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.
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.