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Re: (TFT) More Weapons, and variable strength


> Hey Neil,
> I think the thing with the Romans was training. They trained their
> legionna
> ires to fight together, support the man next to you. And thus a standard
> we
> apon was important to them. The spatha was Celtic, I think, adopted by the
> Romans after their adventures in Gaul because of the longer reach -- and
> le
> ading to all of our ideas of Dark Ages swords (Viking, Norman, etc.)

Yeah, the standards, in both equipment and training, were important to how
the legions worked.
In fact, it was partly the Romans, and partly the dark age anglo-saxons,
who inspired that Shield Wall talent.
The idea I had was equal parts making fighting in formation more effective
than individual fighting, and making mass combat less deadly.
You long-time readers may laugh, given my posts over the years, but what I
was trying to do was to make actual mass battles last longer because from
my reading of battle accounts the engagements lasted longer than what TFT
usually has.

> I did take fencing and archery in college (what fun a single credit could
> b
> e!) but no, I've never studied fighting with an ax or spear. I just know
> th
> at they were the weapons that were most likely to hand for most
> non-nobles.

Even if you're talking about European nobles, that's not quite correct.
Current research is showing that even during the age of mail, it was
pretty darned hard to kill someone with a single blow from a single-handed
sword. And darned near impossible once plate comes in (read up on some
Fiore de Liberi -- unarmoured and armoured combat diverge quite sharply
from the same basic principles). So by the 14th century, many knights
would arm themselves with something other than a sword (though they still
wore their sword). Usually mace or ax. By the 15th century, the shield all
but disappears, and two handed weapons gain favor. The mounted lance is
really nothing more than a specialized spear, and you'll still find
accounts of the nobility using them.

If you head over to Asia, the ax is less prevalent, but the spear is more
prevalent. You'll find accounts of the Japanese only using their swords
for duelling encounters on the field, and using spears or other pole
weapons otherwise. Well, at least after the Heian, where mounted archery
was still the thing.

I fenced epee and wrestled in high school, lived for a while in a TKD
school, and have done SCA for the last 37 years. I've also taken a bundle
of WMA classes, and done a few different sorts of steel weapon fighting.
For more practical experience, I was also a bouncer in college. One of the
constants of my life is learning how to beat people up.

>  If you grew up on a farm, you used an ax as a tool and a spear to fend
> off
>  predators. And when you wandered off to become a hero, they were probably
> the weapons you took with you.

That happened a lot less in Europe than you might think.

> I've always thought that swords took a lot more effort to make than either
> spears or axes. All that banging and folding to get a weapon that is
> flexib
> le and hard at the same time. And while I'm sure that thousands of them
> wer
> e made, I still suspect that many more spears and axes were turned out by
> h
> alfway talented blacksmiths all over the world. I do agree about armor.
> Har
> d and time consuming to make.

Don't get me started on sword making. I'm pretty well plugged into that
community. One thing the modern sword makers all agree on -- they'd never
take a sword made the ancient way into battle, ever. Sure, they were more
expensive to make, but not oh-my-gosh more expensive. Especially compared
to armour.

All that banging and folding was done in Europe (early on) to make up for
the poor quality bog ore they were using. Getting most of the slag out of
the material in those early smelts took effort. In Japan, where they used
tatara smelts, the folding had to do with creating a homogenous material
from pieces of differing carbon content.

And I think you'd find that it's the weaponsmiths making most of the
dedicated spear and ax weapons. Axes for combat tend towards different
lines than axes for wood (for one thing, the angle of the edge to the
haft). And some cultures, the Scandinavians come to mind, had several
different sorts of axes just for wood (felling vs. splitting, vs.
smoothing, etc.).

Even though the sword is seen as the cultural accessory of the nobility,
it's really the armour that sets them apart. Note that during the period
referring to someone as armed means they're wearing armour. And at least
in the 14th century, many of the deed challenges appear to mention
specifically that they're open to men who have armour.

> And the arrow thing. The English had a cottage industry making arrows, and
> while an individual arrow might only take a short while to fashion, you
> nee
> d the set up to churn out a bunch. I guess my point there is that many of
> u
> s think of arrows as free, and they would not be. And unlike most weapons
> t
> hey get used up and need to be replaced. I just bought a couple of hundred
> rounds of .38 special and they set me back a shade over $.40 per round --
> c
> heap, but not so much when you start spraying them around like a fire
> hose!

Yes, not free, but not very expensive either. If the accounts can be
believed, the English kept around lots of heads and heathers, and used
local wood for shafts.

> I was thinking of halberds as being fairly late (14th century) but I do
> see
>  that the naginata was around in the 12 century -- though this weapon has
> a
> lways bothered me in the rules. It's a cultural misfit and was certainly
> no
> t known in the worlds most of us set our games in. If you're playing
> Bushid
> o, fine. If it's Camelot or Middle Earth, not  so easy to explain. And
>  I'm not sure I agree about it being equivalent to a halberd or spear. The
> usage is certainly very different with the naginata being more of a sword
> o
> n a stick and the fighting style more like fencing than jabbing or
> chopping
> . (No, I've not used one, but I have watched bouts on TV.)

And really, there's nothing special about a naginata vs. some other
polearm that would make it do more damage at lower ST.

And I wouldn't take those TV bouts too seriously. Kendo and naginata bouts
these days run under pretty specific rules that bear little resemblance to
actual fighting. For example, in a modern naginata bout, a thrust to the
body is not a scoring blow. It isn't in kendo, either.

Stylistically, a lot of the fencing-like action you see taking place is
the competitors attempting to gain access to the center line in order to
attack. The same happens in kendo (my fun 1 credit class in college).

> I like the Shield Wall talent -- certainly something well known as a
> defens
> ive style.
> As for the naming of names, that's part of the charm, isn't it? What makes
> my guy different than yours is that he carries a rapier, not just a sword.
> But not in Camelot.
> T

The names can be charming, as long as they don't get in the way.

My guys' rapiers are just smaller swords.

Neil Gilmore

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