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Red Mage: [The Green Arrow] can shoot several arrows at once with the utmost precision.

Black Mage: Even in the context of this conversation, that's patently absur--

Ranger's arrows: *FWIT! FWIT! FWIT! FWIT!*

Black Mage: Oh.


How do you show The Archer to have Improbable Aiming Skills Up to Eleven? Have him fire multiple arrows at once from the same bow! Who needs Automatic Crossbows when your archer can kill five people at the same time? Obviously in Real Life, this is a terrible idea as they would be impossible to aim. Additionally, firing two arrows would cut the force behind each arrow in half, ruining the range and impact. Three arrows means a third of the force. Four arrows means one quarter the force. And so on.

Compare with the Automatic Crossbow.

One of the variants of the Spread Shot.

Examples of Multishot include:


Anime and Manga

  • Usopp of One Piece, although not an archer, does this from time to time with his slingshot. The move that comes to mind is his Triple Gunpowder Star, which, considering their explosive capabilities, is well-worth the loss in accuracy.
  • Irvine from Berserk does this whenever he shows up.


Comics

  • Shows up regularly in Green Arrow and Hawkeye comics.
    • And Green Arrow's apprentice, Speedy, as well as other associated characters.
  • Strongbow in Elf Quest does this a couple of times after acquiring Improbable Aiming Skills from proximity to the Palace.
  • Thorgal can do this. The most triumphant example is when he's up against a crossbowman and fires two arrows simultaneously: one to deflect the crossbow bolt and the other to mortally wound the man who fired it.


Films -- Animation


Films -- Live Action

  • Robin Hood does this in Robin Hood Men in Tights. With his Improbable Aiming Skills, he uses the arrows to pin a soldier to a tree without injuring him. This is the image on the posters and DVD.
  • The Robin Hood: Men in Tights example parodies (of course) Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, where Kevin Costner's American Robin Hood shoots two at once in one scene near the end.
    • However, the film makes a small nod to the trope. Right before putting the arrows in the bow's string, Robin bites one of the arrow's feathers off to, supposedly, improve their shared accuracy.
  • Legolas is sometimes seen firing two or three arrows at once in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings.
    • At VERY short range, though. Hard to miss a mûmak head from 3 feet away...


Literature

  • Older Than Feudalism: In the Ramayana, Rama does this all the time. So do some of the rakshas he fights. During one early battle, Rama and Maricha are both shooting a thousand arrows in a single draw, and reloading so fast that there was no space between the shafts.
    • At the beginning of the story, he launches a shield of arrows to repel a rain of stones that a demon throws at him. Seriously. That's the point where the MST3K Mantra comes in handy.


Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • The Manyshot feat from Dungeons & Dragons lets an archer do just this, though the -4 penalty for firing two arrows at once and an additional -2 per extra arrow makes the feat's usefulness debatable.
    • Several powers in the fourth edition allow the Seeker and Ranger to do this. Like the aptly titled "Hail of Arrows".
  • Multishot from GURPS: Imbuments does this pseudo-mystically: You can attempt to fire any number of arrows at once, but it is very hard to go above five.
  • This is how archers use the Both Guns Blazing gun schtick from Feng Shui, since one cannot very well use two bows at once (since bows require both hands to use).


