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Lord Il Palazzo
2012-01-17, 05:17 PM
So, at my group's usual 3.5 session last week, the players found themselves on top of a tower, fighting a dragon. On the tower was a ballista, loaded with a bolt that will explode in acid on impact. One of the players (playing a ranger) decides that he wants his character to try to ride the ballista bolt to grab onto the dragon and attack it at close range (with a pair of dual-wielded bastard swords). The other players, thinking (probably rightly) that this was a bad idea, grappled the character before he reached the ballista to keep him from doing anything stupid. If they hadn't, how should I, as the DM, have handled the situation?

Should I discourage the player from trying actions that are likely to fail catastrophically? (I mean, beyond the usual DM's "Are your really sure?") Should I tell the player what he would need to roll to make the plan work or let him decide whether to do it and then just start telling him what to roll? If he does go for it, should I let the predictable consequences ensue or try my hardest to make the crazy plan actually work?

As it is, I did very little in the scenario, as the other players kept him from trying his plan, but I still feel like the whole thing was handled poorly all around. Any thoughts?

JellyPooga
2012-01-17, 05:34 PM
I think that had the other players not restrained him, that you should have totally let him pull it off...on the condition that he shout WEEEEEEEE!!! at the top of his lungs as his character sailed gleefully through the air to his certain doom. That would be awesome!

Then again, I'm a silly person sometimes.

Chronos
2012-01-17, 05:37 PM
If he had tried it, there would be two possible results: Either he would fail spectacularly, or he would succeed spectacularly. Either way, it would have been spectacular. Yeah, it might have been the death of his character, but we all have stories about epic character deaths. And really, isn't creating great stories the whole point of characters in the first place?

Doorhandle
2012-01-17, 05:41 PM
let them have crazy ideas? Lemmie tell you, you should be facilitating them!

theflyingkitty
2012-01-17, 05:44 PM
I had a player busy himself for well over an hour trying to saw a horse in half with his staff, and couldn't figure out why the horse would fight back.

SamBurke
2012-01-17, 05:44 PM
So, at my group's usual 3.5 session last week, the players found themselves on top of a tower, fighting a dragon. On the tower was a ballista, loaded with a bolt that will explode in acid on impact. One of the players (playing a ranger) decides that he wants his character to try to ride the ballista bolt to grab onto the dragon and attack it at close range (with a pair of dual-wielded bastard swords). The other players, thinking (probably rightly) that this was a bad idea, grappled the character before he reached the ballista to keep him from doing anything stupid. If they hadn't, how should I, as the DM, have handled the situation?

Should I discourage the player from trying actions that are likely to fail catastrophically? (I mean, beyond the usual DM's "Are your really sure?") Should I tell the player what he would need to roll to make the plan work or let him decide whether to do it and then just start telling him what to roll? If he does go for it, should I let the predictable consequences ensue or try my hardest to make the crazy plan actually work?

As it is, I did very little in the scenario, as the other players kept him from trying his plan, but I still feel like the whole thing was handled poorly all around. Any thoughts?

Ask a semi-provactive question. For example, "Does your character understand the likely consequences of gravity in this world?"

I personally would have had him take fall damage to the ground AND get the explosion damage of the bolt. Why? Because riding a flipping bolt is either going to do nothing (It won't fire, or it'll slip out from under you), or you'll fall.

Binks
2012-01-17, 05:48 PM
Personally I always go for the 'Any plan has a chance of succeeding' style. I would have let him try if he wanted to, but told him in no uncertain terms that it would be a difficult series of checks to pull it off and that failure could result in injury or even possibly death.

If he still wanted to proceed I would have probably started off with a moderately difficult acrobatics check to stay on the ballista (failure = fall damage and the bolt goes on without you), a reflex save to avoid the acid when the bolt when off (failure = take the damage), and some kind of modified grapple check (maybe grapple vs. a set DC? Or a climb check to 'catch' your fall) to grab onto the dragon (failure = fall damage but you're now adjacent to the dragon). Net result on all successes would be some kind of atk/dmg bonus from being up there, something enough to make it worth it, but not enough to completely shift the battle (if this was 4E I would do something like +1 atk and you can add your weapon critical damage to non-crits. In 3.5 probably +1 atk and reroll the lowest 1-2 damage dice, something nice and a reward for the hard work, but not something that auto-wins the battle).

