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I've been working on some sort of unified system for bows and crossbows that rates bows by draw weight according to Strength and so forth. The idea would be to allow for more variance in bow and crossbow ranges and damages.

One thing I can't figure out is why the "compound" (i.e. composite or reflex) bow in K&L has such poor range compared to the longbow. It doesn't work that way in the real world. Is this a British bias, or some other factor at work? The fact that Greg misidentified composite bows (the types of bows constructed by the Huns in the game) as compound bows (a modern invention that Attila would have given a kingdom for) raise some more doubts about the comp bow stats.

Basically it really looks like the composite bow listed  in K&L about the same draw weight as a typical bow. The range stats match up for that.

 

Now I realize that bows are non-knightly and that few players are going to care all that much until/unless their knights are on the receiving end of high powered missile weapons, but does anybody have an idea why the comp bow ranges are so low? 

 

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I thought, that the composite bow range was low because it reflected its tendency to be used on horseback. Since there's just one range category do represent the Bose range, it seems to me to make sense to put it at its most common range. This is all just baseless speculation on my part though.

I may be forgetting a horseback modifier though.

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7 hours ago, Username said:

I thought, that the composite bow range was low because it reflected its tendency to be used on horseback.

That shouldn't affect the range though. Possibly the accuracy, but not the range. At least not negatively. The added height might improve the range slightly, but probably not significantly.

7 hours ago, Username said:

Since there's just one range category do represent the Bose range, it seems to me to make sense to put it at its most common range. This is all just baseless speculation on my part though.

There are three range bands in K&L. Short, Medium (-5) and Long (-10) per K&L p. 118.

7 hours ago, Username said:

I may be forgetting a horseback modifier though.

No, I don't think you are. Pendragon tends to ignore such thing as they would work against knights. In RuneQuest most skilled while mounted are capped at a character Ride skill. This requires characters have a high ride to be effective on horseback. But, if Pendragon did something like that, the mounted bonus would mean less.  

 

Thanks for the thoughts. Any speculation helps.

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Aren't there two Hunnic bows? Both are composite IIRC. I can't remember where I read it, but one is lower draw, used for archery while riding, while the other is heavier and used on foot (too heavy to draw while in saddle apparently). He could have been modeling the riding bow.

SDLeary

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9 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Aren't there two Hunnic bows? Both are composite IIRC. I can't remember where I read it, but one is lower draw, used for archery while riding, while the other is heavier and used on foot (too heavy to draw while in saddle apparently). He could have been modeling the riding bow.

SDLeary

Yes there are but not in Pendragon. Wind on the Steppes for BRP (and other RPGs) did that for Mongols. Typically people can't draw back as powerful a bow while on horse.

But in Pendragon there is only one  Composite Bow, actually K&L lists a "compound bow" but that was a obvious oops, unless the Huns were more advanced than we thought. .  

 

My problem, is that the game list the ranges as Bow 150 yards, Compound (sic) Bow 180 yards, Longbow 300 yards. Now with the sufficiency of bows, a composite bow of a given draw weight should shoot further than a self bow or long bow. I can see the 300 yard range of the longbow as being a 150+ pound bow, and the damages listed for the weapon compared to the other bows support this-even after being adjusted in Book on Entourage.

But considering that the composite bow does more damage than a common bow, it would probably have a greater range than it does, due to it's greater efficiency. About the only way the listed stats would makes sense would be if the Huns were using a very heavy war arrow-something heavier than expected for the draw weight. 

 

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18 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

That shouldn't affect the range though. Possibly the accuracy, but not the range. At least not negatively. The added height might improve the range slightly, but probably not significantly.

True, that would be the more accurate way to do it, but maybe the simplest is just to reduce the effective range? My understanding is that horse archers usually fought at closer ranges than other archers to make up for their accuracy loss.

18 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

There are three range bands in K&L. Short, Medium (-5) and Long (-10) per K&L p. 118.

For this, I meant there's no horseback/horseback ranges. 

Maybe the best solution would be to give two range bands? One on horseback or not on horseback. Or you could apply an additional penalty to shooting on horseback. Horse Archers are already insanely strong in Pendragon though we thankfully never really witness it.

