Jump to content

To y’all with characters with swords...

Recommended Posts

I’m still reading up on this thread but I have indeed learned some things over the years about historical weaponry and applying combat to text-based roleplay, surprising and eye-opening things.

Just casual research here and there, and definite use of youtube. I did discover how hardly anyone in history has dual-wielded the way we think of dual-wielding—because it -sucks-. Eye coordination, as just one example, is a feat you have ascended if you are able to wield two swords at the same time in real life. And, though not as bad as wielding two pistols and trying to fire/reload both accurately, it still sucks for the average combatant. You can do more damage knowing how to wield one pistol, and more damage knowing how to wield one sword—and then some if your off hand now has a shield in it.

Also learned how insanely versatile the halberd is, and that it and other polearms were often the primary weapon of a knight—not the ‘longsword’. The latter, evidently, was like a sidearm: a pistol for today’s soldier, where the halberd is his rifle.

Then I recalled how different text-based combat is, and how things just generally get permitted because, ultimately, even the most realistic roleplay fight (where characters can’t do magic-and-such, are as susceptible to injury as you and me, wind matters etc.) is still not a real fight.

Roleplay combat overall can be so complicated and organized at the same time; balance is a delicate feat. It’s weird but I’ve come to balance “realistic combat” with “hollywood combat” (I won’t get into “anime combat” as I’d vomit) because certain T1 systems, at least, seem to silently demand it.

My character can’t jump 20 feet in the air unless he’s casting a spell or is of a biological composition that allows for it or something. However, he can take his plain old steel dagger and drive it through thick steel plate, mail and boiled leather without any supporting powers or strength. Because factoring in all the realities of melee can get quite complicated in a roleplay fight, and really only happens if the combat system is specifically set up for it and/or if the combatants have agreed to be so particular.

It’s pretty wild how different things are from the truth. Novels, anime, movies, shows, video games—portrayals of melee combat weapons are so ridiculously distorted and things like HEMA accessed only by a tiny global minority that there’s just no way to “do it right” in roleplay on a general level. Either way, you still hit a wall for the fact that it’s text-based combat and is thus too different a medium to incorporate all these things.

I mean, as has been brought out, Hollywood does away with the truths because they didn’t do their research, they don’t have the screen time or, honestly, the truth just doesn’t look as cool. I’ve watched HEMA sword spars and it is much less flashy than watching swords stupidly clash against each other in Game of Thrones.

Granted, a war hammer’s head is much smaller than the giant maul in that one RPG because the power of the swing compensates. It’s simple physics, but again, a giant maul looks much more menacing than a head that looks like it belongs on a claw hammer in a tool box.

Still, I’m as fascinated by it all as anyone else, but it’s a struggle to apply into roleplay combat. I try to balance things but, truly, if my opponent is going to overlook the fact that his own full plate will actually deflect my kitchen knife...then I’m probably going to stab him anyway.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Although there's something to be said about degrees of realism and believability in your fiction the point isn't to make fiction as close to reality as possible. That's what you have reality for. If you want real sword fights you go watch or participate in real sword fights. Fictions are fictions because they're fictions and should not be confused with uncompromising models of reality. Even historical texts don't get that right. Short of direct experiential knowledge you must realize and accept this about any work. Approaching fictional works in this way can only lead to madness and disappointment because it's fundamentally flawed in its approach. GTA doesn't sell the copies it sells because of how accurately it portrays traffic violations. You don't see many people dying from dysentery in Call of Duty, however realistic their firing rate is

It's also worth noting that the movie, show, video game, novel that even intends to portray a protagonist as realistic is minor. The nature of the protagonist, and consequently the antagonist so as to provide meaningful antagonism, means you are dealing specifically with extraordinary rather than ordinary. Even in a world of magic and a population of other magic-users, Harry Potter and Voldemort (for example) were special, not indicative of the general magic-using population 

Edit - Something like this is kind of explicitly touched on in the Expanse. The crew-of-protagonists gets out of a very dire situation with minimal casualties and the pilot has a personal freakout moment playing a simulation of the battle over and over again, and how in every simulation they die, and yet they're alive 

Every simulation they die in = reality

The one they escape in = the story 

Edit 2 - maybe you should brew up that realistic system that DOES penalize against un-realisms? You never know who will come until you build it! 

Edited by supernal

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL ya’ll

I actually have quite a few rp characters who dual-wield swords/lightsabers or pistols...because of the Rule of Cool and, paradoxically, because I’ve performed better wielding two weapons in rp fights than just one.

Because, yes, we’re bending rules and realities and we recognize it. If my character dual-wields, assume he has excellent eye-coordination. Whether or not I do is another story. But, in roleplay, where you can get away with it like Hollywood, a number if times dual-wielding is -better-.


On building or not building such systems, T1-RM is a real thing just not so much here. Personally, I’d find managing such intricacies mortifying. Suspension of disblief. I know my character might fall over himself with a katana in either hand IRL but not when he’s up against just a bunch of orks who got lost in the Badlands or something

On another note, @AngryCacti I am really digging this thread and the info in it. I’m suddenly afraid that my initial reply might have come off as knocking it. Rather, I’m just hmm-hmm’ing at how interestingly interconnected roleplay combat can be with real combat and combat in other media—for better or for worse. Many of the tips in this thread apply to roleplay and IRL.


@supernal side note we should have a rp event just like GTA. No posting order, rpers come and go, totally for fun, nothing counts or matters, just get your alien laser gatling gun and drive down sidewalks crashing into other players hmm-hmm??

Edited by Die Shize

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Die Shize Awww, thank you!☺️ Trust me, I took no offense at your reply as I would be the first to say that there are pronounced differences and similarities between real and fictional combat. Sometimes, in order to tell a better story, reality needs to be set aside. It’s a good discussion. The topic of realistic vs storytelling gets brought up a lot. By no means am I advocating for incredibly factual real life combat. Because that’s boring. Rather, it’s all about people’s personal preference and what information they can use to enhance their fantasy combat experience.

Of course, with that logic, I shall continue to ignore that the halberd is the superior weapon. I would say halberd people could fight me over that... but they would win. 



y e e s s s ss

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


This is a timeline of swords through history. I found it interesting to see the development of style according to where each sword was made. My only complaint is that the website does not provide further information on each blade beyond a 1-2 sentence summary.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

To y’all with characters with swords,

Your opponent has the upper hand. You’ve failed your first attack and they’re backing you into a corner. You’re running out of room to retreat, your blade is feeling heavier by the second, and you know it’s only a matter of time before they land a hit. What do you do?

This is where you break the rules of fighting. This is where you set a pattern

Breaking countertime relies on two things: Setting a pattern and disrupting that pattern with a suprise. Pick a good feint, one that is threatening and attention grabbing, and do it several times in a row. The human brain can only focus on so many things at once. While the feint might take their attention at first, after they realize you aren’t doing anything with it they’ll push it down in priority. From experience it takes 2-5 feints for this to happen. [Important: Make no more than 5 or 6 otherwise your opponent ain’t playing your game anymore and u gonna get stabbed] Once you got them lulled into a false sense of security, disrupt the pattern with a suprise. This can be a new, different violent feint, a counterattack, a scream, etc.. This whole scheme is to get them to make a mistake. Some will stop, some will finish, some with run away. Any of these can be turned to your advantage.


 I know it’s modern fencing, but it’s got snazzy music and good coverage of the idea.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, it’s got nothing to do with swords... BUT it’s really interesting!

Below is an article and video describing what it is like to fight in one of those poofy dresses. I didn’t think it was possible... but you’ll have to read for yourself.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...