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Old 07-23-2023, 02:57 PM   #1
Shostak
 
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: New England
Default Talent/Spell of the Week: Missile Weapons

This IQ 9 talent may be purchased up to three times at the cost of one point each, and with each level conferring a +1DX modifier to attacks with missile weapons or missile spells, and this bonus may be counted towards loosing a second missile in a turn. Missile Weapons offers fantastic value, allowing a character with otherwise middling DX to be effective at range. It is less appealing for wizards if using RAW talent pricing, since it costs them 200%. After character generation, this means that a level of Missile Weapons costs as much XP as two spells, five points of staff mana, or a 38th attribute point. Similarly, a hero in play is better off raising DX until they have reached 36 points instead of learning or boosting Missile Weapons.

Missile Weapons is frequently chosen by players in games I GM, and I often select it for NPCs, especially foes I want to be particularly challenging. Importantly, it seems to be a talent that brings a lot of fun to the table. With it, a PC can really shine with a clutch ranged attack. And, when a PC gets plugged with two arrows from the same longbowman twice in a turn, or when the players realize that a crossbow archer is loosing bolts at their characters every turn, the tension ratchets up a notch or two.

I like how Missile Weapons is designed; unlike the other advanced weapon talents, it has only a modest IQ prerequisite and it gives a single benefit. Because of this, it is accessible to many character types, so it isn't likely to limit character diversity overly much. And, because it is accessible at character generation, it supports the marksman archetype. I wish the other advanced weapon talents were more like Missile Weapons.

Missile Weapons has not given rise to many situations that required adjudication at my table other than whether or not it lets someone loose first if their bonus brings their DX above someone else's (I think the answer is "Yes").

Conversation starters
  • Has Missile Weapons precipitated any questions in your games?
  • How often do you use Missile Weapons for foes?
  • Is there anything about Missile Weapons you would prefer were different?
  • How often do you think Missile Weapons has been a decisive factor in a battle's outcome?
  • Do you have a memorable use of Missile Weapons to share from your games?
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Old 07-23-2023, 06:29 PM   #2
hcobb
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Missile Weapons

The big difference between using this talent in Legacy vs Classic is that you can now purchase each of the three points of bonus separately, to fine-tune your character. So a wizard may just be able to afford the base level while a warrior takes all three at start.

My question is who reads the table at ITL 125 in yards, meters or hexes?

Sample character who uses Missile Weapons: ST 12, DX 11, IQ 9
Hero has the talents of Crossbow, Missile Weapons III, Sword, Shield, and Toughness.
Wizard has the talents of Crossbow, Missile Weapons, and Literacy, and the spells of Aid, Fire, Dark Vision, Staff.
The hero gets a shot per turn and the wizard has to flip xp into two points of dx to do the same. (The hero should consider just adding DX in order to take head shots from 150 yards out.)

Note that Missile Weapons only applies to known talents and spells. So while Thrown Weapons gives a bonus to anybody to toss a moiltail or grapple, Missile Weapons gives no bonus to throwing rocks or using missile weapons or missile spell items which the figure lacks the talent or spell for.
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Last edited by hcobb; 07-24-2023 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 07-24-2023, 08:54 AM   #3
David Bofinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Missile Weapons

Missile weapons is a mechanism for specialist archers to burn their right to non-combat talents, in return for being better at archery. Is it desirable to have such deals in the game? Maybe not, since having a bunch of miscellaneous talents usually makes characters more interesting. But maybe that's more an issue with TFT character generation generally.

Missile-oriented foes are an issue in that they inflict attrition before the PCs get to attack. So if the players win they take losses, if they don't win then the melee PCs never get to do their thing, and if they don't get severely hurt then it probably isn't a challenge. Of course you can have one archer among a group of meleeists, but it doesn't generally add much to the game.

To the extent I do like Missile Weapons I wish it came in multiple varieties, so that it supported a wider range of archer characters. One version gives you a DX bonus. Another gives you a damage bonus. A third helps you shoot fast. A fourth might help with called shots, if you use those. You can only use one a turn, unless you buy the fancy talent that lets you use more.

Last edited by David Bofinger; 07-24-2023 at 08:54 AM. Reason: tidied
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Old 07-24-2023, 11:22 AM   #4
Bill_in_IN
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: Indiana
Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Missile Weapons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
  • Has Missile Weapons precipitated any questions in your games?
  • How often do you use Missile Weapons for foes?
  • Is there anything about Missile Weapons you would prefer were different?
  • How often do you think Missile Weapons has been a decisive factor in a battle's outcome?
  • Do you have a memorable use of Missile Weapons to share from your games?
The application of it seems to be simple and has presented no issues in its use.

I regularly give it to NPCs. PCs will pick it up as well. My experimantal Goblin Wizard with IQ 18 spent 6 IQ points on Missile Weapons 3. Helped out his low DX greatly with Wizard's Wrath.

I'm fine with it as is. David's suggestion sounds interesting but, I fear, that it would complicate the otherwise simple application of the talent.

The use of the talent has definitely made a difference. I've seen longer distance damage done to deadly foes that made them less powerful when up close. In some cases taken out from a distance. I've seen the smaller bows allow for two shots which simply give the chance of a little more damage from a distance. You just have to remember that it's at the end of the action phase. It can be easily forgotten.

Well...I do have this Elf with a longbow and Missile Weapons 1 that hit a flying Gryphon for double damage. That was a lucky hit on 4/DX. I can't claim that MW+1 made that possible.

The big difference is any character with MW+3 had a very good chance of hitting even as a starting character with lower damage missile weapons. I have a Goblin with a sling that had decent results. He now has a small bow and can shoot twice. If a PC starts with MW+3, they are set up well for any future missile weapon upgrade.

Last edited by Bill_in_IN; 07-24-2023 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 07-24-2023, 10:01 PM   #5
JimmyPlenty
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Missile Weapons

It certainly is a useful skill, so much so that I think counting arrow inventory is a necessity. Learned this the hard way with a crossbow specialist. Deadly indeed!
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Old 07-25-2023, 12:51 AM   #6
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Missile Weapons

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
My question is who reads the table at ITL 125 in yards, meters or hexes?
Yeah, they should fix that.

To avoid the problem entirely I've always treated a hex as a yard (3 feet from hexside to hexside) and ignored any consequences. A 2-hex jab is still a 2-hex jab. If you want to, you can always say 1 yard in your campaign world isn't the same size as 1 yard in ours :)
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Old 07-25-2023, 04:55 AM   #7
hcobb
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Missile Weapons

Just as Thrown Weapons is the advanced combat talent (ACT) for dim-witted Reptile Men (with their primitive tribal unusual weapons), Missile Weapons is the ACT for the dim and clumsy dwarves.

Halbmondbucht, Dwarf, age 20
ST 10, DX 13, IQ 9, MA 10
Talents include: Bow, Knife, Missile Weapons III, Shield, Sword
Languages: Common, Dwarvish
Weapons: dagger (1d-1), saber (2d-2), horse bow (1d)
Attacks and Damage: Punch (1d-3)
Armor: Small shield stops 1 hit

As an alternative drop starting DX to 12, increase IQ to 10 and gain Shield Expertise instead of the third level of Missile Weapons. Two shots per turn then has to wait for xp to flip into two points of dx, but your defense is greatly increased, especially if cloth or leather armor is taken as well. (Further delaying two shots per turn.) A fine saber is just barely within the $1k starting budget, but dwarves get the nerf shafted ST 10 to 11 alternatives to swords.

Consider also if you can squeeze in two memory points for Silent Movement. As the party's mule you'll be carrying all the treasure so you might as well make your own way home after the adventure.
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