D&D 5E Strength bows?

El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
If people have a hard time imagining reloading the crossbow one handed, I would look to over the top action movies for inspiration, you tube videos of one handed people doing amazing tasks, or just try and use your imagination and think that might be a brace of bolts and cocking mechanism on the characters hip maybe built into the holster for the pistol.

First, a brace of bolts and cocking mechanism would definitely make for a non-standard piece of equipment, and should be paid for as such.

Second, the Feat says nothing about special equipment.

Third, I can use my imagination...thank you very much...and even my imagination knows, this just is not possible.



Lastly, I challenge you to find even one video of someone doing what you propose. One video of somebody loading a hand crossbow with the same hand holding the crossbow, while also doing this faster than a normal load (which is what the crossbow expert feat provides), and do it to a hand crossbow in each hand.

I'm betting you'll have better luck proving the existence of the Loch Ness Monster.


P.S.: You would never be able to do any of those actions you describe at my table, and RAW backs me up. But again, do whatever you want at your table or whatever you can get another DM to allow you to do. You can even "persist" in your illusion you're playing by RAW. Nothing however, will change that you're not.


Enjoy your game. I'm done.
 
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El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
Where does the Loading property focus on time and free hands? The Loading property mentions neither.

First, I said the loading property does NOT focus on hands at all. That means no accession has been made in the rules for a same-hand load. Common sense prevails in this case.

Second, the load property description leads off with "Because of the TIME required to load this weapon..."

It most certainly does focus on time.

What's interesting about two-weapon fighting only applying to melee is you get the same result with the Crossbow Expert feat. The feat gives you a bonus action and allows you to ignore the normal limitation of one shot per weapon. The Ammunition property states that drawing and firing (in the middle of which would be loading or knocking) are part of a single attack. Ignoring the Loading property simply lets you do it multiple times per turn.

I agree with all of this; though contingent upon having a hand available to load the weapon with. There's just no getting around that, and nothing in the rules or feats that negate this.

So, holding one hand-crossbow, AND having a hand free to load it, you can reload it and shoot it again in the same round, if you have a reason for a bonus action or extra attack...exactly as the Crossbow Expert Feat intended.

However, holding two hand-crossbows, you can shoot both...again, if you have a reason for a bonus action or extra attack...but can only reload one that same turn, and only do so by dropping one of them.


On that, if we are single-wielding a hand-crossbow we get one attack per attack allowed by our class (1 at first, 2 at 5th, etc...) and one bonus attack, this also satisfies the "free hand" requirement you keep mentioning that I keep not seeing in the rules. With dual-wielding hand-crossbows we get exactly the same result X attacks per our class limitations and one bonus attack, this time thanks to having an offhand weapon instead of the effect of Crossbow Expert.

It is literally the EXACT SAME RESULT.

No it isn't. It's only the exact same result if you drop one of the hand-crossbows after having shot it.


Also, I did read the two-weapon fighting rules and I have no idea why it's applied to melee only. I suppose it could be the "free hand" assumption you're going on but I've yet to find that explicitly stated. I think I'll ignore that, since dual-hand-crossbowing is pretty epic.

You go right ahead. It's your game and your table (unless playing with another DM).

You can do anything you want in your game.

I'm simply not going to tell you that it's RAW when it's not.



Enjoy your game. I'm done.
 

Paraxis

Explorer
P.S.: You would never be able to do any of those actions you describe at my table, and RAW backs me up. But again, do whatever you want at your table or whatever you can get another DM to allow you to do. You can even "persist" in your illusion you're playing by RAW. Nothing however, will change that you're not.

Enjoy your game. I'm done.

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There is no rule anywhere in the book that says you need any number of hands free or otherwise to reload a weapon. Please show me where the RAW says you need even a single hand free to load a heavy crossbow. It is assumed that because the crossbow uses two hands to use that reloading it does also, same with bows. They never mention needing a free hand to reload a sling or hand crossbow, not ever in any part of the rules. So we could assume much like with a heavy crossbow it uses the same number of hands to reload as it does to fire, or you could assume it takes both hands to do so. Either way you or I would be making an assumption.

RAW means exactly that, rules as written. Sense there are no rules covering exactly how many free hands it takes to reload a sling or hand crossbow, then at best it is a judgment call not a RAW situation.

I will cite the two handed property under weapons for my RAW reasoning it only takes one hand to reload a hand crossbow or sling.

Two-Handed. This weapon requires two hands to use.

Since a hand crossbow doesn't have this property or any other wording anywhere else in the rules suggesting it takes more than one hand to properly use such a weapon, I am left with the conclusion that a one handed man can fully operate a hand crossbow just as fast and as well as a man holding a shield in his off hand.
 

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S

Sunseeker

Guest
First, I said the loading property does NOT focus on hands at all. That means no accession has been made in the rules for a same-hand load. Common sense prevails in this case.
I disagree, D&D is a game of exceptions. If there is no rule that states a certain thing, then the default reasoning is that thing is not required. Otherwise it would state that that thing IS required, and there would be an exception for situations in which it is not.

Second, the load property description leads off with "Because of the TIME required to load this weapon..."

It most certainly does focus on time.
The entirety of the the Loading property is disregarded by the Crossbow Expert feat. You keep trying to say that something applies to a situation where the rules say it does not. Either the whole rule applies, or with the feat it does not. The feat does not cancel out part of the rules.

I agree with all of this; though contingent upon having a hand available to load the weapon with. There's just no getting around that, and nothing in the rules or feats that negate this.
There is also nothing in the rules that support it. You keep assuming that something is required when it is not stated to be as such. If it were required, it would be stated.

So, holding one hand-crossbow, AND having a hand free to load it, you can reload it and shoot it again in the same round, if you have a reason for a bonus action or extra attack...exactly as the Crossbow Expert Feat intended.

However, holding two hand-crossbows, you can shoot both...again, if you have a reason for a bonus action or extra attack...but can only reload one that same turn, and only do so by dropping one of them.
Only if you assume magical faires exist and what you believe is in the rules was actually there. It's not, so your BELIEF that it does is NOT VALID.

You go right ahead. It's your game and your table (unless playing with another DM).

You can do anything you want in your game.

I'm simply not going to tell you that it's RAW when it's not.
Well considering you're making up what you think is in the RAW, you're probably not the best person to tell me what is or isn't in RAW.

Enjoy your game. I'm done.
Well someone sure needs a cookie.
 

Allen Ballard

First Post
I do not see why a longbow (and only a longbow) could not be used by Strength and Dexterity a like. It seems only fair. Str characters should have a decent distance range weapon. Throwing things is not enough(plus they are not as cool). Just like dexterity has its crossover weapon to melee (the Rapier 1D8 finesese weapon). Strength based Charactersneeds one too(the Long Bow 1D8 ranger weapon). Just makes sense and that's how we play in my game. Its not OP the fighters are just happier with thier options.
 

This thread is from two years ago: - you might want to start a new thread if you want to discuss this. :)

Personally though, I houserule that bows can use either Str or Dex to hit and damage.
Oh, and hand crossbows don't generally exist in my games. :)
 

Dausuul

Legend
I'm working out the details on an archer I'm building.

I remember in 2e, there were bows that could be built to take advantage of a characters high STR score. I think they had this in 3e as well.

Does this exist in 5e? As I said, I'm working out the details on an archer I'm building, and I'll definitely give him a higher STR if it will affect archery.

Thanks!

It doesn't exist in 5E; all you need for archery is Dex.

I do rather like the idea, though. Maybe a greatbow that does 1d10 damage and uses your Str mod instead of your Dex mod on damage rolls? (The higher base damage is to compensate for requiring two different stats to be effective.) It'd make a good long-range option for Strength fighters.
 

LapBandit

First Post
The modifier was Mighty in 3.X / Pathfinder I believe. Mighty +1 would let you add +1 of your STR bonus to damage. This is easily replicated in D&D 5E with higher draw weight bows without magic. Perhaps the bow or the bowstring would be a bit exotic/non-standard, but should be accessible. STR is already the red-headed step child of physical stats in 5E compared to DEX, throwing it this bone doesn't really change anything.
 

Arilyn

Hero
Problem with bows realistically is you would need either wisdom or intelligence for aiming (judging wind, etc.), dex to handle bow with finesse and str for pull and damage. I guess you could use wis for attack roll and str for dam. That might be an interesting change. Once you are used to handling a bow, perception and judgement might be more important than your dex, and low str characters shouldn't be able to handle a decent bow at all.
 

Slit518

Adventurer
As far as I know, this game doesn't have the composite version of bows.

Composite bows tend to require a bit of muscle to pull back the string further.

If you were to do a Strength based bow, I would allow it to effect the hit (because of pulling the string back due to high strength), and damage (because the arrow is flying harder/faster/stronger because of string being pulled back).

But, to make up for this I would lower the accuracy on the bow (though I know a traditional composite bow could shoot further). Or even put a Strength requirement on it to take advantage of using the ability to add your strength modifier to hit/damage.

Composite Shortbow requires 13 strength

Composite Longbow requires 15 strength

If you lack the strength to use the bow, you can still use your Dexterity to hit, but not for damage, as you're not gaining the bow's benefit of the added drawback power.
 

Xaelvaen

Stuck in the 90s
For my homebrew, I added a Composite Bow designed to reward rangers who didn't want to strength dump - afterall, they should still want a decent Athletics.

Composite Longbow (14) - Requires Strength 14 or higher, has the normal range for a Longbow, and deals 1d10 damage instead of 1d8.
Composite Longbow (18) - Requires Strength 18 or higher, has the normal range for a Longbow, and deals 1d12 damage instead of 1d8.

They still use Dexterity for attack and damage modification. The approach I took increases the maximum damage by the strength modifier, but adds no minimum damage - effectively, 1/2 Strength mod to damage. I made them pretty pricey (and use a custom economy so money isn't so meaningless) for balance. It should also be noted that this method mimics their function from 3E, where a higher strength than the minimum didn't increase your damage output, you needed to buy a bigger, more expensive bow when your strength went up.
 

Oofta

Legend
What's with the thread necromancy lately?

Anyway, I just have a simple house rule. You can buy a reinforced bow that allows you to use strength instead of dexterity for attack and damage. It costs an extra 100 GP to craft per plus as it takes a very specialize craftsman and potentially exotic materials for more exotic bows. If you do not have the required strength you still add your strength modifier but your attacks are at disadvantage.

Not totally realistic, but realistic would be a combination of strength and dexterity.
 

I do not see why a longbow (and only a longbow) could not be used by Strength and Dexterity a like. It seems only fair. Str characters should have a decent distance range weapon. Throwing things is not enough(plus they are not as cool). Just like dexterity has its crossover weapon to melee (the Rapier 1D8 finesese weapon). Strength based Charactersneeds one too(the Long Bow 1D8 ranger weapon). Just makes sense and that's how we play in my game. Its not OP the fighters are just happier with thier options.
Bows have a 'pull' that correlates directly to the strength of the archer. A bow with a much heavier pull than you can handle can't be used (or even strung) - a famed mythological example of this was the bow of Ulysses (Odysseus), which only he could string. A heavier pull means more energy imparted to the arrows, so greater range, and presumably, power. Conversely, if you use a lighter-pull bow, your extra strength won't impart much extra force on the arrows. Historically, well-trained archers were quite strong.

In AD&D, ranged attacks used DEX 'reaction/attacking modifier' to attack, and no bonus to damage, but there was an optional rule that you could use specially-made heavier ranged weapons to get the strength bonus to damage. Colloquially, we called 'em "Strength bows." In 3.0, they became a standard rule, IIRC, and were called 'Mighty.' The composite bows had the option of having the mighty quality for a specific strength.

That option is not present in 4e which used the 'heavy thrown' quality to give STR-based characters a ranged option. It was simpler, but it did kinda disadvantage them when it came to range. 5e continues that simplification with 'finesse' melee weapons and 'heavy thrown' ranged weapons giving DEX/STR exceptions based only on the weapon used. Unfortunately, that gives DEX an even greater advantage over STR, since the got-to finesse weapon is essentially equal to the best one-handed STR weapons, while the best heavy-thrown weapons are decidedly inferior to bows. And, it's arguably 'unrealistic,' that archers don't need any strength.

A simple way to get a STR-based archery option is to just create a bow - call it the Composite Bow or Mighty Bow or something - and give it the 'heavy thrown' property, so it can use STR, as well as ammunition and load - and the clear notation that you're not, in fact, throwing it.

Another simple option would just be to have all ranged weapon attacks use DEX for attack, and STR for damage.

For more complexity, give bows in general a pull, rated in STR, the bow gets it's rated STR bonus to damage, but if the wielder doesn't at least match the pull he has disadvantage (if weak enough, couldn't use the bow at all), and if his STR bonus is higher, still only gets the bow's rated damage bonus. The same kind of rule could work for crossbows, a STR minimum to load by hand, no STR min if you use mechanical assistance, but the load time is longer.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
The issue isn’t the weapons, it’s that a fighter with archery style and SS fear and a longbow for example is -3 to hit and +10 to damage at 600’ but a great weapon fighter with the GW feat is -5 to hit and +10 to damage standing next to you.


Sent from my iPhone using EN World
 

Stalker0

Legend
People complain a decent amount about bows vs melee anyway.