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1 hour ago, Username said:

True, that would be the more accurate way to do it, but maybe the simplest is just to reduce the effective range? My understanding is that horse archers usually fought at closer ranges than other archers to make up for their accuracy loss.

From what I've been reading pretty much all archers fought at closer ranges. Arrow won't penetrate armor at long range.The fights where archers are firing at foes hundred of yards away are usually instances of massed fire against lightly armored opponents. 

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For this, I meant there's no horseback/horseback ranges. 

No there isn't.

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Maybe the best solution would be to give two range bands? One on horseback or not on horseback.

I was thinking of giving Bows a STR (or STR+skill) requirement. Being mounted could raise the requirement, as it is harder to draw back the bow and hold it steady while mounted, and this in turn could force archers into useing less powerful bows from horseback. But..it doesn't really apply here.

Are you suggesting that mounted troops range would be reduced somewhat? say 25% or so? 

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Or you could apply an additional penalty to shooting on horseback.

We could, but I think it would be unfair/unjustifed to single out horse archers when Saxons can weild great axes from horseback. There are peanlties for moving targets.

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Horse Archers are already insanely strong in Pendragon though we thankfully never really witness it.

Mostly due to Pony Defense. Horse archers tend to be very powerful in RPGs, more so that they were in reality, due to a lot of little things that don't translate well in game terms. Logistics for one thing- those arrows don't last very long.

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I was thinking of giving Bows a STR (or STR+skill) requirement. Being mounted could raise the requirement, as it is harder to draw back the bow and hold it steady while mounted, and this in turn could force archers into useing less powerful bows from horseback. But..it doesn't really apply here.

Are you suggesting that mounted troops range would be reduced somewhat? say 25% or so? 

I like the STR requirement. That's not very onerous and then you could just shift bow draws as you age. 

I do think a lower range is good for horse archers. One of the advantages they have, in addition to Pony Defense for Huns, is that compared to a knight, their just as fast. So assuming they meet in a place with plenty of room to maneuver then the horse archer, even if only a Byzantine and not a Hun, can just outrun the knight while firing from many yards away meaning they can never get hit. A lower range should put them in a more likely range to get counter charged. Also, I think it works a little bit more accurately. The "effective" range is reduced even if the real theoretical range isn't reduced.

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

We could, but I think it would be unfair/unjustifed to single out horse archers when Saxons can weild great axes from horseback. There are peanlties for moving targets.

I agree. I think it's an unnecessary accounting burden as well. 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Username said:

I like the STR requirement. That's not very onerous and then you could just shift bow draws as you age. 

Well...it's a little more complicated than that, but not much. In the real world archers have to practice to build up the particular muscles required to draw back a heavy bow.  So I was thinking of using a STR+Skill requirement. That way archers could move up to heavier bows as they got more experienced, much like in real life. So, an archer who got older could, in theroy, offset a loss of STR will skill. At least up to a point. For example, I was putting a 185# longbow at around STR+Skill 28. 

51 minutes ago, Username said:

I do think a lower range is good for horse archers. One of the advantages they have, in addition to Pony Defense for Huns, is that compared to a knight, their just as fast.

No they aren't. The Steppe Pony is slower than a Charger. Not a lot slower, but still, slower. But, if the archer is trying to shoot, the knight should be closing. At least until his horse gets shot out from under him. 

51 minutes ago, Username said:

So assuming they meet in a place with plenty of room to maneuver then the horse archer, even if only a Byzantine and not a Hun, can just outrun the knight while firing from many yards away meaning they can never get hit. A lower range should put them in a more likely range to get counter charged.

Not really. For starters that flat featureless plane with all that room to maneuver probably doesn't exist. THat's kind of why horse archers are so overpowered in RPGs. They can just drop back an infite distance and keep shooting. Realsitically terrian limits thier mobiliy, and retreating just causes them to leave the battlefield. The Battle of Chalons is a good example. 

Then there is the matter of how many arrows the archer has on hand, and that once they run out he is useless as an archer. The lower range of 60/120/180 is still more that twice the distance a knight can charge, at minimum, so it's a non-penalty.

