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nonsi
2015-02-05, 02:50 AM
I have recently encountered this on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEG-ly9tQGk) and I think it has potential to inspire some interesting archery feats.
I'm curious to see if this is going to go somewhere anytime soon.

Deepbluediver
2015-02-05, 01:19 PM
I recently watched that video as well and bookmarked it to use as a resource for reworking the archery feats.

There are other videos with similar shooting, such as this one starting around 1:30.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzWYO-9GqCo
If you search for the guy's name (Lajos Kassai) you can find more videos of him doing the same thing, even from on horseback.


Going through the existing feats, they actually allow you a decent levels of power in archery, and according to these videos aren't even that unrealistic. The biggest problem IMO is that they require to much investment and specialization for most characters. There are, by my count, 7 archery-related feats on the SRD, and you need most of them to pull off the kind of stuff seen in these videos. They also require you to max Dexterity.
When I was redoing the melee class, I gave all of them 4-10 extra feats that could be put directly into combat styles, to help alleviate the feat-starvation, and frankly 7 feats is still probably to many, unless you want your characters to be able to imitate Bard from LotR on a regular basis (slaying dragons with a single shot).


If you want to stick with the base classes as they are, I would recomend condensing most of the combat styles into 3-4 feats. Seerow had a fix that worked pretty well for this I think. If you're willing to go further, I would start be tearing down the entire ranged combat system, and rebuilding it from the ground up with an eye towards allowing most basic competency for everyone, and then allowing 3-5 feats to improve it to turn archery specialists into Legolos.

I have a few specific ideas to get started, but I'll let you tell me if you're interested in my opinion first, before diving into the gritty details.

nonsi
2015-02-05, 05:12 PM
I recently watched that video as well and bookmarked it to use as a resource for reworking the archery feats.

There are other videos with similar shooting, such as this one starting around 1:30.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzWYO-9GqCo
If you search for the guy's name (Lajos Kassai) you can find more videos of him doing the same thing, even from on horseback.


Yes. I find this guy's rapid firing technique much more combat suitable, because when you hold the extra arrows in your string hand, things are bound to go south in RL confrontations (and when it does, you're no longer able to utilize your remaining arrows).
Also, in both films, the archers are quite oblivious to surrounding threats when executing their stunts, so you could probably cut down their practical firing rate by 1/2.
One thing I can say about the Larse Andersen movie is that all the stunts shown there are not so combat realistic (having all those arrows ready for you to grab and fire... and that catch & shoot didn't seem too realistic to me, since he didn't even rotate the arrow to the opposite direction).





Going through the existing feats, they actually allow you a decent levels of power in archery, and according to these videos aren't even that unrealistic. The biggest problem IMO is that they require to much investment and specialization for most characters. There are, by my count, 7 archery-related feats on the SRD, and you need most of them to pull off the kind of stuff seen in these videos. They also require you to max Dexterity.
When I was redoing the melee class, I gave all of them 4-10 extra feats that could be put directly into combat styles, to help alleviate the feat-starvation, and frankly 7 feats is still probably to many, unless you want your characters to be able to imitate Bard from LotR on a regular basis (slaying dragons with a single shot).


If you want to stick with the base classes as they are, I would recomend condensing most of the combat styles into 3-4 feats. Seerow had a fix that worked pretty well for this I think. If you're willing to go further, I would start be tearing down the entire ranged combat system, and rebuilding it from the ground up with an eye towards allowing most basic competency for everyone, and then allowing 3-5 feats to improve it to turn archery specialists into Legolos.


I slightly took care of that in my codex, by removing PBS, somewhat improving Precise Shot and adding Close Combat Archery & Immediate Shot.
I'm guessing Precise Shot could be further improved by granting the bonuses of Improved Precise Shot at BAB +10 or something.





I have a few specific ideas to get started, but I'll let you tell me if you're interested in my opinion first, before diving into the gritty details.


Of course. Fire away.

Deepbluediver
2015-02-06, 01:44 PM
Let me start by saying I made a mistake in my first post- if you include Mounted Archery and Rapid Reload, then there are 9 feats in the SRD relating to ranged combat, not 7.


Also, in both films, the archers are quite oblivious to surrounding threats when executing their stunts, so you could probably cut down their practical firing rate by 1/2.
I don't think we need to replicate a multiple-shots-per-second rate of fire; unless we nerf damage on ranged weapons that has the potential to get out of hand. I think allowing the 1-2 arrows per Standard attack and as many attacks as a Full-Round attack normally allows meleers to make (maybe plus one more) is fine. Basically, I don't want archery to be THAT different from other combat styles, because I think it's easier to balance if we keep things within the realm of what we know.


