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the third viable crossbow build.


Advice


For a long time now I have been wanting to make a good crossbow build. I looked on several forums and the only things listed was, 1. " don't crossbows suck" 2. " gunslinger bolt ace" and later " overwatch style fighter sub class crossbow ace." 3." make a bow build"
This did not suit me, out of the shear amount of feats and items there could not only be 2 options, right? well a few weeks ago I was looking up range feats and saw, the ranged trip feat. This got me interested in a range trip build, but the feat sucks. so i was looking into alternatives, and i decided to focus on the crossbow. After doing more research and almost giving up hope I found the one thing perfect thing. bola bolts the second I found this I knew it could be a good build base, the only problem was that you don't get Ability to CMB, nor do you get to add any weapon enchant to chance. but even with this fact I did not give up hope. so I did the only thing I knew how.

Min-maxing/ optimizing the hell out of it. I researched every possable way to get more CMB at low LVs, feats,weapons,items, at LV1 so that left me with traits and class. so I looked and planned and this is what I came up with.LV1 build
As you will have noticed This build sucks at LV1, there are such so many limitations 5Cmb is nothing if this was a normal trip build it would of had at least 8-10, it's a heavy cross so i need an extra feat before i can fullround, and its really heavy and most of all weapon enchantes do nothing. I just about gave up when I saw this, it looked like it sucked. BUT, then thought of what it could of been. so i stated out what it would look at when everything came together. LV7 build

That is disgusting, at LV7 you will be able to trip 3 people in 1 fullround at +20CMB you get to reroll when they are being threatens by another enemy, and when they do trip it provokes. and a +15/15/8 fullround being the only downside while not being good it's not bad and that's only with base equipment. all your gold would go into uping attack,ac,and saves.

so what do you think? is this a broken build? did I mess up on any rules that would make this not work? and most of all know that I intend to never play this build. the only reason I am posting it is the shear amount of work i put into it.
if it suck well, it's a crossbow I tried by best.


Flagged this for a move to the Advice forum.


Since you're going a route that has weapon training, get Ace Trip (requires Deadly Aim and Ranged Trip) as soon as you can so that you can take down flying enemies this way. Also, you shouldn't need Anti-Hero -- being Human gives you an extra feat (you didn't take an alternate racial trait, as far as I can tell); being level 1 gives you a feat, and being a 1st level Fighter gives you a feat, and at level 1 you use 3 feats, so you're good to go without Anti-Hero. Edit: Just noticed that on the level 1 build you use 4 feats at level 1 (needs Anti-Hero after all), but on the level 7 build you use 3 feats at level 1, and the Rapid Shot (not Rapid Fire) feat moved to level 2. Also, Improved Critical is going to have to wait until level 8 due to the BAB +8 requirement, but once you do get it, your critical range will be 17 - 20 instead of 18 - 20.


Improved Critical requires a base attack bonus of +8, so you should not have it at 7th level.

You have applied two favored class benefits (+1 hp/level; +1 grapple and trip CMD bonus/level - not that this matters much for using your bolt bolas), you get one or the other unless I missed something.

Combat Expertise is -2 attack/CMB penalty, +2 dodge bonus to AC, not -1/+1.

You left off your racial penalty to Stealth.

That +2 Will save bonus at 7th level is appallingly low ...


Just saying, Antihero is only a thing if your game is specifically allowing Hero Points. If not, you don't get a free feat for giving up something you never got in the first place.

Also, The Mad Comrade, it is possible to get any two of the bonus HP, bonus skill point, or favored class bonuses via the Fast Learner feat. Requires being human, though.


bolt ace 5 anything else x would also work fighter, ranger or slayer would work best after the bolt ace levels tho


Fast Learner specifically gives you +1 HP and +1 skill point as an option, it doesn't mention mixing in alternate FCBs. A reasonable house rule though. Also you need to actually take that feat which this character hasn't.

Looking at the rest of the build - Improved critical requires BAB +8 and would make your crit range 17-20 when you get it. Rapid shot is the name of your level 2 feat not rapid fire. It looks like you're using the original Lore Warden archetype, I believe the one in the Adventurer's Guide is meant to replace it.

Edit: there are other ways to make a crossbow-user, if not one who uses it all the time. An alchemist with explosive missile and no special proficiencies may enjoy being able to rain death with a range increment of 120'. I played around with a sorcerer build with wildblooded (Arial) and the arrow eruption, flame arrow & named bullet spells which looked reasonably useful. An assassin's sight is one of the easier ways to increase the range of a sneak attack.


