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Archery - Can we get away from the pincushion approach?


Combat & Magic


I have never liked the ranged combat rules in d20. The focus on reduction of HP and lack of called shots basically means an archer has to fill an opponent with a dozen arrows to kill him. In reality, an archer or any user of a ranged weapon generally tries for as few shots as possible for a kill, preferably one. I know, it's a game, I'm not going for a full simulation of reality. But I would like to see options that can make a hunter actually able to kill an elk in one shot. Iron Heroes has some good options for this with their Archer class that could perhaps be analyzed for use as feats.

I guess beyond the ranged combat arena, I'm also a fan of Called Shots in general. For the iterative attack discussion, if a Fighter had the option to target an opponent's head for a killing blow, they'd have less need to hit them six times in a round. I guess it's this option that I really liked in implementation from systems like Iron Heroes and the Bo9S.


Well I don't know of you noticed but a swordman has to strike dozen of times to kill an enemy, just like your archer.

That's the downside of using HP.


Noir le Lotus wrote:

Well I don't know of you noticed but a swordman has to strike dozen of times to kill an enemy, just like your archer.

That's the downside of using HP.

Yes, that's why I actually noted the Iterative attack discussion in the second paragraph...Having "called shot" options be viable at higher levels (and possible but improbable at lower levels) is one way to deal with this, but the mechanic needs to be as simple as possible. I've got something around here somewhere...let me dig that up.


Perhaps the best option for something along this line is adding an "Aim" combat maneuver.

Aim
Spend a move action to get a bonus to damage equal to you dexterity modifier. Continuing to aim adds this amount for each move action spent. Moving while aiming causes you to lose this bonus.

Andoran

I've always thought that the rules for archery were too good. I think that too much damage is done (at least from a gameplay stance not a realism stance), and would like to see the damage dice of each ranged weapon dropped one size. With a bow and iterative attacks, you can do as much damage as a close quarters fighter but from at least two move actions' distance from your enemy.

HP is also meant to represent your ability to take a shot in a place where your opponent wasn't aiming to supress the damage dealt to you. A shot to the shoulder is preferable to a shot to the throat.

This is why called shots were an optional rule.

Osirion

With both archery and melee combat, I'd prefer replacing iterative attacks with extra dice of damage. One big hit, rather than a bunch of progressively less-effective attacks per round, which all-too-often amount to fat stack of jack.


Ah, found them...I offer these feats as options in my current Savage Tides campaign:

CALLED SHOT (MELEE or RANGED) [General]
Select either melee or ranged attacks.
Prerequisites: Base attack bonus +5 or Sneak Attack/Sudden Strike/Skirmish +3d6.
Benefit: You may attempt to make a critical hit (as a Full Attack) by accepting a penalty to your attack roll rather than relying on a lucky strike. The specific penalty depends on the area targeted, as follows: Torso -11; Arm or Leg -12; Hand or Foot -16; Head -18; Eye, Ear, Finger, or Toe -26.
The critical hit may have a specific effect depending on the targeted area, as per the following table. The target must succeed on a Fortitude saving throw (DC 5 + damage from the attack) to avoid this effect.

Area Targeted: Effect
Head: Dazed for 1 round per 5 points of damage
Eye or Ear: Blinded or Deafened in one organ (remove blindness/deafness or similar to repair)
Torso: Shaken for 1 round per 5 points of damage
Arm: -2 penalty on all checks using affected arm*
Hand or Finger: -6 penalty on all checks using affected hand; cannot hold an item*
Leg: -5’ penalty to movement*
Foot or Toe: Speed reduced by one-half; cannot charge or run*
*Removed with 1 point of magical curing, Heal DC 15, or after 24 hours

Special: A fighter may select this feat as one of his fighter bonus feats.

CALLED SHOT, IMPROVED [General]
Prerequisites: Called Shot, base attack bonus +10 or Sneak Attack/Sudden Strike/Skirmish +5d6.
Benefit: Your Called Shot may have improved results (at your discretion), as indicated on the following table. You may choose this effect or a lesser effect but must do so before making the attack roll.
In addition, the Fortitude saving throw to avoid the effects of any Called Shot effect is now DC 10 + damage from the attack.

