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The Absurdly Overpowered Great Weapon

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Varnias Tybalt said:

I disagree. A metre and a half piece of sharpened metal will most of the time cause crippling damage (like damage to skin and muscles as well as breaking bones), but that damage can't compare with the high risk of the internal injuries that bullets from firearms cause.

Even an arm or a leg chopped of with a halberd can be cautirized and stabilized. But if you get shot in the liver, or the heart or some other important internal organ then you're pretty much beyond all help within seconds.

Also a large melee weapon aimed at the torso area isn't as likely to cause internal injuries as projectiles from firearms mainly because the force of such a weapon is too spread out and way too small in comparison to the concentrated force of a bullet, most of the damage will be absorbed by fatty tissue, the muscles or the ribcage.

So no, a strike from a great weapon should not do more damage than a shot from a handgun.

Since the middle ages, it is not only the lethal range of an individual soldier that has been increased, but also the lethality in general. Guns are better overall at killing people than swords, plain and simple.

That is patently untrue. The introduction of lighter rounds has reduced the lethiality of small-arms. It's also worth noting that we're not talking about primary weapons here, but pistols and light weapons. Your pistol round is as likely to maim as it is to kill which is why the double-tap technique is highly reccomended by most law-enforcement and military institutions for takedown.

You argue that bladed weapons will likely cause crippling injuries? This may be so, but that is what the critical chart is for. It's more important to take your opponent down than to kill them in the long run and this is an effective way of doing it. You also argue that a formal execution is a far cry from actual combat, but have you any idea how casual some of those executions have been? I won't ask you to watch the footage (it's in no way pleasant) of Japanese troops executing chinese, but it's pretty clear the swords cleave through meat and bone quite effortlessly. It's an arguement and attitude I've often come across and it saddens me that we still have this Victorian attitude about our 'pinacle of the art' society. Weapons have innovated, not become more lethal. If swords are innaffective, why then have some armies chosen to adopt them again now?

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Mellon said:

Just a slight detail to add to your post Varnias. When I fight using medieval historical tecniques, my priority is not to kill my opponent, merely to make her stop being dangerous. (nb: of course I do not really intend to maim my opponents when I fight with my friends, we pull the blows to leave a bruise at worst and we use some armor) If I place a hit that breaks a bone in an opponents swordarm, or even just cut a sinew in a leg, I will have won that fight. Killing my opponent is very much a non-issue, if we win the battle I can always go back and fix that later. I understand that the effect is very similar in modern warfare where a wounded target is in some regard even better than a killed one, because you will tie up additional resources for your enemy.

I aim to maim! ;-)

That's very true of course.

In the middle ages, an incapacitated foe was pretty much a dead foe, because if you had broken or chopped off his arm or leg you could easily deliver a coup de grace afterwards without meeting much resistance.

And in modern times it is true that a maimed enemy is better than a dead one, because that maimed enemy will cause the state at war to spend a lot of money on hospital bills, that will damage the war effort as a whole.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make was more concerned about the individual hits and the damage caused by these different types of weapons. And as of today most experts would agree that overall, being hit by a firearm is potentially a lot more deadly than being hit by a melee weapon the size of a claymore or halberd.

Heck, it is actually potentially more lethal to just get stabbed with a knife than being hit by such a big weapon, because a knifestabbing possess (like the speeding bullet) a very real chance of causing internal injuries and by so doing, damage vital organs. Not that I really advocate an increase in damage for most knives (because if one were to do that, then the damage from knivs and small swords would have to be based on what type of attack is being preformed. A swipe from one of these things won't be very lethal, but a stabbing?)

Anyway, my point is that the human body has evolved to soak up a lot of outside injury in order to keep internal organs from harm. Our muscles, bones and tendons are formed sort of like a natural armour that can withstand a great deal of blunt force trauma, and even absorb attacks by sharp weapons being swipe at it (although in some cases, the bleeding can kill, but if it's a matter of superficial bleeding, then it won't be as lethal). The problems arise when outside attacks are focused with a lot of force, but on very small points on the human body (as stabbings and gunshot wounds manifest in).

However, im not gonna go for ultra-realism here, becuase it would take too much work, but what im trying to advocate is reasonability, not specifically realism. And based on reasonability I think it's safe to say that individual gunshot wounds are overall more lethal than individual swipes and chops with big pieces of sharpened steel.

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Acolyte-Plath said:

 

That is patently untrue. The introduction of lighter rounds has reduced the lethiality of small-arms. It's also worth noting that we're not talking about primary weapons here, but pistols and light weapons.

Not it is not.

Yes, there are lighter rounds that are less effective at killing their targets depending on what range they are used at. But I can tell you that if we're talking about melee range (for a proper comparison, since the great weapons are used at that range), I can tell you that even a modest .22 can be extremely lethal at this range if aimed at the head of a human target, because at that range a .22 bullet has sufficient force to penetrate one wall of the skull BUT it won't have sufficient force to penetrate the back wall of the skull, which means that the bullet will bounce around inside the skull and turn the brain into mush.

