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[Balance discussion]Combat archery from Hurt Locker

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  • [Balance discussion]Combat archery from Hurt Locker

    We started a vampire game and my character is an Asamite assassin that relies on bow for staking & carrying away his targets. It's a very cool concept and the archaic bow is actually a terrifying weapon against the Kindred. I only need to score 2 successes on an attack (-3 for aimed shot, but that is still way easier than landing a melee attack) to stake Vamps without armor/resilience.

    The issue is that my ST has problems with this style, particularly with Parthian Shot at 3.

    My defense is not even THAT high at 7 (3 from Dex/Wits, 3 from Athletics, 1 from Celerity). But when i dodge this bumps my defense pool to 14 (up to 18 with WP). Needless to say this makes sending melee mooks a hard sell - ghoul, vampire or mortal alike.

    I think this is part of the generic issue with melee being terrible due to Athletics adding to Defense and offense alike. Parthian shot feels like rubbing salt in the would...

    Have you ran into similar issues? Any possible remedy?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Azmodael View Post
    My defense is not even THAT high at 7 (3 from Dex/Wits, 3 from Athletics, 1 from Celerity). But when i dodge this bumps my defense pool to 14 (up to 18 with WP). Needless to say this makes sending melee mooks a hard sell - ghoul, vampire or mortal alike.
    You're Dodge isn't calculated correctly. Remember that bonuses to Defense don't get doubled when you Dodge unless they say otherwise. So your Dodge is 13 (6 x 2 + 1), and 16 with WP (13 + 3).

    Not that it's bad, just not quite that good.

    Of course, numbers are still the biggest problem. Parthian Shot only works once, and each attacker effectively subtracts 2 dice from your Dodge pool. It doesn't take a particularly large number of attacks with decent combat stats/equipment to overcome this as long as they can corner you (hard when you have Celerity of course, but not impossible).

    And nothing stops ranged combatants from doing the same back to your character if they get known for this stuff (and if you're using wooden shaft arrows, other Kindred are going to notice).

    Have you ran into similar issues? Any possible remedy?
    Not really? There's lots of good defensive/counter-attacks in the Fighting styles. Most not as potentially nasty as Parthian Shot, but they are better at handling mobs as a generality.

    Serious combatants are going to make sure to have some damage mitigation.

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    • #3
      The book quite clearly states that Dodge should be calculated as (3+3)*2+1 (which is 13 Dodge, +3 from WP) but the FAQ corrects it to (3+3+1)*2. 14 Dodge, +3 from WP.

      Parthian Shot is great as it can turn a Dodge into an attack, but the attack is effectively contested so you should deal less damage than with a regular attack. The whole negating the opponent's attack (meaning that effectively only one of you will succeed on an attack and it's going to be you most of the time) is really powerful, though. Especially for a ranged character in melee range.
      The best counters would be opponents that can bypass your Defense (meaning you don't get to Dodge) with a Fighting Style or Devotion (Celerity would work best), or an opponent who fights defensively, only striking after your character has used up their action or wishes to use a counterattack on their own.


      Bloodline: The Stygians
      Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
      Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Azmodael View Post
        Have you ran into similar issues? Any possible remedy?
        Disarm would work as an attack against your character that wouldn't trigger their Defense and would potentially take away your bow as an asset. Ghouls and vampires alike can use Disciplines that would also be able to counter it, from becoming invisible to just making you drop your bow. Or they can just send mortals at you until your Humanity drops and you're loaded down with Conditions. Though I imagine bringing Assamite assassins over as PCs is going to result in larger issues than a bow, since that can just be overcome with bigger numbers.

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        • #5
          I'm more curious about the (house?) rule that allows you to stake people via archery.
          I feel like, in the base setting, that's not actually a thing?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
            I'm more curious about the (house?) rule that allows you to stake people via archery.
            I feel like, in the base setting, that's not actually a thing?
            It is, wood through heart = staked.


            Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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            • #7
              Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post

              It is, wood through heart = staked.
              Where is this specified?
              2E Core is clear that it needs to be a wooden stake.

              If this archery exception isn't actually explicitly called out anywhere, then I'd have to say that things are what they are, and if any sort of wood worked, that's what it would say. For those who would devolve into semantic arguments of how an arrow is just a thin stake, it should be immediately obvious that that's not the intent of the verbiage or you wouldn't need to have semantic arguments about it.

              Every single instance of the bane says 'a wooden stake'. Stake is never excluded, the focus is never just on 'wooden'.