One thing I can say about the Larse Andersen movie is that all the stunts shown there are not so combat realistic (having all those arrows ready for you to grab and fire... and that catch & shoot didn't seem too realistic to me, since he didn't even rotate the arrow to the opposite direction).
I don't like using "realism" to justify limitations, because the whole game is unrealistic. I'd rather use it for inspiration.
But for Parkour-style combat, I'd rather let that be it's own set of rules available to anyone, instead of trying to work it in under it's own archery-only feats. So long as we just don't say that these parkouish-feats can't be used with ranged weapons, then there shouldn't be a problem.


Of course. Fire away.
Alright, this covers a couple different topics. Lot's of questions to answer.

First, we should decide what we want archery to be. Is it a purely damage-based style, like Two-handed Fighting? Or is it a hybrid style like sword-n-board that relies on staying away from combat for it's defense? Or is it lots of little attacks like Two-weapon fighting?
Should we aim for different options depending on whether the player is using a shortbow, longbow, or crossbow?

Next, who do you want to make Archery available to? For example, the original feats have Dexterity requirements, which limits archery mostly to a sub-sect of melee classes, or possibly a few attack-spell oriented casters.
What I like to do is for the prerequisites have alternate options, such as Dex 15 OR BAB +5. This allows people who want to focus on archery (or other styles) to get the feats early, but anyone who is combat-focused will be able to access them eventually, after they've mastered whatever THEIR specialization is.

How many feats do we use? Like I said, I gave melee classes extra weapon-style feats, and still try to limit styles to 4 or 5 feats. If you where sticking with the standard rate of feat-distribution then 3 is probably more reasonable.


Basically, I think the rules as they exist are reasonable, but need some simplification and clarification, and ultimately we can just reduce the number of feats by combining their effects to make each feat one more important.
At this point we start getting into what individual designers like, but just for example of what I'd do would be to remove repeating crossbows entirely. I'd combine things like Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot, Far Shot and Improved Precise shot, and Rapidshot with Manyshot. I'd fold Shot on the Run into Spring Attack, since that's basically what it is, and Mounted Archery could probably be buffed, but that feels like it should be done with a re-evaluation of the entire mounted combat system.

If you want to add more options, think about how you could work ranged trip or disarm attacks or more attacks of opportunity into ranged combat.

nonsi
2015-02-07, 01:44 AM
I don't like using "realism" to justify limitations, because the whole game is unrealistic.


True, but 3e combat rules and feats were designed to model RL martial combat. It's just that feats don't allow you to create a complete package of RL martial artists or legendary warriors of the past with just 6 levels (the mortal "realm").
For me, more realism = more personal involvement.






First, we should decide what we want archery to be. Is it a purely damage-based style, like Two-handed Fighting? Or is it a hybrid style like sword-n-board that relies on staying away from combat for it's defense? Or is it lots of little attacks like Two-weapon fighting?


For me, none of the above.
It shouldn't compete with THF in damage or with TWF in speed of attack.
Also, archery is far from being a defensive style. Hiding behind cover is not the same as wielding a shield.

What archery should grant, is Dex to damage.






Should we aim for different options depending on whether the player is using a shortbow, longbow, or crossbow?


One thing that has bothered me forever is that fact that shortbows don't have a single advantage over longbows. I haven't figured that one yet.
An idea that just popped: what if Rapid Fire was applicable only with shortbows?

As for X-bow I don't see it as a proper weapon for a true archer.
What light X-bows did have that was totally ignored by 3e rules, are 2 forward blades for close encounters. I'd make the base damage 1d6 with a -2 penalty to attack rolls, because it's just for contingency.
Heavy X-bows given their slow operates mode, I'd increase damage to 1d12 without hesitation.






Next, who do you want to make Archery available to? For example, the original feats have Dexterity requirements, which limits archery mostly to a sub-sect of melee classes, or possibly a few attack-spell oriented casters.
What I like to do is for the prerequisites have alternate options, such as Dex 15 OR BAB +5. This allows people who want to focus on archery (or other styles) to get the feats early, but anyone who is combat-focused will be able to access them eventually, after they've mastered whatever THEIR specialization is.


That's definitely a solid suggestion.






How many feats do we use? Like I said, I gave melee classes extra weapon-style feats, and still try to limit styles to 4 or 5 feats. If you where sticking with the standard rate of feat-distribution then 3 is probably more reasonable.


I'm perfectly ok with grand mastery of archery requiring many feats. The archery skills displayed by Legolas are next to inhuman, so it's ok in my book.






Basically, I think the rules as they exist are reasonable, but need some simplification and clarification, and ultimately we can just reduce the number of feats by combining their effects to make each feat one more important.


Again, Dex to damage would be a good start (in my codex, crit-substitution takes care of that angle).






At this point we start getting into what individual designers like, but just for example of what I'd do would be to remove repeating crossbows entirely.


