Yes, Women in Dragon Age Could Use Longswords

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voleary:

albino boo:

After saying all that, I feel I must point out that there is no evidence of any of these women taking part in frontline combat. They have weilded command authority but did not actually fight.

Not to mention how notoriously unreliable medieval chronicles were. Especially because "sticking to the facts" was lowest in the authors' list of priorities, if at all. You've got your share of made-up speeches, alegories, classical references and verbatim passages ripped-off from the scriptures. Taking anything in them on face value without external corroboration is beyond ludicrous. Which doesn't stop the author from quoting them as if they were yesterday's newspaper.

Funnily enough, some of these chronicles were also ripe with mentions of supernatural phenomena. One could make a similar exercise and conclude that wizardry existed in real life. And that kind of undermines the whole "dragon" argument.

Well Caterina Sforza is well documented, she lived in the height of the Italian resonance and her last marriage was with a Medici. She is a only a few years older than Niccolo Machiavelli. Sikelgaita is well attested to in contemporary hostile Byzantine, Holy Roman Empire and Papal sources. The use of valkyrie originated in Holy Roman Empire sources because she was a Lombard princess and was of Germanic origin. Contemporary descriptions of her describe her as blond haired and blue eyed.

Thebazilly:

Abomination:
Exceptions to the norm do not define the norm, folks. While some women are capable of surpassing the average male it doesn't mean that it's going to happen approaching a 50/50 split that Thedas likes to give us.

It's not established that women are on par with men physically in Thedas, in fact the opposite is true, and the reason for female warriors being fewer than men in reality are still present in Thedas - and I'm not just talking the average physical build.

Offer more body type options, not the same damn model. Cassandra doesn't work because she's tiny, not because she's a woman. Just compare her to Iron Bull.

I don't think you read the article.

The whole point is that the difference in strength between men and women doesn't even factor in. Longswords are light enough and the difference is negligible enough that women being the "weaker sex" doesn't matter. You don't need to be a muscle mountain to swing a sword.

Being able to swing a sword is one thing. Having the strength to block an opponent's blows, drive a blade through someone's mail and having the stamina to stay in combat for a prolonged time are quite another. Using a sword in combat is quite different from swinging a laptop around. That comparison is hopelessly flawed. I will agree that the strength of the user isn't the only deciding factor in using a sword, but saying it makes no matter is nonsense.

And it has little to do with being a muscle mountain. Men on average just have more muscle mass and their muscle mass is more effective (Journal of Applied Physiology numbers state 40% and 33% more muscle mass in the upper and lower body respectively and between 5 and 10% more effective muscle tissue. Or if you don't believe that, watch sports). On average, mind you. There may have been a lot of Brienne of Tarths out there, but there's a reason female soldiers were rare throughout history. Some notable examples don't change that.

*disclaimer* I have no problem whatsoever with female combatants in any form of media and the very notion that people do is quite ludicrous. In fact, I usually play female characters in every game that gives the option.

Rowan93:

- Maybe it's only shown happening this slowly to make it clearer to the viewer what's going on, and "in-universe" it's only taking a couple seconds? I mean the first guy is still standing there with a hole in him at the end when they all drop, and it would be a lot less fun to see the cut-down version where the arrow flies too fast to keep track of.

I think that may be a point but it's fairly obvious that they're still moving at normal speed when you watch it. They should have shot him the second he started reaching for his coat regardless.

Rowan93:
- Interestingly this was referenced in a comic elsewhere that literally went up today - compared to how screwed you'd be if they were using some OS you've never heard of, finding out it's an OS you're familiar with is pretty great, and you don't have to take the line to specifically mean "the fact that I know this OS means the problem is as good as solved".
- Wouldn't you want turning the vital systems on to be fail-safe if someone forgets the password, specifically to avoid having too many people be eaten by velociraptors?

I'll be honest here, a lot of my frustration with this is that it's my job. I can configure and deploy software that others can't even though they're passably familiar with UNIX systems. The other issue is that this software is custom written by Nedry so she's not going to have ever seen it before. It just doesn't make sense.

