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How can Ranged Combat even be feasible?


Advice

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Too many penalties, too many obstacles...I seriously cannot wrap my head around why people endorse ranged combat as being the bees knees so much when there's too much crap to deal with to make it work in a general scenario.

I cannot use Rapid Shot because of a -2 penalty across the board, I cannot Deadly Aim due to its scaling penalty (-1 to -6 based on BAB), I can't have anyone in my potential line of fire or they get a +4 AC Bonus to my shots, Manyshot is for Bows only (which means Crossbows and thrown weapons are out), and enemies are going to have a comparable AC before factoring these penalties in, meaning iterative attacks are only going to land 5% of the time. It's a lot more MAD due to requiring both Strength and Dexterity to function, reducing your to-hit and/or damage as a whole. Oh, and whenever I load my weapon or make an attack with my weapon, it provokes if enemies are too close (which is more common than you think).

And that's assuming you're actually investing towards ranged weapon options; I didn't even include things like firing into melee or lacking Point Blank Shot, for those who aren't invested, which means if you aren't at least minorly invested, you can kiss your ranged attacks goodbye.

I seriously question why I would make a ranged character (or any character who relies on ranged attacks) when I have to deal with all of this stuff that makes it impossible to hit CR-relevant baddies, when a melee character only has to deal with Power Attack penalties (which actually gets a feat like Furious Focus to help mitigate penalties), and hits a lot more often without having to deal with provocations.


Full Round Attack.
From over 100 feet away.
Each and every turn.


Hubaris wrote:

Full Round Attack.

From over 100 feet away.
Each and every turn.

Except based on the above math, you wouldn't hit with any of your iteratives most every time (making Full Attacks pointless unless you roll Natural 20s every time), your damage compared to melee will be garbage (both because of numerous misses and because you'd have to forgo the Rapid and Deadly Aim to have a semblance of chance to hit with the only attack you can make), your mobility would be cut down greatly unless you're mounted (which also incurs even further penalties without special class features).

The distance doesn't matter since there are numerous creatures that can move that fast with a single move action. Sure, they need special abilities to do so, but I can't think of any PC that can move 100+ feet with a single action that isn't Dimension Door or similar spell capability. Even if they did, they usually won't move unless they're in a position where they have to, which most likely provokes (and can result in them being caught with their pants down, literally).


Deadly aim = basic Power attack.
You need strength if you are using a composite bow but instead you could add elemental damage to the weapon (flaming, frost, etc). That average 3.5 elemental damage per hit eliminates the need for a composite weapon and strength modifier.
Melee characters suffer from iterative attacks being less accurate also.
Vital strike works on ranged weapons too though.
Throwing weapons multiple times in a turn is complicated.
Crossbows get complicated.
Bows are simple.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Do you not Power Attack because your iteratives will have a penalty?

Precise Shot and Improved Precise Shot negate all your penalties. My archer ranger does not care where her target is versus her allies, because if she can see it, she can shoot it. (And if she can't, she can shoot its square and not care because seeking.)

There are plenty of ways to never provoke when firing. And yes, it takes awhile to get all of this online, but it takes awhile for spellcasters to get fully online as well, so that's just an understood part of the system.

A fighter archer is arguably the best damage dealer in the game, behind a pouncing barbarian or smiting paladin. (And paladin archers are insane when smiting.)


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

You've not spent much time researching ranged builds, have You? None of those penalties apply to a proper archer.


Constant full attacks are a big deal. Generally whats theorycrafted as necessary, is more realistically what is 80+% certain. People roll 15-20 on d20's pretty regularly as well as 9-11.


Melee gets more pay-off with Power Attack in comparison due to added scaling that ranged don't get.

The fact I have to rely on damage that can be easily resisted/immunized only demonstrates the added importance of a good Strength score in addition to a good Dexterity score, both of which are hard to balance without ample point buy, and the fruitlessness of elemental properties on weapons.

Melee don't suffer as much since they have less penalties in comparison to ranged attacks, and they have feats to shore those penalties up (Furious Focus). They also have tactics (elevation, flanking, etc.) that give them even more bonuses that a ranged character can never acquire, meaning they are still much more likely to hit with iteratives than a given ranged character.

Vital Strike basically replaces Manyshot, and then you're required to spend 4 more feats to maintain the relevance of your initial feat. Whereas melee require one, maybe two feats tops, and they can spend the rest on whatever the heck they want.

Throwing Weapons only work with Fighters or with a dual feat tax (Martial Focus + Ricochet Toss). They're otherwise garbage. This is universally known, even when we factor in "Bows are Master Race Weapon lul!!!1!one"

Crossbows are bad and have been ruined because Lord of the Rings and Legolas made bows a lot more popular, and because a lot more people wanted to be like Legolas from Lord of the Rings instead of some other famous guy who uses a crossbow (which there aren't any, I might add), Bows became the fantasy staple, and everything else ranged-related went to the toilet. Which is why nobody uses anything except bows for ranged combat.

