Monday, February 17, 2014

Heavier Crossbows in my DF Game

So you may have seen these in "action" in my most recent hireling post - my house ruled crossbow weights. GURPS Low-Tech covers crossbows in greater detail than this post does - you have rated strength and materials and a variety of implements to use with or to span crossbows. I wanted something simpler, so I updated a size/cost differential from my old GURPS game to the heroic scale of my DF game. If you want realism, go to Low-Tech. If you want heavier crossbows, with simple numbers picked out of the air that feel okay, this is for you.

First, use only the crossbows on the weapon chart in Basic Set. The rules below replace those in Low-Tech, and are not compatible. Combining them with get extremely odd effects.

Crossbows are available in four broad draw strengths:

Light Crossbow: ST less than 10, normal cost, 2/3 weight ($150, 4 lbs)

Crossbow: ST 10-18, normal cost and weight ($150, 6 lbs)

Heavy Crossbow: ST 19-28, +1 CF and +50% weight ($300, 9 lbs)

Siege Crossbow: ST 29+, +3 CF and double weight ($600, 12 lbs)

All of these are changes to the base cost and weight.

Available accessories include those in DF1 (crossbow sling, brace, sight), Basic Set (goat's foot), and the stirrup and cranequin (from Low-Tech p. 79). No other accessories are available, regardless of TL.

New Prefixes
Composite Crossbow - A crossbow made out of lames of different materials for a better bow. +1 damage, +5x to half damage and max range. +9 CF. (Makes a normal crossbow $1500 but thr+5, x25/x30)

Steel Crossbow - A crossbow made out of metal instead of wood. +1 damage, +4 CF, +50% weight. Cannot be combined with Composite. (Makes a normal crossbow $750, 9 lbs. but thr+5)


Notes:

Light crossbows cost and weigh as much as pistol crossbows? - Yes, but they require two hands, yet have better accuracy. It's a tradeoff.

What's the Max ST of a crossbow? - I cap them at ST 40, which is 4d+1, because beyond that I think it's overlapping siege weaponry too much. I just say you've reached the limits of materials and size before you need a mount and a much larger bow, making it impractical for hand-held use.

Does this apply to prodds? - Yes.

So the most I could get is . . . - A ST 40 siege crossbow, made of metal, for $1,200 and 18 lbs. doing 4d+6 impale or 4d+6(2) pi, or more with Fine bolts and Puissance, or a ST 40 composite siege crossbow for $1,950 and 12 lbs, doing 4d+6 impale or 4d+6(2) pi, half damage range of 1000 yards!*

Enjoy.

* I did a guy just outside Felltower, once, at about 1,000 yards . . .

37 comments:

  1. *kisses the ST 40 composite siege crossbow passionately*
    What do you need to actual use something like this? I mean, any ST requirement to load it or a simple cranequin/windlass will do the trick?
    Not 100% clear on how that works in GURPS.

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    1. The best windlass/cranequin can triple your effective ST, so a ST 14 is needed for that monster.

      Takes 36 seconds (windlass) or 72 seconds (cranequin) to do the deed, though, so they tend to be fire and forget weapons in most combats - but one hell of a one-shot weapon.

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    2. So what you're telling me is:
      - 1 pre-loaded ST 40 composite siege crossbow on the PC for first shot.
      - 1 repeating crossbow after the first shot.
      - 1 henchman, Pavise carrier, that, once the Pavise is placed, takes care of reloading on the Siege Crossbow for the PC.

      I dig it :)

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    3. Sure, that could work, although I'll note that "repeating crossbow" isn't in Basic Set, it's only in Low-Tech. ;)
      I'd probably allow one, but you'd need one light enough to fire every turn, so it's equal to your ST, max, and does fairly low damage - less than a bow.

      Meanwhile, you'd also need a pavise, a henchman with ST 14, a maximum strength cranequin, and the willingness to have all of this go on while the Scout fires two arrows a turn every turn while running full speed. ;)

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    4. Bah, damn them Legalasses; bows are way over-powered in GURPS! ;)

      Bow skill should be DEX/Hard anyway, there's a reason why crossbows dominated the field once they got the hang of it: easier to use and way less physical strength required for the same potential. That way, a crossbowmen would have less to invest for the same skill rank, which allows for more versatility.

