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Thread: Elven Weapons

  1. #1

    Elven Weapons

    It seems that the list of weapons commonly known to elves has some errors. The most obvious of these is the omission of the longsword. Since elven elite warriors have that as a standard weapon, it seems like it must be an oversight for elves to not know how to make these.

    I'm also not really convinced that elves shouldn't have composite shortbow technology. Elven elite warriors have Mounted Archery as a standard feat; this implies that (Mongol-like) they've mastered the art of firing from horseback. I believe historically that the Mongols invented the short composite bow for this reason.

    Arguably the main reason to have composite bows of any kind is in order to make Mighty versions and take advantage of a Strength bonus, so perhaps the reasoning is that most elves won't have a Strength bonus (indeed, most will have a penalty). I believe this reasoning to be flawed, however, for two reasons.

    The logic that runs "... elves wouldn't bother with this because most would not benefit from it ..." should conclude "... and so they invented the light crossbow." The idea of elves using bows rather than crossbows, though, is so pervasive in fantasy that I wouldn't dream of suggesting that. In any case we're not interested in the average elf; we're interested in what their trained elite warriors (the ones with Mounted Archery) are capable of. And these individuals - as 1st level fighters with a standard array - will have a Strength of 13 even after the elven penalty is applied, so they would definitely benefit from a Mighty composite shortbow.

    The second reason builds on the first. Elves are intimately associated with archery; think of any elven warrior, and you're probably going to picture a bow in his hands (granted the Lord of the Rings movie was responsible for a lot of that, but the concept is much older than Peter Jackson). Given their stated high technology, it is reasonable to suppose that they've figured out the best way to make bows. Even the much more primitive Vos - a race that have no particular affinity for archery - have the ability to make composite shortbows.

    I understand that the Khinasi are supposed to be really good with bows, and I don't really have an issue with elves being restricted to composite shortbows rather than both types of composite bow, but it does seem a bit silly to me that a non-archer race of barbarians have invented something that an ancient clever race of archers haven't figured out yet.

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    Elves should have a veriety of swords available including long swords. I also feal that they should have access to composite bows be they long or short. I cant remember what is in the brcs or 2nd ed about it and dont have the time to go looking threw it.

    Lots of people had composite bows as for who invented them or if they were invented indepedantly who can say.

    As for the vos some cultures termed primitive have had composite bows advancement should not be a requirement. The vikings for one have been found to have composite bows (Not a lot of them maybe but they have been found).
    MORNINGSTAR

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Yes, elves should have long swords on their weapon list in the BRCS. They did not in 2nd ed (because elves received no special attack bonuses for any weapon in the 2nd ed rules). When we redid the Chap 1 for 3.5 we attempted to maintain as much from the "core" rules as we could without changing the BR feel. So we added the martial weapon proficiency with long swords and long and short bows under the race description but failed to capture that under the equipment list.

    I'll put that down as future errata.

    Now composite bows on the other hand - no. Cerilian elves should not get them on their equipment list nor should they be readily available in their lands. Remember cerilian elves take a -2 to Str - this is not conducive with a weapon being a racially favored weapon.

    Remember just becasue it isn't on the the list for that coulture doesn't mean it isn't available there. Only that it is not readily manufactured - either by insufficient technology or insufficient demand. The items can be found only they need to be "brought in" and thus cost a lot more.

    from the BRCS:

    The following tables list the availability of arms, armor, and mounts in each Cerilian culture. If a desired item isn’t available in a character’s region, the character must travel to that locale, or locate an importer or trader who deals in the item. Imported items, if available at all, demand a premium price. Masterwork quality items can almost never be found for sale outside of their region of common availability.

    The tables below do not necessarily indicate that a race lacks the technology necessary to create item unavailable in their region. The Brecht, for example, certainly have the necessary skill in working iron and steel to create suits of chainmail. There is not, however, much demand for chainmail in Brechtür. Thus, the average Brecht armorsmith does not have significant knowledge of the techniques necessary to create a suit of chainmail. Some items, on the other hand, are simply beyond the technology of some regions. When considering if an item is beyond the technology of the region, use rough historical guidelines. Anuire, Brechtür, Khinasi, elves, and dwarves are technologically equivalent to the historical Renaissance cultures. The Rjurik and orogs have Middle Ages technology. The Vos, goblinoids, gnolls, and most other humanoid races possess Dark Ages technology.
    Last edited by irdeggman; 07-17-2006 at 06:48 PM.
    Duane Eggert

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    Now composite bows on the other hand - no. Cerilian elves should not get them on their equipment list nor should they be readily available in their lands. Remember cerilian elves take a -2 to Str - this is not conducive with a weapon being a racially favored weapon.
    That's an argument I've heard before, but it is at best only superficially appropriate. By this logic, how are any bows racially favoured weapons, as all bows impose strength penalties? Indeed, logically by this reasoning elves should have racially favoured proficiency in crossbows rather than bows.

    Remember also that composite bows do not have to be mighty bows. They have a better range than a normal bow does.

    Finally, from a practical perspective is there any real point to elves having access to darkwood if they can't use it to make bows? The only advantage to making shields from darkwood is that they're slightly lighter, and staffs and clubs aren't exactly "elven weapons".

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gazza666
    That's an argument I've heard before, but it is at best only superficially appropriate. By this logic, how are any bows racially favoured weapons, as all bows impose strength penalties? Indeed, logically by this reasoning elves should have racially favoured proficiency in crossbows rather than bows.
    Only to damage rolls not attack rolls while composite bows suffer the penalty to attack rolls.

