Christmas came a bit late to Gaming Ballistic, but I found myself with a gift certificate to Cabelas. Since my wife and daughter both have bows, I decided I wanted one as well. 

I debated on compound bow vs. recurve, but I’ve always been a sucker for the simplicity of the recurve. It’s not a traditional longbow, which would have been awesome, but nonetheless it’s what I found myself with.

I’ll take it!

I asked for what they had in the 50# range (I wanted a strong-ish bow, and 50# is olympic standard), and stepped up to the firing line to trial the bow. First shot felt nice. I was told to “aim at the fish,” which as a 1″ wide, 3″ long yellow foam thing stuck to the target. 

Second shot . . . hits the fish.

“I’ll take it.” 

I picked out a dozen feathered arrows that are probably a bit strong for the bow. The first sales guy I was trying to talk to was a bit of an asshat, so I wound up with the wrong arrows (55/70 instead of 45/60). 29″ shaft (we measured at full draw) and a dozen 100gr field tips that somehow never made it into my bag. 

Alas, but that’s only $10. 

The results of the shooting were pleasing enough that I just bought the thing. I’ll pick up some more points, and my family will try and find an archery club here in Minneapolis to start practicing more regularly. Shaeffer Archery nearby has an indoor range, so perhaps that’s the ticket.

The Deadly Spring – Thundor Takedown Bow

The bow itself can be worked out using The Deadly Spring. There are a lot of inputs, but cutting to the chase, the riser (non-working section of the bow) is 1/3 the total, while the limbs are 2/3 – this is obvious when it’s taken down, because each section is basically the same length.

The inputs include fiddling with the limb thickness and a bunch of other stuff. Net/net, the model predicts a velocity of the shaft on the order of 200-210fps, Acc 2 (not great – maybe not enough), and a $300 price, which is probably a bit less then 2x higher than I paid for it. That’s OK, though – it’s designed with GURPS prices in mind. 

If I give it the “Cheap” modifier, the price is nearly exactly correct, but that would make it Acc 1, and I’m fairly sure that’s not accurate enough. I mean, it’s not an Acc 4 olympic recurve for actual Olympians, but perhaps it needs the “cheap is good, good is fine, and fine is very fine”  type adjustment that knives get.

Penetration is poor with field tips – as it should be. it’ll clock in at about 1.25 – 1.35 points of penetration including the armor multiplier of (0.5) for the field tips. If we slapped on a forged, barbed, heavy war point (about 500gr for the point, 250gr for the shaft) then damage would increase by a tiny bit, but not enough to eke out more than 1d-1 (1) imp or even 1d-1 (2) imp. More likely than the 2 is that it would increase penetration by about one point, which would make it about 1d imp. That heavy arrow would take the max range down to about 195 yds, and it will do full damage to the full range of the arrow’s fall.

How good was that shot?

I can’t wait to take it out for enough target practice to calculate a bow skill. But first, we look at the bonuses that I get for having all the time in the world and no orcs piling out of the clothing aisle trying to kill me. The light was good, the range was known, etc.  That’s good for probably a +9 bonus (!). The size of the target is probably 1″ x 3″ about 3x the size of an eye, which makes it about -7 for size, and about -4 for range (11 yds is technically -5, but it’s . Accuracy is probably about +4  for the bow, 2 more for a long aim). That’s about +1 or +2 to skill net. If I’ve got a single point in bow skill, Bow-9 would be adjusted to Bow-10 or Bow-11, which would actually give me about a 50-62% chance to pull off this trick. Also, All-Out Attack (Determined) helps. If I’m shooting from Default, it’s probably Bow-6 or Bow-7 (with Dabbler), which again would wind up Bow-9 or Bow-10, for about a 1 in 3 or 1 in 2 chance of putting an arrow on target – that seems not-wrong to me. I need a huge amount of bonuses to pull that off, but I have them, so I’m probably Bow-6 to Bow-9 as an estimate. Not spectacular, of course – but then, that is a testament to the quality of the rules. If I needed to self-identify as Bow-14 to pull this off, that’d be a problem.

Once again, over on the forums there’s a thread. In this case, someone created a repeating crossbow that is re-loaded using a pump-action similar to a shotgun. The design on the thread was a fairly standard design, nothing quite as elaborate as the image to the right.

So, what would I make of such a beast?

