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 Kyrax's Glaive Fighting Tutorial

Or Kyrax’s Glaive 101 (v 1.0)

Learning any new weapon takes practice, so I recommend hanging an old shield or beat-up couch cushion on a tree to use as a pell (practice target). This will help you practice grips, swings and stances before taking the field. I urge you to avoid trying to stop swings mid-flight or you will overstress your wrists. I also strongly advise you to exercise your wrists, arms and shoulders to help strengthen them for the work of swinging a big weapon. If you already work out, that is good, but either way add upper body exercises to strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments that you will be working harder now. If you are light in the upper body, use your hips as well as your shoulders to put a little extra oomph behind your swings (this is how skinny Tiger Woods does it in golf).

In terms of technique, I tend to think of the Glaive as a spear with a blade on the side rather than as a bladed red-weapon with a thrusting tip. While it is nice to be able to hack through shields and armor, I don’t find myself doing that as much as thrusting at my opponents. The simple act of thrusting not only can do damage to the enemy, but it will also keep them away from you. Unless you are hitting an armored target, the best tactic is the old “pool cue” spear shot: one hand gripping near the base of the weapon with the shaft sliding through the other hand. Which hand does which matters little, even for folks like me who aren’t ambidextrous.

When hitting shields, you can either go for the face of the shield or the shield edge. I prefer to target the side rather than the top of the shield, as swings toward the top tend to end up as head or face shots (whether solid or grazing). While hopefully they won’t hurt, even solid shots to the shield will be ignored in this instance. Another reason for swinging at the side of the shield, is that if you get an opportunity you can shift your grip mid-swing and try to slip the blade past the shield and hit the person’s torso.

Legs are a major target area for me. If your opponent is gimped, they are less of a threat to you and much easier to defeat. Swing for the legs with the weapon blade rather than thrusting with the spearhead, as the blade has a bigger striking surface and thrusts tend to skim off limbs. Once an opponent is gimped, I tend to swing for the legs as they move less than arms. If they have a shield, you can break it pretty easily with them on the ground.

Remember that like a spearman, you are vulnerable to any semi-competent shieldman who charges in on you. You are most effective fighting with friends nearby, as you are vulnerable when you get separated. If you are alone, even a rookie shieldman should be able to kill you

Learn to back pedal fast. Fighting with a Glaive will teach you to be mobile so that you can keep out of your enemy’s range while keeping him or her in your striking range. If you find yourself alone with an enemy charging in on you, try to maneuver to put something between the two of you (a tree, bush, creek, fort wall, another fighter). If all else fails and you have to turn and run to stay alive, trail the weapon over your shoulder behind you. This will give you a little protection and may keep that fighter off of your back for an extra step or two. If you find yourself being charged and can’t retreat, swing for their legs and not for their shield. If you can gimp a shieldman, they are a lot less mobile and you can hang back at range and rip them apart or you can walk away and ignore them.

Now that you are swinging a big heavy red weapon, I need to let you in on a secret: no matter how well padded a Glaive is or who checked it before the battle, you are swinging a dangerous weapon. A Glaive can do a lot of damage if it hits the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong way. You also have to realize that with a longer weapon, the time it takes you to swing the weapon allows time for your target to move, twist, slip, fall or duck. Other people can also step into the arc of your swing (even your friends). A swing aimed at the target’s armored ribs can end up striking their head just with a little twist of their body. No matter what happens, it is your responsibility to try your best to avoid these things, even if it was not your fault. You even have to watch your backswings to make sure you don’t clock people behind you (in a chess battle I saw stars when a lady with a glaive hit me with the padded shaft on her backswing).

Because of the size of your weapon you have to be aware of what is happening around you and to be ready to change your swing or to even pull back on it a little to lessen the impact. Even if you think you are swinging at a shield or someone’s plate armor a little movement can put a hand or head in your way. So you will almost never find me swinging all out at anything with my Glaive. The requirement for a red blow is a “solid” hit, so don’t think in terms of ‘baseball bat’ swings with planted feet and full body torque, just think in terms of delivering a solid enough blow. Gauge your blow to your opponent a little, so swing a little harder at Harn or Onyx and don’t crank on Jade or Dagmar. I’m not saying that you should disrespect any fighter, but just understand that the bigger fighters expect a heavier hit and can take one better.

Call all hits from behind. If they don’t see the blow, they are not expected to take it as a red blow even if you do knock them off of their feet. While this might seem unnecessary, it is one of the basic rules of Dagorhir and if you want your shots from the rear to count as red you MUST call them. Having said that, there is no need to crank full force from behind. Unless you are hitting a plate armored person square on the backplate, you can hurt someone by blindsiding them hard. It is one thing to take a blow when you know it is coming and quite another thing when it catches you unawares.

 As with any red weapon (and almost any Dagorhir weapon) do not swing straight down on an opponent. I recommend that people avoid swinging at the “V” defined with the point at the belly button with the arms stretching up to just inside the points of the shoulder. I know the shoulder looks wide enough to hit, but no matter how careful or experienced you are, your target is almost always going to call it a headshot (even if the cloth cover just grazes their ear or their head hits the side of the blade AFTER you hit their shoulder). Swinging high will also make it more likely that your target can and will move under your shot, changing where your blow will strike.

I hope this will help, and good luck with your big toy. Now go and build it!

Sergeant Kyrax
of the Guard

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