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Author Topic: Qualities of Real Weapons  (Read 14228 times)
Shadow
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #45 on: June 04, 2002, 05:10:22 AM »

My post here is focused on translating real-world qualities of weapons into Weapons Statistics for use in TROS.  Before continuing, I provide my interpretations/definitions of the Weapon Statistics:

1) Grip/Length: This rating represents the optimal distance at which a weapon is used.  All the other ratings are based on the assumption that the weapon is striking at its optimal distance (EX: the ratings of a shortsword assume it is in use at short range).  A longer weapon can often be thrust into a foe who wields a shorter weapon before he can close for his own attack.  A weapon used outside of its optimal range will be more difficult to strike effectively with.  Additionally, a longer weapon suffers defensively when used at shorter range, representing the disadvantage faced when one's foe is inside his guard.

2) Attack TN: This represents the ease with which a weapon's user can achieve an effective strike upon the foe (with differing ratings for cut, thrust, etc depending upon the weapon in question).  Quickness and balance are the primary factors here.  Attack TN will result in damage being more easily delivered; the quick thrust of rapier and shortsword are examples of this (both have ATN 5).

3) Defensive TN:  Represents the ease with which a weapon can be used to deflect an incoming blow.  Quickness and balance are primary factors, as well as stiffness and build of a weapon (especially against a non-thrusting attack).  Objects/weapons which can cover a large area on the defense (i.e., shields and maybe tridents if they are added to the game) also benefit it terms of lower DTN.

4) Damage Rating:  This represents the level of trauma that will be inflicted upon a body when the weapon strikes effectively.  Weapons with more mass to their heads or width to their blades will do more damage in general; however, blades with thin and flexible cross-sections may do less on the thrust but more on the cut, compared to a stiffer, narrower blade (EX: Arming Sword vs. Cut & Thrust Sword).

On an older thread I have posted on Weapon Statistics, primarily questioning the high damage rating of the Rapier, though also touching upon the damage rating of the shortsword.  Rather than rehashing previous material, my question here is on the real-life qualities of weapons in relation to their ratings, primarily the damage rating.

More specifically, what feature of the rapier leads to its high damage?  The rapier has good length combined with balance, and quickness on the thrust derived from these same qualities (though they are not light for one-handed weapons).  I would judge these qualities represented in the low ATN and in longer reach (assuming the longer variety of rapiers can be rated as "long" instead of medium).  My question is what real-world quality of the rapier translates into its (thrusting) damage rating of +3?

By comparison, a spear is also a weapon of good reach (long).  It does not strike as swiftly as the thrust rapier (spear ATN 6 on the thrust), nor is it as quickly maneuvered on the parry (DTN 7).  Most spears I have seen have broader heads than blade the rapier (often less than 1" wide), yet do less damage (DMG rating +2 for spear vs. +3 for rapier); my thought is that the spear should do more damage than the rapier, as with is broad head combined with a good point, it will make larger wounds.  With the spear left at +2, I would say the rapier should be +0 or +1, unless there is some quality I am missing.  The rapier will do extra damage due to its low ATN, which I agree with.

A second comparison is the Cut & Thrust swords.  IRL, these are similar to arming swords but usually with narrower blades but thicker cross-sections (and in some cases a raised "ridge" down the cross-section for improved stiffness on the thrust).  The rapier's length combined with balance allows for a quicker strike (ATN 5 for rapier, ATN 6 for Cut & Thrust).  The C&T sword has a good point and stiff blade, broader than the rapier's (about 1.5" for a C&T, to 1" or less for the rapier) so I would think it should have a greater damage rating than the rapier (or at least equal to it), but C&T is rated at +1 damage vs. +3 for the rapier.  Also, the C&T swords has twin sharpened edges, which should lead to more severing of arteries & such when combined with its (relatively) broad blade.  If the rapier was rated +0 its low ATN would make its damage about equal to the C&T, a +1 would still lead to rapier's doing more damage than C&T... and the +3 makes them do way more damage than C&T.

The final comparison I make here is rapier to short sword (again, using the Roman gladius as the model, as opposed to a medieval archer's shortsword).  The short sword is quick (ATN 5), but has a broad blade (2"+) along most of it's length (nearly all of its length for the Pompeii variety), and has a very good point and a cross-section supporting the thrust.  I would think that the shortsword should do very good damage on the thrust, a broad blade should find more arteries on the thrust than a narrow one.  The ancient Greeks (or at least Greek historian..) were horrified at the wounds the roman sword inflicted, they being more accustomed to spear-thrusts (and probably being trampled underfoot by opposing phalanx formations).  I would think maybe +1 or +2 damage for the shortsword, on the thrust?  

