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Isair
2012-01-09, 05:34 AM
In D&D, although combat is divided by turns, everything is happening simultaneously. So when the character A moves in his turn followed by the character B who tries to hit him with a ranged attack, it basically means the character B is trying to hit a moving target.
Having practiced archery for 5 years, I know all to well how hard it is to hit a stationary target, let alone a moving one, so I came up with an house-rule where moving in the battlefield provides bonuses to AC against ranged attacks. I'd like to know your opinion about it, for until now all the feedback from my players and friends has been mixed.
The rule is:

Movement AC bonus: Moving around provides bonuses to AC against ranged attacks, since it makes it more difficult to target. Moving up to its speed provides a character with a +2 AC bonus vs ranged attacks; moving twice its speed provides a +4 AC bonus while making a Run provides a +6 bonus (remember that Run negates Dexterity bonus to AC, unless the creature has the Run feat). These bonuses last for 1 round.

Hanuman
2012-01-09, 05:59 AM
Perhaps -2 to attack rolls to hit characters who have ran or charged since their last action unless the character ends her turn in a square X' from target (like someone charging AT an archer)

Veklim
2012-01-09, 06:06 AM
I'd be cautious about introducing anything which hampers ranged combat, it suffers enough as it is, even though I do agree with the point that a moving target is FAR harder to hit. Thing is, you have to draw a line under realism somewhere if you're gonna play the game at all.

Temotei
2012-01-09, 06:23 AM
I'd be cautious about introducing anything which hampers ranged combat, it suffers enough as it is, even though I do agree with the point that a moving target is FAR harder to hit. Thing is, you have to draw a line under realism somewhere if you're gonna play the game at all.

Agreed.

In addition, you'd have to account for people running at the ranged attacker. It's certainly not harder to hit a closer target than a farther-away one. I'm not experienced in archery or anything, but I'd imagine it would be easier to hit a target coming closer (assuming even ground).

Isair
2012-01-09, 06:29 AM
True, it does suffer. However I also have several feats that greatly improve ranged combat (Sharp-Shooting feat: prerequisites Precise Shot and BAB +3; Halves cover bonus to AC and concealment miss chance) and I've reduced the Improved Precise Shot prerequisite to Precise Shot, Dex 17 and BAB +8.

I've find that players with a high BAB agree to this house-rule as well as players with medium BAB but great focus on Ranged Combat feats don't really mind this rule; but then players with medium or low BAB and little to no focus on ranged combat don't. Arcane casters also complained, because of their very low attack bonus, but since they are still the most powerful of classes, I kinda consider this as an acceptable penalty for them.

But I have not had the chance to test this house-rule in low- and mid-levels, since my players were already at high-levels when I thought in this house-rule, so I'm not truly certain of how it would work at those levels..

Edit: I've forgotten about running towards the archer. It would, indeed, be easier to hit.

Spiryt
2012-01-09, 06:32 AM
Agreed.

In addition, you'd have to account for people running at the ranged attacker. It's certainly not harder to hit a closer target than a farther-away one. I'm not experienced in archery or anything, but I'd imagine it would be easier to hit a target coming closer (assuming even ground).

Not at all, target is changing his distance, forcing shooter to adjust with his aim (mostly vertical angle, obviously) , and moving is still moving, confusing archer about where target can be next.

Isair
2012-01-09, 06:36 AM
Not at all, target is changing his distance, forcing shooter to adjust with his aim (mostly vertical angle, obviously) , and moving is still moving, confusing archer about where target can be next.

Not if it was a direct charge against the archer. It would be done in a direct line against him, so he'd no longer need to adjust vertical angle or horizontal aim. Moving normally towards him, however, would still confuse the archer

Mangles
2012-01-09, 06:43 AM
This makes it worse to have a higher move speed. If your move speed was 60 and your allies was 30 and you both moved 60 feet in a round than the one with the higher move speed is disadvantaged.

Also this is meant to already have been taken into account. Characters are considered constantly moving during combat rounds. That's why they don't have a front or back position, and are able to defend from all sides.

Isair
2012-01-09, 06:51 AM
The reason I considered move actions instead of speed was because of the effect in game. Despite its speed, if a character only moves 1 move action in his turn, it means in the first 3 seconds he is moving but then in the last 3 seconds he no longer is, making it easier to aim against him.
But yes, there would be situations where having a lower speed would be better. For example, if the party was retreating little more than 50 ft. A monk would retreat that much in a single move action, while a fighter wearing a fullplate would need to make a Run.

Ashtagon
2012-01-09, 07:21 AM
I'd make it a hit penalty based on distance moved (both absolute distance and angular distance), rather than relative to the moving character's movement rate.

Perhaps -2 per full 45į angle moved through, and -2 per full 60 ft moved.

