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Old 12-15-2015, 11:45 AM   #21
Kromm
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Default Re: Question batch #1

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post

All of this is true in Basic (and Low Tech) GURPS, though rate of fire definitely isn't negligible to mowing down an enemy charge.
Up to a point. Sticking to GURPS as written, because that's the "official" simulation we have:

Suppose knights are charging at Move 8, which is typical for a GURPS armored warrior on a GURPS heavy warhorse. Let's assume that our shooters will stop shooting when the mounted enemy is at 16 yards, which will leave them a couple of seconds to maneuver, draw melee weapons, pick up spears, or whatever. Let's further assume that we have enough soldiers dispersed along both sides that it makes sense to look at averages.

A GURPS crossbow in the hands of a ST 11 man can start shooting effectively at 1/2D 220. The horsemen need (220 - 16)/8 = 25.5 seconds to get too close for comfort. One nominally aimed shot every six seconds (Ready×4, Aim at general area, Attack/All-Out Attack) allows 4.25 shots. Raw damage output at thrust+4 (1d+3) is 27.6.

A GURPS longbow in the hands of a ST 11 man can start shooting effectively at 1/2D 165. The horsemen need (165 - 16)/8 = 18.6 seconds to get too close for comfort. One nominally aimed shot every four seconds (Ready×2, Aim at general area, Attack/All-Out Attack) allows 4.66 shots. Raw damage output at thrust+2 (1d+1) is 21.

This analysis ignores the effects of Acc, which is higher for the crossbowmen (4 vs. 3), and Easy vs. Average skill, which might give the crossbowmen +1 if they receive the same amount of training as the longbowmen (which they won't, but see below for logistics). If you factor in such things, damage output skews further in favor of the crossbow, as more of the average damage finds a target. You probably wouldn't use the standard ranged-combat rules for this, but if treating massed archery as artillery of sorts, effective skill will still matter.

This analysis also ignores the fact that on a per-hit basis, 1d+3 imp will injure a man in DR 6 harness (plate, heavy mail over padding, whatever) half of the time and inflict a grievous (major) wound 1/6 of the time, while 1d+1 imp will at best inflict an annoying wound 1/6 of the time. That skews things toward crossbows even further.

Moreover, as far as GURPS is concerned, the crossbowmen each use up $8.50 and 0.26 lb. of ammo doing this, while the longbowmen each expend $9.32 and 0.47 lb. Over multiple engagements, then, the crossbowmen are logistically superior. This advantage grows when you consider replacement costs for $150 crossbows vs. $200 longbows, and training expenses for men learning an Easy skill vs. men learning an Average skill. On that latter point, evidence suggests that crossbowmen and longbowmen were about equally skilled but that longbowmen trained longer to get there. Somebody has to pay for their arrows, bowstrings, lost productivity as farmers, etc. while they train.

Finally, while RPGs – including GURPS – ignore how fatiguing it is to keep operating muscle-powered weaponry at full rate of fire, that's a real limitation. Cocking crossbows is about as tiring as drawing bows if you do both frenetically at the highest speed practical. However, crossbows have the hidden advantage of not requiring much effort from the user to hold ready, so over an afternoon, those Aim maneuvers will take their toll on the longbowmen but not the crossbowmen.

I'm willing to concede that many of these points hinge on the rules as written, which might fail to simulate reality well at the micro level. But the overall simulation does support historical claims regarding the deadliness of crossbows, and if you lower damage and raise Acc for crossbows, you probably don't significantly change this final analysis, because more hits will balance the slightly lower chance of injury, and it'll still be cheaper to train and field crossbowmen, who will still be able to keep up their barrage for longer on a given budget of ammo and calories.
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Old 12-15-2015, 02:24 PM   #22
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Default Re: Question batch #1

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
"Let's call it a forkworkler!"
Hmph. The forkworkler is clearly more closely related to the fauchard than to the falchion. I'm not sure why you'd even bring it up in a discussion of swords.
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Old 12-15-2015, 03:02 PM   #23
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Default Re: Question batch #1

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Hmph. The forkworkler is clearly more closely related to the fauchard than to the falchion. I'm not sure why you'd even bring it up in a discussion of swords.
I thought it would be the ideal alternative name for a trident.
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Old 12-15-2015, 03:24 PM   #24
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Default Re: Question batch #1

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
"Let's call it a forkworkler!".
I hope you don't mind, but I'm totally using that name for something in my DF game...probably a longsword...
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Old 12-15-2015, 03:31 PM   #25
Kromm
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I hope you don't mind, but I'm totally using that name for something in my DF game...probably a longsword...
Go right ahead! I'm honored to have coined a worthy term. This is unacceptable:
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