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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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Another observation. I've been reading Tristan and Isolt recently.  When they leave Mark's court, Tristan specifically takes his hunting bow.  It is mentioned twice in the scene: once as a hunting bow, once as a crossbow.  I have been reading a translation (not fluent in medieval German), but clearly Tristan, a master of the hunt, uses a bow or crossbow of some sort. While the Thomas/Gottfried version of Tristan isn't specifically Arthurian, it clearly expects that knights would both hunt with a bow/crossbow and specifically own one.  In KAP, I expect that knights would never fight each other with crossbows, but would certainly be proficient and hunt with them without loss of honor. 

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There is probably a difference between Hunting for meat and Hunting to show prowess. In the latter case, opting to use a missile weapon would surely be looked at as a sign of cowardice.

Gaston of Foix wrote a hunting book, Livre de chasse ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livre_de_chasse ) and is quoted in the linked book looking down on Hunting methods that rely on traps or bows, and instead prefers the Chase (par Force): https://books.google.fi/books?id=LLHomhe_fMUC&pg=PA107&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

In the Imber Bear hunt, the squires are the men on the scene and can opt to have their own tactics, but using bows with their low skills and weak bow damage is surely suboptimal to closing with the beast bravely and taking it down. The Glory would only be 10%, even if they have to eventually to close to finish the beast off. Of course, this might not matter much, but I would definitely be giving at least Prudent checks to those who suggest such a 'low risk' approach.
 

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When he and Isolt are living the Cave of Lovers, he certainly uses hound and bow to hunt for food, although apparently it wasn't necessary as he and Isolt were sustained by love (how nice).  Certainly, going Dagger-a-Tusk with a boar is more Valorous, but I think the point is that the text implies that knights (or at least Tristan) were perfectly comfortable owning and using bows for hunting.   Again, knights would never deign to fight with them, but hunting is just fine. Plus, in most cases, the hunt is going to be a big event, and the lord is going to decide what type of hunt is conducted each day. 

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6 hours ago, fulk said:

Again, knights would never deign to fight with them, but hunting is just fine. Plus, in most cases, the hunt is going to be a big event, and the lord is going to decide what type of hunt is conducted each day. 

Yes, what I am arguing is especially the latter context. If the host has organized a chase and one of the participants is taking potshots at the hart with a crossbow or a bow, that surely would be frowned upon. If the knight is by himself and just wants to put some meat on the table, bow-hunting is fine.

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I agree.  For one, if the hunt is organized as a chase, you should chase. The knight doesn't get to alter the "rules" of the hunt.  I think we all agree that (at least in KAP) they would never use them in battle or against another knight.  However, the idea that a knight would never touch a crossbow or have no knowledge of archery doesn't work for me.  

RE Gaston, it is often noted that if one is railing against an activity...it probably means people are doing it!  Apart from hunting, the Pope outlawed crossbows for use against Christians, but plenty of soldiers still used them and kings still employed such soldiers. 

Later in the middle ages, there are examples of extremely fine crossbows or even fire arms.  Make them expensive...and the upper classes will like them for certain purposes, like hunting.

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1 hour ago, fulk said:

  However, the idea that a knight would never touch a crossbow or have no knowledge of archery doesn't work for me. 

Oh, they would know of them and even use them at times, but more as a hobby or tool for getting meat, rather than as a weapon.

 

1 hour ago, fulk said:

Later in the middle ages, there are examples of extremely fine crossbows or even fire arms.  Make them expensive...and the upper classes will like them for certain purposes, like hunting.

Yes, but it doesn't lend itself well to game play. Stalking prey armed with a bow is more something that a hunter would do alone or maybe in a very small group, as opposed to the social event of the formal hunt. Some one player makes a few hunting rolls and maybe a DEX roll or two to get in position to take the shot, while everyone else just sits around the table waiting. I think the players would almost have to break up into single hunters or pairs.

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1 hour ago, fulk said:

RE Gaston, it is often noted that if one is railing against an activity...it probably means people are doing it! 

Yes, especially on the battlefield when your life is on the line. Much like how the .50 cal machinegun was not supposed to be used against infantry. In reality soldier will do whatever they can to stay alive and worry about the consequences for doing something "prohibited" later. Crossbows gave foot soldiers a better chance against armored foes, such as knights, so naturally they used crossbows against knights when they had them.

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For what it's worth, the 5.2 rulebook mentions this on page 109 under "Crossbow": "Knights generally scorn the use of crossbows in combat, although some may welcome their use in hunting (only!)."

(Presumably those knights who do use them in hunting also train up their crossbow skill.)

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14 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Oh, they would know of them and even use them at times, but more as a hobby or tool for getting meat, rather than as a weapon.

 

Yes, but it doesn't lend itself well to game play. Stalking prey armed with a bow is more something that a hunter would do alone or maybe in a very small group, as opposed to the social event of the formal hunt. Some one player makes a few hunting rolls and maybe a DEX roll or two to get in position to take the shot, while everyone else just sits around the table waiting. I think the players would almost have to break up into single hunters or pairs.

