log in or register to remove this ad

 

Flute / Staff?

Presto2112

Explorer
In Kill Bill Vol. 2, Bill carried around a huge flute, seemingly carved from a large bamboo shoot or something. Do you think that it would be feasible for a PC to carry on of those around and, if made of a strong enough material (adamantine, mithril, steel, etc) to also double it as a quarterstaff-type weapon? Or would it be too fragile even constructed of such a material?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Piratecat

Feline buccaneer
If you can, find the movie Circle of Iron. In it, David Carradine fights with a flute staff that makes amazing noises as he swings it around him. Yes, I'd say this is a fine type of weapon to use in D&D.
 

der_kluge

Adventurer
PC beat me to it. Circle of Iron is one of my all time favorite movies.


From a musical standpoint, a 6 foot long "flute" (or fife) would produce indescribably low tones. A bass flute is 146 cm (4'9") in length. Bass flutes are rarely used in modern orchestras (read: almost never) because the tone is basically inaudible, and exceedingly low. A 6 foot variety would sound most "un-flute" like, and in a crowded environment, everyone would have to basically come to a complete silence in order to hear it at all.

Furthermore, a bass flute has a curved mouthpiece so that in order to maintain proper hole distance for the fingers, the mouthpiece was curved back around so that the right hand pinky could actually reach the furthest hand.

A 6 foot long flute/staff with 6 holes, would have the furthest hole some 5 feet away from the actual blowhole. Try this: Measure the distance from your lip to your outstretched right arm's pinky finger. You'll be lucky if it's 3 feet. You can see why such a thing would be impractical.


But hey, you know what? It's a fantasy game. I say, do whatever pleases you. There's certainly no reason why such a thing couldn't be built. Like in Circle of Iron, his weapon would whistle as he batted people with it. That is certainly feasible. The fact that it's hollow should be of no concern. Bones are hollow, and they're some of the strongest things in the world.
 


Thrincold

First Post
I suggest going with more of a hollow, holed staff that produces sound when twirled as the previous poster suggested.

A 6' long flute would be impractical to say the least. Then again, a more normal length flute integrated into a staff may be possible in some way.
 

der_kluge

Adventurer
Thrincold said:
I suggest going with more of a hollow, holed staff that produces sound when twirled as the previous poster suggested.

A 6' long flute would be impractical to say the least. Then again, a more normal length flute integrated into a staff may be possible in some way.

I considered that as well. I guess if the "end" of the flute had holes around the diameter of the staff, instead of one long bore, it might work. Then the rest of the staff could be a solid piece of wood added to the end of the flute, it might work. The structural integrity around those holes might be compromised a bit, though. You'd need a way to reinforce it.
 


Ceresco

First Post
David Carradine Speaks

I happened to inteview David Carradine at GenCon a couple of years ago and asked him about his flute which appears in Kung Fu, Iron Circle and Kill Bill. That interview can be found here.

Respectfully,

Edward Kopp: Arcaniac at Large
 

Presto2112

Explorer
Ceresco said:
I happened to inteview David Carradine at GenCon a couple of years ago and asked him about his flute which appears in Kung Fu, Iron Circle and Kill Bill. That interview can be found here.

Respectfully,

Edward Kopp: Arcaniac at Large

Awesome! Thanks for the link, kind sir.
 

smootrk

First Post
In the Bastion Press book "Arms and Armor (Revised)", there is also a Flute Blowgun weapon. A flute performing bard ought not leave home without it, and the staff-flute looks like a reasonable item as well.
 

Agent Oracle

First Post
Perhaps if the actual "Flute" portion was only about 3 or so feet long, and then the outlying 1.5 feet on either side were iron-shod staff good for hitting things? It could stil whistle as you spun it around...
 

spacemonkey

Official ENworld Space Monkey
Length certainly isn't the only factor in determining the tonal range of a flute. You have bore size, hole size, etc to fiddle with also. For example, here is a mighty big flute that still plays in the hearable range for humans:

Big Flute

That's a 3 person one (takes 3 humans to play it), but a smaller one could potentially be played by a pair of bards together, or potentially one person - perhaps using both the hands and feet. This is DnD after all. Imagine a race with good foot dexterity who could do that - would be pretty interesting to say the least ;)

You can get around the 'you need xx amount of reach to get to the holes' by using keys, but I wouldn't want to use a keyed instrument as a weapon - usually too fragile with the small linkages & such. A metal, open holed instrument would be better in that capacity.

