Monday, February 23, 2015

Missile weapons for Fighting Fantasy

Curiously, the original Fighting Fantasy before Advanced Fighting Fantasy had no rules for bows, spears, or thrown weapons. This makes sense in the close-quarters of a dungeon, but even Firetop Mountain features a bow with a silver arrow (the bringer of sleep) for slaying the undead.

This raises another issue: how much damage should an arrow or spear do? If we begin at the standard 2 Stamina points for a hit, an archer would have to pepper their target with shots before the target fell. The 2 points damage makes more sense in combat, if we treat these hits as the scrapes and knocks that wear down the opponent rather than debilitating wounds, but this makes less sense when it comes to the impact of an arrow, which simply strikes a body part or doesn't. 

As a house rules, the Tinkerage suggests that aiming a missile weapon be treated as a test of Skill. Apply penalties for range, size of the target, light and wind conditions, and so on.

Damage should be somewhat higher than normal battle damage, with 3 points for a lighter weapon (hunting bow, thrown object) and 4 points for a heavier weapon (spear, crossbow, longbow).

The higher damage reflects the fact that, if one is hit with a missile weapon there is no way to parry or deflect the hurt, unless by armour, or if one is rather lucky and the impact is a mere graze (test for Luck). Feel free to ignore this if you go ahead and use the simple damage roll option.

There is a precedent for this in Out of the Pit, where the arrows of the various elves do 3 points of damage on a hit (with a 5 in 6 chance of hitting!).

This makes a missile weapon a considerable threat in play, but remember that bows, and especially crossbows, take time to aim and reload, are hard to use in close quarters, and leave the wielder vulnerable to a charge or surprise attack.

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