Guns & Gears Playtest Analysis

Monday, February 22, 2021

Hey everyone! Michael Sayre here, ready to discuss the Pathfinder Guns & Gears playtest that just wrapped up! We’ve had some time to go over the survey results and contextualize all of the amazing posts, videos, and playtest reports you all shared during the course of the playtest. Now that we’ve had a chance to go over that data ourselves and make some decisions, we’re here to talk to you a bit about the direction we’d like to take. Keep in mind, while we’re going to talk about some broad points here, there are likely to be dozens of little changes throughout both classes—covering everything from adding more feats and class options to minor tweaks in the way existing abilities or options function. Just because we don’t mention something here doesn’t mean it won’t get some kind of love and attention during development. We’re just hitting the highlight reel! Also, feel free to stick around to the end of the blog to check out a preview of one of the cool new options that’ll be included in the final release of Guns & Gears!

Gunslinger

pathfinder guns and gears second edition playtest gunslinger iconic with a large rifle over her shoulder

Not surprisingly, a lot of the feedback on the gunslinger focused on the execution of firearms and the Reload mechanic. We also collected some really remarkable data related to the gunslinger ways, so I want to be sure to spend some time exploring what that data could mean for us going forward. Finally, I’m going to talk a bit about the types of gear that weren’t present in the playtest, but that should have a significant impact thanks to inclusion in the final release.

Firearms: Firearms remain a divisive subject when it comes to fantasy roleplaying games, and this particular iteration was no exception, though we did learn some interesting information. The first and most relevant data point suggests that the version of guns we have in the playtest are far and away the most popular choice for how people want to see firearms executed in this edition, so we’re going to stick pretty close to that model. That being said, there are opportunities for improvement here.

The first thing I’ll note is that the final version of Guns & Gears is going to have more than double the number of firearms than the playtest had. This is going to include things like one-handed scatter weapons and guns that fire big, relatively slow-moving rounds that have a higher base damage die but no fatal property. We also plan to incorporate quite a few other variations on the theme that you’ll have to wait to see more of in the final book!

We also embraced a conservative approach to firearm design going into this playtest, keeping the ranges very tight to represent the relative inaccuracy of these kinds of smooth bore weapons and using primarily preexisting weapon traits that people already know how to use. As we go through and develop all of the firearms, we’ll consider opportunities to explore these options: such as extending the range of a few different weapons, potentially introducing new traits that do a better job of telling the story of a firearm, and addressing small oversights in the playtest options. For example, the penalty and action cost for unsteady probably shouldn’t apply to a prone character, so adding that clarification should enhance the usability of unsteady weapons while also adding interesting new dynamics to feats like Hit the Dirt!

Reload: Reload times inspired a lot of constructive debate during the playtest. Many people found that they were an important part of the story of firearms and greatly preferred the tone and era of weapons we used in the playtest, feeling that they were a more natural fit for a fantasy world than things like revolvers and cartridge-loaded rifles. Others felt like the action cost of reloading was a real stumbling block that got in the way a player making the character they wanted. Running Reload was an incredibly popular feat choice for really helping people maximize the value of that action. Consequently, we’re looking at granting each of the gunslinger ways their own unique Reload action. For example, gunslingers who choose the way of the sniper could receive a built-in action to Reload and Hide or Take Cover. We’ll also likely use some of the additional feats that will appear in the final version of the class to expand your options for more robust Reload activities even more, giving gunslingers a highly efficient action economy with lots of ways to interact with the battlefield.

Gunslinger Ways: So, normally in any playtest for a class that has multiple “subpath” options, there’s a clear first-place choice that selected significantly more often by players. That was not the case with the gunslinger ways. While there were small variations between the number of people choosing a given way, they were each so close to a third of the total respondents that it was clear that each of these concepts has just as much draw and appeal as the others. As a result, it’s pretty likely that each of these ways will be present in the final release, though with some changes informed by the experiences from this playtest. A lot of the feedback we received also suggested some possibilities for new ways that weren’t featured in the playtest, so we’ll be looking into those as well. Expect these concepts to stick around but their execution to evolve in multiple ways (pun intended) going forward.

Gear: This is one area where I wish we’d just had a little more time before the playtest to show you what we’ve got lined up, as I think that would have had a really positive impact on some playtesters’ experiences. That said, I think this is as good a place to give you a sneak peek at what’s ahead as any. First, let me just say this. Yes, we plan to include bayonets in the final release.

More than that, we’re looking at an entire section of the book that explores black powder and the things you can do with it (like leaving a trail of powder you can light on fire to blow up a powder keg) and the things you can’t (like igniting it underwater). We are going to include cool options and accessories you can use to customize your gun, though, and that’ll feature options for using your preferred weapon in just about any environment, including underwater. We’re looking at all kinds of choices for accessories, from scopes to holsters, bandoliers to weaponized bipod/tripods, and just about anything else you can think of to customize your gunslinger. There’s always going to be more cool ideas for a product than you can fit into the page count, but we’ll continue to provide players as much variety and as many unique avenues for their character builds as we can.

And that’s about all I’ve got for you at the moment. I’ll pass this over to Mark so he can talk about the inventor!

Inventor

pathfinder guns and gears second edition playtest inventor iconic with with a small construct

Hi everyone! Mark Seifter here for a post-playtest report for the inventor class. I want to start off by thanking you all so much for your feedback, and especially for the way you've given it to us. At the start of the playtest, I mentioned that since we had two playtests so close to each other, we needed the community's help to avoid too many circular arguments and focus on new data and analyses on various topics. And boy did you deliver! So thank you for giving us great data, ideas, and feedback. This helps make it easy for us to follow along and incorporate your ideas. In terms of the ratio of insights to arguments, this playtest has one of the best I've ever seen, and that starts with you.

Overall people really liked the inventor, almost as much as the swashbuckler with a big gap before the summoner, gunslinger, and a few others that are clustered below. But that doesn't mean that there aren't things about the class that need to change. Brigh knows, I even announced in the “Welcome to the Inventor” thread that unstable had to change after we accidentally didn't use the version asked about in the survey! Thank you for bearing with me on this journey and also at looking past the roughness with unstable to really dig deep on every other aspect of the class, which needed a close eye too.

Unstable: The unstable trait will change. My goal is to make the trait present a gamble that weighs risk versus reward. Unlike the playtest version, you'll always get to perform the action when you take the risk. The gamble will be whether something goes wrong, causing something bad to happen in addition to the action succeeding. I have one very exciting idea for this that I can't share yet until I'm sure it works. In the meantime, if you want to keep playing your inventor in your home game, you can just roll the flat check after you use the unstable ability (including the first time) to see if you can use it again. I'm hoping the final version will be more exciting than that, but that should work okay for now.

Gadgets: We will be adding a fun gadgets feat path for the inventor to make special gadgets each day! It won't be mandatory, as most playtesters expressed that they didn’t want it to be. It will be nice to include it as an option so a player can opt in to the complexity that comes with having to read through a big gadget section.

