Can we finally ditch 1st Edition D&D's weird weapon / armor names?


Prerelease Discussion

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


A Greatsword can be switch to something like a Claymore, and a Greataxe into a Tabar; historically accurate weapons that better represent what those weapons are actually supposed to be. They do this with other weapons, like Cestus, Kukri, etc., so maybe if they did it more with these weapons, it'd be pretty nice.

I have to disagree on this part. Greatsword and greataxe are, well, great as is. They're general terms which can apply to a number of different regional styles that work more or less the same way. Zweihander, montante, spadone all greatswords. And greataxe can be any two-handed fighting axe (other then ones with extra bits that more properly count as poll-axes or some form of polearm) from the Dane-axe to the sparth axe to the lochabar axe. Taking it to a specific cultural thing is going in the wrong direction in my mind.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


As for armors, I'm less versed on those. (Maybe because I enjoy swinging weapons than I do wearing armor, which is god-awfully uncomfortable a lot of the time you wear it, even if it is appropriately sized for you?) However, I will say that Brigandine is certainly not the same as Studded Leather, especially with Mr. Reynolds' description of what Brigandine is. If anything, Brigandine more closely resembles Scale Mail (except it's mostly just covered with cloth or leather) than Studded Leather, and to be honest, I'd rather see other items be called things like Splint Mail, Mesh Armor, etc. Which I believe did have more historical accuracy, and if the game wants to say that the armors function as such, then maybe they should actually be called as such?

Yeah, brigandine isn't just a better name for studded leather. It's a much heavier thing (and was usually worn over mail). Studded leather exists because of misidentified brigandine or coats of plates, but it's a different (and non-functional) thing. The lack of steel plates inside makes a huge difference in weight and lack of effectiveness. It is more like scale armor, but usually with larger plates and they're on the inside instead of the outside.

And they need to ditch the 'mail' at the end of things that aren't mail (chainmail=mail or maile if you want the archaic spelling). Using it as a general synonym for 'armor' was a Victorian mistake that Gygax perpetuated.

Splint armor bugs me because as far as I can tell, it was just used for limb protection (strips of metal along the long-bones), not full suits. Although the term Splinted Mail is sometimes used (along with Plated Mail and other names) for a different thing, a type of mail with plates integrated in it that was mostly popular in Eastern Europe and Asia. "Banded mail" is also problematic in that it refers to a theoretical type of mail with leather strips run through the rings to form bands (an attempt to explain different depictions of mail in artwork), or in most Pathfinder/D&D artwork for something like the Roman segmented armor.

If they want to keep the list large, why not add lamellar to core? It's another armor style popular throughout Asia and Eastern Europe without really catching on in the rest of Europe. Again, often worn over mail. It also looks cool.

I think part of the problem with the way Pathfinder handles armor, is they think of it as a single thing. But it tended to be treated more as a collection of items often worn together. Mail was common for a really long period, but would be complemented with other things depending on era. Early it was usually just a shirt over normal clothing, then a mail shirt over a gambeson (padded armor), then a shirt over a gambeson with mail leggings (chausses). Then the limbs were reinforced with splints. Then came bits of plate attached to the mail over the limbs and eventually a coat of plates added on the torso then replaced by a full breastplate. Then the mail might be dropped (or kept depending) and just have mail sewn to the gambeson at places where plate won't cover like the armpits. So it's a bit more complicated than just wearing X armor. I guess you could instead list various types of 'sets' of armor. Like you could define the above progression as Mail, Mail with leggings, Mail with limb-splints, Transitional Armor, Plate armor. Or something similar.

Scarab Sages

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The most urgent change needed to the weapons, is to cease the arbitary separation of 'European' and 'Asian' weapons, and the requirement that the Asian weapons be locked behind a feat tax.

"This is a stick. You hit people with it. It's a peasant's weapon, because it's so easy to use."

"Thiiiiiissss, on the other hand...(cries of 'ooh' and 'aaah' from the audience)...this, most revered of weapons, this epitome of the martial weapon crafters' arts, is an exotic weapon, and can only be used by those who have trained for decades, under the blind monks at the monastery overhanging the edge of the world's precipice. This exotic weapon is known as....a 'stick'."
(audience members faint with nosebleeds, at the sight of the sheer awesomeness of the 'stick'.)


'Locking' weaponry and armor behind cultural access points makes sense. 'Locking' them behind an Exotic Proficiency feat, not so much.

Now, if exotic armor offers exotic protections while exotic weapons offer exotic 'attack options' that is another kettle of fish. In such a case perhaps there is a pairing of proficiencies going on.

