Rapier, Katana, and Broadswords

I love melee characters and these are great weapons, but I have a tiny gripe concerning these. Now of course I would love to see a re balance/overhaul for melee at some point but the thing that is really bugging me atm is Parry. Its a great technique, and I have only ever seen it on one weapon… the Katana. Now I know we aren’t going full on realism here, but there is a whole class of good weapons capable of parry that currently have weak block instead. It seems to me to be a rather minor issue on account of the techniques/flags already existing. I am thinking primarily of smaller, lighter weapons, such as the Rapier, combat knife, and broadsword. Now when I think block, I think holding up a weapon to absorb the impact of an incoming attack. When I think parry, I think deflecting an incoming attack off to the side using the edge of the blade. It is simply a redirection of the force from an incoming object rather than a direct absorption, allowing the defender to divert that energy without expending much effort on his part.

The other thing is I have quite the fondness for the Rapier (2 handed swords as well but there are none in this game atm aside from Katana) and not only do I think it is the most prime candidate for gaining Parry instead of weak block, it should also be a bit faster OR do a bit more damage to make it more on par with the Katana as a top tier melee weapon. Don’t get me wrong, Katana are cool, but they are not the be all end all of melee weapons and I much prefer the finesse of a rapier(and occasionally the brute force of a zweihander, modify a sledgehammer to cut and buff its damage and there you go).

The thing about (at least original) katanas was that they were actually made from rather shitty steel. One clean hit, and the blade is ruined. In contrast, most european swords were made of a thicker chunk of higher quality steel that was designed to both smash through armor and survive rough abuse.

If we are going for full on realism here, you would get a parry on a rapier, but many european swords would end up doing more blunt damage than cutting damage. Also, that whole knife clashing and parrying bit doesn’t really happen in real life. A good example of why would be for you to hold a thin metal rod near the base and have someone else hit the other end with a baseball bat.

It’s nice to see there’s some folks out there who don’t buy into the myth that katanas are good swords.

Yay for European arming swords!

Darn, really? Shame, my Asian heritage has been forever dishonored. Anyway, I for one want to see more swords. Like… um… crap I forgot. But I want to be a dual wielding swordsman!

Even the modern day Japanese sword masters recognize the myth for what it is. They’re afraid to face a European blade.

Thats just the thing, I don’t see parrying as a “clash of swords” because that sort of shit does not really have much historical precedent except in desperate situations. It is a redirection of the incoming object using the flat of the blade, not a direct hit or direct block, but a deflection. I do understand that the basic rule of sword based combat emphasized not being where the opponents weapon is going, and then using the opportunity given by his failed attack to make one of your own. The thing is, that mechanic is already taken care of by dodging, and while we already have blocks for unarmed combat the defensive techniques tied with melee weapons is based on the statistics of the weapon itself atm. An argument could be made that it is more appropriate to tie such techniques either melee skill or the damage type skill for the appropriate weapon types… but at the moment I just want something minor.

As for the idea of using parry in the first place with these weapons, think of it this way: parry is sort of a sword equivalent of a defensive judo technique(my favorite martial art in the game btw, wish it was stronger as well >_>). You do not simply stick your blade in the path of an incoming attack, nor do you swing at an incoming object with your blade to cause deflection, you use the flat of the blade to “gently” guide the incoming object to one side or another. Not really sure how we are doing this with zombie teeth and bear claws being the attacking objects but still, blocking is the realm of hafted weapons, shields, and purpose built defensive weapons (Edit: Oh yeah, and bracers/gauntlets).

The ability to parry is already in the game, but atm the only weapon that has the ability, an ability which I might add is superior to weak block which the other ones have, is probably not the first weapon you would think of/use defensively. I am not as concerned with the realism of the naming scheme of the defensive techniques used by these weapons, I simply think that these smaller, lighter weapons should have defensive ability at least equal, if not superior, to that of the katana (which is still the higher end of the spectrum in terms of offensive power compared so some smaller, less purpose built blades so it still has its advantages).

Bigger and heavier may mean more damage, but it also means your going to need more force to maneuver it on the defense. In addition, katana attacks are primarily based on an overhead or horizontal cutting stroke which, while powerful, requires you to fully commit to your attack/swing. Light piercing weapons such as the Rapier (not foils like in fencing) are used to both threaten the opponent to keep them from approaching too closely (kinda pointless against zombies in that respect and you can technically do similar with a katana) and to be maneuverable enough to quickly take advantage of any weak points the opponent exposes without requiring a lot of commitment in your attacks (minimizing exposure of your own weak points). As it stands now the Rapier “seems” to be a bit weaker than the katana overall offensively, and IS weaker defensively. My argument is simply that both should be equally viable top tier weapons that simply stem from different schools of thought. It just kind of irks me that the katana is the best both offensively AND defensively atm when at the very least they should be on equal footing.

