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  1. - Top - End - #391
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Okay, I guess my only other question is this - in an aerial dog fight, even if a pegasus is something like 2x as fast and agile as a wyvern, there's basically no reason to use a sword or axe instead of a polearm with it's extended right?

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

    I'm not convinced that aerial mounts of similar size could safely get close enough to each other to fight, much less allow riders to engage with melee weapons. Any attempt at an airborne melee seems likely to end in a tangle of wings and a swift plummet. When you look at the few animals that actually catch prey in midair, they do so with a significant advantage in size, strength, and speed.

    I also suspect that archery would be completely unreliable at the speeds involved with flight, and with the powerful winds you encounter once you get above the ground.

    What I'm saying is that wyvern-on-pegasus combat seems a touch implausible. There's a reason that dogfighting requires guns.
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  3. - Top - End - #393
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Further to the above:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shepsquared View Post
    If you have enough of them you could use them as flankers, but I'm not entirely certain what the best weapons to use from atop a pegasus would be - probably bows, and I think cavalry sabres or spears, javelins and lances?
    Given the wingspan of a pegasus (SRD20 says it's 20ft), I'd say that would interfere with anything shorter than a lance or a long spear when fighting mounted. It's important to remember that with fliers, taking out the wings for a mobility kill is essentially the same as a catastrophic kill, so pegasi may be too fragile to risk in a direct combat role.

    Bombing runs (note that the number of rocks they can carry is limited, so explosive/incindiary devices would be better) and pegasi allowing their riders to fight as mounted infantry (ie they get into position then dismount to fight), would be a better option. Alternately, given their superior mobility, mounted crossbowmen would also be a good alternative - crossbows over horsebows to reduce rider fatigue since they're at minimal risk from ground forces while reloading. With careful flying, a pegasus could potentially stay 'on station' for hours if it concentrated on gliding with the right thermals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shepsquared View Post
    They probably wouldn't be great at aerial interception as the pegasus is faster and probably more maneuverable, but I imagine they're better at fighting on the ground. Again I'm not certain what weapons a wyvern rider would use - probably not the axes of fire emblem. I assume bows and polearms would be good choices, maybe sabres like with actual cavalry, but I'm not sure.
    Looking at the wiki pictures, they're too big for short weapons like sabres as a primary weapon, so I'd say polearms at the very least. The 4 legged ones in FE10 would probably operate much like the pegasi, although with more effective close combat skills.
    The 'traditional' two legged wyverns are more interesting as a slight modification to their feet could make them frightening heavy cavalry as they could dive on the their target from the sky, much like a bird of prey and either carry off the target or continue to fight on the ground. Given unrestricted control of the airspace, they can also do this from any angle on enemy formations, necessitating skirmishers/archers/anti-wyvern pikes on the enemy side in any battle facing them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shepsquared View Post
    Okay, I guess my only other question is this - in an aerial dog fight, even if a pegasus is something like 2x as fast and agile as a wyvern, there's basically no reason to use a sword or axe instead of a polearm with it's extended right?
    The typical depiction of ground cavalry vs cavalry close combat have both sides fairly static, trying to stab each other while side or diagonally facing the other rider - this would not be possible in the air due to the wings interfering, so long weapons and essentially jousting/ride by attacks would be the order of the day. That said, diving attacks would also be possible - being hit by the iron shod hooves of a diving pegasus' would be just as lethal to a human as being crushed/bitten by a large lizard.

    Moving away from FE depictions, I'd give the edge to two-legged wyverns. Suppose they adopted the streamlined pose that swimming lizards do, it would give them an edge in aerial mobility, although the rider would have to be strapped into the saddle to avoid falling off while manoeuvring. As an example of how I envision it, see how Toothless and Hiccup fly in How to Train your Dragon: link.

  4. - Top - End - #394
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    If we want to talk about the real world limitation of pegasi and other mythical creatures there are several issues that need to be considered.

    First is the square-cube law. In the real world this means that the largest creatures able to sustain flight in Earth like conditions were the pterosaurs, the largest of which the Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopteryx top out at about 10 meter wingspans and an estimated body weight of 200 to 250 kg. For comparison the Connemara pony, one of the smallest breeds of horse to carry adults weighs around 300 to 350 kg, and does that without flying. With Connemaras it is recommended that the weight of the rider and equipment be less than 100kg.

    Second is the power to weight ratio needed to sustain flight. Real world experience shows that large birds often find it difficult to get airborne from the ground. If you put a small female (~50 kg) that would almost certainly be too much weight to allow the largest possible flyer to lift off. An armored warrior (~100kg) would definitely be too much added mass to allow flight. Any armor for the critter, natural or manufactured, in addition to the rider is impossible.

