by David Kloba
Before the AD&D® Oriental Adventures volume came out, buying arrows was a breeze. You just went to a weaponsmith and asked for arrows (there was only one type). Now, the weaponsmiths in Kara-Tur ask which type of arrow you want. You want the one that does the most damage, right? Well, not always. Suppose a kappa is terrorizing a local village. You're going to have a hard time punching through its AC -2 shell, let alone doing massive damage to it. What's needed here is an armor-piercing arrow. Unfortunately, Oriental Adventures doesn't give modifications for armor-piercing arrows other than the change in damage - and damage was lowered!
This article suggests a better method for conducting missile combat; four new types of arrows are also introduced. Note that the damage ratings for arrows given in Oriental Adventures remain the same. What has been changed is the focus of the armor-class adjustments, which has been moved from the different bows to the various types of arrows. Despite this change, the bow distinctions are retained through the creation of a separate modifier table for each bow.
The four new arrow types are described as follows.
This arrow looks much like the humming bulb arrow, having a large, rounded tip instead of a point. This arrow is mostly used on birds or small creatures which would be sliced in half by a standard arrowhead. Although seldom used against human foes, this arrow has been employed on occasion when nothing else was available. This bird arrow does 1-2 hp damage against any size of creature.
The target arrow is designed for use in the training of younger warriors. This arrow lacks a metal arrowhead; instead, its tip is simply fire-hardened wood. This arrow is rarely used in normal combat, but (as with bird arrows) it is useful when nothing else is available.
This arrow can only be made by the best of the arrowsmiths. It should be extremely rare, difficult to purchase, and available only in large cities. The hollow-tip arrow is commonly thought of as a ninja weapon and carries penalties to honor for its use (see Oriental Adventures, page 36), although any class of character can use it. The arrowhead of the arrow is replaced by a finely balanced piece of pottery, usually in the shape of a small bulb. This pottery bulb is secured to the arrow with tree sap and thread. The bulb is usually filled with grenade powders. The following are some substances for possible use in these arrows, with appropriate modifiers:
The target area affected by the acid is a 5'-diameter circle. See the Dungeon Masters Guide, page 80, for the effects of acid on various materials; the arrow will do an additional 1-3 hp damage from acid to living targets.
The target has a + 2 on all saving throws vs. the effects of magical or mundane dusts contained in this arrow bulb.
The target is blinded for 1-6 rounds by flash powder.
Gas is expelled from the bulb upon striking the target. The gas affects the target in the same round, expanding out in a 5' radius centered on the target. All others within that area are affected by the gas on the next round. The gas dissipates on the third round, affecting no one.
The target gains a + 2 on any saving throw vs. the effects (usually a save vs. poison or else sneezing for 2-8 segments, preventing spell-casting and placing a - 1 "to hit" penalty on attacks for that round).
The target area affected by the poison is a 5'-diameter circle, large enough for one being. Note that only insinuative poisons work with this arrow. See pages 20-21 of the DMG for more information on poison and its effects.
This arrow was originally made by fishermen, who would tie thin cords to the ends of the arrows and fire them into the water in an effort to spear fish. The archers would then haul in the lines and their catches. Over the years, this arrow has been modified for use in warfare. The arrow does little damage when it hits, but the small barbs along its length cause terrible wounds if the arrow is removed improperly. Ninja have put this arrow to another good use by tying a silken rope to the arrow's end, then firing it into a wooden building or tree. This arrow catches better in wood than a standard arrow. A person of normal weight (i.e., up to 200 lbs.) who climbs a rope tied to a normal arrow pulls the arrow loose on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6. A fishing arrow, on the other hand, comes loose only on a 1-2 on 1d6.
Crossbow bolts are only rarely specialized because bolts of unusual shapes would not slide across the firing groove of the crossbow, making it impossible to fire. Special crossbows may be custom made to accommodate special bolts, with the price being 2-8 times the normal cost of the item and requiring twice the amount of time to complete. In so doing, a bowyer has a - 4 on his roll for successfully making the weapon. In the event of success, the resultant crossbow is capable of firing only one type of special bolt, which must also be custom made by the crossbow maker.
Table 1 shows the costs of these special arrows. Tables 2 and 3 are for the daikyu (great bow) and hankyu (little bow), respectively, For the short composite bow, use Table 3 with a - 1 on all figures. For the short bow, use Table 3 with a - 2 on all figures. Table 4 shows the damage done by the new arrows.
Table 1: Costs of New Arrows
|Hollow-tip, Acid||3 ch'ien|
|Hollow-tip, Dust||13 yuan|
|Hollow-tip, Flashpowder||5 tael|
|Hollow-tip, Gas||3 ch'ien|
|Hollow-tip, Poison||2 ch'ien|
|Hollow-tip, Pepper||2 tael|
Table 2: Arrow Adjustments for Daikyu
|Armor Class of Target|
Table 3: Arrow Adjustments for Hankyu
|Armor Class of Target|
Table 4 Damage for New Arrows
* This arrow does an extra 1-6 hp damage if removed without the proper precautions. Careful removal takes 2-5 rounds.
Copyright © 1998-2006 Phillip Riley
Last Updated Sat Aug 11, 2007