I honestly don't see why removing repeating X-bows is necessary.
It saves you the need to take Rapid Reload and I remember seeing a youtube movie of one actually making a functional homemade repeating light X-bow.






I'd combine things like Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot, Far Shot and Improved Precise shot, and Rapidshot with Manyshot. I'd fold Shot on the Run into Spring Attack, since that's basically what it is, and Mounted Archery could probably be buffed, but that feels like it should be done with a re-evaluation of the entire mounted combat system.


As previously stated, I'd remove PBS and make Precise Shot improve automatically rather than requiring another feat.
Also, if full attack is made a standard action, then Manyshot becomes meaningless.
And Spring Attack is another thing that should be folded into the combat rules rather than requiring feats.






If you want to add more options, think about how you could work ranged trip or disarm attacks or more attacks of opportunity into ranged combat.


I'm still processing ranged trip/disarm/sunder. I believe it won't take too long now.
As for ranged AoOs I already have that angle covered in my codex with Immediate Shot.

Deepbluediver
2015-02-08, 01:41 PM
I'm perfectly ok with grand mastery of archery requiring many feats. The archery skills displayed by Legolas are next to inhuman, so it's ok in my book.
I think at this point it's mostly going to come down to what any individual designer wants, but let me just point out that "requiring TOO MANY feats" was one of the main problems with the original system, IMO.
If you're playing with 3.5, then players only get 7 basic feats from leveling up, which means that's all the space you have to work with, ever. It kind of leaves a lot of classes such as Rogues, Barbarians, and Paladins out in the cold.
There are alternate options, of course, but I don't think you should have to be a human Ranger with 2 flaws to become a master archer.

nonsi
2015-02-09, 01:57 AM
I think at this point it's mostly going to come down to what any individual designer wants, but let me just point out that "requiring TOO MANY feats" was one of the main problems with the original system, IMO.
If you're playing with 3.5, then players only get 7 basic feats from leveling up, which means that's all the space you have to work with, ever. It kind of leaves a lot of classes such as Rogues, Barbarians, and Paladins out in the cold.
There are alternate options, of course, but I don't think you should have to be a human Ranger with 2 flaws to become a master archer.

Fixing feats alone doesn't really solve any of 3e's problems, so just fixing feats won't help much.

I'm quite ok with Barbarian and Paladin classes getting shafted, because I don't think they should be classes at all.
Barbarian/Duelist/Knight/Marshal/Samurai/Swashbuckler - those are all Fighter builds to me.
Duskblade/Paladin/Ranger - those belong to multiclassing as far as I'm concerned.

The Fighter (or Fighter variant) has the required resources - 7 feats by 6th level (8 if you'e human). My Warrior can reach as many as 11 (by trading Warcrafts).
The Rogue - that one also needs a significant boost. I've solved that one by granting customizable special abilities starting at 2nd level. Being able to take a feat as your special ability, you now have the required resources.

With my proposed feat changes that's more than enough for me.


As for Ranged Disarm/Pin/Sunder, here's what I'd suggest:
- PBS requirement is dropped
- BAB requirement is lowered to +3 (RL people could do that without bordering godhood)
- Range is set to the weapon's range multiplier

Deepbluediver
2015-02-10, 10:35 AM
Fixing feats alone doesn't really solve any of 3e's problems
Agreed, but it's what we're talking about IN THIS THREAD.

That's part of the issue in discussing homebrew in the abstract- it's vastly complicated and interconnected, and you can't fix everything simultaneously at once. That's what I usually say at the start of anything "Assume for the purposed of evaluation that everything else in 3.5 is balanced" so we don't get sidetracked with a discussion of why I don't need to fix initiative for a particular class if I've given it a more general fix elsewhere.


I'm quite ok with Barbarian and Paladin classes getting shafted, because I don't think they should be classes at all.
Barbarian/Duelist/Knight/Marshal/Samurai/Swashbuckler - those are all Fighter builds to me.
Duskblade/Paladin/Ranger - those belong to multiclassing as far as I'm concerned.
And that's exactly what I meant by saying at some point it comes down to personal choice. Personally, so long as you can come up with unique abilities that are effective and meaningful, I don't really have a problem with making what are essentially hyrbid/gish classes as full 20-level readouts.

There is a valid design method to stick with as few core classes as possible and make it more encouraging for people to multiclass, but that's never really been D&D's aesthetic.

All that being said, I'm open to any kind of fix someone wants. My paladin ends up as a PrC, and several of my re-revisions are working with psuedo-archetypes similar to what Pathfinder does.
The Ranger has 3 versions, including one that is spell-less.


The Fighter (or Fighter variant) has the required resources - 7 feats by 6th level (8 if you'e human). My Warrior can reach as many as 11 (by trading Warcrafts).

