Friday, February 8, 2013

My DF Arrow Recovery Rulings

I've got a pair of scouts in my current DF game, and they fire off a lot of arrows. While one (the surviving one, actually) has just gotten a Cornucopia Quiver, there are still a lot of non-magically generated, non-disappearing later arrows to worry about. Fine ones. Magic ones. Envenomed ones. And ones with specialty heads, too.

What if you want them back?

Here is what I've been doing.

Arrow Recovery. For simplicity, 50% of arrows are recoverable. This can either be done straight-up (fired 6, recover 3) or by rolling a handful of six-siders and getting one arrow back for each 1-3.

Circumstances affect this by GM/player judgement call. 100% hits on a soft target might mean you can recover 5 in 6 of them. 50% hits on a distant, hard target and looking much later than the fight might mean only 1 in 6 are found, if that. I cap this at 5 in 6, because there is always a chance the arrow is broken, bent, cracked, or otherwise damaged, or that it buried deeply in bone or leather or steel and cannot be removed intact. Quality of the arrow (Fine, etc.) gives a +1 to the roll, as it's assumed to be better made. Again, it still caps at 5 in 6.

Yes, you can use Luck on this roll, since my players always ask that.

Arrow Poison. It's all one-shot, as much for bookkeeping as anything else. I'm not terribly worried by PC poison use, although I do impose limits. This is one.

Magic Arrows. With few exceptions, magic arrows are one shot in my game. That's how I justify the steep, steep price break on them. I'd make allowances for a special arrow, that somehow survives multiple uses, and indestructible arrows that don't use up their magic in a single hit would be fine with me. So the arrow may survive, but the magic does not.

You could add a perk, too, for those who really want to get their arrows back:

Thrifty Hunter*. A leveled perk, capping out at 2 levels. This gives a +1 to the odds of recovering an arrow; maximum is still 5 in 6.

Those may help your scouts save a bit of lucre on their ammunition costs, and get some of those fine balanced silver-coated arrows back after the fight.


  1. I like the Thrifty Hunter perk.

    I have used the same mechanic (50%, roll 1-3 on 1d6 and recover). This for a non-DF game. I think this came out of a ruling from a DnD DM (possibly even an official rule, or one from Dungeon Magazine). I thought it was good enough for a playable ruling.

    For the stingy backwoodsman, who made his own arrows, I have also ruled that you can recover the head even if the arrow isn't intact if you roll a second d6 and roll under a 4 (I have also used search rolls of various types as appropriate -- it really depended on the circumstances).

    1. The Thrift Hunter perk might be too costly for what it does - it might be reasonable to make it +2 or +3, non-leveled. I haven't tried it out yet.

      The 3-in-6 is a good start, because in a pinch you can just skip the roll ("you get half of them back") and gives a mechanism in case it's important ("Okay, roll and see if you find them all.") No idea how realistic it is, and frankly I'm not sure I care for DF. I just need a useful and believable answer, not a defensible one. ;)

    2. Do you think part of the reason for attrition of consumables is to give players something to spend loot on? GURPS tries to abstract cost of living, but that sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't.

      One thing that was inspired by another post on this subject, conincidentally, was that arrows break automatically on a certain damage roll. He chose a high roll; I'd probably choose a low one. If you're in the bottom 10-15% of damage (basically a 1 on 1d6) your arrow breaks. He chose high damage, but I'd choose low because all that arrow energy goes *somewhere*, and I'd say it goes back into the arrow, so it breaks.

    3. Well, if you pull your blow in his system and not shoot at full draw, does this mean less breakage?


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