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Author Topic: Oriental Weapons  (Read 19073 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2002, 11:19:54 AM »

Quote from: Lyrax
It wouldn't be case of rapiers.  Rapiers are thrusting only weapons, and katanas are not.  The proficiency would, if anything, be more similar to cut & thrust or even longsword/greatsword, depending on how one uses the katana.  That is to say, a short katana with a wakazashi would definitely be cut & thrust, but a longer single weapon would be longsword/greatsword proficiency.

As for two weapons, that's cut & thrust, all the way.  Cut & thrust users always have an off-hand something or other.


That's more or less what I was getting at. A Cut and Thrust proficiency but with more cut and less thrust. I only mentioned case of rapiers because the off-hand wepaon in this case (wakizashi) is fully a sword, and with cut and thrust I get the feeling that it's smaller stuff usually.

So, again, I think it needs it's own proficiency to do right.

While we're at it, what would you use for a no-dachi? Longsword? Or dopplehander? Interestingly, it's usually only as long as a big longsword, but I think that given the relatively diminutive size of the weilders, it would be used in a more two-handed fashion, no? Can one use either proficiency with either weapon?

Mike
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Lyrax
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« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2002, 12:38:44 PM »

All of these weapons, when used in an oriental fashion (that was a key phrase) should have their own proficiencies, I think.  No-dachi should default to longsword/greatsword at the smallest penalty, and Katana/Wakazashi for cut & thrust.

Of course, if there are no european styles (i.e., no longswords, greatswords, etc.), then replace cut & thrust with katana, greatsword with no-dachi, etc.
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Lance Meibos
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Bob Richter
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Posts: 324


« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2002, 02:56:55 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
Its a good soap box to be on.  The number of smiths today who can forge even reasonably good swords in the west can probably be measured on the fingers of one hand.

The vast majority of swords out there are good for one thing and one thing only...they look cool hanging on the wall.  

Set aside evidence for the time being and just focus on pure logic.  Medieval battles could last ALONG time.  Many of them ended because darkness prevented further fighting.  Take a typical 8#, 12#, or even heavier replica sword.  Can you even concieve of a man swinging one of these things all day with one arm...I don't care what kind of shape they're in...it isn't likely.

Before the rise of nationalism and largely conscript armies the people who fought in Europe were professional soldiers with many centuries of tradition and expertise.  Its become fashionable (since the so called Renaissance actually) to think of them as big dumb barbarians.  Wrong.  Very wrong.  The idea of the Renaissance rising up out of the dark ages to restore culture is a HUGE myth.  Charlemagne's court could rival any renaissance princes and that was in the 800s.

The katana is a fine sword, but it is in no way shape or form inherently superior to a western sword.  That too is a myth, a myth that stems from the idea the west was barbaric while the east was cultured.  Also not true.


While there is some error in saying the Renaissance rose up out of the dark ages to restore culture, it's not FAR wrong. Charlemagne's court was more or less a one-off thing, and the knowledge lost over that peroid (between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Renaissance) was horrendous. The ancient Greeks KNEW, not thought, KNEW that the Earth was round. The average Roman citizen could even READ. That Europe took giant steps backward between the fall of the Empire and the beginning of the Renaissance is an indisputable fact that only a (very foolish) historical revisionist would stick his foot in.

Now, weapons technology DID advance, that's true. But it didn't stop advancing either. A Rapier would not have been practical with the metal-working techniques of the 800s, while it was decidedly practical by the 1800s. Nor is shoddy workmanship a distinguishing characteristic of the modern era. Incompetence and fraud were every bit as prevalent then as now. It is as foolish to fall into the worship of our ancestors' craftsmanship as it is to deride it.

At some point, the civilizations focused on China *were* more advanced than their western counterparts. They watched the stars and recorded what they saw. They knew how to read. They forged weapons of the finest steel and wrote some of the most enduring and accurate works on the practice of warfare while westerners were still so addled they didn't realise they would HAVE to throw off Catholic orthodoxy before they could regain all that they had lost.

Only AFTER the Renaissance, with the correct and deliberate practice of science, did Europe get ahead.

But Europe DID get ahead, and it didn't take long. By Weyrth's period, the West and East should be more or less on par, but this is a state that will not last long (in historical, not game, terms.)

It is unrealistic to think of someone swinging a sword for hours. This would be impossible, were a sword a feather. You can't even perform the motions with your arms alone for that long. BATTLES lasted days, but individual ENGAGEMENTS are a matter of minutes or seconds. Then, today, forever. They simply CANNOT last any longer. Thus the value of the reserve.