My version of things was to just make most melee classes more fighter-like by given them X number of extra feats to be spent on weapon-styles. It doesn't stop them from investing further, but it does give them the minimum required to generally be competent.




On a slightly different tangent, I was recently surprised to learn that both Repeating Crossbows (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeating_crossbow) and Hand-sized crossbows (https://www.google.com/search?q=pistol+crossbow&biw=1331&bih=571&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=GSTaVN-iGoP3yQSC-oGQBA&sqi=2&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg&dpr=0.9) are real things. I really thought that the D&D designers had mostly been making them up.

Again with the problematic stats though, if the repeating crossbow was as expensive or as difficult to use as the PHB seems to indicate, I'm doubtful it would have been common enough for any historical examples to survive. The main benefit of the crossbow over regular bows was it's ease of use, which lines up with my real-world research.

The wikipedia page of the pistol crossbow describes at least one version ashaving been for "recreational shooting" as opposed to a weapon of war; I can't say if that's true of all of them. And in D&D it seems mostly applicable for applying poison, rather than dealing damage.

For the sake of balance, I'm seriously considering yanking both of them. If someone wants a repeating crossbow, I'd let them find one as part of the treasure and make up some malarkey about how it's delicate clockwork mechanisms make it to impossible to reproduce. For the hand-held crossbow I think I might reclassify it (along with blowguns and maybe some other stuff) as not-weapon weapons, or weapons with alternate purposes that deal negligible damage.
Just some thoughts I've been having.

Seerow
2015-02-10, 03:12 PM
To address the original post, there's a lot of quibbles to be had with Lars video. There's at least a half dozen threads scattered around the forums with the various arguments, but it ultimately boils down to Lars having not really 'discovered' anything that was lost (as there are many who still practice the technique, they just don't make flashy videos). There are also a number of points made as to the cons of the style. These pretty much boil down to Lars giving up a lot of accuracy, range, and penetrating power to shoot as fast as he does. The professional marksmen shoot the way they do for a reason, and it's not because they're ignorant of how to use a bow, regardless of what Lars says.

Ultimately, I think the best way to represent this technique is going to be something very similar to a manyshot that can be used as a part of a full attack. So short, restricted range. Penalty per extra arrow fired. Each extra arrow does not get precision damage. Probably drop off the strength bonus to damage as well. Ultimately it makes it a good technique to use against a target with low AC and little to no damage reduction (or at least little to no DR that you can't bypass). Kind of like a Power Attack with better base returns, but weak vs DR instead of strong.

Speed Shooting [Style]
Prerequisite: Rapid Shot, BAB+3
Benefit: On your action, before making any attack rolls for the round, you must choose to use speed shooting. If you choose to use speed shooting, when you make an attack, you may fire two arrows at a single opponent within 30 feet. Both arrows use the same attack roll (with a -2 penalty) to determine success and deal damage normally (but see Special). You use the same penalty to hit and extra number of arrows for all attacks made this round.

For every three points of base attack bonus you have above +3, you may add one additional arrow to this attack. However, each arrow after the second adds a cumulative -2 penalty on the attack roll.

Damage reduction and other resistances apply separately against each arrow fired.

Special: Regardless of the number of arrows you fire, you apply attribute-based and precision-based damage only once. If you score a critical hit, only the first arrow fired deals critical damage; all others deal regular damage.
A fighter may select Speed Shooting as one of his fighter bonus feats.




So with this feat, you can have your standard 6th level Fighter, using Rapid Shot and Speed Shooting with a 20 dexterity and a masterwork bow. He chooses to take a -4 penalty to hit for speed shooting (the most he can with a +6 BAB) to gain 2 extra arrows per attack, and uses rapid shot to bring him up to 3 base attacks per round. So now, on a full attack he fires 9 arrows in 6 seconds, with a net +7 to hit [+6(BAB)+5(dex)+1(MW)+1(PBS)-2(Rapid Shot)-4(speed shooting)]

For each attack he rolls d20+7, and that acts as the result for 3 of his arrows. He deals 1d8+1(point blank)+str with the first arrow, and only 1d8+1(point blank) with the other two. This makes him devastating against a lightly armored target, but is largely a waste of to-hit bonus against an enemy with DR.