Innovations: Playtesters asked for more options for modifications and feats for innovations, and the final version will add more of them. All of you inventor playtesters really captured the weird science vibe and had some great ideas, and I took careful and extensive notes. For example, giving the construct companion with a ranged attack a "turret mode" option sounds like a lot of fun, and playtesters had some great ideas for ways to increase the construct's abilities at the expense of the inventor's actions. This helps lend support the playstyle of inventors who want to hang back and let the construct do the work. In that vein, I'm strongly considering giving the construct innovation inventor the baked in ability to spend two actions to give the construct three. This will allow the construct to move and Explode, for example, and helps avoid friendly fire.

Overdrive: While the inventor's special powers are dispersed throughout several abilities, playtesters were interested in consolidating a little more of them into Overdrive, and that's something I'm definitely looking into. If that occurs, expect to see Overdrive scale a bit more than it does now, especially on a success. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do so just enough to make a big difference.

These are just a few of the ways in which I'm tinkering and tweaking my invention thanks to your notes and efforts. In the end, expect the class to look extremely similar to the way it does right now, except with several little improvements in almost every area that will really add up in the long run.

Thanks for reading! For sticking to the end, we’re throwing in an advance treat from the book, an intelligent weapon! The final version is very likely to be one of the new types of gun in the book, but this version for the blog uses the basic pistol so you can throw it into your game right away and have it start mouthing off at enemies.

Sunken Pistol — Item 8

Rare, CN, Arcane, Enchantment, Intelligent

Usage held in 1 hand; Bulk 1
Perception +12; precise vision 30 feet, imprecise hearing 30 feet
Communication speech (Common)
Skills Intimidation +19, Navigation Lore +14, Sailing Lore +14
Int +0, Wis +2, Cha +4
Will +16

A sunken pistol is imbued with the unfulfilled desires and insatiable greed of its previous wielder, a notorious pirate drowned at sea. Once a beautiful and artistically wrought weapon, a sunken pistol is coated in a fine layer of dried salt and is encrusted with barnacles. Each shot fired from this +1 striking flintlock pistol is coated in a layer of salty ectoplasm, and has the effects of a ghost touch rune. You can shoot the sunken pistol underwater, even when using black powder ammunition.

A sunken pistol urges you to amass a horde of treasure even a dragon would be proud of. The methods used to acquire these riches matter not to the greedy pirate pistol, so long as you amass and hoard excessive wealth. Above all else, a sunken pistol desires the return of its own treasure, which might rest in the wreck of its sunken ship’s hold or be hidden on a dangerous island.

In pursuit of treasure, a sunken pistol offers nautical and navigation advice to you, though it refuses such aid during less lucrative ventures. If you prove a profitable partner, the sunken pistol aids you in combat by Demoralizing your opponents (see the first Activation below). If you prove charitable or unwilling to retrieve its treasure, the sunken pistol turns its ire on you, Demoralizing you during combat until you relent. If you repeatedly refuse the sunken pistol, it would be wise to not accept water breathing from it, as it might attempt to drown you to allow a more suitable wielder to acquire it from your corpse. The sunken pistol can use the following activations.

Activate [one-action] command; Frequency once per minute; Effect The sunken pistol curses and insults a creature it can see, attempting an Intimidation check to Demoralize that creature.

Activate [three-actions] command; Frequency once per day; Effect The sunken pistol casts water breathing on you as a 3rd-level arcane spell. The sunken pistol can Dismiss this spell, so be sure to keep the gun happy if you’re relying on its good graces to breathe!

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
It’s already past that point.

I think the purpose of the surveys was to figure out what both “accessible” and “worth the gold” will mean to a wider group of players than the discussion boards were going to be able to reach a consensus over.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

People can complain about a final product they have yet to see, but if the playtest didn't sway the team I doubt further forum posts will.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I started the revolver thread on the playtest forum, but now I wish I'd just focused on twin barrel weapons. Twin barrel guns would do a great job fixing the action economy- let gunslingers reload both barrels with a single action and then they can consistently fire twice and reload each round. The awkward 1.5 average shots per round feels awful right now.


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I think one thing about "gunslingers and technology" is that the "gunslinger" in fiction generally only involves guns at a level of technology several steps below modern high tech guns.

At a point where you advance technology in firearms sufficiently, there doesn't need to be a class where bravado, grit, guts, and moxie are an important part of "being good with guns" then you're in a context where "being technically skilled is the most important thing" at which point you're just a fighter.

This is like how in PF1 the "Trench Fighter" archetype gave at level 1 what most people hung around Gunslinger in for 5 levels- once you have like "a cartridge based semi-automatic .30-06 with a rifled barrel" the need for a "gunslinger" class has passed.

It's like how in Starfinder (a possible future from Pathfinder) that the "best with guns" class is the "best with whatever weapon they choose" class- there is no "best at guns" specialist, since the Soldier can also build for grenades, advanced melee, etc.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Not exactly thrilled that fatal guns proved so popular, but that's life.

Guess we'll see how things shake out in the end. I do like what I read about the gear though.

Vigilant Seal

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm hoping that the Inventor- specifically the Armor Innovation gets some love and variety besides the same cake with slightly different frosting.

I still think inventors should get a Level 8 feat that reduces reload time.

If you're going to stick to basic guns, what about the repeating revolvers from 1e? Would reduce the crappiness of both crossbows and in turn, it would help out the gunslinger at the same time.

Personally, I think the way of correcting the weapons with guns is to give them a small clip say no more than 3 or 4 bullets per 'clip'. Combined with 1 action to reload a round, should resolve both issues IMHO.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think one thing about "gunslingers and technology" is that the "gunslinger" in fiction generally only involves guns at a level of technology several steps below modern high tech guns.

This is from a generally anti-gun guy. The basic problem is that the PF1e gunslinger was a bad idea mechanically and thematically, and the PF2e design team wants to somehow port over this bad idea to the new edition.


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pjrogers wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think one thing about "gunslingers and technology" is that the "gunslinger" in fiction generally only involves guns at a level of technology several steps below modern high tech guns.
This is from a generally anti-gun guy. The basic problem is that the PF1e gunslinger was a bad idea mechanically and thematically, and the PF2e design team wants to somehow port over this bad idea to the new edition.

Didn't play 1e so I can't speak on the mechanics but it was obviously an extremely popular thematic niche or they wouldn't have bothered to port it over. By and large a whole lot of people enjoy gunslinger chocolate in their fantasy peanut butter. I myself can't wait to bring a sheriff to Golarion


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I still kind of wonder if the class should have been something else with gunslinger as a path. Just thinking on the narrative overlaps between samurai and western films with the lone wanderer archetypes.

Scarab Sages

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Dubious Scholar wrote:
I still kind of wonder if the class should have been something else with gunslinger as a path. Just thinking on the narrative overlaps between samurai and western films with the lone wanderer archetypes.

