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Firing into Combat


Paul_Va

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Can someone provide an example for the "Firing into Combat" rule on p. 224 of the Basic Roleplaying core rulebook? It says that firing into combat incurs a 20% penalty, but in the next paragraph, it says "The chance of hitting a particular target is divided equally by the total number of beings in the melee. If the attacker rolls a number between his or her skill rating and the chance modified (as above) for shooting into melee, the GM should randomly determine which of the targets was struck, by rolling randomly with an equivalent die roll, or by asking all potential targets to make a Luck roll and choosing the biggest failure.

Why does the player divide the chance of hitting if the GM will determine afterwards who was hit with a die roll, and vice versa? Am I mis-reading something? I'm not seeing this rule for some reason.

Edited by Paul_Va

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Can someone provide an example for the "Firing into Combat" rule on p. 224 of the Basic Roleplaying core rulebook? It says that firing into combat incurs a 20% penalty, but in the next paragraph, it says "The chance of hitting a particular target is divided equally by the total number of beings in the melee. If the attacker rolls a number between his or her skill rating and the chance modified (as above) for shooting into melee, the GM should randomly determine which of the targets was struck, by rolling randomly with an equivalent die roll, or by asking all potential targets to make a Luck roll and choosing the biggest failure.

Why does the player divide the chance of hitting if the GM will determine afterwards who was hit with a die roll, and vice versa? Am I mis-reading something? I'm not seeing this rule for some reason.

I'll explain it with an example: Say the attacker has an 80% Attack skill. If he fires into a melee and rolls a 01-60% (the Attack skill -20%) he has struck his intended target. If he rolls a 61-80% result (skill before modification), he has hit someone. Roll randomly, equal chance of each. Finally, if he rolls 81%+, he misses as normal.

Rod

Edited by threedeesix

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I'll explain it with an example: Say the attacker has an 80% Attack skill. If he fires into a melee and rolls a 01-60% (the Attack skill -20%) he has struck his intended target. If he rolls a 61-80% result (skill before modification), he has hit someone. Roll randomly, equal chance of each. Finally, if he rolls 81%+, he misses as normal.

Rod

Excellent. That clears it up perfectly, Rod. Thank you. :)

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Excellent. That clears it up perfectly, Rod. Thank you. :)

I also take into account large SIZ differences between the combatants of 200% or greater. So if 2 SIZ 20 trolls are in melee with one SIZ 10 elf and an archer fires an arrow at one of the trolls and misses, the chance of hitting the elf will be lower than the other troll. I would roll 1D3 with the troll being hit on a 1-2 and the elf on a 3.

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I believe the rule is copy/paste from Runequest 3. The rule in RQ3 has an example that states:

"Cormac comes upon Signy and Nikolos beset by three brigands. Reacting to the threat of his friends, he throws his javelin at one of the bandits.

His current ability with the Javelin is 67%, and there are five people meleeing, so Cormac has a 13% chance to hit his target (67% divided by 5 equals 13%). Cormac's player rolls a 43, which is over the 13% but under his chance of hitting someone. Since there are five potential targets, the gamemaster rolls a D10, designating Signy as 1-2, Nikolos 3-4, Brigand A is 5-6, brigand B is 7-8, and Brigand C is 9-10. The roll is 7, and it is Brigand B who takes the javelin shot."

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I believe the rule is copy/paste from Runequest 3. The rule in RQ3 has an example that states:

"Cormac comes upon Signy and Nikolos beset by three brigands. Reacting to the threat of his friends, he throws his javelin at one of the bandits.

His current ability with the Javelin is 67%, and there are five people meleeing, so Cormac has a 13% chance to hit his target (67% divided by 5 equals 13%). Cormac's player rolls a 43, which is over the 13% but under his chance of hitting someone. Since there are five potential targets, the gamemaster rolls a D10, designating Signy as 1-2, Nikolos 3-4, Brigand A is 5-6, brigand B is 7-8, and Brigand C is 9-10. The roll is 7, and it is Brigand B who takes the javelin shot."

Hmm, well that explains the part that says to divide the percentage. I notice the example didn't subtract 20% first though. Perhaps the new rule is to subtract the 20% first, then divide the remaining percentage into the number of melee participants, and if you role equal to or under the lowest, you hit your target?

