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Keeping Weapons Drawn at All Times


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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DM here, running a game very loosely based on the Kingmaker AP. So loosely based that it's basically just the Kingmaker kingdom building rules worked into an entirely different campaign.

Anyway, one of the players is playing a halfling ranger who basically rides around on his wolf animal companion and shoots things with his longbow. Good fun.

He has been insisting that his character should be allowed to keep his longbow out at all times. This has come up when the party has encountered monsters while exploring the land around their small kingdom. The player has military experience IRL and has shown us all pictures of himself marching with his unit in Afghanistan and other places where everyone apparently had their guns out and in their hands at all times.

These guns weigh more than a longbow, so his argument is that his ranger should be able to have his longbow drawn at all times when exploring for days at a time.

I feel that having weapons drawn and at the ready is fine in certain situations (exploring a dungeon, for example), but exploring for days at a time with a longbow in your hands seems wrong. Ordinarily it would pose a problem for a mounted character, but his ranger's Ride skill is high enough for him to take 10 all day guiding his mount with his knees, so RAW his character is covered there.

RAW I can't find any reason that the character (and every other character, PC and NPC) couldn't just walk around with their weapons at the ready at all times. But... I also find it hard to believe that armies IRL that invested in things like scabbards for their troops were just wasting their money.

What do I tell this player? My gut tells me that there are some good reasons that PCs don't spend every travelling moment with their weapons drawn and out, but the game doesn't really assign penalties or anything else so RAW there is no reason for them NOT to. Creating a whole system of rules to nickel-and-dime penalties to PCs who choose to do this seems like it will just be tedious and lead to arguments, but ruling that it's A-OK to travel with weapons out will lead to everyone in the party travelling with their weapons out all the time -- and why not every NPC in the world as well? Versimilitude takes a hit if I do that.

Since this player seems unlikely to let the matter drop, I have to make a decision, and am looking for some guidance on what it should be.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well admittedly, when exploring in a dangerous wildlife area, especially for Kingmaker, it would really make sense to have your weapons out and ready in case of bandits, wild animals, and other scary denizens. Remember, this isn't a city you are in. It's the wild, only worse because you can run into chimeras and manticores. Basically, imagine them exploring a very open and very large dungeon.

That said, Pathfinder doesn't get into things like unstringing your bow or upkeep on your blades. I personally wouldn't do that and just roll with it.


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Longbows would not typically be able to be kept strung that consistently. That much constant tension on the bow would eventually cause the bow to warp, as would constantly being exposed to the elements and changing temperatures. Swords would not typically be carried about drawn without a good reason because they are sharp, and would really hurt if you tripped and fell. In all cases, the weapons would take more enough wear and tear doing that I would require the player to be carrying appropriate repair kits, and to use them, to keep the weapons in working condition. Water in any form, whether they need to swim, ford a stream, or if it's simply raining, would be the biggest problem. Magic weapons might get by that to some degree, but there's still the issue of tripping, falling, or, in this case, falling off the mount. Unless he has a special ability to allow him to take 10 under duress, there would be more than enough times to require him to focus on his riding during an average day in the wilderness that he couldn't take 10 all day. Even if he still has a high enough skill to not care all that often, he could still roll a 1, and that would just make carrying a bow add to the pain of the fall.


It does make sense that when patrolling or riding his weapon his drawn. It doesn't when he is making camp, cooking, eating or taking a wiz, unless he is on watch duty.

I guess you can adjust encounters to fit those moments, from time to time. But this ain't too dramatic. Casters are "always armed" too.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

He's going to have to make some accommodation for when he's performing other tasks - I wouldn't allow him to hold both the bow and a nocked arrow one-handed.

Additionally, take a closer look at his pictures - does his rifle have a sling? Because you could use that to help negate the argument. Putting a sling on a bow would likely interfere with it's "action" - getting in the way of the arrow or the bowstring.

Further, the sling helps with the fatigue of actually carrying it constantly.

http://www.murdoconline.net/2008/503rd_Infantry_Regiment_on_Patrol.jpg

http://img.timeinc.net/time/photoessays/2009/helmand_assault/helmand_b_01.j pg

First picture, the soldier with the M4 and behind him, the soldier with the M240, the way they're carrying the rifles, they're obviously on a sling.

You can clearly see a sling on the next two soldiers behind them.

Second picture, the rifle ain't floating there by magic.

Your player would be stretching the truth if he claimed he wasn't carrying the rifle on a sling most of the time.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
sunshadow21 wrote:
Longbows would not typically be able to be kept strung that consistently. That much constant tension on the bow would eventually cause the bow to warp, as would constantly being exposed to the elements and changing temperatures. Swords would not typically be carried about drawn without a good reason because they are sharp, and would really hurt if you tripped and fell. In all cases, the weapons would take more enough wear and tear doing that I would require the player to be carrying appropriate repair kits, and to use them, to keep the weapons in working condition. Water in any form, whether they need to swim, ford a stream, or if it's simply raining, would be the biggest problem. Magic weapons might get by that to some degree, but there's still the issue of tripping, falling, or, in this case, falling off the mount. Unless he has a special ability to allow him to take 10 under duress, there would be more than enough times to require him to focus on his riding during an average day in the wilderness that he couldn't take 10 all day. Even if he still has a high enough skill to not care all that often, he could still roll a 1, and that would just make carrying a bow add to the pain of the fall.

Rolling a 1 on a Skill check isn't an auto failure. He could have a high enough modifier to pass a DC 5 to guide with knees. That said, he cannot take 10 in combat on skill checks. Still having Trick Riding (which a ranger with the Mounted Combat style can get as early as level 2) negates the need to even make those checks.