I've found that allowing players to run with their crazy plans but keeping realism in there somewhere (while allowing it to be thrown out the window by a good set of rolls or a high modifier) gives the best balance of chances for epic moments and more mundane battles (that let the real epic moments really shine, can't have any highs if you don't have a baseline).

Sen isSaqqara
2012-01-17, 05:51 PM
Yeah, you might want to go over the mechanics of how crossbows work. There's likely a bar between where he'd position himself and the place the bot is going. Even if there weren't, it would probably just shoot out from under him, giving him a nasty friction-burn to the crotch if not simply exploding like it is supposed to upon contact.

Need_A_Life
2012-01-17, 06:24 PM
Let him hit the dragon, let both of them be showered in the acid and tell him to make an attack roll. When he makes it (you're giving bonuses for awesome ideas, aren't you?), describe how he slams his sword into the hide of the dragon and is hanging onto it by the hilt of the sword.

The dragon roars in anger, surprise and pain while it gets annihilated by a dedicated melee character with no sense of self-preservation that it CANNOT get away from.

When the dragon dies, let him jump on its back and surf it through the air, until it crashes horribly into the ground, letting him roll gracefully off its back, a crazy glint in the eye and with another notch in his belt.


Hell, I love cinematic games and wish that the people I play with would come up with crazy s**t like this more often. Of course, considering that the "DM vs. players" mentality seems ingrained in several of both players and GMs I've played with that doesn't happen often.
So, I gotta do whatever I can do to encourage it.

Delvin Darkwood
2012-01-17, 06:37 PM
My general rule goes like this: If the player can explain how it will work, and they understand the possible consequences, the rule of cool applies, and let the dice roll (with severe penalties of course. Nothing is ever cool if its easy)

The risk involved with failing in that situation is massive. Like, automatic gruesome death massive. If the player is willing to take that risk, ide say let them try. And of course its best to have them make six or seven checks in the process. This allows you to keep control, while still allowing the players to have stupid fun.

Because honestly, that is the absolutely greatest stupid fun ive ever heard.

Vitruviansquid
2012-01-17, 07:05 PM
Let the players do what they will think will work... and even have it work most of the time.

Nothing pulls a player out of the game faster than springing "gotcha!" consequences on them, especially if you don't tell them beforehand exactly what's going to happen. Players always have expectations for how the world works, and they'll oftentimes not match yours. Don't punish them for having different expectations, especially in games about magic, heroes, or pulp action.

So the first rule is, tell them how you're going to rule the situation, the consequences of failure, and the consequences of success. If it's something that the player character should not immediately be able to judge the reason for failure, like trying to put out a grease fire by throwing water on it (in a setting where this isn't commonly known) allow something like a Wisdom, Idea, or equivalent check for the system, and tell him why that would be a bad idea.

The second rule is, let the players have their fun. If the guy playing the valiant knight wants to throw his magic sword into the dragon's throat for the final blow... why not let him? Hell, unless your game makes a point of being gritty and realistic, even give him a bonus for it.

Randomatic
2012-01-17, 07:05 PM
The answer to your question is going to depend on your gaming group. You'll need to figure that out at your table. You have a ranger dual wielding bastard swords trying to ride exploding balista bolts, he's already voted for the type of game he wants with his character choice and actions. The other players voted by trying to restrain him.

I suggest asking your gaming group about the type of game they want. It would be best to find some common ground to work from, and use that to answer your question.


If the player is willing to take that risk, ide say let them try. And of course its best to have them make six or seven checks in the process.

The problem with this is that the more times you roll the dice, the more chances you have to fail. Making six or seven checks works out to telling the player "No, you can't do that" in the vast majority of games.

Toofey
2012-01-17, 07:42 PM
As long as he jumps when he gets close so he doesn't end up with his legs getting dissolved I actually think this would have a decent chance of success if the party worked with him to make it happen.

Admittedly at best then he's holding one a dragon by his swords which are stuck, or not stuck, in the dragon, meaning that at best he can maybe get one sword out to take attacks or at worst miss entirely and end up falling/being shot to his death (which, if this happens, ending up in the bolt's acid is a near certainty) But hey, it's something.

Lord Il Palazzo
2012-01-17, 07:49 PM
The problem with this is that the more times you roll the dice, the more chances you have to fail. Making six or seven checks works out to telling the player "No, you can't do that" in the vast majority of games.I interpretted have "the player make six or seven checks" as meaning "give them lots of chances to succeed" rather than "give them lots of chances to fail". I feel like, if I were doing it again and the others hadn't restrained the ranger, I would have gone that route, giving enough checks that some part of the plan is more likely to work (if the bolt misses, make a jump check to reach the dragon from the bolt, if a modified grapple check fails, make a climb check (possibly keyed to dex) to catch hold of the tail, etc.)

