Using an enchanted staff (maybe talisman) for combat...

Yes, doing that would be good.

On the whole burning thing, I figure it's still wood and wood burns. It's just stronger. Otherwise these and Doublet of Impenetrable Silk in the core book are essentially all doing the same thing. In that last case, you still want your doublet to be flexible, different than flammable, but the same sort of idea.

No, I didn't miss the context. The statement itself mostly missed that context and is now being changed. Retroactively changing a statement doesn't make comments about how it used to be in error. Only a quarter of the original comment might have even possibly fit that context and the new changes. Making an iron staff as light as a feather doesn't. Making a sword as light as a feather doesn't. Making a sword "as light as you like" doesn't. Making the iron staff "as light as you like" might. The new statement about needing to reduce the weight of something that is too heavy is a good one.

It is just not new, but already implied in the context of my original post: it is the reason, why The Weightless Menhir got into it.

Making a sword/staff as light as a feather with The Weightless Menhir is possible, so I mentioned it - useful or not. Making a sword "as light as you like" without otherwise changing the properties of its blade is very useful, though: bladesmiths worked on it for the centuries following the 13th, before coming out with schiavone and rapiers.


As I showed, most that sentence did not fit that context. Are you saying medieval swords are usually made of wood? Or do I take much of the statement as definitely not fitting the context? You choose between those.

You're making me question your understanding of the development of weapons. Two things:

  1. While really exaggerated for obviousness, this is like saying it's important to be able to control your blade very carefully as well as having it sharp and therefore a scalpel is a fabulous military weapon for the 13th century. Consider why weapons were still becoming heaver at this point in time and then many heavier weapons became obsolete in the 16th century. The armor you need to get through matters. And then the weapons that are need to get through that armor determine the weapons you need to parry. Etc.

  2. Weapon smiths did not just make swords lighter. They changed the designs while doing so. Yes, despite your claims that they didn't change other properties, they actually did. Along with changes in weight come other issues. Fighting style is immensely important. The lighter weapons got the more they had to be used for thrusting. That's not to say thrusting weapons didn't already exist; spears have been around for a long time. But the techniques for using swords changed alongside changes to their sizes and weights; neither changed in a vacuum. So just significantly lightening a sword without changing it's other properties can have some significant implications.

What about approaching the problem another way - having an enchantment that supports the weight of the weapon for you, similar to Unseen Arm/Porter? (Think Sword of the Rivan King from Eddings' works)

There is a spell that does this somewhat: The Treacherous Spear (ArM5 p.139). It wouldn't be what you'd want in this case, but it shows such a spell is certainly possible and could help designing such a spell.

Compare the blades of Schiavone and Claymores: both are typically about 1m in length, and some of both are longer.
While the Claymore blades weigh over 2 kg, Schiavona blades weigh a little over 1 kg. Both are double edged, have points and are balanced for striking. While the points of Claymores might have been used only in very specific fencing maneuvers, there are Schiavone which taper out in small dagger blades, to make thrusting with them at range more efficient. So the Schiavona is indeed the early, Renaissance, model of a basket hilt cut-and-thrust sword.

The light, large blade of the Schiavona and other such cut-and-thrust swords require blade smith technology beyond the medieval one, but they do not require specific fencing techniques.
Having a blade light enough to comfortable wield in one hand while maneuvering a horse with the other, and at the same time long enough to provide the reach needed for cavalrymen, made these swords and their descendents the weapon of choice for many heavy cavalry.

Note, that heavy cavalry at this time was often still really heavily armored. It included the gens-d'armes, e. g. from the battle of Pavia, and the Polish Husaria, e. g, from the battle of the Kahlenberg. The latter had their own cavalry sword, the very long stabbing Koncerz developed from the cut-and-thust sword. Both relied on lance charges in formation, but due to the problems of the lance with recovery and follow up charges they needed wieldier weapons as well. Less prestigious heavy cavalry units gave up their lances earlier, and afterwards relied on the cut-and-thust sword as their main weapon before some switched to pistols.
Now think of a covenant and a magus making blades lighter, thereby making schiavone, maybe without basket hilts, well before their time. The typical grog or sergeant should easily adapt to their larger range, shouldn't he? Certainly faster than a magus adapts to finger twiddling in a gauntlet while striking!


