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When to use larger than normal weapons


Herolover

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Hello. Okay here is another question. When should creatures use larger than normal weapons?

 

For example in my campaign players can play several races that have the "Large" limitation and the appropriate stats. If one wants to wield a Great sword should I let them wield a Great Sword or should they wield a Larger than normal great sword?

 

In fact, my question alsw deals with the hands required. A Great sword is a 2-handed weapon. At one point in size should you be able to use it one handed? Should a large creature be able to use a 2-handed Great sword with one hand?

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

well...

I don't use the stock "larger version of weapon" rules as written.

Why?

Because they are pretty badly biased against larger creatures.

I figure that larger sized critters that use weapons will (mostly) have the same smithing skills and manufacturing ability to make larger versions of weapons using the normal weapon creation rules, which no longer has a "standard" str min formula as before, but can still be made so that they are scaled on the same level as the rest of the weapons on the chart. Otherwise, the only "smart" time to use a larger version of a weapon is when the creature is able to do more than the max DC of the weapon.

As to realtive sizes... I wing it...

Generally I figure that the height of the critter (rather than the mass) shows the overall scale increase... so a 3 meter tall critter (at 1 1/2 times normal scale) could use 1 1/2 handed weapons as strictly 1 handed, or 2 handed weapons as 1 1/2 handed. At 4 meters (X2 height) 2 handed weapons become 1 handed. This seems to scale right, at least according to "real" wrold concerns. IME, a "standard" broadsword for a human is usually about 1/2 the weilders height (usually 3 feet long) and a greatsword is about the weilders height (usually 5-6 feet). So it would seem to stand to reason that a 12 foot critter would use a 6 foot human greatsword the same way a 6 foot human would weild a 3 foot broadsword.

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

well...

I don't use the stock "larger version of weapon" rules as written.

Why?

Because they are pretty badly biased against larger creatures.

I figure that larger sized critters that use weapons will (mostly) have the same smithing skills and manufacturing ability to make larger versions of weapons using the normal weapon creation rules, which no longer has a "standard" str min formula as before, but can still be made so that they are scaled on the same level as the rest of the weapons on the chart. Otherwise, the only "smart" time to use a larger version of a weapon is when the creature is able to do more than the max DC of the weapon.

As to realtive sizes... I wing it...

Generally I figure that the height of the critter (rather than the mass) shows the overall scale increase... so a 3 meter tall critter (at 1 1/2 times normal scale) could use 1 1/2 handed weapons as strictly 1 handed, or 2 handed weapons as 1 1/2 handed. At 4 meters (X2 height) 2 handed weapons become 1 handed. This seems to scale right, at least according to "real" wrold concerns. IME, a "standard" broadsword for a human is usually about 1/2 the weilders height (usually 3 feet long) and a greatsword is about the weilders height (usually 5-6 feet). So it would seem to stand to reason that a 12 foot critter would use a 6 foot human greatsword the same way a 6 foot human would weild a 3 foot broadsword.

 

 

They would probably need a new hilt (too narrow) and then they might be using it almost like a rapier, due to the low weight. Interesting question.

 

I wonder if any of the swordmakers who do custom work have done blades for VERY small people, say 4'?

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

They would probably need a new hilt (too narrow) and then they might be using it almost like a rapier' date=' due to the low weight. Interesting question.[/quote']

 

It is interesting how deeply ingrained the concept is of rapiers being light. As European swords go, rapiers are heavy (typically around the 3lb mark). Arming swords OTOH are light (typically around the 2lb mark), yet most people think arming swords are heavy.

 

I wonder if any of the swordmakers who do custom work have done blades for VERY small people, say 4'?

 

I've once made a sword for a 5ft tall woman. Since I was making it to George Silver's perfect length it was shorter than everyone elses, but not excessively so, nor was it expressly lighter for that matter.

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

It is interesting how deeply ingrained the concept is of rapiers being light. As European swords go, rapiers are heavy (typically around the 3lb mark). Arming swords OTOH are light (typically around the 2lb mark), yet most people think arming swords are heavy.

Well..

most people tend to think of "rapiers" as the more modern fencing blades... and even with a proper rapier, 3 lbs is still light compared to a 5 lb broadsword or an 8 lb claymore...