    Third is that creatures that fly have hollow bones, which reduces their mass while increasing their volume. What this means is that any combat hit would almost certainly break their bones and cripple them. There is a very good reason that birds that attack prey whilst flying use hit and run tactics. Any grappling/sustained combat can easily lead to a crippling injury.

    Next is flight surfaces and flight control surfaces (feathers, wing membrane etc). In an environment where magic missiles and fireballs exist, in addition to arrows and other projectiles, it will be very easy to damage the flight surfaces of a flying critter. If there is any sort of payload on the creature the creature will be overloaded, leading to catastrophic loss of control when the flight surfaces are damaged.

    So the real world answer to pegasi et al is:
    They cannot exist as depicted.
    A realistically redesigned creature would be unable to carry warriors
    A realistic creature would be too fragile to use in battle.

    Their uses would be limited to
    Messenger work with very light riders - small hobbits or gnomes.
    Being trained to attack stragglers/isolated individuals the way Hawkers and Falconers train their birds to attack small prey. i.e. without a rider.

  5. - Top - End - #395
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    I think that we're operating off of FE's example where the mounts very clearly can fly with riders and armor. To even discuss the idea of flying cavalry at all, we need to assume that these creatures are able to take off under their own power and carry a reasonable load. It's not totally ludicrous, Quetzalcoatlus is generally considered (according to wikipedia) to have a wingspan of 10-11m, with a body size large enough for a human to mount, and an estimated weight of 200-250 kg (though these vary widely). Would they necessarily have enough power for humans to ride? Maybe not, but it's plausible.

    (In case you were wondering why pterosaurs could get so big when the biggest flying birds come nowhere close, pterosaurs had a quadrupedal stance on the ground. This allowed them to have (comparatively) light back legs and use their obviously jacked flying limbs to catapult themselves into the air. Birds have to use their legs for that initial jump, and those legs are basically dead weight in the air)

    The idea of having fireballs and magic missiles immediately skewers any idea of scientific plausibility anyhow, and kinda stinks of a certain guy at a certain gym. Regardless, it could be well possible to fly out of range of such attacks, depending on the relative ranges of the weapons involved. If we use DnD as an example, Fireball and Magic Missile have a range of 150 feet, while a Longbow has a long range of 600. Feathers are likely to be extremely flammable, wing membranes substantially less so. On the other hand the feathers are liable to receive less damage from arrows and other projectiles. Of course, this assumes that you can even hit the target. For a DnD Fireball, you've got a 20 foot radius sphere, likely large enough to make aiming more trivial. For an archer, or someone hurling small bolts of magic? likely a lot more challenging. A flying mount is moving at high speed in three dimensions, and while hits are likely, one could take advantage of terrain features to screen their approach. In fact, while broken or uneven terrain is usually an issue for cavalry, it's actually an advantage for aircav, breaking up ground formations and providing dips and valleys to screen your approach.
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  6. - Top - End - #396
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by AdAstra View Post
    I think that we're operating off of FE's example where the mounts very clearly can fly with riders and armor. To even discuss the idea of flying cavalry at all, we need to assume that these creatures are able to take off under their own power and carry a reasonable load. It's not totally ludicrous, Quetzalcoatlus is generally considered (according to wikipedia) to have a wingspan of 10-11m, with a body size large enough for a human to mount, and an estimated weight of 200-250 kg (though these vary widely). Would they necessarily have enough power for humans to ride? Maybe not, but it's plausible.
    If we take horses, the most efficient land based animals for carrying loads.
    Ponies for children are generally about 300kg
    Small horses, such as Mongolian steppe horses are usually in the 400 to 500kg range
    Normal riding horses are about 600 to 700 kg
    Percherons, the closest we have to a medieval warhorse, are usually about 1000kg

    So 250kg is too light to be useful for anything other than carrying children as a land based animal. Add in the requirement to fly and the square cubed law and fantasy winged creatures cannot fly using real world physics, let alone carry a rider.
    Last edited by Pauly; 2019-08-23 at 09:28 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #397
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    If we take horses, the most efficient lanf based animals for carrying loads.
    Ponies for children are generally about 300kg
    Small horses, such as Mongolian steppe horses are usually in the 400 to 500kg range
    Normal riding horses are about 600 to 700 kg
    Perbherons, the closest we have to a medieval warhorse, are usually about 1000kg

    So 250kg is too light to be useful for anything other than carrying children as a land based animal. Add in the requirement to fly and the square cubed law and fantasy winged creatures cannot fly using real world physics, let alone carry a rider.
    Your average horse can carry a lot more than one human. Obviously a Quetzalcoatlus isn't likely to be rideable, but with a higher strength to weight ratio than a horse, adult humanoids that can weigh only 40 pounds (in a fantasy land), and the need to only carry one of those plus some equipment, it's not blatantly impossible.

