I occasionally DM a high level campaign with a group of my buddies. I always had a BIG problem with how order of Attack is handled in DND combat when it comes to Range Attack Vs Melee Attack.
Currently who ever rolls higher initiative gets to act first regardless if they are Range or Melee. Now all things being equal, the faster person should get to act first.
But no matter how fast someone is, a melee with a sword who is 6 squares away (30 feet) shouldn't get to run that distance and strike a Range before the Range can shoot off an arrow at him.
Range attack is always superior against a melee attack, provided distance is involved. As the saying goes, "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight".
I decided to solve this irritating quark by adding a Trigger and an Immediate Interrupt to my campaign. Did my best to be compatible with the existing PHB rules.
Trigger: A combatant makes a non-instantaneous move action of 3 squares or more.
Immediate Interrupt: You can make an immediate range attack as your standard action for your turn. You cannot perform any other remaining actions until your turn. Your initiative order does not change.
Ofcourse all other rules apply such as Opportunity Attacks and the range must be able to make that interrupt without using any other actions such as a minor action to draw a weapon etc. When the initiative order comes around to the range, he/she would only have remaining Move Action and Minor Action left to perform.
My friend believes it will make Range way too powerful compared to a melee, just because they can attack first given the trigger. But then isn't Range Attack action much more superior to a melee attack action given there are distance and movement involved?
Would this unbalance the game too much?
It clearly unbalances. The question is how much. I suspect it's too large. The archer gains several asdvantages and wasn't a weak type to start with [The ranger-archer is a candidate for #1 stud.] nor the type we mostly want to promote. [We are to charge danger, not stand back.]
It's not impossible. But I would add major limits before the archer can use it.
It may unbalance Ranger class the most since they can use a Long Bow (1D10) which does a ton of damage. But then at the same time, a Ranger has high dexterity. The chances are the Ranger will have the initiative to act first anyway most of time, which makes the interrupt pointless.
But for the slower Warlocks, Wizards, or any other Range Spell class...
On my Ranger with a Greatbow I'd love this to no end. Well, the end would be the very first time I used it and decided not to do it again because it would make the game unfun.
You would need to work on exactly what you want them to be able to do by "range attack" Do you mean any attack from range? Also, for talking about a power that "loses" you a standard action see Lightning Rush for wording help.
But my bigger problem is how someone who was melee would be able to literally not do anything to a ranger with a great bow.
Greatbow's range is 25/50. Meaning that they can start pecking at you (with a -2 penalty) at 50 squares off. Say you have a movement speed of 5 and you are double moving every turn towards the ranger and the ranger is single moving away (also at speed 5). That means you will only cut the distance down by 5 per turn, meaning it takes you 9 turns (assuming you go first and charge). Which is partially what the ranger can already do if they are far away.
All of this ignores that fact that this is an interupt and would be absolutely broken on a Hunter. They go to move, I shoot them they fall prone. Since it is an interrupt they stop their movement part of the way through and I prance away. Now they can either move (get from prone) move (get down to prone) or inch towards the Hunter and they fill them full of arrows in no danger?
I think this is a bad idea. In my eyes, a ranged character shouldn't always get to act first. if a character is flat footed, not really paying attention...a warrior who is paying attention /should/ get to act first. To me, a low initiative roll reflects a ranged character who is flat footed. When the warrior sees the enemy and charges, the archer has to take a second to identify the threat, nock an arrow, and loose. These things don't happen instantaneously.
As it is, ranged character have most of the advantages as I see it. I don't think they need any more edges over melee characters.
As mentioned, this makes any ranged attack that also prones completely broken. So I'd say it's unbalanced.
You're implementing this rule to come to grips with the knife vs. gun dilemma, right? You should realize that a game breaks down when you try to simulate reality too much. So how about this: in D&D, there is no weapon that's lethal enough to lay a person low the moment you fire it at that person. Besides, the person you're using it on has enough skill to partially dodge the bullet (Neo, Matrix), or is tough enough to not be immediately laid low by it (any ogre or larger creature).
Besides, winning initiative means you've anticipated the start of battle much better than your enemy, so while he's still drawing his ranged weapon and aiming, you've already covered the distance and are in his face before he even has a clue of what's going on.
In future rounds, when combat is well underway, moving towards a ranged enemy who is below you in the initiative order could mean that you got the drop on him and he didn't expect you to suddenly move towards you.
If you think of it this way, you don't need new unbalanced rules to simulate combat.
There's a rule in law enforcement training called the '21 foot rule.' It states that the average attacker armed with a knife can cover 21 feet in the time it takes to draw, ready, aim and fire two rounds into the center of mass.
That's with a semi-automatic handgun.
Even with the bow already drawn, you still have to grab an arrow from your quiver (equivalent to drawing a weapon from a holster), knock the arrow (takes longer than flicking the safety off), aim (at least the same amount of time), and then fire it off before a guy with a weapon that extends their reach by a least a meter over a knife gets withing range.
As such, covering 30 feet before your target can get a shot off with a bow isn't even a heroic feat... the 21 foot rule is based off what an average person can do. Thus, if a melee combatant beats their intiative, they SHOULD be able to close and attack before the bowman can get a shot off.
Your houserule isn't just unbalanced its UNREALISTIC (because as TV Tropes often points out "Reality is Unrealistic").
"Besides, winning initiative means you've anticipated the start of battle much better than your enemy, so while he's still drawing his ranged weapon and aiming, you've already covered the distance and are in his face before he even has a clue of what's going on.
In future rounds, when combat is well underway, moving towards a ranged enemy who is below you in the initiative order could mean that you got the drop on him and he didn't expect you to suddenly move towards you."
"It is possible to cover that distance before an opponent can evaluate what is going on and get an aimed shot off.
Regardless, D&D combat is abstracted. Having initiative could represent a variety of conditions, like:
- noticing your foe is focusing elsewhere before charging,
- making sure you're in a good position before **it goes down
- having a battle plan
- choosing an inconspicuous approach vector
"In my eyes, a ranged character shouldn't always get to act first. if a character is flat footed, not really paying attention...a warrior who is paying attention /should/ get to act first. To me, a low initiative roll reflects a ranged character who is flat footed. When the warrior sees the enemy and charges, the archer has to take a second to identify the threat, nock an arrow, and loose. These things don't happen instantaneously."
Thank you guys. Those were very insightful. Under those interpretation, it makes sense. If I continue to use it in my campaign, I am going to make it as a "Basic Range Attack". That way nothing fancy happens.
Thank you for the insights!
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