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Zovc
2009-09-23, 04:56 PM
No one has ever actually told me that, but every time I've seen a premade character, or every time I (or a personal friend) has made a character, 'made character has had a ranged weapon "just in case."

Is there any real reason for this? The fighter almost always plunges into the fight, and most other characters don't want to gobble up their move actions reloading.

I'm not saying I have a problem with an adventurer being ready for anything (in fact, I <3 me some Factotum), but I've never seen an encounter that makes players go "I need to take out my bow!"

What kind of engaging encounters are there that "essentially" force the players to participate in ranged combat instead of melee combat?

The most reasonable way to have players to use ranged weapons I could come up with was to have each side be on opposite sides of a river.

Xyk
2009-09-23, 04:59 PM
Flying opponents make it beneficial to have a bow. Some sort of entanglement or something would be similar.

Croverus
2009-09-23, 04:59 PM
Setting up an ambush, or if the terrain is difficult to pass through (the enemy overturns tables or carts to slow you) but in most cases that make movement hard, that means there is also cover for enemies to hide behind.

Mando Knight
2009-09-23, 05:00 PM
Dragons. Kobolds in caves with crossbows. Pegasus-mounted knights. Things like that which can keep out of your reach and pound you with their weapons.

Bang
2009-09-23, 05:14 PM
Is there any real reason for this?

National Preparedness Month. (http://www.overcompensating.com/posts/20090918.html)
Store wirecutters up your sleeves, marbles in your pants.
You gots to be on your toes.

SparkMandriller
2009-09-23, 05:16 PM
Do you really want to be the guy that got killed by a flying man with a bag of rocks?

Sinfire Titan
2009-09-23, 05:18 PM
4E Example: A party I was in had 2 range-focused characters, myself (a Wizard) and a Ranger. The next step down was a Dwarven Fighter with 5 throwing axes.

One encounter pitted us against Kobolds mounted on bats. Between my Magic Missiles and the Ranger's bow, we were the only ones contributing. The Fighter would toss his axes, and everyone else just sat back and watched.

It woul[d have taken most of our resources had I not remembered my Daily: Sleep. The encounter ended via Falling damage.

Keld Denar
2009-09-23, 05:20 PM
It depends. Bows at low levels are exceptionally useful. At mid-high levels, though, they become WAY less useful. First of all, your bow is gonna be terrible compared to your primary weapon, since you'll probably spend most of your resources (money, feats, class abilities) on your primary weapon + misc melee gear such as +str, +con, miss chance, teleport, fly, etc. Even with a Chained GMW from your party caster, your bow will be woefully lacking in most cases because you won't have Rapid Shot, you won't have +eqiv mods on your bow, and you won't have ranged damage related gear.

Then there is action economy. Even if you swap to your bow and take a couple of pot shots at an enemy out of reach, the amount of damage you do will not compare to the amount of damage you will lose dropping your bow and switching to a melee weapon when you need one, not to mention the loss of AoOs from a reach weapon or similar. So you may have been initially useful, but in the long term you suffer.

At mid-high levels, your job, as a melee character, is to do your best to stand between your casters and the bad stuff, to not die, and to make dead anything you have the ability to as quickly and efficiently as possible. If it flies, your casters should either make you fly, or ground it. If its really far, your casters should find some way to disable it till you get to it and/or port you to it, assuming you can't port yourself.

There is more to playing a dynamic high level melee character than just WEAPONZ AND ARMORZ. I used to play a high level melee character in Living Greyhawk, and with the group I played with, I never touched a ranged weapon after about, level 8 or so, through level 15, the end of the campaign.

Kobold-Bard
2009-09-23, 05:26 PM
...Is there any real reason for this?...

Same reason you should always bye an Adamantine Dagger and hide up your butt at the first opportunity:

Be prepared for anything!!

The chances of you going to jail are slim, but if you do that hidden Dagger is going to save you because it ignores the prison bar's Hardness.

If you're a Fighter and the enemies all take flight, without a backup ranged weapon you're going to be nothing but a moving bullseye.

Eldariel
2009-09-23, 05:45 PM
The principal reason is that there's no reason not to have a bow. The encumbrance is trivial and scenarios where it might come in handy do exist (though are more rare higher on and indeed, you're usually ****ed either way when you can't use your primary weapon unless you're a specifically constructed dual threat warrior type with skills in both).

Besides, all the iconic fantasy characters use them in conjuction; why shouldn't you? That's really a failure of the system IMHO - a high-level Fighter should be reasonably efficient with a bow by virtue of being a high-level Fighter without specific focus in that regard. Sure, a focused Fighter should be better but even a melee Fighter should have SOMETHING to do with Dragons and such. It's really one of the principal reasons flight is so important; ranged attacks suck by default.

Karoht
2009-09-23, 05:54 PM
Answer me this.
You're hungry. Are you going to hunt with a sword, a mace, an axe, or a bow and arrow?

You want to shoot a rope over to a buddy on the other side of a chasm, or perhaps he's up a tree and your climb isn't so hot. Do you tie the rope to the end of your sword and throw it?

You have a friend dangling by the neck at a public hanging. Gonna throw your sword or axe, or shoot an arrow to hit the rope?


Utility my friend. Utility.

Saph
2009-09-23, 06:01 PM
Besides, all the iconic fantasy characters use them in conjuction; why shouldn't you? That's really a failure of the system IMHO - a high-level Fighter should be reasonably efficient with a bow by virtue of being a high-level Fighter without specific focus in that regard.

Well, any high-level full-BAB character is going to be reasonably effective with a bow, just not amazing. You still get all your iterative attacks and you probably have a half-decent Dexterity if you make a career of standing on the front lines. A +5 (or whatever) mighty composite longbow is less than 1,000 gold, which isn't much at that level and gets steadily less significant as you keep levelling.

taltamir
2009-09-23, 06:15 PM
Flying opponents make it beneficial to have a bow. Some sort of entanglement or something would be similar.

if they are level appropriate, than you can ALSO fly by than... magic flight is very low level...

Keld Denar
2009-09-23, 06:20 PM
Answer me this.
You're hungry. Are you going to hunt with a sword, a mace, an axe, or a bow and arrow?
D&D rules don't emulate this well. You'll start at whatever encounter distance is ruled by your spot/listen checks, and you'll still probably be best off charging or similar. Again, useful at low levels, not so at higher levels.


You want to shoot a rope over to a buddy on the other side of a chasm, or perhaps he's up a tree and your climb isn't so hot. Do you tie the rope to the end of your sword and throw it?
Again, not modeled well. You'll probably utilize some form of magic to cross, especially at higher levels. And in most cases, its most beneficial for someone with ranks in acrobatic skills to scale the cliff/tree freeform and then secure a rope. Plus, any rope significant enough to climb with will impede the flight of an arrow so much it'll probably only go 20 feet. And don't even THINK that a rope tied to an arrow is gonna support the weight of even a halfling trying to climb it. It'll either slip off if the stress is transverse, or snap the arrow if the stress is perpendicular.



You have a friend dangling by the neck at a public hanging. Gonna throw your sword or axe, or shoot an arrow to hit the rope?

If done right, the hangee is dead before they reach the end of the rope. If done wrong, hold your breath rules provide enough time to move/teleport/fly up to your friend and cut the rope by hand, even if you have to muscle through a guard or 2. Poorly modeled.


Utility my friend. Utility.
Utility isn't very well modeled in D&D, much less in a setting that has magic. Everything you've mentioned is very cinamatic, but it just doesn't translate to D&D. Unless you liberally apply the Rule of Cool (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool), its generally better to stick with your primary weapon and seek alternative methods.

Saph
2009-09-23, 06:23 PM
if they are level appropriate, than you can ALSO fly by than... magic flight is very low level...

Yes, but magic flight has a speed of 40-60 feet. It's not very hard for enemies to stay out of reach of that. If they start the encounter a few hundred feet above you, even flight isn't going to let you catch them unless they want to be caught.

taltamir
2009-09-23, 06:28 PM
Yes, but magic flight has a speed of 40-60 feet. It's not very hard for enemies to stay out of reach of that. If they start the encounter a few hundred feet above you, even flight isn't going to let you catch them unless they want to be caught.

magic can impede their flight or make them fall in a variety of fun ways (or just die)... then there is cover, limited room size, etc etc.

Sure, on an open field without cover against an opponent with a very high flight speed and very long range attack of its own, this could be a problem...

kjones
2009-09-23, 06:39 PM
D&D rules don't emulate this well. You'll start at whatever encounter distance is ruled by your spot/listen checks, and you'll still probably be best off charging or similar. Again, useful at low levels, not so at higher levels.

It's even worse than that. In D&D rules, you hunt with a Survival check. You can do this bare-handed and buck naked.

technophile
2009-09-23, 07:11 PM
Plus, any rope significant enough to climb with will impede the flight of an arrow so much it'll probably only go 20 feet.
This is why you tie a long piece of twine (or thinner, lighter rope if twine isn't strong enough) to the arrow, and tie the rope to the end of the twine. Arrow flies, relatively unimpeded by the twine, and whoever's on the other side uses the twine to pull the rope over.

Then again, a warrior with a mighty composite longbow firing full-on treebranch-sized arrows can probably just tie the end of the rope to the arrow, it's practically got enough energy to reach orbit at that point. :smallbiggrin:

Yuki Akuma
2009-09-23, 07:13 PM
I don't think arrows can fly at 11.2 km/s. They'd disintegrate from air friction!

olentu
2009-09-23, 07:17 PM
It's even worse than that. In D&D rules, you hunt with a Survival check. You can do this bare-handed and buck naked.

That does not seem that bad. One could just be making traps from the surrounding environment.

Cieyrin
2009-09-23, 07:27 PM
I don't think arrows can fly at 11.2 km/s. They'd disintegrate from air friction!

Tell that to the Cragtop Archer with a Large Composite Greatbow, Flight Arrows and the rest of distance enhancers out there. He doesn't quite reach escape velocity but gets pretty damn close. With Horizon Shot, he doesn't lose any accuracy along the way, either. Spotting that far is something else entirely. It says something when you need to scry your target before you shoot him from beyond the long range of spells. :smallbiggrin:

jmbrown
2009-09-23, 07:28 PM
No one has ever actually told me that, but every time I've seen a premade character, or every time I (or a personal friend) has made a character, 'made character has had a ranged weapon "just in case."

Is there any real reason for this? The fighter almost always plunges into the fight, and most other characters don't want to gobble up their move actions reloading.

I'm not saying I have a problem with an adventurer being ready for anything (in fact, I <3 me some Factotum), but I've never seen an encounter that makes players go "I need to take out my bow!"

What kind of engaging encounters are there that "essentially" force the players to participate in ranged combat instead of melee combat?

The most reasonable way to have players to use ranged weapons I could come up with was to have each side be on opposite sides of a river.

You know what really cheeses me off? The almost universal idea that fighters are supposed to charge head first into combat. Before the discovery of gunpowder, armies would soften each other up with artillery and ranged attacks then charge. A group that charges first ends up getting hit with friendly fire.

In D&D this is simulated by the penalty when two people are in melee. It makes absolutely no sense why, in open terrain where you're capable of seeing your opponent at 50+ft, fighters always go for their melee weapons first. No. Keep your bow or crossbow on hand, when you see an enemy and it's your turn to fight before them, shoot first, drop your weapon, then draw your sword.

In an enclosed space it makes more sense to keep a melee weapon ready but at the same time I absolutely hate it when fighters get the initiative before my ranged characters because even though they're blocking the enemy from reaching the back row, they figure "Well, I get to go first so I'll draw first blood!" 90% of the time this isn't tactically feasible. It means your archers, who may be backup ranged fighters without precise shot, will get a penalty to shoot and the wizard will have to rethink his area of effect attacks.

I really hate fighters in gaming groups because I rarely see anyone make use of the magical delay function.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-09-23, 07:35 PM
Bah. Quit griping. Shoot one of the characters not engaged in melee with the fighter, get a spellguard ring and keep blasting, or switch to single-target spells. Delay is only going to give you a single round of attacks anyway, so you'll probably want Precise Shot if you really can't cope with the tank's presence on the first round of combat - the easiest round to find another target. 90% of the time, in my experience, delay is not a viable option.


It makes absolutely no sense why, in open terrain where you're capable of seeing your opponent at 50+ft, fighters always go for their melee weapons first. No. Keep your bow or crossbow on hand, when you see an enemy and it's your turn to fight before them, shoot first, drop your weapon, then draw your sword.
Wasting your time fumbling with a likely nonmagical ranged weapon means damage penalties, a higher chance to miss entirely, and likely allows the monster to advance on his own terms.

Keld Denar
2009-09-23, 07:42 PM
Yea, you would have liked playing with my Living Greyhawk group jmbrown. The fighters stay in close formation near the caster, and if its their turn before his, they delay. Then the casters open with a disable, followed by a swift teleport or waits for the monsters to advance. Boom, fighter comes out of delay and full attacks. No fumbling with gear, or single attacks on a charge. Granted, not as vital when pounce is actively used in-game (Living Greyhawk banned nearly every form of pounce except for Wildrunners).

One of my friends was relatively new to the game, exclaimed after Dim Dooring 2 optimized power attacking fighters into full attack range "I never knew I could do so much damage with a 4th level spell" when the 2 of them dished out over 300 damage in a round thanks to being able to full attack from the Dim Door.

Jayngfet
2009-09-23, 07:51 PM
You know what really cheeses me off? The almost universal idea that fighters are supposed to charge head first into combat. Before the discovery of gunpowder, armies would soften each other up with artillery and ranged attacks then charge. A group that charges first ends up getting hit with friendly fire.

In D&D this is simulated by the penalty when two people are in melee. It makes absolutely no sense why, in open terrain where you're capable of seeing your opponent at 50+ft, fighters always go for their melee weapons first. No. Keep your bow or crossbow on hand, when you see an enemy and it's your turn to fight before them, shoot first, drop your weapon, then draw your sword.

In an enclosed space it makes more sense to keep a melee weapon ready but at the same time I absolutely hate it when fighters get the initiative before my ranged characters because even though they're blocking the enemy from reaching the back row, they figure "Well, I get to go first so I'll draw first blood!" 90% of the time this isn't tactically feasible. It means your archers, who may be backup ranged fighters without precise shot, will get a penalty to shoot and the wizard will have to rethink his area of effect attacks.

I really hate fighters in gaming groups because I rarely see anyone make use of the magical delay function.

This is incredibly bad when one factors in the complete scoundrel, which offers up about a dozen special hidden weapons and bayonets for any imaginable weapon so you don't have to waste an action or drop the bow to fight when you enter melee.

tyckspoon
2009-09-23, 07:51 PM
In D&D this is simulated by the penalty when two people are in melee. It makes absolutely no sense why, in open terrain where you're capable of seeing your opponent at 50+ft, fighters always go for their melee weapons first. No. Keep your bow or crossbow on hand, when you see an enemy and it's your turn to fight before them, shoot first, drop your weapon, then draw your sword.


Because even in open terrain the Spot rules (assuming they're being used) mean the fight is probably going to start in charge range, and if you're a melee specialist you're better off getting into contact for a melee attack than firing a weapon you don't have major bonuses in using. (That aside, the way Full Attacks work means it's still usually better to have the enemy come to you. Doubly so if you use a Reach weapon and can expect to get an Attack of Opportunity from it.)

jmbrown
2009-09-23, 08:02 PM
Shoot one of the characters not engaged in melee with the fighter

Often the enemy not engaged in melee is a skirmisher waiting to move around the fighter to the now unguarded ranged attackers.


get a spellguard ring and keep blasting

...giving time for the enemy to close in.


or switch to single-target spells.

And if I don't have those prepared or fighting a large-but-weak group of monsters?


Delay is only going to give you a single round of attacks anyway, so you'll probably want Precise Shot if you really can't cope with the tank's presence on the first round of combat

A single round can swing the course of battle. Fighter goes first; fighter delays; rogue goes and gets a sneak attack on the monster; monster charges fighter and swings; fighter's delay ends and he full attacks the monster.

Had the fighter charged in, the rogue wouldn't have gotten his sneak attack. This situation of ham fisting battles has occured to me loads of times because I always play as support characters who rely on going before everyone else. When that doesn't happen it usually means someone steps in my way because they couldn't delay the single round to give the battle the edge. Delaying is pretty much cheating because you know your allies' initiative right off the bat. "I delay until after my buddy..." okay, done.