Since the start of 2e I've said pretty much the same thing. Even from this blog it's apparent that the class exists to make a piece of gear better or not garbage. That's what an archetype is for, like Archer or Talisman Dabbler. Doubling down on action economy fixers as class features instead of fixing the gear is not only a bad idea, it sets a precedent that I am very much against. A class is more than what it uses, it needs a narrative identity.

On another note, I also really hope to see armor inventors get some attention, they're entirely too passive with their features. I'm tentatively excited to see what Overdrive turns into though.


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pjrogers wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think one thing about "gunslingers and technology" is that the "gunslinger" in fiction generally only involves guns at a level of technology several steps below modern high tech guns.
This is from a generally anti-gun guy. The basic problem is that the PF1e gunslinger was a bad idea mechanically and thematically, and the PF2e design team wants to somehow port over this bad idea to the new edition.

Even if you don't like the thematic elements of the class (which are partially addressed with crossbow support built in), they are at the very least not porting over the mechanical problems (resolving against a trivial AC, Quick Clear as a required feature).


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:


Even if you don't like the thematic elements of the class (which are partially addressed with crossbow support built in), they are at the very least not porting over the mechanical problems (resolving against a trivial AC, Quick Clear as a required feature).

One of the big mechanical issues in PF1 was that guns were designed to be intentionally bad and then a specific class was given tools to make them good (and tbh not much else).

And that seems to be the baseline for PF2's design direction too, with Gunslingers basically being specialized Fighters with a kit designed to make a bad category of weapons functional.

So I'm not sure about leaving behind the mechanical problems.


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Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Rulebook Subscriber

LaCk Of ReVoLvErS

Bruh this is a game where you can play as an angelic plant that can cause earthquakes constantly. Relating its timeline to real life makes zero sense.


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Squiggit wrote:
QuidEst wrote:


Even if you don't like the thematic elements of the class (which are partially addressed with crossbow support built in), they are at the very least not porting over the mechanical problems (resolving against a trivial AC, Quick Clear as a required feature).

One of the big mechanical issues in PF1 was that guns were designed to be intentionally bad and then a specific class was given tools to make them good (and tbh not much else).

And that seems to be the baseline for PF2's design direction too, with Gunslingers basically being specialized Fighters with a kit designed to make a bad category of weapons functional.

So I'm not sure about leaving behind the mechanical problems.

That is definitely my problem with guns in their current state. With all the set backs they have it seems they only exist to make gunslinger’s addition justified. It’s like instead of feat taxes to play with guns it’s a class tax.

Hopefully the final class limits this issue and spreads a lot of gun feats (that aren’t taxes) to the other martial classes.

Feats should enhance guns not fix them.


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Squiggit wrote:
QuidEst wrote:


Even if you don't like the thematic elements of the class (which are partially addressed with crossbow support built in), they are at the very least not porting over the mechanical problems (resolving against a trivial AC, Quick Clear as a required feature).

One of the big mechanical issues in PF1 was that guns were designed to be intentionally bad and then a specific class was given tools to make them good (and tbh not much else).

And that seems to be the baseline for PF2's design direction too, with Gunslingers basically being specialized Fighters with a kit designed to make a bad category of weapons functional.

So I'm not sure about leaving behind the mechanical problems.

I guess I see that differently- guns seem to be in line with the other reload weapons, more or less? "Bows are better than guns, crossbows, and slings" is a lot less of an issue to me than "you need to stop using this weapon mid-combat if you roll poorly".


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MellowDramatic wrote:

LaCk Of ReVoLvErS

Bruh this is a game where you can play as an angelic plant that can cause earthquakes constantly. Relating its timeline to real life makes zero sense.

It's really just that it's difficult to balance guns which need an action to reload versus guns which do not need an action to be reload while making the former viable and the latter reasonable.

Like the gunslinger was a broken class in PF1 once you got free action reload and a way to reload two pistols several times in one round since it was balanced around "you can't do that."

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'll be honest. In PF1, I was forced to have a repeating xbow, and I hated it. :/ I like having a big weapon that needs reloading.
In PF2, reloading is viable, and I don't feel bad for having one. *shrug*
You would probably hate the way I think a repeating xbow/revolver would work, so eh. I don't think there's a way that can accommodate both our views. :(


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm happy with the Flintlock Fantasy emphasis on guns, its a genre that's been getting a lot of popularity recently and it fits way better than revolvers in my eyes.

I also think that the Guns are fine options even before the improvements they discuss in the blog? Even the difference between bows and crossbows isn't all that large DPR-wise and crossbows are worse than guns.

They also discuss supplying us with Guns that aren't balanced around making being able to use the fatal trait, so they're on the right track anyway?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
I guess I see that differently- guns seem to be in line with the other reload weapons, more or less?

That'd be fine if "other reload weapons" were good in the first plaec, but they aren't. With crossbows, part of the justification for them being bad is that they were simple weapons and intended to be a step down.

But when you look at a martial gun and it falls way, way behind a bow, even though the bow's also a martial weapon so they're supposed to be comparable, that's a problem.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
It's really just that it's difficult to balance guns which need an action to reload versus guns which do not need an action to be reload while making the former viable and the latter reasonable.

This sums up the gun vs bow problem pretty well, even if you are just talking about hypothetical other guns.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
They also discuss supplying us with Guns that aren't balanced around making being able to use the fatal trait, so they're on the right track anyway?

Non-fatal guns is nice for variety's sake, but it was never what held guns back in the playtest, it was reload.

Grand Lodge

I hope that guns work much better in the hands of a trained gunslinger (ie feats) than other classes. I admit my personal bias is to have little to no gun tech in my fantasy, but I'm more willing to accept it if it takes specialized training to maximize their effectiveness, but it seems that I am in the minority. Part of my objection is based on the ongoing imbalance between bow and crossbow, the former being better in almost every situation. I would have been happy if 2E would have eliminated reload speeds and had some other difference between the two to account for a reason to have both. The same could then more easily be applied to guns. Yes, I know guns are superior to bows and crossbows in the real world, but this is a game and rules balance is more important than historical accuracy. YMMV

Shadow Lodge

I see firearms as having 3 legs: damage, crits, and hitting. The playtest focused on Crits, and it sounds like their looking at the Damage option, but I hope they look at the 3rd option too. Moderate damage, but hits on almost every shot.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

Historically bows were more effective than crossbows but required training. Crossbows became popular as less training was required to aim and hit your target. The trained archer could still fire more arrows than a trained crossbowman. Some specialists could do this even faster.
In Pathfinder this is managed by bows being a martial weapon with 0 reload, crossbows being a simple weapon with a 1 reload, and feats allowing more arrows to be fired in a round by specialists.

Guns eventually replaced bows and crossbows, but not immediately. Early guns were unreliable and required time to load them safely, but a specialist could do so faster.
These are in Pathfinder as martial weapons, with feats allowing a specialist to load them faster.

