Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Categories

New Premium Module: Tyrants of the Moonsea! Read More
Attention, new and old users! Please read the new rules of conduct for the forums, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

Perfection: Thy name is Katana! ...Really?

24

Comments

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,450
    edited January 2013
    Doesn't this just come down to art and roleplaying?

    As far as in-game mechanics, there's no difference in effectiveness. 1d10 over 1d8? Meh. There's also the issue of what magical weapons are available in the game. A lot of people make their weapons choices because they want to use one or two specific magic weapons.

    As far as real life, as has already been said, weapons evolve in response to armor evolution, and vice-versa. It is a cultural and sociological topic. When cultures begin to clash in history, things get really interesting, but most in-culture, internecine advantages are lost once one culture goes to war with another.

    European domination of most of the planet from about 1400 through 1950 would seem to indicate that the European crafts of steelworking in weapons and armor wind up being superior, although there are many other sociological factors, such as climate and agriculture to consider. There is a really good PBS documentary about this issue called "Guns, Germs, and Steel".

    SilyTJ_Hooker
  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    "European domination of most of the planet from about 1400 through 1950"

    On what planet did that happen? As far as population, territory and cultural influence are concerned, Europe didn't dominate anything except itself. European cultures have certainly tried their best to dominate the planet, and to their knowledge got close to it. But the world map of the Roman empire, for example, was considerably smaller than the world.

  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    edited January 2013
    I certainly recognize the claimed territority, but just because some Brits put a flag on an island, it didn't automatically become British cultured. The colonial nations invested a LOT into converting natives to their faith, but alas... look at former colonies now. Most reverted to their original ways and religions. They were British (for example) on paper, for a while. The colonial influence stopped long before 1950. Domination isn't standing on a hill and declaring yourself to be the king of it in this context. Many of the foreign troops of colonial armies didn't get to vote if they prefer their own weapons over the invaders' weapons. Maybe they had succeeded with the weapons the conquered culture had, if the same number of soldiers had used them. Maybe they had needed by far less soldiers to succeed. You can't repeat a battle, so there is no way to try. But saying a European weapon is better because more territory was conquered by it doesn't hold up. History has shown armies inferior in numbers and equipment can defeat superior forces by strategy. And in many cases, the reason for victory or defeat was circumstancial - political reasons preventing or favoring alliances, when and where battles took place, and the weapons used played a very minor role in the big picture.

  • Kitteh_On_A_CloudKitteh_On_A_Cloud Member Posts: 1,629
    @KidCarnival: 'The Roman Empire was considerably smaller than the world.' ...Erm, what? Take a look at a map of the Roman Empire at its peak of domination. They controlled a HUGE territory. Of course they gradually started to lose control of it because it was so large, but still. The Roman were very organized and renowned for their military strategies. A lot of German tribes have had to submit to them in the past. I don't think you should underestimate the Romans, lol.

  • Kitteh_On_A_CloudKitteh_On_A_Cloud Member Posts: 1,629
    Also, agreed with @TJ_Hooker. How could you neglect such a fact? Boggles my mind.

  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,694
    It's true that Katanas were used against Lamellar armor and weren't used against Plate Mail. But Longswords aren't really all that good against Plate Armor, either. The best offense against Plate Armor exploited the joints in the armor and Piercing weapons like the Flamberge, etc.

    What Katanas did have over Longswords were those folds. Folds generally do make a weapon stronger, and in the case of the Katana, were also made of two types of steel: one stronger and more brittle, the second more malleable and softer. These were beaten together and then folded, many, many times, allowing the strengths of both steels and the weaknesses of neither. There is usually an actual line on the blade showing where the steel sections are folded.

    Then, too, there is a difference in quality in modern Katanas, too. You can buy ones for $200- of course, those are pretty crap Katanas, similar to a $50 special handgun. But if you get a handmade one from an actual master swordsmith today in Japan, you can pay $15,000 to $20,000 plus. The implication in AD&D is that this is a higher-quality blade, not produced en masse by a blacksmith, but something that took a good deal longer and a lot more care than a local blacksmith's blade (or his apprentice)- let's face it, apprentices had to practice their blademaking, too. And if you get a cheap Longsword, you get what you pay for. And if you are in BG1, there is a pretty good chance, it's going to break.

    I recall Mythbusters doing an episode on/with Katanas, and they got one of the better ones as well as a cheap Katana (a mid-range blade, probably $500 or $1000 vs the $200 one), and the higher cost Katana split the cheap blade in half. So yeah, there is a reason why people see Katanas as better.



