I've got a lot to do this week, what with Spring here, as well as a fresh copy of Robert J. Kuntz's new book to read. This week, I've decided to take it easy.
I like weapons that function differently from one another, it is a total AD&D 2e thing. We can make the rules as complex or as simple as we like. One of the things that bugs me about the system is, as the title says, The Crossbow.
The Crossbow was a terror on the battlefield, and was, at the time, considered to be much like the nuclear bomb is today. It was an unfair advantage. Bowmen had to spend hours honing their craft, it is a weapon of skill, while the crossbow was not. Anybody could pick up a crossbow and use it to kill other men.
What the crossbow lacked in distance, it made up for with accuracy. It's kind of like a shotgun today, you don't need to be a good shot with a shotgun, you just aim the barrel in the general direction of what you don't want to be there anymore, and when it gets close enough, you pull the trigger.
This factor really isn't all that apparent in the AD&D Weapons table. There are multiple ways that we can go about fixing this:
You can have the weapon always fire against AC 10.
This weapon was slow to load, but the power behind it was pretty impressive, much better, I feel, than the damage listed in the book. We can alter this, either up the damage die used, or if max dmg is rolled, roll the same die again and add that to the total. The problem, however, with this solution is that the die in question is fairly easy to influence, a d6 would give you much better results than the d4, or you can roll the d8 but have it only give you results of 1-4.
I do think that the damage needs to be altered, I'm not sure why it was set so low. DEX does make it more accurate and more dangerous, but I think that the best solution might be focusing on its ease of use.
One doesn't need to spend a Prof. point on this weapon, those that do are actually now specialized in that weapon, and anybody can specialize in it at least once, fighters can spend multiple slots specializing in it further.
I also think that the Range might be set a tad too high, I don't see how a heavy crossbow could reach 250 yards and still be able to hit. Maybe it could, I've honestly never shot one, but I am kind of in the camp of cutting those numbers in half. It would remove the hand crossbow from play, but I think that I'd be happier with play-testing this system.