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Re: Swords!
Swords are overrated anyway. What common and elite soldiers have been preferring for thousands of years are spears. But spears aren't what you have at hand when you're in a tavern or throne rooms, or at the side of your bed. Which is where all the most exiting exploits are happening.
In Medieval  Japan, the spear was rated higher the the sword so they agreed with you. In George Silver's Paradoxes of Defense,http://www.umass.edu/renaissance/lord/pdfs/Silver_1599.pdf, pages 29 to 31, Silver, a master of the sword about the time of Shakespeare, describes what he thinks are the best weapons. He agreed with the exception that he considered the forest bill or Welsh hooke to be even better. Good luck with finding out a definitive answer on what the forest bill or Welsh hooke looked like. If you get good evidence, please share it.

November 13, 2017, 09:20:19 PM
Re: Swords!
There are many different styles of fighting and many situations not ideal to the weapon at hand.
In an restricted space (pretty much anywhere indoors) a knife is more useful than a sword. A spear is really useful indoors, if you have room to move and are covering a doorway with it, otherwise its pretty much a liability.
A single spear man against a swordsman is going to have a hard time. 10 swordsmen against 10 spear man should get massacred if the spear men have a clue.
with a knife you can take a swordsman if you are within 3 meters and the sword is sheathed. Facing off to a swordsman with drawn blades where he has space to use it with a knife is suicide.
Here's a question. I know duel wielding swords is ineffective, but a sword dagger combo was a real thing. I'm thinking of my main character having a bow with that as a backup, but I can't find much about it since most of the results when you google it is from video games like Skyrim...
These are my own observations so take them as you will. These observations are based on quite a bit of active research using padded blades against live opponents.

I don't count padded weapons as a perfect test. Weights and balances make a difference. But I have tried to learn and observe as I have gotten exercise and had fun. Most enactments have some safety rules that can alter reality and convince people of things that are not actually true. A lot of effective combat methods are not allowed in combat simulations. Combat simulations can teach us things that would not be true if the rules were gone.

Duel wielding is, in my opinion, highly effective. Your mileage may vary though. Duel wielding takes good control of stance, high flexibility, speed and the ability to do two different tasks with two hands. Some one with a shield and a sword will beat a duel wielder every single time, unless the duel wielder is a master. A master at duel wielding will take advantage of how slow a shield is and clean clock on the shield user, no matter what the shield user does.

A two handed sword user that thinks a two handed sword is a hacking weapon will just lose to a duel wielder. If a two handed sword user is aware that the two handed sword is the fastest and in the right circumstances most agile weapon a man can hold, then the duel wielder needs to run for it. Unless the duel wielder is a master. The master will block with one sword slide in and cut the man with the two handed sword while the man with the two handed sword user has no choice but to try and parry or block with his heavy and over long weapon. If the duel wielder is able to force the two handed sword user with subtle use to use the two handed sword crudely, he will win.

Then comes the real problem. If the Shield user or the two handed sword user also has armor, then the duel wielders best option is to leave.

In a passage or in the open, when I duel wielder faces someone reasonably skilled with a pole arm of usable length, no matter how gifted the duel wielder is, he is looking at low odds of winning. If there are curves in the passage or a few trees, things may have gotten easier for the duel wielder. 

Everything is scissors, rock and paper. Don't discount using two swords, while they didn't always use them that way, a lot of samurai found carrying a pair of blades useful.

Let's take the sling as a clear example. If you have room to use it and the skill, it beats just about everything. The ammo is cheap, the mass and velocity is perfection and the rate of fire is pretty darned good. With a sling it is easy to fire a fifty caliber bullet just under the speed of sound. Armor can be pierced and it is hard to dodge a sling bullet. Arrows can be dodged and even caught. A sling bullet is a different thing. The problem with the sling is that it takes years of training. A bow can be taught well in a month or so. A gun in a week.
 A man with a loaded crossbow or someone close by with a club is going to beat the sling user at a quick draw. I would put a sling user against a huge man in armor and expect the sling user to win every time, just like the Bible said.

There is a reason that there are so many weapons. If one was the best in every users hands, then we would only have one.

So until you have watched arnis done by a master, don't sell duel wielding short. Keep in mind that escrima stick fighting is practice for duel wielding. Change those sticks out for swords and watch out.

November 15, 2017, 02:51:42 AM
Re: Swords!

Bronze weighs 541lbs/ft3 Steel 490lbs/ft3 (sorry not feeling clever enough for metric atm) not enough to make a difference. Whether a sword weighs 3lbs or 31/4lbs is not really relevant.

A 24 oz vs 26 oz may not seem dramatic but in bicycle parts a 2 oz difference can equal a lot of money. As far as speed goes, 2 oz added to a 1.5lb sword with the same center of gravity and length is like night and day in my hands.

November 15, 2017, 11:09:11 PM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
I swear to god we live in an alternate universe where a Biff from Back to the Future becomes President and Cards Against Humanity rises up to stop him using kickstarter.  I don't even know how to process the absurdity that is America at this moment.  Thought I do know what to buy @tebakutis for christmas...



