D&D 5E Should the Flail be a Simple Melee Weapon?

You are forgetting conservation of angular momentum.

You swing down the wooden shaft, hitting the guys in front of you with the wooden shaft.
No. The point of a flail is to hit people with the flail bit, not the shaft. So you're swinging from vertical to almost horizontal at shoulder height or a bit above, and the flail portion continues the motion after the shaft stops, swinging down into your opponents' heads and arms.
Conservation of angular momentum is the point.

The chain hit's the enemies, caries on going, and hit's your front row allies in the balls. You then pull it back to vertical, the chain carries on swinging, causing the wooden shaft to jerk backwards, hitting the guy behind you in the face.
Footman's flails generally only have a short chain or joint, and the flail portion only comes down about a third of the shaft. They're not designed for a comedy routine.

What these weapons where actually used for (when they were used at all, which was rarely) was to whack knights off horses.
I find that unlikely. A flail has less effective reach and momentum transfer than just a stick of equivalent length without the joint.
 

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No. The point of a flail is to hit people with the flail bit, not the shaft. So you're swinging from vertical to almost horizontal at shoulder height or a bit above
Which hits the head of the person in front of you, unless you are about a head taller than them. Shoulder height is lower than head height. ANY swinging weapon is the hight of stupidity on a second row, the only thing they can do effectively is thrust.
I find that unlikely. A flail has less effective reach and momentum transfer than just a stick of equivalent length without the joint.
Angular momentum and linear momentum are different. But "How hard" is not the point. The point is the weapon remains in contact with the horseman, dragging on them so their own horse pulls them off. Once they are on the ground you drop the flail and stab them with your poniard. It's the same principle as all those stupidly named hooked polearms. probably less effective though, since it was much less common.
 

aco175

Legend
This seems to be appropriate here.

1661776004594.png
 




It seems like we're coming to the conclusion that flails are martial weapons, but maybe peasants are proficient in their use. This may apply to the Folk Hero background but not the Noble background.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
A morning star is a ball (usually spiked, but not always) on the end of a stick. A flail is a weight of some kind attached to the end of a stick by a chain. Both of the images shown are flails, one just has more heads than the other. This is a morning star:
main-qimg-3968cf243fb42010942b16eda56375b0-lq
Also in both cases, the spikes are really meant to help the weapon gain purchase on armor, more so than to actually penetrate it.
 


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