    Plus any discussion on the rideability of the quetzalcoatlus is kinda besides the point, I just brought it up as an example of a flying creature of extreme size that might have been rideable, to show such a creature is not totally ridiculous. Again, we're assuming that creatures of requisite capabilities exist, since they would need to be in order to make this fun conversation on what to do with them possible. Real-world physics makes a person throwing a fireball, much less creating one in the first place with only their hands and some magic words, even more ludicrous. If you're willing to accept a total paradigm shift in the fundamental properties of the world, then not accepting that a big creature can fly is completely nonsensical.

    All it would take for there to be larger flying creatures is higher air density, lower gravity, and/or higher atmospheric oxygen content, plus sufficient evolutionary development and an actual niche to fill in that space. It could be alternate history or science fiction rather than pure fantasy. That by itself makes it far more realistic than most standard fantasy elements.
    Last edited by AdAstra; 2019-08-23 at 02:52 AM.
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  8. - Top - End - #398
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    A lot of this depends on what else the fantasy world has in it, and how "realistic" those effects are. It starts spiraling rapidly from there...what sort of level of magic availability are we talking, and in what quantity can you reliably get trained flyers with or without "pilots?", and what is the production rate on those pilots?

  9. - Top - End - #399
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Further to the above:



    Given the wingspan of a pegasus (SRD20 says it's 20ft), I'd say that would interfere with anything shorter than a lance or a long spear when fighting mounted. It's important to remember that with fliers, taking out the wings for a mobility kill is essentially the same as a catastrophic kill, so pegasi may be too fragile to risk in a direct combat role.

    Bombing runs (note that the number of rocks they can carry is limited, so explosive/incindiary devices would be better) and pegasi allowing their riders to fight as mounted infantry (ie they get into position then dismount to fight), would be a better option. Alternately, given their superior mobility, mounted crossbowmen would also be a good alternative - crossbows over horsebows to reduce rider fatigue since they're at minimal risk from ground forces while reloading. With careful flying, a pegasus could potentially stay 'on station' for hours if it concentrated on gliding with the right thermals.



    Looking at the wiki pictures, they're too big for short weapons like sabres as a primary weapon, so I'd say polearms at the very least. The 4 legged ones in FE10 would probably operate much like the pegasi, although with more effective close combat skills.
    The 'traditional' two legged wyverns are more interesting as a slight modification to their feet could make them frightening heavy cavalry as they could dive on the their target from the sky, much like a bird of prey and either carry off the target or continue to fight on the ground. Given unrestricted control of the airspace, they can also do this from any angle on enemy formations, necessitating skirmishers/archers/anti-wyvern pikes on the enemy side in any battle facing them.



    The typical depiction of ground cavalry vs cavalry close combat have both sides fairly static, trying to stab each other while side or diagonally facing the other rider - this would not be possible in the air due to the wings interfering, so long weapons and essentially jousting/ride by attacks would be the order of the day. That said, diving attacks would also be possible - being hit by the iron shod hooves of a diving pegasus' would be just as lethal to a human as being crushed/bitten by a large lizard.

    Moving away from FE depictions, I'd give the edge to two-legged wyverns. Suppose they adopted the streamlined pose that swimming lizards do, it would give them an edge in aerial mobility, although the rider would have to be strapped into the saddle to avoid falling off while manoeuvring. As an example of how I envision it, see how Toothless and Hiccup fly in How to Train your Dragon: link.
    Good points about the polearms and bows - I also hadn't thought about two-legged wyverns as mounts at all. compared to quadrupeds, rider placement would seem to be difficult.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    If we want to talk about the real world limitation of pegasi and other mythical creatures there are several issues that need to be considered.

    First is the square-cube law. In the real world this means that the largest creatures able to sustain flight in Earth like conditions were the pterosaurs, the largest of which the Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopteryx top out at about 10 meter wingspans and an estimated body weight of 200 to 250 kg. For comparison the Connemara pony, one of the smallest breeds of horse to carry adults weighs around 300 to 350 kg, and does that without flying. With Connemaras it is recommended that the weight of the rider and equipment be less than 100kg.

    Second is the power to weight ratio needed to sustain flight. Real world experience shows that large birds often find it difficult to get airborne from the ground. If you put a small female (~50 kg) that would almost certainly be too much weight to allow the largest possible flyer to lift off. An armored warrior (~100kg) would definitely be too much added mass to allow flight. Any armor for the critter, natural or manufactured, in addition to the rider is impossible.

    Third is that creatures that fly have hollow bones, which reduces their mass while increasing their volume. What this means is that any combat hit would almost certainly break their bones and cripple them. There is a very good reason that birds that attack prey whilst flying use hit and run tactics. Any grappling/sustained combat can easily lead to a crippling injury.

