Ranged weapons with the "Loading" property

Simply put: they're not very good. Being able to attack only once every two turns is meh.

What if instead of requiring an action to load, the loading property functioned as follows:

"A weapon with the loading property takes more time to load than a standard weapon. As such, you cannot move and fire a loading weapon in the same turn."

This makes using a heavy crossbow a potentially attractive proposition. Higher damage, lower mobility. I also think the damage dice on bows and hand cross bows should be lowered (shortbow and hand x-bow to d4, longbow to d6) so that they aren't so clearly better than everything else. Longbows have the best range, the 2nd best damage die, and no restrictions. That's another conversation though...
The solution follows in the vein of all magical thrown weapons having the returning property in 4E: magical crossbows nock themselves and are treated as not having the loading property as a result.
...whatever
Or we could just dump the whole 'loading' thing.
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We could, but then how do you differentiate a crossbow from a longbow? I would like it if there were some difference. Note that with the upcoming change to MDD, the larger damage die of the heavy crossbow could make it the larger damage die actually mean something.
Fluff, flavor and character concept are fine reasons for me.

William Tell vs Legolas
Well, for me part of the flavour comes from them being mechanically different. The flavour is lost if they both do the exact same thing. At least with axes vs maces, you have different damage types. 
We could, but then how do you differentiate a crossbow from a longbow?



One's in the crossbow weapon group (and thus has feats and weapon enchantments unique to it), the other's in the bow weapon group (and thus has feats and weapon enchantments unique to it).
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Ok, you're starting to sell me on this idea...

I think I would be happy if they changed it to either of the two ideas presented in this thread. I will be less happy if they leave it as is. I think they'll probably change it before the end of the playtest though.
Longbows can be loaded and fired much more quickly in reality than can a crossbow.  2-5 times as fast by some estimates.  The greater length of longbows gives it equivalent strength to the more tightly strung crossbows and the heavier longbow arrows actually end up doing greater damage than crossbow bolts.

Crossbows require much less training.  An untrained soldier can use a crossbow with relative ease.  They can also remain loaded much more easily than a bow can.
Longbows can be loaded and fired much more quickly in reality than can a crossbow.  2-5 times as fast by some estimates.  The greater length of longbows gives it equivalent strength to the more tightly strung crossbows and the heavier longbow arrows actually end up doing greater damage than crossbow bolts.

Crossbows require much less training.  An untrained soldier can use a crossbow with relative ease.  They can also remain loaded much more easily than a bow can.

Great. I'd still like to be able to play a character who uses a crossbow ala William Tell and not suck.
And reality comes into play in a fantasy game because why?
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And reality comes into play in a fantasy game because why?



Because they did it to scythes going from 3e to 4e?  Because some people can't stand the idea that not all superhuman abilities are magic in nature?

Or, more frivolously, "because shut up" is a distressingly common justification here. Undecided 
Rapid Reload as a maneuver or... *gag* feat.  Or both.

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Because when you make a weapon si inferior to a another weapon, no one uses it and people complain that its a trap option.

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I like the loading thing, but I would multiply the damage by two, modifiers included.

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Well, it depends on how hard it is to switch weapons - walk around with a loaded crossbow, fire the first round then switch to something else.

If you can switch easily, a crossbow is a one shot wonder.

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people have cited the fact that crossbows were used because of their ability to be used by untrained people and i think i have an idea that could model that.

crossbows would not receive bonuses to attacks or damage from ability scores. Instead, they'd attack at +2 for 1d10+2 and take an action to reload. hand crossbows would function like they do currently because they're more of a speciailty weapon.

it's not a rule for everyone, but i think it takes a little of the crossbow's history and translates it into a dnd weapon that feels a little different than the rest of the ranged weapons in the game.
It is hard to standardize when you have movies like LOTR where a bow in an elfs hand is considered a machine gun. But you can start with crossbows are more accurate (higher weapon damage), but take longer to load, where bows are less accurate (lower damage), but load faster, and can add in strength. Crossbows can add in strength as well but that increases the time to load.
people have cited the fact that crossbows were used because of their ability to be used by untrained people and i think i have an idea that could model that.

crossbows would not receive bonuses to attacks or damage from ability scores. Instead, they'd attack at +2 for 1d10+2 and take an action to reload. hand crossbows would function like they do currently because they're more of a speciailty weapon.

it's not a rule for everyone, but i think it takes a little of the crossbow's history and translates it into a dnd weapon that feels a little different than the rest of the ranged weapons in the game.


