Elven Curved Blade?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Azaelas Fayth wrote:

Tachi are not Katana!

Tachi are more akin to a Scimitar.

A Tachi is a predecessor to the Katana, dating further back in Nipponese history. It doesn't help that "tachi" is also a term sometimes used for a Katana when it's not part of a daisho, and "tachi-style" is a term for when the sword is worn with the edge towards the ground.


Tachi is a separate weapon. The Term is rarely used and it is mostly used by outsiders. Tachi-Style is the term for any sword.

The Tachi was a Sidearm to the Longbow for Early Samurai. And most Original Daisho contain a Tanto, Wakazashi, Katana, Nodachi, and Longbow(can't remember the name right now).


Tachi, I always thought they were pre-katana, pre-uchigatana, heavy curve, longer than uchigatana or katana (but not of course longer than nodachi or large infantry swords), worn cutting edge down and mainly for bow cavalry usage when deciding to go melee (plenty of other weapons for dismounted fighting). A little awkward to use on foot.


Early Samurai were Mounted Archers. So that is true. Though they weren't that awkward on foot... At least not once you got used to how they felt in your hand.


TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:
A well-made Katana is a fine cutter. That's it's intended purpose. But the thing is, that has nothing to do with its curve or "super-edge" representing some ultimate culmination of ideal weapons theory as compared with other places in the world. Any place where people have been killing one another for thousands of years, they generally figure out the best ways to do it, and repeat. A well made European or eastern blade cuts just as well, just as fast. This is because swords are generally designed to cut people, and those that couldn't do this weren't used.

I agree, any well-made blade cuts pretty much as well as another although there are minor differences depending on the style of weapon; past a certain point, how sharp the weapon is makes no real difference. Generally a two-handed weapon will inflict more severe damage, and a curved blade with a flared end is optimal for a single cut. If you have to make a single cut, they are all as fast as one another.

If you have to make multiple cuts, that's where the katana out-scores the competition: two handed grip and light blade mean it's easy to recover, so you can deliver the second cut more quickly than pretty much any comparable weapon. That's what the katana's advantage is, not the cutting edge.

Liberty's Edge

Ok I have see it stated that the katana is not any better or worse then any other sword out there for cutting. But the curve of the blade does allow for longer time in the object being struck making it easier to cut therefore deeper cuts are made with less effort.

An experiment go to your kitchen and take yourself a straight Blake then take yourself a curved blade. Use a carrot nd make two cuts paying close attention to the amount of pressure needed to cut it. You will find that the curved blade has a easier time of making those cuts.

And if that doesn't convince you ask your self when was the last time you say a straight scalpel blade.

Overall I don't think the katana has any advantage over other CURVED swords but on straight blades when it comes down to cutting will have a easier time.


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Dabbler wrote:

Weight - katana is lighter than most other blades of it's size, and certainly than all other two-handed blades save perhaps the ninjato which is basically a shortened, crude katana.

Balance - the two-handed grip allows this to be controlled more effectively, the length of the hilt itself adds balance.
Strength - you have both hands on it, you can apply more strength.

Actually, bastard swords weigh exactly the same (original one and a half hand sword: 1,1kg; Italian greatsword at 1,5m length: 1,6kg) and exhibit the same flexibility plus all other advantages commonly reserved for the katana.

Compare medieval sword fencing books. Even the techniques are identical.

Actually it's even more difficult to craft a straight blade with two edges than a katana with one edge ;)

Greetings, your neighbourhood metallurgy scientist.


Darklone wrote:
Dabbler wrote:

Weight - katana is lighter than most other blades of it's size, and certainly than all other two-handed blades save perhaps the ninjato which is basically a shortened, crude katana.

Balance - the two-handed grip allows this to be controlled more effectively, the length of the hilt itself adds balance.
Strength - you have both hands on it, you can apply more strength.
Actually, bastard swords weigh exactly the same (original one and a half hand sword: 1,1kg; Italian greatsword at 1,5m length: 1,6kg) and exhibit the same flexibility plus all other advantages commonly reserved for the katana.

A hand-and-a-half type sword (be it called the Long sword (a D&D long sword is an arming sword), bastard sword, or anything else) weighs about half again as much as a katana and is around a foot longer, weighting the balance further away from the grip.

I've picked up and swung both, there's no comparison. Both cut as effectively, but I can recover far faster with the katana.

Darklone wrote:
Compare medieval sword fencing books. Even the techniques are identical.

I spent some time working with a medieval re-enactor who wanted to work on the similarities, and there are some - there are also a lot of differences. For example, with a katana I can put my shoulder behind the blade, and block with the back of the blade rather than the edge. You can't do that with a straight double-edged blade.

Darklone wrote:
Actually it's even more difficult to craft a straight blade with two edges than a katana with one edge ;)

Aye, what takes the time forging a katana is all the metal-folding, because the starting metal is so awful. You end up with a nice, very sharp blade that can take a lot of punishment if you treat it right.

A curved blade cuts more efficiently because there is a smaller point of contact at the cutting edge, which maximizes force in that area. Slashing blades always tend to be curved, thrusting blades straight. Cut-and-thrust blades can be either.

Darklone wrote:
Greetings, your neighbourhood metallurgy scientist.

Cool.


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Dabbler wrote:
A hand-and-a-half type sword (be it called the Long sword (a D&D long sword is an arming sword), bastard sword, or anything else) weighs about half again as much as a katana and is around a foot longer, weighting the balance further away from the grip.

This really just strikes me as Katana fanboyism. Katana are not lighter or better balanced than Western Blades. They just aren't. I don't know where you're getting this from.