-------------------

Hm... I may have to stat up some anthropomorphic tree-dwellers with really long limbs that use these for weapons, movement assist through the trees (pole vault/crook/balance) as well as secret messages (super low notes only they can hear).
 

woodelph

First Post
der_kluge said:
From a musical standpoint, a 6 foot long "flute" (or fife) would produce indescribably low tones. A bass flute is 146 cm (4'9") in length. Bass flutes are rarely used in modern orchestras (read: almost never) because the tone is basically inaudible, and exceedingly low. A 6 foot variety would sound most "un-flute" like, and in a crowded environment, everyone would have to basically come to a complete silence in order to hear it at all.

That's just crazy talk. A bassoon is well over 6' long, as are a contrabass clarinet and a contrabassoon. Only the last of these is particularly low. IIRC, a french horn has 9' of tubing, so a tuba has considerably more--i have no idea what the longest functional length actually is. Moreover, pipe organ pipes operate on the same principle as flutes, and 6' isn't even particularly long for those. Some of them hit 16' or more. When i put together an improvised instrument, i used standard pipe organ lengths as my baseline, which means roughly 4' for a low C--you can easily hear 2 octaves lower than that C as a pitched note.

Now, it is true that bass flutes are difficult to hear over an entire orchestra. But they're not all that much quieter than, say, a bass clarinet. And still louder than a similar-pitched recorder.

Furthermore, a bass flute has a curved mouthpiece so that in order to maintain proper hole distance for the fingers, the mouthpiece was curved back around so that the right hand pinky could actually reach the furthest hand.

A 6 foot long flute/staff with 6 holes, would have the furthest hole some 5 feet away from the actual blowhole. Try this: Measure the distance from your lip to your outstretched right arm's pinky finger. You'll be lucky if it's 3 feet. You can see why such a thing would be impractical.

Unfortunately, the total distance from mouth to furthest hole is the least of your problems. The holes need to remain proportionately spaced as the instrument gets larger, so the real problem becomes the distance between any two holes. I play the bass recorder, which is about 4' long, in part because nobody else has large enough hands to span the holes. And i have fairly long hands (i can comfortably span a 12th on the piano, and maybe stretch for more). Even with the advent of keys, to displace the actual holes from the fingers, not everyone can reach to play, say, a contrabass clarinet.

Now, as for the flute-staff, as in Circle of Iron: you'll notice that the flute is of some reasonably normal length, and the staff extends not the foot (open end) of the flute, but the head (closed end). So the blow hole is roughly in the middle of the staff, with the finger holes working their way down one half of the staff, which is hollow, while the other half is solid. Or, perhaps also hollow, but separated from the flute half. Bamboo would be the obvious choice for such a weapon, since you could use a natural joint as the separater between the flute and not-flute parts, the flute part would be naturally hollow, and since the whole thing would be hollow, you wouldn't have balance issues. Of course, it wouldn't have the mass that is one of the usual traits of a quarterstaff.

Oh, and bones are hollow like a sponge, not hollow like a bottle. Not that hollow tubes can't be quite strong, just that bones are a poor analogy.
 

woodelph

First Post
spacemonkey said:
Length certainly isn't the only factor in determining the tonal range of a flute. You have bore size, hole size, etc to fiddle with also. For example, here is a mighty big flute that still plays in the hearable range for humans:

Actually, length is the primary determiner of pitch for an instrument. Or, more specifically, so long as the instrument is much greater (i don't know the exact figure for 'much greater') in length than diameter, the diameter becomes relatively unimportant in figuring the fundamental pitch of the instrument when sounded. Diameter and shape (flutes have a straight bore, most woodwinds have a linearly conical bore, most brass instruments have a geometrically conical bore, recorders have a reverse-conical bore) have a huge impact in where the fingering holes need to be, what overtones and higher pitches can be produced, and so on. So there are optimal ratios of diameter to length. Which is why pretty much all wind instruments seem to scale diameter proportionately to length.

