Red Mage: [The Green Arrow] can shoot several arrows at once with the utmost precision.
Black Mage: Even in the context of this conversation, that's patently absur—
Ranger's arrows: *FWIT! FWIT! FWIT! FWIT!*
Black Mage: Oh.

How do you show an archer to have Improbable Aiming Skills Up to Eleven? Have him fire multiple arrows at once from the same bow! Who needs Automatic Crossbows when your archer can kill five people at the same time?

Perhaps surprisingly this is Truth in Television, although in Real Life it is very difficult to aim and firing two arrows would cut the force behind each arrow in half, ruining the range and impact. However, sometimes archers shooting en masse would opt for volume of fire over accuracy. Shooting more than two arrows only appears in fiction, as firing n arrows means a force of 1/n, quickly putting you in Annoying Arrows territory.

Compare with the Automatic Crossbow. One of the variants of the Spread Shot.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Irvine from Berserk, a masterful demonic archer, does this whenever he shows up.
  • Usopp of One Piece, although not an archer, does this from time to time with his slingshot. The move that comes to mind is his Triple Gunpowder Star, which, considering their explosive capabilities, is well-worth the loss in accuracy.
  • An interesting case with Uryuu Ishida in Bleach. His bow doesn't actually fire regular arrows, but projectiles made of spiritual particles that he produces himself. As a result, the trope is not only justified, but taken up to eleven, since he can liberate an absurd amount of arrows in a matter of seconds. During the Hueco Mundo arc he was able fire 1,200 arrows at a time, and after the Time Skip he can probably do even more.
  • When she is a magical girl, Puella Magi Madoka Magica's titular character is capable of doing this with her Energy Bow.
  • Tigre, the main character of Lord Marksman and Vanadis, can do this when trying to kill multiple enemies and without losing much force behind each arrow.
  • One character from Vampire Hunter D does this; loading half a quiver into his forearm-mounted crossbow at a time. Usually results in a Rain of Arrows, although on rare occasions, he loads one.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live Action 
  • Legolas is sometimes seen firing two or three arrows at once in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings.
    • At VERY short range, though. Hard to miss a mûmak head from 3 feet away...
  • Robin Hood does this in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. With his Improbable Aiming Skills, he uses the arrows to pin a soldier to a tree without injuring him. This is the image on the posters and DVD. (And this page).
  • The Robin Hood: Men in Tights example parodies (of course) Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, where Kevin Costner's American Robin Hood shoots two at once in one scene near the end.
    • However, the film makes a small nod to the trope. Right before putting the arrows in the bow's string, Robin bites one of the arrow's feathers off to, supposedly, improve their shared accuracy.

  • Older Than Feudalism: In the Ramayana, Rama does this all the time. So do some of the rakshas he fights. During one early battle, Rama and Maricha are both shooting a thousand arrows in a single draw, and reloading so fast that there was no space between the shafts.
    • At the beginning of the story, he launches a shield of arrows to repel a rain of stones that a demon throws at him. Seriously. That's the point where the MST3K Mantra comes in handy.

    Live Action TV 
  • Upon acquiring his Rising forms, Kamen Rider Kuuga gains the ability to shoot three arrows from his bow-gun.
  • Like Robin Hood: Men in Tights (and also from Mel Brooks) Robin in When Things Were Rotten asks for ALL the arrows and fires what looks like a round brace of arrows that somehow do exactly what he wants.
  • Done on Arrow, while Ollie is drugged and not sure to hit his target, who just said that he didn't think Arrow could aim a single arrow, he just decides to shoot three.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Manyshot feat from Dungeons & Dragons lets an archer do just this, though the -4 penalty for firing two arrows at once and an additional -2 per extra arrow makes the feat's usefulness debatable.
    • Several powers in the fourth edition allow the Seeker and Ranger to do this. Like the aptly titled "Hail of Arrows".
  • Multishot from GURPS: Imbuments does this pseudo-mystically: You can attempt to fire any number of arrows at once, but it is very hard to go above five.
  • This is how archers use the Both Guns Blazing gun schtick from Feng Shui, since one cannot very well use two bows at once (since bows require both hands to use).