Area Targeted: Effect
Head: Confused for 1 round per 5 points of damage
Eye or Ear: Blinded or Deafened in one organ (regenerate or similar to repair)
Torso: Stunned for 1 round per 5 points of damage
Arm: -4 penalty on all checks using affected arm*
Hand or Finger: -12 penalty on all checks using affected hand; cannot hold an item*
Leg: -10’ penalty to movement*
Foot or Toe: Speed reduced to one-quarter; cannot charge or run*
*Removed with 10 points of magical curing, Heal DC 25, or after 24 hours of bed rest

Special: A fighter may select this feat as one of his fighter bonus feats.

CALLED SHOT, GREATER [General]
Prerequisites: Improved Called Shot, base attack bonus +15 or Sneak Attack/Sudden Strike/Skirmish +8d6.
Benefit: Your Called Shot may have improved results (at your discretion), as indicated on the following table. You may choose this effect or a lesser effect but must do so before making the attack roll.
In addition, the Fortitude saving throw to avoid the effects of any Called Shot effect is now DC 15 + damage from the attack.

Area Targeted: Effect
Head: Dying (unconscious and near death)
Eye or Ear: Death
Torso: Paralyzed*
Arm: Appendage severed/crushed/paralyzed. Effect as with Improved Called Shot*
Hand or Finger: Appendage severed/crushed/paralyzed. Effect as with Improved Called Shot*
Leg: Appendage severed/crushed/paralyzed. Effect as with Improved Called Shot*
Foot or Toe: Appendage severed/crushed/paralyzed. Effect as with Improved Called Shot*
*Removed by regenerate or similar

Special: A fighter may select this feat as one of his fighter bonus feats.

Certain pieces of armor may reduce damage from a Called Shot (equal to the objects hardness—thus a pair of leather gloves reduces damage by 2, while mithral gloves reduce it by 15), by taking the damage instead. Armor damaged in this way ceases to provide any benefit it reduced to 0 or fewer hp (excess damage deals wounds to the target), and must be repaired by a skilled craftsman or magic. A helmet provides this protection for the head, gauntlets/bracers provide this protection to hands and arms respectively, boots/greaves provide this protection to feet and legs respectively, and a breastplate or similar provides protection to the torso. For armor enhanced by magic, each +1 of enhancement bonus adds 2 to the hardness of the armor.

Some materials, such as adamantine, may bypass a certain amount of hardness. Add this amount to the attack’s damage for consideration in damaging the armor. Pure energy attacks, on the other hand, may not affect the armor at all. Acid and sonic attacks deal damage to armor just as they do to creatures; roll damage and apply it normally after a successful Called Shot. Electricity and fire attacks deal half damage to armor; divide the damage dealt by 2 before applying the hardness. Cold attacks deal one-quarter damage to armor; divide the damage dealt by 4 before applying the hardness.


erian_7 wrote:
But I would like to see options that can make a hunter actually able to kill an elk in one shot.

I seriously doubt this is possible. Maybe if you really score a very good hit to an eye or an artery in the neck, but that would be a critical hit of 3d8 damage. True, still not enough to kill a bear but about everything in D&D can take a huge amount of damage before dying.


Neithan wrote:
erian_7 wrote:
But I would like to see options that can make a hunter actually able to kill an elk in one shot.
I seriously doubt this is possible. Maybe if you really score a very good hit to an eye or an artery in the neck, but that would be a critical hit of 3d8 damage. True, still not enough to kill a bear but about everything in D&D can take a huge amount of damage before dying.

That's why my solution by-passed pure HP damage and went to a save vs. effect. A hunter can then target a head shot (at a hefty penalty) and likely kill a foe. With the auto-crit also involved, it'll at least do more damage. I tried to keep the effects on par with magic, so when a spellcaster could blind a target, so can the fighters, when the spellcaster gets a save-or-die option, so do the fighters, etc.

And I should probably mention--yes I know this makes combat far more deadly, as the bad guys can use this against the characters. That is intentional for my games--I want combat to be something more than a speed-bump with associated XP. Keeping this to a feat chain with pre-reqs rather than allowing anyone to try it means a hundred 1st level kobold archers couldn't all go for an eye shot and kill someone through statistical advantage.

The attack penalty, by the way, was derived from looking at general size of the called shot target versus total size of the creature, using humans as a baseline. The scale works up and down automatically with creatures given the Sze modifier to AC, but a DM must keep in mind certain creature's strange anatomy--a beholder's central eye for instance--and adjust accordingly. The torso/arm/head/eye entries can be tied directgly to a Small/Tiny/Diminutive/Fine scale as needed.