As for the second point, oh holy fucking shit no! For one thing being able to do this without a password on a UNIX system would probably also give the user the ability to turn the services off or even monkey with the service configuration. In general nixlike OS control services from /etc/init.d, a directory that contains scripts with entries for starting, stopping and reloading services. The problem with allowing any old numpty to access this directory is that you either place a file outside with credentials embedded for getting in to a high enough user context (dangerous because they can grab the password right back out) or allow the user access to /etc/init.d, thus taking them through /etc. On nixlikes /etc is the high level directory that holds almost all the config files for the entire OS and its' programs. That means they can then read the contents of the directory and thus get any service account passwords embedded in there. If they were running something like netgenie at the time that would then give them super user credentials for other servers and probably the one it was located on. The other danger is that even if you lock it down so that a user can only start a service you can also deliberately crash a computer by passing malformed commands to the service execution script. If you have a multi purpose user with the ability to turn things on and off they can either crash the system using some kind of malformed code like a fork bomb or they can toggle the service on and off fast enough to cause physical damage. What you ideally really want to do is tell the computer to power the fence back on unless it finds a file or a variable that deliberately inhibits it coming back on. That way the fences default to on unless they're turned off and locked open and the user isn't involved at all.

For another thing the password is there to stop well meaning users who shouldn't be able to turn it back on from having the ability to do so, for instance in the case of the fences you want to have very tight control over who can turn them back on for the purpose of safe maintenance. Muldoon empties the Rex paddock while they fix storm damage, someone sees the fence off, panics, doesn't have access to the work logs because security and toggles the fence back on.

Thirdly Nedry is shown as part of the initial setup crew. If you forgot your password when the park was operational there would almost certainly be another admin on site to reset your password. It's also worth noting that Jurassic Park is basically Project Management Fuck-ups: The Movie

Fourthly funnily enough the raptor fence is the only fence on a separate circuit so it wasn't turned off until the computer was manually power cycled, a user shouldn't be able to toggle the state of any fence but that one especially should default to on at all times and need specifically overriding.

I've never heard anyone make the claim that women cannot use longswords. However I find it amusing that you could easily, with very few edits, reuse the first page of that article as defence for sexy female armours.

daibakuha:

Major_Tom:
Oh, but everyone is fine with women using katanas. The fucking katana weighs the same as the goddamned longsword! And longswords are usually better balanced.

Has more to do with how the weapons are used. Katanas are about slicing, using the blade's edge instead of the force behind the swing. Traditional European weapons are more about brute force, generally speaking.

Um, wut?
If by "Traditional European weapons" you mean warhammers and maces than yes.
But if you talk about swords then no, just no.
Bashing did occur, but WITH A HANDLE not blade.
When it came to blade stabbing and slashing was ordinary methods.
And there is nothing "brute" in proper European sword techniques.
"Brute force" is only a thing in movies and games, since most people have no idea how swords work, that's why sword "technique" is bashing enemy with a sword as if it's a mace.
"Brutes" on actual battlefields were mostly armed with spears, blunt weapons or axes.

I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?

I wonder if Samantha Swords is happy with her choices in life.

albino boo:

Well Caterina Sforza is well documented, she lived in the height of the Italian resonance and her last marriage was with a Medici. She is a only a few years older than Niccolo Machiavelli. Sikelgaita is well attested to in contemporary hostile Byzantine, Holy Roman Empire and Papal sources. The use of valkyrie originated in Holy Roman Empire sources because she was a Lombard princess and was of Germanic origin. Contemporary descriptions of her describe her as blond haired and blue eyed.

I believe you. You clearly know what you're talking about. My comment was rather pointed at the article itself. The author is a bit too fact-hungry for my taste.

Ihateregistering1:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?

Morrowind had different starting attributes for male and female, IIRC.

blackrave:

Um, wut?
If by "Traditional European weapons" you mean warhammers and maces than yes.
But if you talk about swords then no, just no.
Bashing did occur, but WITH A HANDLE not blade.
When it came to blade stabbing and slashing was ordinary methods.
And there is nothing "brute" in proper European sword techniques.
"Brute force" is only a thing in movies and games, since most people have no idea how swords work, that's why sword "technique" is bashing enemy with a sword as if it's a mace.
"Brutes" on actual battlefields were mostly armed with spears, blunt weapons or axes.