Arming Swords averaged about 2.5 pounds, just like the Katana. They had handles long enough to wield in two hands, just like the Katana.

Dabbler wrote:
I've picked up and swung both, there's no comparison. Both cut as effectively, but I can recover far faster with the katana.

Have you picked up an swung actual weapons from the era in question, or reproductions?


mplindustries wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
A hand-and-a-half type sword (be it called the Long sword (a D&D long sword is an arming sword), bastard sword, or anything else) weighs about half again as much as a katana and is around a foot longer, weighting the balance further away from the grip.
This really just strikes me as Katana fanboyism. Katana are not lighter or better balanced than Western Blades. They just aren't. I don't know where you're getting this from.

Picked up both and held them and swung them. Sorry if that offends, sorry if you think stating facts as I have personally observed them strikes you as 'fanboyism' - but then that argument could be used to dismiss anyone disagreeing with you on any subject whatsoever, I prefer to discuss facts.

mplindustries wrote:
Arming Swords averaged about 2.5 pounds, just like the Katana. They had handles long enough to wield in two hands, just like the Katana.

The weight I will agree there isn't much in it between arming sword and katana, but the balance and handle length? No way. Every katana I have seen, even ninjatos, has at least 10 to 12 inches of hilt and you grip one hand below the other. Arming swords have between six and eight inches between guard and pommel, not enough to grip effectively with both hands unless you grip hand-on-top-of-hand. The critical difference is leverage: that lower hand-grip on the katana applies better leverage than you can get on the arming sword with a hand-on-top-of-hand grip, and that gives you better control with the same force applied. Better control = faster recovery. A katana two-handed can easily recover faster than an arming sword one-handed, and somewhat better than an arming sword two-handed.

In addition I've watched a lot of documentaries on the subject, comparing the longsword (ie in D&D terms a bastard sword) and katana. The longsword definitely IS heavier, with the balance further forward. Experts with both used them to deliver three cuts to a given target, and both inflicted equal damage - but the katana always delivered the three blows faster.

Edit: I will add, though, there there is stuff you can do with a longsword you can't do with a katana, and stuff you can do with a katana you can't do with a longsword. They are different weapons with different strengths and weaknesses. While I would rate the katana as superior in speed, the longsword is better for reach.

mplindustries wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
I've picked up and swung both, there's no comparison. Both cut as effectively, but I can recover far faster with the katana.
Have you picked up an swung actual weapons from the era in question, or reproductions?

Reproductions, but they look absolutely identical to the ones in the museums around here that are VERY authentic. In fact my chief instructor back in the day had a 200-year-old katana, which he stated was lighter and better-balanced than the practice blades we used in training, and they in turn were lighter and better balanced than the reproduction western swords (arming and bastard) I've tried. I'll grant the reproduction western swords may not all have been good reproductions, but I've tried a lot at some of the medieval fairs, and none of them matched the katana for lightness or control, and all were supposed to be faithful reproductions - you'd think at least one would be good.

Granted, my opinion is only my opinion, I trained more extensively with the katana than with western swords so in terms of control I was probably less able with them at the outset. On the other hand, sparring with people using said blades I could ALWAYS get my katana back from the stroke faster than them, whatever blade they used save a rapier - THAT weapon gave me trouble, but then I've done western fencing with the foil and epee and found I could fight them on the thrust with a katana, if a little awkwardly.


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Dabbler wrote:
Reproductions, but they look absolutely identical to the ones in the museums around here that are VERY authentic. In fact my chief instructor back in the day had a 200-year-old katana, which he stated was lighter and better-balanced than the practice blades we used in training, and they in turn were lighter and better balanced than the reproduction western swords (arming and bastard) I've tried. I'll grant the reproduction western swords may not all have been good reproductions, but I've tried a lot at some of the medieval fairs, and none of them matched the katana for lightness or control, and all were supposed to be faithful reproductions - you'd think at least one would be good.

I think this is the key here. Actual real weapons from the time were way lighter than what we make now.

See, that's the thing--we don't need swords, so we make them based on what they looked like. People at the time absolutely needed swords--they were lifeblood for them, so they made them well, with constantly updating techniques and stuff. The amount of time and energy we put into making cell phones and computers is the amount of time and energy they put into making swords and other weapons.

All swords were absolutely the most efficient killing weapons the people of the time could make. There is no best sword. I'm not saying that katana are bad, just that they were not better than what the rest of the world was making.

Grand Lodge

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Okay...was the western reproduction from one of the following makers...albion or arms and armor? Was the reproduction made by a custom smith well known for making historically accurate sword objects like tinker pierce or angus trim? Even then, anything short of an albion has shortcoming from a historically accurate PoV...but these all do at least feel like antique weapons. So yeah, your comparing a sword like object to an actual sword that your sensei had from 200 years ago. That hardly seems fair.

As for balance, REAL katana would typically be balanced somewhere in the 4-7 inches from hilt from historical samples. A type XV longsword would be balanced somewhere in the 1-4 inch range. Saying a katana is better balanced for speed is outright wrong. The katana is balanced to deliver some of the most horrendeous cutting and cleaving there is (especially the shobu zukuri ones). Swords balanced like that would be something like the type X viking era swords.

As somebody who has actually held antiques from BOTH cultures, MP has the right idea of it though as that there really is no one best sword (just various tools used to defeat what was armor for the era and locale really)...but there is a cavaet that there is personal preference. People seem unable to tell this difference however.


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I picture the elf curved blade as a technological handle with a switch activating a crystal there in, emitting a blade of force, with a pastel hue and a satisfying hum.


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Curved-Blades are better with rotation-based fighting styles.

Straight-Blades are better with redirection-based fighting styles.


