Sacred 2:Book 3 - Two-handed Swords

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From Lore of Weaponry
Book 3

Two-handed Swords

"The Gods had their reasons for giving us two arms. Encumbering one with a wooden board was not one of them."

In many ways, two-handed swords (aka "Great Swords") are the kings of swords. They are similar to their single-handed counterparts, but yet so superior. A blow from a two-handed sword, unblocked and delivered with full force, is devastating. No armor can withstand such a blow, if it is not magically enhanced with protective or deflecting spells.

Although the weapons are kindred, it is impossible to compare the techniques of fighting single-handed swords to two-handed swords. The mass of a single-handed sword is small enough to be completely controllable by a human arm. However, the two-handed sword is far too heavy for that. Two-handed swords are impact weapons, the edge is usually not overly sharp and all the damage results from the mass. Swiftly swinging a two-handed sword requires intensive use of leverage and the swing momentum of your weapon. Precision is very important, because once the blade is in motion, it is very hard to correct the blow, let alone stop and change it. The two-handed sword fighter can chose from a wide variety of moves and blows and thrusts. As with melee weapons, the most successful moves consist of the combinations of different blows. A long swing, distracting the defense, followed by a sudden, hard thrust to the face is hard to counter.

Two-handed swords are purely offensive weapons. It is extremely hard to block or parry with them. In a fight against any single-handed weapon, the two-handed fighter will always try to land the first blow, while the one-handed weapon fighter will try to get past the critical range and into close range combat, where the great sword is no longer as effective. Many great swordfighters carry a secondary close range weapon, dagger or rapier, on their belt as a backup weapon.

"Watching a duel between two-handed swords is like watching a dance rather than a fight."

A mirror matchup on the other hand is completely different. A duel between two masters of great sword fighting is highly aesthetic and exciting to watch. Both sides are constantly trying to anticipate and counter the opponents moves and actions. It is the battle of two minds as well as the fight of two swords, and the win usually goes to the fighter who managed to land the first blow by unbalancing his opponent or tricking him into leaving a gap in his defense.


“This wound was delivered by a WHAT?”
--- Chyriac, field surgeon of King Larenoir, examining a body mauled by a polearm

Although there seem to be many similarities between greatswords and polearms, the fighting style is in fact completely different. Unlike greatswords, polearms concentrate the mass of impact to a much smaller area, making the blow considerably harder, but at the same time more difficult to land.

Unlike the greatsword, which has a relatively small hilt compared to the rest of the blade, the polearm features a much larger part for the control of the weapon. The pole can be up to six feet long. The wide grip means excellent leverage and thus extremely fast motions. A skilled polearm fighter is able to deliver any kind of blow out of a resting stance with no preparation.

For the same reason, blocking is a lot easier with a polearm than it is with a greatsword, leaving the fighter more options to adjust his style. Polearm fighters have no need to be as aggressive if the prefer to fight defensively. Many polearms have a buttspike for close range combat.

However, the same tactical basics hold true for all two0handed weapons: their main advantage is the range. Once the opponent is too close, the weapon is weak. Without any doubt, the most efficient use of polearm fighters is in battle situations. A group of polearm fighters, protected by a defensive wall of shields is extremely hard to eliminate.


"I didn’t see that coming..."
--- Last words of Duke Throidor, who died from a spear in the battle of Ai’Unthain

Spears are pure thrusting weapons. There is no blade, there is no edge… just a spearhead. The shaft of the weapon is up to nine feet long and extremely hard to control. A spear is not the best choice for duels. But in battles, a skilled spear fighter can eliminate dozens of opponents. An incoming spear is extremely difficult to see – by the time you do, it is usually too late. Therefore, thrusts to the face from behind a wall of shields are the most effective tactics in open field battles.

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