Let's take this opportunity to ditch some baggage with East Asian weapons and classes


Prerelease Discussion

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So, with the new article on the Fighter, it looks like there is mention of weapon group proficiency. Depending on how it plays out, I may get my wish for weapon proficiencies


TheFinish wrote:
I always thought Exotic-ness was more about stats than anything else? Like, a Falcata isn't exotic because it isn't from "Western Europe" (because it is, it's Spanish. Or Greek, if we go by the earlier Kopis), but rather because it's a battle-axe that's 19-20. The sword-breaker dagger, same thing. The katana isn't Exotic because it's from Asia, but because it's 18-20 on a 1d8 chassis and has an extra ability on top.

Katanas are only exotic to be used one handed. They're martial two handed. Just like the bastard sword. The way I see it they have the swords split into two main 'families' You've got the 19-20 crit range straight blades and the 18-20 crit range but one die type smaller damage curved blades. So you've got Short Sword and Kukri as the light martial version, Longsword and Scimitar as the one handed martial version, Greatsword and Falchion as the two handed martial version (the one damage die difference breaks down a little here particular for the small size version) and Bastard Sword and Katana as the exotic one handed or martial two handed version. This works for the most part, except katana is from a completely different culture than all the others (well so is the kukri but it's included in standard weapons because reasons), is locked away in a different list of "eastern weapons" and has the deadly feature.

The more I think about it the more I think they should just ditch the exotic category entirely.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
I always thought Exotic-ness was more about stats than anything else? Like, a Falcata isn't exotic because it isn't from "Western Europe" (because it is, it's Spanish. Or Greek, if we go by the earlier Kopis), but rather because it's a battle-axe that's 19-20. The sword-breaker dagger, same thing. The katana isn't Exotic because it's from Asia, but because it's 18-20 on a 1d8 chassis and has an extra ability on top.

Katanas are only exotic to be used one handed. They're martial two handed. Just like the bastard sword. The way I see it they have the swords split into two main 'families' You've got the 19-20 crit range straight blades and the 18-20 crit range but one die type smaller damage curved blades. So you've got Short Sword and Kukri as the light martial version, Longsword and Scimitar as the one handed martial version, Greatsword and Falchion as the two handed martial version (the one damage die difference breaks down a little here particular for the small size version) and Bastard Sword and Katana as the exotic one handed or martial two handed version. This works for the most part, except katana is from a completely different culture than all the others (well so is the kukri but it's included in standard weapons because reasons), is locked away in a different list of "eastern weapons" and has the deadly feature.

The more I think about it the more I think they should just ditch the exotic category entirely.

You forgot every single duelist's favorite, the rapier! But you are indeed, correct, that is generally how it goes down. And also, the Katana and the Bastard Sword aren't Two-Handed Martial weapons. They're One-Handed Exotic weapons treated as Martial when wielded with two hands. It's a nitpick, but it's an important distinction.

But the new Fighter blog talks about proficiency in groups, which, if they're anything like the old weapon training groups, means you'll just be proficient in all Heavy Blades, or all Light Blades, or what have you, and exoticness will most likely go away.


TheFinish wrote:


You forgot every single duelist's favorite, the rapier! But you are indeed, correct, that is generally how it goes down. And also, the Katana and the Bastard Sword aren't Two-Handed Martial weapons. They're One-Handed Exotic weapons treated as Martial when wielded with two hands. It's a nitpick, but it's an important distinction.

Good point on the distinction. I didn't include the rapier because I see it as existing outside of the two families, it's kind of it's own thing as a finesse weapon. It doesn't really have a two-handed martial counterpart (or a light, because finesse is already included in being light) but does have a 1 handed exotic that is usable as a martial two handed (but doesn't get finesse without the exotic feat) in the Estoc.


What proficiency is the Board with a nail in it? :p


ChibiNyan wrote:
What proficiency is the Board with a nail in it? :p

When you say Board with nails in it do you mean something like this?


kyrt-ryder wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
What proficiency is the Board with a nail in it? :p
When you say Board with nails in it do you mean something like this?

Nah, I was trying to be funny. I was referencing this:

THE WEAPON OF ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Squeakmaan wrote:
I'm pretty sure the katana is exotic because it has an 18-20 crit range and the Deadly special ability. Which makes it slightly better than it's closest analogue the Long Sword. Are there better Exotic Weapons, I tend to think so.

As I've written elsewhere, I'd like to see Paizo ditch the whole concept of 18-20 crit range weapons. If they're retained, I think all of them should be "exotic" weapons so that if someone wants to be proficient with such a weapon that they need to spend a feat in order to do so.


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pjrogers wrote:


As I've written elsewhere, I'd like to see Paizo ditch the whole concept of 18-20 crit range weapons. If they're retained, I think all of them should be "exotic" weapons so that if someone wants to be proficient with such a weapon that they need to spend a feat in order to do so.