It's a simple tactic that has prevailed for centuries of human combat. When flintlock weapons came around in the 15th century, the common tactic was to fire the gun, drop it, then draw your sword. You're losing more by charging head first at your earliest opportunity than shooting and/or delaying.


Yea, you would have liked playing with my Living Greyhawk group jmbrown. The fighters stay in close formation near the caster, and if its their turn before his, they delay. Then the casters open with a disable, followed by a swift teleport or waits for the monsters to advance. Boom, fighter comes out of delay and full attacks. No fumbling with gear, or single attacks on a charge. Granted, not as vital when pounce is actively used in-game (Living Greyhawk banned nearly every form of pounce except for Wildrunners).


Pounce is pretty powerful but most monsters that have pounce are stalking predators and those tend to be loners. I think it was the mini manual that added all of those cool short-range teleportation powers and I like the sound of your group. It just irks me when a group gives up tactical advantages like sneak attack because the fighter charged 60' in the first round thus forcing the rogue to double move into the opponent's flank or something stupid like that when it could it have been fighter shoots bow, draws sword: monster charges: rogue moves in and sneak attacks with the flanking bonus and likely deals more damage than if fighter decided to charge round 1.

Zephyros
2009-09-23, 08:02 PM
In a Warhammeresque game I ran last year I tried for the first time to significantly buff bows. I doubled their variant damage, double their threat range and critical multiplier (for bows and crossbows only). Eg. A longbow dealt 2d8 (+x str if it was composite) and threatened on 19-20 for x4 dmg.

After some well positioned ambushes by bow-users my trigger happy charge happy players learn to respect the power of a fine Marksman or three of them :smallbiggrin:

taltamir
2009-09-23, 08:08 PM
In D&D this is simulated by the penalty when two people are in melee. It makes absolutely no sense why, in open terrain where you're capable of seeing your opponent at 50+ft, fighters always go for their melee weapons first. No. Keep your bow or crossbow on hand, when you see an enemy and it's your turn to fight before them, shoot first, drop your weapon, then draw your sword.

In an enclosed space it makes more sense to keep a melee weapon ready but at the same time I absolutely hate it when fighters get the initiative before my ranged characters because even though they're blocking the enemy from reaching the back row, they figure "Well, I get to go first so I'll draw first blood!" 90% of the time this isn't tactically feasible. It means your archers, who may be backup ranged fighters without precise shot, will get a penalty to shoot and the wizard will have to rethink his area of effect attacks.

I really hate fighters in gaming groups because I rarely see anyone make use of the magical delay function.

The problem is that DnD fighting is extremely unrealistic.
Fights occur in turns, and people go by order of initiative.

IRL:
Two guys see each other from across the room. Guy B has a bow in his hand and a sword in a holster, guy A has a sword in his hand.
guy A charges while drawing his sword. Guy B gets a shot off, then, if he missed and guy A is still alive, draws his weapon and meets guy A head on.

DnD:
Two guys see each other from across the room. Guy B has a bow in his hand and a sword in a holster, guy A has a sword in his hand.

option 1: guy A rolls higher initiative. He goes first. He charges guy B, reaches him, and hits him... on his turn guy B has to drop his bow and draw a sword (provoking AoO) and then hit him back. They take turns whacking each other.

option 2: guy B rolls higher initiative. He goes first. He shoots guy A (while guy A is exactly at the same spot he was when they first saw each other). He most likely hits, but does insignificant damage. He then drops his bow and draws a useful weapon, aka melee. His turn is now up.
Guy A's turn, he charges guy B, who meets him head on.

DnD is fundamentally unrealistic because it is turn based... this is something I like about gurps. Guy A's turn, he attacks, guy B chooses if to block, dodge, etc... than guy B attacks. It feels more "real time" with turn order just alternating who is on the "defensive" and who on the "offensive" at each given point.

BatRobin
2009-09-23, 08:09 PM
Always Carry a Sword and a Bow


And arrows, durr.

Gorgondantess
2009-09-23, 08:09 PM
Same reason you should always bye an Adamantine Dagger and hide up your butt at the first opportunity:

Be prepared for anything!!

The chances of you going to jail are slim, but if you do that hidden Dagger is going to save you because it ignores the prison bar's Hardness.


...sadly, it also ignores your colon's hardness.:smalleek:

Susano-wo
2009-09-23, 08:10 PM
Gots to weight in on a few things. Regarding losing out in the action economy: this only applies if you are within melee range of the target (which, admittedly is probably 60ft at least). Otherwise you drop the bow as a free action, and draw the melee weapon as part of the move to the target.

Hunting, as it was pointed out, in the abstract is handled by survival, and is (thank, you I hadn't thought of this omission before now ><) unaffected by weapons. If you were trying to salvage meat off of a defeated foe, well, there are no rules for that whatsoever, so it is up to DM discretion, which would, hopefully, lead to the DM ruling that hacking an animal up with a sword will ruin most if not all of the meat.

And finally, just because magic can solve the problem, does not mean that it will be used on you, rather than, say, the mage using his copious and world destroying magic to screw the attackers directly, leaving you there to either twiddle your thumbs or, if you have a bow, contribute a bit (you never know when something is 1d8 HP away from death :P)

And from personal experience, I have definitely had times that I wished I had a bow to use ^ ^

Rhiannon87
2009-09-23, 08:13 PM
I'm not quite sure why everyone is assuming that your backup ranged weapon isn't going to be magical. At low levels, it isn't practical, but once you get into the 9-10-11 level range you can afford to drop 2,000 gp on a basic +1 enchantment for your bow. And then a little later maybe invest some extra gold and make it flaming or something.

It is possible I have a warped view of this because I'm playing a fairly high-powered, high-treasure game where our fighter has a flaming scimitar, a magical spiked shield, an intelligent spear, and a mighty flaming composite longbow... and she only bought the first two items. My character has an adamantine greatsword and a magical crossbow, the latter of which was from a treasure haul.

So I guess my point is that when you charge in and kill some archers, keep their bows. Especially if they're magic. They'll almost certainly come in useful.

Mike_G
2009-09-23, 08:35 PM
Even if you don't want to drop 16,000 gp on a backup weapon, dropping 1,000 or so on magic arrows is economical, and since my melee fighters only resort to the bow once in a while, a dozen amped up magic arrows are plenty for most adventures.

Better to have a bow and not need it than to need a bow and not have it-National Bow Association.

Keld Denar
2009-09-23, 08:39 PM
WRT having a ranged weapon, then dropping it and drawing your sword or whatever when your enemy closes...unless you wasted a feat on Quickdraw, or are 5th level or lower, you are losing attacks. The damage you lose from your full attack is probably gonna be higher than the damage you get for making a couple of 1d8+5 ranged shots.

Especially if you have an effect like Haste on, or Flurry of Strikes to gain multiple attacks at your highest BAB, or have reach and can claim AoOs from approaching foes. The loss of those is bad. It would be better to delay and full attack when you can than charge up and get crushed.

technophile
2009-09-23, 08:49 PM
WRT having a ranged weapon, then dropping it and drawing your sword or whatever when your enemy closes...unless you wasted a feat on Quickdraw, or are 5th level or lower, you are losing attacks.
Buy several Least Crystals of Return and put one on your primary melee weapon(s). Allows you to draw the attached weapon as a free action. Cheap at 300gp/crystal. Or splurge on the 1000gp/crystal Lesser version, which allows you to call the weapon from up to 30 feet away as a move action, in case you get disarmed or jailed.

Jack_Banzai
2009-09-23, 08:50 PM
Because when you play a Fighter in 4E, you can mark anyone with any attack. Including a bow. And when you are fighting that jerk Solo Controller who can teleport at will anywhere in the huge chamber, you are glad that the longbow has a 20/40 range.

Susano-wo
2009-09-23, 09:09 PM
Keld, It seems as though you are still assuming that the person will be able to fully enter melee in one round. In that case, yeah, its probably not worth it to fire your bow instead of readying to attack him when he comes into melee range.

If, however, he is farther, then bow = free full attack, albeit at likely a far lesser damage.

And all that's without considering fire and withdraw tactics, which can be done to make it so he cant reach you (or barely can), still giving you a possible 1d8+ damage and allow you to start your next turn with weapon drawn, or make it so he has to stop at another melee-er, which will allow you to 5ft step and full attack his ass. Again, not that its always going to work out tat way, but there are some advantages, making a viable option.

One last note...there is always the very important factor of character concept. If your concept if hurt by him not carrying a bow, or if it is hurt by him doing so, then do/don't do it ^ ^. Hell, even if the concept is not hurt, but you envision him with one, to me, its all about the Role-Playin.' Tactics are fun, but in the end, I'm here to play a character, and interact with other characters, PC and NPC :D

Warclam
2009-09-23, 09:14 PM
...sadly, it also ignores your colon's hardness.:smalleek:

This made me laugh SO hard. Bravo.

Regarding the topic, I always make sure to have a backup ranged weapon. Even if it won't be very effective there are just too many situations where nothing else will do much good. Manticores swooping around? Shoot them. Some crossbow-wielding jackass kobold across a ravine? Shoot him. The alternative is to stand there looking stupid while everyone else does the work.

Then again, I have a bit of a paranoid what-if bent. Probably residual from my very first encounter with a swarm, which involved standing around looking stupid while the warmage/cleric and sorcerer burning handed our worries away.

Actually, that's one of the reasons I'm becoming more appreciative of 4E. No stupid amethyst golems that the psion has to kill solo because it regenerates non-sonic damage. Give me more feasible tactical decisions, please!

Carrying a ranged weapon, on the other hand, just makes sense. As various posters have pointed out, there's ample historical precedent, and sometimes you need to hurt stuff that's just too far away to beat on.

taltamir
2009-09-23, 09:18 PM
I'm not quite sure why everyone is assuming that your backup ranged weapon isn't going to be magical. At low levels, it isn't practical, but once you get into the 9-10-11 level range you can afford to drop 2,000 gp on a basic +1 enchantment for your bow. And then a little later maybe invest some extra gold and make it flaming or something.

Waste of money, get a wand of something + UMD.


...sadly, it also ignores your colon's hardness.:smalleek:

EPIC!
Also, gives a new meaning to having a stick up your bum...

chiasaur11
2009-09-23, 10:02 PM
And arrows, durr.

Arrows are for sissies.

Cieyrin
2009-09-23, 10:20 PM
Arrows are for sissies.

Yeah! Everyone knows crossbows are way more manly, with bolts to go with them!

Rhiannon87
2009-09-23, 10:24 PM
Waste of money, get a wand of something + UMD.


Er... unless you're playing something where you don't get UMD as a class skill? Like a fighter? Also wands that are high enough level to be useful are way more expensive than a magical weapon. I'd rather have a +1 composite longbow for a little over 2000 gp than a wand of magic missiles that might be cheaper, but a) requires a skill check to use every time and b) does even less damage than the bow. And then ends up being more expensive once you've used up all the charges. Arrows are cheap. Wands are not.

Myrmex
2009-09-23, 10:26 PM
D&D rules don't emulate this well. You'll start at whatever encounter distance is ruled by your spot/listen checks, and you'll still probably be best off charging or similar. Again, useful at low levels, not so at higher levels.

Not if there's difficult terrain (it's a forest), the floor is obscured (it's a forest), it's uphill (it's a forest), against something faster than you (it's a forest animal).

I just got back from hunting caribou in the arctic, and most of the ground is "difficult terrain". You'd have a pretty hard time sprinting at something with your sword up and your eyes on the target.

The ubiquity of the "chaaaaaarge!" tactic is popular because I guess us nerds don't walk on anything besides pavement and carpet.

But then, using a bow to do some hunting is relevant to only a very thin slice of the D&D experience, innit?

Ostien
2009-09-23, 10:37 PM
There may be situations where time is of the essence in a game, where closing in would take too long. There was a point in a game I was in where our main fighter used her +5 composite longbow (she had some magical enhancements on it too) to shoot a caster at the other end of the battle field and killed him outright on a critical. This saved us the opportunity to face the truly horrid Umber Hulk he was summoning.

She is a melee fighter and that was her backup weapon. I'd say that was useful.

taltamir
2009-09-23, 10:41 PM
Er... unless you're playing something where you don't get UMD as a class skill? Like a fighter? Also wands that are high enough level to be useful are way more expensive than a magical weapon. I'd rather have a +1 composite longbow for a little over 2000 gp than a wand of magic missiles that might be cheaper, but a) requires a skill check to use every time and b) does even less damage than the bow. And then ends up being more expensive once you've used up all the charges. Arrows are cheap. Wands are not.

you are right... get a WIZARD. why split the party? ;p

nighthawk07
2009-09-23, 10:46 PM
This reminds me of some of my first 3.5 campaign. So sometime around 3rd level we encountered a yound black dragon that kept flying around and the only person that was ranged was our ranger and wizard who wasn't there at the time. We had to run and my Barb ended up dying.
The next game I made sure I bought a bow just in case. We ended up fighting at the top of a tower against some gargoyles who flew around throwing rocks at us. Again our wizard was not present at the time and our ranger was the only one doing anything useful because everyone else only had normal bows and arrows against a 10/magic DR

tyckspoon
2009-09-23, 10:50 PM
+5 composite longbow

Plus some enhancements. If that's what she could afford to have as a backup weapon I'd have to bet her 'real' weapon was near Epic.. or you were just playing an unusually high-wealth game.

Ostien
2009-09-23, 10:53 PM
Plus some enhancements. If that's what she could afford to have as a backup weapon I'd have to bet her 'real' weapon was near Epic.. or you were just playing an unusually high-wealth game.

Opps silly me. It was a composite longbow with a max strength of +5 (only 100 gold extra for each boost in Str that can be applied). The enchantments may have only been at a +1 and flaming. So somewhat expensive but yea didn't mean a +5 weapon, bad communication there.

taltamir
2009-09-23, 11:09 PM
This reminds me of some of my first 3.5 campaign. So sometime around 3rd level we encountered a yound black dragon that kept flying around and the only person that was ranged was our ranger and wizard who wasn't there at the time. We had to run and my Barb ended up dying.
The next game I made sure I bought a bow just in case. We ended up fighting at the top of a tower against some gargoyles who flew around throwing rocks at us. Again our wizard was not present at the time and our ranger was the only one doing anything useful because everyone else only had normal bows and arrows against a 10/magic DR

why didn't you just go inside?

ericgrau
2009-09-23, 11:31 PM
Any strategically laid ambush will necessitate a bow. That or you can spend 1-3 rounds getting shot at while you try to close in. And one PC will be dead on arrival if the baddies focus their fire. Plus in round one the ambushers get a +4 bonus to AC from cover and the PCs don't.

The too common "Baddies see you and engage you in the open at close range like mindless drones" makes any old way of hitting just fine. In that case melee does more damage so that's the way to go.

taltamir
2009-09-24, 12:02 AM
Any strategically laid ambush will necessitate a bow. That or you can spend 1-3 rounds getting shot at while you try to close in. And one PC will be dead on arrival if the baddies focus their fire. Plus in round one the ambushers get a +4 bonus to AC from cover and the PCs don't.

The too common "Baddies see you and engage you in the open at close range like mindless drones" makes any old way of hitting just fine. In that case melee does more damage so that's the way to go.

Had to deal with that recently... 6 archer ambush, lets out a volley... we take damage (quite a lot actually). caster casts wind wall on entrance... gives us a few turns to regroup... archers move away from entrance, 3 to each side, no longer visible. (close enough together that we do not have line of sight to them by standing at an angle.
combat healing. Wind wall expires... but nobody in line of sight...

So, 3 archers on each side, through a doorway.

send out an illusion... watch it get pin cushioned... caster steps in, casts web on one group. Other caster steps in, casts color spray on other. One enemy archer still capable of shooting, it shoots, does some damage.

rest of the part steps in, slaughter begins.

Rixx
2009-09-24, 12:04 AM
My melee-based Rogue carries darts. They come in handy. A lot.

jiriku
2009-09-24, 01:10 AM
In last night's game, our party was attacked by a group of javelin-wielding flying bird men and an air elemental. No one in our party had fly or levitate available, and my cloistered cleric, who is the party's tank/buffer, carried no ranged weapons. I helped swing the battle after several rounds when I began picking up loose javelins and throwing them.

Had I thought to pack some decent ranged weapons of my own, I could have contributed more.

Curmudgeon
2009-09-24, 01:16 AM
If you're playing a Rogue character you'd be crazy to not carry a bow as your primary weapon. When enemies are flat-footed you get to sneak attack them. That's one shot in the surprise round (because you've maxed out Spot, of course), and a full attack in the next round. Wasting that opportunity to draw a melee weapon and close is just ridiculous.

