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Ragabash
2008-09-15, 03:18 PM
Although it's pretty much something that will never get played (I've never had much luck getting a group together), I'm working on an idea for a campaign that will be played over three eras on a single world, first the bronze age, then the steam age, and finally the far future (using the Dragonstar setting).

As odd as it might seem, I'm actually finding it easier to decide of prestige classes and such for the steam and future eras than the bronze age. So I thought I might open up discussion on what people here might think bronze age D&D might have. Are there any prestige classes in the books that have the right feel? What sort of societies do you imagine the different races having? Think of it as a giant brain storming session to help jog my thinking process.

There are a few pitfalls I do plan to avoid, though. None of the races have iron weapons, that would unbalance things in their favour too much. I'm also going to try and avoid outsiders for the most part. The fact that alchemical silver and cold iron weapons don't exist yet makes them very hard to fight.

Some of the ideas I am toying with include imperialistic hobgoblins using orcish warriors as mamluks (hereditary slave soldiers) and a blue dragon recurring NPC who will be the hatchling pet of a city state's king and over time grow in political power.

So, comments, questions, suggestions?

snoopy13a
2008-09-15, 03:40 PM
I suppose Ancient Egypt could be a model.

Along those lines and in examples from the Illiad, the charioteer could be a prestige class. You'd have a NPC driver and your character would throw spears at the enemy. If it came to melee, the character would step out of the chariot to use a thrusting spear and shield. You'd probably want to use the basic spear and just allow the charioteer prestige class to be able to use it in one hand.

Beleriphon
2008-09-15, 03:47 PM
I suppose Ancient Egypt could be a model.

Or any of the ancient Greek city states. A hobogoblin empire based on Sparta might be interesting, or for a real loop make them sea faring philosophers akin to Athens.

Ragabash
2008-09-15, 03:51 PM
There are lots of great models for human culture in the bronze age, Egypt is one, Greece, Ireland, and Sumeria are others that come to mind.
I'm thinking more along the lines of what non-human culture might be like? Bronze age elves, dwarves, gnomes, etc...

Charioteer would be a good prestige class, I might have to draw one up some day. I was actually asking more about existing PrC's though, I have or have access to pretty much all official 3.5 books, so if any stick out in anyone's mind I can go take a look. I want to avoid homebrew classes in this thread, though, as we're in Gaming, not Homebrewing. :smalltongue:

arguskos
2008-09-15, 03:54 PM
A big (and damn fun) PrC that comes to mind Ragabash is the Thayan Gladiator (Champions of Ruin, Faerun book). With a little tweaking, it'd be fun for giving to monstrous foes and to gladiator warriors. Also, it's got a great picture. :smallamused:

Maybe the invisible blade (C. Warrior) could be interesting? Anything from ToB could be interesting, since they don't rely on their weapons, but are still martial characters.

Hope any of that is useful at all.

-argus

Ragabash
2008-09-15, 04:16 PM
A big (and damn fun) PrC that comes to mind Ragabash is the Thayan Gladiator (Champions of Ruin, Faerun book). With a little tweaking, it'd be fun for giving to monstrous foes and to gladiator warriors. Also, it's got a great picture. :smallamused:

Maybe the invisible blade (C. Warrior) could be interesting? Anything from ToB could be interesting, since they don't rely on their weapons, but are still martial characters.

Hope any of that is useful at all.

-argus

Those both certainly have some potential, I'll file them away for a closer look later.

Prometheus
2008-09-15, 04:44 PM
Arms and Equipment Guide has a section in which is lists the availability of certain weapon technologies over time, as well as what they are called in various settings. If you were in "Greece", it would be cool to have a short sword so long as you called it a gladius.

I'd look for prestige classes that are consistent with those weaponry, I don't think that many from the Complete Warrior, Champion, or Scoundrel are cut down by it in a way that can't be modified.

I think you'd be best of changing the current iron weapon stats to bronze and then adjusting the abilities of iron (say +1), adamantine (say +2), and mithral higher.

Ragabash
2008-09-15, 04:54 PM
Arms and Equipment Guide has a section in which is lists the availability of certain weapon technologies over time, as well as what they are called in various settings. If you were in "Greece", it would be cool to have a short sword so long as you called it a gladius.

I'd look for prestige classes that are consistent with those weaponry, I don't think that many from the Complete Warrior, Champion, or Scoundrel are cut down by it in a way that can't be modified.

I think you'd be best of changing the current iron weapon stats to bronze and then adjusting the abilities of iron (say +1), adamantine (say +2), and mithral higher.

Not to nitpick, but the gladius was a roman weapon, the greek sword was called the xiphos. Other than that, I'm definately using the A&EG. I also don't have to worry about adjusting iron or other metals for the simple reason that no-one is working them into weapons and armour so I don't have to compensate for them.

However, I'm not lowering the attack and damage rolls either. Bronze can be made pretty sharp, and while it is lighter than iron, that can allow for a faster swing on the part of the wielder. Bronze armour will have the lower AC, though. The softness is a weakness there.

Adlan
2008-09-15, 05:07 PM
There are examples of eygptian axes from the bronze age made of metoric iron.

Of course the axes were purely decorative, but that shouldn't stop you. Maybe a Quest Hook, off to raid a forgotten tomb?


Short Swords and Spears should be the weapon of choice, bronze doesn't make good swords that are any decent length. Axe's and club's as well would be good.

I'd again, keep the stat's the same, with bonus's for more 'modern' weapons, and then maybe some special properties and drawback's for stone weapon's (which were still in use during the early bronze age.

LCR
2008-09-15, 05:14 PM
Not to nitpick, but the gladius was a roman weapon, the greek sword was called the xiphos. Other than that, I'm definately using the A&EG. I also don't have to worry about adjusting iron or other metals for the simple reason that no-one is working them into weapons and armour so I don't have to compensate for them.

However, I'm not lowering the attack and damage rolls either. Bronze can be made pretty sharp, and while it is lighter than iron, that can allow for a faster swing on the part of the wielder. Bronze armour will have the lower AC, though. The softness is a weakness there.

I know xiphos means sword, but what's a rapis then?

Ragabash
2008-09-15, 05:21 PM
I want to avoid giving special bonuses to more advanced weapons to keep some consistency when the era advances. If this were going to be a purely bronze age campaign, I would do just that, but having bonuses to iron and steel weapons that suddenly disappear in an era when they are commonplace doesn't make much sense to me. It's easier to have the balance hinge on hardness and hp instead.

As for the question about what a "rapis" is... I googled the word and couldn't find a mention of it, did you maybe make a typo?

ADDED TO AVOID DOUBLE POSTING

I thought I'd give a bit of information about how I picture some aspects of society working for the different races.

Elves-
I picture elven society as a Magocracy, with each city ruled by a council of the most experienced wizards.
The elves will not be united into an empire. Empires imply a lot of things, two important ones being a central rulership and a tradition of conquest. A Chaotic Good empire is an oxymoron to me. Elven cities will be united in loose confederations or independant.

Dwarves-
Again, in an time of city-states, most dwarven cities will have their own ruler. This will vary from city to city between hereditary monarchies and theocracies. Citizens will have more rights than those in most monarchies of the time, as a Lawful Good alignment will prevent some of the abuses of power that were common in governments of the time.

Gnomes-
Gnomish villages are either governed by a council of elders, or even democraticly run, with each adult voting during community meetings.

Halflings-
Halfling haven't changed much, they will be mostly living in nomadic bands. Usually the leader of the band will be the eldest member, who leads by virtue of experience.

Humans-
Varies, but usually living in monarchal city-states. There are some small kingdoms where people of the same tribes and culture have founded multiple cities.

Goblinoids and orcs-
Usually live in tribes ruled by a chief and his advisors. The chief is usually decided by strength in combat or by the amount of wealth taken in raids on other tribes and villages.
Hobgoblins have also been uniting in the first true empire, taking other communities by force for wealth and slaves. Goblins and bugbears are either free lower class citizens or slaves, and orcs are raised as mamluks (a class of slave-soldier). Other races are used only as slaves within the empire.

Ragabash
2008-09-17, 04:43 AM
Sorry for the double post here...

Here are a couple other concepts that I'm toying with for the setting-

Masterwork weapons will require, in addition to finding a talented smith, a supply of good quality alloy. I'll need to do a bit of research into the properties of arsenic bronze and copper/tin alloys to determine exactly what that entails.

High level magic does exist, for the reason that one of the oldest sentient species have spent a long time developing it- the dragons. This means that if a spellcaster wants a high level spell, they need to find a friendly dragon mentor, or they need to find a willing teacher of high level, which often means convincing the elves to give up some of their secrets. Opinion can differ on which is harder.

Monks, and possibly paladins, will not exist yet. The techniques and cultural mindsets that would give rise to such classes are not present and will not be for centuries. The same will go for many of the splatbook classes.

More to come later.

Mastikator
2008-09-17, 05:08 AM
I noticed a lack of kobolds being mentioned.

Maybe they could be scavangers living in the outskirts and shadows of human, dwarven and maybe gnomish societies. With the general population looking down upon them, which would be the start of a not so friendly relationship.

Or maybe they don't exist in this setting :P

Ragabash
2008-09-17, 05:29 AM
I noticed a lack of kobolds being mentioned.

Maybe they could be scavangers living in the outskirts and shadows of human, dwarven and maybe gnomish societies. With the general population looking down upon them, which would be the start of a not so friendly relationship.

Or maybe they don't exist in this setting :P

I hadn't given much thought to them, although that idea works pretty well. I think until I have a better idea, that's what I'll do with them.

