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Thread: BR Crossbows.
01-04-2004, 12:59 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
On Mon, 7 Oct 2002 15:58:05 -0700, Gary <geeman@SOFTHOME.NET> wrote:
>I`ve fired a LOT of bows and crossbows in my time, and my personal take on
>the subject is that they certainly improved crossbows in 3e, but they still
>aren`t "realistic" in many regards. One thing that I thought was a good
>addition to the 1e-2e rules was the "point blank" concept that was
>sometimes used. Unfortunately, the rule itself was a little unwieldy for
>practical use when playing out combat, but it was the kernal of a good idea.
>At 12:04 AM 10/8/2002 +0200, Carl Cramer wrote:
>>We let crossbows cause auto-criticals on any threat roll that is also a hit
>>within 30 ft. That way, anyone with a crossbow has at least a 5% chance of
>>inflicting a critical hit - which makes them pretty dangerous militia
>Now, that`s a very interesting additional rule. I like it. It
>incorporates the aforementioned "point blank" concept but is much easier to
>>Also, we allow crossbows to scale freely in size. That gives quite a
>>Hand crossbow: T: 1d4, S: 1d6, M: 1d8 - short range, one-handed
>>Light crossbow: S: 1d8, M: 2d6, L: 2d8 - medium range, quick to reload
>>Heavy Crossbow: M 1d10, L: 2d6 - long range, slow reload
>What do you mean by those reload times? 1 per round and 1/2 per round per
>the core rules, or is it something else?
>>We also made the Hand Crossbow a martial weapon (at least for Ainureans),
>>and it is qute a common cavalry weapon - check the illustration on the
>>cavalry war cards.
>That seems sensible. Any particular cultures that use the hand crossbow
>other than Anuireans? I`d probably limit it to Anuirean, Brecht and maybe
>the Khinasi, personally.
It is quite some time since this thread, but I wanted to add something to
the crossbow discussion that bothered me.
The 2E Birthright specific rule did not increase the damage done, as does
the abovementioned houserule which lets crossbows cause auto-critical hits.
It did make causing damage easier.
The 3E houserule does not make inflicting damage easier, but lets it do more
damage on average as the chance for critical hits is higher. And 3E already
raised the damage of crossbows as compared to the 2E crossbows.
The major difference I see is that with the 2E version a commoner would have
had a chance to inflict damage to a full-plate-armoured knight as his
chances to penetrate the armour would have been much better than as compared
to shooting a bow.
The 3E equivalent, the 1st level Commoner shooting the crossbow has a higher
chance to do more damage - but the chance that he actually does any damage
at all is low as he is unlikely to hit at all. If the Commoner in question
is proficient with the crossbow (he has proficiency with 1 simple weapon
according to the 3.0 DMG) he has only a chance of a D20 compared to the AC
of 18 of the knight in full plate armour, so 10% to hit and a 5% to hit and
do a critical hit using the houserule from above. If the commoner has not
used his 1 simple weapon proficiency on crossbow, then he suffers a -4
penalty for not being proficient and is able to hit only on a 20 with a 5%
to hit and automatically do a critical hit.
This does IMO not reflect the threat that let the pope ban crossbows as
weapons that could kill an armoured knight fired from the hands of a peasant.
I would prefer a version that makes it possible for a commoner to fire a
crossbow and penetrate plate armour, not one that in the rare cases that he
actually hits makes more damage.
01-04-2004, 03:54 AM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
- Victoria BC, Canada
Keep in mind too that there is another point that, when looked at from a non-game mechanic standpoint, increase the deadliness.
Simple Weapon. This means that almost anyone can be trained to use this weapon. In non-game terms, this means that the weapons could be passed out to peasants, and with a bare minimum of training they could point and shoot this weapon, as opposed to the years of practice needed to use a longbow.
Looking at it from a game standpoint, the Light Crossbow and the Longbow both do an equivalent amont of damage. The Heavy Crossbow does, on average, 1 point more damage per hit, virtually guaranteeing the death of an average soldier when hit by the weapon. Both crossbows are simple weapons, and this are much more dangerous in the hands of rabble. The advantage of the Light Crossbow is a similar rate of fire to a Longbow."It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion -- and usually easier."
- R. A. Heinlien, from The Collected works of Lazarus Long
01-04-2004, 05:47 AM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- Box Hill South, Victoria, Australia
Boy do I have a problem with that bit of the rules. I`ve used light
crossbows, short and long bows in SCA combat and target shooting and
there is no way they can compare speed-wise.
With the clubs archery competition, there is a speed round of 30 seconds
which I`ll use for the comparison. With a short bow the best I`ve
gotten was 14 shots into the target, though 12 was more usual. The best
I think I managed with the crossbow was 5. That`s 2-3 shots per 6
second round (3/2 rate) with the short bow and 1 per round with the
While this is just a personal gripe with rules vs. reality, if you are
thinking of modifying the rules to suit such things, you may wist to
... The advantage of the Light Crossbow is a similar rate of fire to a
01-04-2004, 08:55 AM #4
Err... Whoever wrote those notes on crossbows (except for Doyle) was pretty much confused when it comes to both rules and reality: a crossbow is VERY slow to reload, while the bow is as fast as you can get an arrow from a quiver, knock it on the bow, then fire! There is a feat that many of you might have liked, Rapid Reload, which allowed one to reload a hand/light crossbow as a free action once per round, or a heavy crossbow as a move action. That rounds up as a maximum of 2 shots per round for the hand/light crossbow and 1 shot per round for the heavy crossbow!