Unless you've done a fair amount of prep work to be able to function in melee, you're probably better off forgetting close combat whatsoever. After you get your initial sneak attack you just ready an action to fire your bow at any enemy who starts to cast a spell. You'll be doing more good by stopping them from casting spells than by risking your neck in melee.

Myrmex
2009-09-24, 01:20 AM
If you're playing a Rogue character you'd be crazy to not carry a bow as your primary weapon. When enemies are flat-footed you get to sneak attack them. That's one shot in the surprise round (because you've maxed out Spot, of course), and a full attack in the next round. Wasting that opportunity to draw a melee weapon and close is just ridiculous.

Unless you've done a fair amount of prep work to be able to function in melee, you're probably better off forgetting close combat whatsoever. After you get your initial sneak attack you just ready an action to fire your bow at any enemy who starts to cast a spell. You'll be doing more good by stopping them from casting spells than by risking your neck in melee.

Wear gauntlets and throw daggers.
Best of both worlds, only lose a couple points of damage.

Superglucose
2009-09-24, 01:24 AM
Bow+arrows at low level. It saves the bacon of low-level casters who's running low on spells/saving for a BBEG. Also, as happened in a recent meet, what happens if the bridge is cut and you need to kill the goblins on the other side? Or what if you're heavily wounded and the Cleric is holding the line so the enemy can't get to you?

At low levels, mid levels, and high levels there's no reason to NOT have a backup ranged weapon. However, at mid and high levels, you have access to things like "fly" and "ranged spells", etc. (and massive jump checks), so there's much less reason to actually have one.

taltamir
2009-09-24, 01:29 AM
Bow+arrows at low level. It saves the bacon of low-level casters who's running low on spells/saving for a BBEG. Also, as happened in a recent meet, what happens if the bridge is cut and you need to kill the goblins on the other side? Or what if you're heavily wounded and the Cleric is holding the line so the enemy can't get to you?

At low levels, mid levels, and high levels there's no reason to NOT have a backup ranged weapon. However, at mid and high levels, you have access to things like "fly" and "ranged spells", etc. (and massive jump checks), so there's much less reason to actually have one.

low level casters don't have proficiency with bow. They can use crossbow though.

Myrmex
2009-09-24, 01:42 AM
low level casters don't have proficiency with bow. They can use crossbow though.

Elves come with bow proficiency.

Kaiyanwang
2009-09-24, 02:27 AM
Same reason you should always bye an Adamantine Dagger and hide up your butt at the first opportunity:


hey, this remembers me my old players. They managed to infiltrate as prisoners in a Yuan-ti fortress with a similar method (involving, for their safe, a portable hole).

Taltamir: you talked about an "entrance" so I guess you fought in a room. Just imagine a well managed ambush in a canyon, maybe adding the fact that monsters throw rocks and other materials down.

A well aimed arrow, maybe poisoned, can help the save or suck of the casters, as an example.

taltamir
2009-09-24, 02:40 AM
hey, this remembers me my old players. They managed to infiltrate as prisoners in a Yuan-ti fortress with a similar method (involving, for their safe, a portable hole).

Taltamir: you talked about an "entrance" so I guess you fought in a room. Just imagine a well managed ambush in a canyon, maybe adding the fact that monsters throw rocks and other materials down.

A well aimed arrow, maybe poisoned, can help the save or suck of the casters, as an example.

actually we stormed a building... or we wanted to, they were waiting, when we came down the street they opened the door and let loose with a volley.

Eldariel
2009-09-24, 04:06 AM
Well, any high-level full-BAB character is going to be reasonably effective with a bow, just not amazing. You still get all your iterative attacks and you probably have a half-decent Dexterity if you make a career of standing on the front lines. A +5 (or whatever) mighty composite longbow is less than 1,000 gold, which isn't much at that level and gets steadily less significant as you keep levelling.

Well, without a huge feat focus, there isn't gonna be much efficiency. I had a level 13 Dervish who happened to have insane Dex & Str (out of necessity) and didn't have a magical means of flight due to...well, circumstances. Cue Blue Dragon hunting, figuring we'd be a good snack. As a Dervish, he of course had to burn all his feats on just getting into the class and being decent. Therefore, he naturally didn't have any Archery-focused feats.

My Dervish breaks out his bow (+8 Str) and shoots the Dragon a few times...missing most 'cause Dragons have pretty good AC and he had no bonuses with the bow, and hitting once or twice, for like 20 damage out of the 300-400 it had. In other words, he did absolutely Jack ****; barely tickled the damn thing.

After burning his daily charges of Celestial Armor, he also had to play the stupid Archery-crap with certain skirmisher Demon and that fight lasted a good 20 rounds before the Demon decided that it got bored 'cause neither side was DOING anything to each other. Had the Dervish been able to get into melee range, the Demon would've promptly gotten chopped into pieces. Just...the damage output of 1d8+8 is so pitiful compared to 1d6+8+4d6 Skirmish+1d6 Deadly Defense+2d6 weapon abilities, especially when the attack bonus is lower too.


This is my principal gripe with the system; if you end up against a level appropriate encounter you'd need to use a bow on and you haven't focused most of your feats on being good with a bow, you're gonna suck (at the VERY least, you need Rapid Shot).

Furthermore, if you haven't at least gotten +1 Holy bow with few elementals (or Splitting out of Core), your damage is gonna suck anyways. I can take a standard Spiked Chain and deal a lot of damage with it just 'cause of Power Attack, but when I take a standard Bow, even one made for my Str with high base Dex, it's just not gonna do much unless I have at least Knowledge Devotion & Ranged Weapon Mastery & Rapid Shot.

Obviously this problem truly starts to manifest around level 7-8 or so; the dozen points of damage you can do with a bow will be fine early on, but as the enemies get tougher with bow damage growing only negligibly while To Hit actually drops comparably (due to no Dex-focus & al.), it just doesn't cut it.

Curmudgeon
2009-09-24, 05:21 AM
Wear gauntlets and throw daggers.
Best of both worlds, only lose a couple points of damage.
Who cares about weapon damage? Most of a Rogue's damage comes from sneak attack. The important thing is that you can fail to hit because daggers have sucky range. You can sneak attack at 30', but daggers are -6 to hit at that distance -- whereas bows have no such penalty.

Using thrown daggers is a really bad idea if you're trying for sneak attack. Always keep in mind the First Rule of Sneak Attack:

If you don't hit, your sneak attack damage is zero.

Saph
2009-09-24, 05:30 AM
After burning his daily charges of Celestial Armor, he also had to play the stupid Archery-crap with certain skirmisher Demon and that fight lasted a good 20 rounds before the Demon decided that it got bored 'cause neither side was DOING anything to each other. Had the Dervish been able to get into melee range, the Demon would've promptly gotten chopped into pieces.

Well, I dunno Eld, that MIGHT have been why he didn't close into melee range in the first place, ya think? :smalltongue:

Set
2009-09-24, 05:41 AM
Fairly regularly, encounters start within range of a missle weapon, but not within charge distance, so that surprise round 'free attack' will have to be with a ranged weapon, if you've got one. And there are plenty of situations where a missile weapon is important (on a boat, firing down at sahuagin, repelling stirges or harpies, firing across a chasm in the underdark, or at a drider hanging upside on the ceiling of the cavern tossing spells at you, etc).

There are tons of 'have your wizard cast fly on you' or 'have your wizard dispel their flight' answers here, but the character shouldn't be dependent on another characters spells to be useful. Every round your Fighter stands around with his thumb up his butt, waiting for the Wizard to cast fly on him (or dispel magic on the foes) is another round where you're character is a very expensive, highly-trained paperweight.

Just because you can't fly or cast dispel magic, doesn't mean that you have to *deliberately* be useless in a given encounter...

Eldariel
2009-09-24, 06:39 AM
Well, I dunno Eld, that MIGHT have been why he didn't close into melee range in the first place, ya think? :smalltongue:

That doesn't at all help my annoyance regarding the comparative efficiency of low-investment midlevel melee & ranged combat :smallfrown:

Seriously, had Belegalad just had bloody one charge left on the Celestial Armor (it was an enhanced model with 3 charges per day), he woulda had no trouble mincemeating the Demon, but immediately when forced to switch to arrows, he was little more than a commoner.

Bow is nice and all, but having a bow and the option to actually contribute with it in combat would be what I'd be after; levels 1-5 or so, it's no problem as 1d8+Str tends to be plenty sufficient but right after that, bow damage stops growing while HP keeps on scaling and the stupid Bow becomes more of a relic than an actual tool.

Oslecamo
2009-09-24, 06:44 AM
Bow is nice and all, but having a bow and the option to actually contribute with it in combat would be what I'd be after; levels 1-5 or so, it's no problem as 1d8+Str tends to be plenty sufficient but right after that, bow damage stops growing while HP keeps on scaling and the stupid Bow becomes more of a relic than an actual tool.

The quick archer handbook for mid-high levels:
1-Ask the party's wizard/cleric to chain GMW it every morning alongside the rest of the party weaponry.
2-Carry some cold iron, silver and adamantine arrows to deal with that pesky DR.
3-If you're a melee dude, why don't you have haste yet? MORE DAKKA!
3-Burn a couple feats in point blanck shot and rapid shot. They add quite a punch to your archery skills, and they're not such an heavy investment at high levels.

Eldariel
2009-09-24, 06:50 AM
3-Burn a couple feats in point blanck shot and rapid shot. They add quite a punch to your archery skills.

See, that's the problem. Melee guys rarely have extra feats to burn on getting Rapid Shot (let alone two). They also rarely have the money to burn on an enchanted bow, so they basically can't go with the ways archers actually deal damage (though in Core, the 2-level Ranger-dip to get Rapid Shot is very doable since you run out of solid Warrior-type levels to take anyways).

Yeah, Greater Magic Weapon is nice if available, but woefully insufficient without other buffs; Haste is a given, but again, you need damage boosters to make it work out. Flame Arrow would help, but that's another 3rd level slot the Wizard uses for a scenario that most likely won't come up in the first place; rather prepare Fly and send the Fighter skyhigh to actually deal damage instead of trying to pump their Bow damage.

Kaiyanwang
2009-09-24, 07:56 AM
Well, as a DM, I fixed it "turnin a blind eye" on the WBL regarding ranged weapons after a while. At Epic, even for melee weapons and armors - but it works, in an extent.

I agree: is not too simple take even few ranged weapon feats, even with fighters, because you must throw all your resources in your build, expecially in an optimized game.

This is annoying because improving this would lead to far more versatile and fun PC, but not more powerful.

Said this, unless you play in a very optimized game, I've seen that a full ranged attack on a debuffed enemy or a crit with a composite bow could not turn the table, but at least be of relevance. Special weapons "procs" like poisons or enhancements (like the COOOOOOL one that brings dimentional anchor) could be useful too.

Person_Man
2009-09-24, 09:12 AM
Things to do if you're a melee build, and your party is attacked by ranged enemies:

1) Counter-attack: This is really only an option at very low levels (when it doesn't matter if your composite bow is magical or not) or high levels (when the Batman Wizard can pretty much cover things by himself if he has to). The real crunch occurs at mid levels, when 1d8ish damage per attack won't do much, and you don't have easy access to high level spells. So consider...

2) Roleplaying. Someone in your party should always have maxed out ranks in Sense Motive and some combination of Bluff, Intimidate, and Diplomacy. Use them. Assuming your DM is not running your D&D game like a video game, most enemies should have a motivation. They want your money, or are guarding something, or are under the control of someone (that they may or may not like). If you speak to their self interest, you can often get out of or delay combat. You can even offer to surrender, drop your (non-magical) weapons, and then kill them when they go to tie you up. And if that doesn't work, there are always...

3) Potions: A Potion of Invisibility costs 300 gp. There is no reason everyone in the party shouldn't carry one by level 2. Drink one, and then slowly walk away to a pre-determined rendezvous point. Similarly, a potion of Fly costs only 750 gp, and should get you close enough to fight back.

sombrastewart
2009-09-24, 09:34 AM
There's no reason to ever not carry at least a sling. Slings are free, ammo is dirt cheap and there's no encumbrance for the sling alone, and just pick up some rocks. It's especially useful for rogues and sneak attack, but there's no reason to not at have at least that.

Keld Denar
2009-09-24, 09:42 AM
You can say what you want. Higher levels, bows just don't matter. You are better off waiting till your caster does something to bring you into the encounter, either by casting fly on you, or by grounding the foe, or by teleporting you into full attack range or whatever. Sure, you might shoot a couple times. You might do a couple damage. You might feel like you are contributing...but in reality, you are WASTING actions, especially if something you weren't expecting happens, and you are caught without your melee weapon in hand, missing out on a full attack or an AoO because you wanted to "contribute". Delay and trust your casters to do something, or activate a standard action magic item to give you a combat advantage when you actually DO get to melee, like the Belt that gives you Enlarge Person or your Celestial Armor or potions or ANYTHING ELSE.

Chances are, if you invested resources (feats/cash/item slots/spells/whatever) to be backup archer, you could have invested those resources in other things that will make you viable in melee regardless of circumstances. If you took the cash you spent on an expensive back up weapon and got Celestial Armor, or Wings of Flying, or a Phoenix Cloak, or even Boots of Flying, you'd be WAY better off. Or if you got Aporter armor, a Bolt Shirt, or Boots of Big Stepping, or any of the other sources of short range teleportation.

And I almost NEVER advocate charging. This goes double against something that is larger than you. Unless you are a shocktroopering leaping pouncer and you've accurately deduced that you can kill anything you charge at, its better to wait for big bruiser enemies to close. That way, they DON'T get to full attack, and you do. They DON'T get AoOs, and you might. Its action advantage, and a smart melee character should always weigh his actions or prepared to get killed. Wait for your foes to close, or wait for your casters to shut down, lock up, disable, or otherwise neutralize the enemy so you can clean it up, or wait for your casters to empower you with the ability to engage the enemy via flight or teleportation or whatever.

If you WANT to be an archer, thats fine and dandy. Don't do it poorly. Get your archer items, get your archer feats, get your archer class abilities. Contribute at any range. I'm playing an archer in a game, and its fun. If you aren't an archer, don't waste your time to do it poorly. Diversify your gear, but not into the realm of half-ass archery.

Also, Curmudgeon...you mathed wrong. If you are throwing a dagger in Sneak Attack range, you're looking at a -4 penalty. Daggers have a range increment of 10', and your first range increment is always free (otherwise ALL ranged attacks would suffer at least -2). So, out to 10', no penalty, out to 20' -2 penalty, out to 30' -4 penalty. Past 30', doesn't matter, since your 1d4+1 dagger isn't gonna contribute anything meaningful.

taltamir
2009-09-24, 10:04 AM
Originally Posted by Saph
Well, any high-level full-BAB character is going to be reasonably effective with a bow, just not amazing. You still get all your iterative attacks and you probably have a half-decent Dexterity if you make a career of standing on the front lines. A +5 (or whatever) mighty composite longbow is less than 1,000 gold, which isn't much at that level and gets steadily less significant as you keep levelling.

Back in the day, I tried MANY different archer builds (admittedly, most on NWN though)... first i tried the stereotypical ones... like rogue, etc... but then I realized that full BAB is just so so so much better for an archer. Or anyone isn't magic dealing actually.

Keld Denar
2009-09-24, 10:25 AM
Cleric and Archivist are actually 2 of the best archer classes in the game, especially at mid to higher levels. This is mostly because they can cast Divine Power to give them full BAB (and the iteratives that go with it). More attacks = more damage, especially for an archer.

Curmudgeon
2009-09-24, 11:17 AM
Also, Curmudgeon...you mathed wrong. If you are throwing a dagger in Sneak Attack range, you're looking at a -4 penalty. Daggers have a range increment of 10', and your first range increment is always free (otherwise ALL ranged attacks would suffer at least -2). So, out to 10', no penalty, out to 20' -2 penalty, out to 30' -4 penalty. Past 30', doesn't matter, since your 1d4+1 dagger isn't gonna contribute anything meaningful. No, I didn't get it wrong; you did. I specified 30' range, which is still (just barely) within the bounds for sneak attack.
Range Increment

Any attack at less than this distance is not penalized for range. However, each full range increment imposes a cumulative -2 penalty on the attack roll. Daggers have a 10' range. That means at less than 10' there's no penalty, but at the full increment (10' distance) there's a -2 penalty. At 30' the penalty is 3 increments, or -6.

