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Old 12-01-2009, 03:48 AM   #41
Agramer
 
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

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Originally Posted by Sword-dancer View Post
i didnīt meanīt turning around the whole formation only to redirect the last lines zo form a shieldwall, Karree, testudo etc
same effect.

Forgot battle,but Salahadin pinned like that Christian rearguard and would annihilate it and subsequently whole army if not for Christian commander turning whole army timely about and charging to help.

Another example were Romans who got defeated by mounted archers(Crassus vs Parthians).
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:56 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Agramer View Post
same effect..
thats the reason the french cavalry brooke their teeth on spanish an english crrees.

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Forgot battle,but Salahadin pinned like that Christian rearguard and would annihilate it
Arsuf?

The Knights of St John hold the rearguard, the frankish foot and bowmen hold the flank, and the Richard Lionheart attacked Saladins with a sally of his knights, Sal al Ed Dins forces were routed.

or did you mean Tiberias or Teresias where Baldouin th Lepper King a boy forced Saladins forces in a flight he could not even organice a retreat.

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Another example were Romans who got defeated by mounted archers(Crassus vs Parthians)
and crassus got memoriced as a general who plundered, the Parthians didnīt broke the legions with their archers or their cataphracts, the fool offered battle without water on a place only a fool would offer a battle.
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:26 AM   #43
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

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Originally Posted by Molokh View Post
However, what about the games with normal point ranges (100-150 or below)? What are the roles of archers in those parties, especially given that learning Bow is a lifetime investment?
1) A bowman can ambush and strike from a distance. It is a *very* useful addition to most parties from both a strategic and tactic perspective, even if melee weapons deal more damage and hit more easily.

2) Bodkin arrows. The only easy way to reduce DR in low-powered, pseudo-realistic games.

3) All-out aimed attacks on vulnerable locations, especially against huge monsters or heavily armored knights.

4) Being a bowman is very cheap compared to a swordsman: a single skill to improve, ST and HT are less important, equipment is cheap.

5) If you stay 10 yards out of the fight, you'll probably avoid capture, watch the horses, protect the One Ring, even if the fight goes badly. This can be very useful for the party.

Bowmen DO kill less foes than melee fighters, but playing them can be both useful and fun!
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:12 AM   #44
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

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Originally Posted by Sword-dancer View Post
which is a nice story but the timeline isnīt supporting that,
Interesting, since I've read various texts (in three different languages at that too) and all of them support the "nice story". Are you sure you are not confusing the conquests of Genghis Khan with those of his son Ögedei?

Archers are always useful when there are lightly armoured opponents to shoot at.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:22 AM   #45
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

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Originally Posted by Sword-dancer View Post
i didnīt meanīt turning around the whole formation only to redirect the last lines zo form a shieldwall, Karree, testudo etc
which nevertheless will inevitably slow your advance, not to mention confuse your soldiers - only well-disciplined troops can actually win out against horse archers.

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phoenix42 wrote shortbow or crossbow
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Originally Posted by Sword-dancer View Post
reloading a crossbow is not an easy task mounted if at all possible and a shortbow is a lousy weapon for combat use
do you really believe that the Warriors wouldnīt change front and stand like toy soldiers in show formation?
indeed - crossbows are difficult to reload, granted; I was talking about composite shortbows, which are the ones used from horseback in the examples I cited.

Also, if you're planning on taking on a formation, you should really either have a) lots of friends armed like you or b) have balls of steel.
Nobody's doubting (at least I wasn't) that there are methods for footmen and heavy cavalry to defeat horse archers in battle. But that is a question of discipline, formation and tactical intelligence, things that aren't all too relevant for players outside a very detailed military campaign.

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i thought they ended in hungary looked at central european country seeing the woods, no place to feed their ponys said thank you and went home.
Actually they ended in bohemia, if one is precise (the borderlines not being as perfect back then) and merely decided to go back because their Khan had just died and they had to elect a new one. It has been pointed out often enough by historians and alternate universians that if this Khan had lived longer, Western Europe may well not have survived.


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Using a composite bow to īve a decent chance to do damage you must go so close to havy cav that one slight miscalculation or a well timed and calculated counterattack ist pure disaster.
I think the mongols would have begged to differ. Plus this is really not what the discussion is about. If you are up against a formation of cavalry as a player, of course you don't go riding up close to them. But that's not due to arms, that's because there's only one of you (or maybe up to four) and lots of them. Battle tactics don't translate well into skirmish and small group tactics for players.

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Wheras as slid medium foot can encircle themselves and shoot at you at greater range with long and crossbows, in combination with cav who sally at the right moment.
How exactly is this relevant to the question at hand, being group (note group, not batallions or armies) encounters and character decisions for personal armament? The original problem was that characters using ranged weapons are quickly outflanked and closed upon by melee-armed enemies; the simplest way of preventing this is starting off and staying as far away from them as possible while maintaining adequate range to use your weapon.

