30 July 2011

Composite long bow?

AD&D lists a composite long bow. As does WotC’s 3e D&D. Which recently struck me as odd. As I understood it, longbows weren’t composite, and composite bows weren’t long. Am I wrong?

3 comments:

Will Douglas said...

I don't know of any historical Composite Longbow (although the Wikipedia article you reference says that the Hungarian bow was fairly long).

But then again, D&D is a fantasy game. So I guess it's allowable to include ahistorical weapons.

Matthew James Stanham said...

The Japanese long bow (daikyū,大弓) is composite, and it is very likely the bow to which Gygax originally is referring, as it is mentioned in Chain Mail. In fact, though, the best sort of English long bow is supposed to have been a natural composite, the type of wood used providing a harder and softer layer.

Robert Fisher said...

Sure, ahistorical weapons are fine. It’s just that Gygax tended to stick to things that were historical (at least in his opinion). Plus, it is nice to know what a weapon is supposed to be whether historical or not. For instance, if this entry was meant to represent the asymmetric Japanese bows, that’s important, since—unlike a normal longbow, they can be used from horseback.

There’s also a new question raised in my mind about whether natural composites or even composites that are only made up of different woods should use the composite stats—or should the composite stats only be used for something like the Mongol bow?