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Microlite81: Cleaving with Ranged Weapons?

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I've been asked to include an optional "Cleave" rule in Microlite81, preferably based on the one in ACKS. I don't have a problem with cleaving in melee combat. If a fighter (or dwarf or other "fighter" class) kills or incapacitates his opponent, he can attack another opponent (moving up to 5 feet to do so) with the same weapon. He can continue to attack so long as he kills or incapacitates his current opponent until he has attacked a number of times equal to his level (or he runs out of movement or opponents). It represents a powerful fighter's ability to mow through weak opponents.

However, cleaving in ACKS also applies to ranged combat. If a fighter kills or incapacitates his target with his bow, he can take another shot. The number of extra "cleave shots" he can take depends on the type of ranged weapon he is using (generally limited to 2 to 4 cleave shots). This makes no "real world sense" to me.

In melee combat, if you don't drop your opponent, you are engaged with that opponent and obviously can't easily step around him and go after another target -- so it makes sense to limit cleave to after you kill or incapacitate your opponent. In ranged combat, however, one normally are not in melee range of any targets, so why do you only get the extra cleave attacks if you kill or incapacitate your target? I'm having trouble imagining many situations where failing to kill or incapacitate an opponent at a distance with an arrow would have an effect on the archer's ability to fire off more arrows.

However, I've tentatively come up with the following optional Cleaving rule for Microlite81:

Cleaving (optional): If a character with a non-zero Fighter Bonus (or a monster) kills or incapacitates an opponent with a melee or missile attack, the character may immediately make another attack (with the same weapon) against another opponent within 5 feet of the target he has just dropped. The maximum number of melee attacks the character can make in one round is equal to his level (hit dice for monsters). If using a missile weapons, a character is limited to a maximum of 2 additional cleave with arbalest or crossbow, 3 with longbow, and 4 with composite bow, shortbow, sling, or thrown darts, daggers, or javelins.

I'm really not happy with this rule. I've always limited cleaving to melee combat and am not sure I want to allow cleaving with ranged attacks just because ACKS does. I'm interested in your opinion of "cleaving with ranged attacks". If you like the the idea, I'm definitely interested in some reality-based reasons to explain why an archer would only get extra shots if he dropped his target.

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Rachel Ghoul said...
September 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM  

I can definitely see your objection, but I think it makes as much sense as, say, hit points. If it helps you think of it this way: Having dropped opponent X you're able to shift your attention to shooting at opponent Y, or opponent X is no longer in the way of your shot, or things like that. You could also go for another sort of situation where the subsequent targets have to be along a line (representing a single arrow punching through one into the next) or closely clustered (So you don't have to adjust your aim much between shots).

SAROE said...
September 10, 2013 at 10:22 PM  

In my opinion, for whatever that's worth, missile cleaves is stupid.

rorschachhamster said...
September 11, 2013 at 3:57 AM  

Maybe an inverse cleave would make sense? Like if you hit a target with low hd without killing it, you can shoot another arrow as long as it's standing, because you have it in your sight...
Well, it does not make much sense either, but a little more, maybe. ;)

Seth Drebitko said...
September 11, 2013 at 4:06 PM  

I'd lean towards rorschachhamster's view, or just ditch it for ranged. It's sort of the price you pay for typically being well away from a fight.

Jim T said...
September 11, 2013 at 4:40 PM  

Call it Rapid Shot if used for ranged combat instead of Cleave. Weirdness gone!

Simone Spinozzi said...
September 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM  

missile cleave is stupid. However. If the basis for cleave is "i am now free from direct attacks and have the chance to hit again", then on the same basis by default ranged attacks should be allowed more times per round than melee because you are already free. Then, following this logic, if somebody comes into melee with a ranged fighter (s)he is now "not free" anymore and can attack less.

Rachel Ghoul said...
September 13, 2013 at 6:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel Ghoul said...
September 13, 2013 at 6:21 PM  

I think, Simone, you're mischaracterizing the logic at work.

Peter G said...
September 14, 2013 at 1:48 AM  

I agree, it sounds odd. I shoot target archery with the SCA. I don't see how having hit a target (ie a kill) that I get any extra shots by shifting targets. If anything I'd end up putting an extra arrow in the opponent since I might not realize it's truely dead.

Maybe, if you want the extra complexity, that final shot that does more damage than needed for the kill allows a retargeting which is played out as another shot at a new target.

Simone Spinozzi said...
September 14, 2013 at 5:06 AM  

Rachel please elaborate

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