Chronicles of Vulcanica: Vale Tenebrous
This page details all of the various arms and armor your character may find themselves using over the course of Defiance.
One Hand or Two?
Axes, Blades, Flexibles, and Hammers (described in further detail below) are somewhat unique from other weapon types, in that they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. In FTS, however, we’re going to boil those down to just three simple types: One-Handed Only (1h), Two-Handed Only (2h), and Versatile (V). When wielding an Axe, Blade, Flexible, or Hammer, characters must select which of these three types (1h, 2h, or V) their weapon falls into, and determine their benefits accordingly.
- 1h: One-handed weapons are small, light, and are designed to be used accurately. When wielding a 1h weapon, that character’s off-hand remains free for holding another 1h or V weapon, or a shield. The off-hand can also be kept free for catching disarmed weapons (see the Combat page for more detail) or providing balance. If it is kept free, the character may add 1 free, additional Success to their Final Result whenever taking an offensive or defensive action (a Dodge would still benefit from this additional Success).
- 2h: Two-handed weapons are large, heavy, and are designed for power and force. When wielding a 2h weapon, that character may add 2 free, additional Successes to their Final Result whenever taking an offensive or defensive action with their 2h weapon (a Dodge would not benefit from this additional Success).
- V: Versatile weapons are heavy enough to require two hands for effective use, but are light enough that they can be used in one hand when the situation calls for it. When wielding a V weapon with two hands, that character may add 1 free, additional Successes to their Final Result whenever taking an offensive or defensive action with their V weapon. When wielding a V weapon with one hand, that character takes a -1 Penalty on all Dice Pools whenever taking an offensive or defensive action with their V weapon (a Dodge would not benefit from this additional Success).
Designed for chopping, axes are easy to use and are very effective at splitting armor, flesh, and bone alike. Examples of axes are the Battle Axe(2h), the Hatchet(1h), the Shepherd’s Axe(V), and the Woodsman’s Axe (V).
- 1st Boon: Opponents cannot use the Wound Reduction benefits of Light or Medium Armor against you.
- 2nd Boon: Wounds you deal with Axes are automatically increased in Severity by 2 levels.
Versatile and deadly, blades see much use in Vulcanica. Because of their limited use off the field of battle, carrying a sword is very much viewed as being the mark of a warrior, and those seeking to avoid trouble will often avoid anyone seen carrying most larger blades. Examples of blades are the Claymore (2h), the Longsword (V), the Arming Sword (1h), and the Dirk (1h)
- 1st Boon: You may add up to two, free additional successes on your Combat Test whenever using a Blade to Parry.
- 2nd Boon: You may Throw one additional time per Exchange when using a Blade. Actions taken as a result of this Throw are done so with one-half your normal Dice Pool.
The favored weapon of hunters and assassins, bows and those who use them in battle are often held in equal parts esteem and fear. Many are uncomfortable with the thought of using a bow in battle, as some consider it dishonorable and cowardly. Examples of bows include the Longbow and the Shortbow (sometimes known as the Horsebow).
- 1st Boon: If you begin an Exchange by Throwing RED, you may Throw one additional time per Exchange. This Throw must be used for RED, and any actions taken as a result of this Throw are done so with one-half your normal Dice Pool.
- 2nd Boon: You gain the ability to use the Ring and Disarm attack options when using Bows.
A relatively new addition to the battlefield, flexible weaponry emerged as more and more of the peasantry were conscripted into armies and militias, and were forced to use their own tools as weapons. They are prized for their ability to lessen or negate the advantage of using a shield, but are difficult to use in formation. Examples of flexibles include the Bullwhip (1h), the Meteor Hammer (V), the Flail (1h), and the Thresher (2h).
- 1st Boon: You make Disarm attacks at Advantage with Flexibles, unless you already have Disadvantage.
- 2nd Boon: Your attacks with Flexibles cannot be Blocked, and Parries against your attacks are made at Disadvantage.
Simple to use and easy to make, the nearly nonexistent level of skill required to wield them—coupled with their incredible low cost—makes them popular weapons for peasant militias and travelers alike. Examples of cudgels are the Club (1h), the Morningstar (V), the Mace (1h), and the Warhammer (2h).
- 1st Boon: Opponents cannot use the Wound Reduction benefits of Heavy or Superheavy Armor against you.
