D&D 5E Ranged party member keeps running off the map

Cyrinishad

Explorer
One question I have is - do you keep track of arrow breakage? Encumbrance? If you house-ruled that stuff away, then that is a side-effect and part of the problem. I've played in both kinds of campaigns, and when archers can be absolutely assured they have infinite ammunition, that gives them a significant power boost.

When they have to be a little careful with ammo, then they will not become one-trick wonders. I've seen that from both sides of the table. You don't want to starve them just to be punitive, but if Wizards run out of Magic Missiles occasionally, Archers can run out of arrows too.

It also means when they're getting low on ammo, it's easy to have them encounter foes with bows and arrows that can be looted (that maybe use the same tactics hehe) - or even finding a dead body with a partial quiver.

Great point, and one that cannot be stated enough when it comes to game balance. Enforcing encumbrance and ammunition is an important aspect to ensure the Ranged builds aren't being advantaged disproportionately.

I'll also throw +1 toward the folks that mentioned using Mounted Enemies in outdoor combats... Cavalry is an essential tool for medieval combats.
 

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Ilbranteloth

Explorer
Great point, and one that cannot be stated enough when it comes to game balance. Enforcing encumbrance and ammunition is an important aspect to ensure the Ranged builds aren't being advantaged disproportionately.

I'll also throw +1 toward the folks that mentioned using Mounted Enemies in outdoor combats... Cavalry is an essential tool for medieval combats.

Yes. In general, having mounted and ranged opponents is a big thing. They were huge advantages historically. And I also agree with the ammunition aspect. D&D's basic 1/2 of your ammunition is damaged in each combat works really well. But it also takes time to gather ammunition. Time they don't always have...

Another occasional challenge that will alter those ranged attacks outdoors - fog.
 

randrak

First Post
UPDATE

I talked to the ranged fighters (Artificer Gunsmith and Ranger/Rogue) and they claim that their characters are supposed to be "Ranged fighters" so they will keep doing it as long as enemies keep getting close.

Then we had a session... (first for the rogue/ranger, third fight with the gunsmith and the barbarian)

They fought a large group of berserkers (10 warriors and 1 caster). The two ranged fighters got over 150 feet away from the enemy and the party's tank. They took little damage, but the tank got taken down and they were too far away to stabilize the tank in time... resulting in the tank's death.
 
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Waterbizkit

Explorer
UPDATE

I talked to the ranged fighters (Artificer Gunsmith and Ranger/Rogue) and they claim that their characters are supposed to be "Ranged fighters" so they will keep doing it as long as enemies keep getting close.

Then we had a session... (first for the rogue/ranger, third fight with the gunsmith and the barbarian)

They fought a large group of berserkers (10 warriors and 1 caster). The two ranged fighters got over 150 feet away from the enemy and the party's tank. They took little damage, but the tank got taken down and they were too far away to stabilize the tank in time... resulting in the tank's death.

So to come at this from a slightly different angle, what can you tell us about the nature of your campaign? Is there a reason so many of your combat encounters allow for this sort of scenario? Others have made several suggestions that could help with the issue, though like many I'm also against fabricating an encounter specifically to prevent these tactics.

Basically, if the way the encounters are "naturally" occurring allow for this tactic it's fairly valid for them to use it. But if the encounters organically pop up in an environment where they can't get this sort of distance that's fine too. In the end it depends on how things are playing out in story of your campaign and how these encounters are being... er... encountered.

As a quick final note, if their allies keep getting diced because they're doing this then perhaps the characters (not the players to make this especially clear) are going to have trouble finding new party members. How many characters are going to want to team up with the duo who have developed a reputation for letting their fellows get slaughtered while they watch from a safe distance?
 

randrak

First Post
The campaign started with them shipwrecking on an unknown island with a massive jungle. They are in a new continent (after years of playing in the same continent) and know nothing. They have been attacked by dinosaurs, giant apes and beastmen berserkers. It is a very heavy and thick jungle area they are in right now. The last encounter was in a clearer area which was what the beastmen used for rituals.

I brought the tank back as a revenant, because she is the character with the deepest and most elaborate history (against the others which are new characters). She also has plot reasons that make the return as a revenant completely possible and makes sense. However, the player has already said that if this keeps up that he will just reroll a ranged character and let them handle themselves.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
UPDATE

I talked to the ranged fighters (Artificer Gunsmith and Ranger/Rogue) and they claim that their characters are supposed to be "Ranged fighters" so they will keep doing it as long as enemies keep getting close.

Then we had a session... (first for the rogue/ranger, third fight with the gunsmith and the barbarian)

They fought a large group of berserkers (10 warriors and 1 caster). The two ranged fighters got over 150 feet away from the enemy and the party's tank. They took little damage, but the tank got taken down and they were too far away to stabilize the tank in time... resulting in the tank's death.