1. yes the improve critical was a mistake, should most likely be replaced with weapon focus,
2. avr yes there are otherways to make a crossbow viable, by using them to supplement there build, thats what they are ment for to began with. they were ment to be a weapon for a mage who ran out of spells. what i am talking about tho is a pure crossbow build that would not function without the crossbow.
3. and yes i did mess up the fast learner, but it does not matter do to build as it only improves CMD. so while it's wrong it just a error.

my intentions on making this post is not to ask for advice on how to improve this, or what it could be. all i am doing is saying is "hey I found a third viable option for a pure crossbow build" what do you think about it? is it a good build? does it compare to other trip builds at this LV? is being able to trip 3 people a round good? or am i just overthinking it and it will never perform that well?


It's a good tag-team concept. Trip them up for the sneak attacker/other melee character(s) to go in and gut while they're prone with bolas around their ankles. It's not going to do much against a lot of later-AP opponents depending heavily on which AP, but in some it'll be quite effective.

3 trip shots/round gives you a good chance to make at least 1 target/round prone. Be sure to carry other ammunition though, as plenty of enemies either cannot be tripped at all or are too big to affect with the bola bolts.

Being a good crossbow fighter can come in pretty handy. This one is heavily dependent on the general gist of the campaign. Ace Trip is highly recommended.


the build could have Ace trip by LV9 with the feats it has, LV7 and LV8 being deadly aim and range trip, LV9 being ace trip. that would open up a few more things with improved weapon training. or you could drop greater trip and get it at LV8

you are right about how the build would be very situational, form what I know, with a heavy slavers crossbow, being able to trip large is the max, with potion of Enlarge to trip huge. if you dump the feats/items and am willing to accept the penalties you could trip Gargantuan size things.

the base of this build from how i was planning it, is for CR6-11 Creatures, if the DM is kind and don't throw you into everything that can't be tripped, but after LV11 they start showing up more and more often, expecialy when getting into aberrations. and some outsiders,

when starting this build it was ment to not be as CMB focused but when I relized that i could not just Use Agile manuvers to get DEX to CMB the feat list changed drasticly for upping CMB as much as possible.


Agile Maneuvers would greatly improve the CMB. Improved Trip is nice ... but this is a ranged trip build, so strictly speaking it's only necessary when prerequisites demand it.

You could make a rude surprise switch-hitter this way with whatever proficiency it takes to use a slaver's crossbow and Agile Maneuvers. Bola a target or two, then wade in, maybe toss a net on 'em then start stabbing/slashing/bludgeoning your way to victory.

Liberty's Edge

I'm not sure how heirloom weapon is providing a bonus to CMB - you just have proficiency with it.


Old version of the trait, perhaps?


with the bola it says that it does not allow STR to stack with CMB and as agile maneuvers says that it only replaces STR and uses DEX instead that would not stack, while improve trip is useless for the build other than the +2 greater trip allows that when ever an opponent is tripped it provokes an AOo from an ally, this synergies very well with tandem trip and it being a range trip build with 40FT range it works even better than a normal trip build. and heirloom weapon states
You carry a non-masterwork simple or martial weapon that has been passed down from generation to generation in your family.

Benefit: When you select this trait, choose one of the following benefits:

proficiency with that specific weapon
a +1 trait bonus on attacks of opportunity with that specific weapon
a +2 trait bonus on one kind of combat maneuver when using that specific weapon.
Note: You pay the standard gp cost for the weapon.

going off of the PFSRD

and yes mad comrade, that would work very well, and it would not be hard as it is already a fighter, but the build is currently for mostly CC. while it would work in any normal game and might not be bad, just not what i had in mind when i started this PC concept.


avr wrote:

Fast Learner specifically gives you +1 HP and +1 skill point as an option, it doesn't mention mixing in alternate FCBs. A reasonable house rule though. Also you need to actually take that feat which this character hasn't.

Looking at the rest of the build - Improved critical requires BAB +8 and would make your crit range 17-20 when you get it. Rapid shot is the name of your level 2 feat not rapid fire. It looks like you're using the original Lore Warden archetype, I believe the one in the Adventurer's Guide is meant to replace it.

Edit: there are other ways to make a crossbow-user, if not one who uses it all the time. An alchemist with explosive missile and no special proficiencies may enjoy being able to rain death with a range increment of 120'. I played around with a sorcerer build with wildblooded (Arial) and the arrow eruption, flame arrow & named bullet spells which looked reasonably useful. An assassin's sight is one of the easier ways to increase the range of a sneak attack.