So if even a small .22 (which is one of the smallest commercial calibres available) can kill quite effectively with only one hit at the ranges we're talking about... Well im confident that you can figure the rest out on your own.

Acolyte-Plath said:

Your pistol round is as likely to maim as it is to kill which is why the double-tap technique is highly reccomended by most law-enforcement and military institutions for takedown.

The double-tap technique isn't meant to cause lethal damage when employed by law-enforcement officers, it is meant to knock the target off his feet by applying the focused force of the rounds at the target's centre of gravity as well as causing significant injury to make the target go down.

But "go down" is not the same as "kill" in this regard. Even in military terms, a pistol wouldn't be used if the soldier in question had intent to kill or lethaly maim they would use an assault rifle of some sort instead.

Acolyte-Plath said:

You argue that bladed weapons will likely cause crippling injuries? This may be so, but that is what the critical chart is for. It's more important to take your opponent down than to kill them in the long run and this is an effective way of doing it.

The critical chart doesn't fulfill a reasonable purpose other than adding additional (and somewhat cinematic) effects of injury to the victim in question. Also this wasn't a debate about "what's more effective or not "regarding killing a victim or taking the victim down with more non-lethal means. We were discussing which weapon was more lethal overall with each individual hit, so that aspect of your argument is a bit moot.

It's not a question about what's tactically more efficient, but a question of injury that the two weapons are most likely to cause. In this case, a firearm is more likely to cause lethal internal injuries than a great weapon with one single hit. A great weapon simply applies it's force over a too large area to cause significant harm to a victim that guarantees a kill (kill as in "death within seconds/minutes" not "take down"), unlike most conventional bullets.

Acolyte-Plath said:

You also argue that a formal execution is a far cry from actual combat, but have you any idea how casual some of those executions have been? I won't ask you to watch the footage (it's in no way pleasant) of Japanese troops executing chinese, but it's pretty clear the swords cleave through meat and bone quite effortlessly.

Oh yes I've seen and read about plenty of botched executions (one particular case that took place here a few hundred years ago, got the executioner himself executed because he showed up drunk and couln't sever the condemned's head from the body with one stroke but had to chop several times to get the head off). But it doesn't really matter, because (even casually) trying to kill a victim with a close combat weapon, when the victim is tied down or unable to move out of the way is still a far cry from real combat where the opponent is doing everything he can to avoid getting hit. It's not even comparable.

Acolyte-Plath said:

It's an arguement and attitude I've often come across and it saddens me that we still have this Victorian attitude about our 'pinacle of the art' society. Weapons have innovated, not become more lethal. If swords are innaffective, why then have some armies chosen to adopt them again now?

I don't display a Victorian attitude, I base my statements on facts. Saying that "weapons have innovated, not become more lethal" can almost be considered an oxymoron, becuase the very intention with innovating weapons (at least during the last hundred years or so) is to make them more lethal than their older counterparts.

A soldier of this century possess a higher lethal range and probability to kill his victims than a soldier of two centuries ago. It's a pretty clear cut mathematical equation that tells us this.

And as for swords and knives being used in modern armies, well they have a few advantages over firearms. They don't run out of ammo, and they don't require much in the way of maintenance. They can also be used very silently when the mission requires emphasis on stealth. It's a different kind of tool than the firearm basically, but overall it is still not more lethal than the firearm.

No victorian bull here, just facts...

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That's not the only thing thing there is to it.

The most common pistol round today is the 9mm. IT's been adopted by military and police all over the world. It's not because it's the most deadly but because it will not (unlike the .45 or heavier rounds) penetrate more than 1 internal wall of a building. For the military most of the time you'll be using a 9mm is when there are civilians around (such as hostage rescue or body guard duties) and for the police this is always the case. It's been selected so that it'll hurt the target you shoot at (not nescesarily kill in one hit) but limits the chance of colateral damage.

Most modern military weapons use 5.56mm ammunition. Previously (about 40+ years ago depending on the country) the standard ammunition was 7.62mm. The major characteristic that brought on this change was the fact that 5.56mm ammo weighs less (and ofc course the gun it self weighs less) which means you can carry more of it. Whether or not it kills the person out right is beside the point as some one shot with either round is not likely to continue to fight but a smaller bullet you have a lot more chances to hit someone.

Suffice to say we don't use the most damaging weapons available of a number of reasons. The great weapon was designed to be the most damaging weapon it could be.

But i digress. Game balance wise a great weapon should absolutly do more damage than a handgun. The handguns is about  half the weight , more concealable, more manuverable and able to attack at long ranges. For it's downsides the great weapon needs to be compared to rifles (at least) which have a either a huge range or high rate of fire which makes them far more useful.

A great axe (for example) is capable or dismembering someone in one hit (it's used for executions for this reason), that's not to say it's guaranteed to happen but there is a chance within the rules as is.