Incidentally 9 arrows in 6 seconds is around .66s per arrow, which matches up pretty closely to Lars' demonstration of his fastest firing rate. A 20th level Fighter with this feat would be able to hit around 30 arrows per round going all out (more if you use the Targeteer Fighter variant or add magic for haste and such)

Deepbluediver
2015-02-10, 03:48 PM
To address the original post, there's a lot of quibbles to be had with Lars video. There's at least a half dozen threads scattered around the forums with the various arguments, but it ultimately boils down to Lars having not really 'discovered' anything that was lost (as there are many who still practice the technique, they just don't make flashy videos). There are also a number of points made as to the cons of the style. These pretty much boil down to Lars giving up a lot of accuracy, range, and penetrating power to shoot as fast as he does. The professional marksmen shoot the way they do for a reason, and it's not because they're ignorant of how to use a bow, regardless of what Lars says.
OK, fair enough. All that's good to know if we were actually trying to make a realistic system, but honestly I'm more concerned about balance and making something that's fun for players to use. I'll keep it in mind, but I'm not sure how much I'd change except perhaps for limiting some feats based on distance.

Alternatively, what about just making Power Attack usable with ranged weapons? How would that change things or how would you respond to seeing something like that in the game?

Seerow
2015-02-10, 04:06 PM
OK, fair enough. All that's good to know if we were actually trying to make a realistic system, but honestly I'm more concerned about balance and making something that's fun for players to use. I'll keep it in mind, but I'm not sure how much I'd change except perhaps for limiting some feats based on distance.

Alternatively, what about just making Power Attack usable with ranged weapons? How would that change things or how would you respond to seeing something like that in the game?

I've run with "You can use power attack with everything" for quite some time. To the point where in my sample feat I nearly gave it the disclaimer "This cannot be combined with power attack" before realizing that was unnecessary.

Honestly though, I thought the feat I gave was a pretty decent melding of providing solid damage returns (~5 for 2, more if you have a magic weapon, weapon specialization, or similar non-precision/ability bonus damage) and flavor (huge flurry of arrows!) in exchange for being less useful against certain targets.

Deepbluediver
2015-02-11, 09:37 AM
I've run with "You can use power attack with everything" for quite some time. To the point where in my sample feat I nearly gave it the disclaimer "This cannot be combined with power attack" before realizing that was unnecessary.
Good to know- there's nothing quite like real-world stress-testing for evaluating game design.


Honestly though, I thought the feat I gave was a pretty decent melding of providing solid damage returns (~5 for 2, more if you have a magic weapon, weapon specialization, or similar non-precision/ability bonus damage) and flavor (huge flurry of arrows!) in exchange for being less useful against certain targets.
Yes, it's a good feat. You've always been good at that- I said as much in my very first reply way back at the start of this conversation.

It comes down to what people want in their game though, and each DM or designer will need to balance for themselves the combination of effect, simplicity, the division of feats and abilities, and what you want feats to accomplish overall. I'll keep your feat in mind for inspiration, even if I ultimately end up doing something else.

nonsi
2015-02-12, 01:38 AM
On a slightly different tangent, I was recently surprised to learn that both Repeating Crossbows (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeating_crossbow) and Hand-sized crossbows (https://www.google.com/search?q=pistol+crossbow&biw=1331&bih=571&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=GSTaVN-iGoP3yQSC-oGQBA&sqi=2&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg&dpr=0.9) are real things. I really thought that the D&D designers had mostly been making them up.

Again with the problematic stats though, if the repeating crossbow was as expensive or as difficult to use as the PHB seems to indicate, I'm doubtful it would have been common enough for any historical examples to survive. The main benefit of the crossbow over regular bows was it's ease of use, which lines up with my real-world research.

The wikipedia page of the pistol crossbow describes at least one version ashaving been for "recreational shooting" as opposed to a weapon of war; I can't say if that's true of all of them. And in D&D it seems mostly applicable for applying poison, rather than dealing damage.

For the sake of balance, I'm seriously considering yanking both of them. If someone wants a repeating crossbow, I'd let them find one as part of the treasure and make up some malarkey about how it's delicate clockwork mechanisms make it to impossible to reproduce. For the hand-held crossbow I think I might reclassify it (along with blowguns and maybe some other stuff) as not-weapon weapons, or weapons with alternate purposes that deal negligible damage.
Just some thoughts I've been having.

I sincerely doubt it that they had repeating x-bows back in the Middle Ages.
And yes. Hand x-bow should deal little amounts of damage (1d3 base at best) and be applicable mostly for poisoning surprise/ambush attacks, for taking out someone's eye, or for a killing shot in the back of the head (but D&D doesn't handle ranged Coup-de-Grace vs. unaware targets, AFAIK).

nonsi
2015-02-12, 01:52 AM
Speed Shooting [Style]
Prerequisite: Rapid Shot, BAB+3
Benefit: On your action, before making any attack rolls for the round, you must choose to use speed shooting. If you choose to use speed shooting, when you make an attack, you may fire two arrows at a single opponent within 30 feet. Both arrows use the same attack roll (with a -2 penalty) to determine success and deal damage normally (but see Special). You use the same penalty to hit and extra number of arrows for all attacks made this round.


