The Bow is a common two-handed distance weapon, consisting of three parts: an element of wood, bone and/or metal in crescent shape, a string, connecting its ends and the arrows which are shot by drawing the bow and releasing its energy. There exists a large range of different types of Bows like the Longbow, the Crossbow, the Composite Bow, Brownie Bow and the most complicated Compound Bow. In combination with a variety of arrow heads Bows are very effective and precise long-range weapons.
A human archer, readying his hunting bow. Commissioned artwork, used with friendly permission. Image by Quellion.
In the beginning the Bow was very crude and
shabbily made. The basis of the Bow
initially was a strong thin branch bend into a
cresent shape and tied at each end with a strong and thin material
(from now on called "the string").
In between the branch and the string an arrow was placed.
When the string is pulled back with one hand the branch
bends further and further back, while the other hand is
responsible for targeting the arrow. As the string is realised the branch springs
back realising the energy built up, shooting the arrow.
Arrows are usually kept in store in quivers on the back of the archer.
The Bow in fact is a very varied weapon which
looks different from tribe to tribe and from race to
race. Each archer also usually personalizes
his/her bow and arrows.
The following terms are of relevance at most Bows:
This is how far the archer actually draws the string to "full draw" before releasing the arrow. The draw weight of a Bow is measured at 0.66 peds and increases/decreases by 2 od per 2 nailsbreadth drawn beyond/below that point.
This is the power the Bow has at a drawlength of 0.66 peds. The higher the draweight the more powerful the Bow.
This is when a Bow is made to be a certain drawweight but through time the wood it is made of increases the drawweight. The only way to bring the drawweight back down again is to retiller the Bow.
This is the working of the wood, bone etc into the Bow.
Arrows are as well of major importance at a Bow weapon. Arrows vary in thickness, length, number and type of flight, type and style of tip.
While the traditional Bows have an inital acceration and then starts to decelerate even before the arrow has completely left the Bow the Compond Bow's arrow acelerates throughout the Bow with the extra push as the string pushes the cams back through the cams giving the extra drawweight back to the Bow.
One drawback of this kind of Bow is that if the string breaks you would need a bowyer that knows what he is doing and owns a Bow press to fix it.
- Arrow-Heads. With different arrow-heads, ranging from poisoned, fire-arrows till extremely sharp, piercing ones a lot of damage can be done.
- Length. This depends on the archer. Idealy the arrows should be 2 nailsbreadth greater than the archers drawlength.
- Thickness. This varies due to the poundage of the Bow. The higher the poundage the thicker the arrow in general.
- Flight. Usually 3 or 5 feathered flights are shaped and tailored to the archer. The length of the feathers are 6 or 10 nailsbreadth. The height of the feathers depends of the archer. Higher feather helps compensating for a bad loose (release of the arrow).
- Tip. This can be made of brass or steel in various styles and weights to act along with the thickness of the arrow to have a good "Archers paradox " and a true line of flight. Different flights can also cause different sounds as the arrow travels through the air, and can be used as a fear tactic, in a large battle.
The following Bow types are the most commonly known ones:
The term "Shortbows" often is used for normal Bows without any special features, which means that Short Bows actually don't exist as an own type. Shortbows are in general a form of Composite Bow.
These exquisite Bows are alway made from wood. The longer the Bow the easier it is to draw. Archers say that the wood has a "memory" and each Bow should only be drawn by one archer or the Bow may be damaged or break as all archers draw differently. The higher the drawweight the further it shoots. A bow of 30 od draw weight will have to shoot at a higher elevation to reach the same point as someone shooting a 60 od drawweight Bow. One extra problem with Longbows is that these Bows usually stack. This means that an archer could buy a 30 od Bow but through time may end up shooting a 70 or 80 od Bow.
The Recurve is etting its name from the way the limbs are curved - they start back on a slight angle, and then curve up to vertical. It is more accurate than a short, long, composite, or even a Brownie bow, because of 2 main things:
a) The way the limbs bend. The shape allows Recurve bows to bend in the same spot, which permits a more consistent release of the power.
b) The second bit is the addition of an arrow rest, where the arrow sits on, instead of the archer's hand. The Recurve Bow is carved in from the outside, so the arrow rest is aligned with the center of the Bow so the Bow doesn't have to be canted or tilted when it is shot.