We don't really know enough yet, but I'm getting the impression that all expanded crit ranges are gone. Crit is either a natural 20 (as long as it would hit otherwise, if it wouldn't then a 20 is just an auto-hit) or rolling 10 or more over the AC (also no confirm rolls). In place of expanded crits they seem to be giving some weapons abilities that do more damage on a crit (I think one was Deadly that did an extra 1d10 damage on crits). Not sure if there are things to make crits more likely, but that's kind of baked into the 10 over rule. A really good to hit bonus will give more crits than a bad one. Which makes sense as a skilled fighter should be able to get really good hits more often than an unskilled one.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Hythlodeus wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

For example, one think I recall reading about katanas is that they are superior to Western swords at slicing through unarmored opponents but inferior to them at hacking through heavy armor of the sort commonly worn in medieval Europe.

They really aren't, besides the fact that they're both equally good at hacking through armor. That is, they're both absolutely terrible at it and you should never try to do that. A curved sword may cut deeper due to the more extended blade contact, but that's about it.

Katanas aren't really better at anything, they just have that reputation because of being....well, exotic. In reality they're just okay swords, nothing special. So, I've no problem with the game treating them as martial weapons, so long as they aren't better than the other weapons in the class.

One does not hack with Katanas. One slices. Never hack. That's what European swords are for.

(That's the short, abridged and nicer version of a very long, earnest speech my old Sensei would have given you only for implicating Katanas are used the same way)

This is really a huge misrepresentation of how swords work in general. The technique is indeed fairly similar except for a few nuances.

Although, we may have drastically different definitions of the terms 'hack' and 'slice'.

katana technique

longsword technique

I personally only train with European swords, but I assure you, I can pick up a katana and fight with it with very little trouble. (except for it being so short)


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I understand why Katanas are exotic - and they should be considered an exotic weapon even for East Asia inspired campaigns.

Katanas require very careful handling. While it is a myth that Katanas are sharper than European counterparts, they are better at holding an edge; a counterpoint to this is improper usage of a katana can cause severe damage to said edge and the blade would deteriorate rapidly.

Likewise, katana required very specific techniques that are pretty much unique to the weapon...because katanas themselves are not durable weapons. They don't have a whole lot of flexibility, as such if you use them like other swords you risk severe damage to the weapon.

Most other blades are more durable. Yes, with improper technique you can really put the hurt on a longsword, but a katana really is on a different level. Without precise care and technique, it will deteriorate rapidly.

I can't really defend most other East Asia weaponry's exotic status, but even in an Tian Xia campaign a Katana would be pretty exotic. I'd wager a sword such as a Jian or a Dao would be more common.


Pathfinder katanas aren't supposed to be 'real' katanas, any more than Pathfinder Ninjas are supposed to accurately represent historical Japanese ninjas.

Pathfinder katanas never lose their edge! They can cut a man in two in a single blow! They are the ultimate weapon, fit for the ultimate warrior!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

If bastard swords are martial two handed and exotic one handed, then katanas should be too. OP's problems aren't really related to katanas, but there's definitely quite a few eastern weapons that end up exotic because they aren't in the standard fantasy milieu of weaponry.

I'd love to see the exotic weapons either work more similarly to the bastard sword and katana- real world weapons used in a mechanically advantageous and historically uncommon but definitely present way- or instead become a pool composed exclusively of the strange fantasy concepts that have no real world equivalent. I'd love to, for instance, blanket ban exotic weapons, knowing that I'm keeping all the real world weapons, and wiping out all the ahistorical "double weapons" in my game. Having a weapon that is out of a comic book and would never function in real life share space with a falcata, and having mechanical implications from that, is very frustrating to me.

It would also be nice if the "pool" of "weapon power" was a little bit more diverse, so that all the templates don't fill up pretty much immediately.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
What proficiency is the Board with a nail in it? :p

would fall under club or light mace but not under mace windu


It would appear that proficiency is group based now anyway, so I'm not so sure 'exotic weapons' are even a thing.


Albatoonoe wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I figure the right way to do it is with ancestries, since a weapon used by people in your neck of the woods is not "exotic" to you, whereas a weapon in common usage halfway around the world would be "exotic" to you if you've never seen one before.

But it's really not necessary (or appropriate) to mythologize "Eastern" weapons and armor these days.

That is one way you could do it, but I still think "exotic" should be limited to those specialized and hard-to-use weapons, like whips and nunchaku. The Falcata, for instance, should get out of the exotic category.

The falcata should get out of exotic proficiency, but then should get either 20 x3 crit or 19 x2 crit, in pf1 terms.

