Crossbows: Ditch the reload mechanic

Exactly what says on tin. 


No one like disadvantages on attacks. No one like to waste actions reloading. Yes, they deal more damage than bows, but bows have better range. 


Crossbows used to be the reserve weapon for wizards. Now they have basic at-will spells to cast offensivelly. Just like battleaxe/longsword, the diferentiation of bow/crossbow should be more a matter of taste than bad mechanics. 

[<()>]Proud Brazilian. Typos are free bonuses. 

Where does it say crossbows take 1 round to reload?

Page 6 of the equipment pdf. 


Crossbow: Normally, it takes an action to reload a crossbow. You can load and fire a crossbow using the same action, but you take disadvantage for that attack.

[<()>]Proud Brazilian. Typos are free bonuses. 

Reloading a crossbow is a standard/move action.

Meaning, you can move and shoot, move and reload, or reload and shoot, but you can't move, reload and shoot in the same round.

This is as it should be, IMO.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
Hmm. Well, it does maintain versimilitude, and you could use a crossbow with a tripwire to set up an impromptu trap in a way you couldn't with a bow. So it still has advantages over other weapons, just not in straight up combat.

Meaning, you can move and shoot, move and reload, or reload and shoot, but you can't move, reload and shoot in the same round.


According to the playtest rules, you can move, reload and shoot in the same round. You just take disadvantage on the attack roll. 


Hmm. Well, it does maintain versimilitude, and you could use a crossbow with a tripwire to set up an impromptu trap in a way you couldn't with a bow. So it still has advantages over other weapons, just not in straight up combat.


I find it weird to talk about verisimilitude in the same game that give you a first-level feat that allow you to shoot a bow twice in 6 seconds without any attack penalty, and still being allowed to move. 


I'm actually ok with the Rapid Shot feat. Just saying that bow/crossbow have some kind of double standard for old players. 

[<()>]Proud Brazilian. Typos are free bonuses. 

According to the playtest rules, you can move, reload and shoot in the same round. You just take disadvantage on the attack roll.



Well, yeah...again, that makes sense as well, so I'm okay with that.

I find it weird to talk about verisimilitude in the same game that give you a first-level feat that allow you to shoot a bow twice in 6 seconds without any attack penalty, and still being allowed to move.



Are we talking 4th edition here, or 3rd? Because 3rd edition Rapid Shot had a -2 penalty (and I didn't like the way it didn't in 4th).

But actually, now that you mention it, I think that you should only be able to shoot more than once with a longbow if you don't move. Shooting with Rapid Shot should be a full round action, same as attacking twice.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!

Are we talking 4th edition here, or 3rd? Because 3rd edition Rapid Shot had a -2 penalty (and I didn't like the way it didn't in 4th).


Next. Check the Specialities pdf. It's the first feat in the file. 

[<()>]Proud Brazilian. Typos are free bonuses. 

Oh I see...I hadn't looked at that one yet.

However you do half damage when you shoot this way...but I'd prefer it the way I said: you can shoot twice but it's a full round action, meaning you can't move when you do so.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
I agree.  Chuck the reload mechanic; it's just a pointless mess.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I had the occasion to reload an "heavy crossbow", and one action to reload it is ridiculously short. 6 seconds or less to reload is a gift from D&D to allow us to use them in adventures.

I would have ruled that we grant advantage when reloading, and that heavy crossbow doesn't allow to move on the same turn. And I would be still too gentle with crossbow users Wink

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

Hey, isn't it interesting how the Crossbows are the most damaging weapons in their categories?  It's almost as if the reload mechanic is some sort of balancing factor.
Hey, isn't it interesting how the Crossbows are the most damaging weapons in their categories?  It's almost as if the reload mechanic is some sort of balancing factor.



They can find a less annoying one.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Hey, isn't it interesting how the Crossbows are the most damaging weapons in their categories?  It's almost as if the reload mechanic is some sort of balancing factor.



They can find a less annoying one.



True.  Swapping out either your ability to move or your action might work.  I was just addressing that to the contingent complaining that there's any mechanic at all.  I prefer to have interesting choices in my weapons, anyway, and this qualifies as one.
Hey, isn't it interesting how the Crossbows are the most damaging weapons in their categories?  It's almost as if the reload mechanic is some sort of balancing factor.

If by "balancing factor" you mean "effectively makes them the weakest ranged weapons in their categories." Cutting the damage in half by either making you attack every other round or be twice as likely to miss kind of outweighs a one-step die increase.
If by "balancing factor" you mean "effectively makes them the weakest ranged weapons in their categories." Cutting the damage in half by either making you attack every other round or be twice as likely to miss, or making you stand still while you shoot, kind of outweighs a one-step die increase.



There, fixed that for you.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
Where does it say that you can trade moving to reload?

Moving is not 'an action' in 5N. 

Carl
If by "balancing factor" you mean "effectively makes them the weakest ranged weapons in their categories." Cutting the damage in half by either making you attack every other round or be twice as likely to miss, or making you stand still while you shoot, kind of outweighs a one-step die increase.



