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Weapons Range rules

posted Jan 28, 2013 20:54:37 by thomas5251212
Let's see if I can look like an idiot for a third time today. :P

If I understand it, as written weapons ranges are mostly about the power-to-range of the weapon, with accuracy being an independent variable based on target size, range and movement.

That doesn't seem quite right.

Don't get me wrong, perception is certainly an ultimate limiter of accuracy in hitting a target at range; otherwise telescopic sights wouldn't exist.

But as written, if applied to a modern situation, hitting a target at X distance would be just as easy with a snub nosed revolver as it would with a hunting rifle, assuming the the target is within the maximum range of the former. That's just...not right. And I have to question its right with the missile weapons in the game, either. Weapons that lose force over distance are also more prone to drop faster, be more subject to windage, and probably other issues I'm not thinking about.

Am I barking up the wrong tree here somehow?

(I'll note the rules themselves seem slightly conflicted about it, given that the rules for Close range aren't about punch but about precision).
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31 replies
bluefenix42 said Jan 28, 2013 21:32:55
I think at very short range (anything less than the first range increment number), against a medium to large stationary target, most ranged weapons' accuracy becomes a matter of "don't screw it up". However, exactly how far that "short range" is varies from weapon to weapon. Long Bows have a further short range than short bows, as would a hunting rifle compared to a revolver. To me, that's sufficient to account for variations in accuracy.

Take a look at the historical origin of the phrase "point blank" - - weapons which fire with more force tend to have a longer point blank range, which is accounted for by RQ6s range rules, as I understand them.
PeteNash said Jan 28, 2013 21:37:13
Ranged weapons are a tangle of different elements of physics and human skill. It is near impossible to model them half way decently, and once you introduce firearms it becomes an utter nightmare. For example, a sling is inherently more difficult to aim than a bow, but it tends to retain a more linear power loss over distance than an arched arrow which relies primarily on descent terminal velocity.

Either way, the biggest factor affecting ancient thrown and projected missile weapons is the distance itself, which is why it is so heavily penalised as explained on page 161. What we provide is a reasonably simplified set of rules which try not to overly favour one type of ranged weapon over another. Remember this is a game, it has to be playable. Don't lose sight of the wood for the trees.

(If you want accuracy modifiers based on weapon type - where modern manufacturing and form can guarantee repeatable accuracy - that type of thing is handled in the separate RQ6 Firearms download)
DanTrue said Jan 28, 2013 21:42:00
Yes, the system could incorporate a more detailed table calculating some 'distance' modifier for each weapon.. It is easier to hit something at 200 meters with a rifle, than with a longbow.

But, in most circumstances this can be ignored or else winged by the GM. I would much rather have a simple table than having to cross-reference three variables to find the modifier... I'm playing RQ, not rolemaster ;)

- Dan
thomas5251212 said Jan 28, 2013 22:00:37
I guess I'm just having some problems with the fact the weapon characteristics itself seem to have no impact on accuracy at all. A thrown hatchet being as likely to hit a target at 25 yards as a fired crossbow bolt just doesn't seem right, and honestly, seems like a case where an attempt at simplification was taken too far.

Bluefenix, specifically the issue is the above. I'd suggest looking at the actual mechanical effects those range categories have in the game. They only do two things, and neither has to do with ability to actually hit the target as such. I don't think it would have been unreasonable to, say, give the weapons one step greater accuracy within Close and one less within Maximum or some similar approach. That hardly would have added appreciably more complexity than the missile system already has accounting for range, cover and the like.
bluefenix42 said Jan 28, 2013 22:07:29
Alright, Thomas, I'll take another look at the ranged rules when I get a chance (away from books right now, so I can't look it up right away). I do admit I haven't had any players with a dedicated archery character yet, so I haven't had much reason to delve into the exact implications of the ranged rules.
thomas5251212 said Jan 28, 2013 22:34:53
If you've read my other posts today, I'd have to have a lot of gall to take someone to task for reading the rules too quickly. :)
PeteNash said Jan 28, 2013 22:44:44
Once you start to differentiate inherent accuracy of certain ranged weapons you are entering a double minefield.

First it will give every GM out there a built in whinge factor when their players demand to have crossbows over slings, even though that campaign setting or historical period didn't have them. Once you build in mechanical superiority of one weapon over another you potentially create a rod for your own back.

Second you will draw down the wrath of god form every player and amateur historian out there, claiming that bows are more accurate than crossbows, that ancient slingers could hit a loaf of bread at 100 yards, whist contiguous bowmen of the period couldn't even shoot that far, and so on and so on. Bear in mind that certain weapons evolved, changed and devolved through thousands of years, so that you still find the sling for example used in medieval warfare so any apparent disadvantage didn't stop people form continuing to use them. There is also the fact that there is no mass production of identical weapons, so whilst one crossbow might be pretty good, the next could have a flaw in one of the arms. There are simply too many variables. Hell, even deciding on weapon ranges is bad enough.

Combining game design with simulation accuracy is a very narrow tightrope at the best of times.