Ex: Trained Proficiency ([heavy armor of choice]) has to be attained before a character can select Exotic Proficiency ([heavy armor defenses]), which adds energy resistances with each tier of proficiency in addition to the benefits of ([heavy armor of choice]) proficiency.


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The Mad Comrade wrote:
dragonhide - which is horrific if you think about it, maybe other critters can be farmed for energy resistant materials? - and other materials.

FWIW, Andre Norton's Halfblood Chronicles has dragons that shed, and those the trust can make armor from that.

I've added that to my world.


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Spiral_Ninja wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:
dragonhide - which is horrific if you think about it, maybe other critters can be farmed for energy resistant materials? - and other materials.

FWIW, Andre Norton's Halfblood Chronicles has dragons that shed, and those the trust can make armor from that.

I've added that to my world.

Consider that yoinked.


Visually they look similar but brigandine and studded leather are not the same thing. "Studded Leather" didn't exist in any historical records I've ever studied, as simply adding a few studs to the outside of leather wouldn't do a damn thing to increase the tenacity of boiled leather coat. I would hesitate to even place brigandine in the light armor category, but that's another discussion.

Most texts and historians I'm aware of refer to what Pathfinder/D&D call 2-handed swords/Greatswords as "Long swords."

My biggest issue with the hierarchy of armors is that padded armor provides less AC bonus than leather does, when in actuality padded armor provides better protection vs almost all forms of attack.


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A few things about armor. A boiled leather coat or breastplate would be extremely stiff and would hamper movement as much as metal plates. In my mind Hide Armor is boiled leather. Normal Leather Armor might include some boiled segments but largely it would just consist of supple treated leather that remains flexible and mainly protects from sharp edges but not impacts. Buff coats would be an example.

Other buff coats that add minor amounts of metal reinforcement would be an example of "studded leather". I've also seen supple leather with coin-like medallions riveted to the exterior. I'm not sure about the historical accuracy of such armor, but it looks really good for "light" armor.

The SCA in Southern California uses Brigantine as its cheap starter armor. The cheap stuff uses either thick cloth or leather as a base, and attaches plastic plates leaving about a quarter inch between plates. Then a second layer of cloth/leather is added on the inside to protect the plates from moisture. This is a heavy suit of armor! At least equivalent to chain-mail and in my experience only slightly lower in quality to plate armor. Saying that "leather armor" is brigantine is woefully underestimating the weight and protective value of such armor that should at a bare minimum be medium armor.

Chain mail isn't all created equally. Early period chain mail (talking early Roman Republic here) had quite large rings, and could easily be what Ring Mail is suppose to be.

With improvements to metallurgy and tools for working wire the rings were made tighter and chain mail became more dense, and heavier. The protective value went up considerably. Properly made chain mail would be very effective against most weapons in normal circumstances. Knights carried long thin daggers called poniards that could bust links to stab someone through chain mail but that was still very difficult in practice.

Even later was developed a new weaving technique called double mail which created an even thicker armor. While it was significantly heavier (like a 60 lbs armor vs 40 lbs for typical chain weave) it provided much more significant protection. A knight armed with a poniard wouldn't be able to penetrate this type of mail and would need to concentrate on getting around the armor instead of penetrating it. When combined with plate armor this would create an overwhelmingly heavy suit of armor but would be nearly impossible to penetrate. Opponents would focus on lightly protected portions of the body away from such armor. Or simply knock them over and throw people on top of them. The weight of the armor made it very difficult to stand up if knocked down.

In all, the different names we give for "suits" of armor aren't really accurate. Pieces of armor were given names, and occasionally suits as well, but what those names referred to were just generalizations even in the time period the armor was used. We are playing a game here and it doesn't need to be historically accurate. What we mainly need is a shared nomenclature that is easy for us to understand.

In other words, get over it. Some people want less choices. Some people want more. How about we let the designers do what they want to do when it comes to something like this topic where quiet honestly our opinion isn't going to be unified or have a meaningful impact?

Grand Lodge

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We need Junk Mail armor. Put some of those catalogs over the vital spots. Very heavy, but ain't nothin'gettin' through that!


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Since Goblins are becoming a core race, maybe the game should adopt goblin naming conventions for all weapons and armor. For weapons: Stabbers, choppers, Slicers (ranging in size from rat to giant), head-knockers. For Armor: Ratskin, trollskin, shiny bits, etc.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd like to chime in on the Arming Sword / Longsword / Bastard Sword discussion. In reality, these weapons are mostly defined by their handiness, which is to say how many hands the weapon is designed to be used with.

