Jump to content

What happened to bastard swords in Glorantha?


Bren

Recommended Posts

"We do this by making our game world the best simulation it can be" I disagree with this, in many cases too much simulation actually detracts from the immersion. One example would be massive info dumps in novels, which while making the reader well-aware of the details of the world, i.e. improving the simulation, yet for most of us end up taking away the immersion. Another would be Monet, if you've seen his paintings and visited his cottage, you know what a wonderful evocation of the gardens comes from his paintings, far superior for me to a photo, but in terms of simulation, not really. Now, everyone has their own scale on this, some people hate simulation with a passion, others adore every last word of the info dump, each to their own! 

But Jeff doesn't feel that bastard swords fit into Glorantha and neither did Greg, so that means if you end up writing something for Chaosium, don't give the Orlanthi chieftain a bastard sword skill. For all of the rest of us, that just means we add a new sword skill if we want that does 1D10+1 etc. which is a truly tiny YGWV.

Now, it would be interesting to see from people who actually know their stuff some info on how to make Glorantha truly Bronze Age as a variant Glorantha for people like Ali who like the Bronze Age thing. What goes, what needs to come in, but it's almost certainly a niche thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to tell you that no matter the gaming group, in my mind it is always Bronze Age or earlier.  I fully acknowledge that the Lunar Empire has been through almost as many reincarnations as the4 Goddess herself, but it still has an unmistakable Roman feel to it, and for all the attempts to shed the Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian setting of the Heortlings, it is problematic since Greg wrote them that way!

Possibly the most accessible guide to the material culture is our friend Professor Oliver Dickenson's "The Aegean Bronze Age" (ISBN 0-521-45664-9), although of course, that is if you are happy with the Aegean context!  Along with that would go Chadwick's "The Mycenaean World" (0-521-29037-6), but surpassing both by way of pure literary sources, "Documents in Mycenaean Greek" by the majestic Ventris himself and Chadwick (978-1-107-50341-0).

For the Ancient Near East (so called!) Kuhrt's two volumes (0-415-16763-9 and 0-415-16764-7) are a good accompaniment to the incomparable "Ancient Near Eastern Texts" by Pritchard (069103503-2).

For Egypt, the oddity "Daily life of the Egyptian gods" has some interesting inspirations, by Meeks and Favard-Meeks. (0-7126-6515-3)

For Neolithic societies, like Balazar, "Malta, Prehistory and Temples" by Trump (David NOT Donald) (99909-93-94-7).

For India, the Vedas are still the best and most magnificent source documents possible, especially since Glorantha accepts the supernatural nature of so much of them.    

Feel free to take out the Bastard blade, but do include a khopesh instead (not the same as a scimitar).

Coinage must, of course, go.  However, it is now apparent that across much of Europe items were produced or used as hack-silver at a multiple of a common weight, acting in a not-dissimilar way. (Scrap for cash before coins: Researchers show Bronze Age witnessed revolution in small change across Europe -- ScienceDaily)  The shekel was a weight long before it was a coin.

Install a 'palace-economy' (The Heortlings are part way there already) and have the Lunar Provinces function as the provinces of the Hittite Empire, or similar.  

It sounds cumbersome, but the process is actually quite simple and produces something reasonably close to RW Bronze Age politics, economics and warfare.

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Brootse said:

Yeah, agreed. If the world has greatswords, then what's stopping people from making a sword that's between great- and broadsword?

So for some time we get swords with really long blades but 1H hilts, which require Conan to swing; a series of short swords with 2H hilts (which provide space between the hands, or one hand on a dull ricasso with the other near the pommel) but coming up ineffective due to shortness of the blade.

Then there is coming up with the technique to use a bastard sword. Need a bit of strength to use it 1H where its length may be a hindrance (whoops, just cut my neighbors head off swinging side-arm), yet using it 2H, the hilt is only long enough to fit a second hand, possibly with fingers wrapping the pommel itself, so the hands are too close together for real leverage (a la greatsword), fighting style has to keep the blade in front of one if one needs to parry -- no swinging of a blade held behind the shoulder.

