Fast Archery

Watch this video of an amazingly fast archer:


What would enable a BW character to mimic this? A new advanced archer LP offering some sort of mix training and traits?

I’m pretty sure that the arrow-splitting thing is camera trickery, which makes everything else a bit suspect.

Mythbusters attempted arrow-splitting twice and busted it both times.

Even if it were possible for the arrow you fire to penetrate the horn at the nock or the arrowhead at the front of the arrow, and if the grain of the arrowshaft were actually ruler straight so it could be split along its entire length, arrows aren’t actually ramrod straight when they fly when viewed with a high-speed camera. There’s a significant side-to-side wobble.


The image from the Robin Hood movie was almost certainly an arrow splitting a hollow bamboo rod.

Arrow-splitting aside… what about the SPEED, man? That’s not trickery!

Two arrows hitting head-on probably wouldn’t split, but I could see one arrow striking another one at a slight angle farther back on the shaft as they both wobble and the struck arrow splitting at the point of impact. Not into perfect clean pieces like in movies, but still splitting. I’m still fairly sure that was a trick, but I’m not sure about the rest of it. All a trick? Maybe. A real trick shooting technique of little actual use? Also maybe. But it wouldn’t surprise me to find that modern sport archery resembles combat archery the way fencing resembles battle.

I’d also guess that bow hunting has always been very different from archery against humans in a fight. Much like rifle hunting usually doesn’t much resemble fighting a war, really.

So I’ve done a fair amount of archery:

The one thing that I can say that is wrong is that it is obvious he is using a bow that probably only draws at about 30 pounds. That is why he can draw it back so quickly. He wouldn’t be able to do that with a heavier pull bow. Longbow that is not. So not really a war bow. But one could shoot a rabbit real good!

On the positive side, yes one can hold arrows in hand and still shoot. Yes, the arrow can be placed on the other side of the bow. And one does not have to “aim” a bow. Do you aim a thrown rock? Same thing. In fact I believe Japanese archers used to do type of instinctive shooting.

No good for volleying on the battlefield, sure. But remember, ~40 pounds is legally required to go deer hunting to have a good chance of a quick kill. In a fight you don’t need a quick kill, you just need to stick a pointy thing in the other guy enough so that he’s not up to fighting anymore. I don’t think he could pull those tricks against plate, but against light armor, at close range, I could see it working. This isn’t using the bow as the forerunner to the rifle, this is using the bow as a precursor to the pistol.

Very few RPGs are really about massed infantry and cavalry battling other large formations, yet that’s what we turn to when evaluating weapons. What the video shows is a kind of individual-style archery that fits a lot better with the lone guy taking potshots at a handful of brigands.

There’s already Practiced Precision for cutting down Nock and Draw times, add in a training skill with the same effect. Maybe also offer a type of bow with -1 IMS, -1 VA and a decreased Nock & Draw time. You end up cutting Nock and Draw to very little, especially with your Instinct “When shooting, keep an extra arrow ready” to remove the need to take out a new arrow each time.

All you’d need to do to make it really easy is add the training skill and Practiced Precision to the already there Robin Hood (Strider) LP. Or make a LP which leads on from Strider with them available.

In an earlier thread, Luke &co. pegged Mongol-style bows as high-quality “hunting bows” (in BW terms), not “war bows.”

That cuts down their nock-and-draw time quite a bit.

Nock Arrow and Draw Bow (pg. 451) gives the Hunting Bow a 5 action load time, which we can shave off 3 actions by having an arrow already nocked (takes 3 actions to nock an arrow regardless of the type of bow) if you were to allow Practiced Precision for Nock (speed loading) and a second Practiced Precision for Draw your hunting bow could be loaded (Nocked) in two actions and ready to fire (Drawn) in one.
Add in Snapshot and a decent Reflex and you’re in business!
The other thing to keep in mind is that this archer, like all martial arts masters, is an athlete. He has honed his body mind and spirit to be in harmony with his art (he basically eats lives and breaths this stuff). In Burning Wheel terms, he would have above average Stats and Atributes as well as a few Die Traits and Call-Ons to back up his skills with.

Here’s a debunking:

One thought I had if one wanted to allow faster archery in RnC would be to allow one character to use all the extra shots gained from successes or opposing actions.


It debunks a lot of the fluff, but not actually his ability in the sense that he can fire rapidly. His accuracy might be crap, but then again, he’s not trained his whole life - just a few years. I say the potential to be what we thought he had is still there. Especially in our fantasy games featuring striders and elves.

Yes, that VO is awful. I’m with Kublai, though: disregarding all the historical stupid in there, this is a video of a guy pulling off very quick shots with at least some power and accuracy behind them. Reliably? We can’t know, but it at least can be done.

Basically I think it’s no more reasonable to dismiss this guy out of hand than to credulously believe everything. What would really be great would be MythBusters grabbing Lars and getting him to do some crazy stunts for them.

In keeping with the spirit of the O.P. do you folks have any other ideas on how to pull this type of rapid-fire archery off in B.W.G. ?
There have been enough characters in fiction who were able to pull off such rapid-fire archery.
Fantasy Fiction? Sure. But just because it isn’t historically accurate doesn’t mean it isn’t fun!

My first thoughts:

A training that allows the archer to hold three arrows in his draw hand, thus reducing the required actions to knock, draw and shoot.

An instinctive aiming trait that’s available on an advanced Archer lifepath that removes penalties for snapshots.

I think the Snapshot action covers it pretty well without too much fuss.

Snapshot + practiced precision + the killer = firing a hunting bow every action and a great bow every 3 actions.

Hm. I just reread snapshot. Maybe -1 Action isn’t a good enough trade for the +2 Ob pen to hit. Going from Ob 2 to 4 is huge…

I love it when you talk like that, Luke.

I think snapshot is good where it is. The +2Ob is a sizeable penalty available for those who need to shoot sooner, rather than later.

+1Ob would quickly get surmountable and the lower MoS isn’t that much of a loss for missile weapons. Plus, aiming quickly is REALLY difficult. I LARP, and although nocking and drawing is stupidly quick (because there’s often no need to draw fully) any shot which you don’t aim has a high chance of flying wide. Excruciatingly high.


Just sayin’