Technically, this is what Fast Learner says:

"When you gain a level in a favored class, you gain both +1 hit point and +1 skill rank instead of choosing either one or the other benefit or you can choose an alternate class reward."

Emphasis mine. What else could they mean by "alternate class reward" except the alternate favored class bonus?

Grand Lodge

It means you can choose to get +1 hit point and +1 skill point or choose the alternate favored class bonus.


thorn767 wrote:

with the bola it says that it does not allow STR to stack with CMB and as agile maneuvers says that it only replaces STR and uses DEX instead that would not stack, while improve trip is useless for the build other than the +2 greater trip allows that when ever an opponent is tripped it provokes an AOo from an ally, this synergies very well with tandem trip and it being a range trip build with 40FT range it works even better than a normal trip build. and heirloom weapon states

You carry a non-masterwork simple or martial weapon that has been passed down from generation to generation in your family.

Benefit: When you select this trait, choose one of the following benefits:

proficiency with that specific weapon
a +1 trait bonus on attacks of opportunity with that specific weapon
a +2 trait bonus on one kind of combat maneuver when using that specific weapon.
Note: You pay the standard gp cost for the weapon.

going off of the PFSRD

and yes mad comrade, that would work very well, and it would not be hard as it is already a fighter, but the build is currently for mostly CC. while it would work in any normal game and might not be bad, just not what i had in mind when i started this PC concept.

IIRC attack bonuses add to CMB, especially for fighters, in this case for the crossbows weapon group. Maybe a Fighter (Crossbowman) would do the trick just as well? Since the main thing is just ramping up CMB in general, it's a tough go since no ability score modifiers are applied because of the specific ammunition.

Using the heavy slaver's crossbow gives you up to Large for only the cost of the weapon and ammo, which is nice (as you've pointed out already). Masterwork bola bolts and Improved Critical (heavy slaver's crossbow) is a must of course, so yeah, it'd be interesting to see the concept used in play.


you could use a crossbowman for this build, but i would not recommend it. crossbow man does 2 things for crossbows 1. Add dex to DMG on a readied action and 2. attacks flatfooted.

Dex to DMG is pointless on a slavers crossbow as it is a nonleathal weapon,
and touch on readied action would be good for uping attack, but the whole point of this build is, that while you might not have as high of a CMB as a pure melee trip build, you make up for it in the extra number of trips you can get from safety. you could still go overwatch style, but that is just another feat tree you have to follow, when as people have said ace trip is more worth it.

and without the lore warden archtype you would lose +4 to CMB and a free feat needed to go into improve trip tree.

so while yes you could go into crossbowman, be prepared to be feat starved.

and Yes at LV8 it is a must to go down the improved crit tree, while only DC20 str to brake free is not good at that LV, but that still wastes one of the enemys turns to break free and stand up. and if your ally is next to them before it's turn it's an insta kill all because a tied up NPC is considerd helpless.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
It means you can choose to get +1 hit point and +1 skill point or choose the alternate favored class bonus.

Pretty sure none of the other races have to take a feat to access their alternate class bonus.

Grand Lodge

You're reading it wrong. You can either get both the hit point and the skillpoint OR just the alternate FCB.


Probably shouldn't be taking Fast Learner if you want the alternate FCB. ;)


i did not take fast learner that was just a typo on my part, and it seems there is more written about that than what this post was originally meant for.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Might want to take a gander at Relentless Shot. You succeed on a ranged trip, you continue to threaten that target. Meaning ... whip out your primary crossbow via Quick Draw and make 'em dance when they try to regain their footing.


thorn767 wrote:
all i am doing is saying is "hey I found a third viable option for a pure crossbow build" what do you think about it? is it a good build? does it compare to other trip builds at this LV? is being able to trip 3 people a round good? or am i just overthinking it and it will never perform that well?

Being able to trip 3 people a round at level 7 is good, yes. Not wizard with toppling spell & magic missile good, but then you've got a better CMB for doing so. If you take a look at the mean CMDs for CRs 5, 7 & 9 you'll see they're 22, 26 & 29, the +20 isn't wasted and should be good enough in many cases - if not against the maximum values of 57+ at those CRs.

If you're up against something you can't trip for whatever reason what does your expected DPR look like?


Honesty it would have very poor DMG, with out having any of the feats to increase DMG, deadly aim/manyshot, you would only be doing a 3d10 DMg it would not be a bad move to push back something after crossbow mastery to get deadly aim, and if you want ace trip you need deadly anyways.

and on another note, if it is impossible for the enemy to be tripped do to a High CMD, because of what the text says that as long as you crit the PC is ensnared, meaning that no matter what as long as the pc crits the thing is entangled. and as the rules are confusing i don't know if that would also apply to CMB as it is also a type of attack.

