Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bow initiative modifiers for range

Arrows take some time to reach their target and this can impose a initiative modifier to bows. In my post about flight times I raised the point that for sufficiently large distances the flight time of the projectile does matter.

Your character may win initiative and fire now, but the effect of the action takes time to propagate, it is not immediate. The arrow has to fly to its target to cause damage. In this time the target may take actions against your party. Same applies for enemies attacking your party with ranged weapons.

My suggestion is a ranged based modifier value as follows (working on a roll high initiative value):
Point blank : -0
Short range : -2
Medium range : -4
Long range : -6

For example a character rolls 8 against an orc who rolls 6 and is attacking the party wizard who rolls 5. The orc and wizard at at medium range and thus the character suffers a medium range modifier of -4, his effective initiative value is now 4 (8 - 4). The character attacks first and fires his bow, then the orc (6 initiative) attacks the wizard, then the wizard attacks the orc (5 initiative) and finally the arrow lands on the orc (4 effective initiative).

Thoughts? How would the delay and the consideration of such propagation time affect the way players handles combat? The point of this rule is not to make combat unnecessarily complex, but rather portray delay times as something that affects PC strategy.

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