Now, the bigger the volume of the instrument, the more air you have to get moving to make sound. Problem is that flutes are particularly inefficient at using air--much of the air you're using to blow the flute isn't even entering the flute, so it's hard to get, say, a bass flute really resounding, because you just don't have the lung capacity. But provide another means (pipe organ, spinning around over your head) and you potentially have a very loud, as well as low, instrument.
 


ceratitis

First Post
ok guys, imspired by this thread and some other stuff i've written a 1st draft which looks like this-

The bard's tail a.k.a the whispering flute

At a glance this simply looks like a wooden staff of about 5 ft. those with sharp eyes (spot DC 17) will notice that half way down its length it has holes fit for use as a flute by a medium sized human.
It is in fact hollow all the way through and thus can be used as an effective blowgun. This however weakens the staff so in order to make it usable as a melee weapon it is made from Darkwood. Obviously to make such a weapon takes great skill and possibly magic as well. It functions as a master work flute, staff, and blowgun. Its light weight also enables it to be finesseble and used as a monk weapon.
When wielded as a staff a weird sound effect is created which can be used by a skillful combatant (BAB +6, 7 ranks in perform, must own staff for a week before this can be implemented) to grant a +2 competence bonus to bluff on attempting a feint.
The MW flute can be used while telling stories, preferably by the fire, to emphasis and create sound effects granting to a perform roll a +2 bonus for using a masterwork tool.
The blowgun may be used while performing bardic music, however this tricky maneuver allows only one shot regardless of anything that may increase the number of allowed attacks and requires a perform check of DC 20 to succeed. Failure incurs a -6 to the attack roll and ends the bardic song.
While these mundane benefits are nice the legends of this item contain rumors of incredible magic granting its wielded god like powers.
Probably the first effect one would feel is that when performing with a score of 25+ one get the feeling he has company as this spell gets cast-
Chorus
Illusion (Glamour) [Sonic]
Level: (0), Bard 0
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: Free Action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: Concentration (D)

This spell allows for two effects. First, you may use it to sing at any vocal range normal for your race. Second, you may cause a number of illusionary backup voices to join you per level, up to 10. This does affect the volume of your song and therefore the distance at which you can be heard clearly. The radius of effect your bardic music is increased by 5' at 1st level, 10' at 5th and 15' at 10th level by this spell (spells with a song component are not similarly affected).

Many magical effects can be invoked with the help of this flute but one must learn the correct tune to play and be able to play it.
The following are suggestions and the DC and perform ranks needed are estimates:
1. if used in conjunction with a mind effecting spell such as charm person or hypnotism save DC is increased by 1 for every 5 points above 25 in the perform roll.
2. several tunes enhance the darts shot with the blowgun- thundering can add the effect of a thunderstone to the dart if a DC 20 perform check is made one must have at least 7 ranks in perform to learn this tune, some say music can sharpen the senses but this song sharpens the dart adding +1 magical enhancement to damage and adding 1 to the critical threat range if a DC 20 perform check is passed one must have 10 ranks to use this tune, silence can be added with the sound of silence a DC 28 perform check in order to learn this tune one must have at least 14 ranks in perform (flute).
3. A lullaby (bard cantrip) can be cast with a DC 25.
4.
a DC 20 will instill music into the coldest of hearts- Instill Music
Enchantment (Compulsion)
Level: Bard 1
Components: V
Casting Time: One standard action
Range: Close (25 feet + 5 feet/level)
Target: One creature
Duration: One minute/level
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes
You put a song of your choosing into another creature's mind. For the duration, the song runs through the creature's head, unbidden. The spell does not compel the creature to enjoy it, but it cannot have any special helpful or adverse effects either (it could not be a harpy's song, for example). It must be a song you can sing or play.


