Bows and Bow combat in 4E need to reflect the most recent modeling from Stortford

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http://www.stortford-archers.org.uk/medieval.htm

When you're talking a pull from 110-180 lbs. You need to have a lot of strength to work a bow. Close throwing is an agility skill like knife throwing. Bows are a strength skill in the real world.
I thought in 3e str penalties apply to damage with bows, and a mighty bow allowed str bonuses to apply as well. (I don't recall strength applying to to-hit rolls) You're saying it should apply to to-hit rolls, right?
Bows are a strength skill in the real world.

D&D isn't the real world, so this is irrelevant.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Yes, that's why you (can) get your str to damage, but it's still a ranged weapon, and precision is still what determines your to hit bonus.
http://www.stortford-archers.org.uk/medieval.htm

When you're talking a pull from 110-180 lbs. You need to have a lot of strength to work a bow. Close throwing is an agility skill like knife throwing. Bows are a strength skill in the real world.

That has more to do with a variable range increment (non-existent to simplify things) and the power of the shot once it hits (available as a mighty composite bow). Assuming you have a bow of the proper pull weight, your dexterity is what matters in hitting something. Having higher strength just lets you use a heavier bow (see above).

Also, your article has a very one-sided take on the battle of Agincourt, but that really has nothing to do with how bows work anyway.
D&D isn't the real world, so this is irrelevant.

Yes and No. Some DM's like physics to apply at least. But I think its already covered in Strength penalties applying to damage, but then again, having the weapon's range increments (or equidistants) be based on the user's strength would not hurt the game, IMO.
Close throwing surely is an agility skill, but if I was on the receiving end of such a throw, I'd much rather it come from a 5-year old child than a full grown man who wound up his arm and chucked a knife at me at 100+ miles an hour. Agility skill yes, but strength modifiers certainly apply to doing something other than just simply hitting a target when the goal is not just to hit the target, but to penetrate armor most likely as well.

Bows are meant to penetrate armor, as is any weapon, and certainly the strength of the pull has much to do with the force generated by the bow itself for the purpose of being able to penetrate said armor at range. The D&D system is simply not set up correctly to make use of this the best effect. If the armor system prevented damage rather than prevented hitting in the first place, it would be easier to work out. For example, it isn't any more difficult to hit an armored target than it is an unarmored one- it’s just harder to actually damage an armored target. The D&D armor system doesn't do a very good job of reflecting this. Armor giving a DR rating would solve the issue easily enough. Powerful bows might then be made to ignore a certain amount of DR at close range, thereby representing their(and other weapons’) armor piercing power better.

That would involve a simple, but total reworking of the game mechanics however. It would be more realisitc though.
http://www.stortford-archers.org.uk/medieval.htm

When you're talking a pull from 110-180 lbs. You need to have a lot of strength to work a bow. Close throwing is an agility skill like knife throwing. Bows are a strength skill in the real world.

That would make Ogres much better archers than Elves. Funily, some other people advocate that Dex should be used to hit in melee, also based in real wolrd combat physics. And that would make elves much better at melee than ogres.

D&D is not the real world. Game balance, playability and fun is way more important that matching real world physics.
Game balance, playability and fun is way more important that matching real world physics.

Fun increases with a more reasonable combat model. The game could be balanced around such a standard.
http://www.stortford-archers.org.uk/medieval.htm

When you're talking a pull from 110-180 lbs. You need to have a lot of strength to work a bow. Close throwing is an agility skill like knife throwing. Bows are a strength skill in the real world.

Remember that DnD is generally talking about a single archer firing a precisely aimed arrow. A troop of archers lobbing a volley into an onrushing cavalry charge isn't "aiming" as precisely.

I would agree with the idea that strength is a prerequisite for doing particular amounts of damage, but I don't know if its worth the trouble that might cause from a mechanics point of view.
Fun increases with a more reasonable combat model. The game could be balanced around such a standard.

Imo fun has much more to do with playability than with realism.
So I think Cebrion is totally onto the right track. And the benefit of following his direction is that real world resemblance of the combat model would make it easier to both follow, use, and teach to others. It's the non-intuitive stuff that becomes a barrier to spreading the game.

