Gelsamel wrote:Even a high level of capability... (in real life)
Crossbows have to take into account height, speed of the bolt, distance of the target, crosswind.
Swordsmen have to make sure they avoid kuzushi before during and after their attack, how to not leave themselves open, they have to know how to parry, dodge, and counter other melee weapons. They have to know how to avoid getting disarmed, while also knowing when holding onto the weapon too hard will totally screw them over. You have to know how to cut properly, when and where on the blade to apply force. You have to know tai sabaki to keep yourself ready for any attacks. You have to know how to keep maai. Ukemi as well...
At the really highest levels you have to know how to present false openings so you can force an opponent's move, you have to know how to use kiai...
There are whole martial arts based solely around using the sword... >.>;
I haven't played D&D in a while (since 2nd Edition), but wanted to chime in here regarding difficulty of weapons in sword vs. crossbow - and make sure we're already talking about unskilled characters using these. There may be more to learn as far as using a sword goes when it comes to being a superior swordsman - but at level 1, everyone's on essentially the same plane, rudimentary understanding. A character's evolution is a progression of skill and understanding. A swordsman progresses very differently from a crossbow user (from 2nd Edition; there may be dozens of new rules I don't know about).
I recall more and more rules to allow melee specialists to continue to excel at what they do - just as described above - in varying feats and abilities you can take as you gain levels. There really aren't many I can recall for crossbow users. It's possible to evolve a superiorly trained swordsman capable of pulling off multiple attacks, dodging, parrying, defensive manuevers, etc over time. A crossbow user just gets better at hitting with it, maybe even at point blank range. It frees the crossbow user up to explore other paths; herbalism, cartography, etc - while the swordsman has to devote himself to his art to stay alive in combat.
At that "Level 1" stage, though, a sword is a sharp club to it's user. Swing it hard, hope to hit, and at that hard enough to kill the other guy before he kills you. Don't hold it by the sharp side. Don't hit yourself if you can avoid it.
The quoted swordsman might be level 16 - and a master in his art. At some point, though, he was just a grunt who would be lucky to survive being conscripted and handed a chipped and rusted blade and barely knew what to do with it; but could still kill with it.
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