• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

Modeling query: What's the difference between a dagger and a shortsword?

Max

A dapper chap without a doubt
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The original "short sword" AFAIK was a longsword held in halfsword. Liechtenauer's "kurtzen swert." You shorten it relative to its primary length. So as Knaight says it's all relative. A small sword is smaller than a rapier. A grande epee de guerre is larger than typical arming swords. "Short" only means shorter than ____.
The Spartan alleged short sword is a bit older than that, I think. :)

But yeah, same words can mean different things in different contexts. A short bronze age sword is not necessarily much like a short Renaissance sword. If the aim is to create a system of universal abstractions, it's best to begin by defining your terms in their own context independent of any historical reference. What do you mean when you say "short sword"?

PS. Or "shortsword", I suppose, although to my mind that orthography denotes a particular type of thing rather than a descriptive category of things. Like how a "long sword" is just a sword that's notably long, but a "longsword" is a somewhat specific kind of long sword... or how a "smallsword" is not just any kind of "small sword". :)
 
Last edited:

kenco

Registered User
Validated User
I don't think it's reasonable to say that short swords were definitively primarily stabbing weapons, mind. The gladius is obviously a cut-and-thrust weapon in design, and described as such in period accounts (Victorian claims to the contrary notwithstanding), and various kinds of cutlasses, hangers, messers, machetes, goloks, butterfly swords, dha and other such short weapons and tools-cum-weapons were all designed primarily or even exclusively for edge blows. Indeed, it seems to me more reasonable to define daggers as primarily thrust-oriented, lacking the blade mass and leverage for cleaving cuts.
Thank you for this.
 

kenco

Registered User
Validated User
The Spartan alleged short sword is a bit older than that, I think. :)

But yeah, same words can mean different things in different contexts. A short bronze age sword is not necessarily much like a short Renaissance sword. If the aim is to create a system of universal abstractions, it's best to begin by defining your terms in their own context independent of any historical reference. What do you mean when you say "short sword"?

PS. Or "shortsword", I suppose, although to my mind that orthography denotes a particular type of thing rather than a descriptive category of things. Like how a "long sword" is just a sword that's notably long, but a "longsword" is a somewhat specific kind of long sword... or how a "smallsword" is not just any kind of "small sword". :)
And the "broadsword" might not be the broadest sword in your collection.
 

kenco

Registered User
Validated User
For our purposes a shortsword is a blade around 2' in length.
Other things a short sword can do

If you are committed to the idea that dagger must be a separate category from short sword, then I think you are on the right track with trying to make the advantages of a short sword part-way between those of a dagger and a sword. Parry might be a good candidate. You might also consider a 'chop'/ 'cut' attack for the short sword (if you have one for the sword), or a 'can't chop' limitation for the dagger (if you don't). What that does in game terms is up to you. To me its about being able to do structural damage without scoring a precise hit. Or about being hard for a lighter weapon to parry. Or about being able to do (some) concussive damage. All of which are a bit like doing more damage - or being more likely to do some damage - on a hit.

More damage is not a terrible abstraction, in this light.
 

Shadow Captain

Registered User
Validated User
Have you considered the damage system? Seems to me the problem might be hit points instead of hit points dealt. With a different system of dealing wounds, based on skill and the random generator, your weapon descriptors (tags) might have more impact on weapon choice.
 
Top Bottom