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    Default Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Real World Weapon, Armour and Tactics Thread XXVI

    This thread is a resource for getting information about real life weapons, armour and tactics. The concept has always been that the information is for RPG players and DMs so they can use it to make their games better, thus it's here rather than in Friendly Banter.

    A few rules for this thread:

    • This thread is for asking questions about how weapons, armour and tactics really work. As such, it's not going to include game rule statistics. If you have such a question, especially if it stems from an answer or question in this thread, feel free to start a new thread and include a link back to here. If you do ask a rule question here, you'll be asked to move it elsewhere, and then we'll be happy to help out with it.
    • Any weapon or time period is open for questions. Medieval and ancient warfare questions seem to predominate, but since there are many games set in other periods as well, feel free to ask about any weapon. This includes futuristic ones - but be aware that these will be likely assessed according to their real life feasibility. Thus, phasers, for example, will be talked about in real-world science and physics terms rather than the Star Trek canon. If you want to discuss a fictional weapon from a particular source according to the canonical explanation, please start a new thread for it.
    • Please try to cite your claims if possible. If you know of a citation for a particular piece of information, please include it. However, everyone should be aware that sometimes even the experts don't agree, so it's quite possible to have two conflicting answers to the same question. This isn't a problem; the asker of the question can examine the information and decide which side to go with. The purpose of the thread is to provide as much information as possible. Debates are fine, but be sure to keep it a friendly debate (even if the experts can't!).
    • No modern real-world political discussion. As the great Carl von Clausevitz once said, "War is merely the continuation of policy by other means," so politics and war are heavily intertwined. However, politics are a big hot-button issue and one banned on these boards, so avoid political analysis if at all possible (this thread is primarily about military hardware and tactics). There's more leeway on this for anything prior to about 1800, but be very careful with all of it, and anything past 1900 is surely not open for analysis (These are arbitrary dates but any dates would be, and these are felt to be reasonable).
    • No graphic descriptions. War is violent, dirty, and horrific, and anyone discussing it should be keenly aware of that. However, on this board graphic descriptions of violence (or sexuality) are not allowed, so please avoid them.


    With that done, have at and enjoy yourselves!

    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2018-07-17 at 06:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    I have a question regarding weaponry. I'm working on a setting with one culture based heavily on ancient South America/Polynesia, and another on the ancient Middle East. Regarding the islanders' weapons, basing myself mostly on this website http://www.mythichawaii.com/weapons.htm, I've identified pikes, spears, shark-toothed clubs, slings, daggers and small axes. Now, here's my question: would a culture with such weapons stand any chance against Bronze-Age metal weapons and armor? And if not, what could I change or give to the islanders to make it a fair fight?
    Last edited by Sam113097; 2018-07-19 at 02:22 AM.
    Currently worldbuilding Last Haven: a setting formed on a titan's corpse! If you have a moment, I would love your feedback!

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    I'm posting to have the discussion more visible on my machine, nothing to see here
    Last edited by Vinyadan; 2018-07-17 at 04:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam113097 View Post
    I have a question regarding weaponry. I'm working on a setting with one culture based heavily on ancient South America/Polynesia, and another on the ancient Middle East. Regarding the islanders' weapons, basing myself mostly on this website http://www.mythichawaii.com/weapons.html, I've identified pikes, spears, shark-toothed clubs, slings, daggers and small axes. Now, here's my question: would a culture with such weapons stand any chance against Bronze-Age metal weapons and armor? And if not, what could I change or give to the islanders to make it a fair fight?
    More detail on the scenario please.

    Assuming equal numbers on a flat battleground in a set piece battle with the islanders against an experienced, organised, professional army (say the Qin Dynasty Chinese), the islanders are getting slaughtered.

    In a defensive guerrilla warfare scenario with the islanders using attack and fade tactics with home territory advantage, the bronze age army are likely to lose by attrition as they're forced to retreat when their casualties mount up.

    This is before you take environment into account - tropical environments tend to have much nastier diseases, although it can work both ways (eg the effects of smallpox on the native peoples of the Americas when the Europeans turned up).

    Edit: By the way, your link is broken: http://www.mythichawaii.com/weapons.htm
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2018-07-17 at 06:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    More detail on the scenario please.

    Assuming equal numbers on a flat battleground in a set piece battle with the islanders against an experienced, organised, professional army (say the Qin Dynasty Chinese), the islanders are getting slaughtered.

    In a defensive guerrilla warfare scenario with the islanders using attack and fade tactics with home territory advantage, the bronze age army are likely to lose by attrition as they're forced to retreat when their casualties mount up.

    This is before you take environment into account - tropical environments tend to have much nastier diseases, although it can work both ways (eg the effects of smallpox on the native peoples of the Americas when the Europeans turned up).

    Edit: By the way, your link is broken: http://www.mythichawaii.com/weapons.htm
    Hardwood war-clubs, and the various thrown weapons of the types used by Polynesians can be surprisingly effective when the warriors are well organized. The Maori for example actually gave the British a couple of pretty good fights. This battle gives a pretty good example of an ideal set piece from the Polynesian side. The Maori adapted quickly to English weaponry and adapted their tactics (they did also have some firearms of their own in this incident).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagst...81_at_Puketutu

    Ultimately the advantages of firearms and trained discipline won out but I'm not sure an equivalent Bronze Age army could have achieved victory.

    "It was several days before the entire expedition was gathered at the Waimate Mission, by which time Despard was apoplectic, so much so that when Tāmati Wāka Nene arrived with 250 men, Despard said that if he had wanted the assistance of savages, he would have asked for it. Fortunately, the interpreter delivered a completely different message. "

    This is particularly hilarious:

    "After two days of bombardment without effecting a breach, Despard ordered a frontal assault. He was, with difficulty, persuaded to postpone this pending the arrival of a 32-pound naval gun, which came the next day, 1 July. However an unexpected sortie from the pā resulted in the temporary occupation of the knoll on which Tāmati Wāka Nene had his camp and the capture of Nene's colours - the Union Jack. The Union Jack was carried into the pā. There it was hoisted, upside down, and at half-mast high, below the Māori flag, which was a Kākahu (Māori cloak).[1]

    followed by "[email protected]!". I am certain the Maori were sticking their tongues out at the British in their characteristic fashion. The results were predictable.

