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D&D 3E
A Question of Size 
14th-Apr-2008 03:30 pm
Grinning Revi!  ^_^
If a fighter-type character took Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), could they actually swing around a Large size bastard sword using two hands at a -2 penalty, since they would only need one hand to use a Medium size bastard sword?

In a related question, how long would a Large size bastard sword be? (And for that matter, how long are the Medium sized swords?) I know that a greatsword is basically a Large size longsword, but could someone give me actual sizes?
14th-Apr-2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
If a fighter-type character took Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), could they actually swing around a Large size bastard sword using two hands at a -2 penalty, since they would only need one hand to use a Medium size bastard sword?

Nope. The weight's different. The Exotic Weapon skill only lets you use it a certain way, not treat it as one size smaller.

In a related question, how long would a Large size bastard sword be? (And for that matter, how long are the Medium sized swords?) I know that a greatsword is basically a Large size longsword, but could someone give me actual sizes?

Among the worst parts of D&D is the paucity of weapon sizes and weights -- and how wildly inaccurate they are.

A large creature is about twice as big as you. A longsword is from three to four feet in total length, and a bastard sword from three and a half to five feet long. The large size variants of these weapons are, similarly, six to eight and seven to ten feet long.

A greatsword will be, at its longest, about six feet long. Most of them would be shorter than their wielders by a few inches, and could be significantly shorter -- possibly as short four feet, if made for an exceptionally short human.

Note that there's no hard rule, and if you look hard enough you'll find a blade from every length from four inches to fifteen feet either used in battle, found as an old sword, or claimed in somebody's badly researched history book.
15th-Apr-2008 07:23 am (UTC)
Actually, you could. The weapon description says that it's a one-handed exotic melee weapon, but can be wielded two-handed as a martial weapon. So with the EWP(BS) feat, you could wield one size larger two-handed at a -2 (see "Inappropriately Sized Weapons" in the SRD).

Anyway, here's what you really want to do. You take a Goliath and add the Monkey Grip feat. Then you equip him with the largest Sun Blade he can carry. That's a Medium SB light-handed normally, a Large light-handed with Powerful Build, a Huge one-handed at -2, a Gargantuan two-handed at -4, and a Colossal two-handed at -6 with Monkey Grip.

That's 6d8 damage for the sword alone, plus whatever bonuses you get for the SB enchantments - and all you have to do is find a DM that will never put you anyplace you can't wield a 60-foot-long blade.

I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of it, but my mommy says I'm special.
16th-Apr-2008 05:18 am (UTC)
Heh, thanks... I was going for something a bit more simple than that, honestly. I'm in it mostly for the flavor of being able to swing around a sword as big or bigger than my character. On the other hand, though, massive damage output is certainly nice...
17th-Apr-2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Be sure to check out the Fullblade in the Arms and Equipment Guide. It's nicknamed the "Ogre's Sword" or some such nonsense. It's the equivalent of a Large bastard sword, without the -2 to wielding two-handedly once you've taken the appropriate EWP. I read (either there or someplace else) that it should be as long as your character is tall. Just be sure your DM's okay with 3.0 stuff, since the AEG wasn't updated for 3.5.
17th-Apr-2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
My bad, that was me forgetting to log in AND not reading the rest of the comments. Spectacular.
14th-Apr-2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
A (medium-sized) bastard sword would be anywhere from 3 1/2 feet to 4 1/2 feet, while a greatsword would be around 6 feet in length.
14th-Apr-2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
Well, the bastard sword (aka the long sword, if you want to go by historical reference) is about four feet in length. The greatswsord (aka the Zweihander) is nearly six feet. By comparison, your basic broadsword (or longsword in D&D) is about three to three and a half feet.

Given that a large upright creature like an Ogre is nine to ten feet, the greatsword is proportionally the same to him as bastard sword is to a human. But in human hands the weight and reach are too much to treat it as a bastard sword. I would treat it as a greatsword with no penalty.
16th-Apr-2008 05:20 am (UTC)
Thanks for the information, that helps a lot! It's difficult not knowing how long these things are... XD
16th-Apr-2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
Wikipediea helps... plus I have several reference books from Tolheffer and a few other masterswordsmen from the 15th-16 centuries. Very interesting stuff.