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and chain saws work with either!


mplindustries wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
A hand-and-a-half type sword (be it called the Long sword (a D&D long sword is an arming sword), bastard sword, or anything else) weighs about half again as much as a katana and is around a foot longer, weighting the balance further away from the grip.

This really just strikes me as Katana fanboyism. Katana are not lighter or better balanced than Western Blades. They just aren't. I don't know where you're getting this from.

Arming Swords averaged about 2.5 pounds, just like the Katana. They had handles long enough to wield in two hands, just like the Katana.

Dabbler wrote:
I've picked up and swung both, there's no comparison. Both cut as effectively, but I can recover far faster with the katana.
Have you picked up an swung actual weapons from the era in question, or reproductions?

I've found katana reproductions to be a bit awkward, much prefer staves, spears (you can easily control the momentum and vary your attacks), axes (you know where the weight is), and fencing weapons like the epee or foil (you have supreme control over the weapon when you are holding it right and know your footwork).

As for katana, I bet they would give a great cut on horseback as they were intended, but there are plenty of fine cavalry weapons.

Personal preference and what I know for sure.


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Actually the Tachi is meant for Horseback. The Katana is actually meant to be used on foot.

It is one of those huh moments.

@Pendagast: No Elven Lightsabers. Even though they fit. & yes chainsaws are the best weapon.


I'm pretty sure Elven Curve Blades are based on the Falx (not the Courtblade, which was just a two-handed rapier), so they might actually have the cutting surface on the inside of the curve, not the outside.

And yes, I too, prefer polearms over swords any day.


the written description I have specifically states it's a larger scimitar with a thinner blade.


A Large Razor Blade? Great now I am going to have multiple jokes going through my head.


Sounds like the old 3.5 two-handed scimitar upgraded in size to d8 18-20.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Sounds like the old 3.5 two-handed scimitar upgraded in size to d8 18-20.

Do you mean d10?


mplindustries wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Reproductions, but they look absolutely identical to the ones in the museums around here that are VERY authentic. In fact my chief instructor back in the day had a 200-year-old katana, which he stated was lighter and better-balanced than the practice blades we used in training, and they in turn were lighter and better balanced than the reproduction western swords (arming and bastard) I've tried. I'll grant the reproduction western swords may not all have been good reproductions, but I've tried a lot at some of the medieval fairs, and none of them matched the katana for lightness or control, and all were supposed to be faithful reproductions - you'd think at least one would be good.

I think this is the key here. Actual real weapons from the time were way lighter than what we make now.

See, that's the thing--we don't need swords, so we make them based on what they looked like. People at the time absolutely needed swords--they were lifeblood for them, so they made them well, with constantly updating techniques and stuff. The amount of time and energy we put into making cell phones and computers is the amount of time and energy they put into making swords and other weapons.

I used reproduction katana's I used and reproduction western blades. Now granted both may have been heavier, but that does not actually invalidate the comparison, given that both were likely heavier by the same degree. Also, I wasn't using blades from just any old place which sells laser-cut molib-alloy weapons for re-enactment, made heavy and tough so they don't break, I was swinging the ones with four and five digit price tags from some very professional hand-crafted manufacturers.

mplindustries wrote:
All swords were absolutely the most efficient killing weapons the people of the time could make. There is no best sword. I'm not saying that katana are bad, just that they were not better than what the rest of the world was making.

The question is one of circumstance and combat style. Going back to the arming sword vs the katana, the katana is a faster blade held two handed than the arming sword one handed or two handed. But the arming sword is better one-handed, and you can use a shield or buckler in your other hand.

That can make all the difference. I would rate the katana as overall faster and able to deliver more lethal injuries than the arming sword. But with an arming sword I could have a buckler making me better protected. I sparred with a guy using sword & buckler, and it was actually pretty evenly matched. My ability to strike while he was still recovering was offset by his ability to block that strike with his off-hand. A katana is faster than a bastard sword, and just as lethal, but the bastard sword is better against armour.

So I can say "weapon X will deliver more damage than Y, and A is faster than B, under given circumstances" and they are true statements, but very often they are only half the story.

Cold Napalm wrote:
Okay...was the western reproduction from one of the following makers...albion or arms and armor? Was the reproduction made by a custom smith well known for making historically accurate sword objects like tinker pierce or angus trim? Even then, anything short of an albion has shortcoming from a historically accurate PoV...but these all do at least feel like antique weapons. So yeah, your comparing a sword like object to an actual sword that your sensei had from 200 years ago. That hardly seems fair.

Actually I was largely comparing repro to repro, I just mentioned in passing that his original was lighter. Oh, and the best I have picked up are Revan Armoury, better than Albion IMHO.

Cold Napalm wrote:
As for balance, REAL katana would typically be balanced somewhere in the 4-7 inches from hilt from historical samples. A type XV longsword would be balanced somewhere in the 1-4 inch range. Saying a katana is better balanced for speed is outright wrong. The katana is balanced to deliver some of the most horrendeous cutting and cleaving there is (especially the shobu zukuri ones). Swords balanced like that would be something like the type X viking era swords.

It's the second hand-grip that makes the difference in the katana's balance and control. One handed, it sucks and I'd rather use an arming sword. Two handed, and it's excellent for control and recovery.

Cold Napalm wrote:
As somebody who has actually held antiques from BOTH cultures, MP has the right idea of it though as that there really is no one best sword (just various tools used to defeat what was armor for the era and locale really)...but there is a cavaet that there is personal preference. People seem unable to tell this difference however.