Anyway in short, my question is what real-world quality(s) of the rapier lead it to have such a high damage rating, relative to other weapons that are good thrusters but should leave larger wounds.  I have discussed most qualities of the rapier that I understand (except for lack of armor-piercing capability, but that is already addressed on another thread by Jake).

I'll post thoughts on other weapons as I find the time, but am interested in any follow-up on these weapons (and my definition assumptions) people have to offer.  Thanks,

Shadow

p.s.- Thanks Jake for the updates on shields on another thread, I'll be making use of those changes in my game)
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Bob Richter
Member

Posts: 324


« Reply #46 on: June 04, 2002, 05:35:57 AM »

Quote from: Shadow
My post here is focused on translating real-world qualities of weapons into Weapons Statistics for use in TROS.  Before continuing, I provide my interpretations/definitions of the Weapon Statistics:

1) Grip/Length: This rating represents the optimal distance at which a weapon is used.  All the other ratings are based on the assumption that the weapon is striking at its optimal distance (EX: the ratings of a shortsword assume it is in use at short range).  A longer weapon can often be thrust into a foe who wields a shorter weapon before he can close for his own attack.  A weapon used outside of its optimal range will be more difficult to strike effectively with.  Additionally, a longer weapon suffers defensively when used at shorter range, representing the disadvantage faced when one's foe is inside his guard.

2) Attack TN: This represents the ease with which a weapon's user can achieve an effective strike upon the foe (with differing ratings for cut, thrust, etc depending upon the weapon in question).  Quickness and balance are the primary factors here.  Attack TN will result in damage being more easily delivered; the quick thrust of rapier and shortsword are examples of this (both have ATN 5).

3) Defensive TN:  Represents the ease with which a weapon can be used to deflect an incoming blow.  Quickness and balance are primary factors, as well as stiffness and build of a weapon (especially against a non-thrusting attack).  Objects/weapons which can cover a large area on the defense (i.e., shields and maybe tridents if they are added to the game) also benefit it terms of lower DTN.

4) Damage Rating:  This represents the level of trauma that will be inflicted upon a body when the weapon strikes effectively.  Weapons with more mass to their heads or width to their blades will do more damage in general; however, blades with thin and flexible cross-sections may do less on the thrust but more on the cut, compared to a stiffer, narrower blade (EX: Arming Sword vs. Cut & Thrust Sword).

On an older thread I have posted on Weapon Statistics, primarily questioning the high damage rating of the Rapier, though also touching upon the damage rating of the shortsword.  Rather than rehashing previous material, my question here is on the real-life qualities of weapons in relation to their ratings, primarily the damage rating.

More specifically, what feature of the rapier leads to its high damage?  The rapier has good length combined with balance, and quickness on the thrust derived from these same qualities (though they are not light for one-handed weapons).  I would judge these qualities represented in the low ATN and in longer reach (assuming the longer variety of rapiers can be rated as "long" instead of medium).  My question is what real-world quality of the rapier translates into its (thrusting) damage rating of +3?

By comparison, a spear is also a weapon of good reach (long).  It does not strike as swiftly as the thrust rapier (spear ATN 6 on the thrust), nor is it as quickly maneuvered on the parry (DTN 7).  Most spears I have seen have broader heads than blade the rapier (often less than 1" wide), yet do less damage (DMG rating +2 for spear vs. +3 for rapier); my thought is that the spear should do more damage than the rapier, as with is broad head combined with a good point, it will make larger wounds.  With the spear left at +2, I would say the rapier should be +0 or +1, unless there is some quality I am missing.  The rapier will do extra damage due to its low ATN, which I agree with.