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sunshadow21 wrote:
Longbows would not typically be able to be kept strung that consistently. That much constant tension on the bow would eventually cause the bow to warp, as would constantly being exposed to the elements and changing temperatures.

This is the answer. The idea that someone carrying around a longbow is carrying a strung bow on their back is something that all D&D players need to be broken of. An unstrung longbow pretty much just looks like a stick--the curve is entirely due to the tension of the string.

You can carry a gun in your hands all the time without damaging the gun and modern ones come with safeties. You could probably also do so with a weapon like a staff, axe, mace, etc.--anything that is mostly non-hurty bits. You could not do so with a bow, however, unless you replaced it often, and doing so with a sword or other weapon that is more hurty bits than not would be awkward and asking for accidents.


I don't have any military experience myself, beyond what I've seen in movies and other fiction, so take my words for what they are. This said, two main things come to my mind:
1) In real life (and in modern times), as far as I know, soldiers have a shoulder strap to carry the weapons, so that they can split the weight and be ready to use the weapon, or turn it on their back and have free hands at any moment. With bows and swords, the matter gets dramatically different, and having a weapon in hand all the day is more than a nuisance and not pleasant for the hands.
2) When going into exploration, if the majority of the group is armed (in which case consider #1), someone is designated to have his hands free at all times to examine, track and whatever.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
mplindustries wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
Longbows would not typically be able to be kept strung that consistently. That much constant tension on the bow would eventually cause the bow to warp, as would constantly being exposed to the elements and changing temperatures.

This is the answer. The idea that someone carrying around a longbow is carrying a strung bow on their back is something that all D&D players need to be broken of. An unstrung longbow pretty much just looks like a stick--the curve is entirely due to the tension of the string.

You can carry a gun in your hands all the time without damaging the gun and modern ones come with safeties. You could probably also do so with a weapon like a staff, axe, mace, etc.--anything that is mostly non-hurty bits. You could not do so with a bow, however, unless you replaced it often, and doing so with a sword or other weapon that is more hurty bits than not would be awkward and asking for accidents.

Doing that, though, is adding a houserule that is obviously targeting one player over the others. That's going to start a very antagonistic relationship before the game even starts. I'd honestly suggest that you talk to the player and have him look at this through the eyes of an explorer, not a soldier.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Odraude wrote:
Rolling a 1 on a Skill check isn't an auto failure. He could have a high enough modifier to pass a DC 5 to guide with knees. That said, he cannot take 10 in combat on skill checks. Still having Trick Riding (which a ranger with the Mounted Combat style can get as early as level 2) negates the need to even make those checks.

I thought you couldn't take 10 on anything that had a potential for a failure that would result in something "bad" - such as taking 10 on a trap disarm.

I'm sure this has been debated, but I haven't paid attention. I would think that riding would be the same way - if you fail your ride check, you fall off your mount or something.


mplindustries wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
Longbows would not typically be able to be kept strung that consistently. That much constant tension on the bow would eventually cause the bow to warp, as would constantly being exposed to the elements and changing temperatures.

This is the answer. The idea that someone carrying around a longbow is carrying a strung bow on their back is something that all D&D players need to be broken of.

That is a nice opinion, but the game is an abstraction, not a simulation, and unless rules are made to keep count of how long a bow can be strung, and whether or not magic bows have any resistance to this etc(other issues not yet named), it is probably best to leave the abstractions in place. Now if the group is willing to deal with all of the house rules that would need to be made, and they find it enjoyable that is different, but many of us ignore a lot of things that game does not simulate just to avoid the book keeping.


Brian E. Harris wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Rolling a 1 on a Skill check isn't an auto failure. He could have a high enough modifier to pass a DC 5 to guide with knees. That said, he cannot take 10 in combat on skill checks. Still having Trick Riding (which a ranger with the Mounted Combat style can get as early as level 2) negates the need to even make those checks.

I thought you couldn't take 10 on anything that had a potential for a failure that would result in something "bad" - such as taking 10 on a trap disarm.

I'm sure this has been debated, but I haven't paid attention. I would think that riding would be the same way - if you fail your ride check, you fall off your mount or something.

You can take 10, but you can't take 20 when failure causes something bad to happen.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Brian E. Harris wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Rolling a 1 on a Skill check isn't an auto failure. He could have a high enough modifier to pass a DC 5 to guide with knees. That said, he cannot take 10 in combat on skill checks. Still having Trick Riding (which a ranger with the Mounted Combat style can get as early as level 2) negates the need to even make those checks.

I thought you couldn't take 10 on anything that had a potential for a failure that would result in something "bad" - such as taking 10 on a trap disarm.

I'm sure this has been debated, but I haven't paid attention. I would think that riding would be the same way - if you fail your ride check, you fall off your mount or something.

You are thinking take 20. You can take 10 as long as you aren't distracted. Of course, Trick Rider negates the need to make any check below a DC15.


I have always played with the rule that you can always "take 1" on a skill check -- that is, if you will pass the check even if you roll a 1, there's no reason to make the check at all.