Just supporting the weight might make using that sword more difficult than just making it lighter: wouldn't it lead to one-and-a-half wielders for that weapon at the same time?


It would. And unless that "extra wielder" was plugged into your nervous system, I'd probably be giving a penalty greater than than any bonus from changing the mass of the weapon could ever provide.
In ArM5 terms, the weapon reading my mind would probably suffice, but really, you should be moving before thinking.

I agree. Simply stating that lighter blades are superior is a pretty dangerous assumption.

I'm not an expert on either - especially not on the Schiavone, so let's just go by the links you've provided.
For the Claymore, the lengths given are: Blade length ≈100–120 cm
For the Schiavone, the only example length given is 93.2 cm, or just under a hands width under 1 meter.

Early Renaissance? That's an interesting definition of early?
To quote. "This article is about the European Renaissance of the 14th–17th centuries", meaning that the Schiavone, according to your own link, is used only in the later half of that periode (16th-17th centuries).
We might also note that Scotland was a poor country, far away from the main thrust* of european technological and cultural advancement, which largly took place around the mediterranean sea.
Without instantaneous commication of ideas and taking into account the difference in resources, we're actually looking at an even smaller overlap in effective periode.

This is actually not wrong. They would require advances in technology similar to those that allow the 2-handed longswords, also used into the 17th century, as well as the creation of plate armour. This advancement in technology started with the blast furnace around 1205, a much more relevant periode for ArM5.

Excuse me? Compared to what? A medieval broadsword? Probably true. A Longsword? There's a huge difference between using a sword one-handed and two-handed!

And now perhaps, we're getting to the point.
"weapon of choice for many heavy cavalry" - cavalry will almost always pick light, one-handed weapons, because they have to care about horses as well!
Using a two-handed sword from horseback present extra problems, as does using front heavy, unbalanced weapons (like heavy axes).
When remaining seated on the horse matters, pick a one-handed sword (or a saber, if you're mostly riding down unarmored infantry/artillery crews, and they are accessable)!

Almost no military units** have relied on one-handed swords as their primary weapon of choice.
The primary weapon have almost always been a spear, a lance, a pike, or some form of polearm - all longer and heavier weapons - or a ranged weapon, like a bow, crossbow or a firearm.
Many cavalries also carried a (heavy but one-handed) mace in they expected to fight opponents in armour, because that's not really what swords are best for.

Please understand that the impact of a weapon is largely just the momentum per area.
Thus a heavier weapons has an advantage there, as long as it can still be moved relatively swiftly.

Actually, re-reading your linked reference regarding the Schiavone, I notice that "Classified as a true broadsword, this war sword had a wider blade than its contemporary civilian rapiers". So the military users chose a wider (and thus heavier) blade than their civilian contemporaries, with access to the same technology.
Shouldn't this really be noteworthy?

  • pun intended, my apologies.
    ** please note the "almost no" preceeding this. Cavalry have found swords/sabres very useful against lightly armoured infantry, and officers/NCOs have often been issued swords because their job was to keep their own unit under control, not to lay into the enemy.

I certainly woudln't make such an assumption. 'Superior' is depending on the purpose here.

I have seen many dozens of Schiavone in Italian museums like the Armeria of the Palazzo Ducale or the Castel Sant'Angelo. There aren't exactly rare - and there are some with longer blades.

No: "early, Renaissance". That is: "early, namely Renaissance". Schiavone appear in the earlier 16th century - in Italy still the time of High Renaissance. Starting the Renaissance in the late 14th century is done usually only, if you include Italian Humanism - like Petrarca and Coluccio Salutati - with it. This is, what the wiki article you quote below does and explains.

So we're good here.

Indeed. From the 16th century onwards many picked the Schiavone, or later cut-and-thrust swords developed from it like the Cromwellian 'mortuary sword'.

