Full Item Description
The Dragon Crossbow is a mundane weapon, a steel reinforced arbalest, or metal crossbow. It is a large and ungainly weapon weighing nearly 50 pounds and with the exception of the string and stock, is made entirely of high grade steel. The power of the weapon is provided by no fewer than 8 alchemically treated bowstrings each of which has a general pull of 80 pounds, giving the crossbow roughly 640 pounds of pull strength. This power is used to fire a finger thick quarrel roughly two foot long at great velocity. At medium to close range, the weapon is in theory able to penetrate even dragonscale, though this has never been substanciated.
The weapon has a signifigant forward pulling recoil when the bolt is released, the weapon almost wanting to lead out of the hands. Reloading is a simple, if slow and tedious process. The 8 bowstrings are pulled back via a geared pulley that is worked by means of a foot pump under the nose of the weapon. The crossbow is placed nose in the dirt, the foot pedal is folded down from its locking position and pumped in a manner similar to a bicycle airpump. Each pump moves the strings a short distance, so frantic pumping will pull the strings all the way back in five minutes or so. Placing the next round only takes a few seconds, and resetting the weapon to fire a few more.
It's expense at several thousand pieces of gold, as well as its very slow rate of fire have made the weapon more of an oddity than a mainstay in any military force. The most common use of this mundane weapon is by a small number of aristocratic big game hunters.
Original name was the elephant crossbow, an emulation of the old British elephant gun, changed name in light of the scarcity of elephants as compared to dragons in fantasy.
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? Responses (13)
This idea has a solid ground and reasonable believability in its design. The fact that the difficulty in use and cost has made it more of a collectors item than a useable one.
I of course, would like to see a little more write up on it, the history behind it, why it was originally made to be so durable and strong. Since its name implies it was created for dragons (I realize the elephant portion of it though) yet it has never been tested against a dragon. So if it has never been used for its possible original purpose then why build it to the point where it is nearly infamous?
Pretty detailed, for essentially being a really big crossbow. Now that you mention it, why aren't there more elephants in fantasy?
I didn't dig into a backstory on this piece since it was really just an idea for a really big crossbow. As for the name, grandiose titles and claims are pretty common, what could be more potent than a dragon-slaying crossbow?
As for elephants in fantasy, Tolkien had the Oliphants, but they were way larger than a normal elephant. The others don't seem to be able to seperate the elephant from African or Indian mythology. BTW, Jordan has elephants in the Wheel of Time books, but calls them S'redit, or boar horses.
Useful but not too uber-powerful. Nice.I want one of these.
Well, I'm not much of an expert on crossbows, but here's my take.
A longbow can be between 60 and 160 pounds worth of draw- so you may want to change the stats of the draw, as each string could feasibly (if horrendously difficultly) be cocked manually. This would undoubtedy take a while, and be so cumbersome that dryfiring would be all but certain, but it probably would take less than 5 minutes.
What you say is true, but the draw of the crossbow is not generated by the strings, but by the crossmember. While your typical bear hunting bow might be an 80 pound pull, it is 80 pounds to pull the bar. To pull the bar on the Dragon Crossbow requires that all of the strings be pulled back at the same time to get the 640 pounds of pull needed to bend the steel arm. The strings will snap if your try to pull then back 1 at a time.
Added to the munande weapons section
I like the basics of the write up. It seems plausable, though cumbersome, to be a possible weapon. It does not need much of a historical write up... except maybe what region of the world it came from and the period... the explanation as to what it is used for covers much of the history.
Now, you just need to get one of these into something that *can* draw back at 640 lb bow....
Sometimes you just need a really big crossbow or ax or sword. It is beautifully simple and well described.
Assassins might like it, since it can be fired with relative accuracy at long range
Hmmm... If you had a line of ulnar ores human beings, how many of them would a bolt of one of these babies kill?
I'll get back to you after I have my Dragon Crossbow corps trained (one volley, then they draw swords).