Andoran

erian_7 wrote:
And I should probably mention--yes I know this makes combat far more deadly, as the bad guys can use this against the characters. That is intentional for my games--I want combat to be something more than a speed-bump with associated XP. Keeping this to a feat chain with pre-reqs rather than allowing anyone to try it means a hundred 1st level kobold archers couldn't all go for an eye shot and kill someone through statistical advantage.

There is the thing.

The general D&D "style" is based on combat taking multiple hits to kill something, especially at higher levels. I have played games with more lethal combat systems, and used some with D&D. I did not like the effects and quickly abandoned them.
That is why "save or die" (as well as lesser effect) spells are such an issue. At high levels, too much magic bypasses the "normal" process of wearing an opponent down and skips to instant victory. That is unsatisfying to players when it happens to them and DMs when the players use it, and I would not want to see it extended to non-magical combat.


True--and I don't know that the feats I use would work as a Pathfinder solution. I offer them up, however, as a starting point for conversation on how we could solve this issue in a way that works for 3.5 and the overall Pathfinder feel. I think this option is part of the solution for the Iterative attack debate, actually.


For what it matters, the "pincushion approach" to archery is actually historically factual. Armored warriors back in the day were brought down from bleeding suffered from numerous "minor" wounds. It's been illustrated that a warrior wearing plater armor would generally only have the arrowheads penetrate a small amount into his flesh. Eventually, he was riddled with so many arrows that he collapsed from blood loss, but there was no automatic kill shot.

I get what you are saying. Just tossing this out there.


Oh, I know it's a valid approach to combat archery--the devastation a massed group of archers or crossbowmen could levy on the field of battle was impressive. My problem is that in D&D it's the only approach to combat. From a character concept perspective, someone that wants to play a Legolas "one shot, one kill" type of character is out of luck. And for that matter so is the skilled hunter that kills an elk with one shot (I mentioned that one initially as it is a real-life example--kill an elk with more than one shot and the meat's not going to be very good to eat).

For the save-or-die issues, I should probably also not I am in favor of these being part of the game. If a medusa can't petrify you with a gaze, well, she's just not a medusa. Same for an undead with a "death touch" ability, a Death priest with finger of death, etc. Elimination of these in 4e was one of my greatest dislikes.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's always the order of the bow prestige class approach. A special class feat that allows you to take a single shot and add an extra dice of damage to the attack.

Personally, I think archers are already more powerful than swordsmen if played intelligently. Lets not over munchkinize the archer. :)


For what it's worth, Power Attack and Deadly Aim are both feats that do exactly what you are asking for. Taking a penalty to your shot to get extra damage is making a called shot. That was one of the things that my group loved about the Power Attack feat when 3rd Edition first came out - "Hey, it's a feat that makes called shots fair!" Deadly Aim, you have an 18 Dex, you are calling a shot to a vital area, taking a -4 penalty for aiming a specific area of the target, but gaining +4 damage for hitting a vital target. I understand this doesn't do the "one shot, one kill" archer, but to my knowledge, you've never been able to do that in non-house-ruled D&D or AD&D of any edition. Sure, in 2nd Edition AD&D we had house rules for taking a 12 penalty on your attacks to go for the jugular or an eye and score an instant kill on any humanoid that was anything less than a deity, epic type, or major villain. My ranger would run around decapitating people all day. But, it wasn't in the actual rules. There are prestige classes created to try and mimic it, but they do it badly. If there were a way for archers to get this power, why shouldn't a fighter with a battle axe get the same thing? What about a wizard putting an acid arrow or a ray of frost into a baddie's eye to kill it in one shot? This isn't just an issue for archers.


Neithan wrote:
erian_7 wrote:
But I would like to see options that can make a hunter actually able to kill an elk in one shot.
I seriously doubt this is possible. Maybe if you really score a very good hit to an eye or an artery in the neck, but that would be a critical hit of 3d8 damage. True, still not enough to kill a bear but about everything in D&D can take a huge amount of damage before dying.

Except a Wizard, he can be killed by a kid with a rock


Jaimsley Cooper wrote:
If there were a way for archers to get this power, why shouldn't a fighter with a battle axe get the same thing? What about a wizard putting an acid arrow or a ray of frost into a baddie's eye to kill it in one shot? This isn't just an issue for archers.

That is correct--that's why the feats I use are not limited to Ranged attacks only, and can be equally applied to Melee. Acid arrow and ray of frost are actually covered under Ranged--it's just harder for most casters to qualify for the feats.


