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Old 08-17-2010, 08:47 PM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default On Swords, Blades and the Song of Swords

Ever felt that the weapon tables in Martial Arts and the Basic Set are missing vital steps in the stat progression that are just different enough from the weapons that are there to make it a new weapon?*

Ever felt that some of the stats for some swords were just a little off to make them balanced/fun/useful?

*But far too similar to justify including them in an official supplement aimed at the general roleplayer market, most of whom tend want to use 'a sword', 'an axe', or perhaps at the very most, 'a katana'.

Look no further.

New or Modified Swords


Code:
TL		Weapon	Damage	Reach	Parry	Cost	Weight	ST	Notes
	BROADSWORD (DX-5, Force Sword-4, Rapier-4, Saber-4, Shortsword-2, or Two-Handed Sword-4)
3	Heavy Broadsword	sw+2 cut	1	0U	$800	6	12
	or	thr+2 imp	1	0	–	–	12
3	Large Clipped Falchion	sw+2 cut	1	0U	$500	4.5	11
	or	thr imp	1	0	–	–	11
3	Large Falchion	sw+2 cut	1	0U	$700	4.5	11
	or	thr+1 imp	1	0	–	–	11
3	Great Clipped Falchion	sw+2 cut	1	0U	$600	6	12
	or	thr imp	1	0	–	–	12
3	Great Falchion	sw+2 cut	1	0U	$700	6	12
	or	thr+1 imp	1	0	–	–	12
4	Cut-and-Thrust Sword	sw cut	1	0	$700	3	10
	or	thr+1 imp	1	0	–	–	10

	KNIFE (DX-4, Force Sword-3, Main-Gauche-3, or Shortsword-3)
2	Kukri	sw-1 cut	C, 1	0	$50	1.5	7	[1]
	or	thr-1 imp	C	0	–	–	7	[2]

	MAIN-GAUCHE (DX-5, Jitte/Sai 4, Knife 4, Rapier 3, Saber 3, or Smallsword 3)	
4	Main-Gauche	sw-3 cut	C, 1	0F	$50	1.25	6	[3,5]
	or	thr imp	C, 1	0F	–	–	6	[4]

	RAPIER (DX-5, Broadsword-4, Main-Gauche-3, Saber-3, or Smallsword-3)
4	Cut-and-Thrust Sword	sw cut	1	0F	$700	3	10
	or	thr+1 imp	1	0F	–	–	10

	SABER (DX-5, Broadsword-4, Main-Gauche-3, Rapier-3, Shortsword-4, or Smallsword-3)
4	Dueling Saber	sw cut	1	0F	$800	2.5	9
	or	thr+1 imp	1	0F	–	–	9

	SHORTSWORD (DX-5, Broadsword-2, Force Sword-4, Jitte/Sai-3, Knife-4, Saber-4, Smallsword-4, or Tonfa-3)
2	Clipped Falchion	sw+1 cut	1	0	$300	3	10
	or	thr-1 imp	1	0	–	–	10
2	Falchion	sw+1 cut	1	0	$400	3	10
	or	thr imp	1	0	–	–	10
2	Shortsword	sw cut	1	0	$400	2	8
	or	thr+1 imp	1	0	–	–	8
2	Small Clipped Falchion	sw cut	1	0	$200	2	8
	or	thr-2 imp	1	0	–	–	8
2	Small Falchion	sw cut	1	0	$300	2	8
	or	thr-1 imp	1	0	–	–	8

	SMALLSWORD (DX-5, Main-Gauche-3, Rapier-3, Saber-3, or Shortsword-4)
4	Edged Smallsword	sw-2 cut	1	0F	$600	1.75	6
	or	thr+1 imp	1	0F	–	–	6

