Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

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Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by MisterSinister on Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:55 pm

OK, how ranged weapons work now makes me sad in several ways. Not only are they hopelessly unbalanced against each other, they also don't have any kind of working consistency (or, in some cases, are just plain boring). Additionally, they are subject to a fair few very weird subsystems, which I don't like at all. This needs to be put to a firm rest.

Bows

First off, the whole deal with composite bows in general. Quite honestly, the way it works in 3.5 is ass-backwards. You don't need to composite a longbow to give benefits to people with higher strength - even plain old normal longbows have varied pulls which allow people to apply higher Strength. Even if that were not the case, a stronger person can actually put more FORCE into an arrow, which the bow then multiplies, which makes their entire approach to composite longbows both inaccurate and a stupid money sink which prohibits 1st and 2nd level characters actually taking advantage of their Strength scores on bowshots.

What compositing actually does is give the bow more power and distance overall, which means that it is better in the hands of anyone, rather than someone with a specific Strength score. Now, an argument could be made about creating rules for bows with different pulls, but quite frankly, as none of our names are Elennsar, we don't give a damn in hell.

Next, the bizzare distinction made between shortbows and longbows. In all seriousness, shortbows shoot just as far and hit just as hard. Their steeper curve actually compensates for the fact that they have shorter strings and less wood in the bow, as this steeper curve allows for greater force multiplication on each shot. The only difference between them is that the shortbow is a cavalry weapon, whereas the longbow is an infantry one. Now, the current rules do represent this distinction, but do so in a very bad way, as it relies on non-derivative numbers. All this needs to be rectified.

Proposed rules changes: Shortbows and longbows both do 1d8+Str piercing damage, have x3 criticals, and have 80ft range increments. Composite shortbows and longbows do 1d10+Str piercing damage, have x3 criticals, and have 100ft range increments. Some kind of infantry-cavalry rule is needed, but I'm not sure what right now.

Crossbows

Oh dear. As current, there is literally no point using this weapon after about level 3 or so, as bows become totally superior by then, and by level 6, these things may as well not exist. While historically speaking, the bow really was superior in everything except training times to the crossbow, this is DnD, and this kinda shit doesn't fly. Crossbows need to be made useful again, even if they only fire one shot.

Now, the fact that crossbows do not allow you to apply your Strength to them is actually rather sensible - they are, after all, levered. However, crossbows work off potential energy, and there is absolutely no reason why they cannot have different degrees of force. The only limiting factor? A more force-applicative lever needs more input. So let's work with that.

Additionally, crossbows should be slow-firing. Now, until you get your second attack, this is actually not a huge problem. However, once the second attack hits, bows, leave crossbows dead in the water. Now, let's resolve this problem by making crossbows the ultimate sniper weapons.

Additionally, the distinction between 'light' and 'heavy' crossbows is slightly odd. In practice, the only difference between them is how much force they apply to the bolt, and thus, how far they fire and how hard they hit is entirely dependent on lever strength, which is why one has a longer loading time. However, this is totally non-relative: a halfling-size heavy crossbow would take an OGRE a full-round action to load. This is silly, and needs to be made to make some kind of sense.

Proposed rules changes: The distinction between light and heavy crossbows is removed. Instead, all crossbows do a base 1d10+crossbow's Str damage, have 19-20/x2 critical ranges, and range increments of 100ft. Crossbows also have their own Strength scores, which they apply to damage rolls as normal. It does not cost extra to have a Str score of 10 or 100.

You may fire any crossbow you can lift, but you cannot load a crossbow whose Strength exceeds yours by more than 8. If the crossbow has the same Strength score as you or lower, you can load it as a move action. If the crossbow has a Strength score greater than yours, but not more than 8 points greater, you can load it as a standard action. If you spend a full-round action firing a crossbow, you deal the crossbow's base damage (1d10+crossbow's Str) a number of times equal to the attacks you would normally receive this round.

Throwing weapons

Now, throwing weapons are good for one reason, and one reason only: the 21-Foot Rule. Basically, this states that an armed person can draw their weapon, cross 21 feet and strike before you have drawn, loaded, aimed and fired. Now, while this is true of firearms specifically, bows and crossbows are not exempt from this either. However, throwing weapons very much are, which means in close quarters (such as spaces where visibility or combat space is restricted to 21 ft), throwing weapons are golden.

