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D&D General Retrieving Arrows after a Combat

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
it's not about ease so much as unpredictability & the resulting drama. How many times have you seen a character save a bullet with history or one that misfired for later or regardless of need bite their nails over the dwindling ammunition they have on them?
@doppelganger that's the point. Ammo is cheap, lightweight & easy to carry large amounts if you are tracking individual arrows. This way can also be used to represent the use of arrows off screen like moving from interesting fight A to interesting fight B
Right, it's not that it's easier per se. It's just that usage dice create tension and doesn't require tracking every arrow used/recovered.
 

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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I see. Cool, but definitely doesn't jibe with my style - but it wouldn't be a dealbreaker if my DM implemented it or even if my players said they wanted to try it.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I see. Cool, but definitely doesn't jibe with my style - but it wouldn't be a dealbreaker if my DM implemented it or even if my players said they wanted to try it.
my players were skeptical at first till they started finding magic arrows as loot & occasionally for sale semi-cheap in shops so started using those interesting arrows rather than hoarding them till a big enough dragon or something
 

Marc Radle

Adventurer
Not sure how many folks have done much archery, but wood-shafted arrows that hit something, either the intended target, or that miss the target but hit something else (a tree, a wall, etc.) are almost always going to be at least slightly broken, either by the impact and/or by prying them out of whatever they are lodged into.

Finding arrows that landed safely on the ground without breaking is time consuming and difficult if there is any kind of underbrush etc., like in a forest or something similar.

Realistically, searching for salvageable arrows after a battle should take more than a minute - probably more like 10 minutes to a half hour, depending on environment, and likely only 25% at most will still be in shape enough to accurately fire again ...
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Not sure how many folks have done much archery, but arrows that hit something, either the intended target, or that miss the target but hit something else (a tree, a wall, etc.) are almost always going to be at least slightly broken, either by the impact and/or by prying them out of whatever they are lodged into.

Finding arrows that landed safely on the ground without breaking is time consuming and difficult if there is any kind of underbrush etc., like in a forest or something similar.

Realistically, searching for salvageable arrows after a battle should take more than a minute - probably more like 10 minutes to a half hour, depending on environment, and likely only 25% at most will still be in shape enough to accurately fire again ...

Most of the archery I have done was with fiberglass (or whatever they are made out of) arrows and have only fired wooden arrows a handful of times. Yes, they break a lot more often - but if not too bad they can be reused. Finding and reusing arrowing at the degree that can happen in D&D is just a fantasy trope I guess! But one I like.

I think you're right about effort and time, and I definitely do mark the amount of time it takes (again ad hoc based on environment).
 

We normally do half, but rather than just set the amount, the player rolls odds/evens for them. If there are any obviously lost arrows due to narration, those are the minimum number of lost arrows. For example, if 8 are fired and 2 destroyed/lost due to circumstances, you'd roll 8 dice with a maximum of 6 successes. If Mending is available, each ammunition is lost only on a 1 in 10 (where they are completely destroyed).
 

I like 5e half rounded down, because it is easy to both calculate and remember. Unless there are magic arrows or something I think it should just be left to the player to, quietly and on their own, make a reasonable decision as to whether they actually took a minute to search the battlefield and whether the battlefield was a suitable one to recover ammunition from. Usually it can plausibly happen while someone else in the group is doing something else. Occasionally they may need to actually tell the group that they could really use a minute to search for their arrows, but its not worth the table's time to keep everyone constantly abreast of the archer's ammunition situation as a default.
 

the Jester

Legend
When trying to recover shot ammo, I have the pc roll 1d6 for each. 1-3, it's broken or otherwise unusable. 4-6, you recover that piece of ammo. Obviously, magic ammunition is different, and circumstances may change this- for instance, a fight on board a boat would probably leave most of the expended ammo unrecoverable (e.g. in the water, etc).
 

This was my solution to the problem: hirelings

FAIR-HANDED KUAI JI
Fair-Handed Kuai Ji is a martial hero who resides in a small villa on the banks of the river. He keeps to himself, and rarely concerns himself with the affairs of the martial world. However once involved he charges for any kills done on someone else’s behalf. By the same token he pays fairly for any kills done by others that benefit him. He can be excruciatingly pedantic in his tallying. In all other social interactions and commercial transactions, he strives for fairness. He has a small contingent of 7 servants who tend to his needs, including retrieving his daggers in the middle of battle. They are all treated well and quite loyal. He is very wealthy and there are rumors his fortune was a gift from the Queen for his services.
 

We do half as well. With access to the mending spell, we go to half and a d20 roll for the remainders. On a roll of 1-5 the arrow is too broken to be repaired (missing parts or whatever). So if ten arrows were shot, 5d20 would be rolled. Each roll of 1-5 means that this arrow is lost for good. Works out well for us so far.
 

pming

Hero
Hiya!
In every edition of D&D I have run or played in at the end of basically every battle the missile weapons users look to the DM and say, I look around and retrieve any arrows I can to replenish my quiver (replace arrows with sling bullets, darts, etc as applicable - but let's stick with the most common, arrows/bolts, for the example).

How do you handle this?

Generally speaking, unless it's obvious, I use a flat 25% + 1d#, where the # is based on surrounding area (and obviously you can never gain more than you shot). For example, a typical dungeon room/corridor, I usually use a d6 or d8. If it's at the edge of a cliff or on the side of a mountain, d4. If it's in a warehouse/home/mansion (with wood walls, furniture, crates, etc), maybe d10 or d12.

Ex: In a dungeon room, with pillars and dimensions of 30'x70'x20', if a PC shot 9 arrows, he'd be able to recover 1d6+2. If he had shot 19, 1d6+4.

My reasoning; the less you shoot, the more likely you remember where you shot and where they may have gone. Even if you hit your target every time, chances are the arrows will break or be unrecoverable for use again. And if you are shooting at an elemental, for example, forget about any that hit. I would then simply subtract that number from whatever the PC could normally recover (e.g., if normally 1d6+5, but 8 shots hit the fire elemental, then it would actually be 1d6-3, with zero being the lowest, obviously).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 


Swedish Chef

Explorer
If the party has access to Mending (and most seem to) then I let them recover all arrows or bolts as long as they weren't shot somewhere inaccessible.
That's the way it is with my current party - unless they simply can't retrieve them (shot 300+ feet away, into water, off a cliff, etc), then it is simply considered retrieved and mended. The players track how many they have and can mend. Simply not worth worrying about otherwise for us.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
At low levels, track arrow with 50% recovery unless conditions (battles at sea for example) make retrieving them impractical.

For in person games we would use tooth picks. When someone fired an arrow they trough it on the battlemap. After the battle they could take back half of them. Some players find it fun, if they are the type that like to have physical things to play with.

But one bags of holding come into the mix, we don't bother tracking mundane arrows.
 




GreyLord

Hero
This is how I do it as well. If you miss, your arrow flies off into the forest and is lost, or breaks against the dungeon wall. Otherwise, you can collect it. It keeps the bookkeeping to the same moment as the attack.
Ironically, I've lost more arrows to hitting something than to missing.

I also expect experienced archers also highlight their arrows. For example, I have florescents that make it easier to find out where they landed.

I must admit, unlike someone above who has experience with wooden shafts, I don't have that experience with wood, so I have no idea how often they break or not. From their experiences it sounds like wood is more fragile of a component for arrows than I thought previously.
 

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