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The following essay on wemics in battle and other topics was sent to me as personal correspondence in two e-mail messages from Lore -- aka Ewar Alexander (cyberpaf at hotmail.com). Lore is a gamer, live-action roleplayer, and cat breeder who has deep knowledge on weapons and such. He mentioned to me that his mom is a historian and that several of his friends are into blacksmithing. I recommend his very creative Web site at www.geocities.com/deloreium/. He also has some great sketches that illustrate the points below -- maybe he'll post those on the Web some day.
A lion's forelegs bend forward, unlike ours, which makes a big difference. Just imagine a cat with its own body weight added on its shoulders and then adding more weight flying around it! Sometimes balance means a whole lot more than tons of strength.
For a wemic, the best weapon would be a short jabbing spear. A lion attacks with a forward scratch or downward with intent to pin; in a wemic, a pin attack which would be twice as effective with the top-heavy weight of the humanoid torso. Since a wemic's torso section rises when the lion half raises to swipe, a wemic's best bet is to come down with a weapon.
A sword would be good, yes, and you'd think a hammer, but no. A sword is good if you swing it, but it's not the right sort of swing, and the balance would be wrong. A hammer would send the weight forward and require you to change the bracing on your feet. The perfect weapon is a jabbing one that requires a downward swing, so no short swords, but javelins and one handed spears are perfect. These allow a wemic to flow with the attack and strike most effectively.
Great swords are BAD. With the great sword, you have a lot of weight all over, especially in swings, especially with one hand. The thing I think that most people overlook is that a human swings a large sword and swivels with all a human's weight into it, with are legs apart -- the human relies on the sword hitting -- or continuing the swing on to the other side -- to keep standing upright. A wemic however, doesn't have human hips, so swinging a great sword one handed would cause it to nearly topple, unless the wemic jumps to the same side of the swing, then trots with the swing ... which would lower the damage and hit chances. Swinging two-handed, it would fall over. The problem is the top-heavy weight of the torso combined with the lion body is just not right for large swings, or at least not with heavy weapons. It's the same reason that large shields aren't good, especially seeing as you can't lift it so well for the back legs due to weight and size.
Also, large shields are not good. For centaurs and fighters on horses, a large shield IS good -- they have different forms and don't attack with the same method. You see, wemics move more like a lion; for a wemic you want a smaller shield that would not get in the way ... a medium shield or buckler would be perfect, since with one of these a wemic could defend even down to the fore legs, and the torso can twist so a wemic can guard the flanks too.
Now armor is interesting, but only the educated wemics in the so-called "civilized ways" will know the best ideas for armor. Most wemics, I think, would avoid it, since its not natural -- though obviously they will realize the benefits. I think they would be most interested in slight guards for the front legs, bracers, and torso guards... with some sort of hanging defense too. The rest would impair mobility, which is something I believe wemics would prize. Barding is good, but the weight really does change one's balance and ability to move... light strips of something hanging from the center of the back would be reasonable. That would ruin the back claws being used, though I suppose they could still use a rear claw rake.
Dungeons and Dragons Rules
In D&D this all is not totally accurate, but I like to add bonuses for realism.
Armor: The Wemics natural AC should be lower [than that given in the Monsters of Faerun], and game balance at times is more important than realism, especially with rules lawyers. However, I'd say natural AC should be +3... the difference between wemics and lions is more weight -- they do not move as easily, but they are more intelligent in many ways. It makes a difference when you can also understand the weapon being employed against you.
Weapons: Players often would want the best damage -- that's why someone would go for a 1-10 weapon over a 1-8 weapon, even if the 1-8 looked more impressive to the character. The thing is tradition, and I think wemics would be better off with light weapons against humans. A lasso would be so damn deadly in a wemic's hands ... imagine that: lasso, pounce, pin, your choice what to do. Anyhow, spears would be the logical choice as they would be both comfortable and powerful, though against opponents of the same size small weapons of harder impact might be the choice.
Paw/Claw Damage: I think the 1d6 is right for damage, if not just for the front paws, which have the extra weight on top... though speed is more important in a sense.
There are wemic clerics -- they are a race, there must be some god who would want them. There are so many cat gods (Bastet the cat goddess or even Sakhmet who is a lion headed one at that, both Egyptian) that you'd think there would be a wemic one ... hell I'd prefer a god of cats with a wemic avatar over a human with cat head avatar. Anyhow, where there is a god, there are belief and clerics!
Wemics are more Furry, having full body fur and a cat like nose and mane. This was a revision to the rules in AD&D 2nd ed.
This also explains the extra claws on their hands, which would make more sense: if wemics fought each other, then you want something to fight the torso sections with, and this I think would be what they would do before developing weapons, even if they were just longer nails. And the lion headed wemics would probably have claws, too.
Wemics have their own speech!