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Two-handed Katana

WindsongWindsong Member Posts: 21
Could we implement two-handed katanas? In reality, katanas are meant to be wielded with two hands; very few swordsmen in Japanese history actually wielded the katana with one hand (e.g., Miyamoto Musashi's style dual-wielded a katana and wakizashi). The overwhelming majority of Japanese sword styles wielded the katana with two hands.

There is a mod out there that claimed to do this, but it just changed the katana animation to a normal two-handed sword animation. It would be nice for the katana to have its own a two-handed animation. Also, from an aesthetic point of view, the katana in BG1 and BG2 is very long and it looks awkward to wield it with one hand.

NecdilzorJariahxSynnArndasAntonAkerhonMadhaxFina92RnRClownRAM021fujisan
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Comments

  • CheesebellyCheesebelly Member Posts: 1,727
    edited July 2012
    Technically speaking, in real life at least, the Katana is actually quite shorter than a Long Sword, in fact, some long swords can be TWICE the length of a Katana. And don't worry, am not confusing them with Wakizashis (owning one myself)

    While I know that Katanas are generally used with both hands (more force in the hit, cuts body parts better I guess XD ), maybe the DnD setting makes it so that its length and practicality is one handed? I don't really know.

    There should be even longer versions of Katanas in real life though, not sure about their names though...

    Also, correct me if I said anything wrong. The more people correct me, the more I learn :)

  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,420
    As someone who trains with live katanas (and, incidentally, runs the tweak pack with the aforementioned 2h katana component) the reason for two hands is more technique than anything. Using two hands is more to control the blade as it strikes and slides over a target--trying to wind up and hack like an axe or a straight blade is terribly ineffective.

    The 2h katana component of Tweaks is cumbersome, though.

    CheesebellyAnton
  • CorvinoCorvino Member Posts: 2,269
    @Cheesebelly A quick wikipedia search comes up with the Nodachi/Odachi & Zhanmadao as swords from Japan and China respectively, larger than katanas. I am no expert, but I do love Wikipedia.

    CheesebellyNecdilzor
  • wariisopwariisop Member Posts: 163
    It would be nice to have the option to use the longer two-handed Katanas, but having the one-handed versions is nice too. I just think they should have an option for both.

  • CheesebellyCheesebelly Member Posts: 1,727
    @Coriander : either your teeth are made out of tungsten or you use katanas made out of plastic. I mean, those things are HEAVY D:

    Can I know your dentist? :p

  • CheesebellyCheesebelly Member Posts: 1,727
    @Coriander : you had me google that! XD

    And I actually believed you, sniff :'(

    Itomon
  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,420
    Corvino said:

    @Cheesebelly A quick wikipedia search comes up with the Nodachi/Odachi & Zhanmadao as swords from Japan and China respectively, larger than katanas. I am no expert, but I do love Wikipedia.

    Japanese is very flexible, though--notachi and otachi literally mean 'big sword'. My wife and I saw a giant, 2m-long blade that the second shogun had forged to kill horses and riders, and they still called it a katana. Katana is both a specific sword and a generic descriptor for a class of weapon, it just depends on the context.

  • XezmeraudeXezmeraude Member Posts: 91
    Katana's are not shorter than short swords. Theyre as long as a Long sword hence agreeing with cheesebelly about the nodachi and Odachis. A Katana is shorter than those. But they called them Ninja-To and Wakasashi in BG just for their own feel to Faerun. But they are thinner than short swords is prolly what you were trying to mention.

    I always thought of that too. The person who made the two handed Katana/Bastard sword prolly didnt pay attention to it or didnt know how, but im sure you can subsitute the two handed sword animation for a Katana/Bastard Sword and have it in two hands but with the two handed swords coding of animation but with the weapons specified damage roll. That is possible in BGs coding. I just think the maker didnt know how to do it.

  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,420

    The person who made the two handed Katana/Bastard sword prolly didnt pay attention to it or didnt know how, but im sure you can subsitute the two handed sword animation for a Katana/Bastard Sword and have it in two hands but with the two handed swords coding of animation but with the weapons specified damage roll. That is possible in BGs coding. I just think the maker didnt know how to do it.

    You might want to sit down for this, but the maker actually did know that. You can sub the katana animation in for two-handed sword animations... and then Carsomyr looks like a katana.

    Moomintroll
  • XezmeraudeXezmeraude Member Posts: 91
    Ah. When I loaded that mod. I thought... Why am I using a two-handed sword when I have a Katana/Bastard sword equipped? I meant no offense to him at all. I just thought he was still figuring out how to work the mod and a update was happening soon. How is this able to be corrected so I have the right style of weapon being use in two hands?

  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,420
    You'd essentially need to create a new weapon animation slot, but, frustratingly, animations are one of the hardcoded-est (yes, I made that word up) parts of the engine.

    I totally understand your disappointment--even as one of the authors, I rarely play with the 2h katana component because I've never been really happy with the implementation.

  • WindsongWindsong Member Posts: 21
    :( Here's to hoping that a new weapon animation slot can be created for the 2-handed katana. Also wanted to echo @Xermeraude and say that I did not intend any offense to the maker of the 2-handed mod I mentioned above. Thanks to @CamDawg for explaining the current animation limitations and what needs to be done to get this to work.

