Real Life Weapon Choices (olden like the plague)

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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Sockmonkey » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:34 am UTC

Likpok wrote:The problem is that mauls are not designed for people. They are designed for splitting logs. Same with two-headed axes. They came about so you only had to carry one tool while lumberjacking. One head was for chopping, one for splitting.

IIRC the double bladed axe was so that when one blade started to dull you could flip it over and use the other one so you wouldn't have to stop and sharpen it untill you were done working. Also it gives you a perfectly balanced head so it won't twist and strike at a bad angle.
Cutting and splitting have requirements that are too different to effectively combine in one axe.
The combo is probably fine for an afternoon getting fuel for your wood stove, but if you do it every day you want different ones.
For cutting you want the head to be light so it won't drive in deep enough to get stuck and because you're gonna be getting in a lot of swings in a short period of time. If the head is as heavy as a splitter you're gonna tire yourself out far more than you would lugging a second axe to the job.
For splitting you need that extra mass to drive all it the way through that sucker in one hit. Then you stop and put a new log on the cutting block/stump or pause while your helper does it. This gives your arms a chance to rest for a few moments so your net energy usage is roughly the same as when you're cutting even though you're using a heavier axe.
There are some newer fancy versions that claim to do both but I'm going to remain skeptical Untill I've used one myself.
If the log has a big knot in it forget axes and use a chainsaw or dynamite or something. Even when the halves are seperated a big @#$%&! knot will still bind em' together untill you hack through that last strip of it. Leave the @#$%&! knotty ones for last or forget em' alltogether. Don't chop angry.

Maile has several advantages not directly relater to defense.
First, it's easy to fit. As long as it's big enough, you can "buy off the rack" so to speak like it's a t-shirt and doesn't need customizing.
Second, it doesn't impair your flexibility or ease of movement one bit. If it flops a bit here and there you can run a drawstring through it.
Third, it doesn't take a lot of skill to make. Once your blacksmith draws out the wire, you wind it, cut it, flatten the tips, punch the hole, pop in a rivet, flatten it, repeat 10,000 times. You can get the hang of it in an afternoon and so you can have everyone who isn't busy farming churn out buttloads of the stuff.
Fourth, it breathes. Even with the padding you still get some air circulation. Plate is like an oven in the summer.
Fifth, it's easy to maintain and repair. Stick it in a bag of sand, shake well and it's clean. Replace any broken links and it's good as new.
Sixth, you can throw on a couple pieces of plate for extra protection without a problem as they become available.
Seventh, it's comfortable enough to sleep in as long as you don't get it bunched up if you're worried about being attacked at night.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Aussie_Sniper » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:01 am UTC

Personally, I'd take a flanged mace. They're fairly heavy, which gives them some of the useful properties of hammers, and they have better armour piercing effects. They can also be held in one hand, giving the wielder the option of a shield for blocking sword blows.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby You, sir, name? » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:53 am UTC

It's funny how appropriately medieval this freshly necro'd thread is.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Sockmonkey » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:08 am UTC

For the record, I wasn't the one who necro'd it. :)
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Torvaun » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:34 pm UTC

dawnmaster wrote:I don't think that baseball bat would be a powerful weapon. Is there a brass knuckle in the old days?

Steel gauntlet.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Vyn » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:40 pm UTC

Hrmm, what about the other old farming implements that were modified into war weapons? Scythes and War scythes had quite a few uses as did sickles. Even a modified hoe with a bladed head could be effective and I'm sure the shaolin spade came around because of a normal spade having it's edges sharpened.

Away from those, what about Nodachi? I can see that being extremely effective against sword and board because of reach and weight. However, I can see a nimble fellow with a metal quarterstaff humiliating a large 2h sword user. And painfully at that. Course, if he misses even a single dodge he's most likely dead, but even 1 strike after a quick first strike dodge (and you can't tell me any 2h sword can be moved quick enough for a parry from a quarterstaff) could break hands/wrists and render that sword useless. Or jab em in the eye.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Sockmonkey » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:39 pm UTC

A metal quarterstaff isn't going to be nearly as quick as a wooden one.
And no, aluminum and titanium don't count.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:03 am UTC

Vyn wrote:(and you can't tell me any 2h sword can be moved quick enough for a parry from a quarterstaff)


