Oltux72

How to construct an anti-shard hammer

42 posts in this topic

A conventional warhammer is not designed to destroy the armor it is used again. It is supposed to transmit enough energy and momentum through the armor to harm the wearer. Shard Plate seems to block this kind of attack to a large extent. The design of conventional warhammers reflects its use. It is a one-handed weapon not much heavier than a sword. But fighting against a shard bearer some factors change.

  1. A shield is useless
  2. Armor is useless
  3. You must attack as a group
  4. You cannot really train realistically
  5. Parries are impossible


That means you want range. If you are attacked you must dodge. Hence your fighters will carry only their weapon, no shields or armor. The weapon can be swung with both hands.
It seems to me that leaves you with a very long weapon, up to the length of a smaller poleaxe.


You also expect your hammermen to die quickly. Realistically speaking attacking a shard bearer with a hammer is suicide. Tiring of your soldiers is not an issue. You will give them a heavy weapon. If they can get in a single strike that does significant damage, that is a success. It also means that you will not use your best men in that role if you can help it. Expensive training would be a waste. They swing and dodge.
That calls for a hammer as large as those used in construction: 5 to 10 kg. If you can swing it at the speed of a baseball bat, that will get you more than 3 KJ of impact energy. The longer the haft the more leverage, but you want it short enough, so that you can grip close enough to the hammerhead to lift it up reasonably well again. A bit less than man height I would estimate.

And I'd tell my men to go for the hands. It is possible to disarm a shard bearer, if you hit there hard enough.

 

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1 hour ago, Oltux72 said:

go for the hands.

Perhaps also the helm or knees, particularly if attacking from behind

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Posted (edited)

I actually think that the idea that plate would rebuff the traditional design is flawed. 

Plate is designed to rebuff attacks yes, but hammers are designed to damage the opponent by either puncturing or deforming the armor. Plate doesn't do either of those things and cracks instead of allowing it. Maximizing damage to the armor itself is exactly what you want to do to break pieces. 

We see Szeth use this to his advantage in tWoK in "Death Wears White." when he kills the second shardbearer. 

Quote

Szeth Lashed the plank upward with a multiple Lashing. It lurched into the air, tossing aside the Shardbearer like a toy soldier. Szeth himself stayed atop the board, riding it upward in a rush of air. As it reached the lofty ceiling he threw himself off, Lashing himself downward once, twice, three times.The tabletop crashed to the ceiling. Szeth fell with incredible speed toward the Shardbearer, who lay dazed on his back.Szeth’s Blade formed in his fingers just as he hit, driving the weapon down through Shardplate. The breastplate exploded and the Blade sank deeply through the man’s chest and into the floor underneath.

One strike through the breastplate point first. Yes there's the multilashings and the like, but it's relying on the same principles. It created so much damage in a single point that the plate couldn't rebuff the blow.

Edit: close range attacks with warhammers would still be suicide... But the damage isn't an issue, I think. 

Edited by Calderis
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3 minutes ago, Calderis said:

One strike through the breastplate point first. Yes there's the multilashings and the like, but it's relying on the same principles. It created so much damage in a single point that the plate couldn't rebuff the blow.

Edit: close range attacks with warhammers would still be suicide... But the damage isn't an issue, I think. 

There you see that he does not swing the blade. In effect he uses himself as a hammer. Hence we cannot know whether this works on the principle of overwhelming the armor or dealing concentrated damage. Added to that  that he was using a magical weapon.

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I don't see why you should need hammers or the such. Spears and long pikes seem like the more economical option.

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23 minutes ago, Vissy said:

I don't see why you should need hammers or the such. Spears and long pikes seem like the more economical option.

Energy. You are basically limited to the speed you can move your arms at and run, unless you throw the spear. If your warhead is on the end of a stick, you use that stick as a lever when you swing. Also you are up against a target that is more mobile than you. Getting a pike pointed in the right direction will be hard. And if you give your enemy a chance to chop at your weapons, a pike will become useless.

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Posted (edited)

Polehammer is, for sure, the way to go. Preferably with a spike on the tip and a hook on the back. You would also want an aluminum haft and a thin layer of aluminum on the (probably) steel head. The hammer side is for breaking plate. The hook is for teams to pin the shardbearer while someone else breaks the plate. The spike is for gettin your stab on. Aluminum haft so you can block and aluminum coat on the head to keep it from getting sheared.

Edit: on second thought you'd probably want an aluminum core on the head and a steel coating, otherwise the sharp bits are gonna lose their edge really fast.

Edited by SwordNimiForPresident
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Remember Kaladin cracked Plate with a Stormlight-assisted drop kick in the 4 v 1 duel. I think with a Shardhammer squad the strategy along with strike and dodge is focus. Whatever piece one hits, every strike should be designed to focus on that one section of Plate.

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An even better but potentially more expensive option is to get a bunch of mounted men and give them lances.  Have them essentially joust at the man in shardplate.  Train the horses to be maneuverable, to charge with a lot of weight behind them and you could severally crack the shardplate or knock them over.  Then you can essentially do mop up action.  After a few passes have several skilled men with war axes do additional damage and then either wait for them to run out of stormlight or have skilled arches put some arrows through the gap.  The main problem with shardbears is not that they are impossible for a disciplined and well armed group of opponents to kill it is that they can break formations and cause confusion that their soldiers can take advantage of. 