  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,420
    Nah, criticism is good and healthy, and I love the constructive and actionable kind--mods are always better for it in the long run. And while I agree with this, unfortunately there's not really a lot that can be done here, mod-wise.

  • JariahxSynnJariahxSynn Member Posts: 67
    edited August 2012
    Speaking of Katannas, will samurai be a playable class in BG:EE? I really want to rush into combat shouting: BAAAANZAI!!! Adding the souls of my enemies to my collection. :P

  • XezmeraudeXezmeraude Member Posts: 91
    You were more like agreeing to me than echoing lol. I wasnt trying to offense the maker too. I just figured he couldve done that exact method you said I was trying to figure out. But I agree with Camdawg. It was a disspointment of a mod in some ways. But still its a logical mod. Switching between 1h and 2h is a great idea. But personally Katanas feel like a 1h weapon. Theyre light and you get more versatile open movement in one hand over holding it in two. Hence why ninja's rarely ever use it 2h. They would perfer you just dual weild or just weild one in one hand. 2h is more for like a backstab kind of attack. You want to make sure you kill the guy outright and logically. Thats really the only time a katana ever sees a 2h use. I might be wrong. But thats just thinking about it as one uses it in real life.

  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,420
    You can certainly use a katana one-handed, but I question the effectiveness. Cutting targets is so much about technique and I really need the control of the second hand to get the flow and movement right. I couldn't imagine being able to do it reliably with one hand, much less if the target was trying to do the same to me.

    Then again, in D&D terms I'd be an average commoner of 9 str, 9 dex and zero pips. If I was a strong, dextrous hero with a miniature giant space hamster I may be able to wield two.

    RAM021
  • XezmeraudeXezmeraude Member Posts: 91
    I just want to have the two handed sword animation changed to a Katana/Bastard sword to reflect that I AM using that weapon in two hands :(

  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 2,072

    Technically speaking, in real life at least, the Katana is actually quite shorter than a Long Sword, in fact, some long swords can be TWICE the length of a Katana.

    That's because in real life, longswords were two-handed. The medieval kind, at least.

  • CorvinoCorvino Member Posts: 2,269
    Not directly related to Katanas, but throwing some light on Western sword development & classification: http://www.algonet.se/~enda/oakeshott_eng.htm

  • SamielSamiel Member Posts: 156
    I'm not really a big fan of the Katana, but then again they were only designed to beat guys wearing amour that was basically made out of bamboo and papier mache rather than steel. That and the saxons produced better laminate steel.

  • CorvinoCorvino Member Posts: 2,269
    edited August 2012
    @Samiel Have you seen the Mythbusters episode with paper armour? It's worth checking out. Not sure on the physics/engineering, but it seems similar in principle to ablative tank armour or crumple zones - the first few layers get destroyed stopping a impact but the impact gets stopped.

    Moomintroll
  • WindsongWindsong Member Posts: 21
    @Samiel Japanese armor was not "basically" made of bamboo and "papier mache"; Japanese armor, called yoroi, was largely made of iron plates and scales and leather plates and scales (lamellar). To counter the assertion that the katana was inadequately designed, below is a video that tests a katana and a european long sword against various objects and armor.

  • CommunardCommunard Member Posts: 554
    edited August 2012
    Saxon steel was of higher quality than early Japanese because the Saxons had higher quality iron ore in their area, a side effect of which was that the Saxons never needed to bother to learn the really complicated folding techniques. This means that Katanas produced with higher quality iron are actually substantially stronger than swords produced by other techniques. The error about armour was already addressed so I won't repeat it.

  • WindsongWindsong Member Posts: 21
    @Communard that is very interesting info. Can you provide a link about Saxon steel? Also, by "early Japanese" which time period are you roughly referring to?

  • CommunardCommunard Member Posts: 554
    Windsong said:

    @Communard that is very interesting info. Can you provide a link about Saxon steel? Also, by "early Japanese" which time period are you roughly referring to?

    By "early" I simply mean the time before importing large amounts of higher-quality iron was practical. The Saxons specifically I don't think had any particularly unique steelmaking process (I referred to them because the previous poster did, if he could clarify what he meant by that then I might learn something!) but the north European pattern welding was different. Sadly I cannot provide a link as my source is books I read years ago, however I will expand a bit if you are interested. Basically the best thing to make a sword from is high-carbon steel, however this is very difficult to make. The solution is to restrict the very best steel to the parts of the blade where it is needed. The idea is to maximise the use of high-carbon steel on the cutting edge and minimise it everywhere else. Since the Japanese had comparatively less high-carbon steel to work with they had to develop more complex swordmaking techniques. So it is oversimplistic to claim that the Europeans simply "made better steel".

  • SamielSamiel Member Posts: 156
    edited August 2012
    First of all the Katana became synonymous with the Samurai comparitively late into their existance (17th Century), before that the most used battlefield weapons were the bow and yari (spear), kyuba no michi, "the way of the horse and bow." I would question how much faith the initial Samurai had in their swords if they weren't even the favored weapon of choice. You start to see the katana seeing greater use as samurai start to duel each other more regularly, and as a one on one fighting it does the job, they also get longer and thinner, as the armor changes.

