The Crossbow is a small, powerful bow mounted horizontally on a stock, with a sight to assist in shooting. It is famously used by the Genovesan Assassins. However, the Genovesans use smaller versions, because they are accustomed to shooting helpless people, meaning they don't need much power. It is also mentioned as being used by men-at-arms throughout Araluen, and very small crossbows are used by the Arridi cavalry. Users can gain a level of proficiency with a crossbow in a matter of weeks.
In Brotherband Hal Mikkelson also uses a Gallican crossbow which he modifies, as well as mounting an oversized crossbow in his ship the Heron, named the Mangler.
AppearenceEditA crossbow looks like a small bow mounted on a stock with either a winch or a stirrup, set into the but or at the bottom, respectively. Rather than arrows, a crossbow hurls large metal bolts that can pierce whole suits of plate armor at medium-close range. There are varying sizes of crossbows, meaning varying levels of power and range.
A crossbow takes less time to learn to use than a longbow or recurve bow. In a matter of a few weeks, an untrained man can aquire a level of proficiency with a crossbow. Also, a crossbow has a sight, which speeds up the training process. Thus, the crossbow is a logical choice for large militaries to train their foot soldiers with. Also, the power of the crossbow means that a bolt can shear through metal armor at medium-close range. In addition, the largest, most powerful of crossbows can outrange a longbow.
It takes far longer to load than a longbow, recurve bow, or a shortbow. Larger crossbows require a special winch to pull the string back, taking several minutes to rachet the string into the cocked position. Smaller versions, which are cocked by putting a foot into the stirrup and using a hooked tool to grab the string, then heaving back with all the muscles in the back, take around twenty to thirty seconds to reload.