I'd remove the bolded restrictions.
In the first youtube movie I linked to, Larse Andersen made 3 quick shots at approx. 120', and in both linked movies, we can see that one of the key characteristics of speed-shooting is being able to target opponents all around, not just focusing on a single target.

Pale Wolf
2015-02-12, 08:28 AM
Not getting too in detail here (it's late at night and I really should have been asleep hours ago...), but snagging the thread to observe when conscious.


I sincerely doubt it that they had repeating x-bows back in the Middle Ages.

The Chinese had them back in the Iron Age actually. Earliest one found has been dated back to like the 4th century BC.

Deepbluediver
2015-02-12, 10:06 AM
The Chinese had them back in the Iron Age actually. Earliest one found has been dated back to like the 4th century BC.
Yes, but from what I've seen/read, they weren't the kind of thing someone would haul around with them on a dungeon crawl. That's where the relationship between realism, game-stats, and player-decision-making starts to break down.

When I was doing my original ranged revamp I had a long discussion with another poster about just what matches up with real-world weapons (I can find the thread if you're interested). And it turns out, that the "Heavy" crossbow in D&D is actually more of a medium-sized weapon when it comes what people actually used. There where larger weapons, and they could be truly devastating (the medieval equivalent of a rocket launcher) but they also had a rate of fire of about 1 shot per minute. They where generally meant to be used from behind castle battlements as a kind of anti-siege weapon, and in D&D you could have an entire encounter take place while you where reloading.

I stat'ed up a version for D&D to make the other poster happy, but it's the kind of thing that is either never going to be used, or be absolutely broken. For example, if someone took the Quick Draw feat and pulled an endless supply of cocked and ready siege-bows out of a bag of holding.

That's why (or part of the reason) that I don't think D&D stuff needs to match up perfectly with real-world historical evidence. It's ALRIGHT to say "yes, this was a thing that happened, but there's no good way to represent it in game, so we're just going to ignore it for now".

Pale Wolf
2015-02-12, 07:16 PM
Oh, unquestionably not the kind of thing you'd carry along on a dungeon crawl.

On the other hand, arrows find it incredibly difficult to kill armoured opponents (even at the Battle of Agincourt the French knights were cheerfully wading through a rain of arrows and comfortably reached the English lines, just tired out from the arrows), a rapier's far from the kind of weapon you'd bring to a battle (it was more of a street weapon), and not even a third of the weapon list ever coexisted at any one time.

So I agree that realism isn't the priority here - allowing evocative concepts is.

But precisely what's the troublesome part of emulating a repeating crossbow? It probably doesn't really belong where the PHB put it but that's not too big a deal. That's a problem with the existing emulation, not with the concept of emulating it at all.

Personally I'd put a repeating crossbow in as a simple weapon with the other ones. Drop its damage and/or range a fair bit, to put it below the regular ones (repeating crossbows were fairly short-range weapons), and you have a full-attack-usable ranged weapon in the Simple weapons chart, which is reasonably balanced and a perfectly valid niche. And hand-size works fairly well in its existing niche - 'small, concealable, one-handed, and primarily there to serve as a delivery vector for an assassin's poison or attack modifiers'. Give it an actual bonus to concealment and it should see some use.

Not necessarily a perfect solution (it leaves most crossbows down in the territory of 'the bow you use if you're not proficient with bows'), but an actual 'something to do as a professional even when better weapons exist' crossbow fix is a bit more effort than I'm up to at the moment.

As Nonsi pointed out, that's pretty much the same territory the shortbow is in. Stuff can be done (I remember seeing a shortbow class book that made mention of the same 'arrows in the hand, hilarious speed' style of archery as the Lars video years ago), but you have to pick a niche.

Deepbluediver
2015-02-18, 09:59 AM
Oh, unquestionably not the kind of thing you'd carry along on a dungeon crawl.
....
So I agree that realism isn't the priority here - allowing evocative concepts is.
I've been thinking about this lately, and I believe that if you had a different sort of game and/or game-system, one that was magic-light and instead focused only on melee combat, you could come up with a whole set of rules and dynamics to emulate real-world situations better. Have a kind of pokemon-style flowchart for where certain weapons had advantages or disadvantages, special rules for how everything interacts with different kinds of armor, and a whole selection of special attacks and weapons techniques.

I feel like this isn't really the focus of standard 3.5 D&D though, so I'm aiming to simplify things a bit.


But precisely what's the troublesome part of emulating a repeating crossbow? It probably doesn't really belong where the PHB put it but that's not too big a deal. That's a problem with the existing emulation, not with the concept of emulating it at all.
For me it's mostly that I'm struggling to fit it in with other changes that I want to make weapons, and how do I balance it? If it's strictly better than regular crossbows, why will players ever want to use anything else? The increased gold cost is almost inconsequential given the bjorked-up WBL charts, and while I support GMs having tighter control over the gear their players can purchase, I know not everyone agrees with me.