SydneyLosstarot
2008-09-17, 05:31 AM
You shouldn't let out slavery, as well as huge oar-driven galleons and sea pirates ravaging the mediterranean coasts %)

Ancient India would do nicely.

various cults should have significant politial and economic influence, and strong rivalry should exist.
since the campaign is low-magic, worshippers of different gods should have access to different schools of magic and groups of spell, never reaching the versatility of standart DnD spellcasters.
you could also design a class called, say, Scholar, who would get the ability to craft magic items or something.

as for existing PrCs, i recall:
Duelist and Asassin from the SRD.
the former are nothing special flavor-wise and the latter have existed for a long time(and can be easily adapted for the future setting)

Miniatures Handbook has Tactical Soldier, War Hulk and Warchief for the more military states

CompDiv has Church Inquisitor, Divine Oracle and War Priest for your aggressive cultists

CompWar has the Dervish, Exotic Weapons Master, Halfling Outrider, Frenzied Berserker for your nomads and barbarians

CompAdv has Dread Pirate, Maester, Virtuoso(though it is unclear whether the music as we understand it now existed in those times)

These guys should fit into the setting quite well

Ragabash
2008-09-17, 05:41 AM
Slavery will not be glossed over, you can be sure of that.

As for magic... it's not a low magic campaign, really, it will go by the standard magic rules, with some extra complications for obtaining high level spells. I'm not sure if that qualifies as "low magic".

The PrC's you mentioned are good suggestions, too. I already have a special role in mind for an NPC with the Divine Oracle class.

Storm Bringer
2008-09-17, 06:22 AM
some notes I'd like to make, based on my intrest in history:

high quality bronze of the right mixes can be made better then early Iorn for the purposes of weaponry. the reason for swtiching to iron was mostly economic, rather than practical (it was cheaper to mass produce iorn weaponry than bronze).

Also, as far as anyone can tell, the vast majority of the Tin used in the eastern Med (Egypt, greece, rome, the mid east) during the Bronze Age was imported form Cornwall, by sea, meaning a voyage out past the straights of gibraltar and along the adlantic coasts. Needless to say, this implys that real life bronze ages civs had a trade notwork that would not really be matched until the medival period. It has been suggested that a failure of this system is what caused the Iorn age in the frist place, as nations resorted to iorn as the supply of tin dried up. Now, if one race's lands wer on were sat on top of the only scorce of tin and another on the major Copper seams, then that would help explain the loose alleince of the humaniod races, as they all need to trade with one another to keep thier cultures going.

Having both tin and copper in the same area is exceedingly Rare, but not Unknown. their are several sites on earth where the two occur naturally close to one another. having control of such an area would be a huge advantage in the bronze age, as it would free you form the need to transport large amounts of ore across the place. Maybe the hobgoblins have one of these locations, which explains thier agressive nature, as they are not tied down by the need to trade for metals?



full combat gear is quite rare, and in particular heavy armour. most of the combatants in a battle will be unarmoured save for a helmet and a sheild, and often levies with little morale. Archer fire can thus do a LOT of damage to formed units.

Also, the few nobles able to afford a full harness of war were bloody deadly, as they were both hard to kill and usaully pocesed greater morale than the levies. this one of the reasons the greeks were able to fight off the much larger persian empire: they had motovated heavy infantry with heavy armour, and the presians were mostly indentured levies with little wil to fight and poor equipment.

In short, a hero with good gear was worth ten rank and file. very DnD, no?


If you are looking for other real life cultures to steal form, may i recommend:

bronze age celts: you orcs are nearly thier. You might have to insert a sense of personal honour for it to work, but i can really see the Orcs putting on celtic warpaint and charging into battle wearing 'naught but woad (and a sheild, of coruse):smallbiggrin:

Numidian/north african tribes: they'd make for nice 'exotic' troops for a merc army, fighting in a skirmish role as javalin armed troops, on foot or horseback.

Assyria: would make the perfect base for the Hobgoblins. a famously organised military culture, with late bronze age tech? best match we''re going to get.

Mycenaean/Minioan greeks: a very different kettle of fish to the later greek city states. armies were a large number of very poorly equipped troops with a few highly trained charriot warriors, who spent most of thier time fighting one another. Trojans also fall under this heading, in you're thinking of them.


erm...... more as i can think of them

Ascension
2008-09-17, 08:09 AM
If you don't object to third party stuff, Blackdirge has several Greco-Roman PrCs as part of the Master at Arms series and he's marked all his 3.5 stuff down to a dollar. (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=2140)

Danzaver
2008-09-17, 11:02 AM
Also, as far as anyone can tell, the vast majority of the Tin used in the eastern Med (Egypt, greece, rome, the mid east) during the Bronze Age was imported form Cornwall, by sea, meaning a voyage out past the straights of gibraltar and along the adlantic coasts. Needless to say, this implys that real life bronze ages civs had a trade notwork that would not really be matched until the medival period.


full combat gear is quite rare, and in particular heavy armour. most of the combatants in a battle will be unarmoured save for a helmet and a sheild, and often levies with little morale. Archer fire can thus do a LOT of damage to formed units.

Also, the few nobles able to afford a full harness of war were bloody deadly, as they were both hard to kill and usaully pocesed greater morale than the levies. this one of the reasons the greeks were able to fight off the much larger persian empire: they had motovated heavy infantry with heavy armour, and the presians were mostly indentured levies with little wil to fight and poor equipment.