A couple of centuries later guns became easier to use and more common (in parts of the world). This gave rise to the term gunslinger (first used in 1920). The first repeating firearms that gained widespread approval are from the 1800s.
In Pathfinder this would be in the future, where newer guns are simple weapons easier to reload, such as a revolver. A martial character will still be more effective, and a specialist will have feats allowing them to do more.
It seems to me that some people are expecting the gunslinger to resemble what I'm calling the future gunslinger.

I'm happy with the current description, even though it doesn't let a sheriff in Alkenstar use guns the same way a sheriff in the USA's cinematic Wild West can do so.
Just as (most) fighters don't choose a dagger to a sword, I don't want to see guns to be the weapons fighters need to use in preference to a sword or axe. I don't want to see wizards choose a gun over a spell. That's not what I want in 4721 AR. Keep that for Pathfinder 5000 AR.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Shadowfoot wrote:


Just as (most) fighters don't choose a dagger to a sword, I don't want to see guns to be the weapons fighters need to use in preference to a sword or axe.

Has anyone ever suggested that guns should be the weapon of choice for everyone? I don't know where this sentiment is coming from in relation to the conversation.

I mean, in a lot of medieval fantasy fiction, that games like D&D and PF draw upon for inspiration, swords are the preferred weapon of choice... but I've never seen anyone suggest that Axes need to be 30-50% worse than Swords in order to protect that vision. In fact the idea probably sounds kind of silly.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
I'm happy with the Flintlock Fantasy emphasis on guns, its a genre that's been getting a lot of popularity recently and it fits way better than revolvers in my eyes.

I can definitely live with the whole pre-repeating/revolving firearms being the standard, even if it is just to satisfy the lore, basic logic and a certain "anti-gun" feeling to traditional fantasy.

I'm way more interested in the Arcadian magical guns (Monster Hunter!) and semi-modern guns like revolvers, though. The latter is the quintessential gunslinger after all and the former is just rad.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:

I also think that the Guns are fine options even before the improvements they discuss in the blog? Even the difference between bows and crossbows isn't all that large DPR-wise and crossbows are worse than guns.

They also discuss supplying us with Guns that aren't balanced around making being able to use the fatal trait, so they're on the right track anyway?

I think it is well documented by this point that guns are only a viable choice if you are extremely lucky, i.e. crit regularly. Same damage dice but half the number of shots vs bows will do that.

Hence my earlier confusion about this being the acceptable and popular standard. But that might just me misunderstanding the post, as it could just relate to the general idea of the theme and them generally being balanced like everything else, not their current mechanical implementation. But yes, the rest of the post - and the general competence of stuff in 2e so far - gives me a lot of confidence.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

There are a few ways forward I can see with multi-shot, magazine-fed, battery powered, or revolver style weapons.

One, you could keep a "reload" action between shots that could entail pulling back the hammer, using a lever, or recovering from recoil. The "reload" could then have a built-in action discount, say, giving you Running Reload for free, or allowing more alternative actions during the reload action, to account for the "reload" itself being faster and easier.

Two, similarly to one, you could give them recoil inaccuracy that encourages you to spend actions to steady your weapon between each shot, but you don't have to if you're not concerned about accuracy. The "optimal" use case would involve the same number of actions on your turn as a single shot, but giving the option to spray and pray, and then also having the really valuable trait of generally always having a loaded weapon for reactions.

Three, same as two but instead of inaccuracy it's a risk of jamming.

Four, you could grant the technological improvement of multi-rounds at some other cost, such as reducing the number of rune slots. Then you can try to balance out the improved damage capability versus the rune availability. You could also make ammo for these weapons more expensive.

Five, you can assume multi-round weapons come into play at a certain level and give reload weapons some benefit to keep pace at that level. For example, at level 10 you can start getting revolvers, but also at level 10 there are much cheaper, reload activated alchemical cartridges sold in bundles that do bonus elemental damage.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
thistledown wrote:
I see firearms as having 3 legs: damage, crits, and hitting. The playtest focused on Crits, and it sounds like their looking at the Damage option, but I hope they look at the 3rd option too. Moderate damage, but hits on almost every shot.

That was the way I was hoping they'd go. I proposed a "grazing" trait that dealt minimal damage on a miss, to give a group of weapons the ability to interact fully with the 4 levels of success (my spreadsheet said it worked out to roughly the same dpr overall as the fatal trait). As a bonus, it would allow the scatter weapons to be an upgrade to grazing rather than an alternate to fatal, give guns a mechanically distinct option from other reload weapons, AND leave room for martial crossbows to have the fatal trait.

All that said, Alchemical bombs currently have a similar effect with their splash trait, and it is not seen as fun for users to have that minor damage on a miss, so I can understand why my idea was ultimately not taken up. Just because it would be fun for me doesn't mean it would be fun for most.

Edit: on the other hand, grazing still makes a lot of sense to me, as the splash trait was somewhat of an awkward fit. I could see 1 or 2 specific weapons gaining a grazing trait, but scatter being changed to grazing but as a cone instead of single target.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Karmagator wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
I'm happy with the Flintlock Fantasy emphasis on guns, its a genre that's been getting a lot of popularity recently and it fits way better than revolvers in my eyes.

I can definitely live with the whole pre-repeating/revolving firearms being the standard, even if it is just to satisfy the lore, basic logic and a certain "anti-gun" feeling to traditional fantasy.

I'm way more interested in the Arcadian magical guns (Monster Hunter!) and semi-modern guns like revolvers, though. The latter is the quintessential gunslinger after all and the former is just rad.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:

I also think that the Guns are fine options even before the improvements they discuss in the blog? Even the difference between bows and crossbows isn't all that large DPR-wise and crossbows are worse than guns.

They also discuss supplying us with Guns that aren't balanced around making being able to use the fatal trait, so they're on the right track anyway?

I think it is well documented by this point that guns are only a viable choice if you are extremely lucky, i.e. crit regularly. Same damage dice but half the number of shots vs bows will do that.

Hence my earlier confusion about this being the acceptable and popular standard. But that might just me misunderstanding the post, as it could just relate to the general idea of the theme and them generally being balanced like everything else, not their current mechanical implementation. But yes, the rest of the post - and the general competence of stuff in 2e so far - gives me a lot of confidence.

Was it? I don't think I ever saw numbers that put them far enough behind to be considered unviable.

Silver Crusade

Yeah, gonna need some receipts for that claim.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Karmagator wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
I'm happy with the Flintlock Fantasy emphasis on guns, its a genre that's been getting a lot of popularity recently and it fits way better than revolvers in my eyes.

I can definitely live with the whole pre-repeating/revolving firearms being the standard, even if it is just to satisfy the lore, basic logic and a certain "anti-gun" feeling to traditional fantasy.

I'm way more interested in the Arcadian magical guns (Monster Hunter!) and semi-modern guns like revolvers, though. The latter is the quintessential gunslinger after all and the former is just rad.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:

I also think that the Guns are fine options even before the improvements they discuss in the blog? Even the difference between bows and crossbows isn't all that large DPR-wise and crossbows are worse than guns.