Well, compared to a regular crossbow – especially one with modern materials, you’re probably still looking at a draw length on the order of 7-11″ and not too much more. Maybe you could eke out 16″. Modern crossbows have a power stroke of 9.5 to 13″ so you’re not really losing much there. Medieval crossbows were shorter strokes, mostly – the powerful ones had steel limbs that didn’t flex much, and so might be hundreds of pounds – or even thousands – with only 6-9″ of stroke. 

Still, let’s say that we can neglect draw length or power stroke. 

So that leaves the draw weight of the thing. How heavy could that be?

The Basic Set and Low-Tech crossbows leave quite a bit to be desired from a verisimilitude perspective. But let’s assume that the work I did in The Deadly Spring wasn’t totally bogus. That means that you can span a crossbow of up to 8xBL using two hands and bracing the thing on the ground – equivalent to a Two-Handed Lift from p. B353. This seems to be “ready the crossbow in two seconds, ready a bolt, put the bolt on the crossbow,” and shoot on the fifth turn. A bow is ready an arrow, mate the arrow to the bow and draw, shoot. 

So if the lifting part is 8xBL in 2 seconds, and a bow is up to 2.5xBL in one second (slightly generous over the 2xBL from p. B353), how heavy a draw might one manage?

Certainly not 8xBL. No legs or back in use, really. Can we eke out the same 2.5xBL as a bow? Probably not. A bow can use the legs (see my longbow draw movie – it’s not great form, but it’s more than just the arms and back. You get a lot of back and shoulder in it, though.

The pump-action will brace against the shoulder, but it’s pretty much a one-handed pull with one arm, if the second hand remains in “trigger” position and you’re bracing the weapon at the shoulder the entire time. I’m inclined to say between 1xBL (seems light) and 2.5xBL (seems heavy). Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and say between 2x and 2.5xBL.

Still, the crossbows that do thr+4 imp are the 8xBL ones. The energy you’ll get out of equivalent draw length but less force will be quite a bit less, corresponding to a damage of 50-56% of the full-power bows assuming a draw strength of 8xBL. A weapons-grade crossbow from The Basic Set that is ST 12 will do 1d+3 damage, or about 7.5 points. 55% of that is 4.1 points, or about 1d to 1d+1.

That puts at about thr+2 to thr+3 for ST 12, about where GURPS puts the pistol crossbow.

Parting Shot

So it’s a fast-loading pistol crossbow?

That seems right to me. You’re getting the same damage output of a pistol crossbow, but occupying two hands and cutting the bow-centric reloading time from two seconds to one, and avoiding (for a number of shots equal to that of the hopper) the “ready the arrow” and “mate the arrow to the bow/ready the bow” actions. 

So: stats as a Pistol Crossbow, Shots probably becomes something like 6 (reload 1 or 2/second).

Note that if you’re not using full-length projectiles, efficiency will likely be worse and it might knock the damage down to thr+1 instead of thr+2. Smaller projectiles will reload faster.

Note that dropping a 160-lb compound crossbow to 50 lbs (8xBL to 2.5xBL) using The Deadly Spring will drop the energy from 180J to 35J, and that means:

160J compound crossbow: 7.7 points of cinematic-scale damage, 5.4 points “realistic” scale
35J compound crossbow: 3.3 points cinematic scale damage, 2.3 realistic scale.

That is, at ST 10, a regular crossbow should do 1d+2, which is close to the 5.4 points on my “realistic” scale. The low-draw bow will be closer to 1d-1, which is thr+1, and closer to flat thr (2.0 points, or 1d-2) using half-weight arrows instead of the 0.1-lb projectiles assumed in the model.

So my estimate above should probably be thr and can fire every round, but loads 2 projectiles per ready maneuver (you can probably do more with Quick-Ready or some other Technique), or thr+1 with full-sized projectiles, but defaults to one per second (again, load faster with a Technique).

Oh, sure. Lots of people draw heavier bows. But this one is the heaviest I’ve been able to even attempt – mostly due to lack of opportunity. It’s an 85-lb handmade longbow. Well, not that long.

The form makes a big difference. If you hold the bow out and simply pull, it’s a lot harder than a proper warbow draw, which is a lot of legs and back and motion.

Or, as a friend said: “Is that your bow?”

“No. Not yet.

I also got to talk penetration and Lars Anderson with the proprietor of Grey Goose Bows (he also has a YouTube channel), so a good time all in all. He, of course, made the bow I’m drawing.

