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D&D General Here's What A 5' Square Actually Looks Like

Over on imgur, a user called DoofusDad created a real-life five-foot square to illustrate what it actually looks like.

Over on imgur, a user called DoofusDad created a real-life five-foot square to illustrate what it actually looks like.

Screenshot 2019-09-12 at 23.18.00.png
 

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No sir, that looks to be just the right size for a plain ol' longsword to me; if he stood up straight and put the point on the ground (which you really shouldn't do) the pommel would come about to just around his shoulder, which is just right for a longsword (they are called "long" swords for a reason. ;)) Remember, 5E adjusted the definition of "longsword" to match the real world definition, or what the game used to call a "bastard sword.") Of course, "greatsword" has no actual real world definition so in the game it could mean just any old big-ass sword, but actual Two-Handed Swords used in real life Renaissance warfare were huge ungainly things that were the full length of the wielder or a bit longer, and were used almost more like a polearm than they were other swords.
I'll agree that the weapons in the picture look like longswords, but historical longswords which were almost exclusively two-handed weapons. As opposed to the D&D "longsword" which is a category covering any sword from one-handed but occasionally used in two, to two-handed, but occasionally used in one. A medieval arming sword counts as a D&D longsword, but would be a fair bit shorter than the actual longswords in the picture.
Does no one care that that "someone" could be your allied bard or wizard in the next 5-foot-square? Or that some moves would be exceedingly difficult with said bard or wizard also swinging around their lutes and quarterstaves nearby?
What sort of moves? Unless you're trying to intimidate your opponent by spinning your weapon in flashy display flourishes (which you wouldn't do whilst they were in reach of you to start with), your weapon isn't likely to go far offline from your opponent. If your swings are so wild that they endanger someone standing 5 ft to your side, you're a) putting too much effort into the swing, and b) using a weapon that you're not strong enough for.
 

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GreyLord

Legend
I'll agree that the weapons in the picture look like longswords, but historical longswords which were almost exclusively two-handed weapons. As opposed to the D&D "longsword" which is a category covering any sword from one-handed but occasionally used in two, to two-handed, but occasionally used in one. A medieval arming sword counts as a D&D longsword, but would be a fair bit shorter than the actual longswords in the picture.
What sort of moves? Unless you're trying to intimidate your opponent by spinning your weapon in flashy display flourishes (which you wouldn't do whilst they were in reach of you to start with), your weapon isn't likely to go far offline from your opponent. If your swings are so wild that they endanger someone standing 5 ft to your side, you're a) putting too much effort into the swing, and b) using a weapon that you're not strong enough for.

Swords were typically two handed weapons?

Yeah...right. and I have beachfront property in Oklahoma to sell you.

The ones that I have gotten that show that either those guys had REALLY SMALL hands, or most were made for a sword and shield type fighting...and have space to easily fit one hand, but is very hard to fit two hands in holding it.

Some may have been made for two hands, but a vast majority could be held comfortably with one hand. Two hands and you'd have half of your second hand holding air.

I'm not really connected that much to the conversation, but the idea that all the normal swords (aka, the longsword as it is known in D&D) held by a majority of the swordsmen soldiers in the period after 1100 were two handed swords is pure bunk from what I have seen from the actual swords of the time period.

Some had two handed grips, but a vast majority of them were not created as such.
 

S'mon

Legend
Swords were typically two handed weapons?

Yeah...right. and I have beachfront property in Oklahoma to sell you.

The ones that I have gotten that show that either those guys had REALLY SMALL hands, or most were made for a sword and shield type fighting...and have space to easily fit one hand, but is very hard to fit two hands in holding it.

Some may have been made for two hands, but a vast majority could be held comfortably with one hand. Two hands and you'd have half of your second hand holding air.

I'm not really connected that much to the conversation, but the idea that all the normal swords (aka, the longsword as it is known in D&D) held by a majority of the swordsmen soldiers in the period after 1100 were two handed swords is pure bunk from what I have seen from the actual swords of the time period.

Some had two handed grips, but a vast majority of them were not created as such.

That's not what he's saying. He's saying the 5e 'longsword' appears intended to cover pretty much everything bigger than a cinquedea and smaller than a claymore.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yeah, I guess the archetypal one-handed arming sword would be covered under short sword now, alongside your stereotypical gladius? I've wondered about that myself! I went ahead and added "Arming Sword" to the weapon table as just a longsword without the Versatile property. As you implied, there was a continuum of blade lengths without anything approaching standardization. If you were a really tall guy you'd get a longer sword, and vice versa. The only place I've ever seen any in-period person say anything about blade lengths was an awesome-sounding technical swordmaster talking about rapiers, and that was setting a max limit: Gérard Thibault d'Anvers. This guy sounds like the definition of the Battle Master Archetype and a rad person to base a character on!