Edited to add: Another thing to consider is that striking reach is not just the length of the blade. Here's a neat exercise: grab a sword or a yardstick, or the like. Take a normal stance, and just extend your weapon arm. Take note of the reach. Now, plant your left foot (right foot if you're a lefty), step forward with your right as far as you can while keeping the left flat on the ground (fencers do this drill all. the. time.) Now extend your weapon arm. Go back to normal, but put that left foot forward. Planting the left foot again, step through with the right and extend the arm again.

Those latter two define your reach with a weapon.

Edited at 2008-04-16 02:11 pm (UTC)
14th-Apr-2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
And remember guys, it's not the size of the weapon, but how well you wield it!


Oh, like no one else was thinking that. :P
14th-Apr-2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
You can use a light weapon one size larger than you as if was one-handed, but at a -2 penalty, or a one-handed weapon as a two-handed weapon, so I'd say "yes". And with the Monkey Grip feat, you could wield it in one hand.

A shortsword is about 18-24 inches long. A broadsword is about 24-30 inches long and about 6-10 inches wide. A longsword is about 4 foot long. A bastard sword is about 4-5 foot long, but comparatively narrow. A greatsword (something like a zweihander, or claymore) can be well over 6 feet long, sometimes with a 6-foot blade and a 2-foot handle.

Large-size weapons would probably be about 50% larger.
15th-Apr-2008 12:41 am (UTC)
To my knowledge, the bastard sword is so named because it is a hybrid of the longsword and the greatsword. Hence, a bastard child of the two differing types of blade. As such, they are optimally designed for use in two hands. The katana is a good example of this-- a sword that can be used single-handed if necessary, but designed to be held in two hands. You don't need Exotic weapon proficency to use one, only to use one singlehanded.

So seeing as one can wield a bastard sword single-handed with training, my particular DM judgement would be you can use a Large bastard sword as a two-handed weapon as per the size adjustment rules, providing you have the Exotic weapon proficiency, at the standard -2. I would allow Monkey grip to negate this penalty, though I'm not entirely sure I would allow the Large version to be used singlehanded simply because it's already so close to being outside the usable range. Perhaps if one wanted to take Exotic Weapon Proficiency twice to show additional training to the extremely large size. Non-proficient fighters naturally could not use it at all.

Alternatively, I don't recall the wording verbatim, but I believe the Arms & Equipment guide had rules and statistics for a...I believe it was called the "Giant Sword" or "ogre's greatsword" or some such, which was much larger than the standard greatsword. It caused something like... 2d8 damage, (I think.) You could perhaps use that as a precedent for your bastard sword as well.
15th-Apr-2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
According to Egerton Castle (which none of the D&D designers have read, apparently), a bastard sword is a sword that is "shorter than a longsword and yet longer than a shortsword". See, what was historically called a longsword, D&D calls a bastard sword. What D&D calls a longsword is what George Silver (1599) called a short sword.

Don't go messing around in history when you're talking about D&D. That way lies madness.
16th-Apr-2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Thanks for your judgment, this seems to be the common interpretation... it's good to know I and the person who came up with it originally aren't crazy, heheheh. And your judgment about having to take Monkey Grip and the Exotic Weapon Proficiency again to be able to use it one-handed makes sense to me.

I think the "Giant Sword"/"Ogre's Greatsword" may be what I'm looking for... also, scaling the damage from Medium to Large puts a bastard sword from 1d10 to 2d8, so that could work too. Anyway, thanks a lot for the input!
15th-Apr-2008 02:41 am (UTC)
I think the Monkey Grip feat out of Complete Warrior would allow you to do what you want to do, too.
15th-Apr-2008 02:54 am (UTC)
too bad Monkey Grip isn't that good of a feat for two-handed weapon wielders
18th-Apr-2008 02:39 am (UTC)
True, but when it comes down to a choice between Exotic Weapon proficiency bastard sword, and Monkey Grip, which would also give you the ability to wield larger versions of other two-handed weapons like axes and polearms, you get a bit more flexibility out of the latter.
15th-Apr-2008 03:19 am (UTC)
The bastard sword blade is exactly the same as the long sword blade- the only difference is the handle which is longer- thus the sword can be wielded with one or two hands. It is commonly called a Hand and a Half sword for this reason. The blade is usually 3.5 - 4 feet long,
15th-Apr-2008 12:32 pm (UTC)
Actually, historically speaking bastard sword and longsword are synonymous. What D&D calls the longsword can really be called an arming sword or a broadsword.
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