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tkdguy

Swords in science fiction -- why?

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On 8/15/2019 at 1:39 PM, tkdguy said:

Firearms also make a lot of noise, which may reverberate throughout the deck. Clashing swords would also be noisy; would they be much quieter than gunshots, relatively speaking?

Not if the spaces are evacuated of atmosphere.

 

As for ricochettes, that is controlled by the type of atmosphere.

 

Swords are too long and depend on artificial gravity to use. If they are going to use blades it would probably be large knives (see: Khyber knives), or stun sticks.  A lot of places have low to no gravity and or are cramped.  Swords are laaaame. 

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51 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

Sorry, Scott. 

 

That sounds like Stat Wars, and if you don't mind, I'd just as soon _not_ see ut; thanks. 

 

;)

 

 

 

Dude. Khyber knife:

https://imgur.com/gallery/SPdx1io

 

A Kukri  knife or any short, one handed thrusting weapon would work. Just nothing over 24 inches, and nothing that uses a slashing attack or you will spin like a top in zero g. 

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1 hour ago, Scott Ruggels said:

 

Dude. Khyber knife:

https://imgur.com/gallery/SPdx1io

 

A Kukri  knife or any short, one handed thrusting weapon would work. Just nothing over 24 inches, and nothing that uses a slashing attack or you will spin like a top in zero g. 

 

A kyber crystal is the name of the jewel which channels the energy in a lightsaber in Star Wars.

 

Referring to a "khyber knife" in a science fiction setting conjures humorous images of people wielding ridiculously short kyber-powered lightsabers in a classic lightsaber duel. (Come to think of it, don't anyone give Disney ideas along those lines or we'll be seeing that in the next movie.)

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2 hours ago, archer said:

 

A kyber crystal is the name of the jewel which channels the energy in a lightsaber in Star Wars.

 

Referring to a "khyber knife" in a science fiction setting conjures humorous images of people wielding ridiculously short kyber-powered lightsabers in a classic lightsaber duel. (Come to think of it, don't anyone give Disney ideas along those lines or we'll be seeing that in the next movie.)

I am so done with Star Wars. I’ll never watch another movie as long asDisney owns the property. First Star Wars, and now the MCU now that Stan is dead.  But that’s for different thread. 

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7 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

I am so done with Star Wars. I’ll never watch another movie as long asDisney owns the property. First Star Wars, and now the MCU now that Stan is dead.  But that’s for different thread. 

 

I've given up on Disney's Star Wars but not the MCU.

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

Great. 

 

With the inclusion of the qualifier "Disney," you have turned me into d damned hipster.  😕

 

I gave up on Star Wars before it was cool.  I thought "return of the jedi" was pretty f'n stupid.

 

Return of the Jedi was pretty stupid. I had a friend tell me that Leia would turn out to be Luke's sister not long after Empire came out and that'd be the resolution of the love triangle and I flat out told him that was so stupid that it'd never happen. The Ewok vs stormtrooper battle was beyond contrived. But even with that, Return of the Jedi was still recognizably Star Wars.

 

Heck, The Phantom Menace was still recognizably Star Wars even with the midichlorian-in-your-blood crap.

 

The Disney crap, in contrast, has thrown out the "science" part of "science fiction" and sucked all the fun parts out of the space opera genre. I have no idea what they're going for in the franchise other than a naked money grab wrapped in some rather marginal special effects and audience nostalgia for the past films in the franchise.

 

 

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Since not all battles take place in zero-g or even within cramped quarters (I can recall just ONE scenario in my sf game where a fight takes place inside a spaceship), here's a sword-like weapon that could make an appearance in your game.

 

 

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What about personal stealth fields?  Maybe there's an enemy who you can't see until they get within about 50 feet.  Whether it's some chameleon-like natural camouflage, or a technological thing, you can't see them at normal ranged combat distances.  Maybe that race doesn't use ranged weapons as much because 1) it might screw with their stealth tech, 2) if it's biological maybe they just never developed good ranged weapons (culturally it's something they never explored), or 3) maybe their distance vision sucks.  So you've got this dangerous enemy who attacks at close range, so you need to start carrying swords and other hand to hand weapons to defend yourself.

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On 9/4/2019 at 2:45 AM, tkdguy said:

Since not all battles take place in zero-g or even within cramped quarters (I can recall just ONE scenario in my sf game where a fight takes place inside a spaceship), here's a sword-like weapon that could make an appearance in your game.

 

 

 

Looks to me to be a boar spear.

 

Boars, like bears, don't tend to die instantly from a single stabbing thrust. A boar spear is supposed to pin the boar in place so that other hunters can finish it off. The crossguard is designed to prevent the boar from impaling itself further by running up the spear in its attempts to continue to attack the hunter.

 

 

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The reach problem is still a problem. That boar spear is about the same length as a Lebel rifle, and its Rosalie bayonet. The reasons for the reach was to be able to attack mounted horsemen, and to be able have a longer reach than the other guy in a bayonet fight. The Lebel was very long in and of itself, so that men could stand and deliver 2 ranks of massed fire rank massed fire as a tactic did not survive the machine gun. Then other than against animals, that length became a liability. 

note how short daggers, axe like objects, and one handed clubs then proliferated. The Russian SPETSNAZ, still train and use the short handled spade as a martial arts weapon. 

