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willmanx

Ranged vs Melee BROKEN, bow vs powder BROKEN

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RANGED VS MELEE

Range does damage equal to melee without any risk, and often compromise the challenge of any encounter by killing the baddies before they're engaged with the PCs. Equal Damage ? yes, usually it's one less damage but with pierce 1. See the trick ?

How to solve that in my game ? 1 misfortune dice at close range, 2 at medium, 3 at long. The few weapon able to shoot at extreme have their own 1 challenge dice penalty.What about YOUR GAMES ?

BOW VS POWDER

Compared to powder weapons or crossbows, Bows doesn't need to be reloaded per 1 maneuver (or take +1 challenge dice). In the other hand, powder weapons does 1 more damage, and require 1 less boon to do critical damage.

My players thinks that the absence of bow reload isn't counterbalanced by these powder advantage. What about you ? How to solve that in our games ? I don't really know.

PS : Magic vs blessing… priests doesn't miscasts and I think this is not fair. I liked 2nd Edition d10 table… In wfrp3, we've houseruled the priest can't use blessing for X rounds, X being the recharge number of the blessing action card played… The priest may suffer 1 or more stress to reduce that per 1 or more. What about you ?

 

 

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I am going to post with a bit of ZEN, because when I think about the mechanics of wfrpg 3 I easely go on fire. Lets agree this is not the strongest point of the game.

Well, I mostly agree with you in all the points i.e. some house rules are needed if you want to balance these points you list.

-Regarding Ranged vs Melee: I agree is a bit broken. What I have done here is to increase the encumbrance of armours (see my house rules). In that way (good) archers who usually have a high Ag score (and are also excellent at skullduggery ) but not a high St score are limited to the lightest armours. Also, by doing so, it is more difficult that a character is able to carry a ranged weapon and arrows, a shield, a melee weapon, and on top an armour. This produces that most of my archers have to decide between an armour to have some soak, or a shield /melee weapon and therefore being able to use the block /parry action cards. All in all, my archers are pretty weak in close combat and they get a substantial amount of wounds every combat, specially since I typically rush the NPCs against them ignoring the heavy armoured melee fighters.

-Regarding the Bow vs Powder: I have the impression that some action cards for powder weapons, like the ones with the judgment trait (see final judgment or execution shot) balance the bow + rapid fire combo or the bow + disengage combo. I am not so sure about the crossbow, your players may be right.

-The Magic vs Blessing: It is not only the miscast, but also the possibility for priests of wearing armour without any penalty! I completely agree with you some house ruling is needed here, I would love to see a Wrath of God table /cards like in wfrpg 2. Again, increasing the encumbrance of armours helps a bit here.

 

Cheers,

Yepes

 

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I allways throw in extra misfortune dice for shooting into a melee, at least two black dice are added and if the PCs that are engaged in close combat outnumber the enemy I'll throw in further misfortune dice to reflect that it's harder to get a clear shot at the enemy without risking to hit your friends.

This often means that the ranged character hits less.

Furthermore, fluff wise, longbows are quite rare in the empire, the normal shortbow is far more common, but a lot less effective. In the battles game the high and wood elves have longbows, but not the archers of the empire. This is also included in the description of the longbow. Disallowing rare weapons or exotic weapons at character creation makes ranged vs melee a lot less broken. I don't allow the players to purchase a longbow when creating their character. This gives the archer a shorter range and the shortbow doesn't have any pierce.

The black powder weapons get balanced by their cost and unreliability. Also, ball shots and powder cannot be used more than once, meaning that each shot costs the character 1 silver, which is quite expensive.

Furthermore, encounters can include someone attacking the archer(s) of the group. No (or almost no) enemy is stupid enough to let the archer(s) just stand at their leasure and fire away. Once in close combat the ranged characters have a far more difficult time. Preparing encounters on beforehand as a GM are key to make them balanced and interesting. It also gives you time to think on how (or if) the ranged characters should be handled that particular encounter. Depending on the environment and surroundings where the combat encounter takes place it can be quite hard to stay at a distance, shooting all combat long.

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I agree ranged combat can be broken in that if not handled properly the ranged character inflicts injury at little risk.  This can be an issue for spellcasters too.

Much of this can be addressed in encounter design and using following:

- as noted, modifications for shooting into melee.  There is a specific action card for this that gives misfortune dice to attempt (can be reduced by preparing).  Doing it without the card should be even harder and I have house ruled that a Chaos Star on such an action means hitting ally (with regular hit not special damage etc.).

- terrain modifiers - I have had darkness, storms, wind, fog, trees all impose increasing penalties to ranged combat (though wood elves of course don't mind the dark and trees as much).