They also discuss supplying us with Guns that aren't balanced around making being able to use the fatal trait, so they're on the right track anyway?

I think it is well documented by this point that guns are only a viable choice if you are extremely lucky, i.e. crit regularly. Same damage dice but half the number of shots vs bows will do that.

Hence my earlier confusion about this being the acceptable and popular standard. But that might just me misunderstanding the post, as it could just relate to the general idea of the theme and them generally being balanced like everything else, not their current mechanical implementation. But yes, the rest of the post - and the general competence of stuff in 2e so far - gives me a lot of confidence.

That has not been the case in my playtest group and I have never seen it "well documented" anywhere. In fact, the Gunslinger player in my group liked it so much as is that he kept his Gunslinger character to use in our ongoing home campaign. The class and the guns are by no means perfect, but we have all liked them well enough for now.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Was it? I don't think I ever saw numbers that put them far enough behind to be considered unviable.

Sorry, I have the bad habid of sometimes calling substantially sub-optimal options "not viable. They are definitely a viable option, just inferior to bows in the majority of situations. Again, the same damage per shot and literally half the rate if fire make that inevitable. But versatile B and high crit-damage, even if it is only a bit higher than that of bows past level 12, mean that they are still workable.

It is debatable that they are almost not viable vs bosses and mini-bosses, as you just put out so little damage without a crit as to be a non-entity in the fight. But I don't think it is that bad.


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Multiple people wrote:
Please give numbers for bows vs firearms

The main thing of concern to me would be a musket vs a longbow, as these seem to be the highest-damage options as far as either bows or firearms go. I do not want to get into the quagmire that is the arquebus. The gunslinger has an edge in its proficiency progression, so for the sake of simplicity I'll assume the other class is a fighter rather than something like a ranger, where comparisons would become more complicated.

A musket with Firearm Ace will be dealing Xd8+2 base damage, and a composite longbow will be dealing Xd8+1 base damage with +2 or +3 Str, up to Xd8+2 base damage with +4 or higher Str (level 5 at the earliest). The longbow will deal an extra 1d10 with its crits, and the musket will deal an extra 1d10+(2 per weapon die, on average). With no Striking runes, the bow is at -2 on crits relative to the musket (on dice only); with a Striking rune, the bow is at -4 on crits; with Greater Striking, the bow scales up to only be at -0.5; with Major Striking the bow pulls ahead to +3.

So the main question is how everything else the musket/gunslinger gets compares to how everything else the longbow/fighter gets. The musket has shorter range increments, but gets the versatile trait and doesn't have to deal with the volley trait. The fighter can take Point-Blank Shot to mitigate the volley property, and the current version of the gunslinger can take things like Running Reload and Risky Reload to squeeze in a move action and occasionally avoid having to reload.

At this point I'd consider the fighter ahead; a routine of 2 attacks and a move action, skill action, or third attack is somewhat repetitive, but works at all levels and works consistently. The gunslinger has slightly higher damage on its attacks, but has to contend with the Reload property and Risky Reload's swinginess. On good rounds, it'll squeeze in two attacks and a move; on bad rounds it'll get less than that. I didn't see the gunslinger get enough play for the Versatile trait to see any use, but I don't think it'll be able to compensate enough for the lower rate of fire.

Once you start accounting for things like the Double Shot line or various archetypes the comparison starts looking worse for the gunslinger, of course. You could make different comparisons with different builds and/or different weapons, but as long as Reload 1 exists and needs to be mitigated I suspect the outcome will be pretty similar. I don't think I've heard of a viable martial build for pre-existing Reload 1 weapons that doesn't involve the Precision ranger funneling damage onto one strong attack per round (sometimes with a weaker second attack), and this is something that 1) does not seem to be the direction the gunslinger is going to take and 2) requires investment in several specific feats - not a good design for an entire class tied to such weapons.

The direction the devs seem to intend to take the gunslinger seems workable: giving it more varied reloading options, one of them for free. It should reduce the taxiness and give the class real build variety.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Karmagator wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Was it? I don't think I ever saw numbers that put them far enough behind to be considered unviable.

Sorry, I have the bad habid of sometimes calling substantially sub-optimal options "not viable. They are definitely a viable option, just inferior to bows in the majority of situations. Again, the same damage per shot and literally half the rate if fire make that inevitable. But versatile B and high crit-damage, even if it is only a bit higher than that of bows past level 12, mean that they are still workable.

It is debatable that they are almost not viable vs bosses and mini-bosses, as you just put out so little damage without a crit as to be a non-entity in the fight. But I don't think it is that bad.

So notably, their rate of fire is better than you're suggesting because MAP makes 3 attacks on most builds undesirable anyway so- shoot, reload, shoot isn't that much worse than shoot, shoot, shoot, when that third shoot is at -10. Flurry Rangers change the alchemy a bit though.

Turn two it gets a little worse because you reload, shoot, reload, but then turn 3 you shoot reload, shoot again. its somewhere north of half but below the same number of shots.

You only lose 1 attack that would have been at -5 every time you do a full two turn cycle, so over a four turn combat you lose only two of the 8 attacks the longbow is making.

Of course, this is prior to any action economy perks you might use (if you have running reload, and you and a longbowman both have to move you claw an action back), and you get one shot back if you have another gun you can fire in your other hand to be able to shoot with your second action on the second turn (you would use dual weapon reload to hold the empty second shot gun while you continue your pattern.)

Scarab Sages

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But you aren’t necessarily trading a shot at -10 (which incidentally, with Expert->Legendary is not that bad to begin with). Without the action economy feats that you’re referencing, you can’t move and reload. You can’t demoralize with that third action. Or true strike (if you multiclass) or raise a shield. Or anything else but sit there and reload so that you can at least fire twice every other round. The feats that you are talking about like Running Reload are a benefit of the Gunslinger Class. They are not an aspect of guns that makes them equal to other weapons. That only the gunslinger class (ranger can a little as well) can make up for the deficiencies of the guns themselves is part of what people see as a problem. A martial gun is worse than a comparable martial bow. Having to take a specific class to make them equivalent, when you could be taking a class to make using the bow even better, is the issue.

I’m hopeful that things mentioned in the blog make the situation better (really looking forward to seeing what the higher base die no fatal gun looks like), but as long as they remain reload 1, without a significant damage boost, they are going to be behind bows by a noticeable amount, not just in terms of damage, but in terms of making use of the three action economy.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
You only lose 1 attack that would have been at -5 every time you do a full two turn cycle, so over a four turn combat you lose only two of the 8 attacks the longbow is making.

You're losing more actions than that, though.

Reload-Shoot-Reload and Shoot-Reload-Shoot means you're doing nothing but reloading and shooting all combat long. While the archer doing shoot-shoot-? is not only still making more attacks than you, but gets an extra action every round to do whatever they want.

Quote:
Of course, this is prior to any action economy perks you might use

Assuming the action you want to take is the same one that combines with your reload enhancer, yeah... but that's really part of the problem. The feat provides some narrow opportunity to equalize your action economy, but it's not really an action economy enhancer so much as a situational action economy equalizer. You're spending character resources to gain back the ability to just do what you could have done in the first place, and in return you get... uh, to do still less damage than you would otherwise.

