This page addresses information about crossbow-and-bolt-type weapons and their in-character uses in combat at they apply to World 42 roleplaying. Any valuable contributors are welcome to add, especially as new content or ideas come out in-game.

Your average crossbow.

The Basic Concept of Using Crossbows in Combat

A crossbow is a weapon used to fire projectiles, called bolts. It consists of a weapon bow mounted on a stick referred to as a "tiller" or a "stock." The bow is referred to as the "prod" or "lath" and is typically made of wood or metals. The thicker the prod, the less efficient it is at releasing, but can store more energy. In Runescape, the crossbows used are almost all "light" crossbows, which means they have a relatively thin prod, and cannot fire as far as a "heavy" crossbow, but are much easier to reload. In roleplay, a Runescape-standard crossbow has the ability to fire perhaps 50 feet as a maximum distance, because they aren't "heavy." All crossbows feature a trigger, made of various metals or woods. Upon applying pressure to the trigger, it would release the tension stored in the bowstring, taking a projectile with it, transforming all the potential energy into kinetic energy. This is also how normal bows work, just without the trigger mechanism. Composite crossbows are crossbows made up of layers, applied one layer at a time and held together by an adhesive and bound together by animal tendon or rope. The prod is typically attached to the stock with a cording, such as rope. The drawstring is made up of sinew or tree roots, which is stretched to make crossbowstrings.

Offensive Methods of Using Crossbows

The ways to combat an enemy with a weapon are really only limited to the creativity of the player and his character. A ranger might shoot an enemy with a bolt, he might knock his enemy on the head with the butt of his crossbow, or anything in between. That being said, there are a few common strategies for entering combat using a crossbow-and-bolt set.

  • The most common and basic attack with a Crossbow would be to load it, aim it at the target and pull the trigger. Success rates vary, depending on aim, the target's movement and distance. When using this method, keep in mind that it often is a slow and painstaking process to reload a Crossbow: it is therefore used best in a situation where you expect to only be using one shot, or are sure that you will have enough time to reload before your adversary descends upon you.
  • In close quarters, the chance of hitting with a crossbow bolt is significantly greater than at distance.
  • When in Melee range, a Crossbow may be used as an impromptu Crushing weapon
  • If you have run out of bolts, consider throwing the actual crossbow at your adversary's head - when running, the human head moves little, making for a good target and you get rid of some dead weight.
  • A bayonet can be attached to the stock, making for a close-range blade.

Methods of Defending with Crossbows in Combat

Defending with a Crossbow is just like attacking with it - the possibilities are limited only by creativity. That said, here are a few common strategies for defending yourself while using a bow and arrow.

  • A first, reflective stragety against Melee is to raise the Crossbow in front of you to deflect or stop the advancing weapon. This is best attempted with a Crossbow that has a Metal Prod (Lower value metal and Wood may easily be broken this way), and it will inevitably hurt your arms.
  • One can also attach a bayonet to the stock of the Crossbow; this can be used to parry blows from blades.
  • If the limbs are metal, they should not be underestimated as a form of defence.

Methods of Defending Against Crossbows in Combat

Crossbowmen have a definite advantage when it comes to the element of surprise in combat and it helps a character stay alive if he knows how to protect himself against the incoming arrows of an enemy.

Crossbows vs. Chainmail

Chainmail consists of metal chains linked together to form a kind of loose, metal armor. It is designed to stop slashing blows, such as that from swords and edged weapons. Arrows and bolts can easily pierce this, because chainmails are weak to stab attacks and are not very rigid, so they are pierced easily. The only chance someone wearing a chainmail would have defending themselves against an arrow or bolt is a shield or being a far enough distance away where the arrow/bolt has lost too much energy to kill. A layer of leather over or under the Chainmail will also help reduce the impact.

Crossbow vs. Platebody

Platebodies are basically plates of metal formed to the shape of a body and then held together with chains or straps. Platebodies are designed to stop piercing attacks like sword stabs or arrows. Because arrows and bolts are designed to pierce, they are somewhat useless against Platebodies for killing. This does not mean they serve no purpose. Being hit with a bolt at close range is likely to be similar to being punch in the stomach by a gorilla. It may pierce, but only at very close ranges and with an extreme amount of luck.

All Known Crossbow-Type Weapons


  • Standard Crossbow (In various woods/metals and qualities)
  • Dorgeshuun Crossbow
  • Zanik's Crossbow
  • Hunter's Crossbow
  • Karil's Crossbow
  • Chaotic Crossbow
  • Coral Crossbow
  • Royal Crossbow
  • Dominion Crossbow


  • Wooden Bolts
  • Quarrel (Four-sided bolt head)
  • Lead bullets or Stones (If the Crossbow is remodeled for the purpose; this ammo is used against Fowls)
  • Bone Bolts
  • Royal Bolts
  • Bolt Racks
  • Common Bolts (Varying Metals) (May be poisoned)
  • Enchanted Bolts

Common Mistakes

This section addresses traits or actions that players, often new ones, give their crossbowmen characters but that aren't actually accurate or otherwise realistic scenarios for someone using this attack style.

  • It is generally considered poor form or overpowered for a character to use a "repeater crossbow," which fires multiple bolts in rapid succession without the need to reload or re-pull his crossbow. Characters who want to be able to perform rapid-fire shots should consider sacrificing the reliable power of their crossbow for the speed of a shortbow.
  • Crossbows, while the force of their hits is much greater and the flight of their bolts faster, generally are less accurate than bows and are slower to shoot because of more complicated reloading steps.
  • Crossbow bolts are standardly tipped to a taper, rather than barbed like an arrowhead, and thus rely more on the impact damage than getting caught internally.
    Crossbow Bolts

    Crossbow bolts.

  • Since the prod is shorter than that of a bow, the draw length is shortened. This leads to higher draw weight in order to store the same amount of energy (this means that it takes more physical effort to draw a crossbow when reloading). Some crossbows use cranks to allow a bowman to more easily reload his bow at the cost of taking extra time to draw the bowstring.
  • Leaving a crossbow strung and drawn is an easy way to stretch and weaken the weapon. Make sure to have your character prepare his crossbow before firing it unless you've left him with a weakened bowstring on purpose. This detail can be skipped, however, in situations where the character obviously would have prepared beforehand, like when marching into battle or when on guard duty.


  • A recurve crossbow is a crossbow bow that has tips curving away from the bowman. The recurve bow's bent limbs have a longer draw length than an equivalent straight-limbed bow, giving more acceleration to the projectile and less hand shock. Recurved limbs also put greater strain on the materials used to make the bow, and they may make more noise with the shot.
  • A compound crossbow is a modern crossbow and is similar to a compound bow. The limbs are usually much stiffer than those of a recurve crossbow. This limb stiffness makes the compound bow more energy efficient than other bows, but the limbs are too stiff to be drawn comfortably with a string attached directly to them. The compound bow has the string attached to the pulleys, one or both of which has one or more cables attached to the opposite limb. When the string is drawn back, the string causes the pulleys to turn. This causes the pulleys to pull the cables, which in turn causes the limbs to bend and thus store energy. Other types of compound bows use either (one or both) cam shaped or eccentrically mounted pulleys in order to provide a "let off", such that the archer is not holding against the maximum draw weight of the bow while trying to aim.
  • Crossbows must be cleaned regularly to prevent jamming. The use of bolt stacks increase the necessary frequency. To clean, disassemble the crossbow carefully so as not to break any parts. Wet a cleaning cloth and rub it against the exposed crossbow components, continuing until residue and friction-causing debris has been removed. Examine the crossbow for broken or loose pieces, react accordingly, and reassemble.
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