Note that a move action is a game mechanic unit of time. Simply because you only spent one move action moving and not your standard action too, doesn't mean you moved, stopped, then attacked. It could also mean you were walking up to the enemy (instead of running) and only swung your axe in the last 1/10 second of that 6-second round.

silphael
2012-01-09, 11:32 AM
You know, a composite bow (being long or short, in fact...) is still shooting "straight" at something like 250 feet... If someone is running at you, the vertical aim isn't an issue. It's only when you have to use bell curve to shoot that it become an issue, and no one will have the idea of shooting alone against someone running at him.

The idea will be to deal bonus damage on someone running toward you, because of the relative speed of the arrow.

Spiryt
2012-01-09, 11:42 AM
You know, a composite bow (being long or short, in fact...) is still shooting "straight" at something like 250 feet... If someone is running at you, the vertical aim isn't an issue. It's only when you have to use bell curve to shoot that it become an issue, and no one will have the idea of shooting alone against someone running at him.

The idea will be to deal bonus damage on someone running toward you, because of the relative speed of the arrow.

Uh, unless it is shooting some really light arrow at really high velocity, at 250 feet arrow drop is in no way neligible enough to be "non issue"...:smallconfused:

Slight miscalculation of distance between target and shooter and arrow can burry itself in the ground...

Or are you talking about 3.5 range increments interpretation?

silphael
2012-01-09, 01:14 PM
Nope, I'm talking about archery. A bow with a power of 59 pounds ( time the length of the arm to know the force applied) shoots without true curve (there is one, yes, a very little one) arrows made of metal (ot not majoritarly aluminium...) at a distance of 90 meters. The bows used in middleage were far stronger than that, easily around 120 lbs.

Mulletmanalive
2012-01-09, 01:59 PM
Either my bow sucks or I'm using heavier arrows; my 58 lb hunting bow has a drop that requires correction on a standard range.

Hey ho.

Thinking about it, probably heavier arrows but mine aren't much heavier than the hazel ones my recreator friends shoot with.

Spiryt
2012-01-09, 02:18 PM
Nope, I'm talking about archery. A bow with a power of 59 pounds ( time the length of the arm to know the force applied) shoots without true curve (there is one, yes, a very little one) arrows made of metal (ot not majoritarly aluminium...) at a distance of 90 meters. The bows used in middleage were far stronger than that, easily around 120 lbs.

Even if you're talking about Target Archery like in Olympics, using very light arrows and very fast bows at distance of 90 m, then at ~ 90 m/s of initial velocity those arrows could achieve (doubtful), it's still at least 1.5 s to drop a bit, so there will be noticeable curve.

No matter what poundage the bow is, no one would be actually shooting such flimsy target arrows in martial application most of the time.

Not to mention that even the best Karpowicz Turkish composites with dacron string that are actually war not flight bows can't achieve even 85 m/s most of the time.

Increasing poundage won't help much, since above those ~ 60 - 80 pounds velocity won't raise, since limbs already cannot move faster anyway.

So not to create gigantic offtop, any sensible arrow shot at stuff will drop quite a bit at 250 feet, discarding possible wind etc.





Anyway, I agree that this homebrew hurts archers that are already pretty screwed in most games...

Granted, hitting stuff isn't nearly as difficult as actually doing damage, but still.

So this would be nice as a part of some broader archery homebrew, not only additional feats, to boost bows, crossbows and throwing weapons a bit.

Isair
2012-01-09, 03:23 PM
Anyway, I agree that this homebrew hurts archers that are already pretty screwed in most games...

Granted, hitting stuff isn't nearly as difficult as actually doing damage, but still.

So this would be nice as a part of some broader archery homebrew, not only additional feats, to boost bows, crossbows and throwing weapons a bit.

Increasing damage by one step, perhaps? Along with the ability my bows have to send targets (of same size as archer) prone on a successful critical hit, or the ability to score instant kills more easily the crossbows of my home-rules have (DMG variant where obtaining a natural 20 on a Critical Confirmation Roll provides a third roll where one can kill the target on a success)... It would make an archer more deadly, but it would be harder for him to hit. Which is the same situation with the Power Attack feat.

Spiryt
2012-01-09, 03:35 PM
Increasing damage by one step, perhaps? Along with the ability my bows have to send targets (of same size as archer) prone on a successful critical hit, or the ability to score instant kills more easily the crossbows of my home-rules have (DMG variant where obtaining a natural 20 on a Critical Confirmation Roll provides a third roll where one can kill the target on a success)... It would make an archer more deadly, but it would be harder for him to hit. Which is the same situation with the Power Attack feat.

Improving damage by one step (like, one dice according to weapon size chart, for example?) is nice, even though very small bonus, and somehow 'unbalancing' one - makes more instant kills possible at low levels, while doesn't really make much difference later... It's like 0.5-1 damage on average hit, most of the time.

Sending targets prone is interesting although somehow wonky, as no other weapons generally tend to have properties like that.

As far as crossbows go, I had an idea once, and not only I, it seems:

link (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=171229&highlight=crossbow)

Basically, giving crossbows some strength rating, which is only logical.
More details are up to adjustment, I guess.

silphael
2012-01-09, 03:51 PM
Readying some weapons against a charge is dealing far more damage, and that's basically the same thing... Maybe allowing the same with a bow?