My theory is that we don't live in the main timeline. Travelers who switch between dimensions know to quickly get out of ours. We don't have zeppelins and that is a clear sign of inevitable doom.

November 16, 2017, 06:10:12 AM
Re: How to write a royal proclamation I agree with Skip and The Gem Cutter. May I suggest a garden party? This gives an opportunity for announcements, entertainers mingling at breaks, private talks, and public ones.
November 16, 2017, 01:16:09 PM
Re: The King's Paws (with one holding a bottle of Peri Peri sauce.) Congradulations Eli!
November 21, 2017, 12:58:48 PM
Re: Is the trope of evil monstrous humanoids problematic? Yes, I think the trope of evil monstrous humanoids is  problematic. Race and stereotype will always be problematic but they also can present us with an interesting range of of options.

Races in fantasy are kind of like animals in Aesop, black hats in Westerns or zombies in horror. They can allow us to say things about society that we cannot say out loud. They can let us ignore moral ambiguity and lash out violently while still being ethical beings. They can be used to get quickly past depth in world building, cultural issues and even character development. Sometimes a story can be built faster using existing building blocks. Sometimes, by using a monstrous humanoid, you can borrow from a tradition. As an example, I just made up a flesh eating humanoid creature that sees in and prefers the dark. I haven't really been all that creative have I? Giving it a classic name may be a quicker way to let the reader get up to speed. It is also possible that there are associations that I want you to draw from the name. If the origin is modern I may have to make up a name like, CHUD. Otherwise I have a range of names from fantasy that might do fine.

One theory that I hold as likely to be true, is that fantasy races allow us to discuss things that we may not even allow ourselves to think. Like a dream symbol that we get on one level but mostly ignore. As an example, modern zombies are the stupid masses, vampires are the powerful, old and wealthy.

If you think of Fairies as nobles or royals, this matches as a possible ancient pattern of telling truths without saying them outloud. If you address a noble directly, expect gratitude, witness their doings or even give them something you consider valuable, it can go badly. If you join their courts and revels, years may pass and when you return  home you will no longer fit in and everything will have changed.

In Norway, the Elves were hollow inside. With the appearance of beauty they were cold and dangerous. Ogres where often beautiful women at the start of the story and then showed that they were evil, strong and ugly after they gained access or control. It is hard to warn a friend about the selfish person they are enamored of. Perhaps these were ways to make more subtle references.

In the Western genre there are formative books and movies with great depth and moral ambiguity. High Noon doesn't have black hats to tell you who is a bad guy. Some of the bad folk are obvious some are more subtle. A lot are mixed. While the typical Western has black hats, white hats, drunks and gamblers, some Westerns use the basic building blocks to craft stories that tell us more about ourselves.

As others have said, it depends strongly on the writer and even stereotypes can be made new or even transform. Star Wars and Indiana Jones are both examples of stereotypes being made fresh. While I cringe when I see a stereotype being used badly, stereotypes are at the heart of the incredibly flexible fantasy format. If, like many great fantasy authors do, you are going to reinvent the wheel and even the rules on how wheels turn, it does not hurt to have a few set building blocks to borrow.

November 28, 2017, 07:54:23 PM
Re: Fantasy Maps, and drawing mediums. I like the styles of 16th century maps so I find something like this to use as a manual of style.

December 01, 2017, 02:15:36 AM
Re: [Dec 2017] - Alien/Eldritch Artifact - Submission Thread Monkey Bars, 1,374 words.
Spoiler for Hiden:
Five minutes to recess. If only I were magic and could change time. It would be Saturday every single day. Dad wouldn’t have to work and I wouldn’t have to go to school. No that’s a stupid fantasy, I like the enchiladas Mom makes on Saturday, but I would get tired of them.

Mrs. Martin is giving me that look. My smile is innocent. Her eyebrows lower. Kids start making noise and she looks at them. I keep my eyes forward so she doesn’t get angry. Unlike half the class, I read the assignments so she should leave me alone. I know what a gerund is. This is wasting my time.

Mrs. Martin rushes to the window. The other kids are out of their seats and rushing to the window.

Randy shouts, “He’s flying. Danny’s flying.”

June yells, “Rascal Haskell, get down before you fall.”

There are bars outside the window. Monkey bars. Randy is climbing monkey bars. Great, other classes have been let out and we are still stuck in here. There are two other kids on the monkey bars. Teachers are yelling at them. Maybe they aren’t supposed to be on the monkey bars till everyone gets out at recess. That would be fair.

The clock shows no mercy, four and a half minutes till recess. I have got to get out and play on the new monkey bars.

I am going to be in big trouble, maybe, but everyone else is at the window. Slowly I stand up. Slowly back out and back towards the door.

I shout, Da--” as I am blocked.

Looking up, Mr. Dale is blocking the doorway. I just backed into Bushy Brows himself.

Mr. Dale pushes me into the room and says, “Mrs. Martin, don’t let any of the children out until we know what is going on.”

He closes the door to our classroom. I hate Bushy Brows. He ruins everything. Always and every single time. At the window kids are shouting. Running to the window the new monkey bars are better than better. They go way up. Danny is still climbing.