Katana is also a bad example. Katana are martial weapons, just like bastard swords. It needs an exotic prof only to use it one handed, like the bastard sword, because it is better than other 1h weapons like the longsword:

SRD katana wrote:
Characters can use a katana two-handed as a martial weapon, but must take the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (katana) feat to use it one-handed.

If those weapons are not going to be exotic (which I agree), then they should not be better than other martial weapons other wise, a katana should not be martial 1h, not even for Eastern characters, for same reasons a bastard sword is not for European-like characters


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Porridge wrote:

I share the hope that they’ll stop slapping the “exotic weapon” tag (and accompanying feat tax) on any weapon that originated outside of medieval Europe.

Doing so makes such weapons something strange, unusual, or abnormal. Not just strange, unusual or abnormal for people living in European-inspired locales, but strange, unusual or abnormal as a matter of objective fact (according to the rules).

This isn’t Paizo’s fault; it’s a holdover from the early days of D&D. But having this kind of casual ethnocentrism baked into the rules is kind of embarrassing now.

This is spot on.

It's also highly likely that the solution will be found in the ancestry mechanic. Ancestry has been billed as replacing both race (human, dwarf, elf...) and ethnicity (Varisian, Chellaxian...).

Use of specific weapons and weapon groups will likely be specified through proficiencies related to ancestry and class. That way a fighter from Varisia and a fighter from Vudra or Tian will have a slightly different set of abilities, and gear loadout.

I'm hoping that we see some narrow specificities come out of this ancestry mechanic, but with broadened access to adding more proficiencies as a character levels up.


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Steelfiredragon wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
What proficiency is the Board with a nail in it? :p
would fall under club or light mace but not under mace windu

If something else had fallen under mace windu, he might have survived the prequels.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Steelfiredragon wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
What proficiency is the Board with a nail in it? :p
would fall under club or light mace but not under mace windu
If something else had fallen under mace windu, he might have survived the prequels.

Unless it was a nail with a board in it :P


The weapon categories (Simple/Martial/Exotic) are essentially meaningless anyway, and no weapon proficiency is worth a feat (other than some niche builds).

Maybe it will be more important with the increased emphasis on the weapon damage dice (see new Power Attack) but in 3.PF, it doesn't really matter whether the Big Dumb Fighter is rolling a d6 or a d12.


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Matthew Downie wrote:

Pathfinder katanas aren't supposed to be 'real' katanas, any more than Pathfinder Ninjas are supposed to accurately represent historical Japanese ninjas.

Pathfinder katanas never lose their edge! They can cut a man in two in a single blow! They are the ultimate weapon, fit for the ultimate warrior!

But The Ultimate Warrior is an unarmed Combat Maneuver Specialist

Dark Archive

Honestly, in this case, I rather like the 5e way of handling it.. though it could be put in the PHB instead of the DMG.. but basically, they just say.. go ahead and give it a flavor if you like.

The Katana is a Longsword (or in Pathfinder more likely a Bastard Sword) that looks different. Mechanically it is the same. A Kama is a Sickle reflavored. Nunchucks are a flail. etc..

There's no reason to create specialized versions of these eastern weapons and giving them exotic proficiencies just because of that. Sure, we can say a Katana is used differently than a Longsword or a Bastardsword.. but then those two are also used differently than eachother, a greatsword differently from that, a scimitar, a rapier.. they all have rather distinct ways of using them. If we are giving fighters a broad sweeping range of weapons than there's no real reason to exclude the eastern weapons from that either. We don't go down the rabbit hole of: Is he a fencer, okay.. he gets only these proficiencies. Is he a Maul user, then these ones.. because they're all similar enough. It's just all martial weapons.

If a fighter can effectively use a spear, bow, knife, rapier, longsword, flail and hammer.. just to name a small number... adding Katana to that mix is not likely to break things.

Silver Crusade

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Hythlodeus wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

For example, one think I recall reading about katanas is that they are superior to Western swords at slicing through unarmored opponents but inferior to them at hacking through heavy armor of the sort commonly worn in medieval Europe.

They really aren't, besides the fact that they're both equally good at hacking through armor. That is, they're both absolutely terrible at it and you should never try to do that. A curved sword may cut deeper due to the more extended blade contact, but that's about it.

Katanas aren't really better at anything, they just have that reputation because of being....well, exotic. In reality they're just okay swords, nothing special. So, I've no problem with the game treating them as martial weapons, so long as they aren't better than the other weapons in the class.

One does not hack with Katanas. One slices. Never hack. That's what European swords are for.

(That's the short, abridged and nicer version of a very long, earnest speech my old Sensei would have given you only for implicating Katanas are used the same way)

One does not hack with European swords either, and many of the European blades were far more versatile than the Katana having more points of attack. They aren't just bladed "clubs"


I very much like the fantasy aspects of this stuff.
My games are cliche quasi-euro-centric.
And katanas are simply awesome swords. I get that this is just about as unrealistic as fire breathing dragons. But, I also use fire breathing dragons.

