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Arkavyn's Armory! A weapons and armor guide.

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INTRODUCTION

Spoiler: Show

TLDR: This is forever a work in progress, and I will be updating it constantly! Please, ask anything that isn't covered so I can add it!




GENERAL COMBAT ADVICE

This section covers some tips and tricks regarding combat that don't fall into weapons or armor specifically. Techniques and practices, advice regarding training regiments and general do's or don'ts.

Spoiler: Dual-WieldingShow



WEAPONS

Spoiler: SWORD BASICSShow

Spoiler: TACHI, KATANA, AND UCHIGATANAShow

Spoiler: GREATSWORDSShow

Spoiler: ODACHI/NO-DACHIShow

Spoiler: SCIMITARSShow

Spoiler: DAGGERSShow

Spoiler: POLEARM BASICSShow

Spoiler: NAGINATAShow

Spoiler: BLUNT WEAPON BASICSShow

Spoiler: AXE BASICSShow



Spoiler: LONGBOWSShow

Spoiler: CROSSBOWSShow
Spoiler: POISONSShow


ARMOR

Spoiler: LIGHT ARMOR BASICSShow

Spoiler: HEAVY ARMOR BASICSShow
Spoiler: Ō-yoroi and Dō-maruShow

Spoiler: PLATE ARMOR ADVANCEDShow




UNSORTED

This here is information I'm still working on putting into the more organized sections guide, in order to be viewable in the meantime!

Spoiler: Show



Contributions

As always, this is a work in progress, and the fact that I'm trying to cover just about everything means that contributions from other users will always be considered and appreciation. In this final section, I'll name people who lent useful information for the thread, and the sections they contributed to.


Mita, Longbows
Posted Sep 7, 12 · OP · Last edited Sep 1, 13
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This is a wonderful post -- very informative and useful for those of us that revel in making emote-based combat as realistic as possible. Do you have any insights on the lesser amours ( such as brigandine, chainmail, etc. ) in terms of their functionality and what they were designed to counter? Also, would you happen to be familiar with the sort of gun technology employed in GW2 and how bullets interact with plate armor?

This thread should be stickied! Would you mind if I incorporated elements into a loose guide on emote-based combat for my guild? Or would you prefer I just directly link to this thread?
Posted Sep 7, 12
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Lionly wrote:
This is a wonderful post -- very informative and useful for those of us that revel in making emote-based combat as realistic as possible. Do you have any insights on the lesser amours ( such as brigandine, chainmail, etc. ) in terms of their functionality and what they were designed to counter? Also, would you happen to be familiar with the sort of gun technology employed in GW2 and how bullets interact with plate armor?

This thread should be stickied! Would you mind if I incorporated elements into a loose guide on emote-based combat for my guild? Or would you prefer I just directly link to this thread?

Thank you for the kind words! By all means, I'd be flattered if you used elements of this for your guide! If you want to link to this thread, I encourage it so I can handle any questions others might have, but it's not at all necessary.

To answer your questions about armor -

Chainmail armor was invented pretty early on, but was extremely complex to make. However, the thing about it is that it's very easy to repair, since any broken or damaged parts can simply be replaced with new links. As a result, as the years passed, it became more and more common, since even a three hundred year old suit of chainmail could still be in perfectly working order.

Chainmail was a lightish [10 or so lbs for a shirt, 20 for a full set, roughly] , but very protective armor primarily designed to guard against slashes and chops from lighter weapons. Typically, it was worn over thick padding that provided limited protection against blunt weapons as well, but those could still inflict trauma through the mail with a solid blow, so it was best not to risk it.

With the interlinked design, the mail was able to protect the wearer from sword slashes and glancing axe blows. The biggest danger to a chainmail wearer is always thrusting attacks, as chain is thin and tends to break somewhat easily. The more pressure being applied to a smaller point, the worse chainmail guards against it. Daggers were always a large threat, as well as spears.

Brigandine is somewhat similar, with a bit less slashing protection and a bit more against blunt trauma. The leather basis for the armor absorbed impact well, allowing it to mitigate some of the damage from hammer and mace blows, while the studs built into the armor provided limited protection against slashes. Obviously, the greatest advantage of brigandine and other kinds of studded leather is the light weight and flexibility, topping out at only 4-6 lbs for a chestpiece, roughly, and 10-12 for a full suit.