Triaxx
2009-09-24, 11:35 AM
I always plan to carry a few Javelin's, and later a single Returning Javelin. Not a lot of damage, but more than just a bow.

Keld Denar
2009-09-24, 12:44 PM
Either you are counting your squares wrong, or the game is even more messed up that I thought.

Adjacent to you is a 5' square. Everything within that square is less than 5' away. Unless your target is a stationary 2 dimensional plane at the furthest end of your reach, you can hit it.

Past that is another 5' square. Everything in that square is between 5' and 10', and again, unless your target is a 2D plane at the furthest end of that square, everything in that square is within 10', and thus not subject to range penalties.

Past that are 2 more 5' squares. These 2 squares indicate the range from 10' to 20'. Again, nothing in those squares is further than 20' away, and unless you are dealing with a 2D plane right at 20', everything in them is within 20'. The penalty is -2.

Past that are 2 more 5' squares. These 2 squares indicate the range from 20' to 30'. Again, nothing in those squares is further than 30' away, and unless you are dealing with a 2D plane right at 30', everything in them is within 30'. The penalty is -4.

So...anything within 6 squares is 30'. Anything within those 6 squares is both less than 30' and within the range of 3 range incriments, which, with the 1st one being free, imposes a -4 penalty.

Thats how range works in D&D. Otherwise you are shorting EVERYTHING by 5', and reach weapons can only strike adjacent squares and other simliarly ludacris conclusions. So yea...

Curmudgeon
2009-09-24, 04:14 PM
Either you are counting your squares wrong, or the game is even more messed up that I thought.

Adjacent to you is a 5' square. Everything within that square is less than 5' away. Unless your target is a stationary 2 dimensional plane at the furthest end of your reach, you can hit it.
Apparently you think the game is messed up, because a) your real-world calculations are wrong, since diagonal squares have parts that are 5'∙√2 (a bit more than 7') away; and b) everything one square away is defined in the game to be exactly 5' distant, and things two squares away are either 10' distant or 15' distant (if separated diagonally).
square

A square on the battle grid. A square is 1 inch on a side and represents a 5-foot-by-5-foot area. The terms "1 square" and "5 feet" are generally interchangeable.
Diagonals

When measuring distance, the first diagonal counts as 1 square, the second counts as 2 squares, the third counts as 1, the fourth as 2, and so on.

taltamir
2009-09-24, 06:16 PM
Measuring Distance
Diagonals
When measuring distance, the first diagonal counts as 1 square, the second counts as 2 squares, the third counts as 1, the fourth as 2, and so on.

You canít move diagonally past a corner (even by taking a 5-foot step). You can move diagonally past a creature, even an opponent.

You can also move diagonally past other impassable obstacles, such as pits.

Closest Creature
When itís important to determine the closest square or creature to a location, if two squares or creatures are equally close, randomly determine which one counts as closest by rolling a die.

quillbreaker
2009-09-28, 12:13 AM
You'll forgive a bit of thread necromancy, I hope. 4 days is not so old.

We were playing our 2nd edition D&D game today and we got to the BBEG of the moment, an evil druid with a small army of twig blights, an enslaved ex-paladin and an enslaved wizard. We're in the 7000 xp range or so, still quite low level.

The combat scene was a blighted evil tree with a shrine around it, complete with ionic columns around the tree in a ring. The fight starts.

My fighter-rogue-wizard is fresh out of spells and protectives. He's packing an 8 AC because of all of that (12 AC in 3rd edition terms) so I know that a half a round into the fight I'm going to be twig blight lunch.

Me : "You said there were columns?"
DM : "Yes, 10 smooth columns spaced equally about the tree."
Me : "I climb the nearest."
DM : "They're smooth. That'll be a 50% penalty."

I roll. I make it (95% climb walls). The twig blights can't come after me (-50% is a lot for an automaton without a climb speed), the druid doesn't have anything sufficiently impressive to kill me (a sling? hah!), and the ex-paladin's got sword and board and nothing else. The wizard has a crossbow and spells but she goes down first.

The net result of the fight is that our paladin is up but hurt, our cleric is down but not dead, our other mage is down but not dead (next to his familar), and our ranger is dead - and I'm untouched, balanced Legolas-style on top of an ionic pillar, having feathered everything not-twig-blight with arrows.

So maybe there's no point in a PC carrying a spare bow, but if you are a BBEG, I'd pick up a couple at the general store.

sambo.
2009-09-28, 12:30 AM
my current 'toon in a PbP is a dex-powered, Bow focused Drow who keeps a rapier on hand in case he has to get up close and personal.

gogo Weapon Finesse!

Thurbane
2009-09-28, 01:47 AM
See, that's the problem. Melee guys rarely have extra feats to burn on getting Rapid Shot (let alone two).
Eternal Wand of Heroics?

ken-do-nim
2009-09-28, 06:48 AM
I guess I would say that if you never feel the need to make some ranged attacks - particularly long-range ones - it is the DM's fault for not providing the proper variety of challenges. I absolutely love having my badguys attack from defensible positions, be it up on a ledge with boulders providing cover or from a tower through an arrow slit, or even the aforementioned flying mirror imaged wizard. I'm a big fan of 3D combats.

AD&D works a little better for this sort of thing, because cover is broken out into 25%, 50%, 75%, and 90%. Firing through an arrow slit provides 90% cover, which gives a +10 to your armor class. 3.5 if I'm not mistaken has one category of cover which gives a blanket +4. What I've found with DMing both editions is that when the players know that it is possible to jack up their armor class as high as +10, they seek cover, but with only +4 maybe it's not as big of an incentive. And certainly my badguys do it whenever possible.

paddyfool
2009-09-28, 07:35 AM
OK, so a melee-focussed character is going to be pretty sucky at range, and in 95% of encounters is going to be best off getting into reach of his melee weapons asap. However, although I'm not really an expert on higher-level 3.5 play, but might not a bow come in handy whenever you've got a good reason why you either don't want to or cannot get up close? It could be either:
- an antimagic field that zaps your ability to fly;
- you're defending a fortified location which you've decent tactical reasons not to abandon and multiple rounds before the enemy get to you;
- the result of battlefield control or being save-or-sucked reducing either your or your opponent's manoeverability;
- a bloody escort mission where you're accompanying someone who's made of glass and want to deal with any threat while it's as far away as possible; you could use arrows here to back up an outer ring of summons while you stay back to charge anything that gets too close to your albatross.

Overall, getting up close and personal with the enemy asap really isn't always going to be your best option, or even an option, at times.

technophile
2009-09-28, 08:45 AM
AD&D works a little better for this sort of thing, because cover is broken out into 25%, 50%, 75%, and 90%. 3.5 if I'm not mistaken has one category of cover which gives a blanket +4.


Varying Degrees of Cover (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatModifiers.htm#cover)

In some cases, cover may provide a greater bonus to AC and Reflex saves. In such situations the normal cover bonuses to AC and Reflex saves can be doubled (to +8 and +4, respectively). A creature with this improved cover effectively gains improved evasion against any attack to which the Reflex save bonus applies. Furthermore, improved cover provides a +10 bonus on Hide checks.
I would assume an arrow slit would definitely qualify as improved cover. :smallwink:

Lvl45DM!
2009-09-28, 09:20 AM
Taltamir you ever been in a real fight? Your IRL version works ONLY if neither are surprised and both respond with equal speed, which doesnt always happen
initiative represents swiftness of mind, body and weapon.
So your bowman might hesitate when the guy with the sword (likely in heavy armour) screams and runs full pelt at him, maybe he hesitates to find a gap in that heavy armour, slips abit with his arrow
you know reacts like a normal human being, even if he HAS been trained its not always automatic, not everybody is a quickdrawing cowboy

But as for the overall topic, you carry a bow for the same reason you carry a rope or iron spikes or...food!
youre prepared now to handle bad things.

ken-do-nim
2009-09-28, 09:44 AM
I would assume an arrow slit would definitely qualify as improved cover. :smallwink:

Thanks for the tip, I didn't know that rule.

Diamondeye
2009-09-28, 10:13 AM
Ok, why anyone thinks it would be a waste to have a bow and at least have a chance of doing something, rather than sitting around waiting for a caster to do something to allow you to attack a flying opponent (and not every situation where a bow is useful involves flying), rather than just sitting there completely wasting the actions by doing nothing is beyond me.

Getting a couple minor enchantments on a bow, like, say +1 frost, is only 8,000 GP, plenty affordable at mid-levels, and only 2,000 if you want to dispense with the frost. Is it less efficient? Well yes, but guess what? Everything doesn't have to be completely efficient all the time. You're trading away a little bit of efficiency to be able to do have broader capabilities.

It's also a bit silly to argue that you're less effective with a bow than you would be in melee against an opponent who wwon't enter melee. Well, that's why he won't. I bet if you were built for archery, he'd be closing to melee.

Even if you don't have feats for archery:

1) get a strength bow. It's cheap, really
2) get some arrows with alch. silver, adamantine, and cold iron tips. 6-12 of each ought to be enough.
3) get crystals of returning so you can switch to melee without losing actions or burning a feat

If you don't mind spending a little money, get an energy burst ability on the bow. It's a x3 multiplier so that's 2d10 extra damage if you crit. you can even save money by getting Thundering, which is only 2d8 but is only a +1 enchantment, and of course there's nothing that resists sonic.

Even if you ARE only doing 15-20 damage per round to something with 400 HP, that counts. A lot of those save-or-X spells are fairly short-ranged and your caster may be having to use longer ranged direct damage spells too, in which case you, and others in the party with bows, may be the difference between winning and TPW.

Kaiyanwang
2009-09-28, 10:31 AM
stuff

I agree! Diamondeye, seems that your avatar is saying:

"This is a bow, morons. And it works!"

Just to add a thing: looking around through splatbooks and dragon magazine , there are way to built bonebows and greatbows with an embarassing range increment.

Say a Bone Bow from frostburn.. 120 ft range increment Greatbov is 130.

Crafted with artisan craftsman: +20 ft range increment

140 -150 And I think that can be done even better. Say, swiftwing arrows, 1500 feet with only -5 to hit.

Ravens_cry
2009-09-28, 10:41 AM
I play a paladin, I carry a bow. I play a fighter, I carry a bow. I play a barbarian I carry a bow. I play a melee rogue,I carry a crossbow. There is few things more frustrating than clanging (or stealthing) over to base to base with a baddie only to have them fly away. Bows allow you to do something, keeping up enjoyment in the game. You may not have the bonuses of a ranger, but you are doing something. 1d6 or 1d8 is still usually better then bupkis.

Eldariel
2009-09-28, 11:50 AM
It's also a bit silly to argue that you're less effective with a bow than you would be in melee against an opponent who wwon't enter melee. Well, that's why he won't. I bet if you were built for archery, he'd be closing to melee.

The point is, you are so much less efficient with bow that you aren't going to make a meaningful contribution vs. level equivalent opponents. That's the heart of the issue. It's not that you're less efficient, it's that you are SO much less efficient that you might as well not bother.

8000gp isn't negligible until level ~13-14, and a Frost bow with +8 Str still only averages 16 damage vs. things you can hit (not many without archery feats) and ones that aren't resistant to Cold (many Outsiders and Dragons are, and Dragons can cast Energy Immunity to boot).


Yeah, I get it, you believe it doesn't matter how good your character is. That doesn't change the fact that if you have weak casters, and if the melee Fighter cannot close in to melee range vs. the Dragon, you're looking at a TPK. I think it's a fault of the system. I think the effort you need to be a decent archer should be much lower.

Yeah, I have no problem with a dedicated archer being a better archer than a primary melee Fighter, but I feel it takes too many resources from a primary melee Fighter to be a competent archer right now.

Curmudgeon
2009-09-28, 12:30 PM
The point is, you are so much less efficient with bow that you aren't going to make a meaningful contribution vs. level equivalent opponents. That's the heart of the issue. It's not that you're less efficient, it's that you are SO much less efficient that you might as well not bother.
Really depends on the character. A Rogue is so much less efficient closing for melee that they might as well not bother, and getting sneak attack once in the surprise round and multiple times in the next round with a bow is vastly superior. And then, unless they've got a reliable flanking partner, they're still better off keeping to the bow and spoiling enemy spells, because (a) the bow allows action against diverse targets; and (b) spellcasters aren't going to get in melee anyway.

Saph
2009-09-28, 12:33 PM
The point is, you are so much less efficient with bow that you aren't going to make a meaningful contribution vs. level equivalent opponents. That's the heart of the issue. It's not that you're less efficient, it's that you are SO much less efficient that you might as well not bother.

I think part of the problem, though, is that your standards for "meaningful contribution" are unrealistically high. I mean, your previous example of your melee character who could kill what was supposed to be a challenging opponent with one full round attack emphasises the point. If that's your baseline, then pretty much no normal attack methods are going to satisfy you.

I've seen characters use bows as a backup weapon and be fairly effective - one example would have been in my RHoD game where a couple of characters (a Fighter and a Cleric, both 7th-level) were caught alone by a strafing Manticore. The Fighter switched to her mighty composite longbow, and the Cleric switched to his crossbow, and they were able to do it enough damage to eventually kill it.

If the Fighter had been a charger build able to kill nearly any enemy in one combat round but unable to do anything else, and who hadn't brought a bow on the grounds that it "wasn't worth bothering" . . . well, things would have gone rather differently, and as far as I'm concerned it would have been her own damn fault.

Eldariel
2009-09-28, 01:20 PM
Really depends on the character. A Rogue is so much less efficient closing for melee that they might as well not bother, and getting sneak attack once in the surprise round and multiple times in the next round with a bow is vastly superior. And then, unless they've got a reliable flanking partner, they're still better off keeping to the bow and spoiling enemy spells, because (a) the bow allows action against diverse targets; and (b) spellcasters aren't going to get in melee anyway.

Obviously; I thought this thread was about primary melee combatants though. Archers are better as archers; a shock indeed.


I think part of the problem, though, is that your standards for "meaningful contribution" are unrealistically high. I mean, your previous example of your melee character who could kill what was supposed to be a challenging opponent with one full round attack emphasises the point. If that's your baseline, then pretty much no normal attack methods are going to satisfy you.

I've seen characters use bows as a backup weapon and be fairly effective - one example would have been in my RHoD game where a couple of characters (a Fighter and a Cleric, both 7th-level) were caught alone by a strafing Manticore. The Fighter switched to her mighty composite longbow, and the Cleric switched to his crossbow, and they were able to do it enough damage to eventually kill it.

If the Fighter had been a charger build able to kill nearly any enemy in one combat round but unable to do anything else, and who hadn't brought a bow on the grounds that it "wasn't worth bothering" . . . well, things would have gone rather differently, and as far as I'm concerned it would have been her own damn fault.

Yeah, I suppose level 6-7 is still in the range where the Fighter can make a meaningful contribution. I'm not really talking about chargers here though; just any focused melee type much prefers melee (obviously). Take the...level 13 example, for one. Let's assume we have a Fighter with the following:

27 Str (18 + 3 levels + 6 item)
16 Dex (14 + 2 item)

+1 Shocking Composite Longbow (+8 Str)
+1 Holy Shocking Spiked Chain


He further has the Improved Trip & Combat Reflexes-line, and since we're making a coreish type, I suppose Weapon Focus-line. Further, he has access to Boots of Speed and Greater Magic Weapon cast by a Cleric with Beads of Karma, on both weapons.

His party is now faced by an Old White Dragon (with +4 Con item, Greater Magic Fangs, Wingover, Hover, +4 Str, maybe Dex-booster, some Ability Foci/Improved Natural Armor and so on). It has 324 HP. It has obviously cast Mage Armor on itself and may have Magic Vestment or some such. This gives us an AC of ~36-37.

Now, the Fighter's melee attack is:
13 BAB + 8 Str + 4 Weapon + 2 Weapon Focus + 1 Haste = +28, for +28/+28/+23/+18 with damage 2d4+12 Str+4 Specialization+4 Weapon+3d6 Others = 2d4+20+3d6, averaging at 35.5.

So, melee +28/+28/+23/+18 for 35.5 damage. Criticals 20/x2.

His bow attack is:
13 BAB + 3 Dex + 4 Weapon + 1 Haste = +21, for +21/+21/+16/+11 with damage being 1d8+8 Str+4 Weapon+1d6 Others, averaging at 20.

So, ranged +21/+21/+16/+11 for 20 damage. Criticals 20/x3.