I agree, it is very largely a matter of personal preference, combined with the right tool for the job. As I explain in this post above, the weapon is only half the story. Katana's are not great against armour, and you cannot use a shield with one; on the plus side they are tough, sharp, and fast.

If I have to fight one sword against one sword, unarmoured, no shields, I'll take a katana every time. It's the fastest, most lethal weapon for those circumstances save possibly the jian or the epee, but I'm not trained in the jian and the epee I don't trust against a wide range of offences. If I have to choose a weapon-and-shield combination, armour possible, then I'd go for early rapier and buckler. If I had to fight in close ranks, short-sword and large shield.

My personal preference overall is for the katana, as the blade I've had the most training with. But that's my own preference, others may select different weapons or combinations.

mplindustries wrote:
And yes, I too, prefer polearms over swords any day.

Polearms rock, but they are a bugger to carry around and if somebody gets inside your reach the result is usually not good for you.


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Dabbler wrote:
If I have to fight one sword against one sword, unarmoured, no shields, I'll take a katana every time. It's the fastest, most lethal weapon for those circumstances save possibly the jian or the epee, but I'm not trained in the jian and the epee I don't trust against a wide range of offences. If I have to choose a weapon-and-shield combination, armour possible, then I'd go for early rapier and buckler. If I had to fight in close ranks, short-sword and large shield.

Yeah, I guess it comes down to preference because there's no way I'd choose the weapons you would.

Personally, I hate Rapiers, because they are extremely awkward--way too long. Maybe if I had a really built up wrist I'd have a different opinion, but as is, yikes. If I had to do one sword vs. other swords, I'd probably want a Zweihander. Actually, I'd probably still want one if armor came into it.

If I had a shield, I wouldn't want a sword paired with it anyway. I'd much rather have a mace or flail.

Dabbler wrote:
Polearms rock, but they are a bugger to carry around and if somebody gets inside your reach the result is usually not good for you.

I guess I'm talking about "short" polearms. Like, 6.5' long or so. It's extremely difficult to get into that sort of a reach, and you can strike with any part of the large stick in your hands, so I've never had trouble getting back to optimal range.


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mplindustries wrote:
I think this is the key here. Actual real weapons from the time were way lighter than what we make now.

Right. We had a Viking broadsword here for metallurgical tests that was at 800g fighting weight. Imagine... 100g more than current fencing weapons. And it's a BROADsword from 800 AC with high quality steel!

As for katanas and bastard swords... look for actual old ones that were used. Museums and books are full of iron pricks that never saw a battle or were made for battles.

If you have a real bastard sword, you'll see that it's length, weight and balancing are within millimeters identical to GOOD katanas (again: used ones). Logic tells us why: Why make a weapon longer than it would be ideal when wielded in two hands?

Interestingly the size difference between Europeans and Samurai doesn't matter much for sword handling.

Back to the matter on topic: I use elven curved blades as two handed sabres similar to the ones used by double mercenaries in Germany.


mplindustries wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
If I have to fight one sword against one sword, unarmoured, no shields, I'll take a katana every time. It's the fastest, most lethal weapon for those circumstances save possibly the jian or the epee, but I'm not trained in the jian and the epee I don't trust against a wide range of offences. If I have to choose a weapon-and-shield combination, armour possible, then I'd go for early rapier and buckler. If I had to fight in close ranks, short-sword and large shield.

Yeah, I guess it comes down to preference because there's no way I'd choose the weapons you would.

Personally, I hate Rapiers, because they are extremely awkward--way too long. Maybe if I had a really built up wrist I'd have a different opinion, but as is, yikes. If I had to do one sword vs. other swords, I'd probably want a Zweihander. Actually, I'd probably still want one if armor came into it.

If I had a shield, I wouldn't want a sword paired with it anyway. I'd much rather have a mace or flail.

Rapiers, I'm talking the early type, the 17th century version of an arming sword: same length as an arming sword, thinner blade and sharper point.

Zweihander is a good choice. It's got a lot of options, a second hand-grip along the blade, you can hook and batter with the crosspiece guard, it's nice. I'd still rate a good katana against it, for the speed factor, if both parties were unarmoured: one deflect from the back of the katana, and you are in close and you're going to score some damage - but then I'm trained in kenjitsu rather than kendo, and that style is all about getting in close and fighting dirty. Armoured is a whole different ball-game, of course; I'd go with a kusari-garma against an armoured foe.

I was talking swords, so I gave them as an example. A flail is excellent vs a shield, as are half-a-dozen other chain-weapons.

mplindustries wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Polearms rock, but they are a bugger to carry around and if somebody gets inside your reach the result is usually not good for you.
I guess I'm talking about "short" polearms. Like, 6.5' long or so. It's extremely difficult to get into that sort of a reach, and you can strike with any part of the large stick in your hands, so I've never had trouble getting back to optimal range.

If I could get inside the guard of a short-sword, I can manage any pole-arm - save one with a butt-spike, maybe.


Rapiers early type? You mean those ancient bronze kurgan rapiers from 2000 BC ;)?

Rapiers are old. Much older than bastard swords.

Seconded that I wouldn't want to fight with rapiers. Give me a good sword and a heavy axe any day. As good as a shield and smashing to boot.

What? You got no TWF feat? Are you human or what?

Liberty's Edge

mplindustries wrote:
And all weapons are lighter than the weights in the book. 4 lbs. for a longsword is ridiculous.

This always amused me. Most folks don't really understand how heavy four pounds is, especially when wielding it from one end of a significant length.

For comparison, a heavy pool cue is 24 ounces. One and one-half pounds.

I've always thought that RPGs should get rid of real-world weight, and just plain measure "encumbrance." I'd have no real problem believing that a longsword and scabbard takes up 4 "encumbrance."


