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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Bows vs. Shields  (Read 6792 times)
Jaif
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Posts: 327


« on: June 24, 2002, 07:09:12 PM »

We played again on saturday, and definately had a blast.  I like the flexibility of the skill system, in regards to the part where you pick the appropriate attribute.  I use that to give the players a bit of control, e.g. "Ok, so it's persuasion.  Are you shmoozing them -soc- or just going to browbeat them -wp?

Back on topic...bows rock in an outdoor setting.  Most of the players are using bows now; even if they're not great, they can get off at least one decent shot, and that very often kills.

One problem I ran into was shields.  I had one NPC who ducked behind his shield in the face of arrow fire.  This was all well and good, but the players simply picked the spot on the body that was open and killed the NPC anyway. I believe that a person who is actively blocking with a shield should present a more difficult target.

I'm thinking of this solution: active blocking with a shield is like terrain for the bowman, with a TN equal to the reflex of the defender, +1/2 for the largest shields.  At that point, it's up to the bowman to decide how many dice to allocate to deal with the shield.  Btw, active blocking = one defender blocking one bowman that the defender's watching, and assumes the defender is doing nothing else (other than moving, but not sprinting).

Any thoughts?

-Jeff

P.S. If I've missed a rule about shields vs bows, let me know.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2002, 09:31:49 PM »

I'm pretty sure that just using all your dice to block with a regular shield DTN would work just fine, and works with current rules. Or moving erratically in addition to that. Or doing a dodge, with some kind of bonus for the shield.

jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Mokkurkalfe
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Posts: 340


« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2002, 02:40:52 AM »

I don't think your aiming for specific bodyparts if the target is far way.
I think, using a hit location table would work fine when you shoot at just a person in general(wich you do at long distances). Perhaps the optional hit rules would affect the TN instead(i.e. shoot at the head: TN +2) when regarding missile weapons.  
Thus, if your aiming for the head at 50 yeards you get TN 7+2+2=11.
If you shoot at the peron in general, the AV of the shield will apply if you hit a location the shield covers.
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
Jaif
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Posts: 327


« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2002, 03:00:58 AM »

Interesting.  I thought blocking was a melee-thing.  I'll think about that - essentially, a shieldman is invulnerable to arrow fire from a single person if they can block.

-Jeff
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2002, 09:23:17 AM »

If he knows its coming, I'd say probably so.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Brian Leybourne
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Posts: 1793


« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2002, 12:42:24 PM »

On top of all that, I've never liked the idea that bowmen can choose where they hit their target. I think Jake may have posted an optional rule for rolling hit location somewhere, but I can't find it right now. It's not in the book that I can find anyway.

Here's my proposed solution:

A bowman/crossbowman has to make what amounts to a terrain roll to aim for a location (that's the 8-14, not the 1d6 narrower) on a target. He drops as many dice from his MP as he likes, and rolls them against the range in yards less his bow proficiency. So a guy with a proficiency of 8 firing at a target 15 yards away (that's 45 feet) needs a 7 or better.

This way, the better you are, the more likely you'll be able to hit a specific target but it takes a little concentration so you have fewer dice (how many fewer depending on how many you assign to it, just like concentrating on terrain for melee combat). If you are shooting at something closer in yards than your proficiency, you can always pick the location. If you hit but don't make the location roll (or choose not to roll it) then the hit location is random - roll 7 + 1d7.

Optionally, Seneschals may allow the accuracy gift to affect this as well - effectively +1 proficiency for minor and +3 for major for the purposes of determining the difficulty of this roll (you still only get +/- 1 on the 1d6  location narrower for major and nothing for minor, however).

As for bows versus shields - yes, that would make it hard to hit a person with a shield. Good, that's why you carry shields around. Bows are very very deadly anyway, no reason to make them deadlier by invalidating shields against them.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
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RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Furious D
Member

Posts: 55


« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2002, 12:58:10 PM »

Quote from: BrianL
On top of all that, I've never liked the idea that bowmen can choose where they hit their target.