Yes, it is also interesting to note that the first Bronze in Britain came from Ireland, and during the increase of warfare around the second millennium BC, Ireland would import bronze halberds to every corner. Personally, I believe that this trade network came from an earlier age, possibly even from as far back as the Mesolithic. It is generally believed among Archaeological experts on lithics (stone and metal artefacts) that the creator of a stone tool leaves certain traces of his 'style' whereby any other items can be identified as being made by the same person. Two polished stone axes made in the mesolithic were found, one in modern France, one in the Russian Steppes, both carrying the signature signs of the same craftsman. Just look at your atlas and you will see that that's some serious trade networks connecting people over distances we wouldn't imagine possible.

On your second point, yes, this is a lot like the point I wanted to make too. just because it is called the 'Bronze' Age doesn't mean that everyone and his dog has a bronze knife. Bronze items were treasured immensely and among the most valuable items a person could possess. People tended to be buried with their bronze items, or pass them down to their children/clansmen. Bronze was later in reaching England than the rest of Europe, but the few early examples that filtered in were so coveted that before Bronze became readily available people were already making their stone items in the style of bronze items.

Which brings me to another point, stone. Bronze items should be considered the elite, and stone items still the rank-and-file. Stone items had lowered in quality since earlier ages where they were the apex of technology, but they were still widely used. Knapped, or made by striking flakes off a specially prepared core, items were the most common, but by the late Bronze Age there were refinements in pecking and grinding to produce maces, pole-axes, and other items. The sharpness of a stone knife should not be underestimated, being designed to cut through meat and flesh specifically.

Which brings me to another point, currency. Adventurers need loot to keep them interested and feeling rewarded, and while one legitimate (and likely) way for them to do this in the Bronze Age is to collect every Bronze Hatchet, Leaf-shaped blade, or razor that they find, you should have some kind of idea of how trade works in your world. I have no idea about how Ancient Egyptian or Greek currency functioned, I am quite interested by the Mesolithic/Neolithic Axe trade. From these periods, hundreds of absolutely gorgeous polished stone axes were uncovered. These were often made of rare minerals which had to be mined from the most inconvenient locations, and despite being polished and decorated up the nines, they were usually so fragile that they could never actually be used for any practical application. One popular theory of these is that they were used in trade, even if it were just the most rudimentary application of trade: the exchange of gifts between tribal units to foster better relations. For more information on stone axes, look up Maori stone axe art, which provide a great example of the love and care that went into these polished axes, some of which took 200 years to make.

Just my two cents. Everything I know about the period is more relevant to the British tribal chieftainships, so should be taken as such.

Mark Hall
2008-09-17, 11:07 AM
You might want to look into the 2nd edition supplement "The Age of Heroes", which is about the Greeks, pre-Roman conquering.

Ragabash
2008-09-18, 02:17 AM
Wow... that's a lot of good information to absorb and take into account. Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all that!

Storm Bringer
2008-09-18, 02:30 AM
Wow... that's a lot of good information to absorb and take into account. Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all that!

No problem mate. Overloading inocent question askers with massive amounts of infomation is what history buffs do!:smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Keep in mind, though, that just because we've told you that earths Bronze Age was like this, doesn't mean that your Bronze Age has to be like that. we're just providing you with infomation to cherry-pick for things you like.

Ragabash
2008-09-18, 04:38 AM
If by "overloading" you mean "make things easier", then yay for history buffs!

Knowing that kind of trade network existed not only justifies contact between the different races, but also reason for some knowledge of the world at large, sparce and inaccurate as it might be, to give a view of the vast changes when the plot advances to the steam age.


Back to my ideas, I am making one very significant change to one rule for the bronze age. Only clerics and wizards will automatically start with literacy. All other classes will have to learn it the same way a barbarian would under that standard rules.

I'm also a little surprised nobody has reacted to my idea to exclude paladins from play in this era... goes to show that you can't tell what ideas will spark debate.


Oh, and for everyone suggesting third party books, thank you, it's so hard to tell which ones are worth the investment without some advice. Suggest away, even if I don't use them, you never know if someone else might think the idea for a bronze age campaign is a good one and get some use.

SydneyLosstarot
2008-09-18, 05:09 AM
I'm also a little surprised nobody has reacted to my idea to exclude paladins from play in this era... goes to show that you can't tell what ideas will spark debate.

that's because nobody likes them! :smallbiggrin::smallwink:

on the other hand, i don't see why would they be inappropriate for the setting.

people devoted to a cause have existed in all times. think religious zealots who would sacrifice themselves by the will of their gods.

it also would be fun if entering the steam age was caused by some great explrations - think discovering a whole continent full of gold, which would make certain states powerful enough to expand further int the world and be able to afford technological advancement.

Ragabash
2008-09-18, 07:34 AM
that's because nobody likes them! :smallbiggrin::smallwink:

on the other hand, i don't see why would they be inappropriate for the setting.

people devoted to a cause have existed in all times. think religious zealots who would sacrifice themselves by the will of their gods.

it also would be fun if entering the steam age was caused by some great explrations - think discovering a whole continent full of gold, which would make certain states powerful enough to expand further int the world and be able to afford technological advancement.

