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How can Ranged Combat even be feasible?


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


It'd be 3rd level if you took the obvious trait starting out (because apparently every Archer worships that deity).

A Trait I never mentioned.

Quote:


It's otherwise higher than that usually, even with bonus feats factored in. Only when an archer shores up their biggest weakspots (cover/concealment and provocation for attacking) can I say that they're as reliable as a melee character is.

Reliable as melee? What does a level 3 melee character do when something is flying, or has high ground, or has a greater movement speed than them?

They're good at different things, by level 3 an archer should reliably hit things that haven't got cover in between them and their target.

Quote:


As I've stated above, these are the stats that the GM told us from the AP we're running. If they're "wrong", then quite frankly we're facing some of the highest AC foes of that level, and then some. Which seems silly when all it is are Ogre Fighters in light or medium armor...

Yes you are facing things well outside the norm, for a CR9 the expected AC is 23, 30 is the appropriate AC for a CR15, so if you were level 7 you were facing something with AC appropriate for more than double your CR.

Quote:


Also, I fail to see how having an AC 3 or 4 above the given CR (which was 9 according to the GM by the way) is "extremely far outside the typical assumptions."

its 7 AC higher than it should be, and appropriate for something 8 CR higher than your class level.

You think you should reliably hit something 8CR higher than you?

Quote:


It seems more likely that my feats are more detrimental to me than they are helpful, and as such requires retraining into something more conducive to my issue (i.e. I can't hit).

You think a -2 for an extra attack and double damage on your first attack is bad(rapid shot and Multishot)? Thats a vastly superior damage bonus to the +4-6 you get for a -2 from power attack.

Quote:


Just because you have friends doesn't mean they can actively engage them without getting slaughtered.

How can you seriously complain that your Archer isn't practical when you say the melee can't even engage without getting "Slaughtered"?

Quote:


Reach is a powerful and trusted melee style for the same reasons why people say ranged is better than melee as a whole; added threat and increased fidelity without compromising kill potential.

You're again assuming that people are starting within the opponents threatened range, is that how your standard combat starts?

Quote:


Who says they aren't mutually exclusive? They trip you first so they keep you in their "kill zone," then hit you for provocation. Are you saying that you don't provoke for performing distracting actions while prone? If so, that's a big buff to that condition, and quite frankly a lot of people would do that before moving to avoid AoOs a lot more than using Acrobatics, which isn't foolproof by comparison.

No I'm not assuming you don't provoke, I'm assuming you don't start in the opponents threat range.

Quote:


Apparently every fight in this game is out in an open field where
the terrain is perfectly flat, everybody can see everybody and there's no such thing as cover, concealment, or even enemies being equally skilled at ranged combat. Sounds like a golf course.

I mean I can say that "apparently" you start 5-10ft away from every opponent you ever engage and no-one in your party can engage in melee or they're slaughtered.

Or I could try to have a helpful discussion so how about you just answer the question I asked, do you usually start fights in a 30ft room within your opponents threatened space? Because if so you shouldn't be standing at the front of your party exploring these tiny spaces. OR are you just inventing extremely unfavorable circumstances for archery and refusing to acknowledge that they're not the norm?

Quote:
If it was, my low attack bonuses would win the game. A shame that's not the case...

23/23/23/18 is not a low attack bonus.

Take that fighter I built earlier make him an archer, give him Greater Weapon Focus, Give him Dueling gloves, and Warrior Spirit (giving it +1 and Bane), give him 18 starting STR + 2 from level and a +4 belt. And a +2 weapon like the bow the Inquisitor was using.

His to his bonus is 10 BAB + 7 STR + 4 Weapon Training + 5 Enhancement + 2 GWeapon Focus - 3 Power Attack

There to hit is 25/20, The inquisitor with an apparently un-service-ably low is 23/23/23/18.

Damage is
(assuming a great sword and weapon specialization)

25/20 (4D6+30/19-20x2)

Inquisitor 23/23/23/18 (1D8+2D6+17/20x3)Double Damage on the First Arrow)

The Inquisitor's chance to hit is higher and its Damage is higher.
and if you give it lesser Bracers of Archer, since its behind on WBL
24/24/24/19

Quote:


More seriously, last I checked, most APs involve dungeon crawling and investigating rooms as large parts of the game, where enemies may or may not occupy said dungeons or rooms. Even if they aren't in a dungeon or a hallway, being in woods with trees and such everywhere isn't exactly conducive to ranged combat either due to cover from trees, difficult terrain (that most enemies ignore due to it being their natural habitat), and other terrain features, creating a lack of openness that you can just let projectiles loose.

If you walk into a forest and there is a tree happily placed in between you and every single opponent then you can't possibly be in any danger because they're all stuck behind a tree.

I'm gonna go ahead and guess this probably isn't actually the case.


Chromatic, I am normally the last person to say this but I think this really is looking like a lost cause.

We have objectively refuted every claim the OP has made as to why archery is bad and he is dismissing them without actually looking at the arguments.


Perhaps :( I don't intend to reply again if things carry on as they are.

Takes too much time.


Agreed.
My biggest issue is that a bunch of people are full on going into the maths and showing builds and then the OP isn't even bothered to read what level the build is based at.


I really don't understand original poster's comments.

I also experienced several games (in different groups) in which the most broken character was shooting with a bow :
- full attack each round
- more chances of x3 critical hits
- no risk of being hit
While the barbarian had to move between opponents and only landed one attack, exposing himself in the process.

At the moment we have a human Zen archer in Serpent Skull, DPS since lvl 3. We even had an AP in which said bowman was a Bard's henchman, with 2 levels lower than us, who did more damage than us...

Sure, if you don't specialize into archery you don't do much. But feat tree just erases penalties too quickly and gives strong bonuses.
Bowmen should be nerfed, maybe fixing that big feat tree they need with minimum bab on some feats, which should allow them to be more diverse.


For me, the fact that the OP is even asking the question is "offending" and seeing that from far away gave me enough sight to think this was already going nowhere.


