Is the 18-strength minimum on the Greatbow an accident?

The Greatbow and Compound Greatbow require 18 strength to draw, meaning they have an optimum strength of 36. AFAIK, unaugmented human maximum is supposed to be 14. It’s therefore useless to all but hulked-out mutants who started out as world champion powerlifters… and can only brought to a full draw with Hydraulic Muscles active.

Which is cool if it’s intended… but seems like it should be reflected in the item description. “Requires incredible strength to draw” implies something like min 9, optimum 18, to me. Which makes me wonder if this was an accident.

I think it might actually be intentional, since I don’t think a “greatbow” larger than the English longbow (already present in-game as the longbow, with a more reasonable strength requirement) was ever really used in a historical context. The greatbow is effectively made-up and probably intended for mutants and cyborgs (or a human with ridiculous natural strength). It’s the bow equivalent of a Buster Sword. The description could probably be changed to “inhuman” or “Olympian strength” to be clearer.

Dont forget drugs and artiffacts. 8/8/8/8 character can get to a point where he/she can use it. But if drugs run out or you take some pain, you can suddenly be caught in a tight spot without your main weapon.

If it’s bigger then the longbow I could definitely see it being a mutant or cyborg weapon. My 6 strength char with extremely strong and freakishly huge only hit 14 strength so about 10 base strength it could be managed with a full deck of mutations. Would definitely require a character designed around it though.

It’s intended to be a bow for super strong mutants


As langsdwarf said. It’s not a real bow in as much as an extrapolation based on what is possible for mutant or augmented characters that considerably surpass the human norm. There was a whole thread about it before and I’m mentally exhausted just trying to recall that.

In that case…

“An extremely large and [powerful compound bow / stiff longbow], made with enormous limbs and a thick string to take an immense amount of energy. Takes incredible strength to draw.”


“An inhumanly large and [powerful compound bow / stiff longbow], made with enormous limbs and a thick string to take an immense amount of energy. Takes superhuman strength to draw.”



…or lil japanese girls…or so anime has taught me :wink:


I’m the guy who added it, and the local “expert” on archery .

  1. It is 100% intended for mutants/cyborgs. Getting to 18 strength from the “normal” 8-10 is a bit of a feat, but the damage on it is quite substantial. It’s for people who like strength builds and want an appropriate bow.
  2. The whole concept of “optimum strength” and increased range with higher strength is weird AF and I’ll be removing that relatively soon (Yes strength plays into bow use, but the way the game models it is janky at best). Expect that system to be replaced with JUST the minimum strength requirement and (in the far future) reduced muscle fatigue when using a bow with more strength than minimum.
  3. Strength is linear, and you can start with anywhere between 1 and 20 (possibly more?). While the “inhuman strength” mutations don’t give that much strength in those terms, in terms of actual real world analogy 18 strength is pretty high but not ridiculous. The current greatbow is roughly based on a 210lb draw, which is doable for humans. There’s a guy that uses a 200lb currently IRL, some English warbows on the Mary Rose met or exceeded 200lb, and some Chinese military exams included bows up to ~250lb. In real terms the greatbow is quite strong, but not impossible, but strength is modeled weirdly in-game.
  4. What’s wrong with “incredible”? It means “impossible/difficult to believe”. Is that not appropriate?

Tl:Dr Strength is weird ingame, greatbow is sensible in IRL terms.


i’ve used it with a regular non mutant/cyborg character with single-pool, dumped all points into strength, used tiger kung fu and played with stats-through-skills so it’s definitely possible

I just use rifles :]

Yeah, the great bow is meant to be larger than the longbow (which is about 6 ft in game, in reference to the description), so I’m guessing the great bow must be about the size of the one in a game like Dark Souls.

Technically a greatbow isn’t a thing IRL and the one ingame is just a top-end poundage longbow, so it’s up to your interpretation. You’re right about longbows being large, but higher poundage primarily requires thicker limbs rather than longer limbs (to a point), and the bow still needs to be short enough that a person can fire it. It’s up to you what your particular greatbow looks like, but I usually consider it to look like a very fat longbow, maybe with some leather backing in choice areas.