The Arming Sword's hilt is specifically sized for one hand, and thus would be impossible to wield effectively in two hands. This means it doesn't really fit the current properties of the Pathfinder Longsword, which can be used equally-easily in one or two hands. There no PF1 weapon that really hits the nail on the head for the Arming Sword, because PF1 just doesn't have any rules to accommodate a weapon that is a dedicated 1-handed weapon but isn't a light weapon.

The Bastard Sword is a "hand and a half" sword, and this describes the design of its hilt. It can be gripped comfortably with one hand, but there's enough extra space that you can two-hand it in a pinch. Interestingly, most sources I've found describe bastard swords as being a subcategory of longswords. Taken together, this means the bastard sword is very close to the depiction of the PF1 longsword, if not exactly on point.

The Longsword is a two-handed weapon that can be used one-handed in a pinch. The hilt is sized to be used comfortably in two hands, and these swords can approach greatswords in length. In fact, since longswords are two-handed weapons it can be difficult to distinguish between a longsword and a greatsword. The best definition I've found is that so long as it is possible to use one-handed fighting techniques, it's a longsword. If it's too big to use one-handed fighting techniques, then it's a greatsword. While on paper this would seem to indicate that the longsword fits into the PF1 bastard sword niche, it's not quite that simple. It's not like one-handed techniques with longswords were exotic or rare; rather, they were standard combat maneuvers (ie grapple with the left hand while you stab with right). So it doesn't really fit perfectly.

With regards to leather, I hope we get Lamellar Armor this time around. That's a really iconic medieval armor, and is a realistic representation of how leather as a material can be used in effective armor.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dasrak wrote:
With regards to leather, I hope we get Lamellar Armor this time around. That's a really iconic medieval armor, and is a realistic representation of how leather as a material can be used in effective armor.

I think we already have it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

I think we already have it.

Okay, Lamellar as something other than an inferior knockoff variant of an existing armor type.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

we are stuck with them, more people know them as the names for things than people who know they are the wrong names. More confusion fixing things than just going with it. (as an aside Brigandine is NOT studded leather, it's steel plates between layers of leather, padding and cloth, it LOOKS like a studded shirt but really isn't, it's part of a type of plate armour..)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rob Godfrey wrote:
we are stuck with them, more people know them as the names for things than people who know they are the wrong names. More confusion fixing things than just going with it. (as an aside Brigandine is NOT studded leather, it's steel plates between layers of leather, padding and cloth, it LOOKS like a studded shirt but really isn't, it's part of a type of plate armour..)

Studded leather is fetish gear, not armour. “Studded Leather” armour is a misinterpretation of images of Brigandine in medieval art is the point being made.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


A Greatsword can be switch to something like a Claymore, and a Greataxe into a Tabar; historically accurate weapons that better represent what those weapons are actually supposed to be. They do this with other weapons, like Cestus, Kukri, etc., so maybe if they did it more with these weapons, it'd be pretty nice.

I have to disagree on this part. Greatsword and greataxe are, well, great as is. They're general terms which can apply to a number of different regional styles that work more or less the same way. Zweihander, montante, spadone all greatswords. And greataxe can be any two-handed fighting axe (other then ones with extra bits that more properly count as poll-axes or some form of polearm) from the Dane-axe to the sparth axe to the lochabar axe. Taking it to a specific cultural thing is going in the wrong direction in my mind.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


As for armors, I'm less versed on those. (Maybe because I enjoy swinging weapons than I do wearing armor, which is god-awfully uncomfortable a lot of the time you wear it, even if it is appropriately sized for you?) However, I will say that Brigandine is certainly not the same as Studded Leather, especially with Mr. Reynolds' description of what Brigandine is. If anything, Brigandine more closely resembles Scale Mail (except it's mostly just covered with cloth or leather) than Studded Leather, and to be honest, I'd rather see other items be called things like Splint Mail, Mesh Armor, etc. Which I believe did have more historical accuracy, and if the game wants to say that the armors function as such, then maybe they should actually be called as such?
Yeah, brigandine isn't just a better name for studded leather. It's a much heavier thing (and was usually worn over mail). Studded leather exists because of misidentified brigandine or coats of plates, but it's a different (and non-functional) thing. The lack of steel plates inside makes a huge difference in weight and lack of...

Thanks for mentioning those other weapon terms; I was getting a little vague on what weapons were actually historically accurate, since the list I drew from was from an older-school game that I remembered having some more realistic weapon names, and cross-referencing them where I've heard the terms in the Forged in Fire T.V. Series, that actually mentions and elaborates on historic weapons, (Diablo 2, in fact!) in which case it makes sense for them to be more generalized. Maybe they should put extra specifics in those sorts of weapon entries, listing those kinds of weapons as examples of what would fall into that category of weapon? It'd give more breadth into the game without adding a whole lot of mechanics and such to it, so it would go hand-in-hand with simplifying and streamlining the gaming process.