That's the problem with guns (and crossbows and slings), you're spending character resources to try to mitigate the disadvantages of the weapons, but the weapons themselves aren't really meaningfully better to make up for those disadvantages to begin with.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Some math to help the discussion:

Comparing between a musket gunslinger and a longbow fighter, assuming a base 20% crit rate.

Firearms get 1.5 attacks per round, with 0.5 of those attacks being @ MAP-5. That means a damage per round of 0.5*X+0.2*Y+0.5*(0.4*X+0.05*Y), where X is the regular hit damage and Y is the crit damage. Simplified, we have 0.7*X+0.225*Y

Bows get 3 attacks per round, with 1 of those attacks @ MAP-5 and 1 @MAP-10. We will assume you need the third action each round for a non-Strike action (stride, PBS stance, etc), which reduces them to 2 attacks per round, 1 @ MAP-5. That means a damage per round of 0.5*X+0.2*Y+0.4*X+0.05*Y, where X is the regular hit damage and Y is the crit damage. Simplified, we have 0.9*X+0.25*Y.

Damage Comparison w/o Striking:
Ace Musket Damage @3 = 4.5+2 / 2*(5.5+2)+5.5 (6.5; 20.5)
Longbow @3 = 4.5+1 / 2*(4.5+1)+5.5 (5.5; 16.5)

Ace Musket DPR @3 = 9.1625
Longbow DPR@3 = 9.075

So far so good. They're basically neck and neck in terms of damage output. Lets look at once striking weapons kick in.


Damage Comparison w/ Striking:
Ace Musket Damage @5 = 9+2 / 2*(11+2)+5.5 (11; 31.5)
Longbow @5 = 9+1 / 2*(9+1)+5.5 (10; 25.5)

Ace Musket DPR @5 = 14.7875
Longbow DPR@5 = 15.375

Longbow pulls slightly ahead.


Damage Comparison w/ Greater Striking + damage property rune:
Ace Musket Damage @14 = 13.5+2+3.5+4 / 2*(16.5+2+3.5+4)+5.5 (23; 57.5)
Longbow @14 = 13.5+1+4+3.5 / 2*(13.5+1+4+3.5)+11 (22; 55)

Ace Musket DPR @14 = 29.0375
Longbow DPR@14 = 33.55

Longbow pulls a little further ahead.


So in summary, the musket's three action routine is neck and neck with the longbow's two action routine. The gunslinger needs to be rolling with running reload or other reload enhancers to regain the flexibility lost by reloading. The bow user has their third actions mostly free after taking an optional stance.

Looks like some other folks pointed out the same thing while I was typing.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, but I don't see that as that big a deal in and of itself, the weapons are still very usable, and feat support would likely make it worthwhile. Those are some close numbers.


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It's like other classes won't get gunfeats according to some. There's alot of playable ways and reload weapons could just be added flexibility for some players. Some like the "gamble" if they are going to get 1 shot as investigators and rogues might use before going in melee. I am happy to see the way it goes and wish to see different support for different classes. There still is playability for the fighter and guns, as they gett heavy armour and point blank stance. Ranger will get precision and versatile. When versatile B affects, it does alot. Funny thing is more and more, I believe that bows should be nerfed (composite if not all bows should get smaller deadly die as example, dd10 are really rare in the first place).

Bows can even outperform melee with right builds as it stands.

Higher burst of damage have its own benefits vs high total damage.

Put firearm ace on rangers (most probably happening if not combined with crossbow ace)
use hunters aim, take running reload and you get the damage dealer. I am excited to see the final result. Remember that even bows and swords require feats to be optimal

Scarab Sages

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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Yeah, but I don't see that as that big a deal in and of itself, the weapons are still very usable, and feat support would likely make it worthwhile. Those are some close numbers.

The numbers look close, but they're spotting the gun an entire action per turn. The gun is only getting 3 attacks every 2 turns by spending 6 actions. The bow is doing what it's doing with 4 actions. Again, the only way the gun makes up for that is class support.

Cellion is also granting a 20% crit chance. You are not going to have that very often against bosses, and not in a fair number of at level situations. Whether it's just higher AC, cover, or conditions they impose on you, there are going to be times when even the extra proficiency bonus can't improve your crit chance. The damage from guns falls off steeply in those situations (again, hoping that some of the mentioned options fix that, like the non-fatal guns).

Maybe bows are too powerful, but they are in the system and not likely to change. The playtest Gunslinger could spend 1 feat (Archer Dedication) and be better with a bow than with a gun. I'm hoping the reload assistance mentioned in the blog at least helps improve that situation.

This was the comparison I did back during the playtest. I compared a dueling pistol that always gets the benefit of Firearm Ace to a Composite Shortbow that always gets the benefit of Point-Blank Shot and starts with a 14 STR. (So assuming you've gotten into the reload cycle with the gun, and that you've been able to enter Point-blank Stance with the bow).

LINK to chart

Only when you also give the gun a free reload to bring it up to 2 attacks per round does it match 2 attacks from the shortbow. Three attacks from the shortbow leap ahead again, because anytime you have a 20% chance to crit, you also have a 20% chance to hit with your 3rd attack, which greatly cuts into the benefit of fatal on a slow firing weapon over just attacking more with a deadly weapon.

If it doesn't bother you that choosing to use a gun means you get to do less stuff and do less damage, then I can see why you don't see a problem. I'm really, really hoping that the changes are able to correct at least one of those two things. I don't have high hopes for both being corrected. But I might not mind doing a little less damage if I was doing cool things, or I might not mind not being able to do cool things if I was doing more damage. Not being able to do cool things and doing less damage just doesn't feel good.

Laki7z wrote:
It's like other classes won't get gunfeats according to some. There's alot of playable ways and reload weapons could just be added flexibility for some players.

I have no expectation that Ranger will get Firearm Ace. If it does, then Ranger will be a better Gunslinger than the Gunslinger. It already kind of was in the playtest. If it gets the same feat support that the Gunslinger gets, plus bonus damage from Precision Ranger, it's not going to be close.

I do think that classes like Investigator and Rogue will be able to make use of guns with the added options they are talking about. But not in the sense that they'll ever do as much damage as a martial class with a shortbow can do. But it's not as much of an issue if Rogue or Investigator is doing less damage in combat, because they have a ton of out of combat utility. Gunslinger has very little from the class to help them contribute out of combat (again, at least from the playtest). They are there to shoot guns. If they aren't good at that (compared to other martial classes doing their martial thing), then it's not going to be a fun class to play. If the changes make the Gunslinger class more effective and on par with other martials, then that's at least a start.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Yeah, but I don't see that as that big a deal in and of itself, the weapons are still very usable, and feat support would likely make it worthwhile. Those are some close numbers.