Yes. Yessss. Let's debate swords now.

A katana is better for 'slicing' because of the shape of the blade itself, offering much less resistance by extending the actual cutting area (that makes contact with squishy cut-tee material) of the blade through its curved shape, but we're talking about swords so physics don't matter, and it's not like when you're cutting something, it's almost always better to cut at an angle, something every single chef totally won't tell you. Don't get me wrong, a sharp edge is a sharp edge, and a more traditional blade can still chop off an arm, but it actually does take more force, and is better suited for piercing.

A close relative of the katana, tough I find little historical correlation between the two, is a scimitar, and while we're at it, machete, which, like the katana, have a curved edge (more surface area) for slicing, and a weighted tip (so it carries more momentum with each slash). The faults of these two swords should be obvious, as the katana is known for being the most balanced sword for a reason (or lack of reason. Material. In the tip. Weight).

Wait, why am I arguing this? Reality aside, the notion that women can't use longswords is freaking ridiculous and makes me question how the people who put up that asinine argument haven't gassed themselves by sniffing exhaust fumes from their cars (and while a 10-20 pound blade is light when viewed as a paperweight, it, yes, can be difficult to swing around like a... you know, sword, we get that); it's a fucking video game. It's not even worth arguing (except to point out how great glorious nippon steel is), but really, I'm just here to make as many already angry people as angry(ier) as I can make them.

image

I can't imagine how someone who honestly fights against the notion that women can wield 2h swords will act when they discover something like any other fantasy game ever.

Twinmill5000:
snap

Bad Twinmill!
Who let you out of a basement?

P.S. All I said that all swords are sophisticated weapons that simply demand special techniques. There were never "brute force" behind any sword. "Brute force" can be related only to blunt weapons.

On average, men are about 50% stronger than women. This is a well established fact for anyone who has done any physical education or personal training classes.

If you want to talk about weapons and historical context, once again - even if women were trained in weapons as part of their social class (like japanese Miko) they rarely ever fought unless it was absolutely necessary, because of obvious reasons - they're at a severe disadvantage compared to even an ordinary man due to strength and size.

HOWEVER...
This is a bloody video game. It's fantasy escapism. It's fictional. It's fun (well, that's debatable in the cases of some games).

This really shouldn't even get a topic for discussion, I mean c'mon. We accept all sorts of things far more silly than some computer character picking up a heavy sword.

I'm certain that no one here really thinks there is anything wrong with this or demands historical accuracy from games featuring fantasy characters and settings.

Ihateregistering1:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?

In the Mount and Blade games, playing a female is essentially hard mode. You have to work harder to work your way up as women are essentially tools to for fathers to use in political marriages. Made it a lot more interesting to play.
You get less strength and charisma, but more agility and int. You aren't even allowed inside other lords castles unless you have enough renown.

small:
im more weirded out by the lack of spears you find in games

The mages took them all to use as staffs......Really. Take your mages staffs away and their stand in weapon are spears. xD

At least that's what it looks like.

Sniper Team 4:
Wait...what? This is an argument somewhere? That women can't use swords because they're too heavy? In Dragon Age? There are people out there who are actually upset about that? I can't even fathom that train of thought. I mean, have they seen the speed at which the archers fire their arrows? Or the way two-handed warriors swing their weapon around like it's paper? Or the fact that mages can spin their weapons again and again without pulling a muscle in, well, any part of their arm? The idea that a woman can't use a sword, any type of sword, is baffling to me, even more so in a fantasy game.

SlumlordThanatos:

Twinmill5000:
Wait, people are saying what?

I get the feeling that the author pulled this right out of his ass.

I mean, I see absolutely no reason a woman couldn't swing a longsword, or even bigger weapons like axes or warhammers in the same way a man could. It's not like men have this magical superpower that makes weapons less heavy when they wield them.

