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Old 11-27-2009, 04:30 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default Role of archers in low-tech parties?

Greetings, all!

It is no big secret that the role of an archer in High Fantasy is different from a role of an archer in normal fantasy/low-tech games. Notably, HF archers are scary R-DPS machines with a RoF exceeding that of some TL5 rifles, and comparable damage. With the proper build, they also have huge range.

However, what about the games with normal point ranges (100-150 or below)? What are the roles of archers in those parties, especially given that learning Bow is a lifetime investment?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-27-2009, 05:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

Being able to shoot someone before he is close enough to hit you with a sword is a big advantage! Do you know the battle of Agincourt?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Agincourt
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Old 11-27-2009, 05:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

Yeah, in modern parlance, an archer even a lowly TL non-munchkined version is still a "Blaster."

If you have magic, then you'll likely find the archer standing RIGHT NEXT to the mage.

And if they're both smart they'll be standing behind cover.
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Old 11-27-2009, 05:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
Being able to shoot someone before he is close enough to hit you with a sword is a big advantage! Do you know the battle of Agincourt?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Agincourt
Which is cool in mass-vs-mass Suppressive Fire, but not so much in a 5v5 or so, where you have to hit individual fighters, once per several seconds, and they get to Dodge at the very least.
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Old 11-27-2009, 05:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

I don't know much about it, but my guess is that you wouldn't have a dedicated archer. Being able to shoot a guy once or twice before he's in melee range isn't super awesome, but it's better than having shot him zero times.
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

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Originally Posted by Molokh View Post
Which is cool in mass-vs-mass Suppressive Fire, but not so much in a 5v5 or so, where you have to hit individual fighters, once per several seconds, and they get to Dodge at the very least.
Sure low TL missile fire is not wonderfully effective. You shouldn't be surprised, otherwise low TL war wouldn't put any more emphasis on hand weapons than modern armies do. If you want to win a fight based entirely on low TL missiles, be fast enough to run away, or stand behind a fortification your foes have no option but to attack.

Still, bows aren't terrible - you ought to be able to get off 3 shots or so before they close if you start at clear recognition ranges, and 1 arrow hit does stand a decent chance of crippling something, or causing a major wound. I'd expect your group of 5 pure archers to take out 2 or 3 of the charging melee specialists before the remaining 2 or 3 cut them to bits, and the chance of them actually winning isn't negligible. Probably not great, but not negligible.
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

Also as the rules are written archers are also good at penetrating armor with their blodkin point arrows.

In a recent session my archer with movement speed 7, fair hiding skills and LOT of arrows, harassed a large group of armored enemies by firing from cover and forcing them to send out patrols to hunt her that she again ambushed alone and ran away.

Her arrows could reliably punch through armor most of the time due to the (2) pen, causing a lot of wounds, though very few serious ones.

But overall the enemies armor main effect seemed to be to slow them down due to weight..
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

Depends on the battlefield, really. In a cave, dungeon or city streets where engagement ranges are seldom more than ten yards, a bow is a terrible weapon.

In open ground where melee fighters have to charge a hundred yards while you stand back and shoot them, it's brilliant. In a siege, where melee fighters simply can't reach the enemy without a ladder, it's even better.

A low fantsy bowman needs to avoid fights where he is at a disadvantage - using scouting, ambush and manouverability to make sure that he encounters enemies in terrain which favours him. They are also useful when the party is attacked by enemies who use these tactics against them.
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

Still, with a high enough skill in Bow and Fast Draw (Arrow), you can shoot arrows once every two seconds. While it's still not enough to compete with Melee, the fact you can hit opponents that are trying to stay behind cover for support roles (healers, spellcasters or other archers) makes it pretty useful. Arrows can't normally be parried which is normally the highest defense option available to warriors and on top of that, the target can't retreat for an extra defense bonus (unless they want to dodge and drop). Bodkin arrows to damage highly armored opponents and impaling damage makes it very appealing too.
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Role of archers in low-tech parties?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfect Organism View Post
Depends on the battlefield, really. In a cave, dungeon or city streets where engagement ranges are seldom more than ten yards, a bow is a terrible weapon.
Depends. The fact that you can ready your bow before having a comrade open a door where you will get to shoot anything behind it at whatever distance it is makes it pretty useful.
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