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Something that should be noted when these sorts of debates come up: being able to deal all that damage is all well and good, but if you're killed or incapacitated before you can deal it, you may as well have been armed with a rolled-up newspaper for all the good that it will do you. There is no doubt that a great-weapon of some kind can deal significant damage, but bear in mind that, as a melee weapon, you have to close to melee range on your opponent to bring that great-weapon to bear. What is to prevent your opponent from cutting you to shreds with some sort of ranged weapon while you approach? Also, once you do get into melee range, what is preventing your opponent from bringing their own great-weapon to bear on you? Really, melee combat has enough disadvantages to it that further weakening it is just adding insult to injury. Great-weapons overpowered? I honestly don't think so.

 

-Kirov

P.S. As far as terminal ballistics go, all I'll say is that reams of material have been written on the topic. Some places to start, if you're interested, include TheGunZone.com and AR15.com's FAQ on the 5.56 round. Also look for the FBI's recommendations with regard to ammunition selection.

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Varnias Tybalt said:

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

 

That is patently untrue. The introduction of lighter rounds has reduced the lethiality of small-arms. It's also worth noting that we're not talking about primary weapons here, but pistols and light weapons.

 

 

Not it is not.

Yes, there are lighter rounds that are less effective at killing their targets depending on what range they are used at. But I can tell you that if we're talking about melee range (for a proper comparison, since the great weapons are used at that range), I can tell you that even a modest .22 can be extremely lethal at this range if aimed at the head of a human target, because at that range a .22 bullet has sufficient force to penetrate one wall of the skull BUT it won't have sufficient force to penetrate the back wall of the skull, which means that the bullet will bounce around inside the skull and turn the brain into mush.

So if even a small .22 (which is one of the smallest commercial calibres available) can kill quite effectively with only one hit at the ranges we're talking about... Well im confident that you can figure the rest out on your own.

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

Your pistol round is as likely to maim as it is to kill which is why the double-tap technique is highly reccomended by most law-enforcement and military institutions for takedown.

 

 

The double-tap technique isn't meant to cause lethal damage when employed by law-enforcement officers, it is meant to knock the target off his feet by applying the focused force of the rounds at the target's centre of gravity as well as causing significant injury to make the target go down.

But "go down" is not the same as "kill" in this regard. Even in military terms, a pistol wouldn't be used if the soldier in question had intent to kill or lethaly maim they would use an assault rifle of some sort instead.

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

You argue that bladed weapons will likely cause crippling injuries? This may be so, but that is what the critical chart is for. It's more important to take your opponent down than to kill them in the long run and this is an effective way of doing it.

 

 

The critical chart doesn't fulfill a reasonable purpose other than adding additional (and somewhat cinematic) effects of injury to the victim in question. Also this wasn't a debate about "what's more effective or not "regarding killing a victim or taking the victim down with more non-lethal means. We were discussing which weapon was more lethal overall with each individual hit, so that aspect of your argument is a bit moot.

It's not a question about what's tactically more efficient, but a question of injury that the two weapons are most likely to cause. In this case, a firearm is more likely to cause lethal internal injuries than a great weapon with one single hit. A great weapon simply applies it's force over a too large area to cause significant harm to a victim that guarantees a kill (kill as in "death within seconds/minutes" not "take down"), unlike most conventional bullets.

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

You also argue that a formal execution is a far cry from actual combat, but have you any idea how casual some of those executions have been? I won't ask you to watch the footage (it's in no way pleasant) of Japanese troops executing chinese, but it's pretty clear the swords cleave through meat and bone quite effortlessly.

 

 

Oh yes I've seen and read about plenty of botched executions (one particular case that took place here a few hundred years ago, got the executioner himself executed because he showed up drunk and couln't sever the condemned's head from the body with one stroke but had to chop several times to get the head off). But it doesn't really matter, because (even casually) trying to kill a victim with a close combat weapon, when the victim is tied down or unable to move out of the way is still a far cry from real combat where the opponent is doing everything he can to avoid getting hit. It's not even comparable.

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

It's an arguement and attitude I've often come across and it saddens me that we still have this Victorian attitude about our 'pinacle of the art' society. Weapons have innovated, not become more lethal. If swords are innaffective, why then have some armies chosen to adopt them again now?

 

 

I don't display a Victorian attitude, I base my statements on facts. Saying that "weapons have innovated, not become more lethal" can almost be considered an oxymoron, becuase the very intention with innovating weapons (at least during the last hundred years or so) is to make them more lethal than their older counterparts.

A soldier of this century possess a higher lethal range and probability to kill his victims than a soldier of two centuries ago. It's a pretty clear cut mathematical equation that tells us this.

And as for swords and knives being used in modern armies, well they have a few advantages over firearms. They don't run out of ammo, and they don't require much in the way of maintenance. They can also be used very silently when the mission requires emphasis on stealth. It's a different kind of tool than the firearm basically, but overall it is still not more lethal than the firearm.

No victorian bull here, just facts...

Hmmm, why do we seem to find ourselves in these little rallies of contention?