This is achieved best by either being somewhere they can't get, or being faster than they are. If your foe is already on horseback, shoot the horse. Of course this can go wrong, everything can - but it's still probably the best way to survive if you're playing a dedicated archer character.

Last edited by Phoenix42; 12-01-2009 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:19 PM   #46
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Interesting, since I've read various texts (in three different languages at that too) and all of them support the "nice story". Are you sure you are not confusing the conquests of Genghis Khan with those of his son Ögedei?.
No i read the same and i read it was the same hoax as was when Karl Martell is praised for stopping the Invasion of the Arabs by Poitiers.

The same time a civil war between different Dynasties was fought in the caliphate, and it is reasonable that the regent of Spain considered it the better part of valour to fight the infidels in holy war then to support one of the factions, his excuse would look very pious.

Sorry My Caliph, i couldnīt help you because i was fighting infidels.

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Originally Posted by Phoenix42 View Post
which nevertheless will inevitably slow your advance, not to mention confuse your soldiers - ..
The romans did well enough at carrhae, the saxons at Hastings , the Franks, saxons a poitiers, the bycanteans uused their infantry mainly for that purpose.


only well-disciplined troops can actually win out against horse archers



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I was talking about composite shortbows, which are the ones used from horseback in the examples I cited.
No, this is a D&D weapon, the real weapon is named composite bow.

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things that aren't all too relevant for players outside a very detailed military campaign.
welcome at my table


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Actually they ended in bohemia, if one is precise (the borderlines not being as perfect back then) and merely decided to go back because their Khan had just died and they had to elect a new one. It has been pointed out often enough by historians and alternate universians that if this Khan had lived longer, Western Europe may well not have survived.
Yes, nice story but the Forests of middle europe donīt support large numbers of ponies and horse archery, german knights had slaughtered magyars and fought in the rusades, as well as frankish etc, the mongols were a long way from home without reliable support,



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I think the mongols would have begged to differ.
and that is the reason a third of their army was eavy cavalry, iīve read a few books of crusade war.

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Plus this is really not what the discussion is about.
then why did you start it?
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:14 PM   #47
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

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Still, bows aren't terrible - you ought to be able to get off 3 shots or so before they close if you start at clear recognition ranges, and 1 arrow hit does stand a decent chance of crippling something, or causing a major wound. I'd expect your group of 5 pure archers to take out 2 or 3 of the charging melee specialists before the remaining 2 or 3 cut them to bits, and the chance of them actually winning isn't negligible. Probably not great, but not negligible.
Also, since (IIRC) it's a fantasy genre campaign, the party's dedicated archer can pimp his bow with useful Enchantments, and use Enchanted arrows too.


I'd guess Penetrating Weapon from GURPS Magic is particularly attractive on the bow, and then since armour penetration is pretty much assured, the +2 damage Icy Weapon or Flaming Weapon on the arrows (which takes effect only if the unmodified damage penetrates the armour, but that's what Penetrating Armour is for).

Imbuements might be an alternative to Enchantments, costing CPs instead of gold, and being equally reliant on the world builder's (usually that would be the GM) decision, but AFAIK roughly similar results can be achieved with Imbuements.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:17 PM   #48
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In open ground where melee fighters have to charge a hundred yards while you stand back and shoot them, it's brilliant. In a siege, where melee fighters simply can't reach the enemy without a ladder, it's even better.
There's also NPC morale, which must be taken into account for the sake of realism.

One archer, known for being a good shot (with an actual game-mechancial bought-with-points or earned-in-play Reputation, to that effect, if necessary), versus half a dozen orcs. He goes "Freeze! The first to move closer dies. Drop your weapons and run away from me".

That's a very real test of whether the GM has a healthy attitude.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:19 PM   #49
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

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Originally Posted by Collective_Restraint View Post
Depends. The fact that you can ready your bow before having a comrade open a door where you will get to shoot anything behind it at whatever distance it is makes it pretty useful.
I can see a lot of good reasons for an abstract-and-simple rule saying there's a penalty for shooting if the target is on the other side of a doorway, assuming the door is of typical width (e.g. less than 120 cm).

For added detail, differentiate the penalty according to weapon, with a bigger penalty to bows than to crossbows.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:22 PM   #50
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Don't discount the historical primary purpose of archery: survival. If the party is traveling being able to hunt is often a life saver.
Being able to hunt is Archery 14. Perhaps even Archery 12.

Archery useful in a GURPS DF campaign is more like Archery 18, or even Archery 20.
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