Women can pick up objects in the same way men do, and swing them around in the same way men do. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional, and anyone who thinks that there are lots of people who think otherwise (like the author) are also delusional.

I can personally assure you both that I've seen people making this argument. Some using the same words that Rob is using. Also, that others have stated his points to counter them too (swords aren't actually that heavy, women can and have used them, and "Really? Dragons and magic, no issue. But women using big swords is too much?" ;p).

Heck, some people around here still are. xp

OT: Thanks for the article Rath. Learned a lot about swords and junk.

Apparently, bows are even harder, and DA has loads of women using them, so they should be fine with blades.

Magic is still better. ;p

voleary:

albino boo:

Well Caterina Sforza is well documented, she lived in the height of the Italian resonance and her last marriage was with a Medici. She is a only a few years older than Niccolo Machiavelli. Sikelgaita is well attested to in contemporary hostile Byzantine, Holy Roman Empire and Papal sources. The use of valkyrie originated in Holy Roman Empire sources because she was a Lombard princess and was of Germanic origin. Contemporary descriptions of her describe her as blond haired and blue eyed.

I believe you. You clearly know what you're talking about. My comment was rather pointed at the article itself. The author is a bit too fact-hungry for my taste.

Well Matilda countess of Tuscany certainly did wield strategic command but again there is only one single account of her being present on a battlefield. I think its from friendly Papal sources, stating that she lead a cavalry charge. Its possible but unlikely that she took part in actual fighting. As an entirely unconnected aside Countess Matilda is a relative by marriage of Elizabeth II.

In the case of the Catalan Company, its a genuine possibility. The Catalan company was hired by the Byzantine Empire as mercenaries against the Seljuk Turks. There was an argument over the possession of some spoils form a battle and the Catalans went rouge. The Empire made their destruction their top priority, spending more resources hunting the Catalans than fighting the Turks. Its more than possible that they lacked the manpower to hold the full circuit of walls and in desperation armed the female camp followers to fill the gaps.

Moving on to Johanna Ferrour. The information about her comes from contemporary court records so isn't from chronicles and has a higher level of versity. That said the records in her case indicates Johanna Ferrour was a leader of a mob and again not necessarily taking on a front line role.

I can't comment on the other stories because I don't known enough about them to say one way or another.

Ihateregistering1:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?

I remember a few CRPGs in my former years doing the +/- strength/agility based on gender selection. In fact, I'm pretty sure Fallout 1 and 2 did that. I can't remember any PnP RPGs doing the same... well, unless you count FATAL.

Attercap:

Ihateregistering1:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?

I remember a few CRPGs in my former years doing the +/- strength/agility based on gender selection. In fact, I'm pretty sure Fallout 1 and 2 did that. I can't remember any PnP RPGs doing the same... well, unless you count FATAL.

Really? I don't remember that from Fallout 1 and 2, though admittedly it's been a long time since I played them.

The articles argument lost me when it didn't even bother to back itself up using Joan of Arc's sword. Replicas put it's length at 29.5 inches. Which puts it on the Short side of the Long sword which is usually 35 to 43 inches, and the long side of the Short Sword 17in to 26in.

Yes, women did fight in wars in the middle ages, but they wouldn't have gotten very far if they didn't use the equipment better suited to them. You wouldn't see a lean 5'4" guy running around with a Great Sword ether.

GundamSentinel:

Being able to swing a sword is one thing. Having the strength to block an opponent's blows, drive a blade through someone's mail and having the stamina to stay in combat for a prolonged time are quite another. Using a sword in combat is quite different from swinging a laptop around. That comparison is hopelessly flawed. I will agree that the strength of the user isn't the only deciding factor in using a sword, but saying it makes no matter is nonsense.

Thank you for that sensible post.

Also, I agree with the author that (effectively) complaining that games don't punish you for picking female characters in a fantasy game is kind of stupid, it rubbed me the wrong way when he equated arguments based on physiological differences with ones based on supposed emotional fragility in women*; the two are not the same, and only serves as a means of portraying on side of a nerd argument as troglodytes instead of people who simply need to repeat the MST3000 mantra to themselves.