If someone in my game wanted to play an eastern swordsman character, then I'd first presume they would likely happily take exotic weapon so that their super-awesome-not-at-all-real-world-bad-ass-as-all-get-out sword is mechanically better. If they tell me my presumption is wrong then I wouldn't hesitate to let them have a "common" long sword which just happens to look exactly like one of those super-awesome-not-at-all-real-world-bad-ass-as-all-get-out katana things. I certainly would not tax them for having culturally appropriate gear.

Likewise, I'm fine with kama being "exotic" just because I don't want every fighter to be able to trample the monk's narrative space. If somebody wants to play a european "sickle fighter" then that would be a one off. It has never happened. I don't see it happening anytime soon. But for arguments sake, if someone did, I would let them and just use dagger stats and skip the feat tax. The fact that this guy is an oddball 1 in a million exception doesn't trample monks.

There is plenty of fantasy cliche to fall back on and this makes for a great narrative space for cool and awesome things from amazing places the PCs have probably never seen but only heard about in stories. Replacing that with "nothing really any different" is just step backward.

I want the euroish homeland to be the default and everywhere else to be defined by being more awesome and/or more terrifying.


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IMO exotic should be reserved for actually exotic weapons, that aren't really used like any other weapon, like the nunchaku, the kusarigama, and the two-bladed sword. And maybe even strange fantasy weapons like body sized chakrams and whip swords (think SoulCalibur).


Would it help if the names were:

Simple weapons
Complex weapons
Labyrinthine weapons

Exotic=/= Asian

It means it has better weapon properties and thus makes it harder to use.


BryonD wrote:


Likewise, I'm fine with kama being "exotic" just because I don't want every fighter to be able to trample the monk's narrative space. If somebody wants to play a european "sickle fighter" then that would be a one off. It has never happened. I don't see it happening anytime soon. But for arguments sake, if someone did, I would let them and just use dagger stats and skip the feat tax. The fact that this guy is an oddball 1 in a million exception doesn't trample monks.

Only problem with that is monks suck with a kama. Reserving monk weapons for monks is a nice idea, but only if the monk is likely to actually use those weapons past 1st level.

Also Sickle is a simple weapon with the exact same stats as the monks-only Kama. So...yeah.

Also, while your own setting is up to you, making specifically Asian weapons monk-specific in core also presumes that all monks in the setting are Fantasy-Asian, which while a common trope, really doesn't need to be the case at all. Golarion's monks are ubiquitous enough now to where we should be able to stop assuming they're all from the same area.

Contributor

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I think what the OP is trying to say is that they want weapons to be (A) better balanced against one another, and (B) weapons to have a "wielding complexity" that reflects their difficulty of use in their native culture, rather than the current Eurocentric approach.

I think the OP's example of a sai is a better example then that of a katana. Katanas are technically two-handed martial weapons if you don't have training with their one-handed use. That seems reasonable to me, personally. However, something like the kunai or the kami as Exotic Weapons, which are basically just daggers and sickles, respectively, certain feels off.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Darius Alazario wrote:
Honestly, in this case, I rather like the 5e way of handling it..

That's also the 3.0 way of handling it. They told us way back then that the katana was bastard sword, and then later they needed to fix it because no one really bought that. This is just more of the homegenization, where I can choose on a dial:

Choose: [more about the edge] [more about the tip] [blunt]
Choose: [simple] [martial] [exotic]
Choose: [light] [one handed] [two handed]

And then spin a weapon out without even knowing its name.

Darius Alazario wrote:
go ahead and give it a flavor if you like.

You could homogenize even more, but that's not what I want to do when I'm picking stuff out for NPCs or PCs. I want a choice that matters and maps to something plausibly real and historic. Why have this convoluted weapon system with a million pages that have to be reprinted every few years. What gameplay depth is being bought with all this complexity if the goal of real world weaponry is being abandoned, etc. etc.

To me that system is a huge red flag. It also means that eventually someone will actually make the katana in the system, because we know the katana and the longsword have different capabilities and are wielded differently in history, and then all the words in the core rulebook about weapon equivalencies go out the window- and if there's not enough development space in between the existing weapons to slot the new ones, they just end up more powerful, and we're right back where we started.

Darius Alazario wrote:
The Katana is a Longsword (or in Pathfinder more likely a Bastard Sword) that looks different. Mechanically it is the same. A Kama is a Sickle reflavored. Nunchucks are a flail. etc..

Why is a longsword a longsword then? Why not a slot for "one-handed slashing martial", with a list of equivalencies? Why not do this for every one of them?

