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John G. III




Location: Philippines
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 5:48 am    Post subject: Arms & Armor         Reply with quote

Greetings! I'm new to these forums so I wasn't quite sure where to post this sort of question. But at any rate, I figured this would be fine to discuss here. I'm basically a fan of weapons, and I'm doing a little research for a person mini-encyclopedia for an RPG game. My little project was to help bring a semblance of realistic basis for the weapons being used within the game, which are based on historical weapons. I'm not quite sure how much I know, so I can only say that I have just a basic knowledge on how weapons and armor really are, so please bear with me.

But for starters, I was basically hoping I could find some help here on compiling information for various weapons, such as weights, forging times and decor times.
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Edward Hitchens




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 7:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey John,

Welcome to myArmoury! Big Grin You may want to check out the "Features" section of this site. There, you'll very likely find just the sort of info you're looking for and then some. The "Reviews" may be of help to you also. -Ted

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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G. Scott H.




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2005 10:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome aboard! Happy It would probably be easier if you were to tell us what specific types of weapons will be encountered in said game. Will there simply be one weapon in each category: longsword, short sword, dagger. mace, hammer, etc? Or, will there be several variations in each category? Example: in the longsword catregory, the player could choose from a simple English style longsword, a ringhilted German style, or a claymore type. So too with the other categories. You'll probably find a good deal of the info you're looking for in the reviews and features section here, and I'm sure somebody here can answer whatever questions you still have.

Cheers Happy
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John G. III




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2005 5:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will do. I realize that I should have checked it out first, come to think of it.

As for the weapons, I'll just attach a draft. Just ignore the fantasy bits in the descriptions of course. I'd appreciate comments on the "general method of use" however of the various stuff I've put there. Happy

Edit: Hmm, can't attach the text file. I'll have to find a way to put it here...I suppose I'll have to simply paste it down in posts. Worried

Object:
2-ball Flail (11 1/2" chain, spiked):
Balanced Axe:
Balanced Knife:
Ball and chain (84” chain, iron ball):
Ball mace (26" Length, 2" long spikes):
Bardiche (6 ft length):
Basinet (pointed helmet with aventail):
Brandistock (5 ft length):
Brass Knuckles:
Breastplate (light weight):
Broadsword (29 3/4" Blade):
Buckler (round shield):
Butterfly Sword (19” long, 3” wide, 2 lbs blade):
Caltrop
Cane sword (36" Length, 21 3/4" Blade):
Casque (open, conical helm with noseguard):
Cavalry Sabre (4 ft handle, 26" Blade):
Chained axe (80” chain, double-bladed axe head):
Chainmail armour (medium weight):
Chakram (5" ring-shaped razor discus):
Chinese Dao (27” Blade, wide blade)
Clawed whip (100” long)
Concealed Dagger (6” Blade, runs flush with hilt when sheathed):
Cossack Dagger (8" Blade, curved blade):
Crusader Sword (28" Blade):
Cuirass (medium weight):
Curved Sickle (14" handle, 8" Blade):
Cutlass (27" Blade, basket hilt):
Dacian Falx (43" Blade, two-handed):
Dart:
Dirk (11 1/2" Blade):
Double-bladed battle axe (18" Blade, 32 1/2" Length):
Longknife (17" Blade):
Falchion (26" Blade):
Flame Dagger (8" Blade, curvy edges):
Flanged mace (26" Length, 4 sides):
Francisca:
Full Helm:
Garotte (Thin steel wire):
Gladius sword (14-18" Blade):
Claymore Sword (42" Blade):
Halberd (5 ft length):
Harpoon (5 ft length, barbed tip):
Hatchet (26" Length):
Hook Sword (38" long):
Hunting Knife (10" Blade):
Iron-banded warclub (25" Length, spiked):
Javelin (6 ft length):
Jitte (16” shaft, 3” tine):
Kama (16” handle, 5” blade):
Katar (16" blade)
Khopesh (19” Blade):
Kite shield:
Kris (10" Blade, wavy edge):
Kusari-Gama (Kama w/ 18” chain and iron weight):
Lance (6 ft Length, barbed tip):
Flamberge Sword (4 1/2 Feet Blade):
Bastard Sword (42" Blade):
Battle axe (31 1/2" Length, chain attached):
Large (oval/circular) shield:
Light plate armour (light weight):
Lochaber axe (19" Blade):
Lorica Segmentata
Military Pick (24" Length, Wide at one end and pointed at the other):
Morning star (10" chain):
Naginata (28” blade, 40” handle):
Nekodes (climbing claws)
Nunchaku (12” handles, 3“ chain):
Open-faced Helm:
Bracers
Pavise (large shield covering entire body):
Pike (5 ft length):
Pilum (6 ft length):
Plate armour (heavy weight):
Plate boots (sold in pairs):
Plate gauntlet (sold in pairs):
Poignard (6 " blade):
Ring armour (medium weight):
Rondel (6" blade):
Sabre (30" Blade):
Sai (11” shaft, 4” tines):
Sallet (full face with vision slit):
Samurai Helmet:
Samurai plate armor (heavy weight):
Scalemail armour (heavy weight):
Scimitar sword (36" Length):
Scythe (6 Ft Length):
Short sword (24" Blade):
Skullcap:
Small shield:
Spear (6 1/2 Ft Length, with crossguard):
Spetum (5 ft length):
Spiked metal knuckle (4 ringholes for fingers, 1" spikes):
Spiked shield (2" spikes over shield):
Steel shoulder piece (shoulder armor):
Steel thigh protector (steel plate):
Stilleto (7" blade):
Swept-hilt rapier (35" Blade):
Swordbreaker Dagger (10" Blade, strong teeth traps blades):
Tachi (46" blade, 350 fold):
Tai Chi Sword (29.5" Blade):
Three-sectioned staff (30” handles, 2” chains):
Tonfa (aka Nightstick, 16” Length):
Tower shield:
Trident (6 1/2 Ft Length, 3 pointed tips):
Trident Main Gauche (11 1/2" Blade, blade trapper):
Twin Bladed Sword (two 28” blades, connected by hilt):
Visored Helm:
War maul (35" Length, metal head):
Warhammer (29" Length, with spike):
Zatoichi (27” blade, appears as a walking stick when sheathed):
Zweihander (8 ft Length):