so what do you think? any good? would you use it? ideas comments all welcome :)
 

woodelf

First Post
ceratitis said:
The bard's tail a.k.a the whispering flute

At a glance this simply looks like a wooden staff of about 5 ft. those with sharp eyes (spot DC 17) will notice that half way down its length it has holes fit for use as a flute by a medium sized human.
It is in fact hollow all the way through and thus can be used as an effective blowgun. This however weakens the staff so in order to make it usable as a melee weapon it is made from Darkwood. Obviously to make such a weapon takes great skill and possibly magic as well. It functions as a master work flute, staff, and blowgun. Its light weight also enables it to be finesseble and used as a monk weapon.
When wielded as a staff a weird sound effect is created which can be used by a skillful combatant (BAB +6, 7 ranks in perform, must own staff for a week before this can be implemented) to grant a +2 competence bonus to bluff on attempting a feint.
The MW flute can be used while telling stories, preferably by the fire, to emphasis and create sound effects granting to a perform roll a +2 bonus for using a masterwork tool.
The blowgun may be used while performing bardic music, however this tricky maneuver allows only one shot regardless of anything that may increase the number of allowed attacks and requires a perform check of DC 20 to succeed. Failure incurs a -6 to the attack roll and ends the bardic song.

Nitpick 1: I'm pretty certain that one end of a flute needs to be closed for it to work. So it can't be hollow all the way through. Of course, that may be more realism than is needed for such a weapon/instrument.
Nitpick 2: A tube with holes in it would make a poor blowgun, unless you stoppered all the side holes first. Though, again, maybe letting it slide for coolness is worthwhile.
Nitpick 3: I can't even envision how you would hold/position a flute/blowgun to launch a dart in the midst of playing. This one breaks SoD for me. YMMV.

Personally, i'd drop the blowgun part of it, and leave it as flute, staff, and cool musical effects while staff-fighting. But if you can accept the blowgun part of it, your version looks fine to me.
 

Odhanan

First Post
Presto2112 said:
In Kill Bill Vol. 2, Bill carried around a huge flute, seemingly carved from a large bamboo shoot or something. Do you think that it would be feasible for a PC to carry on of those around and, if made of a strong enough material (adamantine, mithril, steel, etc) to also double it as a quarterstaff-type weapon? Or would it be too fragile even constructed of such a material?
Of course! Why not? That's a fantasy game we're playing. :)

What about a long flute made of adamantine, or similar component? What about one carved off a crystal so strong it would withstand a nuclear blast? I mean, I've seen many obsidian weapons in D&D games over the years. Obsidian is actually extremely fragile in RL. Did it ever bother me? Not in the slightest.

So, for me at least, there's no reason you wouldn't be able to get that kind of cool equipment in D&D (the contrary being, to say the least, counter-productive).
 

Staffan

Legend
woodelf said:
Nitpick 1: I'm pretty certain that one end of a flute needs to be closed for it to work. So it can't be hollow all the way through. Of course, that may be more realism than is needed for such a weapon/instrument.
From Wikipedia:
Flutes may be open on one or both of their ends. The ocarina, pan pipes, police whistle, and bosun's whistle are closed-ended. Open-ended flutes such as the concert flute and the recorder have more harmonics, and thus more flexibility for the player, and brighter timbres. An organ pipe may be either open or closed, depending on the sound desired.
 

woodelf

First Post
Staffan said:
From Wikipedia:
Flutes may be open on one or both of their ends. The ocarina, pan pipes, police whistle, and bosun's whistle are closed-ended. Open-ended flutes such as the concert flute and the recorder have more harmonics, and thus more flexibility for the player, and brighter timbres. An organ pipe may be either open or closed, depending on the sound desired.

I was unclear (or, arguably, wikipedia is). The "open-ended" concert flute is only open on one end. That is, the transverse blowhole is not at the end of the flute, it's on the side, and there is a cap on the end closest to the blowhole, while the other end is open. With pan pipes, the blowhole is the end, while the other end is closed. So i know that a flute with both ends closed (the only opening is the blowhole) works--that's what a jug is, after all. And i know a flute with one end closed and one open (a concert flute) works. what i don't know is what happens if both ends are open--that is, there are airways to both sides of the blowhole. I'm fairly confident (though not certain) that there are no such examples in the real world. If i had access to the appropriate tools to safely and easily drill an appropriate-size hole in some PVC, i'd experiment to find out, now that it's been mentioned. I'm curious.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top