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🎨 Creative Optimal Melee Weapons for Shorter Persons

Killer300

Registered User
Validated User
Well, two things.

1. I think we can safely say this is a setting before gunpowder, as otherwise... well, I just don't think being shorter would change that much, in the scheme of things, about using guns, other than maybe reducing the size of guns that could be used.

2. Going back to pre-gunpowder, I wanted to run through all the available scenarios in terms of number of persons involved, whether it be one on one, small groups, and all the way up to full scale armies.
 

Thanaeon

Mostly simulationist
Validated User
What anti-armor weapons would be best for Goblins, Halflings, ect.? As somehow, I don't think a full sized warhammer is going to go as well, and otherwise...

Well, is there a knife range blunt weapon that was made into a war weapon we know about?
Well, I wouldn't discount warhammers and warpicks, possibly as two-handed variants, for small-stature species. They are, after all, meant precisely to maximise armour-piercing (and/or armour-deforming) ability in a compact and relatively easy-to-swing package. But they could also try something like ronder daggers, misericordes and the like for close-quarters murdering. Maybe ones with the scaled size of short swords for them.
 

Colin Fredericks

Dorkasaurus Rex
Validated User
How about bolas, nets, and tripwires? Going after a prone opponent seems like a good idea to me, though I don't know how hard those things are to actually use.

Also now I have this image of Halfling farmers releasing the Trip-Hogs that run beneath everyone's feet...
 

Lee Casebolt

SUCH a BOY
Staff member
Moderator
RPGnet Member
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Well, is there a knife range blunt weapon that was made into a war weapon we know about?
Not really. Your cosh/blackjack/knuckleduster sort of fit-in-your-hand punch enhancer is more the sort of thing you use for brawls than on campaign.
 

Dalillama

Registered User
Validated User
Well, is there a knife range blunt weapon that was made into a war weapon we know about?
The only one I know of is the Mere, but Maori warfare didn't go in much for armour.
For a start, why are we assuming gunpowder isn't available?
If nothing else, because there was (in most game worlds) a time before gunpowder was available, and small folk would have martial traditions from the pre-gunpowder ages.
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
if you're able to evade long enough
That seems like a big if, especially with sharp weapons rather than fists.

there is one area where the sword does excel, and that's fighting unarmoured foes.
And for most of history most troops weren't fully armored.

Couple discussion points:
In D&D, halflings are barely weaker than humans. I'm not sure that could be the case in reality, we're talking about people who are basically five year olds, physically.

OTOH in warfare between communities, they should have the advantage in numbers, because they need less food per person. Your village of 100 humans may be facing a village of 400 halflings. They might have better tech, because they have more minds per land area and thus higher invention rates.

Not sure about armor. Each soldier is smaller, but there are more of them. A past thread on giants argued that everyone would actually be wearing around the same thickness of armor, with a disadvantage to giants (more of their strength is going to just moving their own mass around). Halflings vs. unprepared humans can of course exploit a lack of leg armor more, and have even less need of it themselves.

Imagine you're fighting a 12' giant, what would you do? Imagine you're fighting hostile five year olds, what would you *not* want them to do?
 

Raleel

Registered User
Validated User
Imagine you're fighting a 12' giant, what would you do? Imagine you're fighting hostile five year olds, what would you *not* want them to do?
This is where I was thinking about. You can’t use tree trunks as weapons, and they out reach you. What do you use?

Traps like dead falls and triplines and whatever else that you can use without getting close. Ranged weapons of all kinds. Group fighting against the larger threat. Guiding them into highly dangerous areas where they can be mobbed or where they cannot move.

Fighting one on one, getting inside against those bigger foes will let you do mean things to them, but the risk I think is much higher than against someone who has a bit more reach. Get in from behind or from a side while distracted, which points to group tactics. Traps to eliminate their leverage and reach.
 

Thanaeon

Mostly simulationist
Validated User
And for most of history most troops weren't fully armored.
Sure, but there's a lot of space between "not fully armoured" and "unarmoured", and typically the targets you're most eager and most likely to hit in the press of battlefield conditions - the head and the area around the neck and upper torso - are also the first to get armoured. Plus, oftentimes individuals would have differing levels of armour, and more successful warriors/soldiers would generally have more (because they'd have been successful enough to live to loot, or because they were from a wealthy background that could afford to both arm and train them better as well as leave enough spare time to practice), so it's also worth to consider whether you want to pick your gear based on the least or most effective opponents you're likely to face.

And the further you progress into high medieval period, the more armoured the average combatant tends to become. (Until the Renaissance starts to roll over, but by then non-polearm melee weapons also tend to disappear from infantry.)

Swords are cool as hell. Swords are versatile. Swords are good against unarmoured targets. Swords make good status symbols. Swords are easy to carry around, which is why they make good backup and civilian weapons. But rarely have they been the primary weapon of war, especially for infantry, and they're not really exceptional at anything. Almost any polearm will outreach them, the battle-axe does more damage (because its point of impact is smaller and it's more top-heavy), any mace variant (maces, warhammers, flails etc.) will make better tin can openers, pikes and spears make for tighter formations and better anti-cavalry weapons, a dagger will serve you better in grappling range.
 

Raleel

Registered User
Validated User
Now I'm imagining ogre/hill giant warbows...
Well, there is a question of square-cube laws and their strength they are able to apply to the bows, but if we ignore physics because giants are magic, then they would be truly devastating things. Arrows of more than a pound and as long as Spears. Heads would be more like the size of your palm. Of course, to propel such a thing at any reasonable speed it would be a truly stunning bow.

I don’t think the other direction would be nearly so small, though. Yes, shorter and thinner arrows, and thus less mass, but also a much smaller bow able to propel it. They may be able to get faster arrows out of the deal to compensate for the loss of the mass with just a small increase in draw strength.

I would think, though, they would use slings and crossbows specifically because of the lack of strength needed. Slings go as far as bows, just slower to load and fire, and are quite deadly.
 
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