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


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Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
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 only follows if everyone that buys core is a HEMA member. Do you have number on how many of that actually ARE pathfinder players?

Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
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.

I think the 'average' fan wants something that's easy to use and recall. I question why HEMA would make any difference in that. After all, we're playing pathfinder not HEMA the game or Historical Europe and Dragons...

In my experience, anyone that cares enough for 'accurate' terms just refluffs an existing weapon and uses that other name. If they want to swing around an arming sword, well they can go ahead as long as they write long sword down and use it's stats.

Liberty's Edge

Anecdotally, I have two players in my circle who are involved in HEMA or ARMA, both of whom would prefer the name 'arming sword' and the like.

Also anecdotally nobody else in my circle would care about this change.

Therefore, if my group's attitude is at all typical, logically they should make the change. Because it would make some people happy and nobody else would care.

Now, I'm sure that's not 100% true and that some people would view such a change negatively. I'm not at all sure they outnumber those who'd welcome such change, though. Indeed, this thread seems solid evidence of those who'd like such a change outnumbering those who'd actively dislike it (both groups, I'm certain, vastly outnumbered by those who don't care).


On this subject one can reasonably feel assured that most will not care. :)


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Anecdotally, I have two players in my circle who are involved in HEMA or ARMA, both of whom would prefer the name 'arming sword' and the like.

Also anecdotally nobody else in my circle would care about this change.

Therefore, if my group's attitude is at all typical, logically they should make the change. Because it would make some people happy and nobody else would care.

Now, I'm sure that's not 100% true and that some people would view such a change negatively. I'm not at all sure they outnumber those who'd welcome such change, though. Indeed, this thread seems solid evidence of those who'd like such a change outnumbering those who'd actively dislike it (both groups, I'm certain, vastly outnumbered by those who don't care).

I suspect by far the largest number of people would respond "What's an 'arming' sword?" Or a Seax, or an estoc or any of a dozen other accurate names for various weapons.

To say nothing of the styles that are formally named for the cultures they were used in - Viking sword, for example - which would need renaming for the setting.
The vast majority of which should probably collapse into a couple of different categories for gaming use anyway.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Because it would make some people happy and nobody else would care.

But is that extra happiness worth the effort? If the 'wrong' term isn't enough to turn away anyone from the game and the majority don't care, that effort can be put elsewhere for truly make or break items.

For myself I'd actively dislike altering the names at this point. I'd have to relearn terms for what is IMO no gain for me.

The Mad Comrade wrote:
On this subject one can reasonably feel assured that most will not care. :)

I think those that move from pathfinder classic will when they see strange items on the list and not see their favorite weapon there. When someone can't find their favorite longsword they always use, they'll see it as a negative. They don't know that their longsword is now an arming sword because someone randomly thought is sounded a bit more accurate.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
graystone wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
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 only follows if everyone that buys core is a HEMA member. Do you have number on how many of that actually ARE pathfinder players?

Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
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.

I think the 'average' fan wants something that's easy to use and recall. I question why HEMA would make any difference in that. After all, we're playing pathfinder not HEMA the game or Historical Europe and Dragons...

In my experience, anyone that cares enough for 'accurate' terms just refluffs an existing weapon and uses that other name. If they want to swing around an arming sword, well they can go ahead as long as they write long sword down and use it's stats.

Seems like at least a good half of the HEMA people I meet are into D&D. So it could be relevant. That's just personal experience, though.

My point is that I could see a lot of new people whose knowledge of arms and armor comes from HEMA via learning these things off YouTube (Skallagrim has almost 1 million subscribers by now). It's a very rapidly growing cultural phenomenon, which it wouldn't hurt to consider.

Also, I've specifically said that I don't think they should bother to change several times now. I'm just making the point that there are reasonable arguments for why a change might be good. Changing these things to suit the times isn't a terrible idea. I just don't think it's super important at this juncture. Maybe another 10 years down the road.

You might want to try reading other's posts more carefully, though, as you directly selected a line to counterpoint that already answered your concern.


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Maybe shortsword should be named goblinsword to really get this conversation going. ;)


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Only weapon/armor name that really bugs me is the Lucerne Hammer. I don't know if any other weapons in PF1 are named for a place in Switzerland, but I know that one is. I'd appreciate a more generic name when PF2 publishes an equivalent weapon (if they do).


