OneDnD What, exactly, is a 5e "scimitar"?

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Well, I’d argue 12+Dex AC is actually better than 14+Dex (max +2) AC with disadvantage on Stealth.
I agree. Having a higher base AC doesn't necessarily make the armour "better". Also - lighter armour implies advancements in armour 'technologies' - there's a reason all modern armour are lighter than traditional ones - advancement in materials and designs.

If Brigandine is like Scale but yet more advanced, it could be modeled in D&D mechanics (mechanics that are often far less than ideal when it comes to realism or historical accuracy) by being lighter.

Obviously reworking the armour list to an entirely different set of names would probably be "better" (from a historical perspective, at least. Some people care more about D&D 'tradition' than historical accuracy.)
 

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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
As an owner of a proper gambeson, I can assure you it's much more than +1 AC... perhaps that should be the studded leather. Have the 11 AC, disadvantage with stealth be "improvised" armor?
 


As an owner of a proper gambeson, I can assure you it's much more than +1 AC... perhaps that should be the studded leather. Have the 11 AC, disadvantage with stealth be "improvised" armor?
Yep. Gambeson was the actual widespread medieval light armour. I'd make that to be the 12+dex light armour.

My current setting is not medieval, so I don't actually use this, but this is my revised armour table for medieval settings:

ArmourCostArmour Class (AC)StrengthStealthWeight
Light Armour
Leather10 gp11 + Dex modifier10 lb.
Gambeson35 gp12 + Dex modifier15 lb.
Medium Armour
Reinforced gambeson50 gp13 + Dex modifier (max 2)20 lb.
Mail shirt70 gp14 + Dex modifier (max 2)Disadvantage30 lb.
Brigandine300 gp14 + Dex modifier (max 2)30 lb.
Half plate850 gp15 + Dex modifier (max 2)Disadvantage40 lb.
Heavy Armour
Mail suit100 gp16Str 13Disadvantage55 lb.
Splint400 gp17Str 15Disadvantage60 lb.
Full plate1,500 gp18Str 15Disadvantage65 lb.
Shield
Shield10 gp+26 lb.
 

How good was the Palladium Compendium of Weapons, Armor, and Castles in terms of accuracy on stuff like this?
Someone recently mentioned it to me and included a reference to the ahistoric studded leather concept, so I think it's a good guess that the book is more fantasy-focused than historical accuracy. 2e AD&D Arms and Equipment guide is similar.
Druids can't wear metal armor, unless the metal is really small studs put on leather....?
Funnily, 5e armor entry for studded leather doesn't mention metal ("Made from tough but flexible leather, studded leather is reinforced with close-set rivets or spikes."). It's hard to imagine a non-metal rivet in the default fantasy materials list*, but not hard to imagine a non-metal spike. If it were a historic armor, I'd be strongly arguing something along the lines of 'you know what they mean,' but with an armor we just finished pointing out didn't really exist**, I don't know that I'm in a hurry to do so (plus, the whole druid/non-metal thing is pointless and bizarre at this point anyways).
*obviously dragon-scales-as-material can do anything you want, or you can make one out of space-age material in such a campaign.
**to any large degree. Armor never meant for real combat has existed about as long as armor has.


I just wish they'd call it that. They didn't keep "Broadswords" or "bastard swords" not sure why they keep "studded leather".
I assume the 5e armor chart is part of the whole 'make 5e an A/D&D greatest hits edition' thing we've heard it was. Bring back the TSR-era armors (not that 3e or 4e didn't have most of these, but the iconic armors of 3e were chain shirt, breastplate, and plate -- 3 relatively realistic armor options -- while everthing else was an also-ran) and have the play loop resemble the old ones (the roguish characters stuck with leather or studded, the warrior-types wore ring or splint or scale until they could afford full or partial plate). I get the why, even if I'd have preferred it be different.

