27 March 2021

GURPS Is Ahead Of You

Breathless Voice: Medieval longbows do the same damage as gunshot wounds!

Arrows do impaling damage, bullets do piercing.  Piercing is essentially just crushing damage which can hit the same special locations as impaling.

Piercing doesn't get a damage modifier, impaling wounds are doubled.

A longbow does thrust+2 impaling damage.  Which means we need to figure out the ST of our archer.

The average draw weight of an English longbow was 152 lb!  That translates to a ST of 17.  Strong motherfuckers they was.  You can see the physiological changes in their skeletons, in fact.

ST 17 thrust damage is 1d+2, so an arrow from a ST 17 bow will do 1d+4 imp.

+4 is changed to 1d... so an arrow does 2d imp.

Shooting someone in the torso will get you 2-12 raw damage then 4-24 hp damage with an average of 7 raw and 14 delivered.

9x19mm ball does 2d+2 pi.  That will do 4-14 raw and 4-14 delivered with averages of 9.  Hollow point ups this to 2d+2(0.5) pi+ that does 4-14 raw, 4-19 delivered with averages of 9 raw and 12 delivered.

.45 ACP ball does 2d pi+.  2-12 raw, 3-18 delivered.  Average raw of 7 with 10 delivered.  HP is 2d(0.5) pi++ is 2-12 raw, 2-22 delivered, average 12 delivered.

A longbow is a bit better than a pistol!

.44 Magnum does 3d+2 pi+.  5-20 raw.  7-30 delivered (average 18).  HP 3d+2(0.5) pi++, 8-38 delivered (avg 22).

A longbow is a bit worse than a magnum revolver.


  1. Even the lowly 3-4' self-bow of 30-50lbs as used in the Viking and Norman ages was quite a deadly little critter. Doing reasonable damage, with potential immediate death with a lucky Harold Godwinson type shot (hit in the eye into the brain, a truly lucky shot but, heh, don't look up!) But a draining, energy sucking wound? Heck yeah. That lowly self-bow took a lot of deer, and in later years and on a different continent, a lot of other people.

    That's not even touching the composite bows from Asia. Seen an actual Mongolian bow, sure, a pull of 60lbs, but a snap that, due to the faster release in comparison to a self-bow, easily makes the shot faster and flatter.

    Interestingly, Tod's Workshop (https://www.youtube.com/user/todsstuff1/videos) covers a lot of stuff dealing with medieval stuffs, especially arrow and bolt weight and styles of heads. His comparisons between really powerful straight bows and faster releasing composite and compound bows is very interesting.

  2. Do you have GURPS stats for a modern compound bow for comparison?

    1. Compound bows just get a +2 ST for damage purposes compared to the ST required to draw them.

      A ST 15 compound bow will do the same damage as a ST 17 longbow.

  3. Most weapons kill by poking a hole in the other's hide, hopefully hitting vitals to let out blood and air. Bullet - spear - arrow and knife, mainly the same principal. High velocity adds hydrostatic shock but still - just a hole.



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