The Crossbow Thread


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Quote:


As he mentioned the homunculi sitting on his shoulder... I'd assume he actually means shoulder mounted. I did see a magic item in a 4.0 eberron teaser that worked that way for warforged. Ultimately, the idea I think is to get a crossbow that is "hands free" that works like the shoulder mounted blaster the predator uses.

Actually I am thinking about the over the shoulder one, but probably with vertical bow instead of horizontal so as to not cut off the user's head.


I kind of like the crossbow being independant of strength bonus.

Occasions when my melee character has resorted to missle fire have been either:

a) flying opponents who also have missile weapons
b) something to do after alot of strength damage (the most frequent occasion)

Not having to worry about upgrading a missle weapon when one's strength bonus increases, nor about to hit penalties when one's strength has been sunk into the outhouse makes this the backup weapon of choice for my melee characters. Add in vital strike, and life is pretty sweet.

For your archers I can definitely see going to mighty composite bows, but the crossbow makes a lovely backup weapon for melee characters the way it is.


Lokie wrote:
Daniel Moyer wrote:
Lokie wrote:
This would allow our bolt to travel at a blistering 4200 feet in one round... or 700 ft. per second.

You have another problem... even with the superhuman athletes that are D&D characters, vision/targeting unassisted after 300 yards would be ridiculously difficult. (Reference is specifically 'human-sized' targets)

I think there was a scope in the 3.0 Arms & Equipment Guide, but I'm pretty sure it didn't get 1400 yards. :D

Cragtop Archers get their perception penalties reduced by half for distance. I myself would most likely spend a couple feats on Shape Soulmeld (Keeneye Lenses) and Bonus Essentia. Eventually it'd allow a +8 bonus on perception (visual) checks once your level was high enough. Any bonus to perception is effectively giving you distance on your shot. For a Cragtop Archer this is equal to 20 feet per bonus point on perception.

The "scopes" you speak of are the Gnomish Sights. They allow you to fire at a minimum 3 increments with no penalty and 2 range increments less for anything greater.

Cragtop Archers sound pretty cool.

Yep, Gnomish Sights, that's the one.

My point was simply being able to SEE said target at the extreme distances. Example, Empire State Building 491 YARDS tall, people on the street look like ants or specs to the naked eye. 1400 YARDS is almost 3x that... again, not arguing it, just pointing out the craziness that is not really being able to SEE something.

Would I vote against it? Nope, there are tons of superhuman things in D&D and this hardly a show stopper, but I WOULD NOT want to be the player on the receiving end of that when the DM decides to assassinate you from a approx. a mile(1760 YARDS) away. Just a thought. :D


Takamonk wrote:
Lokie wrote:
This is also where the D&D physics allow for some strangeness. In some game worlds (depending on a DM ruling) this might be true. Otherwise assuming you are firing off two shots, one at a arch & another straight, so that they reach the target at roughly the same time much as real life archers would do. If you watch around a table however, I'd agree that each shot is usually tallied and the damage dealt, before the next shot is fired.
I think in my game, those arrows are going to take a full round to reach the enemy if it's more than triple your standard range. If you fire your volley one at a time, hoping to see that they fall, in my book, you're delaying.

And thats a house rule that you are free to make. This is not supposed to be "game-breaking" or anything. It doesn't add anything mechanically. Firing at that range you'd likely not hit anyway or even be able to see the target. It is just that for the purposes of D&D's limited in game physics "Technically" bolts and arrows tend to defy normal logic. So go ahead and house rule that if you want.


Eric Mason 37 wrote:

I kind of like the crossbow being independant of strength bonus.

Occasions when my melee character has resorted to missle fire have been either:

a) flying opponents who also have missile weapons
b) something to do after alot of strength damage (the most frequent occasion)

Not having to worry about upgrading a missle weapon when one's strength bonus increases, nor about to hit penalties when one's strength has been sunk into the outhouse makes this the backup weapon of choice for my melee characters. Add in vital strike, and life is pretty sweet.

For your archers I can definitely see going to mighty composite bows, but the crossbow makes a lovely backup weapon for melee characters the way it is.

Then no reason to change it in your game. Just like you'd add the "Composite" property to a bow, they were looking at having the same option for crossbows. So it would be a choose to add that anyway and not be something everyone would select.


Daniel Moyer wrote:
Lokie wrote:
Daniel Moyer wrote:
Lokie wrote:
This would allow our bolt to travel at a blistering 4200 feet in one round... or 700 ft. per second.

You have another problem... even with the superhuman athletes that are D&D characters, vision/targeting unassisted after 300 yards would be ridiculously difficult. (Reference is specifically 'human-sized' targets)

I think there was a scope in the 3.0 Arms & Equipment Guide, but I'm pretty sure it didn't get 1400 yards. :D

Cragtop Archers get their perception penalties reduced by half for distance. I myself would most likely spend a couple feats on Shape Soulmeld (Keeneye Lenses) and Bonus Essentia. Eventually it'd allow a +8 bonus on perception (visual) checks once your level was high enough. Any bonus to perception is effectively giving you distance on your shot. For a Cragtop Archer this is equal to 20 feet per bonus point on perception.

The "scopes" you speak of are the Gnomish Sights. They allow you to fire at a minimum 3 increments with no penalty and 2 range increments less for anything greater.

Cragtop Archers sound pretty cool.

Yep, Gnomish Sights, that's the one.

My point was simply being able to SEE said target at the extreme distances. Example, Empire State Building 491 YARDS tall, people on the street look like ants or specs to the naked eye. 1400 YARDS is almost 3x that... again, not arguing it, just pointing out the craziness that is not really being able to SEE something.

