Project: Redcap; the crossroads of the Order



From Project: Redcap

The crossbow was a fairly common medieval weapon, yet no statistics for it appear in the ArM5 rule book.

Official Crossbow Rules[edit]

The Fifth Edition crossbow statistics are printed in Lords of Men.[1] These rules are also available for free in the Lords of Men Web supplement.

Omission From ArM5 Rule Book[edit]

David Chart has explained that crossbows were left out of ArM5 for brevity and simplicity. Rules for crossbows would be rather complicated because crossbows take a relatively long time to reload, and once loaded, they can be fired quickly. In particular, how the reloading cycle of crossbows would interact with the group combat rules is not obvious. David Chart decided that detailed crossbow rules would be better placed in a supplement than in the main book.

Outdated Rules in Covenants[edit]

Earlier rules for crossbows were printed in the Fifth Edition supplement, Covenants (Fifth Edition).[2] These have been superseded by the later rules in Lords of Men. The statistics in the two books are different and officially the rules in Lords of Men take precedence.[3]

Some players have argued that the reload times for crossbows in Covenants seem excessively long. Timothy Ferguson, author of that piece of Covenants did his historical research - those numbers aren't just made up. However, there seem to have been a variety of different types of crossbows in the early 13th Century: presumably, some could be reloaded faster than others.

Timothy did post the following note to the Berkeley mailing list:

I've been trying to reconstruct my research on crossbows, and I'm increasingly coming to the view that I've chosen an outlying case as typical.

-Timothy Ferguson, Berkeley Ars Magica List, 28 February 2006

This is the primary reason the rules were revised in Lords of Men -- Timothy's rules in Covenants required reload times that most people, including the author, came to regard as too long.

Past Editions[edit]

In all earlier editions of Ars Magica (ArM1 through ArM4), crossbows appeared in the weapon table of the main rule book. Statistics and rules for reloading varied from one edition to another.

Related Topics[edit]

External Sites[edit]


  1. Lords of Men pages 138-139
  2. Covenants (Fifth Edition) page 18
  3. Lords of Men page 138, "Using Crossbows

Legacy Page[edit]

For the history of this page before February 24, 2012, see Legacy:crossbow