The Japanese family of two handed swords (Katana, Tachi and Ninjato) and certain eastern european/central asian two handed sabre type swords are light enough to be moved with the same speed as a single handed sword, and are totally unlike the metalic cricket bats of swords that were weilded by european knights.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:24 am UTC

And as such aren't all that good against any decent armour.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Tyaust » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:49 am UTC

I want a morning star. There's just something about having a giant, heavy, spiky bat that can be used to impale people while clubbing them that makes it so appealing to me.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Sockmonkey » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:50 am UTC

We aren't going to need to have the old "European swords didn't weigh 20 pounds" talk are we?
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Gears » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:06 am UTC

Non-armored combat I like knives. Something about wielding a knife ice-pick style that makes me hard. What.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:08 am UTC

'Never bring a knife to a fist fight.' - Why? Because, when you have a knife, you don't have an immediately lethal weapon unless you hit some critical areas, and when you have a knife you are focused solely on the knife as your 'weapon', it takes considerable skill and concentration to remember your other limbs. Somebody unarmed will be much more likely to remember their other limbs than you, and use them effectively, even without training, and thus has four more (head included) weapons than you do. That said, with training a knife is perfectly serviceable against any other gear except for massive plate & chain combinations. This only matters to the knife, because most other bladed weapons can discourage disarms and grapples by virtue of being huge and through the other guy's head before he's in range.

But, thinking more on the subject:

Nonlethal category - the whip wins, without exception. It has reach, speed, pain, everything. Given its original purpose, that isn't terribly surprising. Of course, you *can* kill with a whip, but no weapon is truly nonlethal. In modern times the Taser is the new whip.

Regarding the 'brass knuckles' of the ancient world:
The Cestus, or Caestus, are the fore-runners of Boxing Gloves (in their Greek incarnation) and Brass Knuckles (in their Roman incarnation). The former are so because they were simply leather reinforcing and protection, the latter are so because they added metal to the equation. They not only enabled you to deliver the force we are aware of with the Brass Knuckles, but they also protected your fist as you did it, with many variations: spikes, blades, sword-catchers, etc. Of course, one could add to the effect of this gear by adding some type of leg reinforcement, for instance greaves, to create a fisticuffs-enhancing outfit. These were so deadly in fist-fights in gladiatorial arenas and the like, that the romans actually banned them. Think on that.

I'm a big fan of the Cestus, because it is an extremely handy, portable weapon, and incredibly brutal. It shares each of these qualities with its descendent, the brass knuckles, which traded protection and power for the ultimate in portability. Combining this with skills in martial arts that used the area - the knuckles and wrist - results in what some might like to call a recipe for unpleasantness.

Between the cestus and the brass knuckles, we have the trench knife, which possessed the finger-dividing handle, which helps stabilise the grip and offers greater force. Of course, it is not a weapon of antiquity.

The Japanese possessed a simpler version of the weapon, being closer to Brass Knuckles in actual design, though completely removed from their ancestry. The Tekko. The tekko was essentially a stick with a blade wrapped around it, with the fingers going between the stick and blade (or a blunt wrap). It lacks finger dividers, and thus any particular reinforcement for the hand, but makes up for it with its incredible light weight, and the ability to change the grip to suit a backhand or jab, by twisting the stick until the blade is aligned with your desired blow. Of course, this also means it can slip from the ideal position at any point. Even so, it is still in use today, and is just as banned as the brass knuckles are.

On 'unarmed' combat as a whole, whether one is enhancing ones abilities in it or not: We're really very fragile creatures. Someone who wants to kill you can do it with their bare hands actually very easily, and it would serve us all well to remember that.

Regarding the cutlass: The cutlass is more of a 'we had this on hand' kind of weapon, like the modern bats and the machete. They have other primary purposes, they also happen to be useful for introducing someone with whom you're not on good terms to the contents of their skull. However, I find it hard to believe that a properly built cutlass would be 'too flimsy' to lock with other swords. The cutlass saw hard labour, doing basically the same job as the machete, as well as chopping anything that didn't require a delicate touch on a ship, such as the sort of rope that came with the job. It should follow, then, that the cutlass would, on average, be much stronger than other swords. Perhaps not able to properly snap them, being blunt as a club and twice. . . I forget the rest of the joke but your mother's a whore.

And with that I forgot the thrust of the remainder of my post, so there you have it.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Argency » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:52 am UTC

Have you just been lost in TV tropes, Insignificant Deifaction? I've just come from there, reading about how you should never bring a knife to a fist fight. This thread always gets me lost in TV tropes.