Would I vote against it? Nope, there are tons of superhuman things in D&D and this hardly a show stopper, but I WOULD NOT want to be the player on the receiving end of that when the DM decides to assassinate you from a approx. a mile(1760 YARDS) away. Just a thought. :D

That would be an extreme case indeed. I can push the rules fairly well, but I never abuse them when it comes to my players.

I agree though... if I really wanted to kill my players off... I could do it easily. I kinda scoff at your standard assassin prc, when I can design a fighter/sniper that can kill with damage from range like that.


What else can we bring up about crossbows...

How about bayonets? A crossbowman needs to be able to fight when combat is suddenly turned to melee.

The Complete Scoundrel has a solution. Knife and Sword bayonets are weapons that allow you to effectively turn your crossbow into a shortspear or spear. Thusly you don't need to try and draw another weapon or worry about penalties for two weapon fighting. They do not interfere with the operation of the crossbow and can be made master work or enchanted separately in their own right as magic weapons. They can also be set vs. a charge. This can be a tactic in its own right, as a archer might often be a target for a charging creature, thus staying just within charging range of an enemy could possibly allow for a triple damage strike.


*Holds up hand* Stumbled across those and I now swear by them!

Awesome handy thing to have attached to your weapon of choice. :)

Cheers!


I've got something pretty sweet to add concerning crossbows.

Glass Bolts, from the Dragon Compendium, produced by our very own Paizo.

These puppies are a too expensive for low level play (they cost something like 25 gold a piece if I remember right) but are ALOT of fun at higher levels if you specialize in the crossbow.

What's so great about them that's worth the cost you ask? 18-20 critical threat range, X3 critical damage.

(Of course, if you don't have an extra dimensional space to store them, like one of the extra dimensional quivers or some such, any time you take damage you have to make a reflex save or they shatter, but by the level you can afford them as primary ammunition you can easily afford such a device.)


kyrt-ryder wrote:

I've got something pretty sweet to add concerning crossbows.

Glass Bolts, from the Dragon Compendium, produced by our very own Paizo.

These puppies are a too expensive for low level play (they cost something like 25 gold a piece if I remember right) but are ALOT of fun at higher levels if you specialize in the crossbow.

What's so great about them that's worth the cost you ask? 18-20 critical threat range, X3 critical damage.

(Of course, if you don't have an extra dimensional space to store them, like one of the extra dimensional quivers or some such, any time you take damage you have to make a reflex save or they shatter, but by the level you can afford them as primary ammunition you can easily afford such a device.)

Those do sound nasty. Eventually I'll have to hunt down a copy of that book once my funds are stable again.


In the time of crusade ,the crossbow were forbiden ,because they're percing templar knight's plate or other knights of christ.

In AD&D 2nd "combat & tactics - options" , the crosbow (heavy and light) ignorated 5 points of AC (short range) and 2 points (medium range) ; so in PFRPG :

-heavy crossbow should ignorated 5 points of AC (if armor is worn),and reduce 1 point by 2 range.
-light crossbow 2 points of AC ; reduce 1 point / range.


elghinn velkyn MASTER wrote:

In the time of crusade ,the crossbow were forbiden ,because they're percing templar knight's plate or other knights of christ.

In AD&D 2nd "combat & tactics - options" , the crosbow (heavy and light) ignorated 5 points of AC (short range) and 2 points (medium range) ; so in PFRPG :

-heavy crossbow should ignorated 5 points of AC (if armor is worn),and reduce 1 point by 2 range.
-light crossbow 2 points of AC ; reduce 1 point / range.

Personally I think the crossbows work just fine as is. They already deal more damage and have a higher critical range than a bow.

Making a crossbow ignore armor would not be fair as historically a english longbow with the right type of arrow could pierce plate just as readily.

Honestly, if you want to add a mechanic of bypassing armor, you'd make special arrows or bolts to do it. Were you to do so, I'd suggest starting with adamantine as a base material as it already ignores a large range of hardness and would make the perfect armor piercing ammo. Past that, just add a house-rule that says adamantine ammo ignore so much ac.


Lokie wrote:
How about bayonets? A crossbowman needs to be able to fight when combat is suddenly turned to melee.The Complete Scoundrel has a solution.

I'm a big fan of those bayonets. I'd also recommend Spiked Gauntlets for the warrior types, good backup weapon that doesn't need to be drawn. More importantly you would still threaten with either of these options, so that someone could flank-fight you out of your predicament.

Grand Lodge

riatin wrote:
Lokie wrote:
This would allow our bolt to travel at a blistering 4200 feet in one round... or 700 ft. per second.
Not quite there yet... Speed of Sound.

I'm amused by all the Pathfinder physics shown here. There are two options:

a) Real Physics just can't be broken - therefore the bolt will never give a sonic boom
b) Follow the Pathfinder Physics to it's extreme and every heavy crossbow fired under the right circumstances will break the sound barrier - no special skills needed, no special equipment, etc. You just need the right situation.

Here is how it works:

The Crossbow Duell

Fighter A and Ork B both place themselves 330 feet apart on the different sites of a field.

Both of them roll for initiative and the Fighter ends up with a 10 while the Ork gets an 11.

A Full round is 6 seconds - for simplicity I only allow Initiative from 0 to 20 - ergo the Orc shots 0.3 seconds ahead of the Fighter.

The shot of the orc will be resolved ahead of the Fighter taking his action. This means the bolt of the orc will travel the distance in 0.3 seconds (or below).

330 feet / 0.3 sec = 1100 feet/sec

Speed of sound is 1088 feet/sec at sea level and normal pressure conditions. Ergo - you will hear a loud big boom.

And this was a simple orc with a standard cross bow.

Now the really interesting bit comes when you get a tie in the initiative. If you are a GM who will do a tie-breaker roll to decide who is first, then you are in for a real feat of Pathfinder physics.

