An advanced recurve bow. Its construction behaves like a tuned spring, storing energy more efficiently and delivering a faster shot.
The Recurve bow is a light, single-shot ranged weapon in RimWorld which deals a moderate amount of damage per shot; slightly longer time between shots; slightly higher accuracy and slightly longer range.
Unlike other bows in RimWorld, recurve bow arrows actually stab their victim rather than cut, owing to the higher velocity arrows having deeper penetration. As a result, targets struck by a recurve bow arrow will actually bleed out almost as quickly as if they were stuck by a great bow's arrow.
It'll take 3 shots to the torso to kill an unarmored human with a recurve bow, or around 6-7 against a human with a normal armor vest. The recurve bow can also instantly remove digits, cripple eyeballs, and cause lethal brain damage if the victim's skull is unprotected. Limbs will be crippled in 2 shots against an unarmored human.
Having a comparatively long time between shots, being single-shot in nature and having a fairly long range, the recurve bow is best used in the hands of a skilled archer. A healthy level 8 traitless shooter, level 4 careful shooter or level 10 trigger-happy can somewhat efficiently use the recurve bow up to 22 tiles. However, a level 13 traitless shooter, level 10 careful shooter or level 15 trigger-happy is advisable to efficiently use the recurve bow up to its maximum range of 32 cells. Any less than the aforementioned skill/trait combinations, and you'll probably want to look to other weapons such as pila.
On average, the recurve bow is best paired with a careful shooter until level 12, and with a trigger-happy shooter beyond that point.
Recurve bows can be purchased from neolithic war merchants and orbital combat suppliers, or obtained from the following raider kinds:
- Hunter - 88.5% chance (normal quality on average, 50-180% health)
Being producible at a crafting spot and considering that you start with the required research to produce recurve bows with the 'Lost Tribe' scenario, the recurve bow is an easily-acquired weapon in any biome that isn't extreme (i.e. not extreme desert, ice sheet or sea ice).
Conclusion & Comparison
The recurve bow has a faster projectile speed than any other neolithic ranged weapon: ~33.6 c/s versus ~29.4 c/s for the greatbow; ~26.4 c/s for the short bow and ~15.6 c/s for a pilum. In terms of sustained damage output, it's considerably better than the short bow, but also falls considerably behind the more powerful and harder-to-get greatbow. The recurve bow also isn't able to cripple limbs or sever heads as quickly or efficiently as pila.
When stacking the recurve bow up against modern firearms, the bargain-basement revolver has a 46.5% better damage output than the recurve bow at 4 cells. However, this gap gradually narrows, with the DPS margin only being 17.6% in the revolver's favor at 26 cells. Still, both weapons get considerably overshadowed by better options by the later stages of the early game. However, like the great bow; the recurve bow has a better range than most modern firearms, only being surpassed by the bolt-action rifle, doomsday rocket launcher, triple rocket launcher and sniper rifle.
The graphs assume a normal quality recurve bow against an adult human that's out in the open in clear weather. For DPS, projectile speed has also been factored into the equation, with the weighting based on the base amount of attacks that it'll take to put the aforementioned target into pain shock.