    Video Games 
  • In Ragnarok Online Archers can use the skill Double Strafe which shoots two arrows for additional damage - each of those two deals almost double damage, resulting in Quad Damage.
    • One of their advanced classes, the Clown/Gypsy can fling tens of arrows using either the strings of their instruments or their whips, easily leading to a One-Hit Kill against average characters.
  • The Arcane Archer has this in Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. The arrows fire in a semi-circle. If fired point-blank, all the arrows will hit the same guy for massive damage.
  • Diablo
    • The Multishot and Strafe skills for the Amazon in Diablo II achieve this, in addition to her already improbable firing rate.
    • Diablo III's Demon Hunter has a skill that's actually called Multishot. It shoots a large burst of multiple arrows in a conical spray in front of him/her, damaging any enemies in it.
  • Some bow-wielding characters, such as Ina, in the various Warriors games by Koei can use this as attacks, combos, and Musou attacks. The action's so fast though that it's hard to notice.
    • Starting with Dynasty Warriors 4, archer characters Xiahou Yuan and Huang Zhong (and later Sun Shang Xiang)) fired a perfect horizontal line of arrows as part of some of their charged attacks, and in Warriors Orochi some of their special attacks border on arrow apam—Xiahou Yuan is notable in particular for firing a left-to-right fan of five-arrow spreads in rapid succession as his special attack, understandably a spectacular crowd-clearing attack.
  • Some Ultima games have the Triple Crossbow, which fires a spread of three quarrels. Might not be a perfect fit as this is a device designed for the purpose, not a fancy shooting trick.
  • Hunters in World of Warcraft learn an ability of that name which fires three projectiles for the cost of one as far as ammunition goes, and works no matter whether you use a gun, a bow or a crossbow.
    • This was changed for the Cataclysm expansion, allowing the ability to fire an arrow at every enemy within a certain range of your target. Firing a few dozen arrows at once is entirely possible during some encounters.
      • This used to cost mana, implying it involved magic. Now that hunters use "focus" as a resource, it's purely that they're Just That Good.
  • Warcraft III has the Barrage ability, which allows a siege engine to fire up to three rockets simultaneously at different air units.
  • The Archery power set in City of Heroes and City of Villains has two multi-arrow attacks. "Fistful of Arrows" can affect up to 10 targets in a cone radius, and "Rain of Arrows" can up to 16 in a long-ranged circular radius.
  • In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, Selkies can gain the ability to shoot up to five arrows at once.
  • The Barrage ability in Guild Wars.
    • The sequel keeps that, and also gives us a few abilities that fire a conical spread of 3-7 ingnited/icy/poisoned arrows, as well as the Warrior's Longbow auto-attack, firing two arrows at the same target for no real reason.
  • Dragon Age
    • Strangely enough, Dragon Age: Origins does not have such a skill for archer. However, the top-level Archer ability called Scattershot does something similar: if the arrow hits the target, it then splits into 10 and hits the 10 nearest enemies. That is some vicious splintering.
    • In Dragon Age II the Hail of Arrows ability is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The archer fires a bundle of arrows into the air for an area of effect attack that makes the page images look downright realistic.
  • Talina in NeoQuest II can do this, with up to four arrows.
  • The Archer class in Final Fantasy V has an ability called "X-Fight" that presumably is this for them, but can be used by other classes as well.
  • Splitting Arrow in Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga mimics the effect by having one arrow divide itself into multiple arrows mid-flight.
  • Fable. Multishot Roboteching arrows, no less.
  • Buckfire (and subsequently, the A-Trans you get) from Mega Man ZX Advent fires out flaming arrows in a Spread Shot of three.
  • In Commando 2, one of the weapons you get fires out three exploding arrows.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In Four Swords Adventures, one of the weapons available to the Links is a slingshot that shoots seeds in three directions. This weapon originated in Oracle of Seasons.
    • This weapon is again featured in Skyward Sword. The standard slingshot can be upgraded to the Scattershot, which fires 9 seeds in a matrix formation (which seems more than slightly implausible).
    • The bow in A Link Between Worlds can be upgraded to fire three arrows at once.
    • Certain bows in Breath of the Wild have the ability to fire multiple arrows, anywhere from two to five, while still only consuming one from Link's stock.
  • The Archer from Dragon Nest loves doing this.
  • The Ranger/Survivalist class from Etrian Odyssey has the Double Shot/Multihit ability. Upgraded to its maximum level, this ability lets go of 3 arrows at once, all of which deal noticably more damage than a regular shot, making rangers better damage dealers than any of the attack specialist classes. The ability got nerfed beyond recognition (along with a major upgrade for the typical attackers) in the second game, making it feel more like the realistic version of this trope.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, scattershot is a tier 5 finesse ability which allows you to shoot up to 7 charged arrows at once at the cost of one arrow. Combined with certain passive abilities and wearing critical boosting armor this is ridiculously overpowered.
  • Lina's pre-battle pose in Riviera: The Promised Land holds three arrows at once.
  • All archer classes in ''Maplestory' love this trope. All archers in the game can (and should) be firing two arrows minimum from the time they can wield a bow/crossbow/dual bowgun. By the time they hit endgame status, they fire either 8-16 arrows per second or a volley of 8-10.
  • The Tsunami bow from Terraria allows the player to fire out five powerful shots parallel to one another for the cost of one arrow. The Phantasm on the other hand fires out four arrows for the cost of one, but when any of them hit a target, it follows up with a rapid stream of phantasmal arrows at the target. Needless to say, both are end-game weapons for bow rangers.
  • The Elf of Dragon's Crown has two skills that let her do this. Rapid Fire allows her to fire several arrows in quick succession, while Clone Strike allows her to fire several arrows at once.
  • Warframe lets every bow (and really every non-melee weapon) do this with multishot mods, but two examples stand out by virtue of being able to do this innately. First up, there's the weapon summoned by Ivara's ultimate ability, Artemis Bow, which fires off seven arrows at once at max rank; the angle of the spread changes as a shot is charged, starting vertical and ending horizontal. For more traditional weapons, there's the Cernos Prime, which fires off a horizontal spread of three arrows by default. Both can increase the number of arrows per shot even further with multishot mods, although the Artemis Bow needs to inherit them from the player's equipped non-shotgun primary weapon.
  • Mina Makijina of Samurai Shodown fame does this in a few variations, including her super move, where she lobs practically the entire contents of her quiver into the air and then catches and fires each arrow as they come down, at a speed that seems more in tune with a machine gun.
  • In Might and Magic VI to IX the Master rank of the Bow skill (which also covers crossbows) makes you fire two arrows on every attack. In VI this was the top rank, while in IX the Grandmaster rank makes you fire three arrows on every attack (in VII and VIII the Grandmaster rank made the skill add directly to damage — considerably more powerful, but not as cool-looking).