If I use the design features of The Deadly Spring, I can model this as 85-lb bow that should be made of walnut (I think that’s what he said) and needs to be 73″ long or longer to give a 30″ draw. It’s modeled as a straight/D-section bow about 0.85″ square. Firing a 31″ poplar arrow with a lightweight armor piercing point (about 680 grains), I should be able to fire an arrow to 305 yards. It will do about 1d penetration to about 200yds, then 1d-1 from there onward. The velocity of that arrow should be about 207fps on release according to the model.

*** *** ***
Stay tuned for more Orcpower posts, as I get into the fighter class. An appropriately optimized (well, more than just whacking something with a sword) Champion, plus Battle Master to help one’s friends is on the way.

*** * ***

As promised, the video of my drawing the bow.

I was pointed to a rebuttal of the Lars Andersen claims about high-speed archery.

I’ll repost it here:

A Response to Lars Andersen: a New Level of Archery

As someone that wrote a fairly substantial article on the physics of building and bending bows, I’ve followed the entire re-emergence of the original video interesting, and this time the responses to it have been more measured and some of them downright scholarly.

Anyway, the rebuttal is quite interesting, and worth a watch.

I got a great comment on the Bow ST thing by +Sean Powell, a fellow engineer and archery enthusiast. So I decided to make a post out of my responses to his comments. My responses to his comments will be in blue italics. His stuff is in black bold.

I’ve only been the occasional GURPS fantasy player (GURPS makes a better superheroes game IMHO and there are plenty of systems for swords and sorcery

This might be the first time I’ve ever heard of GURPS as a preferred system for supers over certainly swords and maybe sorcery!

You got the math right. (Yay math!)

After all the work on The Deadly Spring, I hope I can get E = ½ F^2/K correct. J

It’s nice seeing someone use historic data to number-crunch a game for realism. (Yay game realism!)

When I did The Deadly Spring, I researched it somewhere between quite a bit and very heavily. I read scientific papers on bow physics, at least seven or eight books on making and shooting bows of various cultures, as well as empirical trials, such as the much-loved Defense Academy Warbow Trials. I even corresponded over email with one of that study’s authors. I also paid attention – even where I thought the cases were overstated – to the many articles about armor and how it’s impervious to nuclear weapons when made by the proper medieval craftsmen.

OK, I embellish. But between the stories of bows punching through battleship belt armor and someone wearing tin foil mail being impervious to a 200-lb. warbow firing a 1,500-grain arrow, I covered the gamut of bows being the deadliest weapon to not worth using if the other guy is armored at all. I wound up striking a balance that one known armor aficionado mentioned approvingly as a good one: that a strong warbow could punch through moderate mail (DR 3-5 in GURPS terms) some of the time, but not much more. This led to the 130# longbow being pegged at about 1d+1 or so, which would make it fail vs DR 5 and higher. Plate of 1mm (DR2-3) would be vulnerable to strong bows,  but 2mm and higher would basically be nearly impervious, and certainly provide massive protection against even the strongest warbows.

In any case, the fact that we could turn Joules of energy into something that could be calibrated against firearms to some extent (take a 11.43mm bullet like a .45ACP with 475J, basically 2d penetration, and compare with an 11m arrow with 160J, and tell me how any arrow will do more than 2d penetration?) made for a nice well-supported touchstone.

I’m not a terribly strong person being a desk-jockey with arm-chair spread but it takes a fair amount of conditioning for me to maintain strength to draw my bow consistently.

The need for sport-specific exercise, as well as technique, is frequently present in the real world, but hard to model fairly in GURPS. Can be done, though, as I hope my article showed.

Very few other recreational archer I meet can consistently draw my bow even if they are very good shots with lighter bows. (They also think I’m nuts) and the ones who can already shoot ELB or self-bows.

Yeah – I’ve heard too many stories of guys that can bench press 350lbs that can’t draw a 100-lb. bow, even though ST 14 probably accounts for the ability to do both. Again: sport-specific. Pushing vs. either pulling or pull/push. I bet the archer couldn’t press 350 either. Apples and oranges.

Having read the accounts from Crece, Agincort, Poitiers and the Mary rose find along with others I don’t think that the Mary rose held an atypical selection of archers.

Me either, but the Mary Rose had a few hundred bows, and there were, what? 5,000 bowmen at Agincourt? So not truly representative. But on the other tentacle, to reach out to the 230yds that was “within bowshot” enough to be militarily significant at Agincourt, you need a strong bow.

My spreadsheet puts a 130# bow firing a 0.2-lb arrow (about 1,500 grains) with a max range of about 245yards. A 100# bow firing an 1,150-gr arrow will reach to just shy of 230-yards.