Broad and bastard swords -- I think bastard sword was a casualty of finally getting the longsword concept right-ish*, and broad sword just was never popular enough (didn't help that it was objectively worse than a longsword in the editions that had it). Scimitars had druids and Drizzt keeping them notable until 3e came along and made them the crit-fishing sword. Shortswords saw enough representation on the magic item table to carry them to when they were a common finesse/two-weapon-fighting weapon. The rest? Just kinda faded.
*side benefit: not having a new generation of 8-10 y. o. new players running around using that word, although I have no idea if that was really part of the thinking.

As an owner of a proper gambeson, I can assure you it's much more than +1 AC... perhaps that should be the studded leather. Have the 11 AC, disadvantage with stealth be "improvised" armor?
This raises the side point -- most armor was about the same weight and bulk, and thus there weren't a whole lot of 'light' armors*. Gambeson (as a separate piece of armor), leather (when used), linothorax, hides, all of these would still be worn in large suits looking not-unlike the guys in plate harness or chain hauberks or whatever. Predominantly because why not?
Sure, there's some variation like maybe the archer or pikeman (or naval combatants) wouldn't bother with certain pieces, different helmets based on how much you value visibility, obviously entire regions of the world where bundling up in poorly-breathing suits was more or less challenging, what you wear on the road (or in non-war situations) vs a set battle with prep-time, and so on, but in general there's a specific amount of mass that's easy to wear and people generally did.

Most of the reasons to want 'light' armor at the same time you want armor at all are D&D-isms -- you want the dashing roguish types in fantasy stealth-armor or fantasy outlaw crook in medieval biker-gang leathers-analog or swashbuckler in... I guess light armor*. I think it would make perfect sense in a theoretical 6E for the light armors to be some kind of 'hidden armor' or 'reinforced clothing' (with the cheap/low-stealth one currently occupied by Padded being 'improvised armor' or the like). Or just get rid of light armor altogether and maybe make rogues and Dex-fighters and such just be somewhat better at fighting unarmored than wizards or paladins outside their plate would be (if we're trying to preserve existing dynamics at all).
*The whole Three Muskeeteers vibe would work fine with no armor at all, since the entire conceit is this is what they did in a civilian setting. In war they would have muskets and the battlefield armor of the day, but in AD&D terms that means missing out on the +1-5 magic bonus on the armor as well.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
What does that even mean?

Studded leather isn’t armor. Fashionable? maybe. Protective? No.
ah, when I try to be concise late at night - let me try again.

I have a gambeson (a reproduction). by this I don't mean the "under armor padding", I mean the armor made of several layers (up to 30!) of cloth quilted together that was used as the primary means of defence. What I was trying to say is that this type of armor provides preeety decent protection - and that increasing your AC by 1 (as in wearing the D&D armor "leather") does not appropriately represent how protective that armor is.

I then suggested that perhaps the "AC 12 armor with a dex bonus" should be represented by this, instead of as you say - something that never existed.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
When I imagine warhammers I’m thinking Thor, not that wussy little tack driver that was used historically. Something that in real life would weigh 40 lbs. Yes, I know how improbable that is. I swing a 2.5 lb hammer blacksmithing.

So, yeah, metal studs…preferably with sharp points…embedded in leather armor is not a stretch for me.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
ah, when I try to be concise late at night - let me try again.

I have a gambeson (a reproduction). by this I don't mean the "under armor padding", I mean the armor made of several layers (up to 30!) of cloth quilted together that was used as the primary means of defence. What I was trying to say is that this type of armor provides preeety decent protection - and that increasing your AC by 1 (as in wearing the D&D armor "leather") does not appropriately represent how protective that armor is.
Sorry, I also was not clear. I know what a gambeson is, but by what standard are you assessing the appropriateness of +1 AC representing its protectiveness? Pretty sure wearing it doesn’t make a strike with a weapon 5% less likely to affect you in any way and otherwise do nothing. But increasing that percentage to 10, 15, 20, 30, 35, or 40 wouldn’t fix that. AC just does not simulate what armor does. It’s a highly abstract expression of protectiveness, so the idea that +1AC doesn’t accurately represent a gambeson, but some other AC bonus would is silly.
I then suggested that perhaps the "AC 12 armor with a dex bonus" should be represented by this, instead of as you say - something that never existed.
But it’s not just something that never existed, it’s something that would not function as armor.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Sorry, I also was not clear. I know what a gambeson is, but by what standard are you assessing the appropriateness of +1 AC representing its protectiveness? Pretty sure wearing it doesn’t make a strike with a weapon 5% less likely to affect you in any way and otherwise do nothing. But increasing that percentage to 10, 15, 20, 30, 35, or 40 wouldn’t fix that. AC just does not simulate what armor does. It’s a highly abstract expression of protectiveness, so the idea that +1AC doesn’t accurately represent a gambeson, but some other AC bonus would is silly.