More seriously, Crossbows don't have any options to make them useful with any character. Bows do. Except Bolt Ace, nobody would have an excuse to use crossbows unless they're under level 3 and can't use anything beyond simple weapons, and even then there are better weapons if you look hard enough.

The fact I have to be a bow user to even consider ranged combat should tell you how unviable ranged combat as a whole really is.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
for those who aren't invested, which means if you aren't at least minorly invested, you can kiss your ranged attacks goodbye.

Well... yeah. This is pathfinder. If you want to do a thing, invest in it.

Your argument might as well be "melee attacking sucks because wizards can't hit anything!"

I'm amazed you've never seen a well built archer in actual gameplay. They're popular for good reasons (and those reasons pretty much prove you wrong across the board).


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How about showing him how instead of just dismissing him? It helps a lot more.


TriOmegaZero wrote:

Do you not Power Attack because your iteratives will have a penalty?

Precise Shot and Improved Precise Shot negate all your penalties. My archer ranger does not care where her target is versus her allies, because if she can see it, she can shoot it. (And if she can't, she can shoot its square and not care because seeking.)

There are plenty of ways to never provoke when firing. And yes, it takes awhile to get all of this online, but it takes awhile for spellcasters to get fully online as well, so that's just an understood part of the system.

A fighter archer is arguably the best damage dealer in the game, behind a pouncing barbarian or smiting paladin. (And paladin archers are insane when smiting.)

Precise shot was already factored in, hence why I didn't include the firing into melee as a main argument. Improved Precise Shot doesn't take place until your adventuring career is past its half way point, meaning it's not a tool that's acquired from the beginning or early point of your career. So, even if you do get it, you're still having to suffer over 10 levels of dealing with cover, concealment, and so on. Last I checked, that's "bad archery."

The only ways to not provoke from firing is to have Point Blank Master, or not have enemies within your range. Since Point Blank Master only applies to a select few classes, it's not exactly reliable for every archer to have. Also, no archer in their career hasn't had to deal with enemies within their immediate range, so expecting an archer to not be within range of any enemy is an equally unrealistic expectation.

@ Taks: In the mid levels, a lot of that stuff still applies because most of it is done as part of the assumed attack routine (Deadly Aim, Rapid Shot, Manyshot), as a result of certain circumstances (Cover/Concealment bonuses), and isn't negated or mitigated until mid-level (Improved Precise Shot). This isn't talking about some theorycrafted level 20 character who hasn't had to deal with the hardships of the lower levels, where a lot of this stuff is prevalent and assumed to have been eliminated (but isn't).

@ Ryan Freire: Just because I can do an action at any time doesn't make it good. By that logic, constant Light is one of the best effects in the game, even though in a lot of cases it's a bad thing to have and it actually not worth having (such as sneaking past alert guards). Polishing a turd still makes it a turd.


Doomed Hero wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
for those who aren't invested, which means if you aren't at least minorly invested, you can kiss your ranged attacks goodbye.

Well... yeah. This is pathfinder. If you want to do a thing, invest in it.

Your argument might as well be "melee attacking sucks because wizards can't hit anything!"

I'm amazed you've never seen a well built archer in actual gameplay. They're popular for good reasons (and those reasons pretty much prove you wrong across the board).

I never used a class as an excuse for a method of combat to be bad, so saying that's what my argument equates to is a strawman.

Those kinds of archers have mostly occupied theorycrafting on these boards. The likelihood that they've actually been applied in a real game are pretty slim, and even if they have, the odds of them being as good as they appear on paper are even less likely. There's a reason why the PDT prefers actual playtest data over the hypothetical number games that is theorycrafting.


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In my last game, one of the players was an Gunslinger. He did pretty good amounts of damage and hit often enough. Strength scores only matter for Range with composite bows and thrown weapons. As long as you don't have a negative score, your damage with the bow is uneffected. And if the opponent gets too close to use a bow without provoking, just whip out a dagger or something. No matter what build you plan to use, having both a melee and a ranged weapon is just good common sense.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

If you're the only damage dealer in your party, archery isn't he best path because yes you will be in melee too often for it to be useful. However if you do have a melee warrior/barbarian/paladin to tank and draw melee attackers to them, an archer does amazing damage and can be a lot of fun to play.

I've been in a party with an archer inquisitor, and the sheer number of full attacks they can achieve compared to the melee focused paladins is crazypants. They can start full attacking from round 1, can full attack flyers, can full attack foes with height advantage and full attack foes with cover thanks to improved precise shot.

