Created By: Mhazard on November 13, 2017 Last Edited By: Mhazard on November 23, 2017
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Great Bow

Absurdly large bows for firing abnormally large projectiles.

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When you take Bigger Is Better for bows, you get the Great Bows, a type of bows so large that it almost towers the wielder. It often requires an Anchored Attack Stance to be used, and is capable of firing abnormally huge projectiles designed for shooting down large beasts or opening a hole on a wall.

Generally speaking, these type of bows can fire more powerful projectiles than ordinary bows, and using them against humanoid targets is often comparable to firing a ballista bolt toward a person, whoever gets hit by the huge arrows would get knocked down to a far distance, or becoming a pile of mincemeat, if not getting killed in one hit.

Due to their immense size, sometimes they can be used as melee weapons.

Compare BFG for big guns and BFS for big swords. Not to confuse with bows that merely look great.

In order to be qualified as this trope, the bow has to be as tall as the wielder, and it has to be a portable weapon. Stationary ballistae not carried by anyone don't count as this trope, that belongs to Siege Engines. However, if a character wields a ballista as a handheld weapon, it still counts as this trope.

Needs More Examples and Up for Grabs.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Dainsleif Rod from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is an illegal weapon fired from a bow-like launcher that is taller than a Mobile Suit, firing ranged projectiles capable of penetrating Nanolaminate Armor. It is commonly attached onto a Graze variant, costing the left arm slot to equip the bows.
  • Olios in Yureka wields an enormous bow with arrows so large that they're compared to spears.

    Comic Book 

    Literature 
  • Discworld: Detritus uses a ballista firing six-foot-long iron arrows as a crossbow. He later upgrades it to fire sheaves of arrows that catch fire from air friction and tend to spread out, to the point where just about the only safe place to be when he fires is right behind him.
  • Redwall: One hare is known for a bow so huge the arrows are the size of javelins.
  • The Odyssey: Odysseus makes himself officially known to his wife when she declares she will marry the man who succeeds in stringing her husband's huge bow. Odysseus is the only one to succeed... and finds himself holding a loaded weapon in front of the men who've been abusing his island's hospitality.
  • The Stormlight Archive has supernaturaly powered swords known as Shardblades and armor known as Shardplate. Large bows are referred to as "Shardbows", not because they have any supernatural abilities, but because you need a shardplate to wield one.

    Tabletop Game 
  • Dungeons & Dragons features a number of these as exotic weapons:
    • The Greatbow, a slightly upgraded Longbow, is described as being at least 6ft tall while strung. While Composite Longbows can be used while mounted due to being less cumbersome than the regular variety, Composite Greatbows cannot.
    • The Bone Bow, a similar weapon crafted from the bones and sinew of mammoths, explicitly has a spike for bracing it in the ground while shooting. Shooting a Bone Bow without proficiency takes the user's entire turn, in addition to the normal accuracy penalty.
    • The Footbow is a raptoran-made bow so powerful that it requires both hands to draw, meaning it can normally be used only while the wielder is flying and gripping it with their feet.
    • A number of "handheld ballistae" also exist, including the Icechucker (which shoots javelins or icicles) and the Great Crossbow. Neither come in repeating varieties, however.

    Video Game 
  • Although Juris of Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk usually wields a machete and a small, foldable crossbow, he summons a bow that's taller than him when performing his Finishing Move, Grand Slam.
  • Dark Souls
    • The Trope Namer is the Dragonslayer Greatbow from Dark Souls I, a bow so large that it towers the wielder, to the point it requires an Anchored Attack Stance to be used. Naturally, due to its immense size, it can fire lance-sized projectiles made for hunting dragons. And the Silver Knights are more than happy to knock you down from the roof of Anor Londo with their bows and arrows. Hawkeye Gough, the predecessors of the Silver Knights, has his own homemade bow that is heavier, bigger, and he uses it to shoot down Black Dragon Kalameet despite being blind himself.
    • Dark Souls II has the Alonne Greatbow, a type of Greatbow brought by the Alonne Knights from the Far East to entertain the Old Iron King. Another one is the Possessed Armor Greatbow, carried by the Possessed Armors, who wield a bow and a sword at the same time.
    • Dark Souls III has the Millwood Knight Greatbow, which comes with a Weapon Skill that creates a shockwave when the arrows land onto the surface, knocking down anyone nearby. There's also a giant living at Undead Settlement, who shoots anyone next to the white branches all over the world. He's actually trying to help you, should you have the Young White Branch given by him in your inventory, he helps you to shoot down your enemies from a far distance.
  • Etrian Odyssey 3 has the Arbalist class, who wield humongous crossbows almost as big as they are.
  • Almost every bow in Monster Hunter is taller than the hunters carrying it. Granted, the bows are made for slaying monsters as large as a house. Despite their size, they are treated as fast weapons.
  • Ishtar in Fate/Grand Order has a bow so large and oddly-shaped that it could be mistaken for a vehicle she's riding.
  • Snipers from Fire Emblem apply, at least in the GBA games.

