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Real life combat vs combat in Baldur's Gate/D&D/other fantasy products

booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
Interesting discussion with @meagloth‌ @Anduin‌ and @Elrandir‌ in the meme thread about real life martial combat and the feasibility of dual wielding. Since I thought it was an interesting topic that I wanted to see continued, but not on the meme thread, lets do it here.

Meagloth had said that an off hand dagger was useful for parrying at greater angles to allow for a counter attack. I argue that you would be better off with a shield of some sort (probably a small shield or buckler).

Daggers provide too small of a surface area (unless they are trident daggers), poor angles (when pushing a sword away from your body, it would be quite simple for your opponent to adjust the angle and slide his weapon below your dagger) and bad leverage (short). A lighter shield would be able to provide security over more surface as well as give you the "oomph" you need to make such a wide parry as to allow for a counter strike on an unguarded opponent. Also, due to the larger surface area, you could deflect the attack with better accuracy and make sure that your opponents sword goes where you want it to go. Keep in mind that "blocking" attacks was very rare, and most parrying was deflecting rather than meeting straight on, so the wider shield would be able to redirect the opponents sword arm a greater distance.

I feel like a Chinese Hook Sword
image
or Butterfly Sword
image
would actually be better choices than a parrying dagger if you were to use an off hand weapon for this purpose as they provide better protection for your hands, are wider and thicker while still being light or can even trap larger weapons. Maybe @Heindrich‌ knows more about these weapons, that were actually dual wielded (though only in martial arts and not real warfare).

AnduinJuliusBorisovlolien
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Comments

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    hmm... that hook sword. has anyone used that before? it seems... very fantasy. And I don't really see the difference between a butterfly sword and a parrying dagger, if I'm honest. except for the style of the blade, but I dont see how it makes a big difference.
    image

    Elrandirlolien
  • TheGraveDiggerTheGraveDigger Member Posts: 336
    Most dual wielding is rubbish. The off-hand is just for feints and as a safety incase your main weapon becomes stuck or grabbed. Can you imagine trying to disarm a person wielding a knife in each hand...

    booinyoureyestypo_tilly
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    In actual warefare, dual wielding would be pretty impractical most of the time, assuming pitched battle of he non-heroic variety... which brings us to a big issue: heroic combat vs pitched battle vs one sided battles (ie surprise/raid type combat, or guerilla).

    In pitched battles, discipline was usually he most important factor. This is why less trained forces were regularly trounced back in the day by much smaller forces. Discipline btw means essentially following a plan, one that has been practiced, often one designed to keep overall risk to the fighting force minimal. Spartans, Roman Legions (moreso the Republic era), Mongolians, etc all were incredibly disiplined on the battlefield, though used different tactics, all of their tactics were designed to keep the most of their soldiers alive possible. The Mongolians were willing to send in suicidal attacks remember, but these soldiers were meant to draw out their enemies, thus preserving the bulk of their troops while exposing their enemies to risk (ie counter attack, volleys of arrows, etc). Obviously horsemen are not going to be great dual wielders, but what about on foot? In pitched battle, the shield wall reigned from the Greek Phalanx until bigger, heavier warhorses were bred in Europe and the near east, because the shield was a great way to prevent death of both yourself AND those fighting beside you. Thats the key; shields allowed greater teamwork. You can't effectively parry attacks with your off hand to protect those next to you without opening yourself to being skewered, but with a shield and tight formation (ie the roman tactic), you could keep more soldiers alive longer. Of course, if you also design your shields with a boss (big steel blob in the center), you can actually strike without opening yourself to counters. Nobody sane would fight in a tight formation with a dual wielder imho.

    Heroic combat is different though, ie sending champions to duel before a battle, or even in lieu of one. It also shows up in cultures where individuals try to seek 'quality opponents' on the battlefield, ie Japan where killing enemy nobles was cause for reward, but Ashigaru were simply killed on the way to nobles (or by other Ashigaru). These fights tend to favour the individualist styles over group strategies, and if on foot, dual wielding could maybe be employed, but typically reach is more valuable in these fights, since most cultures using heroic combat favour lighter armour. I still think a short but sturdy sword and a hefty shield is probably the best strategy, but a heavy two handed weapon could damage a shield without risking the wielder, and a sufficiently sturdy shield would probably slow you down, something longer two handed weapons can make use of. So, probably wouldnt see much dual wielding here, but you might see some, on foot.