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
You might want to try reading other's posts more carefully, though, as you directly selected a line to counterpoint that already answered your concern.

I read it. I even went back a reread it... I'm not seeing what you're talking about. What exactly do you think you answered that I ignored?


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Paradozen wrote:
Only weapon/armor name that really bugs me is the Lucerne Hammer. I don't know if any other weapons in PF1 are named for a place in Switzerland, but I know that one is. I'd appreciate a more generic name when PF2 publishes an equivalent weapon (if they do).

I think we really need to bring back all the old AD&D polearms.

It's been a long time since I used a Bohemian Ear spoon or Glaive-guisarme-glaive-fouchard-fork. :)

And I suspect that'd be the reaction of most players to more accurate naming conventions - "I have no idea what this is. Lemme find something more familiar."


Changing over regarding nomenclature from AD&D 2e to 3e saw the introduction of quite a few brand-new items between the PHBs.

Chain shirts, half-plate, full plate, breastplate ... just going on memory in terms of armor, and I'm probably forgetting several.

Weaponry introduced dire flails, greatswords, shortspears, longspears, different weights of maces, missing weights of flails, greatclubs, repeating crossbows ... the list is fairly long.

Methinks that in the end we will adapt, survive and thrive whatever nomenclature changes occur in the transition to PF2e.


Paradozen wrote:
Only weapon/armor name that really bugs me is the Lucerne Hammer. I don't know if any other weapons in PF1 are named for a place in Switzerland, but I know that one is. I'd appreciate a more generic name when PF2 publishes an equivalent weapon (if they do).

Maybe Lucerne is or was a place in pathfinder. Or a person. Or maybe it's the name of a minor god of little used polearms! ;)

On other names, you're stuck with german, french or italian ones for the weapon... bec-de-faucon, fussstreithammer, or martello d'arme all sound worse IMO. A generic 'pole axe' is really too generic as that covers a WIDE variety of types: a pole axe with a hammer head is different than one with a spike and different from one with a hook.

Liberty's Edge

thejeff wrote:
I suspect by far the largest number of people would respond "What's an 'arming' sword?"

I'm equal confident every new Pathfinder player will also as "what's a "long sword"?"


Jester David wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I suspect by far the largest number of people would respond "What's an 'arming' sword?"
I'm equal confident every new Pathfinder player will also as "what's a "long sword"?"

A longer version of a short sword, naturally.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
graystone wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
You might want to try reading other's posts more carefully, though, as you directly selected a line to counterpoint that already answered your concern.
I read it. I even went back a reread it... I'm not seeing what you're talking about. What exactly do you think you answered that I ignored?

I was clearly referring to a subset of fans, you clearly ignored that distinction.

Also, as I mentioned, I have made it clear I don't think a change is necessary, yet you continue to argue as if I do. Although you didn't directly quote that part.


Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
graystone wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
You might want to try reading other's posts more carefully, though, as you directly selected a line to counterpoint that already answered your concern.
I read it. I even went back a reread it... I'm not seeing what you're talking about. What exactly do you think you answered that I ignored?
I was clearly referring to a subset of fans, you clearly ignored that distinction.

Not finding the distinction important doesn't mean I didn't read it: I disagreed on it's weight and set it aside. IMO, the average fan carries an infinitely greater weight than average HEMA fans so I directed the reply where I thought it mattered. Again, I read what you said and chose my words accordingly.

Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Also, as I mentioned, I have made it clear I don't think a change is necessary, yet you continue to argue as if I do. Although you didn't directly quote that part.

You make points I disagreed with and replied: that's what we do here. When you point out "the average fan of fantasy who is familiar with HEMA, which is a very rapidly growing group, would be a lot more concerned than I am", you're implying that while you might not care they may. In a similar way, I replied that i though that train of thought wouldn't matter. None it required YOUR thinking the change was needed.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

> I don't know if any other weapons in PF1 are named for a place in Switzerland

Probably not, but given that the characters don't speak English and don't call it a Lucerne Hammer, it follows pretty well that real world (mostly English) names are used for the weapons in the documents meant for players, and that the characters have names in their own languages, possibly named for function, gods, heroes, places, or however it is that they name things.


thejeff wrote:
Paradozen wrote:
Only weapon/armor name that really bugs me is the Lucerne Hammer. I don't know if any other weapons in PF1 are named for a place in Switzerland, but I know that one is. I'd appreciate a more generic name when PF2 publishes an equivalent weapon (if they do).

