[Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

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[Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby Rophan » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:25 am

I haven't been around the forum in a long time, but I recently pulled out my copy of Testament as I'm working on a Bronze Age Sword and Sorcery setting for Savage Worlds. I've come across a few references to the description of Goliath's spear as being like a weaver's beam referring not to the size of the spear but to the type of spear and the Philistine technology used. From what I've read, the spear had a cord attached to it that would enable the warrior to throw it harder or farther. Unfortunately I haven't found a picture or description as to how it worked. My guess is that the cord would get the spear spinning in order to produce extra range and force (similar to a bullet coming out of a rifle barrel?) Does anyone have any more information or ideas about how this kind of spear worked?

Thanks,
Bruce
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Re: [Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby timemrick » Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:21 am

I'm speaking strictly from (possibly faulty) memory here, but in some cultures of the period, a warrior would wrap a cord or thong around a javelin's haft. He would hold onto one end of the cord as he threw the spear, causing it to spin as the cord unwound. IIRC, this made the javelin more stable in flight so it would fly farther. Theoretically, the extra height possible would increase the force with which it hit, through increased acceleration due to gravity. I can't recall if I've ever seen these benefits translated into game mechanics for any system (though I'd be shocked if some GURPS supplement or other hasn't addressed it).
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Re: [Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby Rophan » Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:27 am

Thanks, that's kind of what I was thinking, but you explained it much better that I could. In game terms I'm thinking of increasing the range and damage of the spear by one step.

Bruce
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Re: [Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby Rophan » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:21 pm

I found some information about this on Wikipedia. The leather strap was called an Amentum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amentum
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Re: [Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby timemrick » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:38 pm

I poked through some of my gaming books, and found a "spinning javelin" in the v.3.0 Arms and Equipment Guide. It has spiral grooves around its haft and uses a casting string to impart spin. It takes a full-round action to tie the string onto a finger, which can be used for multiple javelins, and a move action to wrap the string around the javelin; both provoke AoO's. The javelin's damage and range increment improve to 1d8/19-20 and 50 ft.
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Re: [Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby Rophan » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:17 pm

Awesome, thanks!!
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Re: [Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby Legate » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:05 am

Sounds to me like something like an atlatl.
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Re: [Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby timemrick » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:53 pm

An atlatl works differently, providing extra force by means of a lever, not by imparting spin. Similar benefits, very different means.
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Re: [Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby Legate » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:50 pm

timemrick wrote:An atlatl works differently, providing extra force by means of a lever, not by imparting spin. Similar benefits, very different means.



No, what I meant was the description I once read about the weapon used by Goliath was an atlatl...I have never heard of this spinning javelin/spear concept; and I have done a fair amount of research into ancient weapons tech. :-? If someone could point out a primary source citing such a weapon I would be interested in reading about it.
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Re: [Testament] A spear like a weaver's beam

Postby anglenasalt » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:13 pm

why would wrap a cord or thong around a javelin's haft. He would hold onto one end of the cord as he threw the spear, causing it to spin as the cord unwound. IIRC, this made the javelin more stable in flight so it would fly farther.
*sofiazoe*
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