ferball wrote:Having done some fencing at a competitive level years ago I will attest to the craziness of the SCA. What little experience I had with them, their idea of melee was based on D&D. So here are some of my melee Insights based on actually "sword fighting".
Battle Axes, War Hammers, etc. one word, Inertia. Watch the final fight in that old Liam Neeson movie "Rob Roy" to understand why battle axes and war hammers and other large slow weapons were developed as a result of armor advances, not practical one on one weapons. Tomahawk or a nice framing hammer make a lot more sense if you are going up against an unarmored zombie.
Halberd, Pole Arm, Bo Staff etc. Think about the "close" in close quarter, ever notice how much space they need in a Kung Fu movie when the bo staffs or spears come out? If you run into a zombie inside the average american dwelling, you would have no room to use such a weapon. Not to mention how awkward wondering around with such weapons can be.
Swords come in all shapes and styles and many of them would suffer from the problems listed above. A small Gladius would be an ideal Zombie weapon, but why be exotic and special, when a machete or my personal favorite The Woodsman Pal offer the same effect in a more useful package.
Also consider "poking" vs. "swinging" In close quarters it may be a lot easier to "poke" your foe vs "swinging" at him. Also a "poke" will do more damage as the energy of the blow is focused to a single point, not spread across the entire blade. Try it some time, have somebody swing at you with a bat, then have them "jab" you with a bat with the same amount of force. An your second trip to the doctor your medical professional will note more trauma than the first. So consider going down jabbing instead of swinging.
So there you have it all the nonsense I have learned in my life as it relates to primitive weapons.
My argument to you is this: I am an armorer, meaning a blacksmith that makes primitive weapons and various types of armor. Swords are NOT a good weapon for getting KILLS against zeds because of their LOW momentum. There is a reason that executions by beheading were performed with AXES rather than swords, axes allowed the executioner to get a (singular) clean cut straight through the neck, whereas swords it took multiple blows, and keep in mind that executions were performed with the most ideal conditions for beheading, a not moving target, that exposes the hardest part of the neck to get through (the spine) and is also the critical structure to sever to insure a kill in a zombie. And to all of you who think a katana is the best zed weapon, do ACTUAL research, not watching movies. It's been tested a hundred times, from Mythbusters to true blue research organizations, it is not possible for even professional swordsman who have trained years with the weapon to get a clean blow through the neck. Mythbusters even went so far as to hire a professional modern master samurai to perform the test and it took him multiple blows to get 1 beheading and that was with him hauling out on it, he was exhausted after it. Take it from a person who actually MAKES and USES the weapons he chose, rather than returning to your movies and using them as "evidence".
I do not watch "Kung Fu" movies, I find them boring, stupid, and totally impractical when it comes to true combat situations.
Do not tell me that war hammers, battle axes, and the like are not suited for close quarters combat with the idea of getting a 1 shot, 1 kill
blow on a zed. No only are they designed for multiple choke points and still maintaining the force required for piercing/crushing the human skull, they were designed to be used in BATTLE where you are shoulder to shoulder with your companions and in the face of your foes. The very notion that they aren't show's your lack of actual research into the subject of medieval battles that were fought solely with melee weapons. YOUR idea about what a battleaxe or warhammer is is obviously skewed because you play to many RPG games where they have blades that are 2+ feet across and would weigh 20+ pounds on the light side. I'm talking true period authentic combat grade weapons that are designed for the sole purpose of overcoming an armored foe in as few blows as possible and are designed around crushing the human skull, cleaving through it, or beheading in 1 blow with as little exertion on the user as possible, not to mention taking limbs off. Knights used these weapons as primary weapons in battles that lasted DAYS, they are time tested and their design makes them ideal for getting KILLS against zombies because of their original intention.
Did you see me put a rapier in the list? Did you see me put any fencing weapons in the list? Of course not! Those are showmanship weapons, dueling weapons, not battle weapons. You should have gotten into the armored combat division of the SCA, where your blows don't bend the sword that uses spring steel alloys and accompanying heat treatment, they dent the metal PLATE armor and can break bones easily, and that's with a properly trained master who is cushioning his blows. Fencing was a gentlemens duel, not a battle style.
A halberd was designed to keep your enemy at bay and still deliver fatal blows INCLUDING decapitation. They also took a great deal of training and were relegated to highly trained and elite guards because of their difficulty, but those whom were adept with the weapon were some of the deadliest opponents to face.
No, really? A bat, which is designed to hit a really small object somewhere along its striking surface, does more damage when you ram it into someone on the head? I'd never have figured that out! It's not like it wasn't designed to hit a really large object that has soft tissue to protect the vital areas rather than a small hard ball that doesn't absorb the force of the blow rather it's propelled in the same direction of the blow to compensate for the trauma.
"Poking" in close quarters is easy, of course, when you are aiming for the torso where you have a lot of really painful and normally deadly locations to target. But when someone gets too close, your "poke" is ineffective because you don't have the room to properly maneuver the weapon. Guess what, a swinging weapon like a battleaxe is designed for those really close quarter situations where the broad side can be used as a shield and it has the structural rigidity needed to get the foe away from you without breaking and can be twisted and bring out the deadly part of the weapon, whereas with a "poking" weapon you have to change your entire stance to bring the weapon back into its effective range. Try getting smacked in the head with a broomstick compared with getting smacked in the face with a large faced hammer and it's not hard to figure which is going to deliver a more debilitating blow, and that's what you get with using a war hammer in close quarters defense verses a PIERCING or JABBING weapon like a spear.
An actual battle ready quarter staff or bo staff has a plated tip on it to be used as a piercing weapon, I'm not taking a personal defense type that has rounded ends. They can also be outfitted with weighted orbs on the end to be used to bash through the skull of an opponent, depending on the fighting style you choose to use with the weapon.
I've argued with more than a dozen people all week who use HOLLYWOOD and RPG'S to dictate their opinions on what melee weapon they would use in a zpoc world, and that's with me telling them that I MAKE THE DAMN THINGS.