Video Games

  • In Ragnarok Online Archers can use the skill Double Strafe which, well, shoots two arrows for additional damage - each of those two deals almost double damage, resulting in Quad Damage.
    • One of their advanced classes, the Clown/Gypsy can fling tens of arrows using either the strings of their instruments or their whips, easily leading to a One-Hit Kill against average characters.
  • The Arcane Archer has this in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. The arrows fire in a semi-circle. If fired point-blank, all the arrows will hit the same guy For Massive Damage.
  • The Multishot and Strafe skills for the Amazon in Diablo 2 achieve this, in addition to her already improbable firing rate.
    • Both avert the obstacle posed by physics: Multishot magically splits one arrow into many after firing, while a Strafing Amazon is actually firing multiple single shots in rapid succession.
    • Diablo III's Demon Hunter has a skill that's actually called Multishot. It shoots a large burst of multiple arrows in a conical spray in front of him/her, damaging any enemies in it.
  • Some bow-wielding characters, such as Ina, in the various Warriors games by Koei can use this as attacks, combos, and Musou attacks. The action's so fast though that it's hard to notice.
    • Starting with Dynasty Warriors 4, archer characters Xiahou Yuan and Huang Zhong (and later Sun Shang Xiang)) fired a perfect horizontal line of arrows as part of some of their charged attacks, and in Warriors Orochi some of their special attacks border on arrow apam--Xiahou Yuan is notable in particular for firing a left-to-right fan of five-arrow spreads in rapid succession as his special attack, understandably a spectacular crowd-clearing attack.
  • Some Ultima games have the Triple Crossbow, which fires a spread of three quarrels. Might not be a perfect fit as this is a device designed for the purpose, not a fancy shooting trick.
  • Hunters in World of Warcraft learn an ability of that name which fires three projectiles for the cost of one as far as ammunition goes, and works no matter whether you use a gun, a bow or a crossbow.
    • This was changed for the Cataclysm expansion, allowing the ability to fire an arrow at every enemy within a certain range of your target. Firing a few dozen arrows at once is entirely possible during some encounters.
      • This used to cost mana, implying it involved magic. Now that hunters use "focus" as a resource, it's purely that they're Just That Good.
  • The Archery power set in City of Heroes and City of Villains has two multi-arrow attacks. "Fistful of Arrows" can affect up to 10 targets in a cone radius, and "Rain of Arrows" can up to 16 in a long-ranged circular radius.
  • In the handheld FFCC games, Selkies can gain the ability to shoot up to five arrows at once.
  • The Barrage ability in Guild Wars.
  • Strangely enough, Dragon Age: Origins does not have such a skill for archer. However, the top-level Archer ability called Scattershot does something similar: if the arrow hits the target, it then splits into 10 and hits the 10 nearest enemies. That is some vicious splintering.
  • Talina in Neo Quest II can do this, with up to four arrows.
  • The Archer class in Final Fantasy V has an ability called "X-Fight" that presumably is this for them, but can be used by other classes as well.
  • Splitting Arrow in Divinity 2 mimics the effect by having one arrow divide itself into multiple arrows mid-flight.
  • Fable. Multishot Roboteching arrows, no less.
  • Buckfire (and subsequently, the A-Trans you get) from Mega Man ZX Advent fires out flaming arrows in a Spread Shot of three.
  • In Commando 2, one of the weapons you get fires out three exploding arrows.
  • In The Legend of Zelda Four Swords Adventures, one of the weapons available to the Links is a slingshot that shoots seeds in three dirrections. This weapon originated in Oracle of Seasons.
    • This weapon is again featured in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The standard slingshot can be upgraded to the Scattershot, which fires 9 seeds in a matrix formation (which seems more than slightly implausible).
  • The Archer from Dragon Nest loves doing this.
  • The Ranger/Survivalist class from Etrian Odyssey has the Double Shot/Multihit ability. Upgraded to its maximum level, this ability lets go of 3 arrows at once, all of which deal noticably more damage than a regular shot, making rangers better damage dealers than any of the attack specialist classes. The ability got nerfed beyond recognition (along with a major upgrade for the typical attackers) in the second game, making it feel more like the realistic version of this trope.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning scattershot is a tier 5 finesse ability which allows you to shoot up to 7 charged arrows at once at the cost of one arrow. Combined with certain passive abilities and wearing critical boosting armor this is ridiculously overpowered.


Web Comics

  • Eight Bit Theater parodies this when Ranger first nocks three arrows on the same bow, then dual-wields his bows, then dual-wields his dual-wield to make it 12 arrows loaded on four bows. He missed.
    • Well, he was aiming at an all powerful Reality Warper wizard. Who took all those arrows, stuck them in a box, and delivered them to Ranger's wife. While the arrows were still in mid-flight. Cue Ranger's wife opening a box full of Rain of Arrows. But the implication, then, is that his tactics WOULD HAVE WORKED on a weaker target.
  • Haley has this feat in Order of the Stick, but uses it sparingly since it lowers her accuracy. The main time it came in handy was against Sabine where, unsure of whether Sabine was a demon (weak to iron) or a devil (weak to silver), she fired one arrow of each type.


Western Animation


Real Life

  • While it is incredibly dangerous to do so, it is actually possible to fire more than one arrow from a bow in Real Life. The problem is that with every additional arrow, less and less force is imparted to each projectile, making them fly with less force. Also, each arrow beyond the first is placed at a less than ideal location on the string in terms of creating a smooth (and predictable) trajectory.
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