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General [History] How heavy armors and long swords were used in the 15th century


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reelo

Explorer
Once plate evolved into the full suite (like in the video) shields became pretty much obsolete for knights. "Can-openers" and zweihänder became all the rage.
 

Dioltach

Adventurer
Looks like swords were pretty much incidental to the whole thing. Mostly it's armoured wrestling. (But of course "King Arthur and the Wrestlers of the Round Table" doesn't have the same ring. Not to mention where that leaves Excalibur.)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Looks like swords were pretty much incidental to the whole thing. Mostly it's armoured wrestling. (But of course "King Arthur and the Wrestlers of the Round Table" doesn't have the same ring. Not to mention where that leaves Excalibur.)
Pretty much. Swords are all but useless against plate armor, so it’s mostly wrestling and trying to find a gap between the plates you can shove something pointy in.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
Yeah, I have seen several such videos online. That is why not having DEX mod for heavy armor is dumb IMO.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yeah, I have seen several such videos online. That is why not having DEX mod for heavy armor is dumb IMO.
Using D&D rules though, shove/knock prone is countered by strength not dex. But then that gets into the whole "what is dex" question ... and nope. Not going there.

At least we know you can't possibly swim in armor. Well unless you're this old guy. Which admittedly is swimming in chain (wearing a helmet, carrying a shield and ax) but in D&D qualifies as heavy. Whether you could swim in plate ... that's open to debate. It comes up so rarely in my campaigns I've decided I don't care to impose yet another needless penalty on non-dex based PCs.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Yeah, I have seen several such videos online. That is why not having DEX mod for heavy armor is dumb IMO.
That’s about game balance rather than realism. If it needs an explanation, you can say that heavy armor doesn’t add Dex not because it’s difficult to move in, but because it’s protective enough that being agile doesn’t meaningfully improve your chances of avoiding harm in it. I mean, look at the way the dude in the video just stands there and tanks that big golf swing from the sword. I think it might have actually been more tiring to bother trying to dodge that than to just take it.
 


GlassJaw

Adventurer
Wow that's crazy!!

I'm certainly no historian but I know there are a lot of inaccuracies in commonly held fantasy beliefs. That said, that video kind of blew my mind! It's like Judo in armor. I was also shocked to see that they didn't swing their swords at all and instead used them like spears.

So obviously D&D combat mechanics aren't a realistic representation of actual medieval combat. So my question is, are (or were) there any RPG systems that are more simulationist? Not sure I want to play a system like that per se but it's definitely sparked my curiosity.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
That’s about game balance rather than realism. If it needs an explanation, you can say that heavy armor doesn’t add Dex not because it’s difficult to move in, but because it’s protective enough that being agile doesn’t meaningfully improve your chances of avoiding harm in it. I mean, look at the way the dude in the video just stands there and tanks that big golf swing from the sword. I think it might have actually been more tiring to bother trying to dodge that than to just take it.
Oh, I know it is about game balance. And even if you can't move as effectively, you still have better reflexes and balance, etc. and I think it should help.

So, limiting heavy armor to some DEX bonus isn't unreasonable. We house-ruled it to Light Armor = Full, Medium Armor = Half (round up), and Heavy Armor = Half (round down). So, you need a DEX 14 to get a +1 and DEX 18 to get +2 while wearing heavy armor.

Anyway, I don't want to get into a big thing about it. It is a good video and I hope people get a lot out of it.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Medieval combat covers a lot of ground outside fully armored 15th century knights, and even that combat is more than just what's in the video. That's not to say that D&D is a particularly realistic combat simulator, it isn't, but nor is that what most people want anyway, whether they know it or not.
 


Looks like swords were pretty much incidental to the whole thing. Mostly it's armoured wrestling. (But of course "King Arthur and the Wrestlers of the Round Table" doesn't have the same ring. Not to mention where that leaves Excalibur.)
Bear in mind that those suits of armour date from when firearms were around, not from when most depictions of King Arthur was.
Using D&D rules though, shove/knock prone is countered by strength not dex. But then that gets into the whole "what is dex" question ... and nope. Not going there.
You can counter shove/knock prone with Dex.

Wow that's crazy!!

I'm certainly no historian but I know there are a lot of inaccuracies in commonly held fantasy beliefs. That said, that video kind of blew my mind! It's like Judo in armor. I was also shocked to see that they didn't swing their swords at all and instead used them like spears.

So obviously D&D combat mechanics aren't a realistic representation of actual medieval combat. So my question is, are (or were) there any RPG systems that are more simulationist? Not sure I want to play a system like that per se but it's definitely sparked my curiosity.
An attack with a sword is an attack with a sword. The armour means your chance of doing anything meaningful is low, but there were several successful sword attacks shown. The poke in the eyeslit and the push past the opponent's guard and into their armpit for example.

There are systems that treat armour as reducing damage rather than avoiding it. This isn't really any more or less realistic then D&D when you get to that sort of armour. There is little effective difference between an attack that does no damage because the attack roll did not beat the Armour's AC, and one that does no damage because the armour reduced the damage to zero.
 





Yeah, I've seen this video quite a few times and always found it enlightening. It made me think about the weapon vs armor penalties in the 1ed. These were not too far off the mark.
Think they were still in 2E too. I like the concept of that and weapon speed, and also certain spell having an initiative modifier. Ive forgotten exactly how they worked in those editions, though I do recall some extra calculations being involved that slowed combat down. Probably could be streamlined for implementation into 5E.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
The weapon speed factor were actually quite easy to implement. It was the weapon vs armor that was quite a pain in the ass to implement.

How do you treat an ogre? Does he have the equivalent of hide armor? Is A dragon is really in plate equivalent? And a beholder? How about a skeleton? How do we treat the bones? Some creatures were clearly disadvantaged by the weapon vs armor rules and other were quite advantage (mainly dragon type with scales).
 

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