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Duramar was a cook, a really strange one. He would walk crooked forward and slightly bent to his right. From time to time I saw him loosing his balance trying to speed up the dinner time, only to be rescued from falling by nearby sturdy objects which he could grasp on. I never really saw him falling, but that would be a show of its own due to his apparent heavy weight. One time I saw him carrying alone one large pig on his right arm and wondered why he seemed so straight and on balance. Anyone trying to carry that pig would likely drag him through the ground. Even if I was strong enough to lift that animal from the ground, I would definitely fall face first on the mud, that thing was huge!

He has something like a stump on his left side back, near his shoulder. Everyone says it's a callus, but I never saw one so big. He would never take off his shirt in front of anyone, so nobody could be sure. Arturus said it was the reason he could fight with that monstrosity of a sword. When I first came to the camp I thought that was a cleaver to butcher bulls. I'm responsible for oiling it before battle, alongside Arturus. It weighs more than I do and it takes both of us to tend to the blade without ruining it by dropping it on the stone floor of the barracks.

I never watched him battle on a real fight, but one time he sparred the captain. It was incredible how on balance and fast he was wielding that blade. I don't think something that big should move that fast, the gods shouldn't allow that.

TL;DR

  • Duramar has a growth on his left side back, near his shoulder blade. In the story there are people with steel skins and it will be revealed later. The growth is made from solid steel, explaining its massive weight.
  • He is stronger than an average human, nothing like superman power, but something like 4 man-power units.
  • He compensates it by leaning forward, but is really clumsy and loses his balance frequently.
  • While holding something heavy on his right hand, his center of mass returns to that of a normal human being and he can move and fight really well.

What I need to know

  • How believable is that? I know that with fantasy anything could work, but being believable is preferable.
  • What other body modifications would he need to have in order to wield a really heavy and long sword? I'm thinking about having his lower body heavier and also with
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  • $\begingroup$ A tip about markdown: you only need one ">" at the start of a paragraph to make the whole paragraphs in citation markdown. No need to make it at the start of each line and introduce extraneous linebreaks. And you need a space between the dash and the first word to get a list. There is a little box at the top of where you type that can help you with markdown. And you can also "suggest and edit" to look at other peoples markdown if you find some style that you want to copy. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Jul 11 '18 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ Could you clarify by editing your title to say "character body modification"? $\endgroup$ – JBH Jul 11 '18 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ JBH, What do you mean? Change the title to "Body modification for unusually large sword wielding" or just simplify it more? edit: Got it, I changed the title. $\endgroup$ – Faed Jul 11 '18 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ To contact another user with a comment you need to write an "@" in front of their name. Only one user can be notified like this per comment and the OP, the person who posted the question/answer, is always notified. To notify JBH like you intended to above you would need to write @JBH somewhere in your comment (like I just did). It even autocompletes the username for you. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Jul 11 '18 at 19:49
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your concept of having steel skin to give your character such extra mass to accompany his strength is certainly steps in the right direction to making it believable. The typical superhero/cartoon featuring character with super strength tend to forget or omit any details about the characters mass, which makes it difficult to believe that they could really stand or move the way they do while manipulating something more massive than they are. As you seem to rightly realize a character needs to have the appropriate additional mass in order to maintain balance and generate any power behind their movements when manipulating massive weights.

That all said though I think your ratios for your character are still on the unbelievable side. You say your character has roughly 4 times the strength of an average person but he wields a sword that weighs more than a person. Even a Zweihander typically only ranges from 2-3.2kg, a typical person is around 70kg meaning your characters sword is over 20 times heavier than a Zweihander.

Definitely you are moving in the right direction but I suggest reducing the weight of the sword to more in the range of ~15kg to keep in line with your characters strength modifier. A sword of this size would be more than enough to be unwieldy by others and sure to intimidate.
Alternatively, if you'd rather change your character than his sword I suggest increasing his mass and strength further.

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    $\begingroup$ I guess the sword's weight was really overkill. Changing the sword weight would be more in line of what I expect from my world and would be more structurally stable as Alberto Yagos said. $\endgroup$ – Faed Jul 11 '18 at 22:39
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Footwork is basic for swordfighting. Duramar should have strong agile legs (perhaps from carrying large weights long distances).

The reason is, if he is using a long and heavy sword like a Zweihander, his enemies will try to win by waiting for him to strike, evading and then getting into close distance, where his sword is a disadvantage. At least this is how you fight with a backsword and shield against a montante.

Duramar can counter-attack by moving back quickly and keeping the distance, where one of his massive swings can kill an enemy. But for that reason he needs good legs to move all the weight of his body and of the sword.

The sword can't be as heavy as your character says "It weighs more than I do". Steel has a limit of tensile strength, if you make it too big and heavy, it will break when hitting something. And if he is four times as strong as a human, that sword can't be "beam sized", it can weigh 18 kg/40 pounds at the most.

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Weight The largest swords rarely surpassed 3 kilograms. Few times they were over 2kg and one-handed swords could vary from 1.3kg to 600 grams.

More than 20kilograms pose a problem of too much inertia to overcome. If your weapon moves slowly, it can be dodged/parried.

