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Giant Ice Spider

[SPOILER] Crossbows in The Hunt

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Hi all,

I'm running 'The Hunt' from the 5.2 rulebook as a one-shot tomorrow, and something is perplexing me. Again, SPOILERS.

The scenario seems to expect the PKs (PSes?) to use swords and lances to kill the bear with swords and lances. But wouldn't they use crossbows? I presume Vagon Castle has a couple they can lend the squires to use? And they could use them, as I understand it, using the Hunting Skill (or am I confusing this with another system)? So ... why no crossbows?

Thanks in advance!

-Spider

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KAP 5.2, p. 103: "The Hunting Skill includes the entire variety of tasks performed during the noble sport of the chase, excluding Combat Skills." (Emphasis mine.)

So unless they have Crossbow Skill to actually use the crossbows, they are out of luck.

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4 hours ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

Dammit. I thought it would be fun to give them some crossbows to toy with. Ah well.

You can always give them a default skill of 5 and have hilarity ensue as they shoot at trees...

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On 5/21/2020 at 5:13 AM, Giant Ice Spider said:

Hi all,

I'm running 'The Hunt' from the 5.2 rulebook as a one-shot tomorrow, and something is perplexing me. Again, SPOILERS.

The scenario seems to expect the PKs (PSes?) to use swords and lances to kill the bear with swords and lances. But wouldn't they use crossbows?

Generally no. There are a few reasons why:

1) As Morien points out, most knights won't have any crossbow skill to speak of.

2) Crossbows are considered to be "unsporting".. The idea is that is doesn't take much for someone to stand 50-100 yards off and shoot something, even a commoner can do it!. It takes courage and skill to confront it face to face.

3) Hunting is also practice for combat. So it's better for young knights to improve their lance and spear skills over a weapon they'd never use in battle.

 

That said, something like a prodd (a light crossbow that threw small rocks) was sometimes used when hunting fowl. A knight can't really spear a bird on the wing. But, by RAW the PKs won't have any skill. You might let them take time to aim,and consider it an "all out attack", giving them a effective skill of 10. Chances are some PKs will get a skill check and wind up with Crossbow 1 at the end of the year.

 

 

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@jeffjerwin  The reference you gave is from 1570.

From wikipedia...

Quote

In Europe a crossbow known as the gastraphetes was described by Heron of Alexandria in the 1st century AD. He believed it was the forerunner of the catapult, which places its appearance sometime prior to the 4th century BC.[4] Other than the gastraphetes, the only other evidence of crossbows in ancient Europe are two stone relief carvings from a Roman grave in Gaul and some vague references by Vegetius. Pictish imagery dated between the 6th and 9th centuries AD do show what appear to be crossbows, but only for hunting, and not military usage. It's not clear how widespread crossbows were in Europe prior to the medieval period or if they were even used for warfare. The small body of evidence and the context they provide point to the fact that the ancient European crossbow was primarily a hunting tool or minor siege weapon. An assortment of other ancient European bolt throwers exist such as the ballista, but these were torsion engines and are not considered crossbows. Crossbows are not mentioned in European sources again until 947 as a French weapon during the siege of Senlis.[5]

Lack of records seem to indicate that the crossbow was not in much use. Perhaps because it hadn't been improved enough to be accurate.

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On 5/23/2020 at 12:33 AM, Fierce Tiger said:

@jeffjerwin  The reference you gave is from 1570.

From wikipedia...

Lack of records seem to indicate that the crossbow was not in much use. Perhaps because it hadn't been improved enough to be accurate.

Crossbows were used for hunting as early as the 15th century, and the Queen's hunting parties were a deliberately conservative past-time. https://todsworkshop.com/products/15thc-hunting-crossbow

Crossbows are very accurate. I'd make them a standard piece of hunting gear for men and women for the Grail and Downfall periods.

Crossbows are not used by knights when in battle, but are definitely used by them when hunting.

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I agree with @jeffjerwin here. It definitely fits well into the later periods to run around with a crossbow since their supposed to be the equivalent of the Renaissance. I'd even go a step further and say that the use of bows for certain hunting activities would be used in the earlier period. I'm thinking for the hunt of Harts and other members of the deer family. As to what to do with the knights non-existent ranged weapon skills, I've always let them roll 2d6. Or, I would let them default to 1/2 their DEX. 

For the hunt as squires though, their definitely supposed to take it on with spears and armor. This is more of a quest then anything. A bear can be a very dangerous opponent to an unarmored knight, let alone a squire. 

I really like and use the old hunting rules from the Lordly Domains book. It's got a good set of stat blocks in the back for animals, the falconing rules are enjoyable and more interesting, and there's some good details on hunting too. You can get it on drivethrurpg.com for $8.

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Bows were certainly in use for the hunt. William II Rufus was killed in 1100 during a hunt by an errant bow shot from William Tirel, a nobleman, who supposedly was aiming at a stag. The attribution of the errant shot to Tirel may or may not be true, but it does suggest that it was not unthinkable for a noble to be hunting with a bow.

I expect knights would actually be proficient in bows and crossbows for castle defense and hunting.  They just wouldn't use them in battle etc.  YPMV of course.  

 

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