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Basic Information

The Arbalest was a late medieval version of the crossbow, enlarged to the limits of portability and sprung with a steel bow. Contemporary and historical sources (especially in French) may use the term interchangably with the word crossbow, but strictly the name belongs to the larger weapon.

As usual with ranged weapons the arbalest buys more power at the expense of greatly increasing size and mass - although certainly usable in the field, this weapon tended to be more useful in siege situations. Evidence of use in naval warfare is scant at best, but it seems reasonable that the arbalest would have been helpful in this context as well.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Arguably a workable crossbow for a larger than human character.
  • Possibly also useful for killing very big things prior to the invention of black powder.
  • Otherwise not a particularly practical weapon at the sort of scales of combat most PCs engage in.
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