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Dual Wielding Bows


Rules Questions


Pretty much what the title says. I had an idea of buildings a 4 level Alchemist, X level Fighter (Archer archetype) taking the discovery Vestigial Limb twice to give me the needed 4 arms to wield two bows. Their is actually a 3.5 monster called an Arrow Demon that does just this, though it uses a feat called "Symmetrical Archery" or something along those lines, to allow it to fire two bows as if it was using Two-Weapon Fighting but with no penalties. Obviously this feat does not exist, and it is clearly over powered, but it got me thinking...

I would like to know the ruling on making attacks with two bows in conjunction with TWF. They are not really classified as One Handed or Light weapons, so it is hard to really determine the minuses you get to attacking with them. I made an NPC and ruled that using a longbow for the purpose of TWF is a one handed weapon (because you use only one arm to hold and aim the bow, the other is just to load arrows) thus imparting a -4 to hit on all attacks.

Any thoughts on this? What about short bows? Would they be considered light weapons? I don't know, I'm just rambling at this point.


There's no RAW for it as far as I know because this is pretty much the only way to do it as a pc. That being said I count 2 handed weapons as a 1 handed weapon and a light weapon for dual/multi wielding. Also you have one primary hand and the rest are off hands.


I'm not sure if TWF feat would technically work (maybe it does, I don't know), but Multiweapon Fighting should. MWF wouldn't require using lighter bows or anything, at least. Penalty is higher and there's no Imp. or Greater version, though.


read up on bows (light and hand) it specifically calls out the possibility of firing them one in each hand.

The only thing keeping you from doing the same thing with bows is the two extra hands.

Pistoleros fore two pistols one in each hand.

I would use those already existing rules as benchmarks.


You take penalties for wielding non-light weapons in off hands, besides that it should be possible. Manyshot and rapidshot only applies to one bow...

Shadow Lodge

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I don't think that works:

PRD: "The arm does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round..."
I am pretty sure being able to two weapon fight with bows would count as extra attacks.


There was a discussion in another sub-forum where I mentioned the Arrow Demon for this purpose - maybe you can search (if you haven't done so already) for it - but I'm unsure whether it contains any insight into the exact setup you're pursuing.

Ruyan.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ah yes. For many, unless the Vestigial Arm somehow decreases your available attacks, it's considered "extra", and can't be done.

So, more than one attack during a round, is disallowed, once you have the Discovery.


You can have an Eidolon with multiple bows though! The more evolutions you give him the more bows he can fire.

Shadow Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:

Ah yes. For many, unless the Vestigial Arm somehow decreases your available attacks, it's considered "extra", and can't be done.

So, more than one attack during a round, is disallowed, once you have the Discovery.

Thanks BBT, I really appreciate that. But this isn't a matter of decreasing attacks. You can't use two bows without it, you can with it. its an extra attack. You can still rapid shot and many shot to your hearts content so whats the problem? 4 arrows at level 6 just not enough?

That being said I suddenly want to make a duel wielding gunslinger with extra arms for reloading... that sounds fun.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

By your definition, a one-armed Alchemist, who gains the discovery, cannot two weapon fight with a weapon in each hand.

In fact, by your definition, using the arm to hold an object, whilst you two weapon fight, cannot be done.

With you reasoning, the only way to use the arm at all, is to not use another arm.

Shadow Lodge

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The one armed alchemist aside. You can use the to hold other items, that's the intent of the ability. You cannot use the arm to make more attacks than you would normally be able to do with two hands (or how ever man a given race might start with). The entire point of that extra remark is to say that you can't use the ability to fight with 3 or 4 light weapons or 2 two handed weapons or make extra claw attacks because you have the bestial discovery (name eludes me right now).

You can use it to free up your hands so you can fight/carry more potions/whatever else. Just not gain extra attacks out of it.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

No. The line is to prevent multiweapon fighting, like a Marilith.

There is nothing preventing a four-armed Alchemist from duel wielding Greatswords.

"Extra", refers to those attacks beyond the amount available to the PC.

Shadow Lodge

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How is duel wielding great swords available to the PC?

The Extra refers to any additional attack you would gain from having the arm if you wouldn't be able to without it.

"any extra attacks or actions" is clear, concise and does not come with loopholes.


Because you're still only TWF, just with improbable weapons.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Seriphim84 wrote:

How is duel wielding great swords available to the PC?

The Extra refers to any additional attack you would gain from having the arm if you wouldn't be able to without it.

"any extra attacks or actions" is clear, concise and does not come with loopholes.

"Extra", as in number. The number of attacks, which is two, which is available to any PC.

Being a different style, or type, of attack, does make it "extra".

It's a matter of simple math.

Two daggers, or two greatswords, it's still just two.

2 = 2.

No "extra" attack.

Shadow Lodge

Ok, I see what your saying. And while I completely disagree the wording is not specific enough to make a concrete argument. So I am going to drop it.
To the OP: If this is for society be careful you may run in to some GMs who won't let you do it. If this is for a home game, ask you GM and have fun.