*I happen to think that hormonal differences do in fact produce substantial differences in 'average' male and female personalities even in the absence of supposedly all-pervasive and quasi-deterministic sexist cultural norms, but that doesn't mean its unrealistic for large numbers of women to be eager and effective soilders/warriors/adventures. Nor does it mean uninterested women are fragile, for that matter.

Uuuuggghhh

My inquisitor uses a two hander screw anyone who says she can't

Ihateregistering1:

Attercap:

Ihateregistering1:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?

I remember a few CRPGs in my former years doing the +/- strength/agility based on gender selection. In fact, I'm pretty sure Fallout 1 and 2 did that. I can't remember any PnP RPGs doing the same... well, unless you count FATAL.

Really? I don't remember that from Fallout 1 and 2, though admittedly it's been a long time since I played them.

Yeah, it's been a while and the Wiki doesn't seem to indicate that gender affected stats, so I may be wrong for Fallout. I did confirm that Arcanum does what I was thinking of, though there was a background perk to "undo" or "reverse" the effect for the PC. So the stat change by gender definitely has been done.

I've always seen the large amount of female warriors in Dragon Age more as a reflection of societal norms. I think it might be fair to say that most cultures, especially the medieval European ones, disencouraged women from becoming soldiers and instead encouraged them to take a more traditional, nursing role.

But thanks to the female centric religion system of the Dragon Age universe, women hold a lot more power in that world. Also, as Totalbiscuit once pointed out, it is a world that nearly gets wiped out on a regular basis. Why the heck would you turn away potential fighters? Because they have tits? Pfff.

Twinmill5000:
Wait, people are saying what?

I had the same reaction a few minutes ago. I guess I never really paid attention to what people said about the Dragon Age games.

People are arguing the verisimilitude of a Bioware setting. Now I've seen everything.

daibakuha:

Major_Tom:
Oh, but everyone is fine with women using katanas. The fucking katana weighs the same as the goddamned longsword! And longswords are usually better balanced.

Has more to do with how the weapons are used. Katanas are about slicing, using the blade's edge instead of the force behind the swing. Traditional European weapons are more about brute force, generally speaking.

That isn't to say I disagree with the article or anything, I don't at all. But this is why people think it makes more sense.

Actually it's the other way around in regards to brute force. A katana has a lot more weight behind it's edge so it's much more forgiving when your edge alignment is off while with say a longsword you have to have good technique to pull off anything resembling a decent cut.

GundamSentinel:

Being able to swing a sword is one thing. Having the strength to block an opponent's blows, drive a blade through someone's mail and having the stamina to stay in combat for a prolonged time are quite another. Using a sword in combat is quite different from swinging a laptop around. That comparison is hopelessly flawed. I will agree that the strength of the user isn't the only deciding factor in using a sword, but saying it makes no matter is nonsense.

Less than you think! You should never be blocking someone's blows in such a manner as to force a strength contest; it'll damage your weapon, leave you open to attacks from side-arms etc. etc. As with all defensive measure's, one wants to deflect, blocking at an angle and, importantly, guiding the weapon away from you using its own momentum. Blocking primarily with strength is a very low percent scenario beyond amateur level. It shows up a lot in the media because the actors are usually aiming for the other weapon, rather than the one holding it, and it just so happens to look really, really cool. Driving a sword through mail is an interesting one. Ultimately, a man at peak condition would be "better" at doing this than a woman, BUT it's not really that much of an issue apparently because there's a limit to how effective one actually needs to be. The peak condition woman would also be able to skewer people in a lethal fashion without much more trouble than the man. Combat stamina's importance varies GREATLY depending on the context and individual fighting styles. Individual melees (or duels) tend not to take a huge amount of time unless one or both of them are aiming to make it so. Fighting with swords is pretty dangerous I hear. Fighting in armies depends very much on the structure of the army and the exact nature of the battlefield: good armies tend to have a sort of shift system. Regardless, adrenaline tends to extend stamina to as long as necessary for either gender.
TL:DR; direct strength tends not to matter much past a certain level of competency. Overall body coordination, i.e. dexterity is far more important to swordplay. Ironically enough, archery relies waaaay more on strength, as has been mentioned in the thread.