As I said, rare and expensive elite cavalry rode their splendid horses, wore their heavy armor and wielded their lances still a long time, and fighting them remained important. But the majority of the cavalry already at Pavia (where the gens d'armes were destroyed by the Imperial arqebusiers) had far weaker horses less costly to maintain, and lighter armour: a good example, from just 20 years later, are the Schwarze Reiter with two wheellock pistols and a cavalry sword of the type we are talking of.

The narrower blade of a rapier also had to be kept stable, so the weight difference is perhaps around 100 grams. But still it is noteworthy! The cut-and-thrust sword was indeed just as light as you like to fight with as a heavy cavalryman latest from the middle of the 16th century on. So it is of interest to see, whether such swords can be made for ArM5 grog cavalry, if there is a local swordsmith and MuTe magus. It might be sufficient to have such swords just for training and battle, not as private possessions of the grogs.


And you really think the properties of the blade are the same??? The hilt has to change as well, or you really mess up the center of mass. The rotational inertia changes alongside this, which changes how the blade swings. And that's all at least partially separated from the simple mass change, which changes how the blade behaves on impact. No, we're really not just looking at making the same weapon lighter in this example.

I agree about the technology, and I don't think anyone has disagreed. No, no specific fencing techniques required. But the techniques used are drastically different that those used with the claymore. You seriously think they were used the same way? Cut-and-thrust swords are so different than swords like claymores. One wording difference I have seen used to describe the difference in the swing is "cutting" versus "chopping." Thrusting is also performed quite differently, though the effect is more similar. Even you have stated above and below that they were used quite differently. So why insist that I'm wrong about different techniques for the two?

And have you considered what was happening at the time? Why was their armor so heavy? It was made so heavy in an attempt to stop bullets. But that meant it was only possible for heavy cavalry. So meanwhile, nearly all the soldiers they engaged had moved to much lighter armor because of bullets since sufficiently heavy armor wasn't viable for them.



Obvious. I had the claymore in to make it easy for the magus: it has a blade about the same size as a schiavona, but is far heavier. Reducing its weight is easy, and once this is done, checked, and approved by the grogs, the magus still can order other blades of the same size, but better once made lighter. Let's compare Schiavona-fencing to fencing with a medieval broadsword, which is heavier and shorter, but used single-handedly.

Compare this to the opponents grogs face. No gens-d'armes. No arqebusiers. But lots of leather and leather scale armor far inferior even to a Trabharnisch. So a Schiavona is a pretty good weapon for mounted grogs, far better than a medieval broadsword.


OK, let's have a look:

Around AD1200? No. Plenty of mail armour though.
And of course, the fantastic threats, like dragons, steel-skinned wolves and the like.

Not per see, no. Spells/effects with similar results though? Depends on your saga, obviously.
But given the choice, I'd take a hit from an arqebus over an Incantation of Lightning any day of the week, please.

Saga-dependent. But probable.

Excuse me? You've made the argument that it's probably no worse that a broadsword.
You've made essentially no argument that it's 'better than', certainly not "far better than".

In that case, I must have mis-read your quoted statement* above, because that really is what it looks like you wrote?

As mentioned*, I'm no expert on the Schiavone and as such that comment is based purely on the links you yourself have provided.

My apologies, that was not how I read your comment. I have learned through painful experience that it is very important to be very clear in written communication and not make assumptions.
I would also reject the word "early" with respect to the 16th century in the context of Ars Magica, and probably in the context of swords in general.

And that was what I wrote. Or so I thought at least.

I was trying to make the point that a good weapon for a horseman is not necessarily a good weapon for a footman.
Often, the footman has a far wider choice of weapons because he is not bound by the practicalities of horseback riding.
In other words, comparing the Schiavone and the Claymore smacks of comparing apples and oranges.

I'm sorry, I must have missed the point you were making?
The sword is still not the main weapon of a military unit, save perhaps cavalry intending to go after infantry. Which was something I thought I'd stated very explicitly.

I'm sorry, it's too hot for me to think, and you're making my head hurt by appearing to contradict yourself. Either you're unclear in what you write, or I'm incapable of understanding your statements.

My point is simply this: You do not want swords to be "as light as possible", especially not against armoured/scaled targets.
To me, the Schiavone looks like a broadsword with a hilt. Taking off the hilt would make it a poorly balanced broadsword. But again, I'm no expert.