Aotrs Commander
2012-01-17, 07:57 PM
If I'd been DMing, and someone had suggested that, after a moment of dead silence to contemplate the sheer idiocy of that idea (me and the other players both), my response would have been:

"Ahahahahahano.

Ballistas do not work that way.

*smacks upside the head, assuming the player nearest to victim hasn't done so already*

Moving on."

If I was running Rolemaster at the time, on the other hand, where I can just use extistant rules, I'd have been far more likely to say "okay, make me a Virtually Impossible1 manoeuvre, so that's a -200 penalty to the roll, and bear in mind that you will require a total of at least a 375 to actually succeed completely, and that any result below 100 is likely to instantly kill you, if not outright, then from the multiple E critcals you'll take. Still want to try? No? Thought not."

Actually, on second thought, the player would be lucky to get away without a Maximised Disintegrate to the bowels. And yes, I DO mean the player, not the character. I treat player disipline very seriously...

(I mean, where do I even BEGIN? If they player actually argued with that ruling, they would get a detailed explanation about how utterly ludicrous that idea is from start to finish...)

Rule-of-cool does have a place in my games, but it is absolutely NOT king and takes second place to common sense, and often third place to the laws of physics unless aided by copious amounts of magic/technology etc. (You stand more chance with Rule of Funny, to be honest, if I personally, find it amusing and not simply innane. This would not be one of those times.)

You play in my games, and regardless of what rules we're using, you're playing in an imperfect simulation of the real world. That means that you can't break the laws of physics without a reason (e.g. copious amounts of supernatural or technological powers/equipment) - "because the metaphorical player thinks it's cool/funny/wants to gain an advantage that the rules don't give them2" is not one of those reasons.

(The player who came up with that in our games would be laughed out of the room (metaphorically) and we'd likely never let him forget that particular bit of attempted idiocy, like ever... Of course, over half our regular players are engineers and technicians, all of whom have at least a good grounding in physics, so allowing something that would totally destroy any semblence of immersion for everyone (myself included).)

But, I, of course, am a miserable old toe-rag at the best of times.

And a miserable old toe-rag who has to do 95% of the DMing these days, I mean, seriously, I have a weekly gaming group and four day-games per year, and on a good year I get to play maybe twice AND I'm a requires-heavy-prep DM, too. But if I don't do it, then we don't play. So you'll damn well play by my rules when I'm running, or yer can DM yourself. And, by all means do so, really, I'm not gonna moan, and I'm quite happy to accept whatever you're running - within reason, I mean I draw the line at Vampire, obviously...) Not that I'm bitter, nor that I got disproportionally petty enjoyment out of that demon grappling both the psion and the sorceress and using them as impromptu cymbols last gaming session or anything.



But as Randomatic says, it depends on your gaming group. (And if the metaphorical you is the only one coming up with that sort of idea, and on a regular basis, then you need to either find a more appropriate gaming group for your playstyle or if unable or unwilling, you need to curb it back, lest you annoy everyone.)



1A category I have yet to ever have to use in 20+ years of running RM.

2Which has happened occasionally, when a player wants to do something like called shots or do something strange that they think that lets them do insta-kills, in a system like D&D where the rules aren't designed for that level of abstraction.

Arbane
2012-01-17, 08:11 PM
If that was in Exalted, it'd be a two, maybe three-die stunt.

Belril Duskwalk
2012-01-17, 08:37 PM
In my (somewhat brief) time as a DM I've heard a lot of arguably insane ideas from players. That idea officially takes the cake. A normal ballista is not built in such a way that this idea is even physically possible.

That aside, let's say it was possible. Unless they've got a crack-shot ballista engineer operating the machine compensating for the weight of a fully equipped ranger is going to be extremely difficult, and that's assuming the ballista even produces the force necessary to launch the standard projectile and the 200-odd pounds of ranger plus gear along for the ride.

I would say if he were adamant about trying this idea and nobody else tried to stop him you really should point out this idea has a very high chance of going completely and horribly wrong. For starters, the person firing the ballista needs to hit the dragon successfully. Second, the ranger needs to get a hold of that dragon and keep his grip even going at a high rate of speed. Then there's the matter of staying on a dragon that will be trying to roll him off AND trying to attack the dragon at the same time. If he still wants to try, start making some rolls and hope he's got a Feather Fall handy for the very likely event of him failing at least one roll.

