostly concerned with the narrative element of Combat Resolution. For those players interested in more complicated or realistic simulations of Combat, the Utility Design Process portrays Arms design in far greater detail. It should be noted that many of the modifications which are possible within Advanced Design will have little or no consequence if the Narrative System of Combat Resolution is being used. The Basic Design Process, however, facilitates the use of either System of Combat Resolution; it is "basic" only in that it involves far less detail and time to complete.

The Basic Design Process simply involves choosing the exact construction material, length, weight and shape from the parameters listed within the Archetype Description, and assigning the resultant Arm a name. When this information has been recorded on the Societal Arms Sheet, the process is complete. In the Advanced Design Process, Arms variations such as construction material, length, weight, shape, balance, and quality are traced as they effect one another, and the consequences of these modifications are then represented numerically within the Arm's specific Utility Profile. In this case, the resultant numerical values may differ from those found within the Archetype Utility Profile, and these values reflect the individual Utility of the specific Arm which has been created. Because it is the numerical values of the Utility Profile which are used within the Mechanical System of Combat Resolution, Arms which are described using Advanced Design techniques suffer or enjoy realistic consequences as a result of specific feature modifications.

If the Narrative Group wants to design specialized Arms to flavor the campaign setting, but does not require the additional realism which is obtainable through modifying the Profile values, then they should employ the Basic Design Process and embellish the description wherever they deem reasonable. After all, the basic Archetypes presented within the Arms Encyclopaedia, group weapons according to their most significant collective design features. In most cases these Archetypes should differ enough from one another statistically so that all but the most die-hard of players will be satisfied with the degree of realism that they reflect. But for those players who wish to include the realism associated with subtle variations of Arms Design, the Advanced Design Process offers many guidelines.

Whether using the given Archetypal Profiles or those individually derived by the Narrative Group, the Arms Profiles which result (though differing statistically) will not speed or slow Combat Resolution. The difference in time occurs when defining of Profile statistics, not when using them during play. For this reason, novice players may wish to begin by using the standard Archetypes (and their numerical Profiles) and add specialized Arm variations later. For those players who have absolutely no interest in the statistical aspect of Combat Resolution, the Designers of ARIA suggest that they try using the Narrative System for Combat Resolution presented earlier within this book. As that system does not employ the information presented within this chapter, those with purely Narrative interest may want to skip this section altogether.

The Narrative Design Process

Basic Arms Design is primarily a descriptive process. Within the Basic Design Process, participants need only to describe and record the construction material(s), length, weight, quality, and appearance of the Arm and then consult the Tables at the end of this Chapter to determine the Arm's Modified Utility Profile. Once the information which results from these Tables has been recorded, and the Arm has been given a name, the process is concluded. The following Steps provide guidance for the Basic Design procedure, but creativity and embellishment should be employed as the Ensemble deems reasonable.

  • Step 1: Classification of the Arm Classify the Arm as either generic or unique. Does the Arm being designed represent a generic class or is it unique in its design? Is the Arm a prototype upon which a new class of Arms will be modeled or is the Arm being created for a specific individual?

  • Step 2: Describe Materials of Construction Recalling the Arms Selection Process, describe the material(s) used to construct the Arm. Is the Arm fabricated from a single, uniform material or does it evince composite material construction? What are the materials and where do they appear within the Arm? ex. Primitive Hand-Axe: Wooden Haft and flint core (Stone) head. Note: Arms Archetypes list possible construction materials within the Arms Encyclopaedia.

  • Step 3: Describe the Length of the Arm From the Archetype Description, select the exact length of the Arm in terms of feet and inches. What is its total length? If it has both a haft/pole and a head, what is the total length of each part?

  • Step 4: Describe the Weight of the Arm From the Archetype Description in the Arms Encyclopaedia, estimate the weight of the Arm to the nearest half pound. Is the Arm at the heavier or lighter end of the possible spectrum?

  • Step 5: Describe the Appearance/Shape of the Arm Based on the Archetype Description, describe the particular appearance of the Arm. What are its most pronounced features? How does the Arm differ from the general parameters of the Archetype Description? Does it have a wavy blade, a broader head, a long hook, etc.? What are the features of its Grip or Guard? Is there any special ornamentation on the Arm? Motifs, runes, craftsmen Marks, or personal symbols?

  • Step 6: Describe its overall Quality Considering all relevant information about the Arm, estimate its overall Quality on the following Scale: Poor, Substandard, Standard, Good, Exceptional. Of what quality are the materials which compose the Arm in regard to similar materials? How well were those materials manipulated by the craftsman? How good is the general design for achieving its Primary Attack Mode compared to other designs within the same Archetype? If of composite construction, how well were the separate pieces fastened together? How well has the weight been distributed within the Arm? Is it balanced properly for achieving its primary purpose?

  • Optional: Name the Armsmith/Craftsman family that manufactured the Arm In the Medieval period, some families enjoyed either favorable or unfavorable reputations for their ability to manufacture quality Arms. If so desired, name the Armsmith/Family which created the Arm.

  • Optional: Name the generic or specific name of the Arm If the Arm is one of a generic type, record the name of that type. Arms are typically named after their original geographical region (Swiss voulge), manufacturer (Voelsung longsword), intended users (Gladiators "Gladius" Shortsword), or functional description ("Latch" light crossbow). If an arm is truly unique (has a specific History or unique design) then it should have an individual name in addition to a generic name. Unique Names might be based upon specific gods, places, purposes, heroes, or owners.

  • Optional: Describe the History of the Arm Certain Arms might be expensive or extraordinary enough to merit passing from owner to owner, generation to generation. Perhaps the Arm belonged to a famous individual. Or perhaps the Arm type was developed by a notable Craftsmen Family. Histories are possible for either generic or unique Arms and detailing an Arms history can enrich the detail of the Narrative Environment.

  • Step 7: Adjusting Utility Profiles (Optional) If at this point the Narrative Group wishes to numerically represent the Design Modifications which they have made, skip to the appropriate tables within the Utility Design Process which describes how to adjust the Utility Profile Values for Designed Arms.

    The Utility Design Process

    Like Arms Selection, the process of Arms Design involves a sequence of deliberate Stages which result in an array of specific variations of the Arms Archetypes selected for the Society in the preceding chapter. While the process of Selecting Arms entails the sorting out of Societal features which seem inextricably interrelated, Arms Design is a much more linear procedure.

    Beginning with the basic Arms Archetypes assigned during the Selection Process, Arms Design explores the specific purpose and nature of each Arm Archetype in order to custom tailor a variety of specialized Arms which reflect the particular ambiance of the Society which manufactures or imports them for domestic use.

    The Design Process

    The Arms Design Process involves proceeding through four basic stages which consecutively direct the participants through a series of questions and decisions concerning the purpose and nature of specific Arms which are to be assigned to the Narrative Environment. Beginning with the standard Arms Archetypes which have been selected in the preceding Chapter, Design Participants of the Narrative Group modify and vary the standard Arms designs until they achieve a final Arm which they believe suits the tenor of their campaign. If more than one Arm Archetype is being custom designed, participants may want to Design them sequentially or all at once, making decisions for all the Arms as the Group proceeds from Stage to Stage. In any case, only Stage 4 concerns the numerical Arms Profile adjustments; so players who wish to create unique Arms for the narrative element of their campaigns may want to follow the basic guidelines presented in Stages 1, 2, and 3, but skip Stage 4 altogether. It is important to note that there is no right or wrong way to Design Arms, and all information contained within the following Chapter should ultimately be considered Optional for gaming interaction.

    The four stages of Arms Design are as follows: Stage 1 - Definition of Arms Purposes, Stage 2 - Description of Arm, Stage 3 - Evaluation of Craftsmanship, Stage 4 - Determination of Utility Profile.

    The Following guidelines are intended to isolate the specific Design Specifications and Features of the Archetype that the participants want to modify. In many cases, the modifications which are possible within this chapter require additional modifications to several related design features.

    In other words, many of the design features (such as weight, shape, length, etc.) are linked to other elements of the Arm Profile (such as Damage Potential, Arm Speed, and Minimum Strength) so that modifying certain features tends to have physical consequences which may - at the option of the Narrative Group - be reflected in the numerical values of the Arm Profile.

    By following a linear process of Arms design, modifications may be traced, and their mechanical consequences determined so that the modifications will have realistic or relevant consequences in the event of a Combat situation.

    Arms Design

    Arms Design is a logical process which begins with an idea and concludes with a physical product. As such, Arms Design includes not only the conceptualization of Arms but also the manufacture of a finished Arm Specimen. To best understand the process of Arms Design it is useful to view Arms as tools that are designed to facilitate warfare. As a carpenter chooses his tools according to the task set before him, so the warrior chooses Arms according to the performance demanded from him. Therefore, when Arms are being designed, the Designer must first consider the purpose which the Arm is expected to perform.

    Defining the Purpose of the Arm is the first step toward its creation. Once the purpose has been identified, an initial Design may be conceived. It is in the Conception stage of the Design Process that a skilled designer shows his experience. For it is the seasoned designer who will know which Design Features, Materials, and Construction Methods will best achieve the Purpose for which the Arm is to be Designed.

    Because it is not the intention of this Chapter to study the craft of Arms smithing, but rather to Design Arms which will add flavor to the Narrative Environment, the Process of Arms Design begins with a Selected Arm Archetype.

    Using this Archetype as a model, the Designer may create either an original Class of Arms or an individual, Unique Arm Specimen by simply modifying certain Design Features which are common to all Arms classified within the particular Arm Archetype. Complete descriptions of Arms Archetypes are given within the Arms Encyclopaedia. Familiarity with the Archetype selected for modification will facilitate and quicken the Design Process.

    Stage 1: Identification of Purpose

    All Arms are initially conceived to fulfill one purpose or another. While it may be asserted that the most general purpose of all Arms is to injure, maim, or kill men or beasts, Arms Design proceeds from the identification of a more specific purpose or task which needs to be addressed. As the Designer searches for an Archetypal design upon which modifications will be based, he narrows his selection by further defining the Arm's intended purpose. The following questions and notations are provided to assist the Design Process by moving from the most general to the most specific purpose to be achieved by the Final Arm Specimen. Arm Purpose is discussed in detail within the following section "Defining Arm Purpose."

  • General Purpose - What is the General Purpose for the Arm Archetype? Is it meant to be held in the hand, extending the physical Reach of the user? Or is the Arm intended to be launched as a missile, or to launch missiles, at enemies which stand at a much greater distance than could be overcome with a hand-held Arm?