  • You even quoted this yourself.

PS: You generally want practice weapons to be as heavy as possible. It helps build muscle. Do not make the practice swords unnaturally lightweight.

Didn't I? I thought I did. Anyway, it has a far better reach: very important for cavalry.

Anyway, I didn't. I only wrote that making a sword "as light as you like" is very useful. Finding out where it is superior is then a second step. The Schiavona is superior as a cavalry sword because of its better reach without added weight, and its ability to make the best use of that reach.

The Schiavona is early in the context of cut-and-thrust swords.

Whatever. I don't compare them.

You might not have read the article on the Schwarze Reiter then?

Other battle cavalry - like Marlborough's British cavalry at Blenheim - also made good use of their swords, using their pistols as backups.

The Schiavone - and other, later, cut-and-thrust swords - at the same weight have a longer blade and hence higher reach than the broadsword. As they can be used well for thrusts, their wielders can make the best use of that reach. This made them excellent swords for battle cavalry like Reiter and Cuirassiers - and useful for mounted grogs as well.


Well, you seemed to object when I said it before.

You really don't seem to understand what you're talking about here. No, the blades are not about the same size and yet drastically different in weight. How do we know this? Because even now we can't pull off anything close to that using different types of steel. The density of steel only varies a maximum of roughly 2% from average, which itself is just barely off from the density of iron. Now look at your numbers for the blades: just over 2 kg v. just over 1 kg. How does that happen? Reality: the lighter blade is just over half the volume of the heavier blade. Roughly half the volume is not the same size, not at all. Let's see how the length fits in here. 93 cm v. 110 cm length (averaging that 100 and 120) while keeping exactly the same shape (similar, in geometry) accounts for roughly 72% of the difference in weights right there, based on volume alone. That's way, way more than any lightening of the steel might have accomplished. And the rest? Shaping the blade differently can reduce the volume, too, while maintaining length. (In reality, lightening the blade is more about making the steel stronger/durable so a more slender blade will hold up well and about adjusting the design of the blade.) We'll have to leave a fair amount of uncertainty in there since we don't know how these masses and lengths compare.

And then you have to realize that there is even more to your lightening the blade idea. Even if you build the normal basket hilt for the schiavona, you've totally messed up the center of mass and the rotational inertia. So it won't actually handle nearly the same as a properly made schiavona.

Dragons, earth elementals, soldiers in mail, ...

Do realize the very people who used these weapons didn't necessarily want them as light as they might have used. I say this because many cut-and-thrust swords of these later periods were specifically chosen to be heavier for military use. The lighter ones were used for duels. Why not use the lighter ones for military uses, too?

This is basically all besides the point of lightening a blade by magic. Yes, the magically lightened Claymore has far more volume than the Schiavona made with better technology: but as magi we don't care, do we?

This is more interesting. But the balance of a straight two edged blade does not change if you change its weight homogeneously.

A Claymore requires more leverage in its grip than a Schiavona. So you can easily shorten the grip once you lightened its blade. The remainder of the balance for such swords is then in their pommel: a weight whose adaptation does not need advanced technology.

But there is still another adaptation to the hilt, which the Schiavona with the voluminous blade benefits from: it gets its reach advantage fully as a one handed thrusting sword, so adapting the guard to also allow a thrusting grip is advantageous. This requires some experience magi and grogs might not have at the beginning - but also does not depend on metal technology.


The heavy cavalrymen used the swords, which their superiors wanted them to use in combat.
Just as grogs use the swords "as light as their magi like", once these turn their mind to this topic.


It's not beside the point at all. It is the point in a nutshell. Those smiths did not spend all those years trying to make a lightweight blade by making steel lighter. They made the steel stronger so they could change the shape of the blade. That last part is the key: they changed the shape of the blade. This is not the same thing as just keeping the same shape and making it lighter.

Which is exactly he point. Perhaps not knowingly, but you were claiming it would change. When you attach your lightened claymore blade to your properly built schiavona hilt, the center of mass and the rotational inertia of the sword will be different than for the properly built schiavona. Essentially, you've built a weapon that isn't balanced properly for its use.

