Arsenals of the Realms, Part 2

Welcome to part two of the series on weapons and armour in the Legend of the Three Pillars (subtitled ‘The Elves Strike Back’).

In part 1 – posted right below, in all its glory – I dealt with the Carathan Empire and some niggles I had with the existing Exalted™ 2nd Edition panoply lists. In part 2 I delve into the cultural weapons of the Elves and Dwarves, and sketch out how the Surayans arm themselves. Part 3 will be a list of what I am talking about when I use a term from the panoply lists that is open to interpretation eg. Slashing Sword.

Elves are first up, right after the break.


This ancient race is in a peculiar position with regards to arms and armour. On one hand they have a martial tradition that is 10,000 years old that is still maintained by certain sects of the race. On the other hand the vast majority of their warriors and weapons were destroyed in the Sundering. What few elves remain are scattered, a shadow of their former glory. The idea of a standing army of Elves is remote in the extreme.

Not all is lost of their warrior heritage, however. Many of the Seekers are master smiths and metallurgists, capable of crafting weapons or armour that rivals anything found prior to the Sundering. The warriors of the Enclaves are well armoured in Lamellar and Tower Shield but their weapons will vary according to personal taste. Most prefer a Spear and either a Slashing Sword or Straight Sword or Axe, some will forgo the shield for a second weapon or a Great Sword.

Bows are frowned upon as being the weapon of cowardly savages (read: Men) but, where missile weapons are required, Elves prefer thrown weapons. Javelins, Daggers, Chakrams and Throwing Axes are all in common uasage by Enclave warriors. Some progressive groups have embraced the mechanical elegance of the crossbow, but it remains an uncommon sight.

The wargear of the Enclaves is crafted from fine steel or other alloys and is far superior to anything found in the lands of Men.

Wilders are far too iconoclastic to be pinned down to any particular weapon. Most will use whatever is common to the place of their origin – whether it is human lands or an Enclave. Some will embrace the ways of the past – carrying steel wargear of ancient design – while most will simply arm themselves as Men do. It remains culturally uncommon for an Elf to use a bow, however. Some prejudices do not go away.

The Wretched, where they arm themselves at all, will adopt the cast-offs of whatever settlement they live in. No human lord would consider arming these Elves, however, and there are often purges to confiscate or destroy any caches of weapons the Wretched might accumulate.

Crunch: The quality of Elven steel will confer bonuses to equipement. These may range from a Speed reduction (making the weapon faster), a damage increase, a protection bonus or a reduction of the Mobility penalty. The actual benefit will depend on the smith and the item (read: Storyteller’s discretion). Elven steel should be at least +1 Wealth dot to acquire, and will be rare in the extreme outside of an Enclave.


Dwarves are quite individual when it comes to weaponry and armour, although some generalisations can be made.

Marines serving aboard warships tend to favour Axes, Hammers and Maces, paired with a Target Shield and Reinforced Buff Jacket, including a pot helm. Some who have travelled to Suraya have adopted the Short Spear of the Ameri. Relying on elemental barrages for ranged combat, the Dwarven crews have not embraced missile weapons, instead carrying extra axes or daggers for throwing. Elemental grenades are also used where appropriate – small spirits bound into a metal casing, these grenades explode when thrown for devastating effect.

Rangers who operate in the mountains bordering the Chaos March prefer lighter armour – a Buff Jacket – but still favour Axes, Hammers and Maces. The Self Bow is reasonably common amongst these warriors as they have less access to war-chanters and other offensive magics.

Dwarven warriors tasked with guarding steads, or Refuge, wear Reinforced Breastplate or Chain Hauberk but are otherwise armed identically to marines. The only other Duer unit of note are the tragic warriors of the Circle of Sorrow. These Dwarves are so stricken by grief – usually by the death of a loved one or family member – that they are unable to function in normal Dwarven society. They are armoured in Chain Hauberk and wield a fearsome array of Great Axes, Sledges and Great Swords. Completely fearless and nearly unstoppable, these beserkers will wade into any battle sowing discord and mayhem into the enemy ranks – until they are finally brought down by weight of numbers.

Dwarven steel is of a quality to match that of the Elves and will have similar properties. Creation-forged weapons are often found in the hands of elite warriors and Circle champions.

Surayan Satrapies

The soldiers of the Nine Tribes are as varied as the tribes themselves, with each holding to cultural values thousands of years old. Nevertheless, due to the nature of warfare and economy, many of these differences are on the surface.

The rank and file soldier carries a Spear and Slashing Sword, and is protected by a pot helm and Target Shield. Those from the northern states are protected by a Reinforced Buff Jacket, while those hailing from hotter climes to the south prefer the lighter Buff Jacket. Most armies sport a large complement of cavalry and they are armed similarly, except for the use of a Short Spear instead of the longer variant. Archers forgo the spear and shield, replacing them with a Composite Bow.


Fielding the largest standing army of all the tribes, the A’mai are known for arming all of their infantry with bows, making their troops exceptionally flexible on the battlefield. A’mai infantry also serve as marines on trade and war ships, making them the most commonly encountered Surayan outside of the Satrapies themselves. They also field cataphracts – heavy cavalry with Chain Hauberk and Lance, backed up by Slashing Sword or Mace.


The Ameri field large numbers of highly effective skirmishers. A Buff Jacket is commonly worn, although some units forgo even that, along with a Buckler, Short Spear and Javelins. They are also famed for eschewing the use of bows, in favour of Slings firing a lead bullet. Ameri light cavalry is armed similarly to their infantry, but relying on a Breastplate for protection.


With a fighting force that is almost exclusively on horseback, the Bedine favour mobility over protection. Most commonly they will wear a Buff Jacket and fight with a Lance, Slashing Sword and Composite Bow.


The Fe’din ride from birth to death and their men and women are regarded as the finest cavalry in the world. Primarily armed with a Reinforced Buff Jacket, Lance, Buckler and Slashing Sword, the Fe’din are fearsome combatants – plunging their charges into a melee, striking all about them and then withdrawing to prepare for another charge. Even the Swordmasters of the Fe’din are mounted, armouring themselves and their horses in a form of Lamellar, and fighting with a Straight Sword or Greatsword.


The J’alin are similar to the Bedine, fielding large contingents of light cavalry and horse archers.


Soldiers of the Madith favour Chopping Swords and Axes over the lighter weapons of the eastern tribes. Their cavalry and heavy infantry are armoured in Lamellar, including visored helms that bear the likeness of Surayan devils. The Madith are also renowned for their use of ingenious siege engines during warfare and this mechanical knowledge has translated into the adoption of the crossbow.


The Orrenai do not field any kind of standing army. The Swordmaster schools have their origins in traditional Orrenai armament, however, consisting of Straight Sword or Slashing Sword and a war-harness (treat as a Breastplate). Some schools prefer the Greatsword and at least one uses a Staff.

The Orrenai mountain temples are places of learning for martial artists, and teach fighting styles that include the use of Fighting Chains, Sai, Seven Section Staff, Quarterstaff and Wind/Fire Wheels.


Like their neighbours, the Madith, the prosperous Salmadi favour brutal shock warfare. Lamellar armoured warriors wielding Great Swords smash apart an enemy line ahead of their mainstay troops, while war elephants trample any opposition. Howdah crews pepper the foe with Javelins and Composite Bows.


~ by occam99 on June 18, 2012.

One Response to “Arsenals of the Realms, Part 2”

  1. My dwarf is now equiped as a marine…


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