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Old 01-09-2019, 11:29 PM   #11
lwcamp
 
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

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Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
Crossbow is an Easy skill to learn. The big advantage of crossbows over guns is that crossbows have no LC. Automatic guns are LC 2, semi auto are LC 3. Therefore, crossbows are less legally controlled than guns. It becomes a big advantage because if you want to legally purchase a gun, you need at least a license and if people start dying from gunshot wounds the cops will start looking for suspects who own guns that could have shot the ammunition you use.
Where I live (Washington State in the northwest corner of the contiguous United States), you do not need a license to purchase any firearm*. There is no gun registry the police can look up to figure out who has what kind of gun. You do need a license to legally carry a concealed pistol, but anyone who is not a felon and who has not been convicted of domestic assault can carry a pistol openly. Open carry of shotguns and rifles is also legal - and fairly common during hunting season when out in the field. There is a background check to purchase any firearm, including filling out a form, stating under penalty of perjury that none of the things that can disqualify you from purchasing a gun apply to you, and a call to law enforcement clearance line to see if you are on a list that disqualifies you from buying a gun.

My understanding is that this is fairly typical of most of the United States - although the rules for open carry can vary quite a bit from state to state. Now if you are setting your game in another country, things could be quite a bit different.

(Note that Washington State is not the same place as the other Washington, the city in the District of Columbia (D.C.) where the federal government has its capital.)

* Except for fully automatic firearms and certain other guns like short-barreled shotguns, rifles of more than .50 caliber, and a few other weapons restricted by the federal government.

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Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
Another advantage of crossbow is that they are less noisy weapons that unsuppressed guns. Suppressors, and silent ammo are highly restricted items. If you shoot someone with legally acquired suppressors and silent ammo, the list of suspects is gonna be a short one. If, on the other hand, you use black market equipment, you risk getting caught with highly illegal contraband. Using a crossbow, you can pretend to be a hunter and sell enough meat between missions to give yourself a cover story should you be subject to a control. Enough hunters use hunting crossbows that it could work.
This varies considerably from state to state. In Washington state, it is perfectly legal to own and use suppressors. Admittedly, even with a suppressor, a crossbow would still be quieter (maybe not quieter than a suppressed .22 rimfire rifle - even unsuppressed, those are really quiet - but quieter than just about anything else).

In Washington, crossbows only became legal to use for hunting within the last couple of years. In other states, they may not be legal for hunting. Bows have always been legal for hunting in Washington and, I suspect, everywhere else as well.

In general, it is illegal for hunters in the U.S. to sell the meat of the animals they kill. They can give it away as gifts if they want, but selling for money is right out.

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Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
Lastly, exotic ammunition is easier to make than for guns. Myth Busters proved that while silver bullets are possible to create, they are a nightmare to actually craft. Silver and Cold iron rounds could at the very least increase maintenance requirements on your guns. Using a wood tipped bolt as an impromptu stake is more practical than wooden bullets, and if you know an armorer in the know, glass bolts could be cheap but deadlier than regular bolts.
Exotic ammo is pretty easy to make for shotguns. Heck, most birdshot these days is already made of iron - unload a shell of iron BB's into a fae and it will have a real bad day with all those BB's remaining stuck under its skin, continuing to burn and drain it until each of them can be pulled out.

A quick look at a jewelry catalogue showed that I could order silver beads with nearly the same diameter as 00 buckshot (if you don't mind them being pierced by a small hole intended for a necklace string). With a shotgun shell loading kit, I could make a batch of silver buckshot for fighting off werewolves and such. It wouldn't have quite as much penetration as lead buckshot - silver is only about 2/3 as dense - but you would still likely have enough oomph to reach the innards of a werewolf (#2 buck is often recommended for home defense).

Wooden bullets would be more difficult. With wood for your bullet, you really won't have the sectional density to get much penetration - I'd guess you would have difficulty getting the bullet to penetrate to the heart, and if it did, you would have issues with over-penetration. The best idea I came up with is a shell with the powder and wad, and then ram a dowel down the barrel from the muzzle that fits into the shell. It would require some good engineering to get it to fly straight, but if you can do that you should be able to impale your vampires.

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Old 01-10-2019, 01:02 AM   #12
Icelander
 
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

I can see characters using crossbows in the place of guns.

Maybe they live somewhere that's not the US and obtaining a crossbow is easier than obtaining firearms.

Maybe the character is a reformed felon or his belief in the supernatural has resulted in him being treated as mentally ill. In that case, he might be legally barred from obtaining firearms, but crossbows may not be subject to the same controls where he lives.

Yes, vigilantes are already breaking the law and so should be willing to carry whatever weapons they can obtain, but just because someone knows about the supernatural, it doesn't necessarily make them streetwise or knowledgable about how to acquire firearms illegally.

