13 thoughts on “How do you handle range in games?”

  1. Characters with ranged weapons will get a chance to use them before characters with melee weapons, provided there is enough distance between the two parties. That may mean PCs are Defying Danger to get close enough to their ranged weapon wielding opponents, or it may mean they get peppered with arrows. It all depends on what is happening in the fiction, and you should do what makes sense.

  2. Two ways:

    1. You have more time to react if something turns toward you

    2. Any attack forces defensive maneuvers. This is automatic in Hack and Slash but to “defend” against ranged fire, you seek out obstacles.

  3. colin roald, this isn’t actually for my games. I’m working on a new product that borrows heavily from PbtA, and this has always been an issue for me in my games (ranger vs. fighter – how to handle ranges).

    Up until now, I’ve always said the meter person needs to defy danger to get in, but wasn’t sure if that was enough.

  4. Ryan M. Danks you don’t ALWAYS need a Defy Danger roll to approach melee range. That’s sort of implied in the move itself. When you need a Defy Danger usually has to do with reach or something. Got a crazed ninja whirling a chain with spikes all over the place? Yeah, moving in to hit him with your sword is gonna be scary.

  5. The advantage of the ranged weapon is you get to shoot first, possibly several times, while the melee fighter closes range.  But within melee range, a bow is virtually useless – the archer either has to drop it and swap to something else, or run away.  That’s the basic dynamic – probably you just control whether bows or swords have the advantage by adjusting how much damage each one does.

    In the real world, archers were never really viable as solo fighters (most fights start at too-close range), but assault rifles are.

    Aaron Griffin, if an archer is shooting at a PC fighter and the fighter wants to charge him, then the Defy Danger represents the “do you get hit by this guy shooting at you” stakes. Depending how far she has to run, there could be multiple rolls, even.  Only PCs roll dice, so you can’t just have the archer roll Volley.  If the archer isn’t shooting at the fighter, then of course there’s no Danger to Defy. 

  6. Ryan M. Danks the advantage is in the stakes and the risk. It all becomes clear if you use some magic words that Announce the Consequences and Ask with every roll:

    “In order to do that, you are risking X. Okay?”

    What do you risk when wading into melee combat? Maybe getting stabbed, being knocked down, or being disarmed. What do you risk standing back and shooting into a melee? Maybe hitting your friends, breaking your bow, or tripping over something because you’re trying to get a shot in.

  7. colin roald Sure, that covers what I meant by “usually has to do with reach”. If there is some danger they can bring to bear before you reach melee range, you need to defy it.

  8. Fighter: “I charge the archer!”

    GM: “Really? It’s like 20 yards. He’s gonna get off at least one shot, maybe two or three. You like dodging or anything? Or just charging?”

    Fighter: “CHARGE!”

    GM: “… okay. He knocks an arrow and shoots you in the leg as you charge him. Take 1d8+2 damage. How much did you take?”

    Fighter: “Ouch, 8 damage, less 3 for armor. So 5 damage. Still up, though! Hack and slash?”

    GM: “Hold on. The arrow sinks in your thigh and you feel your leg buckle. You start to pitch forward. He’s already knocking another shaft. What do you do?”

    Fighter: “Oh, um… I grit my teeth and keep charging!”

    GM: “Okay, that sounds like defy danger with CON to me, yeah?”

    Fighter: “Sure. Um… a 9.”

    GM: “Alrighty… you still stumble a little but keep going. He’s drawing down on you. You can keep charging and close with him, but you’ll take another arrow. Or you dodge out of the way as he fires, but still be out of range. What do you do?”

    Fighter: “Crap. Uh… I’ll take the arrow. d8+2 again? A 4! Only 1 damage. Do I roll mine?”

    GM: “No, hold up. The arrow plunks into your shoulder, doesn’t pierce your armor but leaves a bruise. You’re in range and swinging, right, but he’s dodging back and reaching for his short sword. Roll to hack & slash”

    Fighter: “Oh, okay. Umm… a 7. I do… 9 damage, 2 piercing.”

    GM: “With your messy, forceful ax? Yikes! He tries to block with the bow, but you cleave straight through it and his skull. Alas, as you pull your ax free, thunk! Another arrow plunks into your back. Must’ve been another archer. Take another 1d8+2 damage. What do you do?”

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