The religious aspect is certainly there, but the chivalry part of the paladin's character isn't, which is why is hesitate to include them. The "paladin's code" kind of messes it all up. Of course, if I include the variant paladins from Unearthed Arcana that might work out, but that's opening up a can of worms later on.

As for the steam age, in this thread I am deliberately avoiding going into my plans for that. Well, except for mentioning it will exist as a reason for not modding the rules too much for the sake of consistency later on. I have big things planned for it, though, believe me.

Prometheus
2008-09-18, 03:34 PM
Maybe you could mod paladins so that they fit better. I'm thinking the idea of a traditional Greek Hero. Instead of a code you would have a stong personality, and you'd change some of the powers to be not uniquely lawful good.

Ascension
2008-09-18, 03:40 PM
Maybe you could mod paladins so that they fit better. I'm thinking the idea of a traditional Greek Hero. Instead of a code you would have a stong personality, and you'd change some of the powers to be not uniquely lawful good.

You could make an Arete-focused (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arete) paladin, perhaps.

mabriss lethe
2008-09-18, 05:35 PM
Thoughts on bronze weapons.

Larger metal weapons are the exception, not the rule. It was a much more efficient use of bronze to make spear points or axe heads than it was to make swords. With armor being so scarce, a good stout warclub is still a very viable weapon. Only the extremely well funded would have even a bronze short sword. (this was also somewhat true during the iron age)

Hurlbut
2008-09-18, 05:46 PM
Thoughts on bronze weapons.

Larger metal weapons are the exception, not the rule. It was a much more efficient use of bronze to make spear points or axe heads than it was to make swords. With armor being so scarce, a good stout warclub is still a very viable weapon. Only the extremely well funded would have even a bronze short sword. (this was also somewhat true during the iron age)The xiphos and kopis are actually comparable to a longsword in length (2 feet and 3 feet respectively), although xiphos did had a shorter varaint more suitable to the close combat of the hoplite, it's 30 cm long which could qualify the varaint as a shortsword. Going by K.I.S.S., just make the primary bronze sword the longsword and kick out greatsword.

Ragabash
2008-09-19, 02:40 AM
I'm thinking that if I do allow paladins, they will be based more on dwarven rather than human culture and have spread from there. Arete does sound interesting, though, I'll read more about that.

As for the weapons... I already knew that swords were rare, but I wasn't aware that practical weapons of that length could be made out of bronze. More thought will be needed on this...

Storm Bringer
2008-09-19, 09:19 AM
I'm thinking that if I do allow paladins, they will be based more on dwarven rather than human culture and have spread from there. Arete does sound interesting, though, I'll read more about that.

As for the weapons... I already knew that swords were rare, but I wasn't aware that practical weapons of that length could be made out of bronze. More thought will be needed on this...

oh, full sized long swords could be made form high quality bronze. The Chinese made their long, thin Jian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jian)blades out of bronze for many years> In fact they carried on using Bronze for it long after the Introduction of Iorn in fact (partlt due to the high-quality of the workmanship, but partly becuase it looked nicer:smallbiggrin:). It was only when they prefected Steel that they started to make jian out of them.

I quote Wikipedia on this (emphasis mine):

With the exception of steel, bronze is superior to iron in nearly every application

Danzaver
2008-09-19, 10:44 AM
No problem mate. Overloading inocent question askers with massive amounts of infomation is what history buffs do!:smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Keep in mind, though, that just because we've told you that earths Bronze Age was like this, doesn't mean that your Bronze Age has to be like that. we're just providing you with infomation to cherry-pick for things you like.

Big agree to both statements :D

Regarding paladins, maybe you could base their code of chivalry around tribal loyalty to their chieftain and essentially following the orders through him, or perhaps believing in oracles or other portents. Could help account for the massive apparent increase of warfare in this period compared to any prior, perhaps along with overpopulation and any other factors you'd care to imagine.

EDIT: After all, chivalry is essentially a system of loyalty and service :)

Sounds like it could be a cool game.

Storm Bringer
2008-09-19, 10:53 AM
actaully, why not Just do away with the Code, instead let these Proto-paladins gain thier powers on their gods whim (like clerics). That way, you avoid all the arugements that come about form it, and you can have some intresting paladin NPCs (the one-eyed Champion of Grumrush, the Imoveable avatar of Moradin, etc)

Kiero
2008-09-19, 11:15 AM
Can't have Bronze Age without ships, sailing, piracy and maritime trade being vitally important. All the rich cultures were seafaring ones. Colonies in foreign lands are a must (though depending how close to history you're cutting, the Bronze Age in Europe might be just before the major period of Greek and Phoenician colonisation of the Mediterranean and it's coasts).

Ships were the fastest, but also a very risky way to travel. That said given lots of unfriendly peoples travel by land wasn't too safe either. But at least you weren't completely at the mercy of the fickle elements.