Maybe it makes sense to just drop the dex to damage on bows...and add strength mods to damage ala 3e.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Honestly I prefer the older way: dex to hit, str for damage. I wouldn't mind seeing that apply to finesse weapons as well. Would take some rejiggering of class designs to balance a few things, but one of the things I like least about 5e is the overlap between Str and Dex.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Now if I had a fighter in my game that was strength based I could see me adding in a magic item like the following.

ODYSSEUS'S BOW
Weapon (bow), Legendary (require's attunement)
This magic bow can only be used by those with a 17 or higher strength. It is +1 to hit and adds the user's strength modifier to damage along with dexterity like normal. It does double damage to inanimate objects, rumored to have once puncturing holes through a dozen axe heads with ease.
I like the idea of giving the item as a magic weapon, perhaps also with some kind of mysterious - this weapon could go up in a puff of game balancing at any time - clause? "The Gods hand out such weapons rarely, and take them back according to the virtue of the wielder and their own inscrutable whims."

As a pedantic side-note, the axe-heads had holes already in them: the feat of Odysseus was one of accuracy not might. Although the hero was known for being mighty, too!
 

schnee

First Post
The issue isn’t the weapons, it’s that a fighter with archery style and SS fear and a longbow for example is -3 to hit and +10 to damage at 600’ but a great weapon fighter with the GW feat is -5 to hit and +10 to damage standing next to you.

You forget: Great Weapon Master you reroll 1 or 2 damage
That means the one-handed weapons are +1 damage, and a Greatsword skews up around +2 damage

So its -3/+10 vs. -5/+11 or -5/+12

And, you roll larger dice with melee weapons, so the damage is generally higher by several points more already (1d8 vs 1d10, 1d12, or 2d6)

And, missile weapons have defenses like Darkness, Fog Cloud and Wind Wall that cause Disadvantage that don't happen in melee

And Battlemaster Maneuvers can be applied to add even more damage like Riposte and Sweeping attack

And Paladins can Smite

So, it's a bit more complicated than that, and reducing it down to those two values isn't doing the game justice
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
You forget: Great Weapon Master you reroll 1 or 2 damage
That means the one-handed weapons are +1 damage, and a Greatsword skews up around +2 damage

So its -3/+10 vs. -5/+11 or -5/+12

And, you roll larger dice with melee weapons, so the damage is even higher

And, missile weapons have defenses like Darkness, Fog Cloud and Wind Wall that cause Disadvantage that don't happen in melee

And Battlemaster Maneuvers can be applied to add even more damage like Riposte and Sweeping attack

And Paladins can Smite

So, it's a bit more complicated than that, and reducing it down to those two values isn't doing the game justice

I meant the feat, not the fighter ability. The fighter ability doesn’t add that much; IIRC for a 2d6 it improves average damage from 7 to 8.25, less for other weapons. It certainly doesn’t compensate for the archery +2 to hit, not even close. You know this because of the sudden proliferation of all the Archery builds out there for fighters exploiting that feat.

Archery should +2 to damage, like dueling, not +2 to hit. In a bounded accuracy system +2 to hit counts a lot more then +2 to damage. Besides, it’s just crazy that an Archer is more likely to hit a target at 600’ in 3/4 cover behind a wall then any attacker standing next to you. Anyone who takes Archery style is clearly going to take SS also. A human variant fighter at first level who takes SS will start out better than any elf at archery, whose race specializes in bows.

Sometimes I wonder if Wizards actually playtests all the stuff they release. I always thought they should be more open and get more feedback like the UA stuff does.

That’s why when I use the same abilities and feats against players who are new to my table they get incredibly pissed and cry foul the first time. You can’t do it often though, just for The Specials. In SKT the giants have several special attacks that are eye openers also and greatly change those encounters to where they should be.



As far as STR bows I have no problem, in fact I think bows should have STR requirement of at least 10, maybe higher for longbows, maybe 12. It does require a minimum STR to draw a bow. I see far to many bow users with 8 STR but maximized DEX. I also think crossbows should also allow you to add your STR to damage (in place of not in addition to your DEX) if you take the effort to seek out that special crossbow maker and spend the money and materials to have him build you one with increased power. Certainly they would never be widely available.

The above though is a rules and stat array problem. The game now is just focused on DEX since it counts for AC, Initiative, to hit and damage. No other ability gets more than 2 of those. Using stat arrays with the current rules set ENCOURAGES stat dumping, if you use stat arrays then you can’t complain against players following the rules. .
 

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