While I have rarely been a player over the last 35 years, when I do get a chance I build a character more on my aesthetic than taking a min/max approach. In fact, I typically play a Monk so I don’t have to worry about equipment, magic items or loot–a carryover from my early D&D days.
As a Warrior Monk or my second choice, a Rogue, I invariably chose hand-axes as my primary weapon. I’m not sure I’ve looked at the hand-axe attack chart in years, but again, I don’t worry about the efficacy of the table; I’m more interested in the how it fits my character role. So why are hand-axes so great?
- They are cheap and ubiquitous. As a functional tool, hand-axes will be found in virtually any society or setting so acquiring the weapon won’t be too difficult.
- They can be thrown. What is better than having a solid melee weapon that can be used for a ranged attack? 2 skill development costs but only 1 inventory item.
- I use my Weapon Specific Modifiers instead of Rolemaster’s general combat modifiers, so hand-axes are small with lower penalties for most actions.
- They are light, so you can carry more than 1-2. Very helpful when you end up throwing one at a target!
- They are a tool, so they can be used to chop and cut things, knock people over the head etc.
- Damage is respectable, about the same as a mace or other smaller 1h weapons.
- They can look very cool. There are tons of fantasy images of hand axes as well as real historic weapons that are have a visual impact.
For my Warrior Monk Caylis (featured on pg 62 RMU Character Law!), dual wield hand-axes were the go to weapons when MA Strikes weren’t viable.
Does anyone else choose weapons that might not be the most potent or is just an interesting character bit?
3 thoughts on “Everyone Loves Handaxes!”
I too love the handaxe. And at least here in Canada, axe-throwing seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance (at least, there’s a place in town where you can go to throw them!). I am looking forward to that.
Was it the “Three Muskateers” that one of the three was chastised for finding a way of simultaneously killing a foe while disarming himself?
I too like a handaxe for the weight saving. Then again I like dwarves with warhammers but that’s much harder to keep a spare with all the weight.
The first RM2 game I played in saw everyone carrying falcions because they thought they had the best attack table. I tried that for a time, but quickly reverted to what I’d always done with characters: I picked the weapon I felt best suited the way I viewed the character. I’ve had characters who carried halberds, a dwarf who took a liking to a morning star and wouldn’t use anything else, and an elf who used a rapier and main gauche because he felt it made him look sophisticated.
I also think the dagger fits in well with the hand-axe. Throwable? Check. Common enough to escape notice? Check. Widely available? Check. Light so you can carry a ton of them? Check. It may not have the Viking appeal, but if you’re playing an urban assassin type the humble dagger is hard to beat.