1. Nawa
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    Nawa Member

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    What is good adventuring gear? (medieval fantasy)

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Nawa, Jan 10, 2016.

    I'm trying to prepare my main character (a demi elf though I'm scrambling the recipe a bit) for his adventurous life-style, so far I have his weapon(s) and armour ready but I'm honestly not sure I have quite the right stuff for him to adventure. So I'd like your opinion, bellow is what he has

    Quarter Staff which doubles as a walking stick
    Small axe to cut wood for fires and fletching (as well as enemy limbs if need be)
    A common knife which doubles as a dagger and triples as a spear tip through a simple attachment to the tip of the quarter staff
    A couple slings and sling "bullets" (I'm still trying to decide when slings would be advantageous over bow and arrow for an adventurer)
    A bow, arrows and a quiver to hold it all in (along with spare bow strings) used as both weapon and for hunting
    Pots and pans for cooking
    A small tent (Military style 1 person tent that barely goes above the ground, I'm not sure that's period accurate though)
    Hammock for when he can sleep above the ground away from moisture and insects
    Cloak to keep warm and dry
    Coin Purse (though the coins are scattered all over him to hide them from brigands!)
    Water canteen
    Flint and steel style fire starter
    his simple round hat to protect his head
    full chainmail armor (except hands, head and feet)
    Leather gloves
    Metal plate stop the forearms (to allow parry without the need to pick up a buckler from his hip or anything)
    greaves (to protect his shins)
    Leather boots
    Padding under each piece of armor and some clothes atop it all so it's not exactly visible (of course the greaves show but that's fine)
    metal plate on his back so as to protect it when he needs to flee

    Anything you think is wrong for a late medieval period setting or excessive? Or anything lacking? The focus isn't on combat so the character doesn't need a sword or mace or anything, he'll use his staff if he needs to fight. He's also around 600 years old so the idea is he tried several styles of armor and brought this all together (namely adding steel plates)

    Thanks for the help
     
  2. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    What's his mission? For wandering around the wilderness, chainmail armor might be overdoing it a bit. That stuff can be heavy and uncomfortable after all. Of course, if he's taking on the dark lord all by himself, he also may not be well equipped enough to do all that on his own. It all really depends on what he's trying to accomplish I think. One thing I do recommend though: make sure not to go too overboard in the equipment you give him. The less equipment he has, the harder it is for him to accomplish things, and therefore, the more satisfaction for the reader when he manages to succeed, despite harsh odds.
     
  3. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    You forgot a ruck sack to carry the items he has. Maybe some rope it has many practical applications. Rags for bandages. And possibly a compass and a map, if the two exist in your fantasy world. Maybe something similar to Jhonny Cakes(early form of cracker made from corn and water) for when he can't fish or hunt, so he doesn't starve. Other than that I think you have what you need.
     
  4. Bandag
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    If he's hunting his own food, he's going to need a good knife to prepare food. Maybe several, depending on how snobby he is.
     
  5. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    To the OP, perhaps some fishing gear would be in order. He could use his staff as the base for a fishing rod.
     
  6. Mordred85
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    Mordred85 Active Member

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    I hope he has a pack mule to carry all that.
     
  7. Bandag
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    That is a not invalid point. Most people don't realise this, but backpacks these days have high tech harness systems built into them that disperse the weight evenly, so it's not too big of a deal to carry a third of your bodyweight on your back. In former times, that was totally unthinkable.
     
  8. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    As has been commented by others, that's a LOT of weight you're giving him.

    It sounds like you've played too many adventure games, where your character keeps picking stuff up and putting it in his knapsack, with no regard for the weight involved. Bear in mind that mediaeval "rucksacks" were really just bags, not scientifically designed to carry heavy loads without discomfort on the part of the bearer.

    Chain mail would have been adequate for most purposes other than battle, where the addition of plate was quite late in the middle ages. And, since you feel the need to hide the fact that he's wearing mail (chain was a term that was only added in the 19th century) by putting clothes on top, you're aware that armour-wearing at that time is a bit like walking around modern-day London in a bullet-proof vest and carrying a Kalashnikov...something that's not done by your average law-abiding citizen!

     
  9. IlaridaArch
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    IlaridaArch Active Member

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    I don't know the setting or the worldbuilding, as how advanced stuff they have around is a variable here. So I just bulletpoint:
    • lot of stuff, some of them clearly out of place and like said - question can he carry all of it.
    • absolutely remove the tent. A roll of rug will do (and can be used in many ways), that can be used as a small tent with some sticks and rope
    • insanity to be a wanderer without a rope
    • pots and pans. If you insist, then have one pot. Carrying multiple seems over the edge, plus bringing more weight.
    • he is walking and no horse to help carry all of this
    • I don't see any reason to wield a sling in combat over the bow.
    • A dagger, a bow, an axe and a sling. Too many weapons, though I see you named the axe and the dagger as tools. But still would consider here, that could the dagger be left out? Smallish axe can be used with woodcutting, but a guy with some skills knows how to use it for 'daggering' jobs as well. So I think limiting items here is one way to go as well.
    Obviously as you stated, it is fantasy where pretty much everything can come and go. But if this old man is 'mainstream' elf, their bodybuilding isn't exactly that big and bulky. Therefore, carrying lot of items might seem odd - especially for an elf. Which most of the time are just light, ranged type of troops. Like said, if we have that mainstream fantasy elf.

