The range of, for instance, a long bow is 70 ft.: dungeon encounters usually don't take place on scales much larger than this, so on attacking with a long bow you typically receive the +2 on the to-hit roll. On top of that, you get 2 attacks per combat round! Why would anyone even bother picking up a sword, besides not having to keep track of spent arrows?Marv Breig, Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox, wrote:There is a +2 “to-hit” bonus for missile weapons utilized at short range (x1), a +1 “to-hit” bonus at medium range (x2), and no bonus or penalty for long range (x3) attacks
Discuss Swords & Wizardry White Box - Rules questions, commentary, house rules
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I recently became aware of how the S&W WhiteBox rules state on page 23:
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I agree bows are great weapons in WB. One thing that makes them less useful in the dungeon is the risk of hitting an ally if you fire into melee, making them tactically useful only _before_ melee starts. As an aside, those bonuses come straight from OD&D, but I think the RoF of 2/round was implied from Chainmail, not explicitly in the original rules. Still, it's a common houserule for OD&D, why I think it ended up in WB.
S&W Complete has one range listed. up to double that range and it is -2. That is a much better fit in my eyes. Especially considering in most dungeon combats it is one quick volley of arrows and then the chaotic scrum of melee.