    We could have simply reverted to the 2nd ed rules and given no weapon bonuses to elves at all. I guess this would have solved this entire dilemma.

    Remember also that composite bows do not have to be mighty bows. They have a better range than a normal bow does.
    In 3.5 there is no such thing as a "mighty bow" and all composite bows have a strength rating even if that rating is +0.

    Finally, from a practical perspective is there any real point to elves having access to darkwood if they can't use it to make bows? The only advantage to making shields from darkwood is that they're slightly lighter, and staffs and clubs aren't exactly "elven weapons".
    Hmm because it is found in the old forests? Darkwood has no special properties to affect making bows - well other than anything made of darkwood is masterwork (i.e., +1 attack bonus and can be enchanted) and is lighter.


    Again, just because it is not listed doesn't mean it isn't available only rarer to find and of course more expensive.
    Duane Eggert

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    Only to damage rolls not attack rolls while composite bows suffer the penalty to attack rolls.
    If you're not strong enough to use them, sure. But there's no problem with having a -1 Str composite bow.

    We could have simply reverted to the 2nd ed rules and given no weapon bonuses to elves at all. I guess this would have solved this entire dilemma.
    It's not the weapon bonuses that are the issue. The fact that an elf wizard is proficient with a shortbow has no real effect on game balance, and an elf fighter is proficient with them anyway.

    The issue is that elven bowyers, according to the rules, have not mastered the art of making bows to the same level that primitive non-archer barbarians have despite centuries of effort.

    In 3.5 there is no such thing as a "mighty bow" and all composite bows have a strength rating even if that rating is +0.
    Or -1. Or whatever. "Mighty bow" is a convenient shorthand.

    Darkwood has no special properties to affect making bows - well other than anything made of darkwood is masterwork (i.e., +1 attack bonus and can be enchanted) and is lighter.
    Which is a "special property to affect making bows", is it not? And it's perhaps the cheapest of the special materials; there isn't really any good reason why an enchanted bow wouldn't be made of darkwood, all else being equal.

    Again, just because it is not listed doesn't mean it isn't available only rarer to find and of course more expensive.
    The rules say that masterwork versions are going to be largely unavailable, which writes out darkwood composite bows for pretty much everyone (elves have the darkwood but not the knowledge; Vos and Khinasi have the knowledge but not the darkwood).

    Besides, those "it might still be available" rules are pretty vague. Given that elves tend to be hated by the Vos and Khinasi, and that the feeling is to some extent mutual, it is difficult to see how there would be extensive trade between the two groups.

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    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    gazza666,

    It is your call how you want to handle your game.

    The BRCs will not change to include composite bows as readily available in the equipment table for elven lands.

    Remember that the other reason that weapons aren't readily available is not that the culture lacks the technology but they lack the need.

    Elves live in the "old" forests having weapons with extreme range (e.g., composite bows) isn't as much an advantage as it is for cultures that dwell in open lands (e.g., Khinasi and Vos). In fact longbows aren't really that useful in thick woods either but the "traditional" version of a woodland elf demands it.

    There are several places where the elf-human relationship is not as adversarial as others. The Vos and elves did not have the same relationship as did the other human cultures. Pretty much they coexisted in relative peace - only when the elves turned on Azrai at Mt. Deismaar did a real rift develop.
    Duane Eggert

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by irdeggman
    gazza666,

    It is your call how you want to handle your game.

    The BRCs will not change to include composite bows as readily available in the equipment table for elven lands.
    Fair enough.

    Would this be a good place to mention that the elven unit descriptions in chapter 6 are wrong?

    Archers: at 4GB, they must be Archers (0.5GB), Light Armour (+0.5GB), Veterans (+2GB), Scout training (+1GB). They should have the stats of:

    +2 melee, +8 missile, Def 12, 2 hits, Mv 4, Mrl +6; Scout, +2 missile vs mounted

    This is +2 missile than they are listed to have. (As an aside - for some reason, it describes elves as "superior archers"... )

    Cavalry: at 8GB, they must be Cavalry (2.5GB), Light armour (+0.5GB), Veteran (+2GB), Scout (+1GB), Defense+ (+1GB), Melee+ (+1GB). There is no way they have 4 levels of advanced training with the listed cost, but even without the Missile+ they should have stats of:

    +6 melee, +6 missile, Def 14, 2 hits, Mv 6, Mlr +6; Defense+, Melee+, Scout, +2 when charging

    This is +2 melee more than listed, +2 move more than listed, and they wouldn't get +4 on a charge. (You could argue that they get Missile+ instead of Melee+; that would give them +4 melee and +8 missile).

    Knights: At 10 GB, they must be Cavalry (2.5GB), Medium armour (+0.5GB), Veteran (+2GB), Scout (+1GB), Toughness (+1GB), Melee+ (+1GB), Missile+ (+1GB), Def+ (+1GB), +2 charge; they should have stats of:

    +6 melee, +6 missile, Def 16, 3 hits, Mv 5, Mrl +8; Scout, Toughness, Melee+, Missile+, Def+, +2 charge

    This isn't even close to what is listed. Knights have +2 more melee and missile, +4 more morale, and +2 more move; also, they still only get +2 on a charge (they aren't wearing heavy armour).

    Homeguard: Trickier to figure out, but my guess is that they are Standard Irregulars with Light Armour and Scout Training. Those figures match up with what is listed, so there is one correct listing out of four unit types.

  9. #9
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    There is a lot of stuff that needs fixing in Chap 6.

    There were a lot of things "decided" via vote but the actual chapter ahsn't been revised as of yet.
    Duane Eggert

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