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Old 01-11-2009, 03:52 PM   #1
DanHoward
 
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Default Customising bows

OK. I need to put together a set of rules to enable a player to create a bow of any ST that he wants. I'm thinking along the lines of:
Pick a ST; look up a table to get cost, weight, damage and range; apply modifiers for length, material (wood, composite, steel), and quality. I know this has been discussed previously but I want to take previous suggestions and create a coherent set of rules.
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: Customising bows

Here is what I'm thinking. With this method there is no need for a table.
The base bow is 5' in length. Its MinST is equal to its ST rating; Damage: thr+1; Range: x15/x20; Weight: 2 lbs; Cost $100.
For more variation, cost and weight could depend on the ST of the bow (e.g. cost might be $10 x ST)

Modifiers.
Material: A self bow made of good quality wood (e.g. elm) uses above stats.
Fine quality wood (e.g. yew) increases ST by +1, and cost by 4x. MinST is unchanged.
Composite construction increases ST by +2, and cost by 20x. MinST is unchanged.

Length: Assuming weight is unchanged. Every +1 ft will decrease MinST by -1. Every -1 ft will increase MinST by +1. So a 3' bow will add +2 to MinST but everything else is unchanged.

Weight: Increasing weight by 10% increases ST and MinST by +1, cost +10%. Decreasing weight by 10% will reduce ST and MinST by -1, cost -10%

Quality: Fine quality craftsmanship will decrease MinST by -1, and cost 4x. Very Fine is -2 to MinST and cost is 20x. Cheap is +1 to MinST and cost is 40%. Improvised might be +2 MinST.

If the wielder's ST is lower than the bow's MinST then the wielder's ST determines range and damage instead of the bow's ST. Apply a skill penalty of -1.

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So the Regular bow in Basic Set is 5' long, weighs 2 lbs, has ST 10, MinST 10, Range x15/x20, Damage thr+1 (1d-1).

A halfling will need to reduce the length to around 3 feet. This will increase MinST to 12 but leave all other figures unchanged. If the Halfling has a lower ST then he needs to decrease the weight of the bow and/or pay for fine quality.

A 6-foot English longbow has an increase in length by +1ft which reduces MinST by -1. It is also much heavier. Increasing weight by, say, +50% raises the weight to 3 lbs; increases ST to 15 and MinST to 14. Damage is thr+1 (1d+2).

If the above longbow was made of yew (fine quality wood) then it has ST16. In this case damage wouldn't be affected since ST15 and ST16 both do 1d+2 but Range would increase.

Last edited by DanHoward; 01-11-2009 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:48 PM   #3
Crakkerjakk
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Default Re: Customising bows

Should weight correlate to length?

Also, and I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but I was watching the Last Samurai a few weeks back and the horsemen were using bows that were shorter on the bottom than the top, some sort of adaptation that allowed larger bows to be used on horseback. Is this historically accurate? How would it affect the game stats? Does it need to be modeled in your system, or is it merely a cosmetic feature?
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Customising bows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk
Should weight correlate to length?
No. You can have a shortbow weigh just the same as a longbow and do similar damage. It just requires much greater ST to draw (e.g. crossbow). There are other factors (range would be different since arrows need to be shorter) but it depends on how complicated you want things.

Quote:
Also, and I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but I was watching the Last Samurai a few weeks back and the horsemen were using bows that were shorter on the bottom than the top, some sort of adaptation that allowed larger bows to be used on horseback. Is this historically accurate? How would it affect the game stats? Does it need to be modeled in your system, or is it merely a cosmetic feature?
Yes it is historical and yes it is a modification to allow longer bows to be fired from horseback. I think it reduces performance somewhat. Perhaps reduce ST by -1.

Last edited by DanHoward; 01-11-2009 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Customising bows

I think the same rule can be used for crossbows. Use the above to determine the stats for the bow. Then lay it horizontal and add a mechanism for firing it.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Customising bows

Did crossbows ever use metal "bows"? Is that covered under the "increased weight" category? Crossbows only have greater damage due to higher ST mechanical cocking systems, yes?
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Customising bows

I like it!

One thought is that adding weight to a bow beyond the minimum needed for the length and draw weight is normally bad (because moving the arms back and forth wastes energy). It might be a good idea for ST to determine weight, rather than letting people vary both independently.

The range for the English warbow looks too high. In my database of bow data, I only have two entries where range is over 20 x effective ST, and those were both fine composite bows firing flight arrows as a sport. Maybe letting some things increase both ST (which affects range) and range is too much?

To match the Basic Set, I suggest that for humans a 6-7' bow have bulk -8, a 4-5' bow have bulk -7, and a 3' bow have bulk -6.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Customising bows

Yes crossbows were sometimes made of steel. So were regular bows (especially in India). No it wouldn't increase weight, it would actually decrease weight. Not sure how to handle it. Perhaps treat it like fine quality material with 10% weight reduction. They don't seem to perform as well as composite bows.

Last edited by DanHoward; 01-11-2009 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Customising bows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas
One thought is that adding weight to a bow beyond the minimum needed for the length and draw weight is normally bad (because moving the arms back and forth wastes energy). It might be a good idea for ST to determine weight, rather than letting people vary both independently.
I initially thought of doing this but sometimes the bow needs to be compact even if energy is wasted - such as with crossbows or really short archers (halflings).
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Customising bows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas
One thought is that adding weight to a bow beyond the minimum needed for the length and draw weight is normally bad (because moving the arms back and forth wastes energy). It might be a good idea for ST to determine weight, rather than letting people vary both independently.
I would have thought increased weight would increase the stiffness constant of the bow, increasing the draw weight. Adding weight without adding to the draw weight would seem like something no one would do intentionally.
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