Pavise - a shield often stuck in the ground or held up while an archer or crossbowman reloads.

Under a general "half-cover" sort of thing, I'd just give a unit so equipped a +1 AC - I'm specifically thinking of the smaller, wieldable pavise.

Given that the pavise spends some amount of time "unequipped", however, I was thinking the following caveats:

  • The pavise provides no AC bonus in a combat round against melee attacks in a round where the unit has already fired its ranged weapon
  • If the unit is made to withdraw, rout, flee, or recoil in that same round, the unit loses its pavise bonus.

The basic thought was that in a round they've fired, that's what they're doing, and they won't have the ability to ready the pavise as a real shield; and it would then follow that they wouldn't have the time to pick them up in a withdraw/rout/flee/recoil.

Given the AC bonus, a regular unit of Bowmen go up to BR 2 (from 1.5), and their wages evidently increase to 12gp/mo, from 9.

However, this is more-or-less the same idea as cladding them in Scale Mail, and the same price. I'm not sure if the caveats listed above are either (a) worth the complexity of modelling, or (b) should indicate some sort of a discount.


So, nstead:

A large pavise might give +2 AC vs ranged attacks, +1 AC vs melee attacks (stuff in the way? but not cavalry charges?), and be unusable in any round the unit has moved. Any withdrawal, rout, flee, or recoil loses the pavise bonus. Bowmen, with their crossbow cousins, cannot fire in a round in which they've moved with pavise.

With AC 4 and the movement restrictions (and the crossbow rule) the BR stays at 1.5, with a wage of 10gp/mo. 

Crossbowmen, with -1 ML with leather, and a Large Pavise, come to BR 3.5, wages 21gp/mo, with arbalest damage, and BR 3, 16gp/mo with crossbow damage.

FWIW: I get a BR of 4 for normal D@W crossbowmen with a wage of 24gp with AC 4, arbalest (4.5) damage, and ML 0; I have to do crossbow damage (3.5) to get BR 3/18gp. Not sure what the deal is. With arbalest damage, I get 3 attacks as actually that makes sense, as 4.5 damage would essentially make the unit a Veteran, and that follows. So the mention of an arbalest for Crossbowmen in DWC is in error, I guess?


it seems like the fundamental trade off is defense for rate of fire.  could this be modeled by a bonus to AC offset by either a reduction in attack rolls or damage dice? It's been a second since i've looked at the formulas so i'm not sure if attack roll or damage are figured in... i think they might be subsumed by "HD".

Hm. The rate-of-fire difference between bows and crossbows is largely modeled by the "can't move and fire" rule. Damage is figured in, and attack throw via HD.


Bowmen: *can* move+fire: AC 3, BR 2, 12gp (2 attacks)


Bowmen, cannot move+fire: AC 3, BR 1.5, 9gp (2 attacks)
Crossbowmen, cannot move+fire: AC3, BR 2, 12gp (difference is range of crossbow) (2 attacks)
Arbalester, cannot move+fire, AC 3, BR 3, 18 gp (range of arbalest, damage of arbalest) (3 attacks)

Large Pavise:
Bowmen, cannot move+fire, AC 4, BR 1.5, 9gp (slower unit, more AC) (2 attacks)
Crossbowman, cannot move+fire, AC 4, BR 2.5, 15 gp (2 attacks)
Arbalest, cannot move+fire, AC 4, BR 3.5, 21gp (3 attacks)

Probably haveta work up composite and longbowmen as well. 

Wonder what the proper cost of a Large Pavise would be? A 5 tall by 3 wide piece of palisade woulc cost maybe a single GP?

If it doesn't cost at least 10gp per AC granted, there would have to be a pretty substantial downside, but that would be tough to model at the level of abstraction present in domains at war.  I imagine a 1gp block of wood is one that quickly deteriorates, so maybe it might be easier to make it cost more as a representation that it has to be replaced frequently?

Then again, if I understand my history correctly, the whole point of a pavise with a crossbow is that they're easier to train than bowmen, and the pavise offsets the vulnerability while reloading that is the result of an easier-to-use weapon.  This suggest that a society that has mastered the pavise can potentially train a bigger percentage of your usual 120 man crop in exchange for spending more gold on equipment?

Hrm. There's a few breakpoints where ML 0 or -1 can make a wage difference.

Most human units with AC 3 are at -1 ML, except for the Longbowman B, which is an AC 3 (leathr, shield) composite bow user. Calculating him out, he's 15 gp/mo, not 18gp/mo, as far as I can tell, with a BR of 2.5, not 3.


Gonna have to Google around and see if the question of Morale vs Unit AC has already been asked.

Training: They're easier to train, but I think the limitation is "can see/move well enough to aim" on crossbows. 

As opposed to arquebusiers, where we're just looking to be able to point the same direction as everyone else and let fly; and musketeers is an issue of weight/etc.

The "cost" of the AC mostly only comes up in the training/equipping costs - mercenary pavise companies would have their stuff already, and the extra AC is incorporated as part of their ongoing wages. It'd be, I guess, 1200 gp or 2400gp per company for AC 1 or AC 2.

That's ~10% or ~20% of bowmen total costs, or a little over half that for crossbowmen, 3/4ths or so for longbowmen.


Costing: the movable mantlet is an 8x6' affair that covers two men; giving opponents a -4 penalty to hit them with ranged weapons. That's 50gp for, technically, 4 AC per man, so, still in the 10gp/AC range.

Interesting thread here:

My local art museum has one:

It's about 40 in by 18 in; weighs 10 pounds, or about a stone.

The first link says they were sometimes accepted as payment on taxes, etc; so I'm going to bet I can find a few sources for the real-world pricing. ACKS is pretty good about things being valued correctly, so, even if I'm breaking the 1AC/10gp rule, I'd not be terribly out of line....a cursory search gets me 1 florin (5gp) for 3 "medium sized pavises" priced as part of a legal dispute of some sort.