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I would like to start a Paladin game at some time, and as my first example trying out the rules I tried having an archer (p. 374 in Paladin, 1st printing, 2019) stand up from behind a boulder 50 yards away and start shooting arrows at my knight. My knight (SIZ 6, DEX 11, STR 15, CON 13, APP 11) has a movement rate of 3 (6 when running), and this is interpreted as yards per combat round (p. 117), hence the archer can shoot (at least) nine arrows while my knight is running towards him.

1) The first arrow hits for 7 points of damage. My knight makes his DEX roll, and so is not knocked down, and his scale mail (8 pts.) absorbs all the arrow damage.

2) The range is now 44 yards. The second arrow hits, this time doing 10 points of damage, and the DEX roll was failed, so my knight takes 2 hp of damage and is knocked down, hence no movement takes place.

3) The range is still 44 yards. The third arrow has a +5 modifier to hit because my knight is about to stand up during the resolution phase of this round. The arrow hits for 13 points of damage, so my knight takes 5 hp of damage and is automatically knocked down again (damage >= 2*SIZ).

4) The range is still 44 yards. The fourth arrow has a +5 modifier to hit because my knight is about to stand up. The arrow hits for 12 points of damage, so my knight takes 4 hp of damage and is automatically knocked down again (damage >= 2*SIZ).

5) The range is still 44 yards. The fifth arrow has a +5 modifier to hit because my knight is about to stand up. The arrow hits for 13 points of damage, so my knight takes 5 hp of damage and loses consciousness (3 hp left).

I realize the archer shot better than anticipated, hitting every time, and my knight had a small size so was knocked down easily. But still the hight rate of fire (nine shots at at enemy running towards you from 50 yards) seems to make bows very deadly. I assumed a short bow (short range: 50 yards, damage: 3d6), but with a long bow (range: 100 yards, damage: 6d6) you would get 16 short range shots at an enemy (with a movement rate of 3) running towards you. With a bow you attack the enemy unopposed, so Sir Launcelot can be "gunned down" just as easily as everybody else. I think it is time to start training with the bow. It is a choice between life and dignity.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Boamvndvs
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This is a known problem with KAP movement speed. It is simply way too low.

A longbowman can shoot between 6 to 12 aimed shots per minute. That is one arrow per 5-10 seconds. Taking the most generous assumption, this is 1 arrow per 5 seconds. A knight should be able to sprint 50 yards in 10 seconds, so two shots would seem more reasonable. This quick reality check would indicate that reinterpreting KAP Move as yards per second would be more realistic and a combat turn should be 5-10 seconds.

As for other matters, some of which you already identified:
1) SIZ 6 is insanely low for a knight. You are the size of a 12-year old child or thereabouts.
2) Did you remember that a shield gives you cover, i.e. subtracts the armor value from the archer's skill?
3) Where is your horse? You are a knight, not an infantryman! 😛

Anyway, once you fix the above movement speed issue, the chances are that:
1) The archer will miss at least one of those two arrows.
2) The second arrow is not enough to knock you down (either DMG < SIZ, or successful DEX roll).
3) You get to the archer after having taken a few points of damage and proceed to chop him up.

If you have your horse, the archer gets one shot off, likely misses, and then gets lance-charged to death.

Edited by Morien
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29 minutes ago, Morien said:

This is a known problem with KAP movement speed. It is simply way too low.

Indeed, if you look at The Great Hunt -adventure (free download), which a sort of a preview for 6th edition, you can see that the movement speed has been fixed: the pregen knights have movement rates between 17 and 19.

Edited by Morien
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To add to Morien’s point: even with the Paladin RAW as written, a knight’s charger in this situation should be able to Gallop, for 24 yards = getting there in 2 rounds, so that the knight can attack on the third.  The archer has a 30% chance of hitting each shot (12-6 for the shield), so the archer will hit a little more than half the time on average before the knight closes if the knight is fighting as the knight expects to fight, on horse.  