Given 37 AC on the Dragon, the melee has expected full attack of 60.63 and single attack (charge) of 25.72 damage. The bow full attack without increments has an expected damage output of 12.98. So the single attack charge deals twice the expected damage of a full attack. Full melee attack does some 5 times as much damage as an expected bow full attack.

Now, this is admittedly in the higher range of the expected AC (as Dragons usually tend to be), so let's take something with...AC 28 (pretty usual for these levels). We get:
- Melee full attack for 124.89 (Power Attack for 2)
- Melee charge for 42.89 (Power Attack for 4)
- Ranged full attack for 42.69

It should be bloody obvious that even not accounting for a Trip, you should rather spend two turns trying to get that melee full attack off than trying to use ranged weapons (for the record, vs. a tripped opponent, the full attack damage goes up to 150.51 and the single attack to 50.87).


You needn't ask me if I'd bother full attacking with that bloody bow. And this is not accounting for annoyances like damage reduction.

Rhiannon87
2009-09-28, 01:23 PM
The point is, you are so much less efficient with bow that you aren't going to make a meaningful contribution vs. level equivalent opponents. That's the heart of the issue. It's not that you're less efficient, it's that you are SO much less efficient that you might as well not bother.



Except for the part where sometimes your melee focused, TWF fighter whips out her composite longbow and crits the enemy wizard. Why use a bow? Because said wizard is behind two umber hulks, twenty low-level fighter mooks, and frelling wooden barricades, all of which prevent charging. You're not always going to crit the enemy wizard, of course, but you can interfere with spellcasting.

I mean, honestly, if my options are fire a bow and do a small amount of damage, or shrug my shoulders every turn and go "sorry guys, can't do anything, it's still in the air/too far away"... I'm gonna take the former every time. And you can't always rely on your caster to rectify the "in the air/far away" situation. What if your caster had the gall to focus on offensive spells rather than catering to your every whim? Or what if you're too low a level for the caster to know any spells where they can fix the problem? Or what if your caster is dead because the flying thing shot him? These aren't utterly unheard of situations, and it is always always ALWAYS better to be prepared for bad things happening than to have a character be utterly useless because the DM didn't provide a combat situation catered to their particular skillset.

Eldariel
2009-09-28, 01:29 PM
I mean, honestly, if my options are fire a bow and do a small amount of damage, or shrug my shoulders every turn and go "sorry guys, can't do anything, it's still in the air/too far away"... I'm gonna take the former every time. And you can't always rely on your caster to rectify the "in the air/far away" situation. What if your caster had the gall to focus on offensive spells rather than catering to your every whim? Or what if you're too low a level for the caster to know any spells where they can fix the problem? Or what if your caster is dead because the flying thing shot him? These aren't utterly unheard of situations, and it is always always ALWAYS better to be prepared for bad things happening than to have a character be utterly useless because the DM didn't provide a combat situation catered to their particular skillset.

Yeah, obviously it's better to have an illusion of doing something than do nothing. Just, compared to what you'd be doing without the bow, you're but a shadow of yourself.

Ravens_cry
2009-09-28, 01:51 PM
Yeah, obviously it's better to have an illusion of doing something than do nothing. Just, compared to what you'd be doing without the bow, you're but a shadow of yourself.
I'd rather be a shadow than nothing. No one is suggesting that a fighter-type who hasn't focused on it can just pick up a bow and do as well as one who has.
But it can help.
For example, I am playing a paladin. With my other fighter types we are doing quite well, seriously enjoying the Pathfinders version of Smite Evil, when the abyssal beasty literally jumps out of the fight onto the roof of a building. So I drop my falchion and plink the guy with my bow. It's enough, he's dead. Even with things like regeneration, that's a few points they still have to regenerate, making the quill shooting sun blotter of an archer more effective.
And your doing something, sitting out rounds of combat is not much fun.

Eldariel
2009-09-28, 01:53 PM
I'd rather be a shadow than nothing. No one is suggesting that a fighter-type who hasn't focused on it can just pick up a bow and do as well as one who has.
But it can help.
For example, I am playing a paladin. With my other fighter types we are doing quite well, seriously enjoying the Pathfinders version of Smite Evil, when the abyssal beasty literally jumps out of the fight onto the roof of a building. So I drop my falchion and plink the guy with my bow. It's enough, he's dead. Even with things like regeneration, that's a few points they still have to regenerate, making the quill shooting sun blotter of an archer more effective.
And your doing something, sitting out rounds of combat is not much fun.

If I was doing HALF of what I'd usually be doing, I'd have no trouble with bows. But it's not even that. You're doing like from 1/3rd to 1/6th as much damage as you'd be doing in melee, and lack the ability to inflict Trips/Disarms (lol)/Sunders (double lol)/any other conditions upon the opponent.

I don't know about you, but when I know that I just dealt 10 damage to an opponent with 300+ HP, I'm not gonna be very happy with myself. I'd take over 30 rounds to drop it, and even if allies deal a couple of hundred points of damage to it, it's still TEN FRIGGIN' ROUNDS to kill it. That's a lot.

Ravens_cry
2009-09-28, 02:18 PM
If I was doing HALF of what I'd usually be doing, I'd have no trouble with bows. But it's not even that. You're doing like from 1/3rd to 1/6th as much damage as you'd be doing in melee, and lack the ability to inflict Trips/Disarms (lol)/Sunders (double lol)/any other conditions upon the opponent.

I don't know about you, but when I know that I just dealt 10 damage to an opponent with 300+ HP, I'm not gonna be very happy with myself. I'd take over 30 rounds to drop it, and even if allies deal a couple of hundred points of damage to it, it's still TEN FRIGGIN' ROUNDS to kill it. That's a lot.
If your doing nothing, it will take ∞ rounds. That's even more.

Sure, I am not happy doing plinks, I know it's not my strength, but I feel better then watching it fly over my head and doing absolutely nothing, waiting for the DM to take pity and have it land so I can go base to base with it. If and when it does land, I will attack it, weakened from the combined efforts of all of us, (there's no 'I' in 'party') it will be that much easier, and it will feel less like the DM threw me a sop.

Curmudgeon
2009-09-28, 02:19 PM
Obviously; I thought this thread was about primary melee combatants though. Archers are better as archers; a shock indeed.
But I made no pretense of this Rogue being an archer other than by having a bow. Which is to say: no feats or dips to add anything to what the character already gets as Rogue class features. Rogues get shortbow proficiency, so use a composite shortbow.

The thing is that sneak attack works regardless of whether it's a melee or ranged attack (within the distance limit), as long as one of the triggering conditions happens. But the one condition that's almost always going to happen is enemies being flat-footed at the start of combat. And it's just stupid to squander prime opportunities for sneak attack by moving instead of attacking. (It would be equally stupid for the Rogue to focus on archery feats, when things like Craven apply to sneak attack generally.)

Later, maybe you'll have an opportunity to get into flanking position and get sneak attack from that triggering condition. However, that's dependent on the vagaries of terrain and enemy actions, which can easily foil attempts at teamwork.

Eldariel
2009-09-28, 02:29 PM
ī
But I made no pretense of this Rogue being an archer other than by having a bow. Which is to say: no feats or dips to add anything to what the character already gets as Rogue class features. Rogues get shortbow proficiency, so use a composite shortbow.

They are not melee-types either, hence their triviality in this discussion.


If your doing nothing, it will take ∞ rounds. That's even more.

Sure, I am not happy doing plinks, I know it's not my strength, but I feel better then watching it fly over my head and doing absolutely nothing, waiting for the DM to take pity and have it land so I can go base to base with it. If and when it does land, I will attack it, weakened from the combined efforts of all of us, (there's no 'I' in 'party') it will be that much easier, and it will feel less like the DM threw me a sop.

Sure, but if it's "hard" by CR and melee-types can't close into melee, it's probably a TPK; of course, casters run the show on those levels anyways, but that's besides the point. Point being, if you take 10 turns to kill the Dragon (or force it to use its Scroll of Heal anyways), chances are you are not going to be able to kill it. If you had flight and teleportation and got into melee, you could probably kill it. That's what I consider the heart of the problem.

If the difference wasn't large enough to mean that when you have to use Bow, you lose to encounters you'd beat in melee relatively consistently, I'd have no problem with it. If you dealt even half of the damage you deal in melee with the bow, I'd have no problem with it.

Rhiannon87
2009-09-28, 02:37 PM
If your doing nothing, it will take ∞ rounds. That's even more.

Sure, I am not happy doing plinks, I know it's not my strength, but I feel better then watching it fly over my head and doing absolutely nothing, waiting for the DM to take pity and have it land so I can go base to base with it. If and when it does land, I will attack it, weakened from the combined efforts of all of us, (there's no 'I' in 'party') it will be that much easier, and it will feel less like the DM threw me a sop.

Exactly. Of course it's frustrating to not be able to fight with your strength, but sometimes it happens. It's realistic that sometimes it happens-- not every fight is going to be perfectly geared towards a given character's strength. And you should be prepared for those fights where you can't play to your strength away if at all. It's why our fighters carry bows, why our rogue carries a variety of daggers to help him get past DR (if he can't sneak attack the construct, then by god he will do 1d4+3 damage to it with an adamantine dagger because every little bit helps), and why our archer carries a longsword. Sometimes situations arise where you can't do what you're best at, and it's better to at least do something instead of nothing at all.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-09-28, 02:42 PM
But very often it's not a dichotomy like that. The choice isn't just between archery and inaction. In many cases, with sufficient effort, you can make the move to engage in melee, which is more effective and possibly more efficient.

Curmudgeon
2009-09-28, 02:44 PM
They are not melee-types either, hence their triviality in this discussion.
The thing is, Rogues can be built for melee. Use a keen rapier with Weapon Finesse. Dip into Shadowdancer for Hide in Plain Sight and full attack while hiding to get sneak attack on every in-their-face blow. Buy Bracers of Striking because they grant Improved Unarmed Strike cheaply, and add Snap Kick for more attacks. That's a pretty solid Rogue build that focuses on melee.

But then you still want to walk around with a bow to use at the start of every combat. Even if you're great at melee, you don't squander perfectly good opportunities to do sneak attack damage.

Tyndmyr
2009-09-28, 02:45 PM
The purpose of this advice isn't to advocate using the bow often...it's simply a general one of being prepared for situations in which your usual combos are ineffective. It doesn't have to be a literal bow. It may be a reserve feat for a caster, so they can continue to blast if they face a very combat intensive day. It might be a backup weapon in case your magical weapon of doom gets sundered or is somehow inaccessible.

Being mostly ineffective is better than being completely ineffective.

Indon
2009-09-28, 02:53 PM
Bow is nice and all, but having a bow and the option to actually contribute with it in combat would be what I'd be after; levels 1-5 or so, it's no problem as 1d8+Str tends to be plenty sufficient but right after that, bow damage stops growing while HP keeps on scaling and the stupid Bow becomes more of a relic than an actual tool.

So in 3.x or 4E D&D (where ranged attacks are also comparatively impotent for melee due to lack of to-hit and access to powers) and your DM throws a high-level flying monster at the party, what do you expect the meleers to do, complain?

Diamondeye
2009-09-28, 02:55 PM
The point is, you are so much less efficient with bow that you aren't going to make a meaningful contribution vs. level equivalent opponents. That's the heart of the issue. It's not that you're less efficient, it's that you are SO much less efficient that you might as well not bother.

No, that isn't true. All you're doing is arbitrarily defining "meaningful" a lot higher than it actually is. You're NOWHERE NEAR so much less efficient that you shouldn't bother.


8000gp isn't negligible until level ~13-14, and a Frost bow with +8 Str still only averages 16 damage vs. things you can hit (not many without archery feats) and ones that aren't resistant to Cold (many Outsiders and Dragons are, and Dragons can cast Energy Immunity to boot).

A) You can hit plenty of things without archery feats. The only ones that give bonuses to hit are the WF/WS line which aren't weapon specific.
B) 16 damage is certainly a meaningful contribution even with an opponent with 300 hitpoints. That's 5% of its hitpoints every time you hit. Even if it's only, say, +6
C) It doesn't have to be cold, there are 5 types of energy you can put on it.
D) No one said 8,000 GP was negligable. It doesn't need to be negligable. It's also not a crippling investment even at, say 9th level, and you BUILD UP to that.


Yeah, I get it, you believe it doesn't matter how good your character is.

Strawman attack. No one said anything of the sort.


That doesn't change the fact that if you have weak casters, and if the melee Fighter cannot close in to melee range vs. the Dragon, you're looking at a TPK. I think it's a fault of the system. I think the effort you need to be a decent archer should be much lower.

If the DM is putting you up against a creature you can't effectively fight he's being a **** and the problem isn't archery. You also can't base your argument on the "if" of weak casters because then it only holds in that case, nor on dragons for the same reason. Finally, fighters DO NOT have to close to melee range to be effective, regardless of caster strength if the encounter is appropriate to the party. Doing 12-16 damage per round is a perfectly decent contribution for an encounter that is suppsoed to be non-melee centric.


Yeah, I have no problem with a dedicated archer being a better archer than a primary melee Fighter, but I feel it takes too many resources from a primary melee Fighter to be a competent archer right now.

Except that it doesn't. The problem is that you're setting the standard for 'competant' too high. This is especially true with any sort of DEX based melee build.

Knaight
2009-09-28, 02:57 PM
The rogue that works best as a melee fighter is the two weapon rogue, also optimized to get snap kick. A level in fighter for 20 is also a decent idea. Or possibly barbarian. Or Warblade, you get a stance that way.

Diamondeye
2009-09-28, 03:18 PM
But very often it's not a dichotomy like that. The choice isn't just between archery and inaction. In many cases, with sufficient effort, you can make the move to engage in melee, which is more effective and possibly more efficient.

It might be more effective or more efficient, but there's also plenty of monsters that you don't want to melee if you can kill them just fine without it. Who cares if it takes 10 rounds?

Besides, the main point here is situations where you can't get into melee. Claiming that you shouldn't carry a bow because it doesn't do a lot of damage when you have no other choice is just silly. We can clearly see that from the fact that it relies on nonsensical claims like "you only have the illusion of doing something."

Baron Corm
2009-09-28, 03:26 PM
Brutal Throw from Complete Adventurer allows you to apply your Strength bonus to attack rolls with thrown weapons.

Power Throw from the same book allows you to Power Attack with thrown weapons.

There, now you fight just as well from a distance as from close range. I do try to fit these two feats on any Power Attack build, if it has some feats to spare.

chiasaur11
2009-09-28, 03:30 PM
So in 3.x or 4E D&D (where ranged attacks are also comparatively impotent for melee due to lack of to-hit and access to powers) and your DM throws a high-level flying monster at the party, what do you expect the meleers to do, complain?

Generate jetpacks through sheer force of will.

Because Jetpacks are awesome.

Eldariel
2009-09-28, 03:36 PM
A) You can hit plenty of things without archery feats. The only ones that give bonuses to hit are the WF/WS line which aren't weapon specific.
B) 16 damage is certainly a meaningful contribution even with an opponent with 300 hitpoints. That's 5% of its hitpoints every time you hit. Even if it's only, say, +6
C) It doesn't have to be cold, there are 5 types of energy you can put on it.
D) No one said 8,000 GP was negligable. It doesn't need to be negligable. It's also not a crippling investment even at, say 9th level, and you BUILD UP to that.

You're still spending 8000 on your bow when you could be spending 8000 on something granting flight. Why?


Strawman attack. No one said anything of the sort.

It's not an attack. It's simply an observation I've made on your posts; you don't seem to care how good characters are and I respect that. It's certainly one way to play.

Maybe it's just what I read into your posts regarding Wizards. *shrug* Don't take it as an offense, I'm just acknowledging that we probably play in different ways which is probably the root cause of this disagreement in the first place.


If the DM is putting you up against a creature you can't effectively fight he's being a **** and the problem isn't archery.

See, this is where we disagree. You feel DM should always make sure the specific party is fit for a given encounter. In such a case, it doesn't matter what the party is doing. The DM is going to make sure they have the tools to beat it anyways. You can have the VoP CW Samurai/VoP Monk/VoP Truenamer/VoP Commoner party and DM will craft encounters you can beat. This is much like keeping enemy scaling on in Oblivion. You'll always face appropriate encounters no matter what, and as you grow stronger, so do the opponents.