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3 hours ago, Karger said:

An even better but potentially more expensive option is to get a bunch of mounted men and give them lances.  Have them essentially joust at the man in shardplate.  Train the horses to be maneuverable, to charge with a lot of weight behind them and you could severally crack the shardplate or knock them over.  Then you can essentially do mop up action.  After a few passes have several skilled men with war axes do additional damage and then either wait for them to run out of stormlight or have skilled arches put some arrows through the gap.  The main problem with shardbears is not that they are impossible for a disciplined and well armed group of opponents to kill it is that they can break formations and cause confusion that their soldiers can take advantage of. 

I like the theory in principle but there are a couple potential problems that I can see. The first kinda informs the second. A person in Shardplate is much more maneuverable than one would think an armored man should be. We've seen Dalinar jump across 40 foot chasms, climb spires, ect. You're almost going to have to pin him with a fairly large group of Calvary. One or even 2 dudes with lances aren't gonna get him except by surprise. Good luck hiding the distinct sound of horse hooves traveling at killing speed.  So you need a large force, which runs right up against the second point. Supply. Horses are not only expensive but fairly rare on Roshar. Going against a Shardbearer one could expect to lose upwards of 40 horses by that method. Frankly,the horse population will be exhausted far faster than Shardbearers. Ryshidium are more maneuverable and stronger than regular horses, but far more rare as well. And Ryshidium riders aren't exactly abundant either.

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I mean, if we're talking realistically, you can't pin down a Shardbearer with a squad of people with hammers. He'll jump away at worst. How about a squad of crossbowmen? That's a bunch of kinetic energy. Might destroy Shardplate fairly easily after repeated hits.

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5 hours ago, Karger said:

An even better but potentially more expensive option is to get a bunch of mounted men and give them lances.  Have them essentially joust at the man in shardplate.

Debatable. The energy behind a charging horses would do a lot of damage, if you can transfer it to the target. That is a very big if, however. It would by nature of the thing require stopping horse and rider. That is, you'd essentially ride into a wall. You might note that that is exactly what Szeth and Kaladin do, if you substitute riding by falling. Unless you have stormlight that is a suicide option.
The likely outcome is your lance splintering and a dazed shard bearer getting up again. Or he dodges and you are riding a smoking horse.

 

1 hour ago, Vissy said:

I mean, if we're talking realistically, you can't pin down a Shardbearer with a squad of people with hammers.

You don't. You'd use tripwires, ropes, traps and nets. And then you send in the men with the hammers. But somebody has to go in for the kill in the end.

1 hour ago, Vissy said:

He'll jump away at worst. How about a squad of crossbowmen? That's a bunch of kinetic energy. Might destroy Shardplate fairly easily after repeated hits.

Now you are forcing me to go into the physics instead of tactics.

From the description I fail to derive whether the armor is cracked by energy or momentum. It just looks much more able to distribute an impact over the whole plate than any known substance.If it is indeed momentum you can forget about defeating it with any weapon whose recoil you could survive holding it. If it is energy you can operate with a very light but fast projectile. However, a crossbow's quarrel is not that much faster than an arrow. The kinetic energy is a few times larger than an arrow's at best.
Bullets and arrows, if you look at them from a very abstract angle, are wedges, both in time and in space. They work by concentrating a moderate amount of energy on a very small area in a very short time. As soon as your armor deats that principle, you need to resort to brute force, like killing a tank by blowing it up with a large explosion just by crumpling the frame.

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You would need a lot of horses and it would be expensive but shardplate is literally priceless.  The advantage of well trained horsemen is that they are extremity easy to move so if you miss you can just ride past and try again later while the shardbearer is kept out of the way by your friends.

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1 hour ago, Karger said:

You would need a lot of horses and it would be expensive but shardplate is literally priceless.  The advantage of well trained horsemen is that they are extremity easy to move so if you miss you can just ride past and try again later while the shardbearer is kept out of the way by your friends.

Well, no. A heap of dead horses is an acceptable way of doing field fortifications.

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Posted (edited)

I'm pretty sure Tanalan found the best strategy is to dump a bunch of rocks on a Shardbearer...

Edited by ginger_reckoning
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3 hours ago, ginger_reckoning said:

I'm pretty sure Tanalan found the best strategy is to dump a bunch of rocks on a Shardbearer...

That requires setting up an ambush and it did not exactly work. 

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Death by a thousand cuts. Use slings, bows, crossbows, and guns to pelt the shardbearer with a bunch of high energy projectiles until their plate either cracks or runs out of stormlight. Unless you are a shardbearer your self, the best option is to buy time and wear out the shardbearer with out getting too close. Try and pin them down so that more of the shots hit the armor.

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2 minutes ago, Gasper said:

Death by a thousand cuts. Use slings, bows, crossbows, and guns to pelt the shardbearer with a bunch of high energy projectiles until their plate either cracks or runs out of stormlight. Unless you are a shardbearer your self, the best option is to buy time and wear out the shardbearer with out getting too close. Try and pin them down so that more of the shots hit the armor.

