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Old 07-17-2015, 09:11 AM   #21
Noctifer
 
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Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

Also, I should probably mention I'm running GURPS Low-Tech Fantasy, without the DF power levels and Cinematic rules available throughout GURPS.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:31 AM   #22
VariousRen
 
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Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

For average folk, say around bow skill 12 (ST 10, DX 10), I would say that the bow is not your best choice of range weapon, especially if you are able to set up before hand. Take a crossbow instead, it is an easy skill (so effectively skill 13 compared to the bow mans skill 12), has ACC 4 instead of 3, and can be braced for a +1. Crossbows are fairly cheap, and for almost the same cost as a broadsword, you can buy yourself a Fine crossbow to increase max range as well. Fine crossbow bolts also increase damage by a respectable amount, while costing only $10 each.

*Breakdown of combat, skip to the end for conclusions*

If we assume a low skill level of 12 for our bowman, our crossbowman starts with skill 13. Because the crossbowman can dictate range (He simply runs until he is happy with the battle field), he will be able to decide where the fight starts happening, in this case I will assume something simple that gives him the something to brace his crossbow against. His skill is now 14, enough to hit 50/50 to the torso at 10 yards. Aiming for 3 seconds gives him ACC+2, or +6 to skill. His skill is now effectively 20, enough to hit the torso 50/50 at 100 yards (the start of the engagement distance). At that distance there is no need to worry about defending, so add in an AOA(determined) for another +1. At skill 21 he can hit the torso 65% of the time.

Even with a ST 10 character he is doing 1d6+3 Imp damage with a Fine bolt, or Pi with a bodkin if they are armoured. At 100 yards the swordsman is sprinting for 16 seconds before he reaches the position of the crossbowman. Each shot takes 1 to fire, 4 to reload, then 3 to aim, so he can fire off ~3 shots if he has to reload himself and starts with a loaded bow, 2 shots otherwise. The first shot would probobly be a 65% shot to the torso, with a ~30% of being dodged (move 5+3 = dodge 8). That is a solid hit 45% of the time for an average of 6.5*2=13 damage, enough to send any average man to the floor. 8 seconds pass while our crossbowman reloads, the swordsman (if he is still up) closes another 6*8= 48 yards, putting him at 52 yards, and we'll wait to fire until he gets to 50 yards for a -8 to hit. Now a torso shot at skill 13 hits 80% of the time, and still is dodged 30%, hitting solidly 56% of the time. Now the swordsman is going to close to 14 yards, we will not use the +2 seconds of aim to make sure we can stand and draw any sort of melee weapon to fend him off. This leaves us with skill 19 and a penalty of -5. A shot to the torso hits 90% of the time, is dodged 30%, and connects solidly 63% of the time.

The swordsman from above has a ~8% chance of making it to the crossbowman without being hit, assuming the crossbowman was ready for his charge (loaded crossbow, braced, and aimed) and still has to face off with him in melee. Drop two points in crossbow (back to skill 12) and pick up two points in knife to fend off people close and the fight at melee range isn't clear cut either.

Finally, the crossbowman can stack the odds more heavily in his favor. Bring a pile of crossbows, and you can send a bolt down range every 3 rounds (Pick up, aim, fire). If you don't need to load them, bring ST 19 crossbows for a massive 2d6+4 with a Fine bolt. Take more pot shots at extreme range, with an effective skill 21 you have a chance %26 to hit out to the max range of 300 yards with a Fine crossbow. Poison the bolts, poison on a piercing weapon takes one dose, vs 3 for a slashing weapon, so you get more bang for your buck.

TL;DR: A crossbow makes a better weapon for a low skill character, especially if they are able to pick the battlefield and come prepared, and even 1 point allows for fairly lethal shots at long range.

Last edited by VariousRen; 07-17-2015 at 09:34 AM. Reason: Missing words
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:36 AM   #23
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Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Technical aspects aside, as far as I know cultures that prized archery as a high-status martial skill are usually horse-archer cultures. (Maybe also chariot archer cultures?) Being atop a bulky, fast-moving platform gives a whole additional incentive to have a ranged weapon, and takes the issue of getting run down by swordsmen largely off the table.