A second comparison is the Cut & Thrust swords.  IRL, these are similar to arming swords but usually with narrower blades but thicker cross-sections (and in some cases a raised "ridge" down the cross-section for improved stiffness on the thrust).  The rapier's length combined with balance allows for a quicker strike (ATN 5 for rapier, ATN 6 for Cut & Thrust).  The C&T sword has a good point and stiff blade, broader than the rapier's (about 1.5" for a C&T, to 1" or less for the rapier) so I would think it should have a greater damage rating than the rapier (or at least equal to it), but C&T is rated at +1 damage vs. +3 for the rapier.  Also, the C&T swords has twin sharpened edges, which should lead to more severing of arteries & such when combined with its (relatively) broad blade.  If the rapier was rated +0 its low ATN would make its damage about equal to the C&T, a +1 would still lead to rapier's doing more damage than C&T... and the +3 makes them do way more damage than C&T.

The final comparison I make here is rapier to short sword (again, using the Roman gladius as the model, as opposed to a medieval archer's shortsword).  The short sword is quick (ATN 5), but has a broad blade (2"+) along most of it's length (nearly all of its length for the Pompeii variety), and has a very good point and a cross-section supporting the thrust.  I would think that the shortsword should do very good damage on the thrust, a broad blade should find more arteries on the thrust than a narrow one.  The ancient Greeks (or at least Greek historian..) were horrified at the wounds the roman sword inflicted, they being more accustomed to spear-thrusts (and probably being trampled underfoot by opposing phalanx formations).  I would think maybe +1 or +2 damage for the shortsword, on the thrust?  

Anyway in short, my question is what real-world quality(s) of the rapier lead it to have such a high damage rating, relative to other weapons that are good thrusters but should leave larger wounds.  I have discussed most qualities of the rapier that I understand (except for lack of armor-piercing capability, but that is already addressed on another thread by Jake).

I'll post thoughts on other weapons as I find the time, but am interested in any follow-up on these weapons (and my definition assumptions) people have to offer.  Thanks,

Shadow

p.s.- Thanks Jake for the updates on shields on another thread, I'll be making use of those changes in my game)


Here's my take on it: Damage from a Thrust is based more on the ability to penetrate flesh and rupture internal organs, thus a broader head is actually not such an advantage.

For example: While a Spear has to mangle the ribcage to get at the heart, the Rapier can slide between the ribs for a truly lethal thrust with a minimum of work.
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So ye wanna go earnin' yer keep with yer sword, and ye think that it can't be too hard...
Jake Norwood
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Posts: 2261


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« Reply #47 on: June 04, 2002, 08:31:56 AM »

Hey! Me and Bob agree! ;-)

The rapier had a tendency to go all the way through any part of the body, including the head (and, as we all know, that's got a GURPS DR of 2!). The wider head makes an uglier wound, but not a worse one, as the strength of the thrust is distributed over a wider surface area. Rapiers and other very thin thrusters have incredible penetration potential, much more so than any other sword.

And, for the record, the rapier damage was dropped to ST+2p for the revised printing, becaues +3 really was too much.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Bob Richter
Member

Posts: 324


« Reply #48 on: June 04, 2002, 10:15:52 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
Hey! Me and Bob agree! ;-)

The rapier had a tendency to go all the way through any part of the body, including the head (and, as we all know, that's got a GURPS DR of 2!). The wider head makes an uglier wound, but not a worse one, as the strength of the thrust is distributed over a wider surface area. Rapiers and other very thin thrusters have incredible penetration potential, much more so than any other sword.

And, for the record, the rapier damage was dropped to ST+2p for the revised printing, becaues +3 really was too much.

Jake


:) You'll find that happens any time we're both right. :)

Hm. Revised Printing. Yep. Gonna need one of those.
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So ye wanna go earnin' yer keep with yer sword, and ye think that it can't be too hard...
Jake Norwood
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« Reply #49 on: June 04, 2002, 10:23:14 AM »

Quote
The rapier had a tendency to go all the way through any part of the body, including the head


Okay, so I'm quoting myself, but I wanted to add a little tidbit. For those of you that didn't know, all of the illustrations in the Weapon proficiencies section of the book (except for 3) come from actual fencing/fighting manuals from the 1400 and 1500s. The rapier shots, greatsword, polearms, wrestling, dagger fighting, etc, are all authentic. Just thought you'd like to know.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #50 on: June 04, 2002, 10:28:50 AM »

Hey,

ST+2p? Bah. "Too much" is exactly what I want from the rapiers in my game. This is one of my Seneschal Says moments. ST+3p, forever!

Sir Hairy Ostrogoth: "I shall cleave you with my mighty broadsword!"
Carcolo the Mosto: "Yipe!" [lunge]
S.H.O.: "Gurk ..."

Best,
Ron
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