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Hmm, well that explains the part that says to divide the percentage. I notice the example didn't subtract 20% first though. Perhaps the new rule is to subtract the 20% first, then divide the remaining percentage into the number of melee participants, and if you role equal to or under the lowest, you hit your target?

There similar but two different rules. BRP uses the flat 20% penalty, RQ uses the "divide by the number in the melee".

Rod

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Ooooooh. That's very good. I don't know what rule I have been using but it wasn't that. That's much nicer than the kludge that I had going. I guess it does pay to read the rule book. Thanks Rod. :)

No problem. ;t)

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Hmm, well that explains the part that says to divide the percentage. I notice the example didn't subtract 20% first though. Perhaps the new rule is to subtract the 20% first, then divide the remaining percentage into the number of melee participants, and if you role equal to or under the lowest, you hit your target?

The Firing Into Combat section in BRP has 3 paragraphs, 2 of which are from the RQ3 rules. The 1st paragraph with the 20% is in addition to the 2 paragraphs taken from RQ3. Threedeesix's reading of the rule is a good one, but you could also do as you said and subtract 20% and then divide skill by participants. Whichever you think makes more sense for your table.

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Dividing skill by participant makes sense only if you shoot at the melee without aiming at a specific target : you have equal chance to randomly hit anybody in the melee, which is different than trying to hit a particular target engaged with others in a melee.

So 20% penalty (we can argue about the amount, and prefer for isntance a difficult action = x1/2) to hit one single target because it is more difficult and hit a random target if you miss because there are peaople around your target makes as much sense. Just as in Theeedeesix' post #2

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have never liked that "divide by the number of targets" rule. There are two main reasons.

1) It doesn't take into account the chance to score a critical or special success. Using your example but changing the chance to hit to an even multiple of 5%: Cormac has a 65% chance to hit someone. So his chance to special is 13%. Since his chance to hit his intended target is also 13%, any hit he scores will also be a special. There's also no chance to special any of the other targets.

2) This method doesn't give any advantage to having a higher skill. No matter if I have a sling skill of 20%, or a sling skill of 100%... I will have an equal chance to hit any target in the group. The 100% skill should enable me to better pick out my intended target. In theory, if I am the best archer in the world, I should be able to hit my intended target nearly always even in the midst of a crowd.

I'd like to see something more along the lines of "Roll a difficult chance to hit your intended target. Should you miss, back it up with another difficult roll to see if you hit a random target." That would address both points above by 1) you now have a chance to critical/special on the second roll; and 2) as your skill goes higher, the odds you'll even need to make a second roll go down.

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I have never liked that "divide by the number of targets" rule. There are two main reasons.

1) It doesn't take into account the chance to score a critical or special success. Using your example but changing the chance to hit to an even multiple of 5%: Cormac has a 65% chance to hit someone. So his chance to special is 13%. Since his chance to hit his intended target is also 13%, any hit he scores will also be a special. There's also no chance to special any of the other targets.

In most BRP games the idea of an "unintentional" special is a bit odd to say the least - the rule is I think however intended to be simple to administer...

2) This method doesn't give any advantage to having a higher skill. No matter if I have a sling skill of 20%, or a sling skill of 100%... I will have an equal chance to hit any target in the group. The 100% skill should enable me to better pick out my intended target. In theory, if I am the best archer in the world, I should be able to hit my intended target nearly always even in the midst of a crowd.

Err, in a static crowd completely unaware of you but all entirely motionless,possibly - but the situation being discussed is shooting in to a melee - a mass of bodies moving quickly and erratically - with "bounded" skills I wouldn't let anyone pick their target in a melee (with unbounded skills I'd consider it but it would be an exceptional ability requiring VERY high skill).

I'd like to see something more along the lines of "Roll a difficult chance to hit your intended target. Should you miss, back it up with another difficult roll to see if you hit a random target." That would address both points above by 1) you now have a chance to critical/special on the second roll; and 2) as your skill goes higher, the odds you'll even need to make a second roll go down.

