We often see bows and archer heroes (and heroines) being depicted in various fantasy series, wielding some “legendary bows” with bizarre and pointy shapes which looks like unattended antlers, that realistically may not work, or very hard to tell how did such bows crafted in a more realistic settings.

In a Medieval European setting, many common design features may not be that usual on a realistic medieval longbow but more of a modern design choice, such as a well carved handle, separated bow limbs, wraped or coated nocks on both tips of the limbs, inserting magic stones into the limbs.etc, and I'm not an expert on medieval bows so I can't deduce such “modern” designs are possible for medieval bows and don't cumber their performances. This is same to more eastern style of recurved bows.


I'm asking here that, in a Medieval European fantasy setting (Actually more like Eastern Europe to allow both Longbow/Recurved bow as choice), with a little amount of magic involved, If an archer hero was given a “legendary bow” from either the Emperor of his country, or being gifted some “magic bow” by some certain not-Artemis deity, how can such bow being designed, that having a decorated and “heroic” looks to distinguish it from normal longbows/Recurved bows, but at the same time such look doesn't give away its historical basis of the settings or looking too bizarre?

How would such bow being crafted and/or enchanted that make it superior over bows of the same kind (and of same draw weight)? How would material that is available in such medieval setting change the shape and performance of the bow? For example in LOTR lore the elven bow strings are made of elven hair, would it realistically make a difference over ordinary materials like leathers and tendos?

What about carving limbs and inserting small pieces of jewels for enchantments? Would such decorations negatively affect the bow performance and making such design cumbersome?

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    $\begingroup$ Look is a matter of opinion. What is cool for somebody is lame for another. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Sep 7, 2022 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ We have a strict one question per post policy. Please edit this to ask one single objective question about building a fictional world. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Sep 7, 2022 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ It sounds like you don't have anything nailed down yet about this legendary weapon, not its origins, its form, its magical properties, so you're asking for too much information here and trying to crowdsource the idea of the weapon. It's best to work backward, start with the cool idea ("I want it to do ____") then contrive an explanation from your world's mechanics. $\endgroup$
    – Dmann
    Sep 7, 2022 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ this could be a good question if you narrowed it down a bit, you have half a dozen questions crammed into this. Ask yourself what the core of your question is and try asking that. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Sep 7, 2022 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ The physics of archery is pretty well understood these days. The limitations on pre-modern bows due to availability of materials are fairly well understood. However, we don't know what you mean by "superior" (accuracy? range? armour penetration?) and we don't know what the limits on "a little amount of magic" are. If you update the question to give us a better idea of what you are aiming for then it can be reopened - as an archer I'm always up for questions like this. $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2022 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


It is the bow of a foreign demigod.

rama with bow source

An item of Indian provenance would be remarkable in medieval Europe. The Indians have been making steel weapons for over 2000 years. Perhaps this is a steel bow?

steel bow


How exactly your character comes into the possession of a Celestial Bow is a good question for the story. The original owner might show up and ask for it back. Or perhaps challenge the character to a contest to see who should have the bow. The arrival of the foreign demigod looking for his lost property would be a fun scene to write.


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