    Unequal battles are a more difficult question, since you are likely attacking an unprepred enemy. Such an enemy might not be wearing armour, likely has weapons sheathed, and probably isnt going to have a shield ready. In this case, the attacker doesnt need to worry as much about defence, and the battle will be piecemeal, rather than in lines, and using a second weapon, provided you have trained with it quite a bit (which would mean not training as much for other situations!), could be effective. Its a weird situation, but it certainly influenced history... Vlad Tepes himself lead a famous night raid that nearly killed the Sultan... and iirc, no Sultan's lead campaigns directly ever again.

    In individual duels, dual wielding becomes more practical, especially depending on the enemy. Musashi was famous for dual wielding, but even he knew it wasnt always the best strategy. He was interested in making the katana more versatile, so using it one-handed was the basis of his teachings. Most western 'off hand daggers' were very specialized, and not as effective as weapons. They were ultimately more like a sai than a traditonal dagger.

    Using two relatively light weapons like butterfly swords makes some sense, but you are at a big reach disadvantage. If you dont also have significantly better mobility, reach will win that fight. Samurai always tried to make it difficult to see their reach, and the length of their blade by holding their katana at certain angles, since a single mistake could decide the fight.

    BelgarathMTHHeindrichbooinyoureyesJuliusBorisov
  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,433
    Well, as far as I can tell, in real life dual wielding MAY have a use, possibly. However, it isn't even close to as overpowered as it is in fiction.

  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    In real life, I'd choose a shield over a secondary weapon in the other hand every time!

    booinyoureyesBelgarathMTHKamigoroshiJuliusBorisov
  • HeindrichHeindrich Member, Moderator Posts: 2,959

    Maybe @Heindrich‌ knows more about these weapons, that were actually dual wielded (though only in martial arts and not real warfare).

    Although I have heard of the term "butterfly knife" in Chinese, I don't recall seeing how it is depicted in historic or Chinese fantasy movies. However, I can confirm that the hook swords were indeed used as a dual-wield weapon. In fact it is included in this duel which features a range of classic Chinese martial arts weapons, as well as both single weapon style and dual-wielding.



    booinyoureyesBelgarathMTHMoomintrollJuliusBorisov
  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    meagloth said:

    hmm... that hook sword. has anyone used that before? it seems... very fantasy.

    As I said in my original post, only in martial arts. Dual wielding in real combat was not commonly practiced for a reason, so the only examples are in martial arts.
    meagloth said:

    And I don't really see the difference between a butterfly sword and a parrying dagger, if I'm honest. except for the style of the blade, but I dont see how it makes a big difference.

    0.0 "Except for the style of the blade, but I don't see how that makes a big difference". 0.0
    The blade is what defines the weapon. I don't understand how you could think this is somehow a small detail.

    They are different the same way that a 40 inch bastard sword is different from a 40 inch rapier, or how a walking cane is different from a quarterstaff. A scimitar is different from a katana because the style of the blade is hardly a superficial difference.

    Look at how much thicker the butterfly sword's blade is compared to the dagger you shared. Which would be more reliable when parrying? Keep in mind, they didn't parry sharp end on sharp end, but used the flat side of the sword to deflect thrusts.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    @BelgarathMTH‌ daggers and short stabbing weapons are pretty practical in a grapple, but if we're talking theory, I have a relevant anecdote. The biggest problem with rapiers and other narrow stabbing swords had a huge problem, they were bad at causing shock, ie the overloading of your nerves. People could keep fighting sfter getting run through by such weapons, some mutually lethal duels had both fighters perforating one another several times. Such wounds would often kill eventually, but blood loss was relatively low, as its hard to stab a vein or artery! This was one reason Scots used broad swords (light swords featurjng a blade broader than a saber or rapier, not a medieval sword) and seafarers often used a cutlass, injuries were more likely to be telling, including stabs, due to a larger area being cut.

    Daggers were usually broader than a rapier, meaning those stabs counted for more. I wonder if this wasn't a consideration as well, as prolonged rapier only fights were dangerous for both fighters, as punctures infect easily.