The double tap technique was developed by the SAS who use it to kill (yes kill) their targets. They do this for the same reason they shoot downed enemies - dead people don't shoot back. In the case of the SAS, they attempt a double head-shot whereas other institutions commonly utilised a centre-mass then head double-tap to takedown an opponent. The force of a bullet does not actually transfer sufficiently into the body to knock it down, but instead the shock of the penetrating round causes associated muscles to spasm causing an effect that can be misinterpreted. Rounds which carry enough force to effect the stance of a person don't spend all that force on their way through (and I do mean through) the body of the victim.

It would take a very direct hit on a weak portion of the skull (unless at actual point blank) to penetrate with a .22. The round is more likely to 'track' and come out somewhere the other side than it is to penetrate. While this would likely concuss the victim it's not likely to be lethal.

The forces involved in the swing of a great weapon are much harder to reign in than you might think. The sheer weight means that you'd be hard-pressed to pull your blows sufficiently to do other than critical damage to any area struck. The ease of striking with a great weapon is rightfully disputed, but then if you're daft enough to get in the way of one there's sufficient chance that you'll be struck. You can swing one quite quickly (acutally you've not got much choice). As far as being drunk is concerned that's irrelevant. If you really don't believe me, try avoiding somthing of similar weight and dimentions in the hands of someone with an ounce of skill.

My statement concerning innovation I stand by. The only things that have changed significantly in the last two-hundred years are rate of fire and accuracy when it comes to the handgun. Your 'manstopper' smoothbore pistol was pretty deadly, though it took a fair amount of time just to load it. The range and letheality of modern warfare is largely down to improvements in artillery, the implementation of airial bombing and the deployment of hand carried explosives and deployment devices and certainly not sidearms.

These are also facts.

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Acolyte-Plath said:

Varnias Tybalt said:

 

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

 

That is patently untrue. The introduction of lighter rounds has reduced the lethiality of small-arms. It's also worth noting that we're not talking about primary weapons here, but pistols and light weapons.

 

 

Not it is not.

Yes, there are lighter rounds that are less effective at killing their targets depending on what range they are used at. But I can tell you that if we're talking about melee range (for a proper comparison, since the great weapons are used at that range), I can tell you that even a modest .22 can be extremely lethal at this range if aimed at the head of a human target, because at that range a .22 bullet has sufficient force to penetrate one wall of the skull BUT it won't have sufficient force to penetrate the back wall of the skull, which means that the bullet will bounce around inside the skull and turn the brain into mush.

So if even a small .22 (which is one of the smallest commercial calibres available) can kill quite effectively with only one hit at the ranges we're talking about... Well im confident that you can figure the rest out on your own.

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

Your pistol round is as likely to maim as it is to kill which is why the double-tap technique is highly reccomended by most law-enforcement and military institutions for takedown.

 

 

The double-tap technique isn't meant to cause lethal damage when employed by law-enforcement officers, it is meant to knock the target off his feet by applying the focused force of the rounds at the target's centre of gravity as well as causing significant injury to make the target go down.

But "go down" is not the same as "kill" in this regard. Even in military terms, a pistol wouldn't be used if the soldier in question had intent to kill or lethaly maim they would use an assault rifle of some sort instead.

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

You argue that bladed weapons will likely cause crippling injuries? This may be so, but that is what the critical chart is for. It's more important to take your opponent down than to kill them in the long run and this is an effective way of doing it.

 

 

The critical chart doesn't fulfill a reasonable purpose other than adding additional (and somewhat cinematic) effects of injury to the victim in question. Also this wasn't a debate about "what's more effective or not "regarding killing a victim or taking the victim down with more non-lethal means. We were discussing which weapon was more lethal overall with each individual hit, so that aspect of your argument is a bit moot.

It's not a question about what's tactically more efficient, but a question of injury that the two weapons are most likely to cause. In this case, a firearm is more likely to cause lethal internal injuries than a great weapon with one single hit. A great weapon simply applies it's force over a too large area to cause significant harm to a victim that guarantees a kill (kill as in "death within seconds/minutes" not "take down"), unlike most conventional bullets.

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

You also argue that a formal execution is a far cry from actual combat, but have you any idea how casual some of those executions have been? I won't ask you to watch the footage (it's in no way pleasant) of Japanese troops executing chinese, but it's pretty clear the swords cleave through meat and bone quite effortlessly.

 

 

Oh yes I've seen and read about plenty of botched executions (one particular case that took place here a few hundred years ago, got the executioner himself executed because he showed up drunk and couln't sever the condemned's head from the body with one stroke but had to chop several times to get the head off). But it doesn't really matter, because (even casually) trying to kill a victim with a close combat weapon, when the victim is tied down or unable to move out of the way is still a far cry from real combat where the opponent is doing everything he can to avoid getting hit. It's not even comparable.

Acolyte-Plath said:

 

It's an arguement and attitude I've often come across and it saddens me that we still have this Victorian attitude about our 'pinacle of the art' society. Weapons have innovated, not become more lethal. If swords are innaffective, why then have some armies chosen to adopt them again now?

 

 

I don't display a Victorian attitude, I base my statements on facts. Saying that "weapons have innovated, not become more lethal" can almost be considered an oxymoron, becuase the very intention with innovating weapons (at least during the last hundred years or so) is to make them more lethal than their older counterparts.