Now...the above list wasn't made by me. But I trimmed it down to cut out some of the more ridiculously fanciful items. Basically, what I need here are the weights (in kg), time to make said item, and the time it'd take to do some basic decoration said item. I apologize if I'm being somewhat demanding here, but I'm somewhat at a loss so I figured the people here could be able to help. Worried

As for items in the game...well, its a writing style RPG, so theoretically the players are free to create anything they can imagine, which certainly complicates things. I was hoping to list down the basic 3 pieces of info I mentioned above for "base" items, or rather, the most common ones, so others can just use similar numbers if they're using something like a "Nosferatu Sword," which is basically a stylized Longsword/Broadsword, I've come to realize, so they can just use the Longsword/Broadsword numbers or something like that... So, feel free to discard certain items which seem too redundant, or throw in new ones.

Being the resident go-to person on weapons in that game, I've come to realized that putting relatively dependable information on all these arms & armor is quite a massive project. Laughing Out Loud
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi John,

The question is vast. It will take a good sized library to have the source for the answers.

I do understand the idea to offer some sort of realistic data as basis for players to spin fantasy on, however.
In a RPG the idea of "realism" is not always (or rarely) the same as historical fact or realism.
I think you are better of building what is realistic in *your* world. Even if it is a down to earth and gritty "medieval" saga you are guiding your players through, the sheer vastness of data needed to mimic historical arms and armour is too unwieldly for an RPG game.

I would suggest you choose a very specific more or less fantasy culture and decide what weapon types are available there. In most settings the typical weapons used will be fairly limited (but with interesting variations within each type).
Modern people tend to see "medieval" weaponry like what you encounter in a museum or well stocked armoury: a bewildering array of types and shapes.

for game purposes it might be better to offer one or two single hand sword type, one or two longer ones, one or two types of daggers and some percussion weapons.
If you then create a game mechanic that can vary stats for individual weapons you need not create all these long lists of weapons with strange names. Instead you can describe the weapons the players are going to use in a more individual way: A double edged sword with a hilt of bone and bronze: it has a wicked point that starts to taper along the last third of the blade length. By skillfull shaping the blade is both stiff and light, having beautifull double fullers. The edge is fine and sharp, but sturdy enough that it seems capable of splitting bone and cut through hardened leather. (this could be a La Tιne celtic sword in actuality, but as you only descride the looks and character of it, the players are free to build their own mental image of the weapon. You can also call it whatever you like that fits in your world)

It is also well worth exploring the possibilities that certain cultures have their own traditional weapons and armours. Defensive and offensive ermements are going to be influenced by each other.

If you build your game on the logic of this, you are then free to invent your own armours and weapons, that no one can tell you are not "authentic" or "realistic" as they will work great in your game world.

The question you ask is near impossible to provide any accurate or satifying answers to, as in reality there were no RPG game standard tables of weight, cost and price and production time.