In more general battlefield massed use, bows can engage at significantly longer ranges because they are aimed in large numbers at large groups of troops, rather than at individuals, and the arrows allowed to fall where they will.
That's actually the essence of it right there. Archers in real wars were not main combat troops. You put them on a high place, where they could shoot at the enemy, usually in massed fire, and you put a line of armored infantry between them and the enemy. They were the moral equivalent of artillery in that case. Or you put them in chariots or on horses, so they could keep away from the enemy and shoot at them from a safe distance. They were lethally vulnerable at close quarters—so the whole trick to using them was to ensure that the enemy never closed.

If you want to take an archer into a dungeon setting, you don't treat them as front line fighters. You want a row of knights or barbarians or other tough hand to hand fighters between them and the monster. They amount to nonmagical substitutes for fireball-throwing wizards.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:43 AM   #24
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Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
That's actually the essence of it right there. Archers in real wars were not main combat troops. You put them on a high place, where they could shoot at the enemy, usually in massed fire, and you put a line of armored infantry between them and the enemy. They were the moral equivalent of artillery in that case. Or you put them in chariots or on horses, so they could keep away from the enemy and shoot at them from a safe distance. They were lethally vulnerable at close quarters—so the whole trick to using them was to ensure that the enemy never closed.

If you want to take an archer into a dungeon setting, you don't treat them as front line fighters. You want a row of knights or barbarians or other tough hand to hand fighters between them and the monster. They amount to nonmagical substitutes for fireball-throwing wizards.
My initial problem was that, with some of the errors I was making, an archer wasn't even effective at range. With those errors corrected, I'm tons more comfortable with archery in GURPS.
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Old 07-17-2015, 09:48 AM   #25
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Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

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Originally Posted by Noctifer View Post
Very much appreciated, folks. When I've time, I may try to re-work the scenario a bit (and include slightly higher skill levels so that my two combatants are indeed at that 'competent' level). Admittedly, I'm not really looking for examples in the 20+ range, I'm more thinking about fights between 'normal' folks.
You'll probably find that while the archer isn't as badly off, he's still not vastly more effective than the swordsman. This is realistic. Notice how historical battles are settled by melee rather than missiles into the gunpowder era, and that pike or cavalry charges remained a real threat at least until the introduction of cartridge repeaters. There's a reason for that.

Archers that want to reliably beat the same number of melee shock troops need something to keep the range open - a wall, a ditch, a muddy field, to be mounted so they can run away, but something. Standing in place on a featureless plane until the swordsmen reach you is just bad tactics. When the advantage of your weapon is its reach, you should avoid giving it up by letting your foes into close combat.
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:08 AM   #26
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

Archers in dungeon situations either
-are sufficiently over the top that they're eye-shotting the opposition constantly, preferably at a rate of one every turn or two.
or
-are going to be significantly less effective in straightforward action than melee characters, but might make up for it somewhat by being able to threaten otherwise out-of-reach opponents. EDIT: Having a dedicated archer may not be worthwhile, as opposed to having everyone pack some kind of secondary ranged capability.
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Originally Posted by Noctifer View Post
The Move and Attack Maneuver for the Archer would definitely be a bonus. Not quite as useful in inside spaces, but still useful.
Move and Attack is pretty well useless for non-cinematic archers. A bow is Bulk -6 or worse, usually worse. And as you've noticed, archers already have quite enough skill sinks. For Move and Attack with a bow to be any good, you're going to need extreme, cinematic skill levels or the Heroic Archer advantage. Horse archers and the like don't Move and Attack, they Attack or All Out Attack while their mount or vehicle Moves. They also don't usually fit into dungeons well.
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:13 AM   #27
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Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

Here are some useful base lines for your comparisons.
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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Note that skill 14 and 1d+1 damage is pretty lame for a fantasy warrior. I routinely see skill-18 warriors with damages in the 2d range in pure fantasy, where fighters mainly worry about fightin'. I'd expect something more like this:

ST 11 [10]; DX 13 [60]; IQ 10 [0]; HT 12 [20].
Damage 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs.; HP 11 [0]; Will 10 [0]; Per 13 [15]; FP 12 [0].
Basic Speed 6.00 [-5]; Basic Move 7 [5]; Dodge 9; Parry 10; Block 10.