A soldier of this century possess a higher lethal range and probability to kill his victims than a soldier of two centuries ago. It's a pretty clear cut mathematical equation that tells us this.

And as for swords and knives being used in modern armies, well they have a few advantages over firearms. They don't run out of ammo, and they don't require much in the way of maintenance. They can also be used very silently when the mission requires emphasis on stealth. It's a different kind of tool than the firearm basically, but overall it is still not more lethal than the firearm.

No victorian bull here, just facts...

 

 

Hmmm, why do we seem to find ourselves in these little rallies of contention?

The double tap technique was developed by the SAS who use it to kill (yes kill) their targets. They do this for the same reason they shoot downed enemies - dead people don't shoot back. In the case of the SAS, they attempt a double head-shot whereas other institutions commonly utilised a centre-mass then head double-tap to takedown an opponent. The force of a bullet does not actually transfer sufficiently into the body to knock it down, but instead the shock of the penetrating round causes associated muscles to spasm causing an effect that can be misinterpreted. Rounds which carry enough force to effect the stance of a person don't spend all that force on their way through (and I do mean through) the body of the victim.

It would take a very direct hit on a weak portion of the skull (unless at actual point blank) to penetrate with a .22. The round is more likely to 'track' and come out somewhere the other side than it is to penetrate. While this would likely concuss the victim it's not likely to be lethal.

The forces involved in the swing of a great weapon are much harder to reign in than you might think. The sheer weight means that you'd be hard-pressed to pull your blows sufficiently to do other than critical damage to any area struck. The ease of striking with a great weapon is rightfully disputed, but then if you're daft enough to get in the way of one there's sufficient chance that you'll be struck. You can swing one quite quickly (acutally you've not got much choice). As far as being drunk is concerned that's irrelevant. If you really don't believe me, try avoiding somthing of similar weight and dimentions in the hands of someone with an ounce of skill.

My statement concerning innovation I stand by. The only things that have changed significantly in the last two-hundred years are rate of fire and accuracy when it comes to the handgun. Your 'manstopper' smoothbore pistol was pretty deadly, though it took a fair amount of time just to load it. The range and letheality of modern warfare is largely down to improvements in artillery, the implementation of airial bombing and the deployment of hand carried explosives and deployment devices and certainly not sidearms.

These are also facts.

The double tap was invented by Fairbairn and Sykes, (Who the SAS combat knife is named after), to increase the damage of 9mm and smaller FMJ rounds, the SAS usually aim for a mouth shot to insure lethality.

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A great weapons does not have to be heavy, i have held Bidenhänder (greatswords) which just weightet 1,5-2 Kilogramms (if memory serves thats 3,3 -4,4 pounds). Still, you need two hands to wield them, and you swing them using the speed to make that much damage (tip of a greatsword can reach 180 km/h, that is what cracks your skull).

 

In my eyes, both as a player and a GM, the GW is not overpowered. They may make big holes into the (N)PCs, but they have their draw backs. So no skin off my nose.

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Acolyte-Plath said:

 

I own one too buddy. I have to agree. Lets have a forum of actual experience here... lets have one eh?

 

 

Well if we're going on experience I ca tell you that I've used real swords and firearms as well as witnessing their effects. And I still claim that overall, firearms will be more lethal on average. Swords just have too large surface area of impact to be able to fully use the momentum that it gains in comparison to a bullet. Of course, it mostly depends on how you use it. Thrusts will generally do more damage to a man-sized target due to the high probability of striking a vital organ than a swing will (thrusts = smaller surface of impact with a lot of kinetic energy behind it, which is very likely to pierce the dermis, muscles and even bone sometimes in order to reach the fragile and vital inner organs of the body). However, great weapons aren't intended primarily for thrusts (unless they are spears or lances of course) but rather for swings and cuts. A rapier or similarly sized sword is a lot more useful for thrusting attacks in that regard.

This leads to the concluscions that a swordsman using a sword as a great weapon is rather unlikely to use thrusts as his/her standard mode of attack, due to the difficulty in hitting and how easily parried such a large weapon being thrusted forwards would be. Bullets fired from firearms on the other hand can exclusively be considered as a thrusting attack (because they combine the two traits of high impact energy on a very small surface area), combined with the fact that you can't parry a bullet or get out of the bullets way (like you can most definetly do against a greatsword being thrusted in your direction) just goes to show that on average, the bullet will kill it's target a lot more often than the great weapon will.

Speed + Small impact surface area + the high risk of hitting and rupturing a vital organ + enough force to penetrate protective layers of skin, muscle and sometimes bone + the factor of how easy the weapon is to use.

The way I see it, the bullet wins in most of these categories and is thus more lethal (on average) than the great weapon. The great weapon can achieve similar results in some of these categories, but will ultimately have to sacrifice preformance in other categories as well. i.e if you want a small impact surface area with the sword, you'll have to sacrifice speed because thrusting a sword largely depends on the momentum you can achieve with your body rather than the momentum you'd gain from the torque of swinging the sword in a cutting action.