    Next is flight surfaces and flight control surfaces (feathers, wing membrane etc). In an environment where magic missiles and fireballs exist, in addition to arrows and other projectiles, it will be very easy to damage the flight surfaces of a flying critter. If there is any sort of payload on the creature the creature will be overloaded, leading to catastrophic loss of control when the flight surfaces are damaged.

    So the real world answer to pegasi et al is:
    They cannot exist as depicted.
    A realistically redesigned creature would be unable to carry warriors
    A realistic creature would be too fragile to use in battle.

    Their uses would be limited to
    Messenger work with very light riders - small hobbits or gnomes.
    Being trained to attack stragglers/isolated individuals the way Hawkers and Falconers train their birds to attack small prey. i.e. without a rider.
    Well yes, you're entirely right. But I was trying ask 'how would flying cavalry operate, given that flying cavalry is at all possible', not the slightly less interesting question of 'what are all the reasons it wouldn't work'. But that's still a lot of things to keep in mind, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    A lot of this depends on what else the fantasy world has in it, and how "realistic" those effects are. It starts spiraling rapidly from there...what sort of level of magic availability are we talking, and in what quantity can you reliably get trained flyers with or without "pilots?", and what is the production rate on those pilots?
    Well, if we still go off of how Fire Emblem does it - no idea how hard it is to get trained 'pilots', but in most games there's one kingdom renowned for their elite flying knights - sometimes two, with the 'good guy' kingdom fielding pegasi and the 'bad guy' kingdom fielding wyverns.

    We also have no idea how quickly pegasi or wyverns breed & grow, which would be just as important. I wouldn't be surprised if pegasi age like horses do and are tamer than wyverns, but for wyverns all I can do is guess - 30 year lifespan like komodo dragons & apparently tyrannosaurs?

  10. - Top - End - #400
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Shepsquared View Post

    Well yes, you're entirely right. But I was trying ask 'how would flying cavalry operate, given that flying cavalry is at all possible', not the slightly less interesting question of 'what are all the reasons it wouldn't work'. But that's still a lot of things to keep in mind, thanks.
    I understand, which is why I didn’t start with the premises that they are aerodynamically incapable of flight unless you strap a Saturn V engine onto them to start with.

    It’s more to do with how realistic do you want your realism?

    Once you know what assumptions you are making and what things you’re hand waving with “it works because it’s a well established thing in a fantasy world” then you can work out how much realistic detail you want to put in.

    For example you might only want to keep the flyers are overloaded and a vulnerable to control surface damage, yet hand wave the hollow bones and power to weight issues.

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

    possibly off topic, on average how many silver coin was a gold coin worth in history, like the order of magnitude, is the ten times difference of dnd somewhat realistic compared to earth?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Myth27 View Post
    possibly off topic, on average how many silver coin was a gold coin worth in history, like the order of magnitude, is the ten times difference of dnd somewhat realistic compared to earth?
    Where and when? Economics and inflation is a thing, not to mention the switch from coins being worth their weight and purity of material to coins being worth the value stamped on them by an issuing authority.

    I'm only familiar with the Japanese using a mixed copper/silver/gold coinage system during the Edo period (link). The Chinese used a copper/silver/paper system and the majority of other civilisations used the gold standard.


    A point of note from my earlier work is that the standard silver coins (monme) was also a unit of weight of 3.75g, thus a 5 monme (coin) was equivalent to 5 monme (18.75g) of fine silver.

    This lead to an issue later on when the Shogunate switched to a nominal value of monme and debased the coinage from ~80% silver to ~20% silver, resulting in a fourfold increase of imported goods as foreign traders wanted payment in fine silver (e.g. goods costing 100 monme of 80% silver now cost 400 monme of 20% silver).
    As highlighted, metal purity was also of importance prior to standardisation - during the Sengoku, Takeda ryo (koban equivalent) were worth more as the gold mines in their territory produced purer gold, thus their coinage were better. I believe the Oda ryo were worth the least.

    Edit: Listing the coinage, 1 Oban (gold) = 10 Koban (gold) = 600 Monme (silver) = 40 Bu (silver) = 160 Shu (silver) = 40,000 Mon (copper)
    For simplicity, 1 gold = 60 silver = 4000 copper.

