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Old 02-25-2017, 09:34 PM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: PA
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Originally Posted by Pinhead Slim View Post
It's pretty easy to figure out how powerful an arrow should be, depending on how heavy the arrow is and the velocity of the arrow when it leaves the weapon. It proves that the books have it closer to "right" than you do though, I imagine most bows/arrows used would be around 50ft/lbs. From what I saw most arrows weigh around 400 grains, and a .44 magnum has around 200 grains. The arrow goes a few hundred FPS and the .44 goes about a thousand.

The fact that a "pass-through" is kind of an accomplishment sort of sets my point in stone, that an arrow is about as combat effective as a large handgun/small carbine and the rules almost reflect that. If 4D6 would put it on the same level as 7.62x51 Nato, then it's too high lol. Maybe 2D6, but even then I wouldn't feel good about that because the arrows don't fragment/mushroom/all the good stuff most bullets do. Unless the arrows were broadheads or something.
In this post, you fall into EXACTLY the same "engineering trap" that the developers did by using kinetic energy for all damages. Let us examine the lowly knife. In the game, it would "move" at about 20 meters per second because that's how fast the average man can thrust or swing one. Its 500-gram weight WON'T make up for its very low speed. by the logic of FF&S, the knife should only do 1D6-1, yet the developers decided (correctly in my opinion) to give it the same damage as an M16. Why? Because it uses a different "damage mechanism" than the "Kinetic Energy" formula used for guns in game. Bows and other "projectile weapons" use a similar method of doing damage by penetrating AND cutting/lacerating the target. They have more in common with knives than guns.

Let's look at a comparison of firearms versus projectile weapons (bow, crossbows, and atlatls) in the light of hunting and the energy needed to "ethically hunt" various game animals.

Deer: To ethically hunt deer, you will need a firearm that produces 1500 foot pounds of energy to ensure a clean kill. For projectile weapons, the minimum energy needed is 25 foot pounds of energy. It takes 60 TIMES more kinetic energy to kill a deer with a firearm than it does to kill one with a projectile weapon.

Elk/Black Bear: To ethically hunt the larger North American game, it is recommended that you use a firearm with a minimum energy of 2400 ft/lbs. To hunt that same game with a projectile weapon, you will need 42 to 65 ft/lbs of energy. At the minimum threshold, the firearm will need 57 TIMES more kinetic energy to kill an Elk or a Black Bear.

The Grizzly Bear: To ethically hunt a Grizzly Bear, the firearm will need 3000 ft/lbs of energy. The projectile weapon will need only 65 to 70 ft/lbs of energy to effect a clean kill. The firearm requires roughly 60 TIMES the energy of a projectile weapon to kill a Grizzly Bear.

The obvious difference here is that the range for firearms is assumed to be 100 yards while the bow's average effective range is between 20 and 40 yards (why you'd hunt a Grizzly at 40 yards is beyond me). This still doesn't change the fact that kinetic energy CANNOT be used to compare the two classes of weapons.

Obviously, the formula in FF&S/Small Arms Guide WON'T WORK for projectile weapons. This is why I posted the very preliminary chart based on STR above. When you called me out on the chart above, you said 4D6 was "unreasonable" because it matched the damage of a .308 in the game. Keep in mind, the STR 10 bow damage represents a bow with a pull weight of 200 lbs. I am willing to bet REAL MONEY, that 9 out every 10 users of this forum (your's truly included) could NOT effectively draw and fire a 200lb bow. Additionally, the rule of thumb for arrows is: "5 Grains of arrow weight for every pound of Draw Weight." This means that the 200lb bow above would probably be launching a typical medieval Bodkin point war arrow weighing 935 Grains (this is NOT a typo). A 400-grain arrow shaft COULD snap if fired from a 200 lb bow. This all also assumes an average Draw Length of 30" for the arrow shaft. Thus the STR 10 (4D6 DAM) represents a bow 90% of the population could never use. The more common 60lb to 80lb Draw Weight bows only do 2D6 damage. This represents 80% of all bows in use and would require a STR of 3 or 4 to use effectively. I simply included a STR chart to allow a GM to vary the power of bows in game. To use the chart for Crossbows, I would make the ratio of STR to Draw Weight 1 point per 50lbs of Draw Weight. I would also increase the damage dice to D10. This is because, in my game, rifles do D10 and pistols do D6. For example, the damages for various calibers in my game are:

.22LR or .32 ACP = 1D6-1
.380 ACP or .38 Special (2") = 1D6
9mmP = 2D6
45 ACP = 3D6
.40 S&W = 3D6
.44 Magnum = 4D6
5.45mm X 39mm = 2D10
5.56mmN = 2D10
7.62mm X 39mm = 3D10
7.62mmN = 4D10

Note that I still use the original formula to figure out rifle damage, I just substitute D10s for D6s. For pistols, I "split" the energy levels up to 5000ft/lbs (I'm using English rather than metric because my reloading manuals are all in ft/lbs and fps) and use the appropriate number of D6s for said pistol energies.

The Atlatl: The Atlatl is actually fairly effective as projectile weapons go. It is launching a 6 foot/1.85 meter long, 1034 Grain (67gram) "dart" at 146 fps/45 ms. This generates around 50 foot pounds of energy, enough to kill an elk or black bear. Another feature that improves damage is an arrowhead that is at least twice as long as a bow's arrowhead is. I would make its base range STR X 2. Both the Atlatl and the Sling are very hard to use. I would make them One Level more difficult to use at any given range.

I still haven't worked on the Penetration issue yet, but a PEN 1 SEEMS to work ok with my damages. Slings should be MUCH worse (they follow firearms ballistics with regards to PEN).

I would welcome anyone else's ideas on how to make projectile weapons behave more like their real-world counterparts.
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