Advantages: Acute Vision +4 [8]; Cultural Familiarity (Elvish) [1]; Signature Gear (Composite Bow) [2]; Weapon Master (Bow) [20].

Perks: Weapon Bond (Composite Bow) [1].

Disadvantages: Campaign- and personality-specific traits worth -40 points. [-40]

Quirks: Personality-specific traits worth -5 points. [-5]

Skills: Armoury/TL3 (Missile Weapons)-12 [8]; Bow-18 [20]; Brawling-14 [2]; Camouflage-12 [4]; Fast-Draw (Arrow)-14 [2]; Fast-Draw (Sword)-13 [1]; Hiking-12 [2]; Observation-12 [1]; Running-12 [2]; Shield (Buckler)-14 [2]; Shortsword-14 [4]; Stealth-14 [4]; Survival (Woodlands)-12 [1]; Tracking-12 [1]; Wrestling-14 [4].

Equipment: Composite Bow (SG; 4 lbs.); Fine Bodkin Arrows x20 ($120; 2 lbs.); Hip Quiver ($15; 1 lb.); Leather Arms, Boots, Gloves, Helm, Legs, and Torso (DR 2; $340; 19.5 lbs.); Medium Buckler (DB 2; $60; 15 lbs.); Shortsword ($400; 2 lbs.). Total Cost: $935; Total Weight: 43.5 lbs., or Light Encumbrance.
His damage is thr+3 with a composite bow, for a basic 1d+2, but he adds +2 for Weapon Master and +1 for fine arrows, for 1d+5. These are bodkins, so damage is 1d+5(2) pi. He doesn't care about piercing vs. impaling, because he aims for the vitals and both damage types get x3 there. He'd shoot at skill 18, +3 Acc, +1 for Weapon Bond, or a base 22 on aimed shots. Aiming for the vitals (-3), he'd have good odds out to 70 yards. If he hits plate armor (DR 6), it'll be treated as DR 3 for the bodkin. His damage roll will be from 6 to 11. After DR, that will be from 3 to 8. Tripled to the vitals gives from 9 to 24. A low-damage hit will be a major wound to the vitals, and likely drop the target. A high-damage hit is likely lethal to a HT 10-11 man. Average damage means incapacity.

That's what I'd consider a "first level" fantasy archer. A better archer would have up to seven more levels of skill so that he could aim at chinks in armor over the vitals (-10) or at the eyes (-10); he'd have ST 13 to 15 for more damage; he'd have Combat Reflexes to aid Fast-Draw and defenses; he's have Basic Move 9 or so for maneuvering; he'd learn Zen Archery; and he'd have far better signature gear, probably a fine, magical bow and magical arrows.
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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Just for comparison, here's a heroic 150-point hack'n'slasher who'd fit in with the 150-point heroic archer in a fantasy game. Again, I'd regard him as "starting level" for heroic high fantasy. He'd be unlikely in a realistic campaign, of course.

ST 15 [50]; DX 14 [80]; IQ 10 [0]; HT 12 [20].
Damage 1d+1/2d+1; BL 45 lbs.; HP 15 [0]; Will 11 [5]; Per 10 [0]; FP 12 [0].
Basic Speed 6.00 [-10]; Basic Move 6 [0]; Dodge 9; Parry 11; Block 11.

Advantages: High Pain Threshold [10]; Signature Gear (Granddad's Sword) [1].

Perks: Weapon Bond (Granddad's Sword) [1].

Disadvantages: Campaign- and personality-specific traits worth -40 points. [-40]

Quirks: Personality-specific traits worth -5 points. [-5]

Skills: Armoury/TL3 (Melee Weapons)-12 [8]; Brawling-14 [1]; Broadsword-16 [8]; Carousing-12 [1]; Fast-Draw (Sword)-14 [1]; First Aid/TL2-12 [4]; Hiking-12 [2]; Intimidation-12 [4]; Lifting-12 [2]; Shield-16 [4]; Stealth-13 [1]; Wrestling-14 [2].

