What should be the baseline for ranged combat?
A lot of games set the baseline to hit a ranged target at some kind of average chance and then modify it up or down. I think it would be better if it was set at a more specific baseline as then it might be easier to visualize. My recollection from my (very long ago) army days is that after some training most people – if they were stationary and aiming – could hit a stationary man-sized target at close range in daylight most of the time (and by close range i mean around 30 feet for handguns and 30 yards for rifles). This may be a bit off but it’s in that ballpark IIRC.
So the optimal conditions where a shooter will hit almost all the time are defined as:
– basic training
– stationary shooter
– stationary target
– short range (defined here as 30 feet for handguns, 30 yards for rifles)
– man-sized target
– good light
– no concealment (fog or foliage)
– no hard cover
The base chance to hit would be set at this point. As this baseline is (mostly) set at optimal conditions then any deviation from this would involve penalties. The exceptions to this from the list above would be point-blank range and larger than man-size target both of which would get a bonus.
On top of these situational modifiers others would be:
– natural talent (dexterity)
– tech/magic (sights, built-in targeting computers, cybernetics, psionics etc)
Hard cover could be modelled in the same way as a smaller than man-sized target. Say there were penalties to hit along the lines of
– 3/4 human size
– 1/2 human size
– 1/4 human size
then the same could be applied to the amount visible behind the cover e.g. a half-covered target could be treated as 1/2 size and a target inside a bunker as tiny size.
The next question is armor. If you have armor added into the hit roll then you can get situations where if a particular weapon has a bonus against a particular type of armor it feels like it is easier to strike one of two targets who are side by side but wearing different armor. That’s not what is happening but it feels like it and creates an immersion jolt imo. So i think armor protection should generally be checked separate from the hit. I think a separate hit and armor/damage roll adds a bit of dramatic tension also.
Armor can have attributes separate from the armor rating which effects hit chance.
Once a hit is achieved there is an armor/damage roll.
If a ranged target has a high dodge rating (due to a high Agility score for example) then should that apply as a penalty in ranged combat? I think no with two exceptions:
1) When advancing under fire in a situation where there is a lot of cover then a high dodge character can apply a penalty to their ranged attackers to simulate them running and diving from cover to cover.
2) A high dodge character attacked by ranged combat at point-blank range can apply their dodge bonus as a penalty.
This would be a situation where armor could have attributes which effect the hit roll i.e. heavier armors could limit the maximum agility of a character wearing it which would limit their maximum dodge bonus.