Suggestions:

Shots in to melee are HARD (halve skill). If the character achieves a hit roll 1Dn (where n is the number of participants in the melee) to randomly determine whom they hit.On a special or critical hit the character can either take the usual effect and still hit a random target OR sacrifice the special effect in exchange for hitting their intended target. Everyone is penalised for trying to shoot in to melee, higher skill does get a small edge in hitting their intended target but pulling off precise hits (special or critical hits) is more challenging.

cheers,

Nick

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Suggestions:

Shots in to melee are HARD (halve skill). If the character achieves a hit roll 1Dn (where n is the number of participants in the melee) to randomly determine whom they hit.On a special or critical hit the character can either take the usual effect and still hit a random target OR sacrifice the special effect in exchange for hitting their intended target. Everyone is penalised for trying to shoot in to melee, higher skill does get a small edge in hitting their intended target but pulling off precise hits (special or critical hits) is more challenging.

A slightly different analogy. in BRP games where there are hit locations then in melee combat you roll hit location randomly because you can't predict where you'll manage to find an opening. To hit a specified location is either harder or requires a special success of some type. (Using generic terms here.)

So, firing into a "body" of people (i.e. a group) is no more difficult than usual providing you don't care who you hit; simply roll the target randomly. If however you care you hit then it's sort of like aiming for a specific location. Using standard BRP you would simply say it's hard or very hard depending on the context. E.g. "I want to hit one of the orcs" when you don't care which one out of the three orcs near your two friends you hit might be HARD. "Aiming for the orc leader" might be VERY HARD.

Of course what everyone tends to obsess about is accidentally hitting a friend. There are at least two ways that can happen. A fumble and random selection. If you want a third way then you can say something like "if you miss and roll doubles" (but don't fumble) you have accidentally hit a random target (friend or foe.) This has the intended side-effect of making it actually slightly easier to hit someone but that that someone might be a friend. And of course it means that if you are aiming for a specific target you are also slightly more likely to hit an unintended target, presumably because the reason you missed is that the victim stepped right in front of your missile at just the wrong moment.

Edited by deleriad
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I have never liked that "divide by the number of targets" rule. There are two main reasons.

1) It doesn't take into account the chance to score a critical or special success. Using your example but changing the chance to hit to an even multiple of 5%: Cormac has a 65% chance to hit someone. So his chance to special is 13%. Since his chance to hit his intended target is also 13%, any hit he scores will also be a special. There's also no chance to special any of the other targets.

The general rule in BRP is that Special/Critical chances are derived from the chance to hit after any penalties/bonuses. So, in this case a 13% chance to hit means a Special on 03 and a Critical on 01.

If you missed the main target then, I agree, that you couldn't impale any of the other targets.

2) This method doesn't give any advantage to having a higher skill. No matter if I have a sling skill of 20%, or a sling skill of 100%... I will have an equal chance to hit any target in the group. The 100% skill should enable me to better pick out my intended target. In theory, if I am the best archer in the world, I should be able to hit my intended target nearly always even in the midst of a crowd.

It's not firing into a crowd, it's firing into a moving, jostling crowd. If films and TV are accurate, even modern-day snipers struggle with that.

I'd like to see something more along the lines of "Roll a difficult chance to hit your intended target. Should you miss, back it up with another difficult roll to see if you hit a random target." That would address both points above by 1) you now have a chance to critical/special on the second roll; and 2) as your skill goes higher, the odds you'll even need to make a second roll go down.

That would be better - it's effectively an aimed shot into combat.

However, if you miss then should you get an Impale? I am not entirely sure.

In any case, if you are trying to hit anyone in the crowd then you should roll your normal chance and then roll randomly as to who you hit.

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It is my understanding that in the early days of dragoon and musket combat, musketeers didn't pick targets (a useless gesture given the accuracy of their weapons) but fired into the mass of the enemy, figuring they'd surely hit somebody as long as they didn't shoot over the opponents' heads or so low that their bullets would plow into the ground. Is this accurate? If so, how do the rules apply to the situation?

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I would say up until the advent of widespread rifled muskets - mid-nineteenth century really; a body of men fired at a body of men and were lucky if the round fired hit someone they might have picked as a target. Sharpshooters may have been able to pick off officers at relatively short ranges but the targets were mostly isolated/in front of their men to be visible when giving orders.

