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Archers and arrows - a trope we hang on to


(Utherix) #43

I really really dislike that JP's character is magic/skilled enough to reload crossbows instantly (while running around, being attacked, doing other things), but not magic/skilled enough to carry enough bolts to support this.

Arrows/bolts should be like torches. You have enough in the beginning to not worry about the supply for multiple dungeons. At which point you can restock so cheaply that it isn't worth talking about.


(Utherix) #44

A sword is a weapon system.

A bow and arrow is a weapon system.

A bow without arrows is a stick. A dull blade is a metal stick.

Does that help you visualize how buying arrows is the same as sharpening a sword?


(Twitch: Bitghost_) #45

In my campaign we track ammo using dice. It's a bit different, a bit weird and probably not balanced but it's worked really well in our campaign.

Basically every time you take a shot, you roll a die. So starting with a full quiver you roll 1d20. On a roll of 2-20 you lose no arrows, on a 1 you drop down 1 die tier. So then you'd roll 1d12 for every shot, dropping down again on a 1, repeat until you roll a 1 on a d4 and that's when you are completely out of arrows/shots.

Our ranger has run out of arrows a couple times but generally this allows him to go much longer without having to constantly track his ammo/worry about refilling. Worst case scenario you roll a 1 on every die and that would result in only 6 shots but the chances are so low of that it's not an issue.

I like that the lower the die, the higher chance of running out sooner is, so it puts a bit of urgency on the player without them having to think "oh I only have 5 shots left cause that's how many arrows I have" so it becomes "I'm rolling a d4 so I could run out at any moment so I should make these shots count". Magic arrows are counted individually.

Of course this method might seem super overpowered because it means a ranged weapon may not run out of arrows for a LONG time if they roll well but generally our ranged weapon users run out when it seems reasonable. I just know we all hate tracking ammo and this solution has worked wonders for us in our game although it's not for everyone.


(banned) #46

Lord what was this even about...

No it doesn't because I don't remember what this thread was even referring to.

Also no because you can still maintain a bow outside of sharpening a blade and you can still beat someone to death with a dull sword.


(Typoko) #47

As this is quite a blast from the past in terms of forum posts, i'd like to add that as of now, i have started counting monster arrows. Players tend to be tough enough and armored so highly that they can get shot 20 times by bunch of goblins from the dark and not break a sweat. :smiley:

Tho, i still don't require players counting their arrows but few do now that i do it too for monsters.


(Paul Robinson) #48

Sorry my fault! Been reading up on all posts to pass time at work :joy:


(putridcheese) #49

I usually just count the rounds. If it's been 20 rounds, all active monster archers have no more arrows.

If a player is actively playing ranged on an encounter but he didn't track his ammo, I use the same concept, then I divide by 2 to determine recovered arrows.


(wolf_brother7) #50

For a single combat? How many combat encounters do you run where they last for twenty rounds?


(putridcheese) #51

Hence, monsters usually never run out of ammo, and when looting comes I have an idea how many arrows players can loot.

I did have a lizardfolk nest encounter that lasted a while. Though I'm not sure if that reached 20 rounds, I just remember a spiritual weapon's duration ended mid-encounter.


(corran1189) #52

I'm not sure if you've seen Roll20's show, but Adam totally had to track the Manticores' tail spikes. They definitely ran out. Although there was also a long rest which regenerated them too.


(putridcheese) #53

That's because a manticore has specifically 24 tail spikes. Hence, monsters "usually" never run out of ammo.


(Utherix) #54

I thought of something that surprisingly wasn't brought up.

If you gave archers unlimited arrows, they might try to do something cheesy like use their new power to build a house of arrows! It would be like if the cantrips weren't extremely clear about their limitations.