    One reason Samurai duals ended often with a single telling blow was that the wounds cause shock readily... bokken would probably cause more shock than a blade, meaning a blow to the body could 'stun' a fighter, even if that blow didnt strictly kill him. Shock ends duals quickly, and small punctures cause less shock, especially if a fighter has plenty of adrenaline. @‌bengoshi feel free to offer more insight into Eastern dualing.

    booinyoureyesBelgarathMTHJuliusBorisov
  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    meagloth said:

    hmm... that hook sword. has anyone used that before? it seems... very fantasy.

    Yep. I've seen some people in my Chinese Martial Arts club train with them. The idea behind this is, it's long and can hook the weapons of your enemy to disable them. It's also quite rare and very difficult to actually use.

    booinyoureyesMoomintroll
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Butterly knives would be better at directing I suspect as the blade is likely much stiffer than a narrower dagger or sword. Stiffness is highest in a broader blade, and also improves cleaving action. Machete-like blades were used in many areas by 'commoners', and falchions were even used by upper class warriors. One big advantage of a cutlass over a saber, despite the saber being much better made/balanced, when the saber was used to hard block (ie directly parry) was that sabers tended to crack or snap. Eventually, navies adopted the pirates weapon because of this. Hard blocking is usually a bad idea, but it was used, especially if fighters practiced only vs other light weapons.

    booinyoureyes
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Southpaw said:

    meagloth said:

    hmm... that hook sword. has anyone used that before? it seems... very fantasy.

    Yep. I've seen some people in my Chinese Martial Arts club train with them. The idea behind this is, it's long and can hook the weapons of your enemy to disable them. It's also quite rare and very difficult to actually use.
    It to me is a weapon a better and stronger fighter can be VERY effective with, but of you're evenly matched, it seems not as big of an advantage. Obviously more ability to control an opponents blade can create an advantageous situation for you to strike, but a stronger opponent would make this dangerous to try.

  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    @BelgarathMTH‌ there is this guy named Skallagrim on youtube who does various videos about medieval warfare, and seems knowledgeable on swords. He made a couple videos comparing European style longswords with katanas, axes vs swords, different types of daggers, bows vs crossbows etc.

    He made a couple videos about fantasy weapons, such as wrist mounted crossbows, and assessing whether they would work in real life (unfortunately the answer is usually either "no" or "why would you even do that?")

    The parrying using a small shield or buckler that I was talking about in the original post is demonstrated in this video. It seems more effective than having a small, thin blade in the offhand

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovBlackraventypo_tilly
  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    Ooooh! Love these threads! Some of my knowledge. A lot of it is from common sense. Again from my contacts in teaching, and at the fine fellows who tell you stuff at some of the workshops we spend at Lunt (roman fort) and Warwick castle (really is turning into disneyland type place now though...)

    Look. A shield, a bulky one, is heavy. Would slow you down, and allow a lighter armoured fighter to get to your sides and deal you considerable damage. Large shields are useful in large defensive formations. The phalanx, the roman shield wall, the viking-saxon shield bearers are formations of mass infantry. All became useless when massed horse formations, that came along with the Normans and mounted knights (You could say Huns or Mongols here, but they used there horse to get near to fire arrows repeatedly into shields, weighing them down, until the holder was forced to either attempt to remove them (leaving them shield less) or drop the shield (leaving them shield less!) Shields then, became something a horse could jump onto. Gunpowder, as with other weaponry, rendered shields useless.

    Now a small buckler, was used for one on one duels, but you needed it to be moveable and light, so you could move it quickly to block the blow, which in turn puts another part of your body in danger of the business end of whatever weapon you are facing.

    As a fencer, I know that you need to give as little a profile to my opponent to hit.

    So a sideways stance, right shoulder facing, left directly away from the enemy. One sword. Not even a shield (which, if I used one protect myself would require me to face my opponent squarely! One big target!) the arm tucked out of the way. The rise of the single weapon was surely assured!

    Unfortunately, nice, gentlemanly, one on one duels are a rarity. A small skirmish, means that one small shield or buckler is darn useful, but that shield that is blocking, can also do a bit of bopping, and the rise of the secondary weapon took place.

    image

    So... bucklers should not give you ac protection, they should give you an extra attack!

    From then on, the secondary weapon came on the scene... And you can see they both gave protection and an extra form of attack.