Ingame it has slightly larger volume, so you could consider that either height or thickness.

There actually are examples of greatbows in history, but as people have mentioned, no organized use or standard. Their draw weights varied over a pretty large regime, unlike the more standardized English bows. Draw weights were not standardized across the globe, and not even regionally in many places throughout most of history. Plenty of much higher draw weight bows were found, and many of these examples were definitely used by human beings. I think the numbers here are crazy high for something “realistic”, but it’s really up to game balance, and from what I’ve seen the other bows are already reasonably powerful. I haven’t fought any end game stuff yet though.

That’s cool about the muscle fatigue replacing the range difference.

I think any disagreement here is the basically arbitrary one of “what kind of person has 18 strength?”

The main takeaway for me is that there should be an official standardized statement about what various ranges of various stats mean, for the purpose of unifying content design.

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I agree completely. As it stands, the default is 8 for most stats, but you can take up to 10 for no penalty, and up to 20 with penalties. And somehow a normal person with strength bionics and mutated to be a bear/bear-like is weaker than a blind idiot that happened to be born strong. I have no idea.

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For what little it’s worth, the wiki says that 14 is human maximum.

If I were speaking the universe into being, I would do the following:

  • Declare that stats are assigned based on where a person falls on bell-curve distribution for the relevant testable group (in our case: functional human adults)
  • Since 8 is the middle and 1 is the minimum, that means that 15 is the maximum. Better-than-15s and worse-than-1s are close enough to be rounded off at our level of granularity.
  • Declare that the distribution is shaped such that each point shift is about a factor of 2. That is, you are better than 1/2^(16-x) of pre-apocalypse functional human adults.
  • Benchmark accordingly.
  • Estimate the difference between what a 15 and an 8 could accomplish and divide by 7 and use that as a linear metric to benchmark for points above 15.

Granted drugs make this messy, but drugs as massive performance enhancers in Cataclysm is silly anyway.

(And if somebody then wants to start out as stupid, sense-impaired character with a crippling inner ear disorder who’s stronger than a grizzly bear, that’s their choice.)

The wiki saying 14 is human maximum isn’t worth anything unfortunately. The design doc on Github says the same, but according to Kevin that’s not right. I think the idea is to make it fairly linear, with the idea being that 0-20 is normal human range (0 being a 4-year-old, 10 being average Joe, and 20 being Olympic weightlifter) so anything above that is “superhuman”. I think the idea is to make it so working out and health factors affect your actual strength, so you can start at 10 and work your way up to 15-20. Or start at 5 and work your way up to 10-15. I’m not sure how mutations/bionics would fall into that, but I imagine they would multiply your strength value, since I can’t see them being reasonable any other way.

Under the current system, the greatbow is fine so long as you don’t put all your points into strength at character creation. Under your system, it would be fine with a 15 strength requirement. Under the one I outlined above, it would be a 20.
My point being; until we have a strength system that makes sense, the greatbow (and my incoming monsterbows (I’m bad at names)) is always going to be in a weird superstate where it’s both OP as fuck and perfectly balanced, because character creation and the actual game don’t match well.

Moving the midpoint stat from 8 to 10 would be a decent idea, to take advantage of intuitive association with IQ and common pen and paper rpgs.

Dunno how I COMPLETELY missed your comment, sorry about that.

There certainly are examples of bows up to and above 200lb in draw, although that was the top-end in most cases. I know there was at least one case where a guy made a 300lb+ bow for shits and giggles. I was referring more to the naming. The term “greatbow” seems to be made up mainly for games and such, and I can’t find any legitimate use of it in archery or history (though I haven’t researched it much. If you have evidence to the contrary, or know what very high poundage bows were called historically, I’d love to know.)

The current numbers for the greatbow are sorta reasonable, the main problem is that arrows apply a flat damage bonus (and a huge one at that) rather than multiplying the base damage of the bow, which I have a PR currently in the works to fix.

This is true. Also, the human brain likes round numbers and we’re all used to base-10 counting, so it works nicely.