    "This insulting display of the Union Jack was the cause of the disaster which ensued.[14] Infuriated by the insult, Colonel Despard ordered an assault upon the pā the same day. The attack was directed at the section of the pā where the angle of the palisade allowed a double flank from which the defenders of the pā could fire at the attackers; the attack was a reckless endeavour.[41] The British persisted in their attempts to storm the unbreached palisades and five to seven minutes later 33 were dead and 66 injured.[32] The casualties included Captain Grant of the 58th Regiment and Lieutenant Phillpotts of HMS Hazard.[42]"

    G
    Last edited by Galloglaich; 2018-07-17 at 09:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Bear in mind, though, that the Maori had muskets in that battle, and that the British troops, being unarmored, were vulnerable to melee weapons in the event that things did close to that distance. The described scenario, to the extent that we have it, would be different.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    going on a tangent from the last thread's discussion, if this thread were designing a weapon for Klingons to use in melee combat, what would it look like? Klingons having redundant backups for every vital organs and an extremely overbuilt skeletal structure, I assume the weapon in question would be hugely overbuilt compared to the one's used by a species that can die from having their throats cut by a strait razor, but I am interested in conjecture about what weapon that would be.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Hardwood war-clubs, and the various thrown weapons of the types used by Polynesians can be surprisingly effective when the warriors are well organized. The Maori for example actually gave the British a couple of pretty good fights.
    The Maori are a particularly warlike people and given to raiding/fighting other tribes often. I'm not aware of the native Hawaiians being as aggressive scratch that - I'm currently on a wiki walk of King Kamehameha I and yup, they knew how to fight as well.

    That scales things more towards the islanders, but I'm still in favour of the Bronze Age army in a set piece battle given equal numbers, simply for the armour and superior missile weapons (unless the humidity knackers the crossbow/bow strings or something).

    On a side note, the Maori habit of sticking the tongue isn't an insult, it's a threat of "I'm going to kill you and eat you"; the Maori were known for cannibalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mabn View Post
    going on a tangent from the last thread's discussion, if this thread were designing a weapon for Klingons to use in melee combat, what would it look like? Klingons having redundant backups for every vital organs and an extremely overbuilt skeletal structure, I assume the weapon in question would be hugely overbuilt compared to the one's used by a species that can die from having their throats cut by a strait razor, but I am interested in conjecture about what weapon that would be.
    Probably something dedicated for dismemberment or for extreme penetration. Two handed swords, big bladed polearms (eg glaive, guandao), spears (probably boar spears and the like to stop overpenetration) and rondel daggers/poignards in my opinion.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2018-07-17 at 02:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Mabn View Post
    going on a tangent from the last thread's discussion, if this thread were designing a weapon for Klingons to use in melee combat, what would it look like? Klingons having redundant backups for every vital organs and an extremely overbuilt skeletal structure, I assume the weapon in question would be hugely overbuilt compared to the one's used by a species that can die from having their throats cut by a strait razor, but I am interested in conjecture about what weapon that would be.
    No matter how many hearts and lungs and brains you have, all of them depends on blood to function. You're looking for a weapon that bleeds the victim and holds them at a distance until they are combat ineffective. The strengthened skeletal system will resist cutting weapons and protect major veins and arteries. A penetrating weapon has the advantage of only needing to break a bone or rib at a single point to access the vulnerable tissue within. With more vital organs and a more robust skeletal system a klingon's mass will be higher than an equivalent human, resulting in more momentum at the same speed. With all that, I would go for something like a boar spear. It is designed to keep a charging creature at a safe distance, uses either the victim's or wielder's mass to break through ribs, and kills through horrific blood loss.

    Slashing weapons are great at dealing damage to the exposed muscles, but will have a hard time landing a lethal blow if they cannot get past bones. Blunt and chopping weapons are especially dangerous when they can break bones, but that is going to be a less effective avenue of attack in this case. Light thrusting weapons (almost anything designed to be used with one hand) will have a hard time penetrating deeply enough to bleed the target. Heavy thrusting weapons that can use the wielder's increased weight will be the one type of weapon that will not have reduced effectiveness.

    If the heavier skeletal system allows for increased muscle mass and strength then blunt weapons may still be viable. However, the square-cube law suggests that gains in strength will be smaller than gains in weight. Penetrating weapons that utilize body weight should remain more effective.

    Naturally, this will all depend on how severe the changes are. If they are within ±25% of human measurements then weapons similar to what humans use should still be effective.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    No matter how many hearts and lungs and brains you have, all of them depends on blood to function. You're looking for a weapon that bleeds the victim and holds them at a distance until they are combat ineffective.
    Retiarii, ahoy!
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful — but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaelommiss View Post
    No matter how many hearts and lungs and brains you have, all of them depends on blood to function. You're looking for a weapon that bleeds the victim and holds them at a distance until they are combat ineffective. The strengthened skeletal system will resist cutting weapons and protect major veins and arteries. A penetrating weapon has the advantage of only needing to break a bone or rib at a single point to access the vulnerable tissue within. With more vital organs and a more robust skeletal system a klingon's mass will be higher than an equivalent human, resulting in more momentum at the same speed. With all that, I would go for something like a boar spear. It is designed to keep a charging creature at a safe distance, uses either the victim's or wielder's mass to break through ribs, and kills through horrific blood loss.

    Slashing weapons are great at dealing damage to the exposed muscles, but will have a hard time landing a lethal blow if they cannot get past bones. Blunt and chopping weapons are especially dangerous when they can break bones, but that is going to be a less effective avenue of attack in this case. Light thrusting weapons (almost anything designed to be used with one hand) will have a hard time penetrating deeply enough to bleed the target. Heavy thrusting weapons that can use the wielder's increased weight will be the one type of weapon that will not have reduced effectiveness.

    If the heavier skeletal system allows for increased muscle mass and strength then blunt weapons may still be viable. However, the square-cube law suggests that gains in strength will be smaller than gains in weight. Penetrating weapons that utilize body weight should remain more effective.

    Naturally, this will all depend on how severe the changes are. If they are within ±25% of human measurements then weapons similar to what humans use should still be effective.
    Large, two-handed cutting weapons, like halberds, glaives, and greatswords, will probably still be effective if properly sharpened. They don't really have much difficulty cutting bone. Of course this depends on how much handwavium is applied to their alien overengineered bones TM, but it still seems plausible that a halberd will hack in deep enough to chop up arteries.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam113097 View Post
    I have a question regarding weaponry. I'm working on a setting with one culture based heavily on ancient South America/Polynesia, and another on the ancient Middle East. Regarding the islanders' weapons, basing myself mostly on this website http://www.mythichawaii.com/weapons.html, I've identified pikes, spears, shark-toothed clubs, slings, daggers and small axes. Now, here's my question: would a culture with such weapons stand any chance against Bronze-Age metal weapons and armor? And if not, what could I change or give to the islanders to make it a fair fight?
    Assuming both sides are equally skilled and experienced and excluding all other factors, I'd still probably give the side with bronze equipment just a minor advantage at best. The side with bronze has more options when it comes to designing weapons sure, but they're still limited in how hard they can hit somebody and how long they can wear armor without getting tired by the strength of the human body.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam113097 View Post
    I have a question regarding weaponry. I'm working on a setting with one culture based heavily on ancient South America/Polynesia, and another on the ancient Middle East. Regarding the islanders' weapons, basing myself mostly on this website http://www.mythichawaii.com/weapons.html, I've identified pikes, spears, shark-toothed clubs, slings, daggers and small axes. Now, here's my question: would a culture with such weapons stand any chance against Bronze-Age metal weapons and armor? And if not, what could I change or give to the islanders to make it a fair fight?
    They could be. A lot depends on where the fighting is happening, how experienced the armies in question are, and whether they have the time or opportunity to prepare for each other. It also depends on how well-equipped the faux-Middle Eastern army actually is. The bronze age is a big period.
    Quote Originally Posted by KKL
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Funnily, I just saw "The Dead Lands", from Toa Fraser, an action movie situated in New Zealand before the arrival of European settlers. It's an action movie, so archeological accuracy was not the main selling point, and the staginess of some actors is somewhat unnerving. That's still a different take on the revenge movie, in Maori which is great.
    It's fun to see a different set of weapons than the sword, some axe and a bow used in movies, but of course the fights are heavily staged. It's not the greatest of movie but really a light and fun watch, oddly anthropological not in what it show but what imaginarium it use. So you could find something there...