- range and foes coming from multiple directions  - I often design an encounter with the premise "you NEED to take out some foes with ranged fire while they close, if you don't you're in trouble" or "the foes appear around corners at Close Range to start, oh and more from behind, no safe location…" situations.

That said, I'm muling the Star Wars system's absolute range penalties.

The ranged attack that staples a target in place is the thing I most itch to houserule or just take out of game as it can really change an encounter way too much.

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Oh, and I should add in encounters, I have expressly set it up at times that "that band of ungors are meatshields for the wargor - you can't target the wargor at all (unless Trick Shock etc.) until they do down" or that "those besotted handmaids are willing to give their lives for the vampire, throwing themselves in front of arrows".

-- can you tell I have a wood elf uber-archer player?

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Thanks everyone for your inputs.

valvorik said:

Oh, and I should add in encounters, I have expressly set it up at times that "that band of ungors are meatshields for the wargor - you can't target the wargor at all (unless Trick Shock etc.) until they do down" or that "those besotted handmaids are willing to give their lives for the vampire, throwing themselves in front of arrows".

-- can you tell I have a wood elf uber-archer player?

 

ahah ! I also have a high elf magical uber-archer player :)

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Some more input from me.

One character in my group is called Agatha is highly focused on melee and have the careers: Zelot, Flagelant, Witch Hunter, Witch Hunter Captain. These are far from the "most optimal" careers in terms of damage output, but the character has several good action cards and a high weapon skill (3).

Another character, Mette, has a ranged focus and has taken the careers: Thief, Master Thief, Assassin, Crime Lord. And that character "only" has a Ballistic skill of 2 and has good action cards for ranged combat.

Agathas STR is 4 and Mettes AGI is 4, so there they are equal.

Out of these two Agatha deals far more damage and deals out far more critical hits. This seems largely to be depending on action cards available. Mette hits about as often (which is most of the time) and does a fair amount of damage and critical wounds, but Mette does not come near Agathas damage output.

While this might be the result of Mette being poorly optimized, or Agatha being very optimized to deal damage I don't think that's really the case. There are just so many melee action cards that have good boon, comet and success results that add a lot of damage/criticals. At least that's the feeling me and my gaming group get.

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I think you're generally right about melee cards having the most damage amplification etc., and sometimes the multiple critlcals.  That said, the two best damage dealers at my table are a priest of sigmar (melee) and a wood elf (ranged).  The Sigmarite tends to out-critical the Elf but the elf tends to do more damage but I think the Sigmarite isn't totally optimized for melee whereas the elf has been focusing on ranged combat.

I think ranged specialities are more pierce, number of targets, tricks etc.  Overall I think that may be to balance the "melee card has greater risk to use" assumption that likely holds at most tables.

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valvorik said:

That said, I'm muling the Star Wars system's absolute range penalties.

That said, from what I remember, the negative dice in Star Wars are not as punishing as the ones in WFRP, and the positive dice are generally more powerful.

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I think it has been slightly counterbalanced by the reduced number of positive dice, often opposed by a higher number of negative dice. Average stats are 2, rather than 3 (though the maximum is still 6, and PCs will have higher in their area of expertiese), and skills only change the dice you roll, not add extra dice (as far as I can tell, this shoud also make the small positive and negative dice more important than they were in WFRP). I don't know about the overall success rate. At least with opposed checks I would imagine it is reduced, as the negative dice are a fixed value based on the opponent's skill, not worked out on relative skill (which always resulted in the weird effect where a skilled PC will pass more commonly against an equal level NPC than a lesser skilled PC against a similarly lowered levelled NPC).

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I would say that that add loading time as an action.

In the basic rules (if I remember correctly) you are able to shoot and load bow during the same round…and still get movement action.

To Downgrade ranged weapons.

Bows (short and long): Reload takes one action, shooting one. No movement during that round. So remaining stationary in one place allows to shoot and reload.

Crossbows: Reload takes 1 full round (no movement action allowed) and shooting at next round.

"Powder": Reload time is of course longer…maybe similar to crossbow.

I would say that wearing armor as a priest gives penalty (maybe some purple dices) when casting spells in metal armor.

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I can't say i have played much with the system but:

why not have monsters groups with their own ranged units to combat PC ranged players?
or small groups using stealth checks to get behind the archer / ranged characters?
Also can't Chaos stars be used to damage bows? that would encourage them getting a bit closer where the chance to hit is higher. then you know…. have monsters rush the poor bugger burla

as for priest vs wizards. Am i right in believeing gms can deny those characters piety if they haven't been the stricktest of discipels? so if they failed to vist a recent towns local temple deny them some points at a crucial moment?