This is was in the context of The Hunt scenario from the 5.2 rulebook.

[SPOILERS INBOUND]

 

 

In that scenario, the PKs are squires sent to deal with a 'man-eating' bear. They don't have any knights to supervise them (they're nearly knights themselves), and although they do have some peasants (and possibly Old Garr) with them, they aren't a large party. And even though it might be considered craven, there's no doubt in my mind that someone in Vagon Castle would (if only in jest) suggest they take bows ("[They're] only squires, after all!"). My players being my players, they'll take that literally.

I think what I'll do (since I've had to reschedule the one-shot) is give them a default Bow skill of 2 (certain pregens may have higher Skills at Archery). If they ask for bows, the person who asks gets a Prudent or a Cowardly check (their choice), and I might knock off 2-3 Glory for having attacked the bear with a ranged weapon (though not Honor, since it is a hunt).

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1 hour ago, Giant Ice Spider said:

I might knock off 2-3 Glory for having attacked the bear with a ranged weapon

Just in case you were unaware, the rules specify only 10% of the Glory is gained from the encounter, if missile weapons are used.

KAP 5.2, p. 142:

"There is no penalty to Honor for using missile weapons, but
the Glory gained from defeating an opponent or creature using
ranged attacks is always 1/10th of normal, regardless of whether
melee combat was also part of the victory or not."

Personally, I reduce the Glory for everyone involved, not just the shooter, and regardless of the results of the shooting. Just trying to hit but missing still 'sullies' the Glory.

The squires ought to be aware of this, so it would be good to point it out to players, when the suggestion is made. Also, if you have a knight from the peanut gallery making the suggestion, make sure to emphasize that it is more of a sneer, implying that they are not good enough to take the bear down like real men, being only squires. That might also be good for a Modest/Proud test to see if their feelings are stung, even though as squires they should keep their mouths shut regardless of the trait roll result. But after they are knighted, might be an opportunity to face the loudmouth again, and a chance for Forgiving/Vengeful if they want to bring up the implied insult.

Edited by Morien
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I'm not sure I'd reduce the glory for animals on a hunt killed by ranged weapons. Morien is right, of course, according to the rules, but the glory for the natural beasts are already so small it seems pointless. I personally don't do reduce the glory to 10% unless the player does it against a higher value target. A bear gives 10 Glory so it hardly seems appropriate to act in a historically knightly mannner and still be given 0 Glory for the act especially since it's a hunt and not something truly glorious like a mythical beast or knight. I would possibly consider it because this is a quest, but not for the game itself. I already feel like the incentives to hunt are a plenty sparse glory-wise. I usually give out the whole number to each member of the party (5-15 Glory)

I do like having some jerk sneer at them and giving an opportunity to make checks, but I would set it up as if some respected older knight gives the advice and then some upstart knight scoff at the lack of Glory from the act and the rest of the knights present just let it go. 

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2 hours ago, Username said:

the glory for the natural beasts are already so small it seems pointless.

You know, I was just thinking about that last night when writing the post. I agree that the Glory for normal animals is rather low. I would still lower the bow-hunting glory since that is basically intended to be economical activity, not glorious activity. Basically, if you are hunting for meat, that is abstracted away as something every knight does every now and again, part of every day stuff, not really worth all that much Glory. But the Chase should definitely bring more Glory than what is in the basic rulebook, IMHO. If you go mano-a-mano with a bear, especially without wearing any armor, just in your hunting leathers, you deserve much more glory than you get from lancing some poor footman with spear 10 while wearing full armor.

x10 would be overdoing it a bit, but I could definitely see something like x5. This would make a Bear 50 Glory and a Boar 75 Glory, something worth bragging about if you do it by yourself.

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5 hours ago, Username said:

I'm not sure I'd reduce the glory for animals on a hunt killed by ranged weapons.

I would. The whole reason for the reduced glory is that it isn't all that impressive to kill a man or beast safely, from a distance, with missile weapons, as opposed to fighting it face-to face. 

If it was just about getting rid of the bear the squires could set up traits, put out bait, and wait.

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3 hours ago, Morien said:

You know, I was just thinking about that last night when writing the post. I agree that the Glory for normal animals is rather low. I would still lower the bow-hunting glory since that is basically intended to be economical activity, not glorious activity. Basically, if you are hunting for meat, that is abstracted away as something every knight does every now and again, part of every day stuff, not really worth all that much Glory. But the Chase should definitely bring more Glory than what is in the basic rulebook, IMHO. If you go mano-a-mano with a bear, especially without wearing any armor, just in your hunting leathers, you deserve much more glory than you get from lancing some poor footman with spear 10 while wearing full armor.

I dunno. Bears are pretty wimpy compared to a knight. Skill 13, 3d6 damage, twice. That's really not much better than a footman-less in some cases. With most knight getting spear expertise and being able to hunt mounted, and getting off a lance charge, per the hunting rules,  bears are "barely" a threat. 

I don't see a bear or most other animals being worth as much as a knight. 

 

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