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phiwum 04-06-2021 03:44 PM

Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
Some unusual weapons require Thrown Weapons skill. As a result, everyone skilled with these weapons is +2 to hit and can ready-and-throw in one turn. These weapons include:

Net and Trident
Spear thrower (May use polearms instead of thrown weapons)

Now, each of these is really a special kind of thrown weapon with their own strong advantages. A bola or net knocks one down, a boomerang does remarkable damage, one can throw several sha-ken at once and spear-throwers use missile range. All that plus ready-and-throw in one turn. (I'll ignore the +2 to-hit for now.)

I first noticed that bolas are really skirmish-changers. One in hand and two on the belt and you can knock down three opponents in three turns. Same applies for net. I've previously house-ruled that bolas must be readied and then thrown, since that seems to make sense (they must be swung around once before thrown, according to my vast five minute look on Youtube). I'll do the same for net (but not Trident), since it's unwieldy.

I don't have any opinion on spear throwers in terms of game balance. They sound like one turn preparation prior to throw is sensible as far as real life mechanics go, but I haven't looked at video to know.

Boomerangs are simple but deadly. They seem a bit overpowered in terms of game balance, but I can't see a good thematic reason to require ready first, then throw. They do very good damage for a thrown weapon, but with only two on the belt and maybe two in hand, they're not crazy tough. One more damage than the long bow, which can be fired twice per turn by a fast enough character (minimum attribute points: 35).

Sha-ken I don't know about. Definitely, I think you can ready and throw one in the same turn. Multiple ones? Beats me. I know some of the old hats around here talk about the much feared halfling sha-ken snipers, but I haven't seen one in play yet.

What is your experience with these weapons? In actual game play, I've mostly seen the bola and a high DX character can put down three baddies for two turns each very quickly in combat. I've never seen it used to disarm, since prone is better most of the time, and I've rarely seen a head shot (mostly when legs were not an option).

phiwum 04-06-2021 03:52 PM

Re: Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
Apologies, this should really go in the house rules section. I meant to post it there.

I think the rules as written are clear. Each of these get the full bonuses of thrown weapons skill.

hcobb 04-06-2021 04:05 PM

Re: Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
I give the targets of all of the entangling weapons a DX roll to dodge them (making these weapons exactly as effective as a shield rush), but only if they can see the attack.

Hence while very useful for ambush, these didn't displace standard spears and javelins in the historical record.

phiwum 04-06-2021 05:14 PM

Re: Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
The save throw would certainly make it a weaker weapon, perhaps too weak. I haven't seen a shield rush in real play in a long time.

I can't change the weapon radically like that, because a very experienced character uses bolas a lot. I don't want the probability of a successful throw to be halved or worse (or better on low DX characters, of course).

To be fair, my house rule sort of halves it as well, in terms of turns per throw rather than a save roll, but that's predictable and does not waste a shot (thereby losing the bola). He still gets the joy of downing one character (depending on his to-hit roll) at the beginning of the battle, so it's still a substantial weapon.

larsdangly 04-06-2021 05:42 PM

Re: Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
How about making the automatic dodge an opposed roll, like the Hexagram #6 fencing parry? That will result in an intermediate situation where a successful attack roll will usually involve a margin of success that reduces the chance to dodge.

phiwum 04-06-2021 08:44 PM

Re: Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
That works, though more die rolls slow one down a bit.

Anyway, I'm not going to make huge changes 'til I kill off this character.

Axly Suregrip 04-06-2021 10:06 PM

Re: Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
TLDR: Bola and Net are the only problems. And I agree with making it take a turn to prep these. And I think Henry's idea is brilliant and made other suggestions to it, see below.

Years ago the bola became a must have weapon for the group I was playing with. One or two characters with the bola, as you noted could quickly disable several foes. It took some of the fun out of the game and we all agreed to ban them. Afterwards, no one then took the net, so maybe we were already to move on. But I'd expect it would be nearly as bad (bola at 1 ST lower requirement vs the net and a 2 turn knock down is worse).

Eventually you will hit additional situations with the bola/net weapons:

- what about multi-hex foes? Do these weapons work against dragons, giants, lions?

- even if it is a one hex creature: what about beasts that are very strong? does a bola bring down a bear? The Trip spell has a ST 30+ limitation.

So, I agree with the bola and net requiring a turn to prepare. If you still feel it is overpowered I love Henry's idea. It still allows this weapon to be highly effect as an ambush weapon. Henry wrote, "I give the targets of all of the entangling weapons a DX roll to dodge them (making these weapons exactly as effective as a shield rush), but only if they can see the attack." If that is too much, then make it a 4/DX save; or they only get the save when not engaged & facing you. Let me know if you try this/these and how it goes.

Now I am just going to ramble on:

As far as other THROWN weapons I have seen that also made me cringe is the Spear Thrower with Javelins. But really this is not nearly as bad as Bola/Net. The Spear Thrower with Javelins results in a 1+1 damage output from a ST 9 fighter and has missile weapon accuracy. That is 2 points more than the short bow. But it cannot be fired twice a turn and historically javelin throwers were a common war weapon. Also, the thrower is limited to only a couple javelins on his belt. So, I have no problems with this (nor with the two handed spear being thrown).

The boomerang got fixed with Legacy (it used to do more damage!). Yes it does a bit more damage than a longbow, but it is limited to two on the belt and one in hand. This sometimes deters them from being used when the target is when you cannot get to retrieve the item. And definitely leave him with only 3 shots.

The throwing stars biggest problem was the old halfling rules getting DX throwing bonus. That was fixed and not specific to stars. These fighters tend to throw handfuls of stars at unarmored foes or aimed single star at armored foes. Just remember the aimed shots can only be done at 3 hex range or less. I have played with a GM that insisted that there is a minimum damage of 1. If this is how you play, then these stars then become unbalanced in taking down unarmored foes.


phiwum 04-07-2021 06:39 AM

Re: Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
Thanks, Axly.

I have encountered the bola against multihex units and chose to say it can't take down a three hex critter. For two hex critters, I don't think I can outlaw it because bolas were used to take down cattle, but I do rule against taking down certain critters.

I've allowed it against a bear, but don't know if I should. A bear is strong, but couldn't rip apart cords without an action. I don't know the best ruling there.

For now, I'll skip the save throw because it seems to me a bola should be reliable against a wolf, but again this is a balance between my gut instincts on the weapon and game balance.

I should start having the baddies use some of these exotic weapons I haven't seen in play and see how it goes. I haven't done that partly because trident and net or boomerang don't fit the setting well. Neither do bolas, so I've made replacements hard to find.

hcobb 04-07-2021 06:52 AM

Re: Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
Note that hunting bolas are used from behind or against unsuspecting targets.

phiwum 04-07-2021 06:58 AM

Re: Exotic weapons requiring Thrown Weapons skill
I don't know anything about their historic use that can't be found in a quick skim of the WP article, but the need for stealth in approaching prey could be a combination of range benefits and the fact that a dodging prey is harder to hit.

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