    Also the guys could stand a chance as long as they are able to chose the terrain, escape any kind of battle and grind their enemies. They are well equipped for long time survival in savage places.
    IIRC, it was hard even for the conquistadors to fight in the Amazon forest and the climate and general environment was one of the biggest weapon of the peoples there.
    The equipment of the enemy is essential as they are likely to adapt to it. As the technological and sociological discrepancies condemn them to small scale warfare, their tactics, and specifically the offensive actions, would be fairly dependent of his capacities.


    And now for something completely different.

    I had taken a few notes on the last discussions in the previous thread. Sadly I made a mistake and lost all of them. My lifestyle was dissolute to say the least during last week. I'm in no mood to rewrite all of that, so I will try to make a more synthetic post, to address what I identify as the main questions. There was a lot to answer to, but it can be synthesized as the question of the weight and power of the church during medieval time, its ability to shape medieval culture and sensibilities, and related to that the limits of the fragmentation of the medieval period.

    In my opinion, every place, always, is a specific place. It is essential to understand that as a starting point. But at the same time you have also forces that unite some larger spaces. In a way, the Roman Empire is as diverse as any large state. At the same time it is easy to find similarities in such a huge politically coherent space. In the more fragmented space of the medieval Europe, it is easy to get lost in the specifics of each little political entity. At the same time some phenomenon are wider in reach and in my opinion grow stronger as the modern time came close.

    I think you have to start by assessing the evolution of the church during this time. After the fall of Rome, the church was the only organized institution covering a large part of Europe. Over a politically and culturally fragmented Europe, its power is really weak but at the same time, it is the period of most of the conversions, in the wake of the travels of saints like Gall, Germain or Collomban.
    Charlemagne is decisive in the way he entwined religion and power, but he is the exception and not the rule. In fact the church was less interested in shaping the behavior of the peoples than in offering new narratives. You find early condemnations of pagans rituals but rarely any action is taken against them. You find of course theological discussion on sacraments, but there is no real push to enforce them.

    For example, the church started to impose the religious wedding to the population only by the counter-reformation. Before that, you only needed two consenting peoples, in some cases witnesses and some specifics words, to be considered wedded. The church was necessary only for the nobility and the upper classes, peoples for whom the heredity was essential. The practice survived till late in the XVII century.

    But in the early medieval time, the church was really active to folklorize its narrative. The fight against the ancient customs took many forms but most where indirect. The saints took some of the attributes of old heroes and gods, like in the Golden Legend of Voragine, Ursicinus and a lot of other like him were taming the bears and other wild beast as if they were taming the old gods, the sanctuaries were growing on ancient places of worship...
    The calendar was actually quite important: the church was by this mean able to disperse a lot of new imageries reframing the old customs and traditions. It was slowly but increasingly uprooting those ancient customs. Of course, peoples still scratched themselves to rocks in the hope of bearing Childs, but it was now because saint This or That was there at some point and increasingly they were going directly to his or her grave. Sure, they were sometime disguised as bears, but Carnaval was placed in the wider context of the celebration of Easter. Slowly, the old gods were relegated in the Merveilleux, a grey space of old and diminished characters on the fringe of the more important stories of christianity.

    The church used of course other means, some more intellectual like the euhemerization of the old pantheons or the new aesthetic in the religious art, that was clearly not interested in the same beauty than the greco-roman. The church showed in this process amazing qualities of adaptation, and it was mainly successful, it should be stated, in emptying the old customs of their meaning.

    Interestingly, the realm of Death was one of the first place where the church was able to assert his domination. Churches were used to bury the death. In a lot of places the cemeteries were places of socialization, were peoples gathered even to dance and sing. The history of this domination, then the distinction between the church and the cemetery, and lastly the quieting of the place of the dead make a very interesting subject.

    As an aside, the idea of rural places as remote should be taken with a lot of precautions. The most recent studies I've read on the subject of rural societies in Europe tend to paint them as more connected to the political and historical questions of the time than was previously thought. Of course, with the political and social fragmentation of Europe after the fall of Rome, many local particularities were incubated, politically, socially and culturally but their status as a survival of ancient time is disputed as they also adapted to the specific of the time. Also it would change soon as some news ideas start to become more important.

    By the XII-XIII century, you have a new perspective, not only for the church but also in the political and cultural context of the time. Forces of unification are apparent, as new and original social constructions replace the crumbling roman traditions and the olds customs. The great kingdoms and the church are central to this phenomenon, as much as they fight to profit from it. But you can see some phenomenon across Europe that shape a kind of medieval culture.

    I like to use the invention and diffusion of heraldry, as a proof of a shared ideological perspective based on material culture. Born is northern France, southern England, Switzerland and Italy around 1150, it spread quickly to most of Europe. With the herald and his symbolical vocabulary, this force of unification is clearly the proof of a shared set of representations.
    The same could be said about the ideology of the court, promoted by Marie de Champagne among other at the same point in time, and apparent in the chivalric literature and the fin'amor. Again its diffusion and the way it would reshape most of the occidental literature point to the possibility of a shared cultural frame.
    Politically, (and here I warmly recommend "The Legend of Bouvines" from Duby, a masterpiece in tying a battle to the wider political and social context of the time, also the original read "Le Dimanche de Bouvines", Sunday of Bouvines, which is more fitting.) the kingdoms are starting to increase their centralization and the new cities reshape the economical and social landscape with trade roads that spread again across Europe.