GURPS is that way ->. Have fun with it.


tussock wrote:
GURPS is that way ->. Have fun with it.

Thanks. I had almost forgotten about my extensive collection of books from Steve Jackson Games.

:)

GURPS -- Got, but do I love that game.

Cheliax

Really, if you looking to do a lot of damage in 1 shot take levels in a class that give sneak attack damage or precision damage, like the rogue or the scout. Hell, the scout sound like precisely what you want dealing +Xd6 per attack as long as you move 10 feet or more.


Hmm, maybe you might want to look into using the critical hit deck for special effects.


i greatly prefer getting stupid with archery damage, and slowing it way the f$%k down. the fact that first level archers can get two attacks doing equal damage at a range, while the fastest melee character can get two attacks, one doing significantly less damage, and have to be rooted mostly to one spot. sure an archer has to be rooted in one place to get multiple attacks, having a "reach" of a few hundred feat more than pays for it.

now im comparing one of the most effective damage dealing attack options with one of the least (-sneak attack or other more nontraditional options)
and im a bit off topic so i digress. the point is the speed, a bow is not a machine gun, its just as fast as a crossbow in the real world (I own one of each) it should have the same reload speed as a crossbow, maybe a tad faster due to not having to crank it (why the heck is it so easy to pull out arrows, but daggers friggin come out of their sheaths so slooooowwly) quick draw should apply to rearming crossbows and bows as well as other weapons.

now on the positive spectrum, arrows should have good armor piercing ability, and the only good resistance to arrows happen to be shields. this could be illustrated simply by giving them better damage (when it hits armor doesnt block much of the impact, if DR armor rules are use, just ingore up to a certain amount of damage, its the same thing) and give shields early access to an arrow blocking feat or feat progression. my long bow would look like this

Longbow Dmg 2d6 range 60ft* crit 20x3 move action to reload (remember, this is the reload time of someone who is merely proficient)
* you gain a bonus to range equal to a reflexive spot check)

I am well aware that this is to much of a change for this game, I simply wish to speak my view


tussock wrote:
GURPS is that way ->. Have fun with it.

I agree!

Erian_7; what you are looking for is simply the opposite of what D&D tries to do. And any rule that allows for a direct kill, could in turn be used on your players. No player will accept that he was killed outright by a perfect shot - who cares if the archer used 10 rounds to aim.

Osirion

tommyj's right players would riot. if they wanted intakills they would be playing systems that allow that really.


Give the Ranger bow path the sneak attack option and the Improved Critical feat in there. Remember, rogues get to use sneak attack with missile weapons under a certain distance.

A rogue with 5d6 sneak attack, point blank shot, will do pretty decent damage in one strike. And if he gets off multiple arrows, someone is in trouble.

I lost a lizard man shaman to that combo last weekend with 2 arrows fired from cover. First round, my bad guy is taking a dirt nap.

Osirion

I don't know if I like giving a ranger sneak attack seems likes that's the rogues area.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I don't know if I like giving a ranger sneak attack seems likes that's the rogues area.

Awhile back I ran a game involving savage races, hiding in the jungle from a superior force, and a lot of guerrilla warfare. I had bought the Unearthed Arcana book, and there's a section in there about making custom classes.

Everyone in the party, even the wizard, took sneak attack. There was a lot of bowshot from point blank in ambushes, jumping out of the bushes during a monsoon and sneak attacking, and basically it was a sneak attack festival!

It didn't bother the rogue of the party. And it isn't like all Rangers will get it, just add it in to the Ranger's selection of abilities during the bow path. He'd have to give up other bow abilities to take the sneak attack, or to improve it. The rogue's keeps going up steadily, he's capable of doing a lot more sneak attack damage with a wider variety of weapons, while the Ranger can only do it with a bow, and at the expense of other abilities. You could even tie it in to Favored Enemy, making that more important.

Example:

10th level rogue: Sneak Attack 5d6
10th level ranger: Combat Style: Archery (+1d6 Sneak Attack), Improved Combat Style: Archery (+1d6 Sneak Attack)

Winner? Rogue. 5d6 VS 2d6

Osirion

good point there but not sure if i ever want it to be as good as the rouges.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
good point there but not sure if i ever want it to be as good as the rouges.

Oops, edited while you were posting. Sorry about that.

Osirion

thats cool I could live with that adds a sniper vibe really.