Assuming ring mail, the average damage is trivial; when you go up to chain, half the time there is no damage at all.  On average, a typical knight will have no chance of being unhorsed.*  So even without more sensible movement rules, as long as a normal knight is on horse, this situation is still unbalanced in the knight’s favour.  This is a very brave archer.

Now at the end of Paladin, when 6d6 longbows come in, getting unhorsed by longbowmen probably happens a lot, and is no doubt very annoying for the knights in question...

*Part of what’s going on in the scenario is that the knight doesn’t just have an extremely low SIZ — they also have an average DEX.  If one takes the big risk of creating a knight with a low SIZ, then I think one probably should think about compensating by making DEX high.  Even if damage suffers, they can always hold off an opponent until a comrade can assist them.  A knight who is routinely knocked off their horse is not much good to anyone.  

I’d guess that this character will probably rarely make it through five rounds of melee before suffering knockdown (no better than partial success about half the time, the large majority of damage rolls qualify for KD, fails DEX 40% of the time).   Battles in particular could be horrific — being alone and on foot is not safe.

Edited by Voord 99
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Thanks folks. I am happy with the answer that my example was not representative and that movement rates are being increased to avoid an unreasonably strong "Crecy effect" (which should be there to some extent of course). I did remember the shield. The archer had to roll 6 or lower on 1d20 to hit (11 or lower when my knight was trying to get to his feet), so my rolls were rather unfavorable to the knight. Maybe I should have left out the example and stuck to the point about the number of archer shots before collision, but when I had begun reporting about the confrontation, I decided to go through with it. When creating the knight I was unlucky rolling STR. I rolled 2d6 + 3 and got 6. (STR however gave the maximal possible value of 15, on 2d6 + 3). I started out on foot for my first example of combat, but of course you are right, a knight should be mounted (but I was still surprised to be slaugtered like this by a lonely archer).

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40 minutes ago, Boamvndvs said:

The archer had to roll 6 or lower on 1d20 to hit (11 or lower when my knight was trying to get to his feet),

By the way, the +5/-5 reflexive bonus should not apply to missile weapons, just in melee. If anything, the knight is a harder target while getting up, as the shield would cover all of him while he is on his knees.

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1 hour ago, Boamvndvs said:

When creating the knight I was unlucky rolling STR. I rolled 2d6 + 3 and got 6. (STR however gave the maximal possible value of 15, on 2d6 + 3).

I imagine that you did this, but just in case: after your rolls, you can add five more points (max of 3 with any stat), plus you can increase stats during the squire period.  Unless a player really wanted a challenge, I would immediately raise a SIZ roll of 6 to 9, and would then probably increase it further as a squire.

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I agree about the +5/-5 reflexive bonus, and I had overlooked the possibility of increasing my stats. I suppose the combat rules are melee oriented, but I want them to work for archery too, since I intend to use them in a more standard (Tolkien inspired) setting.

 

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You might want to modify the archery rules quite a bit in that case — they’re really designed for a game in which they’re something for GMs to use against players, and they’re well-designed for that purpose: straightforward and efficient, without having to remember or look up very much.

But they’re not really designed for players to use and find interesting.  At least for me, an awful lot of the appeal of the combat system lies in the opposed roll, which gives a great sense of two warriors clashing and allows for meaningful partial successes.  Beyond that, you have meaningful special tactical options in melee, defensive fighting and going all-out.  

Archers are basically rolling the same unopposed roll over and over again.  With longbows, they can be effective, but they’re always going to be boring.  Crossbowmen are potentially worse, because they may not even get to roll the same unopposed roll over and over again every round.  

When the Homeric game comes out, I’ll be really interested to see what it does with spear-throwing, because it’s a major skill of the Homeric hero, and Homer narrates combat with the heroes actively using their shields to block thrown spears.  And the heroes may look down on bows, but they’re acceptable battlefield weapons in a way that they’re not for knights, so bows should also be jazzed up as an interesting PC (PH, I suppose) option.