    Of course, there are other weapons made to take out heavy armor. Maces could crush your head like an egg, even if you were wearing a helm. Put a baseball-sized dent in a helmet, and the wearer will die. Flails could do that, too, with the added bonus that a flail, based on the threshing implement used by farmers, could wrap around over a shoulder or around the edge of a shield and still get in a fair knock to the armor-wearer. And a flanged mace? That can seriously ruin your day, even if you are wearing plate armor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mace_(club)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail_(weapon)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_swordsmithing

    moopy
  • Kitteh_On_A_CloudKitteh_On_A_Cloud Member Posts: 1,629
    Let me just say this: Who cares, actually? If people like to boast with katanas, let them. There are bigger problems in the world to worry about.

  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    @Kitteh_On_A_Cloud - The world map of the Roman Empire was considerably smaller than the world. From the perspective of that time, they did rule a damn large territory, but it was far from being "almost the entire world". Their idea of "entire world" was a few continents short of the truth.

  • Kitteh_On_A_CloudKitteh_On_A_Cloud Member Posts: 1,629
    @KidCarnival: It's still a damn accomplishment they did there. I don't think their way of domination should be taken lightly. Neither the British empire. That's all.

  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    @Kitteh_On_A_Cloud - No arguement there. It's just still not a valid point to me to say "long sword is better than katana because it was used to win more territory". Atila the Hun had an army of completely random tribes who certainly had some swords, but also pretty much every other weapon type available at the time, and he gave Rome a hard time. Or the Persians who operated under the premise to let all their conquered subjects do whatever they wanted as long as they handed over the fees. They had a colorful mix of weapons, too, and were also rather successful at exansion. But it doesn't make armies with a random assortment of weapons automatically better than armies of soldiers using the same weapons.

  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,740
    edited January 2013
    I am really enjoying reading this discussion. It has been quite informative. I think a lot of people are bringing up very good points here.

    As to the world domination thing, I am by no means a historian or even familiar with much of ancient history so correct me if I'm wrong here. Would it be fair to say that a main factor in the domination of Europe was that they invented history so they actually recorded their territories and empires more thoroughly? Would this not result in them almost completely dominating the known world (at least the world known to them)? I also believe there was quite a lot going on in eastern Asia and middle America/northern South America in terms of world dominance (Due to geographic isolation one could almost consider these places as separate "worlds" at the time.). The only difference with these two places from Europe was that they recorded their histories much less so we don't know as much about their empires, which were probably just as big, if not bigger, than the European empires. Southern Africa, Australia, southern South America and northern North America however seem to have had no major empires and were likely home to only more basic tribal peoples.

  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 1,824
    @Tresset -

    China recorded their history much more thoroughly than European countries. Middle East and India, if not better, at least just as good.

  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    Here is a sword cooler than a katana...

    image

    Although it DOES NOT EXIST IN REALITY!

    This one however did and it belonged to King Henry VIII

    image

    And I really wanted to put a picture of scottish claymore on... For those who do not know a Scottish Claymore is basically a longsword, with direct ancestry from the viking style. It had a broader blade, so would be more stronger than your normal longsword, but was also heavier.

    Unfortunately, Google Claymore, and you will see that the name has been taken over by a Japanese manga comic... Perhaps the Japanese love Claymores in the same way we love their Kantanas?

  • moopymoopy Member Posts: 938
    I still haven't seen an example of European swords smithing that could compete with the Japanese in their prime. Japans best sword smith started as early as 1288. I'm sure Europe eventually caught up but I still think the Japanese were better earlier.

  • ryuken87ryuken87 Member Posts: 563

    "European domination of most of the planet from about 1400 through 1950"

    On what planet did that happen? As far as population, territory and cultural influence are concerned, Europe didn't dominate anything except itself. European cultures have certainly tried their best to dominate the planet, and to their knowledge got close to it. But the world map of the Roman empire, for example, was considerably smaller than the world.

    @kidcarnival
    If you combine the British, French, Spanish, Portugese, Russian, Dutch and Ottoman empires then you have the majority of land on the planet. The significant portions of land not belonging to these empires are Antarctica, Greenland, China and USA (which was obviously settled by Europeans). There must be loads of reasons why they were able to do so, but I'd put superior ships and gunpowder near the top of the list.

    moopyTJ_HookerAnduinAristillius
  • moopymoopy Member Posts: 938
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,740
    Anduin said:

    Although it DOES NOT EXIST IN REALITY!

    @Anduin WHAAAAATTT???? REALLYY? I HADS NO IDEA!!! I thought that was REEL!!!1!

