Arsenals of the Realms

Weaponry and personal protection are an important part of a fantasy rpg character. Not only does one’s choice of arms help clarify the mental picture of a character’s appearance, it helps to cement the ‘type’ of character one is playing. We are exposed to many memes and tropes of the fantasy genre and our choice of arms often plays to these. A character that breaks these common themes can often be distinctive and memorable, while a character that conforms is often comfortable and clearly defined.

With this in mind I thought we’d take a little journey through the lands of the Three Pillars – a tour where we examine what the common arms are for each area and culture. I will be pulling these items from the Panoply section of the Exalted™ 2nd Edition rulebook.

*A note on Spears: I treat spears differently to the Exalted rulebook. The stat line for a Spear [p.368] is unchanged except that it may be used 1 handed. However the character gains no benefit from bracing unless the spear is wielded 2 handed (thus forgoing any bonus from a shield). Typically a spear will be the height of the warrior plus up to a foot extra.

*A revised note on technology: Armour is generally manufactured from iron and bronze, while weapons will be either iron or steel. High quality steel is uncommon in the lands of Men, being expensive and difficult to make, but much more prevalent in the hands of Dwarves and Elves. Chainmail is most often made with iron links, while plates and bands are more likely to be bronze or, rarely, a medium quality steel. It is therefore a costly and ongoing exercise for warriors and armies to maintain their armour.

Carathan Empire

The Imperial Legions

Common legionaires are armed with a Reinforced Buff Jacket, Target Shield, a 7′ Spear  and a Short Sword. Armour includes a metal pot helm. These arms are manufactured by the Empire in Tor Carath, Tor Egan, and Tor Nordia. There are minor differences in style, depending on where a piece was made, but only a trained soldier would notice them. Most retired legionaires retain their arms after mustering out and form the backbone of any local militias.

Archers of the Legions are armoured identically to their infantry counterparts, but forgo the shield and spear in favour of a Longbow. Archers are an integral part of Imperial tactics, being staggered with infantry to provide withering fire at any point in the line. When threatened, the archers will withdraw, allowing the infantry to cover them with a shield wall.

When the Legions deploy cavalry it is in the form of an unstoppable charge of heavy horse. The chaotic nature of mounted combat does not lend itself to Imperial strategy, so cavalry is generally held until they can strike a decisive hammer blow. Light cavalry and mounted archers do not play a part in most Imperial battles. Cavalry troopers are armed with a Lance and Slashing Sword, and protected by a Chain Hauberk, including pot helm, and a Target Shield.


House troops are armed by their respective lords and the quality and array will vary from locale to locale. Most lords attempt to outfit their forces in a manner similar to the legions, but soldiers of poorer holds may only be equipped with a Buff Jacket instead of a heavier variant, or Self Bows instead of a long bow. Lords of northern and eastern holds prefer to equip their guards with Axes instead of a short sword, while the noble houses around Tor Glimerin arm their troops with Chopping Swords and Pole Axes.

Some of the major houses retain more specialised units of soldiers. House Amadris, for example, fields the Ironguard – heavy infantry equipped with Chain Hauberk and Greatsword. These fearsome warriors are used as line breakers and are a force to be reckoned with on any battlefield. The Skytreader company, of House Ruwen, are light lancers equipped with Lance, Slashing Sword and Chain Shirt.


Skitarii is the term used for irregular House Auxilia placed under the direct command of the Warmaster. Among the hardiest and most resourceful soldiers available to an Imperial commander, the Skitarii are scouts, pathfinders, mounted infantry and rangers. They are rarely deployed on the field of battle, insetad being used as outriders, messengers, scouts and raiders.

Skitarii prefer mobility over protection, favouring a Buff Jacket or Chain Shirt, Buckler, Composite Bow, and a selection of Short Swords, Slashing Swords, Axes and Daggers.

Tower Cohorts

Before Eddelen’s Folly decimated the strength of the Tower, the Cohorts fought as highly disciplined heavy infantry. Marching, defending or assaulting to the mystical beat of the Cadence, the Cohorts were focused and incredibly effective.

The warriors of the Tower are armoured in Lamellar and Tower Shield, including a visored helm, and fight with a 7′ Spear and Short Sword.


While the above lists and descriptions are not meant to be exhaustive, the arms used by soldiers represent the most commonly used weapons and armour of the Carathan Empire. It is easier, now, if I give a list of gear from the rulebook which is NOT in common use:

Uncommon*: Sledge, Hammer, Composite Bow, Straight Sword, Chopping Sword, Javelin, Cestus, Fighting Gauntlet, Breastplate, Tower Shield, Lamellar, Reinforced Breastplate.

