Thursday, October 28, 2010

Assassination Edification: What the eff is a "waghalter"?

Waghalter: one likely to be hanged (obs.)  As in they will wag (like a dogs tail) from a halter (noose).  Kinda' grisly, eh?

Actually, the term "Wag"--which is still occasionally used to describe a prankster--is derived from waghalter.  Extra grisly.

And on a cultural note: Ignatz Waghalter was a classical composer of the early-mid 20th century.  He did not, as far as Wikipedia indicates, meet his end at the gallows.  Though, being a Jew working in Berlin during the 1930s, he was forced to flee the country; he lived out his last years in NYC.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Assassination Fascination: Rutterkin?

Devoid of the context of D&D, I might have guessed that a rutterkin is either the object or the outcome of hillbilly love.  It seems highly unlikely, however, that Gygax was inspired to name 2nd level assassins after a viewing of  "Deliverance."  Still, I suspect that rutterkin is derived from literature; probably some murderous antagonist by some Appendix N author. 

However, one of the only sources Google could dredge up that was not some demon from Latter Day D&D was this bit from Wikipedia: Rutterkin was the name of the cat/familiar that the witches of Belvoir used to kill the Earl of So-and-So in Merry old England back in the 16th or 17th century.  While this is applicable in some regards--the cat was an agent of death--I'm still guessing EGG was not inspired by an ensorceled cat.

And while Webster was no help on this one--neither the online version nor my hefty New Universal Unabridged from 1979--The Free Dictionary came up with "an old crafty fox or beguiler."  And that, I fear, might be it.

Also, there was an episode of an old, British Robin Hood series from the 80s (not the current British Robin Hood series) titled Rutterkin. 

And another aside: the star of this series was a young man named Jason Connery, the son of James Freakin' Bond!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Assassination Obuscation: Johnny Bravo

Herein I shall, in serial fashion, scatter random thoughts on the level titles of the Lethalist class.

Assassin Level 1--Bravo.

As we all know, bravo is a somewhat pretentious synonym for "hooray!" and its ilk.  Webster also reminds us that it means "hired killer; assassin; desperado."  Perhaps because of the dual meaning of the word, bravo has connotations of showiness; a guy who goes out of his way to let his badassedness be known in order to enhance his image and, presumably, get more chicks.  Sort of the anti-ninja.

A trip over to Wikipedia reveals that bravi was a term for the hired goons of the Dons of northern Italy during the 16th & 17th centuries.  Said bravi are featured prominently in the 19th c. novel The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni.  One more for the reading list.

Side note:  Thieves and assassins of 1st level are listed as "Apprentice (rogue)" and "Apprentice (bravo)." Probably this has to do with the guild system which both classes adhere to, but it stands in stark contrast to the paradoxical level title of 1st level fighters: "Veteran"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hot Links: Get'cher hauberks here!

Whilst researching construction materials for work the other day I came across this excellent website.  Who knew you could get anodized aluminum chain mail?  Light weight, good corrosion resistance; how could you go wrong?  The site includes the all too important chain mail user's guide.