Now in a battle, using one of the battle systems for Pendragon, the range advantage is pretty much non-existent since it's assumed that the knight can fight back. This makes sense historically as knights aren't all that vulnerable to arrows at a distance.

51 minutes ago, Username said:

Also, I think it works a little bit more accurately. The "effective" range is reduced even if the real theoretical range isn't reduced.

I think there are a couple of better ways to reflect that. The first would be a peanlty for firing at a gallop, and the second would be to drop damage dice at range. An arrow at 100 yards isn't moving as fast as it was at 10 yards, and is less likely to get through armor.

51 minutes ago, Username said:

I agree. I think it's an unnecessary accounting burden as well. 

 

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On 2/14/2020 at 9:26 AM, Atgxtg said:

Now I realize that bows are non-knightly and that few players are going to care all that much until/unless their knights are on the receiving end of high powered missile weapons, but does anybody have an idea why the comp bow ranges are so low? 

 

I suppose I'm one of the players who cares.

As far as the question of why composite bows' ranges are low compared to longbows', it's probably because of an oversimplification of the three types of bows.  It could also be a perhaps intuitive approach to assigning ranges to the bows: the basic self bows have the lowest because they're the simplest/smallest/lowest draw weight; the composite bows are a little better because they're about the same size as self bows but they're better made (recurve shape & more than one material) and so their draw weight is a little heavier giving them a longer range than self bows; and longbows have the highest because they're larger and have the greatest draw weight.

Just my $0.02.  I don't see anything necessarily wrong with this gradation.  At the same time, I like the idea of rating bows according to draw weight, and tying their ranges and damage potential to that range.  I also like the idea of a strength requirement; but I think that begs the question, then, why not have a strength requirement for all weapons -- i.e., including melee weapons?

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8 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

I suppose I'm one of the players who cares.

That bring us up to four. Four and a half if I add in my email. Of coruse it is the weekend. 

8 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

It could also be a perhaps intuitive approach to assigning ranges to the bows: the basic self bows have the lowest because they're the simplest/smallest/lowest draw weight; the composite bows are a little better because they're about the same size as self bows but they're better made (recurve shape & more than one material) and so their draw weight is a little heavier giving them a longer range than self bows; and longbows have the highest because they're larger and have the greatest draw weight.

I suspect that is is, it's just that the steps between the bow seem odd. Per K&L

Bow: Damage 3d6, Range 150 yard

"Compound" Bow: Damage 3d6+8, Range 180 yards

Longbow: Damage 4d6+10 (later reduced to 3d6+6), Range 300 yards

Considering where the "Compound" (Composite) bow lies in terms of damage, I'd have expected it range to be around  250-270  yards. Maybe Username is onto something with the idea that the range might have been reduced for horseback?

8 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Just my $0.02.  I don't see anything necessarily wrong with this gradation.

I do. Admittly it's becuase of reral world phycis but the only way this works out realisitcally if is the composite bow is fairly weak and firing a much heavier arrow than the two other bows.

8 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

  At the same time, I like the idea of rating bows according to draw weight, and tying their ranges and damage potential to that range.  I also like the idea of a strength requirement;

It seems logical if we expand bows beyond bows and crossbows listed. It also helps to ensure that weak characters don't just grab the biggest bow they can find. Admittedly the stigma and lower glory associated with missile weapons keep this from being a problem with PKS.

8 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

but I think that begs the question, then, why not have a strength requirement for all weapons -- i.e., including melee weapons?

Because STR is already factored into the effectiveness of other weapons, along with SIZ. With a bow the user is limited to some extent by the draw weight of the bow. A giant  with a STR of 25 is only going to be able to get so much damage out of a 30 pound bow. Conversely a STR 5 character probably shouldn't  be able to pick up a longbow and do 4d6+10 (or 3d6+6) with it. 

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Perhaps a bow should be tied directly to STR? 

How about something along the lines of (STR x2)/6 for a tailored bow. Arsenal Bows should be more along the lines of 2d6/3d6/4d6, with appropriate STR restrictions based on the preceding formula. Adds on bows don't really make sense to me.

I am also a fan of reducing damage by one die for differing range bands, only doing full damage within "effective" range (essentially a direct rather than indirect shot), -1 die for medium and two for long.