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
Vyn wrote:(and you can't tell me any 2h sword can be moved quick enough for a parry from a quarterstaff)


The Japanese family of two handed swords (Katana, Tachi and Ninjato) and certain eastern european/central asian two handed sabre type swords are light enough to be moved with the same speed as a single handed sword, and are totally unlike the metalic cricket bats of swords that were weilded by european knights.


I'm pretty sure the main reason for that was actually geographical. There isn't much surface-level iron in Japan, so before modern mining techniques/trade came along steel was massively more expensive in Japan than it was in Britain. It takes HEAPS of steel to make armour, so the Japanese used laminated wood/paper/cloth instead. With a European sword you could have cut through that like tinfoil, but again, iron costs money, so they had to conserve it by making skinny swords. A skinny sword wouldn't crack laminated armour, so it had to slice instead, which meant it needed to be sharper. Similarly, a skinny sword is weaker, so it had to be crafted for strength, by smelting the metal better and using the folding smithing technique that gave the sharpened blade that "contour lined" look. That's why the craftsmanship of Japanese swords and knives was so much more impressive - they had bugger all resources to work with and had to make up for it by being clever. The average katana is lighter, sharper and better crafted than the average european "cricket bat" sword, and could probably have cut right through one like you see in some over the top anime, but unfortunately it was still an inferior weapon. A katana would have had no chance of cutting through even light mail, and against a well-crafted longsword of the kind a knight would use it would have been about as useful as a toothpick. Of course, it's apples and oranges, really, and aesthetically I think I prefer the katana.

Really, though, my real life weapon choice will always be a naginata. You get the advantage in reach of a spear, with the long blade of a sword which means you get to slash as well as stab. You get the agility of a quarterstaff, but don't have to worry about getting your stick cut in half, because the business end is metal. Plus I'm a fire-twirler and a gymnast, so it complements my skillset pretty well. Finally, it's designed to be a woman's weapon, so its optimised for agility and not strength and for fighting people bigger than you. Since I'm short and stocky, that's perfect for me. It's the ultimate weapon!
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Josephine » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:37 am UTC

Well, Japanese weaponry was designed for precision and speed. I'm sure there's at least one hole in some plate armor big enough for one to slip in. Maybe an eyehole.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:57 am UTC

But the katana is not a piercing sword. It's for killing peasants and duelling. The proper counter for decent armour is a mace (the armour doesn't work when the flexible parts are jammed into your body) or a lance.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Josephine » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:59 am UTC

That was more a matter of "you've been given this. Now go take down that." But yeah, something like a hammer or mace is best against thick armor.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby el_loco_avs » Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:23 am UTC

Man. Context matters so much in this.

If I were a skilled 7ft warrior (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pier_Gerlofs_Donia) fighting outside I would want my 7ft 14 pound sword to go along with that.


Alas. I'm unskilled and 5'10".
Give me an couple of pre-loaded arbalests ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbalest[/url)] and a kilometer of distance and I could reasonably kill whatever is coming at me before it reaches me.
Failing that, a spear is probably the most 'simple' to wield.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:44 am UTC

bigglesworth wrote:The proper counter for decent armour is a mace (the armour doesn't work when the flexible parts are jammed into your body) or a lance.


The proper counter for armor is an excessively large longbow, you ask the french.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:45 pm UTC

Well, it's a bit iffy one-on one, but yes, you're right.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Arancaytar » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:03 pm UTC

sleepygamer wrote:How is it that nobody has mentioned the good old classic Morningstar or Warhammer?

I mean... come on... a stick that has an IRON BALL WITH SPIKES ON IT attached by a chain?


Don't underestimate the difficulty of keeping that much weight under control. It's a lot easier to brain yourself with one of those than it is to hurt yourself with a sword.

(Unless we assume that everyone involved is a master with their chosen weapon.)

The proper counter for armor is an excessively large longbow, you ask the french.


