Step 7. Starting Monies/Equipping the Character

Much like medieval Europe, the economies of the game worlds in Realms of Myth are presumed to be based on a copper/silver standard. The basic monetary unit is known as the silver penny (plural: pence), which roughly corresponds to the old European silver denier. This is the reason behind the English abbreviation of “d.” for the penny, and why we do the same in RoM. The denominations in which written financial accounts are recorded are the pound (£.), shilling (s., @ 20 to the £.) and penny (d., at 12 to the shilling and 240 to the £.).

The character’s initial monies are not meant to represent the total earned by the character since leaving the safe haven of home or even from his trade or skills since entering the work place. Instead, they represent those monies received by the character from his family to get him started in the world in addition to those earned through his own enterprise prior to game life, less the costs for everyday living – room and board, clothing, girlfriend(s) and/or mistress’, sundry tolls, fines, taxes, and so on. These funds assume that the character has done his best to try to make his trade pay.

The player must determine the character’s starting monies, as follows, and spend them on equipping the character with belongings and provisions from the rosters provided in Appendices G, H and I.

To find the character’s base beginning monies, find the base according to social class and station on table 6-1, as follows.

Sibling Rank must then be applied to account for the lesser portion allotted younger children.

Starting with the character’s sibling rank among male children if he is male, or among children of both sexes if female,

Subtract 0.25 per degree of closeness above “Even-handed” up to “Golden Child”

OR

Add 0.25 per degree of distance in the relationship below “Even-handed down to “Black Sheep” of the character’s relationship with his parents as determined in Step 2.

For results of “Even-handed” no adjustment are made.

Divide the base monies from table 6-1. by the resulting number.

Multiply the result by (number of years added to base age due to trade on table 4-9. in Step 4.).

For exampleif the character is the third son (or a female and the third child, regardless of the sex of the others) with an “Even-handed” relationship with his parents, the base will simply be divided by 3. In the case of a Gentleman social station, this would reduce his £20. base to £6. 6s. 7d. 3fg. For a character who spent 10 years in virtual apprenticeship training as a Huntsman according to table 4-9. in Step 4. this is multiplied by 10, yielding 15,197.5d. or £63. 6s. 5d. 1hp.

To this the character is awarded a bonus due to his own labors throughout his trade.

Multiply the bonus amount indicated for the character’s trade on table 6-2. by (number of years added to base age due to trade on table 4-9. in Step 4.).

Add this to the previous amount.

Continuing the previous example, 10 (years apprenticeship) multiplied by the 10s. noted on table 6-2 provides a bonus of 100s., or £5. for a total of £68. 6s. 5d. 1hp.

Now to determine how best to spend it!

 

6-1, Base Monies, by Social Class and Station

Noble Rank

Base Money

Prince

£10,000

Duke/Marquess

£5,000

Earl/Count

£1,000

Lord (Baron)

£500

Knight Banneret

£100

Knight Bachelor

£75

Knight Simple

£40

Squire

£25

Gentleman

£20

Common Townsmen Rural Commoners Base Money
Steward (Sheriff) or Mayor (Shire Gov’t Service, Town Gov’t), Gov’t Service Gov’t Service (local Hundred or Shire)

£40

Alderman/Councilor (Town Gov’t Service) Gentleman

£30

Affluent Merchant, Lawyer-Attorney/ Pleader/Solicitor Courtier, Household Service

£25

Affluent Craftsman Franklin

£20

Constable/Beadle/ Sergeant, Courtier Courtier, Scholar/Lawyer

£15

Merchant/Chapman Chapman

£10

Common Craftsman Yeoman/Farmer

£5

Common Farmer Craftsman/Common Farmer

£2

Journeyman Household Servant

£1

Dayworker/Laborer Laborer

10s.

Landbound Classes

Base Money

Villein

£1

Bordar

10s.

Serf

5s.

 

 

6-2. Trade Bonuses to Starting Monies

Character Trades

Bonus

Knight-Warrior (any except Sacred Orders), Scholar-Physicker, Scholar-Lawyer, Wizard (any), Druid-Fili, Druid-Brehon, Diplomat

£2

Assassin, Craftsman/Smith-Artificer, or Architect (any), Alchemist (any), Druid, Druid-Bard, Courtier, Troubadour, Champion-Warrior, Hedge-Wizard

£1

Craftsman/Smith, Craftsman/Smith-Artisan, Huntsman, Sergeant-Warrior, Hearth-Witch, Merchant, Apothecary, Herbal, Minstrel, Scholar-Magister, Squire, Surgeon, Witch, Druid-Fathi, Druid-Smith, Knave-Horse Thief

10s.

Barber, Beastmaster/-mistress, Scholar-Sage, Chapman, CunningMan/WiseWoman, Knave (any other), Mariner, Mountebank, Player-Trickster, Recommender, Warrior (common mercenary), Woodsman, Herbal, Druid-Fiana

5s.

Boatman, Farmer/Gardener, Husbandman, Midwife, Leech, Guide, Mystic, Rogue, Sacred Knight, Acrobat, Jongleur

2s.

Adding this to the base of £6. 6s. 7d. 3fg. gives him a total of £19. 15s. 7d. 3fg. The Herbal could just as easily have been taken under the Huntsman trade, BUT the starting trade SL would not have been as high, so the money gleaned from it would not have been as much.

This assumes the character has made every effort to exploit all of his knowledge and abilities in bringing in money.

It is often easiest to convert the base monies to silver pence (d.) before modifying for sibling rank.

All of the character’s adventure gear, weapons, armor, tools for exercising his various skills, and provisions must be purchased from out of the monies generated here.

Clothing & Gear Allowances

In addition to the gear purchased from the rosters provided, each character are assumed to have clothing appropriate to his class which he is assumed to have taken with him when he left home.

All Noble-born characters are assumed to have eight changes, two of better quality for everyday, two of best quality for about town and two sets of riding robes or leathers of the best quality for traveling, and two of grand cloth and cut for going to worship, for holidays, or attending Court. The higher the specific noble rank, the finer the cloth and cut are, with rich furs of sable, miniver, or ermine, and cloth of silver or gold reserved the very highest ranks (Duke, Marquess, Prince).

Freeman characters are assumed to have five changes, two of good quality for every day, two of better quality for about town and traveling, one of best quality for going to worship and for holidays.

Villein-born characters are assumed to have four changes, two of good quality for work and every day, one of better quality for going to market and one of best quality for going to worship and for holidays.

