Talk:Greatbow (5e Equipment)

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Could I suggest increasing the cost to over 100gp, so that it will rarely be starting equipment. The disadvantage within 10 ft could work as a balancing factor against the higher damage, but I'd be inclined to put it at 20 or 30 feet to make it more of a tactical choice. Marasmusine (talk) 10:46, 22 December 2016 (MST)

I like the idea of disadvantage with a certain distance, but increasing the "minimum range" could have unintended consequences. Too high, and the weapon becomes completely useless in close quarters, such as inside dungeons. And dungeons are rather common; they're the first D in D&D. A smart player, when expecting close engagement ranges, would leave the weapon at home, but that's strategic thinking rather than tactical. If an adventurer with a greatbow was put in a fight they weren't expecting (due to the player's lack of foresight, the DM not accommodating for strategic play, or just bad luck), then they might have already lost the fight before it begins. And that's no fun.
How about, instead of adjusting the minimum range, we adjust the wielder's mobility? For instance, what if we make it so the wielder can't move and fire in the same turn? The wielder will have to maneuver into the best position possible to "set up", and the party will need to screen the Greatbow user to prevent foes from closing to melee range. The party has a good increase in ranged damage output if they prevent foes from reaching the Greatbow, but they'll be put at a disadvantage, figuratively and literally, if the foes compromise the Greatbow's position. Kinda like a modern machinegunner. Oh, and maybe up the weight too so you're inclined to use a lightweight backup melee weapon, instead of something with 2d6 damage. Oportet (talk) 10:36, 27 December 2016 (MST)
I think the greatbow should be harder to use in dungeons 1) This supports having to make a tactical decision about when to use the greatbow, encourages having to choose from several weapons, which I like. 2) With the 10 ft. option, it's still usable in just about any dungeon room, but makes the wielder think more about placement. 3) At 20 ft, it's still usable in mid-sized rooms or larger, and it's fine in corridors.
I'm not a fan of anything that discourages movement.
Another possibility is giving it the loading property to restrict it to one attack, but I felt that make it too much like a crossbow. Marasmusine (talk) 11:58, 27 December 2016 (MST)
The following massive talk page post was made by Oportet (talk):
Side note: I'm working on a super-heavy crossbow variant to compliment this (link here). If we come to any conclusions here, I'm use them in that article.
The problem I see with a longer minimum range (can we call it that?) is that, while there might technically be an option between taking disadvantage or switching to another weapon, the decision isn't much situational. The 2d6 damage might be slightly higher, but I can't see a situation where it's better to take the disadvantage. Maybe if you need to kill something in one turn, but when would you be the only party member able to react? And if you are alone, shouldn't you be running? The player could go into battle already having planned their possible actions, and at that point, every result becomes predictable. Predictable results mean you could just hand an algorithm to your DM for how you'd react, and at that point, why bother playing?
I don't like making assumptions about how big a room will likely be. In the room I'm typing in, I'd say it's mid-sized, but it's maybe 10 or 15 square feet. If I were to, say, transcribe my apartment onto a grid, it'd rarely get above 15 feet. When DMing, I'd want to make anything resembling the real-world as accurate as reasonably possible, so the players can make informed decisions even if they aren't D&D veterans. I'd map out rooms based on real-life proportions, which would screw over anyone that has disadvantage withing 20 feet. On the flip side, if I were a DM that made everything epic-scale, the 20 feet might not matter that much. As a player, since you have no idea what ranges to expect, you're (again) not able to make an informed decision. You might as well just flip a coin, and where's the tactics in that? This reason is why I proposed a move-and-shoot limit instead of a straight penalty on movement.
I see what you're getting at, though. Case study: the XCOM reboots. If you haven't played the games, brief summary. They're based on a "movement, action" system similar to D&D. One of the core classes of the game, the Sniper, has the move-and-shoot restriction; they can't shoot on the same turn they move. If they do, they must use a low-power pistol instead of the high-power rifle. The sniper still has full movement, but they need to use as little of it as possible to have maximum damage potential. However, the games, particularly XCOM 2, had ways of encouraging movement. There would be a ticking bomb you needed to defuse, or reinforcements continually dropping in. If you weren't forced to move every once and again, you'd either be bogged down or fail your objective. And as, again, I don't like making assumptions about how the DM runs their game, I can't assume they'll put into place the same systems.
Here's an interesting quote on the matter, from an interview XCOM's lead designer did (important parts underlined):
Adam [of gaming magazine Rock, Paper, Shotgun]: That simplicity in [XCOM] Enemy Unknown in terms of throwing out time units [combat system of previous games, where you had a pool of "time units" to spend on movement and actions], you’ve got just two portions you can use, and so many of the abilities in XCOM 2 basically mess with that. I’ve seen videos where people end up with like five moves by chaining the right stuff together.