Lonely Tylenol
2012-01-09, 04:06 PM
Under this current system, the Scout (whose only combat shtick is moving around frequently in battle) suffers the greatest.

I would consider revising this into a bonus "per 10 feet of movement" or something to that extent. That way, mobile fighters like the Barbarian and the Scout (with Fast Movement) and mobile creatures (like anything with Run or Pounce) get greater bonuses for being more mobile, and everything is fairly consistent (for example, a creature that moves 30 feet gets a +3 movement bonus to AC whether that's its maximum movement or not).

Isair
2012-01-09, 06:35 PM
Improving damage by one step (like, one dice according to weapon size chart, for example?) is nice, even though very small bonus, and somehow 'unbalancing' one - makes more instant kills possible at low levels, while doesn't really make much difference later... It's like 0.5-1 damage on average hit, most of the time.

Sending targets prone is interesting although somehow wonky, as no other weapons generally tend to have properties like that.

As far as crossbows go, I had an idea once, and not only I, it seems:

link (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=171229&highlight=crossbow)

Basically, giving crossbows some strength rating, which is only logical.
More details are up to adjustment, I guess.

But at lower levels characters are more likely to spend at least one move action per turn moving around, with exception of melee characters. Thus they would usually gain at least a +2 bonus, which is significant at lowers levels, I think. As I said, I didn't have the chance to test this house-rule at lower levels.

As for crossbows, it may seem logical in game terms, to make them somewhat similar to bows, but as for realism it is not. The strength of a crossbow is in the weapon itself, not on the one who readies it to fire. You could have the strongest man and the weakest child firing the same crossbow, for as long as the weapon is already armed, both shots are likely to have the same punch. Which, without using the mechanisms of a composite bow, is greater than that of a normal bow.



Under this current system, the Scout (whose only combat shtick is moving around frequently in battle) suffers the greatest.

I would consider revising this into a bonus "per 10 feet of movement" or something to that extent. That way, mobile fighters like the Barbarian and the Scout (with Fast Movement) and mobile creatures (like anything with Run or Pounce) get greater bonuses for being more mobile, and everything is fairly consistent (for example, a creature that moves 30 feet gets a +3 movement bonus to AC whether that's its maximum movement or not).

The Scout wouldn't suffer unless his targets were moving. In fact, with this rule the Scout would benefit from a +2 bonus to AC against ranged attacks in addition to the bonus provided by his skirmish ability.

Changing it to feet increment, instead of move action, would indeed be better for characters with higher speed and wouldn't benefit the slow characters (which are usually armored). However, providing a +1 bonus for each 10 ft moved would result on a extremely large bonus for certain characters (monk and scout), and an insane bonus whenever those characters made a Run.
If it were by feet increment, then at the very least in 20 feet increments (rounded down). The following tables show the bonuses gained, depending on speed, and depending on the action used to move. Increments lower than 20 ft would provide bonuses far too huge and hurtful, while 20 ft increments provide bonuses lower than the ones I initially presented for most characters (those with 30 ft speed or less), and higher bonuses for those with higher speeds.
http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/8712/semttulogpl.jpg

SowZ
2012-01-09, 06:55 PM
I'm reading about trajectory and angles and move speeds and variable modifiers based on amount moved, etc. etc. Even disregarding issues of game balance, I don't think this should be done the way you are doing it. If you want something, I would say -2 to hit if someone used a move action. An additional -2 if they did a Run. If you really want, you could make it a -4 per every thirty feet their standard movement is, (how often are move speeds at 60+, anyway?) Then be done with it. Even then, there may be a couple problems and I am not actually recommending it.

Do you really want more modifiers to calculate? How about each ranged weapon does less or more damage per 10ft. increment? That would be realistic, too. But it would slow everything down. I'm all for gaming tweaks but if it adds more dice rolling or number calculating I am very slow to implement it, if at all.

D&D isn't, and never will be, realistic. It is a fantasy game meant to simulate fantasy adventures. You have to go into it suspending your disbelief or there will be problems. Making archery mroe realistic will do little to help the overall realism. Faster paced combat usually gets people into the fantasy mindset, anyway. Various modifiers and such, while intended to add more depth, can bog a game down.

Some games are made to be realistic and should naturally build these modifiers into the rules. In something like D&D it is all too easy to overcomplicate things. That is my warning and opinion. Take it or leave it.

Isair
2012-01-09, 07:13 PM
I'm reading about trajectory and angles and move speeds and variable modifiers based on amount moved, etc. etc. Even disregarding issues of game balance, I don't think this should be done the way you are doing it. If you want something, I would say -2 to hit if someone used a move action. An additional -2 if they did a Run. If you really want, you could make it a -4 per every thirty feet their standard movement is, (how often are move speeds at 60+, anyway?) Then be done with it. Even then, there may be a couple problems and I am not actually recommending it.

