Shooting into combat

Hi, how do others handle this situation, with a PC tangled with a NPC?

As far as I’m aware there is no penalty for shooting into Combat. Thats mostly due to how the zone-system of movement works. Characters aren’t as nailed down moment-to-moment as other RPG systems are want to do. At any given moment a character (NPC or otherwise) is roughly somewhere within the Zone they occupy. Characters only close to “Reach” during the moment of trading blows.

So, in terms of someone shooting at Combat, consider the attacker to be waiting for that moment when both parties break apart and a clear line-of-sight can be found.

With that in mind, if the attacker rolls a complication a fantastic use in this case is to use that to redirect the attack to a friendly target and have them get hit or have to take a reaction (with the usual limits).

Alternatively if you really want to nail things down to a more gritty level, some exceptionally large people/creatures involved in combat “might” count as Cover for your target, though you’d want to be careful with that and how you work out what the living cover soaks (aka they’d take the damage).

I also don’t apply a penalty for shooting into combat. Heroics and such.

And again if you roll a complication, you are probably going to hit a friendly.

I might consider increasing the difficulty by 1, but probably not.

Star Trek Adventures (another 2d20 game) increases the Complication range by 1 if the target is within Reach of other creatures. It means that the attacker would roll a Complication at 19 and 20. I use this as a rule in Conan as well, because it just makes sense to me.


I was using the Complication system, but that does not work because a player can still success on the same roll. So I was thinking a miss could result in a possible hit. I like the free wheeling feel. This is our 3rd game of Conan, prior to this, our S&S system is Blade of the Iron Throne, which works exactly in this free wheeling way.

A Complication doesn’t only have to mean hitting your ally, though - a miss with a Complication might mean you hit your ally, a hit with a Complication might mean that you hit the target, but were concentrating so thoroughly on your challenging shot that you’ve put yourself in a dangerous position …


Yes, a Complication is a much broader thing than “hits ally.”

Lots of times just adding more Threat/Doom is worth it because of how much the opposition is fueled by it. If you want to narrate the Threat/Doom pool grows, you can have a shot nearly miss the ally, who has to twist awkwardly to get away, but even if you don’t, the players will know about how it’s getting big. You can have a spend take care of when an ally gets hit or have some opponents have an ability that works that way.