21 April 2024

Medieval For The Win

Kentucky Ballistics wonders how medieval weapons perform against modern armor.

Will it GURPS?

Scott looks like he's running a ST 14.  That's got a thrust damage of 1d and swing damage of 2d.

His helmet appears to be NIJ IIIA rated.  That's DR 12.

The first weapon is a small mace.  He'll do 2d+2 cr with it, averaging 9 damage.  It shouldn't penetrate.

The next weapon is a mace.  He'll do 3d-1 cr with it, averaging 9 damage.  It shouldn't penetrate.

Then the pick.  He'll do 2d+1 imp with it averaging 8 damage.  It shouldn't penetrate.

Using two hands, as he does, is good for an extra point of damage.  Averages are 10, 10 and 9; so they shouldn't penetrate on average.


Maximum damage with each weapon, two handed, is 15 cr, 17 cr and 14 imp.  Penetration is possible, and, maybe, he got a good roll with the second hit with the pick.


He didn't tell us what kind of vest it is.  It looks like NIJ II soft armor.  DR 10/5* (higher DR vs pi and cut).

The sword should do 2d-1 imp for thrusts and 2d+1 cut for swings.  Average hits should be 6 imp and 8 cut respectively.

The DR 10 stops the cut handily, even if the armor takes some damage.  The DR 5 stops the thrust, and his poor technique probably explains a below average damage roll.

The pick, doing 9 impaling with his two-handed swing gets 4 into the dummy.


I'm not going to bother with the ahistorical morningstars or the idiotically long $1,500 not-so-great sword.  But if I did the morningstar it'd do 3d cr swung two-handed for an average of 10.  It shouldn't get through the helmet, but should get through the vest.  I think it did, but he didn't really show the effects.

His spear should do 2d-1 imp when thrown.  Average of 6 damage.  That should penetrate, and it did, slightly.

Two-handed stabbing with it should do the same damage.


I don't know how fast he was going on the scooter, so I can't calculate the damage bonus.


  1. What's the DR of the exposed face, arms, groin and legs?

    It's a mixed armor (or lack of it) situation. Even as far back as Achillies the arrow didn't have to roll damage against his Unarmored heel.

    1. https://warehouse23.com/products/gurps-basic-set-characters

    2. I'd explain further, Michael, but last time I gave you the detail you asked for, you got dismissive about what I'd shown you. Or is this too story driven for you?

    3. Angus, when a non-player enemy gets a wack on the unarmored noggin like your example.

      Do you actually DO several Death Rolls or just decide in the interest of the Storyline that he falls dying or fights on briefly?

      I still have seven original members of my Traveller-old school D&D playing in my story driven rotating DM game. Not bad for a 65 year old gamer, eh?

    4. I have already explained this to you. It took mere moments to find the post.

      You're asking the same question you asked before and was answered.

      Since you can't read, perhaps you should stop coming here? You're not getting anything from the experience.

  2. Both maces and the warpick/warhammer will do serious slosh damage to the old brain and trauma to the neck even if no penetration was made. The sloshing and neck trauma can be mitigated by wearing some reactive foam pads or helmet liner, like what Team Wendy makes (also known as D3O, and you can get a knit ski-cap with D30 parts that works surprisingly well against trees or rocks.)

    The 3-ball flail probably would do some serious broken ribs/crushed sternum even through the fabric armor. Addition of of plates, even something as simple as plastic barrel material or UHMW or Kydex, would spread the force and reduce the crushing damage.

    What would be more effective than 'bullet resistant' armor would be like what they use in prisons, which is stab-resistant armor. And you can get combo armor that works against bullets and stabs, but it's a lot more pricey.

    Against edged or mass weapons, again, a simple back and breast of 'pickle barrel' under or over the Level IIIA cloth armor would suck up a lot of damage (that's what I wore under a surcoat for SCA fighting, you could feel the hit, even from a mega swing with a 'polearm' but it would spread the energy well enough to stop broken bones.)

    Doing a coat-of-plates or lorica segmenta style armor over the bullet vest would also stop the cut or crush, and be more flexible than a solid back and breast.

    And I do know someone who made a full samurai armor out of pickle barrel and put it over a Level III vest and shot it with everything up to an AK. Some spalling issues from the plastic, but the armor didn't shatter until hit multiple times in the same area, and slowed somewhat the bullets. So, win for old school armor styles (made out of modern materials.)

    I wonder how modern steels or titanium or hardened aluminum would work as armor over fabric against bullets.


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