    I still haven't worked out why gold Bu and Shu are equivalent to silver Bu and Shu; I can't find any reference to them being units of weight like the monme.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2019-08-28 at 09:01 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #403
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Shepsquared View Post
    Okay, I guess my only other question is this - in an aerial dog fight, even if a pegasus is something like 2x as fast and agile as a wyvern, there's basically no reason to use a sword or axe instead of a polearm with it's extended right?
    Sticking with the comparison to horse cavalry, I think it would still depend on the individual rider's skill training and how well they are able to rapidly ride, fight, change direction, etc. without losing their balance or falling off, all of which tends to be made much more tricky by carrying a long lance.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Myth27 View Post
    possibly off topic, on average how many silver coin was a gold coin worth in history, like the order of magnitude, is the ten times difference of dnd somewhat realistic compared to earth?
    Napoleon introduced a system with a gold and silver franc coins. The value of the coins was bound to the value of the metal, and 1 gram of gold was worth 15.5 grams of silver. This was in 1803.

    In 1865, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium created the Latin Monetary union, which followed the same standard. The problem was that the values of gold and silver fluctuated, and the value of silver on the market went down, which allowed e.g. German merchants to export silver to these countries, have it minted into coins, and then exchange the coins for more gold than the silver was worth.

    You can take a look at the Wikipedia page "Bimetallism". For the ancient age, it lists the Croeseid, minted by King Croesus of Lydia (1 gold = 10 silver, but the gold coin is lighter than the silver ones) and the Daric, minted by king Darius I of Persia (1 gold daric = 20 silver sigloi, with a weight rate of 1:13)
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Myth27 View Post
    possibly off topic, on average how many silver coin was a gold coin worth in history, like the order of magnitude, is the ten times difference of dnd somewhat realistic compared to earth?
    In 1837 the United States government set the official ratio of silver to gold at 16 to 1. This was slightly off which lead to some problems, but is a convenient guide. The smallest coin the United States ever minted was a one dollar gold coin: it is enlightening to put it next to a silver dollar.

    I'm not sure what the ratio of silver to copper though.

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

    Just to be clear: There is no way a whip would make a viable weapon, right? I mean, could someone actually reliably use it to disarm an enemy, or strike at exposed skin? Isn't it always going to be wiser to have a shield in the off-hand?
    Last edited by Jeivar; 2019-08-29 at 02:44 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeivar View Post
    Just to be clear: There is no way a whip would make a viable weapon, right? I mean, could someone actually reliably use it to disarm an enemy, or strike at exposed skin? Isn't it always going to be wiser to have a shield in the off-hand?
    It’s about as viable as a straight razor. It’s really good for intimidating unarmed and unprepared non-fighters, but as a weapon in a fight against someone who knows what they’re doing it is slightly better than nothing.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Myth27 View Post
    possibly off topic, on average how many silver coin was a gold coin worth in history, like the order of magnitude, is the ten times difference of dnd somewhat realistic compared to earth?
    In classical antiquity, gold was worth 27 times it's weight in silver. After Alexander the Great looted the treasuries of Persia, the gold devalued to 10 times it's weight in silver.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeivar View Post
    Just to be clear: There is no way a whip would make a viable weapon, right? I mean, could someone actually reliably use it to disarm an enemy, or strike at exposed skin? Isn't it always going to be wiser to have a shield in the off-hand?
    The idea that whips and flails are great disarm-your-foe weapons seems to be something game's and cinema came up with. Sure, one might be able to consistently wrap your weapon around theirs, but then you are just playing tug of war with someone who still has partial control of their weapon while yours is literally wrapped up. A leverageable weapon with some places to catch a weapon (obviously a weapon like a 3-pronged dagger or a basket-hilted sword will work better than a normal mace or the like), over which you have maximum control is probably best for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    In classical antiquity, gold was worth 27 times it's weight in silver. After Alexander the Great looted the treasuries of Persia, the gold devalued to 10 times it's weight in silver.
    And before classical antiquity, localized rarity would play a huge factor. I recall that silver was fairly rare in ancient Egypt, and as such would have been more valuable.
    Last edited by Willie the Duck; 2019-08-29 at 06:57 AM.

  20. - Top - End - #410
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    So...late medieval recon in force into hostile territory. What kind of force would be sent? Rough numbers (100? 50? 500?) would be great, as well as basic types of forces and associated logistics. Assume plate and heavy cavalry are things, along with organized/standardized infantry blocks, but gunpowder isn't. Magic exists, but not tons of it (so the logistics are mostly mundane). There might be a few healers or low-level wizards/alchemists along, but they're more support than primary power, and there will be like 3-4 of them max.

    The area they're being sent is a huge[1] extinct caldera/valley high in the mountains and covered in (perpetual) snow and ice. Basically tundra or glacier, with patches of exposed soil. Opponents historically in this region have involved unorganized bands of raiders (goblins), smaller forces of organized humanoids with a few giants, and semi-controlled beasts. Usually these forces raid through the only (local) pass every winter, but this winter they haven't raided nearly at all. It's late spring, so the pass is clear but the terrain behind it is perpetually icy (due to magic).

