Kamazhi's "Detailed as Hell" Armory!

Wyrmrest Accord
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10/01/2012 01:29 PMPosted by Kamazhi
Potentially shields, too.
*Whimpers.* ...Can I haz shield guide? Balrog girl demands Shield info!
Potentially shields, too.
*Whimpers.* ...Can I haz shield guide? Balrog girl demands Shield info!

Samurai Druid requested for pole-weapon knowledge first, he also encourages Balrog girl to be patient.
10/01/2012 11:50 PMPosted by Arielen

10/02/2012 02:44 AMPosted by Mebahiah


Samurai Druid has also requested for this thread to reach sticky status.
Aw, thanks guys! In gratitude, I promise when I get in tonight you'll get both Polearm and Shield sections!
10/02/2012 11:43 AMPosted by Kamazhi
both Polearm and Shield sections!
Balrog girl is pleased... as well, I'm sure, Samurai Druid is.
I'm working on them right now. I'm refreshing my memory on cross products, torque, and moment of inertia, and now my head hurts.

But it'll be useful, so that is what matters.
X: Polearm Basics

Five million years. That's how long ago modern research suspects that the hominini - some of h*mo (really blizz) sapiens' earliest ancestors - began using simple wooden spears, a weapon employed in warfare and other conflicts until the implementation of firearms, and even today still used as a fishing and hunting implement in many cultures. This alone should exemplify the staggering utility, versatility and longevity of the the polearm: grandfather of all weapons, and the instigator of mankind's endless arms race.

The first polearms were, as I said, basic wooden spears, little more than sharpened sticks. Despite their simplicity, these were potent weapons; their length kept the wielder in a defensible position at all times, and the easy, jabbing thrusts made short work of most prey. Initially employed by primitive hominids for hunting, fishing, and defending from predators, it wasn't long before the spear saw use in inter-human conflict, serving alongside with clubs and, as the stone age came, eventually axes as the weapons of choice for early warfare. Both two-handed thrusting spears and lighter javelins saw prevalent use, the latter serving as the earliest known ancestor of the concept of archery due to the development of spearthrowing aides such as the atlatl.

The design of the spear evolved in a fascinating, easy to follow way. With the discovery of fire and the use of stone, scorched, hardened wooden tips or stone spearheads were implemented to increase the lethality add penetrative force of the weapons. In the bronze age, when personal armor began to see deployment, one-handed, bronze-headed spears were used in conjunction with shields, leading to the creation of the phalanx - a formation long regarded as one of the most efficient and fearsome of ancient warfare. In the fourth century, extremely long spears, known as pikes, were created to take advantage of these formations and counter the growing use of mounted warfare.

As armor began to grow heavier and more abundant, the simple design of the spear no longer sufficed. Much like blunt weapons, however, polearms were cheap and easy to produce, meaning that instead of going extinct, they gradually improved. The 11th century saw the invention of the danish axe, a pole weapon with an axehead mounted on the end. With the reach of a spear and chopping force even greater than a handaxe, it quickly spread throughout Europe and inspired countless other designs.

From this point on, the polearm exploded in popularity. As humans realized the potential of mounting various heads onto the long shaft of the weapon, the 11th-15th century saw an explosion of invention. Hammers, axes, scythes; all were experimented with. Interestingly, these weapons also heralded the return of the spearhead, mounted atop the weapon, allowing these new polearms to be thrusted or swung with equal potency. This made them viable in almost all forms of open warfare, from combating cavalry to breaking heavy armor.

In Asia, polearms developed down an equally creative path, resulting in such armaments as the nagamaki, a seven foot polesword resembling a katana mounted on an extremely long haft.

It wasn't until firearms became extremely common in the 18th century that the spear finally started to truly die out, and even now, its' influence can be seen in the rifle bayonet.

Now that we've gotten history out of the way, let's discuss how exactly polearms are used, and the strengths and weaknesses of the major types.

Polearms are defined by their long reach and overwhelming power. Those who favor them enjoy being able to strike from relative safety, and in the cases of poleaxes and hammers, the ability to smash through any armor with ease. Understanding what makes a polearm so fearsome to defend against requires understanding angular momentum, so let's do that before moving on.

In layman's terms, angular momentum is the result of an object's velocity and mass being applied in relation to a rotational force, ie torque. The longer the lever arm of an object, the greater the inertia, but the greater the momentum as well, due to the fact that torque is the cross product of force and lever arm distance. This means that even with relatively little mass, a polearm has great impact force, making them nearly impossible to block or deflect with armor.
X: Polearm Basics (continued)

The weakness of these formidable weapons is also betrayed by the reliance on angular momentum. The moment of inertia - which is the point when the force acting against the attempt to apply momentum is greatest - on a polearm is very long, meaning they're slow to swing. This, however, can be alleviated by shortening the lever arm when necessary. As a result, many polearm fighters are required to master the subtlety of quickly changing their grip in infantry warfare, alternating between long and short swings to keep foes at bay and punish overaggression. Despite the lightness of most polearms [ranging between 7-12 lbs usually], those who wield them are typically very strong, especially in the arms and core, as they have to train to be able to quickly change directions and apply the force required to compensate for the weapon's great inertia, especially with chopping weapons such as bardiche and halberds.