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Odraude wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
Longbows would not typically be able to be kept strung that consistently. That much constant tension on the bow would eventually cause the bow to warp, as would constantly being exposed to the elements and changing temperatures. Swords would not typically be carried about drawn without a good reason because they are sharp, and would really hurt if you tripped and fell. In all cases, the weapons would take more enough wear and tear doing that I would require the player to be carrying appropriate repair kits, and to use them, to keep the weapons in working condition. Water in any form, whether they need to swim, ford a stream, or if it's simply raining, would be the biggest problem. Magic weapons might get by that to some degree, but there's still the issue of tripping, falling, or, in this case, falling off the mount. Unless he has a special ability to allow him to take 10 under duress, there would be more than enough times to require him to focus on his riding during an average day in the wilderness that he couldn't take 10 all day. Even if he still has a high enough skill to not care all that often, he could still roll a 1, and that would just make carrying a bow add to the pain of the fall.
Rolling a 1 on a Skill check isn't an auto failure. He could have a high enough modifier to pass a DC 5 to guide with knees. That said, he cannot take 10 in combat on skill checks. Still having Trick Riding (which a ranger with the Mounted Combat style can get as early as level 2) negates the need to even make those checks.

Even if he doesn't fall, I can't imagine the times he rolled a 1 would be pleasant for the mount; not to mention the fact that the mount would probably not care for seeing a bow out of the corner of his eye all day. Most animals, even trained ones, tend to be jittery when their rider is, and while it wouldn't be a major problem, having the mount jittery all day, every day while riding would not be a pleasant ride. If he has all the special skills and abilities that allow him to ignore having to make the skill checks, great, that why characters have abilities, but there was no mention of such abilities in the OP. Even then, just because you can, doesn't mean you should; after a few days of it, I'm pretty sure that both rider and mount would have plenty of reasons to not like the idea. It would not be a comfortable way to travel for either.


The biggest problem I see with your player's stance is as someone said he's thinking like a soldier, not an explorer. Try to get the player to worry less about combat, and more about the whole experience of traveling.


sunshadow21 wrote:
Longbows would not typically be able to be kept strung that consistently. That much constant tension on the bow would eventually cause the bow to warp, as would constantly being exposed to the elements and changing temperatures.

Magic items are much more resistant to damage than their mundane versions. If he's using a magic bow, which he will probably get very quickly if he hasn't yet, he shouldn't have to worry about it getting warped any more than a swordsman should worry about rust.

DnD is also a fantasy game, not a simulation of real life. Why is it such a big deal for him to carry his bow everywhere? It's not a game breaking mechanical advantage and he likes giving his PC a more militant flavor.

Let him carry his bow, and worry about more important things.


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sunshadow21 wrote:
The biggest problem I see with your player's stance is as someone said he's thinking like a soldier, not an explorer. Try to get the player to worry less about combat, and more about the whole experience of traveling.

Or don't tell him how to roleplay his character. There's nothing wrong with playing a PC that identifies more as a soldier than an explorer.


King Cobra wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
Longbows would not typically be able to be kept strung that consistently. That much constant tension on the bow would eventually cause the bow to warp, as would constantly being exposed to the elements and changing temperatures.

Magic items are much more resistant to damage than their mundane versions. If he's using a magic bow, which he will probably get very quickly if he hasn't yet, he shouldn't have to worry about it getting warped any more than a swordsman should worry about rust.

DnD is also a fantasy game, not a simulation of real life. Why is it such a big deal for him to carry his bow everywhere? It's not a game breaking mechanical advantage and he likes giving his PC a more militant flavor.

Let him carry his bow, and worry about more important things.

Because to many people, those small things are important, especially in a campaign like Kingmaker and when there are simple steps the player can take to make it not a problem. Getting the ride skill up was a good first step, and he may have had other abilities or feats that did even more. The issue here is that I got the impression that the player was being insistent on it to the point of being a distraction without having all the necessary abilities/feats in game to back it up. As with most problems, it isn't the core behavior, it's the extent the player insists on taking it despite knowing that others at the table aren't willing to stretch versimilitude as much as they are. I wouldn't say that major actions need to be taken, but it is apparent that the OP feels that something needs to be done to prevent further problems, so minor adjustments are certainly appropriate.


King Cobra wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
The biggest problem I see with your player's stance is as someone said he's thinking like a soldier, not an explorer. Try to get the player to worry less about combat, and more about the whole experience of traveling.
Or don't tell him how to roleplay his character. There's nothing wrong with playing a PC that identifies more as a soldier than an explorer.

Did I say make him forget about combat entirely? Even a soldier in real life has to worry about the journey as much as the combat at the end of it. It's about finding a balance, which is a key part of the DM's job.

Shadow Lodge

Keep in mind the reactions of people to those carrying weapons. If someone walked up to me with a drawn sword in their hand I'd be nervous at best, and most people's reactions would be the same. So when your player walks up to some NPC with his bow in hand have them react as such. Unless of course he actually states he puts his bow, and other weapons, away. then just ask him to have a minimum 12 int/wis to have a character that smart/thoughtful and call it a day. It's not really that big a deal.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At least at the beginning of Kingmaker I know that there is a lot of exploration in the wilderness. I know you said you are doing a home campaign and thus this may not apply, but any extended time in the wilderness with a bow out and you are going to run into problems of it being inconvenient at best. For example, just trekking through a wooded area you could run into problems of it getting snagged or if it starts raining your bow would soak in the water and could crack as it dried if you had it out during said rain.

The point is there are many issues that bows would have with weather and other such conditions that modern firearms just don't care about.


SaddestPanda wrote:

At least at the beginning of Kingmaker I know that there is a lot of exploration in the wilderness. I know you said you are doing a home campaign and thus this may not apply, but any extended time in the wilderness with a bow out and you are going to run into problems of it being inconvenient at best. For example, just trekking through a wooded area you could run into problems of it getting snagged or if it starts raining your bow would soak in the water and could crack as it dried if you had it out during said rain.

The point is there are many issues that bows would have with weather and other such conditions that modern firearms just don't care about.