Most people would have fought unarmoured, but for a shield and helmet, but the rich did fight in full panoplies. As well as helmet and shield, that included body armour (bronze or linen cuirass), greaves to protect the shins, pteryges to protect the groin and bracers on wrists. Couple that with a big shield, and you'd be all but invulnerable to arrows, bows weren't that powerful.

Also worth mentioning the oft-forgotten and undervalued sling. Which was a deadly weapon in trained hands. A forged bullet could go through thin armour and break bones.

Just because practical blades can be made from bronze, doesn't mean everyone has the skill to make them so. Good excuse to remove the usual tired tropes of everyone toting a sword. Instead it's spears, axes and such. A short sword is a weapon marking someone out as wealthy and important.

Hurlbut
2008-09-19, 11:56 AM
Just because practical blades can be made from bronze, doesn't mean everyone has the skill to make them so. Good excuse to remove the usual tired tropes of everyone toting a sword. Instead it's spears, axes and such. A short sword is a weapon marking someone out as wealthy and important.in Ancient Greek, if you're a hoplite, that mean you're a freeman who own some land. But not all hoplites necessarily worn bronze breastplate, they had a kind of composite armor that was made up of layers of linen, leather, and bronze strips/scales(?) called linothorax, it made for a good protection for its weight and quite flexible.

On "everyone will not have them", it's a good point. Why try to produce higher quality bronze items when you can simply trade for it and let the trading state do the hard work?

The mindset of the hoplite warfare may or may not appeal to the dwarves, it might be concievable to see dwarves allied more often with hoplite dominated city states. In hoplite warfare you depend on a kind of group honor, you have your family, friends, and neighbors fighting alongside you in the ranks. While this doesn't mean they could be the best troop in the world, but that they could be often the most determined troop.

Here's another idea, some of the cultures may not have realiable access to bronze through natural resources or trade, so they may have to use iron, which can be inferior. In the ruleset, if you used a bronze weapon or armor it take some sort of penalty so in the Bronze Age setting instead it's the iron weapon/armor that take the same penalty that normally would had been used for bronze weapon/armor.

charl
2008-09-19, 12:24 PM
Also worth thinking about is that all iron weapons will be cold iron weapons (since steel isn't available) which could make life hard for certain Outsiders.

And don't forget stone weapons. They were used in South America still when the Spanish arrived, even though the cultures of that area could melt gold, because they didn't have access to steel. The correct stones can be sharpened into quite deadly weaponry.
Even simple wood weapons are worth considering. The aborigines of Australia could (and still can) make quite deadly weapons with just sharpened wood (boomerangs for example).
Also bone.

Although I'd imagine the more advanced cultures (i.e. Greek city states, Egypt, Etruscans...) would prefer metals.

Hurlbut
2008-09-19, 12:37 PM
Also worth thinking about is that all iron weapons will be cold iron weapons (since steel isn't available) which could make life hard for certain Outsiders.

And don't forget stone weapons. They were used in South America still when the Spanish arrived, even though the cultures of that area could melt gold, because they didn't have access to steel. The correct stones can be sharpened into quite deadly weaponry.
Even simple wood weapons are worth considering. The aborigines of Australia could (and still can) make quite deadly weapons with just sharpened wood (boomerangs for example).
Also bone.

Although I'd imagine the more advanced cultures (i.e. Greek city states, Egypt, Etruscans...) would prefer metals.Well, Incas did know about bronze althought apparently they never applied it to their weaponry.

Kiero
2008-09-19, 07:37 PM
And don't forget stone weapons. They were used in South America still when the Spanish arrived, even though the cultures of that area could melt gold, because they didn't have access to steel. The correct stones can be sharpened into quite deadly weaponry.


This is one of those ethnocentric myths about non-European cultures. The native peoples of Latin America did know how to work metal, difference was they didn't use it to make weapons. Instead it was something to demostrate status, rather than put to practical use.

Much is made for example of the failure to adopt the wheel. In mountainous and jungle terrain, without pack animals suitable to pull a wheeled platform, it serves no purpose. They still built extensive road networks, though.

Dervag
2008-09-19, 08:36 PM
High level magic does exist, for the reason that one of the oldest sentient species have spent a long time developing it- the dragons. This means that if a spellcaster wants a high level spell, they need to find a friendly dragon mentor, or they need to find a willing teacher of high level, which often means convincing the elves to give up some of their secrets. Opinion can differ on which is harder.

Monks, and possibly paladins, will not exist yet. The techniques and cultural mindsets that would give rise to such classes are not present and will not be for centuries. The same will go for many of the splatbook classes.The following does not contradict, but was inspired by, what you say here:

Don't forget that by the 'high Bronze Age' (c. 1300-1200 BC), really civilized societies were literate. The writing system was horrendously complicated, to the point where a specialist had to devote years to being able to use it well, but it existed.