The fact that musketry accuracy tests were done using a six foot high piece of sheeting and counting holes tells you something about the perceived accuracy of these things.

In an situation where combatants are intermingled them someone firing into that mass of struggling flesh is as likely to hit any piece of humanity as any other. Users of any sort of missile weapon should not be able to choose specific targets when firing into a melee.

Using the standard possibility of a hit, special and impale and then rolling randomly amongst the participants in a hand-to-hand fight is the simplest way to do it. Too bad if your friend gets shot, impaled or killed.

Someone here must know what is currently taught about long firearms (rifles etc) and the official thinking about firing into melee. Anyone care to quote military field manuals on the subject or does blue-on-blue just not occur in your military?

Nigel

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Sorry.

Combatives is the hand to hand combat style currently taught to the US Army.

The US Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is the hand to hand combat style taught to the US Marine Corps.

Other state military forces have their own such as Sambo (Soviet Union), Krav Maga (Israel). The main purpose of these is to 1) open space between the combatants so that firearms may be used, 2) subdue an opponent and rarely, 3)engage with melee weapons (knives, batons, etc.)

-STS

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Thanks. So the US Military (and several others) tell's it's people don't fire into combat and try to force away anyone closing with you and get them to firearms suitable ranges.

Sounds like eminently suitable advice for anyone who thinks that BGB hand-to-hand or martial arts mixes with firearms.

Nigel

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  • 4 months later...

Guys,

Their is a lot of debate within my gaming group about missile fire into melee. What do you think about the following house rule:

When firing into a melee and attempting to hit a particular target the archer rolls his attack percentage as normal. If he succeeds at his roll, he must then make a second roll to see which melee participant was hit. This is done by dividing the SIZ of each participant by 10 and rounding up to the nearest whole number. Each number represents a pip on die which is rolled to determine who is hit.

Example: Barney, SIZ 16, is in melee with a goblin SIZ 6 and an ogre SIZ 24. A D6 would be rolled to see who is hit and Barney would be pips 1-2 (SIZ 16/10 rounded up = 2), goblin would be pip 3 (SIZ 6/10 rounded up =1) and ogre would be pips 4-6 (SIZ 24/10 rounded up =3).

Criticals and Specials:

If the archer rolls a critical or special success he may lower the success one level and pick his target or keep the success at the current level and determine his target randomly according to the above system.

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Probably should read the whole thread before shooting my mouth off, but..

When firing into a melee and attempting to hit a particular target the archer rolls his attack percentage as normal. If he succeeds at his roll, he must then make a second roll to see which melee participant was hit. This is done by dividing the SIZ of each participant by 10 and rounding up to the nearest whole number. Each number represents a pip on die which is rolled to determine who is hit.

My problem here is that better archers will hit their friends more often than worse ones (presuming my math is right -- NOT a safe assumption).

EXAMPLE: An archer with 30% skill will roll a normal success 24% of the time while an archer with 80% skill will roll a normal success 64% of the time. Using your example, the better archer will hit poor Barney 21% of the time while the crap archer will only hit him 8% of the time. Granted, the crap archer won't hit anything most of the time, but still...

I think you're on the right track, however, and I'd riff off of the BGB's Cover rules based on the SIZ of the things you are trying not to hit. The Cover rules in the BGB have the same problem in that they use the 'Difficult' modifier, halving your skill roll -- thus higher skills still have a better chance of hitting the wrong thing.

Off the top of my head:

When firing into melee apply a % penalty to the roll based on the combined SIZ of the non-targets. If you succeed with the penalty you succeed. If you miss because of the penalty you hit one of the other targets, roll as per your SIZ-to-die-pips conversion. If you miss regardless of the penalty, you roll the % chance to see if you hit one of the other targets.