Characters that can arch:

Alchemist, Antipaladin, Barbarian, Bard, Bloodrager, Luring Cavalier, Fighter, Hunter, Inquisitor, Investigator, Eldritch Archer Magus, Medium, Mesmersist, Zen Archer Monk, Occultist, Paladin, Ranger, Skald, Slayer, Spiritualist, Summoner, Vigilante, Warpriest

Hmmm, it is almost as if the majority of classes can use archery by level 3 (level 1 as a human).


ShroudedInLight wrote:

Characters that can arch:

Alchemist, Antipaladin, Barbarian, Bard, Bloodrager, Luring Cavalier, Fighter, Hunter, Inquisitor, Investigator, Eldritch Archer Magus, Medium, Mesmersist, Zen Archer Monk, Occultist, Paladin, Ranger, Skald, Slayer, Spiritualist, Summoner, Vigilante, Warpriest

Hmmm, it is almost as if the majority of classes can use archery by level 3 (level 1 as a human).

This page has a bunch of sorcerer builds, including a archer by yours truly. Someone else's played it; I guess there's one more class that can shoot arrows.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Can we let this thread die? It's been beaten into the ground already and the OP probably wont change his mind, or at least won't admit to it.


I dunno, why let this die when we could post an archery build for every class and most races.


Heck, someone even posted a Sling Commoner >.>

:)


You forgot myrmidarch magus. Boo !


But, but my arcanist tried and failed...


thelivingmonkey wrote:
Can we let this thread die?

The most interesting part of this thread is: what is the difference between the OP's game where archery apparently doesn't work, and other people's games where it does work?

I find the differences between tables fascinating, but they're pretty hard to tease out because they're often buried under unspoken assumptions, random chance, secret GM fudging, rules misunderstandings, etc.


Matthew Downie wrote:
thelivingmonkey wrote:
Can we let this thread die?
The most interesting part of this thread is: what is the difference between the OP's game where archery apparently doesn't work, and other people's games where it does work?

The first thing that seems to jump out from the first couple of posts by the OP is that intervening terrain providing cover or obscuring the target is incredibly common; far more so than I have seen.

The second thing I notice is that encounters seem to start with the enemy being incredibly close to the party, apparently even with the enemy within Threatening range of members of the party. This is something that also only very rarely happens in games where I have played.

The last thing I notice from a cursory read is that the AC of targets being run by the GM in the OP's game are noticeably higher than the average for the character's expected CR range. Now, obviously, that CR average is just an average, so there will be targets with lower or higher AC values within that CR range. However, it seems that enemies are consistently on the higher side of average.


Saldiven wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
thelivingmonkey wrote:
Can we let this thread die?
The most interesting part of this thread is: what is the difference between the OP's game where archery apparently doesn't work, and other people's games where it does work?

The first thing that seems to jump out from the first couple of posts by the OP is that intervening terrain providing cover or obscuring the target is incredibly common; far more so than I have seen.

The second thing I notice is that encounters seem to start with the enemy being incredibly close to the party, apparently even with the enemy within Threatening range of members of the party. This is something that also only very rarely happens in games where I have played.

The last thing I notice from a cursory read is that the AC of targets being run by the GM in the OP's game are noticeably higher than the average for the character's expected CR range. Now, obviously, that CR average is just an average, so there will be targets with lower or higher AC values within that CR range. However, it seems that enemies are consistently on the higher side of average.

Have gm'd a fair amount of paize written material I woulds say large open, unobstructed areas are the exception not the rule. In PFS ranged characters have to remind people constantly keep a line of sight path clear. This conflicts with builds that have pouce which are popular. Archers have to, and should stay more engaged with the game so this does not happen but often don't. This goes to the idea that even well built characters can be played badly.

Enemy distance is an odd thing I move conversing characters next to another. People don't converse from 10-30 feet away as a normal course of action. Though, I don't see a lot of gm's doing this. Perception check for sounds of battle should be happening all the time. This means enemies will often be aware of the adventures and should be stacked up on doors or ready for a fight.

As described the AC is average for a CR 10 encounter for level 8 pcs. This is reasonably common in paizo material. Averages also represent the product of a range so you will this AC at CR8. Consider also that paizo uses creatures with class levels for encounters. A CR 6 fighter can have this AC easily.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
dysartes wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Rebuttal time.

*snip*

As I've stated above, these are the stats that the GM told us from the AP we're running. If they're "wrong", then quite frankly we're facing some of the highest AC foes of that level, and then some. Which seems silly when all it is are Ogre Fighters in light or medium armor...

OK, Darksol - which AP are you playing through?

Reason for asking is that AC24 (which is what you quoted earlier) seems rather high for Ogres. The default Ogre is already wearing medium armour with a +4 modifier, and only clocks in at AC17.

There's the possibility some have class levels giving a boost, but +7 seems a little excessive.

I don't know what AP he is using, but no AP I have come across has AC 24 as a common thing at level 3. I don't even think I have seen it for a boss fight at that level.

Given ogre references, I looked up some of the Rise of the Runelord fights: typical CR9 fights in this AP as written are against an ogre fighter 5 (AC21) + 2 or 3 standard ogres (AC17). The highest ogre AC per the AP is AC24 for a sorcerer with shield up.


@Grandlounge:

1. The OP mentioned more than just intervening characters. He also specifically mentioned limbs and foliage. I've only ever seen this type level of attention to the environment where the terrain is defined as especially dense. It wouldn't apply to other than jungle/forest terrain for most outside encounters, and would very rarely apply to indoor encounters (maybe something like a natural cavern with a bunch of stalactites and stalagmites).

2. For comparison, we're finishing up book five of Giant Slayer right now. During the entire campaign, I can count on one hand the number of combats that started after a conversation with the enemy. There were occasional ambushes, but by 6th or 7th level, the Perception scores of the party got to the point that we could reliably detect the enemy long before we were within their melee threat range. Even if the enemy is on the other side of a door, only the people in the front of the party's marching order will be within melee threat range when the door is opened. The archer towards the back of the party should not be so close. The OP indicates that this is happening to him on a regular basis. From recollection, through Giant Slayer, Iron Gods, Strange Aeons, and RotRL (the last four AP's we've done as a group), the typical distance between party and enemy at the start of combat indoor has been 10-20 feet, and 20-50 feet outdoor (often far more if neither side were actively being stealthy).