	TWO-HANDED SWORD (DX-5, Broadsword-4, or Force Sword-4)
3	Broadsword	sw+2 cut	1	0	$600	3	9†
	or	thr+3 imp	1	0	–	–	9†
3	Great Clipped Falchion	sw+3 cut	1,2	0	$600	6	11†
	or	thr+1 imp	1	0	–	–	11†
3	Great Falchion	sw+3 cut	1,2	0	$700	6	11†
	or	thr+2 imp	1	0	–	–	10†
3	Heavy Broadsword	sw+3 cut	1	0	$800	6	11†
	or	thr+3 imp	1	0	–	–	10†
3	Large Clipped Falchion	sw+3 cut	1	0	$500	4.5	10†
	or	thr+1 imp	1	0	–	–	10†
3	Large Falchion	sw+3 cut	1	0	$600	4.5	10†
	or	thr+2 imp	1	0	–	–	10†
3	Odachi	sw+3 cut	1,2	0	$800	7	12†
	or	thr+2 imp	1,2	0	–	–	12†

Notes:
[1] Gives a +1 to skill when used to swing.
[2] Gives -1 to skill with a thrust.
[3] Gives a -1 to skill when used to swing.
[4] Gives +1 to skill with a thrust.
[5] Gives the hand (only) DR. This indicates a metal hilt that provides DR 4, cumulative with glove DR – although the hilt is too cramped to accommodate metal gauntlets. Some hilts don’t enclose the hand completely; DR applies only on a roll of 1-3 on 1d.
BROADSWORD (p. B271) – Europe. A term for what medieval warriors called an “arming sword,” coined by 17th-century writers to distinguish robust military swords from narrow-bladed civilian ones. Typically 30” to 40” long. Some examples have hilts that can accommodate two hands, for these, a two-handed stat-line is provided. A true cinematic hero will not be satisfied with a flimsy blade that tapers forward, but will, like Conan the Cimmerian, swing around a broad and heavy straight blade that can be used both in one hand or two, but is no longer than an ordinary arming sword. For this, use the HEAVY BROADSWORD.
FALCHION (MA, p. 227) – A medieval European term applied loosely to almost any single-edged sword, but most often to one that’s flared, heavy, and/or curved forward at the tip, which favors cutting over thrusting. A CLIPPED FALCHION is one with a point of indifferent sharpness and poor design, such as many tools. Most ironworking cultures developed such a blade; hunters and soldiers worldwide valued it as a tool (for butchering game, cutting brush, opening coconuts, etc.) and a weapon. Also applies to many swords in other cultures, including the Chinese Dao (LARGE FALCHION or GREAT FALCHION). Many Dao and some large European swords of this type have a hilt large enough to accommodate two hands. This includes the German Kriegsmesser, which is either a LARGE/GREAT FALCHION or BROADSWORD/BASTARD SWORD depending on curvature and length.
MAIN-GAUCHE (MA p. 228) – France, Italy. A stiff knife with a large basket hilt and broad crosspiece, designed primarily as a parrying weapon. Used alongside a rapier. Not throwable.
ODACHI (pp. B271, B274) – Japan. A slightly curved and very long single-edged sword designed for two-handed use. Smaller weapons that can be used in either one hand or two should be treated as a KATANA or LATE KATANA. Sources differ whether the name odachi (‘great sword’) or nodachi (‘field sword’) is more appropriate for the larger weapon.
RAPIER (MA p. 229, p. B273) – Europe. A long, one-handed sword with a stiff, narrow blade built for stabbing (but not for parrying – rapierists often carried a secondary weapon or a cloak for defense). Despite modern misconceptions, the rapier isn’t flimsy or fragile; it’s simply longer and thinner than a military cut-and-thrust sword of similar weight, as befits a civilian weapon designed to combat lightly armored foes. There are many variations. The CUT-AND-THRUST SWORD is a military weapon that is also balanced to use with the same techniques as civilian fencing of the day. It usually has a blade between 30” to 40” in length and may have a rapier-style hilt.
SABER (p. B273) – Europe. A light, one-handed cut-and-thrust sword built for fencing. The DUELLING SABER is a slightly heavier version that is closer to a CAVALRY SABER in weight, but still light enough to be used with fencing skill.
SMALLSWORD (p. B273) – France. This one-handed thrusting sword is speedy on attack and defense, but its light weight and short reach are serious liabilities. The EDGED SMALLSWORD is sharpened, but too light to be a good cutting weapon.

Below will be some few customization rules and a sword-themed expansion on the 'A Matter of Inches' rules from the sidebar on MA p. 110. Feel free to quibble with stat assignments, rules or even just spelling mistakes. That's what you're here for.