A 915-gr flight arrow would (by the same sheet) reach to about 265 yards, but be basically no threat to anyone on an armored region (I suspect 1d+2(0.5) would be about right for that, good for harassment but not a threat to an armored foe with more than DR 3).

Still, it supports the notion that at least a ST 14 (98-lb) bow would have been somewhere between the minimum and a decent average for the “fire at 230 yards” to have the equivalent meaning as “fire for effect.”

If the Mary Rose held typical archers and the typical archer could pull in the 160-180 lb range then we as modern men are WEAKLINGS! I only know 1 or 2 modern archers who can draw in that range consistently and they aren’t really that strong at other tasks. Meanwhile the people I know who are generally strong can span my bow a few times but not hold it without shaking and they aren’t capable of drawing the historic draw weights.

I suspect that when you have about 800,000 men available (population of England in 1400 estimated to be about 2.5 million people) getting 5,000 archers that can draw strong bows is not a problem when your national policy reflects the need. That is a very specific kind of strength, and given the “train his grandfather” trope, I suspect that kids started on light bows and drew progressively heavier ones.

The human body is very good at repetitive exercise, and this is the sort of thing that should respond well to modern training methods – if we didn’t care about skeletal deformation and out-of-balance musculo-skeletal development!

It seems the only way to draw and shoot bows in that poundage is to develop a special dedicated set of muscles (not just generally strong) and that set of dedicated muscles comes from a lifetime of bow training.

Yeah, this!

Which leaves us with: Historically the solution may be ‘trained strength’ even if that does not fit with game mechanics and game balance as easily… BUT you might consider access to certain regional/society/racial perks (Born Welsh or Raised in Mongolia)that could reduce that cost or provide a cumulative bonus if maintaining historical accuracy was very important to you.

Trained ST as it’s given in Technical Grappling and to a lesser extend in The Last Gasp is a full-body strength that is basically the ability to apply leverage, force, and weight dynamically against a resisting opponent. That’s why the +50% (ish) boost to ST requires you to get to DX+10 in order to leverage that.

Drawing a bow is not quite so dynamic. You don’t have to worry about being picked up and thrown suddenly, or doing it on the move. You set up, plunk your arrows into the earth in front of you, and fire one every ten seconds (!) in a lather, rinse, repeat motion, in order to replicate battle tactics (not FRPG fighting!) as described at Agincourt, Crecy, and the like.

As such, the Technique-based logic that makes drawing a heavy bow a matter of fairly mild point expenditure makes sense to me. The ONLY thing it applies to is . . . drawing a heavy bow. Not lifting your friends to safety, climbing walls or a rope, wrestling, or swinging a sword. Nor does it impart hit points. So if all of that is 10 points per level, then the ability to pull a bow of a given power is going to be much less than that. If you can pull a bow but not even carry heavy weights (Lifting ST at 3/level) then at the lowest you’re dealing with about 1/level (a -60% limitation on lifting ST) and at most you’re talking 2/level (-60% on Striking ST).

I like the idea of cancelling skill penalties when drawing heavy bows rather than boosts to ST, though, since it preserves the maximum amount of the RAW and tends to avoid arguments about what else ST might be good for. It’s good for one thing: cancelling penalties. This would include penalties to hold a bow at full draw, though – something that is touched on in The Deadly Spring when it comes to aiming a bow.

(This reminds me of a deleted scene in the movie Gladiator, where the Emporer is monologuing in front of a guy who he’s going to execute, all the while his archers are behind him with shaking arms and full-drawn bows, looking really panicked about it.)

When I wrote The Deadly Spring, I pegged the strongest bow that humans pulled at about 200 pounds draw. I saw lots of bows in history in the 170-190# range, but not much more than about 200#. Mongol composite bows of as much as 165#, the strongest bow on the Mary Rose was about 185#.

OK, that was the strongest bow. Great. Well, if we tag bow draw weight to basic lift, putting a 200# bow drawn to about 30-32″ at (Lifting) ST 20 made some degree of sense. Well, if we do that, it naturally puts a ST 10 bow at a factor of 4x less, so a ST 10 bow would be a 50-lb. bow, that is, something eminently suitable for hunting animals.

That all seemed to fall out quite nicely, even putting a 20-lb. kid’s bow at ST 6 or so (and ST 8 bow at about 32 lbs, which would be the women’s Olympic norm).

