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Arkavyn's Armory! A weapons and armor guide.

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Huh. Sounds like it covers quite a few bases then. Thanks.
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Posted Aug 26, 13
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Yeah. The plate's vulnerable to daggers and blunt weapons, and the scale is more vulnerable to heavy swords and axes, so keep that in mind. And definitely be aware of the bared torso areas.
Posted Aug 26, 13 · OP
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Ō-yoroi and Dō-maru

Though samurai served similar roles to knights in Japanese society, the arms and armor they employed were very distinct. Thanks in large part to their need to adapt to the impure iron that they had to work with, feudal blacksmiths employed unconventional designs and techniques to protect their clients. This approach resulted in the Ō-yoroi and Dō-maru, the archetypal 'samurai armor' models that served as a samurai's last line of defense.

Ō-yoroi

Originally designed for cavalry archers in the 10th century, the Ō-yoroi was an elaborately crafted suit almost exclusively made for high-ranking samurai. Unlike the later design of the Dō-maru, the Ō-yoroi compensated for the high weight of the iron used in the plates with great amounts of leather on the joints and non-vital areas. It was a strongly built armor, providing excellent protection against spears, swords, axes and clubs, able to deflect all but the heaviest strikes. This design weighed between 65-70 lbs, and was made up of six primary parts. Collectively known as the hei-no-rokugu, these pieces were separated into two main categories: the waidate, which covered the right side of the body, and the rest, which protected the rest of the body.

The waidate was made of solin iron plate, covered in leather to help absorb blunt impacts. The lower part was crafted of lamellar (fine plates/scales), and worn with a cord wrapped tightly about the body to keep it in place. The rest of the suit could be separated into the following categories:

The dō, or the chest piece, was made up of two separate parts, an iron breastplate and back plate, allowing it to be assembled separately. Crafted of solid metal, it was inflexible, with leather straps linking the front and back together and the dō to the waidate.

The kabuto, or helmet, was made of iron, with descending plates to protect the neck and ears. This formed the archetypal helmet design that most identify with the samurai for centuries to come.

Mengu, or facial armor, protected the wearer's, you guessed it, face! Made up of iron or lacquered leather, it was usually a very personalized piece of armor, frequently inscribed with sentimental messages or customized to the wearer's liking.

Kote were the sleeves, covering the arms in iron plates. Usually they were made of two sheets of iron on the forearms and upper arms, linked together by leather at the joints and tied about the rest of the arm.

The sune-ate and hai-date [shin and thigh armour, respectively], protected the legs and feet. Similarly designed to the Kote, they had separate plates for the thighs and shins that were linked together and wrapped about the leg with leather.

Finally, the kusazuri, a four-piece box skirt, served as extra armor for the groin, hips and upper legs. This was a controversial choice as it restricted the legs of the samurai, making footwork difficult and leaving the armor less-suited to infantry fighters. As a result, though it remained popular among cavalry for some time, the Ō-yoroi soon fell to the wayside for foot soldiers in favor of the...

Dō-maru

Similar to the Ō-yoroi for the most part, the Dō-maru nonetheless had a couple of critical differences that reflected an evolution in armor philosophy away from pure protection and more towards agility. The kusazuri was abandoned entirely in this design, the sune-ate and hai-date instead compensated by sporting lamellar scales in place of leather, providing some protection for less net weight. The chestpiece also traded some plate for scale, lamellar scales lacquered and laced into the iron plates (though leather was still occasionally, but uncommonly used), providing a more flexible, lighter design than the waidate. Due to all of this, the Dō-maru provided slightly less protection from clubs and axes than the Ō-yoroi but weight significantly less (about 45-50 lbs) and provided greater flexibility to the right arm and legs.
Posted Sep 1, 13 · OP
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Testing out a new format here, guys, that makes statistics a little easier to identify. Lemme know what you guys think. Also, the quarterstaff entry went on really long, so I decided to make three separate entries. Bo and Gun will be next.

Staves

Speed. Defense. Reach. Versatility. The staff is incredibly dangerous in the right hands. Though lacking the immediate lethality of many other weapons in armored combat, the precise deadliness of staves has earned them a long-standing reputation as one of the most reliable and efficient melee weapons ever designed. English fencing authors of the 16th to 18th Centuries insisted that the quarterstaff was the most effective of all hand weapons and devoted lengthy portions of their works to its use, entire Japanese and Chinese combat schools were dedicated to mastering various styles of staff-fighting, and even today many professional martial artists consider it one of the best weapons to learn for practical usage. What exactly makes staves so potent then, and why weren't they a larger part of medieval warfare if they were so powerful? The answer is multi-faceted.

Stick fighting is about as old as the concept of beating each other to death as a whole, and evolved in many forms through ancient and medieval history, from the French la canne to the Ethiopian donga. For the purposes of the following entries, I’m going to focus on three weapons that embody staves: the European Quarterstaff, the Japanese Bō, and the Chinese Gun
Posted Sep 6, 13 · OP
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XXVI: The European Quarterstaff

Length: 6 to 9 ft (1.8 to 2.7 meters)
Weight: 1.5 to 2.5 lbs, (.68-1.5 kg)
Origin: 15th Century England

Favored as weapons by the London Masters of Defense in the late 15th and early 16th century, the quarterstaff had a well-earned reputation as, according to the writings of famous fencing masters and authors David Silver, Joseph Swetnam and Zachary Wylde, “among the best, if not the very best, of all hand weapons.”