Yes, you could build a heavier schiavona pommel. This will help with the center of mass issue at the expense of making the non-striking part heavier. You cannot both do this and correct the rotational inertia, though. So you could fix the center of mass issues at the expense of making it parry worse and do less damage on many strikes.

And you're going a long way from enchanting a weapon (maybe a talisman) for its user when you're talking about changing its hilt and techniques you plan to use with it after the fact.

I shouldn't think so. Let's start with the blade: the center of mass of the lightened blade is still in the same place. While the decrease in mass of the blade also decreases its rotational inertia: this is desired, because we control the blade with one hand now.

The Claymore already had a pommel. Shortening the grip towards the lightened blade requires adapting that pommel, but not towards making it heavier. It should have been proportionately lightened, if we hadn't shortened the grip. Shortening it and thus reducing its leverage requires a somewhat less lightened pommel partially balanced by a more lightened grip.

Certainly the resulting Schiavona will cause less damage than the heavier Claymore. The center of mass of the Schiavona with its adapted hilt will move somewhat towards the hilt - which is where it needs to be for a long one-handed sword whose hilt does not allow two-handed leverage. A two-handed Claymore parries slower but against more powerful strikes than the resulting Schiavona. That is also as it should be - especially as one-handed thrusting swords with long blades can be used to replace many parries very effectively with fast counter-thrusts. Anyway, the blade of this particular Schiavona is still as stiff and resistant as that of the previous Claymore, and wouldn't break easily in a parry.

I only said that lightening such blades can be very useful. As many magi have trouble with horses, a cavalry sword as a talisman might not be to their liking, though.


I'll explain it more mathematically. Again, I'm working with average values since that's the best we have an having to estimate similar shapes. I'm also comparing it to the schiavona goal. We start with a 110 cm claymore blade just over 2 kg in mass. We use magic to lighten the blade, making every bit of it roughly 55% the mass it had been so the new mass is just over 1 kg. The center of mass of the blade stays in exactly the same place as it had been. The blade is about 18% longer than the 1kg+ schiavona's blade, putting the center of mass about 8% further up the blade, or about 7.5 cm further from the guard. That 8% can be a much bigger impact on the rotational inertia. If we're talking around the guard, that's nearly a 40% increase in the rotational inertia. Now, your surely doing bigger swings with a schiavona than with newer, even lighter cut-and-thrust swords. Even with modern ones, the point of rotation is further down somewhere between the wrist and the elbow. So for percentages we can probably estimate that 7.5 cm as 5% or so and the rotational inertia change more in the vicinity of 25%. Still, as you can see, that's a very big fractional change in the rotational inertia, meaning it will handle very differently.

You really have two choices here:

  1. Make the claymore blade even lighter than the schiavona blade so that the hilt doesn't have to be that much heavier than the proper schiavona hilt. Then it will feel about as heavy to hold in one hand as a schiavona and about as maneuverable, though it won't handle parries as well and won't hit as hard as a properly balanced schiavona.
  2. Keep the weight of the blade to match the schiavona's and add a lot of weight to the hilt. This will make it feel much heavier to hold in one hand than a proper schiavona. It will also not be nearly so maneuverable. But it will handle parries as well and hit as hard as a schiavona.

Either way, you can manage to match some factors while falling behind in others compared to the schiavona.

That's just miscommunication between us. I was saying a heavier grip than the proper schiavona's grip, not heavier than the claymore's. I'm trying to compare everything to how well it will behave as a proper schiavona. Sorry if I wasn't clear there.

I was comparing your sword to the schiavona, not the claymore. You can see above for the why. You're sword will either parry more slowly against equally powerful strikes compared to the schiavona, or it will parry equally quickly against less powerful strikes than the schiavona.

Yes, I agree that this blade will be more resilient than the normal schiavona's blade. It won't parry as well, but it will be less likely to break.

Actually, you started with "Once you start considering to use a talisman in combat..." when you gave the advice of making a sword as light as a feather or as light as you like it. If you now realize the statement is untenable and want to shy away from it, fine.