The Katana is NOT superior to a Western sword, but neither is it identical to one. It has its own strengths and weaknesses and its own methods for use.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2002, 05:20:31 PM »

[quote"Bob Richter"]The Katana is NOT superior to a Western sword, but neither is it identical to one. It has its own strengths and weaknesses and its own methods for use.[/quote]

My point exactly.

Suggested Katana Stats:
Cut
ATN 5
ST + 2 damage, -2 vs. metal armors
Thrust
ATN 7
ST dam, or mayble ST +1
DTN 7 (katanas were never meant for real intense parrying, as I understand it)

This is all based on my limited but otherwise solid understanding of a katana. Katana would have its own proficiency that would consist of:
Cut (0)
Thrust (1?)
Counter (2 or 3?)
Iai (a quick-draw maneuver that I wrote for TFOB)
and maybe a few others.

Fighting with the wakizashi simultaneously was a rare thing, practiced by the (let's face it) partially mythological Myamoto Musashi and not many others. I would suppose, however, that someone with the katana could use the wak. at no default penalty, lumping them in together. A daisho proficiency--separate from katana--would cover Musashi's style.

Jake,
who saw Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress for the first time last night
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2002, 01:14:21 AM »

I'm afraid I disagree.  Metalworking has a substantially longer, and more importantly coherent, history in the far east than it does in the west.  Hugely so.  Chinese archeology has revealed bronze swords constructed around a steel core in the region of 2000 years old, IIRC, and still shaveable sharp.  I am not aware of ANY comparable metalworking anywhere else.  Far eastern matallurgy is not just different, its very different, and the properties attributed to it do not IMO come from romanticism.  I also don't think that the european combatant was much of a match for his far eastern opposite number; the social histories are very distinct and produce distinct specialisations.
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Jaif
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Posts: 327


« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2002, 03:53:27 AM »

Quote
I'm afraid I disagree. Metalworking has a substantially longer, and more importantly coherent, history in the far east than it does in the west.


From "Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times" by Thomas Martin, pg 14:

Quote
Radiocarbon dates further suggest that European metalsmiths developed copper metallurgy independently from Near Eastern metalsmiths because it shows this technology developing in various European locations around the same time as in the Near East.  By the fourth millennium B.C., for instance, smiths in the Balkans were casting copper ax heads with the hole for the ax handle in the correct position...The European Bronze Age...therefore commenced at approximately the same date as the Near Eastern Bronze Age


[Assume all typos to be my own.] I'm not aware of the numbers for the Chinese Bronze Age, but it's hard to be "substantially longer" than the 4th millennium B.C.  

Quote
While there is some error in saying the Renaissance rose up out of the dark ages to restore culture, it's not FAR wrong. Charlemagne's court was more or less a one-off thing, and the knowledge lost over that peroid (between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Renaissance) was horrendous. The ancient Greeks KNEW, not thought, KNEW that the Earth was round. The average Roman citizen could even READ. That Europe took giant steps backward between the fall of the Empire and the beginning of the Renaissance is an indisputable fact that only a (very foolish) historical revisionist would stick his foot in.


This is a misconception, and I challenge you to document it.  The europeans advanced on many fronts throughout the feudal period.  No one disagreed with Columbus that the earth was round - they argued how big it was.  The silly part was that Columbus was wrong, but luckily there was an extra couple of continents there for him to land on. :-)

I suggest everyone read "Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel" by Frances & Joseph Gies.  

Btw, I'm not arguing that the all is European, nothing came from china, etc.  But the concept that Europe was an empty wasteland of the mind until someone screwed in a new lightbulb in 1500 A.D. is plain silly.

-Jeff
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Valamir
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« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2002, 04:37:36 AM »

Thanks Jeff.  The "Barbarian West" is one of those myths that has become so ingrained that its extremely difficult to combat.  Sure there were set backs, there are set backs whenever looting and pillaging occurs on a large scale, no one would claim that culture and science advanced in a smooth line from Rome to Renaissance...but the idea that it took a 1000 year hiatus is equally wrong.
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2002, 08:33:37 AM »

[quote="Jaif]
From "Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times" by Thomas Martin, pg 14:
[/quote]

Note that I said "coherent".  Sure, greece develops metalworking - but greece as a polity is not around continuously.  Other states produce metalworking, some borrowed, some invented.  But what is completely different is the social context in which an eastern society, more stable and much more coherent, is able to maintain and disseminate this knowlegde.  There is no equivalent in the west.  Furthermore, there is another separate and autocthonous metalworking tradition among the northern "nomads".