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater parodies this when Ranger first nocks three arrows on the same bow, then dual-wields his bows, then dual-wields his dual-wield to make it 12 arrows loaded on four bows. He missed.
    • Well, he was aiming at an all powerful Reality Warper wizard. Who took all those arrows, stuck them in a box, and delivered them to Ranger's wife. While the arrows were still in mid-flight. Cue Ranger's wife opening a box full of Rain of Arrows. But the implication, then, is that his tactics WOULD HAVE WORKED on a weaker target.
  • Haley has this feat in The Order of the Stick, but uses it sparingly since it lowers her accuracy. The main time it came in handy was against Sabine where, unsure of whether Sabine was a demon (weak to iron) or a devil (weak to silver), she fired one arrow of each type.
    • It was crucial to a later Crowning Moment of Awesome. The arc villain, Tarquin, is hanging on to the side of an airship. One of Haley's arms was broken moments before, so she braces the bow with her foot to shoot two arrow at once, forcing her target to catch both of them, thus letting go of the airship.
  • Magick Chicks: Callista is the captain of Artemis Academy's Archery Club, so naturally, she's the best shot at the school. Which she proves in her first appearance, by firing three arrows at once (from the rafters) and striking all three of the Hellrunes' belt buckles with prefect precision.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • While it is incredibly dangerous to do so, it is actually possible to fire more than one arrow from a bow in Real Life. The problem is that with every additional arrow, less and less force is imparted to each projectile, making them fly with less force. Also, each arrow beyond the first is placed at a less than ideal location on the string in terms of creating a smooth (and predictable) trajectory.
    • Double stringing was most common when medieval archers were firing indirectly into massed troops. Under those circumstances the number of arrows lofted was more important than individual accuracy.
  • Before cartridges with self-contained propellant became the norm, firearms were sometimes loaded with two balls at once. This reduced muzzle speed and thus range, but was useful at close range for increasing effective fire rate.
    • This is one of the things that makes shotguns so powerful at close ranges. Instead of a single shot, it's a cloud of small projectiles.
    • In cannon, this appeared in the form of "grapeshot", which were bags or canisters of small (often musket ball-sized) pieces of shot that functioned much like an artillery-scale shotgun. True to the trope, if a battery was in imminent danger of being overrun, the guns could be loaded with two or even three canisters of grapeshot, producing horribly inaccurate fire with a range of sod-all in artillery terms and relatively low penetration — but it was more than capable of inflicting the Chunky Salsa Rule on groups of infantry at point-blank range.