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Old 07-17-2015, 11:52 AM   #34
Kromm
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: [Combat]: Do you bow, bro?

As I've said in many other threads: "Bows are great if the GM starts a reasonable percentage of encounters at bow range." That's only unrealistic in dense vegetation, urban settings, and indoors/underground. Featureless plains, exposed mountainsides, bleak arctic ice fields, endless rolling deserts, and open ocean between ships collectively account for the overwhelming majority of terrain on most worlds. Unless the GM is being a jerk and making all enemies championship sprinters or ninjas with epic levels of Camouflage and Stealth, or forcing the PCs to fight all battles in 10'×10' rooms and dense jungle, the vast majority of clashes ought to start with the archers getting several "free shots" before melee begins. An ordinary Joe has better-than-even odds of making Vision rolls to see enemies in plain sight out to 70 yards, so start there – even fast sprinters will need 10 turns to close that gap, and your melee guys can run five turns out to meet them and hold them up for a few extra shots.

On the other hand, if you plan to use a bow as your primary weapon in a melee without cinematic abilities to enable it, you're kind of screwed because that's completely and utterly unrealistic. You need the cinematic stuff like Heroic Archer and Weapon Master (Bow) to compete there because you're pounding a square peg (archery) into a round hole (hand-to-hand combat). That isn't any less fair that kung fu masters needing ranged chi blasts in order to fight enemy archers who start out where it'll take 10 turns of running to reach them, or wizards requiring Mana Enhancer to cast spells where there's no mana, or air-breathing heroes having to use water-breathing spells and potions to fight underwater. All characters have natural environments, and if they want to operate outside them, they must invest in extraordinary intervention of some kind.

The idea that bows work in a melee comes entirely from cinematic sources, like Legolas as depicted in the Lord of the Rings movies and the amazon class in the old Diablo II video game. When the going gets cinematic, the cinematic get going. The realistic need not apply, and will get owned if they try.
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Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <kromm@sjgames.com>
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