Edit: Right, in case there's any relevance, here are links to a few other house rules of mine.

Weapon Breakage using Damage to Objects

Shields, their use and new Perks

Staves, damage and bonuses to Parry
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Last edited by Icelander; 09-02-2010 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:25 PM   #2
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Default Sword Options

Sword Options

In addition to the options presented in the ‘Weapon Design’ section of CCoI Compendium II, these further options are available to swordsmen.

Blade Design


All of these designs have to be chosen when the weapon is made and cannot be added afterwards.

Armour-Piercing Blades
A sword or knife can be constructed with a stiff blade that is triangular or diamond in cross-section and exclusively meant for penetrating armour. The most basic form of this adds no cost or weight and produces a weapon that has normal thrust damage, but converts sw damage to cr instead of cut. The benefit is that it removes -2 of the penalty to target chinks in armour. Examples of this in the weapon tables are the estoc and stiletto, being armour-piercing variants of the broadsword and dagger, respectively. Longer estocs, that are variants of the longsword, are also not uncommon. Of course, it is very practical to make such weapons Thrusting Weapons (below) as well.

It is possible to make such weapons extremely stiff, with an even narrower cross-section and of good hardened steel. This is costly and produces weapons which are ill-suited to wound foes without armour, but it is effective for a user who is strong enough to actually penetrate the best maille. Treat such weapons the same as above, but in addition, they cause -2 thr damage and have an Armour Divisor (2). Add +3 CF. Thus, such an armour-piercing Large Knife would do thr-2(2) imp and sw-2 cr and cost $160.

Reinforced Blades
The blade of any sword can be made stronger and more durable without affecting weight. This is done by a combination of metallurgy, adding fullers and shaving material where it will not add to structural integrity. This adds +2 HP to the weapon and +1 CF. If the GM desires, this improvement could be broken down into two separate ones, i.e. Lighter Blade that removed -10% of weight without affecting HP for +0.25 CF and Stronger Blade which adds +10% of weight, +2 HP and +0.75 CF. It is, however, usually safe to assume that the two go together in most cases. An example of a reinforced blade is the Colichemarde type of smallsword, which is also a Thrusting Sword (below). If the GM penalises the effective weight of very thin swords using the Blade Length and Damage rule (above), he should count swords with Colichemarde-type blades as one category shorter on the table.

Slashing Swords
Most swords are designed to allow both cuts and thrusts. Other swords may be designed in such a way to favour slashing over thrusting, usually through a pronounced curve in the blade. Examples are many kiljics, scimitars, shamshirs, tulwars, yataghans and even some Western cavalry sabres. This gives a +1 to skill when slashing, but -1 to skill when thrusting. As an option, it may also give +1 to the Cavalry Training technique. It is the default design of kukris and available as a standard option for all falchions and cavalry sabres. It does not alter weapon cost in such cases. If the GM allows it for other weapons, it will usually increase the basic Cost of the weapon by +25%.

Thrusting Swords
For a way to change weapon balance so that is favours thrusting, see Basket-Hilts (CCoI Compendium II, p. 00). If a weapon already has a basket-hilt or, for some reason, a change in balance is desired without the addition of such a hilt, a user may be able to get a blade with a balance that favours thrusts at the cost of cuts. This has the standard effects of adding +1 to skill on thrusts, giving a -1 to skill for swings and reducing swing damage by -1. As an option, the GM may also rule that making (but not resisting) Beats suffers a -1 penalty and that when attempting Feints (but not resisting them), the character is at +1. Main-Gauches are already balanced this way and suffer no extra damage penalty. In addition, the vast majority of historical smallswords would use this option.

As a result, this is usually available as a standard option for fencing weapons of 2 lbs. or less, and adds no extra cost in that case. If the GM decides that a heavier sword is available in this design, it adds +25% to the base Cost of the weapon. The GM is the final arbiter of whether a given weapon can be constructed as a thrusting sword. An example of a non-fencing weapon designed as a thrusting weapon would be the Italian cinquedea, a thrusting Large Knife or Long Knife, depending on length, which also has a Reinforced Blade (above).