But it’s not just something that never existed, it’s something that would not function as armor.

First, let me state that I do agree with you that studded leather as an armor never existed and wouldn't work.

I do agree that it's really hard to say "this armor should block X% of blows" and get said X% correctly. AC, HP are very abstract, after all. What I do find ... peculiar... is that a gambeson is the least protective type of armor - and I think if we look at this this way , we can have a more productive exchange on the topic? This is why I put it as better than leather armor, and replaced the "+1 AC armor with stealth penalties armor" with "improvised" - the kind of stuff someone might cobble together in a rush to give themselves some kind of protection.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
First, let me state that I do agree with you that studded leather as an armor never existed and wouldn't work.

I do agree that it's really hard to say "this armor should block X% of blows" and get said X% correctly. AC, HP are very abstract, after all. What I do find ... peculiar... is that a gambeson is the least protective type of armor - and I think if we look at this this way , we can have a more productive exchange on the topic?
I mean, a gambeson, while very protective indeed, pretty much is the least protective type of armor, at least in a medieval context. That’s the thing about armor, very protective is the absolute bare minimum. Anything less protective wouldn’t be armor.
This is why I put it as better than leather armor, and replaced the "+1 AC armor with stealth penalties armor" with "improvised" - the kind of stuff someone might cobble together in a rush to give themselves some kind of protection.
I’d be open to the idea of taking the “crappy but cheap” type of armor in each category and making them sort of “improvised armor,” sure. So, what, you’d have 11+Dex (disadvantage) be “leather clothing”, 11+ Dex be “gambeson” and 12+Dex be “reinforced gambeson” or something?
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
5e 's mechanical granularity is pretty... limited, so sometimes I think it's perhaps better to "reverse" the analysis - look at mechanical windows and then fill them in with weapons/armor that fits.

Like a 1d8 slashing finesse martial single handed melee weapon.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
5e 's mechanical granularity is pretty... limited, so sometimes I think it's perhaps better to "reverse" the analysis - look at mechanical windows and then fill them in with weapons/armor that fits.

Like a 1d8 slashing finesse martial single handed melee weapon.
Honestly sounds like what I'd imagine a "scimitar" to be, whereas the 5e "scimitar" sounds more like a "sabre" but these things are really subjective. Could be called a "kopesh" too.

Frankly, the more I think on it, the more I like @Horwath's weapon chart. "Pay" for the features. Name it whatever you like.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Like a 1d8 slashing finesse martial single handed melee weapon.
I strongly perceive the sword types within the framework of the Japanese bladelength unit, approximately a foot or 30 cm.

upto 1 foot: knife
1 to 2 feet: shortsword
2 to 3 feet: "normal" sword
3 to 4 feet: longsword
4 feet plus: greatsword

In this context, the "sword" in the sense of a viking sword, knightly sword, and arming sword, is:

Sword: martial weapon, 1d8 slash/pierce, finesse, heavy

It has the heavy property in the sense that only a medium size humanoid can wield it agilely to benefit from its finesse.

By contrast, I view the katana as:

Katana: martial weapon, 1d6 slash/pierce, finesse, versatile (1d10).
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
When I imagine warhammers I’m thinking Thor, not that wussy little tack driver that was used historically. Something that in real life would weigh 40 lbs. Yes, I know how improbable that is. I swing a 2.5 lb hammer blacksmithing.
You seem to be describing the 5e maul?