Both opponents act at the identical time - apart of an infinitly small difference which allows one of them to act first.

Do the math - and assuming you define the time small enough (we are talking here 1/3 of a millionth of a second) you might be even able to break the speed of light barrier with your bolt.

Strange what Physics can do for you if you just follow a RAW and munchkin it.

Thod


Lokie wrote:

.

Making a crossbow ignore armor would not be fair as historically a english longbow with the right type of arrow could pierce plate just as readily.

Honestly, if you want to add a mechanic of bypassing armor, you'd make special arrows or bolts to do it. Were you to do so, I'd suggest starting with adamantine as a base material as it already ignores a large range of hardness and would make the perfect armor piercing ammo. Past that, just add a house-rule that says adamantine ammo ignore so much ac.

Histocally ,crossbow 's bolts are high velocity projectiles.An arm is wrested (separated/out of body) to the body when crosbow's bolt touch one part of this arm.The longbow's arrow don't do that.Longbows are longer range than crossbow,this is longbow's secret.In this time ,french's knighthood worned plate ,not fullplate.Fullplate's time is after.

Special arrows /bolts are apart of weapons (bow or crossbow).They change damage's dice.
If bolt of adamantine is armor piercing, what's about sword of adamantine or spear or axe ?
In the rules , weapons forged in adamantine are not armor piercing.


Just a we tad point to the 'literal' physics of the situation (Has resurrection scroll handy for any deceased Cat Girls) but...

Since some modern and recent fire arms rounds have and can travel faster than the speed of sound, and infact such knowledge was used in the design of the early experimental air craft built to 'break' the sound barrier before 'area ruled' was known about, the knowledge of what sound small object traveling faster than sound is actually reasonably well know.

You do not get a sonic 'boom'. What you get is a much 'softer' sonic 'crack'. Also this to some one who has been missed by the round. The person who is the target is generally past caring about what sound the projectile has made getting to them.

So, can projectiles travel faster than the speed of sound? Yes, relatively easily and have been for a reasonably long time. These are powered by chemical reactions though. BUt accelerating a bolt past the speed of sound should be quite possible.

Could the mechanical energies imparted by a X-Bow make its projectile travel faster than the speed of sound? Um, I do believe some one has mentioned that technically the arm/limbs and 'string' of the x-bow would also have to be moving at about these speeds and one would dare say that such efforts would impose rather hefty 'drag' and other penalties on the items, not to mention stresses.

Could it be possible? I don't know, lets ask Myth Busters! ^_^

Just some thoughts. ^_^

Cheers!


Sunset wrote:

Just a we tad point to the 'literal' physics of the situation (Has resurrection scroll handy for any deceased Cat Girls) but...

Since some modern and recent fire arms rounds have and can travel faster than the speed of sound, and infact such knowledge was used in the design of the early experimental air craft built to 'break' the sound barrier before 'area ruled' was known about, the knowledge of what sound small object traveling faster than sound is actually reasonably well know.

You do not get a sonic 'boom'. What you get is a much 'softer' sonic 'crack'. Also this to some one who has been missed by the round. The person who is the target is generally past caring about what sound the projectile has made getting to them.

So, can projectiles travel faster than the speed of sound? Yes, relatively easily and have been for a reasonably long time. These are powered by chemical reactions though. BUt accelerating a bolt past the speed of sound should be quite possible.

Could the mechanical energies imparted by a X-Bow make its projectile travel faster than the speed of sound? Um, I do believe some one has mentioned that technically the arm/limbs and 'string' of the x-bow would also have to be moving at about these speeds and one would dare say that such efforts would impose rather hefty 'drag' and other penalties on the items, not to mention stresses.

Could it be possible? I don't know, lets ask Myth Busters! ^_^

Just some thoughts. ^_^

Cheers!

To be honest, I reckon it would depend on the length of the bow section. The crossbows used back in the day had a lot more potential energy once drawn, but because of the shorter bow, not all of this energy could be transferred to the bolt once loosed, hence why an English longbow was capable of approximately the same results as a medieval crossbow. The reason the crossbow was outlawed and the longbow wasn't is that the crossbow required very little training, meaning that any peasant with a crossbow could kill a fully armoured knight. A longbow, on the other hand required a lot of strength to draw and a lot of training to shoot accurately; enough of each that the same person given a knife and equivalent training could probably kill a fully armoured knight as well.


elghinn velkyn MASTER wrote:
Lokie wrote:

.

Making a crossbow ignore armor would not be fair as historically a english longbow with the right type of arrow could pierce plate just as readily.

Honestly, if you want to add a mechanic of bypassing armor, you'd make special arrows or bolts to do it. Were you to do so, I'd suggest starting with adamantine as a base material as it already ignores a large range of hardness and would make the perfect armor piercing ammo. Past that, just add a house-rule that says adamantine ammo ignore so much ac.

Histocally ,crossbow 's bolts are high velocity projectiles.An arm is wrested (separated/out of body) to the body when crosbow's bolt touch one part of this arm.The longbow's arrow don't do that.Longbows are longer range than crossbow,this is longbow's secret.In this time ,french's knighthood worned plate ,not fullplate.Fullplate's time is after.

Special arrows /bolts are apart of weapons (bow or crossbow).They change damage's dice.
If bolt of adamantine is armor piercing, what's about sword of adamantine or spear or axe ?
In the rules , weapons forged in adamantine are not armor piercing.

And neither in the rules are crossbows armor piercing.

And yes, a shot from a longbow at close range can break bone or dislocate someones arm out at close range. Both weapons are extremely powerful. When I say longbow I'm talking of a bow with a staff roughly in length the height of a man. A skilled archer went through large amounts of training to be able to perform the feats of archery they were expected of.

The crossbow is just easier to use as its more "point and shoot". Which is why it was often adopted over the longbow as it allowed militia to be formed with crossbows rather quickly with minimal training.