OTOH -- I could see Humakt Rune level smiths possibly making something of the type -- especially if they are working rare iron and don't want to waste any of it, but don't have enough to make a greatsword.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

the hilt is only long enough to fit a second hand, possibly with fingers wrapping the pommel itself, so the hands are too close together for real leverage (a la greatsword),

From how I was taught to handle a shinai, the two-handed grip is less about leverage and more about control, but then that style doesn't include wrestling and kicking with swords in between

  • Like 1

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me emphasize this - Glorantha is Bronze Age in terms of basic human technology. And the reason I say this is that bronze - an alloy of copper and tin - is the main metal used by the civilised human cultures. And that's all that means. There are a lot of implications from working with bronze instead of iron, but it does not mean that we end up exactly duplicating Salimbeti's swords.

The humans of Glorantha are not Babylonians, Hittites, Vedic Indians, Minoans and Mycenaeans, Egyptians or whatever, although if you want, you can get insight and inspiration into Gloranthans by looking at them. But at some point the comparisons break down - historical terrestrial humans did not have immortal dwarfs teaching them crafting techniques (although some remembered a few stories of this happening), they didn't have dragonewts or Gold Wheel Dancers or immortal Brithini preserving lost laws. Their gods were already more removed from them and their hero questing techniques were less developed. So we know Glorantha has coins and has since the Gods Age. We know that they have ships that can leave the sight of land for several days. And so on. As a result, if you think that Glorantha must conform to the confines of any historical culture, you are missing the point.

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm.. busy with a Staff Meeting, but I will respond to this later.  I think that you underestimate the power of religious thinking in the RW Bronze and early Iron Ages.

For active and immanent deities, you couldn't do better than Iliad or Mahabharata.  Beats Glorious Reascent any day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Jeff said:

The humans of Glorantha are not Babylonians, Hittites, Vedic Indians, Minoans and Mycenaeans, Egyptians or whatever, although if you want, you can get insight and inspiration into Gloranthans by looking at them. 

Indeed, but neither are they completely divorced from them, because we bring our own cultural baggage and assumptions to look at them.  If I were to focus on a people as a Mykenaean analogue, would I be using Homer, Schliemann, Doerpfeld, Woods, Dickenson or another vision of them anyway?

3 hours ago, Jeff said:

historical terrestrial humans did not have immortal dwarfs teaching them crafting techniques (although some remembered a few stories of this happening), they didn't have dragonewts or Gold Wheel Dancers or immortal Brithini preserving lost laws.

Terrestrial humans functionally behaved as if they had learned cultural arts from others.  The reality is academic.

3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Their gods were already more removed from them and their hero questing techniques were less developed. 

I don't think that in any way accords with their own understanding of the situation.  It is their understanding that interests me, not ours.

3 hours ago, Jeff said:

So we know Glorantha has coins and has since the Gods Age. We know that they have ships that can leave the sight of land for several days. And so on. As a result, if you think that Glorantha must conform to the confines of any historical culture, you are missing the point.

Yeah - it is interesting how often developments are read back into a past, especially if ancient tech is misunderstood.  Joseph in Bronze Age Egypt is chained with iron, Druids build Stonehenge, and the walls of Mykenae were built by a race of optically challenged giants.

I don't think Glorantha has to conform to any given RW culture, and if you think I do, you are missing the point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

Indeed, but neither are they completely divorced from them, because we bring our own cultural baggage and assumptions to look at them.  If I were to focus on a people as a Mykenaean analogue, would I be using Homer, Schliemann, Doerpfeld, Woods, Dickenson or another vision of them anyway?

At best, you would use the Osprey book showing semi-naked guys with shields, clubs, spears and possibly a few signature weapons. You would take what we know about Neolithic cold weather farming (which apparently originated in the lower Danubian plains) and apply whatever canonical or semi-canonical ideas we have about Orlanthi agriculture and the society it breeds, and you would take a tradition of urban or proto-urban culture millennia old (interrupted by cataclysms, but recurring) and stir all of that into something that doesn't bear similarity to anything ever happening on this planet as a whole.