However, DnD, being both turn-based and slightly odd, has no good way of representing this, which means that thrown weapons are eccentrically cool, and not much else. This is not good at all, which means we need to represent some kind of advantage to using thrown weapons at close range.

Proposed rules changes: When you are using a thrown weapon against a target within one range increment, your target is considered flat-footed against that attack.

Thoughts?


Last edited by MisterSinister on Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by Tshern on Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:09 am

Random thoughts coming, I'll see if I can can parse them into something mildly useful.

At low levels there is something crossbows have over normal bows: Proficiencies. Pretty much every single class is proficient with a crossbow and even I grab one for every low level Wizard I play. Using it to shoot a rope from ceiling to ceiling is one possible application and in case you know how to play, probably the most feasible one as well. At level one 1d8 damage will often kill the foe in two rounds just like 1d8+3 if we assume the foe has nine hit points. The better the HD and CON the monsters you face have, the better an option an actual bow is at low levels.

Crossbows can also be used if you get enough attacks and damage. Splitting aptitude crossbows with Hand crossbow focus might make an excellent build, but a weapon should not be judged just because a very specific build can make it work. Hand crossbow focus actually allows you to charge your crossbow as a free action, which sort of helps to fix the problem. Deadeye shot gives you ½ of your dexterity modifier to damage as well. Still way behind real bows and the feat investment is quite heavy.

Throwing weapons have ever worked on three builds: Acid flask Rogues, Hulking Hurlers and Master thrower boomerang trippers. Again three groups of characters who utterly rely on specific weapons. I think there should be a way to make throwing weapons effective secondary weapons when you need to interrupt someone and this option should be light on requirements. Throwing weapons as such are just as useless as crossbows are. However, fluff-wise, I would rank them to be interruption weapons rather than main offense ones and emphasising that in the fixing process might be smart. Just my two cents.

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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by MisterSinister on Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:26 am

Tshern wrote:Random thoughts coming, I'll see if I can can parse them into something mildly useful.

At low levels there is something crossbows have over normal bows: Proficiencies. Pretty much every single class is proficient with a crossbow and even I grab one for every low level Wizard I play. Using it to shoot a rope from ceiling to ceiling is one possible application and in case you know how to play, probably the most feasible one as well. At level one 1d8 damage will often kill the foe in two rounds just like 1d8+3 if we assume the foe has nine hit points. The better the HD and CON the monsters you face have, the better an option an actual bow is at low levels.

Proficiencies under the Tome system mean NOTHING. Literally, they mean LESS than nothing. Therefore, I consider this question moot - my rants are all designed with the Tomes in mind.

Shooting a rope from ceiling to ceiling is something which you can just as easily do with a bow, as the damage you will deal will be basically the same, if not more, of a crossbow of similar size. Therefore, I don't see how it makes it special.

Tshern wrote:Crossbows can also be used if you get enough attacks and damage. Splitting aptitude crossbows with Hand crossbow focus might make an excellent build, but a weapon should not be judged just because a very specific build can make it work. Hand crossbow focus actually allows you to charge your crossbow as a free action, which sort of helps to fix the problem. Deadeye shot gives you ½ of your dexterity modifier to damage as well. Still way behind real bows and the feat investment is quite heavy.

First of all, this is ALL non-Tome stuff, for one. For another, you are right - you do indeed need a very specific build to make it work, which is precisely what I wanna avoid, because this is daft. This much investment shouldn't be needed just to make an option viable.

Tshern wrote:Throwing weapons have ever worked on three builds: Acid flask Rogues, Hulking Hurlers and Master thrower boomerang trippers. Again three groups of characters who utterly rely on specific weapons. I think there should be a way to make throwing weapons effective secondary weapons when you need to interrupt someone and this option should be light on requirements. Throwing weapons as such are just as useless as crossbows are. However, fluff-wise, I would rank them to be interruption weapons rather than main offense ones and emphasising that in the fixing process might be smart. Just my two cents.