Archery is indeed the bee's knees. The cat's pajamas. The third out-of-date reference for a cool thing.

Grand Lodge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Improved Precise Shot doesn't take place until your adventuring career is past its half way point, meaning it's not a tool that's acquired from the beginning or early point of your career. So, even if you do get it, you're still having to suffer over 10 levels of dealing with cover, concealment, and so on. Last I checked, that's "bad archery."

Actually, a ranger or slayer can get improved precise shot at level 6. There's also a trait for followers of Erastil that let's you ignore the cover your allies provide.

And with smart positioning your enemies won't have more than partial cover from you anyways.

This isn't coming from theory crafting btw. I play a ranger in PFS and hit often/deal the most damage on a consistent basis. I also played an extremely optimized weapon master fighter archer in a one shot and absolutely obliterated everything. This was at 7th level. And don't even get me started on how crazy the ranged Paladin in my Ironfang Invasion game is with smite on each of those attacks.

The truth is, if you position yourself correctly and your party is mindful of not completely blocking you shots, you'll only be dealing with partial cover (+2 AC) 99% of the time. That's a small trade for getting a full attack off each round that includes an extra attack (rapid shot) and an effective 2 attacks on your first shot (manyshot).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Precise shot was already factored in, hence why I didn't include the firing into melee as a main argument. Improved Precise Shot doesn't take place until your adventuring career is past its half way point, meaning it's not a tool that's acquired from the beginning or early point of your career. So, even if you do get it, you're still having to suffer over 10 levels of dealing with cover, concealment, and so on. Last I checked, that's "bad archery."

The only ways to not provoke from firing is to have Point Blank Master, or not have enemies within your range. Since Point Blank Master only applies to a select few classes, it's not exactly reliable for every archer to have. Also, no archer in their career hasn't had to deal with enemies within their immediate range, so expecting an archer to not be within range of any enemy is an equally unrealistic expectation.

Fighter archer don't care about being in melee. They don't provoke, they wear full plate, and kill things with impunity. My ranger is 7th and has Improved Precise Shot. If I was worried about it before then, there is a trait to ignore allies cover. Again, seeking deals with that concealment problem. Not every archer has to be optimal for archery to be the best route, just like not every wizard has to be God for magic to be the best.


I'm not sure how you're comparing manyshot and vital strike. Manyshot is a free extra attack on a full attack; vital strike is a generally failed attempt to make standard action attacks comparable to full attacks. There's no obvious similarity.

Yes, archery works well. It doesn't matter that there are less viable weapons, the composite long bow is good. Even before you get clustered shots the ability to just pick a cold iron or a silvered arrow out of your quiver (while still getting the bonus of your main magic weapon) helps beat DR. The -2 attack for rapid shot is still usually workable; it's the equivalent of using TWF, only you don't have to move in to get the full attack, and you get the primary hand bonuses with all attacks.

Many of the best character classes for archery don't get/don't want heavy armor. Having a reason to have a decent dex and to stay out of melee is useful for a ranger, bard or inquisitor.

Besides the full attack thing - if you're outdoors, not firing across a room or something, you can often attack the enemy before they can get to you, sometimes more than once. A full attack > no attack at all, right?


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Hubaris wrote:

Full Round Attack.

From over 100 feet away.
Each and every turn.
Except based on the above math, you wouldn't hit with any of your iteratives most every time (making Full Attacks pointless unless you roll Natural 20s every time).

I think you're forgetting how ranged increments work. With a longbow, I dont take a single penalty at 100 feet. With a Composite Longbow, you can 5 foot step back and I still take no penalties. And if you want to double move away, I only take single -2. So were not talking about many penalties, and most of the time none. Full attack at 100 feet with no penalty.

But thats not the powerful difference. The power is when your party is fighting multiple enemies. The melee king charges and unleashes hell on an enemy, dropping him. But what if he was so badass that he still has an attack left? Unless there's another enemy within reach, it's wasted. The archer simply turns and keeps firing at the next guy. This means there's no wasted attack potential. Miss? Ok, your turn is done. But hit? That's more damage done and potentially dropping another foe that was 30 feet from the first target. Melee king doesnt even get the option.


I am currently playing a Warpriest who throws obsidian darts. He's the most reliable damage dealer in the game. He out-damages our Barbarian with his Earthbreaker and our Zen Archer monk. We are currently 4th level.

The build isn't super feat intensive. I have Point Blank Shot and Rapid Shot. I haven't even picked up Precise Shot or Deadly Aim yet and I haven't really noticed a problem. I just pick targets that aren't in melee yet, or I switch to Melee myself when they get close. Since Darts are ammo I don't have to worry about Quickdraw when switching between throwing them and using a Longspear. Fervor lets me pile on the self-buffs so I almost never miss.