Weapon Quality

The weapon quality rules from MA, p. 216, and CCoI, p. 00, apply normally to swords, of course. When using the ‘Damage to Objects’ rules (p. B484), however, it is necessary to account for the better materials out of which superior weapons are constructed. Fine (Materials) weapons enjoy a +1 to HT for a typical HT score of 13 and Very Fine (Materials) have a +2 to HT for a typical score of 14. In addition, expensive weapons made out of steel, such as swords, will usually be harder to cut, chip or bend than artefacts made of cheap metal Fine (Materials) adds +2 to DR for a DR 8 and Very Fine (Materials) adds +4 for a DR 10.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: On Swords, Blades and the Song of Swords

I think the Cut-and-Thrust Sword overlaps too much with the official Edged Rapier and Short Edged Rapier from MA. Does it replace them? My understanding is that especially in Italy, these were much more common than the dull-edged Basic Set Rapier.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: On Swords, Blades and the Song of Swords

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
I think the Cut-and-Thrust Sword overlaps too much with the official Edged Rapier and Short Edged Rapier from MA. Does it replace them? My understanding is that especially in Italy, these were much more common than the dull-edged Basic Set Rapier.
It's intended to co-exist. You may imagine it as a schiavona, for example.

It differs from the Edged Rapier only in that it costs $300 less and has Reach 1 and not Reach 1,2; which is significant in many cases.

From the Jian it differs only by the Reach on a thrust, which for a Jian is 1,2. I'm inclined to say that many (most) Jian are actually Cut-and-Thrust Swords and that the example in MA is one that happens to just peak over a breakpoint for the next hex.

In a game where the difference between Reach 1 and Reach 1,2 never becomes significant, this weapon is utterly pointless. In a game which is likely to use Close-Combat penalties (by RAW, -8 for the Jian and -4 for the Cut-and-Thrust Sword) and/or feature tactical combat where having an extra hex of Reach is a powerful advantage, the choice between one or the other could be the difference between life or death. Or an important characterisation point, of course.
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:56 PM   #5
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Default Sword Rules

Sword Rules


In a game where swords and sword-fighting are important elements, a GM might introduce some of these house rules. They are intended to rationalise some of the melee combat skills in GURPS and the weapon stats.

Dusacks, sticks and wasters

Wooden versions of most types of common swords are available for training. Examples are the dusack and bokken, but other wasters modelled after broadswords, sabres and backswords also exist. Cost will usually be between $30 and $40, with unusual or complex designs costing extra. Change the weapon’s sw cut damage to sw cr as well as penalising thr imp damage by -1 and changing it to thr cr.

A Short Staff such as a typical escrima stick used with a fencing skill is used both to swing and thrust, with an emphasis on swinging. This means that it should use the Saber skill, not the Smallsword skill. Modify any affected styles as necessary.

Fencing with Weapon Adaptation

With the Weapon Adaptation Perk, a non-fencing weapon can be used with a fencing skill. This allows mobile parries, granting +3 instead of +1 bonus on a Retreat, but also means that encumbrance affects skill and parries. There is little reason for the GM to forbid characters from taking this Perk, as historically, many fighters did use techniques developed with fencing swords with the slightly broader military weapons of the era. There is, however, an important note about weapon damage.

Because the fencing stance and the necessary wrist control limit the application of force with the blade, the base damage of a weapon used with a fencing skill cannot be higher than that of the Edged Rapier, i.e. sw cut and thr+1 imp. If using a weapon, such as a Cavalry Saber or Broadsword, with a higher base damage than this with a fencing skill, reduce its damage to sw cut and thr+1 imp. Bonuses for weapon quality, Weapon Master, magic or anything else add normally.

Reach, range and ramifications

The following rules expand upon the ramifications of the ‘A Matter of Inches’ sidebar in MA, p. 110, and as such, will not suit players and GMs who do not enjoy subtle distinctions between weapons. Their purpose is to delineate more sharply between two different swords of the same Reach, but slightly different real-world length. Although presented here for swords and most important in a campaign where fencing plays a large role, they can probably be applied to all weapons if the GM is prepared to note the real length for them in a typical fighting grip and assign them an appropriate place in the size spectrum.