    Dual-ling then is what all adventurers should aspire too!

    Although, time to get realistic, the parrying dagger or Main gauche, was a small weapon.

    image

    So no longsword and a longsword combo here...

    booinyoureyesJuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    DreadKhan said:

    Southpaw said:

    meagloth said:

    hmm... that hook sword. has anyone used that before? it seems... very fantasy.

    Yep. I've seen some people in my Chinese Martial Arts club train with them. The idea behind this is, it's long and can hook the weapons of your enemy to disable them. It's also quite rare and very difficult to actually use.
    It to me is a weapon a better and stronger fighter can be VERY effective with, but of you're evenly matched, it seems not as big of an advantage. Obviously more ability to control an opponents blade can create an advantageous situation for you to strike, but a stronger opponent would make this dangerous to try.
    Maybe, however as far as my own experience goes - in real life simple practicality beats awesome, elaborate weapons 9 out of 10 times. A simple broadsword/sabre is much easier to wield, much easier to learn and uses the fighter's strength much better than these "fancy" weapons that need years of training.
    Said training consists out of a lot of flailing around, meditating...and still gets destroyed by someone who learned to wield a sabre for a couple of months and has the advantage of surprise and momentum.

    booinyoureyesAnduin
  • elementelement Member Posts: 833
    edited October 2014
    in reality dual wielding is pretty rubbish, there are exceptions but by and large a shield would be a much better choice. Its also worth noting that a lot of the time you see dual wielding being used it is in a contest or art form in which shields are often absent which can make dual wielding seem more effective then it actually is.

    booinyoureyesBelgarathMTH
  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806

    meagloth said:

    hmm... that hook sword. has anyone used that before? it seems... very fantasy.

    As I said in my original post, only in martial arts. Dual wielding in real combat was not commonly practiced for a reason, so the only examples are in martial arts.
    meagloth said:

    And I don't really see the difference between a butterfly sword and a parrying dagger, if I'm honest. except for the style of the blade, but I dont see how it makes a big difference.

    0.0 "Except for the style of the blade, but I don't see how that makes a big difference". 0.0
    The blade is what defines the weapon. I don't understand how you could think this is somehow a small detail.

    They are different the same way that a 40 inch bastard sword is different from a 40 inch rapier, or how a walking cane is different from a quarterstaff. A scimitar is different from a katana because the style of the blade is hardly a superficial difference.

    Look at how much thicker the butterfly sword's blade is compared to the dagger you shared. Which would be more reliable when parrying? Keep in mind, they didn't parry sharp end on sharp end, but used the flat side of the sword to deflect thrusts.
    I meant has anyone around here used a hook sword, not anyone ever.

    Also, the blades are quite similar as well. These are essentially knife-bladed daggers. And what do you mean when you say. "More reliable"? I don't think either is going to break, if that is what you mean.

  • SquireSquire Member Posts: 512
    On the battlefield, shields were pretty much the order of the day until the 15th century, when two-handed weapons were more important, since you were fighting people in heavy mail and plate armour. In real life, wearing a harness means you don't generally need a shield. In D&D, however, anything less than full harness and scutum means you'll get hit a lot. :PP

    However, shields are big, heavy, and cumbersome (something not generally represented properly in RPGs), and therefore impractical for self defence, since not many people are likely to wander around or do their shopping while carrying a kite shield on their backs, so for duelling and street fighting, people would prefer either a buckler, or a parrying dagger. The rapier/dagger style was popular during the 16/17th century, but that's the only instance I can think of where two-weapon fighting was used a great deal, and that was mainly in duels. I did see a picture of some 15c siege where one knight had a sword and dagger, but I don't think it was at all common. It certainly wasn't advocated in any of the fighting manuals that I've seen, other than ones that specifically deal with Italian or Spanish rapier styles.

    In fact, something interesting that I was told: the story Romeo and Juliet is based mainly on two fashion cults, one of which used swords and bucklers, and the bucklers would make a "swashing" noise as they walked, hence the name "swashbucklers". The other would use rapiers and daggers, and wear big fashionable ruffs, and they were called "ruffians". These two cults often fought each other merely because it was cool to be in gangs, act tough, and cause trouble - it's basically the Shakespearian equivalent of Mods and Rockers. People do not change. ;)

    But I digress...on the battlefield, you either bring a shield or you stay out of the shield wall and go join the peasant rabble.