Do you really want more modifiers to calculate? How about each ranged weapon does less or more damage per 10ft. increment? That would be realistic, too. But it would slow everything down. I'm all for gaming tweaks but if it adds more dice rolling or number calculating I am very slow to implement it, if at all.

D&D isn't, and never will be, realistic. It is a fantasy game meant to simulate fantasy adventures. You have to go into it suspending your disbelief or there will be problems. Making archery mroe realistic will do little to help the overall realism. Faster paced combat usually gets people into the fantasy mindset, anyway. Various modifiers and such, while intended to add more depth, can bog a game down.

Some games are made to be realistic and should naturally build these modifiers into the rules. In something like D&D it is all too easy to overcomplicate things. That is my warning and opinion. Take it or leave it.

I only stated what the rule would turn into if it were used as feet increments. I fully understand that adding additional calculations, even if for realism sake, slows the game. And D&D isn't meant to be realistic, true. Still, if you want and like, you can try to make some changes (like the one I presented) to get a bit closer to reality ;)

As for your alternative, isn't providing a penalty just to attack just about the same as providing a bonus to AC to the target? The penalties you mentioned are exactly the bonuses I mentioned: +2 per move action moved, extra +2 for Run.

silphael
2012-01-09, 07:38 PM
About penalties/bonusses, technically it should be bonusses to AC: you are harder to aim, they aren't disturbed in their aim.

Yitzi
2012-01-09, 09:29 PM
Thinking about it, I'm not so sure that the justification for the rule is that valid.

Yes, it is definitely harder to hit a moving target. But even someone who doesn't move on the battle map is still moving around, just not by a lot and not in any particular direction. But that shouldn't affect how hard they are to hit, so long as they're moving.

Just to Browse
2012-01-09, 09:47 PM
+2 per move action used is a good idea. I already houserule that all bows deal StrMod damage, so there's a bit of balancing, and this ruling gives incentive in lower-level play (where AC actually matters) for mobility.

Perhaps give the bonus so long as the target doesn't move in a straight line for their turn, that way when enemies sprint away, they can still get hilariously picked off, and charge attempts don't actually end up granting an AC bonus.

Isair
2012-01-10, 05:43 AM
Thinking about it, I'm not so sure that the justification for the rule is that valid.

Yes, it is definitely harder to hit a moving target. But even someone who doesn't move on the battle map is still moving around, just not by a lot and not in any particular direction. But that shouldn't affect how hard they are to hit, so long as they're moving.

Moving around while staying in in the same place is what the Dexterity bonus to AC represents.
Moving around the battlefield forces an archer to alter his aim, both horizontally and vertically, and that makes it much harder to hit the target. That's why, in terms of realism, makes sense.

Yitzi
2012-01-10, 07:56 AM
Moving around the battlefield forces an archer to alter his aim, both horizontally and vertically.

So large alterations make it harder to hit than small alterations do? I haven't done any serious archery, so if you have and you say it does, I presume you know what you're talking about. I'm not sure why, though; unless facing becomes an issue, the alteration should still be pretty small, so the major concern is just getting it right (which shouldn't be different between large and small alterations).

Isair
2012-01-10, 01:57 PM
Do you play First Person Shooters, or play paintball/airsoft? There you can already see it is harder to hit a moving target than one standing in place. Thatís because you have to lead your shot, moving your weapon along the path of the targetís movement. Now although this causes some ďarcĒ effect with every shot (both horizontally and vertically), because modern weapons fire at extremely large speeds that effect is minimum at close to mid distances: your shot is likely to hit an area very close to where you were pointing. If your brain calculated the targetís movement correctly, you end up with a good probability of hitting him. This is the only real calculation you need to make, and you do it almost unconsciously and immediately. There is no need to even consider your projectileís speed and elevation angle.

Bows, crossbows and thrown weapons, especially older ones, are a completely different story. While your brain can easily calculate the targetís movement speed and tell you how much you should lead your sights, with older bows you must also take in consideration the relatively slow-moving arrow, so you must lead your shot a LOT more. And because your shot is slower than a bullet, it will arc a lot more, both horizontally and vertically, and so you must also consider that effect when aiming WHILE moving your body to follow your target. And you also need to be much more stable and the moment of the shot you must be as steady as possible, forcing you to fight the momentum created by moving your arms and body to follow the targetís movement, otherwise the shot will arc too much and you will fail to hit your target. In addition to all this, you also have stability problems caused by firing several arrows while turning around. Also, you donít have the sights that nowadays bows possess, making things even more difficult. Etc.

Long story short, there are so many factors that make shooting a moving target much more difficult than shooting, say, a target dancing in the same 5-ft square, even in the current days with the current technology. Making one with technology from the Middle Ages was even more difficult.

Hanuman
2012-01-10, 02:17 PM
I should point out characters not denied their dex AC are considered moving.

Isair
2012-01-10, 02:23 PM
But of course, because unless you make a Run you are rarely moving the exact same way. Those who make a Run, however, do it in a straight-line, moving in the exact same way, and thus are denied their Dexterity bonus to AC.

