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 Post subject: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:13 am 
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Hey guys, I was having a look in TFoB and I like the look of the Falx/Rhomphia, however something puzzeled me, these weapons range from 5' to 7' long, and are classed as L and VL respectively, however both of them are listed as 1H.

So my question is, are these meant to be 1H? If so, how would one adjust the stats if it were used 2H?

I'll mention also that the handles on these things range from 2' to 3', it just seems a little long to be 1H.

Cheers & God Bless.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:20 pm 
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The falx and or rhomphaia (this is the proper name) was a weapon used by Thracian peoples in antiquity. The terminology isn't entirely clear; antique writers seem at times to use both names interchangeable, but most probably the rhomphaia was considerably longer than the falx. It seems that these weapons could be used one-handed, but were basically intended for two-handed use. There are a lot of depictions of this weapon in use from a Roman victory monument at Adamclissi; just search the web for pictures using this name. An Italian site renders a few of these depictions here:

http://www.arsdimicandi.net/ad_1_000018.htm

The (common?) two-handed version of the weapon seems to have been a real killer. After centuries of using the same equipment, close encounters with it prompted the Romans to issue arm protections and helmets reinforced over the crown by cross-bands to their legionaries. It seems that the rhompaiai (the proper plural of the term) sheared off limbs and bit deeply into helmets. If one considers that the Dacian warriors using them against the Romans wore no armour and used no shields, this suggests that the rhomphaiai were much more effective than the stats in TFoB, both offensively and defensively.

It is unfortunately true that the terminology for many antique weapons in TFoB is all wrong, and that the stats do not reflect what written and pictorial sources suggest about these weapons. The supplement is obviously to be written from a sound knowledge of medieval swords, but it is extremely misleading, if not to say useless, where ancient weapons are concerned.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:26 pm 
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Hey Grettir, thanks for the reply.

Given the information you just presented, what in your opinion would be bteer stats for the Rhomphaia and/or the Falx?
If you choose to try your hand at it, could you please post both single and double handed uses.

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:54 pm 
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A quick shot from the hip, without much thought:

Rhomphaia:
2H, Reach Long, Cut TN 7, Thrust TN 9, Defense TN 7, Cut Dam ST+3 (+1 against hard armour), Puncture Damage ST, Draw Cut +1
Used with Longsword/Greatsword or Polearm proficiency.

This is based on the stats for the greatsword. It is less well balanced than the greatsword (Cut 7 instead of 6), but when it hits, it does so with no less force (Dam ST+3); against hard armour, it is actually better, if one discounts the higher initial Cut TN. The weapon is mostly a chopper, but its curve makes draw cutting viable as well (+1). Thrusting with it is almost impossible (TN 9, Dam ST). The long handle and the widely-spaced grip one can use on it makes it actually not too bad at parrying (7) [This is important to me. The Dacian used the weapon two-handed and thus without shield, and they went unarmoured. Try to duplicate this feat with your PC and the Def TN 9 from TFoB. Maybe one should even give it a Def TN of 6.]

I can't really say anything on single-handed use. I imagine that 2 to 4 feet of handle with 2 to 3 feet of slightly curved blade attached would be highly unwieldy one-handed; maybe Cut TN 8, Def TN 9, Cut Dam ST +1 or +2 and everything else the same? Something like that.

There was also a shorter version of the weapon, with a narrower blade, used one-handed, mainly by lightly armoured Thracian warriors. Statting this weapon out should better be done by somebody better versed in blademanship than myself, as there are few telling antique sources on its effectiveness.

Anyway, if used similiarly to its original cultural context, the rhomphaia should never be better than of average quality.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:26 am 
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Hey Grettir, thanks for the stats, its got me thinking about this a fair bit.

I think I should be able to come up with something fairly accurate by compairing th Kopis and Falx, and then also taking a page out of the book on Half-Swording (which is where I think that missing defense is hiding, I mean, holding a five fott long sword with your hand two-foot apart, that basically Half-swording right there IMO).

