Firing missile weapons

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torus
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Firing missile weapons

Post by torus » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:53 pm

I'd like to raise an issue about the way missile combat works, and suggest a solution.

As described on p. 59, both combatants make opposed rolls, subject to modifiers for range etc, with the higher roll winning, just as with melee, and if the winner is firing a missile weapon, he/she does damage. What special skills apply? Clearly the Bows or Thrown special skill for a missile firer, but suppose an archer is firing at a swordsman. But it doesn't make sense to me that the Swords special skill should be used in this context. I would have the swordsman use his Dodge special skill (which may be zero of course).

But then what about firing on a target who is unaware or unable to evade, or an inanimate target? Should not then the roll be an unopposed test against the archer's SKILL + Bows skill, with range modifiers applied to the target number? (I'm assuming the alternative unopposed test rule: roll > 14)

This would be fine, except that it means a target with very low skill might be easier to hit when evading than when unaware! For in the former case the archer has only to beat his/her roll, likely to be easier than rolling > 14.

To resolve this I propose that even in an opposed roll situation (i.e. firing on a target evading or returning fire) the firer still only hits if his/her roll also satisfies the unopposed test criterion:e.g. roll + SKILL + Bows + modifiers > 14.

What do people think?

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Post by Skywalker » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:36 pm

This is a perennial debate in RPGs. I am happy for an opposed roll, but I agree that I would require Dodge in instances where it made sense. However, the existing modifers already cover situations where a defender is unaware, so I would use those.

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Post by torus » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:31 pm

Skywalker wrote:This is a perennial debate in RPGs. I am happy for an opposed roll, but I agree that I would require Dodge in instances where it made sense. However, the existing modifers already cover situations where a defender is unaware, so I would use those.
Not sure I understand - I agree the modifiers apply to both situations, but would you use an opposed roll even when the target was unaware?

If not, my point was that this then makes it easier to hit a low-skilled target when they are aware (opposed roll) than when they are not. Hence the solution I suggested.

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Post by Skywalker » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:23 am

torus wrote:Not sure I understand - I agree the modifiers apply to both situations, but would you use an opposed roll even when the target was unaware?
Yes. Just like you roll for a melee attack of which you are unaware, i.e. with a hefty penalty.

The point being is that though you may be unaware of the attack when it is initiated, you may become aware of the attack at some point between then and being hit. Your ability to react, though hindered, may still have an impact on the result. As such, an opposed roll with penalties is IMO the best way to handle the matter.

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Post by torus » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:09 am

Skywalker wrote:
The point being is that though you may be unaware of the attack when it is initiated, you may become aware of the attack at some point between then and being hit. Your ability to react, though hindered, may still have an impact on the result. As such, an opposed roll with penalties is IMO the best way to handle the matter.
I see your reasoning, and I guess I could go along with that for bows, but not so much for silent weapons like a throwing dagger, or (thinking further afield) a rifle - or if the target was asleep!

Also that rule makes it easier to hit a man than a statue at the same distance, if the man has low skill, whereas my suggestion would make it at least as difficult.

Finally, I quite like the fact that with rule I suggested it's possible for both sides to miss in a round of missile exchange, particularly low skilled combatants.

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Re: Firing missile weapons

Post by aduial » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:33 pm

torus wrote:As described on p. 59, both combatants make opposed rolls, subject to modifiers for range etc, with the higher roll winning, just as with melee, and if the winner is firing a missile weapon, he/she does damage. What special skills apply? Clearly the Bows or Thrown special skill for a missile firer, but suppose an archer is firing at a swordsman. But it doesn't make sense to me that the Swords special skill should be used in this context. I would have the swordsman use his Dodge special skill (which may be zero of course).
To me, using swords (or axes, brawling etc) here makes sense (enough sense to allow it). Fighting skills don't only include using the weapon, but also everything else that needs to go into a combat total: Situational awareness, ability to keep moving and not get rooted down, staying unpredictable to your enemies, etc etc etc. Making sure you're not easily targetable for ranged combatants seem to fint into this perfectly to me. Still, you must have the relevant weapon at hand to do this. Why? Because without a weapon you feel comfortable with, you will feel very vulnerable in combat and this vulnerability will make you an easy target. In this case, you will have to use the brawling skill (which can be used unarmed), the dodge skill or the armour skill (see below).

While grappling, you can use the strength skill as a combat skill. It still makes sense to use this strength-based combat total vs missile rolls: A strong character grappling an enemy can use his strength to make sure his enemy is between himself and any other assailants.

I DO allow the dodge skill to be used to roll a combat total however (both against melee and ranged attacks, although not while grappling), but a player using the dodge skill to defend himself cannot be attacking. Still, if you have a high dodge skill, this can be useful.