Or a crossbow, for heavier armor - you'd better make the first shot count, though.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Gears » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:06 pm UTC

Re: Insignificant Deifaction
I am very well trained with knives and bayonets. If the intent is to kill, knives are badass. If the intent is to disable, use bare hands.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:43 pm UTC

@Gears: I don't doubt you are, military training and whatnot. It's simply a fact of knives that they are an entirely different class of weapon than the ones we're generally discussing here, and have their own little quirks and rules, one of which being that a knife requires you to pay attention not just to the person with massive medieval weaponry, but also to the guy off the street, as the knife doesn't have the reach and power to so completely outclass the fist in a 1-1 fight that you can just jam it through their head and carry on. That is to say, you actually have to try against the unarmed man. Of course, this isn't all bad. It pays dividends to take the unarmed man seriously (which is always the problem with armed horror villains), and a knife doesn't require that much more training to take either an unarmed man or a man bristling with swords, maces, staves, etc. And that is something I wanted to keep in mind for knife discussion. To reiterate: Not doubting you for a moment, just meditating on knives.

Of course, I personally would bring a cestus to a knife fight. :lol:

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I also hear a great deal about the craftsmanship and utility of the weapons of Shaolin monks. And maybe that's so, however, any weapon is incredible if you train with it to the extent these guys did, so anecdotal evidence of their quality is mildly irrelevant. There are simpler, shoddier weapons with much higher kill counts to attest to their utility (such as the re-headed scythe, and the club). The main reason I find myself questioning their efficacy is because I was not given an impression of the Shaolin monks as having much to do with weaponsmithing, and so Shaolin monks having unique weapons of their own seems tricky. Of course, contrariwise proof is heartily accepted.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:59 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Well, it's a bit iffy one-on one, but yes, you're right.


Versus a mounted knight you'd still have a manuverablity advantage [In spite of carrying a piece of yew almost to your shoulder height]; dismounted, you'd really not want them to get close.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Gears » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:27 pm UTC

Knives have no reach this is true, but they do have power when you know how to use them. Thrusting with a knife is stupid.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby IcedT » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:06 pm UTC

So, at the original post- shields and one-handers are usually a mark of inferior metallurgy in either the armor, or the weapons, or both. The shield was used to block because the swords were soft and directly hitting the enemy's blade would notch it. A one-handed sword also limits the kinds of attacks you can effectively use to basically stabbing or diagonal cuts from the shoulder, a problem that two-handers don't have. They were, of course, not useful from horseback, which is why in cavalry-dominated armies you tend to see one-handed swords stick around long afterwards (the last swords to be used by western militaries in action were for cavalrymen, and were patterned after Turkic swords from the medieval period).

So, in other words, the two-hander is the superior weapon, but its use was limited by the advanced metallurgy needed both to make the sword, and to compensate for the defense lost by giving up a shield (which, by about 1300 or so, Europe, China, and most other urbanized cultures were capable of doing so). In a fight against someone armed with a sword and a shield, the two-hander will have more reach, more power, a better ability to recover from missed or blocked blows, and more offensive options.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:30 pm UTC

There's also the fact that you can match a one-handed sword to a snappy outfit when you're not completely armoured up, and just walking about town.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:39 pm UTC

Gears wrote:Knives have no reach this is true, but they do have power when you know how to use them. Thrusting with a knife is stupid.


From what I understand, knives' strong point is that you can get really close with them and still be dangerous. Most weapons (including fists and guns) require some sort of range to be usable. With a knife, you can kill someone with an inch of room to spare, with little to no room for defense. Though the problem is getting that close with your knife when the crazy Scotsman you're fighting is flailing a claymore in your general direction.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby IcedT » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:44 pm UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:
Gears wrote:Knives have no reach this is true, but they do have power when you know how to use them. Thrusting with a knife is stupid.


From what I understand, knives' strong point is that you can get really close with them and still be dangerous. Most weapons (including fists and guns) require some sort of range to be usable. With a knife, you can kill someone with an inch of room to spare, with little to no room for defense. Though the problem is getting that close with your knife when the crazy Scotsman you're fighting is flailing a claymore in your general direction.
Well, and there's concealability. You can walk around with a knife and no one would ever know unless you pulled it. So I mean, yeah you'll be at a disadvantage if you run into somebody walking around with a claymore or something, but... what are the odds anybody's gonna be hiding one of those in their pants leg?
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby eternauta3k » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:The proper counter for decent armour is a mace (the armour doesn't work when the flexible parts are jammed into your body) or a lance.


The proper counter for armor is an excessively large longbow, you ask the french.