I mean, everyone knows why: we want to look up longsword. Same reason we want to look up katana.

This is also why nobody wants to hear "your samurai is a fighter" or "your ninja is a thief" or "your tribal witch doctor is a cleric". These entire point of dividing things a million ways is to provide exciting choices and make everything distinct.

Additional edit:
It's been the standard operating procedure to ignore stuff outside of the main fantasy kit at launch, and then sell splatbooks to add it back in. By failing to future proof, we see the exact same mistake happen over and over. It just kinda sounds like 2ed will do the exact same thing.


The samurai makes a good Fighter archetype though. Likewise for ninja with Rogue, and witch doctor with Cleric or Druid. They don't need to be entire separate classes and bloat the game; they are just fine as flavorful expansive archetypes.

I personally would be just fine with a generic weapon system, and then a table of sample weapons built with that system. So you can still go look up longsword or katana on a chart, and see its build under that system.

Actual exotic weapons would then in some way lie outside that system, either by being built like a normal weapon with an extra "weird ability" or just by being built with more points than a normal weapon.


A Ninja Errant wrote:


Only problem with that is monks suck with a kama....

Yeah, you are correct. I mean, I use a fairly common houserule that lets monk unarmed damage apply and the weapons be flavor. Takes a little bit of agreeableness from players not to abuse a few corner cases, but no big deal. In the end they don't tend to use the weapons anyway.

so, yeah, that point is pretty rhetorical. It still works for me.


*Thelith wrote:

Would it help if the names were:

Simple weapons
Complex weapons
Labyrinthine weapons

Exotic=/= Asian

It means it has better weapon properties and thus makes it harder to use.

Asian is a subset of exotic if you start with a quasi-eurocentric assumption.

I do fully agree that anything costing a feat should provide a corresponding bump. But using a feat barrier to draw a flavor distinction isn't a problem so long as the players aren't be denied anything. IMO, saying that a knight isn't familiar with swinging chucks isn't really denying anything. (And if they just really desperately want to play some oddball backstory I'll be easy to talk into ignoring the feat in exchange for a cool character hook)

If someone is running a more mixed bag setting, then certainly some weapons should be reclassified.

It is really easy to have it both ways and switch back and forth as the campaigns need.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

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My favourite exotic weapons are the ones that treat the Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat as a means to 'unlock' abilities the weapon has.

Like the bastard sword becoming 1 handed or the hooked axe; which can be used as a battleaxe as a martial weapon but gains the disarm, performance, and trip qualities with EWP.

I'd like to see something like that for 2E. More than just "it's a *insert weapon here* but better", and certainly more than "it's a weapon from a far away place"


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By the way, my gold star rating for exotic weaponry is the Meteor Hammer. It is an actual unique weapon with some unusual uses mechanically.


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James F.D. Graham wrote:

My favourite exotic weapons are the ones that treat the Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat as a means to 'unlock' abilities the weapon has.

Like the bastard sword becoming 1 handed or the hooked axe; which can be used as a battleaxe as a martial weapon but gains the disarm, performance, and trip qualities with EWP.

I'd like to see something like that for 2E. More than just "it's a *insert weapon here* but better", and certainly more than "it's a weapon from a far away place"

I agree. I love the way the Doru was designed to improve with higher level proficiencies.


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BryonD wrote:

Asian is a subset of exotic if you start with a quasi-eurocentric assumption.

I do fully agree that anything costing a feat should provide a corresponding bump. But using a feat barrier to draw a flavor distinction isn't a problem so long as the players aren't be denied anything. IMO, saying that a knight isn't familiar with swinging chucks isn't really denying anything. (And if they just really desperately want to play some oddball backstory I'll be easy to talk into ignoring the feat in exchange for a cool character hook)

If someone is running a more mixed bag setting, then certainly some weapons should be reclassified.

It is really easy to have it both ways and switch back and forth as the campaigns need.

But the core book is being written with Golarion in mind this time around, and the Inner Sea setting really isn't that Eurocentric. Characters of Tian and Vudrani origin pop up all the time, even if the story isn't leaving Avistan. Making weapons from those cultures "exotic" serves only to unnecessarily "other" them.

I agree with earlier posts that the exotic category should be reserved for trickier/more niche weapons or to unlock additional functions of regular martial weapons.


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James F.D. Graham wrote:

My favourite exotic weapons are the ones that treat the Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat as a means to 'unlock' abilities the weapon has.

Like the bastard sword becoming 1 handed or the hooked axe; which can be used as a battleaxe as a martial weapon but gains the disarm, performance, and trip qualities with EWP.

