Appropriate stats for a compound bow?

In an 11th-century-European-ish game, my character just got a compound bow all the way from Central Asia. It’s a prized and expensive thing. Only problem is, we’re not sure how to stat it up given the options available in the book.

Is it an easier-to-carry great bow?
An elven bow? (Should a compound bow be that good?)
A superior hunting bow? (I’m leaning towards this one.)

EDIT: Nevermind, we figured out that “superior hunting bow” works for us. (Also that the right term is “composite,” not “compound.” Oops.)

SQ hunting bow for sure.

What does “superior” do for a bow? +1 VA?

I think you could make a good argument for “easier to carry” great bow, too. This video talks about how composite bows use dramatic recurve to get the same amount of power out of a smaller area.


In our games, we made them take one action less to draw.

According to the Mannish equipment section, superior bows get a Balance die. Ranged weapons’ balance dice apply to the user’s skill check to hit people.

You mean starting from great bow stats?


Luckily, we have a while before this comes up again. Because I lost my fancy bow while running away screaming.

For hunting bows. Great bows are something else.

Lloyd is overlooking several elements, in addition to taking the lowest figures available for English Longbow…

  1. Resting distance
  2. Speed of return to resting distance

The resting distance being how much of that 30" draw is lost due to being minimum string tension. A typical 45# bow draws to 30", but of that, 4-6" isn’t used. Also, a stiffer material that returns faster, for the same draw weight, can put more speed on the arrow, if the arrow isn’t achieving maximum for its mass at that draw weight.

And too short a resting distance is a real pain, literally - the string snapping into the back of the lead hand hurts. It can break bones.

Also, he’s wrong about the peak draw weight for war-bows; a few historic weapons have been tested to have weights up to 150# @30". Almost no living person can draw the heaviest historic bows; the surviving historic bows have not been tested to destruction, either.

So the case could be made for a particularly well designed bow to be a point higher in the M of IMS. (With resultant changes in S, as well)

While Aramis is right in ways I never could be (seriously, that’s some good stuff there), I’m still going to argue that for simplicity sake you roll rules as written and give an SQ bow a +1D bonus to shoot and stop there.

Most of my reasoning is that Burning Wheel isn’t really concerned with gear porn and so you shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about the specific effects of a specific weapon.