Which takes insane amounts of strength to operate.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby el_loco_avs » Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:11 pm UTC

eternauta3k wrote:
TheKrikkitWars wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:The proper counter for decent armour is a mace (the armour doesn't work when the flexible parts are jammed into your body) or a lance.


The proper counter for armor is an excessively large longbow, you ask the french.

Which takes insane amounts of strength to operate.



*points up*

Hence my choice for an arbalest.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:32 am UTC

el_loco_avs wrote:
eternauta3k wrote:
TheKrikkitWars wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:The proper counter for decent armour is a mace (the armour doesn't work when the flexible parts are jammed into your body) or a lance.


The proper counter for armor is an excessively large longbow, you ask the french.

Which takes insane amounts of strength to operate.



*points up*

Hence my choice for an arbalest.


It takes insane amounts of strength to operate like a modern bow. The texts of the time indicate that it was operated by placing the bow to the ground holding the string stationary and using your bodyweight and front arm to push the bow forwards, leaving your entire body "inside the bow" which can then be aimed with the arms locked and then shot. This is why the bows of the period were 6'-7' in length (with 30"- 40" arrows) when people were around 5'6". Thats not to say that pulling a 180lb bow would be easy, but the correct technique definately makes it feasible.

Anyway, if we can have any medieval weapon, I'd quite like a really big trebuchet, and lots of pots of burning sulphur...
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:25 pm UTC

I choose Plague.

It was weaponized, I assure you.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:28 pm UTC

The trick is not to catch it yourself.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:32 pm UTC

Oh, crap, I have to survive too? That changes everything!

...

Plague corpses, a catapult, and a couple of extra people.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby Singa Crew » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:33 pm UTC

Let's not forget the exotic weapons too.

The Japanese and Chinese had a lot of those. Like the sai forks thingies. I can't imagine what good those would be against a knight in full-plate armour though. Probably those were more useful as assassination weapons. Easily hidden in the folds of one's cloak and easily maneuvered in close-quarters too. Say against a noble in silk kimono in the toilet or something.

There's also the shurikens. Throwing stars that one may throw with deadly accuracy. If the visor of the helmet is not down, I can imagine it killing a knight right away or at least it might blind him.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:50 pm UTC

Shuriken aren't weapons, at least not in the sense that you use them to kill someone. They're distractions. I mean, I won't say they're a nonlethal weapon as I'm sure if they hit in the right spot they'd kill, but that wasn't their intention. You throw them at pursuers, the people chasing you go "OH FUCK! Bits of metal! That hurts!" and it buys you a few more seconds to make your getaway.

They're more like caltrops than a javelin.

As for the sai - it's useful for a variety of things, like catching weapons. Against European style combat, though, they'd probably be fine against a one-handed sword, but anything two handed... I don't know if you could keep up enough to block with them. The simple force alone would probably prevent you from acting effectively for a few moments.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:58 pm UTC

IcedT wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:
Gears wrote:Knives have no reach this is true, but they do have power when you know how to use them. Thrusting with a knife is stupid.


From what I understand, knives' strong point is that you can get really close with them and still be dangerous. Most weapons (including fists and guns) require some sort of range to be usable. With a knife, you can kill someone with an inch of room to spare, with little to no room for defense. Though the problem is getting that close with your knife when the crazy Scotsman you're fighting is flailing a claymore in your general direction.
Well, and there's concealability. You can walk around with a knife and no one would ever know unless you pulled it. So I mean, yeah you'll be at a disadvantage if you run into somebody walking around with a claymore or something, but... what are the odds anybody's gonna be hiding one of those in their pants leg?


Are you kidding? I walk around with a claymore in my pants all the time...

On topic, I would go with a halbert/glaive. Nice range and a halbert is very effective against armor.
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby MisterCheif » Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:41 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:And as such aren't all that good against any decent armour.


However, the whole idea of most eastern 1-edged blades is to use it as a precision weapons. Against an armored opponent, precisely strike weak points and gaps in the armor. Against an unarmored opponent, you would aim for slices across major arteries. It is not meant to be a weapon to smash through armor. It is meant to strike where the armor isn't.

EDIT: Of course, I probably should have read the rest of this page before posting this...
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Re: real life weapon choices (olden days)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:15 pm UTC

Against your European-style armor, the exploitable weak points are stabbable. Your Katana-style single-edge blades are kinda.. crappy at stabbing. You can do it, sure, but it's not built for it.

Better would be all the delightful Eastern bows.
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