Reach and Close Combat

GURPS has very granular penalties for Reach in close combat. All weapons with Reach C suffer no penalty, all weapons with Reach 1 suffer -4 and all weapons with Reach 2 suffer -8.

In reality, of course, there can be significant difference between the length of weapons of the same Reach. A 16” baselard (Long Knife in GURPS) is significantly more awkward than a dagger with a 7” blade (Large Knife in GURPS), despite both being the same Reach. And few would deny that shortswords are probably easier to use in close combat than 36” arming swords. To represent this, weapons are divided by length into the following groups:

Clinch Weapons
This category consists of genuine Reach C weapons that suffer no Close Combat penalty at all. If a weapon has Reach C and is not otherwise noted as being longer in the sections following, it is a clinch weapon and can be used in CC without penalties. This includes the dagger, small knife, large knife and rondel dagger. Most examples are under 12” in total length, with 15” being close to being an absolute maximum, and blade length is usually no more than 8-10”.

Close Weapons
These weapons, while intended to be used at close range and assigned Reach C in basic GURPS rules, are nevertheless more awkward to use at grappling range than their smaller counterparts. Close weapons include the Long Knife and Main-Gauche. Close weapons give a -1 penalty when used in close combat. The Close Combat technique can be used to buy of the full penalty.

Note also that many examples of the weapons under clinch weapons existed historically in longer versions, most of which would count as Long Knives. The total length of close weapons is usually between 15”-20”, with a few examples being up to 23” (any longer and they count as Shortswords), but some weapons of this length may not count as close weapons due to the way they are used and instead appear in the next group.

Short Weapons
These weapons, though mostly assigned Reach 1 in GURPS rules, are both shorter and handier than most weapons of that Reach. Short weapons include the Baton, Dress Smallsword , Dusack, Hatchet, Jutte, Large Katar, Sai, Short Staff, Shortsword, Small Falchion and Tonfa.

Short weapons suffer only a -2 penalty in close combat and the Close Combat technique can be used to buy off half of that.

Tight Range Weapons
Occupying the ground midway between shorter blades usually meant for formation fighting and a full-size sword useful in a more mobile duelling style, these weapons are usually between 25” and 29” long (or else very light and handy, such as the smallsword). By default, the Edged Smallsword, Falchion, Pick, Small Axe, Small Mace, Small Round Mace, Small Throwing Axe and Smallsword are tight range weapons. At the user’s option, weapons with the stats for Backswords, Broadswords, Cavalry Sabers, Duelling Sabers or Sabers may be available in this length without a change in their cost or weight. These will usually have names and functions radically different from typical weapons called by the name backsword, broadsword or cavalry saber in history. Examples of weapons with Backsword stats of this design are many cutlasses, cuttoes and hangers, tight range Broadswords are the longer gladii and katzbalgers and weapons with Cavalry Sabre stats that fit this length are cutlasses, cuttoes and hangers which lack basket-hilts as well as some hunting swords.

Tight range weapons suffer a -3 penalty in close combat and the Close Combat technique can buy off half of that (round up).

Average Weapons
The vast majority of Reach 1 melee weapons fall under this category. For swords, this usually means a length between 30” to 36”. If a weapon is not mentioned under another category and is listed with Reach 1, it can usually be presumed to fall into this category. In addition, weapons of Reach 2 held in a Reverse Grip also fall under here by default, unless the GM decides there is a particular reason they should be classified differently.

These weapons take the usual -4 Close Combat penalties for Reach 1.

Wide Range Weapons
These weapons have Reach 1 or Reach 1,2 in GURPS, but are slightly longer than most Reach 1 weapons without being significantly clumsier. Their length ranges from 37” to around 44” and the blade is usually between 30” to 40”. The Edged Rapier, Great Falchion, Heavy Broadsword, Jian, Longsword, Katana and Short Spear are wide range weapons by default. Longer Cut-and-Thrust Swords also belong to this category. GURPS Broadswords and Cavalry Sabers in this size category are also not uncommon and can be had at standard prices and weights (or in a 4 lbs. version that is MinST 11; base Cost +25%).