In the same way, a player with a shield would with me as the Director be allowed to roll his Armour skill for his combat total, again assuming he is not attacking (if he is attacking, he MUST use the relevant skill for the weapon he is attacking with for his combat total).
But then what about firing on a target who is unaware or unable to evade, or an inanimate target? Should not then the roll be an unopposed test against the archer's SKILL + Bows skill, with range modifiers applied to the target number? (I'm assuming the alternative unopposed test rule: roll > 14)
Attacking a target who is unaware is done in the usual manner, but with +6 to combat total and +2 to the damage roll. The normal surprise rule. I don't see a reason to introduce extra rules for it for ranged combat.

If the target is completely unaware and unable to defend himself (such as being asleep, physically tied down, paralyzed or some such), the attack is an automatic kill (though I haven't the books with me right now, I am reasonably sure I saw this mentioned in some place - I'll look it up when I get home). For ranged attacks at more than short range, I would probably ask for a normal test of the relevant skill to actually hit for this rule to apply. (Standard bonuses for stationary and unaware targets. A statue is, by definition, both stationary and unaware. And probably has SKILL 0 and no weapon skill.)

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Post by torus » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:32 pm

Thanks for your responses. I guess it's just a question of taste then: I like the idea that missile weapons should be slightly different from melee, and harder to use, in that there is always a minimal threshold to hit, regardless of the target.

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Post by aduial » Sat Jun 18, 2011 3:13 pm

torus wrote:Thanks for your responses. I guess it's just a question of taste then: I like the idea that missile weapons should be slightly different from melee, and harder to use, in that there is always a minimal threshold to hit, regardless of the target.
Everything is always a matter of taste. ;-) That's one nice thing about AFF2 - enough things about it are vague enough that you can interpret them to your own taste without feeling that you are blatantly changing the game.

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Post by YMMV » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:52 am

Apologies if I missed this somewhere, but I don't recall seeing it in the book or here on the site anywhere.

What happens when someone uses a ranged weapon in melee? Does the enemy get to do damage if they win the combat round? Are ranged weapons just not useable in melee? Do they just receive the penalty for "firing into melee"? Do they still get to fire first before magic and melee actions, or are considered to be using a melee attack for the purposes of timing?

Also, slightly tangential, how would an archer go about disengaging from melee? Should it be assumed that if they win against all enemies attacking them with an appropriate skill, such as dodge, that they've managed to extricate themselves to a safe distance that round?

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Post by aduial » Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:21 pm

YMMV wrote:Apologies if I missed this somewhere, but I don't recall seeing it in the book or here on the site anywhere.

What happens when someone uses a ranged weapon in melee? Does the enemy get to do damage if they win the combat round? Are ranged weapons just not useable in melee? Do they just receive the penalty for "firing into melee"? Do they still get to fire first before magic and melee actions, or are considered to be using a melee attack for the purposes of timing?

Also, slightly tangential, how would an archer go about disengaging from melee? Should it be assumed that if they win against all enemies attacking them with an appropriate skill, such as dodge, that they've managed to extricate themselves to a safe distance that round?
As far as I can see, the book doesn't say anything about ranged weapons not being usable in melee. However, there are penalties listed on page 59 for shooting into combat. There are no penalties for firing while being attacked yourself. You could make a case for this being an implication that you cannot fire a missile weapon if you are yourself being attacked with a melee weapon. (Indeed, the rules as written say that if you attack with a missile weapon, you can only be harmed by missile weapons. Clearly this leads to some ridiculous conclusions if you allow someone to attack with missile weapons while engaged in melee.)

Firing into melee implies penalties though. -5 for missile weapons, -3 for thrown weapons. Etc. Listed on page 59.

There are no rules for disentangling yourself from melee. The movement rules say that you may move up to 2 metres. So may the melee guy however. If you want to go with the rules as in the book, I would say that the opposed movement test for a chase situation is the best way of seeing if the archer manages to "kite" the melee-guy, if you insist on doing it this way.

Houserules may be in order for this part of the game. (Still ironing out my own.)

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Post by torus » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:23 pm

I would say no, you cannot fire missile weapons while engaged in melee. An archer engaged in this way would effectively be Unarmed, and must use the brawl skill. The only exception would be if they had a pre-loaded crossbow or gun - and I'd still require them to win the melee attack to hit.

My rule for disengaging is that they must win a combat round to do so - effectively this is another Combat Option like push back. If successful they do no damage, but can move up to 5m back away from their opponent. (Moving past the opponent requires a Dodge.)

Alternatively, you could use the Escape rule from the FF game books: essentially your opponent gets an automatic hit as you disengage. This could be considered another combat option, for escaping from fights where you can't even win a round.

Another combat option could be drawing a new weapon during melee, something our archer might want to do. I would rule that takes one round, during which he attacks at -2 (in addition to any other modifiers, eg unarmed).

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