Eventually I plan on retraining my Sacred Weapon to Longbow and picking up Empty Quiver Versatility so I can get all my Warpriest special weapon stuff in melee too.


Heather 540 wrote:
In my last game, one of the players was an Gunslinger. He did pretty good amounts of damage and hit often enough. Strength scores only matter for Range with composite bows and thrown weapons. As long as you don't have a negative score, your damage with the bow is uneffected. And if the opponent gets too close to use a bow without provoking, just whip out a dagger or something. No matter what build you plan to use, having both a melee and a ranged weapon is just good common sense.

Gunslingers target touch AC, and people notoriously ban them because of this obvious power gap, if not because they break setting immersion.

Just because he can do good damage with his guns doesn't mean he's a good switch-hitter. Against enemies with stupid-high AC (which he probably doesn't have Weapon Finesse or equally-magical side weapons, meaning his to-hit bonus isn't anywhere near as high enough to reliably hit), or Damage Reduction, his side weapon would prove as ineffective as crying over spilled milk.

@ Jurassic Pratt: So, unless you're a specific class or follow a specific deity, you're still stuck with dealing with that for over half of your character career. And that's assuming full BAB classes. People suggest classes like Eldritch Archer Magus or Inquisitor for ranged builds, and they don't have full BAB, meaning they get those feats even later than what we've already projected.

@ TriOmegaZero: The solution you propose is a FIGHTER ONLY feat? By that logic, Ranged Combat should be renamed to Fighter Combat, because that demonstrates only Fighters can do it properly. Which is both stupid, and doesn't solve the problem that Ranged Combat isn't viable [b]as a whole[b].

As stated above, the fact I have to worship a deity to take a trait to get a benefit that should be allowed much sooner via feat is ridiculous, and again, only serves as a detriment to the viability of ranged combat as a whole.

Seeking costs money. Money that would be better spent shoring up the ridiculous amount of penalties Ranged Combat-I mean, Fighter Combat deals with. After all, the only times concealment becomes a factor is Invisibility (in which case you got bigger problems besides miss chance, that Seeking can't fix) or Displacement (which doesn't warrant the 8K+ gold cost for how uncommon it is).

**EDIT**

@ DM_AKA_Dudemeister: I'm in a party with 3+ melee and because of enclosed quarters against enemies with reach in 80% of fights we're in, there's no way for me to make attacks without getting hit and screwed for it. So no, just because you have a frontline doesn't give you a free pass to full attack.

And how effective were those attacks? Because let me tell you, the fact that out of 5 Full Attacks I made, only 1 out of every 3 shots I made actually hit (and I only ever get 3 attacks per Full Attack), means that I would have been better off just using Standard Actions to attack, and taking Move Actions for other stuff.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
@ TriOmegaZero: The solution you propose is a FIGHTER ONLY feat? By that logic, Ranged Combat should be renamed to Fighter Combat, because that demonstrates only Fighters can do it properly. Which is both stupid, and doesn't solve the problem that Ranged Combat isn't viable [b]as a whole[b].

What fighter only feat? There are plenty of other ways to get it.

Again, not every archer has to be optimal for archery to be the best combat style.

Seeking is absolutely worth the cost, because all those penalties you are worried about are not a concern. And avoiding all miss chances/cover penalties sets you to the default "open field with nothing around".

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Oracle, rogue, fighter, wizard, Arcane Archer. Yes this is my legal PFS build. Turn 1 obscuring mist, orcale gives me water sight so I can hit my targets flat foot AC most of the time. Plus getting sneak attack on the damage plus adding shocking grasp to the arrow to deal further damage of any damage type I want due to evocation specialist. Ranged combat is feasible and fun.

Liberty's Edge

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So, I don't think that anyone is going to say that archery doesn't take a large number of feats. But there are other fighting styles that also take a large number of feats to be effective, like two weapon fighting, or a grapple focused build. That doesn't mean that those styles can't be effective.

The first couple levels can be kind of rough, especially if you're not going human for the extra bonus feat, but taking a 14 in strength and using a back up melee weapon when you absolutely need to is not out of the question for a ranged character.

But there are a lot of benefits that archery has over melee. I don't think the full attack every round can be overlooked. Archers are also getting multiple attacks (or double damage from multishot) at their highest BAB. Because of this, those penalties to attack are less important, because most of your damage is coming from full BAB attacks. You also don't take a penalty to damage on extra attacks in the same way two weapon fighting or natural weapons do. And you can focus on one higher enhancement bonus. Add on top of that the ability to use specialty/magical arrows on top of your regular enhancement bonus for effects like flaming, seeking, or bane arrows, not only allows you to have a higher effective + bonus on attacks, but also makes it much easier to tailor arrows to specific enemies according to their strengths or weaknesses. It also makes using different kinds of arrows to overcome damage reduction a better option than most melee classes because your enhancement bonus applies to all arrows shot with your bow, and that's if you even care, after taking the very easy to acquire feat to only have damage reduction apply once on a full attack. Because you're making more attacks than the two handed melee build, any effect that has a flat bonus to damage, like weapon training, favored enemy, or inspire courage, are going to be dealing more damage per round.