So written spells and scrolls probably will exist. Historically, charms and books of 'magic' were among the first things written down in most cultures. About the only things that predate them are contracts and royal recordkeeping- the ancient Sumerian and Mycenean scripts seem to have been invented as an elaborate system of notation for keeping track of debts and inventory.


actaully, why not Just do away with the Code, instead let these Proto-paladins gain thier powers on their gods whim (like clerics). That way, you avoid all the arugements that come about form it, and you can have some intresting paladin NPCs (the one-eyed Champion of Grumrush, the Imoveable avatar of Moradin, etc)Like 4th Edition paladins?


Here's another idea, some of the cultures may not have realiable access to bronze through natural resources or trade, so they may have to use iron, which can be inferior. In the ruleset, if you used a bronze weapon or armor it take some sort of penalty so in the Bronze Age setting instead it's the iron weapon/armor that take the same penalty that normally would had been used for bronze weapon/armor.If anyone is using iron on a mass scale, they would beat bronze civilizations. Fine, bronze weapons are individually the equal or superiors of early Iron Age weapons. But iron is present in such vast amounts and in so many parts of the world that the knowledge of iron making overturns the entire structure of the civilized world. Barbarians can dig bog iron out of a swamp and forge enough weapons to conquer empires. In fact, that's exactly what the Vikings did.

There's a reason why the era after iron working was discovered in the Middle East became known as "the Iron Age." Bronze was still exactly as useful as before, but the amount of iron tools and weapons greatly outnumbered the amount of bronze.


Even simple wood weapons are worth considering. The aborigines of Australia could (and still can) make quite deadly weapons with just sharpened wood (boomerangs for example)."You could laugh at the idea of wooden weapons until you saw the kind of wood that grew here."


Although I'd imagine the more advanced cultures (i.e. Greek city states, Egypt, Etruscans...) would prefer metals.They did.\


This is one of those ethnocentric myths about non-European cultures. The native peoples of Latin America did know how to work metal, difference was they didn't use it to make weapons. Instead it was something to demostrate status, rather than put to practical use.The fact that native American civilizations didn't use metal weapons or tools suggests that metalworking in those cultures was not as far along as it was in European cultures of the same era. Or, for that matter, Mediterranean cultures of 3000 years earlier. This does not reflect adversely on the non-Europeans, given that:

a)The Mediterranean cultures had a head start in terms of population density and resources. For those reasons, the earliest cultures in the Middle East that parallel the earliest civilized cultures in Peru or Mexico predate the civilizations of Peru and Mexico by some thousands of years. The native Americans were much newer to their continent than the native Mesopotamians were to theirs. It took them some millenia to fill that continent with hunter-gatherers and to grow accustomed enough to its flora and fauna that cultivation and city building would become worthwhile.

and

b)Many other completely different non-European societies mastered bronze and iron working, even though some of them were considerably inferior to the Mesoamerican cultures in areas like literacy and road building.


Much is made for example of the failure to adopt the wheel. In mountainous and jungle terrain, without pack animals suitable to pull a wheeled platform, it serves no purpose. They still built extensive road networks, though.No worries; nobody's going "ha ha, dumb Incas" here. It is definitely a fact, though, that the Incans did not work iron, and that while they knew how to work bronze they didn't employ it in quantity or to practical ends. Their knowledge of metalworker was not out of line for a Mediterranean Bronze Age metalworker, either on the high end or the low end.

charl
2008-09-19, 08:44 PM
They did.\

I know they did. I was more talking about the advanced civilizations of the setting than the real world ones, those were just examples.

Ragabash
2008-09-20, 01:57 AM
I'm still a little leary about the idea of a longsword... maybe have it somewhat like the katana in that it will have to be a masterwork item? Although given the rarity of swords, it might be safe to say that nearly anyone making that sort of investment is going to get a masterwork item anyways...

When it comes to paladins, I think I will allow them after all, going with my idea of them originating in dwarven culture and spreading from there to strongly lawful human cultures.
The idea of the proto-paladin is all kinds in cool, and one I would use in a heartbeat, if, again, I wasn't going for consistency with later eras. Still, file that one away for later.

The bit about literacy being fairly common in the high bronze age is really interesting, although I'm not sure if I'm going for a high- or mid- age setting here. Once again, this will require some thought. Perhaps I should ask, do you mean literacy existed, or that it was commonplace? Because if it was limitted to scholars as you seem to say, my idea of automatically granting it to only wizards and clerics still makes sense.


Once again, I really appreciate all the help everyone is giving me on this. If I ever do get to run this campaign I will remember to give proper credit if it turns out as well as I hope.

charl
2008-09-20, 02:25 AM
Well, except MAYBE for certain Greek city states during the late bronze-age, IRL literacy wasn't commonplace anywhere. It was still pretty advanced though (look at when Greek literature began and what they achieved even during those early times) and the higher classes (nobles, intellectuals, the clergy and merchants) all were literate.
Although that was mainly for the Greeks (could be applied to Mesopotamia too). Egypt was different. Their art of writing was considered sacred and was restricted to the clergy, the nobility and their architects and healers.
At least that's how I understand it. I'm not sure about other people, but I'm pretty sure the Etruscans had an alphabet of their own, as did the Phoenicians, I think.