Mykenaeans without ships... which affects a lot of their society.

One might as well look to cold weather Aztecs with metal for the Pelorians.

 

Riverine or mountain-based cultures work better. Unfortunately, the Bronze Age of the Carpathian basin or the lower Danubian has not left any famous literature behind.

 

1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

Terrestrial humans functionally behaved as if they had learned cultural arts from others.  The reality is academic.

Terrestrial Bronze Age was mostly not postapocalyptic, except for the European plague that allowed for its spread into the Neolithic farmers' territory.

 

1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

I don't think that in any way accords with their own understanding of the situation.  It is their understanding that interests me, not ours.

If you look at the Pelorians, I am in agreement with your statement, as few Pelorians are tied to their gods as closely as the Theyalan peoples are. For the Theyalans and the actual Lunars, I will side with Jeff.

 

 

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Terrestrial Bronze Age was mostly not postapocalyptic, except for the European plague that allowed for its spread into the Neolithic farmers' territory.

Very true.  The post-apocalypse is seen in the invasion myths of the Hellenic peoples (Dorians etc etc) and the Hebrew idea of an invasion of Canaan to account for the ruined and empty cities.  

 

33 minutes ago, Joerg said:

If you look at the Pelorians, I am in agreement with your statement, as few Pelorians are tied to their gods as closely as the Theyalan peoples are. For the Theyalans and the actual Lunars, I will side with Jeff.

Curiously enough, it is that close tie that I think is there in the myths that we have.  The ability to debate with and wound a deity seems moderately proximate to me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve just written up, for a JC book, the kampilan - a sword that gets used mostly two handed, but could be used one handed by a strong wielder. It’s not a European bastard sword at all - it’s only single edged, and the kampilan is from the Phillipines - but it’s longer than a broadsword, but not a greatsword or a rhomphaia. It seems natural that it’s stats are similar to a bastard sword from earlier RQ editions to me. 
 

And I wrote it up for purely Gloranthan reasons - it’s the weapon of the Haragalan elite, according to the guide. Not all of Glorantha is based on the Bronze Age in Europe and the Middle East. 
I tend not to pay a lot of attention to arguments about weapons based metallurgy or smithing technology - Gloranthan bronze isn’t earthly bronze, some smithing techniques learnt from Mostali could be more advanced than the terrestrial Bronze Age, and always, of course, magic can be a factor. And while Bronze Age is the term used, even the core cultures are not really - in Greek history that term gets used for cultures up to 1200 BCE or so, but we have things like the Sun Dome Phalangites using pikes/sarissa as phalangites that didn’t happen until after 400 BCE, for example. And which Bronze Age? Crossbows came into use centuries earlier in China, for example. The main point is pre-medieval, but even that not consistent, the Mostali being the most glaring example, but there are many others. Gloranthan arms and technology generally did not develop consistently along any terrestrial timeline, and that’s just fine, but trys to keep to a pre-medieval feel.

And the iron vs bronze comparison is very different in Glorantha, as the various factors behind why one is in wider use than the other are very different. 

But cultural ones are important. There are a whole range of different reasons why Gloranthans will have cultural preferences for different weapons, some of which will match up with terrestrial cultures, some of which will not. Gloranthans have magical and religious factors, and also may be sometimes concerned with fighting various non-human opponents. And cultural preferences are a big deal, and can cause some preferences that are anachronistic to make sense. Cross-bladed hilts are a late medieval thing, but I can accept that Humakti do it because it’s important for swords to obviously look like a Death Rune. 

I’m happy if the official word is that bastard swords are not a common cultural weapon in any Dragon Pass or adjacent culture. Maybe they have the ability to make them if someone really wanted to, maybe not, but there are presumably good reasons that make sense to them why they don’t. Maybe some other cultures use them for some reason, maybe not, but that can be handled when those cultures get added to the game materials. maybe one might be encountered of dwarf manufacture or something. They wouldn’t be just a longer version of the standard Orlanthi leaf shaped blade, and so Orlanthi sword smiths would find their manufacture challenging and odd. 
 