And before I check, doesn't claymore actually just mean "great sword" in Scotch Gaelic? Or was that a false etymology... I can never keep that straight. :giggle: checks link Yup, great sword!
I’m pretty sure the 5e longsword is supposed to cover the full arming sword/bastard sword/longsword continuum, and the greatsword is supposed to cover everything from the Scottish claymore on up to the big ol’ Renaissance two-handrers.
 

Swords were typically two handed weapons?
The swords in the picture, that appear to be historical longswords, which were typically two handed weapons. Yes.
Yeah...right. and I have beachfront property in Oklahoma to sell you.
Sounds a little too . . . colonial for me thank you.
The ones that I have gotten that show that either those guys had REALLY SMALL hands, or most were made for a sword and shield type fighting...and have space to easily fit one hand, but is very hard to fit two hands in holding it.

Some may have been made for two hands, but a vast majority could be held comfortably with one hand. Two hands and you'd have half of your second hand holding air.
Those swords shown have a total length of what? 54 inches, and grips designed for two hands. You have (non-rapier) swords of the same size but with one-handed grips and would find them effective when used in one hand?
Do you have pictures?
I'm not really connected that much to the conversation, but the idea that all the normal swords (aka, the longsword as it is known in D&D) held by a majority of the swordsmen soldiers in the period after 1100 were two handed swords is pure bunk from what I have seen from the actual swords of the time period.

Some had two handed grips, but a vast majority of them were not created as such.
?
Nooo. I'm saying that the D&D 'longsword' category covers all swords that could be used in both one or two hands, even if they were designed mostly for one of those styles. Everything from arming swords that were mostly used in one hand but occasionally in two, through bastard swords, katana etc right up to (maybe) the historical longsword, that was almost exclusively a two-handed weapon. All fall under that category (unless you want to adjust things a bit like counting a katana as a scimitar, or a langeswert as a two-handed sword etc.)

And yes. This does mean that D&D is not the paragon of historical accuracy that it might appear.
See also Studded leather armour, the 3rd ed Falchion, and Quarterstaves being usable in one hand for more egregious examples.
 


Aaron L

Hero
The swords in the picture, that appear to be historical longswords, which were typically two handed weapons. Yes.
Sounds a little too . . . colonial for me thank you.
Those swords shown have a total length of what? 54 inches, and grips designed for two hands. You have (non-rapier) swords of the same size but with one-handed grips and would find them effective when used in one hand?
Do you have pictures?
?
Nooo. I'm saying that the D&D 'longsword' category covers all swords that could be used in both one or two hands, even if they were designed mostly for one of those styles. Everything from arming swords that were mostly used in one hand but occasionally in two, through bastard swords, katana etc right up to (maybe) the historical longsword, that was almost exclusively a two-handed weapon. All fall under that category (unless you want to adjust things a bit like counting a katana as a scimitar, or a langeswert as a two-handed sword etc.)

And yes. This does mean that D&D is not the paragon of historical accuracy that it might appear.
See also Studded leather armour, the 3rd ed Falchion, and Quarterstaves being usable in one hand for more egregious examples.
Studded Leather armor always makes me laugh. ;) I just assume it's some kind of really light brigandine jack or something. The 3E falchion... I don't even know what the heck that was supposed to be, except for maybe Inuyasha's Tessaiga (which was actually pointed out by the [adult swim] bumps once when they gave the 3E stats for it.) The quarterstaff in one hand I don't have a problem with, though; you just club your opponent with it.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
As an American myself, when I was overseas for 6 years, I really enjoyed metric better. I wish we would go to that.

I love meters when I live overseas because I like seeing speed limit signs for, and seeing the speedometer hit, 100 when I'm driving.

But I like Fahrenheit because 50 still means a long sleeve shirt and maybe a sweater and not OMG WHY TO PEOPLE EVEN LIVE HERE!!!!
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I love meters when I live overseas because I like seeing speed limit signs for, and seeing the speedometer hit, 100 when I'm driving.

But I like Fahrenheit because 50 still means a long sleeve shirt and maybe a sweater and not OMG WHY TO PEOPLE EVEN LIVE HERE!!!!
But 0 meaning freezing and 100 meaning boiling makes the whole scale so easy to grokk! Of course 50 would be absurdly hot, it’s halfway to your sweat literally evaporating.
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
What sort of moves? Unless you're trying to intimidate your opponent by spinning your weapon in flashy display flourishes (which you wouldn't do whilst they were in reach of you to start with), your weapon isn't likely to go far offline from your opponent. If your swings are so wild that they endanger someone standing 5 ft to your side, you're a) putting too much effort into the swing, and b) using a weapon that you're not strong enough for.


You have techniques where you rotate your sword with the flat of the blade parallell to the ground above your head, and then strike with the tip of the sword. A Zwerchhau.
Link of a Zwerchau.

Of course, that is only a viable technique if the opponent is not armoued (wearing plate armour). If he is, well then you get to use half-swording techniques instead, to grip the blade with one hand and thrust into the weak spots of his armour, like joints, the eye-slit...
 
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