    Anduin
  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    If you count the Russian and Ottoman empires as European, it's a different picture. But I wouldn't really say the Ottomans were European. For the longest time, they were the threat European countries were afraid of, and they used different strategies and weapons, besides having different cultural roots.

    Anduin
  • DjimmyDjimmy Member Posts: 749
    @CamDawg Katana is one-handed weapon.

    Every weapon has its advantages and historic reason to exist.

    Off-topic offtopic but this is cool(and I think the weapon Achilles wields is a gladius)

  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,395
    Djimmy said:

    @CamDawg Katana is one-handed weapon.

    In D&D, yes.

    Teflon
  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    Tresset said:

    Anduin said:

    Although it DOES NOT EXIST IN REALITY!

    @Anduin WHAAAAATTT???? REALLYY? I HADS NO IDEA!!! I thought that was REEL!!!1!
    @Tresset I know. I was near to tears when I discovered that the umpalumpas didn't use dragon heads, but used hedgehogs... It really put a dampner on my day...

  • AristilliusAristillius Member Posts: 873
    I am not a particular sword nut, but a history nut. That video at the start was pretty stupid. I would like to see if it was the same quality iron and swordsmithing used to create those swords - I seriously doubt it was just the superior *shape* of the two swords.

    @moopy
    Indeed, I believe the japanese sword smiths were superior for a long time. But I think the best sword forged in Milano in 1500 would be comparable. Obviously, the Katana is good at slashing, but the most modern longswords had very strong piercing as well as slashing properties. Also, Katans are not so good at defending (very small hilt)?

    @Tresset
    Yeah, I agree that the Europeans had the good fortune to be the writers of history. But although the strongest armies were in the middle east and china before, Europe absolutely dominated after 1600. Even if they did not directly *control* the *entire* world (but a lot of it), they were without equal in military or economic terms.

    I mean high tech gunpowder, books, glasses, amazing ships, disease and so on. China and Japan lost their edge when they started being so introvert (I think Japan actually started using portugese gunpowder weapons in the 1400s - then angry Samurai had it all banned until the americans started bombarding Tokyo and they had to accept the new technology to keep the foreigners away). China is a large landmass which means it was more likely to form one large state, more concerned with itself.

    Europe is naturally divided so that different nations were more likely to form, they competed and sailing and developing superior thecnology was one important factor in gaining an edge over your competitors. European nations did not have to luxury of China - if European nations did not keep up in thecnology they were simply conquered. This is at least a theory about why europe emerged like it did =)
    I mean Europe in 700 AD compared to China was like comparing a tribe in Papua New Guinea with Tokyo now.

  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,395

    Also, Katans are not so good at defending (very small hilt)?

    I've never trained with other swords, so I don't have a good point of comparison. Most of the defensive moves we learned were generally using the curve of the blade to deflect a strike towards the tip of the sword and then counterattack--if you're good, in one fluid motion. E.g. if someone tries an overhead strike, you put your hands up and right with the blade pointing left and slightly down. The blow slides down and left off the curve and then you slip right and strike the neck.

    Aristillius
  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745

    I certainly recognize the claimed territority, but just because some Brits put a flag on an island, it didn't automatically become British cultured

    I watched a documentry the other day that started with a complaint from a european important person that the british are boring and have no culture. The documentry, in reality, bit back and basically acknowledged that british culture has been so absorbed by the rest of the world, the british haven't got anything of their own left!

    If you have three meals a day. That is a very british thing to do. Most cultures before the british empire had 1 or 2.

    If you have a seven day week and have the Saturday and Sunday off. That is a british, (we invented the weekend, sweet! plus most of the names in the week, though I'm sure no one in japan calls Woden's day ((Woden is the anglo-saxon name for Odin, a famous viking god)) or wednesday as it translates now... They got have a different name... If anyone else are using germanic gods as names of the days in the week that is cultural crazy absorption right there!

    If you use the gregorian calender, consider f*ck, sh*t and tw*t swear words, salute with a hand raised to the side of the head, mow your lawn or even tend a garden, (Only the british could use gardening to show there power of civilization over the rest of the world!) use stamps, eat jam or marmalade, travel on trains, then you are also immersed in british culture... Although I'm pretty sure something about usefulness is bound to crop up in further discussion. I Morris dance every now and again. We are quite lucky that we have a dwarf to toss, but I'm not sure this would be accepted, or used, in other cultures...

    Also, some discussion as to whether the french invented swear words as these were the words William the Conquer (Norman/Frenchie) banned after his conquest of england... Must have been told to f*ck off a lot.

