From: Marc Tizoc Gonzalez
Subject: Humanoid Smiths (was humanoid relations)
For this one, I'm focused on the materials or products of smithing.
Sander has made the point that:
One thing people often miss is that:
* you can get (low quality) iron from swamps
* once you know the basics, smelting is not high tech (but quality may suffer)
Is swamp iron also called pig iron? If the Jebli are smiths and if some tribes are no longer relegated to bronze, then while they smelt iron, they probably lack steel. Since small swamps are often present in forests (meadows, bogs, etc.), Jebli who are distant from the hills might still have a source for their smithing needs.
However I'm more interested in the Euroz and Ho-Jebline. Their weapons might never be of special or exceptional quality, but pragmatically are physically the equivalent to what humans make. However, the design of weapons should be limited, IMO.
By looking over the PH, MM, and the UA appendix, I'm working on a list of what orcs and hobgoblins make themselves, and what is beyond (most) tribes. The MM list for orcs includes axes, battleaxes, bows, crossbows, flails, polearms, spears, and swords. The hobgoblin list includes (composite) bows, morningstars, polearms, spears, swords, and whips. There is no change from 1st to 2nd editions. Also, the MC orc listing states the polearm types to typically include glaives, halberds, or pikes.
IMO, the broadsword is the type most commonly produced by orcs or hobgoblins. The composite bow reminds me of Tolkien's Uruk-hai; I have always assumed it to be a long bow. For the orcs, an interesting difference might be to have bow using orcs only use regular short bows, while some tribes make use of (traded) crossbows. The use of normal axes by orcs seems budget, but only ten percent of the creatures use it alone.
As for morningstar use, I assume that hobgoblins of the Horned Society do so with the knowledge that it is one of Hextor's favored weapons. Also, Horned Society hobgoblin soldiers most commonly use the military fork, as befits the devilish motif. The halberd is probably the most highly developed weapon design that the orcs have. I might relegate its production to the more successful tribes, however.