A Dungeon Saga Question…

DS-logo-badge…and answer.

This one came up yesterday, and I thought I’d pass it on before I forgot 🙂

The following follows my usual Question, Answer, Discussion format.

Q: What happens when a Hero that starts without any Shooting skill gains a Shooting dice through levelling?

A: The Hero gets to write 1 Shooting dice on their sheet and can now take Shoot actions. The range is the appropriate one for the weapon they have (see below). When they make a Shooting attack, note that they will often get an extra dice because they cannot roll fewer than 2.

D: This is a compromise between either two or three earlier versions of the rules (I can’t remember which now) and is slightly less harsh than the original DKH version. If you want to add a bit more realism, then play that you don’t get the 2 dice minimum if the modifiers reduce you to zero dice or fewer – instead you cannot take the shot. As it stands, a Hero with 1 dice gets a bit of an artificial boost and is effectively immune to problems like being injured or partially blocked targets: he’ll always get 2 dice to shoot. Like I said, it could be more realistic. However, it is fairly heroic, and that’s quite appropriate, which is why I don’t mind. Plus it’s not exactly a common issue, and compared to Heroes who are good at shooting it’s not much of a benefit. Professional archers are still going to be a lot better, and Heroes that only dabble in Shooting are still likely to have better things to do most of the time anyway.

Regarding the choice of Shooting weapon, personally I’d let people pick what they wanted, with the caveat that they must model the weapon on their Hero model if they want it to be long range. Short range throwing knives, etc could be hidden under robes. Not so with bows and similar weapons. If you want the extra in-game benefit then you should make the extra modelling effort 🙂


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42 Responses to A Dungeon Saga Question…

  1. Pikaraph says:

    So you’re back on DS questions ^^
    That’s great !
    Have you transmitted your corrections to Mantic for the next Adventurer’s Companion print run ?

  2. jack says:

    are any new expansions being planned. I certainly hope they continue to support this game!

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I was talking to Ronnie this week, and he’s keen to keep DS going. There are some outstanding adventures from the KS to come out yet, plus some new stuff too (which is why I’m back to looking at it). Very much not abandoned.

      • Danny says:

        Excellent stuff!!! Certainly looking forward to more content!!!

        Also, thanks for the Q&A in regards to gaining Shooting Dice through leveling, muchly appreciated and looking forward to you tackling the few remaining commonly queried issues 🙂

      • Danny says:

        Actually Jake, while you’re working on the new stuff, could you perhaps create a mechanic for monster advancement. I guess this doesn’t necessarily need to take the form of monster stat boosts, but perhaps more monsters being placed, or more commands be given to the Overlord (or a combination of these three things and/or anything else you think would work).

      • Danny says:

        Oh, and perhaps if you could also kindly revisit the Bestiary. I think some monsters in there could do with a look over to bring them more into line with each other. One example being that a Goblin Warrior’s stats are Identical to a Ghoul’s stats, and they are of the same monster level, however the Goblin Warrior has twice as many wounds.

  3. jack says:

    very excellent news. keep up the good work.

  4. Mike Miller says:

    Are shooting dice an exception to the normal rule that you can only take stat bonuses once?

  5. Nakano says:

    It’s nice that this question finally got official attention (please add it to FAQ; I print it when everything is cleared).

    Please continue the discussion about the shooting mechanics. I just want your take on the rules.
    – On which ability category shooting belongs to? It’s not marked as a ranked ability. Could it belong to “Extra Dice” category discussed on page 60? I assume so and this means heroes can improve on shooting.
    – If heroes can improve on shooting, is the second upgrade “wasted”? Still gives +2 shooting at max?

  6. gmerin says:

    Please, I think that the Line of Sight question was left unanswered. Would you mind giving it a look and adding it to the FAQ? I’m asking because it’s something quite important and, if we follow the rules how the are written, they are very restrictive. Thx!

  7. mbss says:

    Jake, Seriously. That is your answer. So the Bard has 4 of the +1 Shooting Dice(short) advancements on his table and you say he can take it once and gets a bonus die to get to 2 so he can take the minimum attack. Given that when you look at all the tables for things that people can only take once they are dominated by showing up twice. Not sure if I could find a case of any single choice ability showing up even 3 times on one classes tables. The thief also appears to have 4 cases of +1 shooting short, fighter has 3 of +1 shooting long, and demon hunter has 3 of the short and 1 long. Plus given that half the races start with a 2 dice short range elemental attack makes those advancements seem pretty much wastes.

    Given that shooting dice were previously ranked skills so late that they are on the cards we have and you specifically have a rule in the book that says ranked skills can have a minimum rank of more than 1 which is what you get the first time you select it and one after that up to the maximum on page 72 that is not used I find you answer hard to believe. This answer honestly lines up with the idea that you guys do not want to admit errors in the book than anything in the rules based on anything I can find.

    Not sure what DKH has to do with this. Unless you guys cut model advancement out of the ancient grudge rules provided in the dungeon journal as I do not see anything in that about learning new things. Maybe they did. Another thing to add to missing stuff.

    • mbss says:

      This ruling also makes Legenday Madriga, Legendary Ally, and Legendary Arianya impossible to build within the rules of the game regardless of the level they started at or are when classed Legendary.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      You’re assuming that the advances are only there to be taken repeatedly, and this is not the case at all. In fact, probably the most important reason that advances are repeated is to allow people multiple opportunities to take them. And, by doing so, allow people flexibility in the way they choose to develop their character. If they were limited then you’d have a one-off, all-or-nothing slot to take (say) shooting. That would mean that all of a given class or race became archers at a defined level or never, and that forces people into the same mould, which is dull. This format helps make Heroes diverge and differ, which I think is much more interesting.

      Not sure how it lines up with not wanting to admit errors. The book does contain errors, I don’t think anyone at Mantic says otherwise. Certainly I don’t disagree with that statement. And, even if shooting was a ranked skill before, that doesn’t mean it must always stay that way. As you say, it was a very late change, so editorial may well have missed all the references.

      DKH was the forerunner of the DS system both spiritually and mechanically. It differs in many important ways, but the lineage is still there and so it is sometimes relevant to refer back to it. If you haven’t played it then it’s not important. If you have then it might help to know that the change was intentional. Model advancement was never in Ancient Grudge. It’s the differences in shooting rules I was referring to.

      Oh, and as for Legendary characters – they were never expected to be entirely replicable with the rules as they stand. Some may be, others won’t. Fitting the system you use wasn’t ever the remit – they were just supposed to be fun to play.

      • mbss says:

        Thanks for Replying Jake.

        I did not assume that advances appear multiple times in the tables to select multiple times. I noted that if you compare the appearance rate between the +1 shooting (range) to single choice abilities which generally show up twice (Magus appears 3 times for Wizard but they also have new spell and new school on their tables which are essentially a new skill each time) it seems excessive. For example the Sylph Bard can take Shooting(Short) at 2,3,4,7,8,9 levels. Given that it is marginally useful for the character since they already start with a short 2 minor spell (adding a magic item and then sure shot or something might make it more useful I admit), it does not seem to really add a lot of options to take up so many slots. Now I can see the idea of not wanting people to take shooting dice all the time to get 6 dice shooting attacks the single choice limit really makes it a waste for most characters.

        I do not think Mantic at this point would admit that the book is still full of errors and that they reprinted it that way. This question while you act like it just came up was asked on the FAQ page Nov 11 long before the reprints were ordered. Now the late change in the shooting rule notation from Ability to Characteristic specifically cases the only 1 time allowed advancement rule to apply as it does not apply to ranked abilities. If the editor made the changes, that seems to imply that the advancement tables themselves were not updated to account for this fundamental difference in the nature of the advancement of the ability since the editor should not be changing to tables.

        DKH did allow 1 shooting dice attacks since models lost a die per tile but it also did not have ranges and most models with a shooting attack started with 4 dice. That is what you mean about compromising with what to do about 1 dice attacks. I understand that is what you meant now. It was not a reference to learning but to how to treat 1 dice attacks which if were intended to exist would have need to certainly be called out explicitly in the core rules.

        On the legendary characters, it just seems strange that all the core versions of the characters with shooting attacks end up with 1 more die at about 5th level than anything the AC can produce. Pretty much seems to imply that so few shooting dice is pretty weak and not “fun to play”. Good thing the Demonhunter is not a Zombiehunter then.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I think you could probably argue all year about whether the combinations of skills on the advancement tables are right or not. They are a snapshot of how I thought when I last changed them, and I expect I too would do something slightly different if I did them today. And different again if you asked me in a month. There is no single right answer. I follow what you’re saying, I just don’t see that a difference in frequency of options in different tables somehow invalidates either end of the spectrum.

          What Mantic would say is up to them. i shouldn’t have presumed to speak for them. Apologies.

          When I said that the question “came up yesterday”, that’s because it did. I never claimed that this was the first time it had ever been mentioned, I just thought you might like to see the answer as I’d written one. It wasn’t part of some dark conspiracy.

          The DKH reference was indeed to the old version that allowed 1 dice shots. As you say, it would have been called out explicitly (as it was in DKH) if it was allowed.

          You seem to have a very “glass half empty” view of all this. ‘Pretty much seems to imply that so few shooting dice is pretty weak and not “fun to play”’ Really? I don’t see how that is implied at all. Why on Earth would I deliberately build in a version that was not fun to play?

        • mbss says:

          You were the one who said those characters were designed to be “fun to play” and they all seem to have more dice than AC characters.

          It seems to me that there is already a special rule here needed to explain what happens when you take shooting dice and do not have them that extending the special rule to allow you to take it twice makes everything fit nicely. Legendary characters fall back into the rules. All the chances to take it make more sense. Characters that do not start with it can get to 3 dice which when added to sure shot and a magic item can make a 4 dice attack which is reasonable since these with be high level characters and fighters and barbarians will be swinging 6 dice fight attacks at this point. Thieves and Rangers can get up to 4 or 5 dice.

          That is glass half full for you.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I’d always rather have a glass that’s half full 🙂

        • mbss says:

          The glass half empty description is:

          The Core, expansions, and AC are all in parallel development due to limited time frame. They are all essentially done and in layout. Marksman(2-5) and Deft Throw(2-5) are used in the AC as ranked abilities which when taken once give 2 initial dice using the rule specifically for that on page 72 for experience for ranked abilities with starting levels higher than 1. Maybe you had a rule that prevented you from taking them more than once even though they were ranked abilities.

          During layout Mantic decides that the core game would be cleaner if marksman and deft throw were characteristics instead of abilities and ask you about them. You are neck deep in deadzone 2 at the time and think about it and say it should be fine just to switch the terminology in the basic rules, eliminate the descriptions from the AC shooting abilities section, and do a one for one switch of the appearances through the book and cards. They screw this up missing cards, forgetting to include ranges for monsters and on the table, and even adding the range in one point on a table but the wording is longer and they miss the artwork now hides the range (hence a good idea this happened at least parallel with layout). In their rush since the project is already running late, you do not consider the changes affect on the initial learning of the skill or the structure of the tables since it can now be learned only once now since you are already thinking about a totally different game since you have to constantly be doing that to pay the bills.

          That leads us right to the AC originally shipped which misses a rule for how treat +1 shooting dice for characters without it and tables that are just full of +1 shooting dice choices compared to say +1 combat dice which shows up no more than once on a classes table or +1 move that is generally there once or twice for something that should be of a similar nature as an upgrade you can only take once.

        • Danny says:

          mbss’ point about the Marksmen (2-5) and Deft Throw (2-5) does tie in perfectly with the rule on page 72 where Heroes taking their initial “Level UP” in those particular Ranked Abilities jump straight to 2 Shooting Dice…and can/could be limited in those abilities by controlling their access to follow-on rank in these abilities…

      • Danny says:

        I’d kinda like for my 10th Level Barbarian to be able to shoot with more than 2 dice (I don’t think there is even a Magic Weapon in the game that allows him to gain additional Shoot Dice at Long Range).

        I totally get that he should not be a Master Archer, like say an Elf Ranger would be, and I get that a system whereby upon reaching Level 10, every Hero Profession can be as good as any other Hero Profession at anything in the game completely defeats the purpose of having Professions in the first place.

        Still, a Level 10 Barbarian shouldn’t have that much trouble firing a bow at a Goblin, let a lone the much more powerful monsters he is fighting at Level 10. Perhaps allowing Combat and Shoot dice to be ranked, but be more limited in certain Professions (which for a Barbarian, by way of example, could be more than 2 dice, but no more than say 4 dice) and also limiting the supporting abilities (like Sure Shot etc) that you would expect a Master Archer to attain, and a similar approach taken to Melee…

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Having variable caps was something I considered and didn’t use because it is a bit fiddly for the DS brief I was given.

          I’ll think about mbss’ suggestion, and your thought on variable levels. However, given that Mantic were the ones who insisted on the change from ranked shooting in the first place, I’m not sure they’ll want this sort of complexity adding back in.

        • mbss says:

          Mantic has made it clear that they do not consider the ac a core part of the line. Adding a line or two to the advancement rules has no affect on any of the expansions Or base game. Being able to take it. 2 or 3 times seems to make sense and probably is closer to the original intent during development as the limit would have been the ability limit.

      • Danny says:

        Actually, what would be cool is to remove all Combat and Shooting Dice upgrades from the Race Level Options Table and the Profession Level Options Table (to be replaced with other suitable abilities). Then, create a 3rd column on the Profession Level Option Table and place Combat and Shooting Dice Upgrades in there…these Upgrades would be automatically gained upon reaching that level. The player would also still get to choose an ability from the 1st and 2nd columns of the Profession Level Option Table or the Race Level Option Table as normal.

        Alternatively, keep the 1st and 2nd columns in the Profession Level Option Tables but at certain levels, instead of a choice of abilities, Heroes instead receive an auto Combat Dice or Shooting Dice Upgrade, commensurate with their Profession.

        This would allow players to still have developmental control over their Heroes through ability choices, but the game rules would control the allocation of Combat and Shooting Dice, thereby keeping Heroes segregated into certain party roles…and the frustration of having a 10th Level Fighter with only 2 Shooting Dice would disappear.

  8. Westward says:

    Hi Jake. Sorry if this has been covered, it’s still early and I haven’t had coffee 😛 Say I want to make the ultimate shooting Demon Hunter. There’s +1 shooting dice at levels 3,5,7 and 9. Is it right that I can take +1 (Short) at 3, +1 (Long) at 5, +1 (Short) at 7 and +1 (Short) at 9.

    So once I’ve got to level 9, I’m rolling 4 Shooting Dice at Short range, and then 1 Shooting Dice (or two with the minimum 2 dice rules) at Long range?


    • Tyr says:

      Nope. You could take a single +1 short and a single +1 long, as it is. Dont ask me how those two interact, if at all… If they dont, each would give you a 2 dice ranged attack.

      • Danny says:

        The way I understand it is that there would be no interaction as they are separate weapons. So as the rules stand at the moment, I think this Hero would be able to roll 2d6 at Short range and 2d6 at Long range.

        • Tyr says:

          Pretty much. Though an interaction *would* be kind of nice… otherwise, why would you ever choose short range with a class that has access to both?

        • mbss says:

          Very few classes have both. I think only Demonhunter that I remember hence the thought that it was a typo. More likely to get mixed access from Race+Class having different ones. Only reason to take short if you could do long is magic item interaction as far as I can guess.

  9. Marek Janik says:

    Well Jake, so may be now is a high time to make Adventurers Companion not so unclear and actually make some sense of it cause now .. well its a pile of poo

    • Quirkworthy says:

      a) Rude.
      b) Not helpful.

      I agree that it needs work, and that there are plenty of things to clarify. The FAQ page has a list of these. If you’ve anything constructive to add then that would be the best place to do it.

  10. ake,

    I was hoping you could clarify a specific line of sight question. Does line of sight work like blocked movement, in that if there is not a free space on either side of the diagonal Line of Sight (LoS) does not exist. Or is it different. Specifically, can a Ranged Attack/Magic attack requiring LoS shoot through a diagonal space, where a Hero is on one side, and a wall is on the other.

    Scenario 1 (A = Archer, H = Hero, E = Enemy, O = Open, X = Wall)
    E O X
    X O X
    X H O
    X O A

    Here the enemy is clearly in range of the Archer. However, on one side of his Shot Angle is a Hero, and diagonally from here, there is a wall. Were the Archer trying to walk through that space, it would be an illegal move; however, does LoS exist in this situation?

    Scenario 2 (A = Archer, H = Hero, E = Enemy, O = Open, X = Wall)

    E O X
    X O X
    X H A

    Similar to Scenario 1, but this time the Archer is right next to the hero and wall. Would this be treated any different (if Scenario 1 does not yield LoS), acting much like standing adjacent to a table and removing the LoS penalty?

    Thanks so much in advance for your response. I am just looking to find some balance between the warrior class types and the ranged, as it seems the ranged are often unable to use their standard balance – distance – as LoS tends to be the issue with so many narrow corridors.

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