The D&D combat system is sort of random in how it deals with things. Armor as in the real world should be designed to prevent damage rather than to "avoid hits". I fully believe that D&D where possible should have a very solid math/physics underlay which gets compressed for everyday use. As the questions get more involved a DM should be able to go to the new online resources to work through more detailed models and the commentary on them. Further, research by people in history, physics, chemistry, material science, and mathematics can suddenly become useful resources to game play! This provides a virtuous cycle to those who learn and contribute to the development of these details as they have relevance and application outside D&D. We are all richer for use of them.

Mike Mearlis in his blog post really touched on this. Implying maybe some of these rules are under consideration.

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=906391

[INDENT]In non-D&D related news, I played BattleTech this weekend for the first time in maybe 13 years. It reminded me why I like the game so much. To me, the best games are ones that evoke a specific feel. When I play BattleTech, I really feel like a 'mech commander, worrying about the holes in my armor, managing my 'mech's heat load, coordinating fire with my lance mates to take down an enemy 'mech.

I think this sense of immersive gaming is critical to D&D. It's not the only reason why people play D&D, but I think it's a huge one. One of the goals I have for this development pass is to pay attention to the soul of the game, to make sure that any given part of the game feels right. If you play a halfling, you should feel like a tricky, agile little guy bouncing around the battlefield, dancing just out of reach of the orc's scimitar. The dwarf should shrug off attacks that would drop a twee little elf, while the elf is the first guy you want along when you go marching into the woods. Obviously, the classes fall into the same category. A ranger should feel like a ranger, a wizard should feel like a fighter.

That last bit was a complete brain fart, but I'll keep it in there to check to see if anyone is paying attention. Cue rampant rumors that wizards are becoming fighters in 4e.

Anyway, that sense of immersion is the hardest thing to get right in a game, especially a tabletop one. In some ways, immersion asks for slightly inefficient mechanics. Absolute speed in mechanics is easy to attain (roll a die; if it's a six, you win. Otherwise, you lose. Voila, one of the fastest games ever designed), but mechanics that are just the right speed, that do just the right job of evoking whatever it is that the designer is after, those are incredibly difficult.

A good, slow mechanic is a short stop to admire the view. An ugly slow mechanic makes you wish you had moved along to greener pastures.

So, despite that fact that the game is nearing 25 years old without significant rules changes, I still love BattleTech. It might take a moment to track heat, mark off damage to specific hit locations, and track critical hit tables, but in the end those are the elements that make me feel like I'm piloting a 55 ton war machine on a distant planet."[/INDENT]

So clearly full armor damage management is not in the cards for the D&D feel. And yet some type of more realistic approach to armor would do wonders for making game play more immediately understandable for someone not versed in the traditional lore of the game.

D&D is fundamentally an abilities based game. You start with your rolled abilities and then you improve them with experience in various classes, magic and equipment, and now in 4E- via racial development.

I think as D&D remains ability centric, any model that uses those abilities in a more realistic way is all for the good. Also it's not clear to me that the 6 traditional abilities are the end all in describing the attributes of a character.

Since 4E has opened the modeling door somewhat, let's open it all the way and make sure that the models of the underlying sections of the game really work well.

D&D right now is really two mini-games combined. It's a close combat game, and it's a skill/dice roll based story telling game. Each of these mini games need to have a sound mathematical/physical model underlying them. That doesn't seem to be the case with 3.5 and earlier. Tho 3rd edition was a vast improvement.
D&D is not the real world. Game balance, playability and fun is way more important that matching real world physics.

You win the thread.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Imo fun has much more to do with playability than with realism.

You win the thread.

Now, with all the ego stroking done, I'll point out something important:

D&D requires a huge suspension of disbelief, and if the realism of some mechanics can be improved without increasing difficulty in using them, those avenues should be explored... if at the very least, to help in that suspension of disbelief.
The thing that killed the French army at Agincourt was NOT the superior firepower of the bow.

It was the MUD that made the french unable to advance with their charge. If it had been a dry fight the English would have been destroyed by the cavalary charge. So the true winning force for the English was not the Bowman, but the weather.
It also bears mentioning that battlefield archery is more geared toward getting your arrow into a mass of enemies a considerable distance away; it's not quite the same as aiming for an individual target. D&D characters are always lining up on a particular target, which makes the Dexterity involvement pretty logical.

