So, I went back to the range on Sunday, and had a lovely time putting sharp pointy things into a crappy target made out of masking tape. My groupings are getting better, thank you for asking. But it got me thinking about the stuff that people don’t know about archery, whether because they watch too many movies, or because they haven’t yet discovered this most interesting and rewarding of martial arts.
So, roleplaying games. The typical RPG has statistics for each player character – in the case of D&D, my system of choice, those stats are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. Stats are used to determine a base level for a character, and they usually affect various skills and abilities a character acquires over the course of the game, particularly in how that character handles weaponry in the case of fantasy RPGs. One thing that comes up very often, that just happens to be wrong, is in the use of Strength for melee weapons, and Dexterity for ranged weapons.
Think about Lord of the Rings, for example, as being the progenitor of this idea. Aragorn uses strength to wield a longsword, and Legolas (being an elf) is dexterous and uses a bow. In D&D, Strength is not applied to ranged weapons, and Dexterity is not applied to melee weapons. Elves are very good with bows, humans are good with swords, etc. Surprise surprise, this doesn’t really hold true for actual real life.
Take a look at this – something to think about when you’re writing about swordwielders 🙂 Long story short, swordplay requires a certain amount of basic strength, but after that, swordplay requires skill and dexterity.