Reply To: Bow and Crossbow

Avatar photoLasseFin

Only issue here is the suggestion that crossbows and normal bows require similar muscle strength to fire. The crossbow requires muscle strength to set the bolt, but firing is just pulling the mechanism. Crossbows were very accurate at short range and compared to training that a longbowmen had to undergo to utilize and maintain his/weapon crossbows were much easier to operate. Some career soldiers that operated the longbow show significant deformation of their shoulder/clavicle from extended use of the weapon. The crossbow removed the need for intense training to become an effective long-range soldier. The 15% accuracy makes sense in historical context, and bolts could punch through armor, but historically had a shorter range than bows, especially the longbow. As @hruza has stated, this is historically accurate.
The suggestion that they require the same muscle energy to fire is where I feel the urge to speak up. They also shined under different conditions and in that sense one was more powerful than the other under conditions suited to the weapon (longbow at extended ranges, crossbow in closer engagements). Even considering that, some bow designs allow for an extremely powerful shot at short range and the ability to puncture through armor as well. There is absolutely no way that all three (composite bow, longbow, crossbow) have the same velocity at the same points in their fire or have the same amount of power at the same point in their flight. Their “power” was not comparable, and definitely not the same.

And again this is not a history sim. I highly doubt all of the weapons abstracted into the game were at use during the same period in history. Anachronism is part and parcel to the fantasy genre as bits are often taken from varying parts of history, and often certain weapons and customs simply did not exist outside of a very specific context. The knight would not exist without the creation of the stirrup, which took place in the steppe’s farther east than the source material for this game. In short, no geographical equivalent to the steppes = no stirrups = no knights. It doesn’t stop there. No equivalent to ancient China & Korea + no avenue of trade and commerce to spread it = no crossbow. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess how technology and armor design would have changed if humans found themselves sharing the world with dangers like the ones in BB. Considering that armor changed with the time to adapt to different challenges, they would absolutely not look like the pieces in game, since those items look like items directly from our world. Different weapons were similarly adapted to contend with challenges presented by armor and other conditions. Games like this fall apart when subjected to that sort of historical scrutiny.

This game is fantasy, and is enjoyable as fantasy. It is also meant to be enjoyed as a game. Balance issues should not be sacrificed for a historical accuracy that could not exist given the context.

Yes, it’s definitely kind of weird how arrows and bolts have the same damage throughout their flight. Arrows are not particularly aerodynamic and lose velocity over its flight and bolts even less so because they were wider and shorter, which produces even more drag. Hmmm, this could even make a very good suggestion for the game. Perhaps arrows and bolts should decrease in damage the further the target is. This would kill two birds with one bolt, with so many complaining about ranged balance and the change would still be realistic.

About the claim that since both crossbows and bows have similar power because they are powered by muscle; I agree that’s not necessarily accurate. Crossbows in the game are described to be pulled with pull-levers or windlasses, which provide great mechanical advantage. For a longbow, you are simply pulling back the bowstring and are limited by your physical strength and endurance. For a crossbow, when you are winding up the windlass or pulling a lever, you are essentially expending energy over a longer period of time through the pulleys and leverage, so you are no longer limited by the power of your muscles. Roman artillery/ballistas are technically muscle powered as well, but they are massive and much more powerful and can potentially launch projectiles with thousands of joules of energy, but you are spending maybe 5 minutes to wind it up and doing 10 times the work (energy expenditure) as a handheld crossbow.

What is interesting is that historical handheld warbows and war crossbows do fall within similar frames of initial energy though, at roughly 100-150 joules. That must’ve been some kind of sweet spot. Some handheld siege crossbows could get 200+ joules, but those would’ve had massive draw weights. So there is some credence to the claim that warbows and crossbows do similar damage.

About anachronism, actually, the devs placed a pretty clear focus on the historical period for the human arms and armor in this game. This was one of the cool things about this game, it’s that they at least made an effort to base it off a historical period in reality rather than have a weird pseudo-medieval-renaissance world like D&D or something. It’s supposed to be late 13th to early 14th century, just before the invention of actual shaped plate armor. I’ve asked Paul the artist to go into detail about the inspiration for the arms in armor in the lorebook, so we will be able to read about it soon. I’ve seen quite some contemporary artwork which shows plenty of the weapons in the game.
There are a few weapons which may or may not have existed in that period. For example, the greatsword, which, by modern definition, usually refers to the massive 16th century swords. However, it could be that the greatsword in the game actually refers to the XIIa or XIIIa blades that Ewart Oakeshott refers to as the “Grans espees d’Allemagne” or Great Sword of Germany, which were recorded to have been used as early as the 12th century and during those periods referred to as “grete swerd”. These would be considered longsword proportions by modern categorisation.
Steel prod crossbow is also questionable, but some historians date the beginning of the usage of steel prod on crossbows to be around 1310. So it’s plausible that they existed, but were probably not very common.
Most other weapons and armor can be easily found in manuscripts and tapestries of the period.
The devs also mentioned that they may be introducing DLC/expansions in the future which might add other regions of the world, so we know that the gameworld we are playing in is not the entire world of Battle Brothers.