    The church is also concerned by those phenomenons. After the council of Latran (around 1215 I believe) it would think for itself a new role and increase its grip on mentalities. I like to use the figure of the devil to show this new perspective, but it is also the time of the first inquisition and the rise of the heresies.
    The church was starting to see the possibility of a true orthodoxy and had the means to try to achieve it, at least in his opinion. Thus the fight against heresies that were mainly internal problems for christianity.
    Accordingly, the church started to be more vocal on the right behavior. The ideology of non violence was for example more an more prevalent. From Otton de Bayeux To Matthieu Schiner and even till Richelieu, it was not uncommon for prelates to use force. They were as much secular authorities as religious figures. By the XII century, the ideology of non-violence is more prevalent, so much so that even the warrior class of the nobility felt the need to reshape his ideology in the ideology of chivalry. Some read the matter of Brittain specifically as a mean to address the problematic of the christian ideology of peace and the warrior bend of the ruling class.
    Among other means to canalize violence, the church raise the military orders like teutonics and templars around the XII century. And slowly the prelates are fading on the battlefield or are relegated, like Schiner or Richelieu, in a commanding role.

    Also it is the true time of the Interdiction, a mean to mobilize public opinion against kings. In this way it was often successful but was really rarely used after the XIII century.

    The devil and the diffusion of his new figure, growing to an obsession by the late medieval period, show the same dynamic of cultural convergence. Early, the devil is really not that much of a deal, in the wake of the interpretation of Augustine: the devil is a tool used by good for the salvation of the faithfuls. His apparitions are few and far between and event then, they are less than spectacular: the visions of a monk like Raoul Glaber lack the monstrous elements of the later centuries.
    Also devils are at first plurals, taking many forms across Europe. Often they are not really bad or good, mixed as they are in the folklore. The devil is not yet a terrifying figure and most of the time it is the subject of a farce, and humans are smarter than him. You find here really specifically the folklorization of the christian faith, using the figure of the devil to reshape old tales and stories.

    Again, by the XII century, a new definition and more unified version of evil, of the devil and of hell start to appear and gain popularity all across Europe. The character gain most of its animals traits and hell its defining characteristics of fire and brimstone. The success of this new definition show that some sensibilities were converging. The actions of the devil explained the fragmented state of christianity and it is interesting, in the context of inquisition, to look at how the prosecuted evolved from the heretics to the sorcerers then the witches. More and more, the devil was projecting a darker shadow on the grey of the Merveilleux.
    As an aside, the direct fight against what was seen as pagan is more something of the puritanism of the reformation. Even today most of the protestant cities have abandoned the celebration of Carnaval, never the case in catholics places. The denunciation of the pagan character of catholic faith was one of the most used critic of early Protestants.

    I think all those clues among other point to a less fragmented Europe. Of course, the continent is still a tower of Babel, and you have an endless parade of specifics. But, as the political entities are growing in size and centralization, some cultural movement gain a wider reach.

    By the late medieval period, the Reformation is as much the most evident proof of the victory of christianity across Europe as of the limitations of the church. Every power has always its limits so it is quite evident that the church was not able to expand endlessly. Also the clash with other growing political power was ineluctable as the kings, among others, even firm believer, were more and more inclined to assert their domination.
    But the coming of Reformation is also the sign than christianity was really interiorized by the general population.
    Of course, the church was impended by his meddling with power, and the growing discrepancies between a bid for domination and the necessities of faith.
    Here it should be noted that the corrupt prelate is as much a literary trope as an historic reality. In fact, most of the discussions about the true path for the church predate the reformation which would expand on them. Again, towering figures like Bernard of Clairvaux and Suger show different ways of understanding faith and the splendor of the churches of Suger seem like a decadent work for the ascetic Bernard.
    In this sense, not only a reaction to the corruption of the church, the Reformation can be described as the moment when the christianity was so prevalent that the different sensibilities that lived under his umbrella gain a life of their own.The huge cultural phenomenons that started centuries before are budding so much that for a time the definition of faith is a major political problem.

    That's too long for a so called synthetic post and too short for such a huge amount of time. But we talk about complex and diffuse phenomenons across a huge amount of time. I hope to have made clearer my point on the possibility of balancing the local realities with more "international" phenomenons.
    I mostly think that you need sometimes different scale to see different problems.

    Also I had a few things to add, mostly around some reflexions of Galloglaich about Switzerland. If I remember correctly, except in places were the prelate has a right of justice and so was the temporal ruler, religious tribunal were only able to make the case and not to condemn the accused. I fail to see the difference you made in the case of the Primitive Swiss.
    But more precisely, the relationship between the VIII cantons and the church should be considered linked with the conflict against the Habsburg of course, as is apparent with Sempach and the Monastery of Einsiedeln. But Glaris I think was a possession of a monastery, claimed again later by the Habsburg.
    On a related the Abbess of the Fraumunster of Zurich was the ruler of the city, soon only in name but again pointing to the evolution of this relationship.
    Also every place I quoted was an ally or a subject of the Swiss Confederation before 1500.

    Then to everybody who was kind enough to add something to this interesting conversation: I'm sure I forget a lot of your previous reflexions, but I will go back to the old thread and see what I can do to correct this ugly behavior. I intended not to let the previous discussion go away and I will gladly take any reminder of what I missed or what is important to discuss for you.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    I think a number of people are being a bit harsh on the bat'leth here.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a terrible weapon in a whole lotta ways, but whilst i'm sure it wasn't exactly intentional it's grip style and layout mean it really should be hell on high heels vs any kind of slashing attack, or mace/axe swings. It's got a nice broad area that's going to resist things sliding off the ends helped by the curve and the layout of spines on many variations creates good binding opportunities to catch a blade or haft with. The grip and layout also mean despite the weight it's likely to be very handy, there's just not a lot of mass away from the center of rotation tio add rotational inertia and the grip style is going to give you enormous leverage in any bind. Also whilst it;s speculative as all hell if we assume Klingons are normally ambidextrous and given comments on fighting left vs right handed people in this thread in the past i imagine it offers additional opportunity to be unpredictable.

    Unfortunately it's got a lot of issues that keep it from being practical.

    First because of it's poor reach, (more on that in a second), and the depth of the blade it's hard to block thrusts, you have to use the end of the weapon at a distance forward from the body, but it's going to be hard to do that vs anyone within it's reach. There's a reason quarterstaffs have much more length beyond the handles.

    Second, whilst you can use either side as the leading edge you can't use bot at the same time, which limits it severely. Two independent weapons would work much better.

    Third it's got serious reach problems, it's going to attack at any kind of distance and thats an issue for reasons the weapon experts cna explain for better than me.

    Fourth the tines that form the sharpened blades aren't long enough, even in a piercing wound they are going to struggle to go in very deep, and they're even worse in a slashing motion.