Serf-born characters are assumed to have two changes, one for working in the fields every day and one of better quality for going to worship and for holidays.

Knights are awarded, in addition to the clothing of a noble (as above), a fine sword (long sword, sword of war, or two-handed sword, player’s choice), a helm with neckplates (field plate or cuerbully, player’s choice, no better than common quality) and a shirt and gaskins or a hauberk of singlemail (or any smaller garments of the player’s choice, covering no AoD more than once, no better than common quality), a pair of the gilded spurs of his station, a lance (light or heavy, player’s choice), and a heater-style shield (large or small, player’s choice), in addition to a fine, strong courser or charger for riding on the battle field and either a great destrier or war horse for parade and riding in the lists (greater barons and higher noble station families, only) or a fine palfrey to ride casually and to carry his kit when traveling (lesser barons and knights).

Squires are awarded a spear (any type) or pike, a helm and neck plates (field plate or cuerbully, player’s choice, no better than common quality) and a gambeson and gaskins or aketon of simple padded armor (or any smaller garments of the player’s choice, covering no AoD more than once, any thickness), a pair of the silvered spurs of his station, and a heater-style shield (large or small, player’s choice), in addition to a fine palfrey to ride casually and to carry his kit when traveling.

Investiture as a Sacred Knight always includes the gift of a shirt and gaskins or a hauberk of singlemail, a helm with neck plates and a set of leg plates (field plate or cuerbully, player’s choice, no better than common quality), a fine sword (long sword, sword of war, or two-handed, player’s choice), a lance (heavy or light, player’s choice), a heater-style shield covered with leather and painted with the arms of the Order, two misericords (“mercy blades,” or long, thin daggers), the “coat of arms” of the Order (a linen surcoat in the Order’s colors worn over the armor to keep off the sun and weather) and, finally, three horses : a great destrier or war horse for parade and riding in the lists, a fine strong courser or charger for riding on the battle field, and a fine palfrey to ride casually and to carry his kit when traveling. Saddles and riding gear for the mounts are included with the mounts provided.

In addition, the new knight are given a copy of the holy tome of his religion, two sets of muslin underclothes, two fine linen shirts and a tunic with close-fitting sleeves to wear over, a long jerkin slit up the middle below the waist for ease in riding, a broad leather belt, two pair of leather shoes, a cup and a bowl for taking meals, a cotton cap, a good felt hat, a hip-length straight cape to be tied or clasped at the neck, a light-weight summer mantle, and a heavier winter mantle lined with wool, all in the colors of the order, in addition to his bedding and two good blankets. The Sacred Knight will have surrendered his worldly garb, described under the garments all noblemen start play with (as above). The clothing he is given by the order is all he will require. The player are able to buy whatever other gear he feels his Sacred Knight may need with the monies allotted to him to start the game.

The Sacred Knight orders are generally poor orders with stringent rules against blatant self-aggrandizement or lavish ornament. On the other hand, the medieval society of the game demands that notable (noble) persons be readily identifiable, so spending some extra money on making sure that the gear not given him by the order lives up to the standards of knighthood will generally be accepted. Living up to the standards of a noble station above that of a knight is too much, however. Sacred knights do not exalt themselves above their brethren of the order, who may well just as often be of base birth or even greater birth than their own. The player should consult with his GM if he has any difficulty finding the middle ground in this matter.

IF the character is a Scholar by trade, regardless of his degree, he are granted the robes appropriate to his station and guild to which he belongs and his scholastic/professional pursuits. Magisters will wear the black biretta hat of their class and trade; physicians will wear robes of scarlet, etc. This are discussed more fully in Part II. The GM will provide the details for the garb adopted by the members of the character’s guild/trade in the gameworld that are not already provided or that he has made changes to, at his discretion. These are in addition to the normal clothing allowance for the character’s native social class.

Society in the medieval worlds of the game will demand a display of wealth, so that one’s station can be determined simply by appearance. The specific codes of dress common to the period of the game are discussed in detail in Part II. Playing the Game, Chapter 2., under the heading “Notes on Medieval Garb” (pg _), among the background for medieval roleplaying.

The player should keep in mind the fact that he are responsible for his character’s daily expenses for bed and board from the very first day at the start of play, and his domestic arrangements will need to be worked out with the GM. If the character is short of funds after buying equipment and supplies, and the tools necessary to exercise his skills, he may need to pawn some belongings or clothing to raise money from a merchant money-lender or make arrangements for work, visiting the local market for hiring labor on a Saturday to get some money coming in until some other means of income be secured.

The player should also keep in mind the fact that any money left over after buying equipment and supplies are cash coin that the character will need to look after, and nothing attracts the attentions of cutpurses and highwaymen like bulging purses full of coin. It is recommended that the majority of the character’s left-over coin be turned into some other less obvious or more easily concealed form, or goods of equal value that are at least more easily defended. The nobility and the wealthy commoners will commonly wear their wealth in jewelry and furs, satins, velvet and other finery that can be taken to the local money-changer as collateral for loans, as well as silver, gold, and gilded chalices, cups, plate, platters, and other tableware, called “boullion,” that can be taken to the local mint, melted down, and struck as new money as needed. However, while converting to goods, gems, or jewelry is always a good idea, the character should always have some (smaller) coins on hand in order to pick up a drink at the tavern, greasing a porter’s or clerk’s palm, or any other spur-of-the-moment business, as necessary.

Buying Equipment

Go to the Adventure Gear roster in Appendix G., Weapons & Arms rosters in Appendix H., and Armor & Shields rosters in Appendix I. and buy all of the gear, provisions, armor, and weapons the character needs to properly exercise his skills, or as near as the character’s funds allow. All of the character’s adventure gear, provisions, weapons and armor (less any that are provided as an award as described earlier for Knights, Squires, and Sacred Knights) must be purchased from the funds generated in this Step.

The character’s tools, equipment and gear are his stock in trade. No character can survive without the gear that allows him to ply his skills. One can’t pick a lock without lock picks, tend the wounded and sick without the herbs and instruments in a Healer’s kit, disarm a trap without tools, make or fix things in the workshop nor make-up one’s face for the grand ball without spending the money to keep a store of tools and materials or clothing, props, and cosmetics, as noted in those skills. The player should be sure to purchase all of the equipment his character may need during the course of adventure, or he may find himself caught flat with a life hanging.