  • Specific Purpose - Aside from general Range (which is also the Specific purpose for Ranged Arms) what is the Arm intended to accomplish? Is the Arm intended to be used offensively or defensively? How is it meant to inflict damage? Does it Chop, Crush, Slash, Thrust, Stab, or Pierce? How does it divert incoming attacks? See Attack and Parry Modes in the following section "Defining Arm Purposes" for further guidance.

    Greater Arms Family

    Greater Arms Families group Arms Archetypes according to their most general common purpose. There are two possible Greater Arms Families - Melee Arms and Ranged Arms. Melee Arms are designed for close combat. They all extend the physical reach of the user in proportion to their Length and the manner in which they are held and handled. Ranged Arms, on the other hand, are all intended for long range combat. It is therefore the purpose of Ranged Arms to allow their users to attack from a distance which is much greater than could be matched by using a weapon which merely extends his or her physical Reach. The intended range and manner in which that range is achieved may be considered the General Purpose for which an Arm is designed.

    Arms Family

    Arms Families group Arms Archetypes according to the means by which an Arm achieves both its General and Specific purposes. Arms Families within the Melee Arms Greater Family include Bladed Arms, Hafted Arms, Polearmes, and Shields. The Greater Family of Ranged Arms includes the lesser Families of Thrown Arms, Hurled Arms, and Projectile Arms.

    Greater Arms Archetype

    Greater Arms Archetypes group Arms Archetypes according to the common Design Features which enable the Archetype to fulfill its Specific purpose(s). Greater Arms Archetypes belonging to the Greater Family of Melee Arms include Knives, Swords, Axes, Clubs, Flails, Hammers, Poleaxes, Spears, Staffswords, Frame Shields, and Board Shields. Thrown Missiles, Slings, Hurling Sticks, Bows, and Crossbows are the Greater Arms Archetypes which compose the Ranged Arms Greater Family.

    Arms Archetypes

    Arms Archetypes group similar Arms according to the specialized Design Features which enable the Arm to perform specific tasks and purposes. Since the Design Process begins with a Selected Arm Archetype (upon which further specialized modifications may be made), it is important to understand the specific purposes, also called Attack Modes, which the Archetype is designed to perform. In the case of Arms Archetypes, the Primary Attack Mode may be considered the primary purpose for which they are designed. See "Attack Mode" in the following section "Defining Arm Purpose".

    Generic Arms Specimens

    Generic Arms Specimens are specialized Arms Archetypes which have been produced en masse for one reason or another. While they exhibit Design Features which identify them as belonging to a certain Archetype group, their overall appearance may differ from other Generic Specimens within the same Archetype. In many cases, Generic Arms Specimens will differ from other Specimens due to differences in craftsmanship which result from the a particular design being passed from region to region, or from generation to generation. Arms Design is a process of evolution, and Generic Specimens will vary from their Archetypal models as technologies and craftsmanship techniques vary.

    Generic Arms Specimens may also differ from their Archetypal model in the emphasis that they place upon Secondary, Other, and Special Attack Modes. While all Archetypal Specimens will evince the same Primary Attack Mode, they may or may not exhibit design features which facilitate similar Secondary, Other, or Special Attack Modes.

    Unique Arms Specimens

    Unique Arms Specimens are highly specialized Arms Archetypes which have not been mass produced. The manufacture and design of Unique Arms Specimens usually results from special requests/commissions of private individuals. For this reason, their most specific purpose depends entirely upon the individual who requests the Arm. They may be extraordinarily long or heavy to make full advantage of the user's physical attributes. Alternately, they could be specially shaped to facilitate a particular style of fighting.

    Alternately, a Unique Arm Specimen may not demonstrate specialized Design Features, but rather exhibit unusual Materials, Construction, or craftsmanship which pronounce it to be an Arm of exceedingly high Quality. If a Unique Arm is not created as a result of a personal request or commission, its existence could also indicate that the Arm is a prototype for mass production which did not/ has not yet occurred for one reason or another.

    Defining Arm Purpose

    The purpose of any given Arm is best defined by its intended Offensive and Defensive nature which is in turn defined by its Design Specifications and Features which support such deployment. The primary purpose of all Offensive Arms is to perform a particular Attack Mode in addition to one or more subordinate Attack or Defense Modes which are listed hereafter. Similarly, it is the primary purpose of all Defensive Arms to perform one or more Guarding Maneuvers, with alternate Attack capabilities being auxiliary. The following descriptions define each of the Attack Modes and Guarding Maneuvers according to the Design Specifications, Features and Performance Actions which enhance the Arm's ability to succeed at its established purpose.

    Attack Modes

    The primary purpose of all Offensive Arms may be attributed to a single Primary Attack Mode. While Secondary, Other, and Special Attack Modes may also be available to an Arm, they are always considered ancillary to the Primary purpose/Attack Mode for which the Arm is designed. There are six possible Attack Modes in ARIA: Canticle of the Monomythx, any one of which may be considered the Primary Attack Mode for a particular Arm Archetype.

    An Arm's ability to perform an Attack Mode depends upon the Design Specifications and Features which facilitate that purpose. Certain Specifications or Features are better for achieving particular Attack Modes than are others. For this reason, Secondary, Other, and Special Attack Modes are often chosen according to the Specifications or Features which must be present to perform the Primary Attack Mode. The following descriptions offer guidance on this matter.

  • Chop - The Performance Action inherent in Chopping Attacks involves a heavy Swing. During a Swing, the user's arm remains straight, and the wrist and elbow do not break to draw the Chopping blade across the surface of the target. Rather, the Arm relies upon initial impact to cause damage. Arms designed primarily for Chopping rely upon a heavy Chopping Blade or Pean positioned near the end of a strong haft. Axes and Poleaxes are Greater Arms Archetypes which are designed primarily for Chopping. The Archetypal Greatsword and some Longswords may also be designed for Chopping. In such cases, these Arm Archetypes evince long straight blades which are capable of delivering a Chop Attack by virtue of their heavy Weight and considerable Length.

    Chopping Attacks depend largely upon the Length, Weight, and heavy-ended weight distribution to inflict damage. For this reason, Chopping Arms often are designed so that they are also able to perform Crushing Attacks which require similar Design Specifications. Occasionally, Chopping Arms will be equipped with a long spike surmounting the tip of the haft. Because their heavy-ended Weight distribution does not seriously inhibit the Arm's ability to Thrust, Design Features such as end-spikes are sometimes included for performing subordinate Thrust Attacks.

  • Crush - Like Chopping Attacks, the Performance Action required from Crushing Attacks relies upon a heavy Swing to cause damage. In essence, Crushing Attacks differ from Chopping Attacks only in regard to the Design Features of the Arm itself. Crushing Attacks depend upon a blunt surface to spread the shock of their impact over a larger area of the target. Though skin may be broken during heavy Crushing Attacks, the Arm does not usually possess a Chopping edge. Some Crushing Arms may, however, possess Spikes or Flanges which are intended to break the skin of the intended victim and cause additional trauma which results from blood loss. Even so, the majority of the damage inflicted during a Crush Attack results from the distribution of the heavy impact over a larger portion of the victim's body.

    Clubs (including Maces, and Staves) and Flails are the Greater Arms Archetypes which depend upon heavy Crushing Attacks to inflict mortal wounds. Because Crushing attacks rely upon heavy end-weighting of the Arm, they are compatible with Chopping Attacks in terms of their required Design Specifications. Many Arms which Are designed primarily for either Chopping or Crushing attacks will possess Design Features which allow the Arm to perform the alternate Mode of Attack. Single-edged Axes are a good example of an Arm which combines Chopping and Crushing in its function. While the Bladed Pean is a Design Feature which is crafted primarily for Chopping Attacks, the blunt back of the Arm's head may be used to Crush as a Secondary Mode of Attack. Because both Chopping and Crushing rely upon a heavily weighted end or head, these two Attack Modes are Complimentary. Like Chopping Arms, Arms designed for Crushing may be equipped with an end-spike which may be used for Thrusting Attacks. This effects of this Design Feature are discussed more thoroughly under Thrusting Attacks.

  • Slash - Slashing Attacks also depend upon a Swinging Action for attack Performance; however, once the Slashing edge has contacted the target, the user breaks his wrist and/or elbow to Draw the blade across the surface of the target. Curved Blades are especially useful for Slashing because they do not require the user to bend or break his elbow or wrist as much to Draw the edge across the victim. In practice, any blade which features a curved blade will be more effective for Slashing, demonstrating its efficiency in either its Speed, Difficulty Rating, or Damage Potential. Swords and Staffswords are Greater Arms Archetypes usually designed primarily for Slashing, although certain other Arm Archetypes such as Hand-axes, Daggers, and Bardiches may also be designed to engage this primary purpose.

    Because Slashing Arms are usually designed with a long, sharp blade, they need only an additional Point to be useful for Thrusting Attacks. It is for the ancillary purpose of Thrusting that Straight blades are often preferred to Curved blades. While both blades are easily ground to a sharp point, Curved blades lack the linear strength required to support the force exacted from a good Thrust attack. It is for this reason that Curved bladed Sword, while better for Slashing, are often rejected in favor of less efficient Straight bladed Swords which may Thrust as well, if not better, than they can Slash.

  • Stab - Stabbing Attacks are performed by Plunging a sharp point either upward or downward in a Swinging Motion. Knives compose the only Greater Arms Archetype which performs Stabbing Attacks. Unlike heavier Thrusting Attacks, Stabbing Attacks do not include a follow through which larger weapons employ to their advantage. Because Knives have such small weight, most of the damage incurred by a Stabbing Attack relies upon the strength of the blade and sharpness of the point. For this reason, the Design Features such as weight or weight distribution, found in Knives is largely irrelevant. Only Knives which are also intended to be thrown should have an even, or Balanced, weight distribution.

    The Design Features, such as a long blade and sharp point, which make Knives effective for Stabbing are often compatible for Slashing Attacks. Only non-edged Poignards may not be used for auxiliary Slashing Attacks. Because Knives are not very heavy, the Slashes which result from them usually do little harm excepting the blood loss and shock which may result from light lacerations. However, if used to Slash the throat or similar vital area, the blood loss which results may easily kill the victim though the mortal event may be delayed.

  • Thrust - Thrusting Attacks are performed by quickly and forcefully Pushing the point of an Arm straight into the target. For purposes of Armor penetration, the user typically adds his body weight to that of the Arm to augment the force of the blow. During Swordplay, Thrusting Attacks are comparable to a Lunge, although the user need not fully extend his arm and body (which is frequently done to extend Reach as well as to add body weight) to perform a Thrusting Attack. Swords, Spears, and Staffswords are all Greater Arms Archetypes which may be designed primarily for Thrusting. Larger Daggers, Dirks, and Poignards may also be designed for Thrusting in addition to the occasional Poleaxe, or Battle-axe. These weapons, however, are rarely designed Primarily for Thrusting.

