1. Some_Bloke
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    Some_Bloke Active Member

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    What sword should my character use?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Some_Bloke, Jun 11, 2015.

    It's been a while since I've been on this forum and that's mostly due to well, personal issues. I won't get into that though. I really got back into my writing recently and I noticed an unintentional flaw with one of my protagonists (Gregory Nelson). I think I've mentioned in other threads how Gregory's fighting style has him relying on speed, thus having him wear light armour and carry light weapons. One of these weapons was a custom-made katana composed of a tough alien metal called Erekrese.

    In order for a metal to be capable of what Erekrese is capable of, realistically it can't really be as light as Gregory needs it to be. Even if the katana is custom-made, I still think it's too heavy if Gregory is carrying it next to other gear. Not to mention the fact that I think katanas are being a bit overused in media as a means of making a character look "badass".

    I'm not looking to use an alien sword, as in the story Gregory gets his sword from a human "blacksmith" who's crafted Erekrese and other alien materials to make armour and weapons designed and modified to resemble those from Earth's history. A lot of the gear is extremely expensive but as Gregory robbed a bank around a month ago, "price is no object"
     
  2. J_Downloading
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    J_Downloading Member

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    If his style relies on speed, then a rapier with a monomolecular edge would be fitting. Rapiers are similar to 'fencing swords' but a little thicker so they bend a lot less, but they're still made for mostly thrusting attacks. Since they're so light they definitely favour a quick, agile style of fighting.
     
  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    But a thrust isn't a quick, agile style of fighting, it requires a pull-back with the whole arm (otherwise you won't get any force behind it) before thrusting the blade at the target.

    With an edged blade, a flick of the wrist will generate enough tip-head speed to inflict a wound and be much faster.

    However, a katana with a carbon-fibre blade would be much lighter than a traditional steel one, or one made from synthetic spiderweb lighter still.

    BUT one big caveat is that the lighter the blade, the lower the inertia when it hits the target, and thus the less damage it will do before the skin/leather armour/ bone is enough resistance to stop it. Perhaps have the point of heavier metal?
     
  4. J_Downloading
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    J_Downloading Member

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    Well yeah, I didn't say they were thrusting-only weapons. They have much more of a blade than a 'fencing sword' (forgot the name) so with a monomolecular blade they could definitely make a lethal slashing weapon.
     
  5. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Dual wielding: katana + wakazashi.
     
  6. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I am fond of the vibrating blade technology from the Gundam anime series.
     
  7. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Either Broadswords or Rapiers would probably do. They're more basic and less gimmicky.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It would depend on the type of fighting style he prefers. Some swords are made for brute strength while others are made for ease of maneuverability. A katana and a scimitar are not the same as a broadsword (the typical Medieval European sword), and I'd even wager that between the katana and scimitar, there's relatively little similarity between the two other than that they're a bit curved. Other 'light' swords are sabers (the actual sabers, not lightsabers), rapiers, etc.

    <--- Has a barely scratching understanding of swords.

    EDIT:
    OK, sabers are the type of swords that Jack Sparrow used, correct? Rapiers are the one with the extremely thin, almost-a-line blade, correct?
     
  9. Some_Bloke
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    Some_Bloke Active Member

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    Gregory can't really do dual wielding as that's not his fighting style. His swordplay only consists of one blade.
     
  10. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Fair enough - the wakazashi is a smaller sword, so could be lighter. But then you lose length. If the metal is particularly strong / dense, you may not need a solid blade?
     
  11. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    How about Schiavona? http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_spot_schia.php
    It's a bit heavier than rapier as I recall, it has a wider blade, and it is so beautiful. :)
    If you're looking for an interesting, light and quick sword, I'd recommend Yatagan. I used to hold one: nasty-looking, I must say.
     
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  12. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    A blade with a hole down the middle? :twisted: (Makes it easier to shunt blood from the entry wound).

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Some_Bloke
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    Some_Bloke Active Member

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    I can picture Gregory wielding a Yatagan, a wakazashi or a Ninjatō. I examined fight scenes I've written again and based on his style something like a rapier wouldn't work in place of a katana. While he's quick with a blade, Gregory isn't as quick as someone like Zorro or Dread Pirate Roberts.

    In one scene he takes on a tall Exen leader who wields a battleaxe which means his enemy can reach more than Gregory who has to rely on both speed to dodge and strength to block. A rapier just doesn't seem like it would be able to block the swings of the battleaxe. During the fight both opponents manage to lose their weapons making them rely on hand to hand instead.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
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  14. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    The Yatagan I held had a sharp edge on a blade which was used by the Ottomans to slay the horses from beneath during the battle. It made me shudder.
     