For convenience, bundles of goods labeled “Character Kits” are included on the rosters. These are the best buys in the equipment lists. These kits are bundles of tools and materials put together to take the guess-work out of addressing the character’s needs, according to his trade/skill(s), to give the character everything he needs to make full use of the skills for which each is designed. The kits are cheaper than buying the items in them separately. They are assessed at a discount the character might have received in buying them in bulk alongside the brethren of his craft from any merchant.

Once the character is brought into play, he is no longer be allowed to purchase equipment as appears in such kits again, unless he can get his brothers in the trade together to make a bulk purchase (no less than 100 units). While a Merchant or other character might be able to find a another merchant or other agent to gather the items and put together a kit for him, he would have to pay full price for all items, UNLESS he were buying in bulk, as stated. If the character were to employ a factor or agent in order to keep his own schedule free for other activities, he would be expected to compensate his agent for his efforts, as well, of course. Merchants deal in bulk quantities but generally of a single type of goods, so finding one to procure his needs in this way might be a problem in itself. Of course, where there is a will there is a way, especially if the PC is a Merchant and determined.

All goods purchased for the beginning character from these rosters are assumed to be of the highest quality the character are able to find for his money without spending more for particularly fine or expensive materials. This will NOT necessarily be true once the character has been brought into play. The various aspects of the medieval marketplace that are so different from our own today, and which the player (and the character!) will just have to get used to during play, are detailed under the heading “In the Marketplace” in Part III.

IF the player buys an item for his character that has a note number beside it on the roster, he is responsible to be sure to read the note that goes with it so that he knows just what that item is and what its limitations are, and especially in the case of a kit, he must understand what is actually IN the kit, and make what notes he may deem necessary to keep those things in mind. The importance of these notes cannot be stressed enough!

IF the player doesn’t see something he wants for his character on the rosters provided, he should ask the GM. The GM has access to a variety of items and materials in his own rosters that are not generally needed by the players, especially in regards to special equipment, materials and personal items.

 

Optional Rules: Equipment Cost & Weight Modifiers

For those games in which the GM has decided to put the Encumbrance rules into play, costs and weights for weapons, armor, and shields in the equipment rosters are quoted for the average 13STR, 5ft. 6in. human. If a character is not average in STR score or height, the actual cost and weight of the character’s weapons, armor, and shield are modified as appropriate to the character’s own STA and STR scores, as follows.

For weapons and shields the multiplier starts at 1.

Add to this 0.1 per point of STR above 13,

OR

Subtract 0.05 per point of STR below 13.

Then add 0.01 per inch of height above 5ft. 6in.,

OR

Subtract 0.02 per inch of height below 5ft. 6in.

For armor the multiplier starts as listed below according to the Build of the character’s race.

Add to this 0.01 per point of STR above 13,

OR

Subtract 0.01 per point of STR below 13.

Then add 0.02 per inch of height above 5ft. 6in.,

OR

Subtract 0.03 per inch of height below 5ft. 6in.

Needless to say, these modifiers are kindest on the backs and purses of smaller characters, especially dunladdin.

When applying the modifiers while purchasing gear, all monetary results should be rounded to the nearest 0.25 (farthing) and all weight results should be rounded to the nearest quarter pound.

These modifiers must be applied before any modifiers for determining the costs for gilding and/or silvering are applied (as applicable). These modifiers should be recorded on the character sheet in the space provided on the back for later reference, as they are applied to all clothing, weapon, and armor purchases made later during play, as well. They are not restricted for use solely during character creation.

 

6-3., Cost & Weight Modifiers

Build Base Multiplier
Slight x 0.75
Medium-Light x 0.9
Medium 0
Medium-Heavy 1.25
Heavy 1.5

 

Silvering & Gilding

For those characters that end up with more coin after finishing the purchase of character equipment than might be convenient to carry, silvering is a common practice in the period providing a good means for disposing of that money in a way that it can still be tapped at need while providing a public impression of affluence that can provide a subtle advantage in social situations. Practitioners of magick are reminded that, in order to avoid the penalty to their magick (as discussed in their trade descriptions), they should consider having any items made of or primarily made of steel (especially and particularly weapons and armor) silvered.

Silvering an object adds (object’s area in inches ÷ 4) x the number of faces so treated in pence (d.) to its cost (GM’s discretion).

For example, a bronze box 9in tall x 12in. wide across the front x 6in deep from front to back would cost 99d. to silver on all sides but its bottom (12 x 9 = 108; 108 x 2 for the front and back = 216; 9 x 6 = 54; 54 x 2 for the two sides = 108; 12 x 6 = 72 for the top; 216 + 108 + 72 = 396; 396 ÷ 4 = 99d). To silver the bottom as well would cost only 18d. (same area as the top, 72 ÷ 4 =18), for a total of 117d. (or 9s. 9d.), or the same to silver it later.

The cost for silvering armor is based on the type of armor as shown below.

Base Armor Type

Cost for Silvering

studded padding

£0. 17s. 1d.

bezainted padding

£2. 2s. 8d. 1hp.

trellised padding

£0. 8s. 6d. 1hp.

ringed

£1. 8s. 5d. 3fg.

single mail

£1. 14s. 0d. 1fg.

double mail

£3. 4s. 0d. 3fg.

jazeraint, laminated or brigandine

£3. 16s. 10d. 1hp.

Full field plate (either type)

£4. 5s. 4d. 3fg.

The actual area to be silvered is used to calculate the cost of this treatment. Limiting the use of silver to accents, striping, and/or decorative borders of a measured width reduces the expense commensurately. Simple trim could reduce the expense for the silvering to one tenth (1/10th) the cost noted, but this limited application is only available on true field plate, whether steel or cuerbully.

The cost for silvering blade weapons is equal to their length in inches (Size) and their weight class as indicated in the equipment rosters and keyed on table 7-3, as follows.

Size in this case is already based on the character’s actual height in inches, so no further (Weight/Cost) modification is needed.

Weapon Class

Silvering Cost

Light

length in inches (Size)

Medium-Light

length in inches (Size) x 1.25

Medium

length in inches (Size) x 1.5

Medium-Heavy

length in inches (Size) x 1.75

Heavy

length in inches (Size) x 2

The cost for silvering hafted weapons for melée (axes, maces, and flails as opposed to polearms, for example) are determined in the same manner, however the Size (length in inches) are multiplied by 0.4 beforehand, as most of their Size is taken up by a wooden haft. Polearms are basically just weapons on the end of a pole. A halberd are charged the same as a broad axe to silver; a gisarme are charged the same as a battle axe; a glaive are charged the same as a falchion; a lance, (any), spear (any), or pike are charged as for a carving/dressing knife; while a spetum or partisan are charged the same as a short sword; a poleaxe are charged the same as a cleaver. The charge for lances are the same regardless of whether “live” blades for war or blunt coronels for a peaceful pass of lances at the tourney are being silvered.