Well, with all due respect to your opinion, a lot of us don't feel that way. Especially because these numbers are not quite accurate and don't tell the entire story.

Firstly, you don't get Firearm Ace on the first shot of combat, so that shot is a die size smaller and doesn't get +2.

Secondly, there is so much more that plays into this. Just to give a short-ish list:

* guns are substantially more expensive
* the damage described requires a feat to achieve (so it is an unfair comparison)
* this is comparing a two-handed weapon to a non-two-handed weapon
* guns produce a lot of noise and smoke (which is pretty important pretty often)
* guns have substantially lower range increments
* if the gun user wants to move, ever, they are either down to 1 shot max per round or have to be level 4 and spend another class feat (if they even have it)

And that is just the problems with the guns themselves. When we take classes into account, it doesn't get better. Because here comes the kicker - comparing the ranged Fighter vs the Gunslinger is, while not without merit, not the comparison we should be making here. Because the Fighter is not a ranged weapon specialist and certainly not a class that takes advantage of the potential of bows.
A fairer comparison is still the Flurry Ranger with a shortbow (vs the gunslinger with a duelling pistol). Guaranteed 2 attacks per round with a good potential to get 3, at much greater range and with a free hand to do stuff with. All at level 1, with the same amount of feats (Hunted Shot)invested. So what if the gunslinger gets +2 on his first shot, I get the same accuracy on the second (or better starting at level 17) and a decent potential of substantially increasing my damage on the third. Meanwhile, if the Gunslinger wants to even move he has to basically be level 4 (and spend a class feat) and any actions that are not a Strike or Running Reload put him down to 1 attack. Meanwhile I essentially [i]always[i] have a minimum of 2 attacks.

Ok now, I think that is enough negativity from me, even if it is somewhat justified.


Karmagator wrote:
(snipped)

I was not a fan of the playtest gunslinger, but I think a couple of those points are overstated, specifically the first two.

For point 1, firearms (the level 0 ones, at least) are not significantly more expensive than a longbow. Additionally, composite bows, while level 0, are expensive enough that they usually can't be acquired with starting money.

For point 2, I think comparisons between a composite bow and a firearm with Firearm Ace are roughly fair, as even though the bow build doesn't need to spend a feat, it still needs to invest in Str a fair amount. A comparison of a Str +0 or non-composite bow with a firearm with Firearm Ace would usually be unfair, but I see most people comparing composite bows to Ace firearms.

I do also think that the bow fighter, if admittedly somewhat boring, is still pretty comparable to a flurry ranger. The fighter doesn't need to spend actions on Hunt Prey, which can often nullify the advantage Hunted Shot provides. Double Shot and Triple Shot (in conjunction with the fighter's proficiency boost) will outperform flurry ranger on rounds it's down an action due to Hunt Prey. It's a lot easier to compare fighter to gunslinger due to not needing to fiddle with AC calculations as much, since they're at the same attack bonus and fighter with only PBS is still a very strong competitor for gunslinger with all its feats.

Everything else I agree with, though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Muskets are simple weapons and long bows have major problems as adventuring weapons, at least as troublesome as the arquebus. The truth is that there are no guns that fit the same design space as bows, by design, and that makes these comparisons very difficult.

“Ranged combat” isn’t a combat style. No more than, “my character fights in melee” is a combat style.

A lot of folks seem to be trying to identify what weapon is capable of inflicting the most potential damage at range, doing nothing but firing repeatedly, and assuming that is the best ranged weapon. I think the bow is supposed to occupy that turf.

What about a character that only wants to take 1 shot a round, or maybe even just one or two shots a combat? What about a character that wants to fire, hide and sneak each round? It turns out guns +running reload are absolutely amazing for this. Other classes don’t have access to running reload? Hm, that does seem like a problem. It also seems like a super basic feat to tag on to a gun combat style archetype. Many many rogues will say thank you.

What about characters that want to switch hit with quick draw? It turns out that we are getting something to enable more easily shared runes between weapons to make a full 1 handed ranged weapon much better for this.

DPR damage comparisons are very difficult to do here fairly without dismissing features of the weapon that define its use. The stand still and shoot a lot style is a bow style in PF2. I’d probably prefer that to seeing the introduction of mini guns.


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egindar wrote:

I was not a fan of the playtest gunslinger, but I think a couple of those points are overstated, specifically the first two.

Neither are major points, that is correct. But given that firearms already have a major downside in reload, all these little things stack up.

Point one is definitely not that big of a deal, especially depending on what kind of AP/game you play. If you have the opportunity to earn some money or only get into some minor combat, it is not a problem. As a GM, I absolutely wouldn't let it become a problem, but I'm not the only GM out there.

But, right now, for a one-handed gunslinger to get an actual martial weapon, he would have to fork over 12 gp (3 times the price of a shortbow and twice that of a longbow) of his 15 gp just for a weapon without ammo. Armor is 2 gp. Then you have a whole 1 gp to spend on ammo and everything else, which is not even enough for a basic adventurers kit. 1sp for clothes, 1sp for a backpack. 1sp for necessities (bedroll, waterskin, etc.). Now you have to spend 4sp for actual food. So 3 sp for ammo and useful stuff. Again, workable, but can lead to some sticky situations early on.

Point two was more about comparing weapons as they are balanced (i.e. on their own). We already know that weapons are balanced against each other, rather than against each other in the context of a class. So, when talking about pure weapon balance, it is not particularly useful to bring feats into it. If we are talking in the context of a class (so fighter/ranger vs gunslinger), the whole Firearm Ace vs propulsive is ultimately of little relevance, correct. Neither is hard or inconvenient to achieve and once we get to level 5+, the 1 or 2 damage difference beyond the first shot (which is only a problem for simple weapons) matters little to the enemy hp pool.


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Unicore wrote:

Muskets are simple weapons and long bows have major problems as adventuring weapons, at least as troublesome as the arquebus. The truth is that there are no guns that fit the same design space as bows, by design, and that makes these comparisons very difficult.

[...]

A lot of folks seem to be trying to identify what weapon is capable of inflicting the most potential damage at range, doing nothing but firing repeatedly, and assuming that is the best ranged weapon. I think the bow is supposed to occupy that turf.

That is correct, bows are the "high ROF/low damage per shot" ranged weapon. They is absolutely fine and I don't think anyone is arguing about that. Guns conceptually fill the space of "low ROF/high damage per shot" weapons and that is how it is supposed to be as well. Guns simply do not hit harder than bows on a hit, thus they fail both in their purpose and their concept.

The problem is that, when all is said and done, the main metric is damage output. Because that is the entire point of weapons, ranged weapons in particular. Yes, there is other stuff that weapons can do (grapple, trip..etc.), but none of these apply to bows and guns. They deal damage at range and that is all they do. Therefore comparing damage is essential to any discussion about balance. If one option is clearly inferior in that department, then yes, the other is the best option.

In the universe, why would anyone trust their life to a clearly inferior weapon, if given the choice?

Unicore wrote:
“Ranged combat” isn’t a combat style. No more than, “my character fights in melee” is a combat style.

