Bows in hand-to-hand combat. Really.

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NPC Mads Jakobsen

Guest
Suppose your character has his bow out. Maybe bow is his best skill, maybe it’s a magic bow, maybe he lost his flail. Against him comes some NPC with an axe, who engage him in hand-to-hand combat. Should the character receive some penalty, realistically speaking?

Now I know some games penalize bows in hand-to-hand combat form a game balance point of view: bows are good at long range so they should be bad at short range, or every no-brainer will use bows all the time. That’s OK with me, but that’s not what I’m asking.

I also realize that it’s hard to hit someone in hand-to-hand combat with a bow. But is it significantly harder than casting a spell, conversing in Chinese, or trying to hit somebody with a flail, all whilst in a stressful hand-to-hand combat situation? That is to say, should bow skill receive a special penalty that no other skill normally get?

In short: what is the problem with bows in hand-to-hand combat?

MJ
 

Saranjeuhal

Retired User
NPC Mads Jakobsen said:
In short: what is the problem with bows in hand-to-hand combat?

MJ
The main problem is that the bow is designed to be used as a ranged weapon that uses the kenetic energy built up in the bowstring and bow to launch the arrow forward towards its target. At point blank range bows are ineffective.

At short range, anything under 6 feet or so they could be effective, but targets can easily move out of the way.

The way I've used most bows in hand to hand combat has been either as a short stave or club, or to use the bowstring as a nice flailing weapon. Of course this is when the bow has the bowstring disconnected. Otherwise I'd just give a nasty bowstring-burn <g>.
 

Marius B

Euro-Trash
Validated User
In the Palladium RPG...

...the only bonus Archery skill gives at 1st level is +1 to Parry.
Why?
I've no idea.
Ask Kevin Siembieda....
 

Saranjeuhal

Retired User
Re: In the Palladium RPG...

Marius_Bredsdorff said:
...the only bonus Archery skill gives at 1st level is +1 to Parry.
Why?
I've no idea.
Ask Kevin Siembieda....
Probably because the bows in question are so damned big you can't fire them at first level and that they block damage by hiding more of your body behind it when you get attacked <g>.
 

Andrew Martin

Retired User
Mads Jakobsen wrote:
> ...should bow skill receive a special penalty that no other skill normally get?

No. Or, the penalty should be the same as for trying to use a gun, casting a spell, or similar in hand to hand combat.

In my game systems, the longer the range of a weapon you have, the better the initiative you have. But when a opponent gets within the range of their shorter weapon, initiative flips around. For example at range:

Archer )-> Axeman-P

Archer has the initiative. But when Axeman gets into range with his axe, Archer looses initiative to Axeman.

Initiative in my system means being able to know what the opponent is doing, then being able to do one's own actions first! So it makes sense for Archer to keep away from Axeman, so as to keep the initiative. Failing that, Archer should drop his bow and switch to a melee weapon as quick as possible. For example, using a arrow as a stiletto-like dagger to defeat the opponent in melee. Tactics for Axeman is to either down Archer in melee, or, if suiciding, to destroy the bow's effectiveness, by attacking the bow's string.
 
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NPC Mads Jakobsen

Guest
Easier that stepping out of the way of a flail or sword?

Does the arrow reach it's maximum speed already as it leaves the bow?

MJ
 

Phishtrader

King of Prussia
Validated User
A bow is used to store mechanical energy and then release it in a controlled and directed fashion to propel a typically pointed and fletched shaft of wood up to several hundred feet with the intention of causing grevious bodily harm to that which it strikes.

In melee combat a bow could be used as a very unwieldy light club or to block attacks made against a combatant. In all likelyhood the bow would become useless as a bow after the first block and more likely to be completely broken after a few more blows.

If a character has an arrow nocked and ready to fly they should be able to loose it as an attacker closes, but after that it won't do much to stop an opponent armed with any serious weapon (sword, ax, flail, spear, etc).
 

Saranjeuhal

Retired User
NPC Mads Jakobsen said:
Easier that stepping out of the way of a flail or sword?

Does the arrow reach it's maximum speed already as it leaves the bow?

MJ
Not having done a lot of physics in quite a while ...

I don't think it does. The arrow itself has some kinetic energy that is converted to movement as the arrow leaves the bow. That's why there's a lead-up to the maximum damage a bow can do. I'd have to check with the wife to see if this is true as she's big on physics and math. I've just the imaginative one.

As for being able to step out of the way of it.. the arrow's flight will be in one direction and usually through a target. With a flail or a sword facing forward it would act the same way. With a sweeping or slicing attack from these weapons it would be harder to dodge. Or you could just jump back.
 
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Clark

Ensign 9th Class
Validated User
NPC Mads Jakobsen said:
Does the arrow reach it's maximum speed already as it leaves the bow?
Yes. There's no way for the arrow to accelerate once its tail leaves the bowstring.
 
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NPC Mads Jakobsen

Guest
So, Saranjeuhal says there should be a damage penalty.

Andrew Martin says a iniative penalty (for game balance reasons it seems to me).

Jon M. Berg seems to say it can't parry, being flimsy, so fighting with a bow makes you easier to hit.

Hmmm.

MJ
 
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