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Author Topic: Is lead a good weapon material for Pickaxes (in combat)?  (Read 171 times)

0wolfmoon0

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Is lead a good weapon material for Pickaxes (in combat)?
« on: May 14, 2022, 12:28:05 am »

I recently had a weapon artifact get created. It was a lead pickaxe. I have read that pickaxes are actually pretty good weapons, but I don't know if lead is a workable metal for them. Currently, due to metal limitations, my military uses silver spears, so a lead pickaxe probably isn't a horrible choice considering what I have access too, but once I start importing larger quantities of steel, I need to know how much my lead pickaxe will be underperforming if I keep using it.

For those curious, the artifact is named "Arkosto, 'Skirtshriveled'" and the description reads: This is a lead pick. All craftssnailship is of the highest quality. It is encircled with bands of table cut black zircons, sheep wool, and cushioned gabbro cabochons.
On the item is an image of Zulban Orbshield the dwarf and Copperoil the giant cougar in black zircon. Copperoil is striking down Zulban Orbshield. The artwork relates to the killing of the dwarf Zulban Orbshield by the giant cougar Copperoil in The Steppes of Steam in 75.
On the item is an image of a nightmare of Cattan in water buffalo leather.
On the item is an image of Ez Passwires the snailling in lead. Ez Passwires is contemplating. The artwork relates to the withdrawl from society of the snailling immortal Ez Passwires in Umbralaxe in the late autumn of 550.

Snaillings are a modded race of sapient snails I made and am currently playing as, while immortals are a modded secret I made. They are basically vampires, but without the bloodsucking and learned from a secret.
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mightymushroom

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Re: Is lead a good weapon material for Pickaxes (in combat)?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2022, 09:45:03 am »

Probably not. In general, metals that are not "weapon grade" will not perform acceptably well in combat -- that's why dwarves (and humans in real history) don't regularly use them for that purpose.

The greatest value of picks (in my opinion) is that they use a skill -- Mining -- that many dwarves may practice in their civilian lives and thus are easy to militarize, especially in the early to mid-game, without so much dedicated training. Weapon Skill is an outsized factor in combat calculations and no dwarf would ever perform "better" when picking up an unfamiliar weapon. If you already have a spear-based military, it may be preferable to keep it that way.

-----

Further comparison ...
Checking the wiki ........ [Weapon; Silver; Lead]

My take on the analyses given is that silver is something like 10x better in relevant stat categories. On top of which, spears are better in both contact area and penetration depth, which is the essence of piercing combat.

Lead is a notoriously soft metal and will likely struggle against pretty much any kind of armor.

Even with bonuses from being an artifact, it would take an exceptional wielder to craft a legend for "Skirtshriveled." That is not to say that you shouldn't do it. It could be great deal of fun to arrange things to suit the story the game has handed to you. Just understand that it won't be all one-hit kills if you do.
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Alastar

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Re: Is lead a good weapon material for Pickaxes (in combat)?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2022, 06:06:44 pm »

On top of which, spears are better in both contact area and penetration depth, which is the essence of piercing combat.

I prefer picks over any other dwarf-made weapon. Contact area is at a sweet spot - large enough to dismember goblin-sized enemies, small enough to do well against armour considering they have twice the velocity of most stabbing attacks, no pronounced weaknesses. They all have their uses though.

Unfortunately, I agree that lead is not a good material for edged weapons - shear fracture is the most important characteristic unless you want to use it as a fancy club. Picks should actually be usable as such: a mini-maul (same contact area) that you can use along with a shield, or something between a flail (large contact area, pulps things nicely) and mace (smaller contact area, better can opener).

For blunt weapons, density is practically the only thing that matters; there is a check that involves the weapon's impact yield but that only seems to matter for slashing attacks that fail to slash (hits can glance off heavy armour for very large contact areas). Even the effect of density is quite subtle and tends to get lost in the noise for the standard materials; lead isn't that much heavier than silver.

If you need to dispatch (armoured?) reanimating undead without creating a mess, but want a slight edge (ha!) over blunt weapons for soft targets... you may be able to convince yourself a lead pick is what you want. As a general purpose weapon, it will be inferior to regular picks.
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Ziusudra

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Re: Is lead a good weapon material for Pickaxes (in combat)?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2022, 06:25:25 pm »

spears are better in both contact area and penetration depth, which is the essence of piercing combat.
Picks hav a velocity bonus that is also important, though. See
http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/Military_testing#Pick_v._Spear & http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/Military_testing#Armored:_Pick_v._Spear
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Ironblood didn't use an axe because he needed it. He used it to be kind. And right now he wasn't being kind.