There are houserules though and I am not saying houserules are bad, but it is always better to have them noted before the game even begins.


Even magic weapons would have their difficulties. It's like the the various high level class abilities that grant characters immunity to age. If you sit in the corner and do nothing, you'll likely not die. Same goes for any magic weapon that spends most of it's time in a treasure cache or on a store shelf; it'll probably last indefinitely. Being out in the field is another matter entirely. An ageless druid can still die if they lose all their hp. A magic weapon can still take damage in battle, or even just in the course of day to day wear and tear; it would take less damage than an nonmagic weapon, but it would still take damage that if not dealt with would become problematic.

My personal view on this kind of question is that it likely won't come up very often, but when it does, you better be able to answer one or two simple questions about whether you have the appropriate items/abilities on your character sheet, which, in the case of items, can often be added at that time as if it was always there with minimal impact to one's gold level or the current scene, or what kind of daily routine you've established for your character on the whole. If you can answer them, or remedy the problem quickly, which would happen the majority of the time if the player is willing to work with me, than no problem exists; if you can't, don't blame me for you not taking simple steps that would make such points truly not worth bringing up.


I'm sure it FELT to him like he had his weapon in his hands all the time. But he certainly had to have slept, eaten, gone to the bathroom, etc. So sometimes he at least slung his weapons, if not set them down.

The simple truth is, and trust me, I know what I'm talking about here, the human body can only take so much repetitive and singular motion/action.

Eventually, he is going to disable himself through repetitive action. Clutching a weapon forever can cause carpel-tunnel, can cause nerve damage, can cause simple pain, stiffness, and any number of other ligament/muscle/nerve/etc. damage that swinging a tennis racket can, given enough time.

But on a game level, I think you'll find most players will scream if you treat them like their weapons were not always out/at the ready. It's really the same phenomena that are the source of age-old arguments (and jokes) about always being alert, always sneaking around, always being ready for anything, etc. It's not realistic, but it is often a player expectation.


Bruunwald wrote:
But on a game level, I think you'll find most players will scream if you treat them like their weapons were not always out/at the ready. It's really the same phenomena that are the source of age-old arguments (and jokes) about always being alert, always sneaking around, always being ready for anything, etc. It's not realistic, but it is often a player expectation.

If a player were to try that with me, I would point him to improved initiative, quick draw, along with similar feats, skills, traits, classes/archetypes that would support that, often along with suggestions of how to possibly refluff mechanics to make them fit. I don't think that mechanics rule all, but mechanics and concept should match up whenever reasonably possible.

Grand Lodge

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Okay to those who point out that longbows had to be kept unstrung in real life, that IS true...what is also true is the longbows take about 30 seconds to string up. That is 5 rounds. I am talking about REAL longbows that have a draw weight well north of 100 lbs...without the aid of a stringer. You think it would make the game more fun or less to have anyone who uses a longbow in any fight where they aren't well aware of the combat to waste 5 rounds stringing a bow? That is what happens when you start to get too simulationist in this game.

As for walking around with a strung bow in hand...having ACTUALLY carried one around for hunting, having in hand is pretty much the most comfortable way to carry a longbow. You can loop it over your shoulder if you needed two hand to climb something but that isn't very comfortable for any given time. You can hook it to a bow hook on your belt, but that gets snagged all the time. In hand is actually quite comfortable and easy to do all day long. Now the tricky part if the fact that he is RIDING. Yes, guiding a mount with your legs is doable...for a short while. If you try and do this all day long, your legs are gonna be jello by the end of the day. I would call using your legs to guide a mount for prolong periods the same as a hustle and treate it as such.


The player can just get a weapon cord, and call it a day.

Cheliax

I actually expect players to have on their character sheets a notation of what each of their hands is carrying. I also suggest they have one set for danger zones vs low key zones. I do not mind if they want to have their weapon at the ready while they are in the wilderness, maybe even in unsavory parts of town. I do dislike them walking about civilized places with their weapons in hand. Sometimes I even tell them the local laws require their weapons to be peace bound. That means they are tied up so they cannot be quickly drawn and used. I think it used to be a use rope skill, not sure off the rope of my head what to make it in pf. Damn, realizing just how long it has been since I ran anything but society games now. Anyway, with several friends into the BDSM lifestyle, we kept use rope in pf. A high check can tie up the weapon in a way that takes only a swift action to undo, a low or untrained check requires a move or even standard action to undo with a really terrible check.

I was reading the thread and wondered, who really wants to look up all the research to determin how many bows would be needed to consistently walk around with a strung bow. I am willing to hand wave that in favor of saving the research and rule enforcement of tat issue.

Also, the player needs to make at least some consesions like agreeing the weapons may not be ready when doing things like climbing or anchoring a rope. For the most part, I think only the social aspect should really be a problem. Walking up to someone armed for instance. For the most part, you should allow him to keep himself armed. If you really think it is a problem, tax him. Say somewhere along the cost of a lesser restoration relieves the exhaustion, cramps, ect.

What I really worry about is people saying that they have this or that in their hand at the beginning of the combat without having to take an action to get it. Want to walk around with a wand of magic missile in one hand and a scroll of obscuring mist in the other? OK, write it down. Just make sure to drove one if you instead choose to cast fireball. Want to walk around with a two handed weapon and combat reflexes ready to attack while flatfooted(that is another ability of the feat that most people do not realize)? That is fine, just do not tell me your AC is 2 higher because you had a shield up. Walking around with a magic silver scimitar hunting vampire and guardian werewolves while keeping a hand free for spell casting. Fine, do not tell me you grab your meta magic rod that must be held to activate and expect to have a free third hand without an actual third hand. Drop that sword or cast the spell without the meta magic rod. A weapon cord does largely take care of this but do not forget that can make other actions a judgement call by the GM. You want to pull out a cold iron weapon when fey jump out of the woods, fine, just realize that weapon cord may make it hard to use the other hand.


