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Old 04-24-2017, 03:45 AM   #28
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Brighton
Default Re: Balanced games for archers

Originally Posted by lordabdul View Post
That's the kind of tactical advice I was partially looking for, thanks!
It's a good tactic (although you have to be bit careful with "hitting the wrong target"). But yep if the other side doesn't also have a flanking section you can really get them with this. Although I'd say getting someone into melee against a target back is even better , even if it an archer using their back up melee weapon skill!.

OK if you not going to go cinematic with bows, I agree with the others you are going need to tailor your encounters to reward good archer tactics.

Part of the inherent problem here is that generally speaking a lot of encounters are close range skirmishes, and well the bows are not really not great at that (they're slow to use, and can be dodged, and once in melee are in big trouble)!

But archers also suffer from the problem that when it comes to hitting single targets unless you have really high skill, bows are short range. So you are limited in both directions here.

So two areas where bows can shine

1). From ambush, have your archers conceal themselves. Initially ambush helps with some aim actions. Bows are't as silent as the films suggest but they're still a lot quieter than guns, so depending on the environment your targets may not be alerted by your first shot.

Even in an ongoing combat if their targets are dealing with everything else in skirmish they may not be able to concentrate on working out exactly where those arrows are coming from (I'd play up the situational awareness stuff from Tactical shooting)

2). A archer can affect a target at distance (maybe not a huge distance but still a distance). Position your archers where they can effect their target but their targets can't effect them. For you the GM this means giving the players an environment where they can do this. The above suggested tactic of having your melee fighter pin the target in place while your archer flank and attack from behind is a version of this. Archers having elevation is another. Concealed elevations combines 1&2 here. Archers that get overrun or caught in the open in melee are in big trouble. So even if your target can see you archers if they can't get to them without exposing themselves to a lot of fire that's good to.

Accordingly prepared ground is key for encounters here, bows are no good on the fly or in surprise situations (they may not even be strung for instance, and situational awareness works both ways)

Having your archers covering your melee fighter opens up some new group tactics that melee only doesn't have. Your melee fighters can disengage and have their retreat covered by their archer mates. It's not guaranteed but it's a damn sight safer than turning and running by yourself. Have you archers work in pairs or groups so that between them they can fire every second. That way they are a constant threat the target has to constantly take into account.

Archers don't have to just be archers, what's a post apocalypse without petrol* bombs! Attacking a target hex means petrol bombs don't need lots of points invested in a skill. Petrol bombs might not kill anyone, but they damn distracting (so combine with the tactics above).

All out Attacks, if you have archers and your opponent don't, every shot should be an All out Attack (this will help you archers feel more mighty as well).

Already mentioned but if you have players of Archers boredly saying "I ready an arrow, I aim, I aim again...sigh" while the rest of the table are furiously rolling dice.

Use quick draw and "on target" (already mentioned Pyramid article). Using All out Aims in "on target" as well. On target also gives a boost to All out Attack (Ranged)

On "cinematic vs. realistic" rules options for archers. Honestly I wouldn't get too hung up on this as a hard and fast distinction. If you are careful you won't suddenly change your gritty Post apoc game out of recognition by allowing a few "cinematic" archer options. And if nothing else there are hundred ways to tone down the impact of archers if you ever need too!

But if your going to go gritty, I recommend "last gap"** here. Generally speaking archers in a good position conserve Action Points better than melee fighters in a rolling melee. This gives them a resource advantage to enjoy over their melee team mates, but also an advantage over their melee targets to leverage.

What bow stats are you using Basic, Low tech or Deadly spring?

*or lamp oil or what ever

**Pyramid 3/44

Last edited by Tomsdad; 04-25-2017 at 01:18 AM.
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