There are four slots for particular types of weapons: Main hand, Off hand, Bow and Arrows. Currently, the only item which can be equipped in the Off hand slot is a shield. It therefore counts primarily as an armour piece, though it can be used offensively when using some combos. Bows are limited to one stat, 'Power', which gradually increases with each upgrade. Note that each upgrade will require a higher minimum stat in Strength and Agility. For the main hand, you have the option of choosing between a range of weapons including:
-- Longsword -- Shortsword -- Hunting sword -- Axe -- Mace -- Dagger -- Polearm
For each weapon there are six main stat categories to consider:
-- Stab damage -- Slash damage -- Blunt damage -- Defence -- Charisma -- Durability
Swords tend to have the most stab and slash damage, while axes and maces specialise in blunt damage. Daggers cannot be regularly equipped and are only usable in stealth kills (which require the perk 'Stealth Kill'). Polearms cannot be stored in your inventory and can only be used when picked up during a battle. While swords are a good option in the early game, you will find that they lack effectiveness compared to axes and maces when fighting opponents with full plate armour. Against these foes, the superior blunt damage of axes and maces will prevail, while swords rely on finding a vulnerability in armour which can lead to needlessly prolonged fights.
If you insist on using a sword, aim to exploit weaknesses in plate armour such as the visor, armpits, elbow, buttocks, grion, back of thigh and knee. Some opponents will also be exposed at the neck. In theory, polearms should be useful when fighting multiple opponents that have you surrounded. This however tends to make you slow and clumsy, making a shield and main hand the better option or a longsword if you are confident in your ability to wield it properly. The defense rating and durability of a weapon are also worth considering, though they usually increase as the overall level of a weapon does. It is recommended to equip a weapon with high Charisma in settlements, where important dialogues may be imminent.
There are thirteen slots for particular types of armour which can be understood in terms of three main components:
-- Helmet -- Coif -- Head chainmail
-- Outer garment -- Body plate -- Body chainmail -- Body garment -- Gloves -- Arm Armour
-- Leg chainmail -- Leg plate -- Hose -- Boots
Each armour piece has seven main stat categories to consider:
-- Stab defence -- Slash defence -- Blunt defence -- Visibility / Conspicuousness -- Noise -- Charisma -- Durability
It is important to understand that each armour piece has its value in combat situations. Even the Hose which adds only +1 to each defence rating could make all the difference in a difficult battle. Similarly, it is easy to overlook the Outer garment which in most cases contributes a minor defence bonus, but a quick visit to the Tailor will reveal a number of options which boost all defence types and a significant amount of Charisma. Think carefully about each armour piece and make each upgrade an investment that counts. It is difficult to go wrong here; the more defence rating, the more likely it is that you will emerge victorious in battle. It is all too easy for an opponent to exploit vulnerabilities in armour, and when they do you could see your health bar deplete dramatically swiftly.
As you acquire more Groschen you will be able to purchase more variables in armour options. It is a good idea to have a basic set for different circumstances. While defence ratings are the main thing to consider in open combat, lightweight dark armour with low Visibility, Conspicuousness and Noise ratings are useful for night raids or if you generally prefer tactics of sabotage and subterfuge when planning attacks. A set of this kind will also be useful if you find yourself in a spot of trouble with a specific settlement but stil need to roam through it without losing any time. As with weapons, if you want to make a persuasive impression in important dialogues, it is a good idea to wear armour with the highest Charisma stat in settlements. A fancy ring, necklace and expensive spurs will also go a long way here.