As for realism, the problem is not the ruling for crossbows: the problem lies with the fact that armour normally reduces the possibility of getting hit (armour bonus) only slightly, but most importantly reduces the overall damage dealt by a blow, with a slight weakness against one form of attack, like the characteristic problem chainmail had with piercing weapons, like daggers, rapiers, longswords (not broadswords), gladii, spears, and morningstars (damage reduction).
01-07-2004, 07:31 PM #5
Here is one thing about bows.
a knigth in full plate is not save from a hail of armour pierching arrows.
the armour pierching arrow is stha standard for combat. While the hunting arrow is the standard for hunting.
Im not sure How I sould handle this houserule
I imagen the armour pierching arrow will ignor any armour, But not shield.
I imagen thet the armour pierching arrow will ignor natural armour as well.
Can i use the benifit of armour pierching arrows at point blanck?
Can crossbow bolts be armour pierching?
Can shortbow bolts be armour pierching?
Can only longbow arrows be armour pierching?
- - -
On related notes, anyone tretening you with a crosbow should be a real treat, no mater who you are. shoul be similar to a modern day shot gun,
01-07-2004, 08:30 PM #6
Interesting topic, since BR Crossbows specifically got a bonus vs. armor
at short and medium ranger under 2E. No other weapon did, and if carried
over to 3E, would make the Crossbow a very effective weapon, especially
considering its status as a Simple weapon.
However, if the crossbow bolt is piercing at short ranges, then surely a
pick head also is. What about axes then, they certainly have better
piercing capabilities than light swords.
In the end, I think it boils down to 3E using a very abstract system for
defense and damage. The crossbow bolts power is already figured into its
range, damage dice, critical range/multiplier, status as a simple weapon
etc. The same goes for very other weapon.
If one were to want to use armor piercing for weapons, I think that is
should be applied to the system as a whole, but that would be quite a
task to rework it into a viable system.
DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM
01-08-2004, 12:17 PM #7
I have already worked the concept of armour piercing for the STANDARD 3e/3.5e system of armour class ratings:
- Armour piercing missiles effectively reduce the Armour Class rating of the target.
- I based the armour piercing arrows on the japanese arrows and british bodkin arrows, which both had the same quality, if overall different: they could slice through armour like butter.
- Armour piercing arrows/bolts are always masterwork.
- The number by which the opponent's AC rating is lowered goes as follows:
- Armour piercing arrows, shot from a longbow, reduce the AC rating by 2,...
- ... or 1, if shot from a shortbow.
- Crossbows (except for hand crossbows) always have an armour piercing quality: light crossbows reduce the AC rating by 1,...
- ... heavy crossbows by 2,...
- ... and arbalests by 3.
- Special armour piercing bolts lower the AC rating by an additional 1.
01-08-2004, 04:42 PM #8
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
The one comment would be that armor piercing arrows should have the cost of being masterwork but not also gain the masterwork benefit.
That is a masterwork arrow gets a +1 to hit and as presented for the same cost the arrow also gains armor piercing quality.
Another tact could be to parallel the 'keen' ability when used against armor (i.e., increased critical range). Just a thought.Duane Eggert
01-08-2004, 09:45 PM #9
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
> This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.
> You can view the entire thread at:
> irdeggman wrote:
>Originally Posted by RaspK_FOG,Jan 8 2004, 07:17 AM
> The one comment would be that armor piercing arrows should have the cost of being masterwork
> but not also gain the masterwork benefit.
> That is a masterwork arrow gets a +1 to hit and as presented for the same cost the arrow
>also gains armor piercing quality.
> Another tact could be to parallel the `keen` ability when used against armor (i.e.,
> increased critical range). Just a thought.
The Arms&Equipment guide listed another type of arrow, the flight arrow.
For the benefit that the range increment is increase by 25 feet the
flightarrow does only double critical damage (as compared to the PHB 3.0
X3), and weighs more with 1/5 lb. or 0,2 lb per arrow (the PHB has 20
arrows for 3 lb, only 0,15 per arrow. Finally the Flight Arrow costs 8
gp, while the normal Masterwork Arrow only 7 gp and normal arrows are 20
for 1 gp.
However the Flight Arrow is a masterwork arrow and gains the normal
In my opinion a armourpiercing masterwork arrow should gain the normal
masterwork benefit as well in addition to the armourpiercing as does the
Flight Arrow. Naturally the AP arrow should then also like the Flight
arrow cost more than the normal 7 gp masterwork arrow, better even more
than the flight arrow, and weigh more, perhaps more than the flight arrow.
For normal adventurers starting with the PHB random starting gold (240
gp maximum for a fighter) they are too expensive to use anyway or else
they have no money for any other equipment. And for characters with
enough money to afford them there is still the problem to find someone
with enough skill in Craft (Bowmaking or Fletcher?) to beat the DC 20
for making a masterwork item.
01-08-2004, 10:23 PM #10
Sorry, Irdeggman, for not making things clear, as I should.
Armour piercing arrows should always be considered to be masterwork, but cost more as well. The average (market) cost of a bodkin arrow should be from 15 to 50 gp, based on the availability of the item in regard to conditions, not economy. Troops who have to fight against foreigners that favour heavy armour would be carrying more bodkin arrows than any rich perfectionist who is hunting.
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