3. That would be the case if it were a single CR 10 opponent. However, especially in published AP's, a CR 10 encounter is more often made up of two CR 8 creatures, or three CR 7, or four CR 6, or a CR 8 plus two CR 6, or something similar. Consistently facing an Armor Class value that should be tied to a single creature of two CR higher than the party would indicate that the party is consistently facing solo (or a pair at most) opponent, or the AC's are higher than would normally be expected for those encounters.


We are in book 5 of the AP I am running, with characters at level 15.

Most of their opponents have AC's in the mid 20's, unless I've adjusted the encounter.


J4RH34D wrote:

Darksol, I cant help but feel that you aren't really reading my post.

I state that I built to level 7.

Mathmuse, you can easily get your +13 to a +16, you have spend a grand total of 3000 gold out of 33000 gold.
If we want to cheese, and say that because we have spend our feats up to this point on iron will and the like, I am going to buy lots of combat stuff.
+2 dex belt, 4000gp
+2 adaptive composite bow, 9000 gp
Bracers of Archery, 5000gp

If we are talking fighter pick up gloves of dueling.
You are now at +18.
With deadly aim and rapid shot you have a +14.

Now I also want to say that you are not calculating your %chances wrong.

You cant sum them across like that. What happens if you have 3 50% chances? In your method you end up with 150% chance that one hits. That doesnt work.

Instead to calculate the chance that atleast 1 hits you multiple the chances that they all miss.
So in my +14:
my routine is +14,+14,+9
Miss chance is 0.5,0.5,0.7
Chance that none hit is 0.5*0.5*0.7=0.175
Chance that at least 1 hits = 1-0.175=0.825
You have an 82.5% chance of at least 1 of your attacks hitting and dealing 1d8+2+4+3 = 13.5 on avg.

Chance that all hit is 0.5*0.5*0.3=0.075
Chance at least 2 hit is (0.5*0.5*0.3)+(0.5*0.5*0.3)+(0.5*0.5*0.3)=0.225
Chance at least 1 hit = 0.825

3 hit =0.075
2 hit =0.325
1 hit =0.425

Now the best way to calc avg damage is a bit more in depth. Especially once multishot comes into play.
But for now it is P1*13.5+P2*13.5*2+P3*13.5*3=17.55

The other way is to do it avg damage on each attack and sum. This works better when you have multishot.
Avg Damage=13.5*0.5+13.5*0.5+13.5*0.3=17.55

If you had multishot that formula changes to 13.5*2*0.5+13.5*0.5+13.5*0.3=24.3

EDIT
Lets check your two handed fighter:
He needs to buy some armor so he might not be able to afford the gloves of dueling as easily, but I want to include them.
+2 belt. 4000gp
+2 Two Hander. 8000gp
Gloves of Deuling 15000gp.

Total to hit= 8 bab +5 str + 2 weapon +3...

Did you mean manyshot instead of multishot?


Doomed Hero wrote:
graystone wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:
Darts are listed in the Ammunition category.

That's nifty and all but to you have a quote from the PRD? An actual book/page number? Because I have NEVER seen darts = ammo in any paizo book. Unless of course it's the dart from an ATLATL which is only "loaded like a projectile weapon" and is not actually ammo or in the pseudo-weapon Spear-thrower but since it's not an actual ranged weapon it doesn't actually use ammo.

I'm assuming that's some kind of clerical error/mistake

If it's a clerical error, it's one the designers make too. ricochet toss specifically refers to darts as ammo.

Honestly, I don't know what the exact RAW is about darts. It makes sense to me that they are ammo because if they aren't then they are just an objectively worse dagger. There's no reason for them to exist if they aren't ammo.

If they turn out not to be ammo I'll use a sling. Makes no difference to a warpriest. I'll just reflavor my character's sling bullets as thrown darts instead.

There are darts that are thrown. They do 1d4 damage and are 1/2 lb per dart.

You also have darts that are used for blowguns. These ammo darts weigh - if you buy 10 of them.

Pathfinder didn't bother to name them differently.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Saldiven

As for branches etc. If they are not in the AP then the GM is just being hard on the player. Which a number of people have identified as a possibility.

It's funny I almost wrote "giantslayer being a notable exception to this as it is dispositionality out doors or on giant indoor maps." Then I thought "naw that's to specific". I think an upcoming ap has wars between kingdoms and will likely have lots of open field fights.

As per encounter breakdown. Cr 8 creatures can have acs of 24. Single CR 10 have it regularly. Some encounter Paizo writes are CR+5 encounters that have neutered tactics (gms mess these up frequently). CR +3 encounters happen the OP maybe be including them in his memory of having trouble hitting.

I have done DPR calculations on core monk builds, and bow builds I have come to the conclusion that most of these complaints come down to two things. First, lower attack bonus build have a high probability of stretches of low performance, which can be disheartening to players. Second, we have a bias for remembering things that went wrong. In RPG this is exaggerated because we actually spend more time on unsuccessful fights than we do on successful fight. Some gms wave fights they know will be too easy, which will further exaggerate the bias.

Taken together this can result if certain playstyles being much less fun for some players. This is often reflected in frustration toward either a gm or mechanics.

You only really need one of the following for archery to start to get frustrating for a player high AC, small rooms, a grappler, cover, soft cover, fog spells, or dr/-. I'm firmly in the camp that archery is a good combat style and works well but low accuracy can create perception problems and to that, I try to be sympathetic.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Rebuttal time.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **...

Darksol since you since you are referring to ranged combat as a whole the you must know that many people do think ranged combat as a whole is the "bees knees". And when people say ranged combat is great they were talking about longbow 99% of the time until guns came along.

Crossbows have been mocked several times so there is no "ranged combat as a whole" is the bees knees argument.

So with that explained do you still wish to say that longbows and guns are not feasible?

PS: For those reading Darksol answered my question in a post and did say he was referring to all ranged combat, not just the gun and bow based ones.

Also I have access to a few AP's. AC 24 against level 8 opponents is not common. I can check to be sure some GM trickery isn't going on if you tell me the AP name.