It might be more rewarding to limit weapons to social spheres rather than by price: only certain people in a world will typically have access to weapons. It matters little what they actually cost. Having a sword might be a sign of the owner being a free citisen, a criminal, stinking rich, of noble birth or having a licence from the state (what ever is applicable in your world)
If someone outside the social boundaries gets himself a (high status?) weapon, then that is the basis for a story all by itself: a basis for some rewarding role playing perhaps. The weapon might be an old one, something with a history of itself. I need then not even be "magical" to create color in your saga.

I think the most rewarding descriptions of weapons and violence in RPG results from the storyteller having planned the cultural flavour and adjusting availability, function, and weapon names accordingly.
"Authenticity" in RPG gaming is very tricky as it will always tend to distort actual data rather than make good use of them.

What works in your world? Does it take three months to forge the sublime blades of the elite, or are they cranked out by the hundreds for the armed hordes? Are they cast, forged, knapped form obsidian or even carved from bone?
Add only what is needed to create atmosphere and credibility to the logic and theme of your game. Everything else is dead weight.

...anyway, just some food for thought.
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John G. III




Location: Philippines
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2005 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, the world I'm in is based within reality for the most part. We don't use "stats" for any weapons, beyond weights and whatnot, which assume basic steel. Any fantasy metal properties, and superlative items are dealt with appropriately, we have a loose system for "translating" a steel sword into a "xxx" metal sword.

The RPG world we're using takes the best stuff from the Golden Empires (Greece, Rome, Babylonion) to the Middle Ages (Crusades) to early Rennaisance (very early gunpowder). The cultures represented are European, Asian (inc.SE Asia) and Middle-Eastern.

We describe the individual weapons of course, we are a writing RPG after all, and detail and accuracy is very much a sign there of good RPing, as is semi-realistic combat w/ our weapons according to skills. We generally wouldn't allow, say, an elf to wield double greatswords, or some human to throw around a sword like Cloud in FF7. What I'm doing is only giving a "general description" of the item, as you've suggested. We don't run an RPG using something like the D&D system, there's no numbers, everything is words. Happy

Quote:
What works in your world? Does it take three months to forge the sublime blades of the elite, or are they cranked out by the hundreds for the armed hordes? Are they cast, forged, knapped form obsidian or even carved from bone?
Add only what is needed to create atmosphere and credibility to the logic and theme of your game. Everything else is dead weight


Actually, they all work. Weapons are forged in masses for armies and general consumption, but I suppose that there'd be certain items that a Master Smith in-game could say he spent 3 months on. They can be made of anything from bone to fine steel (basically just steel), to mythril or whatever.

Note:

Sorry, but I have to point out...I wasn't asking for those. Blush What I was asking for were IRL general weights and times for a "basic" version of the items I've listed. Like what would a short sword generally weigh, take generally how long to make, and if the person making it wanted to put a simple design on it (like his name) how long it'd generally take.

The numbers and such are there because importing IRL "authenticity" into the game helps gives us a reliable basis on which to fall back on. Generally speaking, we only bend reality quite slightly, so the authenticity this would give would be of incredibly great help anyway. Cool
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2005 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The questions are very difficult to even find historical answers to, in part because our forebearers did not do "time and motion" studies. The other huge problem is that the answer for all manufacturing questions depends on the society. Take your "Crusader sword" aka a single-hand, relatively long bladed double-edged sword. If you are talking about a place with Migration Era technology, you are talking about pattern-welding a blade in a small shop, most likely (pattern welding is complicated business). If you are talking about a late medieval society (i.e. one which might use a bascinet) the blade is not pattern welded, the shops are much bigger, and there are several shops involved. The smith's shop makes blades, a cutler makes hilts, and really fancy work may go to a jeweler, etc. These "shops" may be small factories, albeit pre-mechanization. And if the same type of sword is being used by a late Roman type of soldier, the spatha would probably be made in a state-run fabrica, which really is a factory. Time and cost vary.

The weights vary. A "Crusader Sword" might weigh from 2 lbs to 4 lbs; all of the daggers and knives tend to come in at a pound or less, depending on the type. (By the by, what is meant by "poniard" - it is a medieval term for a dagger, but does not, to my knowledge, have a modern specific definition.)


Last edited by Felix Wang on Tue 08 Nov, 2005 7:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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John G. III




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2005 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I see, I see. This is even more complicated than I thought, I guess. How about if I restricted things somewhat. Would that help narrow things down?

