Overhead strike poises the sword at far to flat of an angle


Before begining a*n overhead strike the charicters place their blade in a high Vom Tag gaurd, described as such in Pseudo-Peter von Danzig:

Mark, the guard is called From the Day, therein position yourself thus: stand with your left foot before and hold your sword on your right shoulder, or with up-stretched arms high over your head, and stand thus in the guard.

This description is also accompanied by the following illustration:

Given the given description this vertical gaurd would seem to be angled between 45 degrees back and perfectly vertical when done properly. My own personal experience with fencing would back up this theory as any further back and gravity starts to work against you, making strikes slower and more demanding than they ought to. In game this is taken to an utterly absurd extreme with the sword being either perfectly level with the ground or even pointed slightly towards it. Given that making the sword more vertical would actually serve to make the guard more prominent I think the game would only be improved by a more historically probable sword usage.

Edit: Reexamined the games combat and realized that the guard I was bothered by isn’t the ‘poised overhead’ animation but instead the ‘ready for overhead attack’ animation. I don’t have an issue with it in principle (telegraphing like that is a common error among amateur and even some intermediate fencers) but it looks comical when they start holding it for extended periods. Nothing could really be done to fix this so I think my previous criticisms can be safely disregarded.


I see your point and you are right. Vom Tag is what you describe. However they said in some older video (I guess that one with Petr “Argo” Nůsek, who is choreographer, together with that white haired guy, whom name I can’t remember now, but I guess he is also kinda popular and well known). They said that fencing in KCD is somewhere between reality and moviemaking. Sure, techniques must be somehow proper, but they must be visible in game, so it can’t follow exactly Lichtenauers idea of hiding your movements.
The other thingy is that not everybody knew “how to fence” properly, so they were in wrong positions and wrong cuts. What you describe (sword almost level with the ground) is imho kinda historically precise, because person who did this was most likely no fencing master and that is correct, because masters were few and it was very expensive to use one as a teacher. Also, position you describe can be starting position for Zornhaw.

All in all, I don’t think it is exactly wrong to have such position in KCD.


I see.
Imo after a few min of fighting and getting fatigued the sword should lean back more because of reduced strength.


You would avoid telegraphing like this in real combat, yes. But for a game it is somehow important to show the player how he should react.


This is less about telegraphing and more about being mechanically counterproductive. A more vertical orientation already telegraphs your attack just as much if not more than the current positioning but also has the added bonus of being a more effective guard. Essentially I do not feel that a 45 degree blade would make the attacks less telegraphed but it certainly would be closer to the ideal Vom Tag. Maybe I am overlooking something and the attack looks like it is happening in slo-mo if the sword is that far forward but if not then it is something that should ideally be changed.


All of the cuts from guards use a long cutting arc and a ‘tell’ as the cut starts. This would be terrible form in reality, but it is very necessary in games.

Of course not all real guards are for delivering the shortest cuts, though Vom Tag, High Tag and Olber do offer the option for relatively fast direct cuts.
Zornhut is a guard which is even more ‘wound up’ for a Zornhau or Oberhau cut, with the sword resting on the back and the weight brought back over the trailing leg. Very obvious telegraphing of the likely attack, but one that is very powerful when the body mechanics are correctly aligned with the cut. It is also an effective guard, even though the sword is completely behind the fighter as defensive cuts can be thrown with power before winding from the resulting bind, or cutting around. (I like schrankhut, and nebenhut as defensive guards for the same reason - they offer stop cuts or clearing cuts which are very strong, without exposing the hands and arms to easy fast hits - many of the guards used have the arms ahead of the body, which given the weak arm defence of many enemies is more of a problem than the angle which the sword is animated to/from.)

It wouldn’t be feasible to have a game where the direct cuts are thrown at realistic speeds - my direct zornhau often beat an opponent in the real world, when I get the mechanics right and have no tell, and in a game where muscle memory isn’t a thing and commands have to pass through visual and controller manipulation before a response is possible, it would be extremely difficult to even see what was going on. (I see maybe 2-3 frames between guard and strike in video footage of sparring if there is no slow motion shooting).