BM wrote:
Really, if you looking to do a lot of damage in 1 shot take levels in a class that give sneak attack damage or precision damage, like the rogue or the scout. Hell, the scout sound like precisely what you want dealing +Xd6 per attack as long as you move 10 feet or more.

But we're talking Pathfinder RPG here--Scout is not OGC. Adding an option for Aim = +1d6/round that would be a good start.

TommyJ wrote:
tussock wrote:
GURPS is that way ->. Have fun with it.

I agree!

Erian_7; what you are looking for is simply the opposite of what D&D tries to do. And any rule that allows for a direct kill, could in turn be used on your players. No player will accept that he was killed outright by a perfect shot - who cares if the archer used 10 rounds to aim.

Well, except for those rules already exist in the form of save-or-die effects. I do not advocate removing these from the game--it's one of the worst things brought on by 4e IMHO. My players accept save-or-die all the time, and they all thought it's removal in 4e was a mistake. I would rather see non-caster classes given comparable options. Keep in mind my option above has the one-shot kill open to a 15th level character, and comes at a hefty to-hit penalty. It's nowhere near as easy as most casters can do, but the character can do this all day.


TommyJ wrote:
tussock wrote:
GURPS is that way ->. Have fun with it.
I agree!

I wanted to note these two responses--we are in an alpha test for a "new" RPG, albeit one that maintains compatiblity with an existing system. I'm not certain how recommendations to leave out suggestions and/or go use another system are constructive to this test. Thus far I have specifically noted issues in the current system and suggestions for adjusting those. A comparison to a 15th level sorcerer with finger of death, or perhaps a Rogue 5/Assassin 10, will pretty quickly show that this concept is in no way imbalanced to existing 3.5 core rules. My goal is simply to open up these options to other martial-focused characters.

Cheliax

But the thing is, the Pathfinder RPG is 3.5 compatible, so there isn't anything to stop you from using a scout. The only time that the OGL comes up is when whether Paizo can update/use it or not, in one of their books. If you're worried about compatibility, use the wilderness Rouge, found here.

Still, doesn't change the fact that what you want do is best emulated by taking a class that deals +Xd6 damage onto attacks.

Qadira

Any archer that needs big hits goes with Order of the Bow prestige class. Though a PC should not need a prestige class to get a big hit.

And the whole attack as a series of hits is not really reflected in the game mechanics - DR is applied per attack but for archers it is applied per arrow.


Thanks CWM, that's part of my point--yes there are previous attempts at this concept, but none (in my opinion) actually get the thing right. Pathfinder RPG is a chance to do that.

For those arguing against the one-shot kill, what is your defense against Assassin being a core PrC? At 15th level, he's going to have a Death Attack at about a DC 24-25. Is an Assassin balanced? Should it be removed from Pathfinder as too likely to get a one-shot kill against a PC? Should finger of death be removed from the game? I ask these questions seriously as part of this thought exercise, because folks that would see these removed from the game or altered in some way to eliminate save-or-die situations are coming at the game from a very different perspective than mine. For those that like straight HP damage, I'll note that I don't like those options because they actually end up being one-shot kills with less chance of survival than a save-or-die. Get an attack that does +100 HP damage (those do exist in 3.5) and a d4 or d6 HD-based character is dead meat. No save, just dead.

I've played GURPS (too mechanical/fiddly for me), Rolemaster, etc. and though I don't necessarily like those systems in their entirety, I also think it is short-sighted to discount a possible change for Pathfinder RPG just because it's been done somewhere else. In truth, Pathfinder RPG has a long way to go as a rule system to convince me to actually use it--I'm one of those with thousands of dollars invested in d20 books. I want Pathfinder RPG to be better than those, not just a republished 3.5 SRD. If it doesn't, I'll likely end up just using the Golarion setting matieral and another rule set like Savage Worlds (which does have Called Shots...and Bennies that can be used to save a character's bacon when needed). I plan on participating in the alpha and beta discussions to, hopefully, get the best Pathfinder RPG possible.


Quote:
we are in an alpha test for a "new" RPG, albeit one that maintains compatiblity with an existing system. I'm not certain how recommendations to leave out suggestions and/or go use another system are constructive to this test. Thus far I have specifically noted issues in the current system and suggestions for adjusting those. A comparison to a 15th level sorcerer with finger of death, or perhaps a Rogue 5/Assassin 10, will pretty quickly show that this concept is in no way imbalanced to existing 3.5 core rules. My goal is simply to open up these options to other martial-focused characters.

