5E Ranged party member keeps running off the map
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  1. #1
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    Gallant (Lvl 3)



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    Ranged party member keeps running off the map

    They got sharpshooter feat and a artificer(gunsmith) rifle. Every single fight they use their movement to get further and further and further away to the point where I sometimes run out of map... Plus, they get so far away that no enemy can reach them and they end up not really getting damaged at all.

    I've thought about having random monsters pop out since they get so far... what else can I do?
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  2. #2
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    Hydra (Lvl 25)



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    If they fall off the map, give them a Dexterity DC 10 saving throw to catch hold of the edge, or fall out of the campaign and die permanently.

    If they deliberately jump off the map after that, give them no save - just require them to roll up a new character.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by randrak View Post
    They got sharpshooter feat and a artificer(gunsmith) rifle. Every single fight they use their movement to get further and further and further away to the point where I sometimes run out of map... Plus, they get so far away that no enemy can reach them and they end up not really getting damaged at all.

    I've thought about having random monsters pop out since they get so far... what else can I do?
    I would suggest that turnabout is fair-play... NPCs can use the same tricks as PCs. Also, you need to offer a wide variety of tactical situations where this tactic is not advantageous or an option... Examples:

    - Indoor Combats
    - Heavily Obscured Combats where adversaries have total cover
    - NPCs/Monsters with "rifles"
    - NPCs/Monsters with long-range combat magic
    - Combats on Ledges or Bridges (backing up = fall & die)
    - Combats where the PCs are surrounded
    - Underwater Combats
    - Disarm the Sharpshooter
    - NPCs/Monsters with Ranged Attack Resistances
    - Combats where the "clock is ticking" or an "objective needs to be reached"
    - Combat on a Sailing Ship
    - Combat on an Airship

    There are tons of options to work around this... It is important however to remember that this PC should be able to use this tactic effectively in some combats (nobody likes being permanently nerfed)...
    Last edited by Cyrinishad; Tuesday, 9th May, 2017 at 04:52 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Hydra (Lvl 25)



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    Serious reply:

    I understand your concern, but remember: one less party member means the rest will have to soak all the incoming damage without the benefit of the gunsmith's AC or HP.

    The other players should quickly realize this. If they're complete newbies, have a NPC point it out next time they fight where there are witnesses.

    After that you just wait. The other players should start demanding the gunsmith do their part in defense and not just offense, or maybe he shouldn't get a full share of the loot... or even be booted from the party.

    But that's not all - equally important is talking to the player.

    If you realize he's just doing this because he's new and doesn't realize teamwork includes defense as well as offense, he should learn soon enough per the above. At the other end of the scale, if the player is more experienced, and should have known better; maybe he's only interested in his own personal power trip, you'll have to be blunt: that's not how you want him to act, and ultimately change behavior (maybe roll up a melee fighter?) or leave the game.

    What I don't recommend is the indirect (even passive-agressive) method of popping random monsters or something else in game: this is an out-of-game issue that needs an out-of-game solution.

    By that I mean that in the context of the game, his actions are perfectly reasonable. So don't punish perfectly reasonable actions with random monsters. In game, the only recourse is for the rest of the party to ask the gunsmith to be there for monsters to beat on, since this means less risk somebody else will die. Safety in numbers and all that.
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  5. #5
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    Generally, do nothing special. It isn't you versus the PCs - it is the PCs in a good story. This heroic ability to attack from a great distance is something they wrote into their character's story.

    This PC spent resources to be able to attack from a great distance. That sounds like fun to them. They invested in it. Give them the benefit of it on a regular basis. There will be natural situations in which they don't want to use it (too much total cover from obstructions, being in tight spaces with a lot of turns, etc...) and there will be times when they run into trouble because their actions run into other encounters or into late additions to the combat coming from the rear - but don't tweak the game to invalidate the resource in which they invested. Instead, highlight how unusual and awesome it is that they can attack from so far. Have enemy archers that are attacking him at disadvantage which he attacks without penalty.

