Crossbows, Bows, and Simplicity

One thing that keeps being perpetuated is this nonsense that a Shortbow is a simpler weapon than a hand or heavy crossbow, and that the Longbow deals more damage than the Shortbow. 

Bows, by definition, are more complex and more difficult to use than crossbows.  The Shortbow has NO BUSINESS being a simple weapon, and none of the crossbows have any business being martial weapons. 

Crossbows are also weaker and less accurate than bows by definition.  Crossbows are essentially primitive guns.  They are less accurate and less able to pierce armour, but anyone can use them.  Bows, on the other hand, are incredibly accurate and powerful weapons, regardless of size, but they take years, if not generations of training.  There's an old agage, "if you want to train an archer, start with his grandfather."  Crossbows and guns were revolutionary because anyone could use them, even if they were less effective weapons in the hands of a master user. 

I understand the desire to give shortbows to Rogues (Robin Hoods and other bow-using thieves and scouts and scoundrels), but shouldn't an exception rule be thrown in in that case, rather than by definition?  Similarly, the hand and heavy crossbows should be simple weapons.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Yes Crossbows where indeed Simple weapons. No real proficiency was required and that's why actually Crossbowmen where the cheepest soldiers in battlefields. Crossbows though and especially the heavy one (Arbalest), was deadly. It could penetrate or break bones of the ribs quite easily resulting in the death of many knights by the hands of untrained soldiers. Longbows had and equivalent penetrate ability at their close range (and their close range was far better than that of the crossbows) . But since there are no penetrate traits, or Armour DR etc rules. It's completly insignificant to talk about it. 

Actually if you are asking me, the whole thing about giving in missile weapons 1D' type of damage, well it's...unfair by all means. There is no real thing "glancing-arrow/bolt/bullet in your chest"... so the range 1-10 or 1-8 it's not fair. Missiles should be painful... 2D'type at least with heavy crossbow reaching 3D'type (heavy Quarrels & 2-rounds of Loading choice) and Longbow being 2D'type (plus Str bonuses and choice of Bodkin arrows that have d6 & ability on 6 roll again for cumulative damage). 
My setup for bows & crossbows:

Shortbow: 1d6 damage, Martial Weapon
Longbow: 1d8 damage, Martial Weapon, Heavy
Light Crossbow: 1d10 damage, Simple Weapon, Loading (Requires an Action)
Heavy Crossbow: 1d12 Damage, Simple Weapon, Heavy, Loading (Requires an Action)

Crossbows requiring Loading as an Action would average them to 1d5 and 1d6 damage per round, making them weaker than Bows, which are Martial. The use of Heavy for Longbow and Heavy Crossbow would give them a level of separation (the weaker only being used by small characters or those of limited proficiency). Of course, I'm also a fan of Rapid Reload as a Feat (higher than 1st Level requirement, but brings Loading back to the current Loading rules) to allow a Crossbowman Fighter to be a viable archetype.
Crossbows and Longbows of equal strength had roughly comparable penetration. A steel-tipped bolt or arrow fired under 80lbs at 50 meters will both penetrate plate armor. Crossbows had a smaller cast and rate of fire than longbows but were less physically taxing and easier to train soldiers to use. I think you're confusing bows used in war with the bows presented in the Equipment pdf; those are probably 50lb draw bows. A 100lb bow would require a strength score attached to it in order to be used and would have another 300ft added to its max range along with a step or two in damage, think 3e's composite bows.

The crossbows deal appropriate damage and are placed approprately, as is the short bow. The crossbows deal more damage because they have heavier draws. Short bows are easy to use and heavier crossbows require training to load propperly with any form of speed. Really what it needs 

Here's my ideal crossbow format and other "loading" weapons like siege weapons down the road.

Reload X (trait) - This weapon requires you reload it between every shot. In order reload the weapon, it costs X feet of movement on your turn. If you do not have enough movement remaining, on your next turn you can finish reloading by spending the remaining movement before taking any other movement or actions. You must have a free hand to reload.

Light crossbows have Reload 5, Hand Crossbows Reload 0, Heavy Crossbows Reload 10, Arbalests Reload 20. I would give the property to bows as well but with lesser reload times, Shortbow 0, Longbow 5, War Bow 10. 