I'm all for crazy ideas that have a chance of working. Jumping onto a monster's back to try and strike it where it can't strike you. Rolling underneath a land-bound monster to aim for a soft under-belly. Trying to cripple legs, etc. This is not one of those 'crazy but workable' ideas. This is one of those 'just plain crazy' ideas.

Dr.Epic
2012-01-17, 09:10 PM
Let them. Let them just do stuff that will get them killed, make them create a new character so that they waste their own time instead of having fun. Problem solved.

DoctorGlock
2012-01-17, 09:41 PM
I'm in the "let the player do it" camp on this. Absurd awesome is what many of us play the game for

In my group it follows a structure as follows:
Player: I am going to do X (wield a city bus as nunchaku/attack scenery/bullrush enemy off tower and ride him down/try to jump up falling meteors)
DM: Are you absolutely suicidaly certain?
Entire table: Honestly, we know you have an awesome addiction, I give him/her 80% odds
DM: ...yeah

Penalties or bonuses are applied to a general check (roll highish on a d20 type stuff) based on how awesome the description is

Then I ask the following type of question:

So, how are you getting down?
:smallamused:

Fiery Diamond
2012-01-17, 10:11 PM
Let them. Let them just do stuff that will get them killed, make them create a new character so that they waste their own time instead of having fun. Problem solved.

I absolutely despise this attitude. The one from the post beneath it is a much better way of looking at the game than this. You don't "punish" people for thinking that something is awesome, whether directly or through "allowing them to face the consequences," JUST because said "awesome" thing is unrealistic.

prufock
2012-01-17, 10:55 PM
I love when players have crazy ideas, for good or ill. I'd always warn a player about just how crazy and unlikely it is than an idea will work, and tell them how I'll resolve any checks, but if they want to try something, sure go for it.

This would rank up there as "incredibly unlikely."

Arbane
2012-01-17, 11:34 PM
Then I ask the following type of question:

So, how are you getting down?
:smallamused:

"Gravity". (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0806.html)

TriForce
2012-01-18, 01:45 AM
id say that idea is about a dc23 or 24 strenght check to hold on to the bolt being fired, a about -4 on the bolt to hit, and about a dc 25 reflex save to avoid taking the same damage from the acid as the dragon would get.


.... yeah i had some silly players.. a greenhaired gnome ramping a river with a selfmade steampowered hoovercraft doesnt even make my top 5

Doorhandle
2012-01-18, 02:19 AM
Ballistae do not work that way! RARRR

Well, to be totally fair, Video games have always taught us that ballistae are just really big crossbows, rather than boxy roman-like version, and he was probably expecting the crossbow.

Also, depending on level, it might have been very survivable (but he probably didnít know that I.C.)

Gettles
2012-01-18, 05:01 AM
id say that idea is about a dc23 or 24 strenght check to hold on to the bolt being fired, a about -4 on the bolt to hit, and about a dc 25 reflex save to avoid taking the same damage from the acid as the dragon would get.


.... yeah i had some silly players.. a greenhaired gnome ramping a river with a selfmade steampowered hoovercraft doesnt even make my top 5

Not bad. I'd add that for the bolt to hit has the penalty, but as long as it reaches touch attack range he's close enough to make the attack, but the acid bolt wont hit.

Anyway, since the DMG doesn't have a section entitled "The one of my players is a madman" the correct way to deal with a situation like that is kludge together a rule for what they want to do using an arbitrary system of penalties and bonuses mostly based on a combination of gut-instinct and strange hunches.

Mastikator
2012-01-18, 05:28 AM
Ok so, first you get a major penalty to hit because there's a ranger on the bolt weiging it down. If you miss the dragon then that would just be totally hillarious.
Secondly, there's a strength check involved to hold on, if failed the ranger will still be tossed off the tower.
Since the ranger is sitting on the bolt, he'll take the acid damage without a save, unlike the dragon.
And if everything goes as planned, he'll be within reach of the dragon, but his weapons will be occupied.
And if he manages to kill the dragon in mid-air, he'll take fall damage, after he's taken acid damage and collision damage with the dragon.

Basically, you should've let him do it.

Earthwalker
2012-01-18, 06:20 AM
As others have said its all abou the game you want to run and the group.

Some games I have run (Mainly Torg here, running around the new nile empire) this would work, in fact not doing this kind of thing would be frowned upon.