What I don't get about the cretins who complain about women using big weapons because of "realistic physical limitations" is that they then see their male character hit solid ground, with a bladed object no less, so hard that it cracks and shatters and somehow thing that's within even a man's realistic physical limitation?
As for the boob thing; that's why you get people complaining about the ridiculous breasts all female game characters have and are pushing for more realistic tit designs. Oh, and one last thing on the female physique thing: women tend not to bulk out much if they're athletic so they're petite bodies aren't really all that far off. The complete lack of muscle definition however...

Ihateregistering1:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?

I'm pretty sure Oblivion had different height and attribute stats between different genders of the same race.

Oh god, a new article filled with SJW RAAAGGGGGEEEEEEEEE!!!

...just kidding, whoever says this is an idiot, but you're just giving a stage to this opinion, rather than let it fade into obscurity. But for god's sake, I hate the argument that X can do Y, thus every one who belongs to X group can do Y. So there's a female champion, that it doesn't mean squat about females in general.

Having been a HEMA practicioner for nearly twenty years now, I believe most of the problem is simply hollywoodism combined with the incredibly horrible sword designs in games. A longsword, which is a sword about 48 inches long overall, two handed, and with a weight of 2.8 to 3.5 pounds on average, is not particularly hard to use. I've trained and trained with women of almost every physical body type.

Another misconception is that a physically strong person has to be bulky and bulging muscles. This is the exact opposite of the reality for useful muscle mass. Useful muscles tend to be long and thin, and yes, that means that most of the scariest strongest fighting people in the world look like they're beanpoles.

Parries are not what hollywood and games show. You do not, ever, get into that blade on blade shoving match. If you try against someone who is even halfway trained, you will lose. The term is bindun und windun, Binding and Winding, you have to tell, instantly at the bind, if they are soft or hard at the bind. This tells you how you should behave. But the idea is that you go around their blade, not through it.

Another common myth is that swords can cut through armor. They can't, Period. Dot. You may be able to thrust through some types, and through weak points.

If you really want to know what longsword work is like, look up ARMA on youtube or at thearma.org. ARMA in this case being the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts, one of the leading HEMA groups. Yes, John Clements is a bit of a jackass at times, especially in writing, but he does know what he's talking about.

Edit: And finishing reading after posting this, (I was posting for the commenters not the author), I see he already links to the ARMA website.

Well if women weren't able to wield longswords because they were too heavy, then how in the world do they do anything? Longswords are like 5 lbs on average.

I do not get arguments like this. Even if it was literally impossible for women to wield two-handed swords (or do anything else a game might feature) in real life, that can be easily dismissed because Dragon Age allows players to make female characters and it would be Some Bullshit if the game restricted certain weapons or skills by gender. If we were talking about a game aiming for strict historical accuracy we could have a conversation about realism, but in a game like Dragon Age gameplay considerations have to take precedence.

Also: why does this conversation always revolve around gender? Shouldn't a really weedy male character with no muscles also be incapable of lifting a heavy sword? Or what about putting a movement penalty on overweight characters? If we're considering the idea that women swinging huge swords is an unacceptable break of immersion, shouldn't these be just as important factors?

The fact is, even the people making this argument completely overlook tons of "unrealistic" elements in the game they play. They're just fixating on this one issue for other reasons.

Ihateregistering1:
I've always wondered: has any RPG (either CRPG or pen and paper) ever made it so that choosing a female vs. male character actually affects anything beyond visual representation, voice, and romance options (Fallout's "lady killer" and "Black Widow" Perks notwithstanding)? Like choosing a female gives you -2 strength but +2 agility, or something along those lines?

Arcanum: Of Magic and Steamworks Obscura had different starting statistics for males and females. It also gave you different background options based on your gender as well. It also had quite a few effects during the course of the game. They weren't created equal but each played on their own strengths.