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Sounds like the old 3.5 two-handed scimitar upgraded in size to d8 18-20.
Do you mean d10?

Sandstorm had a bastard sword scimitar and a d12 falcion.


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The ECB is d10...

& 4 lbs is pretty light for something of solid steel.


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mplindustries wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
If I have to fight one sword against one sword, unarmoured, no shields, I'll take a katana every time. It's the fastest, most lethal weapon for those circumstances save possibly the jian or the epee, but I'm not trained in the jian and the epee I don't trust against a wide range of offences. If I have to choose a weapon-and-shield combination, armour possible, then I'd go for early rapier and buckler. If I had to fight in close ranks, short-sword and large shield.

Yeah, I guess it comes down to preference because there's no way I'd choose the weapons you would.

Personally, I hate Rapiers, because they are extremely awkward--way too long. Maybe if I had a really built up wrist I'd have a different opinion, but as is, yikes. If I had to do one sword vs. other swords, I'd probably want a Zweihander. Actually, I'd probably still want one if armor came into it.

If I had a shield, I wouldn't want a sword paired with it anyway. I'd much rather have a mace or flail.

Dabbler wrote:
Polearms rock, but they are a bugger to carry around and if somebody gets inside your reach the result is usually not good for you.
I guess I'm talking about "short" polearms. Like, 6.5' long or so. It's extremely difficult to get into that sort of a reach, and you can strike with any part of the large stick in your hands, so I've never had trouble getting back to optimal range.

I would like to add something, to clarify thrusting swords, and especially the modern incarnations. In regards to "Personally, I hate Rapiers, because they are extremely awkward--way too long. Maybe if I had a really built up wrist I'd have a different opinion, but as is, yikes."

The fencing swords, the rapier, the epee, it is not about the wrist and you don't need a strong wrist to use them properly, because power and control does not come from the wrist. It comes from the thumb, the first two fingers and the muscles in between those digits. Beginners always, always make the mistake of using these weapons from the wrist, they want to cut, they want to chop, the thrusting sword does this poorly (but I think some of the Conquistador heavy rapiers and cut and thrust swords could have pulled a cut off quite well). The sword with the traditional French grip should be balanced in your hand, with the three main fingers controlling it, not too heavy on the thumb, don't clench and restrict movement, not too hard on the first two fingers, or your circular potential is limited and it will be held weakly. By moving these fingers, just these three, you should have total control of the movement of the weapon. Do circles, tiny ones. If you have the chance to talk to an experienced fencer, ask to check their main hand, and examine the area between the thumb and forefinger, it will be very defined and strong. If they press thumb to the forefinger, the muscle will pop up. Thousands of attacks have come through and been guided by this muscle.

The wrist is just a connection, and you don't rely on it too much, the handle is flat to the wrist, parallel. The second point of strength and speed comes from the forearm and the muscles there. By practicing the parries, these muscles are built up. They have to take a lot of force and they guide the parries to deflect attacks away, 6, 4 etc. The elbow and the muscles around the elbow allow the feints and retracts, to come in from a new angle, while the forearm muscles move the blade in and out or left and right allowing parryies, beats, and the two fingers and thumb adjust the point of the blade with precision.

The standard rapier/epee/foil length is also good, to allow the most reach with the Capo Ferro lunge (pretty ancient, but we stick with it). The longist blade also seems unsuitable for close work, but there is a whole sub-school of fencing around "in-fighting" that involves using it closer than or at jab range. You adjust, you attack from odd angles, you keep the weapon close to your chest, low or high, redirecting the point back to the opponent to get them at close range. You can drop the point down from a high guard into the collarbones, you can attack from your waist and get into their abdominal area, or thrust up under the sternum with but ten centimetres separating bodies (I love in-fighting, so I had to include this).

There are two main points of the long blade which are significant, the thickest part near the guard, which is where you should be parrying, defending from and direct parries (this is also quite importantly, very close to your main three fingers, that is deliberate, they are on the other side of the guard), and the end of the blade which is where you should be beating with (to knock the sword away), and moving around so as to slip through and get the hit. Beginners strain their wrists while fencing because they are trying to do so much with the wrist, when the wrist is used very little (except in sabre fencing, but that is a separate topic, and they do use it a lot). The handle is mostly flat to the wrist at the at rest and ready position, but when people hold it like a heavier sword, this is not held parallel to the wrist, they clench it and hold it like a knife or machete. Quite quite wrong (and it is tiring for the type of work finesse thrusting swords are meant to do).

Lastly, I have talked mostly about the upper body, but arguably most of fencing comes from the legs, the footwork, the movements through the proper stances. There are drills involving entirely fencing with your feet and a raised arm, the feet are highly important and a lot of scientific calculation went into these strange stances, in the attempt to maximise power, defence and speed back and forth.

So to reiterate, the wrist is of very little importance when using a thrusting sword in its modern or traditional forms ("new" fencing techniques, not really being new, having borrowed and mixed from centuries of tradition, they stretch and work back with any thrusting sword with a French grip). It is about a few fingers, the forearm muscles directing them and providing some force, the elbow to steady the motions and the footwork to place and position the fencer, catapulting them forward or taking them back. It should all work together and the wrist is just a connection piece, but a difficult notion for a beginner to realise since the fingers, forearm, elbow and footwork do not work together seamlessly.

Thanks for your time.

On poleams, they use the wrist, shoulders and back a lot more, although I would contend they are not so terrible in close, something dnd tries to push with its reach rules, because you can smash noses with the haft, push outwards and then cut or bash, stab or thrust down to break feet, and lever to knock them aside or trip. Tight cuts and circular hits remain possible.