Just saw that article you posted and had a chance to read it. I do find that very interesting and honestly think there is a bit too much love for the Katana atm but at the same time I can not really blame a lot of the Japanese practitioners they contacted for not wanting to participate. It sounds to me like it was simply an incompatibility of cultural beliefs at the heart of it.

In my opinion, all of these weapons were fantastic and deadly in the right hands, but they were crafted to suit the needs of the society in which they were created. Both Rapiers and Katana are designed to be extremely effective versus armored opponents, but while a katana amplifies cutting force by using a curved blade and focuses the energy on an extremely fine edge, a Rapier’s narrow shape and maneuverability is ideal for sticking between the joints/plates of various types of armor (or through in the case of mail). The kind of armor Katana typically faced was lighter materials that were layered rather than the heavier metals we see in many western armors. While the rapier would still be likely to bypass the armor of a traditional Samurai, even of the highest quality, due to the wearer requiring gaps in order to “move” in it, a Katana would fair poorly against a full suit of plate armor.

So yeah, not really a fair match-up to begin with. Add to that the fact that the westerners believed in the quality of modern replicas while the Japanese believed that the older equipment that was irreplaceable because of its significance (both cultural and historical) was better and it’s not really surprising at all that none of them would agree to those terms. But yeah, I am off topic again.

Google up ‘kiri-sute gomen’ for a fun trip into the weird world of samurai ‘honor’ killings.

From everything I’ve ever read or seen it seems that katanas were primarily employed to kill unarmored and usually unarmed peasants (and often their entire families) or (disarmed) lower ranking samurai, rather than as a primary means of defense. One look at the weapon’s flimsy blade and absence of a decent hilt is enough to tell you that it was never intended to be used against a foe on equal footing.

The samurai’s primary battlefield strength was kyujutsu, or ‘the way of horse and bow’ and not sword combat because they were primarily horseback archers.

Fast forward to WWII and we see the katana being put to its old use once more during the Rape of Nanking during the ‘hyakunin-giri kyoso’ which translates to ‘contest to kill 100 people using a sword’ - a contest between two Japanese Imperial officers (Toshiaki Mukai and Tsuyoshi Noda) to see who could execute one hundred bound Chinese prisoners with their katanas the fastest.

So while a katana may be good for killing someone who is wearing nothing more than cloth to stop its razor edge, it really fails the acid test as a weapon of warfare when compared to European blades which were intended to be used against a foe who could actually fight back.

Against zombies, though, either sounds great; heck, chopping unarmored people apart with ease is what the katana is made for.

Edit: Spelling correction.

On the other hand, Bow And Horse (and spear, the primary Samurai melee weapon) really were far superior combat tools to a sword. :wink:

Wait, if the spear was the primary weapon of Samurai, then is a katana just for duels?

  1. In older times, hard armor was a luxury given to the elite. Most peasants went to war with either no armor or a thin leather armor. Variations (as in combat ready) on the katana were often brought as a sidearm by those that could afford it, but only really saw use if they were de-horsed, and then only on footpads that blindly charged (these variations tended to be either considerably longer or shorter than the ceremonial one we all know).

  2. Actually, watch mythbusters and you can see why europeans never went with thin razor swords. Against anything beyond leather or paper (actually existed for combat) armor, those razor sharp blades would generally be the only thing damaged. Compare that to a european sword which often had little to no cutting ability, but had a localized weight and a very sharp tip used to punch through the toughest of armor.

  3. Parrying actually requires a considerable amount of force. Honestly, the fact that the katana has it is a historical oversight, as even the “combat ready” variations can be very easily destroyed/disabled by any sideways hit to near the tip of the blade.

For f**ks sake.
Katana is good only at slicing. Flesh and leather. Nothing else, dammit. Of course, you can try to thrust, but even kevlar vest will stop it - and it will be capable of bending or even breaking the sword. Mostly because of center of mass placed near blade’s tip. This shit is fragile as fuck. It’s a fucking enlarged kitchen khife. The only good way to deflect an attack with it - parrying. Fast parrying, which only deflects attacks - and opens your enemy for a clear shot if he’s not agile enough.
Rapier is different. You can block with it - hand guard was created for that - but not effective enough, you’ll get staggered or even drop your sword. It’s more of a parrying type of sword, but with piercing attack it’s much better in attacking armored targets.

tl:dr - katanas should be nerfed a little. Or damage types must be reworked - slash must be almost useless vs armored targets but devastating for flesh, and pierce must be not so dangerous to flesh but hella damage to armor.

But… But… But…

Katanas are teh awesomesauce! I know, because I have seen AMC™’s The Walking Dead!

I guess the issue here is, do we want realism or Hollywood?

Well, yeah. I’ve overdone it a little bit, but without some realism it would be sort of a shitty roguelike zombie survival.