Not to metion that old FRPG staple..the 20 POUND BROADSWORD!!!

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

Well..

most people tend to think of "rapiers" as the more modern fencing blades... and even with a proper rapier, 3 lbs is still light compared to a 5 lb broadsword or an 8 lb claymore...

Not to metion that old FRPG staple..the 20 POUND BROADSWORD!!!

 

I presume by broadsword you're referring to a 18th/19th century Scottish sword by that name (sometimes also called claymore too :winkgrin: )? All the stats I've ever seen on extant examples weigh little more than 2lbs. Pretty comparable in weight to a knight's arming sword.

 

As for greatswords, I think the heaviest I've ever heard of is 7lbs, with 5lbs being considered on the heavy side (with many at the 3lb weight.)

 

(European) Swords are my passion... :bounce:

 

As for 20lbs :snicker: it belongs with those legends of knights needing cranes for mounting a horse :jawdrop: (did anyone ever think of the poor horse when they thought that one up?!?)

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

I presume by broadsword you're referring to a 18th/19th century Scottish sword by that name (sometimes also called claymore too :winkgrin: )? All the stats I've ever seen on extant examples weigh little more than 2lbs. Pretty comparable in weight to a knight's arming sword.

 

As for greatswords, I think the heaviest I've ever heard of is 7lbs, with 5lbs being considered on the heavy side (with many at the 3lb weight.)

 

(European) Swords are my passion... :bounce:

 

As for 20lbs :snicker: it belongs with those legends of knights needing cranes for mounting a horse :jawdrop: (did anyone ever think of the poor horse when they thought that one up?!?)

I have a fair bit of practical experience in the matter as well... Ran a fighting reenactment group for 12 years. I confess to slightly overstating the weights... not for purposes of exageration, but I forgot to factor in the extra "built like a crowbar for stage fighting and not filleting your friends" weight. The broadswords I was thinking of specfically are the 16th century Irish swords that were one of our common blades. Most of our "real" claymores (16th c 2 handed model, not the basket hilt backswords sometimes given the same name) did weigh in right around 4-5 lbs, but most other contemporary great swords were heavier, mostly due to the different fighting style they were designed for and the heavier furniture. IIRC, you are absolutely correct on the greatswords of earlier periods (the Cleidh Mor was kind of the last holdout of the style, designed for personal combat rather than formation fighting).

And yeah, I love the armor myths too...

I had a buddy who could do a kip in his field harness... full kit.

(Granted...he was also a judo instructor...)

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

Speaking of armor myths, the History Channel recently had a special on about medieval weapons and armor.

 

If I don't have this completely mixed up, one of the things they showed was a guy doing flips and tumbling in, I think, either mail or half-plate (i.e., mail with plates. I think I remember him wearing greaves, paldrons, and vambraces.)

 

Kinda put a dent in the "armor is too bulky to move in" story, at least for me.

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

Yes, they have shown that some of the heavy armors, such as plate, that people thought would be impossible to move in are actually easy to move in and don't offer that many inhibitions to movement.

 

However, it has been shown that while movement isn't hampered sometime vision is and wearing the armor ALWAYS is very tiring.

 

In truth, if you were going to realisticly do armor any DCV/DEX penalties should be small, but the END penalties should be high.

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

Actually, I have no problems with fairly high armor penalties, but I really think that the rule that most of seem to use (PSL's with armor) should probabl;y make its way into a rulebook somewhere. The weight and End cost never really goes away, but the movement and action penalties should be somethng that you can learn to ignore. The first time I fought in full feild plate, the main things I noticed besides the weight and heat were the lousy vision characteristics (I was wearing a T face barbute) and the limited range of motion.. the limited motion hampered me, but not so much that a skilled fighter couldn't work within the confines of the armor pretty easily... My friends proved it to me in a variety of acrobatic and noisy fashions. I was used to fighting in chain, so I ran into the occasional "OK...So my arm simply can NOT bend that way when I'm wearing this stuff" moment" In game terms, I'd say that while I was busy using my 5 pt Melee combat CSL's to offset the penalties, my friend with more experience and the appropriate PSL's for his armor was busy throwing me around and beating on my head with his sword. Good fun :P

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

I use the standard of +1DC per "level" on the size chart (not "Growth" table, but the one in the vehicles section...its better laid out) If a characters height/weight is good enough to reach the next break-point on the chart, they get the increased DC on a weapon of appropriate size. STR-min increases as well for obvious reasons.