    Because Thrusting relies upon a sharp point, Arms designed for this purpose are often equipped with an acutely pointed blade which may also be used for Slashing. Swords and Spears, which possess edged blades of varying lengths, often serve the ancillary purpose of Slashing. Only non-edged Arming Swords, and certain varieties of the Lance or Pike cannot perform Slashing Attacks with some degree of competence.

  • Pierce - Piercing Attacks include any Attack which is intended to penetrate Armor and flesh. Arms designed primarily for Piercing typically evince a small sharp head or point which is driven by great force. The force which drives Piercing Arms can come from two primary sources - weight and velocity.

    In the case of Hurled and Projectile Arms, the ability to penetrate comes primarily from velocity. The relatively light weight of Javelins, Darts, Arrows, Bolts, and Bullets allow them to achieve very high velocities when Hurled or Projected at an enemy. Melee Arms such as Lances, also rely on the velocity of the charging horse, but depend largely upon the weight of the Arm, wielder, and the horse to Pierce with equal force. Whether derived from Velocity or Weight, the ability of an Arm to Pierce comes primarily from the manner in which it is used rather than inherent Design Specifications.


    Though capable of delivering light Crushing blows, Shields are designed primarily for defensive Purposes. Being large and rather clumsy, most Shields are used primarily to Block incoming Arms attacks. Smaller or lighter Shields, however, may be used to push away or Divert incoming blows. Depending upon its weight, size, and Design Features a Shields may be employed for performing either Guarding action with varying degrees of success.

    Most other Arms may also be used for Guarding. Though rarely designed specifically for such purposes, offensive Arms may generally be employed to perform one of three guarding maneuvers, called Parries. While offensive Arms perform Blocking and Diverting Parries much as Shields do, they may also be used to attempt Disarming Parries. Each of the three Parry maneuvers available to Arms are described according to the Design Specifications and Features which enhance their performance.

  • Blocking Parries - Blocking Parries are performed by positioning the defending Arm in the direct path of the incoming blow with the intention of using the weight of the Arm and Strength of the Defender to prevent the offending Arm from reaching its target location. Blocking Parries are best performed with a large, heavy Arm which is capable of absorbing the force of the blow directed against it. In general, heavier Arms require less Strength and physical exertion to Block incoming attacks than do lighter Arms. It should be noted that Blocking Parries are best employed against heavy Crushing, Chopping, and Slashing Attacks. When used to Block a Stabbing Attack, Blocking Parries are directed against the bodily arm which holds the small Stabbing Arm. Only Shields can be effectively used to Block Thrusting Attacks.

  • Diverting Parries - Diverting Parries are best performed by smaller, or lighter Arms which are incapable of completely Blocking a heavy incoming blow. Being faster and more maneuverable, lighter Arms rely on their rigidity to push the incoming Attack off course rather than Blocking them in mid-course. . Whereas Blocking Parries require Weight and Durability, Diverting Parries depend upon Speed and maneuverability to succeed at Guarding. When performed by an Arm other than a Shield, Diverting Parries are the best defense against Thrusting Attacks and lighter Slashing Attacks.

  • Disarming Parries - Disarming Parries are special parries which may be performed in one of two fashions. Arms which are equipped with special Design Features, such as hooks or quillons, may be used to catch incoming Arms, binding them momentarily until the Arm may be yanked or twisted from the attacker's grip.

    Arms which do not possess Disarming Design Features may be used in a more traditional, if not more primitive, manner. In the case of such Arms, the wielder performs a Disarming Parry by directly Attacking the incoming weapon with the greatest force possible. Heavy-ended Arms are best suited for performing this type of Disarming Parry.

    Establishing the Arm Purpose

    Defining the Primary Purpose of an Arm is the first step in the Design Process. To establish the Purpose of the Arm which is being Designed, refer to the Arm Archetype which is serving as the Design Model. Note whether it is an Offensive or Defensive Arm. If it is an Offensive Arm, record its Primary Attack Mode and the Design Specifications and Features which facilitate that Mode. Also note the subordinate Attack and Parry Modes which the Archetype is normally capable of performing. Keep this information in mind during Stage 2. If the Design Model is a Defensive Arm, record its Primary Parry Mode and the Design Specifications and Features which facilitate that Mode. Also note the subordinate Attack and Parry Modes which the Arm is capable of performing. Now proceed to Stage 2: Arm Description.

    Stage 2: Arm Description

    To understand how the design of an Arm facilitates its Primary, Secondary, and Other/Special Purposes, it is necessary to examine the Design Specification and Features which compose the Arm Description. Arms description not only describes the Arm's physical appearance, but also explains how the Design Specifications and Design Features interrelate to achieve the established Purpose of the Arm.

    Design Specifications (Melee Arms)

    Design Specifications detail the Length, Weight, and Weight Distribution of Arms. These Specifications determine several aspects of the Utility Profile which may change numerically if severe modifications are made to the Specifications listed within the Design Model's Arm Description. Refer to the following passages to determine how Arm Length, Weight, and Weight Distribution may effect the Reach, Speed, and Damage Potential of Arms if modifications are made to Arm's Design Specifications.

    Arm Length

    Arm Length refers to the physical size of the Arm being designed. In the case of Melee Arms, Length defines the linear measurement in terms of feet and inches. When Designing Arms, Length should be estimated to the nearest half foot. Arm Length is the primary factor in determining Arm Reach. Because Arm Reach is derived from either the total Arms Length or the Length of the Blade (in the case of Bladed Arms only) Arms designers should take care to use the Appropriate Length when determining Arm Reach. See the Melee Arms Design Specification Summary for the listing of the appropriate Average Lengths belonging to Arm Archetypes.

    The Length of Ranged Arms should be detailed according to the Arm Description of the Archetype. In the case of Thrown Arms, Arm Length refers to the measurement of the thrown Missile. The Arm Length of Hurled Arms refers not only to the Missile, but more importantly to the Missile Launcher. In the case of Bows Length refers to the height of the Bowstave when it is unstrung. Crossbow Length is divided into separate measurements, one for the unstrung bowstave and one for the Stock. For aid in determining the Lengths of particular Arms refer to the Arm Archetype descriptions in the Arms Encyclopaedia.

    Arm Reach

    Arm Reach describes the farthest distance from which the wielder may strike with a particular Arm. While Arm Reach is determined primarily by the Length of the Arm, the position of the Grip and the method by which the Arm is handled also effect the total reach of a given Arm. Because Double-handed Arms Handling often involves gripping the Arm somewhere above the true bottom of the Haft or Handle, Double-handed Arms occasionally have Reaches which measure less than their total Lengths. To determine the Reach of a particular Arm, see the Arm Reach Determination table for guidance.

    Arm Weight

    Arm Weight refers to the physical mass of the Arm being designed. For purposes of design, Weight should be estimated to the nearest half pound. Like Arm Length, the Weights of the individual components (Blade and hilt, Head and haft) should be listed and added to find the Total Weight of the Arm. While the weights of component pieces are not important in themselves, dividing the total Weight into component parts does illustrate where the bulk of the Weight is distributed within the Arm. See the Melee Arms Design Specification Summary to determine the Average Weight of particular Arm Archetypes.

    Arm Weight is also a key factor in determining utility factors such as the Arm Handling and Minimum Physical Strength required to wield an Arm effectively. See Arm Handling and Strength Requirement for further information regarding these factors.

    Weight Distribution

    Weight Distribution describes where the bulk of the Weight is located within an Arm. In general, all Arms will fall into one of two categories according to their individual Weight Distributions. Arms which possess heavy Heads fall into the first category are said to be Heavy-ended. In other words, if you were to balance them along their lengths, the point of balance would be near the Head or tip of the Arm. Arms which are not Heavy-ended are considered to be Balanced, indicating that their point of balance lies somewhere near the middle of their lengths.

    Weight Distribution is important in determining both the Damage Potential and Speed of the Arm. Arms which are Heavy-ended are best suited to Crushing and Chopping Attacks, while Balanced Arms are generally better for Slashing, Thrusting, and Stabbing Attacks. For purposes of Guarding, centrally Balanced Weight Distributions are ideal because Arms which are so weighted are generally more maneuverable. See the Melee Arms Design Specification Summary to determine the Ideal Weight Distribution for a particular Arm Archetype.

    Arm Handling

    Arm Handling refers to the method by which an Arm is usually manipulated in combat. Arms will generally fall into one of two Arms Handling categories -- Single, or Double Handed usage. As a general rule, any Arm which requires a minimum Physical Strength of 60 or more to be Handled with one hand is classified as a Double-Handed Arm. Whether an individual Persona needs to use two hands is entirely subject to his/her own Physical Strength Attribute.

    Personas always have the option of attempting to use more or fewer hands than are suggested for a particular Arm. Assuming the Arm's grip or handle is long enough to accommodate such Handling, Personas may use two hands even if only one is required by the Minimum Strength Requirement. See the Minimum Strength Requirement table for guidance.

    Minimum Strength Requirement

    The Minimum Strength Requirement defines the Physical Strength attribute score which is necessary to enjoy the full Damage Potential, Speed, and Encumbrance values of which the Arm is capable. If a Persona does not possess the required Strength, the Arm will be slower, more fatiguing, and less damaging in his or her hands. If the Persona possesses greater Strength than is required, the Arm may be faster, less fatiguing, and more damaging in his/her hands. See the table Physical Strength and Arms to determine the effects of having greater or lesser Physical Strength than is required for a particular Arm.

    The Minimum Strength Requirements listed apply to the suggested mode of Arms Handling. If an Arm is listed as having a Double-handed Handling Mode, and a Persona wishes to use it Single-handedly, he/she must possess double the required Physical Strength. If a Persona wishes to use two hands to wield a Single-Handed Arm, the grip of the Arm must be long enough to accommodate such usage. See Arms Handling for further guidance.

    Design Specifications (Ranged Arms)

    Draw Weight


    Physical Strength Requirement

    Design Features

    Design Features refer to those perceivable physical aspects which are used to accomplish the Attack Modes designated for the Arm in question. For Bladed Arms such as Knives and Swords, the edge, point, and cross-section of the Blade are the important Design Features to consider. For Hafted Arms such as Axes, Clubs, and Hammers it is the shape of the head, its edges, surface, spikes, and pean that should be considered. In Flails, the type of hinge in addition to the head features should be carefully described. In Polearmes, length should be considered in addition to the shape of the head because it is the general purpose of Polearmes to enable the user to attack from a distance, albeit a closer range than expected from Ranged Arms. In Ranged Arms, the launching device should be considered in addition to the damage-inflicting portion of the Missile because it is the Launching Device which provides the Range for the Arm. The following table will assist the Ensemble in determining which Design Features permit the Arm to perform its designated Attack Modes with a greater or lesser degree of efficiency. For additional information regarding the Design Features of Arms, refer to the Arms Family, Greater Arms Archetypes, and Arms Archetypes described in the Arms Encyclopaedia.

