Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

A central place to talk about weapons and armour, as it relates to your kit. This is where you show it of or talk about making it. Discussing the relative merits of types of weapons goes in the WMA section.

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Nemo of Calh
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Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Nemo of Calh » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:52 pm

I'm going to make a bigger post about this later, but my current persona project I'm working on is a dwarf ranger that is more Tolkien-inspired than my normal Ranger gear. I'll go into more detail when I make the main post (all of the gear I currently have for it isn't with me right now so I can't take pictures), but I haven't decided yet whether he's going to be fully Tolkien or just whether that will just be a jumping-off point. Just for a teaser/reference point so far, here's the garb and armor for it, without the camping and survival equipment:

Image

What I'm thinking about now is what I want for weapons and tools. The big axe in this picture is prospectively a war axe and wouldn't be carried while rangering, nor would the bracers and greaves be worn. The seax is probably going to stay, cause I love this thing. What I'm thinking about replacing is the tomahawk. It's big and heavy, which makes it classically Dwarven, but it's not really all that practical. I'm basically built like an actual dwarf, albeit a relatively tall one, and I know firsthand the main problem a dwarf would have fighting other races, especially orcs and uruk-hai: reach. It doesn't matter how much more skill and strength I have if I can never reach my enemy. My current tomahawk is completely useless if I'm fighting average sized people. I know for sure because I made exact size duplicates of my tomahawk and seax for Dagorhir and tried to fight with them. I don't think I ever even landed a blow (weirdly enough, though, against huge people I actually kind of have an advantage with my seax and a big shield since they don't expect this short guy to rush in to the range where they can grapple me, but I don't want to rely on that as a tactic, and I'm also not going to be carring a shield while rangering). So, I need a bigger axe. I can't just pop a bigger handle on this head because A) I like it too much the way it is, and B) the head is too heavy to put on a long haft. I wouldn't be able to control it. So, while I'm going to keep the tomahawk around, I'm looking to replace it.

What I'm thinking about specifically is what tools/weapons combined are going to make the best and most versatile combination to carry. An axe is a given. It's quintessentially dwarven and also incredibly useful. If I recall, Dain's troops at the Battle of Five Armies were said to be carrying mattocks among other things, and that got me thinking. An actual mattock would be a mining tool not useful for rangering, but something similar could be very important. Dwarf rangers would be working in mountainous environments, whether it's the Misty Mountains, the Blue Mountains, or the Iron Hills. What would probably come in handy then, both as a tool and a weapon, would be a climbing axe, specifically something that has a long spike on one end for jamming into ice to steady myself, and an adze on the other end for digging steps for climbing or just digging in general. So two other tools I'm thinking about then are a pick and an adze. Lastly, a hammer makes sense for a variety of reasons, from hammering stakes and climbing pitons to attacking armor.

So the four tools I'm thinking about are an axe, an adze, a pick, and a hammer, with the hammer being the least important. What I can't decide is how I want those tools combined and carried. Obviously I can cut back on the number of items by combining them. Two tools can fit onto one item (axe/hammer, pick/adze is one combination). The question is how I want to combine them. First off, having both combination items be the same length isn't necessary, but I'm considering it. I'm not going to be dual-wielding them in a fight most of the time, but using one or the other depending on which one was at hand or what I'm fighting. I'm thinking one of them would be a walking-stick length item, and the other would be a shorter 2+ foot kinda deal. One thing that comes to mind is making the walking item be safer to carry. The pick wouldn't necessarily be that dangerous to myself should I fall, and neither would the hammer, the adze wouldn't be too bad especially if it's only sharp enough to dig with (meaning that's all it could be used for), and the axe would be very dangerous to fall on especially with a stabbing point on it. So pick/hammer would be the safest combo for the walking tool, but I'm not sure if it would be the most practical. Plus, axe/adze would look weird and be kind of annoying to use. Maybe axe/pick and adze/hammer then?

Of course, I'm thinking my main weapon is going to be a bow. Even though bows aren't archetypically dwarven, it makes the most sense in my case to use. First off, plenty of Tolkien dwarves use bows. Second, something like a composite bow would be technologically advanced enough to make it seem dwarven and would also make sense for someone with a smaller draw distance to use as opposed to a longbow. Last, crossbows suck in Dagorhir and I want to use something I can use there.