EXAMPLE 2: Back to Barney and his sociopathic archer 'friend' who has an 80% chance to hit with his bow. Archer fires once into the fray at the goblin but has a penalty of 40% (SIZ 16 + SIZ 24) because of the ogre and Barney mucking about. (Had Archer aimed at the ogre he'd only have a 22% penalty.) Archer rolls 66, which means he hit something besides the goblin -- fortunately it was the ogre. He spits and fires again, but this time rolls an 89 -- a miss, but because he's still shooting at the melee he has a 40% of hitting someone else. He rolls a 12 and... well, let's say Barney won't sit for at least two weeks.

I'm sure there's something screwy with that as well...

Edit: I realized you could do away with the additional die roll for 'who did you hit'. Just use the penalty %, going from lowest SIZ to highest SIZ (or the other way 'round). For example, Archer had a 40% chance to hit his goblin target. He rolled a 66, which is 26 more than 40 and so Archer shoots the ogre. Had he rolled a 41-56 he would've shot Barney. For the full-on Failure he rolled a 12 on the subsequent missed-but-might-hit-someone-else roll, meaning Barney got hit that time.

Edited by SokMunki
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Yeah, it really shouldn't be entirely random as to who you hit. THe archer does aim at somebody, and that is who is most likely to be hit.

One suggestion I have would be for the archer to pick his target and then roll the target die twice and pick the result closest to the one he was aiming at.

For example, Let's say Bob is shooting into melee, where his buddy Big Al (SIZ 15) is fighting a pair of Trollkin (SIZ 10). Bob aims for the second Trollkin. The GM assigns target values of 1-3 Al, 4-5 Trollkin #1, 6-7 Trollkin #2, 8 = reroll.

Bob rolls a hit, then rolls 2d8, and gets a 2 and a 6 and takes the 6, thus hitting his target.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Probably should read the whole thread before shooting my mouth off, but..

My problem here is that better archers will hit their friends more often than worse ones (presuming my math is right -- NOT a safe assumption).

EXAMPLE: An archer with 30% skill will roll a normal success 24% of the time while an archer with 80% skill will roll a normal success 64% of the time. Using your example, the better archer will hit poor Barney 21% of the time while the crap archer will only hit him 8% of the time. Granted, the crap archer won't hit anything most of the time, but still...

I think you're on the right track, however, and I'd riff off of the BGB's Cover rules based on the SIZ of the things you are trying not to hit. The Cover rules in the BGB have the same problem in that they use the 'Difficult' modifier, halving your skill roll -- thus higher skills still have a better chance of hitting the wrong thing.

Off the top of my head:

When firing into melee apply a % penalty to the roll based on the combined SIZ of the non-targets. If you succeed with the penalty you succeed. If you miss because of the penalty you hit one of the other targets, roll as per your SIZ-to-die-pips conversion. If you miss regardless of the penalty, you roll the % chance to see if you hit one of the other targets.

EXAMPLE 2: Back to Barney and his sociopathic archer 'friend' who has an 80% chance to hit with his bow. Archer fires once into the fray at the goblin but has a penalty of 40% (SIZ 16 + SIZ 24) because of the ogre and Barney mucking about. (Had Archer aimed at the ogre he'd only have a 22% penalty.) Archer rolls 66, which means he hit something besides the goblin -- fortunately it was the ogre. He spits and fires again, but this time rolls an 89 -- a miss, but because he's still shooting at the melee he has a 40% of hitting someone else. He rolls a 12 and... well, let's say Barney won't sit for at least two weeks.

I'm sure there's something screwy with that as well...

Edit: I realized you could do away with the additional die roll for 'who did you hit'. Just use the penalty %, going from lowest SIZ to highest SIZ (or the other way 'round). For example, Archer had a 40% chance to hit his goblin target. He rolled a 66, which is 26 more than 40 and so Archer shoots the ogre. Had he rolled a 41-56 he would've shot Barney. For the full-on Failure he rolled a 12 on the subsequent missed-but-might-hit-someone-else roll, meaning Barney got hit that time.

Great ideas, but your method doesn't include any risk that the archer could special or critical Barney. This can be a problem if Barney has enough armor to avoid damage from the arrow. The archer could fire into melee without any risk of hurting Barney.

I am considering using your method (subtracting SIZ of additional targets from archers %) but any fumble rolled by the archer would automatically count as a critical hit against Barney. That way Barney is at some risk of being damaged even if he has 8 AP.

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