Which, good luck staying out of range of someone with enhanced mobility and speed. Also, if slamming the armor with hundreds of low energy projectiles worked, then we would know, as shardbearers are mentioned as running into storms of arrows and all they need to do is cover their eye slits. I assume if nothing else, the fact shardplate can repair itself severely limited the effect of repeated low damage blows.

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Posted (edited)

3 minutes ago, HSuperLee said:

Which, good luck staying out of range of someone with enhanced mobility and speed. Also, if slamming the armor with hundreds of low energy projectiles worked, then we would know, as shardbearers are mentioned as running into storms of arrows and all they need to do is cover their eye slits. I assume if nothing else, the fact shardplate can repair itself severely limited the effect of repeated low damage blows.

Arrows are not the best choice, a cannon full of grape shot is. Just keep firing until to see cracks, then use shardbows to hit the weak spots.

Also, the goal is to wear out the stormlight available for self-repair, hence death by a thousand cuts (or impacts).

Edited by Gasper
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I think guns would actually work, well, cannons. Someone would have to invent or discover gunpowder though. That will likely have to be an offworld import though, at least until a soulcaster understands the properties enough to mass produce it. I don't see many native bats on Roshar.

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3 minutes ago, Bigmikey357 said:

I think guns would actually work, well, cannons. Someone would have to invent or discover gunpowder though. That will likely have to be an offworld import though, at least until a soulcaster understands the properties enough to mass produce it. I don't see many native bats on Roshar.

Bird poop works too. If they can figure out electricity, they can make a Ozone generator which will produce Nitric acid as a biproduct which can be used in the manufacture of nitrocellulose (smokeless powder). 

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Not many native birds either. Maybe in Shin. But do actual chickens have enough niter in their feces to duplicate what bat guano does? I don't know.

As far as the Ozone Generater, I don't believe it will be on the list of priorities for a civ just discovering electric power. I actually don't think they're all that far away from electricity with fabrial tech as a shortcut. But fabrials make the eventual discovery of gunpowder both incredibly difficult to evolve naturally and incredibly easy to mass produce with a sample and a demonstration. Have Hoid steal one of Wax's guns, visit Jasnah, show her the effectiveness of it and within 10 years Alethkar is the center for gunpowder and weaponry for the entire planet. 

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15 hours ago, Gasper said:

Arrows are not the best choice, a cannon full of grape shot is. Just keep firing until to see cracks, then use shardbows to hit the weak spots.

Are there any spren who can cause sparks? If so, gun powder on Roshar may be not so good an idea.

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16 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Not many native birds either. Maybe in Shin. But do actual chickens have enough niter in their feces to duplicate what bat guano does? I don't know.

As far as the Ozone Generater, I don't believe it will be on the list of priorities for a civ just discovering electric power. I actually don't think they're all that far away from electricity with fabrial tech as a shortcut. But fabrials make the eventual discovery of gunpowder both incredibly difficult to evolve naturally and incredibly easy to mass produce with a sample and a demonstration. Have Hoid steal one of Wax's guns, visit Jasnah, show her the effectiveness of it and within 10 years Alethkar is the center for gunpowder and weaponry for the entire planet. 

Assuming they have no natural mineral deposits like earth had, Human poop also works as a source of potassium nitrate.  Urine as well (it was known as the "swiss method"). Bat guano was popular because the caves they found it in would often already have some potassium nitrate forming naturally on the walls, though I couldnt say if it was actually richer in the minerals per pound.  As far as nitrocelulose production goes, that's typically done with ammonia as the base ingredient along with heat and some catalysts, thought getting industrial quantities of ammonia is it's own challenge without fossil fuels for the Hydrogen.  But then if you are already collecting all the chamber pots for urine and feces, you'd probably have enough for tactical military use. 

 

As far as the Warhammer vs Plate question, Im of two minds on how that would play out.  They became prevalent in the medieval times as a response to the advent of steel surface-hardening of iron armor, which was causing blades and axes to glance off, which sounds like a lot of the issue with shard-plate.  I tend to think big blunt maul-style hammers would be less effective (without plate-enhanced strength behind them, anyway) given how much the plate can protect against fall damage.  On the other hand Aluminum opens possibilities.  If the field effect of aluminum would operate through a steel outer layer, you could pull off a proper spike that would likely be your best bet for delivering critical damage.  However if ends up needing to be the outer layer for direct contact, getting as big of a maul as you could wield would probably do the most damage and negate some of the enhancement plate offers to combat fall damage, but it would be slow enough you'd need other group tactics to immobilize the plate-bearer (hooks, tripwires, and aluminum mesh nets maybe). 

Regardless of the offensive tactics the anti-shard folks would definitely want Half-shards, and Im convinced that aluminum armor would be helpful, as even one or two instances of turning a shardblade attack into a glancing blow (before the much softer aluminum would cave) could prove a critical tactic.

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If you are going to start using aluminize then why not weighted nets of the stuff that could tangle the shardbearer?

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