I agree that climbing and holding a bow is not realistic. Hopefully he was not taking it that far. Walking up to someone while holding a bow defeats the purpose of having a bow. The NPC should be more concerned if the person tries to stay far away or keeps the bow in a "ready to fire" position.

The weapon cord is only a swift action to use for getting a weapon in hand. If the weapon is one handed there is no reason the other hand should not be free. If the player is suggesting have 3 hands ready you need to sit down and talk to him. That is an entirely different issue than having a weapon in an easy to use position.

Cheliax

There is an alchemist discovery that can grant a third hand and a fourth hand if taken a second time. I absolutely love it with a passion. I can use a 2hw, employ a shield and still keep a hand free to grab an extract, wand, throw a bomb, whatever is needed on the fly in the chaos of battle. There is also a monstrous building option(no ten point stand races) that can grant a third or fourth hand.


i say let him do it as long as he has one hand free. especially if he is 3rd level (Endurance). he will still have to roll for surprise.


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having been a soldier myself for 10 years, I never used a sling (they got in my way) the weapon was held at the ready at all times with finger extended next to the trigger but not on it, referred to as the "devil grip" In my Regiment. Day in, Day out, at anytime, outside the wire. You just get used to holding it that way.

as a civilian bow hunting, sometimes all day, there was never a time the bow wasn't in my hand, where the heck was I going to put it??

The "fantasy" of putting the bow away in a back holster is literally just that, fantasy, If you are walking with your bow, it's in your hand dude.

As far as unstringing the bow to keep its tension and elasticity, this was only done when bows were put in storage like, after hunting season. I carry a recurve bow, not a composite with pulleys, this bow dates back to the 40s and was handed down through my family, even though Im not very good at it, it was taught how to use and take care of it. My Dad accquired it some time after WW2 used and a young boy, and since it was used Im assuming it probably dates back to 44 or 45 which means it's well of 60 years old.

Took a mule deer with it in 2009. Unstringing it regularly is not necessary, only for long term storage. For adventuring purposes it would be in his off hand and strung.

Now, with that said, It's a pain in the arse!

I've fallen and tripped holding the bow, hand it's string catch and branches going through thickets, caught it on my clothing causing string to make a snap noise while I was stalking prey, had my string break more than once, put it down once to check my compass and map and then walked for ten minutes forgetting to pick it back up and had to go back and get it!!

Try doing stuff all day with one hand full, even riding his wolf would require more often and more difficult ride checks as he'd have to be doing that with his knees, verbal cues etc (harder to stealth when you are telling your mount to giddy up)

Just find ways to make his hand being full annoying, because IRL, it IS!


Well, it depends on the character.

My character, a 5th level Mobile Fighter (who was a footsoldier in a war) would tend not to sheathe his sword at all times while awake, as he was trained under such conditions. Remember the whole "This is my Rifle, there are many like it, but this one is mine" speech? It's very similar to that, if not identical.

He wouldn't have his sword drawn while sleeping (assuming it is a self-controlled sleep), as generally bulky/heavy equipment would incur sleeping penalties (such as the fatigued condition, should they rest in medium/heavy armor), but he would definitely have such equipment right next to him ready to snatch as he wakes up ready to fight; again, exactly as both the player and the character think in terms of combat readiness.

I honestly wouldn't care if it was something that they, as a character, were usually accustomed to; considering my character was a footsoldier in a war and was trained to always have his sword at the ready (on their person and drawn at all times while awake, right next to them, within hands reach off-shift), it makes sense that my character would always behave as such.

I say talk to the guy about how his character ties to how he was while he served, and if it fits right down to the T, it would make sense that his character would act that way as that is how his character was taught (almost identical to how he himself was taught as a current veteran).


wraithstrike wrote:

I agree that climbing and holding a bow is not realistic. Hopefully he was not taking it that far. Walking up to someone while holding a bow defeats the purpose of having a bow. The NPC should be more concerned if the person tries to stay far away or keeps the bow in a "ready to fire" position.

The weapon cord is only a swift action to use for getting a weapon in hand. If the weapon is one handed there is no reason the other hand should not be free. If the player is suggesting have 3 hands ready you need to sit down and talk to him. That is an entirely different issue than having a weapon in an easy to use position.

you can climb and hold a bow, I do it alot (Tree stand) bow rides in the crook of your thumb leaving the use of your other four fingers. You can also just close your fore finger over your thumb to hold the bow more securely and climb using the three other fingers on your bow hand.

It's easier to do than accurately shooting the bow IRL


I guess I am wondering why is it an issue at all? Are they trying to avoid spending a move action to draw weapons on the first round of combat? Do their main melee types not have Quick Draw? Are they arguing that they can do everything they need to in the day and have their weapons out and in hand while doing so?

Honestly having a strung bow in one hand is not a real problem when traveling, even when mounted. With a longbow or long composite it is usually, actualy, easier to travel with it in a hand than in some case on your mount or back, especially if your exploring possibly dangerous area's your not familiar with.

Note that does not mean out with a bow knocked 24/7. That means the bow held in one hand and ready should combat happen.

That said, in the real world, people keep their hands free as a matter of convenience, simplicity and safety while going about daily activities. While your friend would be right that his military unit while deployed had his gun ready 24/7, that would be in hostile or potentially hostile area's and he would most likely have the safety 'on'. Weapons scabbards are the medieval 'safety'. Swords and axes and such are always sharp and heavy and having them out all the time is asking for someone to get accidently cut or hurt, hence why people HAD scabbards. That and holding a weapon all the time is simply a serious pain in the ass.