    Of course, every once in a while a monster will be well situated to take him on. There are demons that can dimension door right up in his grill and take him on head to head when the rest of the party is rounds away. That adds a different drama to the mix. Play those up when they arise - but don't feel the need to intentionally set them up.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrinishad View Post
    I would suggest that turnabout is fair-play... NPCs can use the same tricks as PCs. Also, you need to offer a wide variety of tactical situations where this tactic is not advantageous or an option... Examples:

    - Indoor Combats
    - Heavily Obscured Combats where adversaries have total cover
    - NPCs/Monsters with "rifles"
    - NPCs/Monsters with long-range combat magic
    - Combats on Ledges or Bridges (backing up = fall & die)
    - Combats where the PCs are surrounded
    - Underwater Combats
    - Disarm the Sharpshooter
    - NPCs/Monsters with Ranged Attack Resistances
    - Combats where the "clock is ticking" or an "objective needs to be reached"

    There are tons of options to work around this... It is important however to remember that this PC should be able to use this tactic effectively in some combats (nobody likes being permanently nerfed)...
    Actually, as I just wrote, consider not following Cyrinishad's advice. Don't make "tactics" an arms-race. If everybody (heroes, monsters...) feels they need to act "smart" you only slow down the game to a crawl.

    If you like that style of play, fine. Otherwise you've just thrown the beer and pretzels nature of D&D out the window.

    Much better to talk to the player and ask him to stay close to the rest of the party. If he feels he needs to stay away because otherwise he can't use his precious gun effectively, show him the Crossbow Expert feat that removes the penalty for shooting when in melee.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgsugden View Post
    Generally, do nothing special. It isn't you versus the PCs - it is the PCs in a good story. This heroic ability to attack from a great distance is something they wrote into their character's story.

    This PC spent resources to be able to attack from a great distance. That sounds like fun to them. They invested in it. Give them the benefit of it on a regular basis. There will be natural situations in which they don't want to use it (too much total cover from obstructions, being in tight spaces with a lot of turns, etc...) and there will be times when they run into trouble because their actions run into other encounters or into late additions to the combat coming from the rear - but don't tweak the game to invalidate the resource in which they invested. Instead, highlight how unusual and awesome it is that they can attack from so far. Have enemy archers that are attacking him at disadvantage which he attacks without penalty.

    Of course, every once in a while a monster will be well situated to take him on. There are demons that can dimension door right up in his grill and take him on head to head when the rest of the party is rounds away. That adds a different drama to the mix. Play those up when they arise - but don't feel the need to intentionally set them up.
    Or, have enemies ignore him, and make him realize that by not being there for his friends, the monsters only need to beat up 3/4ths of the party's total hit points to win....

    In other words, I generally agree a good DM enhances the wishes and desires of their players. But if it leads to difficulties and a wonkier game, a good DM should feel no qualms about not doing that.

    Perhaps an experienced DM could handle this gunsmith, but that doesn't matter. All that matters is that the OP feels he can't handle him. Better then to be open and honest and forthright about "your actions make my dming more difficult, let's discuss a way you can be awesome without doing that".
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  8. #8
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    How well known is the group? Are they facing enemies that would spread knowledge of his tactics? Because if they are, it would be likely that some opponents would counter his tactics by setting up an ambush. Even if it's not an ambush, the sound of a rifle going off may draw attention.

    The other thing to consider is terrain. I don't think you should go out of your way to nerf characters, but consider what kind of environments you are fighting in and mix them up. It's going to be difficult to get line of sight from a distance in many different environments. Even in farm country, there are going to be hedges, walls, and so on.

    Sometimes the tactic should work, other times not. Sometimes it should be completely safe, other times the enemy will have forces in reserve to hunt down the sniper.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Actually, as I just wrote, consider not following Cyrinishad's advice. Don't make "tactics" an arms-race. If everybody (heroes, monsters...) feels they need to act "smart" you only slow down the game to a crawl.

    If you like that style of play, fine. Otherwise you've just thrown the beer and pretzels nature of D&D out the window.

    Much better to talk to the player and ask him to stay close to the rest of the party. If he feels he needs to stay away because otherwise he can't use his precious gun effectively, show him the Crossbow Expert feat that removes the penalty for shooting when in melee.
    My suggestions are about encouraging the DM into exploring a variety of tactical scenarios, while not discouraging the Player from playing or building the character however he or she wants to play. I am certainly not talking about creating a PC vs. DM arms-race. He asked for suggestions, and I listed many... AND I made sure to advise against nerfing the player...
    Last edited by Cyrinishad; Tuesday, 9th May, 2017 at 05:06 PM. Reason: My initial post was too snarky
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  10. #10
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    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

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    Sometimes this is appropriate. However environment has a lot to do with it. Unless they are fighting on a featureless plain there will be breaks in line of sight. Lighting will play a factor. And as you said they will find themselves isolated if an enemy pops up. I had this happen to a Sharpshooter with an Oath Bow recently. He was over 120' from the battle when he was suddenly beleaguered by a pair of elementals. Just as in the modern military, no one likes a sniper and there are ways to deal with them.
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