    Stage 3: Arms Construction

    The following passages serve as general guidelines for the detailing the Material Composition, Suitability, and Quality in addition to the Quality and Method of Construction, as they pertain to the statistical system of Combat Resolution presented in ARIA. These guidelines are by no means absolute; and if the Narrative Group does not place a great deal of importance upon the role of Combat within the Narrative, it is recommended that they use only as much of the following information as they deem necessary.

    Remember that the Arms Archetype profiles listed in the Arms Encyclopaedia offer the basic statistics for Iron (or Iron and Wood in the case of Composite Arms) weapons. As such, the values presented therein represent a "standard" for Iron and Wood Arms. Moreover, all Arms in the Encyclopeadeia are considered to represent average types of Standard Quality in regard to Materials and Craftsmanship. If so desired, the Narrative Group may retain the values but establish that they represent a Bronze and Wood Standard rather than Iron. Or the values could represent a Poor, Substandard, Good, or Exceptional overall Arm Quality so long as that stipulation remains constant. The idea here is that so long as all Arms are constructed with the same materials and quality (or differences are not considered to be important), the values presented in the Archetype Profiles will serve as an objective Standard. It is only when Arms of varying materials clash that realism suffers from using a single standard to represent the outcome of material conflicts.

    If the Narrative Group wishes to employ multiple Arms Materials and Qualities within their Narrative Environment, and to define the differences among these materials as they pertain to Combat Resolution, then they may find the proceeding guidelines useful. Even if other aspects of the Utility Design Process are being used, it is not absolutely necessary to employ the suggestions provided herein.

    Introduction to Arms Construction

    Arms Construction involves two basic steps. First, Construction Materials must be chosen for each part of the Arm. Next, the Arm craftsman needs to construct and assemble the individual parts of the Arm. In the following passages, each of these steps is described in detail and summarized on numerous Tables. Note that Melee Arms and Thrown Arms are discussed apart from Hurled Arms and Projectile Arms due to their innate differences. If the Narrative Group has decided to employ the preceding Stage of the Utility Design Process but is not overly concerned with Arm Construction, they may still want to use the guidelines which pertain to Hurled and Projectile Arms.

    The Range and Damage Profiles for these Arms are detailed within this section because factors such as Weight and Length are not as important as Construction in determining Hurled and Projectile Arm Profiles. If additional guidance pertaining to any of the information presented hereafter is desired, refer to the Family, Greater Archetype, and Archetype descriptions provided within the Arms Encyclopaedia.

    Construction Materials (Melee Arms and Thrown Arms)

    Construction Materials simply refer to the metals and/or other substances which are used to manufacture Arms. Depending upon the purpose of the Arm, different Materials may be more or less suitable for construction. Because Material is critical in determining the efficiency and quality of an Arm, Arms smiths usually employ the best materials available given the specific purpose of the Arm (remember that certain societal factors limit the availability of certain materials ). To facilitate the Design Process, it is prudent to consider the Primary Attack Mode to be the primary Purpose of the Arm.

    The following passages list the Materials which are potentially available for Arms Construction. Remember that the Materials available within a particular society depend on a number of factors which are handled within the Arms Selection chapter. Refer to the Societal Arms Sheet to choose the Materials that are available within the Society where the Arm is manufactured.

    Stone - Aside from Wood, Stone is the first Material used by Man for the construction of tools and Arms. The earliest types of Stone used for manufacturing Arms include Chert and Flint. Both of these are types of quartz, and they are easy to break into sharp fragments by repeated tapping with a stone or Bone baton or billet. The flakes which result from billet-chipping are commonly irregular in shape, but sharp on many edges.

    These flakes can be shaped in a process called retouching. Retouching involves using a smaller and softer billet, usually made from Wood or Bone, to tap off portions of the flint where they are not wanted. By continuing this process on both front and back of the intended blade, the shaper can achieve a very sharp, though quite uneven, edge.

    Early man is quite economical in his use of Stone for tools and Arms. When shaping a stone core into an axe celt or knife blade, he collects the dross flakes to later shape into small arrowheads. It is likely that the first Stone Arms were short Hand-axes, slim flake Knives, and flake-tipped Arrows. Though the flint and chert used to create these Arms could be retouched to form sharp edges, Flake blades tend to crack and dull after repeated striking against hard surfaces.

    Stone is divided into three basic categories: Unshaped, Shaped Core, and Flake. Unshaped Stone is suitable for Crushing Attacks only. Mace Heads and Sling ammunition are common Arms which are constructed from Unshaped Stone. Shaped cores are useful for Chopping, Slashing, and Thrusting Attacks. Stone Cores are commonly employed in the manufacture of primitive Axe heads and Knife blades. Stone Flake is useful for small knife blades and arrow points. Long flakes break easily when used for Thrusting and may splinter if used against hard surfaces. For this reason, Flake tipped arrows are only marginally useful against Armored opponents. See the Material Suitability Table for evaluating the suitability of Stone for performing various Attack Modes.

    Wood - Along with Stone, Wood is one of the earliest materials employed by Man for the crafting of Arms. In general, the use of wood is reserved for the construction of weapon Hafts and Shield Boards or Frames, uses which remain popular throughout the Medieval Period. Earlier, however, Man often relied solely upon sharpened wooden sticks for both Arrows and Spears.

    Certain primitive Societies hardened these wooden-tipped Arms by applying sap and heating the point in smoldering coals. See the Material Suitability Table for evaluating the suitability of Wood for performing various Attack Modes. The employment of Wood for Arm hafts is covered under "Arms Breakage".

    Bone - The use of Bone for Arms Construction occurs after the use of Stone and Wood but before the appearance of Metals. As a material for constructing tools, Bone is superior to stone because it could be carved and drilled to fashion small hard implements which required complex shapes. Needles and fishhooks are good examples of this usage. Though not as hard as Stone, Bone can be shaped into smooth edges and points. When considering bone as a construction material, it is useful to think of Bone as a very hard wood. As such, it is lighter than Stone and many types of Wood, but is much harder, and less likely to fragment or splinter.

    Bone, like Stone, is primarily useful for constructing bladed and pointed Arms. A good craftsman can hone a sharp edge and smooth point from Bone (including Horn and Antler); and for this reason Bone is most useful for Thrusting, Slashing, or Piercing Attacks. Against harder Materials, however, Bone tends to dull quickly; and when used for Missile heads, Bone may shatter if it strikes a harder surface. Bone is also useful for Crushing attacks, but its light weight does not make it useful for weighting Arm heads. See the Material Suitability Table for evaluating the suitability of Bone for performing various Attack Modes.

    Leather - Leather, or generic Animal Hide, is used frequently in the construction of Arms Grips and holding Thongs. It is its use for constructing Shields, however, that is important in the process of Arms Design. When used to cover Wooden Board Shields, leather serves primarily as a canvass for Heraldic Symbols rather than as an increased defensive Feature.

    But for Frame Shields, Leather is all important. Stretched tautly over a Wooden or Bone Frame, several layers of Boiled, Lacquered, or Painted Leather can provide ample protection while allowing the Shield to be light and maneuverable. For the purposes of Designing Frame Shields, consider all Leather to be Standard in both its Suitability and Material Quality.

    Copper - Copper Ore, being first used during the Chalcolithic or Copper-Transitional Age, is one of the softest metals used for manufacturing Arms. Unlike Lead, which is softer and heavier, Copper is strong enough to be used for small blades and points. When cold forged, a process in which the Copper ore is hammered into shape without first being heated in a fire or furnace, the strength and hardness of Copper increase remarkably; and Cold-forged Copper was used to create longer (up to 24 inches) metal blades.

    Cold forged copper is lighter and more brittle than other metals such as Bronze and Iron, but it is the first material which is truly suitable for the construction of Daggers, Dirks, and Shortswords. It is interesting to note that most of Copper Blades which have been unearthed appear to have been designed for Thrusting. While many of their points had been snapped or broken, early Copper blades rarely display dents and scars along their edges which would be expected had they been used for cutting or Slashing attacks. For further information, see the Material Suitability Table to evaluate the suitability of Copper for performing various Attack Modes.

    Lead - Lead is perhaps the metal least used for the construction of Arms. Being very soft and heavy, Lead bends easily and does not retain a sharp edge. Able to be melted over a hot fire however, Lead is one of the easiest metals to cast. Casting is a process which involves melting a metal into a liquid state so that it may be poured into a shaped mold. Casting allows Lead to be quickly and uniformly shaped. Were lead less malleable, it might enjoy utility in a variety of Crushing Arms because of its great weight.

    Unfortunately, however, Lead tends to lose its shape when it strikes hard surfaces with great force. It is therefore useful only for arms which do not depend on Shaped design features to cause damage. For this reason, Lead is commonly employed to weight Clubs, a function which does not suffer should the lead be dented or otherwise malformed through repeated blows. Simple Mace Heads can be created quickly and inexpensively by casting lead in a spherical mold and inserting a bulbous handle while the lead retains its molten sta. When the lead cools, it hardens around the handle's bulb, preventing the head from flying off during combat. Lead is also occasionally used to weight Truncheons by drilling a hole into the wooden haft and pouring the molten metal into the hole where it is allowed to harden.

    Bronze - Bronze is created by amalgamating Copper and Tin; Brass, by alloying Copper with Zinc. Of the two materials, Bronze is more commonly employed for the crafting of Arms, as Brass alloys are much softer. The qualities evinced by Bronze depend largely on the ratio between Copper and Tin which is present in the alloy. Most Bronze Arms will possess approximately eight parts Copper to one part Tin (this percentage rendering the most durable alloy).

    Aside from Iron, Bronze is the most universally applicable metal used for constructing Arms. Being nearly as heavy as Iron, Bronze is equally suitable for the construction of Heavy-ended Crushing and Chopping Arms such as Axes, Maces, and certain Hammers. Bronze does not, however, hold and edge as well as a carbonized Iron; nor does it have the strength and flexibility required for the construction of durable, long (over 30 inches) metal Blades. Long Blades made of Bronze may snap or shatter if struck a hard blow with a heavier weapon.

    While it is true that Bronze is less malleable than good Iron or Steel, Bronze can theoretically be shaped into rather complex shapes. The absence of advanced Bronze Arms such as Flails, Warhammers, Poleaxes, and Swordstaves, is a result of the more primitive Design Technology which is usually available to Bronze using Societies rather than unsuitable materials.