As for the armor not being a single thing, I agree. I've played numerous games where they actually split "armor" into several pieces and slots (and I still do; it's very common in MMORPGs to do this). It makes the game more fleshed out, and it actually makes characters consider entire parts of their armor and body, not just a single item that they just wear and it does stuff. (It does, but it's just a small part of a much larger puzzle, so it's not that simple.)

They kind of tried doing that with PF1, both with the standard rules and the Piecemeal Armor rules, but the former wasn't really relevant since they normally interfered with magic item slots (and when the rules say the slots magic items normally requires can be replaced and not affect the base item, defeats the whole purpose of the concept), and the latter was horribly balanced and almost never implemented because it was inoptimal, and in my opinion, wasn't ever completely done correctly to patch different pieces of different armor types. But to be fair, even if it was, the armors would need to be rebalanced so it would be worthwhile to wear, say, a Chainmail Coif with Breastplate and Full Plate legs, to warrant a more accurate a mideval soldier.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
"Banded mail" is also problematic in that it refers to a theoretical type of mail with leather strips run through the rings to form bands (an attempt to explain different depictions of mail in artwork), or in most Pathfinder/D&D artwork for something like the Roman segmented armor.

I'm ok with that kind Banded Armor tbh, the romans used something similar for a class of gladiator called the crupellarius.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
If they want to keep the list large, why not add lamellar to core? It's another armor style popular throughout Asia and Eastern Europe without really catching on in the rest of Europe. Again, often worn over mail. It also looks cool.

I'm not gonna lie, that'd make me gush.


Carl Cramér wrote:
I find the level of detail in armor descriptions hamper the game world. Especially so considering that of all armors, only 4 or so are actually ever used past level 3 or so (masterwork studded leather, chain shirt, half plate, full plate).

I would shorten that list to Masterwork (and eventually Mithral) chain shirt, breastplate, and full plate.

In my experience, no one ever uses half-plate.

Otherwise, I agree with all your sentiments.


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The realism of fantasy armour is not the hill I want to die on.

Tradition is why Pathfinder exists.

Studded leather isn't going anywhere.


I wouldnt mind seeing things like "Light leather, Medium Leather, Heavy Leather" as varying, different kinds of armor.


*Thelith wrote:
Tradition is why Pathfinder exists.

Is that why they're making a new edition and trying to be their own game instead of a variation of D&D? And why beyond the core rulebook of the 1st edition they went on to make their own ideas and forge their own identity instead of trying to just stick to traditional D&D formulas, character options, and ideas?


I would like to see better references to historical counterparts. However I would also like to see most weapons/armours simplified raw stats wise and the differentiation between them to come from special attributes (such as the Disarm/Reach, but more specialised and fluffed up).

Contributing Artist

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As much as I’m enjoying the discussion about historical weapons and armour. One of the things to bear in mind is that we are discussing weapons and armour in the context of a high fantasy RPG. (It has been pointed out in this thread already.)

It’s not really a valid proposition to omit an armour type or weapon from a high fantasy RPG on the grounds that it didn’t exist in real life. * Elven chainmail, mithril or dragonscale armour doesn’t exist in real life. But they do exist in the game.

*Even though there are real life archaeological examples of vambraces, greaves, cuisse, pteurges and gauntlets constructed from studded leather and splint armour.

As much as some of us like our historical accuracy, Pathfinder and Golarion isn’t 15th century Europe. If it were, I’d be illustrating things a lot differently.
Consequently there are going to be a heck of a lot of anachronisms when compared to real life history.
We should also consider that the range of weapons and armour that are listed come from a myriad of cultures that span nearly two thousand years of time.

Weapons and armour appear in the equipment lists because there are players who want their characters to wield those cool – looking weapons or wear armour that they’ve seen in a movie, comic, book or museum.
We’ve probably seen enough historically – themed movies to know that movie makers are more interested in entertaining us than educating us.
Whilst a bit of education is never a bad thing, (It took remarkable restraint to delete a bunch of stuff I'd written about correcting some of the incorrect information on this thread ) a game is intended to entertain .
There will be players who might not care about historical accuracy. But they do care if the rules interpretation of a Warhammer is going to help their character crack a dragon’s skull.

I’ve spoken at length with some of the Pathfinder design team about real life weapons and armour. Some of these real life aspects have been introduced to a few of the concept designs I've been working on for the new version of Pathfinder. I base many ideas on real life combined with imagination to transform the items into the realms of fantasy – which is what the game’s about.
Seeing some of the weapons and armour renamed or added in the new version of Pathfinder would certainly scratch my historical itch.
However, the real life elements do need to take into account the high fantasy setting.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

TL;DR

Don't cry realism in a game with fire-breathing dragons, magic spells, non-genetic inheritance, and other fantasy elements.


