Previous posts in the series:
[EDIT: I guess we made it to the big time! Finally on the board at the OSR links to wisdom wiki. Chin-chin! - HDA]
-I spoke with a medieval anthropologist who shoots both crossbows and longbows and he shared an interesting theory with me. He's willing to swear by an academic work (the name escapes me) that the find of the Mary Rose has been misinterpreted to indicate that English archers used monstrously high draw weights like 185 or 200 lbs, because the bows are so stiff and the skeletons found had disfigured spines. The article's opinion was that remains of sailors were mislabelled as the skeletons of archers (supposedly there were only a few archers on board and a much larger crew) and that the back problems came from the crew's manual labour on the ship.
The bow staves being carried were actually half-finished munitions bows in transportation. The idea is they get shaved down by a bowyer to suit the individual man who would draw them, therefore reducing draw weight. Maybe they think so because the natural texture of the wood was left on the back of the bows. Anyway, if you believe that as this guy I talked to did, he was sceptical that any war bows were heavier than 110 pounds, arguing that a 190 pound bow is impossible for even a very strong man to draw. He thinks that the emphasis on the superhuman strength of English archers is a kind of historical myth perpetuated by England because it reinforces national pride and glorifies their ancestors. However, there are archers today who can draw and shoot the Mary Rose bows and they haven't trained from the age of 8. [Of course today we have access to a high-calorie, high-protein diet and fitness gyms. English peasants didn't. I saw a video of a dude squatting 1,001 lbs for 3 reps the other day. You be the judge. -HDA]
-Similar to the ancient Sica, the Baselard of the late Medieval had the connotation of a scoundrel's weapon, used by criminals, murderers, etc, and banned in certain places and towns. The high medieval/crusade era was trickier, but I did find a reference to an 11th/12th century short sword called a servile. It was assumed to be a boy's sword, or blade for a servant. They could have it wrong, it could have been a perfectly good weapon for war. Either way, in a fantasy context, a boy's sword is perfect for the Frodos and Bilbos and it might be an unassuming weapon for a rogue.
-Basically, everything we know about splint mail, banded mail, whatever, throw it all out. There is mail, and there is plate. One grew into the other over time. At the beginning it was "plated mail" or "mail & plate", which was just plates covering important parts. Europeans started putting plate over their mail, until it was all plate with just mail in the gaps (called transitional armour). Then they got so good that they didn't need the mail and just had a shirt with mail armpits that they put on beforehand.
-Lamellar is better scale armour using bronze wire to lace the scales to each other instead of to a backing. It was popular with the Byzantines and spread to the Byzantine-influenced areas of Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Turkey, Persia and into Asia from there. The cataphracts would upgrade their mail with a shirt of lamellar on top which then turned into mail-and-plate armour (or plated mail), and then the mail limb armour went back to higher grade lamellar (the same style as Roman lorica segmentata), so the highest levels of armour in the era were a composite of chest plates and segmented limb armour.
High Middle Ages (11th-13th century)
|Club||D4 B||light or versatile|
|Dagger, knightly||D4 P||finesse, light, thrown (10/30)|
|Javelin||D6 P||thrown (30/90)|
|Mace, footman’s||D6 B||versatile|
|Military flail||D6 B||-|
|Peasant flail||D8 B||two-handed|
|Sap||D4 B||finesse, light, knockout|
|Spear||D6 P||thrown (20/60), versatile|
|Crossbow, hand-spanned||D6 P||ammunition (60/120), loading (1), two-handed|
|Crossbow, belt-spanned||D8 P||ammunition (80/160), loading (1), two-handed|
|Dart||D4 P||finesse, thrown (20/60)|
|Shortbow||D6 P||ammunition (80/160), str 11, two-handed|
|Sling (stone)||D4 B||loading (0), thrown (30/90)|
|Sling (bullet)||D6 B||loading (0), thrown (30/120)|
|Greataxe, dane axe/sparth||D12 S||heavy, two-handed|
|Lance, light||D6 P||reach, thrown (20/60), versatile|
|Lance, heavy||D8 P||heavy, reach, two-handed on foot, versatile|
|(couched charge)||2D8 P||heavy, reach, two-handed on foot, versatile (2D10)|
|Pike||D8 P||heavy, reach (15 ft, cannot attack 5 ft), two-handed|
|Polearm, fauchard/guisarme||D10 S||heavy, reach, two-handed|
|Polearm, spetum||D10 P||heavy, reach, two-handed|
|Shortsword, servile||D6 P||finesse, light|
|Sword, arming||D8 S/P||-|
|Sword, falchion||D8 S||-|
|Sword, long||D8 S/P||versatile|
|Sword, scimitar/sabre||D8 S||finesse|
|Whip||D4 S||finesse, reach, knockout, no opportunity attacks|
|Longbow||D8 P||ammunition (150/300), heavy, str 13, two-handed|
|Longbow, heavy/recurved||D10 P||ammunition (150/300), heavy, str 15, two-handed|
|Net||-||special, thrown (5/15)|
|Shortbow, recurved||D8 P||ammunition (100/200), str 13, two-handed|
Special weapon rules:
Light: Ideal for off-hand use when dual wielding.
Versatile: May be used in one or two hands. Roll the next higher die for two-handed damage.
Finesse: May use DEX modifier in place of STR for attack/damage rolls.
Heavy: Small creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls.
Reach: Adds 5 feet to striking distance, unless more is indicated.
Ammunition/Thrown: A ranged weapon. The first number is short range (attacks incur no penalty), the second is maximum range, in feet.
Loading (x): Require the user to spend an indicated number of actions reloading the weapon. If the number indicated is 0 it can be fired once per round, but no more.
|Mail shirt||13+dex (max 2)||stealth disadvantage|
|Mail coat||14+dex (max 2)||stealth disadvantage|
|Scale shirt, lamellar||13+dex (max 2)||stealth disadvantage|
|Scale armor, lamellar||14+dex (max 2)||stealth disadvantage|
|Plated mail shirt||14+dex (max 2)||stealth disadvantage|
|Coat of plated mail||15+dex (max 2)||stealth disadvantage, str 13|
|Suit of mail||16||stealth disadvantage, str 13|
|Suit of plated mail||17||stealth disadvantage, str 15|
[Here are some great links for more info:
The mighty Delta explains archery, range & accuracy in D&D Plenty of further reading. Archery is much more complex an issue than I thought!
Military kits of British soldiers, 1066-today with lots of pictures
How did swords work against armour anyway?
Firing speed of bows & crossbows: