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Missile Weapons and ROF

Thu May 31, 2018 12:44 pm

I can't find anything on the rate of fire for missile weapons in the Player's Handbook. Do bows and crossbows have the same rate of fire; 1 per round? If I recall from my AD&D days, the bows could fire twice a round if you didn't move. Light crossbows fired once a round. Heavy crossbows fired once every other round. Is it similar for C&C?

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Thu May 31, 2018 1:17 pm

I don't have my book handy, but as i recall everything has a rate of fire of 1/round unless the weapon description says otherwise. You are correct that AD&D had 2/round for bows, which made them quite potent. But that is not the case in C&C.

-Fizz

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Thu May 31, 2018 3:14 pm

If that is the case, why would anyone take anything other than the heavy crossbow? If the ROF is the same across all weapons then the heavy crossbow is the clearly superior choice. Shouldn't there be a tradeoff?

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Thu May 31, 2018 3:43 pm

Crossbows are higher cost, heavier/higher EV, and longer ranged vs regular bows.

That's not to say that you can't house rule a change though. Give bow users with a DEX 16 or higher and extra ranged attack or require heavy crossbow users a round to crank the bow back (even if using a stirrup and goat's foot it should count as a single action for the round) unless they have a high STR, etc. It does say in the PHB not to be a slave to the rules but use what works for you.

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Thu May 31, 2018 3:55 pm

Yeah, I get that the rules can be tweaked. However, every change I make in the rules is one I have to keep up with and explain to players at the table. I try to keep that to a minimum, if I can. I'll probably leave this alone for a while and see how it works out. No since making new rules to fix things that aren't important.

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Thu May 31, 2018 4:47 pm

SooperGenius wrote:If that is the case, why would anyone take anything other than the heavy crossbow? If the ROF is the same across all weapons then the heavy crossbow is the clearly superior choice. Shouldn't there be a tradeoff?


For the same reason that someone would take a long sword over a great scimitar. By damage, the great scimitar is far superior to the standard long sword (2d6 damage vs 1d8, average of 7 vs 4.5). And both get 1 attack per round and both are one handed. But the great scimitar has some downsides: heavier, higher EV, pricier. So as Go0gleplex noted, there are similar downsides to the heavy crossbow.

And of course, there is always the reason of roleplaying, numbers be damned. :)

-Fizz

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Thu May 31, 2018 4:59 pm

The price and EV differences are there but fairly inconsequential. After a level or two characters don't have a hard time buying standard weapons. The typical fighter-type isn't going to be so constrained by EV that it becomes an issue.

The role-playing concerns, I totally agree with.

I guess my (very small) discontent is that making tactical choices that matter is a fun part of the game. Which weapon to use based on interesting trade-offs is part of those tactical decisions. Making it so there aren't really interesting differences in a class of weapon is missing an opportunity.

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Thu May 31, 2018 5:38 pm

Another consideration may be the setting itself (which could be related to roleplaying). Not all weapons are equally available in all regions. So an exotic weapon may be considerably more expensive or problematic otherwise. Further, the crossbow has a history of being banned (too easy for the peasants to use against knights, etc), so that could be a consideration as well.

That said, i think i've always house-ruled that reloading a crossbow is a move-equivalent action, so one can only shoot a crossbow once per round if you're not moving. A bow however does not have that restriction (one can move and notch another arrow at the same time, i figure).

-Fizz

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Thu May 31, 2018 8:11 pm

SooperGenius wrote:The price and EV differences are there but fairly inconsequential. After a level or two characters don't have a hard time buying standard weapons. The typical fighter-type isn't going to be so constrained by EV that it becomes an issue.

The role-playing concerns, I totally agree with.

I guess my (very small) discontent is that making tactical choices that matter is a fun part of the game. Which weapon to use based on interesting trade-offs is part of those tactical decisions. Making it so there aren't really interesting differences in a class of weapon is missing an opportunity.


I don't actually have a defense or apology for the C&C weapons list. Here are some thoughts though:

Legolas with a heavy crossbow would feel silly. When I make my own characters this is often the primary consideration -- where am I from, what kind of weapon might I actually have. This is largely aesthetic and setting related (and yes, you are a liability to your party if you pick something cute instead of effective, but it's also more immersive if you aren't a thief dragging around a wheeled ballista).

Mechanically, yeah, everyone who can should be using a heavy crossbow, a bearded axe, a piercing axe or bastard sword, or a club.
But say you are a fighter who specializes in heavy crossbows and you find a +3 longbow lying around. This is where tradeoffs start to come into play: especially fighters end up using a variety of weapons in their career. The fact that multiple weapons exist and force them to consider the tradeoffs is part of the fun, I guess.

But bear in mind in OD&D weapons all do 1d6. Variable weapon damage by itself is kind of arbitrary. AD&D added the weapons vs. armor chart, which changes the tactics up quite a bit, but is unwieldy in play.

Some games just cut the flavor entirely and all daggers/knives do this much damage, all one-handed weapons do this much, etc.

In another thread the CKG STR rules for bows is mentioned. This is a differentiating factor. Also, the presence of items like arrows of slaying -- nothing says you need to have this available in all ammo types.

CKG also has a rate of fire rule whereby you can array your arrows about you before combat starts and fire additional shots. It would be reasonable to rule that one cannot do this with a heavy crossbow.

If you want every weapon to be a totally unique thing, you might look at either version of the Arms and Armor book (they aren't very similar IMO.) Those books give additional statistics for these weapons that change how they might work in different situations. Mostly for melee weapons, though there are more types of bows and crossbows listed and also several different kinds of arrows.

Personally, when I hear complaints of the variety "why doesn't everybody do X if it's best," I have a few thoughts. First, yes, why not? (Or if it doesn't matter, make them all the best.) Second, why not? Because it's boring. Third, *shrug* it's a D&D type game, and this is the level of abstraction we have right now.

One of my least favorite parts of computer games is carrying around a golf bag of slightly different weapons that are all useful in a handful of situations. It seems cool at first that you have the Blessed Forgotten Heroic Elven Bow of Boofendir, that does 3d6 on the third Sunday of the month and casts "mend" on your shoelaces and kills undead who died of drowning but gives goblin enemies a charisma bonus, but once you've found 40 of those you end up going back to the stupid peasant sword you started with just to stay sane (it's one reason I like a non-lethal monk with a vow of poverty as a character.)

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:00 am

Crossbows, for one thing, are easier to have readied for automatic initiative. That alone makes them a more ideal weapon.

But, missile weapons are 1 shot a round, assuming they can be loaded in one round -- something that might not be true.

But, essentially, it is not about realism but source. And simplicity.

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:01 am

Cross bow takes junk to cock it, can never be faster.. the bow could be faster.. the tech of the crossbow may not be allowed by some classes and cultures.. etc. Druids cannot use.

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:38 am

Captain_K wrote:Cross bow takes junk to cock it, can never be faster.. the bow could be faster.. the tech of the crossbow may not be allowed by some classes and cultures.. etc. Druids cannot use.


Per article written by a historian long bow can fire 10-12 arrows to a crossbow's 3-5 in the same four minutes I think it was. What I remember from doing my research paper was that the longbow had a 3:1 advantage on ROF over the crossbow. Regular crossbow needed the lever or goat foot to re-draw, the heavier arbalest needed the stirrup + goat foot or a crank wench to re-draw and was even slower and more of a pain to reload though it could go through two armored targets at 50yds and under or something like that.

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:01 am

I could have sworn somewhere in the PHB it says that a heavy crossbow can only be fired every other round.

Regarding the OP, keep in mind that in 1E, a combat round is 1 minute, while in C&C a combat round is 10 seconds, which explains the difference in rof.

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:22 am

Now I found it. As Aergraith said, there's a section on Rate of Fire in the Castle Keeper's Guide (pg. 310). Heavy crossbow is every other round. There are rules for increasing rate of fire for regular bows, up to 4 arrows/round, but there are associated penalties; -2 for 2 arrows/round, -4 for 3 arrows/rnd, and -8 for 4 arrows/rnd.

Re: Missile Weapons and ROF

Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:22 am

Spade Marlowe wrote:Now I found it. As Aergraith said, there's a section on Rate of Fire in the Castle Keeper's Guide (pg. 310). Heavy crossbow is every other round. There are rules for increasing rate of fire for regular bows, up to 4 arrows/round, but there are associated penalties; -2 for 2 arrows/round, -4 for 3 arrows/rnd, and -8 for 4 arrows/rnd.


Thanks for this. I will definitely read up on it.

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. It's cool to get some perspective. I'm not sure this will even be a problem. C&C isn't really a game that can be overly min/maxed or "optimized". However, I do have friends that are coming from the 3.5 / Pathfinder style of games and those do promote a bit more of that play style.
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