 

guess the thing i enjoy about the system is that some of the balancing is in the roleplay, not just for the characters but the GM as well.

 

but then like i said i haven't played a large amount and i do like to be a punishing GM :P

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Yepesnopes said:

I am going to post with a bit of ZEN, because when I think about the mechanics of wfrpg 3 I easely go on fire. Lets agree this is not the strongest point of the game.

Sort of thinking about getting back into WFRP3e and I agree with you that some rules seem…odd. Would love to hear what you think is broken and why…I found one of your earlier posts about action cards and I agree with that too. The token tracking system for limiting actions just doesn't play well on the table.

Anything else you think is broken and why?

Anything rules you think actually work?

Thanks :)

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You can't shoot if you're engaged without special actions. Also, preparing a weapon or putting a weapon away are both 'maneuvers'. If you get somebody into melee engaged with the shooters, they suddenly are "unequipped" for melee combat (easier to hit) and can't actually hit you without moving away, sucking up more maneuvers (or stress). Drawing a weapon could be done, but that's a whole maneuver and you'll find most people will want to sheathe their weapon to keep it safe (using up another maneuver), and being strict about not being able to fire/reload a gun/crossbow/bow with one hand will ensure that people have to make hard choices in combat or at least not be able to run roughshod over encounters.

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I have the following houserules regarding ranges wp.

Long range wp

close range add 1 White

medium -

long 1 Black dice

extreme 1purple 

also shooting into melee:

1 Black pr friend in combat (friends Roll the Black dice, it just might be you Who steps infront of the shot)

1 White pr enemy in combat (as long as you don't Care whom hit)

 

Also made max manuveres is agi-2  min 2.  Regarding movement.

finally made the prerequisit: 

if not specialized in Bow etc take 1 more manuver pr round  (ie bows  take 1, crossbow tages 2) to reload. It costs stress to force more manuveres regarding reload 

 

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Mexorlon said:

 

Also made max manuveres is agi-2  min 2.  Regarding movement.

 

 

It is an interesting approach to limit the amount of movement manoeuvers. Yet, I will suggest to change Agi by St. The resason is double; first, if you look for realism, to move fast over a distance is not Agi what you need but Strength. Look for example at the 100m sprint athlets. You are right that Agi controls your coordination and the fast you can move your hands for example, but regarding plain overland speed, there is no doubt that Strength is what you need. Second, big monsters, like a Giant, should be able to cover longer distances during a round because his big size as compared to smaller i.e. human sized characters. Certainly big monsters, like Giants, Troll, and Dragons will have a huger St and a rather normal /low Agi, which using your rules means they will move abnormaly slow.

Just a thought.

As for the other house rules, I like them. They sound nice, especially the recharging house rule, I always have the feel that specializations feel flat in this game.

Cheers,

Yepes

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Yepesnopes said:

 

I will suggest to change Agi by Str.

hmm I Can see your point, Think I will discuss it with the group…

Btw any luck on the wrath of god table? Would be awesome!!!!!

best 

Mex

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I like simple all-inclusive changes.

 

to adress the issue of balance here i did the following:

 

- I updated all the weapons and armor tables, and within the process, removed pierce 1 on the bow and added pierce 2 on the gunpowder weapons.

 

- Changed Reload to a variable amount (Reload "X"), which is the number of maneuvers necessary to recharge the weapon, and gave Reload +1 to all ranged weapons except repeater weapons.

 

Now, if you want to Rapid shot with your bow, you need to spend serious fatigue….

 

Works fine for me, and everyone is happy including the bounty hunter!

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===

Ok, I'm going to start off this reply by being somewhat unconstructive.
I vehemently disagree with all of your assumptions.


* Ranged is NOT more powerful than Melee. It is not broken
* bows vs powder is NOT broken either.


Let's start with Ranged vs Melee …

- In general, melee attack actions offer more + damage options.
- Most ranged actions suffer +1 difficulty die when used while engaged.
- A person equipped with a ranged weapon cannot BLOCK nor PARRY. Two very important defensive abilities.
- WS not only helps a character attack, but WS also helps them PARRY.  BS only helps when attacking.
- Melee weapons do not require nor run out of ammunition

Those are just things off the top of my head. If you have NPCs getting killed by bow-wielding PCs before the NPCs can get into melee with the archer, then you are doing something wrong. There are plenty of ways to deal with this. Add more enemies. Have the NPCs use their A/C/E dice to make the ranged attack miss. Make the NPCs suffer wounds (or fatigue/stress) to simply move into engaged range.  Have the NPCs hide behind cover so that the PC archers cannot shoot them.  Have it rain/fog/snow.etc, and apply extra misfortune (or difficulty) dice for ranged attacks due to poor visibility. At night, or underground, PCs can only see (and therefore shoot) as far as the light source allows them. This might be only Close range.  Lots of detriments, and ways to handle, to ranged attacks, without applying a bunch of unneccessary house rules.