I think we really need to bring back all the old AD&D polearms.

It's been a long time since I used a Bohemian Ear spoon or Glaive-guisarme-glaive-fouchard-fork. :)

And I suspect that'd be the reaction of most players to more accurate naming conventions - "I have no idea what this is. Lemme find something more familiar."

They have been braining more polearms in. And frankly, I think that's a mistake. When you get down to it, most polearms are just slight varients of others. Some times it's hard to see where the classification of one ends and the other begins. And the differences are often rather small. Almost all of them are some mix of 1. Axe heads or cutting blade, 2. Spike, 3. Hook, 4. Hammer. There's only so many ways you can differentiate a 2 handed S/P weapon with reach. Why is the fauchard an exotic weapon with a high crit-range? Because it's a way to be something other than a halbard, or glaive, or bill. You really only need a handful of these things to cover all the ground.

Off the top of my head my list might be something like:
1) Halberd (it's the iconic polearm and very popular. Axe-head, top spike and back spike with reach).
2) Pollaxe (One of the quintessential knightly weapons. Currently this is basically mixed in with the halberd, but I'd differentiate it by a halbard having reach and a pollaxe not, and the pollaxe having a blunt head on the back. But this is just prefference and could easily be left out).
3) Glaive/Bill (classic blade on a stick, likely roll it in with guisarme versions to add a hook for dismounting and such)
4) Pole-hammer (fill the Lucern hammer, bec-de-corbin role of hammer and spike on a stick)
5) Mancatcher (a really weird one that doen't fit the normal pattern)

And I think that about covers it. Most other polearms are so similar to others that they don't really need their own listing. Partisan, Ransuer, spetum and Bohemian ear-spoon were basically all variants of a lugged spear (although some had cutting edges, so possibly could be spun out as their own thing). Voulge, close enough to a halberd to be mechanically the same. Fauchard fits in with the glaive and bill. Bardiche is really more of a flavor of greataxe. etc. Well I could potentially see a case for military fork, basically a trident with reach.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
graystone wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
graystone wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
You might want to try reading other's posts more carefully, though, as you directly selected a line to counterpoint that already answered your concern.
I read it. I even went back a reread it... I'm not seeing what you're talking about. What exactly do you think you answered that I ignored?
I was clearly referring to a subset of fans, you clearly ignored that distinction.

Not finding the distinction important doesn't mean I didn't read it: I disagreed on it's weight and set it aside. IMO, the average fan carries an infinitely greater weight than average HEMA fans so I directed the reply where I thought it mattered. Again, I read what you said and chose my words accordingly.

Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Also, as I mentioned, I have made it clear I don't think a change is necessary, yet you continue to argue as if I do. Although you didn't directly quote that part.
You make points I disagreed with and replied: that's what we do here. When you point out "the average fan of fantasy who is familiar with HEMA, which is a very rapidly growing group, would be a lot more concerned than I am", you're implying that while you might not care they may. In a similar way, I replied that i though that train of thought wouldn't matter. None it required YOUR thinking the change was needed.

Yeah, I can't help but notice that your arguments are actually tangential to mine. But honestly, even if I can see where a valid argument could be made, I think it's still rather silly as a whole. Either way, I doubt that this sort of thing is even remotely high on their list. Peace out. Smurf.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Is it worth having different rules for the whole great family of polearms? Like is it worth mechanically differntiating between a Bill, a Bill Hook, a Glaive, a Guisarme, a Glaive-Guisarme, a Fauchard, a Fauchard-Fork, a Lochaber Axe, a Halberd, a Voulge, a Military Fork, a Voulge-Guisarme, a Bec de Corbin, etc.

Like it seems like you could instead just have one stat block for polearm and let people describe them how they like. In Pathfinder people mostly just picked the one with good mechanics anyway.

I think that is a good way to go, but I would suggest starting with as many functional weapons as possible at various sizes to get the ball rolling, then say "choose any two or three from among the hand-and-a-half-sized weapons to put on your polearm." Halberd could be spear + battle axe, for example.