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wraithstrike wrote:

Darksol you have been here for a while. I'm really surprised to see you say this.

...
And when people say ranged combat is great they were talking about longbow 99% of the time ...

I (very) second this.


wraithstrike wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:
graystone wrote:
Doomed Hero wrote:
Darts are listed in the Ammunition category.

That's nifty and all but to you have a quote from the PRD? An actual book/page number? Because I have NEVER seen darts = ammo in any paizo book. Unless of course it's the dart from an ATLATL which is only "loaded like a projectile weapon" and is not actually ammo or in the pseudo-weapon Spear-thrower but since it's not an actual ranged weapon it doesn't actually use ammo.

I'm assuming that's some kind of clerical error/mistake

If it's a clerical error, it's one the designers make too. ricochet toss specifically refers to darts as ammo.

Honestly, I don't know what the exact RAW is about darts. It makes sense to me that they are ammo because if they aren't then they are just an objectively worse dagger. There's no reason for them to exist if they aren't ammo. [or take halfling]

If they turn out not to be ammo I'll use a sling. Makes no difference to a warpriest. I'll just reflavor my character's sling bullets as thrown darts instead.

There are darts that are thrown. They do 1d4 damage and are 1/2 lb per dart.

You also have darts that are used for blowguns. These ammo darts weigh - if you buy 10 of them.

Pathfinder didn't bother to name them differently.

Not just blowgun: atlatl, wrist launchers and kestros also have ammo called darts, which is where I think the "clerical error" at D20 came from IMO. After all, 4 out of 5 darts ARE ammo. It's not the first time I came across someone that mistakenly thought a thrown dart was ammo.

Doomed Hero: I don't know that you'd gain by going to sling as those have a loading a sling is a move action, requiring ammo drop and juggle load for free action reloads. That seems odd to do when you're trying to avoid a single feat on quickdraw...

Shadow Lodge

but only one or two ranged weapons are good... well. Yeah. Its so good its synonomous with ranged weapons.

but only one feat tree is good.... yeah. Its why the build is synonomous with ranged fighting.

Scarab Sages

Saldiven wrote:

@Grandlounge:

1. The OP mentioned more than just intervening characters. He also specifically mentioned ....

I seem to recall one of the OPs posts mentioning ranged combat sucking because he rolled a lot of ones. =/

Edit: Found it!

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


I mean, when you roll more 1's than you do actual hits, it's time to change up what it is you do with your attack round, and when the best course of action is "Retrain your penalty feats into something else,"

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

This thread was going to troll (whether intentionally or unintentionally).


Exploring dungeons and forests are great for archers over melee.
EE
EE
T
Y

Here is a large enemy fighting you and a tree (or teammate) between you. You have cover from the Enemy, and the Enemy has no cover from you. So if you're fighting large enemies with reach in small rooms then you have the advantage as it'd be far easier to get cover from your allies while denying that cover to the enemy.
Sure they can 5ft step to avoid the cover and hit you, but then you can 5ft step and have cover when you shoot so you don't provoke at all.

if he's smaller using a reach weapon then you have cover and he has cover, so you're penalized as much as your enhanced so it shouldn't be considered that bad for a ranged person.

Like I've said, melee is very often handled via 5ft steps.

If the enemy has reached melee range with you and you don't have someone on your team that is melee that is between you them that sounds like a compositional or tactical problem.
If the melee's die when they get within that range of an enemy then what are they doing? Do nothing when not in range of enemy, die when in range of enemy sounds like a failed team/the GM throwing enemies that are too strong in which case more people should be archers as melee means you can't ever win a fight while with archery you at least can damage and try to run.


I have to admit that sometimes I do find it frustrating that certain feats only work on certain ranged weapons. Still, there's plenty of maths that support ranged attacks, if you're so inclined to build that way. I've even made a Halfling sling-staff switch hitter work!

My definition of getting the job done in combat and others' may differ though. My Halfling Hunter 4/Warpriest 4 for example doesn't do all that much damage compared to the melee-focused Dwarf Fighter 8, but he certainly holds his own on a Large sized wolf mount, slinging bullets as he rides up and then smashing down on the tripped humanoid foes with all the benefits of Flanking with the wolf.

Scarab Sages

I certainly feel Darksol's pain. I've only played a secondary archer so far (a Bard focused on support), and it took forever for the archery to become worth its round (something like level 7th).

I acknowledge that archery is the king style of PF on the basis that enough people are saying so from personal experience, but in my own experience, «full attacking every round» is completely illusionary. Instead, the typical fight takes place in a relatively confined space in a dungeon with allies and doorways in the way, often piling a –8 penalty on any attempts before I even took any voluntary penalties (BTW: is my DM being too harsh here...?). Getting a clear shot requires move actions just like switching targets does for the meleeists, and sometimes that clear shot is unattainable on the far side of a contested doorway.

The scenario where I see an enemy coming from 100' away is also laughably cherry-picked; in the already rare circumstance of battle on an open field, the PCs are typically ambushed and surrounded before anyone can pull off a full attack.

I figure my experiences are skewed by never having played a dedicated archer, and never played with a competent archer. I've had the urge to try one several times, but each time I ended up worried that I'd find full attacking with the bow boring after a while.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I have to admit that sometimes I do find it frustrating that certain feats only work on certain ranged weapons.

I can agree with that. I often find feats overly restricted.

Catharsis wrote:

I certainly feel Darksol's pain. I've only played a secondary archer so far (a Bard focused on support), and it took forever for the archery to become worth its round (something like level 7th).

I acknowledge that archery is the king style of PF on the basis that enough people are saying so from personal experience, but in my own experience, «full attacking every round» is completely illusionary. Instead, the typical fight takes place in a relatively confined space in a dungeon with allies and doorways in the way, often piling a –8 penalty on any attempts before I even took any voluntary penalties (BTW: is my DM being too harsh here...?). Getting a clear shot requires move actions just like switching targets does for the meleeists, and sometimes that clear shot is unattainable on the far side of a contested doorway.