    Basically it looks like a weapon designed moe as a sort of blade shield combo, (some soft cannon sources have also claimed this), designed specifically to defend against arcing blows with bladed and blunt instruments that can also be used to counterattack with. It's much too specialised and frankly i'm sure a shield would do it better, but it does looks like it shouldn't be terrible at it either, it;s just it's bad at too many things to make a practical weapon.




    Now all that said, there's a lot of variants, and the one example of an old bat'leth we've seen was a lot more practical with greater width beyond the handle, longers double edged tines and a lot less obviously wasted weight. Whilst said sword is supposed to be the first Bat'leth, if we instead assume it's actually a later sword, the simple explanation cold be that the bat'leth has suffered the klingon equivalent of fantasy sword syndrome. in which case it;s plausible, though not exactly likely that it may have grown out of some form aof balded quarterstaff with a remblace that was a lot more practical.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Thanks for all the help! I'd like to give more details about the scenario I'm working on. (BTW, in this setting the Bronze Age guys are called the Asherites and the islanders are the Midonai)
    • The Midonai are attempting to hold an island from Asherite invaders, so they are entrenched and have the "home-field advantage".
    • The Asherites are based off of Davidic ancient Israel. They have no horses and are invading by boat.
    • The island where they are fighting has a large leeward side that is mainly grassland, and a mountain range on the southeast side.
    • I am currently planning to have the Asherites win, due in part to what all of you have said.
    Last edited by Sam113097; 2018-07-19 at 02:23 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam113097 View Post
    Thanks for all the help! I'd like to give more details about the scenario I'm working on. (BTW, in this setting the Bronze Age guys are called the Asherites and the islanders are the Midonai)
    • The Midonai are attempting to hold an island from Asherite invaders, so they are entrenched and have the "home-field advantage".
    • The Asherites are based off of Davidic ancient Israel. They have no horses and are invading by boat.
    • The island where they are fighting has a large leeward side that is mainly grassland, and a mountain range on the southeast side.
    • I am currently planning to have the Asherites win, due in part to what all of you have said.
    There's a very major factor this highlights that changes things pretty dramatically - the Asherites are invading by boat. Polynesian boats have been seaworthy to the point of working well on the open ocean for a very long time, and that's a rare thing. Most bronze age Mediterranean ships needed to beach often and had absolutely no business being anywhere near the Pacific. They just weren't well suited for that much time in the water, for the sort of storms the Pacific sees, or often even for how bad the water conditions can get outside of a storm.

    There's a famous instance in military history of a Mongol attack on Japan ending because they got destroyed in a storm, which is pretty well confirmed, and another of basically the same thing which is a little less confirmed. This is potentially illustrative of what happens repeatedly here.
    Last edited by Knaight; 2018-07-19 at 06:01 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Ok, even more than the relative capabilities of ships, the mere fact that Asherite are invader and the insular position of the Midonai changes a lot of thing.

    As a preamble, remember the New Zealand wars in the XIX century, the difficulties of the English and the way the indigenous people were more able than say in America to preserve their cultural identity in the new political and cultural order.
    (According at least to a very interesting e-book on interstellar communication from Nasa, who compared, among other amazing subjects, historical process of colonization in the hope to shine a light on what happen when two society with different technology meet. In any case a very recommended read, and totally free here: https://www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/...unication.html and I reference here the chapter 9 Contact Considerations: A Cross-Cultural Perspective by Douglas Raybeck)

    First, invading is always the easy part. The keeping is the hard part. With the sea between the colonies and the metropolis it is even harder. According to Bronze Age technology, the seaways are likely to be slow and dangerous.

    In my opinion, in a fight, any Phoenician ship is able to outfight a canoe. The relative seaworthiness of both faction is here not so relevant as I fail to see the Midonai engage in naval operations. Maybe some ambush or nocturnal raids but the technological superiority and more urbanized setting of the Asherite should give them bigger boats, and the possibility to raise a huge naval force.

    The true main problem would be reinforcement and supplies.

    As you describe it, I imagine a scenario a bit like that: Asherite come on the grassy side of the island. They come with a huge force and more or less unimpeded. They may even have diplomatic meeting with some islander that convince them they are the new leaders of the island, with huge proclamations and monuments to impose their view. It may be understood quite differently by the Midonai.(A good inspiration could be the diplomatic exchanges between the crown of Spain and the Comanche empire, as they were in so different political world that the crown could claim sovereignty and at the same time the comanches were implementing their own sphere of power, as described by Pekka Hämäläinen in The Comanche Empire.)

    Of course, the Asherites cannot stay in the island with such a force for too long, so they depart with only a little garrison behind them. Here the distance between the island and the metropolis is important. At the very least I imagine a few weeks or months of travel but that's only for the travel. The asherites should stay alone for quite some time.
    By this point, frictions are increasing. Again, the different understanding of the situation open the conflict. The invaders think they can manage the island, for the islander it is mainly like a new tribe that they treat more or less like any other.
    So for example the Midonai could totally take some of the Asherite things, an act that they understood as part of the usual exchange of possessions between neighbors but that is understood as thievery by the Asherites. The Asherites try to impose their view on justice and the conflicts start to grow.
    You could also take an easier road and go for the Asherites warriors and their need of women. Even in this case the main problem should be the disorder it create in the social life of the midonai, disrupting the equilibrium between tribes and families.

    Ideally, this should take place before the next arrival of asherites settlers. Before they come, the situation should have deteriorated and the asherites on the island are reduced to a more or less besieged ragtag in their first colony.

    Then the metropolis react.

    As you describe your island, I think the midonai can hold easily the mountainous part of the island. The asherites are likely to build a city and a fortress, maybe some guard posts, on the grassy part of the island and use that as their basis to enter the mountainous part.
    Here, everything is harder: the enemy disappear or strike in the darkness, the terrain is so difficult it grind the troops faster than the fights, the supplies are ambushed regularly...
    The metropolis need huge forces and a regular supply of fresh troops to really reduce the midonai, and even then, they are more likely to hide and strike back later. The cost of the battle is so high for a relatively little benefit, as the Asherites are well able to keep the grassy part. They start organizing it, with fields and villages.

    So the most likely outcome is a kind of standoff, each group controlling a part of the island.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam113097 View Post
    Thanks for all the help! I'd like to give more details about the scenario I'm working on. (BTW, in this setting the Bronze Age guys are called the Asherites and the islanders are the Midonai)
    • The Midonai are attempting to hold an island from Asherite invaders, so they are entrenched and have the "home-field advantage".
    • The Asherites are based off of Davidic ancient Israel. They have no horses and are invading by boat.
    • The island where they are fighting has a large leeward side that is mainly grassland, and a mountain range on the southeast side.
    • I am currently planning to have the Asherites win, due in part to what all of you have said.
    I agree with Knaight - invading during typhoon season has a significant chance of 'winds blow, you all die' and the Midonai are well versed in dealing with tropical storms. This also makes the sailing distance significant, primarily for the seaworthiness of the Asherite ships, with reinforcement and re-supply running a close second.