Yitzi
2012-01-10, 10:34 PM
Do you play First Person Shooters, or play paintball/airsoft?

I have played a few FPS's a long time ago.

And yes, it is harder to hit a moving target than one standing in place. The question is whether it's harder to hit a target moving from one end of a room to the other than it is to hit a target that's moving around but staying in roughly the same area. As Hanuman said, anyone who gets DEX to AC is moving, just not enough to show on the map.

Just to Browse
2012-01-11, 12:20 AM
So I tried this. I got a bunch of tennis balls over at my gym, and a friend and I took turns spacing ourselves out 20' away (minimum) and then running in a straight line, and then trying to dodge in a five-foot square. I learned two things:

1) I suck at throwing tennis balls.

2) About 50% of the balls thrown hit when the target moved in a straight line (heedless of the thrower--did I mention I sucked at throwing tennis balls?), whereas about 35% of the balls thrown hit when the target was dodging in a square (and watching the thrower), and about 15% hit when the target was running throughout throughout a ~30' square.

So assuming that the DexMod all ready plays a role in the standing still, a penalty should be applied for straight movement (not even a full sprint, any sort of straight movement), and a bonus should be applied for nonlinear movement. Of course, this being D&Dland, and me having only performed one trial with two people, none of this really needs to be in the game, but it supports some of the points made above.

Edit: OH MY GOODNESS I JUST HAD THE GREATEST IDEA EVER! There should totally be an option for going prone in order to get an AC bonus (perhaps beyond just the +4 for prone) against a ranged attack. We did that once in a while to avoid balls at upper chest.

Isair
2012-01-11, 06:05 AM
So I tried this. I got a bunch of tennis balls over at my gym, and a friend and I took turns spacing ourselves out 20' away (minimum) and then running in a straight line, and then trying to dodge in a five-foot square. I learned two things:

1) I suck at throwing tennis balls.

2) About 50% of the balls thrown hit when the target moved in a straight line (heedless of the thrower--did I mention I sucked at throwing tennis balls?), whereas about 35% of the balls thrown hit when the target was dodging in a square (and watching the thrower), and about 15% hit when the target was running throughout throughout a ~30' square.

So assuming that the DexMod all ready plays a role in the standing still, a penalty should be applied for straight movement (not even a full sprint, any sort of straight movement), and a bonus should be applied for nonlinear movement. Of course, this being D&Dland, and me having only performed one trial with two people, none of this really needs to be in the game, but it supports some of the points made above.

Edit: OH MY GOODNESS I JUST HAD THE GREATEST IDEA EVER! There should totally be an option for going prone in order to get an AC bonus (perhaps beyond just the +4 for prone) against a ranged attack. We did that once in a while to avoid balls at upper chest.

Remember that when making a Run, which is done in a straight line, you lose the Dexterity bonus to AC. Besides, try archery or paintball/airsoft and you'll wish the target to stay in one place while dodging than wandering around while dodging.
A target moving around forces you to alter your aim greatly, both horizontally and vertically, which causes a far stronger alteration and arc effect to the shot. Standing around dodging doesn't, you aim for that space, immediately stabilize yourself with the horizontal and vertical angles in place and then you only need to give small nudges to your weapon if the target is dodging too much or you only need to fire to the approximate center of mass of the target. With all that, the arc effect is far slower and easier to calculate and the forces disrupting the shot are minimal. But I digress once more.

Any character can go prone with a free action, thus gaining a +4 bonus vs Ranged attacks, but can only do so in his turn. Although the idea of letting a character go prone on another opponent's turn sounds good, it would open a far too dangerous door. After all, there are several actions one does on an opponent's turn (going prone, counter attack, blocking with a weapon, immediately grabbing an opponent that failed an unarmed attack, etc). By the time you finished compiling all options available, you'd realize the turn-based division was destroyed and the game turned into a complete chaos :S

Veklim
2012-01-11, 06:42 AM
I'm not going to argue about the validity of your arguement with regards to RL dynamics, I paintball, I airsoft, I do archery (and have even fired a crossbow a few times) and have had a throwing knife for 14 years, which is currently rather badly notched from all the solid things I've accidentally hit! Moving targets are hard to hit, wind makes a MASSIVE difference (even with bullets over 100 yards) and physical limitations make it very awkward to notch, draw and loose fluidly whilst twisting to a target. Yes. This is true.

It is equally true that magic is a fantasy, nobody can fire 5 arrows in 6 seconds, a 100ft fall will ALWAYS maim, if not kill you, and dragons don't actually exist (as far as anyone can tell at least...)

I don't disagree with your facts, but I MUST disagree with the need to implement such realism in a game designed to ignore the constraints of reality. This is why we call it fantasy.