Grand Lodge

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Comparing repro to repro doesn't really work. Even the cheap 60 dollar musashi katanas are pretty decent as far as the feel of the sword goes. Yes it isn't accurate to historical swords...but I would say it's 80% or more there for most katana repro that is using one of the more odd geometries. Then you have western repros like darksword armoury...which doesn't make swords...they make sword shaped crowbars and is pretty much 0% accurate. To be fair, there are better repros out there...but honestly even at high prices, it's not a sure thing your gonna get even anywhere near 80% accurate.

Raven armoury does indeed make nice swords...however they are not more accurate historically then albions. And they do not feel like historical swords of their type for the most part. Things like adding in central ridges to sword types that did not have them to strengthen the blade will very much alter the way the blade is balanced and moves and cuts. Raven armoury also has very little distal tapering in most of the swords I have seen. Very nice swords...but if I had to pick a modern repro for combat, I'd take the albions or a gus blade which are better balanced and weighted and proper geometry of each type.

A type XV longsword (XVa) would be perfectly usable two handed with hilts in the 10-16 inch range (with a few examples of longer or shorter of course).

If you think getting within range of a polearm is easy, you havn't fought anyone who was actually any good at it. My kenjitsu sensei was a bloody terror to try and get within range of when he was using a yari. I know some poleaxe WMA practictions who would kill you 7 different ways before you got anywhere near them. Reach is a bloody powerful tool if you know how to use it. Now is it IMPOSSIBLE to get within reach? Nope. But it sure as hell ain't easy (generally you'd have to be more skilled to do it).

Jians are a sword balanced 6 inches out that is meant to stab with. The chinese man who came up with the jian forms must have been out of his mind to use such a sword for such a form (or maybe he was trying to prove his form was so good that you can make it work with a very bad sword for said form...shrug). In anycase, what makes jians so fast is the form...not really the sword. In CMA, I prefer jians to daos...but then again, I am a bit crazy myself :P .

You know, I did a duel with a fellow kenjitsu practioner...his bokken vs my wooden longsword waster (both were weighted to balance like the real sword counterparts). Now mind you, he was a better swordsmen then I am. He is younger, stronger, faster and has been doing it longer. In sparring matches, I'm glad if I can win 2 out of 10 matches. I usually just win one. With the longsword's extra reach, back edge, and quicker balance, we ended up at an almost dead even with him winning 6 and me winning 5 (we were at 5 and 5 and went for one more). Then I totally cheated and pulled out a buckler...yeah he won 3 :P . He even remarked how much faster the longswords moved (his excuse I believe...the whole it moved faster then I though so you cheated excuse hehe). I don't accept that the katana is a fast sword. I accept that the katana is a freaking brutal sword from test cutting. When doing a cutting gathering and you have a noob who can't seem to cut anything, the sword we hand over is the katana.

Personally, I like type XVI longswords and the shorter XV and XVIII longswords.


Jeff Wilder wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
And all weapons are lighter than the weights in the book. 4 lbs. for a longsword is ridiculous.

This always amused me. Most folks don't really understand how heavy four pounds is, especially when wielding it from one end of a significant length.

For comparison, a heavy pool cue is 24 ounces. One and one-half pounds.

I've always thought that RPGs should get rid of real-world weight, and just plain measure "encumbrance." I'd have no real problem believing that a longsword and scabbard takes up 4 "encumbrance."

I'd greatly prefer encumbrance units to actual pounds. Real arming swords averaged 2.5 pounds. 4 pounds is just excessive, but I can buy that it's 4 units of awkward or whatever.
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
The fencing swords, the rapier, the epee, it is not about the wrist and you don't need a strong wrist to use them properly, because power and control does not come from the wrist. It comes from the thumb, the first two fingers and the muscles in between those digits.

That's really interesting. I'm not a beginner, though--not with the Rapier--I'm a "never starter." I messed around with a few and didn't like them because some party of me was not strong enough. Actually, your comments make the whole experience make more sense, since I never felt like I had a weak wrist before, but I'm a terrible climber, due to my weak hands. Like I said, I'm a polearms guy, anyway.

And yeah, I've fought all kinds of different weapon combos using a glaive, including those wielded by significantly better athletes (I was friends with an escrima gold medalist for a while), and nothing could get to me short of a longer polearm. I'm not saying this to suggest I'm some kind of prodigy or the world's best fighter or anything--far from it--just that superior reach is a huge advantage.

Hell, the reason I'd go for a Zweihander is because it has enough grip that I could just treat it like a glaive :P


You have to remember that Pathfinder Weapons just like AC and HP are Abstractions.

Longswords encompass Broadswords, Arming Swords, Sarcyni, etc.

Just as Bastard Sword and Greatsword covers Zweihanders, Claymores, etc. [ooc]Note: Zweihander and Claymore depended on where they were from on their size. A Common Claymore would be a Greatsword but my clans traditional Claymore is more of a Bastard Sword.[/url]

Heck, 4 Pounds is light for a Sarcyns(Sarcyni is Plural) which typically weighed 8 Pounds!

Sarcyns/Sarcyni:

A category of blades used by Roman Mercenaries that picked them up from the Egyptians. They are a Heavy single-edged blade similar to the Orc Scimitars from Lord Of The Rings. Only the "spike" curves back like Tidus's Sword from FFX. It was around 2-3 Feet for the Blade and was swung like a Cleaver and used mostly by Cavalry Troops. The length of their Hilt which was long enough to accommodate 3 Hands and their weight was nicely distributed.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:

You have to remember that Pathfinder Weapons just like AC and HP are Abstractions.

