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Bowmen
Req. Town Buildings Barracks,
Sawmill
Variants

Unit Icon BarbarianBowmen Transparent Barbarian Bowmen

Unit Icon GnollBowmen Transparent Gnoll Bowmen

Unit Icon HalflingBowmen Transparent Halfling Bowmen

Unit Icon HighMenBowmen Transparent High Men Bowmen

Unit Icon NomadBowmen Transparent Nomad Bowmen

Unit Icon OrcBowmen Transparent Orc Bowmen

Unit Icon BeastmenBowmen Transparent Beastmen Bowmen

Unit Icon DraconianBowmen Transparent Draconian Bowmen
Baseline Properties
Construction Cost Icon Production.png 30
Upkeep Cost Icon Gold.png 1
Icon Food.png1
# of figures Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6
Moves Icon Movement Ground1
Melee Attack per figure Icon Melee Normal.png 1
Ranged Attack per figure Icon Ranged Bow.png 1
Defense per figure Icon Defense.png 1
Resistance Icon Resist.png 4
Hit Points per figure Icon Hits.png 1
Baseline Abilities
Ability Quiver Ranged Attack x8

Bowmen is the name of a Normal Unit Archetype. It is a template defining the baseline attributes and abilities of 8 Normal Units, all of which are called "Bowmen". Each of these units is a variant of the basic Bowmen archetype, and is produced by a different Race. The archetype is discussed in this article, and each variant has its own, separate page.

Bowmen may be built by just over half the Races in the game, including the Barbarians, Gnolls, Halflings, High Men, Nomads, Orcs, Beastmen and Draconians. Other races have no access to Bowmen by default, though a few races can produce similar but stronger units such as the High Elf Longbowmen, Lizardmen Javelineers, and so on.

Bowmen are initially very weak combat troops, whose primary ability is a weak Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attack that may occasionally be able to weaken some already-weak opponents. Bowmen are largely unsuitable for Melee combat. With Experience, Bowmen can become a little bit more dangerous, but are not likely to see much use beyond the early stages of the game. Still, being quite cheap, Bowmen are often used to garrison Towns.

Description Edit

The Bow is a very ancient ranged weapon, developed well before humans could read or write. It is formed from a long piece of flexible wood and a stretched piece of sinew, which together can launch a long, thin, light projectile at great speeds and to an impressive distance. The projectile, called an "arrow", is often tipped with a sharp metal head, and its high speed of flight gives it a powerful impact with the target. As the technology improved, bows and arrows gained both range and stopping power, to the point where they could even pierce armor.

In Master of Magic, where projectiles made entirely out of destructive energy are not uncommon, and many soldiers and creatures are protected by significant amounts of armor, a simple arrow is unfortunately quite underpowered. Nonetheless, it is much cheaper to produce bows and train soldiers in their use than to hire warriors capable of firing magical bolts.

Baseline Properties Edit

The following section describe only the "baseline" properties of the Bowmen archetype. Most of the actual units produced will have innate racial bonuses that deviate from this baseline template. Read the section on racial variants below for more information.

Attributes and Abilities Edit

To produce Bowmen, a town needs to have both a Barracks and a Sawmill. Both structures are cheap and normally constructed early on, resulting in Bowmen appearing very early in the game. The baseline production cost is only Icon Production.png 30 per unit, making Bowmen cheap to make on a large scale. Once under your employ, a unit of Bowmen requires an Upkeep Cost of only Icon Gold.png 1 and Icon Food.png1 each turn.

A unit of Bowmen contains Icon Figure.png 6 figures by default. It may never have more than 6 figures. This provides some protection in numbers.

Bowmen possess both a Melee Attack and a Ranged Attack, but both are initially very weak, with a strength of Icon Melee Normal.png 1 and Icon Ranged Bow.png 1 respectively. Both attacks can be expected to deliver about Icon Damage.png 0.3 points of Damage per Bowman - in other words, very likely to inflict no damage at all. The Ranged Attack can be used up to 8 times per battle. Since it uses Icon Ranged Bow.png Missiles, it also suffers from Icon ToHit.png To Hit distance penalties, which makes it even less useful. Both attacks get gradually better with Experience, but not by much.

Bowmen are also weak defensively, having a Defense score of only Icon Defense.png 1 and a basic Icon Resist.png 4 Resistance. Thus the unit is vulnerable both to regular combat damage (even from enemy Ranged Attacks) and harmful magical influence. With only Icon Hits.png 1 Hit Point per figure, Bowmen will likely be annihilated or heavily damaged during any serious combat.

Basic Tactics Edit

With very poor combat skills, the only redeeming quality of Bowmen is their early availability and low production/upkeep costs. They are the first Ranged Attackers normally available to most empires, and are often produced in large quantities to provide ranged support to other, stronger troops. Bowmen going off to battle on their own can expect to be slaughtered, at least until they gain plenty of Experience.