I rarely find ranged weapons NEEDS more than 2 feats [to get precise shot], so by 3rd it's at least ok. Secondly, if you're in situations with "allies and doorways", a melee pc isn't fairing much better [reach over PC and/or cover] if not worse [can't even MAKE an attack] so I don't see that scenario as anti-ranged but anti-multi PC combat. Close quarters does no one any favors.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Mount is a big help for an archer. Flying mount is HUGE


The Raven Black wrote:
Mount is a big help for an archer. Flying mount is HUGE

Or just flying! ;)


graystone wrote:
I rarely find ranged weapons NEEDS more than 2 feats [to get precise shot], so by 3rd it's at least ok. Secondly, if you're in situations with "allies and doorways", a melee pc isn't fairing much better [reach over PC and/or cover] if not worse [can't even MAKE an attack] so I don't see that scenario as anti-ranged but anti-multi PC combat. Close quarters does no one any favors.

This is always my thoughts as well, sure -4s hurt quite a bit, but they are far better than someone taking major penalties with their backup bow or thrown dagger since they can't reach the enemies. And assuming the party works like a party and uses tactics that try to help the party it's not that hard to have people move when engaging the enemy to not block your attack lane, similar to asking and having people not block charge lanes.

And assuming following the standard enemy AC, primary ranged characters typically have a high enough bonus that the -4 isn't crippling. Like rapid shot needing 6s to hits will need 10s but you're still putting out lots of arrows, or maybe those are the rounds you don't deadly aim putting you down to an 8 or 7 needed to hit. Your DPR is still likely higher than a martial that has to move around, and you're still safer than a melee.

Liberty's Edge

I'm kind of curious whether this might also be the case of the GM just applying the advanced creature template to enemies to make up for a large group size. That +4 to AC is way out of line with the expectations of monster stats by CR. When placed on an already high AC creature it can be downright brutal.

Similarly, Paizo does occasionally use various different methods to make creatures much harder than their CR suggests. Adding class levels can often produce a creature much more capable than the base monster type, especially if the class levels aren't consider key classes. Or adding armor on a creature that already meets the suggested stats without it. But if you look at the modules, this is usually only done on a few monsters that are supposed to be the challenging fights.


Deighton Thrane wrote:

I'm kind of curious whether this might also be the case of the GM just applying the advanced creature template to enemies to make up for a large group size. That +4 to AC is way out of line with the expectations of monster stats by CR. When placed on an already high AC creature it can be downright brutal.

Similarly, Paizo does occasionally use various different methods to make creatures much harder than their CR suggests. Adding class levels can often produce a creature much more capable than the base monster type, especially if the class levels aren't consider key classes. Or adding armor on a creature that already meets the suggested stats without it. But if you look at the modules, this is usually only done on a few monsters that are supposed to be the challenging fights.

I've seen DM's 'up the ante' with higher CR's and/or monsters that fight above their CR for parties that are highly optimized. So I have to wonder if Darksol's group is one that tends to make highly effective PC's or is it that the DM is making the game harder than expected for another reason.


If you're not an archer/spellcaster and you can't use Dimensional Dervish/Pounce, you're pretty much useless in a high level party. Archers are pretty much the only combat style available to everyone that allow for a character to make a full attack every round with consistency.

You greatly overplay the detriment of attack penalties. Try actually doing the math, and you'll generally see that archery does respectable, consistent damage. It even has the ability to pool damage against DR (the only other way to do that is to use Pummeling Style, which only works on unarmed strikes), and if the opponent doesn't share your range, then you can avoid direct counter attack from an enemy that may otherwise shred you in close quarters.

There are no real downsides to archery that aren't solved with a specific weapon enhancement or just having decent stats for attack rolls.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

One of the little rules that makes a big difference for ranged characters is the Core Rulebook's average perception/encounter distances in different types of terrain (such as 3d6x10 feet in a sparse forest). Sometimes the ranges are enough to have encounters start beyond the width of an average battle mat, and this is where ranged characters can really shine (and where things like range increments for different weapons actually become important).


Round 2.

Before I begin with the individual replies: Yes, it's Rise of the Runelords, and yes, I believe the GM is tacking on the Advanced template on regular creatures (and possibly even adding creatures to fights) to account for having a 5th party member. Though according to everyone's numbers so far, that shouldn't be grounds for me being absolutely junk in combat.

@ Jarhead:
I know you said that it was level 7. Hence why I stated that it would be slightly higher than what I already have, but still struggle similarly.

For comparison, my bonuses are:

8 BAB + 5 Dexterity + 2 Weapon = 15/10. Which is still higher than everyone in my party as a baseline, and against AC 24 (which I didn't know of until quite a bit later in the fight), that's a 9+/14+ to hit. Even without any feats tacked on, full attacks are a bad idea since my second attack has only a 30% chance to hit.

With Rapid Shot, that becomes 13/13/8, and with Deadly Aim, that becomes 10/10/5. That 9+/14+ instead becomes a 14+/14+/19+, which is very difficult to validate as being a smart use of one's action economy. Even Rapid Shot is pushing it by making it 11+/11+/16+, and this is before factoring things like cover from allies/obstacles, which make those numbers even higher.

My damage is D10+7, but increases to +13 with Deadly Aim. Damage Reduction and/or Fast Healing/Regeneration is a common occurrence (and we're at the DR 10 range), so not using Deadly Aim is a major problem, as in a lot of cases I'm going to be doing no damage whatsoever without Deadly Aim. Studied Target helps, but it's a move action for a +1 bonus, and only works on one enemy. Helpful for bosses, problematic against numerous enemies that I'm expected to be full attacking constantly.

For items, I don't have a Dex belt (can't afford it, and none have dropped so far, nor will I probably expect one to), nor do I have Bracers of Archery to further grant bonuses. I'm about 75% of my WBL currently, and even then half of my stuff is from useless junk like a Belt of Teeth (which I plan to pitch and get a Dex belt), Chimes of Opening (pointless when I have a much higher Disable Device than the item), and defensive goodies (because my melees can't be everywhere covering my butt all the time).

That being said, it's not like being in an AP gives you all the WBL you can expect, or that you'll have nice little packages of appropriate loot waiting for you, so I wouldn't expect those items to be available to me anyway.