Ranged combat is a sub-par choice already. Magic gives better effect, range and accuracy over any considerable distance, melee offers FAR superior damage thresholds and many more action options. Don't cripple it further dude, you'll end up with a game where NOBODY wants to play a ranged character because when everyone else in the group is dropping giants in 2 rounds of melee, dazing and/or exploding distant groups of enemies every turn and sneaking through an open courtyard to assassinate a guard captain in front of 100 men without detection, you'll still be missing those goblins because they're running erratically through tall grass.

Do you see where I'm going? :smallconfused:

Isair
2012-01-11, 09:05 AM
Your argument can just as easily be applied to any non-magical melee warrior or rogue. Yes, the casters always have it easier and better. Yes, the casters are always more powerful. Yes there are so many different types of spells you no longer need to even use trapfinding or stealth. Get a party of five casters and you can have everything. I agree, spellcasters are far more powerful and useful, particularly at high-levels.
So, honestly, when comparing to spellcasters you do not hope to achieve an EQUALLY GOOD option, only a DECENT one, for the first doesn't exist when it comes to non-casters vs casters. That is exactly what I hope to achieve, an EQUALLY GOOD option when facing melee combat vs ranged combat and DECENT one when facing ranged combat vs spellcasting.

After spending 5 to 6 years creating my own rulebook, nerfing or improving classes, compiling a list of spells and feats I permit in my game (which, by the way, is cut to 1/3 considering the amount of spells and feats released in official manuals) I managed to make ranged combat an EQUALLY GOOD choice when facing the melee combat option. Not only I have created the base class Archer (which can be better than a fighter specialized in Ranged combat, - because it adds 1/2 Archer lvl to Atk, Archer lvl to dmg, and even has a very improved Called Shot ability that allows for instant kills 1/4 of the time), I've also improved ranged combat feats and weapons.
All of it have worked relatively well, so far, and ranged combat is not something my players ignore. So, basically, when it comes to non-spellcasting fighting styles, ranged combat stands as an equally good choice, depending on the fighting style you prefer: you can be on the front-line, dealing massive amounts of damage but be an easy target, you can be the tank and deal little damage, you can deal plenty of attacks with little damage each, or you can fight from a distance reducing greatly the number of threats to your character while dealing little damage as well. Or you can be of the Archer class, fight from a distance and deal a great amount of damage per round.

Now this last house-rule, however, I was not able to seriously test, especially from low-levels, and that is why I came asking for opinions. I want to introduce realism, to make the game as close to it as possible but while ensuring the rules don't harm too much one game style or favor too much the other.
All this to say, although I completely understand when people say "don't do this, it's bad enough as it is", what I look for isn't reasons as to "why it should not be done" but rather "what needs to be changed so what you plan can be done". That, of course, assuming what you want to do is logical and that is already been covered so far.

So please, evaluate the rule itself based on logic, realism and how should its effects be applied and/or compensated. Instead of saying "don't do this because ranged combat is already bad", please try to say something like "if you want this rule, make it like this ...." or "if you want this rule, you need to improve something like this ....". If what you suggest has already been applied in my house-rules, I shall say so. ;)

PS: Lets not forget, this rule is most troublesome for spellcasters, since a lot of spells require a range touch attack and casters usually have a pretty low attack bonus.

Yitzi
2012-01-11, 11:48 AM
So please, evaluate the rule itself based on logic, realism and how should its effects be applied and/or compensated.

Based on logic and realism, there is no reason that erratic movement (which does not require a move action or change position) should give less AC than movement in a particular direction.

Knaight
2012-01-11, 11:55 AM
On the penalty: I remind you that with all of one feat you can fire into a skirmish, with no chance of friendly fire, and no penalty. -2 is half the penalty without the feat - and I somehow doubt that leading a target is even half as difficult as predicting where at least two people engaged in hand to hand combat are going to be when your arrow reaches, and firing at the spot an enemy is going to be in.

Hanuman
2012-01-11, 01:14 PM
So I tried this. I got a bunch of tennis balls over at my gym, and a friend and I took turns spacing ourselves out 20' away (minimum) and then running in a straight line, and then trying to dodge in a five-foot square. I learned two things:

1) I suck at throwing tennis balls.

2) About 50% of the balls thrown hit when the target moved in a straight line (heedless of the thrower--did I mention I sucked at throwing tennis balls?), whereas about 35% of the balls thrown hit when the target was dodging in a square (and watching the thrower), and about 15% hit when the target was running throughout throughout a ~30' square.

So assuming that the DexMod all ready plays a role in the standing still, a penalty should be applied for straight movement (not even a full sprint, any sort of straight movement), and a bonus should be applied for nonlinear movement. Of course, this being D&Dland, and me having only performed one trial with two people, none of this really needs to be in the game, but it supports some of the points made above.

Edit: OH MY GOODNESS I JUST HAD THE GREATEST IDEA EVER! There should totally be an option for going prone in order to get an AC bonus (perhaps beyond just the +4 for prone) against a ranged attack. We did that once in a while to avoid balls at upper chest.
Mythbusters, but instead of myths it's DnD and instead of science it's uncoordinated nerds fooling around with tennisballs =P

DnD is balanced the way it is because of the bickering of nerds, houserules are an augmentation of that because it either A) enhances fun with your paricular group as they will accept balances that are more flavorful, even if they are different than how it was designed to fit together or B) to mitigate further bickering at the table if an issue arises.

