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Alex Yeoh





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 11:29 am    Post subject: Help me with my Role-playing Game - the Mace problem.         Reply with quote

In my game, I try to differentiate the weapons in such a way that every weapon has a distinct advantage and a disadvantage, such that no weapon was clearly superior to any other weapon. In real life, people chose different weapons for a reason.

I am stuck with the mace. With the very limited (limited for the sake of simplicity) weapon attributes I use, my mace is almost equivalent to a long sword when wielded 2 handed. The mace is slower to return to guard than the long sword and has a shorter reach. So the disadvantages compared with the Long sword are covered. What about the advantages? What are the advantages of using a long-handled mace over a long sword? Why would a medieval soldier choose a mace rather than some other weapon?

here are the attributes I have to play with:

Initiative (speed)
Damage
Armour Penetration ability
Reach
Attack bonus
Defense bonus
1 or 2 handed modifiers

Thanks for your insights!!

"Only a fool would go after the singing sword!" - Bugs Bunny
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Thomas Jason




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Critical hits to plate mail reduce the weilder's maneuverability, AC and # of Attacks.
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Alex Yeoh





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks, but why plate mail in particular? So if you get hit whilst wearing no armour, it would have no penalty? And why would you have these penalties for a mace, but if hit with a sword would not? My system has to be as logical as possible, and as much as possible to simulate the real-life dynamics of a mace.

Anyone with any historical knowledge about maces? I would really like some input on this. Any information about the advantages/disadvantages of maces in real-life will help me to devise something.

thanks!

"Only a fool would go after the singing sword!" - Bugs Bunny
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 1:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Because plate armour works primarilly by having the shaped plates articulate on shared rivets as a rotation point and a hard enough impact can deform those plates to such an extent that they will not move right or at all . Thats why impact weapons such as maces warhammers and flails became increasingly common in the 15th century to deal with the more common plate defenses at that time.
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Alex Yeoh





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 1:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ahhh!!! thank-you for that insight!! I didn't know that!!

Any more insights?

"Only a fool would go after the singing sword!" - Bugs Bunny
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Steve Fabert





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 1:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not sure how it might help you with your game, but it seems pretty clear that maces especially are weapons that do not require much training or finesse. A big musclebound sort of fellow might not be quick and precise enough to make good use of a sword against a foe in plate armor, but those physical skills are not needed to land a heavy blow with a mace.

I would also think especially that a packed mass of armored enemies could be attacked better with impact weapons than with blades. Anybody who can't dodge away from a mace blow is in for a hard time.
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Kenneth Enroth




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

as I understand it a mace has a very strong offense but is limited on defense. It's definitely not as quick as a longsword. In armour it would be formidable as you could be more daring in your attacks and pressure the opponent without fear of a sudden stop-hit from a quicker sword. The mace is versatile in that it crushes everything and is unlikely to fail. Thrusting with the mace can also be deceptive and have a long reach. The mace is weak in wrestling range. Every suorce on defence against sticks says you have to out time the stick (or mace) wielder to rush him and neutralize the threat.
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Alex Yeoh





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 5:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

wow - this is all fantastic material!!! Thanks everyone! Now the trick is to incorporate this into the game in a simple and easy way.
"Only a fool would go after the singing sword!" - Bugs Bunny
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 6:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex;

Another thing to note is that in the 15th and 16th Centuries, the Mace was the main "secondary" arm of mounted Men-at -Arms, coming right after the Lance. After the lances were broken in the Charge (or had something wiggling on the end of it, either way it was out of service), for the melee it was the mace that came into it's own. A sword is pretty bloody useless against a man in good cap-a-pie armour under most circumstances, but a mace will cause some sort of damage to just about any piece of armour it strikes, assuming it's weilded with some power. If nothing else the concussion is pretty severe. At any rate, in the melee of mounted combatants with full armour on man and horse, the mace is about the best option available. Even up to the very end of the 16th Century it was expected to be hung at the saddle bow of every Man-at-Arms, and only went out of favor in order to make room for a pistol, which was discovered to be even better at punching holes in armour.

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Jonathon Janusz





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 6:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

and against lesser armours than plate (chain, quilted, and many others without the rigidity of plate) although the armour may not be penetrated, the armor isn't designed to hold up to blunt trauma the likes of which can crush bones.
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Alex Yeoh





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks so much guys! This information is so amazingly valuable!!! A lot of the stuff said here flies in the face of virtually every role playing game I've seen (which isn't all that much - about 10 or less) - in virtually all RPGs, the mace was relegated far behind the sword for usefulness. The information you've just given has just changed everything!!!

One more request: Halberds/Polearms - please do the same that you've done with the mace: please give the pros and cons of Halberds.

The problem I have with Halberds isn't so much the obvious advantages of reach, but things like: how hard was it to attack or defend with the halberd? What was it specifically useful for? Etc.. basically the same kind of stuff that was said here. Thanks guys!!!

Thanks so much!

"Only a fool would go after the singing sword!" - Bugs Bunny
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Alex Yeoh





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 10:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon,

what you've written intrigues me. You see, in the game Dragon Warriors, there are 5 types of armour:
Padded Leather
Hardened Leather
Ringmail (not quite sure what this is)
Chainmail
Plate armour

would you say that the mace was equally effective against all armour, or just against plate in particular? If so - then why was it only used in the 15th/16th centuries and not much earlier? What about the flail and morning star? I would think that a spiked ball on the end of a chain might also have good effect against armour? Was the mace wielded one-handed or 2-handed?

