By David Kuijt

All elements represented as 8Bw in DBA (which I believe are Bw(x) double based with Bw(O) or something in DBMM?) are a different animal from regular bow. They are conceptually a core of archers protected by armored foot with large shields. Examples include Pavisiers in the Condotta and Communal Italian ranges, Skutatoi in the Nikephorian Byzantines, Yuan Chinese shieldmen protecting Mongol shooters from the Invasion Scroll and Achaemenid Persian archers. They exist from the fall of Assyria (Neo-Babylonian) to the last DBA army list in the book (Burgundian Ordonnance).

To represent the unique characteristics of this tactical grouping of archers and spearmen, a new DBA element type -- the Pavisier (PV)-- is proposed for all DBA elements currently classified as 8Bw.

The list of 8Bw elements in the DBA 2.2 army lists includes:

This makes it more common (as an element type appearing in the army lists) than many existing element types, including War Wagons, Camels, Light Camels, and Artillery.

The military concept of "protected bow" represents the height of the art of use of infantry in the clash between the two most wealthy and sophisticated western cultures of the Dark Ages (the Byzantines and the Arab World) until Byzantium was broken at Manzikert; it also forms the most typical infantry of the wars on the Italian peninsula from then until the end of the DBA period.

Further, representing "protected bow" as DBA Bow doesn't reflect the historical use of these troops very well. They shot, certainly, but they were designed (at least in the Byzantine-Arab wars over centuries) to be resistant to Cavalry (the predominant mobile troop type), not vulnerable to them (as Bow are in DBA). They were used in the open, not in bad going  -- and in DBA, Bow are best in bad going (other than woods).

So I think 8Bw deserve representation on three counts:

  • they were a type of troop widely used throughout history
  • they were used in a completely different way than regular bow
  • they were different from regular bow in a number of functional ways as

shown by the way they were used:

  • better at resisting Cavalry in the open
  • worse at fighting in bad going
  • slightly better against enemy heavy foot

Pavisiers (PV)Edit

All DBA elements classified as 8Bw become 8Pv, with the following adjustments to the DBA rules:

Pavisiers are based as 8Bw and move as heavy foot - 200 paces off-road, 400 pages on road.

Pavisiers engage at +3 vs. Foot, +4 vs. Mounted (just add "Pavisier" to the line for combat factors for Pikes, Knights, and WarWagon)

Tactical Factors: add one line:  "-1 If Pavisiers shooting or shot at"

Pavisiers suffer Spear’s Bad Going penalty of -2 for close combat.

Combat results are treated the same as Pikes or Spear (just add "Pavisier" to the appropriate line of the combat results table)

Other changes to the combat results table (p6):

  • for Knights if beaten by Pavisiers: "..., or by Bows or Pavisiers whose front edge they have moved into contact with this bound, ..."
  • for Psiloi if doubled by Pavisiers: "..., or by Bows, Auxilia, Pavisiers, or Psiloi."
  • for LH if doubled Pavisiers: "..., Artillery shooting, Bows, Pavisiers, or Psiloi,..."


The effect of these changes is to introduce an element type in DBA that

  1. act like Skoutatoi or Pavisiers would -- fight in good going by
    preference, be resistant to Cavalry (not QK by them), be QK by
    hard-charging foot (Warband), be slightly tougher than unprotected bow in
    close combat against foot.
  2. be the same combat factor shooting against normal bow. Normal bow would have more shooters (more weight of fire), but the use of pavises and the like would give more protection in that sort of firefight to the Pavisiers, which would even things out.
  3. be slightly less effective shooting against mounted (due to lesser weight of fire -- 1/3 or 1/4 of the men in the element are not armed with bows) but equally resistant to a Knight charge (the spearmen in front being quite as good as a line of stakes, thank you very much) and more resistant to close-range mounted missile exchanges (i.e. close combat from a Cav element).

The element type described above is not unbalanced -- it doesn't create a super-type that is completely better than any existing element type in all situations. It is better than regular bow when fighting in the open, but not quite as good shooting against mounted, and no better shooting against foot, and worse against regular bow in bad going in all respects. It is slightly tougher against all foot in the open but much worse in bad going, and vulnerable to warband in both of them. It gets no back-rank support, so cannot do what Pike does; it is still vulnerable to heavy foot of all types.
Finally, I would note that my group has play-tested this new element type for a little while without any problems; our initial assessment was that it added some coolness and much improved historical representation for an historical troop type that isn't well represented in DBA, and everyone was pleased with it.

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