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Medieval Weapons in warfare - how specific is too specific?

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bottercot
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Okay, so I know myself to go a bit far in medieval realism in weaponry and armor.
Last time I tried to differentiate weapons I went as far as designating entire units of men with flails, bills, maces, axes, or halberds.

While this is not bad as an idea, the scale I was using was a battlefield scale, where each unit probably represented anything from 50-200 men. I don't think units coordinated the use of those kinds of weapons in that exact way.

However, at the same time I know that there was some form of weapon coordination going on. My question, then, is how far do I go? How much do I maintain weapon identification for the purposes of gameplay, at the risk of being unrealistically specific?

I am open to any suggestions.

Jay103
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When I'm selling my game to a

When I'm selling my game to a customer, one thing I focus on is the simplicity of my combat system. I can specifically make fun of the D&D weapon list.. halberd vs. glaive vs. guisarme-glaive or whatever. Is there a real difference between 1D6 + 1 and 1D8? No, there is not. In practice you're fighting an orc and you roll damage maybe three times in the fight and none of that stuff makes a difference.

So my answer is that if weapons aren't substantially different within your gameplay, whatever that is, then the distinction is not only meaningless but cluttering.

If there's a difference between a halberd and a mace and a sword, great. I can easily see how to do that if there are horses and maybe different types of armor with different weaknesses or whatever. But a sword and an axe? Likely not, unless your game is a detailed one-on-one combat simulation.

TLDR: If the weapon difference doesn't actually matter, don't have those distinct weapons.

Jay103
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If you need to have lots of

If you need to have lots of different weapons for flavor reasons (let's say like in WoW where you need a lot of varied loot drops), then you take a page from their book (I assume, I haven't played WoW specifically), and you categorize everything: 1H slash, 2H slash, 1H blunt, 2H blunt, 1H pierce, 2H pierce.

ElKobold
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Which time period are we

Which time period are we talking about?

wob
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i think you be as specific as

i think you be as specific as you like with the weapons, but you need to be generic with there effect.
for instance have a rapier, broad sword, axe, etc so you can have all the art/flavour you want but they are all just "sharp" or "2 damage" or "short range". basically its vital to know what it does, what its called doesn't really matter. personally i couldn't tell you the difference between an epee, rapier and foil, they are just "arm length pointy stick"

larienna
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I have been wondering about

I have been wondering about weapons to. Are swordsmen more leathal than soldiers with maces.

To realise that all weapons have almost the same potential to kill any body. There could be some weapons slightly more efficient than others, but when you know how to use them, you can kill your target.

It depends on the scale, if you are making large scale warfare, it does not matter much. If you are making duels, you might want to put more details in it.

ElKobold
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larienna wrote:I have been

larienna wrote:
Are swordsmen more leathal than soldiers with maces.

Less. In real life, swords are near-useless against plate armor.

Jay103
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ElKobold wrote:larienna

ElKobold wrote:
larienna wrote:
Are swordsmen more leathal than soldiers with maces.

Less. In real life, swords are near-useless against plate armor.

Of course, in real life, most people don't wear plate armor :)

(even in real life Back Then)

bottercot
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For clarafication, the time

For clarafication, the time period I'm looking at is the Medieval era, around the hundred years' war and other battles around that time. The farthest into the future I might go is the time of knights and early gunpowder, but no farther.
The scale I'm going for could be compared to the Total War games; the board is a battlefield, complete with terrain and structures, and opposite armies face each other.
Here is the predicament: yes, maces act differently to swords act differently to halberds act differently to lances. In the end, though, in what world would you see a platoon of soldiers all carrying maces? It doesn't happen, as far as I'm aware.
For a more fantastic theme, I might see armies of a fictional race wielding one type of weapon.
@Jay103 - Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about. I did something similar with a weapons system at this scale that got so ridiculously complicated that I had to put a stop to it. Despite this, I really want to include some level of weaponry to make units more distinct. The slash/bash/pierce system is something I've done in smaller scale battles, but it wouldn't really work in this situation.
@wob - My thoughts exactly. I do want distinctions, but not to an insane extent. My question, then, is what are the broad categories or specific weapons that need to be distinguished for their effect on combat?
@larienna - this will be a strictly large-scale warfare game.

let-off studios
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Abstract & Streamline Option

bottercot wrote:
...I do want distinctions, but not to an insane extent. My question, then, is what are the broad categories or specific weapons that need to be distinguished for their effect on combat?
and:
bottercot wrote:
...this will be a strictly large-scale warfare game.

It sounds like you're concerned with the potential of being too fine-grained to allow combat resolution with a minimum of fiddly-ness. So how comfortable would you feel with abstracting weapon types, in favor of having experience level of troops?

In a different post, you mention your "recruit, veteran, elite" spectrum. With names like those, it's easy to understand that elite units would be better equipped for battle (with armour as well as effective, high-quality weaponry) than a set of recruits. You wouldn't need to go into specifics, but you could still determine, in general, which would likely win in a one-on-one fight.

If you go this route, then perhaps the only determination required for weaponry is who carries melee weapons, and who carries projectile/missile weapons (in some cases, maybe both). The specific types weapons aren't required, but what is required is how effective they are with what they have.

Other factors you may be able to fit into this model:

  • Elevation and terrain modifiers
  • Presence of special command units
  • Morale/rout/surge as a kind of inertia or momentum

Would this be good enough for what you want to accomplish?

ElKobold
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Jay103 wrote:even in real

Jay103 wrote:
even in real life Back Then

Well, what they would wear, would depend on the time period.

In the aforementioned 100 years war, knights would absolutely either wear plate armor or brigandines over padded protection and mail.

Specifically during that period the sword was a status weapon. Not a battlefield one. Unlike, say, a poleaxe.

I think it would be more worth it to split units by armor protection and troop quality. That would affect combat result much more than any specific melee weapon choice.

Well-armored and well-trained knights would maul over virtually any number of ill-equipped and poorly trained rabble regardless what weapons you give them.

X3M
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Diversity?

Indeed.
It isn't the weapon that kills.
But the one wielding the weapon.

If you really want diversity between weapons. You should see if your game actually can have diversity in combat resolution.
If it can't. There is no need to look into diversity for the weapons. The so called diversity would only be aesthetics. Which is nothing wrong with. But takes a lot of work and effort.

larienna
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Personally, I would rather go

Personally, I would rather go rock paper scisor way.

You have a flail, you cancel the effect of shields.

Or unit type RPS: Cavalry vs archery vs infantry etc.

Biggle Bear
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What do other games say on the issue?

Back in my Warhammer Fantasy days I played dwarfs and the troll slayers could be armed with a variety of weapons (1 single hand weapon, 2 single hand weapons on 1 double handed weapon). That was very fiddly but it was ok, but only because there was only 1 unit allowed and there were 3 options. If you distinguish an axe, a mace, a club etc then you will end up with a hugh amount of variation across your whole army.

I would suggest that groupings would simplify things and make a smoother gameplay. Maybe groupings that go along the lines of economy. That way there is a logic as to why some are armed differently but are banded together none the less.

Biggle Bear
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What do other games say on the issue?

Back in my Warhammer Fantasy days I played dwarfs and the troll slayers could be armed with a variety of weapons (1 single hand weapon, 2 single hand weapons on 1 double handed weapon). That was very fiddly but it was ok, but only because there was only 1 unit allowed and there were 3 options. If you distinguish an axe, a mace, a club etc then you will end up with a hugh amount of variation across your whole army.

I would suggest that groupings would simplify things and make a smoother gameplay. Maybe groupings that go along the lines of economy. That way there is a logic as to why some are armed differently but are banded together none the less.

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