They can chose were they aim, but it's difficult.  The optional MP modifiers in the appendix list a -2 MP for trying to hit the head and -3 for aiming at limbs.  That's fairly hefty (especially as this is the penalty for a basically stationary target, add the movement mods and you have real pain), meaning most archers will just aim center of mass.

I also recall another optional rule whereby near misses (ties) could hit adjacent target zones.

And the penalty for longer range is already factored into the ATN.
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Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2002, 07:59:42 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
I'm pretty sure that just using all your dice to block with a regular shield DTN would work just fine, and works with current rules. Or moving erratically in addition to that. Or doing a dodge, with some kind of bonus for the shield.


I've been thinking about this more.  I do have a question for the bow types out there: can an arrow penetrate a shield?  My recollection is that a longbow could actually pierce a crappy round shield to damage to the person behind.

The effect I'm going for is this:

Imagine a standoff between a shield and a longbow at short to medium range (no significant arc on the arrow).  The shield says he's staying behind the shield as best as he can while charging.  He's peeking and ducking when the arrow fires.  In my head, I don't see the archer missing, but landing shafts in the shield (assuming the archer doesn't run).

Blocking screws this up: the arrows simply don't hit.  However, hitting but not avoiding the terrain changes this to hitting the shield armor, and then suddenly you start worrying about that buckler AF4 versus that kite shield AF10.

As a GM, I'm leaning towards ruling that a person can cover his body with the shield regardless, but if the archer wants to shoot around it and hit a limb he needs to make the terrain roll that I said.  Note that a person moving CP mod + the limb CP mod + the terrain roll dice will probably work out to -6 or so dice to get around the shield, so you're still pretty safe behind that shield.

RE: Archers aiming

I think if you look it up that modern archery competitions only worry about ranges below 50 yards (ish).  Trained people can certainly be very effective shots at these distances, and I see no reason they shouldn't be able to pick a target just like a melee.  I certainly agree that there's a point, though, for plunging fire to be essentially random, but that's farther away than 50 yards.

Btw, at 50 yards a shortbow has an ATN of 11+, a crossbow of 10+, and a longbow of 9+.  I think it's reasonable to allow people to pick their targets below 12+ (recognizing that 10 & 11 are the same thing), and then making rules for distances above that.

Regardless, I think we should look at actual competitions first to see at what ranges we should be worrying about this situation.

-Jeff
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Ben
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Posts: 55


« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2002, 08:52:38 AM »

I've been a bowman for a few years now, never in competions but hunting a bit, yes. As such, I have to say I'm extremly happy with the bow rules as is. Even at the long distances, you still pick your target. It's never "I shoot for the nipple or whatever", but rather one aims for zones which the riddle is already convenently setup with. If I was to tweak anything, it would be to allow the bowman to sacrafice successes to alter hit location but only at close range. Also, there's no reason for the shield bearer to be cowering and ducking and peeking behind his shield. The shield should be in front of him yes, but he'll be able to see the arrow comeing(it's not a bullet after all) and there's not any shooting around it unless the idiot isn't looking. At short range he'll more or less be able to tell where the bow is aimed and has plenty of time for compensateing at long range. Oh, but I do recomend using the optional modifiers for missle attacks, there're swell.
I would like to see rules for different bow weights, though. anyway...
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   Ben
Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2002, 12:39:46 PM »

My understanding -- and I don't have the source handy, unfortunately -- is that the English longbowman in the 14th and 15th centuries (?) was capable of putting an arrow through several inches of oak at closer ranges (30 yards and under), and was required to be able to hit up to twelve moving targets per minute at ranges of 60 to 70 yards.  The church discussed sanctions for use of the longbow, I think, just as it did with the crossbow, on account of it being "unfair" to the flower of chivalry for a commoner to zot an armored noble off his charger.