I think this is going in the right direction. I am not sure that creating an alternate system for calculating weapon attacks for one weapon category is the best way, but I do like trying to represent why someone would choose a crossbow (e.g., wizard with no attack cantrips).

I think crossbows are more mobile in combat than bows, since you can even fire them while prone and in cramped situations.    

There is no reason why in D&D next you can't load it, move to the corner, fire it, and move back in one round.  6 seconds is more than enough time for that. 

The problem with D&D Next is that there are no weapon speeds.  


I'd simply give crowbow users disadvantage on initative rolls or make them use a 1d10 for init. 

Another option would be to allow them to fire an already loaded crossbow during the first round of combat.  I might even give them advantage if they spend a full round taking aim.  




people have cited the fact that crossbows were used because of their ability to be used by untrained people and i think i have an idea that could model that.

crossbows would not receive bonuses to attacks or damage from ability scores. Instead, they'd attack at +2 for 1d10+2 and take an action to reload. hand crossbows would function like they do currently because they're more of a speciailty weapon.

it's not a rule for everyone, but i think it takes a little of the crossbow's history and translates it into a dnd weapon that feels a little different than the rest of the ranged weapons in the game.


I think this is going in the right direction. I am not sure that creating an alternate system for calculating weapon attacks for one weapon category is the best way, but I do like trying to represent why someone would choose a crossbow (e.g., wizard with no attack cantrips).


Can use the same calculation being used for medium and heavy armor to calculate accuracy of crossbows. That way its using a calculation that already exists.

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And reality comes into play in a fantasy game because why?


Because at some point we want to relate to the characters and have fun adventures with some amount of believability.

Let's make daggers be heavier, require 2 hands, and do more damage than great swords.  Let's make leather armor protect better than plate armor.

Realism not only helps us relate to the fantasy world but it actually makes us more knowledgeable individuals in the real world.  If our fantasy character is highly skilled with a long bow and can fire it 2-5 times as often as an unskilled individual with a crossbow, that actually relates to real world knowledge.  You learned something by playing D&D.

It is actually amazing how much I have learned by playing a realistic fantasy game.  Math, vocabulary, etc. are greatly enhanced by a fantasy world where effects and ideas are modeled after real world phenomenon.

And reality comes into play in a fantasy game because why?


Because at some point we want to relate to the characters and have fun adventures with some amount of believability.

Let's make daggers be heavier, require 2 hands, and do more damage than great swords.  Let's make leather armor protect better than plate armor.

Realism not only helps us relate to the fantasy world but it actually makes us more knowledgeable individuals in the real world.  If our fantasy character is highly skilled with a long bow and can fire it 2-5 times as often as an unskilled individual with a crossbow, that actually relates to real world knowledge.  You learned something by playing D&D.

It is actually amazing how much I have learned by playing a realistic fantasy game.  Math, vocabulary, etc. are greatly enhanced by a fantasy world where effects and ideas are modeled after real world phenomenon.




It's a game, not a study course.  If the crossbow takes 2-5 times as long to fire as a longbow, there's absolutely no reason to include it, because nobody will ever use one, because it's useless.

Game balance and fun > Realism.

And, again, real world history is meaningless to D&D worlds.  Who says weaponsmiths in a D&D world haven't found a faster way to **** a crossbow than we did?

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It's a game, not a study course.  If the crossbow takes 2-5 times as long to fire as a longbow, there's absolutely no reason to include it, because nobody will ever use one, because it's useless.

Game balance and fun > Realism.

And, again, real world history is meaningless to D&D worlds.  Who says weaponsmiths in a D&D world haven't found a faster way to **** a crossbow than we did?
If people in the past used crossbows effectively in real life, then there is no reason to believe if you made crossbows realistic in the game that people wouldn't use them in the game as well.



The fact is that a trained and skilled archer is far more effective than an individual with a crossbow. 

If you want to build a crossbow that acts as a pistol by firing repeated shots then you could do that but it isn't realistic.

The advantage of a crossbow lies in its effectiveness and ease of use with limited training.  It was generally a one shot weapon unless you had a row of crossbowmen with varying firing times.
If you want to build a crossbow that acts as a pistol by firing repeated shots then you could do that but it isn't realistic.



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeating_crossbow

"Actually exists" seems pretty damn "realistic" to me.
How about a crossbow loader squire?  


If you want to build a crossbow that acts as a pistol by firing repeated shots then you could do that but it isn't realistic.



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeating_crossbow

"Actually exists" seems pretty damn "realistic" to me.



*applause*
If you want to build a crossbow that acts as a pistol by firing repeated shots then you could do that but it isn't realistic.



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeating_crossbow

"Actually exists" seems pretty damn "realistic" to me.



