I was thinking about this some weeks back and at first I didn’t really understand the ruling.
I worked out (and asked around here I think) that a Great Sword couldn’t parry a Dagger if the dagger is closed in but COULD attack, I didn’t really agree with it.
(and conversely a Dagger can’t attack against a greatsword, but can Parry (admittedly parrying zero damage, but still potentially get a CM).
At first I didn’t agree with it, but thinking back to my Viking re-enactment days (I used to fight in Viking re-enactment from about 1990 to about 2009)
I DID see the logic somewhat.
In practice, if you’re say using a Broadsword (I know it’s a medium weapon, but it’s still a lot bigger than the Dark ages version of a dagger, called a Scramseax, a sort of single edged long knife).
If the guy with the Broadsword keeps the guy with the Scramseax at bay, by and large, the Broadsword guy has a big advantage, as he can attack, but the Scramseax guy can’t. However the Scramseax guy CAN parry.
Now if the Scranseax guy DOES manage to get in close, in my experience, the guy with the Broadsword is in big trouble.
In theory the guy with the Broadsword COULD still attack though, as it’s not like he’s trying to hit the Scranseax, he’s trying to hit the body of the guy HOLDING the Scramseax.
So to me, the RAW logic works.
The same rules could sort of apply to say a Daneaxe, which would come in at the same size as a Great axe. I would argue that the guy with a Dane Axe could slide his hand down the haft to use it at shorter range, but we must remember rounds in MRQ2 are 5 seconds and generally a combatant will get 3 CAs per round. So changing your stance THAT quickly within a second, whilst is probably doable, the guy with the Scramseax (which is a faster weapon) will have probably already gutted him.
So again to me, the RAW logic works.
In reality, If I was using a large weapon and someone got past my guard with a small weapon, I wouldn’t be attacking as I know even if I got him, he probably would have gutted me first). So I would most likely be evading or trying to open the range again.
The only instance where I think it sort of falls down is say a Longsword or Scramseax vs a long spear (or other similar polearm).
The reason I say this is the Longspear was my main weapon (I was also a big fan of the Handaxe, but I digress).
If the guy with a Longspear (in the dark ages being defined as a 2 handed NON-throwing spear between 7 and 9 feet in length) is fighting say a
Guy with a broadsword or Scramseax, if he can keep him at bay, that’s fine, if the guy with the Sword has no shield, he’s in big trouble, as it’s hard to parry a spear with a sword.
BUT if the sword guy rushes the Spearman and gets past the spear, the spear guy is in a world of hurt (unless he has a backup Scram himself, but he has to whip that out first, as the long spear is 2 handed). Really his only option is to do a runner (I.E. Disengage or open the range again).
Once a close weapon guy closes in on a longspearman, he simply IS NOT going to get an attack on him, the spear is simply too long.
BUT, really whilst to me the RAW aren’t accurate (IMO) I don’t really care that much, I really don’t want to complicate the rules anymore and at the end of the day I still want to keep it fun and manageable, it IS FANTASY roleplay after all, not a completely accurate recreation of real world combat.
To me I’m pretty happy with how the rules are in this area.
Of course people should just houserule it how they like, but I prefer to keep houseruling to a minimum if possible.