    Hook swords: I think things like that were mainly for show. I would be very surprised if they were actually used in a real fight. For a start, something like that is likely to get stuck. I certainly wouldn't want to fight with a weapon like that.

  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    edited October 2014
    meagloth said:



    Also, the blades are quite similar as well. These are essentially knife-bladed daggers. And what do you mean when you say. "More reliable"? I don't think either is going to break, if that is what you mean.

    Blades *do* actually get damaged, particularly if you were to parry edge-on-edge.

    I was referring to the ability to actually parry a strike, which is easier with a bigger weapon. It is more reliable because having a wider blade gives you more surface area. It essentially comes down to why softball is easier than baseball.

    Also, when you parry a strike, it requires some force to be applied to move your opponents blade off its intended trajectory (basically a strength check against your opponent :p). It is easier to displace an attack using the flat of your blade (on the flat of your opponents blade) because the force of your opponents strike would be dispersed.

    You ever play that game in elementary school where you take turns hitting the other dude's pencil by flicking your own? You must have, it is a right of passage in American culture! If you were to choose a pencil of the following, which would you select?
    image
    It is similar logic when it comes to parrying.

    If you watch the buckler video I shared you will see how easy it is slide your blade over a parrying sword. Larger surface area also gives you leverage in this sort of situation.

    Now, if you are parrying edge on flat then there might be a different story, but most sword fighting experts say that this is a Bad Idea to begin with. If you are parrying edge on edge then the thicker blade is still better.

    Basically more surface area=more protection in most situations.

    JuliusBorisovTeflon
  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    I think sometimes people underestimate the amount of damage weapons take in real life. I know the upkeep of these weapons required a LOT of time and patience.

    If only mithril was real and we had priests to enchant them...

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    It is real @booinyoureyes‌ its essentially similar to some of the strongest/hardest aluminum alloys. They're a pain in the ass to work with, but stronger than most steel without being brittle, and obviously MUCH lighter.

    Adamantium is probably more comparable to the hardenable martensitic stainless steels, though we do have harder metal, but it tends to be very brittle, ie forms carbide. The annoying thing in metalurgy is almost anything that makes a metal harder tends to make it less tough. Some nickel steels are pretty impressive too, but I doubt they hold an edge as well as martensitic steels.

    I've heard great things titanium treated with nitrogen, but don't know the numbers well.

    Parrying varies massively based on what weapons the each is using, but unless you have a polearm (some axes too) or machete, parrying or being parried on edge is dangerous to your weapon. Samurai were taught to parry with the flat for a reason! Remember too, once a blade is nicked significantly, you have weakened it. Notches are always were things break. Ever shorten a dull box cutter? You can easily make a clean break at the thin spot, even though this isn't much thinner. Swords are tempered fairly hard, compared to an axe, which is why warriors loved wootz or pattern-welded gear, the low carbon portions don't harden. This allows the smith to harden without tempering, or to temper VERY hard, meaning the blade can be made sharp yet not shatter.

    I have a ginourmos two-handed chopper I use to cut trees down, weighs ~12lbs. It works well because the blade is so broad, and the metal is pretty tough/hard. The sad thing imo is that this thing is comically awkward, having no counter balance, but I see even more silly weapons regularly in movies/shows, or read about them. Nobody human could fight with such a blade, yet we get even more comically impractical weapons depicted regularly. At least live action has less of this. End rant!

    booinyoureyesJuliusBorisovMoomintrollBlackraven
  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    @DreadKhan‌ we basically agree entirely on parrying with the flat, but I'm wondering why you parry with an edge on an axe? Then again, I feel like axes are probably the most awkward weapon when it comes to blocking

  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,145
    Using an off-hand weapon isn't recommended if you don't have very good reflexes and a good knowledge of how to fight with a sword on each hand. I think the weapon on your off-hand is much more useful for incapacitating an enemy with just a single weapon of being protected only with his sword. But having a dagger won't help, maybe a short-sword if you have trouble with having two long-swords (I'd rather have two long-swords since I know how to dual-wield, and I'm pretty good parrying (I train fencing and have a rather solid defense), but some might not find that easy) and one on each hand.

    With nowadays combat I'd rather dual-wield controls for launching BrahMos-II from an airplane squad.