Well, all right then, assuming that all are made within the ability and technological level of a Late Medieval-Early Rennaisance (1400s-1500s approx.) weapon maker, taking into consideration full knowledge of previous techniques from past ages. Does that help, or complicate things...?
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Aaron Schnatterly




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2005 8:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John G. III wrote:
I see, I see. This is even more complicated than I thought, I guess. How about if I restricted things somewhat. Would that help narrow things down?

Well, all right then, assuming that all are made within the ability and technological level of a Late Medieval-Early Rennaisance (1400s-1500s approx.) weapon maker, taking into consideration full knowledge of previous techniques from past ages. Does that help, or complicate things...?

It helps by taking the impossible to answer and turning it into the very difficult to answer. We're not trying to be obtuse or ignorant - it's really that hard to answer.

An army is to be outfitted. Munitions armour is to be constructed en masse. Sallet after sallet is hammered out - rough, but functional. There may be 3 guys working on the same piece - one holding it on the stake, 2 hammering. Another keeps the coals hot. They may be working on multiple pieces at once - one being raised while the other heats up. These won't take a long, long time to make.

Archduke so and so is to be fitted with a harness. A select few highly-tallented armourers may work months. The helm is decorated with piercing, edgework, finished to a pristine surface, etched... long time on just the helm... now comes everything from the bevor to the sabatons...

The same would go for most anything, just as it is today - bare bones functional is generally far less expensive, much more available, and faster to mass-produce. It may or may not last compared to custom work, which could take a tremendous outlay of funds and resources.

-Aaron Schnatterly
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Fortior Qui Se Vincit
(He is stronger who conquers himself.)
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John G. III




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2005 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
It helps by taking the impossible to answer and turning it into the very difficult to answer. We're not trying to be obtuse or ignorant - it's really that hard to answer.


I'm seeing that. So, in that case, can you tell me what variables I could define to help narrow things down? What if this was work done by a single person? The level of quality would be functional, but not bare-bones. More like, reliable functionality?
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2005 8:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John,

I am not one of the forum experts on historical weapons or armour. I do love RPG games. Several aspects of the tradeoffs possible for different types and quality of items have been touched upon in the previous comments.

You could probably get reasonable approximations of weights from arms and armour vendor sites in cases where a reproduction is being made and sold today. Expect 2:1 ranges of weight, size, and various aspects of performance (damage, speed, durability, etc.) for any generic category of item though! Some of the items named in your list you will probably just have to fabricate based on some type of similar function "known item."

If anyone has played the Elder Scrolls games, they may know what I mean when I say the game tackled a difficult balance of tradeoffs involved in weapons styles, weights, and quality very well. This was somewhat invisible to those who just played and didn't care. Those who studied the effects probably noticed that choices between two items of roughly similar style, but different weight and quality made a significant difference. This game tended to group weapons and armour into small sets of basic performance statistics, but then penalized the character in secondary ways (weight, speed or attack initiative, number of uses before item broke, etc.)

1) Certain heavy weight construction styles of items offered "best" protection or damage statistics, but penalized the bearer in terms of weight/ encumbrance...eventually affecting combat speed and how much loot they could carry after a victory.

2) Durability and trading value were different for "same types" of items having different quality manufacture. Poor quality items were easy to get and worked great at least for a couple short combat rounds. Then poor quality items rapidly degraded in performance until soon becomming totally unusable until repaired.

3) Styles of weapons and armour tended to reward matching up a character in a consistent cultural ensemble and using the same general tactics that the game creators believed these cultures favored (i.e. Eastern styles favored speed and attack initiative, Western styles held up better if trading blows with armoured opponents.) Any style equipment could work well enough to "win the game", if you selected appropriate attack and defense/retreat tactics.

An example of the Elder Scrolls method; A Katana and a western style Longsword (both were obtainable in one handed and two handed versions of varying weight/ material classes) had roughly similar groups of damage capacity. The Katanas were generally faster, and did a little more damage than a similar sized longsword. On the other hand, opponents that were hit by longswords tended to be "stunned" a little longer since the longswords were given slightly higher weights than similar sized Katanas. It also gave a defender using a longsword faster recovery time (if they sucessfully blocked an attack) and tended to "stun" opponents struck by a longsword for just a little longer than if the same strike had been made with a Katana. This approximated a degree of credit to the Longsword for having a double edge, and a little more mass/ shock resistance during combat block situations. The differences were subtle, but forced realistic compromises in equipment selections that have not been common in RPG games. A player could totally mismatch period and cultural styles and do o.k. However, specialized character performance strategy (speed, mobility, endurance/ time possible between need to go to town for repairs, or brute force crushing capability) really improved if a player matched up period and cultural styles weapons and armour.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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John G. III




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 3:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's quite informative, thanks. Happy

Quote:
You could probably get reasonable approximations of weights from arms and armour vendor sites in cases where a reproduction is being made and sold today. Expect 2:1 ranges of weight, size, and various aspects of performance (damage, speed, durability, etc.) for any generic category of item though! Some of the items named in your list you will probably just have to fabricate based on some type of similar function "known item."