Also, from having just played a ranger from level 1-20, I can't say there were a lot of times where a 5 foot step wasn't sufficient to escape an enemy's threaten area. Aside from the point blank master feat, there are a couple different options for still being viable when face to face with enemies. Zen Archers naturally gain the ability to attack without provoking. Nearly anyone with an animal companion or familiar can just walk away if using escape route, still getting a full attack if you're riding. The Empty Quiver Style line of feats also lets you make melee attacks with all the bonuses you usually apply to your ranged attacks, or even make ranged attacks without provoking.

On top of all that, an archer doesn't need to spend a round drinking a 750 GP consumable whenever a flying creature shows up, just to remain effective. They also don't need to worry about threatened areas to close the distance to their target.

If you're looking for real world, not theorycrafted experience with archery, that ranger has soloed more fights than any other martial chracter I've ever seen or played with. Even at 6th level, being able to full attack right off the bat without having to walk up to enemies, combined with a high dex for a good initiative often meant getting 2 full attacks in before the melee characters could do anything.

Grand Lodge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


@ Jurassic Pratt: So, unless you're a specific class or follow a specific deity, you're still stuck with dealing with that for over half of your character career. And that's assuming full BAB classes. People suggest classes like Eldritch Archer Magus or Inquisitor for ranged builds, and they don't have full BAB, meaning they get those feats even later than what we've already projected.

The veering enchantment basically replicates improved precise shot and is only a +1 bonus. So nah, it's not over half your adventuring career.

Thanks for reminding me on inquisitor as I've played one of those too. With your judgements and Bane you easily compensate for not having full BAB and getting manyshot later on.

Also you're completely right that archery is not the best fit for every class. But it is for enough of them that saying "unless you're a specific class" is a bit disingenuous.

Slayer, Ranger, Paladin, Inquisitor, Fighter, Magus (Eldritch Archer w/snowball), and Warpriest. That's a good amount of full BAB martials with the main ones excluded being barbarian/bloodrager which have an ability to pump its melee to hit and damage #s up crazy high, but even they make great archers too. That's also a fair share of 3/4 BAB martials.

Basically no one is saying it's the best for every class as it requires alot of feats to work. But it is the most effective style for alot of them.


Enchanter Tim wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Hubaris wrote:

Full Round Attack.

From over 100 feet away.
Each and every turn.
Except based on the above math, you wouldn't hit with any of your iteratives most every time (making Full Attacks pointless unless you roll Natural 20s every time).

I think you're forgetting how ranged increments work. With a longbow, I dont take a single penalty at 100 feet. With a Composite Longbow, you can 5 foot step back and I still take no penalties. And if you want to double move away, I only take single -2. So were not talking about many penalties, and most of the time none. Full attack at 100 feet with no penalty.

But thats not the powerful difference. The power is when your party is fighting multiple enemies. The melee king charges and unleashes hell on an enemy, dropping him. But what if he was so badass that he still has an attack left? Unless there's another enemy within reach, it's wasted. The archer simply turns and keeps firing at the next guy. This means there's no wasted attack potential. Miss? Ok, your turn is done. But hit? That's more damage done and potentially dropping another foe that was 30 feet from the first target. Melee king doesnt even get the option.

Wasn't including range increments, read the post again. No Deadly Aim? No Rapid Shot? That's actually the highest source of penalties that are practically non-negotiable if you're wanting to actually do damage. Your damage compared to Mr. Melee guy will be horrible if those aren't taken into account, and eventually Mr. Melee guy will be right in front of one of the guys you need to shoot, meaning that's another +4 to their AC.

Ranged attacks don't work that way. Unless they're within 30 feet, you must designate your attacks ahead of time and can't take attacks as you see fit. Granted, you'll want the 30 feet for Point Blank bonuses, since we think you have to be 100+ feet out, that means you can't just choose your targets on-the-fly.

@ Phoenix1990: While I appreciate the ingenuity of all that multiclassing into something useful, I could effectively do the same thing with an Ifrit and a Bottle of Everlasting Smoke. The fact that a race choice with an alternate race trait (or feat, I forget which) and a magic item trivializes 90% of encounters only demonstrates how easy it is to cheese encounters with the right build, neither choice being relevant to how a mode of combat is junk.

