Why crossbow over bow?

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seandon4
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:33 am

Not just history, role playing. As others have said, can setup traps with them, fire while prone, fire a light one while also using a shield then discard and switch to another weapon, potentially allow MUs to use them since does not require much training, etc. These are all advantages over bows IMO. There may be additional options in supplements.
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:25 am

Your problem is that you are min/maxing and looking at it from a core mechanics perspective. BFRPG is more than just the rules. Using a crossbow can be a storyline effect the same as using scimitar instead of a longsword. The game is more than the rules. Now, with that said, I can have a damn fine storyline with a bow instead of a crossbow, but others may like to do it differently. There is nothing wrong with that.
Woe
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:06 pm

Yes, my question was about the core rules' game mechanics and balance. Think of it more through a lens of natural selection. A petty lord can hire 30 crossbowmen or 30 longbowmen. The upkeep of the crossbowmen is more, as their ammunition is more expensive. The impact the crossbowmen have on a battlefield is less, as their rate of fire is less. How does this yield the historical outcome, where crossbowmen supplant longbowmen due to lower costs and an unspecialised labor pool?

Not sure how the scimitar/longsword example applies. Using core rules, they are both the same weapon damage, cost, and weight -- different than crossbows and bows. If you meant to create a house rule where crossbows and bows become similar and the choice becomes flavor more than anything else, that definitely addresses the difference. I'm cool with house rules, but then ask whether the house rule exists because the core rule don't cover the scenario (like scouts, necromancers, half-humans, etc) or because the rule needs tweaking?

As for firing prone, I didn't think of that. It feels somewhat situational as the crossbow can't be reloaded while wearing a shield, and I'm dubious whether one can be reloaded while prone (though it'd be comical to watch!). Firing a loaded crossbow while wearing a shield, then discarding for HTH is definitely a cool idea. I'm going to try that tactic, and hope it doesn't get trampled by a passing elephant. :)
Freya HP 24/24 AC 16 (17 two weapons)
Kilian HP 20/20 AC 19 (18 no shield)
Talin HP 29 AC 16
Tiana HP 11 AC 12 SP 8/8
Fido HP 9/9 AC 16
Anna HP 12/12 AC 15 (19 defensively)
Bruce HP 20/20 AC 16 (15 no shield)

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Dimirag
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:09 pm

BFRPG is a "gamist system" rather than a "simulationist/realist system", so the motives behind the rules aren't always based on reality or history.

The crossbow prohibition for MU is based on limiting his damage die, but, as crossbows have a reloading time they could be seen as a 1d3 and 1d2 weapon (basing on damage per round). This means that MU could use crossbows without actually breaking their limit.

But! Doing this only makes the crossbow an expensive bow that only works for MU...

I tend to give crossbows a higher damage and let the MU use the hand and light ones
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:31 pm

Woe, I can't help you understand how the scimitar and longsword example is the same as the crossbow and bow if you're only lens is rules mechanics. Its a matter of style choice not a min/max choice.

Also, BFRPG and B/X (the game it was based on) was never meant to be played simply by the core rules. It was understood back in the day that the ruleset was a guideline that the DM used to make judgement calls. The core rules are simply that, the rules at the core, but they can be fancied up with all kinds of accessories that not only add new rules but alter the old rules. Basically, they aren't meant to represent real life, they are meant to provide a base for the DM to create the world he wants.
seandon4
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:41 pm

Could also fire two light cross bows at once (one in each hand), can't do that with a bow :) But would probably call for a to hit penalty. The BF Arsenal supplement also has hand cross bows, as mentioned.

The MUs not being able to use crossbows due to damage makes sense. I noticed it varies from system to system; in other B/X and 1e systems, light crossbow can fire once per round and heavy once every other round, or both every other round, but they may or may not do less damage.

I can see how it's a bit of technicality. Not sure if there was a particular reason for once every 3 for heavy, but it's just a rule; could give the heavy a "+1" to damage of some sort if so house ruled.
seandon4
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:37 pm

Hywaywolf wrote:Its a matter of style choice not a min/max choice.
There's a charm to OD&D and in Moldvay B/X where all weapons do 1d6 by default and only vary as an option; maybe you get a d6+1 for a bigger weapon, but other than that it's all imagination and style.
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Joe the Rat
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:57 pm

Woe wrote:Yes, my question was about the core rules' game mechanics and balance. Think of it more through a lens of natural selection. A petty lord can hire 30 crossbowmen or 30 longbowmen. The upkeep of the crossbowmen is more, as their ammunition is more expensive. The impact the crossbowmen have on a battlefield is less, as their rate of fire is less. How does this yield the historical outcome, where crossbowmen supplant longbowmen due to lower costs and an unspecialised labor pool?
Check the table on p.41 (Mercenaries). The default cost for Longbowmen is nearly double that of Crossbowmen. For PCs, it comes down to taste. What do you want to use. For NPCs, you apply logic. Crossbowman are faster to train up, and more common. A true longbowman is a specialist, and demands higher pay.

As for why crossbows suck comparatively (weight, ROF)... all weapons are not equal. Why would a player take a quarterstaff? Wizard can't use it (in BFRPG at least), Cleric would do as well with a Hammer (and still use a shield) or Maul (for hella damage). But it's an option. If you want Miss Toothpick to be as effective as Wilt Maceinthefacer, brew something up. Or consider the potential uses for a Pole, 6'.
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Longman
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:34 pm

A lot of these questions boil down to flavor vs balance.

Sure, not everything should be exactly equal, otherwise you might as well just play dice.

But I think it is fair to ask, should a character who has taken crossbow for flavor reasons be penalized for doing so?

I don't think of this as min-maxing. It's just basic role-play by people who want to stay alive. The character would see the other party members firing twice as often for exactly the same result, and change weapons. Dwarven fighters with short-bows, here we come.

Instead of beefing up the crossbow (as I have done in my own rules), you could invent a few reasons why bows are not so hot:

- Damp bowstrings just suck (-4?).
- Arrows break easier than quarrels.
- Bow-strings break or come unstuck much easier than crossbow mechanisms.
- Quarrels are less affected by wind.

That way, the crossbowman might see his companions get a better fire rate, but also, be beset with all kinds of other issues. He'd stick with his choice of the crossbow.
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Why crossbow over bow?

Post Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:44 pm

To each his own, but if someone chooses crossbow over bow then thats their problem. Live with it. No need to weaken or strengthen anything.
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