Saturday, January 10, 2015

10. Compound Bow

In an age of railguns, plasma rifles, and disassembler swarms, what possible use can there be for a bow? Yet even now, bows have their place.

The sport of archery lives on, primarily among those hyperelite who maintain aristocratic affectations. Among more serious competitors, accuracy over distance is now where records are sought. On Mars, low gravity and thin atmosphere has made archery especially impressive, with archers hitting targets at the very limits of their vision.

A sports bow is often legal in many polities with otherwise strict weapons laws. Even a combat model is relatively easy to obtain; simpler designs require nothing but carbon. Additionally, a bow and arrow is virtually silent, and has no muzzle-flash or energy beam to give away the shooter.

A compound bow can be equipped with a smartlink, predicting arcs based upon aim, draw, arrow, gravity, atmosphere, and Coriolis force. Special arrows are also available: accushot fletching is popular, and some scum designers have released blueprints for arrows with microgrenade warheads. A transhuman bow can have, for strong (30 SOM) morphs, draw weights of ~225 lbs. A Locus based group of hobbyists have been designing a 1500 lbs. bow for use by pneumatic-limbed synths.

Note, however, the disadvantages. An arrow depends on air resistance for stabilization, making them useless in vacuum. The long penetrating wounds inflicted by an arrow are unlikely to be lethal unless striking a vital organ. Nine times out of ten, a bow's only real advantage is that your enemy will not be expecting it.


Compound bows are wielded with the Exotic Ranged Weapon: [Compound Bow] skill.

Compound Bow [Low] DV: 1d10 + 2 + (SOM / 10)* DV Average: 7 + (SOM / 10)* AP: SOM / 10* Ranges: Short (SOM / 5) * 10, Medium (SOM / 2) * 10 Long SOM * 10 Extreme SOM * 20
*or as minigrenades.

Accushot fletching functions as accushot smart ammo.


  1. It wouldn't work well at all without an atmosphere. Arrows are flight stabilized by air resistance on the fletching. Without an atmosphere, the arrow would tend to tumble, as there's nothing keeping the blunt end back and the pointy end forward.

    1. Damn, I can't believe I didn't think of that. Editing.

  2. Michael W CrichtonMarch 4, 2019 at 2:00 PM

    It shouldn't be difficult to make a bow that sets the arrow spinning when it releases. Heck, smart arrows that automatically detect atmosphere or the lack theteof and deploy fletching or gyroscopic stabilization as needed could be standard.