Edited by Voord 99
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I agree about the opposed roll. My players (if I can gather the old group) are used to D&D rules anno 1983. They are not used to anything more advanced than "I attack with my sword" or "I attack with my bow". It's me that can't forget about the opposed roll which to me seems much more realistic than the armor class system. My players will probably be slightly opposed to the opposed roll since it is more complicated than what they are used to, so if the missile rules can remain simple, it is actually fine.

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2 hours ago, Voord 99 said:

When the Homeric game comes out, I’ll be really interested to see what it does with spear-throwing, because it’s a major skill of the Homeric hero, and Homer narrates combat with the heroes actively using their shields to block thrown spears.

Nice thing about Homeric heroes is that they are very much fighting duels against one another, which simplifies things. Just off the top of my head...

Setup: A and B having Javelin 16, and carrying shields (Armor +6).
A. Under normal KAP rules, this would be two unopposed rolls with skill 10. Which, I agree, is a bit boring. Also, at higher skills, it would be even more likely that BOTH combatants get hit, which is kinda opposite what you'd generally expect from Homeric exchange of javelins.
B. You could do it as a simple skill vs. skill opposed roll, which might work fine enough, although it might not model the usual 'both blocked' result well enough, and indeed, means that the more skilled the fighters are, more likely it is that one of them takes a javelin hit.
C. You could do it opposed rolling, but let the 'defense' skill be 16 and the 'attack skill' be 10 (i.e. modified by the shield). Thus, if A rolls 9 and B rolls 15, B misses his javelin (or hits the shield more like, 15 > attack 10 but < than the unmodified 16) but manages to actively block A's javelin (since 15<16 and 15>9), too. I have not crunched the numbers, but given the disadvantage of -6 on the attack, I think this would probably favor mutual miss/block more than one getting hit, even at higher skill levels. You could rule that a draw in successful attacks is a mutual hit, which keeps it rare but possible. You could even allow the highest weapon skill to be used as the defensive skill, i.e. if the guy has Spear 20 and Javelin 16, he probably should be blocking with 20 instead of 16.
D. You could separate attack and block into their own rolls. A throws javelin with skill 10 vs. B, who defends with 16. And then the same with B's javelin. Resolving it with two opposed rolls instead of just one. Also, see above about the other, higher skills.

Just on a glance, I think C might be the way I'd go. If there are multiple javelins in the air (what is this cowardice!?), then I'd apply the -5 to the defense skill for 2 javelins and so forth. Also, Defensive would be an option if you focus on blocking all the javelins flung at you, rather than throwing your own javelin.

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3 hours ago, Boamvndvs said:

I suppose the combat rules are melee oriented, but I want them to work for archery too, since I intend to use them in a more standard (Tolkien inspired) setting.

Well, if it were just two archers shooting at one another, I might go with a simple Bow vs. Bow opposed roll to see who hits the other first, assuming that both are actively trying to avoid getting hit themselves.

Alternatively, you could give the melee fighter an active block, using his weapon skill to try and actively interpose the shield, making it your Bow-6 vs. his Melee Weapon skill, as I suggested in the previous post about Homeric javelin exchange. Sure, this makes it much harder for an Archer to hit a guy, but there is a reason that shields were ubiquitous until you got a full coverage armor that was nigh impervious to arrows. Also, the archer shouldn't just be standing there, waiting to be charged, but run away and try again once he has opened some more distance. He can attack, the melee monster can't, until he has closed the range. Skirmishing is life for an archer, a slinger, or a javelineer/peltast.

Edited by Morien
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19 minutes ago, Morien said:

Nice thing about Homeric heroes is that they are very much fighting duels against one another, which simplifies things. Just off the top of my head...

Unless you're Odysseus.  Then you just shoot all your guests...for hitting on your wife. 

There is also some bow and arrow use in the Iliad but not by the major heroes.  However, I don't remember it being portrayed as shameful, but I haven't read the Iliad for a long time.  

There is also some rock throwing...

F

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9 minutes ago, fulk said:

There is also some bow and arrow use in the Iliad but not by the major heroes.  However, I don't remember it being portrayed as shameful, but I haven't read the Iliad for a long time.  

IIRC Paris is treated as a dishonorable coward for killing Achilles with an arrow.