Thus, Bowmen will likely only be useful early in the game (while enemy units are still lightly-armored). Only Experienced Bowmen will have any usefulness later on, and even then they are often replaced by stronger Icon Ranged Magic.png Magical Melee Attackers as front-line troops, if these become available at all. Sending inexperienced Bowmen to combat beyond the early game is a good way to get them killed.

During their useful period, Bowmen will likely need to get very close to their target to inflict any damage. Icon ToHit.png To Hit distance penalties must be avoided if at all possible, as they can make it virtually impossible for the Bowmen to inflict any damage on the target. This puts the Bowmen at risk, especially from enemy Cavalry. Bowmen should be protected by stronger Melee Attack troops if possible.

Thanks to their cheap costs, large amounts of Bowmen can be created fairly quickly. This may be advantageous for making large, well-supported armies early on. With a low Upkeep Cost, Bowmen are generally useful as garrison troops for Towns, particularly deep within your empire where enemy engagement is unlikely.

Variants Edit

8 of the 14 different Races have access to their own Bowmen units. Each Race produces a different type of Bowmen unit, which not only looks different but may also have different properties compared to the "baseline" template described above.

List of Variants Edit

Icon Name Bld Cost U Icon MultiFigureUnit Moves Icon Melee Normal.png Icon Ranged Bow.png Icon Defense.png Icon Resist.png Icon Hits.png Special
Unit Icon BarbarianBowmen Transparent Barbarian Bowmen TownBuilding Sawmill

TownBuilding Barracks

Icon Production.png 30 Icon Food.png1

Icon Gold.png 1

Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6 Icon Movement Ground1 Icon Melee Normal.png 1 Icon Ranged Bow.png 1 Icon Defense.png 1 Icon Resist.png 5 Icon Hits.png 1 Ranged Attack x8
Unit Icon BeastmenBowmen Transparent Beastmen Bowmen TownBuilding Sawmill

TownBuilding Barracks

Icon Production.png 60 Icon Food.png1

Icon Gold.png 2

Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6 Icon Movement Ground1 Icon Melee Normal.png 2 Icon Ranged Bow.png 1 Icon Defense.png 1 Icon Resist.png 5 Icon Hits.png 2 Ranged Attack x8
Unit Icon DraconianBowmen Transparent Draconian Bowmen TownBuilding Sawmill

TownBuilding Barracks

Icon Production.png 45 Icon Food.png1

Icon Gold.png 1

Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6 Icon Movement Air2 Icon Melee Normal.png 1 Icon Ranged Bow.png 1 Icon Defense.png 2 Icon Resist.png 6 Icon Hits.png 1 Ranged Attack x8
Unit Icon GnollBowmen Transparent Gnoll Bowmen TownBuilding Sawmill

TownBuilding Barracks

Icon Production.png 30 Icon Food.png1

Icon Gold.png 1

Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6 Icon Movement Ground1 Icon Melee Normal.png 3 Icon Ranged Bow.png 1 Icon Defense.png 1 Icon Resist.png 4 Icon Hits.png 1 Ranged Attack x8
Unit Icon HalflingBowmen Transparent Halfling Bowmen TownBuilding Sawmill

TownBuilding Barracks

Icon Production.png 45 Icon Food.png1

Icon Gold.png 1

Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6 Icon Movement Ground1 Icon Melee Normal.png 1 Icon Ranged Bow.png 1 Icon Defense.png 1 Icon Resist.png 6 Icon Hits.png 1 Ranged Attack x8, Lucky
Unit Icon HighMenBowmen Transparent High Men Bowmen TownBuilding Sawmill

TownBuilding Barracks

Icon Production.png 30 Icon Food.png1

Icon Gold.png 1

Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6 Icon Movement Ground1 Icon Melee Normal.png 1 Icon Ranged Bow.png 1 Icon Defense.png 1 Icon Resist.png 4 Icon Hits.png 1 Ranged Attack x8
Unit Icon NomadBowmen Transparent Nomad Bowmen TownBuilding Sawmill

TownBuilding Barracks

Icon Production.png 30 Icon Food.png1

Icon Gold.png 1

Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6 Icon Movement Ground1 Icon Melee Normal.png 1 Icon Ranged Bow.png 1 Icon Defense.png 1 Icon Resist.png 4 Icon Hits.png 1 Ranged Attack x8
Unit Icon OrcBowmen Transparent Orc Bowmen TownBuilding Sawmill

TownBuilding Barracks

Icon Production.png 30 Icon Food.png1

Icon Gold.png 1

Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6 Icon Movement Ground1 Icon Melee Normal.png 1 Icon Ranged Bow.png 1 Icon Defense.png 1 Icon Resist.png 4 Icon Hits.png 1 Ranged Attack x8

Unit Icon BarbarianBowmen Transparent Barbarian Bowmen Edit

Barbarian Bowmen are closest to the "Baseline" template, deviating from it only by having a slightly-higher Icon Resist.png Resistance score, which confers a very small amount of protection - primarily from enemy spells. This doesn't make Barbarian Bowmen much more useful than described above.