      *grumbles and goes back to D&D Next, then loads of his orcs with Heavy Crossbows*

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    5. Don't be surprised if you see Galoob with one of those Str 40 crossbows once he's got some better Basic Lift and a few thousand more dollars. Oh, and that perk that lets you poison after a hit...

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    6. Heh. DX/Hard just means Galen's fight-dominating Bow-25 would be a mere Bow-24 for the same points. There is a Heroic Archer variant for Crossbows in GURPS Martial Arts: Yrth Fighting Arts, though, which speeds them up a bit. They could use a bit more beefing up, though, to make "crossbow shooter" a real option once you add Legolasses. :)

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    7. Actually, what you really want is about 20 ST 40 crossbows, and a hireling to carry them for you. Or is that caddy them for you?

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    8. Alright, time for the Magi-X-Bow Specialist!

      - ST40 Siege Crossbow with "Dancing Object" enchantment (ready it when not ready). Shoot once and let the magic do it's thing, then just place a bolt and you're good to go!
      - ST40 Siege Crossbow, and you cast "Reshape" on the Bow part, making it ultra easy to bend, therefore reload! Then you reload, probably just 1 turn, or maybe 2, then you cancel the spell! Probably a low chance to break as the pressure suddenly comes back, but could be interesting. :)

      When GURPS doesn't come to you, you come to GURPS! :)

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    9. Ha, I like the caddy idea. And to be able to carry it they'd have to be strong enough to draw them as well, so that works out.

      Muton Z., though, I really like that Dancing Object idea! If the weapon readies itself that means that Galoob wouldn't need to waste carrying capacity on silly things like a crannequin or a goat's foot. It also means he wouldn't have to bother Vryce to help him set it.

      What do you say, Peter? Should I put this on my wishlist for quite a bit down the line? ;)

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    10. How hard is it to make a ST Lots (40-80?) air golem? For reloading?

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    11. Dancing Object will cost $8500, and you'd need to cast Reshape every time, and even then it's iffy that it'll work for reducing the reloading draw strength of the crossbow. I'd rule that if you "reshape" it back into a drawn state, that's its new normal state, so it wouldn't fire - otherwise Reshape is only a temporary change and everything snaps back.

      Without that, it can load itself but needs a cranequin, or you need to get D.O. cast at Power 40, which is only, what, +25 skill and therefore something like +23x enchantment cost . . .

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    12. The air golem bit sounds like good wish material. Or just "I wish I could reload my crossbow in a second!"

      I didn't think the 8.5k was too bad until I got to the +23k enchantment cost. That does sound a bit prohibitive. I will have to look up the cranequin rules, maybe there is a decent breakpoint saving money on the enchantment and maybe having the cranequin not take quite as long as it would for ST 15. Perhaps that's not how it works though? Don't have anything handy at work.

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    13. The problem is that there is no way to get a fast-loading ST 40 siege crossbow without spending obscene amounts of money, well in excess of the value of a 4d+6 or so damage shot. Even spending obscene amounts of money, it just gets faster, not fast.

      And a cranequin spins at a set speed, really, although I could make up rules for excess strength speeding it up. But once you get into that level of detail, shaving seconds off here and there from a 1:15 cranking process, you're really putting in more detail and effort into something that works out to be "I reload while Dryst rests" anyway.

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    14. Hmm, durnit.
      Really seems crossbows just can't compare with bows on the mid-long run though if you don't miss that first hit, don't think many things will remain alive, even heavily armored/high DR, so that may balance things out.

      Ah well, I still like the concept anyway and I often go for concepts rather rules :)

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    15. Concepts are great! How do you think I ended up with a goblin thief in a murder-filled DF game?

      I think that first shot is still really worth it, but Peter I'm a little confused about the cranequin bit. I might have just missed it but I didn't see an operating time for the cranequin, only the windlass. It really takes 72 seconds to reload with the cranequin, like Jason Packer is saying?

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    16. A 3x ST cranequin takes 72 seconds, yeah, but lets you crank a crossbow 3x your strength. For Galoob, that's not 40. :)

      Ignore windlasses. We're not using them. They're faster but heavier, but having two types annoys me, and I prefer the longer times/lighter weights of the cranequin.

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    17. It most certainly is not, but Vryce is really strong. Who knows, maybe eventually Galoob will save up enough money for a fancy enchantment. Thanks for the clarification though, the 1:15 bit that you mentioned threw me off. Definitely have no problem ignoring a tool that's heavier, ew.