    If for some reason, a society has the need for such advanced Arms Archetypes and the technology to create them, it is possible to substitute Bronze if Iron is scarce or allocated for other uses. To determine the suitability of Bronze for various Attack Modes, refer to the Material Suitability Table.

    Iron - Shortly after is discovery, Iron became the favored material for the construction of tools and Arms. Though pure Iron ore is a rather soft metal, it becomes extremely hard when it is combined with carbon. When man first heated lumps of Iron ore in simple charcoal fires, he unknowingly added Carbon to its composition. When heated in Charcoal fire pits, Iron gains Carbon molecules from the Carbon-rich charcoal, thus becoming Carbonized. It is interesting to note, however, that only a minuscule amount of Carbon is required to harden Iron Ore. In fact, larger amounts of Carbon actually begin to soften the Iron, though never making the metal as soft the pure ore.

    Iron may be used to make any Arm which requires metal in whole or part of its construction. See the Material Suitability Table to determine the general usefulness of Iron for constructing Arms of various purposes.

    Steel - By regulating the amount of Carbon which is added to the Iron Ore (a process initiated in Western Europe during the High Medieval Period, Mankind) creates Steel, the strongest and most widely useful metal known to date.

    While good Steel will certainly contain less than one percent Carbon, 20th century Steel often contains less than one tenth of one percent Carbon in its total composition. Steel is stronger, harder, and generally more flexible (and less brittle) than any of the earlier metals. As an improvement made to Iron, Steel can be used to manufacture any Arm which can be made from Iron.

    Moreover, Steel can be used to create lighter, or finer metal blades than can be manufactured from Iron. This makes Steel preferable to Iron for the construction of most Swords and Polearmes which are heavier and slower when made from cruder Iron. See Material Suitability to for further assistance.

    Special Materials - In a fantasy environment, any number of additional Construction Materials may be available for Arms Design. Frequently these include mythical metals such as True-Silver, Mithril, Adamantite, etc., which may be magical or semi-magical in nature. Alternate substances such as the teeth, claws, horns, and scales of mythical Creatures may be substituted for simple Horn and Bone. Perhaps mythical Wood or Stone samples will be included. In essence, Special Materials which will be available for Arms Design depend entirely upon the whimsy of the Narrative Ensemble. If such materials seem appropriate given the individual nature of the Narrative Environment, their properties should be described prior to their use, and they should be evaluated in terms of Suitability and Quality. The Material Suitability and Material Quality tables provide good bases for such evaluation. For a more detailed treatment of Magical Arms Materials, watch for Canto IV Fabled Magic.

    Material Suitability

    All Construction Materials may be evaluated in terms of how appropriate they are for achieving the purpose for which an Arm is Designed. In other words, Arms depend on their various Design Features to accomplish specific purposes, and certain materials are more suitable for construction high quality Arms.

    The Material Suitability Table evaluates Materials according to five generic Suitability categories. Whether a Construction Material is considered Poor, Substandard, Standard, Good, or Exceptional for the construction of particular Design Features which facilitate certain Attack or Defense Modes depends largely upon the innate properties of the Material, and its variational Quality (see Material Quality for further information.) The values which accompany the Suitability grades will be used later in this chapter to determine the Overall Quality of the Arm being Designed.

    Quality of Materials

    Depending upon their natural composition, or more importantly, upon the manner in which they are prepared by Man, Construction Materials will vary in their general Quality. For the purposes of Design, Material Quality represents the relative quality of a material in relation to samples of that same material used to manufacture other Arms. Material Quality does not refer to an objective standard by which other materials are evaluated.

    For example, the Material Quality of Iron evaluates the general quality of a particular sample of Iron in relation to the standard set by other samples. The Quality of a given Iron sample will be either Poor, Substandard, Standard, Good, or Exceptional only in relation to most Iron samples. A particular Iron sample will not therefor be considered Good because it is being compared to Stone Flakes. It may be considered Good, however, because its carbon content has been carefully regulated, and its unworked state has undergone preliminary forging or purification.

    All Materials are evaluated according to five generic categories of Quality. The Quality of a given Material sample may be either Poor, Substandard, Standard, Good, or Exceptional. It is important to note that a particular sample can include enough of the Material to construct as few or many Arms as stipulated by the Mythguide or Arm Designer. For Unique Arms Specimens, the amount of material in a sample is unimportant because a "sample" always includes enough material to construct at least one single Arm. In the case of a Generic Arm Class, however, Quality may either be considered a random occurrence or a Construction Standard. If Arms are being designed for an entire Society (or portion thereof), it is recommended that Material Quality be chosen as a Construction Standard which applies to all Arms of the variety being Designed.

    The Material Quality Table assigns point values to the generic Quality categories. These will be used to determine the Overall Quality of the Arm later in this chapter.

    Construction Materials (Hurled & Projectile Arms Launchers)

    When Designing the Launching Devices for Hurled and Projectile Missiles, Construction Materials are handled in less detail. The Primary Materials used to construct Hurling Launchers include Wood, Bone, Leather, and Cloth. These materials are not evaluated in terms of Suitability and Quality because it is the manner in which they are constructed which is important. For Throwing Sticks, Slings, and Staffslings, all Materials are considered Standard in terms of Suitability and Quality so long as they have the rigidity of flexibility required for Hurling Javelins, Stones, or Bullets. Craftsmanship, rather than Quality, determines how well these materials may be manipulated to construct a quality Arm.

    Arms Craftsmanship

    Arms Craftsmanship refers to the general techniques used to manufacture and assemble the individual parts of an Arm. Once the Suitability and Quality of the Materials have been determined, evaluating the general Quality of Craftsmanship remains as the final step in determining both the Overall Quality of the Arm and its ability to sustain duress without Breaking.

    Quality of Craftsmanship (Melee and Thrown Arms)

    Like Material Quality, the Quality of Craftsmanship is a relative evaluation process. While certain technological advances certainly yield higher degrees of quality, Quality of Craftsmanship is evaluated only in terms of the Materials being worked. In other words, the forging techniques of a Blacksmith are not compared to the retouching techniques of a Stoneworker; rather, the degree of quality evinced by one retouched flint blade is comparable only to the average quality of the majority of retouched flint blades. For purposes of Arms Design, the Quality of Craftsmanship is best evaluated by considering the abilities of the individual Craftsman, and how those abilities are reflected in the finished work product.

    The Quality of Craftsmanship is evaluated on the same generic scale used to estimate Material Suitability and Material Quality. If the Craftsman is known, use his/her Vocational Reputation as an indication of the Quality which is reflected in his/her finished Arm products. If the Armsmith has not been established simply assign a Quality grade to the Arm. Though Standard Qualities are most common, even a novice craftsman may luck into creating an Arm of Good or Exceptional Quality.

    Quality of Craftsmanship (Hurled & Projectile Arm Launchers)

    Whereas the Material Suitability and Quality are of primary importance in the Design of Melee and Thrown Arms, Quality is of paramount to all other considerations when considering the Overall Quality of Hurled Arm launchers such as Throwing Sticks and Slings, and Projectile Arms such as Bows and Crossbows.

    Hurled Arms rely on quality Craftsmanship to render the material supple (in the case of Slings) and to fashion fitting or holding devices in the case of Throwing Sticks. For these Arms evaluate Craftsmanship according to the guidelines provided for Melee Arms.

    Bows and Crossbows depend more upon the Craftsmanship to achieve their purpose than do any other Arm Archetypes. In all but the most advanced societies, the simple Selfbow is the preferred bow due to the simplicity of its single, uniform Material composition. The English Longbow, which is the paragon of the Self Bow Archetype, demonstrates that if suitable Wood is available, there is no reason to bother with more complicated Bow Archetypes.

    Backed Bows, Built Bows, and Composite Bows all historically result from the lack of a suitable Wood sample from which a powerful Longbow may be constructed. For this reason, inferior materials such as soft wood, bone, horn, sinew, and leather are adapted for bow construction; and as the result of ingenious Design and Craftsmanship, achieve similar if not better results. For a detailed description of Bow and Crossbow constructions see the appropriate entries in the Arms Encyclopaedia.

    The Quality of Craftsmanship for Bows and Crossbows is evaluated on the same scale as are other Arms Archetypes. But rather than receiving simple numerical values, the Quality of Craftsmanship effects the Draw Weight, Range, and Damage Potential for Bows and Crossbows depending upon the Archetype in question. See the appropriate tables to determine the effects of Quality on the Draw Weight, Range, and Damage Potential of Bow and Crossbow Archetypes.

    It should be noted that Hurled Arm Launchers (Throwing Sticks, and Staffsling only), Bowstaves, and Crossbows should never be used for Parrying unless there is absolutely no other defense available. These Arms are intended solely for launching Missiles from afar and are not capable of withstanding a forceful impact. Though the effects of such an impact might not be readily perceivable, the damage sustained may cause the bowstave to be less efficient if not truly dangerous should it snap under the strain of the draw.

    Determining the Overall Quality

    Overall Quality of the Designed Arm is determined according to its Material Suitability, Material Quality, and Quality of Craftsmanship. To determine the Overall Quality of the Arm, refer to the accompanying Arms Quality table and refer to the appropriate category (either Melee and Thrown Arms or Hurled and Projectile Arms).

    Arm Breakage

    Arm Breakage refers to the physical strain and duress which an Arm is capable of sustaining without breaking apart. The values derived from determining Breakage are used whenever Combat Resolution calls for a Breakage Check (See Combat Resolution "Arm Breakage for additional information). If the possibility that Arms should break is inappropriate for the purposes of the Narrative Ensemble, this section may be neglected altogether. The guidelines provided herein do not effect any other aspect of the Arms Design Process.

    Arm Breakage is evaluated in terms of a Breakage value. Estimating Arm Breakage requires a general knowledge of the Construction Method and techniques used to craft and assemble the component parts of the Arm. Arms Family and Greater Arm Archetype descriptions presented in the Arms Encyclopaedia provide specific information relating to the Construction Method and related techniques used to manufacture Arms. If necessary, refer to the appropriate Family, Greater, and lesser Archetype descriptions for further information.

    To determine the Breakage value of a particular Arm, refer to the appropriate table. Bladed Arms, Hafted Arms (including Polearmes), and Shields are each handled on a separate Table.

    Arms in the Narrative Environment

    The first effort of human technology was probably weapon-making. History and travel tell us of no race so rude as to lack artificial means of offense and defense. To these, indeed, man's ingenuity and artistic efforts must, in his simple youth tide, have been confined.