@ TriOmegaZero: Only way to get non-provocation for ranged attacks is with Point Blank Master or being out of enemy reach. If there are others, then they're so obscure that nobody's brought them up in any other archer build to date for anyone to make note of. But, since you seem to know them all, by all means list them.

Also, Seeking only works on Miss Chances, not cover. So no, a +1 property doesn't equate Improved Precise Shot.


Assuming an AP, you can have point blank master and improved precise shot by level 7 which with how much longer books tend to get in the later levels is nowhere near half of your adventuring career.

Grand Lodge

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@Darksol See my post above. Pretty sure TOZ meant Veering.

Darksol wrote:
Unless they're within 30 feet, you must designate your attacks ahead of time and can't take attacks as you see fit.

Also, got a source on this? Never seen a rule saying this.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Archer archetype for the Fighter.
Zen Archer.
Ranger Combat Style. (Would have taken it on my ranger, but she doesn't end up in melee that much.)
Any class that can be treated as a fighter for feat selection or gains Weapon Specialization. (My vigilante is an archer and will be taking Signature Weapon (Bow) for just that purpose.)

Edit: No, I mean combined with IPS. But Veering is a good substitute if you would rather spend the feat elsewhere.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


@ Jurassic Pratt: So, unless you're a specific class or follow a specific deity, you're still stuck with dealing with that for over half of your character career. And that's assuming full BAB classes. People suggest classes like Eldritch Archer Magus or Inquisitor for ranged builds, and they don't have full BAB, meaning they get those feats even later than what we've already projected.

The veering enchantment basically replicates improved precise shot and is only a +1 bonus. So nah, it's not over half your adventuring career.

Thanks for reminding me on inquisitor as I've played one of those too. With your judgements and Bane you easily compensate for not having full BAB and getting manyshot later on.

Cover Bonus is +4 against creatures, not +2, so the +1 property doesn't count as "improved precise shot." It also doesn't apply to Concealment, compared to Seeking that does.

Which means if I truly wanted Improved Precise Shot, I'd need both properties, which is a +2 cost, and even then it doesn't replicate its effects nearly as much, and is quite expensive across all levels of play.

It's helpful, but it's not the same.


I've also found that it can be hard to be overwhelmed as a ranger if every enemy is dead before they can get to you

Grand Lodge

Jurassic Pratt wrote:
The veering enchantment basically replicates improved precise shot and is only a +1 bonus. So nah, it's not over half your adventuring career.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Cover Bonus is +4 against creatures, not +2, so the +1 property doesn't count as "improved precise shot." It also doesn't apply to Concealment, compared to Seeking that does.

Which means if I truly wanted Improved Precise Shot, I'd need both properties, which is a +2 cost, and even then it doesn't replicate its effects nearly as much, and is quite expensive across all levels of play.

It's helpful, but it's not the same.

Look at that quote again. The operative word in my sentence was basically.

You're dealing with cover far more than concealment and, as I mentioned earlier, 90% of the time you're dealing with partial cover rather than cover if you position even slightly intelligently. You're not going to need seeking often at all in your early adventuring career. And you'll have it later on.

Also, how is concealment any more of an issue than with melee attacks?


Jurassic Pratt wrote:

@Darksol See my post above. Pretty sure TOZ meant Veering.

Darksol wrote:
Unless they're within 30 feet, you must designate your attacks ahead of time and can't take attacks as you see fit.
Also, got a source on this? Never seen a rule saying this.

Hmmm, I thought I read it somewhere, but now I can't find it. Just disregard that argument; it's getting late anyway...

@ TriOmegaZero: Three of those options are class-specific, which means only those classes are really ever capable of ranged combat. There's no archer in their career that hasn't had to deal with enemies up close, and unless they're a switch-hitter, they aren't going to be very effective at dealing with them.

Grand Lodge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


@ TriOmegaZero: Three of those options are class-specific...

You keep saying this, and I keep not seeing the relevance. Archery does not have to be 100% effective across the board to be the best combat style.


Because it no longer becomes a "combat" style, it becomes a "class" style. Hence my joke with "Fighter Combat."

What's the point of referencing it being ranged combat when there's no point in anybody other than that class going that style of combat? You might as well just make it exclusive to Fighters because that sounds like it's the only class that would make use of it.

It's also the same line of reasoning to make Vital Strike Monster Only feats, because only T-Rexs should take those feats.

Grand Lodge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
There's no archer in their career that hasn't had to deal with enemies up close, and unless they're a switch-hitter, they aren't going to be very effective at dealing with them.

Well first off if they're medium then you just 5 foot step. And as for larger creatures with natural reach, you've now reached the point where we stop evaluating it in a vacuum and think of a typical party with a frontline. The Raging Barbarian is generally gonna be up front on the big enemy while you pepper him from afar.