    You still haven't listed the numbers involved, which will dictate how many ships the Asherites will need and the size of the island the Midonai are living on.

    Speculating on the numbers first using the Kingdom of Hawaii; during King Kamehameha's war of unification, it's said that he had an army of 16,000 warriors. The population of the Kingdom of Hawaii was conservatively estimated to be 400,000 so that number of fighting fit men probably isn't too much of an exaggeration. The big island of Hawaii is also a fairly substantial size (~4,000 square miles), giving a lot of terrain diversity and space for manoeuvring (assuming the Midonai live on a single island).

    Biremes were the ships used during the same approximate period as the 10th Century BC Kingdom of Israel; these had a crew of ~120 rowers (who would also be the soldiers) and could carry an extra ~20 crew (using the same crew:rower ratio as the later trieme) for a total of 140 bodies per ship. Assuming equal numbers, that's 115 ships the Asherites will need - a fleet of that size would be easily spotted, so the Midonai could contest the Asherite landing, significantly skewing the odds.
    Edit: Biremes are apparently a lot more seaworthy than triremes, from the voyage of the Ivlia, a modern reconstruction of a small-ish bireme (44 crew). That said, the furthest they went out to open sea was the Bay of Biscay, which can get nasty during the winter months, but still not quite on the same scale of a tropical storm.

    Even if the Asherites land uncontested on the grassland part, the Midonai would most likely do most of the fighting in the jungles and mountains and simply wait for the Asherites to run out of provisions (dependent on resupply times). A question on the winds - you say that the grassland is on the leeward side of the island, is that towards or away from the general direction of the Asherite attack? While the winds wouldn't affect the biremes rate of travel as much, Polynesian vessels are much more wind powered and could potentially outsail and harass Asherite ships at will for as long as the Asherites had ammunition.

    I think in a straight up fight on the Asherites terms, they would win - the problem is, they would never be fighting on their terms. Between the sea (dependent on distance), environment and Midonai tactics/interference (eg they start interdicting the Asherite supply lines), the islanders would probably force a stalemate at least, at which point the Asherites would lose on attrition.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2018-07-19 at 06:41 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Epimethee View Post
    In my opinion, in a fight, any Phoenician ship is able to outfight a canoe. The relative seaworthiness of both faction is here not so relevant as I fail to see the Midonai engage in naval operations. Maybe some ambush or nocturnal raids but the technological superiority and more urbanized setting of the Asherite should give them bigger boats, and the possibility to raise a huge naval force.
    I would like to point that most of the historical piracy was done using boats that were no bigger than say viking drakkars...

    Spaniards, Italians and Maltese often used bergantines and fragatas that were basically long boats without a deck. Their muslim counterparts used similar ships. Only the richest, most successful raiders could afford galliots or jabeques, and by the time they could afford true galleys, they tended to focus on the raiding of coastal settlements rather than seeking ships (galleys whose oarsmen are fighting men carried enough manpower to overpower villages, but were very expensive to keep, so better go were you know you will find preys for sure, rather than waste time seeking merchant vessels...). There were exceptions, of course, and galleys were sometimes sent to attack rich convoys or individual carracks, gallions and great merchant galleys...

    The Croatian Uskoci were known for being able to take Venetian great galleys using just small boats (they were ambush hunters...).

    Most piracy around Malasya, Indonesia and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf was done with similar ships. I think the Buccaneers used similar ships before they were able to upgrade...

    So I think the islanders can become quite a pain in the ass if they are adaptable enough. At the very least they can prevent imperial ships from visiting the island without a strong escort...

    EDIT: A relevant point... the Midonese inhabit a single island, or an archipielago with many small islands with many places to hide? And if their island is relatively isolated... are we speaking of a Madagascar-sized island, of a Bali-sized island, or what...?
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2018-07-19 at 06:38 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    @Clistenes: Agreed, but you talk about piracy. A warship was another kind of prey, even if you can find some crazy guys like Surcouf or Decatur to trump the odds.
    The midonai could easily become a pain in the supply line ass but I doubt they would represent a true menace for the warships in sufficient number.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I agree with Knaight - invading during typhoon season has a significant chance of 'winds blow, you all die' and the Midonai are well versed in dealing with tropical storms. This also makes the sailing distance significant, primarily for the seaworthiness of the Asherite ships, with reinforcement and re-supply running a close second.
    That's it if the island is in a tropical setting. Even without that, the points you raise about supply and distance are essentials. A tropical season may be a good narrative tool in any case.

    Biremes were the ships used during the same approximate period as the 10th Century BC Kingdom of Israel; these had a crew of ~120 rowers (who would also be the soldiers) and could carry an extra ~20 crew (using the same crew:rower ratio as the later trieme) for a total of 140 bodies per ship. Assuming equal numbers, that's 115 ships the Asherites will need - a fleet of that size would be easily spotted, so the Midonai could contest the Asherite landing, significantly skewing the odds.

    Even if the Asherites land uncontested on the grassland part, the Midonai would most likely do most of the fighting in the jungles and mountains and simply wait for the Asherites to run out of provisions (dependent on resupply times). A question on the winds - you say that the grassland is on the leeward side of the island, is that towards or away from the general direction of the Asherite attack? While the winds wouldn't affect the biremes rate of travel as much, Polynesian vessels are much more wind powered and could potentially outsail and harass Asherite ships at will for as long as the Asherites had ammunition.
    I like your estimations. I was more inclined to take the Phoenicians warships as a basis. (In fact I was using an Osprey, Warships of the Ancient World, as my main source.) As much as a Polynesian war waka is impressive (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waka_(canoe)) it should be noted that they were intended for a kind of ramming maneuver.
    The Phoenician ship was more seaworthy than most of the others ships of the time. The high fighting deck give him also a strong advantage in naval battle. To quote Osprey:

    "The most curious feature of the Khorsabad warships was the high ghting- deck. The ships in the relief are stylized and shortened due to artistic convention, but a high deck required a stable ship to prevent capsizing. The fighting-deck was mounted on stanchions inside the line of the rowers, and ran along the length of the vessel but not across its full beam. The ship would need a greater beam-to-length ratio for stability and to carry more supplies, particularly since Phoenician warships would undertake longer journeys than the short coast-hugging trips of Classical triremes. A reconstruction requires a length of at least 18m and a beam of perhaps 3m, resulting in a ratio of 6:1. Under oars this ship would make less speed than a comparable later ship of the same number of oars, but was compensated by greater height for archery and boarding actions."