...or include polearms that are single-function and add a variant:

Bec de Corbins are multi-functional polearms. Choose whether to use the Bec de Corbin as an Awl Pike, Infantry Pick, or Oslop.
Bills are multi-functional polearms. Choose whether to use the Bill as a Crow Hammer, Fauchard, or Longspear.
Halberds are multi-functional polearms. Choose whether to use the Halberd as Awl Pike, Bardiche, or Infantry Pick.
Lucerne Hammers are multi-functional polearms. Choose whether to use the Lucerne Hammer as a Crow Hammer, Long Hammer, or Longspear.
Pollaxes are multi-functional polearms. Choose whether to use the Pollaxe as a Fauchard, Long Hammer, or Longspear.
Sparths are multi-functional polearms. Choose whether to use the Sparth as an Awl Pike, Bardiche, or Oslop.


Earl Grey wrote:
Maybe shortsword should be named goblinsword to really get this conversation going. ;)

Oh I found the evil character in the party!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

> Bec de Corbins are multi-functional polearms.

This chart of yours isn't complete until it loops. Like, you gotta make the glaive-guisarme able to be a glaive and a guisarme, and the guisarme able to be a guisarme-voulge, and the guisarme-voulge able to wrap back around to glaive-guisarme. Just circularly link that list.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Earl Grey wrote:
Maybe shortsword should be named goblinsword to really get this conversation going. ;)
Oh I found the evil character in the party!

They've just been misunderstood swords for all these years. If you get to know them, they might actually be ok to have in a party! ;P


I want some consistency.
I am fine with still having small sword, big sword and REALLY BIG sword as items. But it always clashed with me that you had fun fantasy weapons like spiked chain sitting next to something as mouthful as bardiche, which I am not even sure how you properly pronounce it. Is it french?

I think you should either have one or the other. If it has an axe head on a long stick, it is halberd. If it is a sword head on a long stick, it is a glaive. Simplify it a bit.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Envall wrote:

IBut it always clashed with me that you had fun fantasy weapons like spiked chain sitting next to something as mouthful as bardiche, which I am not even sure how you properly pronounce it. Is it french?

I think you should either have one or the other. If it has an axe head on a long stick, it is halberd. If it is a sword head on a long stick, it is a glaive. Simplify it a bit.

It is odd. I greatly prefer the historical weapons, and the other stuff is simply strange and I normally tolerate it unless it is problematic. The spiked chain pre-pathfinder was problematic because it was literally always causing problems. It interacted with a bunch of rules oddly, and it wasn't clear why this goofy length of chain was constantly on my tables doing something annoying, so I banned it. Pathfinder fixed all that- it's still a bit of an oddity, but it is now selected by character who want this exotic weapon that does exotic things, not because it has like three odd synergies with low level spells, positioning, and large characters.

Anyway, I don't want the historical weapons simplified, I'd like a system with more design space such that you can print a page of polearms and have them be meaningfully different. The 3.X stuff has that intention, but the specials don't always fit.


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cfalcon wrote:


Anyway, I don't want the historical weapons simplified, I'd like a system with more design space such that you can print a page of polearms and have them be meaningfully different. The 3.X stuff has that intention, but the specials don't always fit.

While I can appreciate the point, and would quite like more distinct weapons myself. I think part of the problem is that a lot of historical weapons really aren't all that different when you get down to it. Polearms are particularly messy, you'll see the same thing classified multiple ways by different museums and such. And really, is there much functional difference between an English Bill and an Italian bill? No, not really they both have a top spike, a back spike a cutting blade and a forward hook. The style is slightly different but I don't see enough difference to justify mechanical differences. Or a Voulge and a Halberd. Again, not really, axe blade, back spike and top spike all on a similar length shaft. Coincidentally both of these examples are at the Met and both are referred to as Halberds there (many polearms are just called halberds in lots of sources). And even halberds come in a bunch of different types. But they're all more or less the same functionality.

Likewise there are a whole bunch of dagger styles. From left to right Ballock dagger, Basilard, Quillon Dagger, Ear Dagger and Rondel Dagger. Even within these tyepes you find lots of variation in both hilts and blade. Some had double edged blades, some had single, some had a triangular blade with no cutting edge but just a thrusting point. Mechanically I don't think it matters. There's a point where they'd just be arbitrarily assigning mechanics to add a distinction. They already have done this in PF1 where the exact same weapon is covered more than once with different stats like the Switchblade knife and Spring Blade (one's martial and cheap with a 19-20 crit while the other is simple and more expensive with a crit only on a 20).

I think we should just focus on things with a significant difference and roll together the very similar ones. Otherwise it's distinction without a difference.

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