Longswords encompass Broadswords, Arming Swords, Sarcyni, etc.

Just as Bastard Sword and Greatsword covers Zweihanders, Claymores, etc. [ooc]Note: Zweihander and Claymore depended on where they were from on their size. A Common Claymore would be a Greatsword but my clans traditional Claymore is more of a Bastard Sword.[/url]

Heck, 4 Pounds is light for a Sarcyns(Sarcyni is Plural) which typically weighed 8 Pounds!

** spoiler omitted **

Are you talking about a Roman version of the Khopesh? I'm really interested now because for the first time in a while, you're talking about a weapon I have never heard of.

Silver Crusade

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Being a trained fencer, and being fortunate enough to live in the same city that houses the Royal Armouries, I eagerly attended many demonstrations, especially the Renaissance styles.

The demonstrators at the RA are actors who have been trained in techniques reconstructed from contemporary sources; their acting skills help deliver an effective, engaging demonstration to an audience, and their training keeps it as authentic as possible.

At the end of these demonstrations they stay behind to meet with anyone who wants to ask questions; they must have been sick at the sight of me. : )

After the Renaissance demonstration, I waited so I'd be last to talk to the guy. I told him that I was a fencer, and was curious enough to risk sounding like a lunatic by asking, 'If you were going to be lost in time, but couldn't predict when or where, which sword would you want with you?'

Instead of doing the obvious and calling security, he said that he would take an American Civil War sabre! I told him that I couldn't imagine losing to a sabre if I had a smallsword (the weapon that had just been demonstrated, and the closest real weapon to a modern fencing foil).

Long story short; we had a bit of a duel. I started in classic position with my smallsword in sixte, but when he adopted a stance that had his sabre above his right shoulder with the edge up, the hilt behind his head and the point in front, I switched to holding my guard in quarte.

I waited for his attack, believing that (due to any cut taking a long time-compared to a foil-between the start of the attack and the blade reaching me) I would have ample time to parry and riposte. He started to slash, bringing his sabre between our torsos and switching direction to try a reverse slash to my unguarded sixte. I parried and riposted, hitting his right shoulder. As I riposted, instead of attempting to parry, he continued his attack to hit my right shoulder!

Analysing this pass after I got home, my conclusion was that I would have a nasty slash in my arm, which would have hurt my ability to continue the fight, but it would heal well enough if I were still alive to heal!

He would have had a thrust through his shoulder that he may not even have felt much and probably would not have slowed him down too much initially, but he would probably have died within three days without access to modern medicine!

It gave me food for thought. Even now, I would back me with a smallsword vs a similarly skilled foe with a katana (which is a very good sword). Perhaps this is a fair judgement; perhaps it just reflects my confidence in my weapon as a result of receiving most of my sword training with a foil. It's impossible for me to know the balance between my objectivity/subjectivity in this case.

Just my 1.6 pence worth, if the exchange rate is correct.


@mplindustries: In a Manner yes... Though this blade would be more along the lines of a typical "Longsword". It was designed more for bashing through armour. It was based on an Egyptian weapon that was akin to a True Temple Sword. The Romans flipped the "hook" to the back of the blade and it was mostly used for catching the enemies blade to either disarm/break the foe's weapon or cut Saddle Belts causing the enemies saddle to slide off their mount.

It is effectively a Longsword with some upgrades. Though it might end up becoming a Unique Exotic Weapon in my settings that can be used as a Longsword for Feats and prerequisites.

I still find it funny that the Egyptians developed the blade from combining the Shotel/Sica with the Roman version of the Longsword/Arming Sword then the Romans took that and modified it to make the Sarcyni.

Though any Legionary caught with one while in formation was punished. It was explicitly a Mercenary War Weapon.


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Mixing sabre and foil training can make you look messy and not be so pretty or a pure foilist, but you learn how to counter the sabre, and to use some of the sabre blocks and techniques, including their lovely redirects of cuts, which is still forefinger and thumb, but with a bit of the wrist and a natural extension of the arm.

You will also learn how to cut and then thrust, with the cut causing havoc amongst some of the foil parries of the less experienced. Your angles of approach become unorthodox, but probably are vulnerable to attacks in preparation.

How good is the head-splitting sabre lunge? It can go straight through an unprepared guard. A push-cut with momentum via the feet travelling from tip to guard, not a typical cut from guard to tip.

I think the civil war sabre is a good choice, but I'd rely on the Poles or Hungarians in this area.


Tracked this down for you guys, a lot of info begins 2:37 in. A few vids of this series, and you are covering weeks in a sabre class.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7VBxc8WsXc

Grand Lodge

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Modern fencing and historical rapier fencing is quite different. Modern fencing swords can be fully manipulated by fingers...historical rapiers can not. You do actually use quite a bit of finger manipulation with the rapier, but it has to be more backed up with the rest of your hand and your wrist for control. The actual power...like all sword arts comes from the lower body (or a horse in the case of horseback combat).


Actually, the power depends on the fighting style.

Defensive Styles are Lower Body.
Offensive Styles are Upper Body.

The Rapier, as with other Fencing Weapons, was typically manipulated with the Fingers for Offense and the Wrist for Defense.

Grand Lodge

No, power comes from the lower body...regardless of fighting styles. If your using your arms to generate power...your doing it wrong. Your lower body has so much more power then your upper body. Think on this...how much can you bench press? And how much can you squat or leg press? You use your lower body for power. Your upper body can give it a bit extra...but you use your lower body for power. The upper body is more for targeting...which when your trying to redirect a 3 lb, 4 foot long piece of steel going 300 FPS at the tip, that could still be a quite a bit of muscle needed.