With cheeks added, the cost of silvering a polearm is raised 1s.

With a rondel added, the cost of silvering a polearm is raised 8d.

Those polearms which have a dagger-like thrusting blade rising from the top will have an additional charge equal to a dagger added to the cost for silvering.

The points of “garb” or “flight” arrows cost 1hp. each to silver.

The long heavy “bodkin” head of the sheaf arrow cost 1d. each.

The heads of “crescent” arrow heads cost 1d. 1hp. each.

With the added investment in silver, it is likely to be well worth it for the character to search out his discarded weapons and/or arrows again after each battle to retrieve them.

For any irregular shapes and/or surfaces, the GM is responsible for determining estimated figures at his discretion.

The cost for gilding an object are 14 times that of silvering the same object, for nobles and those possessed of wealth requiring such display.

Alternately, items may be double or even triple or quadruple gilt in silver or gold. This multiplies the additional cost for the silvering or gilding accordingly.

For those members of trades that wield magick who have some cash they need to change into a more useful form, getting the candlesticks, censer, braziers, pattens, chimes, gongs, etc. in their ritual kits may be silvered. This has the added bonus of providing a benefit towards the success of the Low Magicks they cast with such a kit.

The cost for silvering a practitioner’s kit, regardless of specific trade practiced, is 230d. 3fg., or 19s. 2d. 3fg.

IF the character is a practitioner of magick with a load of coin on his hands to invest in a ritual kit made wholly of silver, the benefit it provides to their Arts is a great deal better than simple silvering.

The cost for a silver ritual kit is £9 12d. 3d.

The cost to purchase a ritual kit of gold is 14 times the costs quoted for solid silver. 

A number of the weapons and some of the armor presented for use in the game may be noted as actually drawn from the Renaissance. This has been done intentionally to provide more options to ensure that players find what they like for their characters’ use. It is also an acknowledgement of the fact that, in the great majority of the public’s mind they are all considered “medieval” while at the same time, in a perpetually medieval gameworld, there is also very likely to have been plenty of time for both weapons and armor to be so perfected and refined. This and similar developments are explored in some detail for the GM’s benefit in the GHB I. Although they are not included, even firearms up to and including flintlocks might be added. With magick as the great equalizer to strengthen the armor and fortifications, firearms cannot tip the scales as they did historically. But, certainly, all the wonderful weapons of the Renaissance most people think of when they think “medieval” should have been able to be developed as the traditions of armed combat continued to linger, cut-and-thrust swords, true rapiers, the estock, back swords, daggers, poigniards, sword-and-dagger fighting “Florentine”-style, as well as sword-and-buckler. Having them and the special fighting styles associated with them available to the players only makes combat more interesting and the game richer.

Buying Weapons & Weapon Gear

Buying weapons for the characters’ skills should be a snap. The player simply needs to buy the weapon(s) corresponding to the skill(s) he chose in Step 5. previously, which should include the weapons required of him by the Assize of Arms.

As mentioned previously, social restrictions play a great part in the types of weapon skills a character will have the opportunity to cultivate. In the distinctly medieval milieu of the game, social class and station will dictate the weapons and arms the character is expected to own. The arms and weapons a Warrior will have available to train with are determined by his class and station, although if he has the wealth to buy more or better quality in addition he is welcome to it. In medieval England, the Assizes of Arms determined the armor and weapons all able-bodied male citizens over the age of 16 and up to the age of 60 must acquire and maintain for the defense of the realm. It dictates of what type and extent, according to the value in yearly income of the lands each male citizen holds, or the value of their chattels (moveable goods). For most walks of life, this dictated the weapon skills they were allowed to practice and for what purpose they were allowed to be used, what must be maintained in the house as far as war harness. The character’s war harness are subject to review for proper care and maintenance once a year by the local representative of the king (hundred Constable).

6-6. Assize of Arms                 

Income/Chattels

Armor & Weapons Required

3s.

“sticks & staves” long-handled farm tools, cudgels and quarterstaves

5s.

gambeson, staves & knives

3-10M

aketon, gisarme, sword & knife

20s.

iron cap, pourpoint, axe & lance/spear

40s.

(£2.)

iron cap, pourpoint, & lance, bow & arrowsbow & arrow, sword & knifeconstables : axe, sword & knife

£5.

horse, bow & arrow, sword & knife

£10.

horse & haubergeonHobelar : horse, aketon or plates, basnet or palet, gorget, iron gauntlets, lance, sword & knife

£15.

mounted man-at-arms/sergeantHobelar

£20. †

horse & lorica (full hauberk)

£40. †

horse & lorica + 1 man-at-arms & 1 Hobelar

† subject to distraint of knighthood

By now, the player should know where his character falls on this schedule of requirements (table 6-6). The Assize of Arms is one of the major reasons for including the average yearly incomes in the descriptions of the different levels of Class and Station. The character’s Primary Trade are most important in that determination, though of course his social class and station by birth will certainly have their influence, as it is unlikely that the trade are terribly far removed from the station by birth.

One of the most important distinctions is between those who must be mounted and those who travel by “shanks’ mares”, on foot. Horses are status symbols, expensive both to purchase and to maintain. Those who are expected to provide horses by the income level noted generally already own them, however. It is a mark of wealth and greater station.

Distraint of knighthood is the requirement and duty of those of a certain income level (£40. per year or more in income) to seek out and take up the mantle of knighthood to aid in the defense of the realm.

It is generally the custom that only those born to the noble class or free men serving as professional Warriors currently in service to a chartered town, a lord or the crown, or a member of the Fyrd (militia of the commonalty) when mustering in time of war or those traveling wilderness where they may encounter trouble, or mercenary travelling in an area or region beyond the regular reach of the feudal officials who maintain the peace, especially in the household (employ) of merchant or wealthy citizen as a mercenary guard in an area or region where trouble is anticipated, or outlaws and those who disdain the rule of law and polite custom carry or wear armor or weapons forged to be battle-worthy (as opposed to stage props).

Not everyone who carries a sword is a knight, but the idea that the sword is an exclusively “knightly” weapon is not entirely wrong. The custom, or even the right, to wear a sword actually varied somewhat historically, according to time, place, and changing custom and regulations. Throughout medieval Europe, swords were the chief weapon of knights, nobles, and mounted men-at-arms, who by schedule of the Assize of Arms it is clear were also well-to-do men.