A swung sword tip might reach speeds of 180 km/h, but a thrusted sword tip? I doubt it...

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From my personal research and knowledge, while a pistol round can indeed be deadly, I'd put my money on the guy who can cleave through heavy plate in a swing and do massive amounts of internal damage. The reason why melee is so much more popular in CQC is because you can do all sorts of horrible things to a body once the weapon is inside, such as twisting, sliding, and generally making the wound even worse. You really can't do anything like that once a bullet is in, and have to rely on special kinds of ammunition to do special things, like fragmenting rounds.

 

See, things like great hammers are made not really to enter a body, but to do horrible things from the outside. The single hit from that could rupture all sorts of nearby organs, or do lasting damage, crush limbs, not to mention put a soldier out of battle permanently. A great sword was made to make SURE the enemy was going to die. To do any sort of lasting damage with a gun, one has to not only be proficient, but have decent aim and knowledge of the body. Headshots are widely known to be enders, but are also the hardest to pull off. The chest is generally well protected, and gut shots, while damaging, probably won't put someone out of the battle if they are desperate to kill you or run away.

 

The primary advantage a firearm has is it's ability to be used at a distance, giving you more room between you and the cultist with a knife, but I'd still be more worried about the meat mountain what has a HUGE hammer/chain sword then the guy with a rifle, unless that rifle's an autogun. Then I just get the hell out of the room.

 

Just my two cents, just in case I accidentally repeat anyone.

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I think that this is a matter of style and flavor as much as realism. If we were just talking about reality, then a modern firearm is clearly a superior weapon to any primitive melee weapon. I mean, smoothbore muskets made things like a greatsword obsolete, and modern (or science fiction) firearms are vastly superior to those weapons. You never see a member of a swat team armed with a great sword or a Green Beret with a halberd, so why would you expect to see a member of an Inquisitor's retinue to carry one?

Well, maybe for style reasons. There are primative elements to the 40K setting, so maybe a player character wants to carry amedieval great weapon instead of a high-tech firearm. If that is the case, then perhaps a great weapon should be balanced with firearms so the guy with the axe isn't clearly inferior to a guy with a highly advanced assault rifle. If that is the feel you're going for, then perhaps the current rules are good as is. Personally, I like to balance flavor and realism. Despite all that, I do think that a great weapon is a bit too powerful for my taste. As somebody else mentioned, I think I would represent a two handed weapon with the same rules as the one handed version but allowing the weilder to double their strength bonus to damage. That makes the weapon useful and deadly but not significantly better than many science fiction weapons.

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Varnias, I agree with you on many topics, but you are WAY off base on this one.

Firearms are killing implements because you can use them at range and they are simpler to achieve a basic level of operator proficiency.  The actual physics behind gunshots means that very little of your kinetic energy potential is actually transfered to the target.  We are talking about a piece of soft metal weighing a few grams and traveling around 900fps (obviously this varies by ammunition, powder, bullet type, barrel length, etc.) with a high percentage of the bullet's potential energy transfer wasted by blowthrough. Faster ammunition is particularly known for this.  The actual kinetic energy transfer to the body is minimal.  Damage is inflicted from the penetrating wound (obviously) as well as hydrostatic shock to the surrounding tissues.  Unlike the movies, most gunshot wounds are NOT inherently fatal unless a vital organ is destroyed or the victim bleeds out (this is already covered in the DH crit tables).

Big nasty melee weapons in trained hands are actually FAR more lethal.  The problem being that you have to be relatively close to your foe to employ them.  Statistically these are not big killers, but the numbers are massively unbalanced: Quite simply, other than re-enactment groups and movie shoots people simply do not walk around with large melee weapons anymore.  Of those that DO carry large weapons, even fewer are actually trained, skilled operators of these weapons.  Now if we add into the equation industrial accidents, motor vehicle accidents, horrible farming incidents and so on you will see the lethal potential of sharp and heavy slabs of metal propelled at a high rate of speed into or against the human body.  The human body being mostly made of water reacts surprisingly similar to a liquid with regards to high speed impacts, blunt force trauma, cutting/tearing injuries and the like...  Once you break the "surface tension" of the skin and dermal layers continued penetration is relatively easy.  Bones and other calcified tissue offer greater resistance but can be crushed, shattered or simply cleaved through by sufficient force; when this happens trauma to surrounding tissues is compounded.   Previous posters who own replica weapons for SCA groups or similar hobbies have mentioned the mass of their weapons to being a few kilos and presented info on the potential power behind these blades.  According to my DH rulebook greatweapons weigh in at 7kg, while the chainaxe is a whopping 13kg!  The power behind a swing of such a weapon is immense, easily 3x the potential energy of our previously mentioned German swords.  These "greatweapons" do indeed have a much greater striking surface than your bullet and so they do indeed expend their energy across a much greater surface area... But it is a simple matter of scale.  A bullet massing a few grams traveling at a high rate of speed strikes perhaps a 1cm square surface area (again, depending on ammo type) and will make a deep penetrating wound, often passing entirely through the body and traumatizing the surrounding tissue due to hydrostatic shock (and potential long-term infection, not that it matters for a combat example).  By contrast our 7kg blade (or mace, whatever) slams into the body at a substantially slower speed, but carries with it a VASTLY greater amount of energy.  Should you spread this impact over a sufficiently wide surface area (say a large bag of dog food flies off the back of a badly secured truck bed and strikes relatively flat across your torso) then you are likely knocked off your feet by the force of impact and likely will have some impressive bruising...  But we are not spreading our energy out nearly so far, we will generously call the striking surface 500cm (very unlikely to be nearly that much) by perhaps a 0.5cm cross-section and we now swing it with the same force as the bag of dog food.  This time our results are MUCH different! Once the leading edge of the blade breaks the surface of our victim's skin it cleaves surprisingly smoothly and forcefully through both soft tissues and bone alike, leaving massive trauma and ruptured organs in it's wake.  Unless the previously mentioned bullet strikes in PRECICELY deadly locations (of which there are remarkably few in the human body) then your blade wound is BY FAR more deadly.  This is why high speed auto accidents are so dangerous, the impacts and flying debris replace our example sword....