Rapiers were manipulated with the finger for targeting true...BUT you can't JUST use the fingers like with modern fencing swords. You'd drop your sword if you tried that unless you had vice grips for fingers (and I mean literally have vice grips instead of fingers...because nobody has the finger strength to hold a real rapier like a foil for even a min. much less any length of time...remember, rapiers were still used in wars and had to be used for HOURS sometimes). But the power came from lower body movement all the way. You can absolutely not generate killing force with just your fingers outside of anime or kung fu flicks.


OK you are referencing Strength NOT Power. Power is where the effectiveness of the style comes from.

Defense is about Strength.
Offense is about Accuracy.

It sounds odd I know... but think if it this way.

To successfully defend you must withstand and hold back a foe. Strength allows you to push back and easily deflect your foe.
To successfully attack you must hit your foe. Accuracy allows you to strike Vitals.

Now a Good Fighting Style will have both. BUT all fighting styles focus on one of the two.

Classical Fencing is Defensive. Accuracy is secondary to Strength.
Sarcovava is Offense. Strength is secondary to Accuracy.

In Sarcovava your Strength is mostly for mobility and you only use a minor amount when attacking. But it amounts to basically using Mobility and Improved Critical Feats.

Classical fencing is more of Combat Expertise and the Improved Disarm Feats then switching to Power Attack once your enemy is unarmed for the kill strike.

Power is the term used in weapon training for the combat styles primary training focus. The optimal Power is a perfect mixture of Strength and Accuracy. Unfortunately that is next to impossible to achieve without training 16 Hours a day everyday.

I chose two of my main fighting styles. Though I am a better fencer than I am a Sarcovava duelist.


To sum up -alot- of words here... skill means alot. As does size and experience. Both ways. As does PREFERENCE.

I'm 6'3" with a good reach. I went to state finals, Fencing in college, where I came in second. There was a girl in my class, who was maybe, --maybe-- 5'1" and was faster than a greased priest. She beat me. She beat me like a red headed stepchild. I just couldn't match her speed. I had reach on her. I had skill. I had a bit of experience. She was just better and faster.

When I took Kendo I did well in that as well. It is very different from Fencing.

To try and say "Sword X is better than sword Y" You're basicly trying to say "All things OTHER than the swords being equal"

But.. they're not. Not ever. Anyone that's seriously trained with blades ends up with a preference. They're better with Sword Q than Sword Z, but the next gal is better with sword Z than Q. People aren't the exact size or exact skill level either. Robots (( that we have now)) Couldn't even come close to deciding skill or ability.

Someone above pointed out that Katana's are good for cutting demos. And they are. That same person correctly pointed out that demo's are not real life.

Swords work by cutting, hacking, slashing, or piercing and stabbing. Some do more than one. Their basic function doesn't make one better than the other.

That's preference and style. You give a Colombian drug dealer a machete he can hack you up and cut off your head. He'll probably do it pretty well too. Does that mean he's a master swordsman or a common $5 machete is an amazing sword? No. It means it's meant to cut things and if you hack and slash something like a human body you can cut it up.

People have personal preference. Many think THEIR preferred weapon is the best. I prefer hand and a half swords. It's my style. I like them. I like the look. The feel the utility. I can fight with a Katana, a foil, a rapier, or even short swords. I just prefer a Hand and a half. I'm 'best' with a hand and a half. But that's --me-- the blade it self is not 'better' or 'worse' than a katana, or a rapier, or whatever.


Really the better sword depends on the situation.

And to get back on topic. Am I the only one who noticed that the Elves in the LotR Movies that can use a undercutting slash to lead when they can then they move into a flourishing fighting style?

That seems to be the best way for that style of blade. But if it was based on the Falx then it would be horrible for any additional attacks.


Jeff Wilder wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
And all weapons are lighter than the weights in the book. 4 lbs. for a longsword is ridiculous.

This always amused me. Most folks don't really understand how heavy four pounds is, especially when wielding it from one end of a significant length.

For comparison, a heavy pool cue is 24 ounces. One and one-half pounds.

I've always thought that RPGs should get rid of real-world weight, and just plain measure "encumbrance." I'd have no real problem believing that a longsword and scabbard takes up 4 "encumbrance."

...and as I pointed out above...what about the scabbard & belt? Take 2.5lbs for the sword, now add 1lb for the scabbard, and 0.5lbs for the belt, and you have 4lbs.


4lbs? I have a training sword that's very close to a real sword. It has no cutting edge but a round (radius 1.5mm) blade. That means my blade is too heavy compared to the real thing it's crafted after.

Still the sword weighs less than 1200gr and less than 1,5kg with scabbard and two belts (for different positions to be worn). ;)

But I wouldn't want to measure roleplaying in encumbrance. Otherwise we could replace the word spell level with "degree of unbelievability" ;)


Gnomezrule wrote:
Well the magus typically uses a one hand weapon and the elven curve blade is a two hander. I think the magus is holding an aldori dueling sword.

....at risk of setting off a riot with all the technical details in this thread, the Aldori Dueling Sword has been pictured as "basically a katana with a western-made hilt and handguard."

Silver Crusade

Chris Kenney wrote:
Gnomezrule wrote:
Well the magus typically uses a one hand weapon and the elven curve blade is a two hander. I think the magus is holding an aldori dueling sword.
....at risk of setting off a riot with all the technical details in this thread, the Aldori Dueling Sword has been pictured as "basically a katana with a western-made hilt and handguard."

Funny, I picture it as a heavy sabre.


The Iconic Magus wields a Scimitar... And now I can't find that quote...

The Aldori Dueling Sword seems more like a Heavy Sabre to me as well...

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