Is it just the three players?
I'm not going to tell the ranged players they need to hitch their hit points to the up-close pool, but you might tell them that the party's too small for two ranged specialists if it also includes guys who stand in place. They all need to coordinate better.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As for the general topic, D&D is and has always been geared for the classic party, where noone is ever more than 60 ft away from the action.

The problem with 5e is that it has forgotten that in order to keep it that way, short-range builds and especially slow melee types must be heavily incentivized.

The only reason fantasy features slow Dwarves with axes is because they deal brutal damage and have incredible staying power.

And more to the point - that no fast ranged build can come close to that sort of combat lethality.

Once you realize this, it's immediately apparent D&D has forgotten its roots in its attempt to please the crowd that wants it all, to be able to play virtuous fighters that use speed and range as their weapons.

But you can't have both. In a game where speed and range doesn't unrealistically lower your combat awesomeness below what the slow melee builds can achieve...

...nobody will play slow and short, to put it bluntly.

The only reason you play a Gimli despite the serious handicaps of slow speed and no range is when the game turns those things from a liability into a virtue!

D&D used to do this, but 5e forgot to.

With due respect, I think this idea is...a wild overstatement, at least.

Melee characters are vital to a party in 5e, first of all. A Gimli character isn't handicapped, they just fill a different role than the Legolas.

And 5e gets it quite right in making both lethal and valuable, and fill different roles. i would hate to face a group of enemies of mixed range with 5 archers. It's not like 5e allows suppressive fire.
 

Satyrn

First Post
The campaign started with them shipwrecking on an unknown island with a massive jungle. They are in a new continent (after years of playing in the same continent) and know nothing. They have been attacked by dinosaurs, giant apes and beastmen berserkers. It is a very heavy and thick jungle area they are in right now. The last encounter was in a clearer area which was what the beastmen used for rituals.

I brought the tank back as a revenant, because she is the character with the deepest and most elaborate history (against the others which are new characters). She also has plot reasons that make the return as a revenant completely possible and makes sense. However, the player has already said that if this keeps up that he will just reroll a ranged character and let them handle themselves.

Yeah, I'd be making a ranged character at that point, too. Probably a paladin so that I can heal myself, and a halfling so I can hide behind my allies.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
With due respect, I think this idea is...a wild overstatement, at least.

Melee characters are vital to a party in 5e, first of all. A Gimli character isn't handicapped, they just fill a different role than the Legolas.

And 5e gets it quite right in making both lethal and valuable, and fill different roles. i would hate to face a group of enemies of mixed range with 5 archers. It's not like 5e allows suppressive fire.
Yeah, people keep saying that, but I think it's a mixture of old habits, a wishlist, and nostalgia.

Have you truly taken a step back and objectively considered the pros and cons of the slow axe dwarf?

That is, looking at the build with no preconceived notion of what would be cool and what makes sense in the campaign. Only looking at it with cold calculating eyes?

The advantages of staying a melee builds are extremely small. The restrictions on ranged are essentially non existent, once you take SS and CE into account. At the same time, Monster Manual entries simply assume the same old melee-centric game; most monsters are hopelessly outmatched if you deny them melee.

5th edition is doing much less to ensure a melee-centric game than any previous edition I know of.

Welcome to this realization!

Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yeah, people keep saying that, but I think it's a mixture of old habits, a wishlist, and nostalgia.

Have you truly taken a step back and objectively considered the pros and cons of the slow axe dwarf?

That is, looking at the build with no preconceived notion of what would be cool and what makes sense in the campaign. Only looking at it with cold calculating eyes?

The advantages of staying a melee builds are extremely small. The restrictions on ranged are essentially non existent, once you take SS and CE into account. At the same time, Monster Manual entries simply assume the same old melee-centric game; most monsters are hopelessly outmatched if you deny them melee.

5th edition is doing much less to ensure a melee-centric game than any previous edition I know of.

Welcome to this realization!

Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app

Nah, still completely disagree. Many of 5e's monsters can get to you fairly easily if you kite, or even if you fly, and the game assumes a mix of creatures, including enemy casters. Many monsters can survive running at the ranged guy to bash him, which most ranged characters can't survive nearly as well as the dwarf paladin can.

The game also assumes battle DM will adjust monster capabilities as needed, but that is another ball of twine.

Being slow has always been, and should be, a disadvantage in DnD. The dwarf fighter is valuable anyway, because abnormal DnD game doesn't take place in a featureless field, and feature enemies that the ranged guys can't survive without a tough guy team mate.
 

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