Having not read / played HW I can't comment on how to penalize parrying arrows. I don't know enough about the HW combat system to even say how it could be resolved but if I use an RQ analogy all I really mean is I would allow both dodge and parry against missle weapons. I may have required a Scan roll to see the moment of release but that is true of dodge. If you dodge to a new position before the release the archer re-aims (minimum effort as I'm sure you know Wulf, a yard on target is an inch at the bow even on a 20 yard range.)
I agree what would be much harder is guaranteeing that your shield was free from more pressing obligations when the arrow was loosed! But that was standard tactics for mixed groups of defenders. The Saxons resisting the, by Saxon standards, heavily armoured Norsemen used the tactic (as the excellent Time Team show touched on in one show). Saxon light bows were unlikely to penetrate Norse armour and were slow enough to be easily stopped by any shield but if the Saxon axe/swordman launched an attack the Norseman had no choice but to counter, usually successfully. It was then that he usually got an arrow in the back of the unarmoured leg.
>In Live RolePlay I've been
>> hit by a LOT of slow-moving foam-headed arrows, but I've rarely
>>> one coming if I was in melee at the time. You don't catch sight of
>>> arrows in mid air easily.
The other factor was the archer would constantly circle the melee, while the axe/swordman tried to keep the fight from following and that was how the above situation was possible.
As a formerly keen archer I'd hate to see missle combat vanish from good adventures or be wholely relegated to the work of faceless followers. I've had some great characters played in my campaigns by players, who made being archers central to their characters without being any the less interesting. In fact one character was know to all simply as "Donald the Bow" and his skills were very much appreciated on the deck of the Cradle. It's hard for soldiers to fight effectively when their officers keep sprouting arrows from their throats.
Archers should be a serious threat but one that can be dealt with and if you are a hero then desparate fights are all in a days work ;-)
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