Cheliax

At this moment, every player who ever built Legolas is softly crying about this thread.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Lamontius wrote:


At this moment, every player who ever built Legolas is softly crying about this thread.

Samwise was the Badass anyways.

Cheliax

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Lamontius wrote:


At this moment, every player who ever built Legolas is softly crying about this thread.
Samwise was the Badass anyways.

Feat List:

Two-Weapon Fighting
Weapon Focus - Frying Pan
Endurance
Iron Will


Don't forget Skill Focus (Profession [cook])!

*end of derailment*


"The arm does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round, though the arm can wield a weapon and make attacks as part of the alchemist’s attack routine (using two-weapon fighting)"

As far as I'm concerned, if a PC dips 4 levels into Alch to get the four arms, then he can have the two bows. It was more of a question of "For the purposes of TWF, what penalties should bows impart upon the user?"

Qadira

seconded. the question remains what the penalty would be, not if the person could do it.
using the TWF doesn't grant extra attacks.

the alchemist is not asking to take 4 claw attacks. that would be extra attacks.
if it specifically allows two weapon fighting in the attack routine, then the extra arms can be used to fit the requirement of using two bows.

isn't there a monster that uses two bows in pathfinder? or is that just in 3.5? i'd say look at that as a model for the penalty.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would say -4 -4, since bows are not light weapons.


Seraphimpunk wrote:
isn't there a monster that uses two bows in pathfinder? or is that just in 3.5? i'd say look at that as a model for the penalty.

Xill can appear with two longbows. They're not a great example, though, since they've got Multiweapon Mastery.

Kolokotroni wrote:
I would say -4 -4, since bows are not light weapons.

Agreed.

Also, it's worth noting that you can pull this trick with just two levels in Alchemist if you spend a feat on Extra Discovery.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

A Bow requires two hands to use.

I would treat it as wielding a pair of two-handed weapons.

Silver Crusade

TWF penalties are calculated on whatever is designated as the 'off-hand' weapon for any particular round. BTW, 'off-hand' is a term which deliberately does not appear anywhere in the entire game system apart from TWF!

The penalty by category of the off-hand weapon:-

• light= -2
• one-handed= -4
• two-handed= er...there is no such thing!

Okay, let's try this another way:-

Two-Weapon Fighting wrote:

Circumstances Primary Hand Off Hand
Normal penalties –6 –10
Off-hand weapon is light –4 –8
Two-Weapon Fighting feat –4 –4
Off-hand weapon is light and Two-Weapon Fighting feat –2 –2

So, the penalties start at a set amount, and are reduced by 'off-hand weapon is light' AND/OR 'TWF feat'.

The dual bow user is assumed to have the feat, so the original penalty of -6/-10 is reduced by 2/6 to leave penalties of -4/-4.

Is the off-hand weapon a light weapon? Er...no.

So there is no reduction of that penalty for 'off-hand weapon is light', leaving the final TWF penalty for dual bows as -4/-4.


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Yep. TWF doesn't make a distinction between light, one-handed, and two-handed. It just has light and not-light. Bows are clearly not light weapons, so with the feat, it should be -4/-4.


You can have off-hand two-weapon attacks without any alchemist or extra limbs, like main armor spikes and off-hand longspear.

So it's not really one-handed = -4, it's "not light" = -4.


Ilja wrote:
You can have off-hand two-weapon attacks without any alchemist or extra limbs, like main armor spikes and off-hand longspear.

You can't primary the armor spikes. You could primary the longspear and off-hand the armor spikes (unless you're in PFS), but the other way around is prohibited by the leftover cruft in the armor spikes description from when it was changed to be a regular light weapon.


oh you might be right, but there's a sh*tload of other combinations you can use like gauntlet+greatsword (changing grip is a free action), blade boot + greatsword, or simply unarmed strike + greatsword.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Like main Boot Blade, and off-hand Longspear.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This won't appeal to the RAW lawyers, but the definition of "vestigial" is barely functioning or evolved out. Like the appendix on a human. It's not really used for anything.

The extra arms exist, but they'd be barely useful as arms. They'd be barely more useful than prehensile tails. Hence the descriptor limiting extra attacks with them. They'd be able to hold objects, possibly help to reload crossbows/guns, etc...


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The arms are noted as fully able to wield weapons.

Qadira

yeah bows aren't light. i'd say -6/-10

the better option would be to dual wield hand, light, or heavy crossbows with the rapid reload or crossbow mastery, and use the vestigial arms to reload both weapons , not normally possible in a dual wield crossbow build.


Why would you need 2 vestigial arms to dual wield bows instead of just 1? Your main hands are the only hands that can attack. Whether it is the vestigial arm holding the bow and the two hands each having their own arrows to knock and fire or each hand has their own bow and the vestigial arm retrieves and fires 2 arrows. I don't quite get where the need for the 2nd vestigial arm comes into play. Holding a shield while you dual wield bows?