As far as guns, I'm hesitant to make many assumptions since it's always hard to tell. However, one can speculate that since they have not overtaken other forms of warfare [as they have in real life] their bullet velocity and reload times is likely somewhat low. Thanks to the game's 'clockwork' influence, they have reload mechanisms much more efficient than realistic muskets, but I would suspect their firing power is about the same; capable of penetrating any armor from about twenty feet, even plate, chainmail up to fifty, and losing much of their lethality from more than fifty feet away.
Posted Sep 7, 12 · OP
Good stuff for those who like to understand the realism of combat!

BTW, my experience from SCA fighting aligns pretty well with what you wrote. Dual-wielding may LOOK cool and play well in MMOs, but is mostly ineffective in any realistic scenario even if you are ambidextrous. About the only time it actually helps is against an opponent armed solely with a two-handed weapon -- in that scenario, one blade can be used to parry and the other to counter. It also gives you added feint capability against the opponent who has only one item to attack or block with. It works particularly well against a two-handed sword when the opponent likes to operate from the "high guard" (From the Roof) position as your opponent will be slow to block the second weapon when used as a combo with the first although he has great blocking ability against a single weapon.

Dual-wielding is DEFINITELY a liability against an opponent with a weapon and shield. As the OP stated, using a blade to parry opens you up to shield bashes, and if you protect against such a response, you gain no counter attack advantage with the second weapon. You're better off with a two-hander or sword and board. The aforementioned "high guard" position with a two-hander is actually designed to combat sword and shield and is very effective against that.
Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others...past and present. And by each crime...and every kindness...we birth our future.
Posted Sep 7, 12
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@ Arkayvn: Wonderful! Kindly, thank you! I will be sure to link this thread, as this is turning out to be a fine and comprehensive resource for the nitty gritties of medival combat.

As someone that obsesses over details, I'm always searching for the proper name of things, particularly individual pieces of armor. Could you give us a break down of the various components that comprise a suit of armor ( such as helm, chestpiece, leggings, boots, etc. ) and their archaic ( if applicable ) names, possibly their specific functions as well? Hope that request makes sense.

And do you have any misconceptions about archery to expose?

Also, would you be familiar with medieval surgical practices as how they treated sword / dagger wounds, arrow removal, and broken bones? I'm trying to strike a balance between low fantasy triage and the high fantasy use of healing magic so as to make injuries be a little more than minor inconveinances on an IC level.

@ Xytale: Thank you for your insights regarding dual-wielding. I've always struggled with finding the best offensive approach when it comes to shield users. Would you say that two-handed weapons are more or less the only feasible way to counter sword and board types?
Posted Sep 7, 12
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Alright, here we go.


Pieces of armor!


Head: You know this, but helmets and helms. You have Sallets and Close helmets, which cover the head almost entirely or entirely, and then Burgonets, which are open-faced.
Neck: Aventail or Gorget. These are detachable mail and plate neckguards.
Torso: You've got brigandines, which are cloth or leather. Hauberks, which are mail shirts. Cuirasses, which cover only the breast and backplate, and the plackart, which covers the belly.
Shoulders: Spaulders or Pauldrons.
Arms: Vambraces for the forearms, gauntlets for the hands, rerebraces for the elbow and upper arm.
Legs: Chausses are leggings. Greaves for the lower legs, and boots for...boots. Also Sabatons for plated boots.

If you have any questions about function of any, just ask. I feel that covers most of it, though.

Regarding Archery! Let me go into a nice, thorough breakdown for you, just to make sure I don't miss anything.

Longbows actually required a great deal of physical strength to draw back. Beyond that, archery was an intensely technical and difficult art; it took years to train a competent archer, making them specialized and highly valued soldiers. Here's a little bit about bow types and the differences between them.

A conventional longbow trades convenience for reliability. These bows can be obnoxiously large and difficult to draw, but are also extremely durable. They rarely break and can endure a lot of strain, typically being made out of very stiff, strong woods.

Recurve bows are smaller and stronger, allowing the same draw power as a conventional longbow while not being nearly as large. The problem is that this puts more strain on the bow itself, meaning that they're made out of more flexible (and not as durable) wood and require much more maintenance.

Composite recurve bows were a blend of the two types, which used a mix of stronger and more flexible woods as a compromise between the recurve's size and the conventional bow's strength. These were more expensive to make and more difficult to repair, but extremely versatile weapons.

Crossbows were essentially a 'peasant's bow'. A crossbow is much easier to use than a longbow, requiring not nearly as much training to wield. What many people don't know is that crossbows, as a tradeoff, are slower, less accurate, and less powerful. They take dangerously long to reload, don't penetrate armor very well, and are generally just clumsy weapons.

Now, regarding arrows and the strengths against certain armors, here's a few tips.

