Saturday, July 16, 2011

Warriors of Fantasy: Wielders of Bows and Arrows

Those who Fall Foes from Afar

Fantasy Equal: Legolas
Favoured By the Race of: Elves
Favoured By the Class of: Rangers
Damage Type: Piercing

I consider the bow as one of my favourite weapons. It is a legendary weapon that has made history since ancient times. The bow and arrow has been reinvented by many a civilizations. For the most part it kept its standard design (that of the long and short bow) throughout the ages; however more intricate designs were developed, such as the composite bow and crossbow. It’s intriguing how the bow has been reinvented from civilization to civilization. No one could match the range of Briton’s longbowmen. On the Eastern side of the world, the ancient Chinese were masters at crafting and using crossbows that could fire several bolts in quick succession. In Africa, the Koi people also crafted bows and poison-tipped arrows, which they use to hunt antelope.

From a fantasy point of view, the bow is generally used by individuals who prefer to take down their foes from afar and from a concealed position if possible. The balance provided by game mechanics dictate that a bowman/ranger/stealth/rogue type character who normally makes use of bows are considered ‘squishy’, meaning they have less hit points than a melee fighter, for example. A melee fighter would generally pump up his strength and constitution, since he would be right in the middle of battles and would need to soak up some damage while simultaneously pounding at his foes. Bowman and rogues, on the other hand, must train in dexterous feats and skills, such as stealth, evasion and dodging skills in order to survive and to position themselves in such a way to deal good damage without taking any.

The spotlight for this collection falls on the Elven Prince of Mirkwood. I’m talking of Legolas, of course. The flight-footed Elven archer from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not quite my cup of tea concerning his looks, I do appreciate his combat skills however, the majority thereof. In the movies Peter Jackson included a few scenes to showcase his incredible agility and nimbleness. Surfing down stairs on a shield whilst aiming and shooting at evil Uruks may be okay, but the scene where he single-handedly took down an oliphaunt was a bit over the top. He was a valuable addition to the Fellowship however. An adventure party is not complete without its archer. Below please find my collection of archer warriors whom I have crossed paths with in my journeys through the treacherous, yet wondrous realm of the Internet...

“As part of the Fellowship of the Ring, Legolas is armed with a bow and arrows and one "long white knife". While the Fellowship attempts to cross Caradhras, Legolas alone remains light-hearted. He is little affected by the blowing winds and snow; he does not even wear boots, only light shoes, and his feet scarcely make imprints on the snow - illustrating the Elves' otherworldliness. He is also lithe and slender with bright, keen eyes and ears and is fair of face as all elves are. He is an unrivalled archer and Gandalf calls him a dangerous warrior. He often bursts into song during the journey and is often the most cheerful member of the Fellowship. His keen eyes, ears and fighting skills are of immense use to the Fellowship but his friendship and loyalty to Aragorn, Gimli and Frodo make him an even more important member”