@ Chromatic Durgon:
Didn't technically need to mention the trait, everybody else did it for you. All ranged combatants are Erastil worshippers apparently, which means any campaign involving ranged characters that takes place outside of the Golarion universe doesn't function too well.

The melee character does the same exact thing a ranged character at level 3 does when faced with its own hard counters, Wind Wall and/or Deflect Arrows; whine and complain until they realize that they have to resort to an uninvested combat style to contribute to combat efficiently. Fun fact, I actually did this part way through the first boss, and entirely in the second boss encounter of the AP. (So did everyone else, ironically enough.) As for "high ground," the enemy only gets a +1 bonus on attacks (elevation), which isn't gamebreaking, and I don't see what issue the "added movement" poses unless you can't feasibly kill whatever has more movement than you.

The ogres are 2 CR above their standard AC (19 vs 23, they did have Fighter levels after all), synonymous with the Advanced template, and the boss was buffed with a Shield spell, which grants +4 AC, not including any Advanced template they may have, which may have boosted it even more. A first level spell skyrocketing their AC doesn't mean that they are 7 CR beyond their projected AC, it means they're (self)buffed and should be taken much more seriously than if they weren't, similar to an Inquisitor having more attack bonus than a Fighter. By that logic, 1st level Wizards that have Mage Armor or Shield are CR 8 enemies because they have identical AC increases.

An extra attack helps with a bad roll, but at the cost of reducing the likelihood of having successful rolls, meaning if I roll 2 9's, but need 11's to hit as a consequence, that would result in less hits than if I chose not to do it. In extreme cases (such as unlikely to miss or unlikely to hit), it's objectively good, because the extra rolls are only helpful. However, I haven't reached either point quite yet, and in the event of my iterative attack that is at that level, Rapid Shot doesn't affect the number of dice I roll with that attack bonus, meaning it doesn't help that sort of attack to hit.

As for Manyshot, of course it's great, but that's for bows only, unlike Rapid Shot. Not an assumption for other modes of ranged combat, which also have a factor in the discussion at hand. After all, I never once said that I had or used Manyshot. How can I make use of something that doesn't apply to me?

Melee can fight fire with fire, or reach with reach, to avoid that slaughtering (though as I've stated with ranged combats being with a bow, it's not an assumption). I've actually done that with a melee Fighter in a previous AP to some useful effect, so it's not really a bad idea in practice. And they don't necessarily have to build for it to be functional, either. Ranged on the other hand has to spend a feat for basically everything a melee can already do (threaten and make attacks of opportunity, avoid attacks of opportunity for attacking, and so on), on top of the other "de facto" feats they need to take (posters have said it's as many as 7 out of a given character's 10 base feats). I'd rather play a melee with reach than a ranged who may not (or very well may) have all of the feats required to properly function if that's the case, since by comparison it would take forever for my character to come online.

They don't start within range, but in most combats, all it takes for them is a move action (30 feet), and we're ripe for the pickings. No full attack, sure, but a trip and we need to spend actions to counter that penalty and regain our ability to attack, which circumvents full attacking that round at the minimum. A big benefit about reach is that they can avoid others who don't have reach quite easily, and those who attempt to circumvent that avoidance pay the price. Hence why simply having allies in front of you isn't a solution.

Most of our fights have been in hallways or caverns. Outside of the first "major" fight, most of the book 1 battles take place in hallways or caverns. A similar issue with book 2, especially the final boss (which almost killed my PC, and in a minor fight before that, killed another PC due to so many Save/Suck effects and bad rolling). It's actually been less so in this book, but against the kinds of foes we're facing now (the enemies we fought before didn't have reach or stupid high amounts of AC), we've struggled extremely with being inside a 10 foot wide hallway that had side doors which the bad guys came from, effectively surrounded us (i.e. we were bottlenecked) and attacked us from a safe distance, having cover (while we didn't).

I'm just going to drop that attack bonus part, because the joke behind that statement went right over your head there, and you took it as me insulting your build, when it was really a satire on my character's low attack bonuses.

Even with me hiding behind a tree, the reach guys can see me and as such can bypass the tree because they reach around the tree (and not through the tree) to attack me. So, no trees in-between me and the bad guys will save my butt, unless I'm 40 feet up on one and the bad guys can't climb to reach me.

@ Saldiven:
1. We have had a few combats in dense forests in this part of the book, which is where these miss chances would apply. As well as firing into enemies from the trail that are in dense forest. I have some tools to counteract this, but they aren't permanent, nor should I have to rely on them too much.

2. We have actually been able to avoid encounters through perception and scouting, so it's not like we can't use skills to solve encounters. It's just those skills are less applicable when Stealth applies to your party as a whole and you have numerous heavy armor wearers, you're a lot more prone to triggering enemies to get the jump on you.

3. We fought ~5 of the CR 9 Ogres, and another 5 of weaker ogres (which weren't the problem of the encounter), when we fought ~3 of the CR 9 Ogres (which were a little easier to face due to a more open environment) and 3 of the other weaker ogres prior, and a skirmish with the BBEG followed after that (which drained our resources significantly). The first ogre fight could've been a lot worse if we didn't bait certain creatures to take out the ones in their barracks.

@ Wraithstrike:
If that's the case, then I fail to see how one specific weapon with one specific chain of feats results in an entire style of combat being good. This is like saying because the Wish spell exists, 9th level spellcasters are the best in the game, even though it's all of the other kinds of spells that make 9th level spellcasters amazing.

All that proves is Bow Combat is good, not Ranged Combat as a whole, which is what the thread was originally pertaining to. And Guns are only really usable with one class, the Gunslinger, or archetypes from other classes that give Gunslinger options. And that's assuming they aren't banned for fantasy-setting reasons or balance reasons (the latter of which makes no sense since Bows are still objectively better), so we can't really say for sure if it's comparable to Bow Combat or not.

To which I say, okay, one style of ranged combat is good. Thrown weapons and Crossbows still suck though, and Guns are only good if they're allowed, which they usually aren't, and all of them are just as much a part of ranged combat as Bows are.