So anyway the Kopis or Yataghan have stats of:
1H/M -- 6/9/8 -- 1/1E,H -- ST+2 / ST -- DCM +1 (Can be used Sword and Shield)
The Rhomphaia is:
1H/VL -- 7/9/9 -- 0/1E,H -- ST+2 / ST -- DCM +1
Basically inferior in everyway to the Kopis except its considerable length.
Then we can compare your version:
2H/L -- 7/9/7 -- 0/1E,H -- ST+3 (+1 against hard armour) / ST -- DCM +1

So, so far I'm temped to use your version for two handed use (but chnge the length back to VL to represent griping the hilt at the end, and increase the DTN to 8), then I'll the original for one handed, and then include a Half sword, for when the hilt is griped with one hand at the end and the other hand near the top.

So it'd look like this:
Rhomphaia: 2h/VL -- 7/9/8 -- 0/1E,H -- ST+3 (+1 vs Hard Armour) / ST -- DCM +1
(one hand): 1h/VL -- 7/9/9 -- 0/1E,H -- ST+2 (+1 vs Hard Armour) / ST -- DCM +1
(1/2 sword): 2h/L -- 7/7/6 -- 0/1E,H -- ST+1 (+1 vs Hard armour) / ST+1 -- DCM +1

Proficiencies: Longsword/Greatsword, Polearms (I'd probably add Sword and Shield to its Proficiencies too).

So, any thoughts?

Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:00 am 
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Unfortunately, the whole Falcata and Kopis/Yataghan thing is one more I am taking issue with in TFoB.

Living in Vienna, which has weathered two huge Ottoman sieges and has the booty of these sieges as souvenirs, I have seen countless Yataghans in the museums, and also depictions of them being used. The Yataghan has a rather narrow blade, making me a bit dubious about the whole Cut Dam ST+2 thing. And Def TN 8 for the Yataghan is way too high. Depictions suggest that it was quite often used in an almost fencing style (Cut and Thrust proficiency?), without a shield, so it probably shouldn’t be too poor at parrying. Anyway, the blade is as long as an arming sword and only very, very slightly curved, so I see no reason to make it that poor at parrying. And the straightness of the Yataghan and its point suggest that it was also rather suited for thrusting – certainly no Thrust TN 9 here.

The Greek Kopis, lumped together with the Yataghan, was a very different blade. It had a stronger curve, and the blade was both much shorter and became wider towards the point. It was in fact very similar to the Falcata. The differences between these weapons were mainly cosmetic, so they should be grouped together, not Yataghan and Kopis.

Having said that, I think that your stats might work fine, even the Def TNs, though. I imagine – imagine, mind you – that the Rhomphaia should not parry too differently from the greatsword. It should probably parry even better. For, one you can use the Rhomphaia in parrying just like the greatsword; I can’t judge if the curve of the blade would have made it any worse at parrying. But then, and this is definitely an advantage over the greatsword, one could probably have parried with it in a way similar to a quarterstaff, deflecting attacks with the long handle, maybe even slide your hands quickly apart to catch an atack between your hands. But that’s covered in your half-swording thing.

Anyhow, it must have been quite effective. As I’ve written, with too high a Def TN, the Dacians wouldn’t have stood a chance against the Romans, which they obviously did. Why else would the Romans have modified their armours to better deal with the threat of the Rhomphaia?

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:13 am 
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Ok so here's its revised version (identical to above except its DTN is one better)

Rhomphaia: 2h/VL -- 7/9/7 -- 0/1E,H -- ST+3 (+1 vs Hard Armour) / ST -- DCM +1
(one hand): 1h/VL -- 7/9/8 -- 0/1E,H -- ST+2 (+1 vs Hard Armour) / ST -- DCM +1
(1/2 sword): 2h/L -- 7/7/5 -- 0/1E,H -- ST+1 (+1 vs Hard armour) / ST+1 -- DCM +1

This makes the Rhomphaia when "half sworded" one of the best defensive weapons. I don't think it is too good, though it does make it a tempting choice to use. It might even stand a chance againt a heavily armed/armoured Roman Legionaire now too.

