Renaissance Europe

Contrary to common belief, guns didn't instantly render armor obsolete and in doing so inspire the replacement of heavy, armor-defeating weapons with lighter blades. That's a rough summary of about 400 years of evolution, much of it post-Renaissance - that is, all of TL4. Guns, armor, and fencing coexisted for centuries. Civilians carried fencing weapons; soldiers used firearms and polearms, and armor grew heavier in response. The rapier was for the street and private grievances; halberd, pike, and two-handed sword dominated melees in the affairs of kings. Thus, many medieval European arts survived well into the Renaissance.

Most civilians and others who seek "self-defense" or dueling arts will study fencing in a Renaissance campaign. The rapier appears early on, with the Italian School (pp. 156-157). Proponents of Masters of Defence Weapon Training (p. 182), notably George Silver (p. 22), still teach their art but are losing out to the more fashionable and popular rapier.

On the battlefield, soldiers wield halberds using a style almost identical to Chinese Horse-Cutter Fighting (p. 187), or use glaives and bills with Glaive Fighting (p. 187). Knights and infantry with two-handed swords train at Longsword Fighting (pp. 180-182). Foot soldiers, knights, and civilians alike learn Dagger Fighting (p. 155) and Shortsword Fighting (p. 195). Across the Mediterranean, the Mamluks of Egypt still practice Furusiyya (pp. 159-161) - and continue to do so until defeated by Napoleon in 1796!

Unarmed arts are virtually unchanged from the Middle Ages. The main combative style is Combat Wrestling (pp. 204205). Brutal Bare-Knuckle Boxing (p. 153) matches in front of wagering crowds remain common in urban and rural areas alike. Armed styles typically include the grappling, throwing, and locking skills needed to defeat an armed and often armored adversary.

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