I'd like to see something like that for 2E. More than just "it's a *insert weapon here* but better", and certainly more than "it's a weapon from a far away place"

I'd honestly like that as the gold standard for all weapons generally. Have basically every weapon improve in its traits with increasing proficiency, from the flail to the longsword to the humble dagger.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
James F.D. Graham wrote:

My favourite exotic weapons are the ones that treat the Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat as a means to 'unlock' abilities the weapon has.

Like the bastard sword becoming 1 handed or the hooked axe; which can be used as a battleaxe as a martial weapon but gains the disarm, performance, and trip qualities with EWP.

I'd like to see something like that for 2E. More than just "it's a *insert weapon here* but better", and certainly more than "it's a weapon from a far away place"

I'd honestly like that as the gold standard for all weapons generally. Have basically every weapon improve in its traits with increasing proficiency, from the flail to the longsword to the humble dagger.

This would address many, many problems we're seeing people try to fix on the boards currently. It would certainly address the "Fix the spear" thread. Having the spears graduate to weapons with more advanced options would be completely awesome.

Then combining this with the desire to see "monk" weapons maintain their unique role, certain classes could gain additional benefits (in addition to those unlocked through rising Proficiency) — like weapons with the Monk ability gaining the Agile quality, to reinforce the "flurry" mechanic — would be awesome.

Dark Archive

cfalcon wrote:
Darius Alazario wrote:
The Katana is a Longsword (or in Pathfinder more likely a Bastard Sword) that looks different. Mechanically it is the same. A Kama is a Sickle reflavored. Nunchucks are a flail. etc..

Why is a longsword a longsword then? Why not a slot for "one-handed slashing martial", with a list of equivalencies? Why not do this for every one of them?

I mean, everyone knows why: we want to look up longsword. Same reason we want to look up katana....

Ultimately, what I am saying is they should be viewed and treated that way... the longsword, in essence, is a specific example of this type of weapon. But, frankly, the entry One handed slashing martial weapon is bland and uninspiring so they use a specific example. Rather than making endless specific examples if there's a specific weapon you want, find the closest match and then use that but rename it.


In real life a katana is pretty much equivalent to a longsword (slightly different proportions and properties in cutting and thrusting not withstanding). The thing is that in Pathfinder a longsword is not a longsword. What pathfinder calls a bastard sword is a longsword in real life. The one-handed sword that is referred to as a longsword in the game is really just a sword, or arming sword.

So katanas being in the exotic category makes sense as long as bastard swords are also in the exotic category.

EDIT: I guess Darius already pointed all this out.

Dark Archive

Threeshades wrote:

In real life a katana is pretty much equivalent to a longsword (slightly different proportions and properties in cutting and thrusting not withstanding). The thing is that in Pathfinder a longsword is not a longsword. What pathfinder calls a bastard sword is a longsword in real life. The one-handed sword that is referred to as a longsword in the game is really just a sword, or arming sword.

So katanas being in the exotic category makes sense as long as bastard swords are also in the exotic category.

EDIT: I guess Darius already pointed all this out.

I am by no means a sword buff or anything.. but I believe most of the RPG accepted weapons technically don't exist. I don't think there's a weapon that anyone called a Longsword in history.. and what are Shortswords in games are closer to a Broadsword as used in Rome or Greece. And like you said, what gaming calls Longsword is more like just a Sword from the European knights. Bastard swords, I believe, did exist but were also called Hand-and-a-half sword. Greatwords had more specific names like the Claymore... there's tons of examples of this around. So I think people should feel less tied to the name and more to the mechanics of it and then give it the name and appearance suited to their character and setting.

Similarly, I'd want to extend this a bit to say the Goblin Dogslicer. I don't think it should be considered a weapon unto itself but more a Scimitar with the Fragile condition. But at the very least it does at least fall in the Martial category so there's no special proficiency for a fighter (at least) to pick this up and use it if need be.


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Darius Alazario wrote:
I am by no means a sword buff or anything.. but I believe most of the RPG accepted weapons technically don't exist. I don't think there's a weapon that anyone called a Longsword in history.. and what are Shortswords in games are closer to a Broadsword as used in Rome or Greece. And like you said, what gaming calls Longsword is more like just a Sword from the European knights. Bastard swords, I believe, did exist but were also called Hand-and-a-half sword. Greatwords had more specific names like the Claymore... there's tons of examples of this around. So I think people should feel less tied to the name and more to the mechanics of it and then give it the name and appearance suited to their character and setting.

The problem is simply that the game terminology deviates from reality and more and more people are noticing this. And Ironically those deviations are not present when it comes to weapons added after the core rulebook, they're only present in the "baggage" left over from Gygax.

Anyways on to what you said about swords:

The word longsword was not widely used in history, but we do have words that existed to differentiate longswords from one-handed swords, such as claymore. Every language called their longsword something different. The english called it a two-handed sword in the 16th century, and used bastard sword separately to refer to large swords, though perhaps not necessarily two-handed ones? I'm not sure.