But if the characters are exploring new terrain or area's that they have no idea are safe or not then having a bow in hand IS perfectly reasonable.

Now with melee weapons and/or shields and loaded crossbows, it is usually seen (again taking only real world examples) as a sign of hostility if you come up to people with a weapon in hand and ready. The mirror to this is if you come up on someone with a bow in hand and an arrow knocked. An empty bow in hand is usually not seen as an immediate threat like brandishing a bare melee weapon is. Going for the ammo for a ranged weapon is nearly universally considered a sign of aggresion as the weapon is then 'hot' so to speak.

Also most melee weapons are metal and heavier than a bow and even a super fit adventurer will eventually get tired of having it in hand ALL the time and put it away/safely stow it in it sheath or what have you.

While real world guns are darn heavy, they usually have a sling system so they are held in place at a ready position making it much easier for the modern soldier to do his day with a ranged weapon at the ready and within easy/almost immediate reach. But that is a benefit of it being a GUN. Ranged weapon, good INTERNAL ammo storage, just a small lever click away from being fired at an enemy.

Swords, bows, axes and polearms are infinately more cumbersome and require you to 'usually' be VERY close to an opponent to use them. In a world if guns, line of site is usually lethal range. In most fantasy worlds where melee combat is more the norm, 5-10 feet is lethal range so you often have more time to get ready before the enemy is on you.

For a real world example go to a ren fair in costume and actually hold your sword and shield in hand the entire time your there (assuming security lets you even hold the sword. You WILL stow them at some point to get them out of the way and let you DO things with your hands and so they are not in your way all the time.

Just tell your players that you assume that when the characters know they are in a safe area they are not handling their weapons 24/7 and that when the characters know they are in a possibly dangerous area they are on alert and will be making the appropriate perception checks to spot danger and will draw their weapons when they think that danger is near.


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Bruunwald wrote:

I'm sure it FELT to him like he had his weapon in his hands all the time. But he certainly had to have slept, eaten, gone to the bathroom, etc. So sometimes he at least slung his weapons, if not set them down.

The simple truth is, and trust me, I know what I'm talking about here, the human body can only take so much repetitive and singular motion/action.

Eventually, he is going to disable himself through repetitive action. Clutching a weapon forever can cause carpel-tunnel, can cause nerve damage, can cause simple pain, stiffness, and any number of other ligament/muscle/nerve/etc. damage that swinging a tennis racket can, given enough time.

But on a game level, I think you'll find most players will scream if you treat them like their weapons were not always out/at the ready. It's really the same phenomena that are the source of age-old arguments (and jokes) about always being alert, always sneaking around, always being ready for anything, etc. It's not realistic, but it is often a player expectation.

most experienced soldiers of advanced age do have a bit or carpal tunnel, I think mines actually forming into arthritis.

I frequently peed with my weapon at the ready, ate often with it at the ready, even slept with it at the ready in full gear and woke up once IN a fire fight and returned fire from the prone position I was in lying against a tree.

I set my weapon down to poop a few times, but I was being covered my crew men with a 50 cal. and I did once get involved in hand to hand with my pants around my ankles because I was pooping and couldnt reach my rifle in time, so used the shovel I was sitting on instead....trust me, after and experience like that, not holding your weapon ONLY happens ONCE.

you'd really have to experience being IN Combat before you comment on the assumptions everyone is making about it. your weapon IS always in your hand.


sunshadow21 wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:
But on a game level, I think you'll find most players will scream if you treat them like their weapons were not always out/at the ready. It's really the same phenomena that are the source of age-old arguments (and jokes) about always being alert, always sneaking around, always being ready for anything, etc. It's not realistic, but it is often a player expectation.
If a player were to try that with me, I would point him to improved initiative, quick draw, along with similar feats, skills, traits, classes/archetypes that would support that, often along with suggestions of how to possibly refluff mechanics to make them fit. I don't think that mechanics rule all, but mechanics and concept should match up whenever reasonably possible.

I'm not saying you should let them get away with it. I'm just pointing out that over the course of three+ decades of playing, you are going to run into many players who think this way, or at least are pretending to think this way when convenient (more importantly when something inconvenient has happened to them).

It is so common as to have been the inspiration for gags in the Gamers flicks; gags that everybody I know has laughed at, being only too familiar with the behavior.


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sunshadow21 wrote:
Odraude wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
Longbows would not typically be able to be kept strung that consistently. That much constant tension on the bow would eventually cause the bow to warp, as would constantly being exposed to the elements and changing temperatures. Swords would not typically be carried about drawn without a good reason because they are sharp, and would really hurt if you tripped and fell. In all cases, the weapons would take more enough wear and tear doing that I would require the player to be carrying appropriate repair kits, and to use them, to keep the weapons in working condition. Water in any form, whether they need to swim, ford a stream, or if it's simply raining, would be the biggest problem. Magic weapons might get by that to some degree, but there's still the issue of tripping, falling, or, in this case, falling off the mount. Unless he has a special ability to allow him to take 10 under duress, there would be more than enough times to require him to focus on his riding during an average day in the wilderness that he couldn't take 10 all day. Even if he still has a high enough skill to not care all that often, he could still roll a 1, and that would just make carrying a bow add to the pain of the fall.
Rolling a 1 on a Skill check isn't an auto failure. He could have a high enough modifier to pass a DC 5 to guide with knees. That said, he cannot take 10 in combat on skill checks. Still having Trick Riding (which a ranger with the Mounted Combat style can get as early as level 2) negates the need to even make those checks.