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              • #8
                Staking = putting a piece of (presumably sharpened) wood into a vampire's heart. Stake is merely shorthand or crossbow bolts wouldn't be able to stake a vampire (as is included in the 2e core).


                Bloodline: The Stygians
                Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                  crossbow bolts wouldn't be able to stake a vampire (as is included in the 2e core).
                  This is the piece I was missing. Where is this mentioned?

                  Edit: Found it, mentioned in the ranged weapons chart and literally nowhere else. Intriguing, and I definitely stand corrected.

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                  • #10
                    Even if it weren't mentioned specifically, it'd have to work because of logic and common sense. The only significant difference between a classic vampire hunter stake and a sharpened arrow shaft without a metal head is that the former is thicker than the latter. For one to work and the other not, the curse would have to tell them apart by thickness, which sounds rather contrived to me.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Morangias View Post
                      Even if it weren't mentioned specifically, it'd have to work because of logic and common sense. The only significant difference between a classic vampire hunter stake and a sharpened arrow shaft without a metal head is that the former is thicker than the latter. For one to work and the other not, the curse would have to tell them apart by thickness, which sounds rather contrived to me.
                      The only difference between moonlight and sunlight is that the former is a reflection of the latter.
                      And yet, that difference matters.

                      In broad terms, CofD runs on symbolism, not common sense.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Morangias View Post
                        Even if it weren't mentioned specifically, it'd have to work because of logic and common sense. The only significant difference between a classic vampire hunter stake and a sharpened arrow shaft without a metal head is that the former is thicker than the latter. For one to work and the other not, the curse would have to tell them apart by thickness, which sounds rather contrived to me.
                        And the other significant difference is the classic vampire stake is made of wood and the majority of modern arrow shafts are made of carbon fiber or plastic or aluminium.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                          Staking = putting a piece of (presumably sharpened) wood into a vampire's heart. Stake is merely shorthand or crossbow bolts wouldn't be able to stake a vampire (as is included in the 2e core).
                          Completely believe you, just is there a page number for that? I'm just having terrible luck finding it.
                          Edit, ignore this found it

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                          • #14
                            Since multiple people have trouble finding my just thrown out piece of info hidden away in the notes of a table: Page 179

                            "A crossbow can be used to deliver a stake through the heart"

                            Since the stake needs to be fired from a crossbow it's clear to me that stake only means sharpened piece of wood. At least the wood part is unambiguous or "wooden" wouldn't be used as a qualifier almost everywhere. Honestly, I'd allow any piece of wood that is mostly stake shaped, whether it be an arrow, a bolt, a pool cue, the broken off leg of a chair, or even a baseball bat (though you might get some negative modifiers for something so blunt).

                            Things that have been used as a stake in our games includes the handle of an axe as well as the handle of a garden rake broken down into five pieces.
                            The axe incident was pretty funny because the party were just going to pay a visit to a guy living out in the woods. One of us knocked on his door and he answered by trying to axe us a question about why we were there. One of us lopped off the head of the axe with a quickdrawn sword while the other three of us immediately grappled him on the spot. Next turn and the swordswoman took the remaining handle and staked him.
                            The garden rake incident was also kinda funny as, under a solo venture, I almost used one of the handle pieces to "stake" a ghoul. Luckily the ST intervened and told me that he had a heartbeat. I just assumed it was a vampire as I was deep in a Haven in the cave system under the Elysium, but it was just a ghoul janitor or maybe gardener to the underground mandragora garden so I just Obfuscated past him. I was going to use the stakes on the Circle leader who lived there (and her four attendants) but when I actually faced her I accidentally hit a little too hard and she went into Torpor by both stake and full lethal.
                            The following night another party member also made a solo venture into the same Haven to find out what my character had done, and found a broken-into garden shed/room with pieces of broken equipment on the ground.


                            Bloodline: The Stygians
                            Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                            Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Azmodael View Post
                              I only need to score 2 successes on an attack (-3 for aimed shot, but that is still way easier than landing a melee attack) to stake Vamps without armor/resilience.
                              Assuming we're talking wooden arrows without any metal head, your ST could give combatants armour. Like, personally I'd say that staking just doesn't work if the target has a certain level of armour. Unless you're using Vigor, I don't think it's plausible to put a wooden stake through a steel plate.

                              Needless to say this makes sending melee mooks a hard sell - ghoul, vampire or mortal alike.
                              Don't use melee mooks? Give enemies firearms.

                              Hell, if archery is this effective, why don't other vampires use it?


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