Cheers & God Bless you!

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 6:54 am 
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Now that you have set the "normal" parry to 7, I think I will use your stats if I should ever need a rhomphaia (and I will, I intend to have them be one of the exotic weapons used by Xanarian gladiators) but will leave the half-swording parry at 6. I just don't see how it would parry better than a quarterstaff, even when half-swording. It's a very nice weapon now, though often of an overall poor quality and a probably none too handy to carry around.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:20 pm 
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An issue I have with TFoB weaponry in general, is that any weapon with one of its primary attacks with an ATN over 7 would probably be a budK item and/or never be used in real life if it had such relative stats. Not even your average fist sized stone should have an ATN over 7.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 5:11 am 
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The same here. I feel that the post-antiquity European sword-type blades are all portrayed very well, but that many other weapons aren’t. I mean, look at this:

The scimitar, a slightly curved blade – Def TN 8 ????
The partisan, lauded by a weapon master and writer of a combat manual fom around 1600 as the best overall weapon for single combat – Strike TN 8, Thrust TN 8, Def TN 7 ????
And compare the katzbalger with the very similiarly shaped short sword – Cut TN 6/7, Thrust TN 8/5, Def TN 6/7 ????

TFoB is all very good in explaining the weapons, but much of the stats in it are pretty useless.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:18 am 
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We could go through all the weapons in TFoB (and I think we should), however I don't have the time too right now.

I will however comment on the Katzbalger.

The Katzbalger seems o have been desighned for cuts attacks rather thrusting, infact many Katzbalager had rounded ends:

Image

Whereas the "short sword" was a thrusting weapon with good taper.

Also Katzbalger were generaly longer and heavier which would make them slightly harder to defend with, whether this should warrant an entire point on the weapon scale is debatable, likewise it could be argued that the extra length would make it better for defense. *shrugz*

So yeah, Katzbalger = cutter
Short sword = thruster.

Cheers.

PS: With the whole, "no weapon should have an attack TN higher than 7" thing, I was wondering, matchematically what is the difference between a TN of 7 and 8 assuming an average soldier person with a CP of 6 thru 10 fighting 2 exchanges.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 5:04 pm 
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My opinion is that no weapon should have a primary ATN over 7, but there is a lot of room for overlap there. Such as the katzbalger there, which obviously isn't designed to be a thruster, but it still has a straight point. So it wouldn't have a lot of point agility, but it would still keep a lot of point accuracy. If that one's roughly 3 feet, I'd give it arming sword stats and reduce the thrust DR by at least 1, and, possibly, up the cut DR by 1 because of its wide, flat razor blade there..

If it's substantially shorter than 3 feet, say, under 30" or so, I might give it a DTN of 7 but not lower and adjust the DRs accordingly. It may be heavier than a skinny shortsword, but still quite agile and it also has a substantial guard.

TRoS DR and DTN are where a lack of granularity really makes these things an issue of where you decide to draw the lines for an altered TN.

Western falchions are another rough matter. They generally have a point, are quite agile, and the point is generally in-line, but they are obviously designed to be cutters with wide points. Should that effect the DR or the TN? Many of them have acute points though they quickly widen. My solution is that they retain the said DR, have an ATN of 7 rather than 8, but they have -2 DR vs even the most insubstantial protection, such as a cotton jack. That's where we can add some granularity.

Substantially curved swords...
Substantially curved swords, such as many shamshirs and tulwars. DR & ATN for cuts are easy to determine. Same as cut & thrust or arming sword or falchion, depending on the width of blade. I generally assign a thrust TN of 8 if the curvature actually passes the hand, and I won't give it a DR of more than ST in that area.
I'll even assign a thrust TN of 9 of it has a more substantial curve, and further reduce the DR, as they were obviously not designed to thrust at all by that point, and they lack the alignment of a straighter blade for delivering any piercing force; a curved thrust being weak and a straight thrust lacking piercing ability. I'll up the DTN by one if they are quite broad and/or curved enough to warrant the really high thrust ATN, but that's a little foggier for me.