My approach is completely different; while lower level characters are generally beyond the notice of the stronger intelligent beings and capable of avoiding the stronger less intelligent beings, I don't specifically tailor the encounters for the party and same goes for other DMs in our playgroup. If a character is going to die, he's going to die. If the party happens upon the hunting grounds of a Dragon, they just might be waylaid by the said Dragon. And the Evil Wizard doesn't always send their weakest lieutenant to deal with the PCs.

And fighting isn't always the right option; sometimes you'll have to run and hide and hope that whatever you encountered doesn't consider you worth the effort to hunt you down. And sometimes you have to bribe or bluff your way out. And sometimes...well, the dice fall as they fall. And if you don't have means to fly and to teleport, that's too damn bad 'cause the Dragon is going to shamelessly abuse this weakness. And yeah, sometimes you run into complete pushovers. Much like taking the encounter scaler off in Oblivion; you fight what you fight, not what happens to be appropriate for you.


You also can't base your argument on the "if" of weak casters because then it only holds in that case, nor on dragons for the same reason. Finally, fighters DO NOT have to close to melee range to be effective, regardless of caster strength if the encounter is appropriate to the party. Doing 12-16 damage per round is a perfectly decent contribution for an encounter that is suppsoed to be non-melee centric.

And what if the DM didn't plan the encounter as "non-melee centric"? Strafing Dragon can be approached with simple flight + teleportation. If you haven't acquired access to them, you'll be less effective which may prove fatal to the party.

Why is it ok to deal less damage in encounters that are supposed to be "non-melee centric"? Why should an encounter even be non-melee centric? Are the elusive opponents so much weaker that you can afford to drop to a quarter of your damage output and still survive?

I stated "if your caster is weak", 'cause a strong caster pulling out all the stops wouldn't really need you on those levels so it doesn't matter what you do. Sure, he could deal with the Dragon, but at that point, you wouldn't even need to be a party member. I specified weak caster 'cause if the caster is weak, you'll have to contribute too.

It's completely trivial to discuss how Fighters should or should not close into melee in high-level parties with casters not holding back as they're no more useful than some Planar Bound demon or some such; hell, Demons at least have Greater Teleport at will.


Except that it doesn't. The problem is that you're setting the standard for 'competant' too high. This is especially true with any sort of DEX based melee build.

Dex-focused melee build isn't gonna be able to deal damage with a bow. I fail to see your point here. Only extremely high Dex & Str-type is going to have both, decent To Hit and Damage and even then, their melee is going to be vastly superior simply due to feat investment.

Is it really too much to assume half my performance in an area other than my focus? Honestly, half. That already means it takes twice as long for me to accomplish anything; I think it's a handicap enough.



So in 3.x or 4E D&D (where ranged attacks are also comparatively impotent for melee due to lack of to-hit and access to powers) and your DM throws a high-level flying monster at the party, what do you expect the meleers to do, complain?

For 3.5? I expect them to find a way to close into melee. I don't care if you have to run into a dungeon 1000 miles away where you can force the opponent to give up chase or close into melee, or if you have to burrow underground with your hands until it closes in, I expect them to find some way to encounter the flying beast on terms where they can accomplish something. Easiest is of course acquiring magical flight themselves.

For 4.0? I expect them to whine to the DM until he makes the big bad boogeyman go away.

Diamondeye
2009-09-28, 03:36 PM
Brutal Throw from Complete Adventurer allows you to apply your Strength bonus to attack rolls with thrown weapons.

Power Throw from the same book allows you to Power Attack with thrown weapons.

There, now you fight just as well from a distance as from close range. I do try to fit these two feats on any Power Attack build, if it has some feats to spare.
yeah, as long as minor inconveniences like RANGE don't enter into it.

gdiddy
2009-09-28, 03:38 PM
I had a charger with 4 levels of ranger, mostly for animal companion.

At various points, Rapid Shot, house-ruled called shots, and a Keen Composite Longbow make for awesome moments.

GM: "G, what are you doing?"

G: "Four Called shot- Eyes" *Two misses and two crits.* "Can each be in a different socket?"

GM: "Yes. Yes they can. However, you are fighting a Destrachan."

G: "Ohhhh..."

Optimized? No. But it made him more than viable when people started flying all the time.

Ravens_cry
2009-09-28, 04:10 PM
You're still spending 8000 on your bow when you could be spending 8000 on something granting flight. Why?

Because flight has a speed limit.
Arrows don't. Or have it both ways, get a strength bow, cheap at the levels where 8000 gold can be spent on a secondary weapon, AND a flying item. There, now you can plink it all the way in, and then go for the slice and dice, bash and smash, or chop and lop. You're not running around the map not doing your full attack, your moving when needed, and only then. And if it dies before you came to full grips with it, who cares? You contributed, and it's dead.

Indon
2009-09-28, 05:16 PM
For 3.5? I expect them to find a way to close into melee. I don't care if you have to run into a dungeon 1000 miles away where you can force the opponent to give up chase or close into melee, or if you have to burrow underground with your hands until it closes in, I expect them to find some way to encounter the flying beast on terms where they can accomplish something. Easiest is of course acquiring magical flight themselves.
Unless the opponent flies faster - most magical items that offer flight do not offer high speeds.

Though, I imagine a shock trooper with an adamantine weapon could ground-sunder himself a cave pretty quick. Stone only has 15 HP per inch of thickness, after all.


For 4.0? I expect them to whine to the DM until he makes the big bad boogeyman go away.

Fair enough.

Ostien
2009-09-28, 05:37 PM
I think part of the problem is that some people feel that an encounter should always use everyone's primary ability to it's fullest extent. This is just not how it works, and for good reason. A game in which everyone is able to contribute equally all the time would get boring after a while. It takes all the fun out of having a unique character. Say there is a flying opponent, well the melle fighter won't be able to close in but perhaps there is an archer in the group or a wizard that can blast it. Sure the fighter won't be that effective but they will be when you have to have them tank it up on the minotaur. The DM can set up encounters that will exemplify each players strength at one time or another.

Rogues will suck going up against things like constructs, but they can still have an adamantine dagger so they can do something, even 1d4+. Not all players can be perfectly useful all the time. Having a party that relies on each other is more fun the basically a group of individuals all wanting to show how much they are awesome. Sometimes the fighter has to suck it up with flying, and the then ranged ones have the spotlight. Sometimes the wizard has to suck it up because of SR, and have the fighter paste that pesky caster.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-09-28, 05:47 PM
Rogues will suck going up against things like constructs, but they can still have an adamantine dagger so they can do something, even 1d4+.

This is an unusual example, because the Nd4 damage dealt would likely be meager compared to the X extra damage dealt to the rogue which then must be healed.

Segial
2009-09-28, 05:55 PM
Ranged > Melee. Check out the Battle of Agincourt if you dont believe me.

D&D wise, I always go for having the option of ranged combat. I would even go for a ranged weapon over the ability to fly with no ranged option. The thing is not only that you can hit flying people with it, there are just some things you need to kill out there you dont really want to get to close to, either because they have some weird aura that sucks out your soul, or drives you mad or some other nasty thing, or because it really hurts hitting them with melee weapons (fire shield anyone?) or because it is very unhealthy to stand before then (swallow whole). With a bow you can do something against those, without you are just useless and deserve to go insane, roasted or eaten.

Eldariel
2009-09-28, 05:56 PM
I think part of the problem is that some people feel that an encounter should always use everyone's primary ability to it's fullest extent. This is just not how it works, and for good reason. A game in which everyone is able to contribute equally all the time would get boring after a while. It takes all the fun out of having a unique character. Say there is a flying opponent, well the melle fighter won't be able to close in but perhaps there is an archer in the group or a wizard that can blast it. Sure the fighter won't be that effective but they will be when you have to have them tank it up on the minotaur. The DM can set up encounters that will exemplify each players strength at one time or another.

Rogues will suck going up against things like constructs, but they can still have an adamantine dagger so they can do something, even 1d4+. Not all players can be perfectly useful all the time. Having a party that relies on each other is more fun the basically a group of individuals all wanting to show how much they are awesome. Sometimes the fighter has to suck it up with flying, and the then ranged ones have the spotlight. Sometimes the wizard has to suck it up because of SR, and have the fighter paste that pesky caster.

The question is, is this right? Casters obviously have no trouble contributing regardless of the opponent, but that's more of a fault intristic to 3.5 than a conscious design choice; to me it seems like Spell Resistance was at least intended to be a hurdle for casters (and then they print a thousand ways around it and make the most efficient Wizard-spells SR: No...).

Should characters have to be almost completely useless vs. some challenges? Drop in efficiency I can accept; as I've said again and again, I wouldn't complain about this if you'd be at 50% while using a bow. It's the same with the Rogue though; a level ~11 Rogue deals ~20 points of damage per attack with Sneak Attack and about 6 with weapon damage (assuming Daggers/Short Swords with maximum enhancement). Denying him the Sneak Attack damage doesn't make him weaker, it makes him useless damage-wise. Now, the good news is that Rogue has Use Magic Device in class which always gives him something to do, but still, is it really a goal worth pursuing that some players could just join the peanut gallery as their mighty hero's contribution to the combat is something akin to a level 1 Warrior's.

Again, I feel the Rogue should be getting half his SA against normally immune opponents at least when flanking (Penetrating Strike does just that) and with some Knowledges/whatever (right now only certain out-of-core magic items and spells offer this), be able to SA against anything. It's not the same problem, but I feel Rogue going to get a pizza while the rest fight a Golem just isn't a good way to run the game.


Now, as touched upon above, this doesn't happen with Rogue 'cause of Use Magic Device, but overall my thesis is thus: When characters are faced with an adversary they are weak against, they shouldn't drop to under half their normal efficiency, since at that point their contributions in a level appropriate encounter begin to be small enough to not likely make a meaningful difference in the number of rounds the party survives/it takes for them to kill the opponent.

Carrying the bow is nice, but if you deal 12 damage per turn to the Dragon while others are dealing 50, it's fully possible that independent of your efforts, the Dragon will come down in the exact same number of turns it would've taken without you. I feel this isn't good for the game and I've personally made a conscious choice in my own games to make it cheaper to purchase the archery-line feats (mostly removing the entirely pointless PBS) and to make feats more available, along with using homebrew ToB school for archery making it easier to acquire some incidental archery skills.

Focused archer is still better than a non-focused one, of course, but I feel with this change martial characters just splashing archery skills will get something out of the deal. I also allow Rogues to deal Ĺ SA damage to normally immune opponents. My own experience is that the game is better when the variance in character efficiency isn't large enough to render their contributions in some combat encounters trivial; I feel it important that everyone can do something at any given time and feel like they're making a difference. Casters need no help in this as their spell lists + scrolls offer solutions or at least efficient tools to anything that could possibly come up within the realms of mortal adversaries, but martial types need all the help they can get since they're naturally so limited in scope of ability.

Ostien
2009-09-28, 06:13 PM
Then have everyone build the same class... :smalltongue:

But seriously, specialization is part of the interesting part. Also its not like a DM can never screw over a caster :smalltongue: (especially if they don't accept every eratta and sometimes tell a caster "NO"). Yeah there are things like penetrating strike (though iirc it only is against undead not constructs), but that is part of specialization, you have to sacrifice trap sense to get that (again iirc). A good DM will make interesting encounters for everyone character, but not necessarily at the same time. Sometime the rogue, or whatever class, needs a big hug from the party because they would be worse off otherwise.

Diamondeye
2009-09-28, 06:20 PM
The question is, is this right? Casters obviously have no trouble contributing regardless of the opponent, but that's more of a fault intristic to 3.5 than a conscious design choice; to me it seems like Spell Resistance was at least intended to be a hurdle for casters (and then they print a thousand ways around it and make the most efficient Wizard-spells SR: No...).

Of course it's right. It would be bad for verssimilitude, and in fact downright silly if opponents always fought in such a way as to allow characters to use their strengths to best advantage.


Should characters have to be almost completely useless vs. some challenges? Drop in efficiency I can accept; as I've said again and again, I wouldn't complain about this if you'd be at 50% while using a bow. It's the same with the Rogue though; a level ~11 Rogue deals ~20 points of damage per attack with Sneak Attack and about 6 with weapon damage (assuming Daggers/Short Swords with maximum enhancement). Denying him the Sneak Attack damage doesn't make him weaker, it makes him useless damage-wise. Now, the good news is that Rogue has Use Magic Device in class which always gives him something to do, but still, is it really a goal worth pursuing that some players could just join the peanut gallery as their mighty hero's contribution to the combat is something akin to a level 1 Warrior's.

No, it doesn't make him useless. As long as he does even 1 point of damage he's not useless. As for whether characters "should be useless" against some encounters, they aren't. Getting that little bit of damage in is useful, and no, the DM should not make it so every encounter allows everyone to do their main thing.

Besides, it doesn't address the main point. Arguing that there "shouldn't" be encounters where characters do a lot less damage because they have to use a bow isn't an argument against having one if such an encounter does happen


Again, I feel the Rogue should be getting half his SA against normally immune opponents at least when flanking (Penetrating Strike does just that) and with some Knowledges/whatever (right now only certain out-of-core magic items and spells offer this), be able to SA against anything. It's not the same problem, but I feel Rogue going to get a pizza while the rest fight a Golem just isn't a good way to run the game.

Except that he shouldn't be doing that. he should be contributing whatever damage he can. A player who "goes to get a pizza" because he isn't doing major damage in one fight is just having a tantrum.


Now, as touched upon above, this doesn't happen with Rogue 'cause of Use Magic Device, but overall my thesis is thus: When characters are faced with an adversary they are weak against, they shouldn't drop to under half their normal efficiency, since at that point their contributions in a level appropriate encounter begin to be small enough to not likely make a meaningful difference in the number of rounds the party survives/it takes for them to kill the opponent.

That isn't true at all.


Carrying the bow is nice, but if you deal 12 damage per turn to the Dragon while others are dealing 50, it's fully possible that independent of your efforts, the Dragon will come down in the exact same number of turns it would've taken without you. I feel this isn't good for the game and I've personally made a conscious choice in my own games to make it cheaper to purchase the archery-line feats (mostly removing the entirely pointless PBS) and to make feats more available, along with using homebrew ToB school for archery making it easier to acquire some incidental archery skills.

Except that off-the-cuff numbers like "you're doing 12 everyone else is doing 50 per round" don't mean anything. Frequently, the 12 damage WILL make a difference because everyone else won't be doing 50, but more like 30-35, and that's only going to be an average because a dragon will most likely make at least SOME saving throws, get missed by ranged touch, etc.


Focused archer is still better than a non-focused one, of course, but I feel with this change martial characters just splashing archery skills will get something out of the deal. I also allow Rogues to deal Ĺ SA damage to normally immune opponents. My own experience is that the game is better when the variance in character efficiency isn't large enough to render their contributions in some combat encounters trivial; I feel it important that everyone can do something at any given time and feel like they're making a difference. Casters need no help in this as their spell lists + scrolls offer solutions or at least efficient tools to anything that could possibly come up within the realms of mortal adversaries, but martial types need all the help they can get since they're naturally so limited in scope of ability.

That's all dandy, but it really just speaks to unrealistic expectations on your part. You've just picked this arbitrary "50% to contribute" level. I don't see any reason to accept that. Casters? Well, if casters actually worked in practice like people claim on this board, no one would even be playing melee to have this debate in the first place.

Eldariel
2009-09-28, 06:36 PM
Of course it's right. It would be bad for verssimilitude, and in fact downright silly if opponents always fought in such a way as to allow characters to use their strengths to best advantage.

...how is doing HALF the damage you'd normally be doing playing into your strengths? I don't ever recall suggesting that there should be no variety at all in character efficiency between encounters.


No, it doesn't make him useless. As long as he does even 1 point of damage he's not useless. As for whether characters "should be useless" against some encounters, they aren't. Getting that little bit of damage in is useful, and no, the DM should not make it so every encounter allows everyone to do their main thing.

Besides, it doesn't address the main point. Arguing that there "shouldn't" be encounters where characters do a lot less damage because they have to use a bow isn't an argument against having one if such an encounter does happen

Except that he shouldn't be doing that. he should be contributing whatever damage he can. A player who "goes to get a pizza" because he isn't doing major damage in one fight is just having a tantrum.

Well, your definition of "useful" is different from mine which reduces this to a semantic argument. As such...well, all your arguments boil down to "he's useful 'cause he's doing something" and thus...well, I don't care 'cause I don't consider dealing 1 or 16 damage to a 300 HP opponent useful.

We'll either have to agree to disagree on the definition or we can keep banging our collective heads to a brick wall accomplishing absolutely nothing. I'm going to agree to disagree starting now.


