House Rule – Firing into Combat

I’m not sure about you, but I sometimes wonder when someone fires a shot when I’m watching a movie, playing a PC game or a tabletop RPG, that when and it misses.  Ok, but where did it go?  Where did the shot end up?  In a building?  Through a window into a families living room?  Into a car?!


To help illustrate this, let me draw you a ‘picture’:


The Area – a 15 foot wide, by 40 foot long room, so three spaces by eight.

The Enemies – two Orcs – ‘1’ and ‘2’.

The HeroesAlfred, Burt, Camomile and Derek.

Alfred and Burt have run in and managed to Flank the first Orc (1), and set about chopping him up into little Orc pieces.  Alfred misses, and Burt hits for 9 damage; the Orc grunts.

It’s now Camomile’s turn…  She fires her crossbow at Orc 1, hoping that she can kill it before it gets a chance to react.  She rolls the dice and misses.

Combat continues…

Whoa!  Scratch that!


There are 3 other ‘things’ in the area, so short of the crossbolt bolt flying into the ceiling where did the crossbow bolt go?!

Presumably the shot was taken more or less parallel with the ground…  So it would have traveled in an approximately ‘forwards direction’, and gone where?

Why wouldn’t it have hit Alfred or Burt?  Or even Orc 2?!

Pathfinder takes into account a -4 penalty for firing into melee combat and trying to hit your target and avoid your compatriots, so the difficulty of hitting your target is taken into account numerically but, while this is a mystical world of magic, where did that crossbow bolt go?!


Sure, there’s a chance it just shot past everyone but it’s simply impossible that that would happen in every single combat, isn’t it!?

So, after some discussion and brainstorming with a few peeps, and miraculously enough, this exact thing coming up on the GCPD, we’ll try this out:

Firing into Melee

  • If you are firing into melee and you miss, roll a d100, if the roll is 01-10, an ally gets hit.
  •  If you fumble while firing into melee, roll a d100, if the roll is 01-20, an ally gets hit AND the player fumbles the shot.
  • NOTE-If the d100 roll is 01, the ally gets hit with a CRIT.




2 thoughts on “House Rule – Firing into Combat

  1. pastarelli

    Hmm, seems a bit harsh to give ranged an additional 10% chance to hit a friendly if they miss. Surely if they’re an archer they would have missed by a fraction, or it hit the Orc but didn’t penetrate the shield/armour/undies.

    Couldn’t the same then be said for two people in melee range flanking an enemy
    – Stabs long sword at Orc, misses, where did the pointy end go?

    1. I don’t think you can compare melee with ranged. You’re unlikely to miss a target by 5 feet if you’re swinging a sword, or at least, far less likely!
      If you miss with a sword, you arc is determined by your arms, if you miss with a ranged attack it could go left or right. On top of that, the fact it’s only a 10% chance shows that most of the time the missed shot will be near as damnit and not go anywhere.
      I think it makes sense but I’m happy to hear from the others… (Here’s some bait…)
      But I bet THAT doesn’t happen!

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