Aside from better suppression, crossbows are in every way inferior weapons to the right firearm for the job. But you can be a monster hunting vigilante without always having the best tool for the job.
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

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Originally Posted by WaterAndWindSpirit View Post
The big advantage of crossbows over guns is that crossbows have no LC.
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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
Hunting werewolves in NYC is a whole other kettle of fish.
New York State has quite a number of laws restricting crossbow use. (Only legal for 10 or 14 days in part of hunting season, depending on where in the state you live; a requirement to have the same license as muzzle-loading firearms instead of the bow license (and with some bow-hunting organizations arguing that crossbows should be treated as firearms); prohibitions against using them for large game like deer or bears; minimum size (17 inches wide and 24" long, so no concealable ones) as well as maximum draw weight (200 pounds); general laws against possession of any weapon with intent to use it on another person, as well as laws against any sort of armor-piercing ammo with intent to use or explosive tips; transportation and storage rules (such as illegal in vehicles unless un-cocked and with separate ammo, and illegal in vehicles containing a spotlight unless it's locked in the trunk); and a couple of my favorites bound to interfere with PC activity, especially if it's in the city -- illegal to discharge within 250 feet of a building or pointed at a building, and illegal for the shot to pass over any part of a public road. (Hopefully the werewolves and vampires stay in Central Park to give the hunters a sporting chance.)

There are other rules and restrictions, but that's enough to give you the flavor. (There's a requirement for passing a training class just to give you a chance to keep up with all the other requirements.) You can't assume that crossbows are "no LC" or LC 4 just because they're not guns.

If you're going for realism, then look up the laws for your locale. (Iif Supernatural with the roaming Winchester brothers is your model, then you're going to need to look up a lot of laws, as they change from place to place, and there's no Federal "interstate commerce" exception to protect you from violating some ordinance in some random town you drive through on the way to your mission). If the setting is fictional, then of course you get to make up the laws as you see fit. But it's quite possible that if weapons are regulated, crossbows get almost as much attention as guns.

It's probably simpler to ignore the inconvenient legal details (unless it's a Law and Order: Urban Fantasy Unit game) but then you can't really use that as a basis for preferring crossbows. If it's Rule of Cool, then that suffices. Uneven attention to pesky realistic detail (lots of interfere from gun laws, while crossbow laws are overlooked) will push non-cooperative players in the desired direction -- but then, you shouldn't have any non-cooperative players, because everyone already agreed to the setting assumptions in Session Zero.

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Originally Posted by Dustin View Post
It's not possible to match a bolt to a crossbow
Rifling marks aren't unique to guns and bullets. Tool marks from and on objects of all sorts are commonly used as evidence, without a need for them to be anywhere near as unique as a fingerprint. If being fired from a crossbow can scratch paint or fiberglass, or dent wood or aluminum in the bolt, they can be matched to some degree. The relative rarity of crossbows likely means that standards for false positives will actually be lower. (If crossbows are unusual, then the fact that the murder weapon matches yours even weakly is more significant. After all, the prosecutor only has to convince a jury...)
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:25 AM   #14
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
However the LC does vary, some places make them illegal or require a permit.
Yeah, I imagine quite a bit of hassle from cops. Open-carry crossbow for self-defense isn’t a thing (socially, even if it’s legal, just like open-carry rifle in Texas), and unless it’s crossbow season, “hunting deer” isn’t an excuse in rural settings. There are a lot of places where open or concealed carry pistols aren’t given a second glance, but a crossbow (especially nocked) would attract as many 911 calls as a rifle, just because it’s unusual.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:44 AM   #15
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

A "wrist rocket" will give hand guns a run for their money. Can use almost anything for ammo too.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:24 PM   #16
khorboth
 
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

I imagine that, in the US, the amount of hassle one would get from the police would be highly variable.

I expect most officers would know laws about guns, knives, swords, and probably brass knuckles, slingshots, and nun-chucks off the top of their heads. But bows and crossbows? I expect a non-trivial portion would have to call in to find out. Though, if there is a rash of unsolved crossbow-related crime, they will get up to speed quickly.

Regardless, individual officers would have some latitude. If the PC can come off as reasonable and have a decent cover story, they may well get off with a warning repeatedly. Each cop may think they have reminded an otherwise reasonable person that they can't walk around with a crossbow. It may be quite some time before they even compare notes enough to realize this person has had several run-ins.

A lot of this will depend upon attitude and situation. Is the cop bigoted? What time of day is it? Has a crime happened nearby? Is the force on edge for some reason? etc.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:27 PM   #17
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

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I expect most officers would know laws about guns, knives, swords, and probably brass knuckles, slingshots, and nun-chucks off the top of their heads.
I would really not expect them to actually know, as opposed to being pretty sure they can make something stick and won't get in trouble if they're wrong about that.
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:18 PM   #18
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

High tech changes a lot of the limitations of the crossbow and it remains a very good weapon. Compound bows or High Tech crossbows do a nice amount of damage. In a high TL game I had a crossbow archer that had an electric motor that cocked his bow with enough strength to cut the reloading time down to a second. It wasn't quiet but it was terrifying.
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:44 PM   #19
SimonAce
 
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

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Originally Posted by Purple Haze View Post
A "wrist rocket" will give hand guns a run for their money. Can use almost anything for ammo too.
I've used wrist rockets, They can kill but its not even close to a .22 short in power

As for the OP's question, it depends on where the game is set. Just having a lower legal class for crossbows, even lower than real life if you like makes them far more common.

They are also quiet enough not to cause hearing loss or alert law enforcement which is a plus.

The US however will be awash in guns and ammo which are far more effective and unless its an alternate world where gun laws were made more draconian many decades ago which would make it a rather unrecognizable
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:09 PM   #20
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Default Re: A case for crossbows for the Urban Fantasy Vigilante

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A "wrist rocket" will give hand guns a run for their money. Can use almost anything for ammo too.
Maybe if you're hunting sparrows. Werewolves, not so much.
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