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On 8/19/2019 at 11:06 AM, tkdguy said:

I had forgotten about that one! Is the picture still there?

 

In other news, I practiced with my sword all weekend. Granted, I'm not in a scifi campaign....

 

Funny, I could have sworn this was a dystopian cyberpunk hard sf campaign. 

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How popular are sword and planet adventures nowadays? The John Carter movie didn't do well at the box office, but someone was interested enough to make the movie. Just about every scifi movie with swords lately involves lightsabers, and that genre more is closer to space opera or science fantasy.

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8 hours ago, tkdguy said:

How popular are sword and planet adventures nowadays? The John Carter movie didn't do well at the box office, but someone was interested enough to make the movie. Just about every scifi movie with swords lately involves lightsabers, and that genre more is closer to space opera or science fantasy.

 

I thought the lack of John Carter's success had more to do with how the studio had no idea how to go about promoting the movie before the release than rather than a lack of popularity for the genre.

 

The trailers were a bunch of disjointed images that didn't tell people anything about the setting (someone from the American Civil War era being transported to a Mars which has life and civilizations).

 

The studio chose to call it "John Carter" which doesn't even give a hint at the genre of the movie (Romantic comedy? A documentary about Jimmy Carter's youngest brother? John Wick's sidekick? Jimmy Carter going to the john?). It could have been called "John Carter of Mars", the title generally used to refer to the book series, or "A Princess of Mars", the title of the first book which the movie (very, very loosely) adapted.

 

For what it's worth from what I remember, the owners of Edgar Rice Burroughs' estate thought enough of the future movie possibilities to purchase the movie rights back from Disney a few years ago. 

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Reasons I Can Think Of Where Swords Might Be Viable In An SF Campaign:

 

1. Cultural.  Consider the Klingons, an FLT starfaring race that nonetheless reveres skill in melee combat.  Or the Vulcans, who must win an arena duel with clumsy bladed weapons before earning a chance to mate.  Or the Jedi.

 

2. Defenses.  Perhaps the defenses of the day are so effective against beam and projectile weapons that blades become useful again.  Example: Holtzmann shields in Dune.

 

3. Effectiveness.  Maybe the gel-demons of Aldebaran are practically immune to ranged weapons but can easily be slain by an edge.  Likewise, the vegepygmies of Betelgeuse might have Kevlar-like husks that are bulletproof but can be easily cut by a blade.  Or maybe, in some sick and twisted future version of Highlander, enemies might only be killable by decapitation.

 

4. Environment.  Swords might be safer to use on a thin-hulled space vessel than a slugthrower.

 

5. High Technology.  Future swords may be monomolecular or chain- or vibro- or energy-bladed, or otherwise more effective than ranged weapons could be.  Jedi are nigh invulnerable when equipped with lightsabers.

 

6. Low Technology.  Swords might be state of the art in a steampunk or postapocalyptic star campaign.

 

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.  I leave you with a parting piece of wisdom from Cpl. Zim:

 

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On 9/21/2019 at 4:43 AM, tkdguy said:

The John Carter movie didn't do well at the box office

 

Strayed too far from the source materials in setting, intent and feel. 

The movie makers come across a property and then feel an overwhelming urge to "improve" it.  Which basically means removing the very things that made them classics. 

Now the movie JC did a lot of things very well.  But balanced against the stuff that was royally screwed, the pluses were overwhelmed by the negatives.   Regardless of what anyone connected to the movies says, I can't believe anyone actually read any of the books.  Skimmed in ten minutes while being driven of road maybe.  Or perhaps they read one of the comics, which weren't that close themselves. 

 

I am an avid fan of all the Sword & Planet series and have read everyone I know about, multiple times in many cases.  So I went and saw JC regardless of the warnings by all my friends that risked the opening day.  They did a really good job on the green men, if you ignore the ridicules tattoo garbage, the form and movement was great. 

 

But as bad an adaptation as it was, it was better that the 2011 Three Musketeers....

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Old Man:

 

I always had a grievance with the necessity of a sword for decapitaion:

 

Given enough bullets and a sustained rate of fire, you can completely remove a head with a gun. 

 

Or a grenade. 

 

Or a weedwhacker. 

 

 

Why was the sword so important? 

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I'm still not sure how popular sword & planet adventures are outside our crowd. Definitely among the younger generation, science fiction usually means Star Wars or Star Trek. Even those who watched the John Carter movie might not have known about the novels. The Barsoom tales may be better known among the older crowd, but that's not a guarantee. Then again, most of the folks I know aren't hardcore science fiction fans, so YMMV.

 

As for the other ways to decapitate someone:

 

Bullets -- too inefficient if you need a lot of them.

 

Grenades -- too messy.

 

Weedwhackers -- too clumsy.

 

We can make the case for the naginata if combat takes place in the open.

 

 

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In the real world, in the past century or so, people have used knives like the K-Bar, kukris, machetes, bayonets, improvised spears and clubs, and the occasional samurai sword.  They're quiet, don't need reloading, and useful in close quarters combat or when you're out of ammo.  Also, soldiers since the dawn of guns have used rifles as clubs when in close quarters combat.  Now, a powered melee weapon (chainsword, lightsaber, vibroblade or what have you) might be a useful adjunct in a world of enhanced body armor, powered armor, xenomorphs and force fields.  But largely the functionality would be similar to nonpowered melee weapons, except of course you could run out of power.  

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