Still, that has the interesting and unwanted side effect that to draw what seems to be a moderate power warbow judging (perhaps wrongly) by the samples reconstructed from the Mary Rose (the average was what by this scale would be a ST 17 bow), one has to be extremely strong. ST 17 is 1d+2 thrust and 3d-1 swing as raw damage, so our hero would do 1d+3 imp with a “regular” bow and 3d+1 cut with an axe, or 3d with a broadsword.

That’s serious hurt.

Really? ST 17?

Well, not entirely. The Strongbow perk lets you draw that bow with “only” ST 15 if you have your Bow skill at DX+2. You can also justify 2-3 levels of the perk “Special Exercises: Arm ST” as a dedicated archer. That brings your overall ST requirement down to 4-5 levels below the draw requirement, or ST 12-13.

Not unreasonable, but if we assume that a 175# bow (about ST 19) isn’t that rare, it means there were a whole lot of ST 14-15 (plus Strongbow plus special exercises) people were kickin’ around England in Ye Merrieye Oldee Tymes.


There are a couple ways to go about this one, though, if you don’t care for this outcome.


Not everyone that is good with a bow is good with a really powerful bow. You could be relatively weak but not practiced in the art of, well, pulling really strong springs. It should be possible to be DX+Lots in bow skill but not necessarily be able to pull a hugely powerful bow.

Note: the following options are a bit stream of consciousness, and not ordered by preference. They’re just coming out as I type. If this were a published article, I’d pick the best options and cull the rest. 

One possibility is to allow multiple levels of Strongbow. Each point doubles the bonus for getting to DX+2 in Bow. So 5 points would give you +5 to the ST of the bow you can draw at DX+1, and +10 at DX+2. So a ST 10 archer with DX+1 skill could draw a ST 15 (113#) bow, and DX+2 could draw a 200# bow (!).

The downside of this is that for a relatively low cost (DX+2 is 8 points, and 5 points for Strongbow 5) you put a 2d-1 base damage bow in the hands of just about anyone (2d regular bow, 2d+1 longbow).

Of course, that’s 2d+1 imp every second or third round. For the same 10 points, your ST 11 guy does 1d+1 cut every round by swinging a shortsword, and 1d+3 cut with an axe. That’s not hugely imbalanced, considering ranged attacks require a much higher skill for equal effectiveness.

I suspect allowing just this won’t break anything.

Drawing Powerful Bows

There are two mentions of this in the Basic Set, as mentioned here by +Cole Jenkins, and one in Low-Tech on p. 75. This seems to supersede p. B270 but frankly does so in a confusing way due to the problems talked about in Inefficient Springs, below.

So let’s use the usual rules for doing things at lower ST than required: -1 skill per -1 ST and a fatigue penalty at the end of the battle. So a ST 12 (reasonable) archer pulling a ST 17 bow will act at -5. But they’ll be aiming (+2 or +3 to hit) for at least 2 seconds (an extra +1) and shooting at an area, not a point target. While you might traditionally go for +4 to hit a hex, you might also say that a battle line might be +10 to hit, if you’re just launching into a 50yd x 100yd box. So even someone using a bow at DX+2 (call it Bow-12) at 250yds (-13) would be at a net flat skill. Sure, you’re not Robin Hood, but Henry V is thought to have had a million arrows on hand with his forces at Agincourt.

Shoot all you want, miss some, no problem. Just drop an arrow into the box 75% of the time every six seconds or so.

Inefficient Springs

Drawing an overstrength bow seems like a good idea in GURPS, and if you assume that you can simply pull the thing back to full draw and you just get inaccurate and a bit tired, you’re good.

But I suspect that’s not how it works. You’re as strong as you are, and if you can’t exert 145# of force come hell or high water, you can’t pull the bow back to full draw. For a basically linear bow, like many self-bows (but not recurves, reflex bows, or compound bows), the linear spring assumption where draw force is a constant times draw length isn’t spectacularly awful, and is close to correct.

That means that if F = K x D (K is constnant, D is draw length), then normally you’d put energy into the bow equal to roughly half of F x D, assuming that F is the max force at the full draw.Or F squared divided by K.

But if you’re only strong enough to draw the bow halfway back (D/2 and F/2) then you’re putting energy into the bow equal to F-squared / 4 K.

So drawing a full-strength bow halfway back is not the same as drawing a bow of appropriate poundage the entire way back. In fact, it’s got half the energy, or roughly 70% of the penetrating power (b/c GURPS does penetration with guns as sqrt(KE)).