This is exactly what I meant, thank you for putting it out clearly. I'm basically looking for the statistics of weight, length/size (where standardisaztion is allowable) of items and general forging times. I'm probably going to be doing a lot of guesswork, but I'd like it to be as accurate as possible with a relatively strong basis in reality.

...I hope I'm not getting on anyone's nerves here. Ahah... Razz
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 12:32 pm    Post subject: Protection         Reply with quote

One or two points to start with:

Armour and shields made for modern fighters (SCA and so on) tend to be heavier than the historic original. Armour is heavier for several reasons:

Quality of manufacture (butted mail tends to be much heavier than riveted mail. By the by, "ring armour" was pretty much a myth - there are only a couple of places where such a thing was ever used. Mail is the preferred term for armour made of interwoven rings, not "chainmail" or "ringmail" .)

Quality of metal, sometimes. Good quality plate in the 16th century was made of steel which was hardened, whereas 99% of modern stuff is made of mild steel - it is easier to work with.

Modern fighters are not always the elite of society, and this is a hobby. In the good old days (?) knights and samurai were distinctly upper class types, even if a few individuals were poor. Their lives depended on their armour, whereas nobody lives or dies by the armour they wear in 2005. Olden warriors got the best stuff they could afford, and lighter means you can move faster and wear armour longer.

Getting armour repaired nowadays requires finding one of a relatively small number of people with said skill, whereas in olden times smiths lived almost everwhere, and making improvised repairs wasn't nearly as hard. Extra-heavy armour needs fewer repairs.

Modern fighters fight more often than there period counterparts. This may sound strange, but since no one is really killed in modern events (and serious injuries are rare), the combatants "resurrect / heal " quickly and get to participate in many more fights, and there is a regularly scheduled sequence of events. In most ancient and medieval campaigns, one battle might decide the campaign, or even the war; and many campaigns ended up without any major battles. (This could happen with sieges, guerilla type defense, or a raid/pillage attack strategy, etc.) Again, extra-heavy armour can take more damage.

Shields were disposable then, but most moderns balk at replacing shields every year or less. (Knights didn't make their own shields, usually.) Stephen Hand recounts an incident when he persuaded a couple of re-enactors to use shields of historical weight rather than the usual modern thickness - they had a blast with the quicker lighter shields, kicked butt, but the shields fell apart rather quickly. In the old days, a quicker shield might well mean you survived the battle - which is the purpose of the shield anyway. Having to get a new one was a lot better than being seriously injured or dead. Modern fighters often build their own shields (which isn't too hard, by the way).

All that being said, there have been a number of discussions on various forums about the weight of armour, and less often shields. Modern full plate with the underlying arming doublet might weigh about 50 pounds - good quality stuff, mind you. The weight of mail varies with the coverage, obviously. Off the top of my head, this might range from 20 to 30 pounds (again, check the search engines here, on Swordforum and Armour Archive), with additional weight for padding and helmet. Helmets might run 4 to 10 pounds, depending on the type and coverage. Shields are trickier, since the size obviously varied a lot, but the thickness also. A Viking shield might be 1/3 of an inch thick, some medieval heater shields were almost twice that thickness. On the heaviest end, an archeological copy of a Roman era large oblong shield found in Egypt weighed in at about 22 pounds. One the other end, a fist-sized buckler meant for non-military use might be 3 pounds or so. The SCA shields pretty much start at around 10 pounds, and are more heavily built than historical shields of similar type - for a similar size shield maybe 6 to 10 pounds (rough guess).


Last edited by Felix Wang on Wed 09 Nov, 2005 7:34 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is a very useful table (courtesy of a member of the SCA) on historical weights and sizes: http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/shield_a...ights.html
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Lance K.




PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2005 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John G. III wrote:
That's quite informative, thanks. Happy

I'm basically looking for the statistics of weight, length/size



I would start here and browse all the models recording the dimensions and weights....

http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/sw...extgen.htm

There are excellent descriptions of the use of each blade to give you an idea of the type of damage and speed that can be expected from a given design.
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John G. III




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Nov, 2005 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaah, thanks a lot guys. I didn't know that about modern weaponry being slighly heavier...makes sense though.
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