Hurlbut
2008-09-20, 03:55 AM
If anyone is using iron on a mass scale, they would beat bronze civilizations. Fine, bronze weapons are individually the equal or superiors of early Iron Age weapons. But iron is present in such vast amounts and in so many parts of the world that the knowledge of iron making overturns the entire structure of the civilized world. Barbarians can dig bog iron out of a swamp and forge enough weapons to conquer empires. In fact, that's exactly what the Vikings did.

There's a reason why the era after iron working was discovered in the Middle East became known as "the Iron Age." Bronze was still exactly as useful as before, but the amount of iron tools and weapons greatly outnumbered the amount of bronze.The issue isn't the iron aviability, but the quality of it. When supplies of tin became harder to obtain, they were forced to look at iron. It took a while for them to figure out to make steel out of it. Steel being any point between brittle and soft iron.

Dervag
2008-09-20, 04:07 AM
Well, except MAYBE for certain Greek city states during the late bronze-age, IRL literacy wasn't commonplace anywhere. It was still pretty advanced though (look at when Greek literature began and what they achieved even during those early times) and the higher classes (nobles, intellectuals, the clergy and merchants) all were literate.You're mixing up Classical and Mycenean Greece.

It's pretty safe to say that the Bronze Age ended some time between 1150 and 750 BC. The characteristic high Greek culture of the late Bronze Age was the Mycenean civilization of city-states ruled by kings, which is the one presented in Homer. It collapsed due to barbarian invasion in about 1200 BC, along with several other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations.
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The Myceneans had a writing system, known to archaeologists as Linear B (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_B). However, that system was horrendously complicated and very poorly suited to the spoken Greek language of the time. It appears to have been lifted wholesale from a system devised by the Minoans, who spoke a very different language.

Linear B was translated with some difficulty in the 1950s. It's pretty much a system of notation for bookkeeping, well suited to writing sentences like "Alexandra owes the king five sheep" and poorly suited to writing sentences like "Sing, goddess, the rage of Achilles the son of Peleus,
the destructive rage that sent countless ills on the Achaeans."

To the best of my knowledge, every single piece of Linear B writing ever found was some kind of palace record. The total is several thousand tablets, but there are no examples of poetry or philosophy written in Linear B.
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Given the great complexity of the writing system, mastery of Linear B is a specialist skill that takes some years to learn. There is evidence that it was known to specialists outside the palaces, but it was almost certainly not something known widely. If wealthy nobles and merchants learned Linear B, it was more likely to fill out their tax forms than to record stories and plays and works of philosophy.

In classical Greece, literacy was much more widespread and an enormous amount of literature and philosophy got written down. The difference is quite dramatic.

So while literacy may have been common among upper class Bronze Age Greeks, they did virtually nothing with it except keep records (an important mark of civilization in itself, of course).
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The issue isn't the iron aviability, but the quality of it. When supplies of tin became harder to obtain, they were forced to look at iron. It took a while for them to figure out to make steel out of it. Steel being any point between brittle and soft iron.Yes. But once they got the hang of iron, they realized that iron was everywhere. Suddenly they could raise every available warrior and arm him with metal weapons. Granted, they were bad metal weapons, but there were a lot of them and plenty more where those came from.

If an army with bronze weapons fights an army with iron weapons and wins, the surviving ironmongers go home, forge new weapons, and come back in a few years when a new crop of teenage boys has grown up to thicken their ranks. If the army with bronze weapons loses, the ironmongers take the bronze home and a large fraction of the kingdom's capital* just went down the drain. In which case the next bronze-armed army the kingdom raises will be less heavily armed, and therefore more vulnerable to the numerous metal weapons of their enemies.

*In the economic sense- capital as in the wealth that lets you gain more wealth, not as in the place the king lives. Though the ironmongers might take some of that away too.
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Over the long term and assuming roughly equal numbers, civilizations with good, but expensive weapons will only beat armies with bad, but cheap and easy to make weapons if the difference in quality is big. The difference in quality between bronze spears and iron spears isn't that big.

So if you create a Bronze Age world where the barbarians have started using iron because they can't afford the prices the merchants charge for tin or bronze...

You've created a Bronze Age world where civilization as we know it is about to be overrun by a horde of barbarians with blades glinting gray in their fists.

Ragabash
2008-09-20, 09:00 AM
More brainstorming, this time on cultures.

Rather than say game world culture X is based on real world culture Y, I'm instead going to build from base concepts. For example, a culture I want to portray as "scholarly" mind have an abundace of wizards, a high ratio of experts to commoners, and generally be more scientifically advanced than their neighbours. The culture I have in my mind as "wild men" on the other hand, will still be limitted to stone age tools and weapons that they can produce themselves and obtain better by trading with other peoples, either their art (jewelry from polished semi-precious stones, finely crafted stone objects used for decoration by some wealthy merchants and nobles, etc.), their service as mercenaries, or captives from their wars with other tribes as slaves.

I have a few concepts in mind, I'll be posting some of them as I have a bit of history and maybe even a name for them.