In The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks, you get both a hint and a look at the armory he has at home. This is found in his basement and readers will get a brief introduction in one story when he wanders down there. All you really find out is that there’s a spot for dirty equipment and a vat designed to purify anything that was used to kill demons or other dark creatures. Since I’m not introducing his wife and son yet, I can’t have him be at home very often. This is where the hints come in and I realize now that this might be a little confusing because it’s subtle.
At least it appears to be subtle. You see, Ichabod has different equipment in every adventure. His longbows don’t always have the same enchantments and there are times when they’re normal, but his quiver has magic arrows. Various rings, armors, bags, and articles of clothing have appeared. Each one has its own set of tricks. This variety is why Ichabod has a reputation for always being prepared. Although, he’s also smart enough to think outside the box and use a magic item in a unique way. So, it isn’t always that he’s prepared, but he’s cunning.
So, the first question might be: Why didn’t I give him one set of gear and keep it for every story? Quite simply, I found the idea boring. With 11 stories in one book, him having the same tricks would get stale. It also weakens the idea that he prepares and thinks about every adventure before stepping in. Ichabod wouldn’t take a job that involves fire creatures if his only weapon is a fireball bow. So, it’s a situation that he would avoid at all costs. Yes, he could stumble into the problem, but I can only do that specific headache once. Otherwise, people will just be waiting for the inevitable fire-immune creatures to show up. By having him set out with different gear every time, it strengthens the character’s foresight and brings an element of surprise since you don’t know what he’s capable of this time.
Second question: Why does he have so much gear? Because he’s needed each one at some point in his long career. Remember that Ichabod isn’t a starting adventurer and has been in the game for at least 25 years. His wife is some kind of adventurer too, so she adds to the armory. They buy each other artifacts for birthdays, anniversaries, and because all the time too. Not to mention claiming stuff during an adventurer and being paid in enchanted gear. Everything else was bought because Ichabod or his wife found themselves either in or heading into a situation that they weren’t prepared for. After surviving, they want to make sure that the mistake won’t happen again.
The armory helps to show a lot about the Brooks’ mentality. To some, they might come off as hoarders since they have so much. Yes, there are odd artifacts that have very limited uses like the treat bag in Ichabod Brooks & the Orphan’s Shadow. So, some of these items might even stem from home life too. This does show a dependency on magic as well, which is important for the world-building. Many fantasy worlds limit the magic and artifacts that you see. Windemere is filled with magic, so it’s much more common than a reader might realize. By having this armory, it shows that artifacts can be gathered in Ichabod’s world in a similar fashion to how we collect tools and guns. Does he come off a little paranoid? Maybe to some, but check out how many different hammers and screwdrivers you or your ‘Fix-It Friends’ have. Pretty much the same thing here.