Now, Bow vs Powder …

Yes, I will state up front that if you are just looking at combat stats of bows vs powder weapons, bows essentially are slightly better.
Simply put, though, mechanically (and realistically) a bow *is* superior to a black powder weapon.  About the only thing 'better' about black powder weapons is the ability to penetrate armor. Remember, these are (relatively) primitive black powder weapons. They aren't modern guns.  There isn't Rifling or cartridges, etc. Bullets aren't exploding, tipped, or spinning and causing more damage. They are simply being pushed out of a warped and crummy barrel. In the real world, guns became more commonplace simply because it was easier to train someone to shoot a gun accurately than it was to train them to shoot a bow accurately, and also that eventually making lead shot was cheaper and faster than making arrows.

Lastly, and I like to point this out since many people simply don't realize or understand it.  Black Powder weapons in WFRP are symbols of FEAR and POWER.  Generally, only elite Imperial troops or the very wealthy (ie nobles) carry black powder weapons and can afford to actually use one. Shot and powder are not cheap, nor easy to acquire.  Bows can be found in nearly every town and village, and in every farmer's house. Many people know the rudiments of crafting some sort of bow and arrows, and at the very least there is likely one person in every town of village who does.  Black Powder weapons are crafted by specially trained engineers, in very few places.  Most folks have never seen nor heard a black powder weapon being fired.  It is a 'shock and awe' type of weapon.  Merely carrying a pistol in your waistband indicates that you are a person of means and/or power, even without it being used at all.  Some will want to rob you, most will fear you (if they recognize it as a pistol, of course).  You will gain instant attention from nobles, whether you are viewed with suspicion or respect will depend of course, but you will not be regarded with the indifference they show most Brass Tier people.  Essentially, carrying a black powder weapon can bring your effective social tier up temporarily.  Then, we can also include the potential firing of a black powder weapon to be Fear-causing in those who are not acquainted well. It can cause animals to stampede or flee. It can deafen people. The powder can be used for all sorts of creative ideas as well.

To wrap up, you cannot judge the benefits of bows vs powder simply based on DR and CR and the flat stats from a simple straightforward combat situation. Black Powder weapons have a host of less tangible benefits to them. 

----------------------------------


Now, to trying to provide assistance for any house rules.  I'd think simply that:

Ranged vs Melee = Require ranged attacks to:

a) Not allow any maneuvers if using a ranged attack action
b) Maneuvers must occur AFTER any ranged attack actions happen.  

Bows vs Black powder:

a) Simply add +1 CR and +1 pierce to black powder weapons. They will have better piercing and are more easily able to generate criticals than bows.

Neither of those should dramatically alter the game or rules, but should adjust things a decent amount towards the results that you are looking for.

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@dvang

While you have some good points, and I agree with you that for example in my games I don't feel ranged is that powerful as other people say. Immobilising shot is a totally broken card that wiill spoil even the most epic fights. It was because cards like these that I had to put a restriction on how many cards of the same type can be on the table. But as for immobilising shot, this was not enough, it is just too powerful.

Cheers,

Yepes

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Wow, I kinda hate to necro this thread from over a year ago, but I am genuinely surprised how many posters have a problem with ranged combat.  My Wood Elf Hunter (Hroda), has had quite a problem keeping up with the other players in the damage department as the foes get tougher.  We have two dwarves (one a sword & board tank, and the other a brutal damage *****) and a Witch (now Warlock), and Hroda's piddly 9 damage + pierce is not even in the same class. 

 

1)  The number of action cards for ballistic weapons (48) compared to melee (187) is so small in comparison,

2)  On average when compared to those taken by my companions they are more difficult succeed at and use (based on fiddly range requirements.

3)  The action cards do not cut through toughness well at all and the damage bonuses are harder to achieve.

 

Now, I don't really complain about this in my game since the trade off it Hroda gets attacked much less than the dwarves do, though I also can sustain about 1.5 hits from a major foe with my 1 defense (two if I use Footwork that way) and 6 total soak.  I also have access to less active defenses than they do since I can't afford the encumbrance of a melee weapon (don't have WS trained anyway) or a shield.  Against the bigger foes we are starting to see I am lucky to deal 1-2 wounds if I hit most of the time.  I might get in an Archer's Paradox at the beginning of combat, but it has a heft recharge.  ***** in the Armor is great, but since it is Obs based it is way harder to do and I am not even super min/maxed.  Compare that to Reckless Cleave (which has no added difficulty) on a roll of a net of one success and one boon- In my party that means the great axe swinging Dwarf deal 17 points of damage.

