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D&D 3E
Fireball arrow 
7th-Dec-2004 02:31 pm
Vampire Rodent
One of my players (an archery-oriented ranger) wants arrows that detonate like a fireball when they hit. Using the DMG's "single use, use activated", I figured the price to be 750 GP each.

I'm thinking about making the use a full-round action (move equivalent to "prime" the arrow, and standard action to fire).

Any ideas about other restrictions or limitations? Or is it just a bad idea overall?
Comments 
7th-Dec-2004 07:34 pm (UTC)
I think it's a cool idea. I had "arrows of summoning" that cost about 132 each for CR 1 Celestial Eagles.

750 sounds about right for a 3rd level spell. How much damage? I'd also look at how it compares to a javelin of lightning.

7th-Dec-2004 07:57 pm (UTC)
It would be 5d6 damage.

Thanks for the idea about the Javelin of Lightning... Oddly enough, the javelin costs the same in 3E, and twice as much in 3.5.
7th-Dec-2004 07:36 pm (UTC)
At 750gp each (for what level?) I think I would make firing them a standard action (not an attack action).

You probably want to come up with rules for what happens when they miss.
7th-Dec-2004 08:04 pm (UTC)
They'd be at 5th level -- unless he wants to pay more for higher level ones.

The reason I mentioned the full-round action is so that there's no chance of mishap, or 2-3 being fired in a single round.

As far as missed shots are concerned, I'm happy to keep the game moving and assume the fireball detonates harmlessly. If a "1" is rolled, then the effect is determined by the "laugh with glee" test. :)
7th-Dec-2004 08:08 pm (UTC)
Standard action would prevent more than one from being used in a round without too extreme a penalty.

Assuming a fireball with a radius effect "detonates harmlessly" is a pretty big assumption, particularly if the combat is in town, in a forest, under ground, or the target is near but not in a melee.

I said, "come up with some rules," but in reality I would probably just keep the consequences in mind and make an ad hoc ruling based on the circumstances.
7th-Dec-2004 07:38 pm (UTC)
At times like these, I like to refer to the Golden Rule of Exalted:

"If it is cool, then it works."

This sounds fine to me, and it will make a nice piece of "signature gear" for that character. I'd allow it.

(The second part of the Golden Rule of Exalted is: "Incidentally, have some bonus dice for coming up with such a cool idea!", but that part is harder to replicate with D&D... ;) )
7th-Dec-2004 07:55 pm (UTC)
There's arrows of detonation in Baldur's Gate (crpg based on 2nd ed rules)that are basically that.
I don't see why it needs to be anything other than a standard attack action really; magic items are, as far as I remeber, assumed to be made at the lowest possible caster level, so it's 5d6 presumably. The range is probably less than the usual fireball range too-if he's firing at a patch of ground rather than a specific individual size modifer as well as range modifier will come into it.
Perhaps they detonate at a set distance, rather than when it lands.
7th-Dec-2004 08:58 pm (UTC)
Cool idea, and something I've thought about in the past.

Coming up with a way for all missed shots to "detonate harmlessly" is easy: the magic only takes effect if it comes into contact with the intended target/ OR a living target.

Of course, that negates the possibilty of shooting a door to blow it open, if it's a living target, but we've all got to let the Rogue get a shot, right? :D

Anyways, 750 gp/arrow sounds about right to me.

You might also want to make it an enhancement ability of the bow itself, for either a +2 or maybe +3 bonus. It would be along the same line as flaming & flaming burst weapons/arrows. It's the next logical step, I suppose. :P The logic for a melee weapon is just extremely flawed. Observe:

Fighter: Yaaah!!!! *attack roll--20. confirmation roll--16. weapon explodes in a 20ft radius and consumes the target + fighter + adjacent allies*

xD Personally, I laugh at this, and would gladly put it in any of my games. If anybody wants to blow themselves up with a melee weapon, they are allowed to do so by all means possible. :]
7th-Dec-2004 09:50 pm (UTC)
I'd probably allow it but you're going to have to be careful how you deal with it in terms of targeting. Shooting at a spot on the ground is a lot easier than hitting a specific target so if the archer is at all smart, misses will be rare. They'll target for 'right about there' instead of 'that orc'. So you might want to think about what effect fireball 'alpha strikes' are going to have on your campaign. The party's finances will will have an impact on how many of these things the archer can have at any given time but it may be more than possible for him to have several in his arsenal at a time. You might also look at the prices of items like a wand of fireball or the necklace of fireballs and look at what the average 'cost per shot' of those items is. I don't know their prices but it might provide more info on how expensive these arrows should be. Since these arrows are effectively like giving the archer a grenade rifle, you have some thinking to do.
8th-Dec-2004 03:23 pm (UTC)
Note that Fireballs don't blow things open in D&D -- they have no force to speak of, only heat.
7th-Dec-2004 10:04 pm (UTC)
I'd allow them, but think very carefully about the consequences of misses and critical failures. I know critical failures aren't in the rules, but in this case, I'd make an exception. You gotta take the bad with the good.
7th-Dec-2004 11:05 pm (UTC)
And Sneak Attack.
8th-Dec-2004 02:03 pm (UTC)
I thought you couldn't sneak attack with a missile weapon. Or is that flanking?
8th-Dec-2004 02:47 pm (UTC)
You can Sneak Attack with a missile weapon or a spell that requires a roll to hit: so yes to Alchemists Fire, Melf's Acid Arrow and arrows, no to Fireballs... but allowing a Fireball to be delivered on an arrow requires an additional ruling to allow or prevent 3rd level rogues doing 7d6 with these (12d6 with a critical: spells that get a roll to hit and do damage can critical on 20).

9th-Dec-2004 03:34 am (UTC) - My two coppers...
Such an arrow would have to be considered a "spell-activation" item, as with a scroll. That means a caster with the appropriate spell in his list would be capable of using it effective. Great if you're an Elf Wizard or an Arcane Archer, but otherwise not effective.

For missing with the shot, I'd use the Grenade spread chart for determining where the fireball detonates.

Quite honestly, to spend 750 GP on an arrow that may miss its intended target to deliver a 3rd level spell (for 5d6 fire damage, Reflex DC 14 for half) seems self prohibiting. More so when a high level Arcane Archer can do the same thing for free (albeit for himself). I'd rather spend that money on a scroll or potion or wand.

On the other hand, there is another alternative. Have special arrows made: fowler blunts with ceramic heads. A fowler blunt is a special shot used for small game to kill without destroying the prey in the process. The ceramic head is fragile and will break on impact, which is a viable recipient for "Fire Trap" spell. Be wary, as one party learned the drawbacks to this courtesy of a Gnoll's mace to the quiver.
9th-Dec-2004 04:27 am (UTC)
Why not? This is standard action(touch attack), but i think, on critical miss, this arrow may detonate in the hands of archer.
9th-Dec-2004 02:54 pm (UTC)
in my campaign i play as ranger and i'm always looking into making superior arrows that will beat anything in combat so i have a suggestion. if you use the combat style and go the archery path to get many shot although you'll have penalty's you can fire up to 4 arrows per attack, note this may cost you more gold then you have and it may depend on your dm also. Get a composite long bow with the +4 str (just for a lil extra damage) have the bow imbued with flame frost and shock, now create arrows that have +5 enchantment, flame,frost,shock and the returning quality. it also helps to have the quiver or ehlonna. with these arrows and the bow depending on the enchantment bonus of the bow you can do anwhere from 17 minimum damage to 54 max damage. again that depends on the enchantment bonus
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in my campaign i play as ranger and i'm always looking into making superior arrows that will beat anything in combat so i have a suggestion. if you use the combat style and go the archery path to get many shot although you'll have penalty's you can fire up to 4 arrows per attack, note this may cost you more gold then you have and it may depend on your dm also. Get a composite long bow with the +4 str (just for a lil extra damage) have the bow imbued with flame frost and shock, now create arrows that have +5 enchantment, flame,frost,shock and the returning quality. it also helps to have the quiver or ehlonna. with these arrows and the bow depending on the enchantment bonus of the bow you can do anwhere from 17 minimum damage to 54 max damage. again that depends on the enchantment bonus <my example is the bow is a +1 and the arrows +5> being able to fire 4 of those arrows per attack is a great way to blast a whole through almost any enemy troop, and the arrows work great against trolls i dubbed them the elemental arrows of ehlonna but that's just because i'm a geek. another good arrow for the ranger to have for support purposes are arrows of cure serious wounds which i believe can be found in the masters of the wild book. but those arrows will help give a quick heal to an ally who's out of range for a cleric to heal or that doesn't have potions. and if your dm's anything like mine those healing arrows wreak havok on undead anyway i just wanted to add my input. the only reason you want the returning feature is so you never have to buy them again. my elemental arrows cost a lil more then they look due to that my dm incorparated the flame,frost and shock on the arrow recharges instead of being completly estinguished.
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