By contrast, Rome has the most sophisticated technology in western history until the industrial revolution.  Its an open question as to whether mediaeval metalworkers even matched the achievements of greece or rome, let alone china.  There simply is no equivalent history of accumulated knowledge and technique, becuase there is no equivalently stable polity.
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2002, 09:45:15 AM »

Except for the focus on thrust. I think Mike is on the right track. The japanese blades were cutting weapons, and any sort of thrust was uncommon and took skill and technique to do properly. I think the weapons should be modified from the longsword/arming sword and short sword stats, and a new proficiency made to cover these differences.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
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Lyrax
Member

Posts: 268


« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2002, 09:58:14 AM »

I don't know how you can claim that medieval weapon/armorsmithing could be inferior to classical roman/greek stuff, but let's take a look at the peak armors and weapons.

ARMOR

Greece:  Bronze breastplates and helmets.

Rome:  Light armor made mostly of Bronze.

Medieval Germany:  Steel plate heavy armors.

Japan:  Bamboo, with iron reinforcing bars.


WEAPONS

Greece:  Spears.

Rome:  Javelins and short swords.  Also note huge tower shields.

Medieval Germany:  Doppelhanders, pikes, greatswords, bastard swords, flails, warhammers, etc.

Japan: Katana.

If you ask me, the armors are not even a comparison.  Medieval germany had good armor, and nobody else did.  The weapons are harder to compare, but I think that Japan and Medieval Germany had the best weapons.  Japanese weapons are extremely effective against non-metal armors and unarmored individuals, but the medieval weapons are effective whether the target is armored or not.
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Lance Meibos
Insanity takes it's toll.  Please have exact change ready.

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Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2002, 11:29:49 AM »

Quote
Note that I said "coherent". Sure, greece develops metalworking - but greece as a polity is not around continuously.


Eh?  If you're saying that name "Greece" didn't remain at the top of the heap for long, I guess I agree.  But western civilization is a blend of numerous cultures, and Greek is certainly one of them.  For that matter, the Byzantine Empire, which survived to the end of the middle ages, was basically a Greek empire.

What's fascinating to me was that the Celts had iron long before the Chinese, and used it to settle a wide range of area from Ireland to Turkey (Galatia).  Of course, in the process they kinda ticked off the Romans by invading, which proved to be a bit of mistake when the Romans decided to make a return visit. :-)

Quote
By contrast, Rome has the most sophisticated technology in western history until the industrial revolution.


No.  Rome mustered more manpower, and had a larger scale than anything the west did, but more sophisticated? Absolutely not.

I don't want to go too far down this road - it's rather silly, IMO, arguing whose culture discovered X first, when the odds are we don't really know the truth because we only go by what we dig up.  It's also dumb because it's very hard to seperate the Europeans from the Middle East - there was a lot of back & forth there.

But I will say this: saying that the Europeans had no substantial scientific progress for hundreds of years and then suddenly decided to figure it all out when the clock struck 1500 is utterly silly.

-Jeff
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2002, 03:01:23 PM »

Hmm. Interesting. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Europe had no scientific progress, but, let's admit that they weren't up to par with their contemporaries in many fields. When Grenada was "liberated" from the Moors in 1492, there were hundreds of thousands of books in the city, more than people. As opposed to most Eurpopean cities which may have had one or two "libraries" with a book or two. A dozen books was about the limit in the vast majority of places.

What happened to all those books in Grenada? They were burnt. In fact, if it weren't for an exception to this practice, in Toledo a century or so earlier, there would have been no major libraries in Europe at the time. As it was, the library at Toledo was important enough to transform that city into center of learning.

No, the Europeans were not completely backwards, and a few monks here and there had managed to salvage a few books. But they had nothing in most sciences on the arabs to say nothing of the far east. It wouldn't be until the seventeenth century that even an semblance of parity in learning came about.

But this is all moot. We are talking armor and weapons, here, not algebra (from the arabic al-gebr) or astronomy (the Mayans were kicking everyone's ass in this until they dissappeared), or statesmanship that allowed for large countries (China proper was at no time less than ten times the population of Europe, and at times fifty times larger). No, the Europeans were good at one thing, really. Killin'. Not to say that they killed barbarically, they often killed each other in great splendor and gallantry. But they killed each other nonetheless. Mostly a matter of the interesting geography of Europe that makes languages and cultures fractured over short distances. Blame the Romans, too, for starting it all with the Imperial Attitude.