Sorry Erian_7 - it was not my intention to curb the general discussion. I simply stated my opinion, that you are going in the wrong direction... in my opinion.

Tussock wrote it in a funny way - I thought. So I seconded his post.
I still think there is no reason to change the way bows work as opposed to all other weapons. As another poster wrote; you also have to hit people with swords many times before the fall. Why should archery be different? Simply because it offends your sense of realism I suspect!
So, in my opinion, D&D combat is an abstract thing. If you want "realism" then you should go for another system. That was all that I pointed out. It is all part of the discussion process!


I guess I'll have to state this explicitly in a separate post--I have stated it multiple times above but perhaps it is being overlooked...

I am not advocating a separate system just for bows, though the thread title is focused oon Archery. A reading of my posts will easily show I'm advocating a modification for melee and ranged combat in general. So, with that in mind, are there comments specifically on my suggested feats? One whether Assassin and finger of death are balanced with core martial classes?

To state it again, I am not requesting a separate system just for bows. I am requesting a mechanic that balances core classes like Fighter, Rogue, and Ranger with existing core mechanics like Death Attack and save-or-die spells.

Also, I started a separate thread for save-or-die in the Pathfinder RPG dicussion forum.


erian_7 wrote:

I guess I'll have to state this explicitly in a separate post--I have stated it multiple times above but perhaps it is being overlooked...

I am not advocating a separate system just for bows, though the thread title is focused oon Archery. A reading of my posts will easily show I'm advocating a modification for melee and ranged combat in general. So, with that in mind, are there comments specifically on my suggested feats? One whether Assassin and finger of death are balanced with core martial classes?

To state it again, I am not requesting a separate system just for bows. I am requesting a mechanic that balances core classes like Fighter, Rogue, and Ranger with existing core mechanics like Death Attack and save-or-die spells.

Also, I started a separate thread for save-or-die in the Pathfinder RPG dicussion forum.

Hmm, well I certainly missed the part where this was not just about archery. But fair enough. Let us take it from there.

You also wrote earlier:

erian_7 wrote:
Well, except for those rules already exist in the form of save-or-die effects. I do not advocate removing these from the game--it's one of the worst things brought on by 4e IMHO. My players accept save-or-die all the time, and they all thought it's removal in 4e was a mistake.

I can see that you and I are totally opposed in regards to this. You want save or die effects back, I want them gone - from spells, weapons, archery, whatever.

In other threads people are disucussing (advocating) more hp for starting characters, and no matter how much we end up with it seems to be certain that we will get more hp (higher HD for wizards, extra hp for favored class, ect. ect.). The direction we are heading, is for a less deadly game. You clearly dislike that. You want death to lurk right around the corner... and while I can appreciate the virtue of this, I still think you are taking D&d along the wrong path. Save or die effects are a thing of the past, lets not re-introduce them through combat.


I would not want archery with powerful called shots and save or die effects. That would go against what I think of as the core of D&D.


TommyJ wrote:
Save or die effects are a thing of the past, lets not re-introduce them...

QFT

We need less save-or-die, not more. A certain amount of save-or-die might be unavoidable to keep backward compatability with 3.5 D&D.

But please, the game isn't in any way shape or form made more fun by _increasing_ the rate of combat encounters that basically boils down to:

Who wins init and can fire off the end-of-encounter / roll-up-new-character, save or die effects first.

There's too much of that already.


TommyJ wrote:

I can see that you and I are totally opposed in regards to this. You want save or die effects back, I want them gone - from spells, weapons, archery, whatever.

In other threads people are discussing (advocating) more hp for starting characters, and no matter how much we end up with it seems to be certain that we will get more hp (higher HD for wizards, extra hp for favored class, ect. ect.). The direction we are heading, is for a less deadly game. You clearly dislike that. You want death to lurk right around the corner... and while I can appreciate the virtue of this, I still think you are taking D&d along the wrong path. Save or die effects are a thing of the past, lets not re-introduce them...

geekling wrote:

We need less save-or-die, not more. A certain amount of save-or-die might be unavoidable to keep backward compatibility with 3.5 D&D.

But please, the game isn't in any way shape or form made more fun by _increasing_ the rate of combat encounters that basically boils down to:

Who wins init and can fire off the end-of-encounter / roll-up-new-character, save or die effects first.

There's too much of that already.