I favour a school of thought that the skill of the wielder is always more important than the weapon they use. In real life it might take longer to reach 50% competency with a sling than a crossbow, but at 50% they are equally as accurate providing they are within their range brackets.

If that methodology doesn't work for you, then feel free to give crossbows whatever accuracy bonus you desire.
thomas5251212 said Jan 28, 2013 22:50:45
Pete, I'm afraid that my view is that if you chase those issues long enough, what you end up with is a table that says "Small weapons do d6, Medium ones d8, and large d10". People are always going to minimax if you make there any meaningful differences at all. As long as you avoid having blatant winners and losers (hello RQ2 bastardsword!) I don't see that as a good reason to duck all sense at all in weapon rules.

I do realize questions of weapon range is frought, but if you're not going to set them all to the same number, they really should mean something. Currently I kind of don't think they much do.
PeteNash said Jan 28, 2013 23:36:12
"I do realize questions of weapon range is frought, but if you're not going to set them all to the same number, they really should mean something. Currently I kind of don't think they much do."

Well they currently allow greater pinpoint accuracy at Close range and halve damage at long range, which are both significant in their own right, which you'd find out pretty quickly when used in play.
thomas5251212 said Jan 29, 2013 00:10:48
I suspect pretty strongly that in most cases the long range is irrelevant, given it has been in pretty much every game of RQ I've ever seen; exchanges that start at those ranges and stay at them long enough for that to mean something have been rare as hen's teeth. I'll reserve judgement about the short range benefit, but I have trouble believing it'll matter as much as changes in hitting in the first place.
bluefenix42 said Jan 29, 2013 00:16:46
Getting to use the Choose Location effect is actually a pretty big deal. If I'm an archer shooting at a foe who is Passively Warding his Head, Chest, Abdomen, and Left Arm with a big shield, that's a 4 in 7 chance of hitting a body location that will do no damage thanks to the shield blocking the arrow. But with Choose Location, I can hit his Right Arm specifically, potentially causing a Serious Wound to his sword arm and causing him to drop his weapon.
bluefenix42 said Jan 29, 2013 02:10:44
Looking over the exact rules, I now see what you mean a bit better, Thomas. The RQ rules do seem a little odd to me at first, especially coming from D&D with the simple "-2 accuracy per additional range increment" rule. That said, I'm still inclined to agree with Pete and DanTrue here, at least as far as how I would run my game.

RQ6 was made to be flexible, though - "Your RQ May Vary" as we say. Thus, I think what you said above...

I don't think it would have been unreasonable to, say, give the weapons one step greater accuracy within Close and one less within Maximum or some similar approach. That hardly would have added appreciably more complexity than the missile system already has accounting for range, cover and the like.

... is actually a pretty reasonable house rule if you want to go that direction. Just be aware that on average, that's a net buff to range attackers in most scenarios, considering how you yourself mentioned that long range engagements are rare in this sort of game.
thomas5251212 said Jan 29, 2013 04:07:09
Sure. It might be better to apply extra penalties instead.

That said, its to be noted that bows and slings fire rather slower on a per-round basis than in past versions of RQ and probably most other games. Given I'd expect most people to just cover locations and charge unless they're engaging in a missile duel, I'm not sure the relatively slow tactical movement will mean that many arrows will go down range before someone's closed, unless the initial encounter was in rather wide open spaces.

Let me check here...

Yeah. Let's say a group comes around a corner, and sees some enemies with recurve bows about 120 yards away (just barely within their effective range). Since they don't have any decent archers on their side they just set their shields and start running towards them. A run covers 18 yards a round , so it takes a hair over six rounds to close up with them. In that time the archers are getting off about three shots (assuming the have 2 action points each), as they essentially spend every other round reloading. Firing at a Running target is already Hard, and the basic range rules will make it harder for at least the first two of those shots (three steps for the first shot, offset by one is two steps; two steps on the second offset by one is one harder. So they'd get one shot at Hopeless, one shot at Formidable (one half), and one shot Average. I can't really say that seems excessive for a situation where people are charging across open space to get at the archers.
DanTrue said Jan 29, 2013 09:03:55
Plus, in contrast to many other systems - each of those warriors only needs to be hit once or twice to be significantly weakened in the coming fight - or lying on the ground crying. I would not like to take that run against prepared archers unless very well armoured, and with a big shield.

Yes, the first shots will likely bounce off my armour, but as soon as I'm within close range I'm very likely to have an arrow penetrating my foot, my head or whatever part of my isn't covered by the shield or well-armoured.

- Dan
RangerDan said Jan 29, 2013 10:56:02
Coming from MRQ2/Legend I can second that being able to Choose Location at range is a huge advantage.
There were pages and pages of discussion on this topic on the Mongoose forums, and I really like the solution Loz/Pete came up with for RQ6.

So if I had to choose between the Hatchet (Close10) or Light Crossbow (Close20) to hit that guy 15 meters away, the Crossbow is a far superior choice because of it's inherent accuracy.
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