And the romans didn't REALLY call any sword a "broad sword", gladius just meant "sword", but spatha was derived from the greek word for spade, which in turn meant "wide blade", though ironically the spatha is thinner than roman or greek swords.

As for the greeks, Xiphos meant "sword" and derived from egyptian most likely, Kopis meant "cutter", and Makhaira is a modern term applied to the swords, it's not an ancient term.

Claymores are not greatswords. Like I said before, a claymore is a longsword. A greatsword is a polearm sized sword longer than a longsword. Though this brings up something interesting. Claymore used to mean a one-handed, basket hilt broadsword for a while.

Throughout history sword terminology wasn't the same in different times and places, but it is the same now in English. The game doesn't name the majority of weapons incorrectly, from the Katana, to the Lucerne Hammer, to the Glaive-Guisarme, it's clearly striving for historicity, it even correctly uses the name Nodachi instead of Dai-katana. But despite this it still uses outdated gaming terminology for a very small handful of its weapons for no reason other than it's what D&D used.

Even video games don't do this anymore. In the Witcher 3 two-handed swords are properly identified as longswords, and one-handed swords in Skyrim and Pillars of Eternity are just called swords.

For the thousands of steps forwards Pathfinder took in historically accurate weapons, it still keeps its feet in the mud when it comes to Longswords and Falchions.


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Darius Alazario wrote:


I am by no means a sword buff or anything.. but I believe most of the RPG accepted weapons technically don't exist. I don't think there's a weapon that anyone called a Longsword in history.. and what are Shortswords in games are closer to a Broadsword as used in Rome or Greece. And like you said, what gaming calls Longsword is more like just a Sword from the European knights. Bastard swords, I believe, did exist but were also called Hand-and-a-half sword. Greatwords had more specific names like the Claymore... there's tons of examples of this around. So I think people should feel less tied to the name and more to the mechanics of it and then give it the name and appearance suited to their character and setting.

Similarly, I'd want to extend this a bit to say the Goblin Dogslicer. I don't think it should be considered a weapon unto itself but more a Scimitar with the Fragile condition. But at the very least it does at least fall in the Martial category so there's no special proficiency for a fighter (at least) to pick this up and use it if need be.

I am a sword buff, but by no means an expert, just a guy who spends a lot of time on the internet. Sword terminology is a serious mess. Most types of sword were simply called 'sword' in the period of their use. Longsword /was/ used, but in different ways. Sometimes to describe technique others to describe a weapon (which would be a Bastard Sword in pathfinder terms), other times to describe a rapier. A lot of regional sword types like the Ottoman Kilij, Persian Shamshir, Indian Tulwar and Arab Saif, are just the local language's term for sword. (These examples are also all included under the Pathfinder term Scimitar which is probably a corruption of Shamshir).

Here's a good blog post about the problematic history of the term Longsword. I posted about this on another thread that faded off the first page.

Other sword terms are equally problematic and mostly modern. But there is a modern usage which is distinct from the usage Pathfinder uses (which is based off of D&D which was based on some old and often flawed Victorian sources). The current usage among HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) practitioners, historians, collectors and the like uses Arming Sword to refer to the one-handed medieval straight sword that PF calls a Longsword, Longsword is used for what PF calls a bastard sword (and confusingly Bastard Sword is often considered a sub-type of longsword with a shorter blade and hilt, and in period the term was used for any weird sword). I'm not certain but I think the Scottish Claymore is often grouped in more with longsword than a greatsword but I'm not sure. Greatsword usually refers to really large Renaissance era swords like the German Zweihander/bidenhander, Italian Spandone and Spanish Montante. Broad Sword is reserved for later types of sword, the basket hilted, double bladed swords of the early modern era (their one bladed relatives being called Backswords). To confuse things even more there is a Scottish broadsword often called a Claymore (including during it's time in use) that is different than the old two handed one.

Rapiers don't escape the confusion. Normally these days rapier refers to the thrusting swords with very long (generally over 40 inches or 100 centimeters) blades and complex hilts of various styles (like swept hilt, Pappenheimer and cup-hilt). But early on it was used to refer to a sword with a blade more like the arming swords but with some more hand protection. These days this type tends to be called Side Sword to differentiate it from the 'true' or 'fully developed' rapier. Even later the rapier evolved into a much shorter lighter sword known as the Smallsword (which didn't even have a cutting edge but a triangular hollow-ground blade), but this was still sometimes called a rapier at the time and is often confused with it in the modern era. Smallswords replaced the rapier in most places except spain where they kept using rapiers for a few more centuries. The modern fencing foil started as a training weapon for the smallsword, and a lot of those 'rapier' fights you see in old movies were often with a smallsword or foil. Rapiers aren't quite so fast or light. They're big and weigh about as much as a medieval arming sword. Archeologists even got in on muddling things by referring to a type of bronze age sword as rapiers which has no relation to any of the others other than being swords.