So there are a lot of people more experienced with designing weapons and also rangering than I am on these forums. What do you guys think about the weapon/tools? What combinations and lengths should I go with? Are any of them completely unnecessary? Most importantly, can anyone point at some reliable custom bladesmiths that can make the tools for me? They don't need to be overly ornate but they need to be usable, or at least the axe and hammer NEED to be usable and an adze that's at least capable of digging would be a plus. I'm not going to do any ice climbing in period gear as far as I can foresee so the pick doesn't really need to be all that great but I'd prefer if it was.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
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Taurinor
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Taurinor » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:17 pm

Axe/hammer and pick/adze combinations are pretty common (which would make it easier for you to find/commission one). I don't know how necessary the pick/adze would be for ranging, but as you say, mattocks are mentioned by the Professor, so it could work as a cultural object.

As for a walking stick, Ringulf has a "walking axe" - with a good cover it seems like it would be pretty safe. A longer handle on the axe would possibly let you fight with it like a Dane axe, which can be a pretty devastating form of combat. You could probably choke up on it for processing wood/hammering stakes if you needed to, but I've only used an average size 'hawk out in the woods, so that's just a guess.

Edit: I found a couple of pictures of Ringulf with his walking axe on his DeviantArt page -

Ringulf wrote:Image

Image
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Nemo of Calh
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Nemo of Calh » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:43 pm

The reason for the adze and pick was to emulate a climbing axe:

Image

They were invented in the 19th century, apparently, but the principle behind them could be translated to more medievalish stuff. The idea behind using it for ranging would be as a plain old walking stick when in lower altitudes but as a climbing axe in higher altitudes/winter. Keeping steady, aiding climbing/descending, stopping a slide down an icy slope.

Hopefully Ringulf can chime in on how his walking axe performs. Something I'm worried about is balancing weight with durability for the axe end. I've tried hiking with things where the top end is heavy and it can get cumbersome so it has to be pretty light but the axe also has to be strong enough to process firewood.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Straelbora » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:02 pm

Great garb, and you're obviously putting a lot of thought into this.

My family is from the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland (the northernmost arc of the Carpathians). Traditionally, the mountain shepherds carry a walking stick/hatchet known as a ciupaga. I've attached the results of a Google image search for ciupaga; you can see that the hatchet itself has grooves for fingers to hold on to it. Ciupagi also had rings attached- shaking the ciupaga and clattering the rings would draw the attention of the sheep.

Maybe you could go with something like this.

https://www.google.com/search?q=ciupaga ... 80&bih=592
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Udwin » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:55 pm

Nice start!
As a Dwarf, I don't think 'reach' would be an issue against run-of-the-mill orcs, which seem to be in the 4-5 foot range...the 'great chieftain' encountered in Moria was only "nearly Man-high".

Tolkien describes dwarves wielding axes (Gimli, Dain), and mattocks (Dain's Iron Hill dwarves) (and Thorin with Orcrist, but that should be considered UnCommon). 'Mattock' refers to a tool with either an axe-adze (cutter mattock) or an adze-pick (pick mattock) head. So if you're really attached to your adze-pick climbing/ice hammer idea, it Is supportable in the Professor's writing (no idea what kind of specific mattock he imagined Dain's folk using).

A seax is probably fine, as it matches with the 'Norse' flavour we have of the Longbeards.
I would ditch the modern polled axe and that tubular belt-carry contraption. If you want something to hammer stakes, a small, Simple, un-polled tomahawk (such as colonial types carry) works great. It's not flashy, but make a sturdy cover, hang it on your belt or under an arm, and it'd serve you fine.

Unrelated soft kit question: what is the purpose of the laced-on short sleeves of your padded jacket? Gambeson? Is this based on a historical example? The gambesons I've seen have all had integrated sleeves (and I believe were traditionally worn Under one's maille).
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Nemo of Calh
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Nemo of Calh » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:17 pm

That Ciupaga looks like pretty much exactly what I'm going for. Spike on the bottom, easy to hold and carry. That's a great jumping off point for designs.

The tube for carrying the tomahawk is a result of the additional stuff I added to the handle of the tomhawk. I'll post some pictures of it when I can, but it has langets, a grip at the bottom of the haft, and a grip midway up the haft. Because of all of that I can't actually carry it comfortably tucked into my belt, which is one of the reasons I want to replace it. The gambeson is pretty much ahistorical in design and, if it's based on anything, is based on concept art from the Hobbit movies. The maille I already had is sized for me with no padding on, so if I want padding it has to go on top of the maille, and there's some historical precedent for wearing the padding on top of the maille (at least according to Osprey books). I wanted a gambeson with the maille because I figure a gambeson can provide decent enough armor without anything bolstering it, so I can wear it just by itself and have a modicum of armor without much extra weight. Plus, it helps bulk me up and accentuate my dwarven physique. The sleeves are removable simply because different Dagorhir realms have different standards of how much armor has to be showing for it to be legal. If not enough is showing to make it clear I have sleeves on the maille, I can take the gambeson sleeves off to make it clear.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Taurinor » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:52 pm

Nemo of Calh wrote:The reason for the adze and pick was to emulate a climbing axe:

They were invented in the 19th century, apparently, but the principle behind them could be translated to more medievalish stuff. The idea behind using it for ranging would be as a plain old walking stick when in lower altitudes but as a climbing axe in higher altitudes/winter. Keeping steady, aiding climbing/descending, stopping a slide down an icy slope.

