Maneuver in Range and Cover with melee weapon in mixed squad

So I have the PC’s with a mix of weapons as one squad, fighting some goblins in another squad. They’re at extreme bow range. The PC’s use the charge maneuver, am I right in thinking any of the PC’s make this roll? And the positioning is then for the weapon the rolling PC is wielding?

This became a interesting problem as the PC’s wanted to get into melee, but a character with a melee weapon would need to move from out of range, to extreme, then optimal, and finally too close to shoot. Meanwhile the PC with a crossbow was already at optimal range, and so could move directly into too close to shoot. Also if the melee PC moved from out of range to extreme, it would then put a PC with a thrown weapon into optimal, letting them more effectively shoot before the next maneuver.

This also seems related to a previous question, if the PC’s have melee weapons and are at out of range, if they withdraw, they don’t necessarily leave the conflict, instead you look at their opponents range, is this correct?

Looks right so far. Positioning dice, too.

What’s the problem, exactly? The players move as a team. With a crossbowman leading them, the team can cover the ground they need to to close to melee. Without that tactical advantage, they’re gonna get caught in the killzone.

It’s true. They wouldn’t get the 1D Thrown Weapon die, though, so they’re a bit more likely to fail in the first place.

I don’t think so. If you manage to get out from your enemy’s advantage dice without ranged weapons, you’re home free. Note, if the enemy successfully withdraws, the PCs are not out of the fight, and the enemy can still snipe at them.

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And welcome to the forums!

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Thanks for the info, this came up because there’s a faith character with high steel in the party, but they only have a knife, so they’re more likely to win on a charge maneuver, but it would take them multiple tests to get into melee, while the crossbow would do it in a single test. What you said makes sense, maybe the priest needs to get a ranged weapon.

Ah I see, yeah I’d probably not run range and cover if the PC’s didn’t have ranged weapons. It feels like the system leans heavily on the advantage dice. Though I guess if you’re winning the maneuvers to withdraw the enemy isn’t getting shots off.

But there’s a potential situation where the party wants to get out of combat asap, and so rolling with a melee weapon will get them out in one test, rather than multiple for a ranged weapon. The dice from a ranged weapon could potentially only be 1D, so not overly helpful, and dumping artha into the single roll may be the best option. Is this working as intended? Would you then lean into the party getting sniped at while trying to truly break contact?

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Happy to help! To me, Charge is definitely a sometimes food. Either you’re desperate, the enemy has some mad shooting-at-you penalties, or you’ve got some wicked armor and stuff – something like that. Definitely getting shot at is not good. Especially if, like you say, you have to do it multiple times to close.

I recommend them getting a ranged weapon, or helping someone who does.

Hehe. Yeah. It’s called Range and Cover for a reason. It’s for ranged combat. I mean… I think the better way of framing is, “You’re players shouldn’t run R&C if they have no ranged weapons.” Sucking them into an R&C via a failed test (stealthy, tactics, speed, etc) is a perfectly legit (if harsh) play on your part.

Either they’ll want to bail in the middle of an exchange, in which case their ability to enact that decision is a bit limited because of scripting, or they’ll want to do so at the start of an exchange, in which case you can play around them. If you can script a Hold, you can guarantee at least one shot as they bail. If you can Withdraw, you can get a bunch of extra dice and maybe more ranged dice, too, increasing your chances to keep them from fleeing.

If you find the fictional situation you’re describing around the R&C unaccomadating to such a withdrawal, you can assign an Ob penalty to their action.

I tend to think of Artha as above the general balance paradigm. If the players can put enough of their thumb on the scale to pull their asses out of a fire, then, well, that’s what those thumb-on-the-scale points are for – spending as they see fit

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This is a good option.

Ahh I had forgotten about this option, I might do this if they try and game the system a bit by manipulating ranges, like yes you can do it in one test instead of three, but it’ll be harder.

Which works well with this, it’s harder, you’ll need the artha, but you can put that thumb on the scales.

Thanks again, I’ve not run range and cover much, but plan on running it more in my current campaign, so this is all very helpful.

It sounds like there might be some misaligned expectations around what this lightly-armed faithful character should be doing.

At a pure system level, this character might be able to muster enough Steel dice to obviate their opponent’s range advantage and brute force their way forward in range bands.

The system also says that this character must suffer the slings and arrows of their opponent. Eating an arrow or quarrel is one of the least appetizing interactions in the system, so both player and game master should be aware of the meal being offered there. There’s a high probability that this course will end with the character out of action.

That said, I know players who love to tempt fate and force this interaction. I don’t understand why, but c’est la guerre.

So what’s a lightly armed faithful character to do? Their job. Aid the slings and arrows of their own team; hinder the bolts and barbs of the opposing team. With the cost of just a few inspiring words and a reasonable difficulty on the die roll, the character in question can provide up to 3D to their crossbow-armed compatriot.

System-wise, this should be the most effective path as it maximizes value for multiple characters, increments long-term improvement and reduces risk of harm to the characters.

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This was definitely a learning experience for the party (their first range and cover), a bad choice of the charge action and a bad roll lead to significant casualties among the PC’s and friendly NPCs. Against an enemy they probably could have defeated without losses.

Would you push for the character rolling the maneuver to take one of the shots? The priest was very lucky in this case as I rolled terribly for the shot he took.

There’s always the temptation for a heroes death, though I think they’ll think twice next time.

Yeah there’s a spirit binder PC and a faith PC in the party, so they’re pretty effective at either buffing themselves or hindering the enemy. Maybe one of the other characters needs a belief/instinct about stopping the priest from charging into a hail of arrows.

At the risk of cutting in rudely, players on the team taking shots can volunteer to be a target. If there aren’t enough volunteers, the GM chooses. (Pg. 421 BWGR)

Just in case that wasn’t clear.

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No worries I appreciate all the help. Yeah I ran the range and cover with any of the party (in a single team) being able to volunteer to take shots, though as it was their first time I also let them volunteer the friendly NPCs in their team.

Does anyone have any advice on distributing shots (after volunteers)? I’d probably say whoever is leading a charge / the maneuver should, but how forgiving should I be in terms of letting friendly NPCs take shots?

To me, it’s situational, but weighted toward the players’ BITs. Sometimes a player has a Belief about keeping their men safe, even if it kills them. Sometimes I challenge the first part of the beliefs by putting their men in the line of fire. Sometimes I engage the second part by benevolently giving them the chance to die like a hero. Sometimes the players circle up some thugs to (sociopathically!) use as meatshields, and I honor that decision by sending a few arrows their way.

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Yeah this is the route I’ve been considering taking, the campaign is fairly light hearted, so if the party can succeed in rolls to get some friendly NPCs, then honour that by letting them take shots.