@ Chess Pwn:
I've never seen reach work like that, and it certainly didn't work like that at our last encounter when the Ogres have been able to reach out through medium-sized doorways to hit us 10 feet away from the door.

Even if it did, all it does is provide a +4 AC bonus (which is also what has been working against me). A deterrent, perhaps, but not some "grand immunity" from AoOs or other attacks that the baddies might do, that everybody seems to say it is.

@ Deighton Thrane:
I wouldn't be so sure about that. Buff spells can provide identical bonuses, but that doesn't raise the CR nearly as much in comparison, and in the grand scheme of things, temporary bonuses versus permanent bonuses aren't particularly relevant in the case of the bad guys. It's the same reasoning behind why effects like Poison/Disease, Bleed, and so on, aren't valuable options for PCs. (Besides enemies most likely having immunities to those effects, of course.)

Granted, the temporary bonuses can be shut off early, it still doesn't mean that the bonus doesn't objectively make the encounter that much more difficult, especially if no means to disable that bonus is available (which in our case, it won't be since our party Wizard is out of spell slots), since the net benefit between the temporary and the permanent bonus are equal.

**EDIT**

Addendums.

@ graystone:
Yeah, I doubt we're highly optimized if I'm not hitting the same numbers as everyone else that has posted here.
I don't think I could get myself any higher bonuses even if I tried, and believe me, I wanted to squeeze out every little bit of attack bonus I could.

@ Kaouse:
I did the math. When my penalties take up over 1/3 of my attack bonus and make my attacks 25% less likely to hit a given enemy, my "overplaying penalties" seems less like an exaggeration. Also, most melees shred DR by having a high enough enhancement bonus on their weapon, and DR/- is practically impossible to overcome unless you have features to do so (such as Paladin Smite or Fighter feats). It's also not very common, either.

Just because a solution exists (i.e. Cyclonic Bow) doesn't mean that it's available at the time such a problem arises (i.e. you're poor, have other more important purchases to make, etc). And nobody is Batman around here (unfortunately).

@ Jhaeman:
While a nice rule of note, I did state that there have been a short amount of circumstances where that has even been the case. There's actually only been one fight thus far where we initiated combat from a long distance, and it wasn't even part of the written AP.


I'm going to reply in a less thorough way because I'm sleepy but if I don't reply it will keep me up. And this is why I don't go into Paladin alignment threads anymore -.-

I will be using numbers, each number corresponds to a different paragraph.

1) Mine worships Shelyn. Also if a trait is world specific you can always refluff it for new worlds

2) You shouldn't be facing wind wall at level 3. By high ground I meant high enough ground to be out of reach. As in requiring a climb check.

3) That spell + template does mean they're 7 CR above there expected AC, they're obviously not 7 CR higher overall however their AC is. A wizard using those spells is different because they're starting on a lower floor than the advanced ogre.

4) I think I saw someone who worked out that Persistent spell roughly equates to a +4.5 to your DC, I don't have the math or know it so do with that info what you will.
Extrapolating that info if you're making two attacks at -2 the chances to hit rise, not fall.

5) When you ask how ranged combat can be feasible you have to assume people are going to answer you with the most useful ranged style.

6) I'm not really sure what point of my you're addressing or what point of yours you're making. If melee can fight fire with fire presumably you can rely on them to protect you whilst you take advantage of a ranged advantage.

7) You should have high Dex and therefore high Initiative, if they're within 30ft of you you should move round one, now there is 60ft and your melee focused allies between you and your opponent, they shouldn't reasonably be able to close that.

8) Well yeah, if you're stuck in small cramped spaces you're going to struggle in the same way that melee will struggle in terrain that favors archery

9) I have nothing to say here but it would confuse the continuity of the numbers system if I did not acknowledge the paragraph.

10) I wasn't talking about you hiding behind a tree, I was talking about them hiding behind a tree as you were complaining about them having cover from tree being in a wood, if all your enemies have cover behind trees, they're not attacking you, move away or climb a tree and take the high ground.

Sovereign Court

Technically and I mean technically, a lot of monsters have NPC gear availability (mostly humanoids ones)

The APs tend to gear up monsters, which is basically how you are supposed to play a lot of them. Which I must admit, I always found kind of cool, how many monsters use all kind of gear.

Sadly, a lot of people in their campaign usually don't gear up monsters, so the AC of monsters tend to be lower than they could be.

For example, the doppleganger listed as CR 3 has an AC of 16, and by the guidelines of npc gear, he can spend 200 gp on protection. 200 gp on protection is enough to get a breastplate for the Doppelganger, granting him +6 to his AC, so AC 22 just like that.

So yeah, it doesn't even take an advanced template to boost the AC of monsters and other abilities, if following basic guidelines to get npc gear.

Just saying that it is technically within the rules to do that for a GM...mileage may vary of course.

Grand Lodge

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Eltacolibre wrote:

Technically and I mean technically, a lot of monsters have NPC gear availability (mostly humanoids ones)

The APs tend to gear up monsters, which is basically how you are supposed to play a lot of them. Which I must admit, I always found kind of cool, how many monsters use all kind of gear.

Sadly, a lot of people in their campaign usually don't gear up monsters, so the AC of monsters tend to be lower than they could be.

For example, the doppleganger listed as CR 3 has an AC of 16, and by the guidelines of npc gear, he can spend 200 gp on protection. 200 gp on protection is enough to get a breastplate for the Doppelganger, granting him +6 to his AC, so AC 22 just like that.

So yeah, it doesn't even take an advanced template to boost the AC of monsters and other abilities, if following basic guidelines to get npc gear.

Just saying that it is technically within the rules to do that for a GM...mileage may vary of course.

Monsters from the bestiary have their CR calculated using the gear they currently have. They don't use the NPC gear rules which are used to design NPCs with class levels from my understanding.

Regardless, if you're adding gear to creatures from the bestiary then you're increasing their effective CR.


I had a DM who ran dragon in barding once. That was rather odd.


Especially since that wouldn't increase Touch AC for it. Hmm...