    You can always explain it with magic, if there is some in this universe. But many fantasy readers are extremely picky, when it comes to the magic and its uses. They want to understand it, they want to see the reasons and the logic in it. So saying "well he casted a spell to remove the weight" isn't gonna cut it.

    Do your best to cut it down a bit, because if you tell the reader he has all of that and no friend with hooves - you will stir some negative thoughts. Besides, a lack of tool might bring you some interesting scene to your story. Maybe he tripped and took some rolls down the hillside and because of this, he lost some important items and visits a village to replace them. Or, he never had the item, but needs to acquire one.

    -------------------------- EDIT

    Something to add about the magic; when you use it to explain something you couldn't otherwise explain, you might be walking on a thin ice .
     
  10. Nawa
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    Nawa Member

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    Not all of this is carried on his back, most of this stuff is meant to be strapped to his belt or carried in various pouches on his hip or even on straps from shoulder to hip, I've worn medieval era backpacks and know how clumbsy they are, though a bit of messing around with them can make them alot more comfortable by using only ropes and sticks.

    A pack mule's a good idea actually didn't think of that but it would make sense

    He has no mission per se, demi-elves are sterile (like mules which makes him having one somewhat funny to me) and have an incessant desire to have their lives feel meaningful since they can't give their legacy to their children, so true chainmail 24/7 would be overkill but I also wouldn't imagine him buying a new set everytime he hears of a cavern or something, plus it's meant to be for defense against highwaymen and all that, wild animals and beasts. Also real chainmail isn't that heavy I've worn the real-deal (made of steel not aluminum) and it's actually surprisingly light, granted once you add the padding it gets really hot.

    He is a demi-elf half elf half human and while he has a more elven facial feature he has the ability to build quite the bulk a human could. Also the demi-elves can live forever if they aren't killed so he's not exactly "old" in the standard sense.

    I don't want to explain things like that with magic, sure he'll have some magical training but he won't have sat down and spent decades learning it he'll have instead learn the basics and spells here and there through his adventures mostly for convenience like say: Repairing a broken bowstring or maybe manifesting a fire, but he'll always favour physical means of doing those.

    Daggers were not mainstream weapons they were historically only tools that could be used in a pinch as a weapon the same way you could use a rock, the axe is exclussively intended for wood work (also you can't use an axe to make new arrows you need to fine control of a knife for that, yes I have actually tried with both and nearly cut my fingers off with the axe... don't try it) the bow's also mainly for hunting, the quarter staff is what he'll be using for actual combat when that comes to be needed, in a proper medieval setting (as historically accurate as I can do without driving myself nuts) even battles wouldn't have that many deaths because everyone would try to avoid entering combat as much as possible and so will he.

    Only way I saw for a sling to be beneficial would be to incapacitate an opponent with less risk (hit the leg instead of the head and a lead bullet wouldn't pierce the skin as badly as an arrow) but yeah it seems excessive

    Johnny cakes and ropes are great ideas

    I suppose if he needs to fish he could always just use his bow like spear fishing, just gotta tie a string/rope to the arrow.

    Yeah I know about the whole "Bullet proof vest in london" thing, he's not meant to be liked to begin with. Demi-elves are meant to be seen as essentially a waste of resources since they can never give birth and don't have any attachment to helping society or anything like that (not in a way the average person would see) I also want the idea of "Adventurers" and "Drifters" to be shady, I mean they are strangers showing up in your town and asking around if there's anything dangerous going on, literally looking for trouble and guard types would hate them even more with the idea of "We can't handle that goblin den so this stranger'll do it on his own?!" So yeah I want the mail covered but not so much to hide his adventuring nature but mostly because steel gets super hot in the sun and that'd be uncomfortable.

    Tossing the tent and hammock idea, some blanket type things or maybe even his cloak and the rope could make a hammock, I could even have him outright sleep in the tree if need be

    I said "pots and pans" refering mostly to "cooking instruments" without really meaning a number of any kind, I was thinking a pot and a spoon for when he decides to splurge and make stew.

    And yeah a rucksack though the pack mule's a great idea.

    Thanks for all the help everyone this was very helpful! Now to figure out what mules eat... Grass? (I'll google it no need to answer)
     
  11. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I've done a few 50 milers and I can tell you there is no way I would carry all of that. Also, even in medieval times, not everyone owned horses, fewer still had mules.
     
  12. Nawa
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    Nawa Member

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    Well true but the guy has centuries of adventuring under his belt, and his wealth can be explained by his cartography and the demi-elves never forgetting anything ever in my fantasy (to dig deeper the pain of immortality since they effectively can't forget those they lost and etc)
     
  13. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    This has nothing to do with wealth and everything to do with, there is no way on the Gods Green Earth that I would carry all that crap. Not for 10 miles, certainly not for 50 miles, and sure as sh!t not half way across a continent.

    You put all that gear on and go for a 50 mile hike and let me know how much of it was still with you at the end.
     