SDLeary

 

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11 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Perhaps a bow should be tied directly to STR? 

Perhaps, I'm fond of STR+Skill, since it people have to work their way up to more powerful bows. For istance peopel today migth stand with a 25 pound bow and work up to a 50 or 70 pound bow over time as they get experience and build up the muscles needed for archery. There are some skeletons of medival archers and thier bodies didn't developenormally.

11 hours ago, SDLeary said:

How about something along the lines of (STR x2)/6 for a tailored bow. Arsenal Bows should be more along the lines of 2d6/3d6/4d6, with appropriate STR restrictions based on the preceding formula. Adds on bows don't really make sense to me.

Adds on any weapon don't make sense to me, even the ones for crossbows

11 hours ago, SDLeary said:

I am also a fan of reducing damage by one die for differing range bands, only doing full damage within "effective" range (essentially a direct rather than indirect shot), -1 die for medium and two for long.

Yeah, it matched up better with how bows were used. I could possibly see give an increase to damage at very shot range, too. 

 

Of course most of this is probably too detailed for standard KAP, as it would never come up.  Maybe helpful for a Robin Hood type of campaign though. I only started putting some real though to it when somebody decided to buy a scorpion to take with him on a Griffin hunt. And then again when a player running a skjaldmaer got a hold of a  composite bow,, Between the bow, the wotanic religious bonus and the mark of the hammer she is a considerable threat at range.

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15 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

a skjaldmaer got a hold of a  composite bow

That is a very good reason to move away from the construction type and into draw weights. There is absolutely no reason why she couldn't have just gotten a strong self bow (warbow) and used that, save that KAP doesn't have rules for it. Your example of someone with low STR shooting a 4d6+10 warbow (longbow is just the generic name for large bows) also shows this silliness. It is the same as saying that STR and SIZ do not matter for melee weapon damage and it would all be by weapon type.

(There is a reason why people of NW Europe used self bows (made from wood) and the people from Southern Europe, Middle-East and Eurasian Steppes preferred composite bows (wood, horn, sinew, glue). It comes down to both availability of materials as well as the climate and the durability of the weapon, as a composite bow is much more sensitive to moisture than a self bow.)

While I like the (STR+Skill)/6 - 1d6, I do worry a bit that it might result in some silly results on the low STR end still, as the skill would swamp the STR. There is a limit of how much you can train. So maybe limit the damage to STR/2 - 1d6 (i.e. your maximum skill contribution is 2xSTR). Which means that you need at least STR 11 (with skill 22) for 5d6 heavy warbow, STR 9 (with skill 18) for 4d6 warbow, and STR 7 (with skill 14) for a 3d6 hunting bow. This is probably more of an edge case for elderly or lady archers rather than for most active PK, admittedly. Or maybe even use SIZ+STR as the skill limit (for damage purposes), since if you are a SIZ 4, you are not going to be able to draw the bigger bows to the full draw.

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7 hours ago, Morien said:

That is a very good reason to move away from the construction type and into draw weights. There is absolutely no reason why she couldn't have just gotten a strong self bow (warbow) and used that, save that KAP doesn't have rules for it.

Well, there is also that this is a game about knights and so it's probably not going to matter for most games. That and the fact that it's only 466 AD. No warbows yet, and no imported Yew to allow for warbow performance. But otherwise, yeah, she should be limited more by the limits of what the bowyers can make. Still, once Aurelius becomes High King and secures Britain (spoliers!), he will reward the character with a somewhat more powerful composite bow. 

7 hours ago, Morien said:

Your example of someone with low STR shooting a 4d6+10 warbow (longbow is just the generic name for large bows) also shows this silliness. It is the same as saying that STR and SIZ do not matter for melee weapon damage and it would all be by weapon type.

It is saying exaclty that. Bows allow characters to sidestep thier Damage stat. For characters where combat glory isn't a major goal, this can lead to some sillyness, such as ladies porting around arbalests.

7 hours ago, Morien said:

(There is a reason why people of NW Europe used self bows (made from wood) and the people from Southern Europe, Middle-East and Eurasian Steppes preferred composite bows (wood, horn, sinew, glue). It comes down to both availability of materials as well as the climate and the durability of the weapon, as a composite bow is much more sensitive to moisture than a self bow.)