 

Its interesting that this thread is here. I was thinking of posting something similar today, but instead of based on weapons size, its based on the weapons mass/weight.

 

In a comic I read, a character recently recieved his first sword...and was barely able to lift it! A little side note outside the border stated 25kg with an arrow pointing to the sword. I was thinking, a 25Kg sword! How much extra damage would that do? and whats the STR-min on such a monster? So I put the question to the guru's here and abouts. How much extra damage based on mass? (I'm assuming here that STR-min would probably increase by +3-+5 per +1DC)

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

 

Its interesting that this thread is here. I was thinking of posting something similar today, but instead of based on weapons size, its based on the weapons mass/weight.

...How much extra damage based on mass?

 

Speaking outside Hero game terms, you'd inflict damage by both mass and velocity (and if memory serve the formula is 1/2 mass x velocity squared.)

 

Of course in an arc a longer weapon can pick up greater velocity than a shorter one.

 

I suppose it comes to six of one, half a dozen the other.

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

Of course in an arc a longer weapon can pick up greater velocity than a shorter one.

.

The funny thing is.. this is a defining characteristic of most greatswords in real life, especially the later ones like the Zweihander and the Flamberge. They are really mostly geared towards defensive fighting, and use the long arc to allow the cutting foreward 1/3rd of the blade to reach the velcities needed to inflict harm. The ONLY time I've ever seen this addressed was in an optional set of combat rules for Runequest was back in the day, from an issue of Wyrms Footnotes. Even back then, he mentioned that the genre convention of "greatswords do more damage" was too ingrained to easily break.

And we still need a good write up of some off the 16th century weapon based martial arts, like the German and Italian masters were teaching in the age just before fencing took off.

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

Even back then' date=' he mentioned that the genre convention of "greatswords do more damage" was too ingrained to easily break.[/quote']

 

Too true. But then I'm not really looking at trying to re-create realism in Hero, otherwise I'd need a MASS stat amongst other things.

 

And we still need a good write up of some off the 16th century weapon based martial arts, like the German and Italian masters were teaching in the age just before fencing took off.

 

I was under the impression that the 5th ed. of UMA covered Western Martial Arts. That's why I've just ordered a damaged copy of it (I've got 4th.)

 

Under 4th edition MA rules, I was never quite sure how to map something like strezzo tempo

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

I was under the impression that the 5th ed. of UMA covered Western Martial Arts. That's why I've just ordered a damaged copy of it (I've got 4th.)

 

Under 4th edition MA rules, I was never quite sure how to map something like strezzo tempo

UMA has more than before, but there could be a lot more

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

UMA has more than before' date=' but there could be a lot more[/quote']

 

Could be a bit of fun trying to write them up. Of course the Italian concept of tempi is antithetical to Hero's speed chart (though I happen to like Hero's speed chart -- seems to replicate literature rather well.)

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

It is interesting how deeply ingrained the concept is of rapiers being light. As European swords go, rapiers are heavy (typically around the 3lb mark). Arming swords OTOH are light (typically around the 2lb mark), yet most people think arming swords are heavy.

 

 

 

I've once made a sword for a 5ft tall woman. Since I was making it to George Silver's perfect length it was shorter than everyone elses, but not excessively so, nor was it expressly lighter for that matter.

 

 

I doubt the rapiers my friends dad had were much more than 2 lbs. And, unlike the foils in the movies, they did have edges. ;)

 

THough that is a good point. I should probably have referred to balance rather than weight.

 

I haven't found any good sources on Silver, I find him very interesting, but reprints of old books are low on my priorities right now. :( I do have the reprint of the Tallhofer Fechtbuch. I became even more interested in the very long swords after reading it. :)

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

I presume by broadsword you're referring to a 18th/19th century Scottish sword by that name (sometimes also called claymore too :winkgrin: )? All the stats I've ever seen on extant examples weigh little more than 2lbs. Pretty comparable in weight to a knight's arming sword.

