Wednesday, January 19, 2022


Arrow!  Black arrow!  I have saved you to the last.  You have never failed me and always I have recovered you.  I had you from my father and he from of old.  If ever you came from the forges of the true king under the Mountain, go now and speed well!

Bard's request to the his arrow in The Hobbit brought to mind an idea, perhaps just by close proximity between "asking your weapons nicely for things" and the word "bard".  If magic weapons have spirit, feelings, morale, can be delighted by deeds and moved by fair speech, then maybe enhancing/inspiring weapons is a reasonable ability for a bard of all classes.  Or something much like a bard, anyway.

There's sort of precedent in the Loddfafnismol, too, where Odin tells a young man about the magic songs he knows.

An eleventh [song] I know, | if needs I must lead
To the fight my long-loved friends;
I sing in the shields, | and in strength they go
Whole to the field of fight,
Whole from the field of fight,
And whole they come thence home.

(It's easy to forget that Odin was a rather bardy god; one of the early acts of his feud with the giants was seducing Gunnloth, the daughter of the frost giant Suttung, and with her help stealing the mead of poetry from Suttung.  While fleeing the giants he spilled some of the mead, and men got poetry by his mistake)

This all comes back 'round to Dwarfhack.  I had wrestled with painting runes on equipment as an appropriately-dwarven way to get potent effects that win combats decisively in the absence of sleep, filling the function of the MU without the classic MU spell list.  But the annoying little details around time to paint runes and smudging when used and so forth seemed significant.  And the dwarves in The Hobbit don't do much with runes - while the treasure map is written in runic script, and the moon-writing on it too, the only runed arms they find are of elvish make.  They do sing a lot though...

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