In the original rules it's more the Exotic-weapon status that bothers me though. It seems anyone who has the weapon-proficiency to use it has better options.


Personally I'd put a repeating crossbow in as a simple weapon with the other ones. Drop its damage and/or range a fair bit, to put it below the regular ones (repeating crossbows were fairly short-range weapons), and you have a full-attack-usable ranged weapon in the Simple weapons chart, which is reasonably balanced and a perfectly valid niche.
Yes, it COULD work, but will it work well? If I'm going to revise most of the weapons and associated system, then I don't want to stick in a whole bunch of stuff right from the get-go that recreates problems I thought I had solved. I'm not completely opposed to it, I just want to be cautious.
I will keep your comments in mind, and see how it looks as I rearrange other things. I'll probably settle on only a single version of the repeating-crossbow though; from what you've told me it doesn't mesh up with the depicted versions of the Heavy Crossbow very well.



Edit
One more video resource for something that's possible though not necessarily related to combat, this time regarding accuracy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Yp9SjCU5E&t=256

Ajmes
2015-12-05, 09:08 PM
Just to clarify some of the things you guys have been discussing, I know this is now almost a year old, but if anyone cares to learn.

Lars Anderson is practicing Speed Shooting, which is a real technique, and there are other speed shooters, but the thing is, they don't pull the bow back all the way when doing so, so you half(at best) the powerstroke of the bow, which is(again at best) half the force of the arrow. This would only be remotely useful with powerful bows and even more powerful(physically) archers, since if you have a bow that is less powerful than a hunting bow(45-60 pound draw weight) it wouldn't even be able to pierce layered linen armor(available to even peasantry), and especially not without a broadhead arrow tip(and definitely not a bodkin).
Repeating crossbows are real weapons, but they are much weaker than regular crossbows, and even weaker than longbows.

Speed Shooting and Repeating Crossbows, to put it into game terms, would be completely useless against armored enemies, (special rule for half damage? against such foes?) but could be useful when fighting larger numbers of weaker enemies. This would be both easier to implement, and more practical in 5th edition dnd, due to the Resistance mechanic, and the existence of bounded accuracy making swarms of weaker enemies a threat. In short, they do less damage than a crossbow, probably similar to a shortbow, but can fire a lot more quickly, although would cost a round to reload the 'cartridge'-like bolt feeder on the top after about 6-10 bolts(not exactly sure how many they hold, but it's close to this). So perhaps only 1d6 damage, but you could fire 6 in 1 turn perhaps.

Hand Crossbows existed but were rare and custom made in very few isolated circumstances, and were impractical toys, like giving your son/nephew a BB gun. There was a weapon called an Assassin's Crossbow which was similar, but larger, but still able to be concealed in a cloak, but was made to be fired with poisoned bolts/darts so it pretty much did no physical damage, only acted as delivery for poison, at which point you may as well use a blowgun tube for poisoned darts.

Heavy Crossbows should do a LOT more damage, I would say in dnd terms 1d20 at least, since they were stronger than primitive firearms(by far), and much stronger than longbows.

Longbows could theoretically pierce plate armor, but only at close range, with heavy arrows, and draw weights that were so high that even modern bodybuilders are often unable to draw them, we're talking 170 pound draw strength. To put that in perspective, modern olympic archers typically draw 60-80 pounds, and historically, 45-60 pound draw weight was used for hunting all but large game(like not for moose, bear, elephants, etc.). English Longbowmen trained their whole lives for very specific specialized strength, requiring the use of specific muscles only, so they weren't like Conan. If you've seen Berserk, with Guts training his whole life by lifting heavier and heavier swords, it was kind of like that, but with bows. Suffice to say, the tendency of modern games to emphasize bow use by thin men and women only relying on their dexterity is a complete and utter fallacy. If anything, in DND Archery should be based on Strength and Wisdom, although the requirement to use bows should be lower than the Damage associated with them, and since the bow is made to what someone can pull in the first place, buffs to strength would have no effect after the fact.

