The ISA-Bus

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The Estoc de Olivia

In Wizardry 8, there is a weapon named Estoc de Olivia. It uses the rapier graphic, but does about twice the damage of a rapier, and can only be wielded by the Ranger, a character class otherwise associated with axes as melee weapons. It’s a strange weapon with a strange name, and I did some research.

The estoc, while sometimes seen as a forerunner of the rapier, was actually a far heavier weapon and quite different weapon. It was developed in the 14th century against the heavier armor that was becoming common. In German it is known as panzerbrecher, armor breaker. It was nearly always two-handed.

The Ranger in Wizardry was inspired by Robin Hood. The manual of Bane of the Cosmic Forge, where the Ranger class was first introduced, explicitly mentions the popular outlaw. Robin Hood’s maybe best known companion is Friar Tuck. Tuck is an English word for estoc, and the character is named after the weapon (think “Mack the Knife”).

There is some irony here, since Robin Hood is supposed to have lived at the times of Richard the Lionheart, when there were not yet any estocs. But then, there were no friars in England either at that time. It seems that Friar Tuck is a historical figure from the early 15th century, a Sussex chaplain named Robert Stafford who went by the name Frere Tuk. Two royal writs in 1417 refer to him, and he was still at large in 1429. Popular tales often wildly mix the centuries.

But why Estoc de Olivia? The Ranger isn’t just modelled after Robin Hood in general, but more specifically after Robin Hood in the 1938 Hollywood movie with Errol Flynn and, yes, Olivia de Havilland. The portrait in the Bane of the Cosmic Forge manual bears an astonishing resemblance to one of the posters for this movie, and another Ranger-related item is called “Flynn’s Cap.”

I don’t think that Olivia de Havilland actually fenced in that movie, though there is at least one ballad with a fighting Maid Marian. All I found is this photo:

It’s from the set of Captain Blood, the first Hollywood movie of the then nineteen year old Tokyo-born British actress. I don’t think she fenced in that film either. They were probably just goofing off before the camera.

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One response to “The Estoc de Olivia

  1. Query June 29, 2012 at 09:18

    thank you for doing this kind of great research on little game oddities like this.

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