Yup, plus the needs/uses for the bow. When bows were primairly hunting weapons, they didn't need massive draw weights or range. When they were primary battlefield weapons then they did need heavier draw weights.

7 hours ago, Morien said:

While I like the (STR+Skill)/6 - 1d6, I do worry a bit that it might result in some silly results on the low STR end still, as the skill would swamp the STR.

Maybe. But keep in mind that skill progression slows down past 15. After that it doesn't improve much faster than STR.

7 hours ago, Morien said:

There is a limit of how much you can train. So maybe limit the damage to STR/2 - 1d6 (i.e. your maximum skill contribution is 2xSTR). Which means that you need at least STR 11 (with skill 22) for 5d6 heavy warbow, STR 9 (with skill 18) for 4d6 warbow, and STR 7 (with skill 14) for a 3d6 hunting bow. This is probably more of an edge case for elderly or lady archers rather than for most active PK, admittedly.

Good point. As I've got the table statted out now, which is still subject to change as I read up more on the subject, a little old lady with STR 4 could wield a 185 pound warbow, if she had skill 24. That's probably high enough to make it a non-starter, but...capping the skill bonus to STR would seem sensible to me. So little old lady with STR 4 would be limited to a STR 8 (28 lb) bow. 

7 hours ago, Morien said:

Or maybe even use SIZ+STR as the skill limit (for damage purposes), since if you are a SIZ 4, you are not going to be able to draw the bigger bows to the full draw.

Yeah, I've been thinking about SIZ being a factor, at least with longbows. There were reasons why a longbow wasn't (much) longer that the archer was tall. Someone 4' tall would have difficulties with a 6' longbow, and probably couldn't draw it back all the way. Maybe something like: Damage based upon the bow using STR+Skill, but cannot be higher than normal damage stat. So to draw back a heavy warbow  that did 5d6 or 6d6 damage a character will need to have a high damage stat (STR+SIZ) and a high skill.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Damage based upon the bow using STR+Skill, but cannot be higher than normal damage stat.

I think I still would have a -1d6 malus on bow damage. Countered by point-blank shooting giving +1d6.

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3 hours ago, Morien said:

I think I still would have a -1d6 malus on bow damage. Countered by point-blank shooting giving +1d6.

I'm not so sure. Generally arrow do better than swords against armor. Plus I think a STR+Skill of 33 for a longbow (5d6 or 3d6+6) might be too high.

I'd be much more inclined to agree if we adding another range band, and dropped off damage dice over distance. 

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Are you using Skill here to try and represent placement; ie higher skill, better placement, better damage?

As far as actual damage is concerned, a bow should never have the potential to damage as much as a weapon, save on a Critical Hit. Therefore I could better see Morien's Malus (that's what I think we should name the rule 😁 )AND reducing damage based on range.

SDLeary

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2 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Are you using Skill here to try and represent placement; ie higher skill, better placement, better damage?

No, Skill is being used to represent training with a bow, as drawing a heavy bow takes a lot of practice and using a specific set of muscles. So even if someone is strong, but new to archery, they might not have the technique and the muscle training to draw a heavy bow. Obviously, they still do better than someone who is a weakling (low STR), but they do not do as well as someone who has been training to use bows since childhood (high Bow skill).

6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Generally arrow do better than swords against armor.

That is because in reality, all cutting weapons are crap in armor penetration and you want piercing or crushing. But we don't want to nerf Sword here.

6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I'd be much more inclined to agree if we adding another range band, and dropped off damage dice over distance. 

Isn't that what I was suggesting?

Point-blank: +1d6 damage (bringing it to (STR+Skill)/6)

Short: The normal bow damage ( (STR+Skill)/6-1d6 )

Medium: Extra -1d6

Long: Extra -2d6

Now you could do this simply by calculating the damage for point-blank and then introducing the range damage penalties. However, if the typical range is the Short, then it would make more sense to use that as the base damage on the character sheet.

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8 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Are you using Skill here to try and represent placement; ie higher skill, better placement, better damage?

