[Ansteorra-archery] Ansteorra-archery Digest, Vol 40, Issue 9

Eadric Anstapa eadric at scabrewer.com
Mon Sep 14 15:08:35 PDT 2009

Caladin,  I think the basic answers to those questions are the same for 
Combat Archers as any other armored combatant.

I think what Combat Archers and most other fighters want in melees are:

    1.  Lots of good fighting.
    2.  Fights where they can feel they have done some good and made a

Obviously if the battlefields and scenarios are setup in such a way that 
archery is excluded, severely or unreasonably limited, or simply a 
scenario where archers can not be really effective  then they aren't 
going to be much fun for the archers.

As we have said before when there are battles where reasonably static 
areas of engagement occur, when archers can be used to help take 
specific areas of ground or help deny specific areas of ground then 
archers can really shine.


Castle/Fort Battles where archers can defend from relatively static 
defensive positions  or can attach specific objectives to soften up and 
remove the defenders.  For Castle/Fort Battles  I like both attacking  
and defending as they are often have very different dynamics.  Attacking 
you have little cover in the way of fortifications and may be relatively 
exposed to the defending archers.  When you are defending  have great 
fortification cover  but that cover often gets in your way and limits 
your field fire.  Lets face it if you in a tower with a arrow slot or 
crenelation you can very easily be limited to just what you can shoot at 
through that crenelation and if the main push and fighting is elsewhere 
you shot opportunities may be low.  Yet even if your shot opportunities 
are low you often can not afford to abandon that location and leave it 
completely undefended. 

I love when we run the Castle scenarios at Bordermarch where the 
defenders get no resurrection (or very limited) and the attackers get 
unlimited resurrections (or many) . And run the scenario twice  so that 
I get to both attack and defend.  I love it.  I have been in those 
battles where it actually felt like a siege.  Exhausted... running out 
of ammo... wondering when it would end...  Wondering how much longer we 
could hold out....  Wondering if we could hold out long enough for it to 
count as a victory...


Bridge Battles and with bridge battles I'll throw in the types of 
battles that occur with narrow confines such as Castle Gates.  In areas 
like this where there are specific small patches of ground being fought 
over the archers can really shine as long as comrades work with them to 
allow them to bring their arms to bear against the enemy.  Obviously  if 
all you can see in these narrow situations is the backs of your own 
fighters then you cant do much.


Resurrection battles.  Obviously res battles give lots of opportunities 
for fighting.  Fight as much as ya can during either your time limit or 
resurrection limit.  Good all the way around. Nobody has to worry about 
getting killed in the first few seconds/minutes of the battle and gets 
to have nearly as much fun as they can handle.  Archers probably like 
these better than most fighters.  While some fighters might get tired of 
the walk back to resurrection point, as an archer depending on the 
scenario I am likely going to have to make that trek a number of times 
anyway during any battle to refill my quiver.

    As a segway to the above and refilling quivers...  I don't mind when
    there are limits to how many pieces of ammo an archer can carry  as
    long was they are realistic limits and not done just because someone
    wants to limit the effectiveness of archery across the board or for
    one side.  In period when archers mustered they would bring with
    them two or three sheafs of arrows (12 arrows per sheaf so 24 or 36
    arrows total) and as they needed more they would be resupplied from
    the supply train of the army. 

    An archer who carried with him less than 24 arrows or a Lord who
    allowed the archers he brought with him come bearing fewer 2 sheafs
    of arrows each would typically  be considered under equipped and ill
    prepared for war and in fact perhaps be in violation of the terms of
    his contract, feu duty, or other feudal obligation. .  When
    scenarios limit how many arrows an archer can carry to some
    unrealistically small number of arrows (say 15 such as last years
    GW) it's simply an attempt to limit the effectiveness of archery and
    I believe that archers who actually come well prepared with
    sufficient ammo to make it through a fight are insulted.  The
    archers (an by extension the army)  that came prepared for battle,
    with sufficient supply, is being dragged down to the level of the
    ones that did not.

    back closer to topic...


The Ravine battle at Gulf War is probably the best of everything for 
archers.  It is a resurrection battle and a battle where fairly static 
lines of combat form and with static objectives (take and hold the 
flags).  Since those static lines form in a relatively open terrain 
where there aren't any walls or other large barriers to  limit the field 
of fire it becomes a target rich environment.  Since the engagement is 
often a spear length apart and we have a shield wall on our side to 
provide cover and protection we can be about as effective as archers 
possibly can be if we are on our game.  I can give examples of where I 
believe the archers were used effectively in the ravine battle and when 
they were not but that would be a separate discussion.


How about boat battles.  Can be fun or not at all depending on how the 
scenario/boat is setup.  If it is setup where the boat has dedicated 
oarsmen and then dedicated fighters withing the boat then it is great.  
The archers simply are in the ship and not required to be oarsmen and 
are free to shoot.  Ideally you shoot the oppositions archers first and 
oarsmen second so that the other ship has no ranged attack and is dead 
in the water once you get them down below their minimum level of oarsmen 
to maneuver.  Once the  other ship can not maneuver and  if they don't 
have ranged attacks  then you just sit off at a distance and kill them  
or leave them there stranded and move onto another ship (in multi-ship 
battles).  Lots of other strategies and possibility.  But where I see 
the ship battles as the most fun is when they are 8 or 10 person ships 
and where there are 4 oarsmen required (two per side) for the ship to 
maneuver.  You can swap people in and out of the oarsman position as 
needed, you can choose stop maneuvering and have all the oarsmen take up 
arms.  The key is to make it so that it is not simply about ramming your 
ship into theirs and turning it into a a big hand to hand tussle.  If 
you where going to do that just forget about the boats and have some 
small melee team tussles.


There have been a few battles a Pennsic over the year with archery that 
I really liked.  Namely a River Crossing battle and a Great Wall 
battle.  But again the key there was that there were static areas and 
objectives that were setup and the archers could be used effectively to 
work at range to either help take those objectives or deny them.

OK, enough for now.


Eric Brown wrote:
> Okay this begs a couple good questions.
> What are CA Archers favorite scenarios and
> in a rough way, why?
> If you could make up an scenario, JUST to be extra fun for archers, 
> what would it be?
> What do you guys think of Boat battles (We have not done them In my 
> memory since North sea raids.)
> When I first heard of boat battles I though they were the stupidest 
> thing I'd even seen, I even thought about
> boycotting them because I thought they were so stupid (and this was at 
> Pennsic)
> But after doing them I decided they were the best thing ever... and 
> they seem like a natural for archery IF you can have enough folks in
> the boat to allow archers to have both hands free.
> What else?
> Caladin-
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