There are several other odd things about the weapon options in RQG, even if you take it as being based on Bronze Age to classical Mediterranean cultures. Why is the Gloranthan kopis a lot bigger than a terrestrial kopis? Why are short swords so mediocre and unpopular (literally only the pygmy Impala riders have them as a cultural weapon, while broadsword is common), when they were a very standard weapons in the Bronze Age (and after, with the gladius)? Why is the standard 2+ meter doru spear of Ancient Greece, surely the single most significant weapon in the period RQG emulates, the weapon of Homeric epics etc, missing from the RQG weapon lists (short spears are 1.5m, long spears 3m), leaving a ‘gap’ that makes most hoplites etc inferior to sword armed troops when they should not be? or if those are considered long spears (as Martin does in Armies and Enemies) why can’t they be used one handed? All these could have explanations that could explain them, sometimes even fairly obvious ones (the Gloranthan idea of a kopis that has been made as large as a broadsword is obviously rooted in Lunar vs Storm religious factors), but they aren’t all obvious, and some baffle me (my house rules include a military doru like spear (a medium spear in RQG terminology), and they can be thrown and are the primary weapon of many Lunar soldiers). I hope some of this will be addressed in the future. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, davecake said:

I’ve just written up, for a JC book, the kampilan - a sword that gets used mostly two handed, but could be used one handed by a strong wielder. It’s not a European bastard sword at all - it’s only single edged, and the kampilan is from the Phillipines - but it’s longer than a broadsword, but not a greatsword or a rhomphaia. It seems natural that it’s stats are similar to a bastard sword from earlier RQ editions to me. 
 

And I wrote it up for purely Gloranthan reasons - it’s the weapon of the Haragalan elite, according to the guide. Not all of Glorantha is based on the Bronze Age in Europe and the Middle East. 
I tend not to pay a lot of attention to arguments about weapons based metallurgy or smithing technology - Gloranthan bronze isn’t earthly bronze, some smithing techniques learnt from Mostali could be more advanced than the terrestrial Bronze Age, and always, of course, magic can be a factor. And while Bronze Age is the term used, even the core cultures are not really - in Greek history that term gets used for cultures up to 1200 BCE or so, but we have things like the Sun Dome Phalangites using pikes/sarissa as phalangites that didn’t happen until after 400 BCE, for example. And which Bronze Age? Crossbows came into use centuries earlier in China, for example. The main point is pre-medieval, but even that not consistent, the Mostali being the most glaring example, but there are many others. Gloranthan arms and technology generally did not develop consistently along any terrestrial timeline, and that’s just fine, but trys to keep to a pre-medieval feel.

And the iron vs bronze comparison is very different in Glorantha, as the various factors behind why one is in wider use than the other are very different. 

But cultural ones are important. There are a whole range of different reasons why Gloranthans will have cultural preferences for different weapons, some of which will match up with terrestrial cultures, some of which will not. Gloranthans have magical and religious factors, and also may be sometimes concerned with fighting various non-human opponents. And cultural preferences are a big deal, and can cause some preferences that are anachronistic to make sense. Cross-bladed hilts are a late medieval thing, but I can accept that Humakti do it because it’s important for swords to obviously look like a Death Rune. 

I’m happy if the official word is that bastard swords are not a common cultural weapon in any Dragon Pass or adjacent culture. Maybe they have the ability to make them if someone really wanted to, maybe not, but there are presumably good reasons that make sense to them why they don’t. Maybe some other cultures use them for some reason, maybe not, but that can be handled when those cultures get added to the game materials. maybe one might be encountered of dwarf manufacture or something. They wouldn’t be just a longer version of the standard Orlanthi leaf shaped blade, and so Orlanthi sword smiths would find their manufacture challenging and odd. 
 

