Thursday, July 23, 2020

Better (hah) Bow Critical Failures for GURPS - based on Thieves Guild 8

I saw this post this morning, and I was inspired. Better bow critical failures for GURPS can be done! It can be worse than "weapon breaks" or "you drop your weapon."

Let's see how those could work in GURPS terms:

2-3 would just be "broken weapon." Optionally, the grip hand injury would be a HT roll - failure means a crippling injury. Roll vs. HT daily to recover.

4 would just inflict 1/2 bow damage on the hand, DR protects normally.

5 means the arrow is stuck, like a pick (Picks, p. B405). The bow is useless until the arrow is freed.

6 Hahahahahah. Sorry. Temporarily has One Eye for 1d seconds; after that roll HT every second to recover.

7-8 string broken.

9 string broken, but the arrow goes off somewhere; it's a critical miss, so you absolutely do not hit your intended target, but roll for friendlies along the path! Unfair because it has no chance to hit people you don't mind hitting? Well, next time don't roll an 18. We've already determined something bad happened, this is a roll to determine what it was. If it suddenly becomes "nevermind, you still kill some bad guy" it's not a critical failure, really.

10-11 rip open your arm armor; it only protects on a 1-3 on 1d, or subtract 3 from the odds of protection if that applies.

12 is as 10-11, but also take 2 HP of injury from a snapping bow string and roll vs. Will (High Pain Threshold and Low Pain Threshold apply) to avoid dropping the bow!

Fun stuff. I may need to see how to fit these into a proper table for GURPS . . .


  1. How do you restring a bow in GURPS? Any idea where rules for that are? Yikes!

    1. I know of no rules. We've always said it is an out-of-combat operation, taking a minute or two, and requires a roll against Armoury (Missile Weapons) roll at +5, if even that. I don't recall making anyone roll, but if it was a quick re-string during a series of running fights, in bad conditions or under stress, or otherwise might have an issue, I would do so.

    2. With *string in hand* and zero pressure, it probably takes 5-10 seconds *at least.* There are plenty of YouTube videos about people stringing bows, and those people have everything set up perfectly, and it still takes them a few seconds. If you just have a bow in your hand, and a spare bowstring in your pocket? Probably at least 20-30 seconds. I agree that trying to do it quickly require some kind of a roll. I can’t see anyone doing this actually in combat. In between combats, if you *knew* that you had a solid minute in between, and didn’t have to rush? It’s probably trivial and would likely only be a problem on a critical failure (which, with bonuses, would probably only be on an 18)

    3. Also, those youtubers are rarely stringing a strong longbow. For something in the "upper end of your ST" (anything you're taking to hit penalties on) I'd either add the To Hit penalty to the time length or treat it as a multiplier (like CF).

      I would only force rolls if they were doing it in combat. I've strung bows frequently (when I was a kid I had a 45 pounder) and it's really hard to screw up unless you rush. If it's some weird gnomish contraption (compound bow) that's a lot tricker and requires either the right set-up equipment, or two people.

      If the user is stronger then the bow, likewise I'd shave some time, but when will you ever see that (despite it actually being very realistic)?

  2. Hahahahahaha. I love that table. That is just great.


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