I've always worked with the perspective that the oddities of weapon and armor names in fiction is simply what the people in those settings named these items.


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Chemlak wrote:

TL;DR

Don't cry realism in a game with fire-breathing dragons, magic spells, non-genetic inheritance, and other fantasy elements.

This argument annoys me as there needs to be some realism in addition to suspension of belief. Realism where it is possible within an fantasy setting helps with immersion. E.g. over-sized weapons like in some video games have always been beyond my suspension of belief and therefore I have avoided those games.


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Realism applied in high fantasy would see armor and weapons suited to encounters with a variety of non-realistic/fantastic creatures that never existed historically.

Enough realism is one thing ... too much realism can be just as immersion-breaking at not enough realism.

Silver Crusade

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Earl Grey wrote:
Chemlak wrote:

TL;DR

Don't cry realism in a game with fire-breathing dragons, magic spells, non-genetic inheritance, and other fantasy elements.

This argument annoys me as there needs to be some realism in addition to suspension of belief. Realism where it is possible within an fantasy setting helps with immersion. E.g. over-sized weapons like in some video games have always been beyond my suspension of belief and therefore I have avoided those games.

... have you seen Amiri's bastard sword?


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Rysky wrote:
... have you seen Amiri's bastard sword?

Unfortunately yes but at least I don’t have to watch it while playing like in video games and I mostly use prd anyway. But that is just what I meant by over-sized weapons which are a real turn-off for me.


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Earl Grey wrote:
Rysky wrote:
... have you seen Amiri's bastard sword?
Unfortunately yes but at least I don’t have to watch it while playing like in video games and I mostly use prd anyway. But that is just what I meant by over-sized weapons which are a real turn-off for me.

Which is the great thing about table top gaming. I can envision my great sword as some giant anime thing and you can picture it as a more realistic claymore or something and we can both be happy.


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Rysky wrote:
Earl Grey wrote:
Chemlak wrote:

TL;DR

Don't cry realism in a game with fire-breathing dragons, magic spells, non-genetic inheritance, and other fantasy elements.

This argument annoys me as there needs to be some realism in addition to suspension of belief. Realism where it is possible within an fantasy setting helps with immersion. E.g. over-sized weapons like in some video games have always been beyond my suspension of belief and therefore I have avoided those games.
... have you seen Amiri's bastard sword?

I have. It reminds me of a certain Black Swordsman, which is a win in my book.

Liberty's Edge

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Personally, I don't care that much about non-existent armors existing. But it'd be a nice, low impact, easy change if the stuff that did exist in reality was named properly.

I mean, how hard is it to omit 'mail' from some armors and rename a longsword an arming sword?

I mean, I don't even care about that stuff all that much, but I certainly have people I know and game with who do.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Late to this thread, but my thoughts:

The weapons-history-nerd in me wants as accurate-as-reasonably-possible names of items and accurate-as-reasonably-possible stats for everything with stats for everything.

However, the gamer and gamist in me, and moreover the person who sometimes ends up teaching people to play in me and who likes to, for fun, devise homebrew systems and subsystems -- sees a deep need for prioritizing simplicity, understandability, and lack of redundancy. This does not mean that you CAN'T also have some degree of accuracy in regard to referring to the real-world weapons and armor that inspire the fantasy versions (I really do want to see the item listed as "mail shirt" not "chain shirt"), but I want to err on the side of easy learning curve, usability, and, especially, consistency. Furthermore, because the setting is Golarion and not Earth, where society has evolved differently, sometimes a high degree of paying attention to Earth's history distracts from the unique nature of our fantasy setting's evolution.

Somewhere upthread suggested something like this, which I very much like:

Listing weapons according to a fairly generic name, and then in the description noting different subtypes/names for such an item. For example, you could have an item called a "short sword" or "little sword" or "not very big at all sword" and then say, "This represents a class of steel blades averaging about so long; one or both edges are sharp. Not-very-big-at-all-swords include weapons like the gladius, the wakizashi, and the qama." And then players can fluff the look or feel of their particular not-very-big-at-all-sword in the way they like.

One of the reasons for this is the system is ABSTRACT--at most we know what damage it does (in a very abstract sense), what kind (P/B/S), and maybe if you can do a cool trick with it easily (e.g., disarm, reach). A weapons nerd may be able to talk all about the subtle differences between the Wakandan Butt-kicking Sword and the Sokovian Bibblediboo, but if they both essentially hurt you about as much, and the way they hurt you is through stabbity death, and they both can be also used to tickle someone into incapacitation, then we don't need two different weapon stats, we just need one Buttbibble Blade with the stats 1d8 (19-20/x2), P, tickling.