The other weakness, of course, is that the great reach of polearms makes them entirely useless in close-quarters, meaning that if one plans to fight indoors, a sidearm is necessary. This, however, does not negate their utility in open battle.

If one practices alternating the length of the lever arm and understanding the limitations of their weapon, a polearm is a fearsome beast: flexible, powerful and intimidating. Even as myriad other weapons entered the fray, they remained longstanding contenders in every field of war from ancient times to the late middle ages.

All in all, hard to argue with sharp pointy sticks.
Reserving this post.

Edit: Coming down with a pretty nasty bug, I'm too fuzzy-headed to write. I'm sorry, I'll try and have shields up ASAP. ><
Samurai Druid is pleased with this information and thanks you.
Glad to help! If there's anything I didn't cover you'd like to see more detail about, just ask and I'll happily provide it.
Savored every word of this. Thank you so much for posting it. ~♥

Editing for suggestion. If you don't have it in the works already, I'd love to see your details on the crossbow. Again, you rock for making this! *Showers with cuddles and hearts* ♥♥♥
Back to first page!
Baaaaaack ta' the first page.
Thank you for the bumps, Leora!

Sorry the shield section's been so slow. I'm working on it now, should be up within an hour or two! Crossbows and longbows come after that. :)

For now, fun fact for you warriors: Two-handed swords on the back take a very long time (5-7 seconds) to draw, because one has to untie or break what is binding them since they're too long for a sheathe. For this reason, one is advised to carry an arming sword or other one-handed blade for sudden combat, as back-mounted swords take too long to draw to protect you in quick combat!
XI: Shields

Crafted from: Wood, wicker, animal hides, shells, metal sheets
Weight: 1-22 lbs (Buckler to Scuta respectively)

In a world where battles could be made up of thousands of soldiers, leading to deadly combatants on all sides, or where a group of scouts needed to move quickly and quietly but desired protection, it's not surprising that the shield was so common. In the hands of a decent warrior, it was a useful tool; in the hands of a great one, a weapon and protector all in one, capable of changing the tide of even a seemingly hopeless fight.

Shields have existed in many forms and throughout much of ancient history. From wicker to wood and animal hide, these useful armaments came in countless shapes and sizes, often suited to warfare of the particular region, like most weapons and armor. Typically, lighter shields would be designed to be mobile and easily wielded, for deflecting light hand attacks such as swords and axes, while heavier shields would be larger and more stationary, designed to provide mobile cover from spears and arrows. Often, these heavier shields would be made of thick, absorbent wood, sometimes with metal sheets. Contrary to popular fantasy, shields were rarely made completely of metal due to the restrictive weight. The heaviest shields ever used were the Roman Scutum - towering shields of wood and metal plating that could weigh over twenty pounds, and were as difficult to use as they were to penetrate.

On the flip side, some bucklers were made entirely of steel, due to their small size making it a viable option. These diminutive handguards were often used in conjunction with shortswords or rapiers for a very active form of deflection and blocking.

As the Middle Ages progressed, many varieties were produced, but with the advent of plate armor, they started to fall out of favor. Contrary to the popular image of the sword and board heavy warrior, plate armor actually makes shields unnecessary due to the superior protection of a fully metal frame and the opportunity to wield larger, stronger two-handed weapons capable of blocking competently in their own right. That said, shields were still used by lighter armored soldiers who favored mobility, such as viking warriors and cavalrymen.

An important thing to note about shields is that whatever their design, they are dexterous weapons requiring great skill and precision. It's not really as simple as 'hold it up' to block, because simply absorbing force is counterproductive - and risky - to a shield's design. Instead, a warrior uses a shield like one might a free hand in martial arts; to catch, deflect, and open up counter-strikes. It's best to try and deflect blows at an angle, pushing them out wide. This not only mitigates the force the shield arm absorbs, but also provides an opening for a counter, which is a large part of a shield's appeal.

The second thing to remember is that shields aren't meant to be valuable. Often, a single battle or two is enough to completely ruin a well-made shield, meaning that they were considered highly disposable by soldiers. Obviously, in fantasy one can always enchant or the sort for durability, but that's not really the concern of this guide.

Finally, the offensive utility of a shield can't be overstated. The 'shield bash' is a popular image, and it really is as popular as it seems. A six pound chunk of wood slamming directly into someone's face can ruin their day even with a helmet, and using the rim to smack against lightly armored areas such as the joints or neck was a common move.

All in all, the shield is a balanced, defensive tool that works well with almost any one-handed weapon.
Yea! Shield info! *Thumbs up.*
Bumping this because everyone needs this kind of wonderfullyness in their life.
Also, I had an ucky mental image of a real life kind of shield bash. Warcraft tends to glaze that over as some kind of sparkle affair. ~♥

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