The close combat penalty is -5 and the Close Combat technique can buy down half of that (round up).

Long Weapons
These weapons are long, but usually manoeuvrable enough to be used in both Reach 1,2 without changing the grip. As such, they are not as difficult to use in close quarters as other weapons of their Reach. The Bastard Sword, Javelin, Odachi, Rapier and Staff are long weapons. Other weapons used with the Staff skill also count as long weapons if Reach 2 and below.

Long weapons suffer a -6 penalty in close combat and the Close Combat technique can buy off half of that.

Long Measure Weapons
These weapons are excellent at maintaining a constant distance between you and foe. Despite their great length, they are still less unwieldy than some very long weapons. The Greatsword and Spear are long measure weapons. Some of the more extreme rapiers of the Elizabethan period were actually long enough to fit into this category. As noted in basic GURPS rules, there is little general adventuring utility in this, but when performance in a Cascading Wait situation is more important than general utility, it can be useful. The added length usually does not add to weight (blade density is decreased instead), but Reach becomes 2 (instead of 1,2) and basic Cost is increased by +25%.

Long measure weapons suffer a -7 penalty in close combat and the Close Combat technique can buy half of that off (round up).

Very Long Weapons
This category covers any weapon of Reach 2 that is not noted as being part of a different group of weapons. Principal weapons here are the various duelling polearms used with Polearm skill, two-handed axe/mace weapons and flexible weapons of Reach 2. They suffer the normal penalty of -4 per yard of Reach.

Extremely Long Weapons
These longer weapons are polearms or other exotica with Reach more than 2. These suffer the normal -4 penalty per yard of Reach.

[cont.]
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:00 AM   #6
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Default Sword Rules

Reach and Mounted Combat
Melee attacks from the back of a horse normally cannot be performed with weapons without Reach 1 or higher. Even if the weapon can attack at Reach 1, it may still be so short that it is harder to bring to bear from horseback. Even if the weapon can easily reach the intended target, a shorter weapon means that the horse must be ridden closer to the opponent and that fewer positions and angles are viable. Shorter weapons are therefore penalised when using the Cavalry Training technique.

Clinch Weapons, if capable of such attacks at all, suffer a -4 penalty to the default of Cavalry Training.
Close Weapons suffer a -3 penalty.
Short Weapons suffer a -2 penalty.
Tight Range Weapons suffer a -1 penalty.

Note that this penalty applies only when actually using the Cavalry Training technique, i.e. when attacking in the same turn as your mount or when making a mounted attack at Move 7 or greater. It is perfectly possible to fight effectively with shorter weapons from horseback if the horse is stationary or moving slowly.

Relative Reach
In the sidebar ‘A Matter of Inches’ on MA, p. 110, gradations of Reach smaller than a whole hex of difference are described as having two main effects. The -1 penalty for having the longer weapon in a Who Draws First? contest (MA. p. 103) is assigned to the one who has a longer weapon according to the list there and higher position on the list serves as a tie-breaker in cases of Cascading Waits and Stop Hits. Obviously, if using the more granular categories above, they replace those in MA for the weapons they cover.

If anything, the rules in ‘A Matter of Inches’ understate the advantage of having a slightly longer weapon in some situations. These situations are rarely significant in open combat, it is true, but could prove a vital edge in a duel.

First of all, if your weapon is longer than your opponent’s, it is risky for him attack you in case you choose to defend in one-time. All things being equal, it is very hard for him to prevent you from taking advantage of the opening in his defences when his weapon has no chance of reaching you first. As a result, if you are at the longest normal Reach for your weapon when making a Riposte or Stop Hit against a foe with a shorter weapon, you add -1 to the active defence penalty of your opponent if you succeed.

Second, if you have a longer weapon and you used Defensive Attack, Evaluate, Feint (Feint or Ruse, but not Beat) or Wait in the preceding turn, you gain a +1 to Parry with that weapon if your opponent attacks from its longest Reach. Thus, you’d get the bonus if you and your foe both had rapiers, yours was longer, and he attacked you from Reach 2. You would not get it if he moved inside Reach 1 before striking. This bonus is cumulative with the bonus above and can be used to Riposte to greater effect.