Swords, particularly of the “combination” type, are the symbol of the nobility and knights in particular, the “bastard” sword and the “great sword” especially so, however.

In times of peace, however, only noblemen, and more specifically knights, will generally be allowed to carry swords in public, as the mark of their class, their responsibility as “Those Who Fight”. Since in most regions swords are regarded as “weapons of war” (as opposed to the dagger, the most commonly acceptable sidearm), those bound to the land, the masses of free peasants and free burgesses of the towns, not belonging to the “warrior class” of medieval society, are forbidden to carry swords.

This restriction doesn’t apply so much to the “common” swords like backswords, estocs, short swords, braquemarts, and falchions, especially when the bearer is obviously some sort of professional Warrior or well-to-do or wealthy member of the free classes in pursuit of fulfilling their assessment by the Assize of Arms.

A general exception to the ban against wearing weapons, however, are observed in the cases of travelers (merchants, the general FREE citizenry, even those on pilgrimage) due to the ubiquitous and widely acknowledged dangers of travel by land and sea. Within the walls of most medieval towns and cities, however, the wearing of swords will generally be forbidden for everyone, sometimes even the nobility, as well – at least during times of peace. usually attached prominently to medieval churches or city halls immediately adjacent to the marketplaces in the towns, along with the standardized measures for trade and commerce, will often also be included examples of the permissible length of daggers and some times also swords that could be carried inside city walls without fear of penalty or reprisal.

It is undoubtedly due to such regulations that the sword was transformed into an exclusive symbol of both the warrior class and knightly status. Yet, due to gradual social changes and newly evolved fighting techniques during the 15th and 16th centuries, it slowly became more and more acceptable for civilians and noblemen alike to carry the lighter and thinner successor of the sword, the rapier (cut-and-thrust swords, back swords, estocs, etc.), as an everyday weapon for self-defense in public. Indeed, until the early nineteenth century, rapiers and smallswords became an indispensable dress accessory for all gentlemen.

A weaponsmith will not even undertake the making of any true sword for a character nor a merchant accept payment without first being convinced by the character’s assurances that he is entitled to bear it or is purchasing it for one who has that right, including rich, noble attire, retainer(s) and fine, noble manners. Adventurers will have to take care to follow these rules when in populated places. They are impossible to circumvent in common, honorable society except by deceit or with the aid of others of equally questionable character.

As a general rule. any character of the Villein, Bordar, or most particularly the Serf class are unable to buy any weapon other than a common knife or dagger designed for war (or metal armor either, for that matter) from any honest smith or merchant, unless he invests at least 6s. 3d. in a suit of clothing befitting a man of the free or “middle” classes with which to dupe him.

Honest merchants or craftsmen may still discover the ruse or become suspicious of the character’s true social class due to his speech, attitude, or manners, spoiling the sale. The Presence skill of Silver Tongue and Player/Trickster skills may allow the character dupe a merchant from whom he may buy. The details will have to be worked out with the GM.

On the other hand, it was never by any means an exclusive right of the knights and nobles to wear and fight in armor. Not every piece of armor was once worn by a knight, nor can every person depicted in an artwork wearing armor be identified as a knight. A person in armor should more correctly be referred to as a “man-at-arms” or “man in armor”. Foot soldiers such as mercenaries, or groups of retainers comprising peasants, and burgesses or burghers of the towns, as well, also participated in battle in time of war or civil unrest, and protected themselves accordingly with armor of varying quality and extent, according to their means and the Assize of Arms. Indeed, the free burgesses of most medieval and Renaissance cities (of age 16to 60, and above a stipulated wealth or income according to the Assize of Arms) are expected — with the force of law — to acquire and keep their own arms and armor. This will not necessarily be a complete suit of armor, but will consist of at least a helmet, a body defense in the form of a mail shirt, fabric or padded armor, or breastplate, as well as a weapon such as a spear, pike, bow, or crossbow, perhaps with a horse, according to each citizen’s material means and the requirements of the Assize. In times of war, these militia forces, called the “Fyrd”, are required to defend the city or to set forth to render military service for feudal overlords, king and country, or allied cities.

During the 15th century, as some wealthy and powerful cities became more independent and confident, even the free burgesses in some independent towns organized their own tournaments for which, of course, they would also have worn armor.

If the player is unsure at this point of the specific weapon(s) to choose for his character. he must turn to the description of the Weapons skill now, read it, and choose one primary weapon for each skill from the list of weapons whose use it covers, according to the weapons his trade(s) and/or social background and/or Petty Skills allow.

The advantages and disadvantages of the various skills and weapons are explained in the descriptions of the weapons in Appendix H. and are made more clear by the discussions of their usage in the rules for combat.

The weapons on the equipment rosters are divided on the same lines as the weapon skills to make the weapons for the character’s skills easier to find.

In the column marked “Size” is a number that can be less than one or greater. This is a multiplier to be applied to the character’s height (in inches) and rounded to the nearest foot to reflect the fact that each of the character’s weapons are fitted to him in order to serve him best. When the Size is a set number, it is a commonly agreed-upon convention, but for human characters only. Players of demi-human or non-human characters must check the Notes for the weapon in question to get the proper Size for their race.

All weights quoted on the lists, found under the “Wt.” heading, are given in pounds and 1/4th’s of pounds.

The efficiency with which a character’s STR and STA are brought into play in striking a foe varies with and is indicated by the weight of the weapon used, or its Weight Class, found in the “Class” column on the lists. These range from Light (Lt.); Medium-Light (M-Lt.); Medium (Med.); Medium-Heavy (M-Hvy.); Heavy (Hvy.); to Massive (Mass.) and directly affect the amount of damage the character can inflict on a foe with it in battle, and also how well weapons stand up against one another when crossed in battle.

The main virtue of a weapon in combat is represented by its Damage Bonus (DB). The DB is added directly to the Potence of a blow, which determines whether it gets past a target’s armor (if applicable) to count towards the Levels of Wounding. It is determined by its Class and Size, as shown on table 6-5., following.

6-5. Weapon DB’s, by Size & Class

Damage Bonus by Weapon Size & Weight Class

Sz

Lt

M-Lt

Med

M-H

Hvy

Mass.