There, fixed that for you.

Except there's no mechanic for trading your ability to move for an additional action with which you could reload the crossbow. See page 9 of the How to Play document:
When you take a turn, you can take one action. You can also move up to your speed. After you have moved and taken your action, your turn ends.

And the crossbow rules from page 6 of the equipment document for good measure:
Normally, it takes an action to reload a crossbow. You can load and fire a crossbow using the same action, but you take disadvantage for that attack.





Okay, my mistake...I stand corrected. I've always assumed you can use your move action to reload, but apparently you can't.

Well I think you should be able to, so I'm going to house-rule that you can, and suggest that they make it the case.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
I had the occasion to reload an "heavy crossbow", and one action to reload it is ridiculously short. 6 seconds or less to reload is a gift from D&D to allow us to use them in adventures.

I would have ruled that we grant advantage when reloading, and that heavy crossbow doesn't allow to move on the same turn. And I would be still too gentle with crossbow users 



Yeah, now you just need to have above average strength and dexterity and then practice reloading it over and over until it becomes second nature, then you'll see reloading in 6 seconds is not that much of a stretch...

Supposedly a longbowman can shoot 2-5 arrows in the same time it takes to load and shoot one crossbow bolt. That's about every other round or so...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.

I can only hope that crossbows are given the option to reload in place of moving, because otherwise I think we are going to see a whole lot of bows and no crossbows in our games. I know that this has been a problem throughout the 3.x games, from 3.0 to Pathfinder, and it is kind of frustrating. I don't recall seeing a feat to fix this either, though that seems like an unnecessary tax on a character.

Just a few onions short of a patch.

I can only hope that crossbows are given the option to reload in place of moving, because otherwise I think we are going to see a whole lot of bows and no crossbows in our games. I know that this has been a problem throughout the 3.x games, from 3.0 to Pathfinder, and it is kind of frustrating. I don't recall seeing a feat to fix this either, though that seems like an unnecessary tax on a character.




We'll probably see people with pre-loaded crossbows shoot once drop the thing and pull out their bow...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Eactly.  Crossbow is the new arquebus
I had the occasion to reload an "heavy crossbow", and one action to reload it is ridiculously short. 6 seconds or less to reload is a gift from D&D to allow us to use them in adventures.

I would have ruled that we grant advantage when reloading, and that heavy crossbow doesn't allow to move on the same turn. And I would be still too gentle with crossbow users 



Yeah, now you just need to have above average strength and dexterity and then practice reloading it over and over until it becomes second nature, then you'll see reloading in 6 seconds is not that much of a stretch...

Supposedly a longbowman can shoot 2-5 arrows in the same time it takes to load and shoot one crossbow bolt. That's about every other round or so...

With a longbow, you keep all your attention on the battlefield. And the more powerful crossbows need a mechanical device, not strength above average.

But D&D already allows to shoot with bows at melee range, so why not reloading a heavy crossbow and shooting with it in as a single action…

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

I think this is a point where the modularity of the Next comes in. If you want/need the simulationist view than the heavy crossbow damn well better be taking longer to reload and shoot. However, if you want that fantasy action than the reload time doesn't mean squat and it can be dropped. Just find out what the DM wants to go with or if your DMing, than go with whatever you want.
Simple enough. 

Personal opinion though, we could probably lose the extra time to reload but maybe lower the range a bit more for some balance. 
I think this is a point where the modularity of the Next comes in. If you want/need the simulationist view than the heavy crossbow damn well better be taking longer to reload and shoot. However, if you want that fantasy action than the reload time doesn't mean squat and it can be dropped. Just find out what the DM wants to go with or if your DMing, than go with whatever you want.
Simple enough.



I think that's the best solution: adding a variant with proper rules for ranged weapons.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
As a novice with both, I take only slightly less time to fire a longbow than a light crossbow (authentic middle age versions), but I'm more accurate with the crossbow, and it requires considerably less strength. A friend of mine (a professed crossbowman), however, can fire a light crossbow nearly as fast as an expert using a longbow. The difference at that point is negligible. Heavy crossbows are a completely different story. They take less strength to use than a longbow, and are much easier to aim for a novice. They have amazing penetration through even plate metal, but aren't very accurate at long range. The best crossbowmen I've ever seen can only get 1 shot for every 3 longbowmen shots using a heavy crossbow if reloading it themselves (traditionally, there is someone else reloading the heavy crossbow, in which case you can shoot as often as you can with a longbow).

If anything, I think the light crossbow should not require an action to reload, but the heavy crossbow should be in the proficiency list for everyone (with possibly higher damage). But really, the way it is isn't bad, though I'd like to see a specialty with a focus on crossbows.
Eactly.  Crossbow is the new arquebus


Only if you need to find a consumable magic item to use it (something like phoenix feathers being required for arrows to fly instead of just fall at your feet).  Smoke Powder.  God, that was so freaking stupid.

