This has come up earlier on these forums, but I couldn't find a real answer, so (since it also keeps coming up in our group), I thought I'd phrase the question differently. I'm sorry to bring this up again, since it's already been up earlier.
Using Art and Academe, and following Aristotelean (is that spelled right?) physics, we see that speed has nothing to do with the force an object hits its target. The force the wielder of the rock, javelin, rotten fruit or whatever is launched makes it fly for a longer distance, but not with greater speed.
In the true spirit of Monty Python, let me introduce Roland the Strong. He's a strong man, and he likes throwing stuff. His enemey, Patsy the Coward has insulted him for the last time. First he throws a rock, which hits. Then he throws a javelin, which hits. Then he finishes by throwing a rotten fruit. This also hits. Using Arestotelean physics, which does the more damage, and why?
Aristotelian Physics does recognize that objects have a density and size to them. That is why it takes more force to lift a larger, rather than a smaller rock, and why it takes more force to lift the same sizes of gold vs. wood.
Thus, a size X density relationship imparts a certain force when an object impacts another. A javelin will do more damage (as the force is imparted by the point of impact), a squishy peach less, and a rock somewhere in the middle (depending upon the relative size of the rock).
So the javelin imparts much more force to a smaller point (due to its sharpness), and therefore it is more likely to overcome the resistance of whatever it hits? A javeling with some weight will therefore impart this weight onto a smaller point than a, say, rock with the same weight?
I'm having problems explaining this concept to my group..
Yes. Think of it this way. Take a piece of plastic wrap, fold it twice or so, have your friends hold it, and try to push your fist through the wrap. Now, take the same amount of wrap and try to push your finger through it. Much easier. All of the force is focused on a smaller area with your finger, as opposed to a larger area with you fist.
Nice, that's a great way of explaining it.
I'm trying to get my player's to think Aristotles when making up spells and such.