Equipment: Boots (DR 2; $80; 3 lbs.); Broadsword (SG; 3 lbs.); Gauntlets (DR 4; $100; 2 lbs.); Legionary Helm (DR 4; $150; 6 lbs.); Mail Sleeves and Leggings (DR 4/2; $180; 24 lbs.); Medium Shield (DB 2; $60; 15 lbs.); Scale Torso Armor (DR 4; $420; 35 lbs.). Total Cost: $990; Total Weight: 88 lbs., or Light Encumbrance.
His damage is sw+1 with a broadsword, for 2d+2 cut. He'd swing for the neck at skill 16, +1 for Weapon Bond, -5 for hit location, or 12 or less -- or for the brain at 10 or less. His damage roll will be from 4 to 14, averaging 9. If he hits DR 4 on the neck, like his own armor, he'll average 5 points; due to the extra DR 2 for the skull, he'd only average 3 points to the brain. Doubled to the neck or quadrupled to the brain, that's 10 or 12 points, respectively. His average damage will incapacitate most foes. Maximum damage will kill an ordinary man in one shot either way.

A high-powered swordsman would add Combat Reflexes, Weapon Master, and more skill. He'd probably have a fine sword and more ST for higher damage, too. I'm also fond of leadership skills. Perhaps:

ST 17 [70]; DX 16 [120]; IQ 11 [20]; HT 14 [40].
Damage 1d+2/3d-1; BL 58 lbs.; HP 17 [0]; Will 12 [5]; Per 11 [0]; FP 14 [0].
Basic Speed 7.00 [-10]; Basic Move 7 [0]; Dodge 11*; Parry 13*; Block 13*.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes [15]; High Pain Threshold [10]; Signature Gear (Fine Elven Sword) [5]; Weapon Master (Broadsword and Shield) [25].

Perks: Weapon Bond (Fine Elven Sword) [1].

Disadvantages: Campaign- and personality-specific traits worth -40 points. [-40]

Quirks: Personality-specific traits worth -5 points. [-5]

Skills: Armoury/TL3 (Melee Weapons)-12 [4]; Brawling-16 [1]; Broadsword-19 [12]; Carousing-14 [1]; Fast-Draw (Sword)-17* [1]; First Aid/TL2-12 [2]; Hiking-13 [1]; Intimidation-12 [2]; Leadership-12 [4]; Lifting-13 [1]; Shield-18 [4]; Stealth-15 [1]; Tactics-12 [8]; Wrestling-16 [2].

* +1 for Combat Reflexes.

Equipment: Boots (DR 2; $80; 3 lbs.); Fine Thrusting Broadsword (SG; 3 lbs.); Gauntlets (DR 4; $100; 2 lbs.); Legionary Helm (DR 4; $150; 6 lbs.); Mail Sleeves and Leggings (DR 4/2; $180; 24 lbs.); Medium Shield (DB 2; $60; 15 lbs.); Scale Torso Armor (DR 4; $420; 35 lbs.). Total Cost: $990; Total Weight: 88 lbs., or Light Encumbrance.
His damage is sw+1 with a broadsword, for 3d cut. He gets +1 for blade quality and +6 (+2 per die) for Weapon Master, for 3d+7 cut. He'd swing for the neck at skill 19, +1 for Weapon Bond, -5 for hit location, or 15 or less -- or for the brain at 13 or less. His damage roll will be from 10 to 25, averaging 17.5. If he hits DR 4 on the neck, like his own armor, he'll average 13.5 points; due to the extra DR 2 for the skull, he'd only average 11.5 points to the brain. Doubled to the neck or quadrupled to the brain, that's 27 or 46 points, respectively. His average damage will kill most foes. Maximum damage is too disgusting to consider. And with a thrusting sword, he could instead stab at the weak spots over the vitals at 10 or less, for 1d+7 impaling (1d+2 basic thrust, +2 for a thrusting broadsword, +1 for fine quality, and +2 for Weapon Master).