And as far as i know, with entangled being a condition. unless stated other wise in the creature type or subtype, just about everything can be entangled.


We use house rules for crossbows. Current rules make no sense about how they work and really put them behind everything else.
Slings...adding strength...also dumb.

Anyway a build that I enjoy is going Int based class like alchemist and adding Kirin Strike to your crossbow shot and perhaps some extra stuff with alchemist grenadier.
Since the "stats to damage" dont stack rules I am unsure about how Kirin Shot, Focused Shot, Alchemist Int splash damage with Conductive enchant works.


Sure, entangle should be an option regardless of CMD, and against most non-incorporeal targets. The bolas bolt description just says it entangles on a critical not that there is any change to the trip attempt then. Incidentally, have you noticed that bolas bolts are heavy? 4 lbs. a shot will add up fast.

Having read that description it also looks like you have to hit normal AC, then make a separate trip attempt vs. CMD. Two successful rolls required is going to drop your Hun'tars' reliability noticeably.

Entangle & 1d8 (+ enhancement, maybe + deadly aim) nonlethal bludgeoning damage isn't worthless at level 7 but it's a big step down. You're going to get called a one-trick pony.


that's why I said min-maxed optimized, it's ment to be good at 1 thing. and as i said you would want to dump alot of your gold on upping attack. i considerd putting a dip into bolt ace into the build but. i decided just go with a pure fighter set up


Errant Mercenary wrote:

We use house rules for crossbows. Current rules make no sense about how they work and really put them behind everything else.

Slings...adding strength...also dumb.

Anyway a build that I enjoy is going Int based class like alchemist and adding Kirin Strike to your crossbow shot and perhaps some extra stuff with alchemist grenadier.
Since the "stats to damage" dont stack rules I am unsure about how Kirin Shot, Focused Shot, Alchemist Int splash damage with Conductive enchant works.

actually slings adding str makes perfect sense if you know how slings worked back in the day


I think I can make a good argument for dex, you probably know the historial related data but I can give some first hand:

I use slings made out of hemp or a type of aloe-like plant, which is its traditional material in much of the world, I am from a place that has kept those traditions and where Hannibal used to recruit slingers for his armies and later the romans.

Slings adding strength makes no sense whatsoever. They are purely a finesse ordeal, they rely on the centrifugal force. This is increased by wrist motion and length of sling (which increases projectile distance).

As a real world story example; in the bible Goliath is killed by Goliath in a show of brain/finesse over brawn. In history the sling was used because it was accessible, and while it requires a lot of training to get good at, muscles dont come into the equation. Even if you arent good you can launch a missle far and high, which agaisnt a big army is likely to hit.
A sling as a bullseye weapon is extremely difficult to get good at.

Edit: The best people at slings were herders, which is what the sling was used for originally. They call to their herd and if it doesnt come, stones follow. Sheep and goats learn this fast. Also to keep away predators. These people are by no means strong.
Every good slinger I've met, meaning they can hit a small target at 50 metres without a problem, has been an old man. Probably cause they actually herded back when they were kids.


Would it be more accurate to say that slings add Dex to damage in game terms?


The Mad Comrade wrote:
Would it be more accurate to say that slings add Dex to damage in game terms?

It would, but would be a can of worms due to all dex characters jumping on it..if you house rule it I suggest half dex to avoid this..


^Alternatively, require Exotic Weapon Proficiency with the Sling to get Dex-to-Damage with it. Really, something that hard to use should at least be a Martial weapon. Maybe reduce the Weapon Proficiency category required (for both basic use and Dex-to-Damage) by 1 step for people who would be expected to have widespread proficiency with it for cultural reasons -- for Halflings, this would be a minor tweak to their Weapon Familiarity (granting Sling basic use with Simple Weapon Proficiency and Dex-to-Damage with Martial Weapon Proficiency, or alternatively just give a bonus rank in Sling proficiency); likewise, for Humans, make something like a Heart of the Pastures alternate racial trait that does approximately the same thing in addition to a couple of other things that would tend to be useful for shepherds (like a bonus on Handle Animal and Perception).

Edit: Now that I think about it more, maybe flesh out both the non-weapon and weapon stuff more for herders, and make these separate Heart of the Pastures (non-weapon, replacing Skilled) and Shepherd Military Tradition (weapon, replacing the Human Bonus Feat, but adding more than just Sling Proficiency bonuses).

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