Previous posters have mentioned the "double tap" method developed by the British SAS.  There is medical science behind this technique. When executed properly the SAS-style "double tap" (head-on, centre of the face) attempts to put two bullets through a speciffic region of the brain causing near-instantaneous death.  This is an example of an EXTREMELY focused skill in action used with deliberate intent.  By contrast, our 7kg greatsword can be utilized to deadly effect by a drunken football player "by accident" while striking a body in the head, trunk or limbs.  Bullets do not typically sever limbs. [Granted, bolts routinely DO sever limbs but the theoretical physics behind bolter wounds are extremely different to a solid bullet]

And yes.... I do have a medical and military background.

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I think it might be useful to take a look at these videos www.thearma.org/Videos/NTCvids/testingbladesandmaterials.htm

The first one of a guy chopping a deer carcass in half with a single swing of a long sword is pretty horrific. Especially as it is about the same size as a human. Being chopped in half has got to be more damaging than being shot however you look at it. I think the current rulebook damage for a greatsword based on that evidence is about right. Also take a look at the cuts from the elbow videos further down the page - so you don't have to make too much of a swing to cause some really nasty injuries.

There are quite a few videos both at that site and on YouTube which are worth looking at to get a feel for how swords might work. Its certainly changed my perception of them. No wonder people used to rout so often on the battlefield - who would want to face those things?

Also - if you think that maimed by sword is not as bad as killed by sword - the two are often one and the same even with modern medicine as this news story shows: articles.baltimoresun.com/2009-09-16/news/0909150076_1_samurai-sword-samurai-weapon-pontolillo. The intruder died at the scene after having his left hand severed as that was sufficient to cause him to bleed to death before the ambulance could arrive.

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That's nice. Very controverted bull really. What about 40kg of pressure behind less than 1mm of steel does however is sever. It's that simple.

That's someone without much training with a great-weapon, or one without a deal of maintainance. You add a sharp-edge, or better to that and you have a recipe for dismemberment. You think you know something about the science of murder? Try shock. You loose a limb - shock. You suffer catastrofic tissue damage - shock. You suffer a shattered marrow-bone - shock.

Great weapons are *pick one* lethal.

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bogi_khaosa said:

I've been thinking that Great Weapons, especially once mono'd, are ridiculously too powerful. 2d10 + SB is more damage than a Heavy Flamer; much more than a Power Sword. Their only downsides are weight and the fact that you can't parry with them. So, I've been thinking about how to better represent the "HUGE BUT CLUMSY weapon."

My idea is to represent that you need to use big, powerful, easy to avoid swings. I suggest that 1) attacks with a Great Weapon can only be made every other Round (since you need to spin the thing around), 2) cannot be used in conjunction with Swift and Lightning Attack (same reason), and 3) opponents get a +10 to Dodge them.

What do you think?

 

A single parry would then wreck a 'great weapon' and nobody would ever use one.  In fact, under this interpretation, so poor would this weapon be that they simply would not have evolved.  Besides; historically speaking, many 'great weapons' were not clumsy at all.  Larger than non-great weapons, yes, but were they as 'huge and clumsy' as you suggest they simply would not exist.

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Yikes, I should have read all the posts before joining in... I had no idea this was a 'which would win in a battle; the Enterprise, the Galactica, or a Star Destroyer' thread.

 

There are too many factors involved in the 'which is better; gun or great weapon' argument.  Range, proficiency, weapon type, etc.  But here's a simple test to determine which is 'better'....

 

... How many modern armies are using melee weapons today of any sort let alone 'great weapons'?

 

(a Star Destroyer...)

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Aethilgar said:

 

... How many modern armies are using melee weapons today of any sort let alone 'great weapons'?

 

 

How many modern armies give ranged weapons to their elite troops with a maximum range shorter than the average engagement distance of conflicts in a country like Afghanistan?

