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Author Topic: Swords and Back Scabbards.  (Read 715 times)

GeorgeHill

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Swords and Back Scabbards.
« on: July 29, 2016, 11:32:47 AM »
As tired as I am of the Fantasy BS that is Pistols Akimbo... I'm tired of seeing "Warriors" with their Swords carried on their backs.  Some guys on the internet argue that this was common.  That is BS.  Look at all the Medieval Tapestries... How many Knights and Soldiers are depicted with Back Scabbards? None.  How many have their swords at their sides?  All of them.
End of story.
There are really only two swords that were ever really carried on the back.   And these were basically the Squad Automatic Weapon versions of swords...
The Ōdachi of Feudal Japan... and the Claymore of the Scottish Highlands.   And in both cases - they were rare and special, and used only to transport to the area of operation.  They were not drawn from while on the back like we see in so many fantasies.   
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    seanp

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    Re: Swords and Back Scabbards.
    « Reply #1 on: July 29, 2016, 01:54:43 PM »
    Also interesting to note the various German two handed swords, which were not carried in scabbards at all, but over the shoulder, like a pole arm, which they were deployed against.
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    kunkmiester

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    Re: Swords and Back Scabbards.
    « Reply #2 on: July 29, 2016, 03:49:49 PM »
    I was thinking to look this up soon actually.  I was looking at a situation where while not ideal, it might actually make sense.

    Character is in a fantastic sci-if universe.  He is a bioengineered super soldier, and has some additional abilities that make ranged combat less ideal for him.  On top, he carries a special sword that augments those abilities.  It's thus not something you would just want to leave behind.

    He is an engineer of sorts, an "artificer."  If he goes into combat as a fighter, he'd probably have his sword at his waist, but I was thinking as an engineer and mechanic putting it on his back would be more convenient for doing things besides fighting.  There though it is more of a second tier use.
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    JackCrow

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    Re: Swords and Back Scabbards.
    « Reply #3 on: July 29, 2016, 05:59:50 PM »
    As someone who spent many years wearing swords and armor and fighting in it, you are absolutely correct. And as with gun oriented carry gear, properly designed and fitted harness is essential as well.
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    Plebian

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    Re: Swords and Back Scabbards.
    « Reply #4 on: July 29, 2016, 06:54:18 PM »
    Usually those scabbard on the back fellows go on to cut clean through plate armor with those same swords. So I just always see it as film BS like shooting pistols out of people's hands etc.

    You also see full plate armored warriors mowed down by arrows shot through the breast plate, or that all medieval colors are grey or browns of various sorts. Where the real knights would have looked more like drag queens in color choice and apparel than modern day subdued military gear.   
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    Re: Swords and Back Scabbards.
    « Reply #5 on: July 29, 2016, 07:04:32 PM »
    I was thinking to look this up soon actually.  I was looking at a situation where while not ideal, it might actually make sense.

    Character is in a fantastic sci-if universe.  He is a bioengineered super soldier, and has some additional abilities that make ranged combat less ideal for him.  On top, he carries a special sword that augments those abilities.  It's thus not something you would just want to leave behind.

    He is an engineer of sorts, an "artificer."  If he goes into combat as a fighter, he'd probably have his sword at his waist, but I was thinking as an engineer and mechanic putting it on his back would be more convenient for doing things besides fighting.  There though it is more of a second tier use.

    How would you 'engineer' someone so that melee combat becomes more effective than ranged combat? Unless your enemy is wearing protection to stop the projectiles/ranged attack, or is in some confined areas to make ranged combat not effective. Then why not just use those 'engineered' abilities to shoot faster/more accurately.

    I could see using melee soldiers as a sort of shock troop to spread fear and sap enemy morale, but that is about it.
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    Re: Swords and Back Scabbards.
    « Reply #6 on: July 30, 2016, 08:33:16 AM »
    All of the living spaces are underground, because it's a mining colony on a planet with an inhospitable atmosphere?

    Reasons can be invented. ;-)


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    kunkmiester

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    Re: Swords and Back Scabbards.
    « Reply #7 on: July 30, 2016, 02:34:25 PM »
    How would you 'engineer' someone so that melee combat becomes more effective than ranged combat? Unless your enemy is wearing protection to stop the projectiles/ranged attack, or is in some confined areas to make ranged combat not effective. Then why not just use those 'engineered' abilities to shoot faster/more accurately.

    I could see using melee soldiers as a sort of shock troop to spread fear and sap enemy morale, but that is about it.
    It's in the physics.  There are movies about humans engineering super-soldiers, but that's humans doing the engineering.  Imagine a far more advanced race, that's been in a multi-century cold war, trying to simplify logistics by integrating Iron Man +10 into a symbiotic matrix that lives inside you and seeks to do similar.  Part of this is also protection against chemical and biological weapons.

    I'm still fiddling with some of the physics--it's mostly a consideration of the aesthetics at this point.  The way I'm leaning though, it's basically force fields.  The quantum handwavium does two things: you have an actual "force field" which provides energy that must be overcome before molecular bonds take damage, and you have a bit of resonance issues--like billiards balls, if you're not matched, not all of the energy of an attack is absorbed, and the handwavium takes this farther.

    A melee weapon can get you close enough you can match those energy states though, allowing efficient attacks.  You can do this at short range with some ranged weapons but at that point you're in sword range anyway.  Ranged weapons are one way--the energy goes to the target, with no feedback, so while a beam rifle or rail gun can be made man portable with the power to normally deal with the force field, it is handicapped by the resonance issue where it can't deposit all energy.  Fun thing, small things like molecules match very quickly, and so napalm is a popular weapon.  Once it gets on you it matches resonance and energy state and so just burns you not caring about the rest.  So you get napalm, and even really fun kinds of napalm using stuff like di-chlorine-di-fluorine for the stuff to make things worse.  Artillery in the Arcturian Empire is either nuclear, or napalm.  Anything else just doesn't work.

    A sword ends up as a kind of antennae, allowing some projection of your internal fields--Arcturians can do stuff like cut through concrete walls and the like.  As with antennae though, you can optimize the design, and that's the character's thing--he has an extra fancy one.

    This extends to space ships as well, though due to size, power density and such are able to be greater, so resonance matching is less important than raw force field power.  As I said, some of this is purely aesthetic, does the engineering crew struggle to keep the resonance of the ship varied to keep the other ship from scoring damage, or is the captain shouting "full power to the shields!" or something?
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    Plebian

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    Re: Swords and Back Scabbards.
    « Reply #8 on: July 31, 2016, 08:11:27 AM »
    SNIP

    So long story short, they are wearing armor of sorts. It is sorta in the 'Dune' type setup were energy fields do yada yada so we need to stick em with sharp pointy bits instead of shoot.   

    Stories do not need to be logical. They just need to be consistent. Some of the best novels are not very logical.

    Frodo could have rode that eagle to the volcano, and been back before second breakfast.  :cool   
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