Well, that's just a little bit of what's behind my reasoning. Personally, with the FoB, I think they could've lumped whole sections of weapons together under the same stats, rather than trying to make so many of them unique. The truth is, most of the weapons have differences, but they're too subtle for stat changes in this game, mostly effecting personal preference of the warrior rather than obvious outright effects.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:05 pm 
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Crow Caller: I am very much aware that the katzbalger was a cutter, not a thruster. But:

Whatver the shape of a two feet long blade – TN 8 to connect with its tip? TN 8 to connect with its tip????
And that’s what the TN represents – the the difficulty of connecting with the desired part of the weapon with the desired target area in the desired way; that’s what the number of successes represent – how “well” you hit. Please keep this in mind. How much damage you deal to the part of the body you intended to hit is more of a secondary matter – that’s what the ST bonus is for.

Take the razor, for instance. It has a cut TN of 8. Ever handled a proper razor? Does anybody really think that slashing accurately at a target is actually harder with five inches of razor blade than it is with four feet of bastard sword (TN 6)? Or take the common kitchen knife; iot has a thrust TN of 7, wheras the bastard sword has a thrust TN of 6. Does anybody really think that hitting accurately (to the milimeter) is actually easier with a blade four feet long than it is with a blade of five inches???

Somebody might argue that the TN is not only about how well you hit, but also about how much damage you deal after having hit. Fine. But if the number of successes is not an indicator of how well you executed your desired move, what else is it? The entire mechanic of defense successes reducing attack successes hinges on this. So a shortsword thrust generates twice as many successes than a katzbalger thrust - because the blade has a taper. And parrying the thrust of a of two feet of tapered steel rod is of course twice as easy as parrying the thrust of two feet of steel rod with a rounded tip. Or isn't it?

So – I challenge everybody to pick up a shortsowrd and a katzbalger and make tenthousand trusts to a tiny spot marked on a pell with each, and see for himself if he hits it twice as often with the shortsword (TN 5, meaning 60% successes) than with the katzbalger (TN 8, meaning 30% successes).

Like every other TN, the attack TN is a measure of how difficult it is to execute your desired move (thrusting somebody in the face, for instance). How damaging this move is is completely seperate from this.

So, my take at the thrusting TN for shortsworsd and katzbalger is 6 for both; but the shortsword gets ST+1 damge, wheras the katzbalger gets ST-1. That’s all that’s neede to make one a thruster and the other not, really.

That goes with what Caz says. I, too, think that many of the weapon in TFoB could have been lumped together. I feel – and I think I have demonstrated it with the katzbalger/shortsword thing - that TFoB is blowing up the differences of many weapons.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:32 pm 
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Grettir wrote:
...And that’s what the TN represents – the the difficulty of connecting with the desired part of the weapon with the desired target area in the desired way; that’s what the number of successes represent – how “well” you hit.


Grettir wrote:
...How much damage you deal to the part of the body you intended to hit is more of a secondary matter – that’s what the ST bonus is for.


To me this is the key that most of these discussions miss. In fact nearly all of these discussions miss. The mechanics of the game quite rightly distinguish between ease of use and effectiveness of use, yet these discussions invariably revolve around the TNs and not the damage.

Grettir wrote:
...I, too, think that many of the weapon in TFoB could have been lumped together. I feel – and I think I have demonstrated it with the katzbalger/shortsword thing - that TFoB is blowing up the differences of many weapons.


By "blowing up the differences" do you mean exaggerating them or getting them wrong?

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Falx/Rhomphia meant to be 1 Handed?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:44 pm 
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Well said. There has to be set criteria, more or less, for what goes into judging the TNs. It should be a science. The problem is that it's never really been mentioned or discussed and decided on. There will always be variance by ones experience, impressions, the desired flavor, but the concept should be set or nothing will sit right becuase there is no uniform basis.
The weapons in FoB were obviously written with some base criteria (or none) that doesn't match our concepts.


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