    - The Book of the Sword

    The means by which Mankind defends himself play an important role in the histories of all societies. Whether defending his tribal hunting grounds, or expanding to conquer his neighbors' fertile pastures, Man relies on artificial Arms to preserve his own existence in the manner he deems most appropriate. Because physical conflict constitutes a crucial element in most fantasy literature and games, the designers of ARIA recommend that the Narrative Group carefully choose the Arms Archetypes which will be available within the campaign environment. To facilitate this end, the following chapters offer advice (in the form of sequential questions and procedures) which pertains to the Selection and Design of Arms Archetypes.

    The information and advice presented in the following chapters requires that the Narrative Group have a detailed concept of the campaign environment. If the Group has used Canto I: Epic Societies to create the home society of the Lyric Personas many of the considerations presented herein will be familiar. If Canto I is not being used, the Narrative Group may still find the following material useful; and in fact, may find that they have further defined their conceptualized Environment by fully engaging the selection procedure. In either case, the designers of ARIA suggest that the Narrative Group use only as much of the information as is necessary to fulfill their individual needs. While employing the full content of this chapter will certainly yield a rational selection of Arms Archetypes for a given society, rationality and realism are not everyone's cup of tea. Hence, we invite you to deviate from the Arms selection procedure according to your individual group's needs and desires.

    It is the purpose of this chapter to guide the Narrative Group through a process which will render a rational selection of Arms Archetypes which will be available within the particular society which has been designated for campaign use. While most fantasy games present an array of Arms which complement a predetermined setting, ARIA provides a comprehensive Encyclopaedia of Arms Archetypes from which particular Weapons may selected and modified to suit the unique environment embraced by the Narrative Group.

    Because various Groups employ diverse settings, the proscribed Selection procedure is necessarily broad-based. This does not mean, however, that the resultant selection will be general or non-specific. Rather, the Selection Procedure embodies a list of general questions and considerations which will, if applied to a particular society concept, yield a selection of Arms Archetypes which is both specific and unique to the campaign environment employed by the Narrative Group.

    In addition to providing a unique selection of Arms Archetypes, the following procedure yields an appropriate selection. Whether the society in question is based in historical realism or fantastic possibility, the arms Selection Procedure will render a logical array of Arms Archetypes which may be further specialized and detailed within the Arms Design Chapter of this book. By defining weapon aspects such as Size, Shape, Material Composition, etc., the Narrative Group will need only to name the resultant Arm to achieve a weapon which is both unique and appropriate to their individual campaign setting. If this amount of detail is not desired by the Narrative Group, then it is recommended that they simply Select the basic Arms Archetypes from the Arms Encyclopaedia, and use their accompanying statistics for Combat Resolution. If Arms composed of material other than Iron and Wood ( such as Stone, Bone, Copper, Bronze, or Steel) are being used by the Narrative Group, then the Encyclopedic Archetype statistics need to be modified according to the general guidelines presented in the chapter concerning Arms Design.

    Introduction to Arms Selection

    Choosing the variety of Arms available within the campaign setting can be as simple or involved as is desired by the Narrative Group. Often players of fantasy games innately feel which weapons are appropriate and which are not.

    The selection of Arms for the campaign environment can be that simple. If, however, the Narrative Group has taken great care to create a Rational campaign setting, then the process of selecting appropriate Arms may become somewhat complicated or confusing. As there are many aspects which coalesce to manifest a particular societal concept, so the selection of Arms existing within a society result from the conjunction of those same determining aspects. For example, Interaction plays a large role in determining how far and how quickly a society evolves Technologically. Because the types of Arms available to a society depend partially on the Technological advancement of the society and partially upon the Technology of neighbors with which it interacts and trades, both Interaction and Technology determine which Arms might be available to the society in question. It is evident from this example that societal factors such as Technology, Interaction, and Trade work together to create a setting which is predisposed to evincing certain Arms technologies and specimens which vary according to the degree and nature of the same factorial relationships.

    Though it is not difficult to trace logical conclusions concerning Arms Selection from individual societal factors (if those factors have been predetermined by the Narrative Group), the relationships among these factors often appear to create vicious circles in which one determinant seems to influence another which reciprocates by exerting influence of its own. To continue our example, let us suppose that a primitive society regularly interacts and trades with a technologically advanced, neighboring society.

    Unless there are specific reasons which prevent Technology from passing between societies, it is likely that the primitive society would begin to evolve technologically. Even if manufacturing technology is slow to be adopted by the primitive society, the knowledge pertaining to the use of Advanced Arms would not necessarily be so slow (Consider Native Americans learning the use of the firearms which they could not build themselves).

    Therefore, while the low initial Technology of the primitive society might indicate that Iron weapons should not be found within the society, high Interaction and Trade might contradict this conclusion. The process of Selecting Arms for the Narrative Environment is rife with such possible contradictions; and in fact, the involved cyclic pattern which emerges can be defined as Technological evolution.

    Because Arms Selection implies a limitation to possibility, the selection procedure requires that a particular time frame be designated in order to forestall the cyclic evolution which occurs when many factors are considered in relation to one another. For this reason, it is recommended that the societal factors be carefully delineated in their current states so that the selection possibilities can be narrowed according to the history of the society and future developments (i.e. evolved Arms types) immediately ruled out. For assistance in delineating a society according to its various relevant determinants see Canto I: Epic Societies. Thus we are left only with the history of the Narrative Environment (which is detailed to greater or lesser degree by the description of its current state) to provide the evolutionary possibilities which limit and suggest appropriate Arms Selection. In other words, it is not necessary to fully detail the historical evolution of Arms Archetypes in a given society; rather, it is necessary only to detail the selection of Arms which is available in the present.

    Arms Selection

    The selection of Arms Archetypes which will be available in the Narrative Environment requires a thorough concept of the society in question in addition to a general notion of its historical background. As one aspect of Technological development, the manufacture and deployment of martial Arms indicates the stage to which a society has evolved. The concept of Evolution is important to Arms Selection because certain weapon types result as modifications or variations of earlier Arms Archetypes or Archetypal Families. As the Lance resulted from the Spear, so the Sword most likely evolved from the Club. Similarly the Tournament Lance and the Dueling Sword evolved from special social or military conventions which had no apparent place outside of a particular context. In short, there are many societal factors which contribute to the Selection of Arms which are manufactured and employed by any given society. The following procedural guidelines attempt to organize these considerations so that the Narrative Group may color their Campaign setting with a selection of Arms which is both unique and appropriate to the Narrative Environment.

    The Process of Selecting Arms generally involves assigning various Arms Archetypes to a Society in a manner which is appropriate to that unique social environment. More specifically, the Narrative Ensemble must decide upon the number and types of Arms which will be available given the overall disposition of the society in question. While the process for selecting Arms should be rational, it need not lack creativity. It is the purpose of the Selection Process to place Arms Archetypes, not specific Arms, within the Narrative Environment. Specific Arms, which may be named and described by the Ensemble, are created by custom tailoring Arms Archetypes to match the originality of the Narrative Environment. The process for Designing Arms is detailed in the following Chapter.

    The Selection Process

    Arms Selection entails proceeding through four basic stages. In each Stage the Ensemble shall consider the relevant aspects of the designated society in order to direct the Arms Selection process toward its own unique conclusion.

    If performed in detail, the selection process should always yield a final grouping of Arms Archetypes which seems appropriate to the individual Society being considered. If the resultant selection does not 'feel right' to the Ensemble, the designers of ARIA suggest that it be amended so that the majority of the players are satisfied. If this can be achieved without following the Selection Process detailed hereafter, it may be possible to save time by simply choosing Arms Archetypes from the Arms Encyclopaedia which appears at the end of this book. The following Steps are merely guidelines, and experienced players may want to review them only to bring the martial element of their Narrative Environments into clearer focus.

    The basic Stages of the Selection Process are as follows: Stage 1 - Definition of Arms Ideology, Stage 2 - Definition of Potential Selection, Stage 3 - Narrowing the Potential Selection, Stage 4 - The Apportioning of Arms.

    Stage 1: Arms Ideology : (The Hunger for Violence)

    Whether created by man or taken from nature, an object used to indulge violence requires human forethought to make it an Arm. In this Step, the Ensemble will consider the prevailing philosophy of the designated Society to determine its propensity for making war against its fellow men. By envisioning the general attitude which the Society evinces toward violence, the Ensemble may better determine the evolutionary track of Arms manufacture and acquisition which yields the Potential Selection of Arms available to the Society in question. The following Questions and Tables serve to guide the Ensemble through an exploration of the Society's Arms Ideology.

    Given the Society's prevailing Philosophical Orientation, what is its ideological position regarding the manufacture, acquisition, and employment of Arms? Given its philosophical and material objectives, to what extent does the Society rely on military prowess to achieve those ends? Is the Society self-sufficient or does it need to take from others to provide for its general welfare? How does the society protect the lifestyle it enjoys? Does it view Arms as necessary for defense, but primarily evil, or does it cynically perceive warfare as a practical or efficient means to achieve certain ends?

  • Isolation - To what extent is the Society physically Isolated? If it is not completely isolated, what dangers or threats do neighboring societies pose to the Society? What are the perceived threats? How do these perceived dangers effect the Philosophical Orientation of the Society? (Rate Isolation from 1 to 20 with a value of 1 indicating complete Isolation.)

  • Philosophical Orientation - What is the Society's moral and or ethical position regarding military warfare? Is the society philosophically oriented toward Survival, War, Conquest, Equilibrium, Peace, or Knowledge? In providing for its ideological and physical welfare, which Orientation Posture does the Society commonly engage - Offensive, Defensive, Active, or Passive? Given its Orientation, what importance does the Society place on the manufacture or acquisition of Arms specimens and technologies to achieve its societal objectives? (See accompanying Table for possible Orientations and Postures. Assign one Orientation and one Posture to the Society.)

  • Subsistence - How does the society feed itself? Is the Society primarily engage in Hunting/Gathering, Incipient Agriculture (crude planting supplemented by either Hunting, Fishing, or Herding), or Fully Agricultural practices? Is the Society totally self sufficient, or does it rely to some extent on another society for food stuffs? Does it acquire these subsistence goods peacefully or forcefully? To which mode of self sustenance does the society direct its greatest technology and resources? (See accompanying Table for possible Subsistence patterns and assign one to the Society.)

  • Political Infrastructure - What type of Government does the Society evince? How does the Ruling Agency of that government stay in power? Is there peaceful consent from the Populace, or does the Ruling Agency employ forceful means for remaining in power? How much importance does the Ruling Agency place upon military prowess? Does it stimulate Arms manufacture by ordering vast amounts of Arms to supply a Standing Army, or does it require peasants and townsfolk to provide their own Arms during drafted Conscription? (See Table for possible Infrastructures and assign one to the Society.)

