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Old 02-26-2022, 10:32 AM   #11
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
So the basic concept is a narrow bronze thrust-only knife- or sword-like weapon?

Use the stats for an Estoc, Tuck, or Large/Small Stiletto depending on length, change the material to Bronze, adjust damage and breakage stats as appropriate, and change TL from 3 or 4 to 1.

While the GURPS melee weapons catalog is extensive it isn't comprehensive. When you run across an oddball weapon think which existing weapons come closest, then fiddle with the stats as necessary.
I hadn't considered the estoc/tuck, so thank you.

On another note, the whole thing with the blades being riveted to the hilt because there's basically no tangs for them yet. I was thinking that this gives a penalty to resist breakage when swinging or impacted from the side, but is no problem (or too small a problem at the usual GURPS level of resolution) on the thrust. My current thinking is that the tangless riveted blades are either '-2 to resist breakage with three or fewer rivets, and -1 with four or more,' or '-2 with two rivets and -1 with three or more.' Not sure which fits better, and I might be further off than that.
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Old 02-26-2022, 10:54 AM   #12
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

Riveted handles would be too fragile for any rugged or sustained use. I can only think they were ceremonial. For GURPS breakage they would be "cheap", or worse.
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Old 02-26-2022, 04:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

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Riveted handles would be too fragile for any rugged or sustained use. I can only think they were ceremonial. For GURPS breakage they would be "cheap", or worse.
The grips weren't just riveted, they were also glued. Molloy proved that the combination was functional and perfectly capable of sustained use. I've used these swords and agree with his assessment. GURPS should give them no additional penalties to resist breakage.

There was no such thing as a ceremonial sword at the time. Even the most heavily decorated weapons and armour were intended for battle. Wealthy people for thousands of years were obsessed with conspicuous consumption. The whole point was to use these things up where everyone could see and then discard them for something even more ostentatious. There were no parade weapons and armour until the Renaissance. The only exception is for funerary items; some arms were made specifically to bury with the deceased.
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Old 02-26-2022, 05:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

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The grips weren't just riveted, they were also glued. Molloy proved that the combination was functional and perfectly capable of sustained use. I've used these swords and agree with his assessment. GURPS should give them no additional penalties to resist breakage.

There was no such thing as a ceremonial sword at the time. Even the most heavily decorated weapons and armour were intended for battle. Wealthy people for thousands of years were obsessed with conspicuous consumption. The whole point was to use these things up where everyone could see and then discard them for something even more ostentatious. There were no ceremonial weapons and armour until the Renaissance. The only exception is for funerary items; some arms were made specifically to bury with the deceased.
Are there any surviving intact examples?
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Old 02-26-2022, 06:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

Five minutes on Google would have shown you plenty.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/fb/59...b9a622f4eb.jpg
https://www.ancientworldmagazine.com...rds.1920x0.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...nze_swords.JPG
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/bd/c1...bc92b33bdf.jpg
https://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/ima...1660316242.jpg

The vast majority of these swords had tangs, even the earliest ones. So there was never a time period when swords didn't have tangs. In any case, Molloy proved that even the tangless versions were perfectly capable of sustained use without breaking.
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Old 02-26-2022, 07:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

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Are there any surviving intact examples?
I suspect funerary items are more likely to survive intact than items intended for regular use; broken bronze tools are likely to get recycled.
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Old 02-26-2022, 08:04 PM   #17
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

I meant are there any surviving ones of the tangless variety with intact handles. It's the tangless kind that I doubt are rubust enough for real use.
(I don't know who Mollloy is or what he did.)

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Old 02-26-2022, 10:11 PM   #18
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

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I meant are there any surviving ones of the tangless variety with intact handles.
How can you tell whether it has a tang if the handle is intact? You don't need to see an intact handle to know it never failed in combat, all you need is a blade with battle damage but no broken rivet holes.

Quote:
It's the tangless kind that I doubt are rubust enough for real use.
It doesn't matter whether you doubt it because it has been proven otherwise. I think this is the relevant article: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25684288

Quote:
(I don't know who Mollloy is or what he did.)
https://people.ucd.ie/barry.molloy/publications
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Old 02-26-2022, 10:20 PM   #19
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

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I suspect funerary items are more likely to survive intact than items intended for regular use; broken bronze tools are likely to get recycled.
In Celtic cultures the opposite could be true. Funerary swords were sometimes ritually sacrificed (deliberately broken or bent) before being deposited. Some cultures such as the Egyptians made use of non-functional funerary weapons (e.g. gold daggers and khopeshes with no edge bevelling) but the Mycenaeans didn't. The arms found in their graves were functional.

The easiest way to tell whether a bronze weapon was recycled is to look at its tin content. When bronze is remelted it preferentially loses tin. So if you have a weapon with less tin than was typical then it likely was recycled.
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Old 02-27-2022, 12:12 AM   #20
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Smallsword with the Bronze Age 'Rapier?'

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Anyway, it's pretty clear that you wouldn't use the Rapier skill with those, or most other examples, but the ones that we have often seem stabby enough for the Smallsword skill to work, and might even work better than Knife or Shortsword (although as noted in the video, you can chop with them). The question in my mind is, is it plausible for a skill that could reasonably be called Smallsword to have been invented during TL1, without that being too cinematic?

My first thought is that sword skills would have evolved from the Knife skill as the blades got longer, but it occurred to me just now that some martial arts styles I've seen write-ups for in GURPS use Smallsword and other sword skills with a baton or a short staff, so it could be that a skilled stick-fighter handling one of these new-fangled 'really long knives' noticed that it handled a lot like a sharpened stick, but was less prone to breakage, and thus adapted that skill to the new weapon.


Thoughts?
In RAW, Smallsword is a common stickfighting skill so its probably as old as humanity.

As I have said before, the organization of weapon skills in GURPS is not very coherent. I would probably redesign it to turn the Spear / Staff / Lance and Sword / Fencing distinction be about whether you rely on guardie strette, and give some defensive benefits in exchange for worse thrusts and exposing the hand to strikes and the weapon to beats and grabs. This would mostly get rid of fencing skills for fighting with short sticks. I would shrink the list of Melee Weapon skills as far as possible, and give much less stingy defaults between skills.

You can absolutely cut and slice with these swords although they are not going to take off an arm or a leg like a Naue type II. They might remove a finger though ...
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