I think I saw Reach 1 as appropriate for the cloak, because I don’t see it being such a disadvantage to your attacker at the full length. The physical length of the object isn’t what should determine the Reach, in my opinion. It isn’t as if you’d be keeping a Guard up at the hem’s length, and you won’t be using it like a whip, striking with the hem, will you? I imagine with a long cloak, you’d either grip it at the center of the fabric, or doubled up in your hand. It might be physically as long as a Reach 2 weapon, but at what length is it a “threat,” (if such a thing can be said)? (If you had Adaptable Combatant talent, of course that’s a different story).
Blinding Quality… I should have read the Quality more carefully. I was imagining a momentary distraction, not considering the Blinding Quality states it lasts an entire scene unless cleared. That obviously doesn’t fit with what I had in mind at all.
I’m sure I haven’t seen any treatises recommending you throw your cloak over your opponent’s face, and that he’d go on fighting with it there! How comical!
But I like and agree with your thoughts on using it to hamper or impair the enemy through Momentum. In this vein, I still think it should be Reach 1, since this will increase the difficulty of attacking against heavier weapons, and I think this weapon should take a lot of skill to use.
Reconsidering, I’d go with something like this:
Reach 1, 3 [CD], Fragile, Improvised, Nonlethal, Parrying
Special: Momentum generated by the use of this weapon can be spent immediately to make an Exploit Action, using Melee or Parry in place of Observation.
Maybe it’s not quite nailed down yet, but the above is a weapon I’d actually like to use in game!
As for the rapier. I’m not versed in rapier fencing, I prefer arming sword. The Reach 3 is justified by looking at the historical context, as the main reason the rapier replaced the arming sword (which certainly has Reach 2) as the gentleman’s self-defense tool, aside from the cultural prestige, is its ability to threaten the opponent at a distance. Imagine, you take the same amount of steel used to forge a longsword blade, and make it much, much narrower. Why would you do that? Why, to make it longer, of course, so you can poke the longswordman before he can reach you!
As a rapier swordsman, what would you do against a weapon like a broadsword or axe? I imagine you’d take a long stance, attack with passes, keep the point at maximum range, knowing that if your opponent gets you within his reach (breaking guard), you’ll be at a huge disadvantage. Essentially, the idea is to give the wielder partial benefit of Adaptable Combatant, because this is how the weapon would typically be used. With Reach 2, there is no mechanical justification for including the rapier in the game, is its principle advantage over any other sword is lost from the representation.
I’m aware any weapon can get stuck in your opponent. I know REH was aware of this too, because it happens to Conan’s axe in Beyond the Black River. But with a long blade like rapier, this is a greater risk than usual. D. A. Kinsley’s book Swordsmen of the British Empire has true eye-witness accounts of rapier combatants facing multiple opponents, running through their first opponent, only to be injured by a second opponent (or in some cases the impaled victim) before the blade could be extracted. This is because the rapier’s long blade makes it take more time to free the weapon from an opponent. True, this happens with sabers and arming swords, according to accounts, but not quite as often (though there are 18th century manuals warning against “giving the point” with a cavalry sabre for the same reason). The length of the rapier’s blade and its role as a thrust-centric weapon create a greater risk of this happening. I’d argue this should also be a principle drawback to spears and lances in game, for the same reasons. But I didn’t write the Corebook, so that reality of combat is left to GM’s and players’ imaginations, maybe as it ought to be.
… But you’ll notice the wording in the description above does not suggest that other Complications can’t happen as well, or that the same Complication can’t happen with other weapons. The idea is to encourage the GM to go there, rather than the cringy Hollywood tropes like disarming a rapier (which should be very difficult, given the center of mass being at the hilt), or the even more offensive trope of the longsword chopping it in half like a piece of dry wood.
(Edited for grammar)