Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Ultimate Fighter?

I've recently acquired a new laptop, and with all such purchases, the first thing you do is start buying up the computer games that you've missed out on over the last few years that your old computer couldn't run. One of these for me was the Neverwinter Nights games, and I've been playing the first one for the last week or so. Found myself running a multiclassed Rogue/Fighter (allowing me to spot and disarm my own traps and open locks on my own, as well as some sneaking and persuading). I found myself kitted out legionary-style, with a chain shirt & helmet, large shield, and a short sword. It was a rather unusual combination, but it seems to work for my dude, since lighter armor allows him to use his full Dex bonus to the armor class, and the remainder is covered by the large shield. The short sword is magical, I have a weapon focus in it, and being a light weapon I can use finesse to allow my Dex bonus to replace my Str bonus for the attack roll. I don't hit especially hard, but I hit often and I am pretty untouchable (with magical bonuses and some rings/amulets I have an AC of 24, 25 against whoever is my current opponent).

Anyhow, I digress. All of this got me thinking of what I consider my archetypal "perfect warrior" would be. By this I mean, when I think "Fighter", what picture springs instantly to mind? For some, this might be a burly barbarian-type with a massive axe and such, for others this might be a rapier-wielding swashbuckler, or a splendid knight in plate, wielding a greatsword and lance. I suppose it's something of a test of one's favorite time period / culture, as well as one's favored armor/weapons combo.

When I think "Ultimate Fighter" (and I'm not talking about UFC here...), I think of someone like Uhtred from Bernard Cornwell's Saxon stories, your classic Viking warrior archetype - a long sword, coat of mail, round shield, light helm, and some sort of backup weapon like a long dirk. A classic, centuries-spanning look that says classic medieval warrior. Were I to sit down for a game of D&D and was told to work up a fighter without any real understanding of the time period or culture, this is the sort of headstomper I'd put together.

And with that, I'm putting it out there - what what comes to mind when you think "Fighter"? I'm not talking mechanics or system, I'm just talking about what the character would look like and what he'd be equipped with.


trollsmyth said...

The first thing that springs to my mind is a guy wearing one of those steel caps with the brim (the sort that later evolved into the Tommy helmet made famous by the Brits in WWI), a mix of plate and mail harness, and either a two-handed sword or halberd, along with a falchion and a dagger. Something like the sorts of mercenaries that ravaged France and Italy during and just after the 100 Years War.

- Brian

Darkwing said...

I would imagine a guy in mostly plate armor with a medieval longsword to be the "ultimate" fighter.

But as for a typical fighter that I would play in a D&D game... probably sword and shield, mail shirt with greaves and vambraces, and an open faced helm--or at least not a great helm.

Brian Murphy said...

I think of a guy in a chain mail hauberk, but with his legs unarmored to allow for maximum movement. A shield is a must (D&D and Gygax, rest his soul, have always undervalued the importance of a good shield). He'd have a spear, a good thrusting weapon with maximum reach, and a heavy cutting sword to smash through armor when the fighting gets close. A helmet with cheek and nose protection is a must, too.

I also have a soft spot for the knight in full plate. It's too bad we'll probably never know how nimble a full-plated knight could be on the battlefield--whether he could fight capably on foot, or whether he depended upon his horse and the impact of a charge to be effective.

trollsmyth said...


Actually, the English knights did a lot of fighting on foot during the Hundred Years War.

And check out this video.

Badelaire said...

I just got back to this article and took a look at the video clip - thanks for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

Do you by chance know where the image you posted with this blog originated from?