So what earned this unassuming piece of wood such high praise? Quality construction and an intimidating blend of speed, reach, and power limited only by the training of the individual. The secret to the quarterstaff's effectiveness lay in the fencing techniques created to make use of the weapon’s strengths.

Contrary to the images depicted in popular media, the quarterstaff was not held by the center, but instead like a spear or two-handed sword, with the back hand resting upon the butt of the weapon and the front hand about a foot and a half above it, a position that made use of the staff’s range and allowed greater lever force for strikes. The wielder turned their body to minimize their profile to an opponent and give them a superior position for many kinds of attacks and guards. Despite the light weight of these weapons, their dense, durable hardwood make enabled them to break bones, fatally concuss, and even shatter mail armor in a single blow, all without compromising defense or over-extending. This basic position was known as the ‘low guard’ or ‘central guard’, serving as a steady platform from which the wielder could employ sweeping, clubbing, or thrusting strikes.

For greater defense against incoming slashes and chops, moving the weapon to point at an angle to the right (assuming the butt is held in the left hand) assumed the ‘outside guard’. This put the staff in a position to deflect blows by bringing the weapon in forcefully, opening an opponent up to retaliation.

Moving the weapon to the left enabled the ‘inside guard’, which protected the wielder against thrusts by allowing short movements to turn aside jabbing motions.

Furthest from the position of the low guard is the ‘high guard’ or ‘hanging guard’, in which the staff is held over the user’s head, end pointing towards the ground. This was a primarily offensive stance, designed to punish adversaries with inferior reach with an overhead assault.

Finally, the ‘level guard’ served to deflect incoming power strikes and overhead blows. Gripping the top and bottom thirds of the weapon, the staff-wielder would raise it horizontally to deflect a blow before pushing the opponent away and gaining range once more.

From the low guard, strikes would be made at angles, crossing chops or low sweeps used to try and trip up an enemy or hurt their legs. Thrusts, taking advantage of the power of the back leg in a lunging strike, could follow these low strikes or be executed independently. Whatever the attack, form was important. From the writings of Silver, Swetnam and Wylde (paraphrased): “It is recommended that when delivering a blow that at the end of it the back leg and foot should be compassed about so as to fall roughly into a line with the front foot and the point of the weapon. The same circling round of the back leg is applied to parries also. “

Though the weapon itself had little capability of damaging plate, a skilled staff-fighter was an imposing foe even against an armored knight. The precision, speed, and range of the weapon meant that maneuvering blows towards less-armored areas like the joints and face was practical and feasible, and the light weight and great size meant that the quarterstaff was both faster and further-reaching than even the largest swords and hammers.

Why, then, was the staff regarded mostly as a training weapon, almost never seen on the field and relegated to the domain of duelists and travelers? Simply put, it was nigh-useless in a battle.

First, the staff required years of intense training to become proficient in. The precise strikes and relatively low lethality of the weapon made this an unappetizing choice for many fighters, who favored the easier killing accomplished by a polearm such as a spear or halberd. Second, the quarterstaff was a fencing and dueling weapon for a reason: the stance was very forward-facing, not suited to dealing with multiple threats. It also required a great deal of space to swing. This left the weapon unsuited to the tight space and constant ambient danger of a battlefield.

Despite these flaws, the quarterstaff is an efficient, imposing weapon in the right hands, especially for personal combat. With an unparalleled mix of offense and defense, speech, power and reach, it’s little surprise it earned the title of greatest of all hand weapons.
Posted Sep 6, 13 · OP
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Going to a better direction by mentioning the referred source, Silver in this case.

One thing is worthwhile to be mentioned on quarterstaff... and it may very well be the main reason why numerous Medieval weapon masters considered it important. It's a very simple thing.

What do you get from a broken spear or a halberd?
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Posted Sep 6, 13 · Last edited Sep 6, 13
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Yeah, definitely true. It also helped that the stances and swings could translate very well not only to polearms, but for bastard swords and zweihanders, too.
Posted Sep 6, 13 · OP
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This request may be answered by Arkavyn (Hey, man. Been a while.) or someone else with rudimentary/fundamental knowledge on the subject:

War Mauls and War Hammers.

Yes, I am aware of the one-handed version that's basically a hammer with a pick end on the other side, but I'm talking about the heavy, two-handed mauls/hammer used in battle.

I understand weapons of that caliber may not have found much use given its size and weight, but one could not have possibly denied its asset on the field of battle in terms of being proof against plate armor much as a flanged mace had been.

So, I wished to ask if there was anyone (Arkavyn included) who has any idea of how exactly these weapons might have been used in a sophisticated fashion, barring heavy and wide, arcing swings that rendered the wielder open. And also, on a basic level, how exactly these weapons looked like.

Any input is appreciated.
Posted Nov 25, 13 · Last edited Nov 25, 13
I don't think I've commented on this thread before...this is such a fantastic work Arkavyn. I've been turning it into a PDF just so I have a local copy --- would you be so kind as to put your later additions (staves, other stuff in the latter pages that you haven't already put to the front) into the sections on page 1 so that I know where to add them in my version? Many thanks.
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Posted Feb 6, 14 · Last edited Feb 6, 14
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Awesome post! Absolutely wonderful. Now the real question comes along, from a vet-RP'er but a newbie in GW2.
Where would one find a Naginata?, as I seriously want to try a character with one (but the Elder Scrolls didn't really make sense for them) and also, is there an in-game model?
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Posted Apr 3, 17
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