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    What's inside the character's head doesn't add any weight to what he's carrying. So I'd endow him with lots of survival knowledge. How to make a bed and find shelter while traveling. What to gather and eat along the way. How to find water. If he's not traveling through a desert, he can probably dispense with the canteen and drink from streams and rivers along the way. Perhaps a little cooking pot might come in handy, but all the rest of that gear? Probably not nearly as much. He'll need protection from the elements (ie a good waterproof cloak that's warm enough if winter is an issue and can double as a blanket for sleeping under) and very strong footgear. And maybe a weapon, or possibly two (if one doubles as a tool...a knife seems a good choice.) A small rucksack should be sufficient to carry his bits and bobs. As far as money goes, he can either carry a small purse, or better yet, sew coins inside his clothing, to be produced as needed. A needle and thread won't add much weight, but could prove invaluable. Ditto a couple of fishhooks and line.

    Anybody who has traveled any distance carrying their own 'lives' on their backs will know— lightness is gold. You do NOT overburden yourself with stuff you don't really need. And you often discard stuff along the way as well.

    I traveled through Scotland on foot for 2 months (June and July), before I actually moved here, carrying only what I could in a medium sized backpack. I planned very carefully, and the only stuff I ended up sending back were a few warm-weather bits of clothing ...t shirt, etc. It wasn't ever warm enough to need these! I wore all-weather sandals plus wool socks that took me into cities, but also up to the top of a couple of mountains. I had a rainproof poncho that covered both me and my rucksack, and got a LOT of use. A small, lightweight tent, sleeping bag with cover and air mattress, which weighed nearly nothing and folded up to the size of a banana. Of course I didn't carry weapons, but your elf probably won't be carrying tent and sleeping bag or air mattress!

    I'd concentrate on getting him more lightweight, and maybe stuffing more knowledge into his head. And if he's going to avoid trouble, probably less in the way of armour and weaponry. If he's fleet of foot, agile of brain and smart enough to recognise trouble, he won't need them.
     
  15. Nawa
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    the wealth thing was meant for the mule, they're valuable, work cattle so him being wealthy could explain the mule carrying most of his gear. I was in fact trying to find a way to have him no wear the mail since with all the padding it'd be insanely hot especially for day long travelling under the sun

    I'll definitely reduce his armour, at the time I was planning that I was thinking of making him more of a combatant but as I did some research in actual combat I realised it's nothing like games or movies or books where most of the time they throw themselves in a melee with abandon, so the mail is probably way overkill though some minimal armour for example the plates on his forearms to serve as improvised bucklers would probably stay and not add much weight. fair enough for the fishing gear, I'll also have him bow-fishing because I think variety is neat and the guy'd probably get bored after 300 years of adventuring and doing everything the exact same way.

    I've been thinking about his magic so I think I could narrow down what he needs to carry for even the tools and such, though with a pack mule having that stuff on the mule's back would be easier than carrying it himself.
     
  16. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Mules are a cross between a donkey and a horse, that is not something that generally happens on it's own. It's very rare and not always considered a good thing because the offspring are sterile.

    You want him shooting 8" Brook Trout with a bow?
    I have to ask, have you ever been camping?
    The reason things are done certain ways is because it works.
     
  17. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    As somebody who hasn't quite racked up 600 years, let me tell you...if it ain't broke, don't fix it...by which I mean, once you've found a way that works, why waste time and effort looking for a "new and better" way.

    I also spend a LOT of my time putting things right at work because some young gun has come in and designed a new and better (let's say) wheel...only his has four corners, but he hasn't been around long enough to know that corners are NOT an improvement!

    "New" and "better" don't always belong in the same sentence!
     
  18. Nawa
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    Nawa Member

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    Bow fishing is an actual thing that has been done historically, also there's no specification as to what kind of fish he'll be getting or if I'll even mention it
    No I haven't been camping unless you count Cadets survival training

    I know what mules are I looked into it, yes they are sterile however they do have several traits making them beneficial to make. Plus my character is also sterile due to how I'm doing demi-elves so an emotional connection could happen there

    Also I'm well aware of the adage "If it ain't broke don't fix it" This is the character trying to entertain himself on a long boring trip and deciding "Meh I'll try to shoot a few fishes, if that doesn't work I'll fish normally after" or maybe doing it afterwards. People get bored, so does he.
     
  19. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dunno, I quite like the idea of a guy who's been doing this shit for so long he does everything an awkward way just to keep it interesting. That could be a fun character.
     
  20. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    Your initial list isn't really as much as the thread is making it out to be. Professional guides conditioned to walk with that amount of weight do so routinely. It does not take a tremendous amount of conditioning to be able to carry something like half of your body weight for a length of time.
     
  21. Nawa
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    Nawa Member

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    Yeah I know about that, I'm not familliar with history very well but I am with biology, a bit of a passion of mine. So I'm well aware of what a human body could do and will of course base his physique off of that. My main question here was whether that made sense or not. If some of this would be outright necessary, overkill or silly as well as what I had forgotten, when I compiled that list it seemed pretty short to me even though I know how to survive with just a knife.
     

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