The Hob-bow a bow sized for smallfolk. While the name suggests that hobbits are its primary owners, dwarves and even, though seldom, gnomes can be found using the weapon. While it may look like little more than a child's toy, the Hob-bow is a cunningly made piece of elven (or dwarven, depending on who is asked) craftsmanship and requires more skill than one might expect of it.
Description. The average Hob-bow is a recurved bow, of the sort where the tips of the bow where the bowstring is fastened curve away from the archer. The specifics vary from individual to individual, but the average height for a halfling's bow is a fore, while a dwarven bow is perhaps a fore and a half in height when strung. Its drawlength, the length to which the string is considered "fully drawn", is most often a fore with a drawweight, the amount of force required to pull the string, of anywhere between fifteen ods and sixty ods. "Authentic" Hob-bows, produced by Quaelhoirhim bowyers for Elenveranshire halflings, are usually of adelmir wood but rarely of urban tree. The halflings trade not only for the wood to make the bows, but for the skill of the Quaelhoirhim bowyers who know best how to work the hard wood of the adelmir.
Picture description. A Hob-Bow some halflings used for target practice leaning on a tree. Picture drawn by Seeker.
Halflings fletch their own arrows, made
from traded red birch wood, from the
far eastern side of the forest or from the west near tributaries of the
Thaehevil River. The fletchings are
as often made of taenish feathers as
anything else. Arrowhead feathers,
during the season where these geese nest along the
Thaehevil are used when they are
available. Wolf sinew is not uncommon as a
string in a shire Hob-bow, nor is steppe
deer, but linen strings tend to surpass either in use. Simple adornment,
such as a simple carving of a pipeweed leaf,
or of other plantlife can be found on these bows. The
carving is usually shallow compared to other woodwork, and often found on the
grip of the bow.
Dwarven Hob-bows are often composite bows, made of several different materials to increase the strength. Dwarves guard the construction of these bows jealously and refuse to trade them. They are often adorned with the oremark symbol of their clan and perhaps a stylized hammer on either limb.
The most prized material for bow strings among the Zirghurim dwarves is rock silk, made from the curious mineral called silkstone. Rock toccon is a viable second, while strings are most commonly made of goat sinew. Tales exist however, of dwarves stringing their bows with the innards of slain dark elves during the Siege of Ximax. Dwarven arrows can often be found fletched with corbie feathers or with sickle falcon when they can be had. Zirghurim arrows are curious constructions, made of two different types of wood. The dwarves call this process "footing" where the ends of the arrow are made of hardwood, such as urban tree or oak, while the flexible body of the arrow is made of a softer wood, often malus. While this does make the arrows harder to craft, they are individually more durable than their counterparts and are more easily produced in quantity.
Confused reports exist of a few gnomes using Hob-bows of uncertain origin with some sort of device attached to the side of the bow. The device, apparently little more than a nail with an "eye" like that that of a needle, supposedly aids in aiming. One report named these protrusions "range-finders" but could not understand exactly how they worked.
The Hob-bow is used like any other bow. An arrow is nocked to the string, the
string is pulled back and released to shoot the arrow. It's targets are
determined largely by the owner of the bow.
Halflings of Elenveranshire often use their
bows in defence of merchants heading to trade in the
Zeiphyiran Forests or in hunting,
while dwarves find use for the
in hunting larger game. The
of the Xaramon province are the greatest users of this
weapon among the dwarves since they live
in a metal poor region, while the Elenveranshire
halflings are considered the "owners" of
the bow among halflings. Other
halfling folk think the Elenveranshire
halflings at least slightly strange in the
head, and usually credit such strangeness to some elvish blood but it is often
said that the easiest way to tell an Elenveranshire
halfling is by his hands. They have much
thinner fingers than other halflings and
archers are said to have fewer callouses on their hands from wearing leather
finger tabs to protect against injury.
Fighting Style. Halflings tend to use the Hob-bow with a simple bodkin point, while dwarves are known to prefer broadhead arrows for their bows. The range of the average Hob-bow is about 65 peds, easily though this can vary based on the individual bow, the skill of the archer and the weather. Hobbits have been known to employ field glasses in their use of the Hob-bow, though some occasionally forget the distance of the target only appears to be reduced by the device, and may end up wasting arrows.
Origin/History. The origin of the Hob-bow is contested. Halflings usually point to the Quaelhoirhim as the inventors and credit Syrus Lookfar with the bow. The halflings of the Elenveranshire would often trade with the Quaelhoirhim, halfling pipeweed and produce for elven skilled crafts and wood. The road to the Zeiphyrian Forest was not an easy one however, and beast and bandit alike looked on the halfling merchants and farmers who lived near the forest as easy prey. Lookfar, one of the guards on the Elving road charged with protecting halfling merchants during their travels, noted that the task might be easier if the halflings could better defend themselves against the dangers on the road. He did not think that a sling would be quite enough against a wolf or a bandit and so conspired with a bowyer to produce a bow that a halfling could carry, but that would still have the force behind it to serve as a proper weapon. The Quaelhoirhim still make Hob-bows which they call Rháe'dalá (Styrásh lit. "folk bow") and trade with halflings for them.
The dwarves on the other hand credit the invention to themselves, specifically the Zirghurhim tribe, during the Siege of Ximax. The Zirghurhim, not rich in useful metal, turned to other pursuits in defense of their caverns, laying ambush in narrow canyons with arrows and rocks to snuff out inquisitive parties that had strayed from the main group that laid waste to Ximax. Hobstadt "Hob" WurtGolz is credited with the bow's design and its creation, while others have improved upon the design since.