It weighs 10 pounds.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
For me, I interpret the armor table as if:

Padded (gambeson or equivalent layering of fabrics)
Leather (boiled/cured hard leather torso armor, whether breastplate cuirass, or scale shirt)
Studded Leather Full Leather Suit (torso armor, armguards and legguards)

Similarly scale:

Scale (metal scale armor, whether brigandine cuirass, or scale shirt)
Splint (scale torso armor, plus splinted armguards and splinted legguards)
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
You seem to be describing the 5e maul?

It weighs 10 pounds.

No, I'm not describing a maul. I'm describing an anvil on a stick.

EDIT: Making the point that sometimes I'd rather imagine something impractical/impossible but aesthetically cool (imo), than imagine something historically/functionally accurate.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
No, I'm not describing a maul. I'm describing an anvil on a stick.

EDIT: Making the point that sometimes I'd rather imagine something impractical/impossible but aesthetically cool (imo), than imagine something historically/functionally accurate.
Yeah, that's a way of looking at it. I wouldn't go as far as "anime-swords" but I don't mind some silliness. I once modded a heavily armoured mini to make a Warforged. I made a flail that looked a bit like the one the Witch-King had in LotR. Because why not? The character was a "robot"!

On the other hand, I LOATHE the "double"-weapons. Anyone remember the "double-axe"? Ridiculous! (No, I don't mean a double-bladed axe. I mean a stick with axe blades on both ends! It was in 3.x and 4e, IRRC. Sooooo stupid.)
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Yeah, that's a way of looking at it. I wouldn't go as far as "anime-swords" but I don't mind some silliness. I once modded a heavily armoured mini to make a Warforged. I made a flail that looked a bit like the one the Witch-King had in LotR. Because why not? The character was a "robot"!

On the other hand, I LOATHE the "double"-weapons. Anyone remember the "double-axe"? Ridiculous! (No, I don't mean a double-bladed axe. I mean a stick with axe blades on both ends! It was in 3.x and 4e, IRRC. Sooooo stupid.)

Yeah I'm not a fan of the double weapons. But if somebody else wants one, and the stats are otherwise normal, I'm not going to try to spoil their fun.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
What, exactly, is a 5e "scimitar"?

Because the word "scimitar" means the same thing as a "sword", there are many different kinds of scimitars.

Where European swords tended to be double-edged and straight, some Central Asian swords were single-edged and curved. Horse riders introduced their to elsewhere outside of Central Asia. Eventually, Europeans came to use the term "scimitar" for any kind of curved blade. There are many different kinds. But medieval Europeans mainly encountered only one kind of scimitar, the one used by the Turkic or Mongel horse riders from Central Asia.

What kind of "scimitar" the 5e Weapons Table is statting is less clear. Its d6 damage, and finesse and light properties, suggest a small weapon, like a shortsword, about the bladelength of ones forearm.

However.

In a medievalesque context, from the 1200s onward, the term "scimitar" especially refers to the long sabers that the cavalries of Mongols or Turkics used. But this is a kind of longsword, and not at all what the 5e Weapons Table is describing.

For bladelengths, I find the Japanese unit of measurement most useful and most convenient (coincidentally about a foot or 30 cm).

• 1 foot or less = knife
• 1-2 feet (12-24 inches) = shortsword
• 2-3 feet (24-36 inches) = sword
• 3-4 feet (36-48 inches) = longsword
• 4 feet or more = crazy long

The scimitars that the Central Asian cavalries wield are between 30 inches and 40 inches. In other words, the "scimitar" is comparable to a "normal" knightly sword or else a longsword. The longer length helps reach from horseback.

But this sword-or-longsword isnt at all what the 5e Weapons Table is statting.

What is the Weapons Table statting?
I always thought D&D got it from the scimitars encountered during the crusades into the Middle East.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
• 4 feet or more = crazy long
I'll just drop in to say
4 feet or more = Berserk long

1664247027558.png
 

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