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As a ranger of Gondor, Talion was already formidable in his own right. However, gaining the wraith abilities from his merging with Celebrimbor elevated his skills to truly terrifying levels. His quest of vengeance for his family drives him to cut an unrelenting swath through his uruk foes. Let’s take a look at how we might begin to emulate the skills of this fearsome fighter.
The Blade of Gondor
Talion tends to favor one-handed sword techniques, which leave his other hand free for performing wraith abilities, grapples, and unarmed strikes. As usual, for European-style sword arts, I refer you to studies of HEMA, particularly the longsword, and sword and buckler styles. Though the longsword is more commonly wielded with two hands, it can be wielded with one hand as well (akin to Talion’s style.) Sword and buckler features a small shield held in the off hand, with which many “wraith” style techniques may be accomplished (which we’ll get to in a bit.)
In either case, I refer you to the HEMA Alliance web page to find a HEMA club near you. They’re growing all the time, and it’s really awesome to watch. HEMA practitioners tend to be a great bunch, so don’t be shy about visiting your local club if you’ve got one!
The elves tend to favor beautifully crafted longbows, and the bow that Celebrimbor uses is no exception. Archery is an ancient art, practiced on every populated continent in the world in some form or another. If you’re looking to get involved in archery, you’ve got a couple options. First, you can see if there are any local ranges around you that offer archery (a quick Google search should accomplish this.) Failing that, you can stop in at a local sporting goods store and ask around. Frequently they know of where you can go, locally, to learn (plus they’re a great source for equipment!) Finally, you could just begin your research online, with any of the following pages:
Unfortunately, teleportation, health draining, and head explosions are a bit outside of our capabilities as human beings. However, we do still have some options from the Wraith skill tree available to us, even in our mortal forms. Let’s take a look at a few, shall we?
Discounting the fancy glowy wraith visual effects, elven swiftness is really just a parkout landing roll straight into a full sprint. Carrying the momentum from the landing into the sprint allows you to potentially move a bit faster for the first few seconds of the sprint, just like the elven swiftness ability.
If you aren’t sure how to correctly execute a parkour roll, check out this excellent roll tutorial from Ryan Doyle, probably my favorite one on YouTube.
Wraith stun is, in essence, a stunning, one-handed strike. Yes, you could say the “wraith” bit adds a certain bit of magic flair, but the reality is you’re just hitting someone in a manner that leaves them disoriented. To execute such a move in real life, you need to know the best places to strike someone in order to “stun” them, or disorient them as much as possible. I found this great little image guide online for good spots to strike in order to stun or heavily damage an opponent. Now, obviously I’m not advocating for violence if it’s avoidable, but if you ever find yourself in a self defense situation, these can be very handy to know.
The vault stun is, effectively, a turn vault over an enemy, coupled with some method of stunning them. Now obviously performing a turn vault over a living person would be a little difficult, but with some early “persuasion” (a solid shot to the midsection, perhaps,) it’s not impossible. Obviously, if you manage to perform the turn vault correctly, the back of your opponent’s head will be wide open, giving you the perfect opportunity for a “wraith stun” strike.
For an excellent tutorial on how to properly perform a turn vault, check out this video from The Tapp Brothers!
Obviously, telepathically mind control is a bit outside our abilities (thank goodness for that, right?) but the skills of persuasion are not. Getting someone to do what you want them to do is usually less a matter of forcing them to do it, and more a matter of getting them to want to do the same thing. This is the beginning of persuasion.
I’ve got some recommended reading for you, if this subject interests you. I’ve read the following books, and can vouch for their quality. Additionally, they’re all Amazon referral links, so if you purchase the books through the links below, you’ll help support the blog!
How to Win Friends and Influence People
By Dale Carnegie
“For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.
Now this previously revised and updated bestseller is available in trade paperback for the first time to help you achieve your maximum potential throughout the next century!”
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
By Robert Cialdini
“Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.”
The One Sentence Persuasion Course
By Blair Warren
“Even the most powerful persuasion strategies are useless if you can’t remember them when you need them.”
And that’s it for The Skills of a Dark Ranger! I hope you enjoyed them, and you’ve got some stuff to work on! I’ll see you again on Thursday for The Partnership of Talion! Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace
PS: I’ve started a daily vlog channel! Have you checked out “The Best Dan Wallace” yet?