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
We fought ~5 of the CR 9 Ogres, and another 5 of weaker ogres (which weren't the problem of the encounter), when we fought ~3 of the CR 9 Ogres (which were a little easier to face due to a more open environment) and 3 of the other weaker ogres prior, and a skirmish with the BBEG followed after that (which drained our resources significantly). The first ogre fight could've been a lot worse if we didn't bait certain creatures to take out the ones in their barracks.

5 CR 9 creatures is somewhere between a CR 13 and a CR 14 encounter. 3 of them is a CR 12.

Here's the rules on reach weapons and cover.

Cover wrote:
When making a melee attack against a target that isn't adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.

Frequently forgotten.

You're also not doing the math right. At all. -5 to hit is anywhere between a 0% and a 500% change in your chance to hit. It all depends on what your original chance to hit was. Using your example (AC 24, hit on a 9+) it's a 42% reduction in your chance to hit (60->35). I won't go into the iteratives but -2 for an extra attack is almost always worth it. Possibly always. Deadly Aim, similarly, usually raises the overall DPR (though that is averaged over infinity attacks so less noticeable on the micro scale). You could just not use it if they don't have DR. And you'll always know, because "(in either case, the opponent knows the attack was ineffective)" and "In either case, other characters can see that conventional attacks won't work." Everyone knows if an attack was stopped by DR. Everyone. Also, frequently forgotten.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Round 2.

Before I begin with the individual replies: Yes, it's Rise of the Runelords, and yes, I believe the GM is tacking on the Advanced template on regular creatures (and possibly even adding creatures to fights) to account for having a 5th party member. Though according to everyone's numbers so far, that shouldn't be grounds for me being absolutely junk in combat.

** spoiler omitted **...

Darksol I think you misread what I wrote.

I will say it again. When people say "ranged combat" it does not refer to all ranged combat. So if that is how understood what people were saying then you misunderstood it.

The argument had never been that all ranged combat is the bees knees so if that is your point then almost everyone here likely agrees with you.

Now if you are still saying bows arent feasible that is another argument.

So to get things on track, are still doubting bows?


Eltacolibre wrote:

Technically and I mean technically, a lot of monsters have NPC gear availability (mostly humanoids ones)

The APs tend to gear up monsters, which is basically how you are supposed to play a lot of them. Which I must admit, I always found kind of cool, how many monsters use all kind of gear.

Sadly, a lot of people in their campaign usually don't gear up monsters, so the AC of monsters tend to be lower than they could be.

For example, the doppleganger listed as CR 3 has an AC of 16, and by the guidelines of npc gear, he can spend 200 gp on protection. 200 gp on protection is enough to get a breastplate for the Doppelganger, granting him +6 to his AC, so AC 22 just like that.

So yeah, it doesn't even take an advanced template to boost the AC of monsters and other abilities, if following basic guidelines to get npc gear.

Just saying that it is technically within the rules to do that for a GM...mileage may vary of course.

Monsters are intended to be grab and go, not grab and gear up. That is why many of them match Paizo's stats for what a monster of their CR should have. You can raise AC and saves by a considerable amount if they use that money.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Eltacolibre wrote:

Technically and I mean technically, a lot of monsters have NPC gear availability (mostly humanoids ones)

The APs tend to gear up monsters, which is basically how you are supposed to play a lot of them. Which I must admit, I always found kind of cool, how many monsters use all kind of gear.

Sadly, a lot of people in their campaign usually don't gear up monsters, so the AC of monsters tend to be lower than they could be.

For example, the doppleganger listed as CR 3 has an AC of 16, and by the guidelines of npc gear, he can spend 200 gp on protection. 200 gp on protection is enough to get a breastplate for the Doppelganger, granting him +6 to his AC, so AC 22 just like that.

So yeah, it doesn't even take an advanced template to boost the AC of monsters and other abilities, if following basic guidelines to get npc gear.

Just saying that it is technically within the rules to do that for a GM...mileage may vary of course.

Monsters from the bestiary have their CR calculated using the gear they currently have. They don't use the NPC gear rules which are used to design NPCs with class levels from my understanding.

Regardless, if you're adding gear to creatures from the bestiary then you're increasing their effective CR.

Yup, monster wealth is supposed to be sitting there for the PC's to pick up. Otherwise a dragon should have +x full plate with +x amulet of natural armor or amulet of mighty fists and +x ring of protection and belts and headbands and and and... Now they are no longer a CR X fight but a CR x+5 fight or something like that.


You might not know this, but cover (even partial from people) prevents all AoOs. So it is "grand immunity" from AoOs.
And cover does work like that, for ranged you pick one corner and draw to all corners of a square of the enemy and if any of those lines cross a border that is cover then they have cover. That's why if you are around the corner doing a ranged fight to someone in a hallway then you have no penalties and have cover from their attacks. Also why it's easy to fight larger enemies, it's impossible for medium allies to provide cover for large enemies by themselves.

Also as a dex based class you should have a pretty good chance of beating enemies in initiative so you shouldn't be starting with them coming at you already.

For DR being common you should have picked up cluster shot at lv7 or 8, that way all your arrows combine to penetrate DR.

SO it sounds that a large part of your problem is that you're quite under geared for where you should be with your GM throwing extra hard enemies. How is everyone not sucking as much as you? (Also, what are you? at lv8 the slayer has +2 to attack and damage from studied and it's a swift action, but since you said +1 and move that means you have 4 or less levels of slayer, so what are you?

Yes, thrown weapons and crossbows suck, that's why you don't use them for ranged combat. Thus ranged combat that anyone considers is bow or gun. As mentioned before, if you don't specify that you mean thrown and crossbows in ranged then ranged only means bows. (cause ranged could mean spells too if you're saying any ranged attack roll counts). So sure, ranged is limited to 2 weapons, but melee has basically 2 options as well, reach or not reach. I don't see you arguing that melee sucks cause the Brass knuckles is such an underwhelming weapon. And the reason is cause when you think of a combat style you only compare the options that are worth considering, in ranged case, that's bows.
So either you need to be arguing that bows suck as that is ranged combat, otherwise everyone agrees that sucky combat choices(thrown and crossbows) suck.

So here, please share your build and we can show you what choices you could have made to boost your effectiveness (granted you're still under geared which hurts some)

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