This is the usual loosing
of arrows and bolts, hurling of axes, hammers,
javelins, darts, etc. It also includes the hurling of rocks by giants, manticore
tail spike throwing, and so on. It can occur simultaneously with magical
device attacks, spell casting, or turning of undead. Magicol device and
spell attacks can negate the effects of or damage some missiles, i.e.,
arrows fired off simultoneously with the dischorge of a fireball spell, or a
javelin hurled into on ice storm, or a dwarven hammer tossed at on
opponent struck by a fireball || lightning bolt. As referee you will have to
determine the final results according to circumstances. This is not difficult
using the ITEM SAVING THROW table.
FIRING INTO MELEE
Likewise, discharge of missiles
into on existing melee is easily handled. It
is permissible, of course, and the results might not be too incompatible
with the desires of the discharging party. Assign probabilities to each participant
in the melee or target group according to sheer numbers. In the
case of participants of varying size use half value for size "S", normal
value for size "M", and one and one-half value for size "L" creatures
which are not too much larger than man-size. Total the values for each
group and ratio one over the other.
Example: If side A
has 4 man-sized participants,
and side B has 3 smaller than man-sized participants and 1 size "L" bugbear,
the ratio is 4:3. Then, according to the direction of the missile discharge,
determine hits by using the same ratio. If 7 missiles were loosed, 4
would have a chance to hit side A, 3 side B.
In cases where the ratio
not match the number of missiles, convert it to a percentage chance: 1/7
= 14% or 15%, depending on whether the missiles are coming from ahead
of side A (14%) or from behind (15%). Thus 4/7 = 56% or 60% chance per
missile that it will hit side A. The minor difference represents the fact that
there will be considerable shifting and maneuvering during combat which
will tend to expose both opponents to fire on a near equal basis. Such
missiles must then be assigned (by situation or by random determinotion)
to target creatures, a "to hit" determination made, and damage assessed
for those which do hit.
Large missiles will be treated in the same fashion.
If one opponent group is
larger than the other, accurate
missiles which have a small area of effect can be directed at the larger
opponent group with great hope of success. You may assign a minor
chonce of the missile striking a friend if you wish, but this writer, for
instance, always allows archery hits to hit a giant or a similar creature
engaged against a human or smaller opponent.
Missiles from giants
are approximately 1‘ in diameter, as are those from small catapults.
Those from large catapults (and trebuchets) are approximately 2’ in diameter.
See also GRENADE-LIKE MISSILES and Special “To Hit” Bonuses.
Q: Can a character
fire a missile into
a melee without hitting friendly
characters? If not, what is the
chance of hitting an ally?
A: This depends on
the situation. When
firing into a melee, use the following
The character firing the missile declares
which creature he is targeting. (Any of the
character?s allies who are fighting with the
target creatures are potential targets for
the missile.) Randomly determine which
target will actually be in the path of the
missile. If the figures in the melee are
about the same size (e.g., human vs. human,
elf vs. dwarf), there is an equal
chance that either the enemy or an ally
could be the missile?s actual target. If the
die roll indicates that an ally will be the
actual target and there are multiple allies
fighting the intended target, randomly
determine which ally is the actual target.
Roll the to-hit number. If the appropriate
number for the target?s armor class is
rolled, then the target is hit whether or
not the character firing the missile wanted
to hit that target. If the creatures in the
melee are of different sizes, the larger
creatures are more likely to be hit. I suggest
a two-thirds chance (1-4 on 1d61 to hit
the larger target when the height difference
is 2-3? (ignore height differences of
less than 2?). If the height difference is
more than 3?, allow the missile to hit the
larger target automatically if the firer
wishes; otherwise, the chance to hit the
larger target is 5 in 6.
Many campaigns exempt the magic
missiles spell from this rule. Magic missiles
are assumed to unerringly strike their
The strength bonus for hitting and damage does not apply to missiles unless the character so entitled
specifically takes steps to equip himself or herself with special weapons to
take advantage of the additional strength. This will result in the weapon
having an additional chance to hit and do the additional damage as well.
In no event will it add to the effective range of the character’s weapon.
Thus, the character will employ a heavier missile or a more powerful bow
and heavier arrows or larger sling missiles to gain the advantage of
strength. To do so, he or she must obtain the special weapon or weapons,
and this is within the realm of your adjudication as DM as to where and
how it will be obtained, and how much cost will be involved.
<note: the "strength bow" in Pool of Radiance was 36k, iirc>
Q: Do strength bonuses
hurled weapons such as daggers,
spears, clubs, javelins, etc.?
A: Yes, though the
DM may limit the application
of full strength bonuses for small,
light weapons such as daggers.
Penalty and Bonus Considerations:
The Dexterity Attacking Adjustment is for missile firing considerations when initiative is considered.
It adjusts the initiative die roll for the concerned individual only.
Thus, it may well allow the concerned individual to discharge a missile prior to the opponent‘s attack even though the opponent has gained the initiative otherwise or vice versa.
More important, this factor also gives the individual a “to hit” penalty or bonus when discharging a missile at an opponent.
Note Regarding Giant And Machine Missiles:
When giants hurl boulders or any of the various siege machines (ballistae,
catapults, etc.) fire missiles, target characters do not gain dexterity bonus
considerations to armor class when ”to hit” computations are made. Consider
this as follows: Character A has an armor class rating of -2, but as
dexterity accounts for 2 of these factors AC rating drops to 0 if a giant is
hurling rocks at the character or if some machine is discharging missiles at
him or her.
Fire Cover And Concealment
Adjust the AC of the TARGET creature as follows if cover
(hard substances which protect)
(soft substances which screen)
|TARGET HAS ABOUT||AC BONUS|
* 25% is cover or concealment
to the knees, or part of the left or right side of the body screened; it
might also be a target which is seen for only three quarters of a round.
Men on a walled parapet would typically be 25% covered.
* 50% cover or concealment equals protection or screening to the waist, half of one side of the body, or being seen for only half the round.
Figures in thick brush would be ot least 50% concealed; men on a castle wall with embrasures and merlons would be at least 50% covered.
* Shuttered embrasures and narrow windows would provide 75% cover,
* while arrow slits offer 90% cover.
<alt format: could be integrated into table>
For the effect of cover on magic, see SPELL CASTING DURING MELEE, Effect of Cover on Spells and Spell-like Powers.
See Fighting in Water +
<does Fog & Mist count as cover? if so, make links here>
2. At what point do you allow archers/missile users to pick out an individual within a group.
For instance, if the party lays in ambush as a group of 30 orcs and one magician (guarded from all sides) approach, is there some range where it would be possible to single out the magic user (assuming surprise)?
If you would allow the MU to be singled out on a surprise round what about later rounds?
This is all up to the DM.
I surely allow that when I am DMind.
Archers and spell-casters are usually allowed to select their targets.