Unit Icon GnollBowmen Transparent Gnoll Bowmen Edit

Gnoll Bowmen are physically stronger than other Bowmen, possessing a Melee Attack strength of Icon Melee Normal.png 3. This actually makes them better at Melee combat than at Ranged combat. Thus, they will get close to the enemy, unleash a few Ranged Attacks, and then move in to actually engage the enemy hand-to-hand.
Unfortunately, Gnoll Bowmen are as fragile as all other Bowmen, so this tactic can just as easily get them killed - but in a tight spot it is good to know that Gnoll Bowmen can inflict some damage on their opponents...

Unit Icon HalflingBowmen Transparent Halfling Bowmen Edit

Halfling Bowmen possess the racial Halfling ability called Lucky. This confers a few advantages, mainly a Icon ToHit.png +10% To Hit bonus which applies to both their Ranged Attack and Melee Attack. Both attacks will deliver a little bit of extra damage as a result, particularly as the unit gains more Experience. While it doesn't make Halfling Bowmen very dangerous, it does somewhat help offset distance penalties when shooting.
Lucky also bestows a Icon ToBlock.png +10% To Block bonus, which will help protect Halfling Bowmen from physical damage, and a Icon Resist.png +1 Resistance bonus (on top of an innate racial Icon Resist.png +2) which will greatly help prevent enemy magic from taking effect on these Bowmen.
Halfling Bowmen are 50% more expensive to produce than the "baseline" Bowmen template, though Upkeep Costs are not higher. Thus, most Halfling empires should be able to maintain many Halfling Bowmen. Nonetheless, these are often replaced by the much-stronger Slingers unit by the start of the mid-game portion.

Unit Icon HighMenBowmen Transparent High Men Bowmen Edit

Identical to baseline template (see above).

Unit Icon NomadBowmen Transparent Nomad Bowmen Edit

Identical to baseline template (see above).

Unit Icon OrcBowmen Transparent Orc Bowmen Edit

Identical to baseline template (see above).

Unit Icon BeastmenBowmen Transparent Beastmen Bowmen Edit

Beastmen Bowmen possess a few mild advantages over the "baseline" Bowmen. For one, their Melee Attack is a little stronger, at Icon Melee Normal.png 2, and they also possess Icon Hits.png 2 Hit Points per figure, which grants more survivability. Thus, Beastmen Bowmen are sometimes expected to charge in for Melee combat once their ammunition is expended. They won't last too long, but can often inflict more damage with their Melee Attack than their Ranged Attack.
Beastmen Bowmen also have a slightly-higher Icon Resist.png Resistance score, though it is not high enough to actually protect them from any serious magics.
On the downside, Beastmen Bowmen are quite expensive to produce - twice more than the "baseline" Bowmen - and have an Upkeep Cost of Icon Gold.png 2 per turn. Since the bonuses described above don't make Beastmen Bowmen much more useful than other Bowmen, and given that there are many other good Beastmen units to use, production of Beastmen Bowmen is often avoided, even during the early game.

Unit Icon DraconianBowmen Transparent Draconian Bowmen Edit

Draconian Bowmen have several advantages and very few disadvantages, making them some of the best Bowmen available. While they will still fall into disuse in the later portions of the game, Draconian Bowmen are superior early on.
Draconian Bowmen are Icon Movement AirFlying, and have a Movement Allowance of Icon Movement Air2. This is a strong advantage both on the battlefield and on the overland map.
Overland, Draconian Bowmen can be used as cheap scouts, since Flying gives them a Sight Range of 2. When they do go into combat, Draconian Bowmen are still Icon Movement AirFlying, and cannot be attacked by most Melee Attack units at all. They can easily maneuver close to their enemies, nullifying the Icon ToHit.png To Hit distance penalty before unleashing their (still weak) Ranged Attack. They can also back away from the enemy while still shooting.
Draconian Bowmen are also better protected from both physical and magical attacks. They possess Icon Defense.png 2 Defense and Icon Resist.png 6 Resistance, both slightly better than the "baseline" Bowmen. Coupled with smart maneuvering on the battlefield, this can keep Draconian Bowmen fighting a little longer than normal.
Draconian Bowmen are surprisingly cheap given the aboev advantages: they cost only 50% more to produce than the "baseline" Bowmen, and do not have a higher Upkeep Cost. Nonetheless, Draconian Bowmen are still normally replaced by better Ranged Attack units later in the game, but low costs allow the Draconians to produce masses of these early on if necessary.

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