There are surplus pickaxes available that look similar to those climbing axes, but have a pretty simple/primitive feel to them:

Image

Are you hoping to do some mountaineering in your kit?

Straelbora wrote:Traditionally, the mountain shepherds carry a walking stick/hatchet known as a ciupaga.

That's neat! I didn't know there was a "real world" example of that concept.

Nemo of Calh wrote:The maille I already had is sized for me with no padding on, so if I want padding it has to go on top of the maille, and there's some historical precedent for wearing the padding on top of the maille (at least according to Osprey books).

Be careful with the Osprey books - I've found them (in my experience) to be good primers on various subjects, but sometimes they aren't as accurate as they could be, especially when it comes to the illustrations.
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Nemo of Calh » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:43 pm

Alright! I found an awesome custom smith on Etsy: AdiThiel. Guy's amazing. He's a Hungarian dude who researches and lectures about metallurgy and smiths using the techniques he talks about in his free time. He had a norse-esque axe head with a spike at the back that would have been perfect if it just had a longer spike, so I contacted him and he made a version with a longer spike, lighter overall head, and long ash walking stick handle. He replied within hours of me sending the request, the planning discussion was over in another day, and he made the axe within days of me sending payment. Shipping was fast even from Hungary to the US. The axe is incredible. Ridiculously light where it needs to be and weighty where it counts. I can use it in one hand with a shield or two if I don't have one. Plus, the edge itself is beautiful Damascus steel. I'm incredibly happy with my purchase, can't recommend this guy highly enough. I'm already planning a companion hand axe to go with it.

Image
Image

If you're interested in buying from AdiThiel, here's the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdiThiel?ref=pr_faveshops

I ended up going with axe/pick because it seemed like the most practical for my concept. The axe may be light for an axe but it's still a bit of weight to carry around, so going with adze/pick, a combination that would only be useful in certain circumstances (digging/carving steps/arresting a fall) didn't make much sense. With it being axe/pick, I constantly have a weapon and tool at hand with either end of the head. The axe head, though it is thinner than a felling axe, is still nice and wedge shaped for cutting wood instead of being flat like a dedicated fighter, so it's light enough to make a devastating weapon while still being a durable cutting tool (I'm never going to use my nice Damascus axe for felling trees, though. That's what the cheap CS tomahawk is for while I'm at Dag events). The pick is mainly for high altitude safety, but it's still going to be great for fighting against armor.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Elleth » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:19 pm

Oh my goodness, that's lovely. And his style seems perfect for the task!

... I can absolutely see that axe in the hands of some exile of Erebor wandering the Great East Road. :)
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Manveruon » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:54 pm

DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG THAT'S NICE. How cool!

And I have to say, I really like what you've got going on so far for your dwarf impression! That gambeson is pretty cool looking. And it could easily fit Tolkien's description of the dwarves wearing "jackets" and "coats" in the Hobbit:

ìIndeed I will,î said Thorin, and he fastened it upon a fine chain
that hung about his neck and under his jacket.


Dori, Nori, and Ori brought out flutes from somewhere inside their coats
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Peter Remling » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:37 am

Very nice, What type of wood is used for the haft ?
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Nemo of Calh » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:12 pm

The haft is ash. He had oak, ash, and carved bunchberry, which I'd never heard of but apparently it makes the best walking sticks in Europe. The ash handles have the option of being plain or being oiled and burned to preserve them, and the bunchberry seems to automatically come with these really intricate carvings on it.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Bumr Blackbrand » Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:31 pm

After seeing the other walking axe in this thread, I had to have one for my own. Here's mine, just finished up and will hopefully be in my hands soon.

I'd love to hear how yours is holding up!

Image
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Iodo » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:14 pm

Nice! That looks like a beautiful piece :P
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Nemo of Calh
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Re: Help with weapon/tools for a dwarf ranger

Postby Nemo of Calh » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:25 pm

Cool! I started a trend! Your axe looks even nicer than the one that he made me. I'm almost jealous!

I guess with all the new dwarves running around I'm finally going to have to finalize my kit. Weapons and garb are pretty much squared away but I'll have to finish putting my pack together and make a post about it. Hopefully I can do that in the next couple of weeks!
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

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