I cannot speak for certain as to cost or how long it took the each weapon to be made, but I vaguely remember a crossbow being faster to produce and at less cost as well.

Neither was "better" than the other they just had different strengths and weaknesses.

I never mentioned fullplate. Nor did I say it was worn during a certain period. I just said that a longbow can fire an arrow that can pierce plate. I've seen demonstrations of it being done.

Stating a certain period of time does not really work for the purposes of D&D which is a mish-mash of all different times into one.

Also... it was sort of a arms race between armorers and weaponsmiths. Armor had be made better with increasingly strong alloys or forging methods to account for the greater power of bows and crossbows and the special bolts or arrows designed to pierce armor.

There are many many different arrow and bolt designs.


Chris Parker wrote:

*SNIP*

To be honest, I reckon it would depend on the length of the bow section. The crossbows used back in the day had a lot more potential energy once drawn, but because of the shorter bow, not all of this energy could be transferred to the bolt once loosed, hence why an English longbow was capable of approximately the same results as a medieval crossbow. The reason the crossbow was outlawed and the longbow wasn't is that the crossbow required very little training, meaning that any peasant with a crossbow...

Hmm... missed your post or you slipped it in while I was composing mine.

Great minds and all that. :)


Actually longbows were easier and cheaper to make than crossbows, simply because of the lack of moving parts. On the other hand, if an expert archer dies, you've not only lost the weapon, you've lost someone with a life time of training as well. A crossbowman, on the other hand, has a more expensive weapon but is easier to replace.

As to full plate (battle, not jousting), that's the kind of armour I was referring to. At the range a crossbow will pierce full plate, so will a longbow, because they both transfer approximately the same amount of force to the projectile. For this reason, they also had comparable range.

Edited for clarity.


Chris Parker wrote:

Actually longbows were easier and cheaper to make than crossbows, simply because of the lack of moving parts. On the other hand, if an expert archer dies, you've not only lost the weapon, you've lost someone with a life time of training as well. A crossbowman, on the other hand, has a more expensive weapon but is easier to replace.

As to full plate (battle, not jousting), that's the kind of armour I was referring to. At the range a crossbow will pierce full plate, so will a longbow, because they both transfer approximately the same amount of force to the projectile. For this reason, they also had comparable range.

Edited for clarity.

Sorry. The plate comment was directed at "elghinn velkyn MASTER". In response to a response.

heh. :)


Anburaid wrote:
Quote:


As he mentioned the homunculi sitting on his shoulder... I'd assume he actually means shoulder mounted. I did see a magic item in a 4.0 eberron teaser that worked that way for warforged. Ultimately, the idea I think is to get a crossbow that is "hands free" that works like the shoulder mounted blaster the predator uses.
Actually I am thinking about the over the shoulder one, but probably with vertical bow instead of horizontal so as to not cut off the user's head.

Here's a picture :D

http://docs.google.com/View?id=dck7bhk_10qzxwwcg9


Anburaid wrote:
Anburaid wrote:
Quote:


As he mentioned the homunculi sitting on his shoulder... I'd assume he actually means shoulder mounted. I did see a magic item in a 4.0 eberron teaser that worked that way for warforged. Ultimately, the idea I think is to get a crossbow that is "hands free" that works like the shoulder mounted blaster the predator uses.
Actually I am thinking about the over the shoulder one, but probably with vertical bow instead of horizontal so as to not cut off the user's head.

Here's a picture :D

http://docs.google.com/View?id=dck7bhk_10qzxwwcg9

That... is sweet! :)


Hmm... might be fun to compile a list of "mundane"/alchemical ammo types. I'll have to think about it.


In the meantime... is there anything anyone can think of to add?


The only thing I can think of is perhaps a 'compilation' of x-bow features, all in one place sort of thing.

Even if it's just a list of the source material. It might make 'making' such x-bows easier. :)

Cheers!


Sunset wrote:

The only thing I can think of is perhaps a 'compilation' of x-bow features, all in one place sort of thing.

Even if it's just a list of the source material. It might make 'making' such x-bows easier. :)

Cheers!

I've been rather sick recently and have not had the energy to dig through all my books.

Eventually I promise to look through my library of 3.0/3.5 book and pathfinder material and build a list. Just not for a little bit. Sorry for the wait.


Lets see if I can REZ this thread. I lost track of it.

Recently it came to my attention something that I missed. For our Great Crossbow Sniper... Vital Strike.

Considering a Great Crossbow does 2d8 damage, a Vital Strike with a Great Crossbow would deal 4d8! A very nice boost when combined with Weapon Specialization and Deadly Aim.

I see this working well with a 6th level Fighter who has cross-class ranks in UMD and perhaps skill focus (UMD). He could pop a scroll of True Strike before his shot... and then apply the full bonus from Vital Strike and Deadly Aim.


Dark Legacies from Red Spire Press has some interesting things to say about crossbows and ammo.

For instance, repeating crossbows have become so common that they are martial instead of exotic (nothing in the firing of the repeater is more complex than with a regular crossbow). On the other hand, bows have gone out of use so most treat them as exotic weapons (considering the amount of training needed IRL to use a bow properly, this isn't really unfair).

Also, they've introduced assault repeaters...large, belt-fed repeating crossbows that needed a harness to be carried (or a tripod).

Ammo options included High Impact (increase damage as if one size larger, but -2 to hit) and Armor Piercing (ignore two points of armor/natural armor, but penalty to damage (can't remember exactly, but either -2 or as smaller size weapon).

Check it out...


Rufus Reeven wrote:

Dark Legacies from Red Spire Press has some interesting things to say about crossbows and ammo.