Well, maybe "combat style" is the wrong word. "Role" is much more appropriate. And what is the role of a martial character using ranged weapons in combat? Damage and lots of it, in most cases anyway. Melee characters have a bit more variety with the striker, bruiser and "tank" roles, but ranged attackers do not get that luxury. That is how it goes and feats reflect that fact.

Unicore wrote:
What about a character that only wants to take 1 shot a round, or maybe even just one or two shots a combat? What about a character that wants to fire, hide and sneak each round? It turns out guns +running reload are absolutely amazing for this. Other classes don’t have access to running reload? Hm, that does seem like a problem. It also seems like a super basic feat to tag on to a gun combat style archetype. Many many rogues will say thank you.

And if guns would support those playstyles, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. But they don't offer an upgrade over a bow in that scenario, so well... we do.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I guess? I still think the differential is being overstated, especially if the bow calculations are being done with propulsive.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:
I guess? I still think the differential is being overstated, especially if the bow calculations are being done with propulsive.

Well, firearm damage is calculated with Firearm Ace, which about equals out, doesn't it. After all, rangers and fighters naturally build strength anyway, which also makes them handy in melee to boot.

And even if there was no difference in the end, if one side has just do what they do anyway, not even invest feats, while the other side has to reach level 4 and invest two class feats to get even? That is just not fair.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Karmagator wrote:
Unicore wrote:

Muskets are simple weapons and long bows have major problems as adventuring weapons, at least as troublesome as the arquebus. The truth is that there are no guns that fit the same design space as bows, by design, and that makes these comparisons very difficult.

[...]

A lot of folks seem to be trying to identify what weapon is capable of inflicting the most potential damage at range, doing nothing but firing repeatedly, and assuming that is the best ranged weapon. I think the bow is supposed to occupy that turf.

That is correct, bows are the "high ROF/low damage per shot" ranged weapon. They is absolutely fine and I don't think anyone is arguing about that. Guns conceptually fill the space of "low ROF/high damage per shot" weapons and that is how it is supposed to be as well. Guns simply do not hit harder than bows on a hit, thus they fail both in their purpose and their concept.

The problem is that, when all is said and done, the main metric is damage output. Because that is the entire point of weapons, ranged weapons in particular. Yes, there is other stuff that weapons can do (grapple, trip..etc.), but none of these apply to bows and guns. They deal damage at range and that is all they do. Therefore comparing damage is essential to any discussion about balance. If one option is clearly inferior in that department, then yes, the other is the best option.

In the universe, why would anyone trust their life to a clearly inferior weapon, if given the choice?

Unicore wrote:
“Ranged combat” isn’t a combat style. No more than, “my character fights in melee” is a combat style.
Well, maybe "combat style" is the wrong word. "Role" is much more appropriate. And what is the role of a martial character using ranged weapons in combat? Damage and lots of it, in most cases anyway. Melee characters have a bit more variety with the striker, bruiser and "tank" roles, but ranged attackers do not get that luxury. That is how it goes and feats reflect that fact....

We have already been told that there are going to be more firearm options and more equipment and feats that interact with them to offset the places where the playtest options underperformed.

The Arquebus for example is a very good martial option, with a negative that is as bad as volley, without decent ways to offset it. In the play test, the equipment based option (the tripod) didn't really work out. The only reload feat option for snipers being one that involved moving didn't work with this weapon, leaving only the level 8 incredible shot feat left to make the weapon function.

But if we get a feat that lets snipers hide while reloading, without having to move, then a tripod works a whole lot better and that sniper is incredibly dangerous. Hiding also gives them a decent defensive boost as well.

I think the doom and gloom attitude towards guns was a little bit of an over reaction to looking at playtest options that were spread around to represent the things the developers most wanted to test out, not the things they thought players would say "this works perfectly, thank you."

THe bigger issue is that there are a lot of players, or at least playtesters that are very suspicious of anything that looks like crit fishing, and those players got pretty frightened by the idea that that was the only way the gunslinger would work. We'll see. The problem with higher base damage guns is that they are still going to have a reload time, and thus people will say that even with a D10 they are a bad option, as that is what people say about using a regular crossbow with crossbow ace. The Ranger gets that +D8 damage which makes the single shot build pretty powerful, but the problem is they pay for that with reduced accuracy. Take away the accuracy boost and all the fatal firearms fall behind bows very quickly. I don't think players that want firearms to just do massive damage on a regular hit, in compensation for having to reload, are going to end up being satisfied with firearms or gunslingers, but the developers here are clever and good at responding to collected feedback.

Scarab Sages

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
I guess? I still think the differential is being overstated, especially if the bow calculations are being done with propulsive.

Should the guns not be able to count fatal? Or factor in that they have versatile? Propulsive requires nothing except a little more gold initially and an investment in STR.

Gunslinger can dump STR to an extent, but that also doesn’t quite fit most of the archetypal gunslingers. And it definitely isn’t going to be true for Way of the Drifter gunslingers (not that they couldn’t, but they have incentive not to just like with propulsive).

Versatile isn’t accounted for in the chart or calculations, because it’s a difficult thing to factor in. But it’s also a pretty obvious one to guess at what would happen. If you’re fighting something with resistance to piercing or with a weakness to bludgeoning, the guns are going to look a lot better than they do in the chart. That doesn’t make them a good weapon overall. That makes them good in a particular situation. But in general, would I rather have +1 to +2 damage on every attack or +3 to +10 damage only against certain creatures? I’d rather have it every attack.


@Unicore

Absolutely, this is all talking about the as-is old stuff. I think we can all agree on the fact that Paizo has done a great job with pretty much all the stuff that was released for this edition so far. The problems are usually because they didn't have a chance to add a lot of things yet for things that are more niche, which is obviously not something you can seriously critique.

I'm not afraid of the final version of guns or the gunslinger being overshadowed by existing options. I've just made the mistake of becoming too invested in old stuff and arguments again, sorry XD


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It's interesting that everybody ignores volley (which no one really likes) in the "can guns keep pace with bows" calculations. Like the gunslinger ought to be *much* more comfortable fighting within one move action of their opponent than the longbow fighter is.

The Volley 20' really is inconvenient when you're like "fighting indoors".

Scarab Sages

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

It's interesting that everybody ignores volley (which no one really likes) in the "can guns keep pace with bows" calculations. Like the gunslinger ought to be *much* more comfortable fighting within one move action of their opponent than the longbow fighter is.

The Volley 20' really is inconvenient when you're like "fighting indoors".

The chart I posted was shortbow vs dueling pistol. Shortbow doesn’t have volley.

The numbers posted earlier were musket vs longbow, giving the musket Firearm Ace and the Longbow Point Blank Shot. So volley was removed by giving the longbow a feat just like the gunslinger was given a feat to improve their weapon.

Maybe arquebus vs longbow is a better comparison, but then you have to factor in unstable.

Edit: Essentially, volley has been factored in and not ignored.

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