    Whilst it was true the medieval knight also had his lance, the longsword was a true battlefield weapon, with utility beyond simple dueling, (although it is innacurate to say the longsword, and many were made for many different purposes, one for use mounted, one on the ground etc). True you had things like the no dachi was was I believe used primarily for taking out horses, so it would be unfair to say that Katanas had some battlefield use, just that I think the longsword trumps it for battlefield utility.

    The katana is at it's heart a peerless cutting weapon, and in that class it excels, but I would much rather the utility. This is hardly surprising as the katana evolved in comparitive isolation, whereas medieval swords had much wider theatres to enage in and evolve in. It's single edge also limits it utility, as the longswords double edge gives the user more attack options than the single edge does. Where the katana is quite frankly trumped is when the longsword is combined with a traditional kite shield. Two masters of their own styles facing off against each other, the person using the katana is quite frankly at a considerable disadvantage, and it's cutting ability could quite frankly count against it. It's not going to cleave through a hefty shield, and if the edge is not rimmed with metal (which a lot of them weren't for precisely this reason) there is a real danger of it getting embedded in the wood, which of course the samurai is in danger of losing his weapon, or his arms trying to free it. The longsword also has much better defense capability thanks to it's crossguard, which the katana cannot match.

    The katana can even get trumped in the duelling stakes, by the rapier. It's effective lethal range is greater, granted if the samurai gets in past the point the rapier is pretty much useless (not so with a longsword, as it's utility has close in options available to it's user), and the main gauche off hand dagger, might give the european duelist a chance, the samurai still has to get there, which against a skilled user is going to be hard. The rapier is quite frankly the faster weapon and better at thrusting than the katana could ever hope to be, being as I pointed out specialized in cutting slashes. Although the rapier itself is not a battlefield weapon either.

    Bottom line is on a battlefield I'd want a longsword/shield, and in a duel I'd want a rapier.

  • SamielSamiel Member Posts: 156
    Communard said:

    Windsong said:

    @Communard that is very interesting info. Can you provide a link about Saxon steel? Also, by "early Japanese" which time period are you roughly referring to?

    By "early" I simply mean the time before importing large amounts of higher-quality iron was practical. The Saxons specifically I don't think had any particularly unique steelmaking process (I referred to them because the previous poster did, if he could clarify what he meant by that then I might learn something!) but the north European pattern welding was different. Sadly I cannot provide a link as my source is books I read years ago, however I will expand a bit if you are interested. Basically the best thing to make a sword from is high-carbon steel, however this is very difficult to make. The solution is to restrict the very best steel to the parts of the blade where it is needed. The idea is to maximise the use of high-carbon steel on the cutting edge and minimise it everywhere else. Since the Japanese had comparatively less high-carbon steel to work with they had to develop more complex swordmaking techniques. So it is oversimplistic to claim that the Europeans simply "made better steel".
    I'll get to the saxon steel part later, I just had it explained to me by my bladesmith friend, and it's still a little too technical for my little head, I'll get back to it later when I'm less tired. Although one awesome thing I did follow is that the japanese added carbon to the steel by surrounding it in hay! On a related note it is kind of fun working a forge I was lucky enough to get to have a go making a viking curved hilt dagger (read I got to hit the metal a few times, and my mate pretty much did the rest, but it's still cool and I definately want to do more of it!).

  • WindsongWindsong Member Posts: 21
    @Communard I've read in many sources that the Japanese used indigenous tamahagane (iron sand) to forge their katanas and did not import iron from abroad for use in their swords. This link seems to indicate that Japan did not begin importing iron in any significant amounts until the opening of Japan in the 19th century: http://ginkgraph.net/articles/culture/the-history-of-imported-steel-in-japan.html
    If you can provide a link that shows large imports of iron by Japan from abroad at an earlier time (for sword forging), that would be great.

    @Samiel I see we've departed from the "basically bamboo and papier mache" argument. Anyway, it is probably true that swords in general were not the favored weapon of choice by ANY army in ANY time period. It is well known that most casualties in battle were caused by arrows (before guns came along). Second, spears were also preferred because of the length advantage it provided and the ability to counter cavalry. Swords were probably the third choice, when close man-to-man combat was inevitable. So your "favored weapon of choice" argument is not unique to the samurai, but applies practically to all armies everywhere in ancient and medieval times.

    Also, katana initially began as much longer swords, called "tachi", used as battle swords by cavalry, and long before the 17th century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachi
    They eventually became shorter when the Tokugawa Shogunate came to power in the 17th century; the Shogun required katanas to be a standard, shorter length called the "teisun" or "decided length"). There were very few battles to be fought after Tokugawa took over, so samurai took to warrior-journeys ("musha-shugyo"), dueling with swordmen they met.

    As to how a samurai swordsman with a katana would fare against a knight with long sword and shield--it really is pure speculation at this point. I suppose it would largely depend on the skill, battle experience, and physical attributes of each warrior. But as a cutting weapon, the katana was superior to other bladed weapons in history.

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