... now with 35% more arrogance!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Clone Project: Missile Fire

I don't think I've covered missile fire yet. Mainly, because the LBBs don't say very much about it, referring to Chainmail for ranges and other details. Aside from the costs of three kinds of bow and two kinds of crossbow, this is what Men & Magic says, in a note to the alternate combat table:
All base scores to hit will be modified by magic armor and weaponry. Missile hits will be scored by using the above tables at long range and decreasing Armor Class by 1 at medium and 2 at short range.
The first sentence, of course, is just saying what I said this morning: magic bonuses to armor adds to the target number needed on the table, which is why they are expressed as pluses instead of minuses to (descending) armor class. Weaponry with magical bonuses should modify the result rolled on the die, not the base score to hit as suggested. The second sentence seems completely wrong, unless we interpret "decreasing Armor Class" as moving one or two lines down on the combat table. It's better to treat this as a +1 or +2 to the die roll, exactly as for magic weapon bonuses.

The existence of a bonus for short and medium ranges, though, means that we have to consider actual weapon ranges. I might try a few experiments here to get equivalent results without copying the ranges directly from Chainmail.

What I'm thinking is:
  • instead of a flat 3" range for thrown weapons, base the range on Str/3 with the option to use Str 10 as a default range;
  • short range for bows is 1" plus 1" per foot of bow's height when unstrung (with standard bow sizes being 4' and 6';)
  • short range for crossbows is 6, 8 for heavy crossbows;
  • double short range to find medium range, triple it to find maximum range.
I figure people will have comments on the bow sizes...

Rate of fire is basically 1 for everything except the heavy crossbow, which must be fired on one round, reloaded and cocked the next round, and fired again the third round. They could, of course, have two heavy crossbows and an assistant able to reload for them to beat this restriction.

My working assumption for now is that before closing to melee range, combatants move, act, then move. Ranged weapons other than thrown weapons are fired instead of moving, so archers and crossbowmen basically give up one move to fire. Mounted archers and elves may choose to fire in the middle of one move, but elves must still give up one of their moves. Archers, including those using the longbow but excluding the crossbow, may skip movement to draw and fire another arrow; this is the only normal way to get multiple attacks per turn.

If archers or crossbowmen opt to move first, then fire during the second movement, they might be in melee. I'm thinking of allowing missile weapons in melee, with the proviso that a successful hit on an archer before the archer's attack spoils the shot, exactly as it would spoil a spell being cast.


  1. >Str/3

    The physics doesn't quite work out that way - it's the speed you can attain that determines the range. So for an angon, or chest full of rocks, strength will determine how fast the thing is going when it leaves your hands, but for a dagger or throwing axe, strength should make no difference.

  2. Seems like for any given mass, throwing it with greater force would mean faster acceleration and therefore greater speed at the moment of release. But I'll take it under consideration.

    Maybe I should post to a forum? Haven't seen a physics argument for a while...

  3. There doesn't strike me as anything wrong with he phrase "decreasing armor classes". I'm guessing you are taking the numbers too literaly? AC6 is a decrease in protective armor from AC5, AC 7 is a decrease in protection from AC6, and so on. The numbers are just shorthand names for configurations of armor - the have no mathmatical significance.

  4. @Talysman:

    When looking at acceleration, you have to take account of the mass of the thrower's arm, which is suprisingly non-negligable, and - depending on the throwing action - the mass of their entire body.

    Please let me know if you post this to a forum - I'd very much like to see the results...!

  5. @Daniel: I just think there's a clearer way of saying it other than "decrease".

    @zornhau: However, the mass of the thrower's arm and body is going to affect momentum. Throwing objects involves transfer of momentum.

    Perhaps I will go ahead and post it to RPGnet.