 

Again, when it became clear to the GM that I was really not contributing very much in the damage department he suggested making some actions that were more potent I said I didn't think that was a good idea since the intended balancing factor seems to be that ranged characters take less punishment on average.  I just find is really surprising that someone thinks that a longbow using character is really all that.

 

Encumbrance is another balancing factor too because I have found that in order for Hroda to have enough arrows for a longish foray from civilization I need to carry 24 arrows, so a longbow with ammo is 8 encumbrance for her weapon.  The dwarf with a great axe has a weapon that is 6 encumbrance, and compared to him Hroda's 3 strength means she can only carry 15.  She also has to regularly spend money on ammo, while the war axe requires upkeep in only the most extreme situations.

 

I guess I wonder sometimes if people are taking into account all these out of combat factors or are keeping track of encumbrance and ammo if they really think that a longbow being able to fire every round is broken.

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For what it's worth (which may not be very much), here's a bit of historical perspective. Of course, history doesn't have to worry about game balance, but I hope it's useful or at least interesting.

 

Bow vs. Powder: This is a problem in just about every game I've come across. This is because most games model the disadvantages of black-powder weapons (especially the long reload time) but not the disadvantages of bows. It leaves a lot of people wondering how anyone ever thought early guns were a good idea, and why they gradually replaced bows in military use.

 

Bows like the English longbow take a LONG time to master, as well as constant practice. They require serious physical conditioning, to the point where archers' skeletons from the Mary Rose and elsewhere actually show evidence of asymmetric muscular development from the action of drawing the bow. I've never seen a game reflect this, though (I guess it could be done by making archery a very expensive skill to acquire and upgrade), perhaps because players would revolt against a game that denied them such a basic fantasy-medieval weapon.

 

Guns, on the other hand - even early black-powder guns - are pretty much point and shoot. I haven't researched the subject, but it seems to me that crossbows replaced bows and guns replaced crossbows not because they were more effective weapons (at least the early ones weren't), but because they required less training and made the resulting troops cheaper and quicker to raise in large numbers. And speaking of troops brings me to Ranged vs. Melee.

 

In history, ranged and melee were specializations: almost no one was skilled at both, and the equipment for each was very different. Archers were lightly-armored (if armored at all) because they needed freedom of movement to use their bows, and that meant that if they were caught by armored melee troops, they were doomed - their primary defense was running away, and their lack of heavy armor gave them an advantage there - except against cavalry, of course. Most games don't give players ranged combat penalties for wearing heavy armor, again because that's not how fantasy works.

 

How to deal with the issues that willmanx raised? It's tough, and no game I've ever come across has got it right.

 

I like the range misfortune dice a lot. I would apply them to guns as well as bows, since early guns were not all that accurate until rifled barrels were developed (which just about tripled reload times because they demanded a snugger fit between round and barrel). I'd also suggest adding another misfortune die for wearing medium armor and 2 for heavy armor.

 

How to reflect the need for archers to have much more training than gunners? Well (at a very broad, non-crunchy, theoretical level), I would probably make bows far less effective at base skill levels, and allow players to develop proficiency by buying skill training or specializations that actually make the weapon useful. Guns, on the other hand, would be easier to use from the start and have far fewer of these skills and specializations because they are so crude at this level of technology that there's very little skill to be learned.

 

I'm also a big fan of misfires when dealing with black-powder weapons. It's far from certain that an early gun will actually do what you want it to do: it can hang fire (going off the round AFTER the trigger is pulled, possibly just when someone is trying to clear the barrel); it can fail to go off at all, requiring the barrel to be cleared (and unloading takes a lot longer than loading because you can't pull a shot out with a ramrod); it can generate too little energy to fire the ball but enough heat to weld it into the barrel (which can take days to fix or ruin the gun forever); and in extreme cases it can simply blow up taking the user's hands and forearms with it. Rick Priestley came up with a really great misfires table for WFRP1 - it would be great if someone had the time to convert it to WFRP3.

 

I hope this wasn't too boring - just some thoughts I've had on these issues at various times, but never had the opportunity to develop into detailed rules and test.

Edited by WFRPGraeme
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Rick Priestley came up with a really great misfires table for WFRP1 - it would be great if someone had the time to convert it to WFRP3.

 

On it.

 

jh

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