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Bow cadence (was: (TFT) RE Active Defense Block)

From: Phillip Roath <drake_63@sbcglobal.net>
Subject: (TFT) RE Active Defense Block

...Those of you who practice
archery-- take a friend with a stop watch and see how many shots you can take in one minute, while aiming mind you!! You won't even be under pressure of actually being in combat. After you do this post how many shots you got off in that minute
  that actually hit the target!

I actually do this somewhat regularly. I can't quite get to 4 seconds/arrow but I can routinely do 5 seconds/arrow, with either a hip or back quiver (hip is easier, but I can't run with a hip quiver). I only have 6 arrows, but I think a 30-second flight is representative.

I don't see how anyone, even adrenaline-turbocharged in a life-and-death battle, could get to 2.5 seconds/arrow (cf. Melee rules for 2nd shots for high-DX archers). That seems really fast to me.

Accuracy varies (I'm no Legolas, that's for sure :-) ) but I'm not substantially worse at that cadence than with no time limit. That could just indicate that I'm no good with no time limit, of course...

To quantify, at a range of ~ 15 meters, I can put 6 arrows into a 30-cm diameter target in 30 seconds from bow down and arrow in quiver (at best - most flights include at least one flier 50 cm or more off). I can do the same in 35 seconds, starting from bow slung and hands free, so the 5-second "ready weapon" option is reasonable. My backyard doesn't allow practice at longer ranges, so I have not tried at 40 or 50 meters, which would be more like typical archery-meet ranges but which would count as "Long range" for TFT.

I've also tried it with a friend (with a stopwatch) calling out "Knock!...Draw!...Loose!" on a 5-second cadence. Accuracy goes down but not much, so I think having a platoon of archers shoot in unison at a 5-second cadence is also quite reasonable. I note, though, that holding the arrow at full draw for a couple of seconds tires my arm out much faster than doing a smooth draw-aim-release motion, with the arrow point coming up onto the target and just dwelling there for a small fraction of a second before release. That means that for me to do well, the guy calling shots needs to do it at a very even cadence and needs to understand the timing between "draw" and "loose" pretty well.

	Some caveats:
This is with a modern "longbow" [1] with an arrow shelf and a knock-point marker on the string. The bow I use is only 45 lbs. draw weight [2] so I can do this with no finger protection at all, which helps with grabbing the next arrow while I'm still watching where the last one went. I can still do it with a glove, but accuracy declines a bit and I'm much more prone to fumble the arrow. I have not tried it with a tab, but I'm not sanguine about being able to keep up the cadence that way. My arrows have target points, so there's no problem getting them out of the quiver or handling them, as there might be with a broadhead (although I think armor-piercing bodkins would be equally fast to handle). My arrows are modern aluminum-and-plastic arrows whose knocks grip the bowstring. I'm not doing this shoulder-to-shoulder with other archers or shooting between friendly pikemen, and I think either would slow me down some. My target just sits there, it doesn't run around or dodge. Tracking and predicting target motion would probably slow me down some. I have never been in anything like a real or even simulated combat, so I can't even guess at what the adrenaline factor would do.

YMMV; I'm still getting better with practice, so I think my experience can reasonably be used as a "floor" for expected performance of a Real Archer.

[1] http://www.21stcenturylongbow.com/lone_star.htm . The website isn't so good but the bow is absolutely beautiful. No connection, other than as a very satisfied repeat customer.

[2] I've claimed before, and I'm sticking to it, that 10 lb. of draw weight equates to roughly 1 point of damage on the average. A TFT "longbow" (requires ST 11) does 1D+2 = 5.5 points average, so would equate to a 55-lb draw weight. The revered english longbow, as used at Crecy etc., I claim was a weapon used by substantially above-average troops with ST 15 or so, and did something like 3D-2 -> 9 points average damage and was therefore around 90 lbs. draw weight. I claim my bow is somewhere between a TFT "horse bow" and a TFT "longbow" and I'm about ST 10 or possibly 11. Relevant to this discussion, I'm not convinced draw weight has much effect on cadence, as the "2nd shot" rules in Melee would seem to indicate. Grabbing, spinning to the right orientation, and knocking the arrow seems to dominate the time-per-shot for me.

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