Edited by Leingod
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Teucer is probably the most major hero on the Greek side who’s primarily defined as an archer, and he’s given a special archery-based aristeia in Book 8.  But he’s given a hard time for using a bow in Sophocles’ Ajax (admittedly by Menelaus, who is a %^$# in that play), and while that’s later, there are traces of a disdainful attitude towards archery in the Iliad, specifically in Diomedes’ words to Paris in book 11.  That being said, Agamemnon praises Teucer in very honorific terms in book 8, so any disdain for the bow can be overcome by the simple and very Homeric method of killing enough people.

So it’s evidently basically OK to use a bow on the battlefield.  Or indeed a rock.  The system damn well better have thorough and detailed lifting-of-huge-rocks-and-throwing-them mechanics.

Edited by Voord 99
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Yes. I was thinking of Teucer not Paris.  Probably killing random minor characters on the battle field is ok, but you can't kill a major hero with an arrow and gain any honor.  You have to face him one on one.

NT

 

 

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I think that’s an interesting one.  Looking again at the passage in Book 8, Teucer responds to Agamemnon’s praise by saying various things.  But at the end Teucer says that he hasn’t yet shot the “raging dog” Hector, and the narrator goes on to say that he was eager (that his thumos was impelling him) to shoot Hector.  (Which he fails to do, and Hector throws a rock at him, ending the episode.)

Hector definitely counts as a major hero, so that would suggest to me it’s not the case that killing a major figure with the bow wouldn’t count at all as a source of honour, but that it would count less.  Mechanically, I’d say that it would be less extreme a penalty to Glory than Paladin (1/10 Glory), but there would be a significant penalty.  Maybe 1/3?  Or it might involve an element of who you are: Teucer (who’s Ajax’s half-brother, but is a nothos, born from a slave or concubine) maybe has more room to develop a weapon like the bow and can retain more of the Glory for winning with it.

One interesting question is whether Homeric Glory should be zero-sum in some circumstances, including combat: defeating an opponent only increases your Glory because it reduces his.  Or somewhat - you a flat mininum for the victory, and you can add to that by taking some of the dead man’s Glory, perhaps increasing the amount taken if you both boasted beforehand and/or you taunt him afterwards, successfully despoil his corpse, etc.

That might mechanically match winning with the bow — because you didn’t really match yourself against the other hero, his Glory is not all that significantly reduced, and so your own increase is not as significant.  Nevertheless, you did win, and winning is rather important to the hero’s value system, so you do get some Glory.

Edited by Voord 99
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Morien (or anyone else really) - where does it say that the shield subtracts from the archer's skill - as in providing cover?

And would the shield *still* provide the +6 to Armor (ie the damage reduction aspect)?

Thanks.

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37 minutes ago, SirUkpyr said:

Morien (or anyone else really) - where does it say that the shield subtracts from the archer's skill - as in providing cover?

And would the shield *still* provide the +6 to Armor (ie the damage reduction aspect)?

Thanks.

Paladin p. 104.  It’s implied that the shield doesn’t reduce damage, although this is not 100% explicit.

The rule in Pendragon 5e (at least in the core book) is a little different (p. 142): the shield provides a -5 modifier, not its armor value.  But I prefer the Paladin rule, because it allows for for larger shields, magic shields, etc. 

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10 hours ago, SirUkpyr said:

And would the shield *still* provide the +6 to Armor (ie the damage reduction aspect)?

 

9 hours ago, Voord 99 said:

Paladin p. 104.  It’s implied that the shield doesn’t reduce damage, although this is not 100% explicit.

Since shield armor is gained only on a partial success*, and the missile attack is unopposed, the defender doesn't roll and hence cannot get a partial success to get the shield armor value.

* The exception is against an Uncontrolled Attack, which explicitly says that the defender does always get the shield bonus (Paladin p. 128). This matches how it is handled in KAP 5.2, too, although KAP 4 did not have this additional note. (We have houseruled it so that if the defender fails in their own attack roll first, then they do not get the shield armor bonus themselves. It seldom comes up, though.)

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