  • Military Infrastructure - What type of Military forces are supported by the Society. Does a permanent Standing Force exist? Provisional or Conscript forces? For what end does the Society primarily employ its military forces -- for national offense or defense, or for enforcing civil obedience? How are these forces equipped by the government? Is there a desire to equip soldiers with the best arms available, or are they expected to make do with whatever Arms and Armor that they can provide for themselves? Are there any laws regulating the type and quality of Arms that conscript forces must supply for themselves? (See accompanying Table for possible Infrastructures.

    Assign either Standing Forces, Provisional Forces, or No Forces to the Society. Within that category, choose one subdivision as the most prominent type of force.)

  • Religious Tolerance - What is the role of religion in the Society? Is the Society monotheistic or pantheistic? Is a particular religion sanctioned or favored by the government? Does the Society evince a theocratic form of government? What are the basic tenants of the predominant religion, and what is its outlook on warfare/conflict? Do religious institutions possess fighting orders? What is the general level of Tolerance for other religious belief systems. If Tolerance is low, does the Society stage religious crusades or holy wars against heathen nations/neighbors? (Rate Tolerance on 1 - 20 scale with 1 indicating total intolerance.)

    Determining Postures of Arms Ideology

    To determine the Ideological Posture of the Society in question, consult the accompanying Table and follow the proscribed Steps. Cross-index the resultant number (ranging from 1 - 100) on the Ideological Postures Table. The resultant Posture describes the general Arms Ideology of the Society and it will be used in Stages 3 and 4 of the Selection Process.

    Stage 2: Potential Selection : (The Tools of Destruction)

    Though any object can theoretically be raised against one's fellow man with hostile intention, it requires malevolent forethought the wield such an object as an Arm. Used to enhance the injurious potential of the human body, Arms are simply tools specified for committing violent acts. As a specific tool, therefore, each Arm evinces a degree of specialization which matches the level of hostile ingenuity possessed by its creator. Proceeding from the Philosophical Orientation of the Society in large, the Selection of Arms which are potentially available within a society is derived from the society's Domestic Capability to conceive and produce lethal devices, and the Potential Selection made available by neighboring peoples.

    Question I: Domestic Capability

    What Arms and/or Tools are the Society capable of manufacturing without foreign intervention? If the society were forced to be totally self reliant, what Tools and Weapons would it be capable of producing given its available Resources and Technological ability to exploit those resources?

  • Resources / Arms Materials - Consider the available resources within the society. What materials are available for the construction of Arms and Tools. How scarce are these resources? Is there reason to conserve certain resources for other purposes? Is there an abundance of a particular resource which suggests its use for the mass construction of Arms? (See accompanying Table for Tools/Arms materials which might exist in the society. Choose which will be available and assign their general degree of abundance.)

  • Technology - Consider the general level of Technological achievement within society. What resources has the society learned to exploit. Does it know how to harden wooden spear points with fire? Does the society know how to mine for metals? Which type(s) of forging techniques has it mastered? (Assign the level of Technological Advancement achieved by the Society and see Exploitable Resources Table to determine which available Resources the Society can exploit.)

    Determining Domestic Capability

    To Determine which Arms the Society is Capable of manufacturing Domestically, consider which Resources are available within the Society, which of those the Society is able to exploit, and Consult the Potential Domestic Selection Table. Remember that even though a Society may be technologically capable of constructing Arms of certain materials, they cannot actually manufacture such Arms unless that material is Present within the Society.

    For example, if a society has learned how to alloy Copper and Tin to create Bronze but has very little Copper available to it, the Society is cannot construct more Copper/Bronze tools or arms than its Resource surplus allows. Moreover, even if the society has a vast supply of Iron, it cannot manufacture Iron Arms because it does not know how to exploit Iron. In this case, the Society would be forced to rely on Wood, Stone, Bone, and Lead for Arms Construction unless it could gain more Copper or Bronze through Foreign Trade and/or Acquisition.

    As a general rule, all Societies will have enough resources to construct limited quantities of Arms that fall within its technological capability. Whether a society chooses to use scarce resource for the construction or Arms, or whether it reserves them for the manufacture of tools depends largely on the Society's Arms Ideology and Posture.

    Question II: Foreign Availability

    Given its ability to Interact and Trade with neighboring societies, what Resources, Technologies, Craftsmen, and Arms Specimens are theoretically available within the society? Knowing the Society's innate ability to create certain Arms types, what Materials, Arms, and Technologies could also appear in the society's Domestic Arsenals and/or Marketplace as a result of foreign influences?

  • Foreign Capability - Given the Resources and Technologies which exist outside of the Society, what Arms Specimens, Materials, and Technologies could theoretically be adopted by the Society? (Stipulate which Arms, Materials, and Technologies are available in adjacent/nearby societies. If necessary, repeat procedure for Determining Domestic Capability with results defining the domestic capabilities of Foreign Societies.)

  • Isolation - To what extent is the Society physically (geographically) Isolated? How does this status effect its ability to Interact and Trade with other societies? Does the degree of Isolation totally prevent Interaction and Trade, or do Arms Technologies pass enter the Society from great distances by special means? (Use Isolation value assigned in Stage 1 "Isolation" as a reference for assigning Interaction and Trade values.)

  • Interaction - To what extent does the Society interact with other societies? Do these societies possess more or less advanced technologies? Are they willing to trade or share their technology? Is the society at war with another society? If so have Arms specimens or Arms Craftsmen been captured by the Society in question? Is there an Arms race occurring because of continual threat and/or violence? (Assign Interaction value on a scale ranging from 1 to 20 with 1 indicating very little or no Interaction with other societies. See Interaction Table to determine Acquisition Potential.)

  • Trade - To what extent does the Society trade with other societies? Are these societies more or less technologically advanced? Are there any trade restrictions imposed by either of the trading partners regarding the exchange of Arms or Technology? How expensive are traded Arms and/or Arms materials? Does society need to hire craftsman and/or buy special equipment to exploit Resources and manufacture Arms? (Assign Trade value ranging from 1 to 20 with 1 indicating little or no extra-societal Trade. See Trade Table to determine Trade Potential.)

    Determining Foreign Availability

    To determine which Arms Archetypes are available to the Society via Interaction and Trade with Foreign societies, list the Arms Specimens, Materials and Technologies which are present in foreign Societies. Consult the Interaction and Trade indices of the Narrative Society and total the number of Arms Archetypes, Materials, and Technologies which are potentially available. Define the specific Arms, Materials and Technologies which are available and record them on the Selection Sheet under the heading "Foreign Availability".

    Determining the Potential Selection of Arms Archetypes

    To determine the total Selection of Arms which is potentially available to the Society in question, list the Arms Archetypes available from Domestic Capability and those possible from Foreign Availability. These two lists compose the Arms Selection which is potentially available to the Society. Whether the Society chooses to manufacture, import, or otherwise acquire particular Arms Archetype from those lists depends largely upon the Ideological Impact of the Society's Arms Posture.

    Stage 3: Narrowing the Potential Selection

    Using the right tool for the right job is an axiom which remains as true in warfare as it does in the performance of mundane tasks. It should not be surprising, therefore, that societies choose their Arms in the same manner that a carpenter chooses his tools. Given its particular Arms ideology, a society will choose the Arms which it believes will best suit its style of warfare. Be they for offensive or defensive purposes, Arms are chosen on the basis of which tasks and strategies they are expected to facilitate. While Societies have different preferences which determine the Arms that they are likely to have available to them, when it comes to selecting the Arms which will stock their arsenals and fill their streets the rational society will opt to employ the Arms which are inclined to fulfill the tasks set to them.

    Some societies may decide to spend great amounts of wealth to obtain a wide variety of the best Arms available to them, while others may consider these Arms too expensive and/or unnecessary. While a Society bent on Conquest may decide to extensively train their Standing Militia to use the most specialized and complicated Arms available, a Peaceful society might rely on simpler weapons which require almost no training and could be wielded adequately by the citizenry in times of crisis. One society could focus on Arms which are effective when used on horseback, and another might concentrate on long ranged Arms to repel its invaders. There are myriad possibilities and each relies entirely upon the rationality and purposes of the Society in question. The following Questions will aid in determining which Arms a society is likely to select from the gamut of Arms which is potentially available to it.

    Question I: Ideological Impact

    Knowing which Arms and Arms technologies are available to the Society (from both Domestic and Foreign sources), which Arms does the Society choose to allow within its domestic borders? How does the Society perceive the manufacture, trade, and employment of Arms? Does it encourage the manufacture or trade of certain tools or Arms which could be used for military purposes? Does it foster new Arms technologies or does it suppress the technologies (domestic and/or foreign) which are available? Given its general level of technological advancement, is Arms technology over or under developed?

    The following questions are intended to assist the Ensemble in solidifying their conceptualization of the Society's Ideological Posture. When Determining the Ideological Impact of Arms Posture at the end of this section, answers to these questions should be used to modify or adapt the suggestions provided on the Tables.

  • Exploitation - Given the Resources available, what percent of its total available resources (domestic and imported) does the society exploit? How does it value these materials? Given its Ideological Classification, which materials does it apportion for the creation of Agricultural/Mundane tools? For Arms? Are any resources too scarce/valuable to allot for the construction of Tools or Arms? Which is of greater importance to the Society? Which materials are used for the manufacture of Tools? Of Arms?

  • Subsistence - How does the society feed itself? Is the Society primarily engage in Hunting/Gathering, Incipient Agriculture (crude planting supplemented by either Hunting, Fishing, or Herding), or Full Agricultural practices? What tools and weapons does it use to achieve this mode of Subsistence? How might these tools be used in a combat situation? Is there a desire to modify their basic design in order to create devices specialized for warfare? What Arms Archetypes would logically result?

  • Technological Rate of Advancement - What role does interaction with other societies play in regard to the Society's Technological Rate of Advancement? Does the Society enjoy its current rate as a result of domestic creativity/ingenuity, or do many technologically progressive ideas come from foreign ideas and practices? To what extent is Technological Advancement based on the manufacture of Arms and Armor? Is there an Arms Race driving technological development in the Society? Given the Society's progression scheme, what mundane tools available within the Society might be employed and/or modified to provide for civil/military defense?

  • Arms Technology - Given the average level of technology that exists within the Society, could Arms technology be considered over or underdeveloped? To what extent? Has society fostered or suppressed the creation and design of tools specifically proposed for warfare? Has it restricted or encouraged the importation of foreign Arms technologies? What is the highest level of technology enjoyed by Arms? What is the degree of Arms Specialization within the Society? What Arms Archetypes result from the overall level of Arms Technology available to the Society?