The maximum drawlength for a Crossbow is 0.33 peds. Crossbows are very accurate on oatshort distances as there is less variation in the way they are shot, so you have more consistancy through many shots. Crossbows often are used to pierce armour but have the hinderence of being slow to load. The drawweight of the crossbow is usually a quite high poundage. These special kinds of Bows are usually made of a combination of wood and metal and use any type of limb from any of the other Bows, though the most common is Recurve. The Crossbows is a favourite weapon of some dwarven clans as they have developed a type of bolt and method to help in their mining. [Read more]
|Image description. A mounted Tethinrhim archer with a typical Kaier composite bow. Picture from the game Magical Empire™, used with friendly permission. Illustration by Faugar.|
This is much shorter than the traditional Longbow and Composite Bow being about 1 ped in length rather than about 2 peds. The Compound Bow is approximately twice to three times the width of the Longbow to incorporate the cam system in the end of each limb. These Bows are relatively rare as the skill and engineering involved in making one. There are very few boyers that can make a good Compound Bow. In order to build a Bow like this it takes the skills of a master engineer and bowyer working in harmony on the same project. There are not many who have these skills so the Bows are be scarce.
The Strings of a Compound. Unlike the Longbows and Composite Bows which have one string which is attached to the end of each limb, the Compound Bow has a complex system of three strings/cables. Two of the strings are attached to small holes in the cams in a X fashion whilst the third is looped around the cams.
Its is this third string the archer pulls back. The string pulls the cams round. Once the cams have been turned the drawweight lessens considerabely. If the initial drawweight is of 80 ods then the "holding weight" of the Bow can be as little as 40 ods. The lessened "holding weight" gives a very powerful Bow a handleable weight to hold at full draw whilst the archer aims to give it more accuracy.
The Flight of the Arrow from a Compound. While the traditional Bows have an initial acceleration and then start to decelerate even before the arrow has completely left the Bow the Compond Bow's arrow accelerates throughout the Bow with the extra push as the string pushes the cams back through the cams giving the extra drawweight back to the Bow.
One drawback of this Bow is that if the strings break you would need a bowyer that knows what he is doing and owns a bow press to fix it.
This is a miniature verison of the Long Bow, made from the strong heartwood of certain trees. Although its maximum range is 60 peds, or 0.6 dash, it is not uncommon for a Brownie archer to pin and split a hair at half that range. Arrows are 6-8 nailsbreadths long, and can penetrate more than a nailsbreadth into flesh. Poison is often used on the tips and barbs of the arrows.
There are various types of Bows and arrows in this world and this is but an overview. Different clans and tribes have variations of the mentioned types, which they may call by other names.
The Bow is used as a missile weapon to attack
from a distance or give cover to infantry advancement.
Some Bows like the Short
Bows are also especially used as
a hunting tool in terrain where game can easily hide, like
in forests for example. To be
able to shot a Bow can be quite easily
leared but to be any good is extremly difficult and to master
this weapon is a lifetime study.
There are as many different ways of shooting a bow as there are archers to shoot it. Different races have different styles (or forms) and many archers vary their form to what helps them shoot better, although there are a few basics. When shooting a Bow, one should always be side on to the target. So when at full tze archer should look like the Tharian letter T. The Bow can be shot from a standing, sitting, kneeling, or even from horseback, but the basic shape is always the same.
The string can be drawn to many different parts on the body, depending on the style of Bow, and archers preference, however, drawing to a consistent spot (or anchor point) is invaluable to an archer. Most common anchor points are under the chin, or the corner of the mouth.
|Image description: The Tethinrhim Archery School in Sillena. Picture from the game Magical Empire™, used with friendly permission. Illustration drawn by Faugar.|
There are 3 main ways of aiming a Bow:
Instinctual aiming is the way the true masters shoot. The entire focus is on the target, no part on the Bow, and you aim by what "feels right". Its a style that has developed over time by gaining lots of experience, and you work on feeling only.
If you aim semi-instinctually you use a part of the Bow, or the tip of the arrow to align, but it is very rarely over the target. The way of aiming constitutes a reference for about where the arrow will go, nothing more, the true aiming is still instinctual.
The arrow, part of the Bow, or additional apparatus is used to aim at the target, or a specific point. Sometime it is not considered as efficient, because on the battle field you will have to "find your mark" or "sight in" which is finding the point at which you aim, depending on distance, wind speed, and other variables. which will take a few shots, inevitably wasting arrows. However, once the mark is found, it is more consistent than the other two.
Additional notes on hopw to shoot with a Bow:
The weight of a Bow should not be held on the arms, is should be held on the back, where the muscles are stronger.
Archers tend to be a distance
away from the main battle scenes
and stationary when shooting. However, some smaller Bows
are designed to be shot from horseback as well. Archers
- when giving covering fire -
usually stand in ranks shooting high above their own
ranks into the heart of the ememy.
Origin/History. Depending on which race and which tribe you talk to the origin of the Bow can be very different. As skill and knowledge improved and archers experimented with tailoring and and shaping the riser and limbs (the part of the Bow which used to be simply a branch), the Bows became stronger and looked more elegant.
Information provided by Legolas Acher and Kava Luun