No to represent the fact that it actually takes time for archers to develop the particular sets of muscles and techniques requires to draw back (and hold back) a heavy bow. In real life someone doesn't just pick up a 70 pound bow, but instead starts with a 25-30 pound bow and works up from there. A few years back, when the reproductions of the Mary Rose bows were built and discovered to have draw weights in thr 100-185 pound range, pretty much nobody could draw them back, and no one could do it repeatedly. Now there are a few guys who can do it.

8 hours ago, SDLeary said:

As far as actual damage is concerned, a bow should never have the potential to damage as much as a weapon, save on a Critical Hit.

No, but an arrow fired from a bow should.

 

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6 hours ago, Morien said:

That is because in reality, all cutting weapons are crap in armor penetration and you want piercing or crushing. But we don't want to nerf Sword here.

A bit of an over generalization there. It actually depends on the kind of armor and the weapon. But in general not much will get through a good set of plate. That's why knights wore it, and also why men fighting knights attacked the joints and other weak points. I don't think we need to worry about nerfing sword, it's by far the best weapon in the game. 

6 hours ago, Morien said:

Isn't that what I was suggesting?

Okay. Just making sure. In that case my only objection is to the term "point blank". It's both inaccurate and anachronistic, referring to how far a projectile from a cannon before you have to account for drop. I'll try to find a term more something more "archery appropriate"

6 hours ago, Morien said:

Now you could do this simply by calculating the damage for point-blank and then introducing the range damage penalties. However, if the typical range is the Short, then it would make more sense to use that as the base damage on the character sheet.

That is precisely how I'd do it. For several reasons, including keeping the formula simpler, and not having to redo the formula on the tables (not that the latter would take long). Maybe give the archer a +5 up close, too. 

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4 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

No, but an arrow fired from a bow should.

 

I would have to dispute this. Save for shots that hit a vital area (ie a critical hit), arrow wounds tend to cause bleed out or debilitating injuries; that is to say they could still die later, but there is a chance to save them based upon environmental conditions. Hell, even shots to vital areas can have targets linger for some time.

SDLeary

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17 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

I would have to dispute this. Save for shots that hit a vital area (ie a critical hit), arrow wounds tend to cause bleed out or debilitating injuries; that is to say they could still die later, but there is a chance to save them based upon environmental conditions. Hell, even shots to vital areas can have targets linger for some time.

How do you think spears, swords and axes kill? Most deaths from battle injuries happen after the battle. Especially with the level of medical care available in Pendragon.

But based on modern testing, a longbow arrow has more energy and a  higher change of penetrating metal armor than most melee weapons, in large part becuase it it a piecing weapon instead of a cutting one.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Morien said:

No, Skill is being used to represent training with a bow, as drawing a heavy bow takes a lot of practice and using a specific set of muscles. So even if someone is strong, but new to archery, they might not have the technique and the muscle training to draw a heavy bow. Obviously, they still do better than someone who is a weakling (low STR), but they do not do as well as someone who has been training to use bows since childhood (high Bow skill).

Well yes, that's why you can have a Bow skill.

If you are arguing that the technique (skill) to use a low draw bow, and high draw bow (warbow) are different, I would say not so much. A STR 10 individual is probably going to have the same issue with an 80lb. bow that someone with a STR 15 is going to have with 120lb. bow; just shy of the actual STR required to properly use the weapon (I'm just pulling numbers out of the air here). As a result, any training with the weapon is actually STR training, to get them up to the minimum for proper usage. From there, any improvement is skill.

This is one area where I would look back to RQ3... minimum STR for a muscle powered weapon without incurring a penalty makes sense.

SDLeary

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4 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

But based on modern testing, a longbow arrow has more energy and a  higher change of penetrating metal armor than most melee weapons, in large part becuase it it a piecing weapon instead of a cutting one.

 

If this is simply for purposes of penetration of armor, then I would apply rules to a particular type of armor, or a particular type of arrow, and not mess with the actual damage of a weapon (which will increase lethality). For example, perhaps a bodkin ignores 1d6 (or perhaps X amount) of armor in exchange for a -1d on the weapons damage.

SDLeary

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