Monday, January 11, 2010

Savage Boomerang

I have a player in my irregular Savage Worlds fantasy campaign whose character uses a boomerang. Just for flavor reasons, the boomerang is her main weapon. I think it's rather cool, in a Road Warrior sort of way.

In the previous session, in which she made the character on-the-spot and dove right in to the game-in-progress, I just used the same stats as a throwing knife. Which, not surprisingly, is a little wimpy. Chances are, those stats will result in her feeling underpowered, and eventually swapping to a better ranged weapon, like a bow. That would be a shame.

She's a new player, with no previous tabletop experience, so rewarding her flavorful decisions is the right thing to do. My hope is that it will encourage her to experiment and invent, and overcome any shyness or awkwardness about the game. It's always best to make someone's first couple of gaming experiences positive and welcoming, so I've spent a tiny bit of energy figuring out ways to make it a feasible weapon choice in the long run.

First, I'm pumping up the range to match that of a sling: 4/8/16 (instead of a daggers 3/6/12). That's a pretty minor boost, and something I can do without any worries about balance, but of course it still makes it inferior to a bow.

So, to pump it up a notch, I made up the following edge for her.
Boomerang (Combat Edge)
Requirements: Agility d8, Notice d8
When you make a Throwing attack with a Boomerang (the weapon), you may pick a secondary target, which must be a different character than the primary one. If your attack misses against the primary target, you may immediately make another attack roll against the second target. Only one target can be hit per round - if you hit against the primary target, you do not roll against the secondary one. You're only throwing one boomerang per action, but the circular flight path "buzzes" past more than one target.
It's not terribly realistic, admittedly, but it catches the proper cinematic feel of someone using a boomerang weapon. More importantly, the the second attack roll will help compensate for the low damage rating, making it a good mook-killing weapon even in the later stages of the campaign. The secondary attack will take some of the sting out of bad dice rolls, which is something that can be very frustrating for new players.

5 comments:

kedamono@mac.com said...

I like the idea, but looking up in Wikipedia, hunting boomerangs are big muthers and can take down kangaroos with a single hit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Australia_Cairns_Boomerang.jpg

Also the range is much better, 44 yards, so I'd suggest a range bracket of 5/11/22 and maybe STR +d4+2? Not as good as a throwing axe, but better than a dagger.

r_b_bergstrom said...

The hunting boomerangs you're talking about don't come back when you throw them.

That's part of why I said "it's not terribly realistic". She wanted the type that comes back, mostly for flavor, but also she could use the throwing skill without having to carry 2 dozen throwing weapons.

Str + d4 is the damage of a dagger, a club, and a light flail. That seems the category it should be in.

Str + d4 + 2 would actually be better than a throwing axe or bow, if you have an average or low strength. The average damage roll on d6+d4+2 is 8. Average damage roll on 2d6 is 7. Plus, you'd be more likely to have a die Ace, since one die has fewer sides.

That said, it's not much better. I could maybe go with Str + d4 +1, and strike a compromise.

Maybe. I just don't want the boomerang to purely out-perform a bow, especially not for low-strength characters. There's already two archers in the group. She chose the weapon to make her character stand out, and I don't want it to be so good the other PCs get rid of their bows and switch over.

As for range, I think I'm okay with 4/8/16. Since we're doing the "comes back to you" style, it's actually traveling much further than 22 spaces.

Thanks for your input, though. I'll probably bump up the damage to Str+d4+1.

Spikey said...

maybe the curved flight might also be a unique nugget that could be used to make the boomerang interesting. Don't know the savage wotsit rules but some sort of manouver that allows the character to 'roll to hit' characters behind cover might be a possibility?

Hunty said...

clever compromise!

I also like Spikey's "circumvent cover" idea; maybe that could be a separate edge?

kedamono@mac.com said...

No problems Rolfe, I thought about using Str+d4+1 and didn't. You made the right choice.

Spikey, you could treat that as "Improved Boomerang" Edge, allowing for other tricks like disarming opponents, doing knockout blows, and of course hitting people hiding behind trees.

And on top of that, you need a special boomerang for her to hunt for. A legendary boomerang:

The Magic Boomerang

Since it belongs to a scrappy little kid who knows how to use it, it's gonna be hard to take it away from him.