    The objective is to determine whether there are forces being built up for a major push, and if not, find a good target for a full-scale military push later in the season. Expected duration might be a week or two, a month at most.

    [I'm trying to figure out how to get a party of PCs in that area and (likely) have them attacked and separated so the real adventure can begin, but make it plausible.]

    [1] I mean huge. Several hundred miles across, roughly circular, and lowest elevation of 6-7k feet. Ringed by much taller mountains on 80% of the circumference, with only one major outlet (in a different direction) and a couple small passes. There is no intent to explore the whole thing, just one little area near one smaller pass.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Sounds like crappy terrain for a heavy force to enter. I would think a small force of scouts or multiple small scout groups on either fast horses or sturdy mountain friendly ponies, carrying light weapons and supplies would be sent to recon. You're not going to pure recon with heavy cavalry and infantry squares and if you send in that kind of firepower because you say, want to force a decisive battle, you're still going to have the scouts going ahead.

    I'm assuming flyers and scryers aren't available because those would be the first choices.
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    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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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    Sounds like crappy terrain for a heavy force to enter. I would think a small force of scouts or multiple small scout groups on either fast horses or sturdy mountain friendly ponies, carrying light weapons and supplies would be sent to recon. You're not going to pure recon with heavy cavalry and infantry squares and if you send in that kind of firepower because you say, want to force a decisive battle, you're still going to have the scouts going ahead.

    I'm assuming flyers and scryers aren't available because those would be the first choices.
    All that for general reconnaissance.

    Recon in force is more about testing the strength of an enemy by forcing an engagement. Think, Romans moving enmasse into a barbarian land. That is recon in force. If that was your intention then you need to give me more details. Essentially, you want enough force to overwhelm the expected enemy. How much force would your commander think that would take? That's how much he brings.

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

    Hi guys,

    This is the most meticulous longbow vs plate tests I've seen. Really painstaking work on the bow, the arrow and the armor, using measurements from historical artifacts, a real professional archer shooting a bow based on the Mary Rose bows with a well researched arrow at a good reproduction breastplate on a decent simulated target, not substituting materials like so many other tests.

    It's like half an hour, but it's the most realistic test I've seen.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBxdTkddHaE
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    Hi guys,

    This is the most meticulous longbow vs plate tests I've seen. Really painstaking work on the bow, the arrow and the armor, using measurements from historical artifacts, a real professional archer shooting a bow based on the Mary Rose bows with a well researched arrow at a good reproduction breastplate on a decent simulated target, not substituting materials like so many other tests.

    It's like half an hour, but it's the most realistic test I've seen.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBxdTkddHaE
    Thanks for posting that.

    Certainly puts some RPG tropes int a new light.
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    Daemon

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    Sounds like crappy terrain for a heavy force to enter. I would think a small force of scouts or multiple small scout groups on either fast horses or sturdy mountain friendly ponies, carrying light weapons and supplies would be sent to recon. You're not going to pure recon with heavy cavalry and infantry squares and if you send in that kind of firepower because you say, want to force a decisive battle, you're still going to have the scouts going ahead.

    I'm assuming flyers and scryers aren't available because those would be the first choices.
    Clarification--that mention of heavy forces wasn't what's being sent, merely an idea of the tech level.

    Quote Originally Posted by redwizard007 View Post
    All that for general reconnaissance.

    Recon in force is more about testing the strength of an enemy by forcing an engagement. Think, Romans moving enmasse into a barbarian land. That is recon in force. If that was your intention then you need to give me more details. Essentially, you want enough force to overwhelm the expected enemy. How much force would your commander think that would take? That's how much he brings.
    Well, the political situation is a little odd there--basically three factions with enough pull to skew things.

    Hawks see the lull in Frost activity as a chance to strike. Left up to them, they'd mobilize everything and go for the throat. Forget recon--we know where the leaders are. Go kill them.
    Doves believe that the lull means that the driving force behind the Frost is absent/gone (and so the Frost isn't really a threat anymore). They want at most minor recon, but nothing that would cause a reaction.
    Paranoiacs believe that the Frost is up to something bad. They want a serious recon to figure out what and to know where to strike, but feel that a full commitment would be throwing forces away.

    Currently the third group is in power. The hawks have enough power that they have to do something, but the doves also have enough pull (especially with the masses who are tired of war) that they can't overcommit. Combine this with the fact that some of the hawk groups are...disliked...by the commanders for being loose cannons, as well as the presence of a heavy mercenary group in the area, and you get their proposal.

    Proposal: Send the Dragonslayers[1] and the White Hand mercenary company[2], along with some Sanctioned Adventurers as attached special forces[3] into the area. Do this pretty openly (ie not much stealth). Use other means to watch them from afar. Basically, they're a tripwire/expendable probe force (without actually telling them that). The mercs will figure it out quick, but it's basically what they came over here to do, so no big deal (although they will have contingency plans). The Dragonslayers are, and will be clueless unless someone tells them. They see it as their big chance.

