Thursday, April 14, 2011

In the Pluton Zone Future the Awesome Swords are Japanese...

This is inspired by both my "1 Issue Campaign" musings and my considerations of using the awesome Stars Without Number "Mandate Archive" Martial Arts and Kenjutsu rules in my Pluton Zone campaign.

Now, with all the psychic space dudes in the Humanspace Empires rules I've gone for an over the top "New Age" future conceit. Yoga; organic soy cultures in the life support systems; crystals; pop culture eastern mysticism. As well I've been pursuing ham-handed Orientalism in my last mini-campaign.

So, with all of the swords in Stars Without Number, and the Pluton Zone being a vaguely eighties and also my infatuation with Orientalism in an RPG context, than it only makes sense that the swords of the Pluton Zone are the most true-scientific-realism advanced swords EVAR and are Japanese Pattern-Forged Samurai Swords.

This has a precedent, with a couple of futuristic movies (Equilibrium and Serenity) featuring a degree of Japanese sword fetishism, and I love the combination of "Wrong Dune," "Encounter Critical Star Wars," Traveller and Samurai Swords.

So henceforth in my Pluton Zone campaign, all advanced and super-scientific swords (aside from light sabres psi-swords) are Japanese Martial Arts Swords, and all sword-fighting is done in the Martial Arts Movie Katana fashion, with Kendo being a major-huge sport/pastime, Busido/Art of War quotes a common source of hot-talk among fighting-dudes, etc.

I imagine that the Space Swords are Katana-style swords, such as:

And that the second/third rate Vibroblades are the Wakizashi/Ninjato-style swords, such as the one used by this Space Douchebag:

Now I have all sorts of stupid ideas for "Yee Olde Kinge's Englande" world and "Roman Legionary" world, etc., so not all swords in the Pluton Zone are Japanese Martial Arts Swords, just the advanced and super-scientific ones.

In other stupid Pluton Zone affairs, I just realised that the whiteboard drawing I did of the party's space vessel "The Fulsome Sow" looked pretty much like the space ship from the Mupper Show sketch "Pigs In Space"; I assure everyone that this was completely unintentional.


  1. I think you're on pretty solid ground. Have you seen traditional Japanese blades? They're all based on the same design, from the tiniest knife to the largest katana. It's like they settled on the perfect design real early and never had to change it. And if you're slashing dudes, it probably is perfect.

    Europeans have so many different kinds of swords partly because they kept inventing new kinds of metal armour to stop people from getting cut up.

    Edit: word verification is Shboathu, The Million Swords, the Infestation of Matter, the Petrified Intellect. Shboathu is a Great Old One that exists beyond the angles formed by the metallic elements. When summoned, no new ideas can be produced, and all human interactions inevitably lead to stabbings in an effort to create the angles that allow Shboathu passage between worlds.

  2. I'm actually more of a bolo/kukri/machete dude with my personal blade fetishism :)

    Have you seen the footage of medieval european hand/half(?)-swording? I will never think of swordplay the same after watching it...

    I like Shboathu, the petty god of closed minds and shankings...

  3. Pigs In Space! I love it!

    That really endears me to the Fulsome Sow.

  4. @ Johnstone: Also, aren't rapiers actually pretty damn lethal/effective?

  5. Yeah, real rapiers are good because you stick them in a dude and then they flex and bend, tearing the wound open. Also, if you hit an organ? Funeral.

    A good slashing sword, like a katana, is designed to open up a relatively shallow but long cut across a person, opening up a lot of blood vessels. Also, slashing swords benefit from the advantage of being mounted.

    The chop-chop blades you fetishize more are probably the best design for psi-swords, or (ahem) phasic machetes, though.


  6. I'm gratified that one of the things that make rapiers lethal is their Shakira-esque "wriggliness"!

    Do you mean that slashing swords are advantageous to use while mounted?

  7. Yeah, slashing (and chopping, too, probably) is even more effective from on top a horse.

    Also, if you look at old paintings of cavalry charges where dudes hold their sabres out in front of them, their swords are upside down, because it puts less pressure on the wrist to hold it like that.