So if you do (say) 1d+3 with a ST 17 bow at full draw, and 1d+1 with a ST 14 bow at full draw, you will not do 1d+1 with a ST 17 bow being drawn by someone of ST 14 – it should be more like ST 12, for 1d. Probably a nice -1 per die damage penalty would work here. So if you take a very strong bow that you can only pull as ST 12 (1d for a regular bow), you’ll hit for 1d-1 instead.

Strongbow II

Another way to go with Strongbow is to treat it like a Technique. You normally take a -1 penalty to skill for every -1 ST you have. Use Strongbow to buy this off.

This would allow a ST 10 person to draw a ST 20 bow at full skill for 10 points, because you’re buying off a -10 to skill. This is a restated variation on an idea presented here.

That nicely uses the Technique rules (used for buying off penalties to skill), doesn’t require a huge investment in ST other than that required for character concept, but gives a minor cost to pulling a powerful bow. It also decouples skill at hitting point targets with the ability to pull powerful bows – maybe a feature, maybe a bug. If you have ST 12 and 5 points in the Strongbow Technique, you can fire at full skill a bow up to ST 17. Not extra skill, but full skill.

Going Non-Linear on ya

Another way to go would be to consciously couple skill and the ability to draw a powerful bow, such that you could keep archers’ ST in the 10-14 range but still hit a ST 18 bow. That would basically allow Strongbow to scale more. +1 to ST for each point of relative skill from DX to DX+3 (say), so that at ST 14 (2x in basic lift) and DX+3 (12 points expended, or +4 lifting ST for bows only) plus the Strongbow perk to represent pulling powerful bows (and what you might get for spending the points in Bow and ST to pull it to begin with) you could basically have a strong guy pulling a 160# bow, or an average one pulling a ST 14 (100#) bow, generally considered an entry-level warbow.

Trained ST

I’d be remiss if I didn’t just say “treat Strongbow like Trained ST,” which would allow up to +5 to the ST for pulling a bow at DX+10 – but that has the undesirable side-effect that you have to get to DX+10 to pull a heavy bow.

So anyone that can pull a ST 15 bow with only ST 10 raw has Bow-20? Really?

No. Much as I loves me my Trained ST, this one doesn’t work. Or rather, doesn’t work as the only solution. This couples well with Strongbow as a perk (see what I did?) for spending the 40 points in skill for getting to DX+10, but not as the only way to get there.

Parting Shot

I think overall I prefer Strongbow II and the extra damage penalty of -1 per die for shooting a bow in excess of what you can draw.  It plays well with the rules, gives an incentive to meet or exceed the ST of a bow you’re pulling, and doesn’t make archers even yet more painful to play than they already are.

I’m actually a bit surprised I didn’t do this on Thursday when I talked about Lifting ST and Striking ST and ranged weapons. But it came up tangentially on a thread on the forums about powerful warbows and how pulling a high ST bow couldn’t have been that unusual if states could field thousand of archers, and one ship had 200+ bows with draw weights ranging from 100-185#. (That would be the Mary Rose, of course.)

But what about Trained ST?

The concept of Trained ST for bows already exists in a limited form in the form of Strongbow. It’s a perk, and you get +1 to your ST at DX+1 and +2 at DX+2.

Trained ST uses this progression (well, that and more) already to extend the bonuses for Wrestling, going up to ST+5, or ST+50% if you like to level things up.

What I’d do is simply eliminate Strongbow, and make your ability to draw a bow follow the fast progression of Trained ST.

Stretton and his 200# bow

So your ST 12 archer could pull a bow of up to ST 17. This is basically “sport-specific ST” and I personally think it’s quite realistic.

The use of “Arm ST” to push bow draw weights up might want to be curtailed. Maybe not, though. It’s somewhat expensive at 5/level, and does represent a real thing. It’s also often capped at 1-3 levels, but it would let you take a ST 10 guy and let him draw a ST 18 bow if you get three levels of Arm ST and are at DX+10.

I’m not sure that’s a real problem, though. Yeah, your bow, which can only do damage once ever second-to-sixth turn in any sort of game where Fast-Draw and Quick-Shoot are not options, is your primary attack mode. You’ve invested (say) 20 points in ST, 40 points in DX, another 40 points for DX+10 in Bow, and 15 points in Arm ST – so you’ve just spent 115 points for the privilege of drawing a ST 20 bow, which does 2d-1 raw damage. Nice, but not world-shattering.