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Old 04-23-2017, 02:56 PM   #21
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Balanced games for archers

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Originally Posted by lordabdul View Post
1) 30 yards away gives -7 to shooting. Even with All-Out Attack, you probably need to aim a round or two to be able to effectively target a limb (like I said, shooting arrows at torsos is ineffective because it probably takes 2 arrows to get an NPC to half move, whereas you can cripple a leg in one arrow).
You are aware the wounding multiplier for impaling doesn't apply to limbs, right? If you're doing enough damage to cripple a leg with one hit - meaning doing more than 1/2 HP in damage - then the x2 modifier for an impaling arrow means torso shots will be dropping the foe below 0 HP. That means the foe has to roll against HT each second to not pass out, has to immediately roll against Knockdown and Stunning, and is at half move.

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Originally Posted by lordabdul View Post
2) On a pure gaming practicality aspect, most combat mats I've seen don't have enough room to handle scenes that require a, say, 50 yards radius... so it means either starting the combat scene without the minis for the ranged combat preamble, and then taking out the mat/minis when everybody gets closer... or somehow use a different scale/mat for the beginning of the combat, or something like. It's clearly possible, but that just never occured to me before :)
For foes who are out of range on the combat mat, simply note their range on your scratch paper, and place their miniatures just outside of the mat (ideally arranged to show their relative positions). Once they get close enough, you can put them on the mat.

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Originally Posted by lordabdul View Post
Well that's the problem I think -- and why I'm considering this "All-Out Ready" maneuver... how can the archers keep their distance from the melee guys running at them?
My Combat Posture system (which I linked earlier, but it can be a bit... dense) can be used to create new maneuvers like this fairly readily. An All-Out Ready would either give half Move and a +4 to relevant rolls, or full Move and no bonus (which is appropriate when you don't need to make a roll), in exchange for lacking the ability to defend yourself. Do note you'll have to spend some of your movement turning around to run, or you'll be at reduced movement for running backwards.

For the latter, the best option is to have some sort of barrier in the way. The easiest to manage is the time-honored meatshield - simply having the melee characters placed to interdict any movement will make it difficult for foes to reach you. Another traditional method is to take the high ground - vertical distance counts less toward Range, foes move more slowly (and may need to make DX rolls to avoid falling, particularly when dodging - or failing to dodge - arrows) on a slope, and climbing foes have pretty poor defenses. An archer in a tree is very tough to reach. Throwing out caltrops in an arc in front of you is pretty quick and will likely either stop your foes (if they step on them) or force them to slow down (if they see them first). More time to prepare can let you set up tripwires (attached to deadfalls if you have a lot of time, but otherwise being useful from knocking them down to buy you more time) as well. Camouflaging the previous options can be nasty, as it makes it much harder for the foe to notice in time.
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Old 04-23-2017, 03:22 PM   #22
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: Balanced games for archers

Cutting arrows are an option per Low Tech, they are what you want for targeting limbs
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Old 04-23-2017, 03:54 PM   #23
Edges
 
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Default Re: Balanced games for archers

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Originally Posted by lordabdul View Post
And +1 to PK's comment -- you have one too many rounds spent loading the arrow. Without any custom things like perks and Fast-Draw(Arrow) and whatever, the basic rate of fire for bows is once every 3 turns (1 turn to draw the arrow, 1 turn to ready the bow, then 1 turn attacking without any accuracy bonus, but no penalty).
Hey!

(admittedly, being mistaken for PK is quite flattering)
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Old 04-23-2017, 03:55 PM   #24
Kallatari
 
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Default Re: Balanced games for archers

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Originally Posted by Kallatari
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
4 – Attack: to release the arrow

In House Rules mode, I personally allow an All-Out (Double Ready) to merge maneuvers 2 and 3 together.
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Originally Posted by Edges View Post
You don't need a house rule. your steps 2 and 3 are already a single Ready maneuver. See Basic p. 383.

Cheers.
And so it does. So now I had to look up the rules to find out why I've been separating it into two distinct Ready maneuvers in my game... and the source of that change was The Deadly Springs from Pyramid 3 - 33.

So, by the official rules, you are correct that it does not take an All-Out maneuver to fire one shot every turn (at -6, with no aiming). When adding the Deadly Spring rules that require an additional 1 or more Ready maneuvers to draw, then you would need an All-Out maneuver... and a bow whose ST allows you to draw it with only a single Ready.


I'll also go back and edit my original post to indicate the source of my additional Ready so as to not confuse any new readers.
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:09 PM   #25
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Default Re: Balanced games for archers

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Martial Arts has rules on Quick-Shooting Bows, allowing you to draw and shoot in the same turn, albeit at a penalty. On Target (Pyramid #3/77), on the other hand, changes Aim from "skip my turn" to something like an attack roll
I have Martial Arts yeah but those Quick-Shooting bows are too cinematic for the campaign, I think. And like I said, the goal is not to make archers more powerful, but to figure out how to make combat more interesting for players with archer characters.

I'll take a look at that Pyramid article, thanks!
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:15 PM   #26
Kallatari
 
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Default Re: Balanced games for archers

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Originally Posted by lordabdul View Post
How far do you start your combats? It sounds like your archers would have to be at least 50 yards away when they start taking out NPCs running towards them?