Not exactly a semi-auto, but yes repeating crossbows existed.  They have less range, but are effective enough up close.  

The discussion going on here really is good though and I agree with the OP.  Putting weapons in the unusable category is problematic.  

Firstly, on the level of training required... put crossbows in the simple category and all bows into the martial category.
Secondly,  a serious paragraph should be dedicated to the size problems of a longbow.  If you are in a 6ft tall tunnel, good luck using a longbow.  Shortbows you can use pretty much anywhere.  Longbows are big enough that the top of the bow will touch a 9ft cieling when its being fired by an average standing human.

 
If you want to build a crossbow that acts as a pistol by firing repeated shots then you could do that but it isn't realistic.



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repeating_crossbow

"Actually exists" seems pretty damn "realistic" to me.


It is actually far weaker than the standard variety.  I guess you could sacrifice power for frequency.
2e solved this problem with weapon speeds and allowing bows to fire twice per round.  


Allowing one weapon to fire twice per round causes massive problems in terms of mathematical balance. It doesn't solve anything. It creates the same problem the original poster is complaining about. 

Anyway, there is a massive problem right now. There is no good reason to use a crossbow. They do need to fix that. I don't want them to get rid of the loading property though. I would rather crossbows also get some sort of other property to offset the loading property: a damage bonus, a bonus to hit, maybe an exploding die, whatever...

EDIT: Actually, there is a way that two attacks per round could work in the next packet given the change to WDD talked about in the L&L articles. Allow characters who wield shortbows to effectivly" dual wield," mechanically speaking, shots. Call that "rapid shot." Give rapid shot to shortbows. Use whatever balancing factors normally apply to dual wielding to shortbows. With a feat a character should be able to do the same with a longbow.
The advantages to crossbows are that they are easier to use by untrained soldiers and they can remain loaded practically indefinitely.  They are strung at a much higher tension than longbows but the shorter strings and lighter bolts make the damage levels roughly equivalent.

Crossbows are actually ideal weapons for non-combat types or melee types who want a temporary ranged weapon when needed.

For people who want to have the crossbow fire at the same rate as a longbow, it seems unjustified.

I could argue that I want a whip that does as much damage as a longbow with a similar range as well.  In a fantasy world there are certainly magical opportunities for a whip to have very long range as well.  The falling Balrog in the Lord of the Rings seemed to grab Gandalf with the whip several seconds after disappearing into the darkness.

Perhaps some melee type fighters would find that the ease of a crossbow would justify using it.  If they were specialized in melee combat, they might not have been sufficiently trained to use a bow with the same efficiency as a crossbow.  They may want to fire once and then attack with an axe.
The advantages to crossbows are that they are easier to use by untrained soldiers and they can remain loaded practically indefinitely.  They are strung at a much higher tension than longbows but the shorter strings and lighter bolts make the damage levels roughly equivalent.

Crossbows are actually ideal weapons for non-combat types or melee types who want a temporary ranged weapon when needed.

For people who want to have the crossbow fire at the same rate as a longbow, it seems unjustified.

I could argue that I want a whip that does as much damage as a longbow with a similar range as well.  In a fantasy world there are certainly magical opportunities for a whip to have very long range as well.  The falling Balrog in the Lord of the Rings seemed to grab Gandalf with the whip several seconds after disappearing into the darkness.

Perhaps some melee type fighters would find that the ease of a crossbow would justify using it.  If they were specialized in melee combat, they might not have been sufficiently trained to use a bow with the same efficiency as a crossbow.  They may want to fire once and then attack with an axe.




Damage is abstract. It doesn't have to represent increased ftlb. It can also represent the fact that it is easier to aim a crossbow. Anyway, unless some mechanic makes them appealing for some reason or other, no fighter type will ever choose to use a crossbow. They get training in all simple and martial weapons. There has to be a mechanical incentive to use the crossbow. But, I agree with the principle behind your words. 

2e solved this problem with weapon speeds and allowing bows to fire twice per round.  




here here, i think this makes way too much logical sense so it will get shot down by modern era dnd players as getting in the way of "fun"

It doesn't get in the way of fun, but it also doesn't solve the actual issue at hand, which is that if you offer two similar choices and one is dramatically better than the other then few people will want to take the inferior choice - and those who elect to take the inferior choice for style reasons are penalized mechanically for their aesthetic preferences.

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I've said before that the loading mechanic is a silly punishment, and this is why:

A single attack roll doesn't represnt a single action.  You roll your attack to see if you hit, but your character isn't just standing there and taking one swing or one shot.  When you shoot a bow, you're firing 3, 4, or 5 shots as you home in on your target and eventually either hit or miss it.  When you fire a crossbow, you're loading and firing once, maybe twice.  And with a gun (assuming flintlock level of technology), you're loading and firing just once.