This would create a dynamic between mobility and firepower as well as being realistic given heavier crossbows must be rested on the ground in order to be reloaded, inhibiting movement. Just my preference.
Weight has little to do with it.  A shortbow is far more difficult to train someone to use than ANY crossbow.  The shortbow is not roughly equivalent in simplicity to a sling, club, or quarterstaff.  It should not be a simple weapon, and the hand and heavy crossbows should not be martial weapons.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Being an archery instructor, I can tell you that bows really are not all that complicated. Most of my students are 14-17 and those that have the upper body strength to handle my range's bows far exceded the performance of those that are not as strong. All of them however, are more than capable to demonstrate proper bow techniques within two to three lessons. They are also fairly accurate within the standard range of the bows as well within that timeframe, about 65 feet on a 30lb bow. Again, those who had better upper-body performing better than those who did not. When using a bow of proper draw and with patience, bows are realatively easy to use. Bows are simple weapons, there is a reason they have existed for a long time in our history. I have a crossbow on my range, and it is very rare that anyone properly loads it on their first several tries, with instruction, where as most can properly shoot a bow with minimal instruction, only their release really requires repeated instruction.

Is a katana or greatsword any more complicated than a quarterstaff? Is a club and a longsword? Martial and Simple exists to keep stronger weapons seperate from the weaker ones to create a division between weapon focused classes and other classes. If you're getting so upset then get rid of the distinction. but it's there so that not every character has access to the mathmatically superior weapon choices.
And in other realism news...plate armor was hand crafted for a specific wearer.  So finding plate armor should never, ever fit one of the player characters.

Also, if for some reason I do get plate armor, how am I supposed to "answer nature's call" without a squire to help me get my armor off? 
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
 it's there so that not every character has access to the mathmatically superior weapon choices.



This is the real problem.  I would prefer that damage be independent from weapon choice, so that there isn't ever a "best" weapon type.

"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
 it's there so that not every character has access to the mathmatically superior weapon choices.



This is the real problem.  I would prefer that damage be independent from weapon choice, so that there isn't ever a "best" weapon type.





Sorry, don't understand what you mean...do you think that every weapon should have the same damage?

Wouldn't be this a bit confusing in the end?

I'm talking about people acquainted with the mechanic of all previous iteration of D&D...we are used to have different damage for different weapons...and then having all "levelled" could be...well I think that "frustrating" could be the correct word
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OP is approaching the issue from a realism standpoint, not a gameplay standpoint. Some realism is useful, but gameplay should take precedence over realism.

If shortbows and longbows did the same damage and had no other differences, they might as well just be lumped into a weapon called the "bow." Instead, we have a simple bow and a martial bow. They are identical except for an increase in damage die and range.

Crossbows do more damage than bows because they are limited by the "loading" property.

That's really all that needs to be said. Debating about which weapon is actually better in real life is pointless.
 it's there so that not every character has access to the mathmatically superior weapon choices.



This is the real problem.  I would prefer that damage be independent from weapon choice, so that there isn't ever a "best" weapon type.





Sorry, don't understand what you mean...do you think that every weapon should have the same damage?

Wouldn't be this a bit confusing in the end?

I'm talking about people acquainted with the mechanic of all previous iteration of D&D...we are used to have different damage for different weapons...and then having all "levelled" could be...well I think that "frustrating" could be the correct word
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Yeah, actually I did mean that.  I've just started playing around with the Dungeon World system, and one of the things I really like about it is that your damage die is based on your class, not the weapon you are holding.  Different weapons then have different dis/advantages, but not in the amount of damage they do.  (For the most part, that is...)

What that means is that you can pick your weapon based on how you envision your character, not on how to minmax the damage.  If I want to minmax I'll go back to playing WoW and reading EJ forums.

"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk

Bows, by definition, are more complex and more difficult to use than crossbows.

Crossbows are also weaker and less accurate than bows by definition.