0

0

1

2

3

4

5

1-2

1

2

3

4

5

6

3-4

2

3

4

5

6

7

5-6

3

4

5

6

7

8

7-8

4

5

6

7

8

9

9-10

5

6

7

8

9

10

11-12

6

7

8

9

10

11

13-14

7

8

9

10

11

12

15-16

8

9

10

11

12

13

17-18

9

10

11

12

13

14

19-20

10

11

12

13

14

15

 

Those weapons that have a zero (0) DB allow the character to inflict full damage based on STR and STA, but add nothing by their own virtue. The manner in which damage inflicted in combat is handled is detailed in The Rules of the Game.

Ranged (missile) weapons (bows and slings) rely solely on the STR of the wielder, STA plays no part in the damage they inflict. Any DB to be applied is granted by the type of arrow and arrowhead being used, according to the notes provided on the different types under the heading “Notes on Weapon Gear”, following. Their true advantage lies in their ability to reach a target at range, without risk of being struck in return except by use of another ranged weapon, and their ability to pierce most types of armor.

As the player and GM read through the list of weapons offered for sale, he will note that some are marked “H”. Most of these are normally held in hand for use in the melée, but are also considered suitable for Hurling at foes at range, as well.

Hurled weapons, like missile weapons, do not allow for STA in the POT of the damage they inflict, only STR. Unlike the arrows and sling bullets of missile weapons, however, they will still inflict their normal DB based on Size and Class when they are Hurled.

The special conditions governing the uses of Specialty Weapons, special attacks, and the determination and application of damage inflicted by landing a successful attack are all discussed in their respective notes as well as in The Rules of the Game.

The numbers in the margins alongside the entries on the weapon rosters are Note references. These direct the player to the note of the same number in the passage headed “Weapon Notes”, in the same manner used in the Adventure Gear section, previously. The importance of reading this section to the proper use of the weapons described in these pages cannot be stressed too much.

All belts, scabbards, and other gear required to safely tote the character’s weapons about can be found following the weapons, under the heading “Weapon Gear”, with explanatory notes following in numerical order after the Weapon Notes passage. The player should make sure he buys enough gear (belts, scabbards” baldrics, girdles, sheaths, etc.) to carry his weapons comfortably, and enough ammunition of the proper sort (arrows, bolts, shot, pots, etc.) for his missile weapons to be ready for any conflict (as applicable). 

Buying Armor & Shields

The player of the character who wishes to engage in any sort of armed combat is counted wise indeed to purchase armor with which to protect himself. Being reduced to a state of Grievous injury is likely to cause the character to fall and perhaps pass out, at the mercy of his opponent(s). The armor types available to the character run the gamut of what was available in the period, slightly before and somewhat later, as well.

All of the types of armor available in the period of the game have been included, in all their diversity, and even a few that by all rights belong to the late Wars of the Roses (full field plate or White Armor) due to the developments possible in an essentially perpetually medieval gameworld. Between the diverse types, with the possibility of layering as well, the players are in for some fun in mixing and matching padded and metal armors for a suit that meet the needs of purse and the demands of the Assize of Arms.

The main virtue of both armor and shields is represented by the number of points of protection they provide against damage, called its Damage Resistance (DR). Each type of armor is rated according to its quality. The higher a piece of armor’s DR, the better the character is protected by it when he gets hit. The DR’s of the different types of armors are gathered for comparison and contrast in table 6-6. for the player’s convenience.

6-6. Armor/Shield DR Recap      

Armor Types

DR

Padded, Simple

10

Studded Padding

12

Trellised Padding

14

Bezainted Padding

15

Ringed Padding

16

Singlemail

10/40

Banded Singlemail

14/40

Doublemail

20/40

Banded Doublemail

24/40

Jazeraint

28/40

Laminated

32/40

Brigandine

36/40

Field Plate

40

Cuerbully Plate

30

Shields

DR

Wood (alder or poplar assumed)

25

Steel-Bound

30

Steel

40

 

Padded Garments & Enhanced Padded Armors

Padded garments and armors protect best against impact damage and the bludgeoning weapons designed to enhance impact damage. These garments were originally worn as padding to make metal armors like chainmail more bearable and safer to wear in battle. They emerged over time as they were adapted into forms of armor in their own right, however, for the use of poorer warriors on the field in light of the prohibitive cost of the metal armors.

Padded garments treated with metal fittings such as studs or rings applied to add some small protection from cutting damage are called “enhanced” padding and are considered armor in their own right. Enhancement can take a number of forms, from studded, trellised, or bezainted to ringed.

Simple Padding

Padded garments are made of a sandwich of stout buckram, canvas, or some similar material, stuffed and quilted with either stacked layers of linen (from 18 to as many as 30), or batting of cotton, jute/hemp, old rags, tow or even grass. This is stiff like a pair of new blue-jeans when new but become more supple and conform to the wearer’s body as he wears, fights, and sweats in it, breaking it in. At no difference in cost or weight, the outer shell of the garment may be common thin garment leather, more stylish to many, but with no affect on the value of the garment as armor. The nobility commonly wear padded garments (mostly simple, single thickness) finished with an outer layer of silk, velvet, satin, or other fine and costly fabric, silk especially as the inner-most layer under their armor, for comfort.

Studded Padding

Studded armor is also called “pourpoint”, or literally “for points”, from the use as the base onto which laces called “points” were affixed that were used to tie-on and anchor various parts of field plate armors. The only difference between this and standard padding is the treatment of studs securing the quilting, on average about an inch apart and sometimes laid on in a fanciful figural pattern (at some greater cost), the studs serving to make the padding stiffer and also offering a little resistance to the edge of a blade.

Trellised Padding

Trellised armor is padded armor that is covered with a system of reinforcing bands of leather of about 1 inch in width sewn on in an open, criss-crossing pattern like a trellis used to support climbing plants. At the center of each square created by the trellised bands, the padding is secured with a large metal stud or rivet.

Bezainted Padding

Bezainted armor is padded armor that is covered with a close pattern (not so close as to inhibit movement) of small, coin-shaped steel disks. The disks were called “bezaints” by the warriors of the historic medieval world, after the Byzantine coins the little disks resembled, from which this padded armor treatment takes its name. The bezaints are secured to the quilted base with large steel studs/rivets driven through their centers.

Ringed Padding

Ringed armor takes its name from the fact that it is covered with a series of roughly 2in. diameter steel rings with simple, butted edges. These are either sewn on with heavy thread or may be riveted on. Although the rings are most commonly set abutting side-by-side, they may sometimes also be secured in an overlapping pattern, instead. The configuration does not appreciably change the protection it provides.