- 2nd Boon: Opponents may never Throw more than once per Exchange against you.
Special Requirement: The Off-Hand Boons can only be used while wielding a weapon and a shield, or two one-handed weapons.
- 1st Boon: You may Throw one additional time per Exchange when fighting with your Off-Hand. Actions taken as a result of this Throw are done so with one-half your normal Dice Pool.
- 2nd Boon: The additional Throw per Exchange you get from the first Boon is no longer halved (though additional Throws gained from other sources are still halved).
Though not as long-ranged or as deadly as bows, thrown weapons are incredibly simple and inexpensive to make, making them popular among those with limited resources. Examples of thrown weapons include the Dagger, the Francisca, and the Javelin.
- 1st Boon: If you begin the first Exchange of a fight by Throwing RED, your opponent must Throw WHITE. If they do not Throw WHITE, the Exchange plays out as though they had Thrown WHITE.
- 2nd Boon: You gain the ability to use the Ring and Disarm attack options when using Thrown weapons.
Among those with no access to weapons or the materials to make them, the people must learn to fight using unconventional means, using their bodies as the weapon instead. As a result, several disciplines of unarmed combat have emerged over the last several hundred years or so, and have gained popularity among the slaves and downtrodden of Vulcanica. Examples of unarmed fighting styles include Bhaderghaz (an Orcish ground-fighting style out of Zan’u), Pugilism (bare-knuckle boxing popular among the nobility of Ibygora), and Streetfighting (a brutal brawling style from the slums of Turath).
- 1st Boon: You are always at Advantage when making Disarm attacks while fighting Unarmed.
- 2nd Boon: You may Throw one additional time per Exchange when fighting Unarmed. Actions taken as a result of this Throw are done so with one-half your normal Dice Pool.
Though light armor offers relatively little protection from direct weapon blows, it frees up its wearer to better avoid blows altogether, while still keeping their vitals safe. Due to its low cost and ease of wearing, light armor is very popular among the various untrained militias of Vulcanica. Examples of light armor include thick furs, soft leather, and thick clothing.
- Wound Reduction: -2
- PHYSICAL Penalty: -1
Due to the addition of small metal parts, medium armor is consequentially much harder to make and wear than light armor, and tends to only be given to soldiers expecting to see heavier combat. Examples of medium armor include chain-mail, boiled leather, and gambesons.
- Wound Reduction: -3
- PHYSICAL Penalty: -2
Thick and difficult to use, heavy armor tends to be expensive or time-consuming to make (or both), and tiring to use effectively without training and practice—though the protection it offers is often worth it. Examples of heavy armor include lamellar, lorica, plate-mail, and scale-mail.
- Wound Reduction: -4
- PHYSICAL Penalty: -3
Heavy, unwieldy, and prohibitively expensive, superheavy armor is a rare sight to behold. Owned only by professional soldiers highly trained in its use, a shock trooper in superheavy can often hold out against impossible odds long enough for support to arrive. Examples of superheavy armor include horse armor (or “cavalry plate”), Forge armor, and Flagstone.
- Wound Reduction: -5
- PHYSICAL Penalty: -4
A small, handheld shield popular among the duelists of Vulcanica, the buckler is designed more to deflect blows, rather than absorb them.
- Benefit: You always have Advantage when using a Buckler to Parry if you don’t already have Disadvantage.
Widely popular among the warriors of Vulcanica, round shields are easy to make and use. Many of the shields encountered across Vulcanica will be round shields.
- Benefit: You always have Advantage when using a Round Shield to Block if you don’t already have Disadvantage.
Though not as popular or versatile as the round shield, the kite shield has found its niche among cavalry, its unique shape offering the same protection as the round shield to the rider’s legs, without being quite as cumbersome at the top or center.
- Benefit: You do not suffer Disadvantage when using a Kite Shield from horseback.
Occasionally referred to as a “tower shield” or “bowman’s shield,” these shields are very large, and often too heavy to use like a traditional shield—they are instead propped up and used as cover.
- Benefit: Characters attacking you with ranged weapons do so at Disadvantage. However, all PHYSICAL Tests you make are done at Disadvantage as long as you are carrying the shield. It takes one exchange to properly set up the shield.