Spear Based Combat
Aloy has several melee weapon options in-game, but they’re all a staff or spear variant. Throughout history the staff and spear have been ubiquitous in almost every culture and martial art. The ease of procuring a weapon (it’s really just a strong stick,) ease of training versus a sword or other melee weapon, and the MASSIVE damage and reach potential make it a super easy weapon to get into. A staff-based weapon (spear, polearm, halberd, or just a regular old straight staff,) has a longer range than a sword or flail, more leverage than almost any other weapon, and the basic moves can be pretty damn intuitive.
Rather than recommend any particular martial art style, I’m instead going to recommend you just take a look at what’s around you. Staff combat is so common you’ll find it in MANY different schools and style, and spear combat is basically staff combat with a pointy tip. Will you find some spear specific techniques in some schools? Sure, but the principles are basically the same.
I will, however, leave you with this fantastic write-up on the history of European spear and staff combat. I really enjoyed reading it and it’s got some good combat basics in the second half, if you want to just go grab a broomstick and start today!
We’ve covered the bow many times on this blog before, and instead of just rehashing what we’ve already covered, I’m instead going to point you towards the three best BaGC posts on archery.
First off, of course, we need to go with The Skills of the Arrow. Oliver Queen’s combat is almost entirely bow based, so we hit on getting started with archery, the types of bow The Arrow uses, and instinctive archery.
Next up, The Skills of a Dark Ranger. Talion is no stranger to the bow, and the Elven Archery section has some excellent links to get you started!
Finally, we have The Skills of the Amazons. We only touch on the archery section briefly here, but there’s still a good link or two.
These three articles should give you a great starting point for learning archery, as well as having some other cool skills and abilities that might catch your eye!
Of course, to become an archer, you need a bow, right? Check out the Beginner’s Guide to Building a Hickory Longbow from 3 Rivers Archery to learn how to make your own! 3 Rivers also has some fantastic archery resources, so explore the rest of the site, too!
Tracking and Hunting
Tracking and hunting your own food can be a life-changing experience. Even if you’re not looking to kill or eat any animals, tracking them across the wilderness can be fun all by itself! It’s difficult to provide a specific tutorial for any particular region since this blog is international, so instead here are some solid principles to stick to when tracking animals, no matter where you live.
Don’t rush. Take your time, and try to observe your surroundings from multiple areas. If you move quickly, your prey will usually hear you anyway. Animal camouflage is so good, you may have one sitting right in front of you and not even realize it, so use all of your sense to their fullest potential. Move slowly, with ears, eyes, and nose wide open.
Try to keep the wind at your face when you’re moving. Most animals have a better sense of smell and hearing than we do, so by staying downwind from them, they won’t be able to smell you coming. Keep in mind, however, they can still hear you, so don’t forget principle number one!
Tracks are Not the Only Thing
Animals leave plenty of other traces besides tracks when they’re in the area. Scat (poop), broken stems, scratches logs, and recently consumed food are all good signs you can follow. Your own sense of smell can also come in handy sometimes. Additionally, if you’re tracking a predator, listen for alarm cries of prey animals (birds and rodents in particular are good for this.)
For more resources, here’s two good websites:
You can also check out The Skills of Connor Kenway, where we go over some other tracking principles in addition to the ones covered here!
Aloy is a maker. What’s a maker? Well, a maker is kind of like a combination inventor/scientist/engineer/builder. Someone who takes the stuff they have around them and the resources they have and makes something cool to solve a problem, or serve a purpose. Maker culture is becoming a worldwide phenomenon, and quite a few non-profit “Makerspaces” have popped up in recent years. Makerspaces are places where people can go and meet other makers, make use of expensive equipment they might not be able to buy on their own, and learn how to make cool stuff!
Check out a directory of local makerspaces here to see if there’s one near you!
Of course, you don’t need to go to a makerspace to start making cool stuff. There’s always tons of cool tutorials on YouTube for how make things, but my personal favorite resource is Instructables. You can learn how to make almost anything on Instructables, and they have tons of cool ideas to get you started if you’re not sure what you want to make yet!
Hacking is kind of a weird term, with a lot of misunderstanding as to what it actually is. What you see on TV shows in movies (geeky character hammering on a keyboard and opening government secure files and whatnot) really isn’t what hacking is about. In fact, hacking and “making” actually have a lot of crossover in that hacking is basically creative methods to solve problems. These problems can be something like, “I need to get into these files,” or “I want to make this phone install programs the manufacture doesn’t really want me to install.”
Aloy’s style of hacking has to to mostly with hijacking and controlling various electronic or digital resources, so for that, we’re going to take a look at a couple cool resources.
Hack This Site is probably one of the most inventive websites out there in that it teaches you web hacking by encouraging you to hack…well…itself. It’s by far one of my favorite “getting started in computer security” resources, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
This is where the hacking/making world intersects. Aloy hacks a lot of real-world, physical technology, and working with an Arduino micro-controller is one of the best places to get started on that. Arduino kits are cheap, easy to obtain, and there’s a HUGE community built around them that will help you do basically whatever it is you want to do with your Arduino!
Arduino are micro-controllers, which are fantastic, but a Raspberry Pi is a micro-computer, for when you need something a little more versatile! In some ways it’s easier to get into Raspberry Pi than Arduino, and in some ways it’s harder, but they’re both incredibly versatile, have a low cost of entry, and have massive communities built around them. Check them out and start playing!
That’s it for The Skills of a Seeker! Sorry for the lateness on this one, we were focusing super hard on getting The Anti-Monster Manual and Halloween Super Sale up and running last week! I’ll see you again on Thursday for Aloy’s Genius! Until then, as always, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!