I've said it before, if the reload mechanic is there to balance the damage output, I'd rather just kill the reload mechanic and reduce the damage.  No more gimped xbows and guns in D&D!

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

As a novice with both, I take only slightly less time to fire a longbow than a light crossbow (authentic middle age versions), but I'm more accurate with the crossbow, and it requires considerably less strength. A friend of mine (a professed crossbowman), however, can fire a light crossbow nearly as fast as an expert using a longbow. The difference at that point is negligible. Heavy crossbows are a completely different story. They take less strength to use than a longbow, and are much easier to aim for a novice. They have amazing penetration through even plate metal, but aren't very accurate at long range. The best crossbowmen I've ever seen can only get 1 shot for every 3 longbowmen shots using a heavy crossbow if reloading it themselves (traditionally, there is someone else reloading the heavy crossbow, in which case you can shoot as often as you can with a longbow).

If anything, I think the light crossbow should not require an action to reload, but the heavy crossbow should be in the proficiency list for everyone (with possibly higher damage). But really, the way it is isn't bad, though I'd like to see a specialty with a focus on crossbows.




That makes sense. It would also make sense to put a minimum strength requirement on the long bow.

Don't forget to add a "'preparing" mechanic for greataxes and greatswords, since they deal more damage than a quarterstaff too, and all three are two-handed weapons. 

[<()>]Proud Brazilian. Typos are free bonuses. 

Get rid of the reload. It's pointless and makes the weapon significantly weaker than the bow.
(begin sarcasm)
Crossbows are expensive. Only Nobles can use them.  But don't fear, Nobles get 3 retainers! One of those retainers is obviously your majordomo, responsible for arranging your living faciliites, fluffing your pillow, and adding a mint.  The second is up to you. But the third is the most important: he stands beside you in combat, reloading one of your two crossbows each turn as you hand it off to him and change to the other.
(end sarcasm)

I agree they should be reloaded on a Move action. Not allowing that is foolish.  However, I also like the ability to move, reload, and shoot with Disadvantage.  So I don't think they should ditch the mechanic; I think they should refine it.

I agree they should be reloaded on a Move action. Not allowing that is foolish.  However, I also like the ability to move, reload, and shoot with Disadvantage.  So I don't think they should ditch the mechanic; I think they should refine it.



Agree totally. I like being able to move, reload and shoot with disadvantage too.

I also think that the light crossbow, at least, should be a simple weapon.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
I want to see more crossbows in D&D. They were very popular historically, and since D&D draws a lot of inspiration from medieval Europe I feel they really should be a lot more common than they are. I also feel they should include the different loading mechanisms with them, and different varieties of crossbows. "Standard" crossbow, recurve crossbows, ballista, gastraphetes, chu-ko-nu, and wallarmbrust, with either their built in reloading mechanisms, or being able to somehow tack on push levers, pull levers, cranequins, and windlasses. There's a very broad range of power and reloading speed between different crossbows, often surpassing short and long bows (even composite ones) in power or rate of fire (I know of none that can do both, though).
Id prefer if Reload was an Incidental Task as Reloading enable an action (DMG pg. 09)



Incidental Task
A task that meets one or more of the following
criteria is probably not an action under most
circumstances.

• It doesn’t require a die roll or any other rules
• It is effortless.
• It is part of or enables an action or a move.

Id prefer if Reload was an Incidental Task as Reloading enable an action (DMG pg. 09)



Incidental Task
A task that meets one or more of the following
criteria is probably not an action under most
circumstances.

• It doesn’t require a die roll or any other rules
• It is effortless.
• It is part of or enables an action or a move.





I like that interpretation.

Id prefer if Reload was an Incidental Task as Reloading enable an action (DMG pg. 09)



Incidental Task
A task that meets one or more of the following
criteria is probably not an action under most
circumstances.

• It doesn’t require a die roll or any other rules
• It is effortless.
• It is part of or enables an action or a move.




Aaaand watch as Combat slows down.  Suddenly, you will have Incidental Tasks which start applying modifiers, or doing things.  Let's stick with the 3 types of action, please.
That is the 3. Move, Action, Incidental.
Aaaand watch as Combat slows down.


Its the contrary, handwaving Reloading as an Incidental Task (previously called Incidental action - think Free action) would speed up play, not slow it down, as you'd Reload as part of the action used to attack with the crossbow instead of requirinf additional one or attacking with disadvantage like it currently is. 


And it would make the crossbow more balanced with the bow
Aaaand watch as Combat slows down.


Its the contrary, handwaving Reloading as an Incidental Task (previously called Incidental action - think Free action) would speed up play, not slow it down, as you'd Reload as part of the action used to attack with the crossbow instead of requirinf additional one or attacking with disadvantage like it currently is. 


And it would make the crossbow more balanced with the bow


Not to mention more fun and viable as a primary ranged weapon choice.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

That is the 3. Move, Action, Incidental.


So 3 types of actions you say. Incidental is a pretty small type of action. You could say it's a...MINOR action.

Once more 4e provides answers to problems.
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