Young Eurotas gripped the flame-spear tightly, as the gouts of naptha and pitch sprayed from the billows that reached past his face. With a grim smile, he lifted his elbows, then thrust through the wall of shields, to light the drenched enemy aflame.
A primitive ancestor to the flamethrower, the Lance of Hades was a complex device used to lay a wall of searing flame before the phalanx, allowing it a moment to secure and prepare to receive an enemy charge, obscured and defended by the elemental fury. Crafted by a cunning and likely half-mad blacksmith whose name has been lost to the mists of history, the Lance's construction relied mainly on a small tank filled with flammable oil connected to a sturdy bellows, the latter operated by the strongest man in the phalanx. The ferocious burst of air from the bellows would force a spray of oils and alcohols forward through a long tube, creating a clinging, cloying mist of fire, lit by spears wrapped in burning rags by the front line of the phalanx, transforming it into a deadly, foreward drifting wall of incineration. Frequently, this would engulf the enemy, and on occasion, the phalanx itself.
Again, and again, Icarius pumped the bellows, and again, and again, Eurotas thrust to light the foe aflame, even as arrows whistled over his head. The easterners would be held here, and they would die here. It was with great surprise to the both of them that the falling arrows pierced their device, and even greated surprise that it lit them aflame...
Despite the occasional damage caused to their own ranks, the Lance of Hades allowed the spears of the defenders to hold against the barbarian invasion, permitting the foundation of modern civilization.
'The best way to deal with them? Archers. Send men into that inferno and you'll get back naught but screaming near-dead and corpses. Get your archers to go for their bellowsmen. With luck, you'll wreck the bellows, and then you can send your men charging - as long as they're not quick to fit a second. If they do, bury yourself in the sand. It won't help, it will just turn into glass, but it's a better way to die.'
For all their vaunted magics, the warrior-mages of the east were unable to crack the shell of the phalanx, and with this new dragon tongue, unable to protect against it. The stand at the Hot Gates would never be repeated, for their armies melted before the spears and lances of the westerners.
Summer may be winding down (in most places), but the fires of imagination still burn bright.
Thousands upon thousands of years ago, role-playing was invented by our ancestors. Long before the first wheel rolled down a hill, and long before the first loaf of bread was sliced, early humans sat around their caves regaling each other with tales of gods, creatures, heroes and villains, and entertaining themselves with impersonations, play-acting, and role-reversals. All this was made possible by the roaring FIRES inside their caves, which warmed their bodies, roasted their meats, and shone light on their faces.
This month we celebrate FIRE and Role-Playing!
'The Quest revolves around the element of FIRE. Water, Air, and Earth need not apply.
Items, Locations, NPCs, or Plots. All are welcome as long as FIRE is involved! Don your asbestos suits and enter with us, into the all-consuming inferno that is this month's Quest!'
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? Responses (13)-13
Very solid submission. I like how it works well, appears well-researched, and hints at a good deal of background information without actually stating anything. Uhh... also its a flamethrower, which= cool.
'Never was there something so aptly named, in my most humble opinion. Even from my post as an observer for His Grace, some distance from the fringe of the battlefield, the thunderous roar of the Lances wielded by the phalanxes was shocking, as if a dragon had chosen to appear on the field; the light often overshadowing the sun itself for a heartbeat. Were it not for their holy duty, I would think them devices crafted in the bowels of the world.' -Chaplain Longfellow
'A fury hotter than my wife's when she's angry at my drinking, and twice as deadly, I'll say. I'm more than glad to be the bellows-man, back away from that roaring beast's mouth.' -Bellowsman Hunt
'The best way to deal with them? Archers. Send men into that inferno and you'll get back naught but screaming near-dead and corpses. Get your archers to go for their bellowsmen. With luck, you'll wreck the bellows, and then you can send your men charging - as long as they're not quick to fit a second.' -Commander Gryss
The Spartans could have done with this at Thermopoly.
'The stand at the Hot Gates would never be repeated,'
A new package for greek fire, I have never read of use for it beyond the byzantine fire ships.
This stands apart because it has solid and accessable prose under it.
Flame throwers have been used since roughly 425 BC - This is just an adaptation inspired by madness and the movie 300.
I like this, it could add some flavor to battle. One of my players loves flame spewing weapons, and given a medieval campaign I can see where the implementation of this would perk up his day. Good submission!
Dragon Tongue! The prose is indeed nice, as is the lance.
And if there was a picture of the Lance, it would be even better. :)
Damn, this was a fine idea Siren!
The raw idea is really cool, and the first paragraphs are superb. The sub ends somewhat abruptly, but that is okay really.
I am gonna use this in a forthcoming game with my new 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons group.
I'm using this == Best compliment possible on these. :D
I agree with AG, very cool raw idea, and such solid mix of detailed description and inspirational flavor. The only complaint I could have is that I want more.
Good stuff. Though the idea of carrying a flame weapon _in_ a phalanx gives me nightmares - especially if the enemy has flame weapons too...