    If they encounter no organized resistance and/or discover evidence that the Frost is leaderless, find a good location for a FOB and hunker down. This appeases the doves while getting those troublesome forces out of the way.

    If they get smacked hard, it confirms the paranoiacs' suspicions and only costs them those annoying people anyway.

    And hey, if they can keep driving inward and kill the leadership, it's worth a shot.

    [1] The name is aspirational. A group of hotheads, of indeterminate (for now) size. Thinking max 200. Definitely not elite troops, but well armed and good individual warriors. Led by a sorcerer (~5th level) and with some other arcane support.
    [2] A band of orcs, about 100 effectives. Very well organized and cohesive heavy infantry. Well trained/experienced in high-mountain warfare. No significant political connections, so expendable if necessary. Have some clerical/shamanistic support.
    [3] the party of PCs. Right now 2nd level. Wouldn't be under the direct command of the recon force, but would be expected to provide scouting, diplomatic, magical, and other support.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    So, pushing in to a mountain pass...which empties into a caldera the size of West Germany. Can we be more specific with what they're looking for and the rough timeline?Right now all a reocn-in-force into one pass will prove is whether, at the time of arrival, the pass is contested. Given the nature of medieval armies, you could have 15,000 men a few days march beyond the pass and not know it, or the local tribes/cities/states/feudal webs might be able to mobilize an army in the tens of thousands by later in the campaign season. Lets look at what that force could find:

    1) Holy ****. There's an army here. Besides the fact that foragers and outriders would likely give the recon a kicking, mobilization timelines mean the army would be coming to play shortly. No one can afford to quarter a large force in the barren mountains for long.

    2) We ran into some small contact. Regardless of the source, all this tells us is that some smaller fighting elements are here. They could be screening (deliberately or not) unknown entities just out of reach.

    3) We ran into nothing but peasants/tribesmen/whatever. This means nothing strategically...medieval armies could go for weeks without knowing where their opponents were, and you could hardly trust the north Swiss to be able to tell you what the Medicis were up to.

    4) We ran into nothing. Like nothing nothing. Just windswept rock.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    So, pushing in to a mountain pass...which empties into a caldera the size of West Germany. Can we be more specific with what they're looking for and the rough timeline?Right now all a reocn-in-force into one pass will prove is whether, at the time of arrival, the pass is contested. Given the nature of medieval armies, you could have 15,000 men a few days march beyond the pass and not know it, or the local tribes/cities/states/feudal webs might be able to mobilize an army in the tens of thousands by later in the campaign season. Lets look at what that force could find:

    1) Holy ****. There's an army here. Besides the fact that foragers and outriders would likely give the recon a kicking, mobilization timelines mean the army would be coming to play shortly. No one can afford to quarter a large force in the barren mountains for long.

    2) We ran into some small contact. Regardless of the source, all this tells us is that some smaller fighting elements are here. They could be screening (deliberately or not) unknown entities just out of reach.

    3) We ran into nothing but peasants/tribesmen/whatever. This means nothing strategically...medieval armies could go for weeks without knowing where their opponents were, and you could hardly trust the north Swiss to be able to tell you what the Medicis were up to.

    4) We ran into nothing. Like nothing nothing. Just windswept rock.
    They're supposed to scout the immediate vicinity (a few days travel from the mouth) of the pass, looking for things like fortifications, smoke from fires, etc. Additionally, they're looking for fortifiable locations for expansion, assuming there's no major forces. The nation has good engineers/logistic capability and can raise fortifications pretty fast, so finding a good location for outposts is important. A tertiary goal is to see if the way is clear to the old capital (which was up in that area 90 years ago). Hopefully, the goals would coincide and they'd be able to find bits of the old city still usable as the core for fortifications. That, or they'd find forces gathered in those old ruins. At least when they retreated 90 years ago, the old capital was in a strategic location due to local geography--they were only pushed out because the attack took them pretty much entirely by surprise.

    As a note, the caldera is old and flat. It housed a grand civilization about 200 years ago, before the world had a cataclysmic set of natural disasters. Even after that, the nation involved lived there in one small section until the Frost came. The Frost is relatively new (only about 90 years) and is there artificially. The climate shouldn't support it. It used to be rolling grasslands/farmlands until bad things happened.

    I think that I'm going to play up the idea that sending the recon group is more of a political move than a military one--the powers that be don't expect them to do anything useful except
    a) appease the firebrands who demand action
    b) possibly get troublesome elements killed in glorious action </sarcasm>
    c) maybe, just maybe find something useful. Maybe recover some lost treasures (if any haven't been looted) from the old capital.

