Pick #92: What does a real sword weigh?

Have you ever wondered what a real suit of plate weighs, and whether you can move around in it if you're not like Lou Ferigno? Or have you ever wondered whether two-handed swords were really as cumbersome and heavy as the older GM guide said in Dungeons & Dragons? Thirty pounds for a sword seems rather hefty to use - that's about the weight of a bicycle. Because, what's the use of a big weapon or powerful armour if it badly slows you down?

Well, here are a few writers who bust the myth. They just tried it on and did their historical research. Plate armour was really made to be easy to carry. Maybe it's not as comfortable as spandex tights for the X-men, but it's surely workable. And two-handers? The well-balanced ones were easy to wield, they say, if you know how to. The less balanced ones were probably never meant for fighting, and if these were used at all, they would only have been used at executions. And how much do they weigh? A few pounds.

Check out what I Clausewitz and J. Clements at ARMA have to say about it. You might also have a look at the extensive information by the Metropolitan Museum in NY or laugh about the Dragon Preservation Society take on this one. If you're not handling swords every day, they may give you a few eyeopeners. They did for me, when I first read them!

Drawing by Urs Graf, borrowed from Dragon Preservation Society, picturing what a true 30 pound sword would look like.

1 comment:

  1. THIS is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to RPGs, especially OSR retroclones. They all too often just copy the "guesses" of the original, and when this is pointed out, someone invariably claims it's a measure of encumbrance, not weight.
    It's one of the first things I check when looking at new set of rules.