    Western Animation 
  • That hopeless coyote from Chuck Jones' Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner cartoons has tried a few times using a huge bow to catch his prey. Mostly, the fool tries using himself as the projectile. His 0% success rate remains intact.

    Real Life 
  • The Yumi is a type of Japanese traditional asymmetrical bow, the bow length towers most of the European bows, and the grip is located at about two thirds of the distance from the upper tip. While it can't fire lance-sized projectiles, its range is still impressive due to the bow's length. There's also the Daikyu note , with an even longer bow length than the Yumi.
  • The English longbow, which was person-sized (up to 2 m in length) and fired 0.8 m-long arrows at 300+ m range.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • November 14, 2017
    Chabal2
    • Discworld: Detritus uses a ballista firing six-foot-long iron arrows as a crossbow. He later upgrades it to fire sheaves of arrows that catch fire from air friction and tend to spread out, to the point where just about the only safe place to be when he fires is right behind him.
    • Redwall : One hare is known for a bow so huge the arrows are the size of javelins.
    • The Odyssey: Odysseus makes himself officially known to his wife when she declares she will marry the man who succeeds in stringing her husband's huge bow. Odysseus is the only one to succeed... and finds himself holding a loaded weapon in front of the men who've been abusing his island's hospitality.
  • November 14, 2017
    Pagani800
    Does this onyl applied to hand-held weapons or does it include siege weapons like giant crossbows?
  • November 14, 2017
    Mhazard
    Handheld only. However, if a character wields a ballista as a handheld weapon, it still counts as this trope.
  • November 14, 2017
    Koveras
    Another RL example that comes to mind is the English longbow, which was person-sized (up to 2 m in length) and fired 0.8 m-long arrows at 300+ m range.
  • November 14, 2017
    Prime32
    • Dungeons And Dragons features a number of these as exotic weapons:
      • The Greatbow, a slightly upgraded Longbow, is described as being at least 6ft tall while strung. While Composite Longbows can be used while mounted due to being less cumbersome than the regular variety, Composite Greatbows cannot.
      • The Bone Bow, a similar weapon crafted from the bones and sinew of mammoths, explicitly has a spike for bracing it in the ground while shooting. Shooting a Bone Bow without proficiency takes the user's entire turn, in addition to the normal accuracy penalty.
      • The Footbow is a raptoran-made bow so powerful that it requires both hands to draw, meaning it can normally be used only while the wielder is flying and gripping it with their feet.
      • A number of "handheld ballistae" also exist, including the Icechucker (which shoots javelins or icicles) and the Great Crossbow. Neither come in repeating varieties, however.
    • Olios in Yureka wields an enormous bow with arrows so large that they're compared to spears.
  • November 14, 2017
    Zuxtron
  • November 14, 2017
    Rubber_Lotus
  • November 14, 2017
    Prime32
    • Ishtar in Fate Grand Order has a bow so large and oddly-shaped that it could be mistaken for a vehicle she's riding.
  • November 23, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • That hopeless coyote from Chuck Jones' Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner cartoons has tried a few times using a huge bow to catch his prey. Mostly, the fool tries using himself as the projectile. His 0% success rate remains intact.
  • November 23, 2017
    randomtroper89
    • The Stormlight Archive has supernaturaly powered swords known as Shardblades and armor known as Shardplate. Large bows are referred to as "Shardbows", not because they have any supernatural abilities, but because you need a shardplate to wield one.
  • November 23, 2017
    Prime32
    Snipers from Fire Emblem apply, at least in the GBA games. Can't remember how much it's carried over in other artstyles.

    I think some Quincy characters in Bleach did this, just don't ask me which.
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