I am absolutely in agreement that we do not need two separate stats for the exotic whacking stick and the "normal" whacking stick (and wtf is "exotic" and "normal" anyway?). We just need stats for a whacking stick, recognizing that many cultures have devised various martial arts using the whacking stick, and let those martial arts be reflected by feats, class abilities, etc. not the whacking stick itself (but please, let's also not have a 15-level-feat tree someone has to follow before they can figure out how to trip someone with a long stick; I'm pretty sure I can do that and I'm not proficient in anything except whacking unruly players with the CRB). Nor do we need things like say, the scimitar versus the cutlass, where the only actual statistical difference between the two is a druid can't be proficient in the latter (in 1e). We just need one curvy slashing sword.

Whatever names are used, historical or not, naming systems need to be consistent. No "flail, heavy" in one column and then "light flail" in the other. (I advise going by how someone is going to run a search for it in the pdf or the PRD, so no comma subtypes; just "heavy flail, light flail, etc.)

We should not have stats for things we won't use. If the item is clearly inferior to another and close in price (and price seldom matters after the first couple levels anyway), no one will use it.

I don't care if the term stays or goes, don't ever have to see the words "studded leather" in my game ever again; there is no reason to be sentimentally attached to it. As long as there is some kind of lightweight armor that affords my PC decent protection without too much movement restriction. It could be "reinforced leather" or "thick coat" or "manylayered dingus mantle" or whatever.

TL;DR: I hope Paizo
- Errs on the side of what is easy to learn
- Is consistent in naming and function
- Does not make redundant items with different names but more or less the same stats
- Makes every item on the list a potentially desirable thing to have for at least some types of characters
- Respects real world origins of weapons/armor without getting so caught up in "accuracy" that any of the above is impossible to do


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I very much second the abstraction argument - less weapons over all, less attempts to come up with ways to distinguish new weapons just to have them. Basic types with example names for flavor are the way to go.

Same for armor.


DeathQuaker wrote:
...Furthermore, because the setting is Golarion and not Earth, where society has evolved differently, sometimes a high degree of paying attention to Earth's history distracts from the unique nature of our fantasy setting's evolution.

Excellent post and I agree with you almost 100% but Pathfinder is used for multiple settings other than Golarion and therefore the naming convention should be generic and/or as close to the real world naming as as possible. The evolution of different weapons and armor could be handled with ’tech level’ for each weapon/armor/culture to make it more unlikely for people to use weird combinations. The PC’s are of course special and could therefore overcome these limitations.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Earl Grey wrote:
DeathQuaker wrote:
...Furthermore, because the setting is Golarion and not Earth, where society has evolved differently, sometimes a high degree of paying attention to Earth's history distracts from the unique nature of our fantasy setting's evolution.
Excellent post and I agree with you almost 100% but Pathfinder is used for multiple settings other than Golarion and therefore the naming convention should be generic and/or as close to the real world naming as as possible. The evolution of different weapons and armor could be handled with ’tech level’ for each weapon/armor/culture to make it more unlikely for people to use weird combinations. The PC’s are of course special and could therefore overcome these limitations.

Sure. That's why I think broader weapon descriptions could work, with specific real world examples of what they could be.

I'm not sure I'd worry about tech level in the CRB (although I very much understand your reasoning for adaptation use), but it could be something expanded upon in a martial/combat focused splat.


It's also worth considering that whether we're talking Golarion or not, the game is about simulating genre fantasy, not history. The fantasy genre, whether in books or movies or wherever, has rarely focused on detailed accuracy in weapons or armor.

Dredging up unfamiliar names, even if accurate, isn't going to help people coming in thinking of their favorite fantasy stories.

Liberty's Edge

blahpers wrote:
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:

I agree. Weapons and armor names should be simple and correct.

Ditch Longsword and just call it Sword.

Ditch Plate Mail and just call it Plate.

Ditch Falchion, that one just makes no sense.

Why stop there?

Ditch Sword and just call it Weapon.

Ditch Plate and just call it Armor.

Ditch all other items, nothing matters anymore.

You mock, but there are many RPGs that do that.

Light weapon (1d6 dmg), one-handed weapon (1d8 dmg), two-handed weapon (1d10 dmg). Choose b/p/s. Flavour as needed.

Is your light slashing weapon long rondel, anelace, deer-horn knives, butterfly swords, gladiatorial scissor, chakrum, or tiger claws?