Note that none of these four guys are "min/maxed." You could easily get rid of the IQ, noncombat skills, etc., and crank ST and skill further. You could probably get some godawful equipment by playing with Signature Gear and Wealth (or just buying things that I overlooked). The idea is to present well-rounded fighters with at least some roleplaying potential.
Quote:
Originally Posted by roguebfl View Post
Using Fast-Draw(Arrow) and GURPS Martial Arts Quick-Shooting Bows p.119-200 you can fire 1 per second, but it takes 3 rolls
You need to take an Attack or All out Attack (Determined) maneuver
  • Fast-Draw(Arrow) to draw the arrow
  • Bow -6 to ready the arrow
  • Bow -6 to attack.

Weapon Master (Bow) and/or Heroic Archer will modify this a bit
Quote:
Originally Posted by roguebfl View Post
  1. Draw an arrow. This normally takes a Ready Maneuver. This maneuver can be skipped with successful Fast-draw (arrow) skill roll.
  2. Nock an arrow and draw the bow. This normally takes a single Ready Maneuver. This maneuver can be replace with an Attack or All-Out Attack (Determined) Maneuver with a Bow-6 roll for Quick-shooting.
  3. Loose the arrow. This normally takes a separate maneuver of any Attack type, Using the Bow skill. However if can be the same maneuver as step 2 if Bow-6 was successful however this means a second Bow-6 roll to attack if so.

Both Bow-6 rolls can be reduced to Bow-3 by having either Weapon Master(Bow) or Heroic Archer, or Bow-1 with both.

Following those three steps. it can at worse take 2 Ready plus 1 Attack Maneuvers to attack or 1 Ready and one Attack Maneuver with a successful Fast-Draw. or only 1 Attack Maneuver of limited choice, with a successful Fast-Drawn and two penalizes Bow skills rolls.
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:13 AM   #28
Noctifer
 
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Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Move and Attack is pretty well useless for non-cinematic archers. A bow is Bulk -6 or worse, usually worse. And as you've noticed, archers already have quite enough skill sinks. For Move and Attack with a bow to be any good, you're going to need extreme, cinematic skill levels or the Heroic Archer advantage. Horse archers and the like don't Move and Attack, they Attack or All Out Attack while their mount or vehicle Moves. They also don't usually fit into dungeons well.
Ah, gotcha. Still, at least somewhat more useful than I'd initially thought.

Part of the problem, of course, is convincing my players (who are more used to Pathfinder/D&D) that using a bow and arrow is significantly slower than using a sword. Getting them to let go of some of those ingrained paradigms is certainly a challenge.
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:22 AM   #29
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Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

Here's my 2010 thread, which is about exactly the same thing:

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=73452
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:31 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Move and Attack is pretty well useless for non-cinematic archers. A bow is Bulk -6 or worse, usually worse.
Close Quarters Battle (TS43) may be intended for Guns, but in an at least moderately cinematic setting should work fine for Bow as well. It can only negate -4 of the Bulk, meaning an archer on the move will be at -2 or worse even with the Technique bought to full (for [5]), but it's something. If you're willing to go a bit more cinematic (but without going all-out Heroic Archer), tossing on Technique Mastery will allow it to negate up to -8 (for a total cost of [10]) in Bulk penalties for shooting on the move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noctifer View Post
Part of the problem, of course, is convincing my players (who are more used to Pathfinder/D&D) that using a bow and arrow is significantly slower than using a sword. Getting them to let go of some of those ingrained paradigms is certainly a challenge.
One problem is that you're going from DF-level cinematics to a more realistic setting. You'll want to be explicit that your campaign is more realistic than what they're used to, and also more lethal - they'll be more likely to appreciate the ability to engage a foe at range, even with the delays between attacks, once they understand how quickly things can go pear-shaped in melee. Running some example combats before the campaign starts will be extremely useful for you.

Last edited by Varyon; 07-17-2015 at 10:34 AM.
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