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Old 09-23-2020, 11:03 PM   #1
Dewey
 
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Default Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

Has anyone ever sat down and figured out where various sword types as defined by Ewart Oakeshott fall between regular Broadswords and Thrusting Broadswords? Some seem fairly self-explanatory. For example, I would assume that an Oakeshott Type X would be a Broadsword, while a Type XV would clearly be a Thrusting Broadsword. It seems to me that the Type XIV would probably be the first that could be considered a Thrusting Broadsword, despite Oakeshott grouping them with swords that are designed primarily for cutting. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? and are there any articles or previous threads on this subject that I've missed?
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Old 09-23-2020, 11:37 PM   #2
VariousRen
 
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Default Re: Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

Low Tech pg.55 has details for what it considers a broadsword, and they are (pun intended) quite broad. Anything between 30" and 40" long, intended for single handed use, single or double edged, and either straight or slightly curved can be considered a GURPS broadsword. The only difference to a thrusting broadsword is that it is pointed. To my knowledge all of Oakeshott types feature a tip that is sharpened and pointed, so all of them would qualify as a thrusting broadsword (unless they fell into a different weapon classification entirely, like being considered an estoc, or some sort of two handed sword).

The non-thrusting broadsword entry is suitable for sword-like-objects like a macuahuitl which have a square tip, or a square tipped machete. You could thrust with them, but without any edge or point you are limited to crushing damage. Note that other swords with strange tip geometry often do either crushing (no tip) or cutting (blade curves dramatically at the tip, khopesh or sickle style).
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Old 09-24-2020, 08:36 AM   #3
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

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Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
To my knowledge all of Oakeshott types feature a tip that is sharpened and pointed, so all of them would qualify as a thrusting broadsword (unless they fell into a different weapon classification entirely, like being considered an estoc, or some sort of two handed sword).
Yes, the alledgedly "standard' (i.e. non-thrusting) Gurps Broadsword is as blunt as a bokken and is a very rare item historically. Of course, I've never seen a full length Rapier that had no sharp edges either. Smallswords yes but Rapiers, no.

If you were wanting to introduce fine distinctions some of the swords mentioend by the OP might only get a +1 Thrust/Impale instead of +2 damage.
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Old 09-24-2020, 03:07 PM   #4
Dewey
 
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Default Re: Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

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Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
The non-thrusting broadsword entry is suitable for sword-like-objects like a macuahuitl which have a square tip, or a square tipped machete. You could thrust with them, but without any edge or point you are limited to crushing damage. Note that other swords with strange tip geometry often do either crushing (no tip) or cutting (blade curves dramatically at the tip, khopesh or sickle style).
Somehow, I had missed that the non-thrusting Broadsword thrust damage was crushing this whole time! Thanks for clarifying that.
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Old 09-25-2020, 03:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

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Somehow, I had missed that the non-thrusting Broadsword thrust damage was crushing this whole time! Thanks for clarifying that.
Swords like that are rare, but they do exist in parts of Africa and South Asia, so they could not be thrown out. There are also some European executioner's swords with blunt points.

It would have been good to call the pointy version a "Broadsword" and use a more specific name for the version without an effective point. The resources available to Evil Steve in Texas in the 1980s just weren't as extensive as they were for the teams of authors writing Low Tech 30 years later.

Some swords in Oakeshott types X through XIII (and many smallswords and spadroons) might have an armour divisor with thrusts. They are pointy, but flexible, so not suitable for thrusting at hard targets.
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Last edited by Polydamas; 09-25-2020 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 09-25-2020, 03:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
Has anyone ever sat down and figured out where various sword types as defined by Ewart Oakeshott fall between regular Broadswords and Thrusting Broadswords? Some seem fairly self-explanatory. For example, I would assume that an Oakeshott Type X would be a Broadsword, while a Type XV would clearly be a Thrusting Broadsword. It seems to me that the Type XIV would probably be the first that could be considered a Thrusting Broadsword, despite Oakeshott grouping them with swords that are designed primarily for cutting. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? and are there any articles or previous threads on this subject that I've missed?
I have.

Most fall under Thrusting Broad sword. A few under Longsword. And the rest (not a lot) under Bastard sword. And lastly thrusting Greatsword.

Going off of Albion swords site for reference pics for people to know what I mean:

Thrusting Broadswords
Type X
Type Xa
Type XI
Type XII
Type XIV
Type XV
Type XVI
Type XVIII
Type XIX

Long Sword
Type XVa
Type XVIIIc

Bastard Sword
Type XIIa
Type XIII
Type XVIa
Type XVII
Type XVIIIb
Type XX
Type XXa

Thrusting Greatsword
Type XIIIa
Type XVIIIe


I have handled most of these weapons and this is where I would put those types. Maybe a few of the ones under bastard sword can go under longsword, but that requires me to get my hands on them again.
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

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Swords like that are rare, but they do exist in parts of Africa and South Asia, so they could not be thrown out. There are also some European executioner's swords with blunt points.
I saw a sword that on a TV show once. The would-be seller clamed it waa authentic but the expert the show called in decided it was a fake. I've never seen an authentic one.
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Old 09-26-2020, 02:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

Some Celtic La Tene swords appear to have been made without a thrusting tip.
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

I was puzzled by the blunt-tipped broadswords when I first ran into GURPS, but I vaguely recalled hearing Celtic swords described that way, so I assumed that it was down to something in Caesarís Gallic Wars or suchlike. Okay, so it may originally have come from archaeology. Whatever; game designers do sometimes suffer from too-narrow reference pools.

Iíve never had a character I designed use a blunt-tipped broadsword, though.
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:25 PM   #10
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Oakeshott Typology Broadswords

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. Okay, so it may originally have come from archaeology. Whatever; game designers do sometimes suffer from too-narrow reference pools.
I've seen the meme in older fiction. Specifically in the Incomplete Enchanter series by de Camp and Pratt. I just haven't seen any real swords to back it up.

People can get crossed up by artificial distinctions in the way material gets presented. If some curator wants to put up a display of "European Swords" and he starts with the Vikings and goes on well into the Renaissance you can get the idea of a steady evolution away from slashing towards thrusting blades.

Only if he had started with Roman Spathas those were very sharply pointed and all the Renaissance Falchions (heavy chopping blades) are in another display case if not another museum.
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