Best,

Blake
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Valamir
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2002, 12:55:41 PM »

What alot of people don't realize about the english bow is that it fired a 3 foot long arrow.  Most Americans get their idea of a bow from watching bad cowboy movies.  The english bow was devastating.  Said arrow with a bodkin (armor piercing) tip could go clear through a fully mature oak tree.  At the battle of Agincourt, arrows fired with a high trajectory would penetrate plate, come out the other side, through the saddle and pin the knight's corpse to that of his horse.

So devasting was the bow, that when the French captured prisoners they cut off fingers from the right hand so the archer could never fire one again.

This is going to be blocked by a wooden shield?  I think not.

On the other hand, for most of history the bow was of the short bow type.  This bow was pulled to the chest and not the ear and was not nearly as powerful.  Those were the type of bows that a shields could protect against.  

The only protection from the english longbow was that it took a life time to master, and only a portion of the population was well fed and healthy enough to be able to reliably draw its 80-120 pound pull consistantly.

Due to this reason, it never became a weapon of global conquest and its historical impact is limited to a few key battles where suitable concentrations of archers could be mustered to be decisive.  In smaller numbers it was deadly, but not dominateing as it was at Agincourt.

Somewhat ironically, most of the wood to make these bows was imported from Spain.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2002, 01:04:12 PM »

Quote
Somewhat ironically, most of the wood to make these bows was imported from Spain.


Now that I didn't know. Anyone want to reccomend a good book on this stuff?

Jake
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Valamir
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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2002, 02:08:12 PM »

The Armies of Agincourt: By C. Rothero
The Armies of Crecy and Poitiers: by C. Rothero
English Longbowman: by C. Bartlett and G. Embleton
are all good general sources.

Crecy, Agincourt, and Poitiers being, of course, the three battles of the 100 years war that were decisively won by the longbow.  The death count at Crecy is truly ridiculous 5-10,000 French and Genoese while English casualties were in the 100s.  7,000 of the 12,000 English troops were archers.  

One should point out that there are no truely definitive facts about the medieval english longbow.  Period accounts are vague and conflicting and only bows from the renaissance have survived (and only something like 5 of those, 2 of them found on the wreck of the Mary Rose).  The first references to the bow come from wales in the 12th century and the last battle fought with it was in the early 1500s

The bow is cited at anywere from 4 1/2 to 6 feet in length, the draw estimates range from 80-90 to 90-120 pounds.  The arrow length ranges from 27" to 36" depending on how one defines a "cloth yard".  Apparently some sources contend that since Flanders was the center of the textile industry at the time, that a "cloth yard" refers to a Flemish Yard which was 27" rather than 36".  Other sources define the arrow as being a "legal" yard, but what that may have been is uncertain.

Penetration estimates for the arrows varies a good bit, from 2.5 to 9 inches of seasoned oak at 100 to 200 yards.

The string was usually of hemp in the renaissance but flax or silk in the medieval period.

After being roughed out, the bow was usually allowed to cure for 1-2 before finishing.


My source for the Spain comment is Horace Ford, Champion Archer of England from 1850 to 1859, and an authority on English archery. he maintained: yew was the only wood for a self bow, and the best yew came from Spain and Italy. The foreign wood is "straigther, finer in grain, freer from pins, stiffer and denser in quality, and requires less bulk in proportion to the strength of the bow"
Horace Ford, The Theory and Practice of Archery (London: Longman Green and Co., 1887), p. 3

It is likely that this became more true late in the period after England had already used up the best native sources.  A similiar pattern exists for ship masts during the age of sail, which by the end of that period came exclusively from Skandinavia


Count M. Mildmay Stayner, Recorder of the British Long Bow Society, notes that the yew wood trade was tied to the wine trade. To insure an adequate supply of bows, "at one time, all wine imports (from Southern France) had to have longbow staves in the cargo as well.
Count M. Mildmay Stayner, Recorder, The British Longbow Society. Letter, 8th April, 1976.  Unfortuneatly he does not specify when that "at one time" was.  Most likely this is also later in the period.
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Blake Hutchins
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Posts: 614


« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2002, 05:18:21 PM »

I bow to Valamir's superior knowledge.

Best,

Blake
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