Dungeons & Dragons Online

Remember your ranged attackers

Ok so this might be a weird topic or not but something I got reminded of in my last game is to remember your ranged fighters, or better yet anyone with a bow, crossbow or other ranged weapons. So many times as both a DM and player I see this the party groups around an enemy and the party (or enemies) archer cannot land a blow without moving either
A) to close to danger
B) too far away to hit
C) a spot with no cover (if there is any)
D) has to use a full action to get to a good spot with the dash action to get there. (if they don't have any movement abilities, bonus actions or a Tabaxi etc)

So the reason I bring this up is in my last session where I am a player our melee ranger moved out of the way so my ranged fighter had a clear shot without her moving closer to the danger or any of the other points above. This meant we had much smoother and all be it quicker combat because I did not have to spend some time figuring out my movement and if it was safe to move there.

This goes both ways as a DM and your group of Bandits are attacking the party if they have some crossbow or bow guys they also don't want to be hit in the back by arrows and also want to give their buddies a clean shot. This makes the ranged attackers more of a threat if there's no meat shield of their own buddies in the way. They don't have to move from their vantage point. The other bandits can flank and the cocky party barbarian is now on a 3 v 1 and cannot hit the archer above making him into a porcupine as we speak. Now with a theatre of the mind campaigns. This is harder to achieve, but for those with Roll20, fantasygrounds, real-life maps or just anything else you can see your movements and plan it as a DM.

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The same goes for a player too. Your Ranger, Fighter, Rogue ect with a bow and they mainly snipe from afar? Make sure they can hit just as well. Many times in games everyone swamps an enemy and the archer cannot get a clean shot without the risk of hitting an ally. If you have a rogue with a bow try and move so your flanking to help give that advantage and thus sneak attack, or so your ranger can make the most out of their hunters mark and some of the xanathers guide abilities (like a monster's slayers ability slayers prey) or in my case, my arcane archer was able to use an arcane shot on the enemy without a worry.

Your snipers are extremely valuable to the party and your enemies. Consider where they are standing and if your blocking their clean shot if you can move without risking your own life then try and do so. I promise as a player they will be forever grateful for letting you get that shot and as a DM, well that barbarian won't be too happy pulling all those arrows out of him later that day.

Also for DM's, if you are getting annoyed about that one ranged attacker that keeps hitting and is always out of reach to hit, don't be afraid to throw in some cover on your battle maps, a few trees, rocks, barrel or even the body of a dead friend goes a long way to cause that sharpshooter from 600ft away with a longbow that has a +16 to hit to reconsider his next moves and thus they need to move closer to the danger for the first time in 20 combats.

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Sorry for this ramble of a post, I hope I got my point across on some things that could help make some combat smoother and maybe feel more natural. Also could help other characters or enemies feel more viable. Now the party ranged attacker is not spending 5 minutes of combat trying to just move out of the way of the wall of ally in the direction of his arrows. Same as a DM I hate spending so long just trying to figure out where the archer is going to move to so I don't feel like bandit John smith number 15 is taking up time away from the players and the bandits that could be doing damage.


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