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Old 04-22-2015, 04:31 AM   #1
Anders
 
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Default [Low-Tech] Material or quality

This is really just a footnote but it puzzled me - why is Silver listed under Weapon Quality and not under Weapon Composition?
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:03 AM   #2
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Material or quality

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This is really just a footnote but it puzzled me - why is Silver listed under Weapon Quality and not under Weapon Composition?
That's a very good question!

One possible expanation is that silver is basically a crappy material to make a sword out of, and no matter how skilled you are as a smith, you can't make a better-than-average sword, i.e. Fine and Very Fine are flat-out-impossible to achieve. And in fact unless you're a very skilled smith who knows a lot about silver or has tried to pull that silly stunt multiple times before, you can't achieve anything more than cheap...
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Material or quality

I would personally go with the idea that historically, no-one seems to have made weapons out of silver as it is far too expensive given its poor metallurgical qualities. Any weapon like objects made of silver would probably be purely artwork and better priced as such.

Yes, this is a pain for fantasy where you need silver weapons to kill things, but you'd probably need magic to make a sensible weapon out of silver anyway.

Silver coating on the other hand... I would guess adding an appropriate CF for decoration.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Material or quality

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Silver coating on the other hand... I would guess adding an appropriate CF for decoration.
Silver coated weapons are listed as +2 CF.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:52 AM   #5
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Yes, this is a pain for fantasy where you need silver weapons to kill things, but you'd probably need magic to make a sensible weapon out of silver anyway.
Or a liberal attitude towards alloying; there are probably a lot of options if you're willing to go well below the 92.5% of sterling silver.
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:58 AM   #6
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Or a liberal attitude towards alloying; there are probably a lot of options if you're willing to go well below the 92.5% of sterling silver.
For bronzes sure, copper and silver mix quite well. Magnesium silver alloys can be pretty good too. You can forget steels - silver isn't very soluble in iron at all. Still copper or magnesium alloys as tough as low end steels and 5 or 10% silver content ought to be achievable. Some platinum group metals apparently do pretty well too.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:26 PM   #7
Peter Knutsen
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For bronzes sure, copper and silver mix quite well. Magnesium silver alloys can be pretty good too. You can forget steels - silver isn't very soluble in iron at all. Still copper or magnesium alloys as tough as low end steels and 5 or 10% silver content ought to be achievable. Some platinum group metals apparently do pretty well too.
I've consulted with various oracles, and they've all given consistent answers (mark your calender, ladies and gentlehobbits! Consistent answers from multiple oracles, 23rd of April 2015!!!), telling me that even a 10% silver alloy won't have a stronger metaphysical effect, e.g. on werewolves, than a regular steel blade with a coating of silver.

It may be that a 5% or 10% silver alloyed with bronze or copper is preferable to a weapon coated in silver, in terms of maintenance or the like. It might also look quite nice, although my guess would be that 10% silver 90% copper will look quite like normal bronze.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Low-Tech] Material or quality

In Sagatafl, my homebrew RPG system, the severity of the problem with making bladed weapons out of silver - or bronze - depends on how long the blade is.

Knives and daggers are fine, but a silver shortsword gets a Durability penalty, relative to one made of iron, and a silver broadsword even more so, same way a bronze broadsword does. You can use Enchantments to compensate, increasing the Durability to match that of a mundane "iron" weapon, but you can use the same magic on a mundane iron weapon to increase its Durability too, to be above par.

Craftsman's skill, of course, can also affect the final Durability, but the craftsman has to be familiar with the material used (in GURPS that's be a Perk for each exotic alloy, including bronze, silver, meteoric iron, and post-medieval steel, each regarded as a separate alloy, and it probably wouldn't be a good idea to apply the usual limit on how many Perks a character is allowed to have).

A weapon with Durability slightly below par for its type isn't a serious problem, unless you want to parry with it (e.g. if you're of a Keltic inclination, disdaining shields and armour as being for wusses), but if your enemy suspects his weapon is significantly stronger than yours, he might deliberately try to "match" his weapon against yours again and again, hoping to break your blade.

But all that is about sword type blades.

What about an axe head made of silver, or a flanged mace head of silver? I can't see much problem with that. It'd be notably heavier, of course (mass of iron IIRC is about 7, vs 11 for silver), so the mace would count as a lead-weighted mace, which I presume GURPS has rules for, but I'm not sure if there are rules for axes with extra-heavy heads. Ones can probably be devised if needed.

Or you can make most of the axe head out of iron or primitive steel, and just weld a silver axe blade onto it. Then you get an axe not appreciably heavier than one with an iron head (average density probably comparable to bronze, which isn't denser enough than iron to warrant any special "heavy weapon rules"), and the "functional bit" that hits the werewolf is still pure silver (or 75%-92% silver anyway, which is good enough to get the job one).
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:05 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
What about an axe head made of silver, or a flanged mace head of silver? I can't see much problem with that. It'd be notably heavier, of course (mass of iron IIRC is about 7, vs 11 for silver), so the mace would count as a lead-weighted mace, which I presume GURPS has rules for, but I'm not sure if there are rules for axes with extra-heavy heads. Ones can probably be devised if needed.
The easy solution there is to just make the head a little smaller. Iron has a density of 7.87, silver a density of 10.49. A silver head of equal weight thus takes up 75% as much volume. If reducing the size of the head equally in all ways (simply scaling it down, rather than making it just thinner), each of width, length, and thickness is still 90% of what it was before. Unless actively comparing it to a weapon of normal construction, you might not even notice the difference.

GURPS doesn't have any rules for weapons with extra-heavy heads, outside of the general rules for extra-heavy weapons. A full-sized silver mace is going to weigh more, but even if the weapon were originally made entirely out of iron switching over to silver (for x1.33 to weight) it's not going to be enough for even a +1 to damage.

Last edited by Varyon; 04-23-2015 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:26 AM   #10
Peter Knutsen
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GURPS doesn't have any rules for weapons with extra-heavy heads, outside of the general rules for extra-heavy weapons. A full-sized silver mace is going to weigh more, but even if the weapon were originally made entirely out of iron switching over to silver (for x1.33 to weight) it's going to be enough for even a +1 to damage.
Obviously an axe or a mace with a heavier head is going to do more damage, yes. But there has got to be some drawback to it as well, otherwies standard axes and maces would be made with heads that heavy.

And there really should be something in the RAW. Weren't lead-filled maces used historically?
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