It works because you can wield whatever rando weapon you saw online or on Forged in Fire without needing explicit stats.

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:

It's also worth considering that whether we're talking Golarion or not, the game is about simulating genre fantasy, not history. The fantasy genre, whether in books or movies or wherever, has rarely focused on detailed accuracy in weapons or armor.

Dredging up unfamiliar names, even if accurate, isn't going to help people coming in thinking of their favorite fantasy stories.

Why assume people's favorite fantasy stories use D&D terms?

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:

It's also worth considering that whether we're talking Golarion or not, the game is about simulating genre fantasy, not history. The fantasy genre, whether in books or movies or wherever, has rarely focused on detailed accuracy in weapons or armor.

Dredging up unfamiliar names, even if accurate, isn't going to help people coming in thinking of their favorite fantasy stories.

Why assume people's favorite fantasy stories use D&D terms?


Jester David wrote:
thejeff wrote:

It's also worth considering that whether we're talking Golarion or not, the game is about simulating genre fantasy, not history. The fantasy genre, whether in books or movies or wherever, has rarely focused on detailed accuracy in weapons or armor.

Dredging up unfamiliar names, even if accurate, isn't going to help people coming in thinking of their favorite fantasy stories.

Why assume people's favorite fantasy stories use D&D terms?

Other than the massive crosspollination between fantasy literature and D&D over the last 40 years and D&D's roots in fantasy literature, there is no reason.

Nor am I wedded to D&D terms as much as countering the "but they were really called ..." argument.


Jester David wrote:
Why assume people's favorite fantasy stories use D&D terms?

It seems like a more logical assumption than people instead liking ancient and unheard of names instead of the ones they see and hear all the time in their favorite fantasy games. Is the average person reading a fantasy book going to KNOW what an arming sword is? That same person can make an educated guess what a long or short sword is though.

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:
Jester David wrote:
thejeff wrote:

It's also worth considering that whether we're talking Golarion or not, the game is about simulating genre fantasy, not history. The fantasy genre, whether in books or movies or wherever, has rarely focused on detailed accuracy in weapons or armor.

Dredging up unfamiliar names, even if accurate, isn't going to help people coming in thinking of their favorite fantasy stories.

Why assume people's favorite fantasy stories use D&D terms?

Other than the massive crosspollination between fantasy literature and D&D over the last 40 years and D&D's roots in fantasy literature, there is no reason.

Nor am I wedded to D&D terms as much as countering the "but they were really called ..." argument.

Why should the cross-pollination only be one direction? Take the weapons names common to more historical fiction and bring those to Pathfinder. The names in use by fantasy fiction predate D&D by a good forty years.

After all, the audience for fantasy fiction is an order of magnitude larger than that of Pathfinder.


Jester David wrote:
Take the weapons names common to more historical fiction and bring those to Pathfinder.

Why? What does that accomplish? Make the very small subset of readers that read both historically accurate text book on ancient weapons and fantasy readers? It seems like a poor effort to reward scenario.

Jester David wrote:
The names in use by fantasy fiction predate D&D by a good forty years.

LOL And? No matter WHAT you name it, someone would come in and say 'well in THIS book it calls that a [blank] so the CORRECT term is..." It's a no win situation.

Jester David wrote:
After all, the audience for fantasy fiction is an order of magnitude larger than that of Pathfinder.

But a unimaginably lesser magnitude of people that #1 read esoteric books on ancient weapons and #2 care enough to be bothered by the super minor technical [and debatable] 'correct' terms' when they can JUST enjoy the story without worrying about the exact length of an arming sword vs a long dagger and how is 1632 a manuscript said that x was called y...


Jester David wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Jester David wrote:
thejeff wrote:

It's also worth considering that whether we're talking Golarion or not, the game is about simulating genre fantasy, not history. The fantasy genre, whether in books or movies or wherever, has rarely focused on detailed accuracy in weapons or armor.

Dredging up unfamiliar names, even if accurate, isn't going to help people coming in thinking of their favorite fantasy stories.

Why assume people's favorite fantasy stories use D&D terms?

Other than the massive crosspollination between fantasy literature and D&D over the last 40 years and D&D's roots in fantasy literature, there is no reason.

Nor am I wedded to D&D terms as much as countering the "but they were really called ..." argument.

Why should the cross-pollination only be one direction? Take the weapons names common to more historical fiction and bring those to Pathfinder. The names in use by fantasy fiction predate D&D by a good forty years.

After all, the audience for fantasy fiction is an order of magnitude larger than that of Pathfinder.

Again, I did not say "The weapon names used in D&D are sacrosanct and must be kept regardless."

