My player wants to use arrows to hit his foes while engaging in a melee with them; I guess he thinks he's Legolas or something.
I perused my various books (DMG, PHB, and Combat & Tactics) and couldn't find anything on the topic other than shooting into a melee (must used a called shot or run the risk of hitting your ally) or that 'point blank' for a bow specialist (which his character is) is anything under 30 feet. Since arrows are not meant to be used in melee combat (and he doesn't want to his bow as a clubbing weapon), I am penalizing him a -4 to hit.
If anyone find something to substantiate or refute my ruling in a source guide, please let me know.
This one inevitably pops up. Point blank range is not any range under 30', it is range 6' to 30'. There are no rules for firing a missile weapons at a melee opponent, as the rules make no allowance for using missile weapons in melee. So, what does the 6' minimum range limit for point blank range mean then? It means there is space between the missile weapon user and the target. When there is no space, no attack is possible with a missile weapon that you shoot. So, what to do if you are an archer? Well, the archer can withdraw, and then shoot, repeatedly. The rule specifically cater to this. Move up to 1/3 movement, and shoot. The enemy does not get any free attack, as the archer is not fleeing.
So, what to do when you have a player whose familiarity with the bow extends about as far as they can spit, and thinks Peter Jackson's Legolas is merely doing what anyone could easily do with a bow? Well, you tell them that the whole premise of Legolas shooting people in the face with arrows from two to four feet away is outright ludicrous.
But people are all about the heroic, even if it is "awesomely stupid" , and so somebody eventually catered to them as well (long before the movie even). And so we go the Player's Option: Combat & Tactics book, p. 25. Here we have an allowance for using missile weapons in melee combat. When a character armed with a missile weapon is threatened by another creature (i.e. is in melee with them), and they make an attack with their missile weapon (at the engaged enemy, or another target), the enemy gets an Attack of Opportunity on them (see POCT p. 13). Note that it is only one Attack of Opportunity for the round per enemy that threatens the archer, even if the archer fires multiple shots. If there are multiple enemies on the archer, every single one of them gets a free attack. Obviously, using a missile weapon in melee combat is not particularly smart, but sometimes it might be deemed necessary, such as to help a fellow party member in trouble, shoot that escaping guard who is running to alert the whole evil lair, etc.
Also, note that if a target is within 6', any Point Blank Range or Weapon Mastery bonuses (if applicable) do not apply. There is otherwise no penalty to shooting while in melee (other than enemy smashing your face in for free, which you can assume happens simultaneously with the shot). _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Last edited by Cebrion on Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:06 am; edited 1 time in total
I did have a thought though. A bow or crossbow is not designed for hand to hand combat (bow worse than crossbow I would imagine) but with other missile weapons that double as melee weapons (axe, dagger, spear, etc) one could consider removing the attack of opportunity since these weapons could be used defensively (parry, feign attacks, etc) until the attack roll comes and the subject in question launches there weapon at whatever. Although, in further thinking (Freudian free association style) the attack of opportunity may come after the weapon is hurled and the thrower becomes less able to defend themselves. Or the attack comes when the thrower is attempting the actual missile attack.
My two cents worth. I have not had this happen yet. The subject has either used their bow as a club or changed weapons.
Yes, hand-hurled weapons require a wind-up and throw, even daggers/knives (a simple flick of the wrist won't bury one of these to the hilt in anything unarmored, let alone threaten much of anything in armor), meaning there is a moment when the PC's guard will be down. That is of course when the Attack of Opportunity happens. At least the PC can have a shield on one arm though. Or, as stated earlier, the PC instead falls back up to 1/3 of his movement and then safely throws. The PC just needs to be out of base contact with any enemies to be able to safely throw, and if they are at least 6'+ away from any enemy, they can get Point Blank and Weapon Mastery bonuses too (if applicable). _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Last edited by Cebrion on Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:40 am; edited 3 times in total
Glad to be of service, mheaton118. You can always count on me to be the Canonfire! Inquirer.
After the last engagement or two, I think my "Legolas" player has realized how insane it is to try and use a bow in a melee engagement when a fighter carved up his elven archer to near death (a crit hit didn't help).
That is awesome. It really makes you wonder what REAL archers were like. Heck, horsemen, swordsmen, etc for that matter. I doubt many people in today's world really come close to what people would have been like.
I always thought 2/1 was a bit slow for a standard Rate of Fire. And I never liked the fact that crossbows get penetrating power (if you use the Options rules), but the long bow, which was MADE specifically for that very purpose, did not.
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