For instance, repeating crossbows have become so common that they are martial instead of exotic (nothing in the firing of the repeater is more complex than with a regular crossbow). On the other hand, bows have gone out of use so most treat them as exotic weapons (considering the amount of training needed IRL to use a bow properly, this isn't really unfair).

Also, they've introduced assault repeaters...large, belt-fed repeating crossbows that needed a harness to be carried (or a tripod).

Ammo options included High Impact (increase damage as if one size larger, but -2 to hit) and Armor Piercing (ignore two points of armor/natural armor, but penalty to damage (can't remember exactly, but either -2 or as smaller size weapon).

Check it out...

Interesting... I'll see about tracking it down.


I think we should increase the damage dealt by crossbows. They are better than bows, balance or no balance. If completely necessary, one can increase the price to make up for it (they should cost more than bows, anyways), but it's a matter of realism.


Following a quick read of the Crossbow entry of Wikipedia. While Wiki may not be the most trustworthy source of info, I think the following are rather universally accepted:

wikipedia wrote:


With a crossbow, archers could release a draw force far in excess of what they could have handled with a bow.

In terms of D&D, that should result in greater damage, as it is already the case. Note also that the treat range is doubled from that of a bow (albeit a lesser crit multiplier).

Also in D&D, kinetic energy is also quantified as the Str factor of a blow, i.e. additional damage. There is thus a case for Crossbow having a Str score of their own - independent of their user's - which could be higher than the average.

wikipedia wrote:


Moreover, crossbows could be kept cocked and ready to shoot for some time with little effort, allowing crossbowmen to aim better.

I could see a chain of feat derived from that.

wikipedia wrote:


The disadvantage is the greater weight and clumsiness compared to a bow, as well as the slower rate of fire and the lower efficiency of the acceleration system.

The last statement could lead to a "crossbow have s&&$ty range compare to a that of a bow" statement. This would be historically accurate, as the bow's range - especially the longbow - and high rate of fire should always be it's greatest advantage (as the French learned the hard way).

wikipedia wrote:


Crossbows have a much smaller draw length than bows. This means that for the same energy to be imparted to the arrow (or bolt) the crossbow has to have a much higher draw weight.

This could lead to high Str pre-requisite to use more devastating models, or reliance on other mechanical device to load the crossbow (at a slower rate)

wikipedia wrote:


Other devices are hinged levers which either pulled or pushed the string into place, cranked rack-and-pinion devices called 'cranequins' and multiple cord-and-pulley cranked devices called windlasses.

Masterwork versions of those could lead to

A) higher efficient Str score than normal
b) faster loading time than normal.

Since we are in the frame of a RPG, these should be paired with either expensive price tags, feats or both. Still in the realm of D&D, magical version of these devices could confer special qualities to the weapon / ammunitions.

'findel


Laurefindel wrote:

Following a quick read of the Crossbow entry of Wikipedia. While Wiki may not be the most trustworthy source of info, I think the following are rather universally accepted:

wikipedia wrote:


With a crossbow, archers could release a draw force far in excess of what they could have handled with a bow.

In terms of D&D, that should result in greater damage, as it is already the case. Note also that the treat range is doubled from that of a bow (albeit a lesser crit multiplier).

Also in D&D, kinetic energy is also quantified as the Str factor of a blow, i.e. additional damage. There is thus a case for Crossbow having a Str score of their own - independent of their user's - which could be higher than the average.

wikipedia wrote:


Moreover, crossbows could be kept cocked and ready to shoot for some time with little effort, allowing crossbowmen to aim better.

I could see a chain of feat derived from that.

wikipedia wrote:


The disadvantage is the greater weight and clumsiness compared to a bow, as well as the slower rate of fire and the lower efficiency of the acceleration system.

The last statement could lead to a "crossbow have s~#~ty range compare to a that of a bow" statement. This would be historically accurate, as the bow's range - especially the longbow - and high rate of fire should always be it's greatest advantage (as the French learned the hard way).

wikipedia wrote:


Crossbows have a much smaller draw length than bows. This means that for the same energy to be imparted to the arrow (or bolt) the crossbow has to have a much higher draw weight.

This could lead to high Str pre-requisite to use more devastating models, or reliance on other mechanical device to load the crossbow (at a slower rate)

wikipedia wrote:


Other devices are hinged levers which either pulled or pushed the string into place, cranked rack-and-pinion devices called 'cranequins' and multiple cord-and-pulley cranked devices called windlasses.
Masterwork...

I like it, mighty crossbows, requires a certain str score to load it, multiple characters could aid. Rules would work well for seige weapons as well.


Dave Young 992 wrote:

Oh, let's not forget this little gem from the Campaign Setting:

Crossbow Mastery
You can load crossbows with blinding speed and even fire
them in melee with little fear of reprisal.
Prerequisites: Dex 15, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload,
Rapid Shot.
Benefit: The time required for you to reload any type of
crossbow is reduced to a free action, regardless of the type
of crossbow used. You can fire a crossbow as many times in
a full attack action as you could attack if you were using a
bow. Reloading a crossbow for the type of crossbow you chose
when you took Rapid Reload no longer provokes attacks of
opportunity.
Special: A fighter may select Crossbow Mastery as one of his
fighter bonus feats. A ranger may select Crossbow Mastery in
place of Manyshot for his improved combat style at 6th level.

Maybe you've seen it, but I thought I'd put it up here for anyone who doesn't have the book.

Thats one rorty feat. Pity its like insta bow... crossbows are better being unique in different ways.


Sorry, but just to point something out.

When reading the info from the Wiki and such, then other folks comments about str and so on I couldn't help noticing something.

X-bows are generally 'handier' to use than bows. They can be used with 'less' skill, can be kept readied and handled easily-er (:P) than bows.

The down side of this was the mechanical/physical properties meant the relative bow on the end of the stick was smaller, so that to get back to the power of the bow the 'draw' weight had to be increased. Of course, the creators not having a fantastic grasp of materiel and physical sciences ended up with things more akin to old car leaf springs than modern and efficient force transferring equipment.

This, in turn, lead to the addition of other mechanical additions to help simply pull the string back, hence the levers and cranequins.

Now, looking at modern bows (and x-bows) we see the addition of the 'offset cam' and turning the 'fixed' string system into something more akin to a pulley mechanism that has been built intothe bow/x-bow itself.

So, to use a x-bow, the wielders str score only really needs to be high enough to lift and point the thing. Start adding folding by-pods and prone positions for shooting and you can lower that as well.

Where the problem for the user comes in is simply pulling back the string. As already stated, a shorter arm length on any bow means a lower poundage/draw weight. So, really, a 'light' x-bow should just be treated, damage wise, as a normal bow of 'x' amount of sizes smaller than a regular bow. Since this is all it is. A much smaller bow mounted on a stock.

To increase the weight/poundage you do one or both of two things. Increase the mechanical efficiency of the arms (Longer and or more complicated) and/or you increase the amount of physical energy you can store in said arms (Lamelar/lamented construction, better material)

In the fantasy setting, you can do pretty much all of those things.

Then as also added you have the fancy ammunition you can add to x-bows. I'd also say that pretty much anything you add to a x-bow bolt you could/can re-create for an arrow from a bow.

Sorry to ramble and digress. Um, I think I'm trying to point out that x-bows of a certain size shouldn't be doing more damage than a bow of 'similar' dimensions. So a 'small' bow might be doing 1D6, while a 'small' x-bow might be doing 1D4.

As for range? That's a whole nother kettle of fish, I do think. As a side note, remember that ancient 'siege' bows usually relied on the mechanical torsion spring effect of the wound animal gut to derive their power. The length of the weapons arms was only in relation to containing/transferring that power. Some of those ancient Roman things were deadly mean!

Just some thoughts, cheers! ^_^


Crossbows can have limbs sustantially harder to pull (needing a crank or both arms and body weight and back and waist etc.. vs one arm and some overhead torsion) as such its not a mere 'bow with shorter limbs'. In real life they have always had more force and still do even if you can pull 100 lbs on a bow an average crossbow can match that, irritating as it is, and has no release issues effecting aim.

Longbows are held in high regard due to mythical histories and poor science created by victors with a like of drama and perpetuated by those who claim some link to the victors of old despite every modern population being of different stock to previous (now irrelevant) populations (thru in or out breeding).

The Japanese (daikyu) bow and Mongol Bow were both argueably more powerful than the english from modern tests and histories (that were neglected during the age of empire) and maybe even the sling if those maths boffins are to be believed. Either/Or the crossbow had superior power.

Bows en-mass (as all projectile weapons) when sprung on a enemy unable, unwilling or not using the equivalent always wins out.

At agincourt the french nobility (after gaurenteeing the lives of english nobles, as was the tradition and ettiquite at the time, who were felled but not killed from being slain) took the front lines not letting their much larger peasant troop numbers (which included 5-600 archers and crossbowmen) engage. The english nobles stayed behing their peasant troops and archers (total 900 ish) and set up pailings and were heged by woodlands.

Added was the field that packed the french together, and the recent rains and thick mud.. "marching through the middle of the mud where they sank up to their knees. So they were already overcome with fatigue even before they advanced against the enemy" in fact archeological proof shows that the knights were mostly slain by dagger thrusts and some even drowned in the mud.

The French men-at-arms reached the English line and actually pushed it back, with the longbowmen continuing to fire until they ran out of arrows and then dropping their bows and joining the melée (which lasted about three hours), implying that the French were able to walk through the fire of tens of thousands of arrows while taking comparatively few casualties. But the physical pounding even from non-penetrating arrows, combined with the slog in heavy armour through the mud, the heat and lack of oxygen in plate armour with the visor down, and the crush of their numbers meant they could "scarcely lift their weapons" when they finally engaged the English line.

"When the English archers, using hatchets, swords and other weapons, attacked the now disordered and fatigued French, the French could not cope with their unarmoured assailants (who were much less hindered by the mud). The exhausted French men-at-arms are described as having been knocked to the ground and then unable to get back up."

.. Presumably the english nobility were busy with cucumber sandwiches and tea..

Oh and the french nobility was slaughtered, by the pesants no less, completely against all etiquite and properness (even in battle) the english touted.

Sad but its really not the highpoint of english/french rivalry it was taught to me as.. more a blow against the national character the english aspire to. It just wasn't cricket..

All proof from archeology and the recounts of the battle (you don't fight for hours if arrows are going thru your armour like lightsabres) seems like the touted bows did little more than kill, maim and torture a bunch of horses. The victor was nasty strategy and nasty tactics and a little forgetfulness about the 'rules' true brits stand for nothing more.


Sunset wrote:

Sorry, but just to point something out.

(snip)

Sorry to ramble and digress. Um, I think I'm trying to point out that x-bows of a certain size shouldn't be doing more damage than a bow of 'similar' dimensions. So a 'small' bow might be doing 1D6, while a 'small' x-bow might be doing 1D4.

(snip)

That wouldn't be quite true. A crossbow allows the user to get more efficiency of the same bow, to the limit of the material of course. A short bow made of metal could, in theory, hold 300+ of pressure, but no human (of 'normal' Strength) could draw it with efficiency. The crossbow is just that; a bow with mechanical advantage.

A longer bow allows for a slower acceleration for the same resulting velocity (the later being regulated by pressure, regardless of the length of the bow), which is gentler on the projectile who will then adopt a better ballistic path, which translates into a better range etc. So in essence, a long bow shouldn't have a better damage output, its advantage should be range. (although it would be possible that given the available materials, the longbow also allows for more pressure which in turn, allow for better damage; but that's beside the point).

