Archery

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Glorelendil
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Archery

Post by Glorelendil » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:55 am

Archery has some stringent requirements: Rearward only not only enforces a high base TN to hit (and, of course, to be hit) but also requires 2 close combat companions for each archer, and a not-overwhelming number of foes. Plus you can't use a shield. And yet the damage output isn't better...in fact it's worse than other two handed weapons. How many of us have heard a disappointed MElf (or other culture) complain that "archery sucks"?

/raiseshand

So why does archery have these restrictions?

1) Heroes who are primarily archers will tend to have better volleys than their close-combat companions, so averaged over a combat archers will tend to have higher damage after all. (And, conversely, if archers were allowed in melee then optimizers would all choose archery for this very reason.)

3) It's unrealistic, in a way that I think is inconsistent with Middle-Earth. (Dragons yes, archers in melee no.)

What I'd like to propose is that archery be modified so that the positional requirements (e.g., 2 companions in close combat) be retained, but that TNs no longer be fixed at 12.

Ideally we'd want a system that:
- Passes a realism sniff test, without being burdensome
- Results in interesting decision making
- Maybe gives archers a tiny bump in effectiveness.

The realism piece I'd like to address is that targets in close combat are just as easy to hit as are stationary targets. Not that I've ever fired a bow in anger (while angry perhaps, but not in anger...very different), but it seems to me that hitting a target that is tangled up with your friends, is going to be trickier than hitting, say, another archer.

So here's a first draft at new rules:
A target who is either unaware (e.g. volley when ambushing) or is in Rearward has a TN of 6.
A target who is aware but only defending against archers has a TN of 12.
Otherwise, the TN of targets in close combat is equal to the stance TN. E.g., a hero in Forward, or an adversary engaged with a hero in Forward, both have a TN of 6.

That would not only give archers some better chances at hitting targets, but would also encourage them to choose either other archers (makes sense) or the adversaries engaged with their most at-risk companions (also makes sense). It even creates an incentive for close combat companions to choose riskier stances, to benefit their archers, or to choose safer stances when facing enemy archers.

Thoughts?
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zedturtle
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Re: Archery

Post by zedturtle » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:32 am

I've always understood the archery rules to represent two different circumstances with one TN:

The first is that you're close enough to an enemy that combat in inevitable but no one is in melee range or will be in melee range within the time of a bow-shot (or two or three, depending on how many Opening Volleys you allow).

The second is that you're considerably closer to the enemy, but having to carefully select shots so that you won't unduly threaten your friends. This is at least as difficult as turtling up as a melee combatant (i.e. Defensive Stance) and might be even harder (again, I think most folks should use Hindrance more often, myself included).

So I'm not certain of the idea... but maybe I'm thinking about it wrong.
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Glorelendil
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Re: Archery

Post by Glorelendil » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:01 am

Well, a variant I thought of is to just have one TN but apply moderate hinder acne to Open and severe hindrance to Defensive.
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Re: Archery

Post by Deadmanwalking » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:05 am

Archery has three exceedingly large advantages that I think you're not considering (or at least, not weighting properly):

1. Defensively, it's by far the best Stance. Like, by a lot. My Beorning melee character has Parry 10 and 32 Endurance and fights almost exclusively in Defensive, our Hobbit Archer has only 23 Endurance and lower Parry to boot, while both have similar Encumbrance. I'm pretty sure I've become Weary or gone down something like ten times as often as he has. Complete immunity to melee attacks is a huge advantage.

2. Picking targets. In the last fight I had in TOR, our archer's kills outnumbered those of melee characters 4 to 2, while the melee characters outnumbered the archers 4 to 2. That's four times as many kills per person. This is not an unusual situation, because archers can pick off the wounded, something no melee character is capable of. And a huge advantage. They are literally the only people who can help out a beleaguered and outnumbered comrade right now instead of having to deal with their own foes first. Focused fire is an amazing advantage that only archers always have access to.

3. Piling on more than three people. Related to point #2 above, no more than 3 PCs can team up on one foe (say, a Troll)...in melee. Any number of archers can join in after that. This is a very big advantage for all the same 'focusing fire' reasons as noted above.

