BrainMuncher Posted March 9, 2014 Share Posted March 9, 2014 I have a few points I'd like to make regarding how ammunition has been handled in games I've played, what I liked, what I didn't like, and how I think things should be done. I believe the various types of magical/enchanted/special ammunition had some problems, most of them caused by a single problem: they were overpowered. Hitting for double or in some cases triple the average damage of a normal arrow obviously wasn't something the devs wanted you to be able to do all the time, so there were various ways these things were limited: Cost The ammunition was made very expensive, tens of thousands of gold for 20 or so arrows/bolts/bullets, because they are overpowered and allowing a plentiful supply might trivialise the content. This means I never actually purchased them from a shop but made a fortune selling them off, leaving me with way more money than I probably should have had, all the best (non-ammo) equipment money could buy, and plenty of cash to spare. When you know that each arrow you fire is 2000 less gold in the pocket, there's not much incentive to ever actually use them instead of selling them off. You might think this becomes less of an issue as the game progresses and players accumulate more wealth, but the opposite can actually happen. As your level climbs higher and you start discharging many arrows, a stack might only last a handful of rounds. On top of that, since all those extra attacks are at progressively lower chances to hit, there's a good chance a lot of those arrows will go to waste. Immunities On the odd occasion when you actually run into some villain that seems worthy of your Ultimate Arrows of Carnage, it's most likely the case that the guy is always making a saving throw to negate their effect, or just completely immune to them, since they only have a +1 enhancement and any villain worth his salt will of course laugh at anything less than a +2 weapon (or whatever). This is necessary of course, because being able to actually use these overpowered items that players have been hoarding might trivialise this encounter of many portents. Scarcity "Those arrows of irresistible permadeath are pretty powerful, but if we only give the player three of them, then it should be ok." The problem is when you only have three of them, how many foes are worthy of such an arrow? You certainly won't be using them on some goblin that can already be dispatched with no more than a dirty look. Maybe I'm just a compulsive hoarder but I seem to always finish these types of games with inventories choked full of begging for a worthy foe that isn't immune to them. Some games have included special bows or quivers with unlimited ammunition. I'm not really fond of these either because if it's unlimited, then it's not special anymore. All it really does is set a new baseline below which everything else is worthless. If your bow produces infinite amounts of +2 +1d6 flame arrows then every other bow is suddenly obsolete. Not to mention that now this is the new baseline that you need to balance the monsters around, probably getting resistance or immunity to +2 flame arrows or something. So what can be done about all this? Firstly, for those things that you want to be plentiful, make them less powerful. Instead of +2d6 fire damage, reflex for half, how about just +1 or +2 with no save? Since they're not so powerful they can be cheaper, meaning players will be more likely to use them. Since they're not so powerful you don't need to worry about them trivialising boss monsters, meaning they will be useful when the players need them most. Since they're not so powerful there's no need to make them scarce, meaning players won't be compelled to hoard them and never actually use them. But if the ammo is plentiful and not terribly powerful, it's not very special then is it. So how do you make very powerful ammo that is also balanced and not disappointing? There are a couple of ways I'd like to see this done: Magical/special quivers that can enchant x amount of arrows per day. Toggle your fiery quiver's ability and those normal arrows you shoot become fire arrows, until you reach the daily limit. If you use +2 arrows, then you'll be shooting +2 fire arrows.Since the arrows are enchanted as you draw them from the quiver to fire them, this avoids any abuse of creating arrows every day and selling them, or just accumulating a huge stock over time to bypass the daily limit. Since the supply is inexhaustible as long as you have some normal arrows, players will be more liberal with their use Since the supply is limited, you don't need to worry about players being at full power at all times as soon as the quiver becomes available. Players would be much more likely to buy something like this from a shop as it represents lasting value. High buying prices would make sense and not be prohibitive, while high selling prices wouldn't be borderline abusive. It scales effortlessly throughout the game, since it's enchanting whatever arrows you're firing. A standard infinite fire arrow quiver might become obsolete once most enemies require +x ammo to hit them, while this would continue to work. The other (perhaps even better) way is to have rare special arrows that are indestructible. By this I mean they can always be recovered from the ground or a corpse afterwards. Now you can have that dungeon with the single arrow of divine destiny up on a pedestal, and have the player actually thrilled to find it. Such an arrow would essentially become a 1/encounter ability, unless you went and retrieved it mid-battle. Similarly, you could increment out indestructible "medium-strength" arrows throughout the game. So maybe at level two you find a single fire arrow, but by level ten you've managed to hoard 8 of them, letting you shoot eight every encounter. This is the most reasonable balancing mechanism I can think of that actually allows overpowered arrows to exist without having them suck for one reason or another. You could have the saving throw if needed, and if the monster makes the save, it's no big deal. I might actually make use of that 1 arrow of dispelling instead of saving it for that scenario that never eventuates. Getting more than one is actually good. If you already have a quiver of infinite flame, then you don't have much use for a second one. But finding a second, third, or even twentieth indestructible arrow of flame will probably be very welcome. Unlike the inexhaustible quiver idea, this makes finding and collecting arrows more fun. And you actually get the arrows, instead of some magic quiver. I'm not sure why but there's something about actually seeing the arrows themselves there in your inventory that is somehow better than a magical quiver, or bow of arrow manufacturing. That's all for now, thanks for reading and please share your thoughts and criticisms. 8 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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