There are several other odd things about the weapon options in RQG, even if you take it as being based on Bronze Age to classical Mediterranean cultures. Why is the Gloranthan kopis a lot bigger than a terrestrial kopis? Why are short swords so mediocre and unpopular (literally only the pygmy Impala riders have them as a cultural weapon, while broadsword is common), when they were a very standard weapons in the Bronze Age (and after, with the gladius)? Why is the standard 2+ meter doru spear of Ancient Greece, surely the single most significant weapon in the period RQG emulates, the weapon of Homeric epics etc, missing from the RQG weapon lists (short spears are 1.5m, long spears 3m), leaving a ‘gap’ that makes most hoplites etc inferior to sword armed troops when they should not be? or if those are considered long spears (as Martin does in Armies and Enemies) why can’t they be used one handed? All these could have explanations that could explain them, sometimes even fairly obvious ones (the Gloranthan idea of a kopis that has been made as large as a broadsword is obviously rooted in Lunar vs Storm religious factors), but they aren’t all obvious, and some baffle me (my house rules include a military doru like spear (a medium spear in RQG terminology), and they can be thrown and are the primary weapon of many Lunar soldiers). I hope some of this will be addressed in the future. 

Yeah, agreed. I've houseruled that 'long spears' can be used one handed, so that they work like the historical spears.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, davecake said:

And while Bronze Age is the term used, even the core cultures are not really - in Greek history that term gets used for cultures up to 1200 BCE or so, but we have things like the Sun Dome Phalangites using pikes/sarissa as phalangites that didn’t happen until after 400 BCE, for example.

Perfectly true, but the early Mykenaeans certainly used 3-4 metre long spears with their tower shields, possibly in a two handed fashion.  Several rule systems for ancient warfare interpret them in a similar fashion to sarissa-armed phalanx. 

Image result for mycenaean tower shield

The Sumerian block depicted below seems similar, with six spear-heads projecting beyond the shield wall.  I have to say that these guys are my image of the Sundome pike units.

 Image result for sumerian spearmen

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, davecake said:

Why are short swords so mediocre and unpopular (literally only the pygmy Impala riders have them as a cultural weapon, while broadsword is common), when they were a very standard weapons in the Bronze Age (and after, with the gladius)?

While not listed as "cultural", the Bestiary write up gives "typical" (what I take to be the Quick&Dirty opponent stats) brown & green Aldryami a shortsword skill (along with short spear and small shield -- of course the prime weapon is the elf bow). Page 25 -- Creating an Elf Adventurer -- sets base skill with shortsword at 20%, and the Noble occupation gets a +20% on that. The warrior occupation seems focused on bow and short spear (likely as organized formation fighting -- start with bow, then shift to spear&shield).

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

Possibly because the terrestrial term refers to a variety of weapons with very different blade lengths?

True, but the longest still seem to be a lot shorter than the Gloranthan version. The Macedonian kopis was about half the length. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

While not listed as "cultural", the Bestiary write up gives "typical" (what I take to be the Quick&Dirty opponent stats) brown & green Aldryami a shortsword skill (along with short spear and small shield

Yes. RQG treats short swords as things used only by notably small or weaker peoples. While in the actual Bronze Age and Iron Age, they were much more common. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, davecake said:

Yes. RQG treats short swords as things used only by notably small or weaker peoples. While in the actual Bronze Age and Iron Age, they were much more common. 

The dice were favorable for me when I trial-generated a green elf... STR 15, CON 14, SIZ 11, DEX 16... Practically a California Redwood amongst spruce trees 😲

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, davecake said:

True, but the longest still seem to be a lot shorter than the Gloranthan version. The Macedonian kopis was about half the length. 

The definition in RQG is that it is the approximate metric length used for determining strike ranks.  The early blade length of around 65 cm is not entirely unreasonable for a rating of 1, given that it was a weapon-of-choice when reach was important.  Xenophon (speaking of the later, shorter variant) still regarded it as the cavalry sword of choice, not something one might expect of a short sword. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

The definition in RQG is that it is the approximate metric length used for determining strike ranks.  The early blade length of around 65 cm is not entirely unreasonable for a rating of 1, given that it was a weapon-of-choice when reach was important. 