Loading truly heavy crossbows required the use of a late 16th century crank, since the draw weights of crossbows had to be immense to compensate for a short powerstroke(distance of the string to be pulled back) since the formula for force is (draw weight X powerstroke length)/2. The Chinese Han Dynasty developed a crossbow trigger mechanism early on that avoided the shortcoming of the crossbow's limited powerstroke, and used a composite recurve design similar to asian bows which involved more efficient transfer of force to the bolt, much better than steel. However Steel can handle much higher draw weights, but this didn't matter much, since a 400 pound crossbow(low end of average for a normal crossbow by medieval standards) had double the force of the upper limit of longbow. However, the Chinese had to lie down(drop prone) to force these to load or be strung, which probably also took 2 or 3 full rounds(if at 6 seconds per round). They didn't have the aid of a medieval device developed for lower draw x-bows called the Goat's Foot Lever, (or Gafa Lever) which would shorten that to 1-2 full rounds and not require you to drop prone. Late medieval heavy crossbows with use of a crank(and some late Chinese designs as well) became so powerful they were really only used as siege weapons(for assault or defense), since they took so long to reload, and required specialized training to use(although far less training than longbows). The reload on these heavy crossbows(Arbalest) would have been close to a full minute, so we're talking at least 9 or 10 full round actions to reload them.

Some other myths that should be quelled while I'm at it. Shooting multiple arrows at the same time, like Robin Hood or something. If you shoot 2 arrows with 1 string, you half the power of each, and you unfavorably alter the physics(associated with a concept called the archer's paradox which involves sighting on the opposite side), which would force both arrows to shoot right and left respectively, rather than straight. Do that with 3 arrows, and you divide the force by 3 for each arrow, and lose even more accuracy(if they even fly at all instead of spiraling off wildly to the ground).
There is SOME evidence of cases where archers had 2 strings on the same bow, which would allow 2 arrows to be shot with mostly unchanged force, however, they would still be highly inaccurate, so perhaps at very close range this would work, but still should have a massive hit penalty.

So really, the best way to make this game more realistic, would be to try to limit numbers of attacks in general, but possibly make some of them more powerful to adjust for it(including melee and damaging spells), and to possibly lower the HP of monsters and players in some cases. Would speed up game-play, make things simpler, and more realistic. Also, if you make combat deadlier in this way, it actually rewards strategy more, and makes combat less of a war of resource attrition like many ARPGs, where you just sit in one spot and click at each other until one of you falls down.

I think that's pretty much everything I could think of to mention, if anyone has other questions, let me know.

Deepbluediver
2015-12-05, 10:02 PM
@ Devs
I hope you don't lock this thread- I've gone back to school and so I haven't had time to post recently, but I do still check the site regularly and like to ponder about these things.

@ Ajmes
I believe I've done some additional research since last posting in this thread, and yes I agree with most of what you have to say. However, I'm not really thinking about realism when it comes to D&D; realism went out the window the moment the Wizard started shooting fireballs out of his elbows. Of the three criteria on which I base my homebrew- game balance, fun, and realism, realism comes in dead-last in terms of importance.

At best, I use real-world concepts for inspiration and a jumping-off point. So long as the majority of people can read the combat system and don't think "well that's just ridiculous" the I'm satisfied. If we combine real-world penetration and range with real-world speed shooting and end up with something that might not have ever actually been possible, I can live with that. If anyone questions it, then my response is just that you've never seen a 15th level archer in real life.
In my ideal D&D world, Gandalf would not be saying "this foe is beyond any or you". Instead the Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, and Wizard would all be standing shoulder-to-shoulder and they'd take down that Balrog together.


I apply much the same philosophy when it comes to weapons. Humans have had a lot of practice killing each other, and over the millennium they've probably tested every conceivable form of weapons and armor to find which is the most effective for warfare. For example, AFAIK, mounted archers where something that had never found widespread application in Europe, but which the Mongols used to devastating effect.
I don't mind crafting a realistic set of weapons for someone, but ultimately my goal is not to apply realistic limitations to one set of classes, while allowing a total free-for-all on some others. I generally only call on the "that's un-realistic" card to limit something if NOT doing so would itself lead to unbalanced gameplay.

As I noted earlier in the thread, I once designed a crossbow that I felt fit the specifications of the most powerful real-world crossbow that I was able to find testimony of having existed. Because it significantly surpassed anything else on my weapon-chart, I included a realistic loading time, which is my way of subtlety saying "this is not intended for a rapid-paced, melee-centric firefight", which is what most of D&D combat is.

If you WANT to design a system that very accurately mimics real-world combat, I absolutely think you can do that. If balance is your goal though, then I don't think that system should have to compete with 3.5's standard magic system. The level of power for your players has to vary up and down depending on what kind of adventure you're running, and I don't think that going beyond the limits of "real" combat is something most people would dislike.

Nightcanon
2015-12-06, 07:16 PM
Presumably the advantage of a crossbow with a reliable trigger mechanism is that you can carry it loaded without having to 'hold' the stored potential energy yourself (like a loaded firearm). DnD doesn't really have a specific mechanism for going round with a finger on the trigger. I've toyed with the idea of crossbows being like composite bows: i.e. with a strength-rating, but one that applies to the bow not the user. So anyone can fire a Heavy crossbow (rated with a +4 to damage), but reloading has to be done with a winch unless you have an 18+ strength.