And I still come down on the side of making the system balanced and playable. When DM's get too persnickety about real-world physics, they end up hosing certain characters that specialize in a certain thing (usually the fighter types, since anyone who's had 6 months of Tae kwon do or played around in the SCA is a certified expert in hand-to-hand combat).
Now, with all the ego stroking done, I'll point out something important:

D&D requires a huge suspension of disbelief, and if the realism of some mechanics can be improved without increasing difficulty in using them, those avenues should be explored... if at the very least, to help in that suspension of disbelief.

Realism COULD help fun. Not as much as being so close to the real world, but to being close to logic and make sense-ism. Versimilitude.
Realism COULD help fun. Not as much as being so close to the real world, but to being close to logic and make sense-ism. Versimilitude.

If a system could be completelly realistic without being cumbersome and unfun, it will be greatly appreciated. Problem is that rules are like a blanket too short. If you cover your head, you get your feet cold. You have to give up something sometimes, and playability is more important than realism. That does not mean the game should not have any ressemblance of realism, it should be as realistic as possible *without* being umplayable
With the way arrows are used by PCs in combat, Dex to hit, Strength for damage and shorter range than 3.x probably makes the most sense.

On top of that there could be a special rule for Volleys of Arrows, but since that sort of thing is rare in most D&D games, they could be set aside for a book about mass combat/warfare


My biggest point is don't make the game harder to play. So if said explored avenues show to be more cumbersome, ditch them, but at least take a look.
I have to agree that it's worth a look.

Any chance we could get a D&D insider article on this, rather than say cosmology which is not as much of interest. Or perhaps be invited to a play test round in our regions? Hint. Hint.
So clearly full armor damage management is not in the cards for the D&D feel. And yet some type of more realistic approach to armor would do wonders for making game play more immediately understandable for someone not versed in the traditional lore of the game.

You know, 1st ed and 2nd ed both had rules that incorporated a comparison of weapon type vs armor to arrive at AC. The damage reduction system is basically a refinement of these earlier rules. Having played under the earlier additions, I'd rather go for something more simple, versus something more realistic, and save the realism for straight-up wargaming.
Fun increases with a more reasonable combat model. The game could be balanced around such a standard.

The RPG game Riddle of Steel was extremely balanced and had a super-accurate combat model.

And was absolutely no fun at all to play.

My experience would indicate that movies, literature and roleplaying games are more fun when they stick to their inaccurate-but-exciting skew of physics.
The thing that killed the French army at Agincourt was NOT the superior firepower of the bow.

It was the MUD that made the french unable to advance with their charge. If it had been a dry fight the English would have been destroyed by the cavalary charge. So the true winning force for the English was not the Bowman, but the weather.

Not that I am any sort of expert in this battle, but wouldn't the mud and the longbow have to go hand-in-hand in order to produce the win? Without archers, the English couldn't have taken advantage of the terrain, without the terrain issues, the enemy could have cut the advantage of the bows.
The RPG game Riddle of Steel was extremely balanced and had a super-accurate combat model.

Meh. I was underwhelmed by the Riddle of Steel. While the combat model is more realistic than D&D, I have plenty of complaints. Shock and pain, two key parts of the system, are both very dubious.

And was absolutely no fun at all to play.

I haven't tried a game of TROS, so I can neither agree nor disagree. However, I know that using somewhat more reasonable homebrew rules significantly increased my enjoyment of D&D.
Not that I am any sort of expert in this battle, but wouldn't the mud and the longbow have to go hand-in-hand in order to produce the win? Without archers, the English couldn't have taken advantage of the terrain, without the terrain issues, the enemy could have cut the advantage of the bows.

Historically speaking, the english used (welsh...) longobowmen to decimate the chivalry, then proceeded to coup the grace them. The battlefield was a giant swamp of mud, blood and dead horses, and the knights have huge disventages when fighting as infantry, specially in a mud swamp.

Also, Edward used three bombards against french (actually genovese) crossbowmen, something not very ussual (bombards were used against castles and keeps, not against troops normally by that time).

The french general being a complete and absolut incompetent also helped.

As most big defeats, it iss a combiantion of things what caused such massacre.
(in D&D terms... it is hard to fight when you are, at most, a lvl 4 fighter with a full plate and you have to roll Balance each round to be able to attack, with a total *negative* skill in balance :P)