Within the D&D paradigm however, I kind of agree with you: in D&D, the damage dice is usually regulated by size and the 'effectiveness' of the weapon is translated in bonus damage.

So being a "mechanical bow"; a heavy crossbow (whose prods are about the size of those of a shortbow) could deal damage as a shortbow (1d6) and crit like a shortbow. But being an impossibly strong shortbow, it would have an effective Str of 18 or 20 and receive the appropriate adjustments to damage. Light crossbow could deal 1d4 and with a lesser Str (16?).

[edit] While I find the discussion fascinating, I'm actually OK with the damage of Crossbow as they are. I houseruled that crossbows have a +2 circumstance bonus to hit armoured opponents, but I'm relatively with how they work, mechanically speaking.

'findel


Nice reply, thanks.

*nods* Ah, well there I was just typing off the top of my head.

Yeah, I'm also happy with how the game mechanics are at the moment. But players and DM's alike always want more cake. ;) =)

Ooops, then I look back up and see the post about Agincourt. Bugger.

Yeah, Agincourt created a great myth and history does seem to do a disservice to those 'other' weapons but the thing with this discussion is it's dealing with non real things in the artificial setting of the Game Rules.

And to digress again. :P

Recreations of the ancient Roman torsion driven weapons show that they were very powerful for their size. The thing as stated with the x-bow is it's additional mechanical applications that can be added to the method of drawing and holding the string. I mean, shouldn't a person wielding (holding) a x-bow effectively get 'quick draw'? :P While the Noble Elf and his bow take a round to draw, aim and fire? ;)

Cheers!


insaneogeddon wrote:
great analysis of the Battle of Agincourt

However, historically, it was the English victory at the Battle of Crécy that brought about the supremacy of the Longbow over the Knight. By the time of Agincourt, armor technology had actually advanced to reduce the effectiveness of the Longbow. A later battle (I cannot remember which one, it was on History Channel) saw the advent of arrow-proof armor, which came out of Italy.

I would call that later advancement Adamantine Armor.

As for crossbows, heavier crossbows actually outranged the english longbow, but required a great deal of time to reload, and were used more for sieges. With a little practice, and a belt hook, a crossbow user can achieve a RoF about 3/4 that of the longbow user. Lever crossbows and even a pump-action crossbow (invented in italy in the 1500's) allowed more draw strength with only a slightly reduced RoF. The windlass, however, was painfully slow, and used only for the heaviest of crossbows.

As it is, I think you should be able to have a "strength" crossbow, probably at the same additional cost as a stength bow. However, you would only need 1/2 the strength needed to draw it (so a str14 crossbow could be drayn by a 12 str character), but the RoF would go down. It probably needs to be an exotic weapon, as handling one would be far more technical than it's ordinary counterparts.

This would create a marvelous crossbow, that could have something like a 30str bonus (pulled by a 20str fighter) that, when combined with vital strike and deadly aim, would be an absolute monster. And since it costs as much a an actual magic item, it would not really break the game.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
insaneogeddon wrote:
.. Presumably the english nobility were busy with cucumber sandwiches and tea..

The ~1000 english knights and foot were in the center of the line with King Henry V at the front. The 5000 English long bowmen were holding the line to either side.

At one point (probably when they ran out of cucumber sandwiches) the king personally saved his brother, Thomas of Lancaster, from being dragged off by the French. Putting his foot on on his brother's chest and holding off the attackers until his personal guard got there.

Mirror Mirror is right about the battle of Crécy. What made Agincourt so amazing is that it was the first major battle (since the introduction of massed mounted knights) completely dominated by archery. The english archers were the best in the world but up until that day the mounted knight was king of the battle field.

Henry took 5000 archers 1000 knights up against 30,000+ French mostly heavy foot and carvery and won decisively.

The narrow field of approach and the deep mud were major factors but Henry had stockpiled bodkin arrows for months before the campaign. His planning, use of terrain to give his troops maximum advantage and holding up the courage of his men by putting his own life at risk was what won the day. That and a lot of luck. If he would have fallen the battle would have been lost.


Crunching some numbers, if you allowed:

1) A strength crossbow as an exotic weapon (for the mechanisms involved)

2) The str crossbow to be drawn by someone with at least 1/2 the strength bonus (representing the mechanical help for the increased draw strength)

3) The cost to add a strength bonus to be the same as for the composite longbow

The cost of a 30str crossbow (usable for someone with a 20str) is 1400gp (1000 for the +10 str bonus, 350 for being masterwork, and 50 base price). It costs 467gp and 16 weeks to manufacture, assuming a craftsman with a +20 check, taking 10.

I certainly think a master artisian would be able to make such a thing, and a skill and trained soldier able to use it. I don't even think a reduced RoF in in line anymore, since you need the exotic weapon proficiency. And this brings in an important difference between the composite longbow and the strength crossbow: You need less strength, but more training, since the engineering for the strength crossbow is fundamentally different. And both are still dex based weapons to hit. The crossbow has a reduced RoF, but does more damage, and can be used by a less exceptional individual (lower stats).

I think the strength crossbow is a very viable weapon.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think allowing a strength crossbow as an exotic weapon would be appropriate. As an exotic weapon it should also either have it's base damage increased or it's crit multiplier upped to 19-20/x3.

Another great archery battle is The Battle of Carrhae 56 BC. 40,000 Roman legionnaires versus 9,000 horse archers.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The crossbow is basically a weapon for peasants (simple).

Now if we toss out the Arbalest as an exotic heavy crossbow

Arbalest 2d8 19-20x2 Exotic Ranged

Allow a heavy Arbalest to be constructed with any strength you would like. If you don't have at least the strength rating of the bow then you must use an extra one full round action for every strength point you lack to crank it with a windless.