I think approximate metric length means +/- 10% to 20% or so. But if you want to interpret it as ‘whatever, they said approximate so surely numbers are arbitrary and meaningless, a short sword could be the length of a broadsword’ we will just have to disagree (not just about how swords work, but somewhat about how words work). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, davecake said:

I think approximate metric length means +/- 10% to 20% or so. But if you want to interpret it as ‘whatever, they said approximate so surely numbers are arbitrary and meaningless, a short sword could be the length of a broadsword’ we will just have to disagree (not just about how swords work, but somewhat about how words work). 

No, I just think that a little leeway is permissible numerically, although certainly it is a weak case linguistically.  The problem is that they do say that it is purely for the calculation of SR, not an actual statement of length.   If you choose to employ the length rating as an absolute, nobody has the ability to make or use a spear longer than 1.5m and shorter than 3m, which is an obvious nonsense.  Then we have to disagree about numbers, words, charts and common sense.

Edited by Ali the Helering
mistype
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Interesting topic

The bottom line is no it is not a know weapon. Maybe they could make it but no one ever thought of it.

So if you want it...create it!

Our group's Humakt warrior is obsessed with sword making and becoming a Black Smith. So much so that when we were staying in Pavis he spent a season with the Flintnail cult just to get a peek at their techniques. ( the player has watched WAY to much "Forged in Fire"

So one day he is ponding metal to his harts content (His idea of meditation) when he thinks. "Broad Sword needs more damage but the Great sword can't be used on horse back."

Bing! Why not make a sword longer than the broad but lighter than the Great?"

The bright light of enlightenment glows and the heavenly choir starts singing. (or what ever Humakti experience.)

Thus begins the "Humakt Finds His Sword"  Hero Quest.

 

Edited by Murf
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On another level, a bastard sword is pretty pointless. 

Spears are superior weapons for most purposes.  Longer reach, better penetration, cheaper, much less metal used, etc.   I don't mind a broadsword being a fine weapon in any fantasy game, especially if it doesn't dominate the spear.  Runequest is great that way!   However no matter your main hand of choice (and a battle axe is underrated here!), a good shield is a must.  Arrows and Javelins are a thing, as is weapon breakage.  My campaign's main fighters generally needed a new shield after every significant adventure.

However if your concern is fighting non-human opponents, then the two handed weapons start to make a lot of sense.  Two handed spears are already good.  Two handed axes are just a take-no-prisoners option if you need to power through troll armor, Dragonsnail shell, or even an expected 4 points of Protection.   Two Handed swords are also extremely good, and definitely a strongly rated option, although a Humakt follower who needs that much damage is going after serious game indeed.    So much so that the 1d10+1 that we used to use for the Katana and two handed Longsword might not be enough to push you over that threshold to make it worth it.  This more than anything else explains why it wouldn't exist.    For (regular) humans a magically boosted Broadsword more than suffices.  Against serious non-human game you need the full two handed weapon for weight and killing power. 

1d8+1(x2 Truesword) +4 (Bladesharp) + 1d6 (Damage bonus, often boosted with Strength) is 18.5 average damage.

1d10+1(x2 Truesword) +4 (Bladesharp) + 1d6 (Damage bonus, often boosted with Strength) is 20.5 average damage.

2d8(x2 Truesword) +4 (Bladsharp) + 1d6 (Damage bonus, often boosted with Strength) is 25.5 average damage, and remains the gold standard for big game swords-ing.  Accept no substitute! 