Jake Solomon [lead designer of XCOM 2]: There’s an objective value in simplicity, especially as it relates to time units. A simple design that achieves the same thing is objectively better. That doesn’t mean that movement/action system achieves the same thing as time units – it doesn’t. I’m just saying that, abstractly, if you had two design systems and one is simpler than the other and they achieve the same thing, then the simpler one is objectively better. With that in mind, the basic system of using abilities has to be simple. Something we actually tried and moved away from was, at the start of XCOM 2, there wasn’t move/action – there was do whatever you want twice.

The problem with that was you go “well, then I’ll just shoot twice.” And we don’t want you to just shoot twice every time because we never want the player to not move. We always want moving to be almost every turn. So the way we do it, and I’m still looking for maybe a more elegant solution, is you have these two actions. One of them probably is gonna be a move, it’s almost always better to move, and the AI puts a premium on moving to always jumble up the player’s shot percentages and jumble up the battle geography every turn so movement for the player seems like a better idea.

So when we had two actions at the beginning and said do whatever you want, the best thing by far often was I have four to six soldiers and they can do two things, well I’ll just shoot. There’s no way to overcome the numbers in that situation. Alright, well we’ll put in a recoil penalty, and then we started doing a bunch of stuff before we went “this is not good, this creates a very static experience.” If you don’t almost force soldiers to move, it’s a surprisingly boring, boring experience. So we back off of that, but it was fully implemented and it played that way for a while. What we found was we just kept tweaking it and tweaking it because it wasn’t right, and then finally we were “OK, nope, we’re going back to move/action” because that gets us what we want, which is the soldiers moving around the battlefield and there being a sort of dance at the start of every turn.

It gives the player an interesting decision, which is what’s my new cover spot gonna be. If the player’s not moving they’re not even making those decisions. You basically don’t have any decisions in front of you on a particular turn. That was one of those things which seemed like a good idea, but we didn’t come up with an elegant solution for it so we went back to move/action.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun interview with XCOM lead designer Jake Solomon
So, the question with a mobility penalty is 1) is there a way to get around the penalty that I would be tempted to implement?; and 2) is there a situation where I see myself taking the penalty? I think we could make the Greatbow super-duper tactical if we could add a movement penalty that answers both these questions. An increased minimum range is tactical, but not super-duper tactical.
And yeah, the loading penalty would be a bit too much like a crossbow. It throws out expectations of what a player expects from a bow, which requires them to make note of a rules exception, which causes rules confusion, increases barriers to entry, slows down the game, etc.
...you ever wonder if you're thinking too deep about things? Oportet (talk) 13:24, 29 December 2016 (MST)
Thank-you for an awesome reply :) I'll have a think. Marasmusine (talk) 13:35, 29 December 2016 (MST)
Been thinking about this for a while, and I've come up with a possible solution.
  1. Adjust flavor text that states using the weapon in quick succession causes recoil/makes the wielder off-balance/etc.
  2. Add move-and-shoot restriction.
  3. Prevent the weapon being fired two turns in a row.
The idea is that every other turn becomes a "down turn", where you must do something else - move to a better position, switch weapons, cast a spell, use a potion, etc. This means the player has to plan ahead how they're going to fill their down turns, but also gives them the chance to adjust strategy if needed. At least in theory. I'm using my heavy repeating crossbow as a test bed for this solution, if anyone's looking to do some playtesting. Oportet (talk) 16:25, 5 January 2017 (MST)
How about a defense penalty. I'm imagining this like a Japanese daikyū. You are quite vulnerable as you shoot this great contraption. Marasmusine (talk) 18:18, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
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After reducing the damage to one-step higher than the longbow, I believe this is now balanced. Marasmusine (talk) 08:55, 7 March 2020 (MST)

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