In short, I think powering archery is a very bad idea. It's exceedingly powerful already due to the two absolute effects (ignore melee attacks, attack whoever you like) noted above, and in ways that straight numbers taken in isolation as compared to melee characters don't quite measure.

It is a little hard on starting characters in terms of offense, but having just seen a starting archer in play using the new Seek A Mark combat action, I think it's quite workable even there, and the defensive advantages on a starting character are even larger.

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Re: Archery

Post by Glorelendil » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:18 am

Deadmanwalking wrote:Archery has three exceedingly large advantages that I think you're not considering (or at least, not weighting properly):

1. Defensively, it's by far the best Stance. Like, by a lot. My Beorning melee character has Parry 10 and 32 Endurance and fights almost exclusively in Defensive, our Hobbit Archer has only 23 Endurance and lower Parry to boot, while both have similar Encumbrance. I'm pretty sure I've become Weary or gone down something like ten times as often as he has. Complete immunity to melee attacks is a huge advantage.

2. Picking targets. In the last fight I had in TOR, our archer's kills outnumbered those of melee characters 4 to 2, while the melee characters outnumbered the archers 4 to 2. That's four times as many kills per person. This is not an unusual situation, because archers can pick off the wounded, something no melee character is capable of. And a huge advantage. They are literally the only people who can help out a beleaguered and outnumbered comrade right now instead of having to deal with their own foes first. Focused fire is an amazing advantage that only archers always have access to.

3. Piling on more than three people. Related to point #2 above, no more than 3 PCs can team up on one foe (say, a Troll)...in melee. Any number of archers can join in after that. This is a very big advantage for all the same 'focusing fire' reasons as noted above.

In short, I think powering archery is a very bad idea. It's exceedingly powerful already due to the two absolute effects (ignore melee attacks, attack whoever you like) noted above, and in ways that straight numbers taken in isolation as compared to melee characters don't quite measure.

It is a little hard on starting characters in terms of offense, but having just seen a starting archer in play using the new Seek A Mark combat action, I think it's quite workable even there, and the defensive advantages on a starting character are even larger.
Those are all good points. I was only considering actual damage output. And by high level that is negated, too, because everybody has enough dice that TN 12 doesn't matter.

I'd still like to see more complex decision-making, though.
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Re: Archery

Post by zedturtle » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:29 am

Glorelendil wrote:Well, a variant I thought of is to just have one TN but apply moderate hinder acne to Open...
Deadly Archery™, now approved to fight your moderate to severe hinder acne.

Do not use Deadly Archery if you are not a Mirkwood Elf. Do not engage in a discussion about DA with anyone, ever. Side effects include increased thread bloat, general disagreement and regular acne.


[[ Sorry... typo struck me as very funny. Probably only me. ]]
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Glorelendil
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Re: Archery

Post by Glorelendil » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:55 am

It's hard to imagine the Eldar getting acne.
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Re: Archery

Post by Deadmanwalking » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:39 am

Glorelendil wrote:Those are all good points. I was only considering actual damage output. And by high level that is negated, too, because everybody has enough dice that TN 12 doesn't matter.
Early on, Seek A Mark makes it TN 8 for at least a few rounds in exchange for your first attack. This is effectively giving up your Opening Volley in exchange for lower TN, which seems a valid option for Skill 3 archers, and nearly obligatory for Skill 2 ones.
Glorelendil wrote:I'd still like to see more complex decision-making, though.
I feel like the Adventurer's Companion options actually do a good job of this. Harry Foes is really good, Seek A Mark is gone into above, and Rain of Arrows is a solid option as well (if using a Bow).

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Re: Archery

Post by Otaku-sempai » Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:37 am

I would point out that an archer needing at least two companions fighting melee is a rule of thumb, but not a strict requirement. There can be exceptions, especially if one can find a position that is not easily overrun (say on a bluff, a wall, or in a tree).
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Re: Archery

Post by Falenthal » Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:34 am

Very good points, Deadmanwalking.

Just wanted to say that.

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