Jennifer says to me, “He’s flying weird.”

I say, “He’s climbing.”

Jennifer yells out, “He’s climbing.”

Everyone starts yelling, “He’s climbing, he’s climbing.”

June yells, “Your right Jennifer, he’s climbing.”

Once again someone else gets credit and I get ignored. It’s probably going to be like that till the day I die.

There are sirens going off in the distance. Recess is started and we are missing it. Danny is still way up there. The principal and a couple of coaches are walking by the window. Coach Greer goes right through one of the bars.

I say, “That’s crazy, Coach Greer just--”
Cindy is pinching me. Her eyes are big as she whispers, “No one else sees them. I have been watching everyone. Only you and I.”

Recess is over. Mrs. Randal is at the door. Two coaches are with her.

Mrs. Randal says, “Excuse me Mrs. Martin, I need to interrupt class for a bit.

“That was quite some excitement. Did anyone see monkey bars?”

I glance out the window at the monkey bars. If I didn’t know I would get in trouble, I would slide out the window. These have to be the most amazing monkey bars ever. Cindy gives me a hard stare and kind of quivers her head in a short “No!” gesture.

I shake my head “No,” and Cindy smiles as she shakes her head “No.”

I never noticed that she was pretty, but she kind of is.

Mrs. Randal says, “If you see anyone flying or climbing, please report it to the office.”

Mrs. Martin asks, “What is going on?”

Mrs. Randal says, “We had a few children that left the ground today. We don’t want anyone to fall and get hurt. Children, if you hear anyone talking about monkey bars, we would love to know about it.”

She leaves and one of the coaches closes the door.

School is almost over when Brenda comes back from the bathroom. “Shhh, I could hear everyone out in the hall. If Mrs. Martin comes back in and we are not quiet, she will probably keep us after school.”

Then Brenda lowers her voice, “I heard the teachers talking. They have nine fliers and they are keeping them after school.”

Cindy exchanges glances with me. We haven’t talked but we have both had hours to think about what happens when adults start deciding things.


Outside Cindy and I are walking our bicycles. Our bicycles can go through the bars but we can’t. We may not be able to ride bicycles anymore.

Cindy says, “The sirens haven’t stopped all day. Cars may be dangerous. If we look this up on the internet they might find us.”

She takes out her cell phone and turns the sound back on.
I’m jealous. My grandmother offered to get me a cell phone and my parents refused to let me have one.

I say, “Nice phone.”

She reads a bit and says, “My mother and dad are okay. They want me to be extra careful going home.”

She stops and says, “What happens when they find out that we see the bars?”

I say, “We get found out tomorrow anyway. When they find out we can’t go through the bars, they will know how to test us.”

Cindy says, “If it is just two of us from class, then maybe it is one kid in ten. With one kid in ten, that would mean fifty kids in school can see the bars.”

Mom is waiting at the front of the school. She smiles and waves at me. Cindy and I dodge bars as we make our way to her. There are not a lot of low bars but there are enough to make you have to walk around or duck them on occasion.

Mother hugs me and whispers, “Your Dad came home early. He walked home from work.”

I look up at my Mothers face and see the fear she is holding back.

Cindy asks, “Mrs. Hoskins, “How bad is it?”

Mom says, “Charlie, you should introduce me to your friend.”

I say, “Mom, This is Cindy, how bad is it?”

Mom says, “We can talk later. Let’s walk. Cindy, Charlie, I want you to look ahead of you and try to come up with paths that you are not dodging and ducking while you walk. That makes it obvious.”

Cindy whispers, “You can see them too?”

Mother says, “No, I go through them.”

We have to separate to walk without making it obvious. When we get to my house Dad is packing his backpack.

He takes me in his arms and and says, “Both of you then.”

He stands and offers his hand to Cindy.

I say, “Dad, this is Cindy.”

Dad asks, “Are you the Pullman's little girl?”

Cindy says, “Yes, Mr. Hoskins. My parents are both okay and I don’t have any siblings. How bad is it?”

Dad says, “I am still not sure how much I should say.”

Cindy and he look at each other for a moment.

He says, “Cars, trains and planes have it bad. Boats are safe and they say that it is normal near the coast.”

Cindy says, “I should probably go home and let my parents know. I won’t be able to hide it long.”

Mom asks, “How far do you live?”

Cindy says, “It’s only three blocks.”

Mom says, “Charlie, stay and pack, you and your dad are going camping. I will escort Cindy home.”

While packing, Dad says, “We are taking a canoe to the river and down to the coast. Then I can rent a car. As long as we stay within seventy miles of the coast, we can get to your grandparents house. They have been planning for us to move back and take care of them anyway.”

I am really looking forward to this. This is like Saturday ever single day. We will be camping and canoeing and living at Grandpaw’s house. Then I think about it. There is a huge downside. If we are living on the coast, I may never get to climb the monkey bars.

December 02, 2017, 02:04:38 AM
Re: [Dec 2017] - Alien/Eldritch Artifact - Discussion Thread My submission this time is called "Monkey Bars." It was the first thing that popped into my head so I followed the thought to it's illogical conclusion.
December 02, 2017, 02:11:13 AM