Arrows vary -greatly- in size, from about a foot and a half to five feet long. Smaller arrows are lighter, and fly much farther, making them great for bombardment or sniping, but they lack the penetrative power and concussive force of longer ones.

The stiffness of an arrow shaft has a profound effect on where it excels. The higher-draw the bow [ie the more powerful it is], the stiffer the shaft needs to be. Shortbows can have flexible arrows that are very easy to make, but more powerful bows need strong arrows that can be more expensive and difficult to make.

As for arrowheads, it gets really fun here.

Bodkin points are your standard, easily produced arrowhead. They're not terribly sharp, but are fairly heavy. They are capable of penetrating chainmail, but have little effect on plate and lack the sharpness to really punch deeply into armor unless attached to a stiff shaft.

Broadheads, as the name implies, are wide-headed, very sharp arrows designed to maximum killing power. They sever blood vessels easily and bury themselves deeply into targets, as well as providing serious damage on removal. They can be rather expensive.

In addition to these two arrowheads, blunt, rounded heads can be used as non-lethal or concussive projectiles, typically with a weaker-draw bow.

Finally, fletching! Often made from feathers, they stabilize arrow flight by creating a bit of drag. Whether or not you fletch an arrow can be a difficult decision; a non-fletched arrow flies faster and farther, but you compromise accuracy. Typically, a higher-draw, stronger bow can get away with non-fletched arrows, as the projectile is moving too quickly to veer much.


I'm about to answer your medic and shield-defeating questions next, just don't want each post too long!
Posted Sep 7, 12 · OP · Last edited Sep 7, 12
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The biggest problem with treating wounds in medieval ages was infection. Without antibiotics and sterilization, even a minor gash could become a fatal wound if not treated properly. As a result, it was critical to prioritize cleaning a wound above all else. animal urine was popular, as was cauterization or sealing wounds with brands. There was also sewing them up with stitches, booze and opium to ease the pain.

For head trauma, holes were drilled in the skull to relieve pressure. When done well this could actually work quite well.

Now, regarding countering sword and board, two-handing is a very good way, but not the only one! Axes, both one-and-two handed, are specifically designed to counter shields. Not only can they splinter the wood of the shield [by the way, another common misconception: Shields are not made of metal. They are made of wood, with metal studs or plating. A metal shield would be incredibly heavy and prohitibitively slow], they can also hook the shield and rip it away from the wielder. Maces and hammers, even one-handed, were also very good for pressuring a shieldsman with flurries of blows that stunned or fractured their arm.
Posted Sep 7, 12 · OP
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My character uses a sword with a mace offhand. Would it be possible to use quick sword strikes to set up the powerful mace attack? I pictured it to be similiar to how a boxer would set up his power punch.
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Posted Sep 7, 12
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Good info, but most of this is allready in that Realism guide sticky. Might want to check that one out.

There are also very solid arguments that go against your views OP.

And personally I disagree with some of your points.
Arrpeee! That's the stuff.
Posted Sep 8, 12
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Myran wrote:
My character uses a sword with a mace offhand. Would it be possible to use quick sword strikes to set up the powerful mace attack? I pictured it to be similiar to how a boxer would set up his power punch.

Unfortunately, this isn't a very practical application of force and leverage. The problem with this setup is that all full-length swords benefit from a second hand for powerful strikes when needed, and maces are similar. With a sword/mace setup, you're denying yourself the option of power in exchange for versatility that isn't really necessary. It would be better to wield just the sword or the mace, and alternate between one or two hands as needed. If you're intent on dual-wielding, as I said before, it's often better to use a dagger in the off hand. Sword/dagger or even mace/dagger would be a better setup.

Aracinia wrote:
Good info, but most of this is allready in that Realism guide sticky. Might want to check that one out.

There are also very solid arguments that go against your views OP.

And personally I disagree with some of your points.

Thank you, but so far, people seem happy I have created a specific thread just for weapons and armor, so I'll just keep as I'm doing.

As for arguments against my views and you not feeling some of my points are correct, I always welcome discourse, but unless you're going to make a specific point, it isn't very productive to say "REGINALD, I DISAGREE!"

If you wish to challenge any of my expertise, I invite you to do so for the benefit of everyone here. Otherwise, there's little I can do, as I have no interest in rooting about in other threads seeking debate. I'll happily look through the realism thread and offer my input, especially as someone there seems to be quoting me, but I'm quite happy maintaining my own thread.
Posted Sep 8, 12 · OP · Last edited Sep 8, 12
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