That's why a gun and a bow can have the same damage dice and both make attacks each round, because the damage dice from the gun can represent a single hit while the dice for the longbow could be representing the net results of 3+ shots.

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.

 

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I've said before that the loading mechanic is a silly punishment, and this is why:

A single attack roll doesn't represnt a single action.  You roll your attack to see if you hit, but your character isn't just standing there and taking one swing or one shot.  When you shoot a bow, you're firing 3, 4, or 5 shots as you home in on your target and eventually either hit or miss it.  When you fire a crossbow, you're loading and firing once, maybe twice.  And with a gun (assuming flintlock level of technology), you're loading and firing just once.

That's why a gun and a bow can have the same damage dice and both make attacks each round, because the damage dice from the gun can represent a single hit while the dice for the longbow could be representing the net results of 3+ shots.


At some level attacks in D&D are not complete abstractions however.  Otherwise monsters would not need multiple attacks.  Two weaponed combat would not need multiple attacks either.
I've said before that the loading mechanic is a silly punishment, and this is why:

A single attack roll doesn't represnt a single action.  You roll your attack to see if you hit, but your character isn't just standing there and taking one swing or one shot.  When you shoot a bow, you're firing 3, 4, or 5 shots as you home in on your target and eventually either hit or miss it.  When you fire a crossbow, you're loading and firing once, maybe twice.  And with a gun (assuming flintlock level of technology), you're loading and firing just once.

That's why a gun and a bow can have the same damage dice and both make attacks each round, because the damage dice from the gun can represent a single hit while the dice for the longbow could be representing the net results of 3+ shots.


At some level attacks in D&D are not complete abstractions however.  Otherwise monsters would not need multiple attacks.  Two weaponed combat would not need multiple attacks either.


Technically, they don't need to be separate attacks.  The only time it makes sense to make them separate attacks is if they have different targets.  The only thing that is accomplished by requiring more than one attack is making the additional damage conditional.  Multiple attacks against a single target can be made as a single attack roll, you would just need to combine all the damage and then slightly reduce it to achieve the same ends.

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.

I've said before that the loading mechanic is a silly punishment, and this is why:

A single attack roll doesn't represnt a single action.  You roll your attack to see if you hit, but your character isn't just standing there and taking one swing or one shot.  When you shoot a bow, you're firing 3, 4, or 5 shots as you home in on your target and eventually either hit or miss it.  When you fire a crossbow, you're loading and firing once, maybe twice.  And with a gun (assuming flintlock level of technology), you're loading and firing just once.

That's why a gun and a bow can have the same damage dice and both make attacks each round, because the damage dice from the gun can represent a single hit while the dice for the longbow could be representing the net results of 3+ shots.


At some level attacks in D&D are not complete abstractions however.  Otherwise monsters would not need multiple attacks.  Two weaponed combat would not need multiple attacks either.

Multiple attacks represent an increase in opportunities to damage your foes.

Weapons have a random factor, so you can have different damage even if you made the same roll to hit. Attack+damage is an abstraction like HPs.

But where I agree is that two-weapon fighting or multiple attacks could just improve damage, not require additional attack rolls, and add an option to divide damage between foes within reach. It would be easier to handle modifiers.

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I think, logistically, it makes plenty of sense. Martial weapons require training, simple weapons do not. Most classes get simple traning, most classes do not get martial training. Martial training should be a key feature of a class, allowing the use of better weapons. But if you make the crossbow balanced with a bow, then how are they any different? How does a bow being a martial weapon make it better than the simple crossbow?

If you take every simple weapon and say "Why is it not very good? We should make it just as good as others", then you destroy the difference in classification. Simple weapons are meant to be lower quality weapons, that is their purpose.
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I think, logistically, it makes plenty of sense. Martial weapons require training, simple weapons do not. Most classes get simple traning, most classes do not get martial training. Martial training should be a key feature of a class, allowing the use of better weapons. But if you make the crossbow balanced with a bow, then how are they any different? How does a bow being a martial weapon make it better than the simple crossbow?

If you take every simple weapon and say "Why is it not very good? We should make it just as good as others", then you destroy the difference in classification. Simple weapons are meant to be lower quality weapons, that is their purpose.


The problem with that is that lower quality weapons don't get used unless you force people to.  And, at that point, not only are you telling people how to play, you're imposing a feat-eating concept tax on them to boot.

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.

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