There has been a lot of discussion about the Nippon... then kind of went off topic and talk about Katana. Kind of a long post, but i will get to Warhammer.
This got me thinking about the escalation of armor vs. weapon. I think we all can agree that the battle between the armor and weapon is over and the weapon won.
What I'm saying is when the first weapon was invented (I'm guessing club) somebody was inventing another tool to protect it (armor). So club and spears were one of the first weapons and fur and leather shields were some of the first armor. The armor lost for a long time because the weapon just keep getting sharper and stronger and the armor just can't seems to catch up. It was the weapons that won for a long time, then plate mail was invented and the armor won for a while. Fast forward a few 100s years with guns and armor were gone and weapon won again. Then Heavy armor machine (tank) came along and armor won again for a bit. Then bigger guns and bombs came and weapon won.
Now weapons just rule over armor and I mean the battle is over and armor is lost for good. The best defend is now speed. Tank armor is just about maxed out and nothing more can be done except to avoid getting hit by bombs and missile (weapons). Our tech is just too advance in the weapon side and not advanced enough in the armor side. We would need something like forcefield or something like that for protection now. Even hand guns are just too powerful and not enough armor can protect it. Yes modern body armor can help saves you, but with the powerful rounds and volume of fire power ... it will put you down or killed you.
With that stated above, I will say that there are many great weapons and armors in the history of our species. It would be stupid and useless to use a broad sword or a katana to go up against any tank. But broad sword and Katana were the best weapon of choice at one time in it's history of usage.
How would one judge what is a good weapon and armor or the best weapon and armor of that type? Lets take a look at swords. I would say that the last swords that was use in wars by a powerful nation and that powerful nation replace that sword with a better weapon (guns), that sword must be the best sword for that nation. Same rules with armor. Speaking of swords here, I also feel that the sword just like Tanks armor, is about as limited in it's design as can be. You can't improved it any more, unless we are talking about light saber or chain sword or power weapon right? Because of this, we can pick what good swords are in our history.
There are my swords in our history and Katana fit my criteria above as best sword. It was the last sword designed by the Japanese before it switch to a better techo weapon (guns). The sword can't be design better anymore, yes 20 century metal can do better, but the design and shape of the swords is about the same... this is why this weapon is perfect and can't be any better.. unless we go power weapon and force field stuff haha.
Weapons that are inferior because of limited resource and techonology are easy to point out. Example The Aztec Sword - macuahuitl (the kind lizardmen use that has two stick with sharp stone tie to it. Don't get me wrong, it is a powerful weapon for South american and consider top pick weapon for combat, but it is still very close to primitive because Aztec don't have metal and sad to say... wheels. Can macuahuitl be improved? Yes, use steel. So this Macuahuitl is not yet a perfect weapon and their civilization were destroyed before this club/sword can be improve.
Can Katana be improve? Some might say that double edge sword or a straight blade would be better on the Katana. There are a lot of draw back to double edge and straight blade such as you can not do quick draw kill attack, which is one of Katana signature move. The curve blade can do that. A straight blade will be impossible to do a draw kill move, especially if you have double edge which can be block and bounce back and cut the user. The term of double edge sword is just that, the other edge is as dangerous to the user also.
So in closing ... this is why I think Katana is one of the best sword and classic in it's history because it is maxed out and can't be improved, it is the best in it's class. That class is destroying light armor enemy, max control for the user and one of the sharpest sword.
If any of you weapon or armor buff out there who know your stuff and use my criteria above to explain your perfect weapon/armor, I would be interested to learn more.
Now with Warhammer game, where are we in the escalation of weapon vs armor? I have to say that armor has won over weapon.
Let me give you a "human" A (armor) and Human W (weapon) stats. Both will have 3 on all stats except 1W and 1A and LD7.
A will be armor with light armor, shield, and sword (5+ /6++) B will be using light armor and halberd (6+ / str 4)
Who will win? I think A right?
I would give Katana the same rule as Halberd/ 2 hand strike by Initiative with +1 S
Almost every unit I know would choice extra protection over killing, unless it is slow Initiative and has muti attack such as frenzy... then pick weapon over armor.