Then there are things like Falchion which was a one handed sword that for some reason PF uses to refer to a two handed one (most likely to fill a niche of being the high-crit range lower normal damage equivilant of the greatsword the way the scimitar is to longsword). A correct one-handed falchion would probably be mechanically pretty similar to the current scimitar.

And this isn't even touching on the problems with pathfinder's armor names. Basically they're almost all wrong. Like really wrong.


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Oh, another thing that adds confusion to greatswords is the existance of Bearing Swords. These were extra-large (and heavy) swords intended to carried in front of processions as a symbol, not an actual weapon. These don't really mess with the terms, but our understanding of the swords. Because they're often miss-identified as greatswords, which gave rise to the myth of 20 pound swords and such. Greatswords intended for combat use seem to have averaged about 7 pounds, while the bearing swords could be well over twice that.

I like to geek out about swords, does it show? ;)


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
The modern fencing foil started as a training weapon for the smallsword, and a lot of those 'rapier' fights you see in old movies were often with a smallsword or foil. Rapiers aren't quite so fast or light.

The PF Rapier is basically a fencing foil instead of a rapier, that's another thing I forgot to gripe about.


Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
The modern fencing foil started as a training weapon for the smallsword, and a lot of those 'rapier' fights you see in old movies were often with a smallsword or foil. Rapiers aren't quite so fast or light.
The PF Rapier is basically a fencing foil instead of a rapier, that's another thing I forgot to gripe about.

I'm not sure. I could see them thinking foil or smallsword, but it seems to work well enough for an actual rapier in my mind. It's certainly what I think of when I use one. Finesse is kind of a crude mechanic to get the idea across. Then of course back in the 3.0 PHB I think it was that they showed a curved sword that they called a rapier. *facepalms* But artists almost never get weapons or armor right, often intentionally.

Over in the spear thread someone mentioned an idea of giving more reach categories, to represent something like a spear that has reach over most swords but doesn't quite do the 10' thing. Rapier would be a good one to have bumped up one category from arming sword. I doubt we'll see something like this but maybe could be done with one of the weapon qualities they've been introducing.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
I'm not sure. I could see them thinking foil or smallsword, but it seems to work well enough for an actual rapier in my mind. It's certainly what I think of when I use one. Finesse is kind of a crude mechanic to get the idea across. Then of course back in the 3.0 PHB I think it was that they showed a curved sword that they called a rapier. *facepalms* But artists almost never get weapons or armor right, often intentionally.

Yeah, the game art shows really short blades when it's supposed to be showing rapiers, combining that with the fact that it's lighter than a 1-handed sword and can't cut at all, I think the developers intend them to be short and have no edge.

Doktor Weasel wrote:
Over in the spear thread someone mentioned an idea of giving more reach categories, to represent something like a spear that has reach over most swords but doesn't quite do the 10' thing. Rapier would be a good one to have bumped up one category from arming sword. I doubt we'll see something like this but maybe could be done with one of the weapon qualities they've been introducing.

I like this a lot, and it's another reason to use meters. In HERO they do that, where they use meters instead of feet, so weapons are divided into:

  • Small weapons, which don’t provide any significant extra Reach; this includes daggers, hatchets, most natural weaponry like claws and fangs, and unarmed attacks.
  • Medium weapons, which extend the user’s Reach by +1m. This includes most weapons, such as swords, axes, maces, hammers, picks, and clubs.
  • Long weapons, which extend the user’s Reach by +2m. This includes the shorter polearms, spears, and similar hafted weapons.
  • Extra Long weapons, which extend the user’s Reach by +3m or more. This includes the longer polearms, spears, lances, and similar hafted weapons.


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    What I would like to see is a weapon table that goes:
    Light sword - weight 2lb, damage 1d6 (rapier, short sword, scimitar, wakisashi etc) May be used with finesse.
    One -handed sword - weight 4lbs, damage 1d8 (long sword, broadsword, falchion etc)
    Two handed sword - weight 8lb, damage 2d6 (greatsword, no-datchi etc), add 1.5 x str bonus, cannot be used in 1 hand

    Then it is up to the player to decide if his d8 weapon is a D&D long sword, a Tien katana or a historically correct arming sword, but all that is fluff.


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    Gonna have to disagree with the whole generic weapon thing. I actually like having the diversity in choice. And if anything, PF2 sounds like it is going in the other direction. Scimitars now have a reduction in iterative attack penalties against multiple targets, for instance. If anything, I see this as an opportunity to make every weapon more unique by giving them unique abilities.

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