Of course, most zombies ARE just fleshy bits, and the Katana will remain quite good at killing them. (At least the real Katana, we’re going to have “display” swords of all types as well hanging around, heheh)

When I finish my combat rewrite, zombies will actually have a pretty decent resistance to piercing, so the katana will probably be one of the better swords for dealing with them.

The problem with spears as that as awesome as they are, they have disadvantages - they get stuck in things, they snap, they get thrown (which is an advantage, but then leaves you sans spear) and they tend to be heavy and bulky. Swords, katanas included, tended to be the equivalent of the modern day pistol as compared to the militaries primary weapon, rifles - they were good for situations where you didn’t want to lug around a larger weapon, were handy for close combat situations in tight places, were useful as a backup weapon if you lost your primary weapon, etc. and so on. You’d generally only lug your spear and bow around when you were expecting combat, but the katana (like swords in general) could be carried everywhere much more easily. Since Samurai generally spent more time acting as police than they did as warriors, it was probably more common to see them carrying a sword than a spear and bow.

Katana’s were also pretty decent weapons to use from horseback. Notice the similarities between the katana and it’s European kin, the saber.

Essentially: It wasn’t a bad weapon, at all, but most weapons existed to serve a purpose, and the purpose of weapons in different regions tended to differ. The katana was a very effective tool for the purpose it served, but that purpose generally wasn’t “everything” like people seem to think it was.

A primary purpose of the Katana for Samurai was as a symbol - the pairing of a katana and smaller sword (known as daishō) was legally limited to samurai in many times and places, so wearing one was an effective way to let people know not to mess with you.

Samurai equipment generally included…
Yumi: (Later, this was replaced by the tanegashima (a Matchlock rifle), which became the go-to samurai weapon)

Yari: (Replaced Naginata in 15th century)

Wakazashi/Tanto: Technically, this is closer to a pistol. The equivalent of the knive’s European’s and everyone else wore all the time.
Katana/Tachi: Basic Sword/Version specialized for horseback

The thing to remember is that honor-wise, you got a lot more respect as a Samurai for killing more people. So decent sniping weapons (bow/rifle) were preferred for combat, and quick cutting weapons (katana) for dealing with routed enemies.

The Yari was the most effective weapon for difficult fights, and the primary weapon for actual warfare, but there wasn’t a whole lot of murder-credit you could earn for it - it was most useful against targets that could effectively fight back and had closed enough that you couldn’t shoot them.

Some Samurai also has some different favored weapon, and like European knights many weren’t actually professional warriors, and would often use what they were most familiar with instead of the best weapon for a given situation, esp. since their primary duties were dealing with peasant uprisings or criminals rather than fighting armies. Samurai was actually an entire class of people - Samurai women, for example, were expected to stay at home and raise the children (and also handle everything concerning money), and thus were usually only trained in naginata and knife-fighting instead of getting any sort of war-specific training, and didn’t even use a katana at all!

hanging around
So, finally, mansions will become useful.

Yeah, we are talking zombies here, so of course a katana is going to be effective, particularly on the offense. Again, I am not really asking for a nerf to them or anything cause I know a lot of people “love” them, I just would like to have a slight buff to the rapier to make it a competitor. It is only fitting, though, that other blades that can do the job nearly as well have the ability.

Also, would it really be less effective against flesh? Sure your not cleaving off limbs, but you have a much finer control over where you hit. I know zombies of the traditional sense sorta don’t care about missing limbs or crippling injuries very much but we DO have head shots and critical against them. Rapier do already have the Precision Attack flag but I am really foggy on how effective that actually is.

Critical hits are going to have reduced effectiveness versus zombies, and piercing attacks will primarily deal damage via critical hits.

White, zombies, at least in this game, do not have vital organs, only a single, slightly more sensitive, one. You have to either break them or chop them into immobile bits to keep them down. Piercing damage doesn’t really fulfill either of those.

Every now and then people tend to forget the melee wasn’t as theatrical as Orlando Bloom was, or as David the Beck will be when he drops the spicy wife.
This concerns me with a simple fact that people tend to generalize tools of war. Look at the long pikes - they had axes, spikes, even hammers at the end - and beyond default usage which was to keep the oposing crowd at bay, they punched through full suits of armor, helmets nevertheless. Hell with it, simple wooden poles were the end of many knights.
But the real combat wasn’t, and still isn’t about total armor coverage vs. inferior weaponry; it’s all about getting your opponent off-balance. So you have 25% (slightly), 50% (off), 75% (prone) and idle, when you throw the armoured, chitinous beetle of a man on his back with legs up. A skilled swordsman with a light blade is glad to see a cumbersome foe in front of him, and is not scared at all. (!)
Just noting the obvious, critical hit ain’t about the thrill of a heavy maul, it’s about the skill.