  • Domestic Capability - Of the Arms which the Society is Capable of manufacturing, which does it choose to actually construct and employ? (See Ideological Impact on Domestic Capability for guidance.)

  • Foreign Availability - Of the Arms which are available from Foreign sources, which does the Society choose to enlist? (See Ideological Impact on Foreign Availability for guidance.)

    Determining the Ideological Impact

    The following topics and tables suggest which Arms should be Potentially Available to the Society given the Posture of its Arms Ideology. It should now be apparent that there are myriad possible rationales which may explain why a Society might have the Domestic Capability to manufacture certain Arms or otherwise have access to such Archetypes. While the Following Tables are intended to guide the Ensemble through the process of selecting Arms, the suggestions contained therein should not be considered absolute. Rather, the Ensemble should derive the Potential Selection from all of the factors which they have considered important, using the information on the tables as a guide. Remember that at this stage, the Ensemble is only deciding upon the Potential Selection of Arms available to the Society. Later considerations will be introduced in order to facilitate Narrowing the Potential Selection into a rational list of Arms Archetypes.

    This concludes the basics of Arms Selection. The remainder of Stage 3 provides numerous considerations which can be used to further narrow the Potential Selection of Arms and to position those Arms within the Society.

    If the Ensemble has a clear conception of the Society, they may want to skip the following sections. At this point it will suffice for the Ensemble to simply assign Arms from the Potential list(s) to their Narrative Environment. However, if the group has enjoyed the Selection Process thus far, it may wish to skim the following guidelines to gain further insight into the factors may also effect Arms Selection.

    Question II: Arms Suitability

    Of all the Arms Archetypes which are potentially available to the Society, which are likely to be selected given the purposes for which they were chosen? Does the Society choose Arms on the basis of Offensive or Defensive strategies? Is there a predominant mode of fighting (such as skirmishing or open confrontation) which lends well to certain types of Arms? Are the chosen Arms Archetypes for Military or Civil utility? Are any intended for non-lethal combat? What types of body Armor are employed by hostile nations? Are certain military Arms designed to exploit weaknesses/ overcome strengths of these Armors?

  • Geography - How does the topographical geography and climate effect the selection of Arms maintained within the Society? Do common geographical features limit the utility of certain Arms types? Do vast forests restrict the utility of Ranged Arms? Are wide plains conducive to mounted combat? Does the geography favor infantry or cavalry? If one type of force is better suited to the landscape, what developments result in the selection of Arms commonly employed? Does climate forbid the wearing of certain Armors? If lighter Armors are worn, does the selection of Arms maintain the use of extraordinarily Heavy Arms?

  • General Deployment - What Arms are intended for Civil and Military usage? Are these Arms designed primarily for Offensive or Defensive purposes? Are they designed to kill or disable their intended victims? Are the Arms intended for use by select groups or factions which have specific ethics or creeds regarding their design specifications?

  • Purpose - How specific is the Purpose for the selection of Arms? Are they generally intended for Close or Long range deployment? Are there specific Arms and/or Armors which need to be overcome by the Society's military forces? Are there any situational requirements which demand that the Arms be either inexpensive and/or easy to use? Must the Arms facilitate a particular mode of combat such as mounted warfare or stealth attacks? Does the Society require that the Arms perform multi-purpose combat roles or mundane tasks?

    To get a feel for Arms Purposes, the Ensemble may wish to peruse the Arms and Armor Encyclopaedia found at the end of this book. The Encyclopaedia describes the functions and purposes of Arms in some detail within the Archetype Family headings. The following Tables summarize much of the information presented in the Arms Encyclopaedia and classify Arms Archetypes according to their general and specific purposes/usage.

    Question III: Final Considerations

    Given the overall availability of Arms and the specific purposes and desires of the Society, what practical considerations effect the Society's final selection of Arms? What costs or limitations prevent the Society from manufacturing or acquiring all of the Arms that it would like to adopt from those that are potentially available?

  • Physiology - Given the average height and strength of the archetypal soldier/citizen who is intended to wield the Arm, are there any physical traits which make the use of certain Arms impractical? Is the average user tall enough to effectively handle a Great sword? Is the typical archer strong enough to pull a particular Composite Bow?

  • Training Time - Given the average period of military training, what Arms are appropriate for general usage? Will a particular Arm be useful in the hands of untrained conscripts? Does such an arm require a great deal of training which makes it impractical for the purposes of the Society?

  • Manufacture - Given the current resources and technology, how long does it take to manufacture/import the desired Arms? Is this time so long as to make construction/acquisition of the Arm(s) impractical? What is the overall quality of the desired Arm(s)? Do available resources or technologies obstruct the production of quality products? Is the potential quality so low as to make the Arm(s) undesirable for their intended purpose?

    Finalizing the Arms Selection

    From the Potential Selection of Arms Archetypes available to the Society, a final Selection must be chosen by the Ensemble. Whether the entire Potential Selection is considered the final Arms Selection, or whether the Potential Selection has been narrowed, the resulting Arms Archetypes should be recorded on the Arms Selection Sheet under the heading "Final Selection". If the Potential Selection seems too large to be considered the Final Selection of Arms available within the Society, then the Ensemble should narrow that selection in whatever manner it deems most appropriate. Remember that the Final Selection details only the Arms Archetypes which are available within the Society. Particular Arms Specimens which result from experimentation and modification can be detailed in the Arms Design Chapter which follows. In extreme cases, Arms modification and variation can yield many individual Arms which may all be considered to belong to the same Archetype. The Arm Archetype 'Halbard', for example, includes Specialized Arms such the Hippe, Voulge, and Scorpion, each of which is available to a Society which evinces the Halbard Archetype.

    Stage 4: Apportioning of Arms

    Once the Final Selection of Arms Archetypes has been determined, the only remaining question concerns their placement or positioning within the Society. In Stage 4, several questions and Tables assist the Ensemble in Apportioning the existing Arms among the populace of the Society. Essential for national defense, a portion of the Selected Arms will certainly be allocated for Military deployment. Whether such Arms are locked away in an Arsenal until times of crisis, or whether such arms are handled daily by Professional soldiers, Military Arms warrant careful consideration during the process of Apportioning Arms.

    Arms which are not considered Military Arms, fall into the category of Civil or Mundane Arms. While Civil Arms are by definition allocated for public usage, the exact groups or individuals who are authorized to own or employ Civil Arms must be considered. Whether apportioned to military personnel or private citizens, Arms can seriously threaten domestic stability when possessed by irresponsible and/or criminal individuals. For this reason, many societies have laws and governances regarding the right and authority to bear Arms. Depending upon their individual situations, histories, and ideologies, Societies handle the Apportioning of Arms very differently from one another.

    Given the availability of Arms and the Society's position regarding them, what individuals or agencies are authorized to manufacture, trade, and possess Arms within the domestic province? Considering the previous Selection factors, what are the extenuating circumstances present within the Society which contribute to the overall societal treatment of Arms? How does the need for national defense compare to the potential for internal violence, crime, or rebellion? How is the stability of the State effected by the Possession of Arms?

  • General History - What role have Arms enjoyed in the General History of the Society? Were there any past events which established precedents regarding the treatment of Arms within the Society? Was there ever a popular revolution in which the possession of Arms assisted the public in overthrowing the government? If so, are Arms currently applauded or banned as a result? How has History directed the current treatment of Arms within the Society?

  • Political Infrastructure - What type of Agency governs the populace? Is the Ruling Agency composed of a single individual such as a Clan Head, Tribal Chieftain, Tyrant (Despot), Dictator, or Monarch? Or is its legislation divided among several or many individuals as in an Aristocracy, Republic, Democracy, or Anarchy? What is the relationship between the Ruling Agency and the Populace? How legitimate is the Agency's authority to rule? Does the Agency have the consent of the people or does it gain authority by military might? In general, does the Ruling Agency have cause to fear civil possession of Arms? Which Arms specifically? Which poses a greater threat to the stability of the Ruling Agency, foreign hostility or internal rebellion? How does it reconcile internal and external dangers in its apportioning of Arms? Does the Ruling Agency have a strong Standing Army which polices the citizenry or does it rely on civil obedience to keep the peace?

  • Military Infrastructure - How does the Society provide for national defense? In times of crisis does it call upon all able-bodied men and/or women to take up Arms for defense of the nation, or does it employ a permanent Standing Force of Professional soldiers? Does the Society employ Mercenary forces, Volunteer Forces, or Conscript Forces? Does the Society provide these forces with Arms or does it require that the soldiers provide their own Arms? If asked to provide for themselves, does the Government have any laws or ordinances which specify which Arms the forces must bear? Note that if the Government does not provide Arms to its Military forces (and those forces come from the domestic populace) then private citizens must be allowed to possess Arms, even if they are permitted to bear them only during times of crisis.

  • Hierarchy of Social Estates - Given the disposition of the Ruling Agency, what Arms are permitted for civilian use? For Military use? Does the Ruling Agency recognize the right of civilians to bear arms? Are there particular Arms which are/are not permitted? Is there a social stratification existent in Arms law? Is there a privileged class of citizenry which receives special treatment in regard to Arms possession? Is there any social stigma/prestige associated with the ownership of certain Arms types? Is this related to cost? Is the cost of certain Arms prohibitive to the extent that only the wealthy can afford them? Does domestic crime and/or foreign threat cause the Ruling agency to be lenient in its legislation or punishing of Arms law violations?

  • Economy Type - To what extent does the Society foster a Free Market environment? Is the right to manufacture or trade Arms reserved for governmental agencies or is Arms production allowed in the private sector? Are there powerful guilds or unions which claim the exclusive right to manufacture Arms? If so, does the agency limit or restrict the selection of Arms it makes available for purchase? Are there any Trade restrictions regarding the import/export of Arms? What position do Arms enjoy in the Marketplace? Is there a black market where illegal arms are available? What is the overall level of specialization present in the crafting/production of Arms?

    Allocating Arms Archetypes

    Using the previous guidelines and their own sensibilities, the Ensemble should allocate the Arms Archetypes for either Civil or Military deployment within the Society. To Apportion Arms Archetypes, simply label each Archetype as either Civil or Military depending on whether the Ruling Agency permits it to be privately owned and/or maintained. If the Ensemble wishes, it may subdivide Civil Arms according to the specific laws and ordinances present within the Society. If for example, a privileged warrior class were to exist within the society, certain Archetypes might be allocated for use only by members of that group. If greater detail is required, the Ensemble may also apportion Archetype variations to different groups or individuals. For example, a particular Society might permit Priests to bear sacrificial Daggers but only allow soldiers to carry heavier, thrusting Daggers.

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