Place a normal weapon on a guy with x4 strength and it will be quicksilver in his hands.

Effectiveness Swords fare poorly vs plate armor. Striking steel scales would blunt the edge and apply stress to the weapon.

Now, what do you use to mess up an armored guy's day?

Poleaxe awesomess

Poleaxe is thy name.

Blunt force trauma makes your organs explode while crushing bones. Also can concuss and while imparting so much force can one hit kill, it also moves you in the event you survive. Comes equipped with a spear point to brace vs charges and a gorgeous axe.

Fun fact; axes don't rely on razor edges and can breach a breastplate open.

Ditch the pansy oversized knife, when they see your poleaxe, they will know you mean business. Add reaction speed, since that is what makes a swordsman dangerous. Add fast thinking. Add fast-acting muscles, since Force is mass x Acceleration. Less time means more force!

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  • $\begingroup$ @Gryphon thx for correcting my grammar :) $\endgroup$ – Gustavo Jul 12 '18 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ I just got a badge for it, so thank-you for the opportunity! $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Jul 12 '18 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ Why, my pleasure! $\endgroup$ – Gustavo Jul 12 '18 at 20:02
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Solid bone is very heavy, and for biological purposes a better and stronger choice. If you attach muscles to it he would have a better strength in your backhand. If the growth is high enough your trapezius (descendus, probably botched the exact name) you also get higher strength lifting stuff although you are better off with extra bone attachments for the musculus deltoidius. If he also has more of a chickenbreast with muscles attached you can have stronger pectoral muscles and actually swing it.

I think you are better off with the following deformities to achieve what you want:

First, instead of metal skins allow for leathery calcified skins, if not go metamaterials and allow for (relatively) large quantities of nanocarbon tubes in the partially calcified skin (and bone's!) to make it lighter and stronger so your Cook doesnt collapse under his own weight.

The left side has several solid growths that weigh a lot but offer little to no assistance. The right side also "suffers" several growths, but the Cook was Lucky enough that the growths are located near/on places where muscles attach, giving him the strength to lift and wield the large swords while his normal bone growths balance him out.

Although it would be a shame of the big, heavy shield he could be carrying if the bone growths didnt unbalance him to that side...

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I like it. Burroughs did something similar in my favorite of the martian books, Synthetic Men of Mars.

synthetic men of mars

In it, the hero has his consciousness transferred to a hormad, or a synthetic man. The new body he gets has one tremendous arm, which he uses to good effect.

John Carter is one of the most human persons I have ever known. He is in every sense of the word a great man, a statesman, a soldier, perhaps the greatest swordsman that ever lived, grim and terrible in combat; but with it all he is modest and approachable, and he has never lost his sense of humor. When we were alone he would joke with me about my newly acquired "pulchritude," laughing in his quiet way until his sides shook; and I was, indeed, a sight to inspire both laughter and horror. My great torso on its short legs, my right arm reaching below my knees, my left but slightly below my waist line, I was all out of proportion.

I think your cook could have something similar. But instead of a lump of steel (how the heck does that happen? And what good is it?) have him with hypertrophied giant muscle and bone on that side, producing a mighty hump. Like Burrough's hormad, your cooks asymmetric muscle growth makes him able to wield his giant sword.

But you already had the + from me because of the prose you shared with us.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you! I have just one problem with big bold upper body. When the time comes for you to swing your sword, your tiny legs wouldn't be able to support the momentum, would it? I think short legs, but bulky, would be more balanced as the center of mass would be lower. As for the lump, it's like a skin problem, but his race has a steel skin and the result is a steel growth. Maybe having a oversized asymmetrical shoulder could do the job just fine, but wouldn't be as grotesque. I'll reflect on it. $\endgroup$ – Faed Jul 11 '18 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ I did not really get that your guy's advantage was a center of mass thing and how he could use the counterbalance of his hump to swing the sword harder. I get it now. It is a fine idea. I like the idea too that he is somewhat crippled by this "advantage". Good stuff for a story! $\endgroup$ – Willk Jul 12 '18 at 22:43
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Your body modifications would need to be different in order to be effective.

Firstly, swordplay in most systems I'm familiar with require agility (footwork) and moving the sword rapidly. The inertia of such a huge sword is going to interfere with the ability to move the sword rapidly enough to block or parry, much lest recover from a thrust or swing.

Secondly, to have the fast effective "footwork" needed for such a long weapon, you (counterintuitively) might need to have short legs, to keep your centre of gravity lower. a very wide body might also be needed to provide a stable platform, giving the impression of a man shaped a bit like an "H". (The roughly triangular shape of a Sumo Wrestler also provides the low centre of gravity needed).

Thirdly, if you are looking for a suitable weapon, instead of a sword, you want some sort of pole arm. The blade is on the end of the pole providing the cutting edge and the leverage for a hard swing or long thrust, but you are not encumbered by the mass of metal (most of which is not being used) of a full length blade. A war hammer and a battle axe have been mentioned, but other weapons like a billhook, halberd, glaive or Japanese naginata seem to be suitable, and would provide the same effect:

enter image description here

Various European pole arms

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glaive

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Naginata vs sword

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