For an actual example: In my Curse of the Crimson Throne game we had to fight a purple worm. It burrowed up and attacked our ranger in a surprise round. He then used acrobatics to escape its threatened area while our fighter went in and kept it occupied.

He then proceeded to do the most damage in the party from afar peppering it.

Basically, you're putting too much faith in the "archery is bad because people can get adjacent to you" argument.

Grand Lodge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Because it no longer becomes a "combat" style, it becomes a "class" style. Hence my joke with "Fighter Combat."

Except we've shown repeatedly that several other classes can get these options and that there are effective alternatives to them. Stop looking at individual points and evaluate it as a whole.

Not every class has to be able to use archery the best for it to be the most effective style, but a lot of classes can use archery more effectively than any other combat style both statistically and in actual play. This is why its considered the best combat style.


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

Hands down our ranger is dealing the most damage in our Giantslayer campaign. It isn't even close, 2 to 1 over the weaponmaster wielding Aggrimosh. The fighter simpky can't distribute his damage across multiple foes as,efficiently. In Emerald Spire, however, an archer would be an afterthought.

Every X is better than Y argument ALWAYS, without fail, misses how situational these arguments are.


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Azten wrote:
How about showing him how instead of just dismissing him? It helps a lot more.

Read his comments. It's pretty clear he already made up his mind before he even posted.


By the way, Deadly Aim does less damage than Power Attack because of Rapid Shot and Multishot. Those feats even out the damage. Archery basically is 2/3s of two weapon fighting except that your additional attacks are full BAB with full strength scaling. I know Multishot doesn't quite compare with an extra attack, but that is functionally what it represents even if it has a lower chance of hitting because of only rolling one attack role.

Still, Deadly Aim is +2 per 4BAB damage over 6 shots. That is +12 damage. Meanwhile, Power Attack is +3 damage over 4 attacks...also +12 damage. Power attack with TWF is +2 for 4 attacks and +1 for 3 attacks which is +11 damage. Basically, Deadly Aim compares evenly with power attacking and can be done from range. The penalties are similar to two weapon fighting, but the attacks are performed at a higher BAB iterative and the style has +1 damage over two weapon fighting per 4 BAB.

Does the style have drawbacks? Sure, cover and being vulnerable to melee are two big obstacles that you can encounter while playing an archer. However, the same can be said of any combat style. The solution is finding ways around your drawbacks, or overcoming them through powerful level based solutions like gaining Pounce as a melee character.


It seems like most of your arguments boil down to 'It's bad because people can get next to you.' Or 'It's bad because this class does it better than that class.'


Let's be honest the weight of argument is overwhelmingly in favor of ranged combat being one of the strongest styles. The opposite idea that it isn't even worth trying is clearly not supported despite a valiant effort by darksol.

Just to add a few more reasons why archery is so good.

- rapid fire penalties don't matter when To Hit outpaces AC

- the sheer quantity of attack rolls mean crits become ridiculously common.

- in most cases monsters are the threatening agent so need to come to you, as a result monsters rarely have the luxury of hiding behind cover.

- Also the vast majority of bestiary creatures don't have ranged attack options or if they do are hideously outclassed by ranged archers - staying back and taking cover is almost always pointless for enemies.

- The quantity of attacks a ranged character can throw into a fight even at relatively early levels is huge. Two weapon fighting and many shot doubles a 6th level fighting classes attacks compared to that greatsword who has to jump through all sorts of hoops to get free attacks from cleave.

- a ranged fighter doesn't need to be as tough, or as armoured, or even as fast. They are are able to specialize far easier.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Ranged Combat isn't viable as a whole

That's like saying throwing fireballs isn't a viable strategy because only three or four classes can do it.

It's not strong by default, but there are lots of builds that can do very good ranged damage if they focus on it. Rangers, Paladins, Fighters, Zen Archers, Paladins, Gunslingers, Slayers, Warpriests, etc.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
out of 5 Full Attacks I made, only 1 out of every 3 shots I made actually hit (and I only ever get 3 attacks per Full Attack), means that I would have been better off just using Standard Actions to attack, and taking Move Actions for other stuff.

So what are you playing? Class, level, monsters you were fighting?

Silver Crusade

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Azten wrote:
How about showing him how instead of just dismissing him? It helps a lot more.

Oh, this one will come around back to you sooner than you think :)


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As Darksol keeps talking about Archery being specific to specific classes, lets list ones I know work form the CRB:

  • Barbarian
  • Bard
  • Fighter
  • Monk
  • Paladin
  • Ranger

That is 5 in 11
Now Base Classes
  • Cavalier
  • Inquisitor
  • Magus

Here we struggle a bit more, 3 in 10
Hybrids
  • Hunter
  • Slayer
  • Warpriest

3 in 10

So by a quick count I have 11 out of 31 classes. I think a third of all classes published being able to do it, and do it well disproves the argument that it is "class specific".

