Thursday, February 2, 2017

"For Clarification"

After working through a bit of a roundup of new rules, I thought I would take a look at one of the larger changes more in depth.  The changes to the way archers will have some impact on the game, if nothing else due to our ingrained habits needing tweaked.  For your ease, the relevant new rules:

3.13.6. An archer who attacks with an arrow or bolt may call a combat hit for clarification when the shot clearly and unambiguously hit a target area. For a shot to be clear and unambiguous, the archer must have an unobstructed view of the entire flight of the arrow or bolt including post hit deflection.
3.13.9. When in doubt, the target makes the hit determination for missile weapons.
Several archers out there are worried about 3.13.9, thinking that it lets anyone just ignore arrows.  However, this is in line with all of our other weapons as far as someone deciding to cheat on the field.  It does seem like this rule might be prime for a bit of rewording, specifically when "who" is in doubt.

With that in mind, here is my interpretation of how a few common archer/target interactions might work out with these rules. These are strictly based on my personal interpretation of the rules above, and are intended to start some discussion on how fighter etiquette might change a bit due to these rules.

Example 1:
An archer fires an arrow and it hits their target with good deflection near the seam of two target zones, such as right near the hip. The archer thinks it might be a body shot, but the target takes leg.  Under the old rules, the archer could just call the target dead.  Under the new rule, the archer wouldn't be able to make a call for clarification, because the target zone wasn't hit clearly and unambiguously, meaning it was the target's call to take the hit correctly.

Example 2:

An archer fires an arrow which hits low on a target wearing baggy pants (hakama).  The arrow stops, but the target doesn't take a hit.  Under the old rules, the archer could call leg, if they wanted.  Under the new rules, because the baggy pants prevent seeing if the target zone was hit clearly and unambiguously, the archer doesn't get to make a call for clarification.  This leaves it to the target to decide if it was garb or leg.

Example 3:

An archer fires an arrow at an unaware target that is in full armor.  It very clearly hits in the middle of their back and deflects.  Under both the new and old rules, the archer can call a combat hit.  Even if the target didn't feel the hit, they should take it.


Just from working through those three short scenarios, it appears to me that both of the first two rules are highlight what the best archers out there do already.  3.13.6 says that archers need to be certain that their arrow hit a specific target area, without question, in order to call a combat hit. says that an archer has to be able to see the whole flight and deflection in order to even be able to ascertain whether a shot hit clear and unambiguously.

Most of our experienced archers already call their shots this way.  They only bother calling a hit when they are certain it is a good hit, or if a target requests clarification (ie, giving them the deer in headlights look).  In essence, these adjustments to the rules actually force newer archers to adopt best practices of our seasoned vets, while giving targets a chance to disagree with bad calls.

"But Torry, what about when people just ignore my arrows/calls and don't take hits?"  Well, this is exactly what other fighters deal with on occasion.  Heralds/Marshals still have the authority to call hits, and are still the people you should take problems to.  If it happens to be someone you know fairly well, just ask them about the hits and discuss it.

At the end of the day, this sort of change to the rules requires archer and targets to both make some adjustments in how we do things.  People that aren't archers need to read the rules for arrows and understand how to properly take hits from them.  Simple things like arrows passing through weapons often leaves people confused already, so it will take time for them to adapt to not relying on archer calls for simple hits.  Archers will have to grow accustomed to only calling shots that they are sure exactly where they think they did.

Personally, I'm hopeful for how these changes impact the game.  As a herald, I definitely have spent way too much time managing incorrect archer calls and bad hit taking from arrows.

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