This is not to say that other cultures never fought, BTW, just that for them it was an occasional passtime instead of a full time occupation. :-)

In any case, along with killing comes weaponry technology. Neccessity is the mother of invention, and the Europeans felt it a necessity to wage war. And as such this particular technology did not suffer. Just when they would look to be falling behind, A king Richard would go off to the mideast and come back knowing how to make the better steel that his men had been run through with. These foreign ventures kept the Europeans at least at a par with others in terms of weaponry. But nobody needed armor like the nobility of the west, and given this need it should be obvious to anyone who's ever seen a suit of Maximillian plate that the Europeans new how to make a man invulnerable on the field of battle.

Tell me that folks who can make that stuff, can't make a good sword.

Just my ten cents.

Mike
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contracycle
Member

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« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2002, 04:19:04 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

Tell me that folks who can make that stuff, can't make a good sword.


I'm not sure the European historical record is particularly violent by historical standards, as it happens.  I would not challenge whether or not European smiths could make useful, effective weaponry; but whether they were equivalent to the pedigree of Eastern metallurgy is, at the very least, highly dubious IMO.
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Valamir
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« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2002, 05:58:39 AM »

Mike makes an excellent point.  Science and culture and practical know how are two completely different things.

We see a similiar seperation in ship building.  It wasn't until the 19th century where the "rule of measure" began to replace the "rule of thumb" when it came to making ships.  For the centuries prior craftsman with (by comparison) only the crudest of plans and no mathamatical rules to speak of crafted ships that were at the time the most ocean worthy vessels ever constructed.  They didn't need engineering science to do this, they needed only generation after generation of tradition to direct their craft.  Nor did this mean they were hidebound to the past as anyone who's ever traced the remarkable evolution of sailing vessles will see the innovation was nothing short of spectacular.

Having studied this in some detail it is quite easy for me to acknowledge a similiar tradition of remarkable craftsmanship and innovation existed among armorers who didn't need to understand the metalurigical science behind what they were doing in order to create remarkable tools
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Bob Richter
Member

Posts: 324


« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2002, 11:56:39 AM »

Quote from: Jaif
Quote
Quote
While there is some error in saying the Renaissance rose up out of the dark ages to restore culture, it's not FAR wrong. Charlemagne's court was more or less a one-off thing, and the knowledge lost over that peroid (between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Renaissance) was horrendous. The ancient Greeks KNEW, not thought, KNEW that the Earth was round. The average Roman citizen could even READ. That Europe took giant steps backward between the fall of the Empire and the beginning of the Renaissance is an indisputable fact that only a (very foolish) historical revisionist would stick his foot in.


This is a misconception, and I challenge you to document it.  The europeans advanced on many fronts throughout the feudal period.  No one disagreed with Columbus that the earth was round - they argued how big it was.  The silly part was that Columbus was wrong, but luckily there was an extra couple of continents there for him to land on. :-)

I suggest everyone read "Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel" by Frances & Joseph Gies.  

Btw, I'm not arguing that the all is European, nothing came from china, etc.  But the concept that Europe was an empty wasteland of the mind until someone screwed in a new lightbulb in 1500 A.D. is plain silly.

-Jeff


Noone is saying that European culture stagnated from 500 AD to 1500 AD, when suddenly everything changed. That WOULD be silly. For one thing, the Renaissance began rather earlier than 1500, and for another it was hardly an overnight thing.

Some people DID disagree with Columbus: the common sailors who manned his ships. They, at the very least, were afraid of sailing off the edge of the world. Columbus was himself a renaissance explorer, and (of course!) the learned renaissance men of his time were unlikely to disagree about the shape of the world, but the "flat world" conception still largely held sway among the common people, as it had among even noblemen and scholars in times not too far previous.

That the Roman Catholic Church surpressed learning and knowledge is a truly indisputable fact. Nicholas Copernicus was put to death for his views (which turned out to be more correct) of the universe. Galileo Galilei died under house arrest because he said he saw spots on the sun. And this was at the beginning of the Renaissance!

Aside of a new wave of revisionist history, it has never been doubted (certainly not by the people of the period...!) that much was lost in the gap between the fall of the empire and the renaissance. Had it NOT been so impressive, do you honestly think the people of the time would have been so impressed with it?
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