And +1 to PK's comment -- you have one too many rounds spent loading the arrow. Without any custom things like perks and Fast-Draw(Arrow) and whatever, the basic rate of fire for bows is once every 3 turns (1 turn to draw the arrow, 1 turn to ready the bow, then 1 turn attacking without any accuracy bonus, but no penalty).
As to the 3 turns vs 4 turns, yep. I forgot I was using an optional rule from The Deadly Spring pyramid article which added an additional turn in the process. The Basic rules only require 3 turns.

As to range, yes. When my players get to dictate the range, they like to aim for just under 50 yards as it gives a range they can actually mostly hit, while making it unlikely for enemy archers to be able to hit back (due to range penalties) unless it happens to be a "boss-skill" enemy.

But even at closer range, say 15 yards. Assuming the enemy runs 5 yards/turn, it still takes them 3 turns to close into melee. That's 3 opponents per archer that will have an arrow in the face or vitals before they get into melee. With 3 archers in my group of players (well, 2 archers and a missile spell caster), that's 9 opponents down before melee starts when they were merely 15 yards away. Once you speed up the rate at which archers fire, it you got more than one, it can start chewing down your opponents quickly if they can't get behind cover (or have armor everywhere that is too tough for the arrows).

Even once the enemy is in melee, the archers continue to fire. They have high enough skill to pretty much still hit only the enemy, and even on the few bad luck results that do hit an ally, since they weren't aiming for their teammate, it's a random hit location, and it's highly unlikely to hit a spot where the melee warriors don't have good enough armor to ignore it. (my melee fighters are in heavy plate or magically enhanced armor to match, so the arrows usually don't go through it).

Enemy spellcasters with Reverse Missile became the GM's best friend for my game... or terrain that allows enemies to sneak up into melee without being sniped or otherwise remain in cover away from the archers. It's kind of interesting as the melee folk wind up in the middle of the battle field and archers stalk around the edges trying to get an advantage over the other side's ranged attacked. And of course, actual dungeon crawls tends to limit range and field of fire a lot as well... my archers prefer the outdoor scenarios.

While coming up with more challenging scenarios to keep my archers in check is additional work for me, I much prefer having that problem than having an issue where the archers feel left out with nothing to do or being unable to influence the battle at all.
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:18 PM   #27
lordabdul
 
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Default Re: Balanced games for archers

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
The melee PCs are in a line of battle with the PC archers on the flanks. As the enemy melee types close, the PC archers shoot and step back. If the enemy melee types run past the PC melee types, the PC melee types hit them from behind. If the enemy melee types do the sensible thing and engage the PC melee types, the PC archers run past them for a round or two and turn and shoot them in the back.
That's the kind of tactical advice I was partially looking for, thanks!

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
You are aware the wounding multiplier for impaling doesn't apply to limbs, right?
Right, I had forgotten about this. You're right, so forget what I said, unless you have special arrows or high ST, it would most of the time take a couple arrows to cripple a limb too.

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Originally Posted by Edges View Post
Hey!
Haha sorry, got you all mixed up... post fixed! :)

So anyway, I think one of the problems is that so far in this game, PCs get into trouble (i.e. a situation where interaction with NPCs degenerates in a fight) or get ambushed, or stuff like that. I think situations where the PCs either are the ones attacking (which means they can plan their attack) or know about an incoming attack (which means they can also plan ahead) will be a minority, thus making the whole "archers can shoot enemies from 20 yards away" quite uncommon. I think the players will have to figure out tactics where, if a combat breaks out, the archers have to run away and take positions while the melee fighters hold the NPCs or some other stuff like that.

Last edited by lordabdul; 04-23-2017 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 04-24-2017, 03:45 AM   #28
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: Balanced games for archers

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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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Old 04-24-2017, 05:53 AM   #29
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Balanced games for archers

I am going to suggest something that will probably be unpopular.

Maybe the problem is not that archers are uninteresting, but rather that players have internalized an uninteresting option as a core concept. RPGs, and especially computer games, have popularized the idea of someone who causes damage at a distance and whom the enemies can't reach.

I know cinematic games are all the rage nowadays, and the archer-in-a-melee conceit is highly cinematic. But consider that, realistically, archers are only for support; they're not the main action. Maybe players who want more to do should simply not be archers.
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:22 AM   #30
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: Balanced games for archers

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I am going to suggest something that will probably be unpopular.

Maybe the problem is not that archers are uninteresting, but rather that players have internalized an uninteresting option as a core concept. RPGs, and especially computer games, have popularized the idea of someone who causes damage at a distance and whom the enemies can't reach.

I know cinematic games are all the rage nowadays, and the archer-in-a-melee conceit is highly cinematic. But consider that, realistically, archers are only for support; they're not the main action. Maybe players who want more to do should simply not be archers.
I think you solve the problem (players of archers feel left out in the cold in combat) but at the cost of causing another (telling players that can't play something they like to play, thus leaving then out in the cold).


Basically as a GM if my players have decided they are interested in playing something, I view it as kind of my job to make it interesting for them to play it.

All within reason of course

Last edited by Tomsdad; 04-24-2017 at 12:47 PM.
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