    Against such ships, the midonai would certainly be reduced to a kind of harassment tactic. As noted, they would have the advantage of speed.

    My only problem with the scenario of midonai contesting the first landing is that you have to assume an unified island and a full scale invasion at the start. It is possible, depending of the chronology, but it would mean a lot of things before this scene.
    The asherite need to have a deep knowledge of the island before this invasion. More than hundred vessels mean an organized operation. You don't send them on a colonization trip.
    So the first contact would likely be on a smaller scale. Then you have two political possibilities: the island is unified or divided. My previous post assumed a divided island.
    In this case the armada would come at best in the third wave, after the metropolis know of the situation on the island. At this point it is likely that some tribes could assemble and fight together.

    If we start with an unified island, the task of the asherite is different. Certainly they would start with commercial outposts. They would also recognize the terrain, the best landing places, and try to profit, or at least be aware of the political situation on the island. Maybe they would even be able to build a stronghold.
    In such scenario, the invasion may have been planned from the beginning or arise as a reaction to the political situation on the island.
    Here you have to look at the probable allies the invaders would have found on the island.
    In both case, such full scale invasion would be a pivoting moment in a ongoing relationship.


    I think in a straight up fight on the Asherites terms, they would win - the problem is, they would never be fighting on their terms. Between the sea (dependent on distance), environment and Midonai tactics/interference (eg they start interdicting the Asherite supply lines), the islanders would probably force a stalemate at least, at which point the Asherites would lose on attrition.
    As you said, the distance between the metropolis and the colonies is essential to evaluate the effect of attrition. In my opinion a stalemate is more likely as the actions of the asherites are susceptible to impede the midonai as much as they are impended. The grassy part of the island is likely the richest agricultural landscape. By holding it, the asherite limits the supplies of the midonai. If they hold it long enough, they may even become less dependent of supply lines. But that's only if. a somewhat regular supply line can be established first.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    What is the best siege weapon for destroying a medieval town.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Epimethee View Post
    @Clistenes: Agreed, but you talk about piracy. A warship was another kind of prey, even if you can find some crazy guys like Surcouf or Decatur to trump the odds.
    The midonai could easily become a pain in the supply line ass but I doubt they would represent a true menace for the warships in sufficient number.
    These supply lines are already tenuous, being made out of oceangoing ships that have no business being oceangoing ships. Attacking them creates the opportunity to do a lot of damage or tie up a lot of resources preventing that damage, and cut supply lines for an invasion force in unfamiliar territory is a serious matter. "An army marches on its stomach" and all that.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    I still think weather and distance are the most dangerous problem.

    In my opinion, you have to assume oceangoing ship to even postulate the scenario. The real and historical ships are just here for comparison. I assume the asherai as neighboring an ocean and good enough to reach the island in conditions comparable to what the Phoenicians were able to achieve in Mediterranean Sea. I don't think they would use the exact same ships.

    The Phoenicians had a good balance between fighting ships and transport capacities. Nevertheless, any convoy should be escorted. And again in my opinion the problem here is more operational than tactical.
    If you have, say, one or two weeks of travel, and the ability to raise a hundred ships or more, it is easy to imagine a garrison of say 20 to 30 warships around the island and a rotation with the ships used to protect the supply lines. You have well rested but well prepared troops and enough superiority to protect most of your ships. A tour of duty would only take a few months.

    According to the distance, the climate, the size of the troops in place and the need of escorting the supply, the size of the operation could be excessively high. If you have a month of travel, or more, the ships need to stay longer afloat, you need a lot more ships to achieve the same standard of supply, either bigger convoy or more of them. The warships would stay longer on the sea but for less time in the island, as the need for refitting would grow rapidly, the men would be more tired and son on... The attacks of the midonai are certainly essential but in my opinion the geographical conditions are more important.

    So the distance between the metropolis and the island is to clarify before going any further on the subject.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Lea Plath View Post
    What is the best siege weapon for destroying a medieval town.
    Sorry I missed your post!

    Most siege weapons were not intended to destroy the towns but the fortifications. So fire, the most dangerous foe of most medieval towns, was less used than you would think offensively. It was more often a weapon of the defenders to destroy the siege engines.

    But if you would destroy a town, as opposed to taking it, fire is the easiest way to go. Then you have many option, from the humble arrow to variations on the greek fire and even specialized containers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    The Maori are a particularly warlike people and given to raiding/fighting other tribes often. I'm not aware of the native Hawaiians being as aggressive scratch that - I'm currently on a wiki walk of King Kamehameha I and yup, they knew how to fight as well.
    Yep, the various Polynesian cultures shared a lot of martial traditions and weapons, not unlike those found in North America (and far earlier, in Europe)

    That scales things more towards the islanders, but I'm still in favour of the Bronze Age army in a set piece battle given equal numbers, simply for the armour and superior missile weapons (unless the humidity knackers the crossbow/bow strings or something).
    That would depend on the Bronze Age army, some relied mainly on thrown weapons and didn't use massed archers so far as I know. I do think almost any Bronze Age Army would have an edge in the open field, but the Maori or equivalent might have an edge close-in. So which general forced the other to fight on their preferred terrain would have the edge, so to speak.

    On a side note, the Maori habit of sticking the tongue isn't an insult, it's a threat of "I'm going to kill you and eat you"; the Maori were known for cannibalism.
    Can't it be both?

    G
    Last edited by Galloglaich; 2018-07-19 at 11:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Epimethee View Post
    Funnily, I just saw "The Dead Lands", from Toa Fraser, an action movie situated in New Zealand before the arrival of European settlers. It's an action movie, so archeological accuracy was not the main selling point, and the staginess of some actors is somewhat unnerving. That's still a different take on the revenge movie, in Maori which is great.
    I saw it too, it was fun interesting for the reasons you enumerate though also of course pretty silly. Definitely worth watching though for most DnD fans I would say.

    Medieval Marriages outside of the Church.

    -this is definitely quite true. Most marriage were done with just a few witnesses, and they would sometimes pay a priest to write down the event after (sometimes long after) the marriage. Many marriages took place after a casual tryst during Carnival. In Bohemia they were often conducted by a witchy sort of 'Midwife' type character.

    Paganism not being attacked

    - I think this is partly true. The Church concentrated their aggression much more on Heresy which is not the same thing as paganism. Variations on "The Brand" of the Church were ruthlessly crushed, paganism was usually more indirectly treated. However that said, pagans had no rights, and until they had accepted Baptism it was legal and even lauded to rob, kidnap, or kill them. Sell them to the Turks or Mongols into slavery - this was practiced widely in Eastern Europe (with 'Schismatic' Orthodox Christians also lumped in with pagans) and later was transferred to Africans. Only the highly effective military resistance by such pagan polities as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania forced them to even consider a true "live and let live" policy which was floated as a legal idea by the Poles and later by the Czechs but rejected by the Church.