Except that off-the-cuff numbers like "you're doing 12 everyone else is doing 50 per round" don't mean anything. Frequently, the 12 damage WILL make a difference because everyone else won't be doing 50, but more like 30-35, and that's only going to be an average because a dragon will most likely make at least SOME saving throws, get missed by ranged touch, etc.

You're right, they'll be dealing more than that on average. I just don't want to crunch the numbers when the general picture is obvious without wasting time.


That's all dandy, but it really just speaks to unrealistic expectations on your part. You've just picked this arbitrary "50% to contribute" level. I don't see any reason to accept that. Casters? Well, if casters actually worked in practice like people claim on this board, no one would even be playing melee to have this debate in the first place.

I picked 50% 'cause that means you do in 2 rounds what you normally do in 1 round. So if you normally kill an opponent in 4 rounds, you now do it in 8 rounds. That's already a huge handicap; taking twice as long to kill something means it has much more time to escape, heal itself up or kill party members.

Yes, what I really mean is "approximately half of their normal performance still allows them to contribute while clearly cutting to their capabilities", but I don't need to spell that out 'cause it's bloody obvious when discussing not-completely-quantifiable things like character efficiency.

It just so happens that with halved SA damage to immune opponents, Rogue functions at 50%. Approximately half of a caster's arsenal generally allows SR so while their efficiency isn't really affected, their options are cut by about 50%. The number seems to be built into the system already. For a reason or another though (well, simply due to the way the Feat-system is built and its lack of versatility) it doesn't apply to melee warriors having to deal with opponents not reachable by melee.


As for casters, why wouldn't people play melee? Last I checked, people made archetype choices on other basis too than just mechanical efficiency; even people who do optimize generally first pick a concept and then work out the best mechanical representation for it, which means they might end up with non-casters in games too (*gasp*) even though they'd be stronger as casters. Of course casters work as discussed on these boards; we're using the same rule set. Just, not everyone uses them to the "basic optimal level" (not banning Illusion/Conjuration/Transmutation, picking the SoDs on low levels and control effects midway through with the best defensive effects over the course) which might make people believe "it doesn't happen".

That's bull****; it happening is written all over the rules and really has nothing to do with anyone's personal experiences. If you haven't seen midlevel casters vastly outperform non-casters, congratulations; you're either playing with people who intentionally take care to keep the game fair and fun for everyone or you're playing with people who haven't read through the PHB spell lists. That doesn't change any of the problems with the rules though.

Rhiannon87
2009-09-28, 06:49 PM
Yeah, it seems like the major issue is a difference in definition of what's useful. The group I'm in has a mantra of "damage is damage", doesn't matter how much or how little. You're harming the damn thing, even just a little. We also have a joke about "Brianing" enemies (named after a guy who did this frequently): leaving an enemy with one hit point. Those little bits of damage certainly matter, especially in a system like 3.5, where you're operating at full functionality as long as you have even one hit point; the rogue doing 1d4+3 can be the difference between a monster going down or being able to full attack/cast a spell/eat someone.

The argument for carrying backup weapons, no matter what your standard focus, is based on this, I think. And better to do some kind of damage (or provide support so that others can do better damage) than whine about how this battle doesn't let you do your awesome specialized thing and so you'll do nothing at all.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-09-28, 06:58 PM
the rogue doing 1d4+3 can be the difference between a monster going down or being able to full attack/cast a spell/eat someone.

The rogue entering into melee and potentially dieing can be the difference between a total party wipe and a mass-resurrection after escaping from the golem...

Ravens_cry
2009-09-28, 07:08 PM
Another good use for bows for focused melee builds is when another melee type is too far away or at the wrong angle to charge. You plunk away at him, and when he starts getting toward you, almost any hit points you take away on their way over are hit points you don't have to take away when you're toe to toe. Or if they have regeneration a buffer to keep the damage of the more focused range guys damage in effect. But most of all, it's a moral issue, for the player that is. No one likes sitting out a round because they can't do anything even if it is almost symbolic. Even if the ranged attackers mostly did the work, those 3 d6 arrows say you helped. Play your strengths when you can and contribute as best you can when you can't.
And that can help keep the game fun. Which is why we play it.

technophile
2009-09-28, 07:37 PM
This is an unusual example, because the Nd4 damage dealt would likely be meager compared to the X extra damage dealt to the rogue which then must be healed.

Even an unintelligent construct is going to ignore the rogue chipping away at its ankle in favor of whoever is digging a hole in its chest with an adamantine greatsword. The rogue will be fine.

Ostien
2009-09-28, 07:39 PM
The rogue entering into melee and potentially dieing can be the difference between a total party wipe and a mass-resurrection after escaping from the golem...

*Looks at AC of 32* (touch of 20 and flat-footed of 26, Wearing NO armor. Invisible Blade FTW) Guess this does not matter :smalltongue:

Rogues do it from behind and in melee. *bow chica wow wow* :smallamused:

Diamondeye
2009-09-28, 07:49 PM
...how is doing HALF the damage you'd normally be doing playing into your strengths? I don't ever recall suggesting that there should be no variety at all in character efficiency between encounters.

It's not. That's the point. From where I sit, even though you claim not to want to avoid variety it sounds like you DO strip a lot of the variety out de facto by nullifying certain monster advantages such as immunity to sneak attack and by bumping archery way up in damage. I'm not philisophically opposed to an increase in archery damage per se since inability to power attack with it alone is a major problem, but I would definitely at least boost the HP of monsters that relied on maintaining range.


Well, your definition of "useful" is different from mine which reduces this to a semantic argument. As such...well, all your arguments boil down to "he's useful 'cause he's doing something" and thus...well, I don't care 'cause I don't consider dealing 1 or 16 damage to a 300 HP opponent useful.

I don't consider it as useful as being able to do MORE damage, but what you keep missing is that when that's the only thing you CAN do, it's useful, compared to sitting around doing nothing or pursuing absurd strategies like burrowing to get the mob to follow you.


We'll either have to agree to disagree on the definition or we can keep banging our collective heads to a brick wall accomplishing absolutely nothing. I'm going to agree to disagree starting now.

Fair enough


You're right, they'll be dealing more than that on average. I just don't want to crunch the numbers when the general picture is obvious without wasting time.

No, no they probably won't be dealing more than that. The real likely number per round for a caster is less than 50 HP until you get up to higher levels and even then they have to either A) be a sorcerer focused on blasting or warmage or B) have focused a lot on evocation, which may or may not be the case. This isn't even getting into if the caster has banned evocation, is a beguiler, is a cleric, is a duskblade (with lower spell levels and therefore lower save DCs) and so forth.


I picked 50% 'cause that means you do in 2 rounds what you normally do in 1 round. So if you normally kill an opponent in 4 rounds, you now do it in 8 rounds. That's already a huge handicap; taking twice as long to kill something means it has much more time to escape, heal itself up or kill party members.

Yes, and? So what? Them's the breaks, and besides, you're not doing it by yourself.


Yes, what I really mean is "approximately half of their normal performance still allows them to contribute while clearly cutting to their capabilities", but I don't need to spell that out 'cause it's bloody obvious when discussing not-completely-quantifiable things like character efficiency.

None of which changes the fact that it's a completely arbitrary level. There's no particular reason to think "less than 50% average damage = not meaningfully contributing".


It just so happens that with halved SA damage to immune opponents, Rogue functions at 50%. Approximately half of a caster's arsenal generally allows SR so while their efficiency isn't really affected, their options are cut by about 50%. The number seems to be built into the system already. For a reason or another though (well, simply due to the way the Feat-system is built and its lack of versatility) it doesn't apply to melee warriors having to deal with opponents not reachable by melee.

No, rogue still functions at more than 50% with halved sneak attack. A rogue getting, say 6d6 of sneak attack damage and getting, say 1d6+4 damage from the weapon itself is functioning at a little under 65%. Contrary to the wild claims often seen here, base damage is NOT insignificant in a sneak attack.


As for casters, why wouldn't people play melee? Last I checked, people made archetype choices on other basis too than just mechanical efficiency; even people who do optimize generally first pick a concept and then work out the best mechanical representation for it, which means they might end up with non-casters in games too (*gasp*) even though they'd be stronger as casters. Of course casters work as discussed on these boards; we're using the same rule set. Just, not everyone uses them to the "basic optimal level" (not banning Illusion/Conjuration/Transmutation, picking the SoDs on low levels and control effects midway through with the best defensive effects over the course) which might make people believe "it doesn't happen".

No, casters don't work as discussed on this board. Ruleset has nothing to do with it. The reason casters work so well on this board is that people always give them access to every spell at the same time, always have them 100% perfect advance situational awareness, and always assume everyone fails their daving throw. Discussion of that issue is very careless here, and the assumptions don't stand up in actual play.

As for people choosing melee over casters, part of the reason they are ABLE to pick melee as an archetype and still do plenty of stuff is that casters aren't as far ahead as internet theory lieks to claim.


That's bull****; it happening is written all over the rules and really has nothing to do with anyone's personal experiences. If you haven't seen midlevel casters vastly outperform non-casters, congratulations; you're either playing with people who intentionally take care to keep the game fair and fun for everyone or you're playing with people who haven't read through the PHB spell lists. That doesn't change any of the problems with the rules though.

Nope. Sorry. Wrong. There are problems in the rules, but the fact of the matter is that they are not nearly as serious as people claim, as long as the DM exercises proper control over the game and doesn't allow people to rules-lawyer themselves an "I win" button. It has everything to do with actual play experiences because:

If hypothesis on the internet says one thing and actual play says the other, then hypothesis is WRONG. It doesn't matter what's written in the rules; that's the same either way.

sentaku
2009-09-28, 08:12 PM
No, casters don't work as discussed on this board. Ruleset has nothing to do with it. The reason casters work so well on this board is that people always give them access to every spell at the same time, always have them 100% perfect advance situational awareness, and always assume everyone fails their daving throw. Discussion of that issue is very careless here, and the assumptions don't stand up in actual play.

As for people choosing melee over casters, part of the reason they are ABLE to pick melee as an archetype and still do plenty of stuff is that casters aren't as far ahead as internet theory lieks to claim.


Well I failed my daving throw and with no Wendy's around do I take maximum hunger damage or ignore the effect :-p .
Most wizards on this board are 20th+ level and there isn't a reason they don't have every spell ever. Leveling gives them 40+ spells even if the dm doesn't give them access to any more, more then enough to make the god wizard.

Eldariel
2009-09-28, 08:18 PM
No, rogue still functions at more than 50% with halved sneak attack. A rogue getting, say 6d6 of sneak attack damage and getting, say 1d6+4 damage from the weapon itself is functioning at a little under 65%. Contrary to the wild claims often seen here, base damage is NOT insignificant in a sneak attack.

Of course it helps, but if you aren't dealing the SA damage, your output is comparable to level 1 Warrior, so you aren't performing on the level a character of your level should be. Base damage would help more if you are Str-focused, but from what I've seen, most Rogues tend to go the Weapon Finesse-road.


No, casters don't work as discussed on this board. Ruleset has nothing to do with it. The reason casters work so well on this board is that people always give them access to every spell at the same time, always have them 100% perfect advance situational awareness, and always assume everyone fails their daving throw. Discussion of that issue is very careless here, and the assumptions don't stand up in actual play.

As for people choosing melee over casters, part of the reason they are ABLE to pick melee as an archetype and still do plenty of stuff is that casters aren't as far ahead as internet theory lieks to claim.

My real question here: What level of preparedness is it that strikes you as unlikely? Having a Contingency in effect constantly past 11/15? Having Glitterdust/Web/Stinking Cloud trio prepared on level 3? Preparing Haste & Slow on level 5? Preparing something that enables flight ASAP?

As for the saves, yeah, of course they are made sometimes. The thing is, they are generally still less likely to fail than attacks (especially on low levels), which is why they are considered superior in that regard (well, that and the whole "multitarget" thing most good spells have going on for them). Higher on, SoDs are obviously scaled back as they become less reliable (but are still worthwhile to have access to as many creatures have weak saves that can become apparent from their type and with Knowledge-checks) and more focus is placed on no-save effects like Enervations, Solid Fogs, Dimensional Locks, Orbs, etc.


Nope. Sorry. Wrong. There are problems in the rules, but the fact of the matter is that they are not nearly as serious as people claim, as long as the DM exercises proper control over the game and doesn't allow people to rules-lawyer themselves an "I win" button. It has everything to do with actual play experiences because:

If hypothesis on the internet says one thing and actual play says the other, then hypothesis is WRONG. It doesn't matter what's written in the rules; that's the same either way.

This assumes you'd know a meaningful number of players offline. You don't. I don't think a single person has a large enough knowledge/experience base of players offline to make any sorts of statistically meaningful statements about how people play. Apparently around 6 million D&D players have played the game in 2007. I'm going to make a wild guess that no single person is personally familiar with the playing habits of even 10000 of them. As such, any conclusions you can draw from your own play experiences are meaningless in the grand scale of this discussion; they can be a good source for advice or words of warning and of course the main focus of a gaming forum such as this, but the same experiences are not (necessarily; who knows, honestly?) representative of how this mysterious "majority" plays the game.

That said, yeah, some things aren't meant to be played and would get nuked by most DMs - that's the theoretical optimization side of things and should be kept as a separate discussion (e.g. I don't expect most DMs to allow Incantatrixes as written and as such, whenever I discuss Incantatrixes it's in the context of what's broken as written and why, or one of those "What's the most powerful X"-threads rather than one of the "Help me optimize XY"-threads). The thing is, I rarely see such things discussed in conjuction with Wizards, outside pointing out the obviously broken spells on the list (Polymorph Any Object, Shapechange, Gate...).

Curmudgeon
2009-09-28, 08:21 PM
No, rogue still functions at more than 50% with halved sneak attack. A rogue getting, say 6d6 of sneak attack damage and getting, say 1d6+4 damage from the weapon itself is functioning at a little under 65%.
Actually it's just under 60%, because no proper Rogue is going to lack Craven. That feat is as important to the class as Power Attack is to the two-handed weapon folks.

Diamondeye
2009-09-28, 08:42 PM
Actually it's just under 60%, because no proper Rogue is going to lack Craven. That feat is as important to the class as Power Attack is to the two-handed weapon folks.

I have yet to see a Rogue take craven, and there's nothing "improper" about building one without it.

I've seen perfectly good two-hander builds without power attack too, although they were swordsages.

Indon
2009-09-28, 08:52 PM
I picked 50% 'cause that means you do in 2 rounds what you normally do in 1 round. So if you normally kill an opponent in 4 rounds, you now do it in 8 rounds. That's already a huge handicap; taking twice as long to kill something means it has much more time to escape, heal itself up or kill party members.
Dragging your entire party into a cave (your suggestion for a 3.5 meleer) will probably take well over twice the number of rounds you would be able to plink the enemy to death with, for most enemies.

And you're probably getting shot at all the while, so you don't necessarily gain any tactical advantage.


That's bull****; it happening is written all over the rules and really has nothing to do with anyone's personal experiences. If you haven't seen midlevel casters vastly outperform non-casters, congratulations; you're either playing with people who intentionally take care to keep the game fair and fun for everyone or you're playing with people who haven't read through the PHB spell lists. That doesn't change any of the problems with the rules though.

Extremely untrue. The reasons internet convention D&D is not the norm in many games are varied and fascinating, and do not by any means boil down to "they're gimping themselves or haven't LTP'd".

Curmudgeon
2009-09-28, 09:22 PM
I have yet to see a Rogue take craven, and there's nothing "improper" about building one without it.
Well, it's certainly sub-optimal. Sneak attack progression is 1d6 every 2 levels, or 1.75 points/level. Craven adds +1 point per level. That's more than 50% additional sneak attack damage just from one feat.

Ravens_cry
2009-09-28, 09:32 PM
Well, it's certainly sub-optimal. Sneak attack progression is 1d6 every 2 levels, or 1.75 points/level. Craven adds +1 point per level. That's more than 50% additional sneak attack damage just from one feat.
Not everyone has access to more then the SRD. Some even less, playing with just the MM, DMG and PHB. Or less still. We have no need for true Scotsmen in this argument.

Dervag
2009-09-28, 10:02 PM
Now look what you've gone and done, Gordon MacTavish is running away and crying!

Kaiyanwang
2009-09-29, 02:59 AM
For 4.0? I expect them to whine to the DM until he makes the big bad boogeyman go away.

Hey.. I like it. Sigged.