Now this I can deal with, though it should probably be in the Save-or-Die thread rather than this one. From James's post there (the only official voice so far) it definitely doesn't sound like these effects are a thing of the past for Pathfinder RPG as yet, though I acknowledge that may change over the course of the playtest.

My assumption with this thread is that save-or-die (and really save-or-effect) options are definitely going to remain part of Pathfinder RPG. This being the case, is there some reason these effects should be solely the domain of spellcasters? You want to knock a guy out quickly? Send in the spellcaster, because there is no way mechanically the Fighter can make that happen. Want to slow an opponent? Send in the spellcaster (unless you happen to have a Rogue with the Hamstring feat--for some reason the highly trained Fighter cannot manage such an attack). In the Save-or-Die thread I have offered up an option to help with folks that don't like this mechanic--basically a use of Action Points to gain an auto-save or save bonus.

So, in summary (1) I don't think these save-or-effect options are going away, (2) I'd like non-caster characters to be able to shine without resorting to "bludgeon it until it doesn't move", and (3) I'd like this to be an option that can work with existing 3.5 mechanics, but is modular enough that folks don't have to use it if they don't want such.

zoroaster100 wrote:
I would not want archery with powerful called shots and save or die effects. That would go against what I think of as the core of D&D.

What would you consider the core of D&D that this concept violates? Is it perhaps the use of HP as the basis for defeating an opponent? If so, how can we reconcile the existing portions of the system (Assassin and spellcasting) that function outside such a paradigm if they are also violating this core? I am not making fun--I would honestly like to know. As with the above dialogue, understanding the perspective of those involved in the discussion always helps to further the discussion in a constructive manner.


I've always considered it.... I can't think of the word I'm looking for.. but hit points are just a fluid thing. Sure.. you get hit five times for ten points.. Your hitpoints go down.. but is that what your character is REALLY doing? Perhaps its the DND way of describing the rolling with a blow or ducking an arrow... etc... and the one arrow that actually kills him is the one arrow that actually hits. It's fantasy... Hit points are just another way of describing the characters ability to dodge, roll with, or evade attacks. Not a straight forward way of telling how many arrows a gnome fighter can take before falling.

But, that's in the way you look at it.


I definitely see HP as an abstraction of many things--luck, skill at turning solid blows into grazes, etc. I don't seek to change that abstraction in any way. What I do seek is a meaningful way to make individual attacks matter if the attacker is willing to put some dedication/effort into it. Abstraction of HP is fine, until you want to drop the guard with one well-placed hit so he doesn't have time to sound the alarm.


If the goal is to pull a Legolas and take out huge numbers of mooks with one arrow, there's a couple ways to do it. A mook rule would be the simplest, and wouldn't mess up backwards compatibility too much--just don't track HP for the mooks in a fight.

You could also do what I do in my games: anyone who isn't a hero has d6 hp (generally 4). So the average archer is going to be terrifying to the local militia (and so is the average heroic fighter), but the heroes and villains have a little more staying power. It also mimics what we know about real life arrows, knives and swords: they sure can kill you, and if they don't, they sure can hurt you, and if you're lucky, you just get a nasty wound.

You could also have archery feats that bump up the damage dice by one rank, so all those arrows Legolas was firing were doing 1d10, 1d12 or even 2d6 damage to your 1st level Orcs and Goblins.


cr0m wrote:
If the goal is to pull a Legolas and take out huge numbers of mooks with one arrow, there's a couple ways to do it...

Good suggestions, though I am truly looking for a means of affecting not just mooks but BBEG and Heroes as well...

grrtigger wrote:

While I like the idea of called shots, I'd like to see it implemented in an abstract way, such as a bonus to damage for either a flat penalty to hit (in melee) or possibly spending a full-round action to "size up" your shot (for ranged attacks) rather than a chart with to-hit or AC modifiers for aiming at specific body parts.

Also, in other called-shot discussions I've read through, the good point has been made that any new combat options you make available to the players also become available to creatures and NPCs to use against their characters. Tread carefully ;)

This was over in the Save-or-Die thread, but I think it goes here. I just copied it over to keep the discussion unified. As noted above, I do indeed intend this as something the bad guys can use as well. The abstraction of a penalty to hit to gain more damage actually already exists in things like Power Attack, and I seem to recall feats allowing a bonus associated to "Aiming" as well. I'm sure someone can note specifics--my brain's too fried from all-day meetings right now!

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