Andoran

Mapleswitch wrote:
Why would you need 2 vestigial arms to dual wield bows instead of just 1? Your main hands are the only hands that can attack. Whether it is the vestigial arm holding the bow and the two hands each having their own arrows to knock and fire or each hand has their own bow and the vestigial arm retrieves and fires 2 arrows. I don't quite get where the need for the 2nd vestigial arm comes into play. Holding a shield while you dual wield bows?

A bow is a two-handed weapon. You need two hands per bow.


Technically, it's a ranged weapons that requires two hands to use.

Whether you can dual-wield two weapons that require two hands if you have three hands is a bit gray ruleswise (since you can change grip as a free action and can hold a weapon in one hand) but probably not intended.


Ilja wrote:
Whether you can dual-wield two weapons that require two hands if you have three hands is a bit gray ruleswise (since you can change grip as a free action and can hold a weapon in one hand) but probably not intended.

If that worked, you could do it with two hands.

Hold bow in right hand, use left hand to draw/load, use left hand to help fire.

Drop bow, draw other bow.

Hold new bow in left hand, use right hand to draw/load, use right hand to help fire.

This doesn't work because when you use Two-Weapon Fighting, you're locked into a decision of primary weapon and off-hand weapon, which most people interpret to mean individual hands, and they use the rule for natural weapon+manufactured weapon to say that you can't use a hand you used for primary weapon to also wield an off-hand weapon. Thus, you can't two-weapon fight with a longspear and a gauntlet, since you're using your gauntlet hand to wield the longspear. (You could totally do this with iterative attacks, just not TWF) While that is probably the intent, it's not really explicit anywhere, and it's especially confusing with the paizo confluence of hands = attacks.


I'm remembering somewhere an argument being put forward that you can two-weapon fight with a greatsword and a thrown dagger (with two hands). When I get home i'll try to find that, see what was said there.

I agree it's probably not intended, just said the rules are unclear and that argument could be made.

However, you couldn't do it with two hands since you need to actually have the hand free, so unless you had quickdraw it would not work. If we have bow 1 and 2 and hands A, B, C we can potentially hold bow 1 and 2 in hands A and B and use C to fire them, alternating between. With two hands, we would need to actually drop the bows in between since we'd have to use hand B to fire bow 1 and vice versa.

Note that I'm not saying "this is how it works" or "this is how it should work", I'm saying "it's possible to interpret it that way and not completely insane, but it's probably not intended". Since it's a rules question I thought it'd be worth mentioning it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a rules lawyer and a DM, I am all about dual-wielding great swords with vestigial arm. I also find nothing prohibiting dual-wielding bows by RAW. However, as a DM, I don't think I'd allow it.

Part of the twohandedness of bows is the way a bow is fired: across the body. One doesn't fire like Hawkeye, falling from a building with his bow extended straight forward and his other arm in the middle of his chest. One must extend the bow arm fully to one side and draw the arrow across one's body. Therefore to dual wield, one bow would have to be awkwardly held away from the body so as not to conflict and tangle with the other bow.

Maybe a medium creature could dual-wield small shortbows, or maybe I'd make some kind of house rule about having to have the bows on opposite sides of the body pointed at two different targets.

So RAW it's all good, but practically it makes no sense to me.


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The Mighty Khan wrote:
Therefore to dual wield, one bow would have to be awkwardly held away from the body so as not to conflict and tangle with the other bow.

So what's the problem with this? They're not both being fired at the same time. Hold a bow away a bit, fire the other one across your body or whatever. When you're done, hold that first one away and then fire the second one across your body.


I have a vague memory of seeing artwork of a marilith dualwielding bows.

Also, I assume you wouldn't dual-wield them as in "upper left + right arm" and "lower left+right arm" but rather "right upper+lower arm" and "left upper+lower arm".

Cheliax

The Mighty Khan wrote:

Therefore to dual wield, one bow would have to be awkwardly held away from the body so as not to conflict and tangle with the other bow.

Yep, thus the -4 to each attack (with the TWf feat). It is awkward as all heck and takes a fair amount of training for a character to be as good with both bows as a 1st level fighter is with one (like 4+ levels worth).


The Mighty Khan wrote:

As a rules lawyer and a DM, I am all about dual-wielding great swords with vestigial arm. I also find nothing prohibiting dual-wielding bows by RAW. However, as a DM, I don't think I'd allow it.

Part of the twohandedness of bows is the way a bow is fired: across the body. One doesn't fire like Hawkeye, falling from a building with his bow extended straight forward and his other arm in the middle of his chest. One must extend the bow arm fully to one side and draw the arrow across one's body. Therefore to dual wield, one bow would have to be awkwardly held away from the body so as not to conflict and tangle with the other bow.

Maybe a medium creature could dual-wield small shortbows, or maybe I'd make some kind of house rule about having to have the bows on opposite sides of the body pointed at two different targets.

So RAW it's all good, but practically it makes no sense to me.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20040815b&page=4

This is the Arrow Demon, the 3.5 monster that I found who emulates such a feat. This should help you visualize how one might dual wield bows.

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