I’ve been working on my combat system again, and my current task is finalizing the damage, range, and STR requirements for the various bows. I thought I knew plenty about this. I did archery in college, and had read quite a bit. But I learned a lot anyways, mostly from watching this video:

What I learned (from the video and the various articles I read):

  • The bows from the Mary Rose were long bows with no recurve
  • Longbows were most effective (more power) at very close range. At longer ranges, their kinetic energy drops fast.
  • Longbows can be fired from horseback. I think I’ll limit this to longbows that are under the maximum pound pull of an individual, (perhaps 3 STR points in the requirement?), as one can’t get one’s whole body into it on horseback. It was fascinating to me to see an English longbow fired from horseback, especially because I had seen horse archery in Japan already. Of course, horses in medieval times were shorter, which might have made a difference.
  • Composite bows have a higher pound pull for the same STR, and can be held at full draw longer (which means to hit modifiers for composite bows). Even to hit modifiers for complex bows, of course, in modern campaigns.
  • Longbows could fire up to 18 shots per minute, and hook & claw crossbows could fire at 8 shots per minute. The pound pull of the Longbow was not mentioned, but it looked light (80 pounds?) and medieval longbows could be much higher (150 lbs. at least).
  • Accuracy is much better at close range, and pretty low at long range, which is important when we’re talking about combat between small groups.
  • Female characters have less upper body strength, so their bows won’t be as powerful. They could, however, use crossbows at no disadvantage (leg strength is excellent, proportionately).

Another interesting video I stumbled across claimed to rediscover Saracen speed archery. Interesting stuff, but again the pound pull of the weapon is a lot lower than would be wanted when faced by medieval armor.


About lostdelights

An old gamer flying his freak flag, I've been playing table-top role-playing games since 1978. I've been building my own system (Journeyman) since 1981.
This entry was posted in Heroic Fantasy, Journeyman, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

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