I wouldn't get too hung up about the physics here, roleplay it and ask your DM by instance when it's respectful, that's what the +2 and -2 are for.

Isair
2012-01-11, 01:25 PM
Based on logic and realism, there is no reason that erratic movement (which does not require a move action or change position) should give less AC than movement in a particular direction.
This I know full well, from my archery years, that is far harder to hit a moving target than one remaining in place but trying to dodge. It's knowledge that comes not just from my study of physics (as the saying goes, "trust me, I'm an engineer" :P) but from personal experience in archery and several games of paintball.


On the penalty: I remind you that with all of one feat you can fire into a skirmish, with no chance of friendly fire, and no penalty. -2 is half the penalty without the feat - and I somehow doubt that leading a target is even half as difficult as predicting where at least two people engaged in hand to hand combat are going to be when your arrow reaches, and firing at the spot an enemy is going to be in.
That is something I cannot know for sure. Never had to fire against people engaged in melee :P. I opted on the +2 bonus to AC increments because it makes them relevant enough but not too troublesome.


I wouldn't get too hung up about the physics here, roleplay it and ask your DM by instance when it's respectful, that's what the +2 and -2 are for.
Since I'm the DM, I asked my players about the change. As expected, they weren't exactly impartial. Those less affected agreed, those more affected (casters mostly) were against it. That's why I came here :P

Knaight
2012-01-11, 01:30 PM
That is something I cannot know for sure. Never had to fire against people engaged in melee :P. I opted on the +2 bonus to AC increments because it makes them relevant enough but not too troublesome.
Dagorhir and SCA archery involves this all the time, and given how close to the target you are compared to where you would usually put yourself it has numerous advantages compared to actual archery in a similar situation. Unless the people fighting are complete novices staying out of range of each other and occasionally poking at each other firing into melee is far more difficult than merely hitting a moving target. Plus, you are also likely dealing with at least one shield moving in a less than fully predictable manner, so there's that.

Yitzi
2012-01-11, 04:25 PM
This I know full well, from my archery years, that is far harder to hit a moving target than one remaining in place but trying to dodge.

So how about this: If you don't move at all (including a 5' step) an archer may treat your dexterity as if it were half its actual value (NOT half the mod, half the actual value) when determining AC, but anyone who is not denied DEX bonus to AC (even if they don't get it against that archer because he's hidden) is allowed to take a "5' step in place" (i.e. they don't change position but are considered to have moved for this purpose) instead of a normal 5' step (if they're entitled to a 5' step). If the character has reason to be moving around, they are also considered to be taking a 5' step in place even if they're flatfooted.

Isair
2012-01-12, 06:37 AM
Here's a possible, not so complicated solution:

Feat - Leading Shot
You can lead your shots with precision and swiftness, making moving targets easier to hit
Prerequisites: Precise Shot, Point Blank Shot, Spot 2 ranks
Benefits: Your targets do not gain movement bonus to AC vs your ranged attacks
Special: An Archer, Fighter and Scout can choose this feat as one of their bonus feats. A Ranger adds this feat to the list of his 2nd level Combat Style feats.

Now before you think this isn't a solution, because in normal 3.5 rules you get a very few feats, I'd like to say that in my rulebook I used the Pathfinder system for feat attribution: 1 every 2 levels (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and so on) and I allow the use of up to 2 flaws at character creation (selecting a flaw either provides XP bonus on certain occasions or it allows the character to gain one extra feat), so basically feats aren't so difficult to acquire with my rules.
And by adopting this solution I'm not just solving the problem for the characters that specialize in ranged combat but also:
- Improving realism.
- Making characters without training less useful than those with training.
- Making casters suffer with their ranged touch spells

Yitzi
2012-01-12, 07:59 AM
Here's a possible, not so complicated solution:


That solves that problem, but still doesn't face the fact that realistically, 5'-ing in place (moving around erratically with the equivalent of a 5' step) should still be possible.

Knaight
2012-01-12, 10:13 AM
So how about this: If you don't move at all (including a 5' step) an archer may treat your dexterity as if it were half its actual value (NOT half the mod, half the actual value) when determining AC, but anyone who is not denied DEX bonus to AC (even if they don't get it against that archer because he's hidden) is allowed to take a "5' step in place" (i.e. they don't change position but are considered to have moved for this purpose) instead of a normal 5' step (if they're entitled to a 5' step). If the character has reason to be moving around, they are also considered to be taking a 5' step in place even if they're flatfooted.

I'd probably go with something along the line of just treating a target that doesn't move as flatfooted. It's simpler that way - moreover, it works most often when shooting at someone else who is also standing and shooting, which is probably the easiest target you are likely to get.

