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(TFT) A single blow can kill.

A single blow can kill.

   A single blow can kill, and according to our rules it doesn`t even have to
hit hard.  A simple touch of the weapon to a leg and the opponent loses use of
it.  A glancing blow off the top of the head and the opponent is dead.

   Circling each other, guarding against a single blow, makes for more
thoughtful cautious combat.  When someone makes a move they may be just as
likely to step in and swing at the legs so hard as to completely sweep them
out from underneath the opponent.  Hit in the chest so hard they land on their
butt.  And not a mark on anyone.  This is not D&D so Marsha hasn`t forbidden
it.  We start inviting people over.  Even Robbie likes it.  After a fight he
is grinning.

   I tell him ``We pad the weapons, not the people.``

   He nods.  ``It`s better.``

   Six of us ride our bikes to the Bamboo forest.  Robby, Darryl, Mark, Ward,
Brian, and I.  There is something invigorating about traveling in a pack of
bicycles on a mission.  When the roads run out and the trail gets too rough we
walk our bikes into the grove.  Each one of us searching out just the right
pieces of Bamboo, by thickness and length.  Cutting just outside the segment
joints.  Riding back via one Hand.  The other holding a bundle of bamboo
resting  over the handle bars.

   Except Ward.  Ward has cut a single 7 meter long piece of cane.  It is
galacticly huge.  We have to pedal to avoid him when he rounds corners.  The
spear is as long as a living room.  When we get back he manufactures a massive
spear.  For a safety tip he uses a network of string and laces a volleyball
over the end.

      One on one fights are usually only to proof new weapons because the
chaos of a large melee is tons more fun.  But no one wants to use Wards spear
against him to proof it.  It just looks too clumsy.  We all think it`s a
preposterous weapon.  I agree to let him test on me.  We face off and I trap
the head of his spear against the ground with dual swords.  Slide up the
length of his spear at a full run and stab him in the chest.
   ``That`s not really a test of your weapon.``

   Wards` face darkens a little like he thinks I`m making fun of the weapon.

   ``I`ll fight him.`` Darryl steps up.

   Darryl uses his shield.  Ward is nimble on his feet and keeps pulling the
spear head out of the way this time.  Any slower and Darryl would have trapped
it against the ground with his sword and shield.  Finally Darryl gets past the
head of Wards` spear and starts the long run down the shaft to kill him.  Ward
shunts the spear backwards hard.  It`s sliding along in his hands until it
might slide through, disappearing behind him.  But he catches it below the
volleyball head, just as Darryl arrives and slams it into his chest with both
hands.  Darryl lands on his butt.  He laughs.

   Brian uses string and tennis balls to make two flails.  He is murder
against a shield or even dual swords.  People start carrying a dagger or
tennis ball in their belt so they can just throw it at him and kill him before
he gets close.

   We have grand melees for the rest of the summer.  Sides are sometimes up to
six each, and a thirteenth as referee.  We do quests with pairs staged along a
path as encounters.  We do castle wall fighting where if you step off the
sidewalk you fall to your death.

   Robbie even brings over his cousins from out of town one evening and we
play hide and ambush.  In the woods and into the night.  Fighting with sword
and flashlight is a whole new dimension of strategy and technique.

   We even do all against one, so everyone can try and hold out against a
heroic level of insurmountable odds.  What the heck, it doesn`t hurt at all,
and with one hit equivalent to a cripple or a kill it is very easy to guard
against a lot of opponents.  Through the use of trees and forcing weaker
players to back into other ones, some of them do very well.  Killing up to
four of six, and four of eight before they are finally wounded or killed.  And
just like the Viking heaven, we get to fight all day and at the end we are
whole again.

David Michael Grouchy II
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