I think that if the names are going to be changed, they should be looking at genre fantasy more than at historical documents. If "arming sword" really is common usage in the genre and most readers would expect it, then by all means replace longsword with it. Personally, I don't recall ever coming across it in genre fiction other than in discussions about what longswords should really be called.

Liberty's Edge

My general opinion is that Pathfinder 2 is NOT Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, nor is it D&D6. It doesn't have to hew to the sacred cows and traditions of D&D. It's not obligated to maintain the identifying quicks of that game system and is free to go off and do its own thing.

It can, for example, replace "longsword" with "arming sword", or go with historical terms.

It can drop Constitution and fold those checks in with Strength.

It could drop spells from the ranger to better fit the Aragorn/ Robin Hood/ Drizzt archetype. It can drop the paladin and replace it with the warpriest (or crusader), with the paladin being the lawful good subtype.

It can drop the nine alignments, perhaps dropping "Neutral". Perhaps going with a tag system: lawful, good, selfish, anarchistic, honourable, etc.

It can have magic that uses a spellpoint system by default.

It can have elves that are taller than humans, dwarves that emerge from the earth and are all male/genderless, and trolls that do not fear fire but turn to stone in the sun.

It can have dragons that all breathe fire. Or yellow desert dragons rather than blue.

*

Accurate historical names for weapons and armour just make sense. It turns history books into game resources and doesn't force you to have to "translate" those sources into game terms.

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:
I think that if the names are going to be changed, they should be looking at genre fantasy more than at historical documents.

I think they should look at what comes up when you Google "types of sword" or "sword types" and use that as a basis.


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Jester David wrote:
Accurate historical names for weapons and armour just make sense. It turns history books into game resources and doesn't force you to have to "translate" those sources into game terms.

Again, HOW many people #1 have those history books and #2 care enough to worry about the names.

Next question, WHO picks what history book is the correct source and which are incorrect? If you think that weapon/armor naming is something consistent across scholarly texts you are sadly mistaken.

Jester David wrote:
I think they should look at what comes up when you Google "types of sword" or "sword types" and use that as a basis.

Want to know what the first google type is for sword when looking at images? Anime... I look at sword types and see longword but no arming sword [as almost NO one lists sword pictures that way outside a text book]. For the average person, the fantasy is the important part and not exacting technical correctness.


Jester David wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I think that if the names are going to be changed, they should be looking at genre fantasy more than at historical documents.
I think they should look at what comes up when you Google "types of sword" or "sword types" and use that as a basis.

And that's our fundamental difference of opinion. I think it should be drawn more from fantasy than from history, because fantasy is what we're aiming for.

But just for amusement, based on a quick Google for "types of sword", the new primary sword types are

Quote:

Viking sword (early medieval spatha)

Seax.
Paramerion (Eastern Roman Byzantine sword)
Khmali sword (Early medieval Georgian sword)
Arming sword (high medieval knightly sword)
Longsword (late medieval) Estoc (thrust-oriented) ...
Curtana (a medieval term for a ceremonial sword)


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Wayne Reynolds wrote:
I’ve spoken at length with some of the Pathfinder design team about real life weapons and armour. Some of these real life aspects have been introduced to a few of the concept designs I've been working on for the new version of Pathfinder. I base many ideas on real life combined with imagination to transform the items into the realms of fantasy – which is what the game’s about.

Wayne Reynolds is my spirit animal.

Seriously though Wayne, that quote makes me really happy. That's all I ask for from any fantasy game.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
graystone wrote:
Jester David wrote:
Accurate historical names for weapons and armour just make sense. It turns history books into game resources and doesn't force you to have to "translate" those sources into game terms.

Again, HOW many people #1 have those history books and #2 care enough to worry about the names.

Next question, WHO picks what history book is the correct source and which are incorrect? If you think that weapon/armor naming is something consistent across scholarly texts you are sadly mistaken.

Jester David wrote:
I think they should look at what comes up when you Google "types of sword" or "sword types" and use that as a basis.
Want to know what the first google type is for sword when looking at images? Anime... I look at sword types and see longword but no arming sword [as almost NO one lists sword pictures that way outside a text book]. For the average person, the fantasy is the important part and not exacting technical correctness.

Based on YouTube, the number of people who either personally practice HEMA or are aware of it may be larger than the number of people who buy Core Rulebooks. So I'd say that the terms common in HEMA would be a good starting point for how to name things. That being said, as one of those people who actively practices HEMA (literally going to teach a class tonight), I think the names we have in PF1 work fine for me. I think the average fan of fantasy who is familiar with HEMA, which is a very rapidly growing group, would be a lot more concerned with the weird names than I am.

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