(to explain, the average distance of small weapon conflicts in Afghanistan is a bit bigger than in many other wars, most of them beginning at 200 meters and going way up from that. The Cadian pattern Hellguns given to Karskin in Ascension have a maximum range of 200m)

 

If weapon ranges where as pitiful in real life as they are in Dark Heresy, i bet more people would still be using melee weapons. Even an AK47 with Iron Sights, a weapon not known for its accuracy can be shot accurately at distances of 200meters, if used on single shot. Machine Pistols from WWII have bigger theoretical maximum ranges than the basic lasrifle! (In case of the MP just talking maxrange, not effective) The 5.56mm Calibre is designed for shooting at ranges of up to 500 meters, with the M16 having an effective range of 550m, which again, is longer than the absolute maximum range of a Lasrifle. The effective range of a standard Infantry rifle from a modern army is longer than the maximum range of the main weapon of the Imperial Army! And just 50m shorter than the maximum range of the Imperial Army's Sniper Rifle!

Basically, weapons in the Warhammer Universe suck, which is why you still see so many melee weapons.

 

To get closer back to topic, I actually have the problem that was touted as the extreme in this thread: A moritat with a mono Greatweapon. Thanks to Lightning attack and his bestially large base damage (thanks for the tearing, Moritat) he can reliably kill one Ambull/round and could probably kill a Nob in Megaarmour in two, with no real chance of getting killed in return. At rank 4! I am a bit stumped at what to do with him.

Using only long range combats is boring, open fields are even more boring. I think I am just gonna have to accept that he can kill anything in close Combat and let him have his moments in the Spotlight, kicking the asses of Nobs, Exarchs and Genestealers before he is even half the way to Ascending. (k, that last bit might have been exaggeration, haven't let him go up against any of those yet ;) )

I think my main problem is extreme power Lightning/Swift Attack give. At least FFG seems to agree, seeing as they didn't give characters in RT access to this talent before pretty high ranks equal to ascended DH chars.

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"The U.S. Army’s transition from smoothbore muskets to rifles in the mid-nineteenth century would have two main effects in the American Civil War: it would strengthen the tactical defensive and increase the number of casualties in the attacking force. With a weapon that could cause casualties out to 1,000 yards defenders firing rifles could decimate infantry formations attacking according to linear tactics."

 

The Barrett M82 is credited with a maximum effective range of 1800 m (1.1 mile); and it was with a .50BMG caliber McMillan TAC-50 rifle that Canadian Master Corporal Rob Furlong made the longest recorded confirmed sniper kill in history, when he shot a Taliban fighter at a range of 2,430 meters (1.51 miles) in Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda in 2002.[3]

 

The kinetic energy of an object of mass m traveling at a speed v is mv2/2, provided v is much less than the speed of light

 

Modern guns have longer effective ranges than older guns. Effective meaning "lethal". This would imply, that the round has enough energy to still kill after suffering deacceleration for longer. Also, that would mean it has greater force at closer range.

Would that not mean that modern weapons are more lethal? And not merely more "innovative", as defined by you it seems as increased rate of fire?

I know using an anti-material rifle is sort of going for broke as an example, but assault rifles have good effective ranges as well. Interesting that the guns in this game have 200M, when ours go so much further. I don't think melee weapons doing so much damage is wrong though. As was pointed out by others, shoot them dead before they get to you. Otherwise yes, a broadsword will kill you just fine.

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Anyone that says that modern weapons are better than a great weapon has obviously never heard of "Fighting Jack" Churchill lengua.gif

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Churchill

He is the only man to have a confirmed kill in WW2 with a bow and arrow and a claymore, and singlehandedly, with only his claymore, took 42 German soldiers prisoner (he snuck up behind a sentry and took him as a human shield, and then proceeded to go around to each sentry in turn, put his claymore under their neck and told them to their weapons). He also only joined the Commandos, when he didn't know what the Commandos were, because "they sounded dangerous".

I think that "Fighting Jack" Churchill should be taken as an example for all as to quite how effective a great weapon can be in the age of modern weaponry gui%C3%B1o.gif

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Kylen said:

(Not because I want to derail farther, but...)
Isn't he also the one that complained when the war was over?

Yep, he complained that the Yanks had ruined the ten years or so of fun he'd have had with the continuing war if it hadn't been for "the bomb".

He is truly "an hero".

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Waywardpaladin said:

Weird, German front was done before we dropped the bomb really. Did he move to the Pacific Theater?

Yes, he was redeployed to the British ground efforts in Burma, but didn't get there until after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as I recall.  I don't recall the specifics.

-=Brother Praetus=-

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Brother Praetus said:

Waywardpaladin said:

 

Weird, German front was done before we dropped the bomb really. Did he move to the Pacific Theater?

 

 

Yes, he was redeployed to the British ground efforts in Burma, but didn't get there until after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as I recall.  I don't recall the specifics.

-=Brother Praetus=-

Yep, that's what happened. He actually filed a complaint about the US dropping the bomb to the Ministry of Defence, saying that it was dishonourable and "not sporting". lengua.gif

Still, shows how effective great weapons can be in an era of modern weapons!

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