So a Str 20 arbalist would be cocked in a round by a strength 20 bowman. Put it in the hands of a strength 12 bowman and they will be cranking for 4 full rounds. Only have an 8 strength? then it will be 6 rounds. If you don't have the windless then it will be impossible to ready unless you have that high strength score.

One thing to remember for all would be crossbow masters. Rapid reload allows you to reload heavy crossbows as move actions. That means at best you get one shot off a round with these.

FYI the Arbalest is a real medieval weapon that had as much as a 500lbs draw weight. Compare that to the 100-150lbs draw of the English longbow.


dulsin wrote:

The crossbow is basically a weapon for peasants (simple).

Now if we toss out the Arbalest as an exotic heavy crossbow

Arbalest 2d8 19-20x2 Exotic Ranged

Allow a heavy Arbalest to be constructed with any strength you would like. If you don't have at least the strength rating of the bow then you must use one full round action for every strength point you lack to crank it with a windless.

So a Str 20 arbalist would be cocked in a move action by a strength 20 bowman. Put it in the hands of a strength 12 bowman and they will be cranking for 4 full rounds. Only have an 8 strength? then it will be 6 rounds. If you don't have the windless then it will be impossible to ready unless you have that high strength score.

FYI the Arbalest is a real medieval weapon that had as much as a 500lbs draw weight. Compare that to the 100-150lbs draw of the English longbow.

Find the "crossbow is a weapon for peasants" a bit ironic, since most used short bows. And even the long bow was fairly common among the welsh commoners.

Never cared for this whole "simple weapon/martial weapon" division myself. Or in some cases "simple/martial/exotic". To a kshatriya caste warrior the kukri is not all that exotic ;)

The arbalest was a brutal weapon. Didnt matter what armor you were wearing, it was going to punch through it. Usually didnt matter if you had a shield either. It would go through the shield, the armor and possibly even you.

-Weylin


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The crossbow was a great peasant weapon because it was much easier to learn. The peasant bowman were the ones who already knew how to shoot the rest got spears.

It took years to master the Longbow but any idiot could use a crossbow effectively in a couple weeks.


dulsin wrote:

The crossbow was a great peasant weapon because it was much easier to learn. The peasant bowman were the ones who already knew how to shoot the rest got spears.

It took years to master the Longbow but any idiot could use a crossbow effectively in a couple weeks.

Problem with it being a peasants weapon is that crossbows were rather expensive to make. As opposed to, say, maces or spears or machettes (which were essentially peasants weapons). Crossbow mercs from Italy were highly trained soldiers, and while a crossbow IS easier to learn how to use, the expense of building one prevented them from being used in large "conscript" armies.

Shortbows were cheaper, but nothing was as cheap as a mace or spear.


dulsin wrote:

Now if we toss out the Arbalest as an exotic heavy crossbow

Arbalest 2d8 19-20x2 Exotic Ranged

Allow a heavy Arbalest to be constructed with any strength you would like. If you don't have at least the strength rating of the bow then you must use an extra one full round action for every strength point you lack to crank it with a windless.

The windlass, which WAS very slow, was not quite that slow. I would still argue the 1/2 str requirement, for using the mechanical device, but the unlimited draw might be better.

If the arbalest and windlass are 100gp to buy, and every +1str is another 100, that would still be a very expensive weapon.

For the loading, I would agree that it takes a # of additional standard actions equal to the str bonus of the arbalest, minus the str mod of the reloader. Thus, an arbalest with 18 str being reloaded by a soldier with 16 str takes 2 SA's to reload the weapon. If the soldier had an 18 or 20 or 22, it would still take 1 SA (normal reload). Then, with Rapid Reload, those SA's change into move actions. Now, the 20 str arbalest can be loaded by a str 12 soldier in 5 SA's normally, or 5 MA's with rapid reload (so 2 FRA's + 1 MEA and firing on round 3 instead of 5 rounds then firing on round 6).


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mirror, Mirror wrote:

The windlass, which WAS very slow, was not quite that slow. I would still argue the 1/2 str requirement, for using the mechanical device, but the unlimited draw might be better.

If the arbalest and windlass are 100gp to buy, and every +1str is another 100, that would still be a very expensive weapon.

For the loading, I would agree that it takes a # of additional standard actions equal to the str bonus of the arbalest, minus the str mod of the reloader. Thus, an arbalest with 18 str being reloaded by a soldier with 16 str takes 2 SA's to reload the weapon. If the soldier had an 18 or 20 or 22, it would still take 1 SA (normal reload). Then, with Rapid Reload, those SA's change into move actions. Now, the 20 str arbalest can be loaded by a str 12 soldier in 5 SA's normally, or 5 MA's with rapid reload (so 2 FRA's + 1 MEA and firing on round 3 instead of 5 rounds then firing on round 6).

In either case you would not get the loading time down to the free action enjoyed by light crossbows with the rapid reload feat.

I would say this is an extremely expensive weapon. I would call it 150gp then 50gp for the windless. They should be significantly more expensive than a composite long bow.

You are right about the crossbow not being a peasant weapon. It was the weapon of trained soldiers who were originally peasants.


dulsin wrote:


You are right about the crossbow not being a peasant weapon. It was the weapon of trained soldiers who were originally peasants.

...as opposed to trained soldiers that were originally nobles?


Laurefindel wrote:
dulsin wrote:


You are right about the crossbow not being a peasant weapon. It was the weapon of trained soldiers who were originally peasants.
...as opposed to trained soldiers that were originally nobles?

...or trained soldiers that were originally UNtrained soldiers!

But actually, there is a difference there. It was not really a knightly weapon, the warrior elite of Europe, but was not really a commoners weapon, either.

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