Well, this is true - but at the same time, I feel the 21ft. rule to be a vital part of what keeps throwing weapons useful even in the modern era. At the same time, again, you are right - they do need to be made more generally useful and accessible.
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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by Tshern on Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:56 am

Crossbow is a lot cheaper, which means something at very low levels. And proficiencies. As said, I was not aware of the fact that you posted stuff related only to Tomes, hence the suggestion in the Masterwork-thread.

What throwing weapons people actually use in the modern era? Cellphones?

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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by MisterSinister on Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:04 am

Tshern wrote:Crossbow is a lot cheaper, which means something at very low levels. And proficiencies. As said, I was not aware of the fact that you posted stuff related only to Tomes, hence the suggestion in the Masterwork-thread.

What throwing weapons people actually use in the modern era? Cellphones?

LOL. I should mention the fact I'm a Tome junkie, and these all assume Tome fixes. The price is true, but we wanna have people actually use crossbows from 1-20, as bows can be, instead of consigning them to the dustbin of low levels.

As far as throwing weapons go, 'modern' can mean '19th century', according to many.
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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by Tshern on Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:11 am

Of course we want weapons to be viable, I was commenting on the current situation. If the primary use of a weapon is to shoot ropes around, something is wrong. Hope we can fix this somehow.

True enough.

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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by MisterSinister on Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:22 am

Tshern wrote:Of course we want weapons to be viable, I was commenting on the current situation. If the primary use of a weapon is to shoot ropes around, something is wrong. Hope we can fix this somehow.

True enough.

Well, perhaps the other distinguished members of this site can get up from their leather chairs, their whiskey and their cigars and contribute too? Razz
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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by Tshern on Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:23 am

I am the only one who does whiskey and cigars here.

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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by MisterSinister on Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:33 am

Tshern wrote:I am the only one who does whiskey and cigars here.

Well, if you could get up from those things to help me, surely the rest of them can get up from whatever else they happen to be doing, which is obviously worse than whiskey and cigars?
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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by Solnath on Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:36 am

Well, one thing that crossbows have in advantage to normal bows is that, at least for an unprofessional army, they're easy to operate and often pack a nice kick that can penetrate platemail.

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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by MisterSinister on Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:40 am

Solnath wrote:Well, one thing that crossbows have in advantage to normal bows is that, at least for an unprofessional army, they're easy to operate and often pack a nice kick that can penetrate platemail.

Considering that adventurers are professionals, the first of these doesn't mean much. The last of these (playing off armour punching) is a way to go with crossbows, though. Perhaps something like 'ignore up to half your Dex mod of armour bonus off heavy armours' or something?
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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by Solnath on Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:55 am

If crossbows are going to have strength scores, how about "add +1 to hit for every two points of the crossbow's strength above 10 up to the armour bonus of the target"? Then magic armour would still benefit, but not that much against people who are armed with armor-piercing weapons.

Having said that, though, I think that the crossbows should have a cap to their maximum strength, for example 20.

As for being professionals, well, what classes are proficient with bows and which with crossbows? The latter are ridiculously easy to use, especially in comparison. Just point and squeeze. But the point I was trying to make that once crossbows became wide-spread, it was easier to have regiments armed with them rather than with bows, meaning that while you couldn't do similar tricks as expert archers could, more people could rain death on the enemy side.

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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by Tshern on Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:50 am

What professionals actually use crossbows in D&D? Not professional armies at least and all classes that should be doing arhcery either have the proficiency already or get it damn easily with their class features. The easy to use shit doesn't really mean anything in D&D.

Also, crossbows don't need an attack bonus plus, they need more damage. Anything with damage reduction is going to make them useless and having to use 16 rounds to kill a monster means you are an XP sink for the party. 1d10+5 at level 20 would not be that impressive.

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Re: Rant on ranged weapons [Tome]

Post by Reverend Red on Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:29 pm

I think giving them a STR score that affects the damage is a great idea, makes a lot of sense. Magical enhancements could add that STR score relative to the enchantment bonus. It's a shame there is no mechanical merit for adding easiness of use to the crossbow, because that's exactly what its point was back in the day.

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