I'm not sure that you are correctly using the word "definition" in this context. A crossbow has more moving parts than a regular bow, for one, so it's easy to say that the crossbow is more complex. Likewise, this translates into fewer steps required to fire a regular bow (pull back and load, fire) than a crossbow (pull back, load, set, fire), so the bow is not necessarily more difficult to use.

Bows are more accurate than crossbows if the wielder has enough skill, but crossbows hit harder than bows if you have sufficient technology - more complex machines benefit more from technology. Given the number of undeclared variables involved with this, we only need to track the broadest differences between them - crossbows are slower to ready - and the rest can be handled with whatever makes for a better game.

The metagame is not the game.

Yeah, actually I did mean that.  I've just started playing around with the Dungeon World system, and one of the things I really like about it is that your damage die is based on your class, not the weapon you are holding.  Different weapons then have different dis/advantages, but not in the amount of damage they do.  (For the most part, that is...)

What that means is that you can pick your weapon based on how you envision your character, not on how to minmax the damage.  If I want to minmax I'll go back to playing WoW and reading EJ forums.




Okay so how would we make this look?

Fighter, Monk, and Barbarian deal a base 1d8. TWF decreases a step 1d6/1d6 and the feat brings one die up a step to 1d8/1d6. A regular two-hander deals 1 step more, 1d10. 

Clerics and Rogues deal d4/d4, d6, d8

Rangers and Paladins are in between the two, it really comes down to how their spells are, I'm leaning towards the Martial Weapon damages and Clerics would be able to move up a die set via diety selection.

Wizards and Druids are d4/d4 (no ability modifiers), d4, d6

Heavy weapons increase one die size, reach weapons decrease one die.

Polearms grant advantage to knockdowns/trip, swords to disarm, axes to sundering and hammers to something. Different damage types are of course for different resistances.

Double weapons outside of the Urgosh wouldn't need changing and the Urgosh is a trade off as one side increases die as the other decreases. 

Different ranged weapons would use different speed penalties like the Reloading property I posted before to modify die size, range, and mobility.

I could actually see something like this working nicely and may need to try it out.
Yeap it works nice...try it out. Just prepare you mates for the bigger change in history of D&D...."all weapons aren't the same"!!!
 "Their dmg die...roll isn't the only important thing". It's potentially very nice though...you will see...your fighter changing to mace to smash a chainmail guy, to axe to break a 'shield guy', to a non-Heavy weapon to fight in close-quarters....etc.

But they will need a couple of weeks to accumulate...this "new" knowledge. Actually so much time is needed because other things...do not help towards that way...like a GameofThrones series...or Hollywood. No one notices a knight fighting with a mace...in hollywood it's not cool. No one actually notices that a dagger is deadly, and the only weapon one can use during a grapple, and the best?...and actually when one does so...he is pain in the..you know....but no one cares actually! Dagger forever will be just 1D4. And it's not cool! 
Dungeon World goes even farther than that.  Fighter/Paladin do d10, Ranger/Thief do d8, Cleric/Bard do d6, Wizard does d4.  Doesn't matter what weapon you're holding, ranged, 1H, 2H, dual-wielding.

Then various weapons give you different advantages/disadvantages.  Big 2H weapons, for example, have a chance to knock your opponent down or back.

Oh, and dragons have 16 hp.
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
Aerodyth's post reminds me of 13th Age's class-based weapon dice. You do a certain amount of damage based on 1H vs. 2H or whatever, but the actual weapon is a complete flavor choice. I don't really like the simplicity (give me an equipment table) but I appreciate the elegance.
Aerodyth's post reminds me of 13th Age's class-based weapon dice. You do a certain amount of damage based on 1H vs. 2H or whatever, but the actual weapon is a complete flavor choice. I don't really like the simplicity (give me an equipment table) but I appreciate the elegance.



But the 'table' could be of other variables, such as damage type (piercing, slashing, etc.), advantages/disadvantages, etc.  I'd like to see weapons have bonuses or penalties to initiative.  Or let some (e.g. short sword & long sword) be used for two different damage types, at the players choice, to make them more versatile in certain fights.

As it is, the weapon table is mostly about damage.  Sure, some weapons have pros and cons, but most people just look for whichever one they can use that causes the most damage.
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk