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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ranged vs Melee (Savage Worlds)

I'm always drawn to perceived issues with systems. Things that my players or other people believe to be broken and in need of a fix.

One that has caught my eye is the supposed discrepancies between melee and ranged combat. Which goes something like this:
Difficulty to hit in melee is 2+ 1/2 your opponents Agility. While to hit with ranged is a set number of 4.
Which gives range an advantage over melee.

By itself, out of context of the rest of the system I can see where this could seem unbalanced. Lets examine both as they pertain to the combat system at large. First I'll examine melee.

In melee your parry of 2+1/2 of fighting skill is only applicable if you are not surprised by an attack and only if you have a proper weapon reddied to defend yourself. If you are unarmed, weilding an improvised weapon, surprised, or making a wild attack your parry will be lower. So the defalt melee defense is assuming you are ready, knowing, and armed. So I say melee by defalt assumes the defender is at advantage to defend against a melee attack.

Now ranged combat on the other hand has a defult difficulty of 4. This assumes that you are not surprised, within close range, and not in cover.
The proper tactic against a ranged weapon is cover (causing cover penalties). The proper weapon for a ranged attack is one that is effective at the range you need (to avoid range penalties). So I say by defult the defender is assumed at a disadvantage against a ranged attack.

In quick summery, in melee the advantage goes to the defender, with penalties to the defender for being unarmed or unprepared. By contrast ranged assumed advantage on the part of the attacker, with penalties to the attacker for conditions and defender tactics.

Within context of the rest of the system I don't find this unbalanced. If anything it seems fair and makes sense given the nature of melee and ranged conditions and penalties.


  1. I was prepared to hate this as I spend far too much time having to fight against the perceived imbalance in the ranged combat system. I'm glad you took a deeper look at the places that make this work together.

    1. Thank you. Seems the rules in context in is the missing factor. I find with most savage worlds issues the same is true.

  2. Ranged Combat is Also balanced by the ranged Combatant being forced to track their ammunition, being forced to track their reloads, being forced to spend an action reloading, and being forced to track their encumbrance and strength requirements.


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