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View Full Version : Archer vs. Guard, Rounds 1-3



DMMike
08-03-2014, 10:51 AM
I just completed a short playtest of my sharebrew RPG. Questions and comments on the following results are welcome!

A PC ran a hunter, wearing light armor (a sort of studded leather) and wielding a dagger, werewolf claws, and a hunting bow.
The NPC guard, acting as a trainer, was wearing scale mail, a medium shield, and a blunted longsword.

The first round of tutorial combat involved rolling initiative, readying weapons, one attack and one defense each. Neither got terribly hurt.

The second round introduced attack combos, and guaranteed rolls (like getting a 10 on a d20). The hunter took a light beating here.

In the third round, the hunter used her "alter" spell to take her werewolf shape, and even though this didn't grant significant bonuses, it did scare the guard into a defensive posture.

The fight ended with the hunter resuming human form, and trying to back off while getting bow shots in. It didn't work. The guard closed with her, blocked neatly with his shield, and beat the hunter into submission.

Regardless of game mechanics (and, well, the werewolf shape), are these the results you'd expect to see when a hunter goes toe-to-toe with a guardsman? What sort of tactics should a lightly-armored and -armed bow hunter use against a medium-armored and -armed soldier?

Malruhn
08-10-2014, 11:25 PM
Yes, it's exactly what I would expect to see for a hunter to face off with a guard.

BUT - that's also what I would expect a kindergartener to get when they face off against a college football player.

She's not SUPPOSED to face off with a guard!! She's a HUNTER - not a WARRIOR! She should have shot from ambush, and when the guard started to approach, she should have RUN. She is not a main battle tank - She's a skirmisher - a shoot and move fighter that should NEVER square off with a warrior.

This isn't so much a failure of game mechanics, this is a failure of INT as a stat and playing the character correctly.

Shoot the bow - and move. Try to get a hidden location to hide, then shoot again. Never shoot twice from the same location. This enemy is a GUARD - he's not a free-ranging warrior that can wander all over the landscape and follow the hunter - he'll follow for X00 yards or so and then go back to his post and call for back-up. The hunter should have set up some snares and/or traps, shot, retreated, then let the guard get either captured or killed by the traps - and THEN shot him again to make sure.

I'm actually surprised that you ask this, considering your experience with the game. What's next? How well a sorcerer does against being thrown into lava? (sorry for being cruel here, I'm just really surprised by the question)

DMMike
08-12-2014, 09:50 AM
Right and right. Don't worry, I'm overflowing with opinions - which is why I want an outside perspective!

I gave the player a choice of playing a greatsword fighter, fireball-slinger, bard, priest-healer, thief, or hunter. The scenario, which will actually introduce my game at the mini-con this weekend, is that a small unit of soldiers (hence the guard), have isolated a bandit gang, and are killing time to starve the gang out. The heroes of the story are less...cautious...and willing to go in and administer direct justice.

As you say, the hunter is about speed. So her light armor would slow her down less than the guard's medium armor. She needs the ability to pursue a quarry, or flee a threat. And stealth too - can't get off the critical bow-shot without a little surprise on your side.

Which makes me think: a longbow in my game does d10 damage, or an auto-5 damage. There is no death-spiral mechanic in the core rules, but there IS a roleplaying emphasis - so a player, whose character gets hit with an arrow for 5 physical damage, can choose to act like his character is at 66% physical capacity, or ignore the damage until he's at max damage.

In the GM's hands, playing the hunter's quarry, that 5 damage could mean an elk escapes at 2/3 speed, leaving blood behind, or the surprised guardsman gets an arrow lodged in his armor, since his armor's protection of d8+1 (or 5) reduces 5 damage to a minimum of 1 - just a flesh wound.

(Sorry if that got technical. Low-level characters can have about 10 to 18 max damage, so 5 damage out of 14 or 15 would be 1/3 of max damage.)

Malruhn
08-15-2014, 01:59 AM
Got it - and thanks for seeing the opinion in my response, and not the butt-hole-ery.

This goes hand-in-hand with my question about teaching PC's and players about learning to run away. I could TOTALLY see an idiot player doing what you described... and it got me angrified, explaining my snarky answer. Not excusing it - just explaining it. Sorry if I really let my inner jerk shine through.

Personally, I would have set either an incapacitating snare or a killing snare - and THEN shot the guard. Run away (noisily) and shoot at them again just as they are approaching the snare so they don't bother looking for it as they stumble into it. BUT - I am also a person that tries to use the strengths of my character. If I had a warrior, I would charge up and smite the guard... not so much with a hunter. They aren't boxers - they are slap-fighters.

Good luck!

DMMike
08-18-2014, 05:33 PM
I'm actually surprised that you ask this, considering your experience with the game. What's next? How well a sorcerer does against being thrown into lava?
Valid question, actually. Currently, the majority of physical damage can be reduced with armor. Which is to say that armor is equally effective against a fireball, poison gas, or an arrow (since all three affect the body physically).

But I've been toying with the idea that as armor becomes less effective, the damage die of the effect goes down. For example, armor might help a little versus a fireball (or lava), so such a spell wouldn't use d8 damage; it might use d6. And the armor protection rolled against the attack might be halved.

Or the poison gas can't be stopped by armor; it does no protection. So the damage die of the poison gas might be a d4.

(And the sorceror tossed in lava would do well to have an anti-fire spell in effect, which offers d12 fire protection ;)


Personally, I would have set either an incapacitating snare or a killing snare - and THEN shot the guard. Run away (noisily) and shoot at them again just as they are approaching the snare so they don't bother looking for it as they stumble into it. BUT - I am also a person that tries to use the strengths of my character. If I had a warrior, I would charge up and smite the guard... not so much with a hunter. They aren't boxers - they are slap-fighters.
As I mentioned above, when that guard gets hit by the first arrow, it likely wouldn't kill him (unless you're using an exploding-die optional rule) but the GM would be wise to roleplay the guard as injured. A PC guard could choose to continue acting uninjured, or earn a hero point back if his injured-roleplaying is convincing.

An interesting effect of the three-action combat system is that charging - a move and an attack - leaves the guard with one action that a PC couldn't react to. It would look like this:

PC------Guard
--------------
Move---------
Attack--Parry
Attack--Parry
--------Attack

So it seems that charging grants an advantage of an extra attack - although the guard could just as easily have chosen to not parry and make three attacks in a row - if he thought that he could survive the first two attacks from the PC.

Let me also mention that melee attacks can also be made from the back row (only two positions in combat: front and back), where they deal 50% damage, while missile attacks deal 100% damage. So if a hunter can somehow stay in the back row, she can make 100% damage attacks while the guard could only get 50%.