Frankly the main reason to do the sword and a half is more as a fun thing to do for the player.  I have had many, many players with 1d10+1 swords and it is in no way overbalancing or such.  My original group generally preferred Storm Bull's with Great Axes, until they realized how easy it was to buff up a Berserk Storm Bull with a Bastard Sword (from previous editions).  It could get silly fast, if everyone would lend the Storm Bull follower their god's power in the form of Rune magic, but that was 100% how the myth goes, so I thought (and still think) it was excellent play.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Dissolv said:

Frankly the main reason to do the sword and a half is more as a fun thing to do for the player.  I have had many, many players with 1d10+1 swords and it is in no way overbalancing or such.  My original group generally preferred Storm Bull's with Great Axes, until they realized how easy it was to buff up a Berserk Storm Bull with a Bastard Sword (from previous editions).  It could get silly fast, if everyone would lend the Storm Bull follower their god's power in the form of Rune magic, but that was 100% how the myth goes, so I thought (and still think) it was excellent play.

There are multiple reasons that people prefer a sword over a spear in the games I played since the early days:

1.  Swords seemed to have more HPs (or APs)

2. We always played with special damage for slashing weapons as well as impailing ones, so there was not a huge difference in damage

3. We played with shaft of shaft rules where imapiling weapons got knocked aside with a successful parry by a shafted weapon

4. There is a cultural bias of people imagining their heros wielding a sword. Wielding two bastard swords was a mark of a true hero.

5. True Sword is a lot more available than True Spear in RQ

6. Yemalios were viewed as wimpy, Lunar bootlickers. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It feels like some of this discussion just resolves around the limitations of the rules construct to simulate reality in a way which leads to "credible" outcomes. Eliminating the weapon from the system is simpler than over-complicating the rules to create constraints on the mini-maxers.

Why *are* shortswords popular historically compared to longer swords? Setting aside the risk of breakage (which could be easily modelled with lower weapon HP for longer weapons). I'm no swordsman, but I'm guessing the lower inertia of a smaller weapon in real life is a significant bonus - you can be jabbing a second time before your opponent can bring a very large sword back into position to parry. In the real world, lower levels of armour when shorter swords were popular may have made that an effective choice. In RQ, with easy availability of magical blessings to deflect weapon strikes, there will be fewer reasons to choose a shorter, lighter weapon.

Larger weapons must also be significantly more tiring to use in one hand, even before considering the risk of injury to a wrist or of having the weapon knocked out of hand.

Luckily, the history of RQ offers an easy mechanism to let players use longer swords one-handed without them becoming the only choice: Fatigue Points! Let them use a larger sword (subject to minimum STR), at the cost of a rapid loss of FP. Sure, you may need to extend the RQ3 FP rules to get the right balance of permission / discouragement, but, hey, totally worth it, yes?

Just kidding.

It's unavoidable that the game system drives player choice even at the cost of credibility of outcome; but worth noting that in the real-world people frequently make choices that are not rational, and that perhaps this is worth reflecting in the game. People don't choose cult loyalty in the real-world based on a utilitarian evaluation of the magical benefit, otherwise nobody would support Coventry FC. People are stubbornly loyal to failed concepts long after they have been shown to be actively harmful to their own interests. Likewise, it might be worth considering how to encourage players to make choices that are sub-optimal in game terms e.g. sticking loyally with Elmal even while the solar propagandists are promoting Yelmalio's palpably more convincing magic; or choosing a sword that is credible in terms of real use rather than maximised solely in terms of game stats.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Brian Duguid said:

Why *are* shortswords popular historically compared to longer swords? Setting aside the risk of breakage (which could be easily modelled with lower weapon HP for longer weapons). I'm no swordsman, but I'm guessing the lower inertia of a smaller weapon in real life is a significant bonus - you can be jabbing a second time before your opponent can bring a very large sword back into position to parry. In the real world, lower levels of armour when shorter swords were popular may have made that an effective choice. In RQ, with easy availability of magical blessings to deflect weapon strikes, there will be fewer reasons to choose a shorter, lighter weapon.

Shield walls...

Short swords (think Roman Gladius) are easy to chop down over the top of the shield, or can be thrust/stabbed between adjacent shields. A longer (broadsword) sword won't maneuver that easily -- probably too long to get down between adjacent shields, and sticking out between them gives the opponent a good clue of what/where to block.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...