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surprise melee attack ..... what does it mean?


Rules Questions


Pistol-Whip (Ex): At 3rd level, the gunslinger can make a
surprise melee attack
with the butt or handle of her firearm as a standard action. When she does, she is considered to be proficient with the firearm as a melee weapon and gains a bonus on the attack and damage rolls equal to the enhancement bonus of the firearm. The damage dealt by the pistol-whip is of the bludgeoning type, and is determined by the size of the firearm. One-handed firearms deal 1d6 points of damage (1d4 if wielded by Small creatures) and two-handed firearms deal 1d10 points of damage (1d8 if wielded by Small creatures). Regardless of the gunslinger’s size, the critical multiplier of this attack is 20/×2. If the attack hits, the gunslinger can make a combat maneuver check to knock the target prone as a free action. Performing this deed costs 1 grit point.

how is a surprise attack done in mid combat?


Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, PFS RPG, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Although it's called a surprise attack, it's not in the same context as a surprise round. In this situation, it's just flavour text to indicate that you make the uncommon act of smashing your firearm in the enemies face rather than firing it as one usually would.


It's a case of descriptive text in the opening of the ability, and the unfortunate choice of a word. Maybe the enemy is surprised that the gunslinger is attacking with the wrong end of the gun? I would ignore the word "surprise" completely. The only difference between the pistol butt and a club is that the gunslinger can spend grit to knock the creature prone.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
The only difference between the pistol butt and a club is that the gunslinger can spend grit to knock the creature prone.

Spends a grit and can potentially knock the opponent prone, to be accurate.

Dark Archive

I realize this is a necro, but I had a thought while reading the thread.

I could see a case for house ruling the first time a gunslinger pistol whips a foe in a combat that foe is flat footed due to the unexpected nature of the attack. In fact, I may house rule this way myself. However I'd also house rule that if it becomes a known tactic, the gunslinger's targets are no longer flat footed. Such as if the gunslinger's left several foes alive after pistol whipping someone, word would start to spread about him/her doing it. As such after a while his/her foes would be on the lookout for such an attack.

Liberty's Edge

Kahel Stormbender wrote:

I realize this is a necro, but I had a thought while reading the thread.

I could see a case for house ruling the first time a gunslinger pistol whips a foe in a combat that foe is flat footed due to the unexpected nature of the attack. In fact, I may house rule this way myself. However I'd also house rule that if it becomes a known tactic, the gunslinger's targets are no longer flat footed. Such as if the gunslinger's left several foes alive after pistol whipping someone, word would start to spread about him/her doing it. As such after a while his/her foes would be on the lookout for such an attack.

I'm pretty sure the benefit of "surprising" them is knocking them over with the unexpected attack.

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