    Last of all. Longswords are better than Katanas... Although I love Japan as they are the only other nation that drives on the left apart from the commonwealth nations. They must be a very clever and inventive people.

    TJ_HookerAristilliuslolien
  • TJ_HookerTJ_Hooker Member Posts: 2,438
    edited January 2013
    Yeah the idea that European/Colonial influences have disappeared, and that most places just reverted back to how they were before colonization, is pretty ridiculous. The Americas, as well as Australia, are pretty obvious and significant examples.

    Anduin
  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    Asia looks pretty reverted to me, with Hong Kong being the obvious exception. If anything, Western culture co-exists, but it didn't replace the original culture. The natives in America and Australia still have their own culture, and the population of European decent has, naturally, a European culture - combined, that makes it co-existance, not domination. (Though, yes, the European influences *are* dominant.)

    Anduin
  • AristilliusAristillius Member Posts: 873
    @Anduin hehe, like you post. But do you think jam is british? I think it is older than the celts?

    Anduin
  • RadhamanthysRadhamanthys Member Posts: 106
    @Anduin Well, most of your "british traditions that are gifted to the world" are not actually british...
    The seven-day week is used for thousands of years, since at least the Babylonian civilization.
    The english names of the days are actually germanic-norse in origin; and these are the names in the english language, other languages have other names, that are not connected with germanic gods.
    The gregorian calendar was invented in Rome in 1582 and Britain adopt it in 1752.
    The salute with the hand on the side of the head in of roman origin.
    Marmalade is of greek/roman origin.

    Still, Britain has a big culture and a rich history.

    And I don't think that the long sword is better than the katana. They are different and you cannot say which is better, since there is no widely accepted method of comparing them. My choice in combat would always be the katana (this is the weapon I have been training for years).

    Anduin
  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    The origins of this comment start way back with a talk about the Katana and the Longsword... And if the Katana was so good, why didn't the Japanese conquer the world... Then someone mentioned that Europe conquered the world, and then something about impromptu flag waving, and thus here. In the middle of a discussion.

    So answering @Radhamanthys and @aristillius ...

    @Anduin Well, most of your "british traditions that are gifted to the world" are not actually british...
    The seven-day week is used for thousands of years, since at least the Babylonian civilization.
    The english names of the days are actually germanic-norse in origin; and these are the names in the english language, other languages have other names, that are not connected with germanic gods.

    To be fair, I only said the British invented the weekend. And even British culture has to be based on a culture before that (germanic-celtic-norse). Need somebody from another part of the globe to confirm that they do indeed use Thor's day there...

    The gregorian calendar was invented in Rome in 1582 and Britain adopt it in 1752.

    Yep. A catholic invention that was transported globally by the british to be used in it's empires. We invented the pocket watch so everyone could keep time too, if you have ever heard of the problem of measuring longitude... Well John Harrison should be remembered with the likes of Newton and Darwin...

    The salute with the hand on the side of the head in of roman origin.

    Romans saluted like this

    image

    The salute to the side of the head was actually formed from knights having to address the king by lifting their visors of their helmets in Medieval times. The side ways use of the hand by the british is used to show willing that, at an instant, they could flick the visor down and charge back into battle. Many nations that had no kind of Medieval knights salute as well. Because. Well. You just do.

    Marmalade is of greek/roman origin.

    Yeah. But did the romans fill boats full of the stuff in jars to be consumed all over the world? This is a cultural thing... As cultural and british as Paddington Bear and his marmalade sandwiches... Look him up...

    Still, Britain has a big culture and a rich history.

    Yes. I am very proud of our giant Marrow competitions. They are very big and rich in taste and texture.

    image

    And I don't think that the long sword is better than the katana. They are different and you cannot say which is better, since there is no widely accepted method of comparing them. My choice in combat would always be the katana (this is the weapon I have been training for years).

    True! I agree totally. I'm just saying Longswords are better, because I think so, and I can. Maybe I should say CHOICE like you...

    I too have some weapon experience as I have my fencing badge level 5! (honest!) I can fence OKish with a sabre, epee and foil. A sabre is pretty cool, but a foil can be used like a whip... How you are supposed to run someone through with one is beyond me...

    Anyway, If we waved our swords about, then someone came with a longbow... Both our weapons would look pretty non-lethal when in the hands of a couple of dunces full of arrows.

    Lastly, on the british culture thing... what language are we using?

    :)

    Aristilliuslolien
Sign In or Register to comment.