    States are becoming more centralized


    -only some States. France is, Spain is, England is. HRE isn't. Bohemia isn't. Italy certainly isn't. Flanders isn't (or, the man who tries it dies in the attempt). Poland isn't.

    Prelates were becoming less violent.

    -Definitely NOT TRUE. I can't point out a dozen warlike and extremely violent, you might say ultraviolent prelates active in the 15th Century.

    Church Art vs. Greco Roman art

    -I think the former clearly converged toward the latter at an accelerating rate in the 14th and 15th Centuries. If you walk through modern Cathedrals and large Churches in places like Florence or Venice, or even the Vatican they are almost more temples to Art (with a strong Classical influence) than to Jesus or God. It's all naked people and Greek mythology.

    Influence of Heraldry
    - as I alreeday said, I think this is seriously overstated. French heraldry in particular had a lot of influence with the princely Estates, but that was hardly universal the princely Estates

    Carnival

    - Carnival was out of control of the Church and in fact, increasingly so in the later medieval period. including the rapidly developing Carnival Theater and art genres. it is among other things specifically where highly subversive "counter-memes" ridiculing official and princely ideas over things like heraldry were on (often extremely rude) display. Anything goes at Carnival, including and especially politically incorrect and images offensive to those in power. it's something hard to understand unless you live somewhere where they actually have carnival. This is why the Church and secular princes ended up stamping it out in many places during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation (Carnival ended in many towns in Europe in the 16th Century). Only where the local political hierarchy was needed to maintain order were they unable to end it (usually in Catholic towns).

    Interdict "rarely used after the XIII century"

    - STRONGLY disagree!!!!!!!!!! I'm astounded that anyone could say that. Most of Central Europe was under interdict at one time or another thoughout the 15th Century. If you want me to start citing examples I will list them.

    Church and the Swiss

    - yes there were still Church entities Keep in mind the Abess of the Fraumunster was overthrown in 1336 by Rudolph Brun, which is what created the somewhat radical Zurich Republic and the establishment of the Zunftordnung (guild laws) and new craft-guild dominated constitution of that very important town. It's actually a pretty good example of the Swiss resisting any attempt to control let alone crack down on them by Church authorities. I also think it's inaccurate to characterize Swiss history vis a vis the Church or anything else as simply a reflection of Swiss vs. Hapsburgs. Maybe post medieval yes, but in the middle ages the Hapsburgs were only one of several major threats the Swiss faced (and faced down). On the flip side of the Swiss resisting the Church they did also welcome the Church and hosted numerous conferences and ecclesiastical synods in what was seen by many princes and prelates as neutral territory, for example at Basel. Though many of the Swiss were quick to adopt the Reformation and they retained their own quasi-pagan traditions ala Krampus etc., they were by no means non-religious.

    G

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Lea Plath View Post
    What is the best siege weapon for destroying a medieval town.
    As mentioned, fire is really the best way to destroy a town or a large stretch of one.

    As for the most effective way to deliver that fire, I'd honestly advise using fire arrows instead of siege weaponry, unless range is an issue. It's a lot easier to figure out where one flaming projectile is going to land and thus where to prepare fire brigades than it is with 1000 smaller projectiles...at least some of which will go unnoticed. Once a fire has started, highly inflammible medieval construction should do the job for you.

    If the concern is range, and for some reason you can't bring forward enough archers to close enough range, I'd say that quantity>size of projectile. Hence scorpiones and ballistae will come in more use than larger onagers and trebuchets. A polybolos--essentially a hand-cranked machine scorpio--could do a number if you were igniting fires by chemical means (i.e. two chemicals contained in two glass phials in the head which shatter, mix, and ignite upon contact with target), but the nature of most polyboloi is such that a traditional fire bolt would likely be more likely to damage the weapon than ignite the target.

    If you're willing to relax the "siege engine" requirement, however, there is another...underhanded way to ignite even a large city quickly and chaotically using only medieval technology. It's an approach I know was used by Genghis Khan, but I've heard it used much earlier than him.

    What you do is as follows:

    1. Lay siege to the town. Make sure to project the illusion of overwhelming force by creating decoys, rapidly countermarching troops, etc. to convey the expression of overwhelming force, even if you don't have it.

    2. Make an offer to parley with the town. Most medieval towns are too overpopulated to want to withstand a major siege, especially on short notice, as a massive influx of refugees from the countryside will strain supplies. Thus, the Eldermen/Councillors/etc. should come and negotiate quickly.

    3. Make the following deal: "I will break the siege, provided that the town delivers me a ransom of [a large number of songbirds, pidgeons, etc.][the Khan asked for several hundred, other instances show a request for one to three birds per house, remembering that the birds roost in homes]" The town will likely agree, because as mentioned there are a lot of birds roosting in medieval buildings and its a lot easier to tell everyone in town to catch a couple of birds than to go without food for several months.

    4. Wait until the delivery of your ransom. In the meantime, have your troops prepare small bundles of flammable material, light enough for a bird to carry and lasting for a fairly long time. IIRC the Khan used cotton.

    5. When the birds are delivered, have the soldiers attach these bundles to said birds (1 bundle per bird). Release the flock. In panic, they will fly back to their nests in the city (pidgeons work especially well for this, as they have an excellent homing instinct).

    6. Congratulations! You have delivered several hundred lit embers to ready-made piles of kindling (i.e. nests) in difficult-to-reach crannies. Nature will do the rest of the job for you. If you want, you can also try and take the walls by coup de main while the defenders fight fires.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    @KarlMarx: Okay that's at least as appalling as it is clever, but good heavens is that clever.
    Quote Originally Posted by KKL
    D&D is its own momentum and does its own fantasy. It emulates itself in an incestuous mess.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVI

    Quote Originally Posted by Lea Plath View Post
    What is the best siege weapon for destroying a medieval town.
    You need fire and it's not at all close.

    If your goal is destruction, then the best way to set fire to the town is the way to go. That might be to gain entry to the town, get control of a quarter and then just set fire to a bunch of dwellings, taking note of the prevailing winds. In this case, the type of siege weapon is irrelevant except inasmuch as it's the best one to get you into the town.

    Really there is no engine available during mediaeval times which was capable of physically destroying an entire town of any size without ancillary processes such as fire, catastrophic flooding or lengthy lack of occupation. At least in any reasonable time frame and numbers...I guess some of the giant Ottoman bombards or a just a few hundred cannon could level a small town given enough time.

    Depending on your definition of 'destroying', it was difficult and time-consuming to achieve even in WWII with conventional weapons, without the aid of fire.
    Last edited by Mr Beer; 2018-07-19 at 06:00 PM.
    Re: 100 Things to Beware of that Every DM Should Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

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