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Article - 'Creating Equipment' by Death Ritual

An item about Game Design posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

A great article which expands upon Angroth's Armory series

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A HUMBLE GUIDE TO CREATING EQUIPMENT

Before I start, thanks to Angroth’s “The Armory 3,” which I found really helped and inspired me. I actually do have to give kudos to Angroth because that’s one of the most extensive varieties of equipment I’ve ever seen. If you guys don’t want to use an already-set list of weapons, though, this is the article for you. I’m going to go quickly through a couple of points to create your weapons and armor. I hope after reading this, you have ideas to add to the game you’re working on, if you’re working on one at all.

-THE LIST-

First, make a list of your characters and their weapons. If you already did this, then more power to you. Once you’ve got the list in your hot little hands, get out some pieces of paper (or, if you’re a compulsive typist like me, use your computer – that’s what it’s there for, right? Besides RM2K!).

Anyway, what you want to do first is to take one of your characters. Most probably, the main character will get the treatment first. Write the name of the character at the top of a piece of paper and below that write the type of weapon he or she can use. Remember that if you have a small number of characters, you might want each to have a unique weapon. If you have a larger number of people in your game, it might be a better idea to use only a few types for everyone.

-MATERIALS-

Angroth did a good job of listing materials, so I’m not just going to rip his article off. Instead, I’m going to make my own list. Even though it might include some pretty strange choices, I’m going to explain each one to you. This list has the materials for both weapons and armor.

Cloth – Well, this one is only for armor. It should be what the hero starts with; probably a shirt or leather jerkin. It really depends on what your hero does.

Wood – This should be a starting material if your hero is a kid. Then he can wear ‘Wooden Armor’ and have a ‘Wooden Sword.’ Justin from “Grandia I” actually had a wooden sword.

Iron – A pretty weak metal, huh? Not really, not in games. If you notice, a lot of mythology from Scandinavia talks about iron. If your society is big on war and such, give this one a try.

Gold and Silver – As Angroth said, weak metals. I don’t use them. You might want to use them if your hero is a king or something as a starting weapon, but I don’t recommend anything past that. There is one interesting thing to note: if your hero is a werewolf hunter, silver becomes a viable option as pure silver is the only thing capable of killing werewolves.

Steel – A pretty good metal if your RPG is kinda like Baldur’s Gate. If your RPG is a bit more modern, even just a bit, you might want to look for another metal instead.

Mithril or Mythril – Can’t leave this out. Even when it doesn’t have anything to do with armor it shows up, so I guess it was from some kind of myth or tradition. In any case, this ore makes for strong weapons. Your game should reflect that.

Bone – A cool material if your game is very dark and brooding. Bone weapons and armor are perfect for necromancers and other types of dark spellcasters.

Diamond – ONLY for use if your items will be magic. Angroth, once again, said that diamond can only be cut by lasers and other diamonds. Unless you plan to have a diamond cutter in your game, I suggest diamond be forged by magic or by some other means.

Adamant – Although most of you see adamant as what Wolverine’s claws are made out of, adamant (without the –ium suffix) is an ore from Greek myths. It was used by Perseus to slay the Gorgon Medusa. That means adamant is excessively strong, so it should be for legendary weapons and such.

-NAMING YOUR EQUIPMENT-

Normally you should name weapons and armor by what they are and their distinguishing characteristics (i.e. Fire Armor, Iron Sword, etc.) Sometimes, though, you want to inject a bit of novelty into your game. There are methods on how to do this, and they are right below.

Metaphors – Use figures of speech to tell the player what the piece does (i.e. Inferno for a fire sword).

Other Languages – Mix up your languages for naming. Be careful though. (i.e. Culter Roma for a dagger; culter means knife and roma, well, means Rome).

Importance to Character – Show the item’s name as something about the character (for example, someone who made a promise to their sister could use the Sister’s Vow or something.)

Myths – Use myths to tell the player about the weapon. This is my favorite method because you can use your game’s mythology to explain it, or you can use existing ones. Look at the entire Final Fantasy series. Ragnarok, the name of a lot of cool swords and a ship, is the end of the world for Norse myths.

-USEFUL NAME LIST-

I composed a list of names you might want to use for your game, at least for weapons. I’m not good at thinking up names for armor because there are no real one-word names, but this should help you out a bit at least.

Beowulf (a Danish hero)

Chryseide (a name derived from the poetic character Criseyde, or Cressida; not in games)

Culter Roma (means ‘Roman knife’ in Latin; not in games)

Denkouken (I’m pretty sure this means ‘lightning sword’ in loose Japanese; not in games)

Excalibur (believe it or not, that’s from Celtic myths; most of the FF series)

Flame of the Sea (basically gold in Norse myths; BGII has something like it)

Gladius Roma (means ‘Roman sword’ in Latin; not in games)

Gotterdamerüng (Ragnarok for the Germans; I think I might have seen one somewhere . . .)

Gram (a sword from Norse mythology)

Gungnir (Odin’s spear in Norse myths; it’s in FF7 as a Summon attack)

Heaven’s Cloud (see Murasame)

Imperius Roma (means ‘Roman control’ in Latin; not in games)

Masamune (see Murasame)

Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer from Norse myths; it’s in the Armory if you looked)

Murasame (sacred Japanese sword; it’s in FF)

Shojoken (loose translation of ‘maiden sword’ to Japanese; not in games)

Siegfried (a Germanic mythical hero)

Valkyrie (maidens of battle in the Norse myth; no game has yet to name a weapon this)

Yoshiyuki (it’s a name, but I forgot what it means; one of Cloud’s weapons in FF7)

Sorry for the length of the list, but I hope I helped you guys out!

Above all, remember that it is your RPG, and ultimately, YOU take in it in whatever direction you want.

- Death Ritual