Even if he doesn't fall, I can't imagine the times he rolled a 1 would be pleasant for the mount; not to mention the fact that the mount would probably not care for seeing a bow out of the corner of his eye all day. Most animals, even trained ones, tend to be jittery when their rider is,

and while it wouldn't be a major problem, having the mount jittery all day, every...

MY employer hunts from horse back with a 45-70 lever action, her horse was trained to accept actions of combat (she used to be into reenactment type stuff) and she has shot alot from the back of this horse, I have personally see her take a brown bear at close range from the back of her horse and not seen her very ornery horse even flinch, not just at the fact she was shooting that big gun in the horses ear, but the fact the there was a bear RIGHT there. A bonded mount wouldnt be bothered by its rider having a bow in his hand.


Pendagast wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:

I'm sure it FELT to him like he had his weapon in his hands all the time. But he certainly had to have slept, eaten, gone to the bathroom, etc. So sometimes he at least slung his weapons, if not set them down.

The simple truth is, and trust me, I know what I'm talking about here, the human body can only take so much repetitive and singular motion/action.

Eventually, he is going to disable himself through repetitive action. Clutching a weapon forever can cause carpel-tunnel, can cause nerve damage, can cause simple pain, stiffness, and any number of other ligament/muscle/nerve/etc. damage that swinging a tennis racket can, given enough time.

But on a game level, I think you'll find most players will scream if you treat them like their weapons were not always out/at the ready. It's really the same phenomena that are the source of age-old arguments (and jokes) about always being alert, always sneaking around, always being ready for anything, etc. It's not realistic, but it is often a player expectation.

most experienced soldiers of advanced age do have a bit or carpal tunnel, I think mines actually forming into arthritis.

I frequently peed with my weapon at the ready, ate often with it at the ready, even slept with it at the ready in full gear and woke up once IN a fire fight and returned fire from the prone position I was in lying against a tree.

I set my weapon down to poop a few times, but I was being covered my crew men with a 50 cal. and I did once get involved in hand to hand with my pants around my ankles because I was pooping and couldnt reach my rifle in time, so used the shovel I was sitting on instead....trust me, after and experience like that, not holding your weapon ONLY happens ONCE.

you'd really have to experience being IN Combat before you comment on the assumptions everyone is making about it. your weapon IS always in your hand.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful, and I don't think I said anything that was. I can only speak from my own experience, and my experience has taught me that the pains of repetitive motion can come in many ways, which I pointed out. I know, because I am not a young man anymore myself, and my various aches and pains are from numerous sources and activities, including holding things too long and gripping things too strenuously.

Those are NOT assumptions. Those are my experiences. If you took offense from my saying he may have "felt" he always had it in his hands, that was not a cut down. I was speaking from my own traumatic experiences, which I, like everybody, sometimes tend to remember in ways maybe not totally in line with reality, but understandably shaded by the trauma itself. Which I am more than sympathetic with.

Again, I can only speak of my own experience. But my main point was not whether the soldier had really clutched his weapon without ever putting it down. It was to advise the OP of the dangers inherent in ANYBODY clutching something for too long, as a means of solving his dilemma about verisimilitude/what he might say to this player.


Pendagast wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

I agree that climbing and holding a bow is not realistic. Hopefully he was not taking it that far. Walking up to someone while holding a bow defeats the purpose of having a bow. The NPC should be more concerned if the person tries to stay far away or keeps the bow in a "ready to fire" position.

The weapon cord is only a swift action to use for getting a weapon in hand. If the weapon is one handed there is no reason the other hand should not be free. If the player is suggesting have 3 hands ready you need to sit down and talk to him. That is an entirely different issue than having a weapon in an easy to use position.

you can climb and hold a bow, I do it alot (Tree stand) bow rides in the crook of your thumb leaving the use of your other four fingers. You can also just close your fore finger over your thumb to hold the bow more securely and climb using the three other fingers on your bow hand.

It's easier to do than accurately shooting the bow IRL

I stand corrected. I was visualizing. I had a bow when I was younger, but I never tried to climb with one. Oh well, it seems the OP's player should be ok then.


The character is not going to develop long term injuries, and even so I would rather risk long term injuries than death. I might keep my weapon sheathed in a town when I get to play the game, but in Kingmaker where there is a lack of civilization, the weapon would be out a lot more than it would be sheathed.


Bruunwald wrote:
Pendagast wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:

I'm sure it FELT to him like he had his weapon in his hands all the time. But he certainly had to have slept, eaten, gone to the bathroom, etc. So sometimes he at least slung his weapons, if not set them down.

The simple truth is, and trust me, I know what I'm talking about here, the human body can only take so much repetitive and singular motion/action.

Eventually, he is going to disable himself through repetitive action. Clutching a weapon forever can cause carpel-tunnel, can cause nerve damage, can cause simple pain, stiffness, and any number of other ligament/muscle/nerve/etc. damage that swinging a tennis racket can, given enough time.

But on a game level, I think you'll find most players will scream if you treat them like their weapons were not always out/at the ready. It's really the same phenomena that are the source of age-old arguments (and jokes) about always being alert, always sneaking around, always being ready for anything, etc. It's not realistic, but it is often a player expectation.

most experienced soldiers of advanced age do have a bit or carpal tunnel, I think mines actually forming into arthritis.

I frequently peed with my weapon at the ready, ate often with it at the ready, even slept with it at the ready in full gear and woke up once IN a fire fight and returned fire from the prone position I was in lying against a tree.