Trying to do this in DnD would get me explaining the rolls needed and how slim the chance was of success and how little you would gain even if it did work.

Niether is right or wrong. I always try to give my players a hand out at the start of a campaign detailing what kind of game I am looking for. They usual play within the bounds, if its a pulp super heroics kind of thing then they would try the crazy, if not they leave it behind.

Oddly in Torg, I could have this kind of actions for a few weeks of play as my PCs romp through the New Nile Empire fighting super villians and saving the day. Then the same characters can end up in Orrosh and spend time investigating the horrors that seem to be taken children from a nearby town. No fighting or stuns just horror and investigation.

I miss Torg.

Comet
2012-01-18, 06:40 AM
Let him or don't but do it all out of character before the actual action happens. While the player might have different expectations to how the world works, the character most likely would not. So making things clear out of character would be the only way to keep the story in any way sensible.

I'd most probably allow it, assuming D&D. Probably with a fairly good chance of serious injury but still.

Jay R
2012-01-18, 07:11 AM
If he's the sort of player who complains when I enforce the rules that I'm "not letting him play his character", then I will let him play his character.

DigoDragon
2012-01-18, 08:22 AM
When (funny that it's never 'if') my players come up with a crazy idea like that, what I do is work out a fair procedure to attempt it and then let them go through with the plan.

In this case, I could see the procedure going something like--

Step 1: Climb check to hold onto the ballista bolt when it's launched. Rationale for using Climb is it's Strength based and the skill to use when you want to hold onto to something solid against gravity or an opposing force. My group has made presidence for this before.

Step 2: Splash damage from Acid (Assuming the bolt hits the dragon). The player takes "X" Acid splash damage, mitigated by any Acid resistances or Evasion abilities (I personally alow Evasion for splash damages).

Step 3: Grapple check to grab onto the dragon. The important step here! Even if the bolt misses its target, the player could easily jump off and grab a hold onto the dragon (No need for a Jump check in my mind. i'm keeping it simple). A successful grapple check means you hold onto the dragon. A failure means you're bucked off/slip/lost your grip and you now face the oncoming ground at 9.8 m/s^2.


And yeah, I've had players jump onto flying dragons from odd locations. Though not from a sailing ballista bolt. That's a new one. :smallsmile:

Dr. Yes
2012-01-18, 02:18 PM
There are a few players in my usual group who try to do stuff like this sometimes---not in a Rule of Cool kind of way, but more in a "this is incompatible with any kind of verisimilitude" way. Our DM handles this by giving them an intelligence or wisdom check. If they succeed, he explains the glaring flaws in their plan of action to them; if they fail, he lets them go through with it and suffer the consequences.

nedz
2012-01-18, 02:51 PM
How you run this depends upon the style of your game. If you are into the rule of cool then go with the Hollywood physics.
My own style is more simulationalist, so I might do something like the following:

Low DC climb check to get into position on the ballistai
Strength roll with a highish DC


Fail: You fail to keep hold of the bolt and may fall off the engine.
Pass: You manage to keep hold of the bolt. You are now sat on a ballistae holding a bolt.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-01-18, 03:05 PM
Like people are saying, it depends on your group's general style of play. Me? I love when players come up with ridiculously crazy stunts. My opinion is that it makes the game much, much more fun than just walking up to people and attacking them. If a player wants to slide down the banister with a sword in each hand instead of running down the stairs with a sword in each hand, then heck, I won't even require a skill check. He's not doing anything he couldn't normally do, he's just doing it in a cooler way.

That being said, this is the kind of stunt that requires a roll or two. A strength check to hold onto the bolt, an attack roll to stab the dragon and hang onto your swordhilt, and a reflex save to avoid the exploding acid ought to do it. It's not going to break anything to let him be cool, and it actually lets him be effective in combat, as opposed to forcing a two-weapon fighter to stand around and use a longbow.

Ashtagon
2012-01-18, 03:38 PM
If your game plays even a passing nod to physics, the bolt misses (no roll) and he gets a nasty friction burn on whatever he was trying to grip the bolt with.

Fantasy physics says:

* Balance check to stay in position on the ballista.
* Strength/Grapple/Climb check to hold the bolt as it launches.
* Attack roll (by whoever s operating the ballista) to hit, probably with fun penalties.
* Character takes acid damage, along with dragon.
* Character makes attack roll, with charging bonuses.
* Character makes grapple check to hold on to dragon.

