|Blaeringr Goblin Squad Member|
Blaeringr wrote:Historically spears were a far more popular weapon than swords.Despite the numerous benefits, I think one thing that is forgotten is how much cheaper it was to build and outfit an army with spears. For most of history, metals were still relatively rare and expensive. Building a good sword took a good deal of time from very skilled people. A spear was a bit easier. You still needed skilled people, but a pole-turner was easier to find than a blacksmith, and casting spearheads (if metal was used for them at all) is much easier than pounding out an actual blade.
That's interesting, but overshadowed by that fact that there are so many examples of soldiers who were equipped with both polearms AND swords, and primarily used the polearm with the sword as a backup.
One example that really drives home the point is the very large two hander (aka zweihander or bidenhander) that was used to combat pike formations: as soon as the knight was able to form a gap in the pike formation (by swinging the swords great mass around in figure eights) he would generally then switch his grip moving one hand above the guard onto the blunted section of the blade and then proceed to hold and thrust with it like a polearm to attack into the formation. This one example is a very rare case of favoring a sword vs polearm, and only worked for two reasons: 1) the polearms it was targeting were much longer than the average polearm and thus the wielders had poor leverage (although I suppose the momentum really helped too, but didn't work as well against multiple shorter polearms because the momentum was still not enough for that many targets with good leverage), and 2) its attacks were mostly made using it as if it were a polearm.
And yes, good swords were expensive. At the height of the middle ages, a knight was generally expected to pay the price of 10 slaves for one good longsword (not quite the same as "longsword" in Pathfinder)