 

As for greatswords, I think the heaviest I've ever heard of is 7lbs, with 5lbs being considered on the heavy side (with many at the 3lb weight.)

 

(European) Swords are my passion... :bounce:

 

As for 20lbs :snicker: it belongs with those legends of knights needing cranes for mounting a horse :jawdrop: (did anyone ever think of the poor horse when they thought that one up?!?)

 

 

 

Next time I am in WOodinville I plan to stop by "All Saints blades" though the experience may be painful :(

 

Hopefully I will have money set aside, I am intrigued by the "lady Ash" model. Two handed hilt, 2 lbs. :)

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

As for 20lbs :snicker: it belongs with those legends of knights needing cranes for mounting a horse :jawdrop: (did anyone ever think of the poor horse when they thought that one up?!?)

From what I understand here, the confusion comes because there WAS some armour that needed the crane, but not due to weight. It was jousting armour that had very few joints, because joints were weak spots. Instead, the person strapped it all together and then really could hardly move. The armour was near impenetrable, but yeah, they needed a crane.

 

That's as I understand it. I have no real sources for it, but it makes sense to me. :) And sounds like a reasonable place for the legend of the 'armour so heavy it needs a crane' to start.

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

The funny thing is.. this is a defining characteristic of most greatswords in real life, especially the later ones like the Zweihander and the Flamberge. They are really mostly geared towards defensive fighting, and use the long arc to allow the cutting foreward 1/3rd of the blade to reach the velcities needed to inflict harm. The ONLY time I've ever seen this addressed was in an optional set of combat rules for Runequest was back in the day, from an issue of Wyrms Footnotes. Even back then, he mentioned that the genre convention of "greatswords do more damage" was too ingrained to easily break.

And we still need a good write up of some off the 16th century weapon based martial arts, like the German and Italian masters were teaching in the age just before fencing took off.

Hmm. What I'd heard from non-gaming sources was that the greatsword gained in popularity as armour got thicker - thick enough to withstand most weapons, so shields became less useful. So they started using two-handed weapons, because they needed them to be able to penetrate the armour on the other side.

 

Not true?

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

Hmm. What I'd heard from non-gaming sources was that the greatsword gained in popularity as armour got thicker - thick enough to withstand most weapons, so shields became less useful. So they started using two-handed weapons, because they needed them to be able to penetrate the armour on the other side.

 

Not true?

 

Not quite sure what you mean by the 'other side' :) It is not so much a thickening of armour, but more armour became better at deflection (especially through a tempering process). As such a plate harness could ignore most attacks from most weapons.

 

Certainly if you were wearing a plate harness the shield would be redundant in actual combat (ignoring 'friendly' contests like the tilt). Two hands on a sword gave superior control.

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

Hmm. What I'd heard from non-gaming sources was that the greatsword gained in popularity as armour got thicker - thick enough to withstand most weapons, so shields became less useful. So they started using two-handed weapons, because they needed them to be able to penetrate the armour on the other side.

 

Not true?

 

Somewhat true.

Part of the problem is that there are a LOT more "categories" of weapons then are modeled in most games, and a greatsword used by soliders in a light armor, polearm heavy environment are completly different than ones used by knights on foot fighting other heavily armored knights. Even then, the advantage of greatswords is more in reach and economy of motion than in actual penetration. Hafted weapons have always been the prefered fror punching heavy armor.. they are just plain better at it. I'll let the midevalists on the board take a shot at this one tho, as I am mostly familiar with millitary history in a period where pikes and guns have stared making armor and sheilds obsolete.

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Re: When to use larger than normal weapons

 

Somewhat true.

Part of the problem is that there are a LOT more "categories" of weapons then are modeled in most games, and a greatsword used by soliders in a light armor, polearm heavy environment are completly different than ones used by knights on foot fighting other heavily armored knights. Even then, the advantage of greatswords is more in reach and economy of motion than in actual penetration. Hafted weapons have always been the prefered fror punching heavy armor.. they are just plain better at it. I'll let the midevalists on the board take a shot at this one tho, as I am mostly familiar with millitary history in a period where pikes and guns have stared making armor and sheilds obsolete.

 

 

For actually penetrating heavy armor, the great sword might well have been "half-sworded" and used as a spear. Most were VERy pointed.

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