Kadzar
2012-01-18, 07:10 PM
Strangely enough, I happen to have an image that is very relevant to this thread.http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/9882/playercharacterplans.jpg

Megosh
2012-01-18, 08:10 PM
Interesting idea. Seems like one of those that bounces between physically possible and rule of cool arguments.

I usually go with always allowed to try stuff, but need roles to pull it off with either skill or sheer luck. The above rolls cover it pretty well. A few important checks, but limited to only really "needed" ones to keep it simple and not look like the DM is just saying "NO" thru enough dice.


I ran a game where the shapeshifting druid flew, in bird form, above the flying reptile on first turn. On second turn, he shapeshifted, as free action (druid variant PHB 2) into a large bear and wanted to grapple/crush the large beast from above. I had him roll normal touch attack and grapple to grab hold, and his weight caused them both to fall. I had him roll another grapple to make beast land first, and druid to land on top. Success on all rolls, so he did grapple damage, both took falling damage, and beast took extra falling damage from a 1,000lb heavy bear landing on him. Result was lots of damage to monster and smashed it flat, while still some damage to druid player. He saw it as fair trade off, and everyone cheered at the kill and still talk about it now.

Later in game he tried same move as large bear on a huge dragon. Failed grapple and just slid off the dragon to ground below. No hard feelings from him, understood doesn't work all the time.

Othesemo
2012-01-18, 08:26 PM
Even if the player ignores my warnings, I wouldn't just kill him then. I'd give a 10-20% chance of it working, first of. The rest of the time, I'd make the plan fail in a comic and embarrassing way. For example, I might have the player zoom forwards 10 feet before falling off the bolt, which is then diverted into striking the ground near him. He takes maybe 20 damage from acid and falling, and is taught a lesson. Next round he can go back to fighting the dragon.

valadil
2012-01-18, 09:30 PM
I wouldn't outright say no, although I would tell the player it was unlikely to work.

After that I'd start rolling for failure.

First off, the player would have to grip the bolt. That thing is going to go flying off the prod at a couple hundred feet per second. It's probably going to slip the player's grip. Even if the PC holds on tight, it's likely to jerk at the wrists. Failure may result in damage.

Riding the damn thing is another check. I'd probably rule that role climbing, or something like that, is the closest skill to this.

Hitting the dragon is another matter entirely. It's been a decade since I've done physics, but I don't think you can just add 200 pounds to a ballista bolt and expect it to fly the same way. For the sake of discussion though, let's just say that the dragon is close enough to hit in spite of the added weight.

Finally, the collision. Player and dragon would take some falling damage from the mutual impact. Both would deal with acid. Then the player would have to do a climb check of some sort to hold on.

And that's all assuming the dragon didn't open his mouth and swallow the incoming player character.

Jay R
2012-01-21, 10:55 AM
The Rule of Cool is not plot armor, and is not an excuse for ignoring physics. Elan to the contrary (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0589.html), you don't crash dramatically through the window when the door is open. (Unless, like Elan (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0558.html), your character has "Ignorance" as a class power source.)

If they have run out of spells and are running out of hit points, and they have no other options, so one character says, "I may die doing this, but I have to try something. Fire me at the dragon!" - that's cool, and might work.

But if things are only mildly difficult, and the team has better options, then he just wants a ballista ride. That's dumb, and should be treated accordingly.

Sometimes the Rule of Cool conflicts with the Rule of Really, Really Stupid.

TheArsenal
2012-01-21, 11:00 AM
Well, generally TELL the player whats going to happen (As in, youl fall down and die). Tell them that its going to fail or not. Then let them proceed as planned.

Templarkommando
2012-01-21, 04:14 PM
Let me take a minute and link the wikipedia article for ballista.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballista

Look at a couple of the images there. You might also think about googling ballista images. If you look at those you'll notice something. Ballistas tend to have fairly narrow projectile shafts.

The problem with thinking that you can grab a ballista bolt and fly to your target seems superhuman to me. If you have a character that can pull off superhuman feats, you might think about letting them do this, but for me I wouldn't really even consider it for anybody under level 15, and really, I'm thinking closer to 20 unless they have an item that will help them pull off what they want to to.

Furthermore, if the bolt is going to explode on impact, that can't mean good things for the PC.

You might could accomplish this with some other siege engine. I'm thinking on a really lucky attack roll I might let a lower level character pull this off with a catapult, or something that can realistically propel a PCs weight in the direction of a flying creature.