An underrated game marred by some bugs.

ShenCS:

GundamSentinel:

Being able to swing a sword is one thing. Having the strength to block an opponent's blows, drive a blade through someone's mail and having the stamina to stay in combat for a prolonged time are quite another. Using a sword in combat is quite different from swinging a laptop around. That comparison is hopelessly flawed. I will agree that the strength of the user isn't the only deciding factor in using a sword, but saying it makes no matter is nonsense.

Less than you think! You should never be blocking someone's blows in such a manner as to force a strength contest; it'll damage your weapon, leave you open to attacks from side-arms etc. etc. As with all defensive measure's, one wants to deflect, blocking at an angle and, importantly, guiding the weapon away from you using its own momentum. Blocking primarily with strength is a very low percent scenario beyond amateur level. It shows up a lot in the media because the actors are usually aiming for the other weapon, rather than the one holding it, and it just so happens to look really, really cool.

True. But then I have some other points:

Apart from the question whether or not most soldiers in history were more than amateurs (loads of peasants in the ranks), how about shields? They are made to block, and the same argument can be made against women using them as effectively as men. Also, when you're struggling for your life, I doubt you'll worry about your weapon getting damaged. On top of that, a battle is not a series of one-on-one encounters where you can professionally deal with your opponent as he comes at you.

Driving a sword through mail is an interesting one. Ultimately, a man at peak condition would be "better" at doing this than a woman, BUT it's not really that much of an issue apparently because there's a limit to how effective one actually needs to be. The peak condition woman would also be able to skewer people in a lethal fashion without much more trouble than the man.

Can be argued both ways. Fact remains that someone who is stronger will have an easier time pushing a sword through something. I'll never say women can't stab through mail (hell, a typical longsword's point will stick a fair way through mail without even applying force), but men will generally have an easier time.

Additionally, one shouldn't underestimate how much grappling and shoving would go on in a battle, with a sword being used more as a lever to apply force to rather than to stick someone with.

Combat stamina's importance varies GREATLY depending on the context and individual fighting styles. Individual melees (or duels) tend not to take a huge amount of time unless one or both of them are aiming to make it so. Fighting with swords is pretty dangerous I hear. Fighting in armies depends very much on the structure of the army and the exact nature of the battlefield: good armies tend to have a sort of shift system. Regardless, adrenaline tends to extend stamina to as long as necessary for either gender.

Adrenaline sure helps, but will only take you so far. As an example, the Battle of Hastings lasted some 12 hours. However you split your shifts, still comes down to hours of slogging.

Also, most time spent in an army is not time spent in battle. How about long marches with heavy equipment? How about raising siege lines or building defenses? There's more to being a soldier than just fighting and some of it can be even more fatiguing.

TL:DR; direct strength tends not to matter much past a certain level of competency. Overall body coordination, i.e. dexterity is far more important to swordplay. Ironically enough, archery relies waaaay more on strength, as has been mentioned in the thread.

That's what I found odd about all these recent movies with female archers like Brave and the Hunger Games. Even modern bows still require quite some strength to use properly.

What I don't get about the cretins who complain about women using big weapons because of "realistic physical limitations" is that they then see their male character hit solid ground, with a bladed object no less, so hard that it cracks and shatters and somehow thing that's within even a man's realistic physical limitation?
As for the boob thing; that's why you get people complaining about the ridiculous breasts all female game characters have and are pushing for more realistic tit designs. Oh, and one last thing on the female physique thing: women tend not to bulk out much if they're athletic so they're petite bodies aren't really all that far off. The complete lack of muscle definition however...

I will agree with you there.

I love women who know how to wield long swords.

Joan of Arc used a longsword. Joan of Arc was a woman. Surely that's all that needs to be said.

ambitiousmould:
Joan of Arc used a longsword. Joan of Arc was a woman. Surely that's all that needs to be said.

She owned a sword, yeah. But there's nothing to indicate she actually fought, much less killed, anyone in combat. She was a military leader, not a combatant.

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