Relative Weapon Weight
The ‘A Matter of Inches’ sidebar on MA, p. 110, mentions several cases where absolute and relative weapon weight may matter. It stops short, however, of introducing a floating modifier that changes depending on the difference in weights between the weapons of the two combatants.

In the case of Beats and Disarms, however, this is a very relevant detail. In addition to the already mentioned rules, a user with a weapon which weights at least 1.5 times his opponent’s weapon may add +1 to his roll when making or resisting a Beat and when trying Knocking a Weapon away (p. B401). If his weapon is twice as heavy, he gets a +2 and if three times as heavy, a +3. See also ‘Blade Length and Damage’, below, for how the design of blades can influence where the weight is concentrated and thus how good they are at Beats.

It is the GM’s decision whether to rule that larger differences in weapon weight are already accounted for in the (presumed) ST difference between the users or whether to extend this progression by +1 for every additional multiplier of weapon weight.

Weight of Swords and Damage to Objects

Sheaths
As noted in HT, p. 198, weights for swords and knives in GURPS include sheaths, at 1/3 of the total weight for a rigid scabbard. This is a general rule and it might be fair to exclude the dagger and small knife from it, as a soft sheath (weight neg.) would suffice for those knives and the listed weights seem accurate for typical examples even without sheaths.

Properly, of course, the weight of the scabbard should not add to weapon weight for the purposes of parrying or for HP when the weapon is attacked while not sheathed. The GM should thus figure sword HP from 2/3 of weight.

Blade length and damage
Swords intended for battle are usually well-made and sturdy. The modern image of easily snapped rapiers is mostly fiction or poor scholarship. As such, most swords have, according to the ‘Damage to Objects’ rules (p. B484), DR 6, HT 12 and HP 10-14.

These rules, however, make all swords of the same weight equally hard to damage, regardless of specific design. In reality, it is harder to snap or damage a short, stout blade than a long narrow one of the same weight. To represent this, a GM interested in verisimilitude might give short blades a bonus to effective weight for the purpose of calculating HP for Damage to Objects and very long blades a penalty. At the GM’s option, some other weapons might take similar modifiers, but this is not the default (and the relationship in each case depends on the specifics of the weapon design).

Clinch Weapons: +100% to weight without scabbard (usually +1/3 to listed weight).
Close Weapons: +75% to scabbard-less weight (+1/6 to listed weight).
Short Weapons: +50% to scabbard-less weight (use listed weight).
Tight Range Weapons: +25% to weight without scabbard (-1/6 of listed weight).
Average Weapons: +0% to scabbard-less blade weight (-1/3 of listed weight).
Wide Range Weapons and above: -75% of weight without scabbard (-1/2 of listed weight).

If using the ‘Relative Weapon Weight’ rules, above, this is the weight that should be compared to calculate whether either combatant should receive a bonus. Note also that with this rule, normal Shortswords, Broadswords and Longswords are all equally good at Beat and equally hard to ruin, which is realistic. Only blades that are notably thin or thick for their weight will differ appreciably in that regard.

Some very few blades will not be as robust as typical military weapons. These have only half DR for their material, so only DR 3 instead of DR 6, and their HT is 10 instead of 12. This normally only applies to the Dagger, but a GM might rule that some examples of Dress Smallswords and extremely long and slender Smallswords and Rapiers are afflicted by it. A more realistic option for typical smallswords and dress smallswords would be to note that smallswords and light rapiers are usually rather long, despite being usable at relatively short reaches, and so would use the Wide Range Weapons line when calculating weight.

A few examples of typical blades, their weight calculated by this rule and their HPs follow. Note that the smallswords and light rapier have their weight corrected as suggested above.