Yitzi
2012-01-12, 11:07 AM
I'd probably go with something along the line of just treating a target that doesn't move as flatfooted. It's simpler that way - moreover, it works most often when shooting at someone else who is also standing and shooting, which is probably the easiest target you are likely to get.

What constitutes "movement" here, and how is that realistic? There are types of movement smaller than a move action, after all.

Knaight
2012-01-12, 11:28 AM
What constitutes "movement" here, and how is that realistic? There are types of movement smaller than a move action, after all.

Any melee attack, change in position from one square to another, or change in pose (dropping to prone, getting up from prone, kneeling, etc.)

Yitzi
2012-01-12, 12:07 PM
Any melee attack, change in position from one square to another, or change in pose (dropping to prone, getting up from prone, kneeling, etc.)

So a 5' step would count, but two 2.5' steps (one east and one west) wouldn't?

Knaight
2012-01-12, 12:17 PM
So a 5' step would count, but two 2.5' steps (one east and one west) wouldn't?

Given that D&D doesn't model these, yes.

Veklim
2012-01-13, 09:24 AM
So just allow players a use of their 5ft step which makes them bob about in their square instead of moving. Counts as standing still for all purposes except AC bonus vs ranged attack, where you count as moving.

Isair
2012-01-13, 09:27 AM
Characters are already considered as moving in place, hence the Dexterity bonus to AC. The bonus to AC I proposed, due to movement, was because of the increased difficulty any ranged attacker suffers when he must make large adjustments to his aim, and must lead his shot, to try and hit the target.

Knaight
2012-01-13, 10:34 AM
So just allow players a use of their 5ft step which makes them bob about in their square instead of moving. Counts as standing still for all purposes except AC bonus vs ranged attack, where you count as moving.

That's the easy fix.

Yitzi
2012-01-13, 11:27 AM
was because of the increased difficulty any ranged attacker suffers when he must make large adjustments to his aim, and must lead his shot, to try and hit the target.

And we're telling you that "large adjustments cause more difficulty than small adjustments" is probably not realistic.

Isair
2012-01-13, 11:51 AM
You can say that as many times as you want. I know from experience and knowledge of physics that it is. Half a decade in archery + half my life studying physics has taught me several things and this is one of them. Now I cannot force you to agree with this, everyone has their own truths, but I have the experience and knowledge to support what I'm saying. And you can test that yourself by practicing archery or paintball/airsoft.

Yitzi
2012-01-13, 12:11 PM
You can say that as many times as you want. I know from experience and knowledge of physics that it is.

Didn't you yourself say that you never had to fire against people engaged in melee and couldn't know whether that would make things as hard due to the erratic movement as having to lead a shot would be?

Isair
2012-01-13, 12:19 PM
Yes, I never had to fire at people engaged in melee with others so I can't say the bonus to AC should be half or less the one granted by "firing into melee". And that is what I said.
But in paintball you fire at people who are actively dodging, even when remaining in place. It is far easier to hit one who is dodging in place than to hit one who is running around DODGING. And my experience in archery also tells me when you apply a large movement (either horizontal or vertical) to the arm holding the weapon, you will cause a large disruption to the shot and create a greater arc-effect, far bigger than when you just apply a small movement adjustment. One of the first you learn is to when you pull the string you should already have your arm (the one who holds the weapon) already pointing to the target because the shot will be harder if you have to move the arm after pulling the string and locking the hand holding the string.

Yitzi
2012-01-13, 12:22 PM
Ah, ok. In that case, perhaps even a 5' step should fail to count.

Isair
2012-01-13, 12:32 PM
The mos realistic way would be to calculate that bonus according to number of feet moved. But that would cause additional calculations that would slow the game. By making it apply with move actions, you can approximate to that easily, without harming the game flow with additional calculation, and also ensure that a simple 5-ft step (the kind you take as a free action) doesn't count to provide the bonus.

Morph Bark
2012-01-13, 12:47 PM
This makes it worse to have a higher move speed. If your move speed was 60 and your allies was 30 and you both moved 60 feet in a round than the one with the higher move speed is disadvantaged.

Also this is meant to already have been taken into account. Characters are considered constantly moving during combat rounds. That's why they don't have a front or back position, and are able to defend from all sides.

Except the 60 ft movespeed guy would not be disadvantaged since he could move again or take a standard action (which could include taking defensive actions).

Knaight
2012-01-13, 12:52 PM
The mos realistic way would be to calculate that bonus according to number of feet moved. But that would cause additional calculations that would slow the game. By making it apply with move actions, you can approximate to that easily, without harming the game flow with additional calculation, and also ensure that a simple 5-ft step (the kind you take as a free action) doesn't count to provide the bonus.

That really isn't very realistic at all, and it just slows down the game. If someone is 10 feet away, and they move 5 feet diagonally towards the archer the change in shot difficulty is much greater than if they do the exact same thing at 100 feet. Using movement rather than angle sacrifices all realism, and using either sacrifices a lot of playability.

Isair
2012-01-13, 02:07 PM
That is also true, Knaight, the angle and distance to the archer have influence indeed :S