I'm having trouble trying to accurately simulate all these weapons such that the "feel" of the weapons is captured without over-complication. Thanks to anyone else who can answer these questions.

cheers.


Gordon Frye wrote:
Alex;

Another thing to note is that in the 15th and 16th Centuries, the Mace was the main "secondary" arm of mounted Men-at -Arms, coming right after the Lance. After the lances were broken in the Charge (or had something wiggling on the end of it, either way it was out of service), for the melee it was the mace that came into it's own. A sword is pretty bloody useless against a man in good cap-a-pie armour under most circumstances, but a mace will cause some sort of damage to just about any piece of armour it strikes, assuming it's weilded with some power. If nothing else the concussion is pretty severe. At any rate, in the melee of mounted combatants with full armour on man and horse, the mace is about the best option available. Even up to the very end of the 16th Century it was expected to be hung at the saddle bow of every Man-at-Arms, and only went out of favor in order to make room for a pistol, which was discovered to be even better at punching holes in armour.

Gordon

"Only a fool would go after the singing sword!" - Bugs Bunny
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Nate C.




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2005 10:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First, I would point out that clubs have been universally throughout the world and in most time periods. The mace is just a very heavy and deadly Iron/steel club. I think the rise of the mace (someone correct me if I'm off) had to do with the general ineffectiveness of a sword against heavy plate armour (and an increase in percentage of people wearing plate). Especially in the crush of battle where there is less room to wield a longsword. Before plate became really popular, the sword could handle the squishier targets with little difficulty, either with blunt trauma or slicing/dicing one's opponent. When everyone started wearing plate, maces and warhammers with their ability to destroy the hard shell and make the unfortunate guy inside squishy Worried became more popular to the higher ranks.

Bear in mind that a mace would hurt no matter what you are/aren't wearing.

Just my 2 cents,

Nate C.

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Björn Hellqvist
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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2005 3:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Remember that a mace is more likely to be a weapon intended for one-handed use, weighing probably less than 2 lbs. Take a carpenter's hammer of the larger variety and swing it around. Not very heavy, pretty fast, and there's no denying that it can cause considerable damage. A heavy ("two-handed") mace has better reach and causes more impact damage, but it is slower to wield. As for different styles of mace-heads (and their weights), check this page: http://otlichnik.tripod.com/medmace0.html
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Kenneth Enroth




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2005 3:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All it takes to defeat a glorious suit of armour is a cheap carpenters hammer. That's somewhat disapponting.
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Jonathon Janusz





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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2005 4:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"ringmail": traditionally (in RPGs), a body harness consisting of a supple leather or cloth backing with heavy, large diameter metal rings sewn to it side by side (the rings are not overlapped and are not interconnected); the theory being the armor is as flexible as chain, lighter, cheaper to produce, and although somewhat less effective, still fairly good at turning aside slashing or cutting blows.

as far as halberds go, i'll start with two words: formation fighting.
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David R. Glier





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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2005 5:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"
Quote:
ringmail"...
which never existed outside of an artistic convention on the Bayux Tapestry Wink


I like my maces -all four of them. Each one handles differently, ranging from handling -and hitting- like a Mac Truck, to a flanged sledgehammer, to handling pretty much just like a sword.
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Kenneth Enroth




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2005 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathon Janusz wrote:
"ringmail": traditionally (in RPGs), a body harness consisting of a supple leather or cloth backing with heavy, large diameter metal rings sewn to it side by side (the rings are not overlapped and are not interconnected); the theory being the armor is as flexible as chain, lighter, cheaper to produce, and although somewhat less effective, still fairly good at turning aside slashing or cutting blows.

as far as halberds go, i'll start with two words: formation fighting.


They are fond of such armour on "Xena" and such shows.
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2005 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex;

I think that Nate and Bjorn pretty well answered the question, in that a mace is effective against all comers, but since other, easier weapons to manipulate are also effective against lesser armours than plate, there isn't the need to use a mace.

Basically the mace in it's late form operates in the same manner as a War Hammer does, and focuses a LOT of mass behind a very small point of percussion. The difference between a Mace and a War Hammer is only in ease of manipulation: The War Hammer is probably in many ways a more delicate weapon (sounds odd to say that, I admit) needing more control to ensure it's face or point is going in the right spot for usefull effect. The Mace is rather brutal, and pretty much if you can swing it while holding on to the proper end, and contact something with the head, you'll get some results. (BTW, the War Hammer also can use it's face for implementing a crushing blow, while the beak can give a piercing blow, making it somewhat more specific in it's effects)

As Bjorn pointed out, the type of Mace I'm refering to is the "light" single-handed style, which isn't all that huge. In fact, they are pretty short, and designed for CLOSE combat. That they were effective may be shown in the fact that they continued to be used as a ceremonial weapon carried by Polish Officers well into the 18th Century, and remain part of most Ceremonial Regalia throughout the Western World to this day, though usually in outsized form.

Glad we are of some help,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2005 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ringmaille as far as i'm aware was one of three things ( due to the lack of any known surviving examples its all theory based on period illustrations and such) . One theory is that it is maille with leather thong run through every other row which would make the maille a little stiff (maille is flexible becuase the space inside each ring allows the rings attached to move around in that area. By running the thong through some space is taken up in the alternating rows which makes them stiffer. ) . A second is that the garment is made by sewing or lacing rows of overlapping larger rings a bit more like flat washers, alternating the direction of overlap every row to a base garment . The third has the rings held in place by a laticework of straps to a base garment. As these theories are all based in large part on illustrated and sculptural evidence from the period its also quite possible the these sources are simply showing different methods of depicting standard maille and that ringmaille is simply another term for same.
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