It would be saying that two handed fighting is class specific because a bunch of classes aren't full bab so are less likely to hit.

Now, I am going to stat out a really simple archer here, and I am going to try and not include class features.

Archer:

So as an archer we can assume a dex of 18 and a str of 14
Lets say level 7, that gives me 23,500 gp, and 4 feats.

Feats:
1. Point Blank Shot
3. Precise Shot
5. Rapid Shot
7. Deadly Aim

Money:
4000gp +2 dex belt
4000gp +2 cloak of resistance
5000gp Bracers of archer, lesser
9000gp +2 adaptive composite longbow

That totals at 22 000 and leaves me with 1500 for armor and such.I have neglected armor as I plan on my allies stopping the enemy from getting to mellee with me

Attack routine: This is without BAB
Highest Bonus: +2 enchant +1 bracers +5 dex -1 deadly aim -2 rapid shot
Damage: 1d8 bow +2 str +2 deadly aim +2 enchantment
+5,+5,+0;1d8+6

On a full bab chassis we go to:
+12,+12,+7;1d8+6

on 3/4 bab:
+10,+10,+5;1d8+6

Average AC for a CR7 creature is 20
That means our full BAB has greater than 50% chance to land his first and second attack.
The 3/4 has 50% exactly on his first and second.

Bear in mind that this breakdown has NO class features beyond BAB.

Now lets break down how some of the classes adjust this:
Fighter:
4 More Feats. This is massive
Weapon Focus (Longbow Comp)
Weapon Specialization (Longbow Comp)
Cluster Shots
Manyshot
He also gets weapon training on his bow.

His attack routine:
+14,+14,+9;1d8+9 +1d8+9 on first shot
He also only faces DR once
This really can be pushed higher, I am not great at building.

Paladin:
Smite and Divine Bond
This adds:
+1 to bow from Divine bond
Smite adds +7 damage to each attack, and your CHA to hit, so maybe +2
+15,+15,+10;1d8+14
Again not optimised

If people want me to do some more classes I will do so


Gorbacz wrote:
Azten wrote:
How about showing him how instead of just dismissing him? It helps a lot more.
Oh, this one will come around back to you sooner than you think :)

I am fully aware such comments might come back to sneak attack me, Gorbacz. I do have my moments where I am slightly more... let's say amicable. ;)


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It saddens me to see, Dark. You come here seeking deliberation and agreement, and hope to sway some of us to your opinion, yet you were from the start hard hearted and set. You came here knowing fully your stance and firmly entrenched within it.
Because you are so set, we have no ability to reason with you. We cannot teach you. We cannot lead you. We cannot show you anything else beyond what your eyes can currently see.
You are exactly where you are. You will not see anything different. You will not go anywhere else. You will remain exactly where you are.
If you do so, what debate can be had? What agreement can we come to? What knowledge and understanding can be shared from either side?
We can either agree with you, or leave. There is no other alternative.

I don't mean to belittle you Dark, but if you are already finished the race and have come to the conclusion, then what discussion can we have? If you are unwilling to relent your own opinion then what do you expect of us?
You believe Ranged Combat cannot be feasible and you have set your mind to it as surely as if it was a stone. Therefore you have your answer. Don't make a ranged character, it doesn't work.
As long as you are unwilling to change your mind, I don't think most of these others will be willing to change their minds either, so the conversation ends.

Also, your use of analogies, comparisons and jokes have largely been derogatory and dismissive, and only really demean you and the people you speak to :(
They don't help much.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Qot1 wrote:
Assuming an AP, you can have point blank master and improved precise shot by level 7 which with how much longer books tend to get in the later levels is nowhere near half of your adventuring career.

I wasn't trivialising combat I was showing how ranged combat can be effective. which seems to be the entire thread. Is the build optimal? probably not. Can it do more than just combat yes it can.


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

I've played archers in really games, and seen others do it, and in both cases the result was shredded enemies.

I understand that you may not have seen it, but that does not equal "it doesn't work".

Now to avoid any moving goalpost how about list every reason that you can think of as to why archery won't work in a game.

I did see you say you missed a large number of attacks. Was it just bad dice rolls? If not then what class were playing, what were you fighting? If you have the build just post it here.


It seems weird to me how quickly people go to "you have proven yourself incapable of changing your mind". His personal experience is that archery isn't very good. We have yet to diagnose why this is the case. (Bad build? Enemies with abnormally high AC? Bad environmental conditions?) Anecdotal evidence doesn't trump personal experience.

How often have any of you posted "I see... So I was completely wrong!" a few hours after starting a new thread? Humans don't do that unless they are completely lacking in ego. The nearest they come is softening their stance. ("Only specialist builds are good at archery!")

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