Metal & Rigid Armors

Metal and rigid armors are designed to resist piercing and cutting damage, to shed the blows of blades and missiles, but because of their rigid nature they are also very effective against impact damage, in some cases even moreso than any of the padded armors.

The higher a piece of armor’s DR , the better protection it provides. The strength of common metal armor is referred to as “Strong”.

All metal armors have the same DR, due to the fact that they are all made of the same quality of the steel, and that steel worked to the same degree. Against the impact or force of the weapon striking it (the base determined by the foe’s STR and STA), however, the protection provided is directly governed by the method of construction. This is explained in detail in the descriptions of the types of armors, following.

Mail Armor

While often referred to as “chainmail” that term is basically redundant, as all mail (from the French “maille”) whether single- or double-, is by definition made of little steel links, or chain. It was made in two forms, singlemail or doublemail, doublemail being the stronger.

Single-mail consists of a series of interlocking metal rings of roughly 1/4th inch in diameter in a relatively open weave, four-on-one pattern.

Double-mail consists of a series of interlocking metal rings constructed in the same four-on-one pattern of singlemail, except that two rings are threaded through for every one found in singlemail. In its final form, doublemail approaches the thickness and suppleness of quarter-inch to half-inch felt.

At the height of the craft, both single- and doublemail were made and sheared in lengths like cloth. Mails have no backing or lining, unlike other armors, especially plate, which is lined in fabric to keep the pieces from wearing against one another as well as for comfort in preventing chafing. A padded garment of some sort, even if only of a single thickness, is required to be worn under all mail garments to absorb the impact that the rings are designed to spread over a larger area. Otherwise, those rings that break upon the impact of a foe’s weapon are driven directly into the flesh by the blow.

A further disadvantage of singlemail over doublemail is its greater vulnerability to piercing attacks, especially from arrow fire.

At the GM’s discretion, half-mail is also available as an alternative in both single- and doublemail. Half-mail covers only the front of the body aiding against attacks from the foes he is directly facing. This mail is edged in leather and tied on by a series of laces across the back and up the inside of the arms.

Half-mail is available at 60% of the listed cost and half the weight of a full suit of mail. If the GM’s campaign is set in an earlier period, it may be that only half-mail is available.

Banded Mail is a treatment applied to mail garments in which leather thongs or straps are woven into the spaces in every other row of openings in the links. It is also known as “augmented mail”. This treatment stiffens the mail somewhat, making it a little better able to stop impact damage. Banding may be applied to either singlemail or doublemail, but this does NOT eliminate the need for a padded garment underneath, as the rings are still exposed on the inside putting the wearer at risk when he is struck.

Jazeraint

Jazeraint consists of a series of off-set, overlapping, rectangular scales which are riveted or sewn down onto a leather or heavy canvas backing. As the armor flexes with the wearer’s movements, the scales slide over one another like those of a fish, though not nearly so tightly as only the innermost edge of each scale is secured to the inner garment.

When the scales of this sort of armor are cut into ovals, giving a fish-scale appearance when assembled, it is properly called “mascled” mail.

Laminated

Laminated armor consists of a series of horizontal strips of steel called “lamés” whose widths are determined by the area of the body they are used to cover, overlapped and riveted to an inner garment made of strips of hide, heavy cloth, or leather to provide some degree of mobility and flexibility. This sort of armor is also known as “splinted”.

Brigandine

Brigandine is a double-layered garment made of flexible soft leather, canvas, or other heavy fabric (commonly velvet when made for the wealthy) that has a continuous series of small, articulated, over-lapping steel plates running all over between the garment layers which are anchored by rivets or sewn to both the inner and outer layers.

Because they are composed of smaller metal plates attached to a base of another material, Jazeraint, Laminated and Brigandine armors may be collectively referred to as “composite” metal armors.

Mail armors provide a unique form of protection in battle. Mail is designed to wear like cloth in that it is made to flex and flow over the body as it moves. It provides as good a level of protection from cutting weapons as any other metal armor but, because it flexes and flows so well, it defends only poorly against the impact of weapons.

Jazeraint, Laminated and Brigandine armors share to a minor degree the weakness of mail armor in that they are designed to move with the body but, due to their methods of construction, they allow nearly as much freedom of movement while offering better protection from the base damage of the blow when struck.

These armors have a double entry in the DR column due to the manner in which they are constructed, as explained. When struck, the lower number is used to determine whether a blow has POT enough to contribute to the wearer’s Level of Wounding, while the higher number is used normally only for the purposes of tracking wear.

Cuerbully Plate

The name of this armor is a period English corruption of the French “cuir bouilli”, or “boiled hide”. Cuerbully generally consists of stout layers of leather, each about 1/4th inch thick, which have been boiled in wax, cut and pressed into shape, then allowed to cool and stiffen into rigid plates resembling field plate (as follows). While this is not a metal armor, it is most certainly a rigid one. These plates share some of the nature of their stouter metal cousins and are assigned a DR based on that rigidity.

Historically speaking, this type of plate was far more common in the period of the game than steel field plate not only because it was cheaper but because it was also lighter to wear. It was favored for the barding of horses for the same reasons, and also widely used in tournaments, especially those in which the combatants fought with mock-weapons of bone, though it was certainly effective against weapons of steel, as well.

 

Field Plate

Field plate is the epitome of the armorer’s art and just starting to come into its own in the last few years of the period quoted for the game. Also known as “white armor” it is the basis for the romantic image of the knight in shining armor. It consists of a series of over-lapping and interlocking plates of hammered steel about 1/16th of an inch thick (somewhat thinner in less critical areas, somewhat thicker in more vulnerable areas) that together form a contiguous protective shell around the body while still allowing full freedom of movement for all the actions a warrior might be called on to perform in battle, and specifically designed so the weight is borne evenly all over the body. These plates are buffed to a high polish and finished to a glassy smoothness so no blade can bite into them, but glance off when struck.

They can be worn secured to other armors or padded garments, usually tied on by “points” or laces, or secured to other pieces of plate by a series of laces, buckles, hinges, and/or screws.

The Full-Plate field plate pieces listed on the armor rosters are equivalent to the fully developed field plate armor of the late 14th to mid 15th century. Although late in period for the game, this sort of armor is so integral to most peoples’ concepts of the period, the “knight in shining armor”, that for the sake of the romance of the era it is included, not to mention that the development of this form of armoring just makes sense in what is an essentially perpetually medieval world, as reflected by the inclusion of a few of the Renaissance forms of swords, as well.