The rogue entering into melee and potentially dieing can be the difference between a total party wipe and a mass-resurrection after escaping from the golem...

The rouge shouldn't enter in melee: should stay away from melee, or end the melee fight with a crapload of damage, depending from the enemy.

And.. when the levels raise, that sneaky bastards become very evasive.

Eldariel
2009-09-29, 04:02 AM
Dragging your entire party into a cave (your suggestion for a 3.5 meleer) will probably take well over twice the number of rounds you would be able to plink the enemy to death with, for most enemies.

And you're probably getting shot at all the while, so you don't necessarily gain any tactical advantage.

Yeah, it's impractical, but sure as hell beats getting eaten by a Dragon. If you can bear the hits for a turn or two, you may be able to escape.


Extremely untrue. The reasons internet convention D&D is not the norm in many games are varied and fascinating, and do not by any means boil down to "they're gimping themselves or haven't LTP'd".

I'm just saying that Wizards' power is directly derivable from the game rules. I frankly couldn't come up with reasons other than the players/DM either intentionally not using/allowing the Wizards' full abilities or the players/DM not knowing the Wizards' full abilities and thus not using them though, so if I missed any obvious reasons, pardon me. I'm but a human.

But really, we have a scenario where:
1) Wizards have a bunch of Super Special Awesome spells printed in the PHB.
2) Every player has an access to the PHB/SRD and can read all the said spells at whim.
3) Basic usage of these spells enables the Wizard to be stronger than basically all non-casters.

I can't help but think that whenever Wizards are weaker/as weak as the rest of the characters, the players/DM are either intentionally or unintentionally not using/allowing their full power.

Not touching upon reasons there as I no doubt couldn't cover even a relevant subset of them, but it seems to me like that's the only possible explanation for the Wizards not being as strong as printed.

Diamondeye
2009-09-29, 08:07 AM
Well, it's certainly sub-optimal. Sneak attack progression is 1d6 every 2 levels, or 1.75 points/level. Craven adds +1 point per level. That's more than 50% additional sneak attack damage just from one feat.

If you can justify the -2 fear save penalty to the DM based on your overall build (if multiclassed) and personailty. If the DM doesn't care, sure, it's suboptimal not to take it, but 'suboptimal' isn't much of a cricticism since there's a huge amount of room for "very good", "good", "average" and "below average" before you get to "bad" undeerneath it.

If the DM does care, you might not be allowed to take it. I think a lot of DMs might look at it pretty askance with some builds, such as the Daring Outlaw build (how can you be daring and craven at the same time?) or the Shadowbane Inquisitor/Stalker.

Curmudgeon
2009-09-29, 08:16 AM
If you can justify the -2 fear save penalty to the DM based on your overall build (if multiclassed) and personailty.
It's generally pretty easy to justify Craven for my usual Rogue combinations. I typically mix in things like Cloistered Cleric (scholarly bent) with Sacred Outlaw, and Shadowdancer (better at hiding).

Cowardice works. Cowardice keeps you alive. :smallwink:

Diamondeye
2009-09-29, 08:17 AM
Yeah, it's impractical, but sure as hell beats getting eaten by a Dragon. If you can bear the hits for a turn or two, you may be able to escape.

What if you don't want to escape? Suppose escaping means the dragon goes and eats a village you're trying to protect.


I'm just saying that Wizards' power is directly derivable from the game rules. I frankly couldn't come up with reasons other than the players/DM either intentionally not using/allowing the Wizards' full abilities or the players/DM not knowing the Wizards' full abilities and thus not using them though, so if I missed any obvious reasons, pardon me. I'm but a human.

But really, we have a scenario where:
1) Wizards have a bunch of Super Special Awesome spells printed in the PHB.
2) Every player has an access to the PHB/SRD and can read all the said spells at whim.
3) Basic usage of these spells enables the Wizard to be stronger than basically all non-casters.

I can't help but think that whenever Wizards are weaker/as weak as the rest of the characters, the players/DM are either intentionally or unintentionally not using/allowing their full power.

Not touching upon reasons there as I no doubt couldn't cover even a relevant subset of them, but it seems to me like that's the only possible explanation for the Wizards not being as strong as printed.

Well, the problem is that while you can certainly determine what wizards and fighters can do from the rules, you can't determine how they'll work together in an actual game environment with all the various complexities that entails. Most internet comparisons here gloss over the details, sometimes to the point of absurdity. I've seen at least one thread where someone was touting "contingency, timestop, forcecage, cloudkill" as an unbeatable combo, completely ignoring that A) it only works against medium creatures B) it requires you be at least 17th level and isn't muchof an argument for invincibility below that c) requires material components that are expensive and best of all D) was in the same thread where people were advocating banning evocation! Notice anything wrong with that?

Eldariel
2009-09-29, 10:13 AM
What if you don't want to escape? Suppose escaping means the dragon goes and eats a village you're trying to protect.

If you haven't evacuated the village by then and the Dragon comes, it's too damn bad 'cause your options are:
1) Pick up your bow and die a vain, "heroic" death 'cause the Dragon is going to kill you if the characters aren't able to play into their strengths.
2) Run away and let it scorch the village.
3) Try to come up with something to get into melee with said Dragon and hopefully end its rampage. Magic items, favors owed by deities, ****ing goad the Dragon, whatever.


Well, the problem is that while you can certainly determine what wizards and fighters can do from the rules, you can't determine how they'll work together in an actual game environment with all the various complexities that entails. Most internet comparisons here gloss over the details, sometimes to the point of absurdity. I've seen at least one thread where someone was touting "contingency, timestop, forcecage, cloudkill" as an unbeatable combo, completely ignoring that A) it only works against medium creatures B) it requires you be at least 17th level and isn't muchof an argument for invincibility below that c) requires material components that are expensive and best of all D) was in the same thread where people were advocating banning evocation! Notice anything wrong with that?

Eh, Greater Shadow Evocation does make replicating Contingency and Forcecage without Evocation pretty doable (not to mention, it bypasses the material component, making it quite affordable). But yeah, that's not the be-all end-all spell combination.

As you pointed out, it's available late and consumes an awful lot of resources vs. a relatively weak adversary (a Fighter-type; you need Dimension Lock if you're even just dealing with someone capable of teleporting and another readied action from the last Time Stop turn to deal with possible Rod of Cancellations), where a simple Dominate-effect might be vastly more efficient.

The reason that particular combination gets brought up often is because it's simple and because it involves no die rolls (unless using Shadow Evocation, in which case Forcecage has the Will-save which if successful forces a percentile roll with 40% chance of failing). In my experience though, it is usually brought up in the correct context, that is when killing a high-level Fighter-type with pimped out defenses, since they tend to be vulnerable to just that.


That said, I don't see those actually suggested as things level 20 Wizard focuses; the place where I see the said combo usually involves "Wizard vs X"-threads as an easy way for the Wizard to win (rather than discussion on playing a party Wizard).

Indon
2009-09-29, 10:22 AM
1) Pick up your bow and die a vain, "heroic" death 'cause the Dragon is going to kill you if the characters aren't able to play into their strengths.

In accordance with the CR system suggestions in core, potent combat strategies or strategies that play to the group's weaknesses (such as Tucker's Kobolds) merit a higher CR than normal.

A dragon that stays out of melee, and has the means to do so, should be a lower-HD dragon than you would face otherwise, and thus should be difficult, but feasible to beat.

Eldariel
2009-09-29, 10:25 AM
In accordance with the CR system suggestions in core, potent combat strategies or strategies that play to the group's weaknesses (such as Tucker's Kobolds) merit a higher CR than normal.

A dragon that stays out of melee, and has the means to do so, should be a lower-HD dragon than you would face otherwise, and thus should be difficult, but feasible to beat.

Or the PCs could stop being dumb and figure out a way to get the melee warrior up to the Dragon. Someone must have some Teleportation spells or something that hampers the Dragon's movement enough for the flying Fighter to catch up to him or something.


Frankly, I'd assume Dragon CR by default includes the fact that they don't close into melee as it's pretty much built-in into Dragons.

Ravens_cry
2009-09-29, 10:51 AM
Or the PCs could stop being dumb and figure out a way to get the melee warrior up to the Dragon. Someone must have some Teleportation spells or something that hampers the Dragon's movement enough for the flying Fighter to catch up to him or something.


Frankly, I'd assume Dragon CR by default includes the fact that they don't close into melee as it's pretty much built-in into Dragons.
And sometimes you don't, because the spell caster didn't prepare those spells, has run out of those level spell slots or spells, their dead from a previous encounter, or your just not high enough level yet. No one is saying a melee type should always use a bow, but as a back up way to contribute at those times when you would otherwise be doing nothing, it's meaningful. And it's not just against dragons and flying creatures bows are useful. Say baddies shooting at you from across a chasm or anywhere the melee types cant reach them, at least without taking arrow spam to the face in the process. The more arrows at more targets the better. Now IF you can fly, and IF you have the speed to keep up, in many situations it is preferable to get into the heat of things as a melee type. But these options are not always available. That's why it is good to have something with which to contribute rather than simply sitting on your hands.

tyckspoon
2009-09-29, 11:04 AM
Frankly, I'd assume Dragon CR by default includes the fact that they don't close into melee as it's pretty much built-in into Dragons.

Really? 'cause.. well, staying out of melee makes for more troublesome dragons, but trading melee attacks with a dragon is also one of the foremost ways to commit suicide in D&D. Six attacks + good Strength and BAB means it's more dangerous than you (if you are optimized to the point where you can outdo the dragon in the race to 0 HP, hopefully your DM has noticed and let the dragon make use of some of the things that can boost it too. Like the Bloodwind spell that lets it 'throw' its natural attacks, so it can melee you while staying out of melee.)

Diamondeye
2009-09-29, 11:10 AM
Or the PCs could stop being dumb and figure out a way to get the melee warrior up to the Dragon. Someone must have some Teleportation spells or something that hampers the Dragon's movement enough for the flying Fighter to catch up to him or something.

Or, that might not be feasible because the characters don't have it or the dragon has wisely (dragons are intelligent, you know) taken precautions to protect itself from precisely that eventuality.

In other words, all you're doing is assuming conditions that work out for archery not to be a good choice. It's pretty easy to handwave that on the internet, but in reality it may not be the case that the party is able to get the fighter into melee because either they can't figure it out in the time available, they don't have the right resources (not every party has a wizard at all, much less batman), or it simply doesn't actually work because of some dice roll or other, or because the dragon or whatever took the precaution of preparing some defense or other.

Say the wizard casts fly on the fighter and as soon as the fighter is at a decent altitude the dragon uses dispel magic. now, not only is the fighter not flying, he's wasted however many rounds of his time plus the wizard's round casting the spell and taken falling damage in the process! That's just one example, and while I'm sure you can assume, explain, and nitpick that example away, it still is a viable example of how thingss might go down, and its far from the only example.

You can't argue that archery isn't a worhtwhile contingency plan based on circumstances where a contingency isn't necessary in the first place. You certainly can't argue that contingency situations never occur based ont he handwavium of "well the party will always do X". They won't always do X, and X won't always work. All you're doing is creating circular arguments where contingencies are never necessary because they're enver necessary.


Frankly, I'd assume Dragon CR by default includes the fact that they don't close into melee as it's pretty much built-in into Dragons.

In that case, you cannot assume that an appropriate-CR dragon will wipe out a party if they can't use melee strength against it unless you are going to argue that WotC purposefully overpowers dragons relative to their CR.

It's a poor assumption regardless, since dragons aren't always fought in areas where they can fly and the PCs can't. Sometimes the PCs can fly too, and sometimes its a fight in a lair or something like that.


If you haven't evacuated the village by then and the Dragon comes, it's too damn bad 'cause your options are:
1) Pick up your bow and die a vain, "heroic" death 'cause the Dragon is going to kill you if the characters aren't able to play into their strengths.

Not necessarily true.


2) Run away and let it scorch the village.

Obviously viable, and possibly even a good choice if the party is evil, but hardly relevant to the issue at hand.


3) Try to come up with something to get into melee with said Dragon and hopefully end its rampage. Magic items, favors owed by deities, ****ing goad the Dragon, whatever.

All reasonable ideas, but not necessarily foolproof.

In any case you cannot argue that the Dragon will kill the characters if they can't play to their strengths because all you're doing is arguing that the DM has put an unbeatable encounter against the PCs, and then turn around when someone points out that the dragon would be weaker if it were really a problem and say "well the PCs will just figure a way to get into melee". If they can figure a way to get into melee it's not the situation at hand, and if they can't then either the dragon is appropriately lowered in power, it's really NOT the case that they absolutely need to get into melee to kill it, or the DM is just a prick. It's disingenuous to claim "they're gonna die if they can't melee!" then turn around and assume they can get into melee when someone points out that the scenario would take that into account. It's like schrodinger's encounter that adjusts itself to support your argument.


Eh, Greater Shadow Evocation does make replicating Contingency and Forcecage without Evocation pretty doable (not to mention, it bypasses the material component, making it quite affordable). But yeah, that's not the be-all end-all spell combination.

As you pointed out, it's available late and consumes an awful lot of resources vs. a relatively weak adversary (a Fighter-type; you need Dimension Lock if you're even just dealing with someone capable of teleporting and another readied action from the last Time Stop turn to deal with possible Rod of Cancellations), where a simple Dominate-effect might be vastly more efficient.

The reason that particular combination gets brought up often is because it's simple and because it involves no die rolls (unless using Shadow Evocation, in which case Forcecage has the Will-save which if successful forces a percentile roll with 40% chance of failing). In my experience though, it is usually brought up in the correct context, that is when killing a high-level Fighter-type with pimped out defenses, since they tend to be vulnerable to just that.

That said, I don't see those actually suggested as things level 20 Wizard focuses; the place where I see the said combo usually involves "Wizard vs X"-threads as an easy way for the Wizard to win (rather than discussion on playing a party Wizard).

Those are all perfectly good points, but in the discussions I've seen, no one ever specifies Greater Shadow Evocation; they just assume regular forcecage because someone would instantly point out the same weaknesses you did, while at the same time ignoring the fact that people are constantly pointing out that this same "batman win button wizard" usually bans evocation.

The point was that it's really easy in discussions like this to keep adjusting the circumstances to give you whatever result you want. In the above example, even if we allow for GSE in place of regular Forcecage, and dispense with Contingency entirely, there's the problem that it's an inapplicable argument against anything bigger than medium, against multiple opponents, or at less than 17th level.

You'll notive no one here is saying shooting arrows is the best solution all the time, or even most of the time if a melee character can get into melee. We're saying it's worthwhile to carry a bow in case you can't. It's really easy to invent a scenario where the party can get into melee, and even easier to say "well just do X" and then assume it works just fine, but you cannot generalize that hypothetical to every party or every situation where the DM puts in an obstacle to melee.

tyckspoon
2009-09-29, 11:35 AM
Say the wizard casts fly on the fighter and as soon as the fighter is at a decent altitude the dragon uses dispel magic. now, not only is the fighter not flying, he's wasted however many rounds of his time plus the wizard's round casting the spell and taken falling damage in the process!

I don't know why people keep suggesting this. Dispelling Fly does not cause falling damage- Dispel ends spells as if the duration had expired, Fly triggers a Feather-fall effect when the duration expires. If the Fighter had to climb high enough that the failsafe doesn't prevent falling damage, the dragon was probably too far away to do much effective anyway and should have been left alone (or had actions readied against it for when it came closer to attack.)


In that case, you cannot assume that an appropriate-CR dragon will wipe out a party if they can't use melee strength against it unless you are going to argue that WotC purposefully overpowers dragons relative to their CR.


They do, actually. Dragons and the more powerful Outsiders (Demons/Devils/Angels in particular) are notably more dangerous than other creatures of the same CR (CR 9, for example, contains the Frost Giant, Young Adult Black Dragon, and Ten Headed Hydra/8 Headed cryo/pyrohydra. Which one would you rather deal with? The answer is "not the dragon.") It's one of the ways Wizards subverted the CR system, since it creates 'boss' monsters within a CR when you're "supposed" to make that kind of encounter by simply using a higher encounter level/CR enemies.

Tehnar
2009-09-29, 12:12 PM
Also it is important to note the fact that most monsters from the latter monster manuals are more powerful then the ones in core, with a few exceptions. That pretty much makes the CR system a very rough guideline.

What I found is that archery is great when you are facing a foe with damage reduction, most notably of the metallic kind. Switching the type of arrow used is easy, while having 2 or 3 effective melee weapons made of different materials is not trivial.