Dagger: 0.5 lbs.; HP 6.
Small Knife: 1 lbs.; HP 8.
Large Knife: 1.3 lbs.; HP 9.
Long Knife: 1.75 lbs.; HP 9.
Small Falchion: 2 lbs.; HP 10.
Shortsword: 2 lbs.; HP 10.
Falchion: 2.5 lbs.; HP 11.
Short Broadsword: 2.5 lbs.; HP 11.
Dress Smallsword: 0.5 lbs. HP 6.
Smallsword: 0.75 lbs.; HP 7.
Saber: 1.33 lbs.; HP 9.
Broadsword: 2 lbs.; HP 10.
Heavy Broadsword: 3 lbs.; HP: 12.
Late Katana: 2 lbs.; HP 10.
Longsword: 2 lbs.; HP 10.
Light Rapier: 1 lbs.; HP 8.
Katana: 2.5 lbs.; HP 11.
Edged Rapier: 1.5 lbs.; HP 9.
Bastard Sword: 2.5 lbs.; HP 11.
Rapier: 1.375 lbs.; HP 9.
Greatsword: 3.5 lbs.; HP 12.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: On Swords, Blades and the Song of Swords

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From the Jian it differs only by the Reach on a thrust, which for a Jian is 1,2. I'm inclined to say that many (most) Jian are actually Cut-and-Thrust Swords and that the example in MA is one that happens to just peak over a breakpoint for the next hex.
The schiavonas I've handled have had longer blades, from two to three hands longer than the one handed jians I've handled, and most schiavonas are a couple of inches longer than the two handed jians, unless you mean something else by jian, or by schiavona...

Even the standard backswords are over a hand longer than the one handed jians.

I think you'd be better off denoting what the blade length for your nomenclature is.

After all, if I set schiavona blade lengths as between 36" - 42", one handed jians as 25" - 31", and two-handed jians as 30" - 36" and you have completely different numbers in mind, we'll be talking at cross purposes.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: On Swords, Blades and the Song of Swords

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The schiavonas I've handled have had longer blades, from two to three hands longer than the one handed jians I've handled, and most schiavonas are a couple of inches longer than the two handed jians, unless you mean something else by jian, or by schiavona...

Even the standard backswords are over a hand longer than the one handed jians.

I think you'd be better off denoting what the blade length for your nomenclature is.

After all, if I set schiavona blade lengths as between 36" - 42", one handed jians as 25" - 31", and two-handed jians as 30" - 36" and you have completely different numbers in mind, we'll be talking at cross purposes.
The 'Jian' in Martial Arts is long enough to get Reach 1,2 on a thrust. That's longer than the vast majority of Jians I've seen or heard about, but I didn't write Martial Arts.

Most real jians would actually be Cut-and-Thrust Swords in these stats, i.e. have Reach 1. In GURPS rules terms, a schiavona (or jian or any other similar sword) might be an Edged Rapier, Jian or a Cut-and-Thrust Sword, depending on whether the GM feels that it ought to have Reach 1,2 on both cuts and thrusts, Reach 1,2 only on the thrust or Reach 1 on both attacks.

My personal feeling is that to get Edged Rapier stats, a weapon needs a blade of 40"+ or so. For Jian stats, a blade of 33" to 40" seems not far off. Blades shorter than that, but broad enough for a reasonable cut use the Cut-and-Thrust Sword stats (otherwise they'd be an Edged Light Rapier).
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: On Swords, Blades and the Song of Swords

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Edit: Right, in case there's any relevance, here are links to a few other house rules of mine.

Weapon Breakage using Damage to Objects

Shields, their use and new Perks

Staves, damage and bonuses to Parry
Concerning this thread: very interesting posts, Icelander.

Although in first place I want to see what is going to offer the Cabaret Chick on Ice and her sexy companions.

OTOH, speaking about this thread and the links you put above, I think you're staking a good amount of cool stuff suited for a personal web page.
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: On Swords, Blades and the Song of Swords

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Concerning this thread: very interesting posts, Icelander.
No thoughts about the stats or rules? Nothing that seems off to you?

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Although in first place I want to see what is going to offer the Cabaret Chick on Ice and her sexy companions.
Colour me puzzled. Why is a cat like a Cabaret Chick on Ice?

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OTOH, speaking about this thread and the links you put above, I think you're staking a good amount of cool stuff suited for a personal web page.
No, no, no. That would be actual work and for what benefit?

I do these because I need for them for my own campaign and I post them on the forums in the hopes of getting free playtesting, kibbitzing and overviews from the hivemind.
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