The Half-Plate referred to on the rosters covers only the front of the body aiding against attacks from the foes he is directly facing. These pieces are strapped on across the inside of the arm or across the back of the body with leather laces or buckled on by leather straps.

The price for half-armor is reduced to 60% and the weight by half, compared to the normal entries on the rosters. All of the metal and plate armors are available in half-armors.

Arming caps, also called “stuffing,” MUST be worn inside all helms. Arming caps are worn over other armors being worn on the Head/Neck area in order that the helm fit correctly. The arming cap is what the leather harness inside the helm rests on, keeping the character’s head from bouncing around inside it like a bean in a can. Wearing some sort of padded garment, most commonly a gambeson, under one’s armor are required to prevent the chafing of the armor. This applies to coifs and such worn under a helm, also, especially in the case of mail. It is likely many characters wearing armor under their helms will end up wearing two arming caps, one under the armor and one on top of the armor for the helm to rest on.

Such padding was worn historically through the period of the game and even well into the Renaissance.

Field plate and cuerbully are composed of series’ of interlocking pieces, or plates, that form a stiff shell which must always be worn as the outside layer, save only a single layer of simple plain padding which may be worn over top.

A character may not wear more than one (1) layer of UN-enhanced (plain) padding under any mail, jazeraint, laminated or brigandine garment, nor under any enhanced padded armor, for a maximum of 2 layers.

Enhancing treatments to padding wear and tear at the lining of any armor worn over it and also reduce the level of comfort provided, which is the primary reason for wearing the padding as the innermost layer in the first place. The treatments used to “enhance” padded garments actually turn them into armor in their own right.

The maximum number of layers of armor that may be worn is four (4), BUT:

When more than one (1) layer is worn, the innermost layer must be a garment of plain padding;

When two (2) layers are worn, the second layer may be plain padding, enhanced padded armor, any composite metal armor or plate of either steel or cuerbully,

When three (3) layers are worn, the second layer may be plain padding, enhanced padded armor or any composite metal armor, and the third layer may be either plain padding or plate of steel or cuerbully,

BUT only mail may be worn as the second layer from among the composite metal armors when the third layer is plate of any kind,

When four (4) layers are worn, the innermost must be plain padding, the second may be either enhanced padded armor or any composite metal armor, the third layer must be plate of either steel or cuerbully and the fourth must be a plain padded garment of single thickness.

Enhanced padding may NOT be worn under composite metal armors, as they would wear out from the inside the material which holds the composite together as they rub against each other, and especially when compressed against one another on being struck.

A character may never wear more than one layer of plate, regardless of whether it is made of cuerbully or steel.

Wearing an outer layer of plain single-thickness padding was a practice commonly followed historically as a means of protecting the armor from road dust, the weather, and the heat of the sun, and among the nobility to display their colors and coats of arms so they could be identified during battle and also display their wealth in having the outer shell of the padded garment made of some sumptuous and very costly fabric.

The rules for the manner in which damage interacts with armor are presented in detail in The Rules of the Game. They should be carefully read until a full understanding of them is reached.

Social Conventions of Arms and Armor

In order to maintain a non-threatening, open and approachable image essential to success in social situations, characters should not openly wear any armor heavier than double-thick padding enhanced with studs, nor openly bear any weapon larger than half his height in Size, and then only those of the Light or Medium-Light classes (foil, epee, rapier, saber, etc.). Even in troubled times, unless it is normal for the common folk to wander about armed and armored, the sight of weapons and armor will put folk off and make them ill at ease and wary of the character, suspicious of his motives. Any character flouting this guideline will generally be no more welcome in his travels than any other “good-for-naught, fortune-seeking adventurer”, urged on his way with varying degrees of subtlety, and/or reported to the local authorities, who may very well haul him up before the local law (lord or magistrate), depending upon who takes the character into custody and how bad he has violated this restriction. Entering a village, city, town, manor or castle under even seemingly false pretenses can be cause for great suspicion, even imprisonment until the character’s identity can be determined or verified and the quality of his character established – especially if the local people are in the midst of troubled times.

In the Renaissance those in power saw an assassin around every corner and a spy behind every tapestry. The Italians were famous for this, and their rulers fanned the flames of mistrust by encouraging the people to report suspicious behavior of neighbors and strangers alike to the authorities, and even of family members.

The only commonly acknowledged exceptions to this are for members of the nobility and those of the gentry who are courtiers, and those of sufficient wealth who pretend to gentility or aspire to it, for whom a sidearm is quite acceptable. Chapmen among Merchants IF they are just arriving or getting ready to depart on their travels are another acceptable exception. Chapmen and Merchant Mariners are expected to be able to defend their goods on the road, especially when they travel the more remote hinterlands or high seas.

For those characters who have established their public identity and reputation as a member of one of the social trades (Courtier, Troubadour, Merchant, etc.) the restriction on weapons and armor worn in public is doubly important. For the Courtier and Troubadour, however, a sidearm are vital to maintaining his dignity and honor. He must be seen to have the means to defend his good name on his body.

By the 1500’s, the wearing of some sort of sword by any fighting-man, nobleman, gentleman, militiaman, mercenary, soldier, sailor, tradesman, guildsman, or brigand was fairly common in most cities of Western Europe.

When buying a sword, those a character meets who have social standing and a long family history of training at arms may object to his carrying one of the “Combination” blades usually looked on as a symbol of the noble class. That may be a consideration at least when the character is still relatively young and inexperienced. The armor category of gear is one of the most critical for which the player must remember to use the modifiers for STR and STA and Build, described earlier, rounding to the nearest farthing and the nearest l/4th lb (0.25). This modifier ensures the character’s armor are big enough for him to be able to get it on and will fit him well enough for him to move properly in it.

Though the sword is closely identified with knights and knighthood, virtually any foot soldier or fighting man (member of the Warrior trade) could employ some sort of sword and was expected to know something about doing so. Many early fencing teachers were themselves commoners, and urban militias made up of ordinary citizens were frequently equipped with swords (as per the Assize of Arms). Knights might also have retinues of non-knightly retainers who were armed with common swords and mercenary bands who armed and armored themselves as best they could with the money they made were a common element of medieval warfare.

There were several attempts at different times in different parts of Europe to restrict the owning or carrying of swords by commoners (or their use in judicial duels), but such attempts at arms control were frequently violated and largely unenforceable. The arming of the populace by the Assize of Arms made such attempts generally futile in England. By the late 1400’s, entire fighting guilds and schools run by common tradesmen and craftsmen who were highly skilled at arms trained and taught the use of all manner of swords.

 

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