Rare**: Tetsubo, Martial Arts weapons not listed above, Chakram, Needle, War Boomerang, Crossbows, Plate & Chain

Never: Any kind of gunpowder-based weapon, Articulated Plate, Chain Swathing, Superheavy Plate.

*: add 1 dot to the Wealth needed to acquire the item.
**: add 2 dots to the Wealth needed to acquire the item. Where this raises the requirement above 5 the item can only be obtained by those with access to very powerful friends or special resources. E.g. Plate & Chain is only worn by the Eternal Guard of the Congregation. A character would need to have the favour of a Justiciar to even think about acquiring a suit.

Next Post: Elves, Dwarves and the Surayan Satrapies.


~ by occam99 on June 15, 2012.

16 Responses to “Arsenals of the Realms”

  1. You have Tower soldiers armed as follows:

    The warriors of the Tower are armoured in Lamellar and Tower Shield, including a visored helm, and fight with a 7′ Spear and Short Sword.

    Is it correct they wore Lamellar or should that read chainmail?


  2. All good information. I think the average armour is heavier than I had expected. Can’t wait to see the dwarvish post…


  3. Any thoughts for the humble sling? I think this is nerfed in the Exalted 2nd Edition rulebook. I would suggest a change to:
    Speed: 5
    Accuracy: +1
    Damage: +2L
    Rate: 2
    Range: 150

    This would put in on a similar basis (if not slightly better) than a self bow and a bit less than a long bow. In the hands of an experienced slinger it was a very effective weapon…


  4. Lamellar is correct. It is not laminated armour, rather interlocking bands of metal over padding. Think something like the lorica segmentum of the Roman legions.

  5. Well by far the most common armour is buff jackets and reinforced buff jackets. Only specialised troops wear anything heavier.

    A chain hauberk is the most common ‘heavy’ armour – and even that is expensive and hard to come by for non-military characters.

  6. I’m actually happy with where the sling sits. If anything I think the bows are overpowered – their Rates are far too high.

    This is probably symptomatic of the anime heritage of the Exalted setting, where archers are often a force of nature.

  7. Would you then consider dropping the rate on all missile weapons by 1? As it stands at the present rules a long bow can fire potentially 30 arrows in 60 seconds… This seems a bit far-fetched (no pun intended)…

    Why you are considering this, perhaps drop the rate of all thrown weapons by 1 as well. Under present rules a character could potentially throw 30 Javelins in 60 seconds…

    This would fix the disadvantage for the sling and also address the inequity between missile weapons and direct damage spells (I posted on this earlier).


  8. That was certainly what I had in mind.

    I am also, after much deliberation, thinking of giving Elemental Burst (Earth) a rate of 2.

  9. I would certainly support that move…


  10. See you are already nurfing the elf already 😛 let me know when i use flowers for arrows and grass for my duel daggers

  11. Hehe… I thought I was the min max!


  12. Seriously. What is the standard amount of arrows an archer carries. They need to be fast and mobile so I doubt they are going to be running around with hundreds of arrows. An archer takes care of select key targets due to only having a limited amount of ammo. They just happen to be able to drop the key targets very quickly. Then they are left with withdrawing, or being cut to pieces.

  13. … or turn it around the other way… Do you think any archer can notch an arrow, draw, aim and fire 3 times within 6 seconds?


  14. Legolas, actually he can fire three within half that time…

  15. Is that the hero created by JRR Tolkien or the cinematic special effects artist created by Peter Jackson?

    As it stands, even if you reduce the bow rate to 2, the archer will be shooting an arrow every 3 seconds… I think that is pretty heroic…


  16. Alright guys, let me lay a couple of things on you:

    1. “Nerfing” the longbow will not affect elves terribly much if they are using their cultural weapons – as you will see in Part 2.

    2. Wrath – what you are describing is a sniper, not an archer per se. Archers on a battlefield rely on infantry for protection, not mobility.

    3. Regarding Legolas: He is an immortal prince and regarded as the finest archer in all of Middle Earth…in the mechanics of Legend of the Three Pillars this would be represented by the Feats system.

    Do not forget that there are two tiers of feats you guys have not discovered yet…maybe some of them will allow a faster rate of attack than would be possible for a mortal warrior.

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