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Old 04-23-2017, 01:23 PM   #11
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Default Re: Balanced games for archers

Funny, in my game, I have the reverse problem. I have to arrange combats so that opponents get into melee range before the archers take them down, giving the melee fighters something to do. (I also have very complex terrain for most of my fights, so there are numerous ways for ranged attackers to take advantage of terrain – and ditto for melee.)

Breaking down the archer attack, it’s a series of the following maneuvers:
1 – Ready: to draw the arrow
2 – Ready: to nock the arrow into the bow
3 – Ready: to draw the bow Edit: this is an additional Ready required when using the optional The Deadly Spring rules
4 – Attack: to release the arrow

This technically lets you attack 1 per 4 turns. You can, in between 3 and 4, add as many Aim maneuvers as you want to get a bonus to hit.

By the rules, the first Ready maneuver can be skipped with a Fast-Draw roll, reducing the attack rate to 1 per 3 turns. There’s also a rule that lets you skip the fourth action: you can release immediately after your draw (after the Ready #3), but this gives you a -6 penalty to hit (and consequently, since you release immediately you also can’t Aim). I can’t remember where it’s from… I think it was GURPS Martial Arts. This therefore allows you to attack 1 per 2 turns, by the rules, but at -6 to hit and without the ability to Aim.

In House Rules mode, I personally allow an All-Out (Double Ready) to merge maneuvers 2 and 3 together. With this house rule, this means the archer can shoot once per turn if he makes his Fast-Draw, takes an All-Out (Double), accepts a -6 penalty to the hit roll, and doesn’t Aim. Edit: This only applies when using the Deadly Spring where an extra Ready is required to actually draw the bow. In the Basic rules, that maneuver is not required and you would be able to attack once per turn at -6 without taking an All-Out.

Obviously, the problem is then hitting. If you can’t Aim, and you’re at -6, you need a really good skill. And that’s something the PCs in my game have. The worse archer has a skill of 20. You’ll need those skill levels to pull this type of cinematics offs.

Also, the Heroic Archer trait is a must. Basically, Gunslinger for bows. Lets you get the bow’s Accuracy bonus without Aiming. Most of my players have expensive bows with at least Accuracy 3. Of course, Heroic Archer may not be available in your campaign… if you allow Trained By a Master, you should allow Heroic Archer.

As to damage being less than melee, my players deal with that with better targeted attacks. They aim for the face (often doesn’t have any DR) or for chinks in armor to the vitals (-10 to hit), etc. Again, this comes down to having a good skill (or the Targeted Attack technique to cancel hit location penalties.

Hope that helped.

Last edited by Kallatari; 04-23-2017 at 05:02 PM.
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