    So the group needs to be serious enough to look substantive, but doesn't actually need to be fully functional and can even have been undercut. Which provides some extra drama for the players to unravel--when they find out that the supplies aren't what they really need or such.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    So, I think it would look something like this:

    1) Send aerial recon in an overflight (do Pegasi have sufficient lift to operate at 7500’ ASL? Who knows) to pick up the outlines and contours of the pass, as well as identify any major known fortifications, towns, and roads. You might still have thinner alpine trees and scrub at that height though, so there’d be large chunks of unknown areas under tree cover, and spotting of things that need verification.

    Combine this with any spies, travelers, and so forth to build up a basic political and human picture, as well as provide initial information on the pass. Possibly contract for local guides.

    2) Using the contours of what was learned in #1, there are going to be some points of specific interest. Maybe they’re bridges, chokepoints, tribal villages, reports of what look like old border forts from the previous civilization that the flyers couldn’t tell the status of. Perhaps one or two shoot downs that leave blank spots of interest. So someone says “I want you to go look at this stuff, specifically”.

    3) From there it is terrain and forage dependent. If you are traveling in mountainous entries to the caldera, the premium would be on light infantry, missile troops, and skirmishers surrounding a core of heavy infantry if you need to force a position. Can’t charge heavy horse up the Rockies, no matter how badly you want to. Bands that can move quickly in the rough terrain and take advantage of the inability for large shock based formations to move or close would be optimal.

    If it’s just big and flat, your optimum load would be an outer shell of light horse and skirmish style missile troops, with a shock and mass fire based main body for fighting in the lowlands. What that means is up to you...late medieval could span from “the mounted knight kicks all but a few asses” to “blocks of pike and missile troops have reinstated infantry as the premier arm”.

    3a.) Force design in a medieval, or even antiquity, army was hardly a matter of specific capability assignment so much as it was “this is the type of fighting force we can/do build on principle, so that’s what we’re using.” Which can basically be the excuse for whatever force mix you want. Surely the Romans wished they had an answer to Parthian horse archers...but they didn’t for a while. And surely the same moorish armies that swept North Africa wished they had a good tactical answer to fighting Spanish heavy infantry and Frankish knights on their home ground...but they didn’t, even when the same basic for e composition would outplay the crusaders most of the time in the desert.

    In short “whatever we usually have, that’s what you get, the end”.

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    Daemon

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

    Ok, alternate question based on the feedback (showing that my campaign idea wouldn't really work plausibly).

    What kind of resources/manpower would you need to build a fortified hardpoint (less than a castle but more than a roman camp) within say 6 months? Doesn't have to be large, just large enough for a forward outpost and mustering site.

    There are available quarries within 50 miles and the culture has high expertise in combat-focused engineering and has (limited) construct labor to provide a tireless workforce. Wood is scarcer, however.

    My new idea is to have the PCs be attached to a group that's being sent onto this caldera/plateau area to build a forward operating base. As a note, the pass is completely under their control, it's the caldera-side that's not. They'd be most of a day's walk from the next fortifications (a giant wall that seals the narrow part of the pass on the caldera side) and serve as a tripwire/scouting base.

    This camp/construction site would serve as the PC's home base and they'd be sent out to scout things, deal with local tribes that may not be immediately hostile, delve into ruins, etc.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Ok, alternate question based on the feedback (showing that my campaign idea wouldn't really work plausibly).

    What kind of resources/manpower would you need to build a fortified hardpoint (less than a castle but more than a roman camp) within say 6 months? Doesn't have to be large, just large enough for a forward outpost and mustering site.

    There are available quarries within 50 miles and the culture has high expertise in combat-focused engineering and has (limited) construct labor to provide a tireless workforce. Wood is scarcer, however.
    Depends on the travel times and safety of routes to and from the quarries. 50 miles would be between a 2-3 day journey one way, assuming reasonably flat land or easy route.

    Rule of thumb is that the time taken to build a fortification results in a durability of one order of magnitude less (minutes to build to last seconds, hours to build to last minutes, etc). At a 6 month build time, you're looking at something intended to last a couple weeks at best.

    I'm thinking something resembling a motte and bailey castle - a simple wooden logs enclosed courtyard around a small wooden keep could be done in around 1,000 man-days of work, whereas a more elaborate stone keep on a separate hill to the courtyard could take 24,000 man-days (e.g. Thetford Castle), especially if you need to build the motte as well.

    Given wood is scarce, it looks like stone walls all the way, so you're looking at something resembling ringworks. Assuming that stone is freely available, you could throw up a rough stone wall around your camp in a couple days - bear in mind that some of your men might refuse to stoop to manual labour; good luck in convincing nobility to pick up a spade and pitch in.

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