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  15. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Seriously? Something like a Daneaxe will dislocate something (of yours!) if you rely on blocking it - deflecting it is tough enough.
     
  16. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Ah yes the Ninjato, how could I forget!
     
  17. Some_Bloke
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    Some_Bloke Active Member

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    Something resembling a Labrys (double-edged axe) would be even worse then I imagine.

    Maybe because it's not the most historically accurate weapon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninjat%C5%8D
     
  18. Some_Bloke
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    Some_Bloke Active Member

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    This is a video about which sword is the best for a one on one dual, however the guy in the video talks about a dual where neither opponents are wearing armour. This is not the case in Gregory's training but after watching this I think it makes a lot more sense for Gregory to use a weapon with a handguard but it could be possible to modify a weapon without a handguard to have a handguard in place.
     
  19. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Katana, wakizashi and ninjato are all things I have wielded in a game (MUD). Their historical accuracy does not bear mentioning when it comes to speed, dieroll, resists and wield requirements ;-)
     
  20. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Katanas really aren't that heavy. I'm a pretty small guy without a lot of muscle mass and in my two years of kendo the only issue I had with using a katana was getting lazy one time and managing to cut the top of my foot, hahah. I'm assuming your alien metal is very dense or something though? A wakizashi is basically just a shorter katana or if something more knife-sized (albeit really big knife) is acceptable he could use a tanto. Maybe some kind of scimitar or shamshir?

    For sure using a rapier in place of a katana or other slicing weapon wouldn't work, he'd need a whole different fighting style. From what I understand of rapier combat you wanna keep the other guy further away, whereas katana and afaik scimitar combat is more up close and personal. If you're gonna be up close and personal already, maybe you could modify it to be a knife, tanto, something machete-like ... I don't know. Claymores and katanas aren't interchangeable either.

    You might want to rethink him using his weapon in any real blocking capacity vs a battleaxe. Those things mean business. Some deflection work could be done but using a slicey sword you'd mainly wanna be using your weapon to just shove the axe away and if possible lock it up - depending on how the axe is designed, if that's a possibility, I mean (obviously a two-headed axe is way easier to trap). But anyway anything with a thin/narrow blade is going to be relatively brittle - compared to a claymore or a battleaxe anyway - so if you're trained to fight with such a thing you'd know to play to your weapon's strengths and weaknesses.

    So from a writing perspective here it's like, do you want to pick a sword that can be used the way you've imagined, or do you want to pick a cool sword you like and re-imagine applicable fight scenes?
     
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  21. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It all depends on the era/region/fighting style/intended purpose etc.

    Different swords have different strengths and weaknesses (all swords have weaknesses), some of them depending on the intended use. E.g. light, fast swords don't do well against e.g. a full harness whereas long, heavier swords don't suit cramped quarters like narrow, low corridors, small rooms etc. as well as small, more agile blades.

    How heavy is the alien material in comparison to e.g. 1kg of 440A steel?
    Also, is concealability an issue at all?
    What about the environment? Swords made of harder, tough, easily rusting materials require a lot of maintenance in certain circumstances whereas "stainless" materials are generally noticeably softer and weaker unless we're talking about something like titanium.
     
  22. Bryan Romer
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  23. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    How about ditching the sword all together? You ever look into flay weapons like nunchuks or whips. There are literally hundreds of varieties. And if it's scifi, you could have it energy charged, and no one will care. There's Chinese flail weapons that are interesting.

    Where I would go with research is into nationalities that were smaller than the Europeans in terms of height and strength. Indai. Mongolia. Japan with the katana was a good start, but they are overused.
     
  24. Chewie
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    If you do want to stick with a Katana, what is the second metal. Most Katana swords are made of two or three different metals, to give it strength and flexibility. So perhaps if your blacksmith uses another alien super lightweight metal for the core that could always work. Allowing you to use the super metal for the edge.
     
  25. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    Is this a joke? No one's going to care about the specifics of this sword. The only movie, tv show, or story that I can remember that involved the importance of a sword was "Kill Bill" and "Game of Thrones" and those stories all had characters that were way more specific and interesting than that of what the sword looked like. Just say it was a sword that moved fast or something. No one will care. They will care how the character feels about it. And if you don't know enough about swords already that you have to ask about it, then maybe you shouldn't be writing a story that involves something like the specifics of a sword. It just seems like titilation for one of your video game addictions or something and trying to make a story out of it. I'm sorry, I guess I just don't feel how this topic or question applies to "character development." It's a sword. Move on.
     

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