Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sight and Fire

From the wiki:

Provides a combatant with the ability to make the best use of cover while firing at an opponent with a bow or a crossbow, or when using a hurled weapon. The ability cannot be employed when using a sling, a staff sling, a bola or similar spinning weapon.

Effectively, the combatant, hiding behind cover, makes a sighting of the enemy, meaning that a glance is made around a corner, from behind a tree or by raising one's head above a wall or similar defense. Then, in the following round, with a loaded weapon, the combatant moves, fires at the sighted location of the target and then returns to cover at once. The weapon may be loaded in the same round that the sighting occurs.

If the target has not changed hexes since the sighting, the missile or hurled weapon has a -1 chance of hitting when fired or thrown in this manner. If the target has moved, however, the attack will miss, unless a natural 2 is rolled (in which case, the target might be hit by accident so long as the target is within a 30-degree arc of its original position). This is meant to be a quirk, based upon the friendly fire rule found under Critical Hits & Fumbles.

The combatant firing in this manner is considered to be at -4 AC for the enemy's attack immediately after the sighted fire is attempted (remembering that D&D combat is a turn-based resolution of simultaneous attacks).


I would like to know for certaint that this is clear and that there are no contingencies I might have missed.  Please weigh in if you think it is fine; that will help offset opinions from those who may have only read it too quickly.


Maxwell Joslyn said...

Setting aside the -1 hit penalty, the natural 2 quirk, and the -4 AC vs the targeted enemy, the main benefit is supposed to be that you can load a bow for firing at a given enemy despite currently being behind cover (and thus not having line of sight), correct?

Alexis Smolensk said...


Maxwell Joslyn said...

OK. I say add a sentence to the end of the paragraph beginning "effectively" which makes that point in terms of line of sight.

Does the -4 AC penalty apply only against the targeted enemy, or against any attack made against the shooter in the following round? (I'd assume the latter, given that the target of the shot would be some distance away.)

Does sighting cost AP?

What happens if I sight a guy, and between sighting and firing he has moved (meaning I only have a chance to hit on a 2, and even then only if he's in the 30-degree cone), but then I roll a 20 on the attack roll? Critical miss? :P

Because loading and firing are two separate processes, if I sight, then load, and then before my next turn my target moves, can I just forgo the attack since it's near certain to miss? No sense wasting 2 AP and an arrow. Or, because I'm behind cover, do I have to commit to shooting him because I can't see the battlefield, and if I pop out and fire and it's wasted, oh well? If I do have to commit to the shot, then although you say the sighting can be performed during the same round as loading, in practice it would almost always be performed the same round, in order to fire as soon as possible (next round) and thus minimize the chance of the target moving. Might as well just make "sighting" part of loading -- "if you have this ability, you are able to shoot [one of these weapons] from behind cover by briefly popping your head out and targeting a specific enemy while loading your weapon. A character without this ability cannot do so; they must leave cover to fire." Then proceed with the details.

Hope this helps.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Right, so noted.

Sighting should cost 1 AP.

The -4 armor class is the effect of retaining cover, so it counts against any missile weapon fired at the covered person who has momentarily broken cover. Any truly covered person can't be attacked.

Sighting and loading is done at the same time.

Arguably, if you're throwing an axe, you ought to be able to do that in the same round, since hurling doesn't require loading.

You can't forego the attack after sighting, as it assumes you're firing basically blind; otherwise, you've broken cover too long to be protected by it.

There is a rule that you can load and fire in the same round, at -4 to hit. So if you sighted, loaded and fired in the same round, you'd be -5 to hit ~ or, arguably, double the sighting penalty, so you would be at -6 to hit.

I thought I had made it clear that I AM saying that sighting is a part of loading.

Helps a great deal!

Hollow Scribe said...

Would this automatic miss occur even if the target moved only directly away from or towards you? In this case, especially if the distance moved was short, the same shot could still potentially hit.

Also, have you thought about letting people adjust their aim by 1 hex at the moment of shooting, either at a monstrous to-hit penalty, or as a sage ability?

kimbo said...

Some thoughts...
What about spells directed at the sight&firer individually or their area? bonus or malus to saves or damage, or same as per their cover.

If the target were moving directly toward the firer would this still count as moved and so a likely miss?

Effects of enemy targetting if this move was repeated many times from the same spot... ?

Tardigrade said...

What if, say, I sight a goblin in combat with the party fighter. And while I am covered and loading, the fighter stuns the goblin and moves into the hex the goblin was in, which I had sighted.

When I pop back out to let my arrow fly, may I opt to not shoot? Am I committed to take a shot no matter what? Must I shoot whatever is in that hex?

Alexis Smolensk said...

These are all excellent questions, more than I had hoped for.


The point of moving closer is a good one. I think we can make an adjustment for that: if the target remains within a 15-degree arc once sighted.

As regards letting people adjust their aim by one hex, I think we could bring that in with the next level of sage ability. Sight and fire is amateur; Improved sight and fire could be authority. I'll make a note on the wiki for that [and indeed, for all of this]


Yes, I think the same skill could be used by a spellcaster for SOME spells, though it would be rare; sight and fire is a thief/assassin skill [fighters don't hide...heh heh], but there is always cross-training possibilities and a multiclassed character would have the benefit. The main difficulty is that a spell would require three rounds, as the caster MUST spend complete rounds casting the spell. So if the spell took one round to cast, the pattern would be 3 rnds: sight-cast-discharge. If it were a fireball, which takes two rounds to cast, it would be sight-cast-cast-discharge. But then, a fireball doesn't need to be that accurate, so the target sighted would probably still be caught in it.

Regarding effects of multiple sightings, I'd rather not add benefits for that. We don't add benefits for multiple attacks against the same target in other combat situations (at least, the D&D I play doesn't).

Alexis Smolensk said...


That's an excellent point about opting not to shoot a party member.

Take note, the party will KNOW the player is sighting that hex, so should be smart enough not to move into it. Yet, true, there's no real way their characters would know, so in a real-life situation people could move into the hex.

But in real life situations, friendly fire happens, and precisely because of this sort of thing. So I would argue, NO, the combatant may not opt to not shoot ~ as an amateur. The Improved sight and fire would offer that option to withhold fire, as an authority-level combatant would be more experienced.

kimbo said...

Re: -4AC vs missile fire against the shooter, what about save mod vs spells directed against the shooter?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Hiding behind cover will either protect a combatant from a spell or it won't. There's no need for an adjustment.