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Re: (TFT) Death Test 1, take 4: SURVIVED!

Quoting gem6868 <gem6868@verizon.net>:
No, not at all.  I'm encouraging you NOT to read books like that (which is
ALL of the texts you are forced to read in secondary education and most of
the books you use in University).  Call it primary, first-person, or
archeological, but use the history books that historians themselves use. You'll find yourself MUCH better informed.

Those (that historians use) are exactly what I'm citing. Fiore, Talhoffer, Silver, di Grassi et. al. are historical figures who wrote precisely on the subject of personal combat and how to do it. The I.33 manual and Jeu de la Hache are not modern documents. These are historical artifacts which have been dated to the period. They have been translated mutiple times by experts. The translations and facsimiles are available so that anyone can determine whether they agree with the translations or not. Even the photographs of the excavations at Wisby are available. It doesn't get more historical than that. Yes, much of the public school curriculum is out of date. But that's not what I'm referencing here.
I'm assuming that the pole arm in question is the spear with an axe blade on
it, of course, possibly with a recurve on the axe blade that can be used as
a hook like the weapon called a billhook, or English bill, et al.

Well, there's one thing Gygax both got right and wrong. There's a lot of different looking polearms out there. They aren't all that dfifferent in practice.
To the point at hand, the pole arm wasn't a super-weapon in real life.  It
was slower and less adept at parrying than a sword.

And you need to cite how you know that's true. I say it's not true because the masters of the period, and period accounts, show it to be false.
And while it is longer
than a lot of weapons to wield it effectively you still had to hold it near
its balance point, so the effective length was about 1 hex for parrying or
chopping (the 2d6 usage), and probably only two hexes for stabbing with the
spear point (so it should be 1d6+2 like the regular spear).  Also, since it
was wielded with two hands, you can't use a shield so you lose the benefit
defensively of holding your own personal wall as well as holding a second
weapon depending on the shield and you training.  The Highland targe had a
12-16" spike, for example.  In the right hands, there's no doubt that the
most flexible combination of melee weapons is some sort of sword/shield.

To use your own argument, you can't know that it's true without having done so with intent. My personal opinion is that the most flexible option is two single handed weapons. The period masters seem to think that the most flexible is the sword in two hands, as it allows the wielder to let go with one hand to wrestle. It's worth noting here that Fiore, for example, has an illustration of a fighting man holding a spear, pole axe, polearm, and sword superimposed over each other. The text below essentially says that the weapons aren't different from each other in practice.
The pole arm is better for its intended use against heavily armored or
mounted opponents. The Melee rules should reflect that, somewhere, somehow. I'm not personally worried about it. By the time I get to Adv Melee, I'll
be ready to house rule any deficiencies in the system, whether they're from
HT or SJ.

Again, I disagree. Look at the accounts of the Combat of the Thirty, just as a single example. The most used weapon in that combat is the polearm, not the sword and shield. And none of the combatants is on a horse. That deed ended when one of the guys got pissed off and went and got his horse and broke the whole thing up. Or the Japanese examples where the spear and naginata are used on foot far more often than the sword. The lesson is clear. Once armour is effective, swords, single handed swords in particular, are no longer as effective as other weapons. They only come back for civil combat (where there isn't armour), and when armour goes out of fashion (sauch as when gumpowder becomes ascendent, though the causes are more complex than that). Militarily, the sword stays the symbol of aristocracy, but isn't preferred against armour.
Neil Gilmore
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