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    18. It's actually longer, more like 1:20 - 5 to connect the cranquin, 72 to crank it, 1 second to remove it, 1 second to ready a bolt, 1 to load the crossbow, shoot on the next turn. That assumes you drop the cranequin, +2 seconds if you put it away. Probably worth lanyarding it onto your belt or something for quicker retrieval. ;)

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    19. Oh, one minute fifteen (or twenty) seconds. I read that as a 1:15 ratio of crossbow bolts to arrows fired. Oops. Makes a lot more sense now!

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  2. Well, personally, I'd say if you want realism, go to Pyramid #3/33. :-) There's an article in there that might apply. Low Tech didn't do a great job in dealing with the missile weapons from a realism point of view, or at least from something that is both realistic and self-consistent.

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    1. Yeah, I'll not sure how Low-Tech is and help here. It doesn't make high ST crossbows and heavier and it also is either missing a rule that limits the ST of wooden crossbows or assumes that the 3xMin ST rule from the Basic Set applies to muscle powered range weapons (which it doesn't; as written it only applies to melee weapons) without ever actually saying so. Unless I am missing something.

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  3. Were the winds heavy, when you took that 1,000-yard shot? I remember this story, and the winds were heavy.



    (nice reference)

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  5. Ten guys in the world could'a made that shot.

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    1. Including Galen, certainly. 1000 yards is only a mere -16 to hit. It's the half damage range that's the problem for him.

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  6. I'm going to split this up into two comments in case they spawn separate discussions.

    What is the argument for using a prodd? Or a prodd canister (buckshot shell)? The only thing I can think of for the regular prodd is when you might want to do crushing damage instead of impaling or piercing. I guess against certain kinds of enemies that would have less effective armor? Wouldn't you always want to be going for vitals shots anyway?

    And with prodd canisters, I get the impression that darn near everything in DF has DR that would eat up all those tiny pellets, not to mention their abysmal half damage range. Am I missing some really obvious things here?

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    1. An army in the field (and not facing heavily armored opponents) could be more cheaply outfitted with lead shot, and even more so with found pebbles if supplies became scarce, than bolts. It becomes an efficiency of providing equipment rather than an expense of equipping for effective armor penetration. A two man team with modestly low strength prodds an a pile of rocks could fire fairly rapidly for an indefinite length of time, especially if one just kept reloading while the other fired.

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  7. Do any (or all) of these rules apply to the spring bolt bracer from DF8 p32? Those seem really awesome to me as a last ditch weapon, so anything that can make it more powerful is a good thing. Or since it's treated as a pistol crossbow then none of this applies?

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    1. It's a pistol crossbow, basically. They are already severely limited in maximum power.

      And prodds are good for shooting crush-vulnerable targets and for shooting extremely cheap anti-magical pellets.

      As for prodd cannister, I'll let you guys figure out a use for it.

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    2. Ah, so pistol crossbows can't be improved at all? Does that mean that they are stuck at ST 7, too? Could one apply "Fine" to a spring-bolt bracer, for example?

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    3. They aren't stuck at ST 7, they just can't be as strong as other crossbows. And yes, most weapons can be fine - that one too, probably, but it only adds to range for bows and crossbows.

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    4. Oh it does? I've got to read more carefully then. Can always make the bolts Fine from what I'm reading, and that's cheaper anyway. What is the max ST for a pistol crossbow / spring-bolt bracer? I didn't see anything about that in DF1 or Basic but I'm sure there were places that I didn't check.

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  8. Talking about Crossbows: How does using extra effort work to reload a crossbow?
    I mean, reloading a crossbow with a higher strength value than the character using it.

    From what I read a 11-STR character could reload a 12STR crossbow in 8seconds. Spending extra effort means he could do that in the normal time - 4 seconds.

    So, how is it done?

    Would you have to roll a Will-based Crossbow Skillcheck (and lose 1 point of FP) every second (turn?)? Success means the reload is shortened by an extra second, a failure reduces it normally? How would fast-draw (Bolt) play into this? And that roll, would it only be at -2 for increasing your STR by 10%, or would each turn become harder for losing FP?

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    1. I'm not sure by the RAW, since extra effort comes up so very rarely in my games. We treat it for a single feat, and I'd be fine with a crossbow draw being a single feat. It's a lot of expenditure of FP for a reload, so I'm fine with that as a tradeoff.

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