    Whenever I think about real life combat compared to BG I always come to the same conclusion:

    I would be an archer

    Sorry but crossbows > bows in real life. A quarrel shot from a crossbow from less than 20 meters can penetrate more than 2cm of kevlar :'D no way you can do that with a bow.

    JuliusBorisovBlackraven
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    My point was more you can afford to BE parried on edge with some axes without risking your weapon as much. ;)

    Parrying with an axe involves the hilt... and yes, even the lighter axes usually used in combat would have been difficult to use defensively, which is one reason rich men usually didn't fight with them, as most of your defence relies on pure footwork or a shield.

    In 3.5, there was a 'combat style' feat called Bear Fang, which required you to dw an axe with a dagger. The payout was that you could pull someone into a grapple with your axe, allowing you to stab with your dagger. It was nifty, and probably a reasonable tactic, as most axes have enough hook to work this way.

    booinyoureyes
  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    @DreadKhan‌ I was under the impression that steel was still considered the best material for swords, though steel technology has gotten quite intricate and complicated.
    @CrevsDaak‌ he didn't specify crossbow or longbow.
    @booinyoureyes‌ I don't think this needs to be an argument. I don't see any reason you couldn't parry with either. I was simply pointing out that I thought the difference was minimal, though they are clearly for different styles of fighting. I would probably choose the daggers over the butterfly sword because it appears you would hold it in a defensive backhand grip, and it would be very hard to score a solid hit. The thickness of the blade probably makes it much heavier and slower as well. With the dagger it can be held as a rapier and can come in for a quick jab. The butterfly sword looks like a slashing weapon. I have to go to bed but anyone has knowledge about how these butterfly swords are used id be interested.

    booinyoureyes
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,772
    Nice thread, I need some research regarding dual wielding in battles, including those that took place in the East - and then I'll come here with details.

    For now, I would just say that the main difference between the real life combat and the one we have in games is that we can't reload after taking a critical hit ...

    DreadKhanbooinyoureyesBlackraven
  • CahirCahir Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 2,097
    Oh boy, and there I was thinking, this thread will be about difficulties RL throws under your feet:p RL is one hell of a constant combat:)

    booinyoureyesJuliusBorisov
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I've heard good things about 400 series stainless, but afaik, the best results typically come from combining ~2.5 to 1, wrought iron (can be replaced with low carbon steel) to high carbon steel, ideally eutectic (to avoid carbide formation), and then folded many times. The thinner you get the layers generally the better, but each heating produces an oxide layer that has to be cleaned completely, which is not only difficult, but shrinks your finished product not insubstantially. Flux can help minimize oxide. Done tight, you get an edge that actually improves over time. The blade has better impact toughness than a pure high carbon steel blade.

    The old alternative, which is easier and possibly better, is wootz. The process is easier as it supposedly wouldn't involve as much forge welding. The result was an inconsistent steel product, which combines very high carbon and low carbon to make a pretty incredible sword or suit of armour. Professionally, such a blade might have less impact toughness than a masterwork folded sword like a katana, but could have been even sharper. The finished products generally had an acid bath to superficially corode the less resistant portions, which reveal the suspension nature of the finished product. It was said that these swords could cut a silk hankerchief that lands on the blade, which might be an exageration, but the extremely high carbon content of hard portions would hold a heck of an edge. Apparently nobody has had much luck reproducing it, but part of this is that there is little real demand, other than artwork. It almost certainly would be impossible to machine or weld using modern techniques. Seems very 'forge only', for working with it.

    If you're curious, European equipment was either folded steel or wrougt iron with a steel edge welded on, as steel was significantly more valuable than iron before modern metal working. Roman gladii ( @subtledoctor‌ correction?) were supposedly forged this way, specifically by twisting iron rods and welded on edges, which makes sense to keep the price low while making the swords fairly resiliant. Broken swords would be rare, but worn out could happen.

    Using modern metallurgy though, we can make some pretty impressive alternatives. ;) I have a strange looking beast of a kukri with a cut up steel file welded on for the edge. I need to harden and temper it, but almost all the rough work is done. The issue is that I'd like to modify it a bit, but not sure how well it'll end up. Wish I had a forge rather than just a welder and grinders!

    booinyoureyesJuliusBorisov
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