I set my weapon down to poop a few times, but I was being covered my crew men with a 50 cal. and I did once get involved in hand to hand with my pants around my ankles because I was pooping and couldnt reach my rifle in time, so used the shovel I was sitting on instead....trust me, after and experience like that, not holding your weapon ONLY happens ONCE.

you'd really have to experience being IN Combat before you comment on the assumptions everyone is making about it. your weapon IS always in your hand.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful, and I don't think I said anything that was. I can only...

How many adventurers live forty plus years to worry about arthritis? Doesn't the aging penalties for older characters cover that enough?


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let me see long term issues from a life as a soldier (first time I fought was desert storm last time I fought was 10 years after that)
Arthritis
1 eye
missing 18 feet of intestine
80 percent lung capacity (feels like less)
I can't hear anything with backround noise going (TV, Radio, Air compressor)
I can't hear high pitched ring tones
I can't hear my wife half the time.
I CAN hear my wife the other half the time.

I'd say, that if a fighter (or other adventurer) would to retire at level 14 or so, He'd be similar.

that's a rough life of con drains, near death experiences and catching filth fever for the 47th time.

But someone who didnt have their bow at the ready? He's not worried about arthritis.

IF he rolls a 1 you could do something like have his bow string break due to having it constantly strung, but in all reason, he could leave it strung for months with no real issues (especially if the string is changed regularly, which would be like oiling and sharpening a sword)

Shadow Lodge

Hi all,

nothing massive new to add, I think that the main issues are as already highlighted:

1. Is it that much of an issue to have the weapon drawn at the start of combat? Will it cause NPC's to react differently turning up with a weapon in hand?

2. What rules are present for weapon maintenance? None RAW, but there are bits of equipment that you might insist upon the character using such as spare strings etc.

At the end of the day you DM the campaign, as long as you are straight with the characters in advance you can make the call. Also remember though that as experienced combatants they aren't likely to neglect weapons by default.


I can echo those with both bow experience and combat experience - it is no big thing to have a weapon at the ready at all times if it's necessary.

But as a game mechanic (which is the original question), it would have an impact on NPC reactions!

If you do use NPC attitudes, I'd immediately make most NPC's attitude to one step worse, seeing as to their eyes there is some knob-end looking like he is ready for a rumble.

If you don't (As a DM, we don't really use the NPC attitude scale: Diplomacy is simply like "persuade" to us), I'd make it a point to make the occasional 'neutral' NPC encounter significantly harder unless he states he is putting his weapon away beforehand - if he doesn't do it early (and without you prompting) it might cause a good situation to turn bad almost immediately. Also (or alternatively), conversations requiring diplomatic resolution might be unattainable or require the adventuring party to perform extra services for the NPC's to prove they have good intentions because, after all, they looked hostile to begin with.

Certainly, I'd certainly be asking someone to prove they were serious about being friends with me if they rocked up at my front door holding a machete.

After some time, the whole party would start to specify whether they are going "nuts out" or "pants on" whenever they are in a new location, based on what they think they'll be likely to run into.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

btw, long bow is not suited for mounted combat


the long bow mounted combat thing was hatched years ago on this board when we discussed "why have a short bow" it was hashed out and eventually came down to this: Longbow not suitable for mounted combat = myth.

Anyway, as fas as how NPCs react to someone carrying a longbow? Why, who cares, its a bow.

A notched arrow IN the bow is a different stance than walking around with a bow in hand.

Drawn Sword = Notched arrow

Carrying a bow, what do you want me to do with it buddy? Get a porter to follow me?


Pendagast wrote:

Anyway, as fas as how NPCs react to someone carrying a longbow? Why, who cares, its a bow.

A notched arrow IN the bow is a different stance than walking around with a bow in hand.

Drawn Sword = Notched arrow

That depends on the NPC. Almost all NPCs the players meet are trained in the use of, or are familiar with other people who use bows. In this case, the NPC knows it is a non-action to nock and fire. (Applying the real-world nocked vs. held doesn't hold true with game mechanics as to draw, nock, aim and fire is an attack action, not something that takes a significant amount of time, and therefore can just be done with nothing more than the bow in hand.)

Therefore, if I am an armed, I may understand and not care, especially if the area is a place you'd likely run into trouble.
If I am armed and guarding something, or you have come onto my property, I may be offended or standoffish. I'd expect that you, once you are aware of who I am or where you are, that you'd put the damn thing away lest I get the wrong idea.
If I am not armed in any way, or I know I'm outwardly appearing to be not a threat, I'd be extremely concerned why the dude holding the pointy-stick-launcher hasn't seen fit to sling it over his shoulder to relax or even put it away - is he expecting to use it? Why? Am I about to be attacked?

-

Perhaps another analogy. You see two people. One is holding a rifle, with a magazine in it. You can't tell if it is loaded or the action worked/safety on or off. The other approaches you, but his buddy hasn't made any effort to make it clear he is not intending to shoot you (by making safe and slinging his rifle or anything like that). How would you treat him and his friend? With suspicion? Angrily? Scared? Respectful?
Different people would react in different ways, and you'd DM accordingly.

The point is, anyone openly carrying weapons in hand that could be perceived as a threat is probably going to be treated differently to if they were unarmed or had their bow slung over the shoulder, and depending on the NPC they are taking to, it could be positive or negative. But in most cases, it is never simply ignored that the players are carrying something in their hand if it is a threat and no effort is made to show otherwise (or intended for intimidation purposes, whichever the case may be).

Taldor

You do understand that quick draw only works on light weapons? Which a longbow isn't?

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