I have some trouble role-playing using ranged attacks.

I have some trouble role-playing using ranged attacks.

I have some trouble role-playing using ranged attacks. With melee combat, RPing it out is pretty simple (“I dodge to the side and drive my knife into his foot”, for example). 

But with a bow, or a gun, or something else (I recently played the Psion class, who has a psychic blast), I don’t really know what to say to make it more interesting, since all you’re really doing is standing there and shooting. 

Any advice/examples to make it more interesting?

12 thoughts on “I have some trouble role-playing using ranged attacks.”

  1. You could always go into a bit more detail about how you do it. “I call upon the deepest reserves of my psyche, building it up, provoking it until strong enough, and release it right into the cultist’s mind!” for the Psion example.

  2. Melee fighting is about quick movements and fast thinking, shooting (or magic I suppose) is much more methodical. Think about snipers or movies with badass shooters, their epic moments show off there intense concentration under fire or ability to aim at a specifically small target despite all the noise and insanity of battle. Focusing on those things will help your caster/shooter feel much more awesome.

  3. An interesting volley from our Inverse World game: our airship is flying through thick fog. Suddenly the Golem gets swooped by a giant bat. My Artificer hears the Golem call for help, so he pulls out his Galvanic Induction Torch, and shines it in a figure-eight in that rough direction. A few seconds later, a bolt of lightning arcs out of the Golem’s metal body and zaps the giant bat.

  4. Focus on the target. Did you blow a hole through his skull? Did you blow-up his cover? Did he dive out of the way at the last second? Obviously your narrative has to match what actually happened, but with the right creative license, it can come off pretty awesome.

  5. The trick to remember with volley is that the action happens after you roll. You prepare to make your shot, then roll, then decide how you follow through.

    “I peek around the trunk of the tree, and level my bow at the Minotaur, waiting for a moment to strike it through the chaos of battle.”

    Roll volley, 8

    Chooses expend 1 ammo

    “I fire arrow after arrow at it, heedless of how many I use, caring only about harming the beast!”

  6. In most games, you shouldn’t be able to simply line up a shot and fire it. You’ll be dodging rubble, panickedly firing at an onrushing horde, or racing to grab your weapon from where it dropped a moment ago. If you’re not in immediate danger, narrate how you’re sneaking up a pillar to line up that perfect shot, and what that hit is going to do; what’s an arrow to the eye really going to do to a Hydra that regenerates entire heads?

    To continue this ramble, here are the 7-9 options for Volley:

    You have to move to get the shot placing you in danger as described by the GM

    You have to take what you can get: -1d6 damage

    You have to take several shots, reducing your ammo by one

    They’re all quite fictionally based, meaning you can describe that you’re lining up the shot and roll, and then you’ve got something interesting to narrate (unless the shot went perfectly, in which case you’ve no doubt attracted some attention if anything has survived!)

  7. James Hawthorne Pretty often, there just aren’t enough enemies for me to be flying around like a madman, desperately trying to get a shot off. For example, we were standing outside a temple, and two stone golems came to life. They started chasing after a combination of our warrior, a few of our necromancer’s minions, and the wizard who was standing closer to the temple steps when they woke up. 

    So everyone else was running around, and I was standing still saying “I shoot another mind blast.”

    We haven’t really confronted a horde yet, and that definitely would be more interesting than just standing still, but when I’m able to fire unmolested, I don’t really know what to say to make it sound interesting. 

  8. Regarding “I shoot another mind blast”: A description which can trigger a Move does not need to be epic in scope, but yeah, this short sentence is definitely boring.

    I would try to lead my players to be more descriptive about what their characters are doing while they do this quick thing, since they can help to provide details which in turn help me make my Moves.

    Player: “I shoot another mind blast.”

    GM: “Do you suddenly stop, turn to face your opponent and concentrate while doing this, or just try to mentally zap it while moving to cover or whatever?” (Ask questions and use answers)

    Player: “Ah, right! I stop, while everyone else is ducking for cover or whatever, face him, and concentrate for a moment, imposing my will directly into his mind.”

    The player has given me golden opportunities now to potentially Split the Party, Put Someone In a Spot, etc. I’ll use one of these Moves, then the next time they describe the same action in the same way, I’ll use a different Move, to keep things from turning into the mind blast equivalent of “I swing my axe, I do x damage, I swing my sword again.”

  9. Hey Josh, I assume you’re the player? Then just think in terms of what you want to do and how you want to do it… Get evocative, get detailed, get specific. The others in this thread have given great advice – forget about whether its ranged or melee or magic, just describe what your character is up to and its up to the GM if you trigger a move or not.

    So instead of  ‘I shoot another mind blast’, think: which golem do I want to go down? How? Using the power of my mind blast, I summon a psychic wave of shock wave energy that ripples out to shatter his stony brain into shards?! Now we are getting some great fiction!

Comments are closed.