The Crossbow Thread


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Mirror, Mirror wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:
dulsin wrote:


You are right about the crossbow not being a peasant weapon. It was the weapon of trained soldiers who were originally peasants.
...as opposed to trained soldiers that were originally nobles?

...or trained soldiers that were originally UNtrained soldiers!

But actually, there is a difference there. It was not really a knightly weapon, the warrior elite of Europe, but was not really a commoners weapon, either.

well, as far as I understand it; it existed since the antiquity, but its technological and efficiency 'height' in Europe corresponded pretty much with the advent of firearms, to which it lost the popularity contest despite the fact that late crossbow models were far superior to early firearms models...


Couple points.

Crecy was much the same - mud and distance meant exausted mounts and knights. The Mounts were disabled with the arrows (horsies must hate the english) and the knights floundered.

Not to mention the english had cannons...
"The English guns cast iron balls by means of fire...They made a noise like thunder and caused much loss in men and horses"

Then footmen moved in with stilletos and stabbed them thru their visors this was against the chivalric codes of warfare, since peasants were killing knights; knights were also dying from anonymous arrow shots rather than face to face in combat with peers. Ironic that the english leterally blew away chivalry thus the age of forepower as all began.

It probably didn't help either the french killed some of their own genoese crossbowmen after their strings got slack and the crossbow men ran as the french had a flat rule to never retreat.

But as with all the heroics mentioned in agincourt and other accounts off less than impartial sources - victors write the histories and plenty reitterate the stories of their parents or outdated books.

Its another historical myth that crossbows are easy they take more looking after than bows and of a sort that needs teaching ... waxing strings for a bow or crossbow is a skill any can master its like make-up for weapons, looking after machinery isn't... and the substantial extra tension everything is under requires more care so nothing breaks.

The 'bow' part of a crossbow does not move nearly as much as the bow part of a bow thus it can be made out of less flexible stronger materials where as real bows cannot (thus why many cheap crossbows have METAL arms and no bow I have seen has). So a mithril or darkwood crossbow that has extra hardness (assuming less flex) is possible unlike a mitheril or darkwood bow.

That said they are ALOT slower. Tho given that further dnd rule artefacts mean you can draw arrows from a quiver and fire the same speed you could shank an ex its pretty fitting that crossbows take a move or full round action and no more.


Actually there were steel bows in use in India. Thus a mithral bow would be an option. If the user was strong enough (perhaps an ogre or devil) you could even have adamantine bows.

These are thought to be where Tolkien got the idea for the Numenorean Steel Bow mentioned in Unfinished Tales as well as some of the Orcish bows being steel.

As recall there was also historical mention of steel bows from either Venice or Genoa.

-Weylin


The main problem with a steel bow isn't construction, it's having archers capable of drawing it fully and being able to hold what is essentially a large leaf-spring steady. A flatbow or longbow from wood are easier and cheaper to make and the majority of soldiers are going to be able to use it with some degree of proficiency; it doesn't call for the 1/1000 people strong enough to use a steel bow.


Lyingbastard wrote:

The main problem with a steel bow isn't construction, it's having archers capable of drawing it fully and being able to hold what is essentially a large leaf-spring steady. A flatbow or longbow from wood are easier and cheaper to make and the majority of soldiers are going to be able to use it with some degree of proficiency; it doesn't call for the 1/1000 people strong enough to use a steel bow.

Definitely, Lying. Was not saying they would be common, just that they would be possible. Especially in a fantasy setting where you have races who are considerably stronger than humans on average.

-Weylin


Weylin wrote:

(...) Especially in a fantasy setting where you have races who are considerably stronger than humans on average.

-Weylin

...or humans that are considerably stronger than humans on average.

PCs being the exception to the norm, such items could be stated out since it caters to them particularly. But for all we know, perhaps this is what a mighty composite bow +4 is made of...


Laurefindel wrote:
Weylin wrote:

(...) Especially in a fantasy setting where you have races who are considerably stronger than humans on average.

-Weylin

...or humans that are considerably stronger than humans on average.

PCs being the exception to the norm, such items could be stated out since it caters to them particularly. But for all we know, perhaps this is what a mighty composite bow +4 is made of...

Could just use fluff and flavor for a Might Composite Long Bow to be a steel bow.

I would actually prefer it to adding more weapons to the list.

-Weylin


Personally, I'd put a steel bow as a seperate item since its materials and construction would be entirely different than a composite bow. Composite bows can be made with stone-age materials using crude methods, a steel bow requires highly skilled metalsmiths, the availability would be wildly different.


Lyingbastard wrote:
Personally, I'd put a steel bow as a seperate item since its materials and construction would be entirely different than a composite bow. Composite bows can be made with stone-age materials using crude methods, a steel bow requires highly skilled metalsmiths, the availability would be wildly different.

how would you guys stat-it-out?

and what would the fundamental difference from a composite bow (mechanically speaking) be?


I would not consider the knowledge of properly layering of material to be crude myself. Several cultures never developed it.

Composite bows are actually fairly advanced weaponry. Knowing what materials to layer, in what order to layer them and what adhesives to use, then how to care for such a weapon is fairly advanced weapon making.

-Weylin


Laurefindel wrote:
Lyingbastard wrote:
Personally, I'd put a steel bow as a seperate item since its materials and construction would be entirely different than a composite bow. Composite bows can be made with stone-age materials using crude methods, a steel bow requires highly skilled metalsmiths, the availability would be wildly different.

how would you guys stat-it-out?

and what would the fundamental difference from a composite bow (mechanically speaking) be?

Honestly, i wouldnt change the stats from the composite bow really. You can even keep the might aspect by adding flavor text about the thickness of the bow itself.

-Weylin


Guys, don't get off topic. You're discussing bows now.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Guys, don't get off topic. You're discussing bows now.

Off topic on a thread? never happens.


I think pirates would use crossbows and ninjas would use bows !


Ok...

Following through all the great history lesson going on, and absorbing all this stuff I never knew is fun. (Thanks all!)

Having absorbed what has been talked about though we come back to the beginning of the issue. Some people believe that your crossbow should be stronger than your bow. Alright...

Shortbow 1d6 <> Light Crossbow 1d8
Longbow 1d8 <> Heavy Crossbow 1d10
Greatbow 1d10 <> Great Crossbow 2d8

So your "base" weapon is indeed "stronger" across the board already. And most crossbows have equal or greater range as well.

A crossobow also crits slightly more often than a bow. If you set up your crossbow user to take advantage of this fact, it more than makes up for the following...

On the issue of the "Mighty" or composite bow (which honestly is what your "steel" bow might even be a version of) is a weapon that only a very strong person can use. Considering that most archers are primary DEX based, I've personally rarely seen an archer in play with a STR above a 18 in the years I've been playing/running games. (And I made the character that did!) Usually my group has ended up with 14-15 STR archers, which at most evens the weapons on damage when the issue of composite strength bows is compared.

Allot of the flavor of a Crossbow might come from what you name it and if you just call your Great Crossbow a Arbalest it makes a certain amount of sense. It does 2d8 damage! Thats 6 points of potential damage over the largest bow. Compared to a (18 STR) Composite Longbow it still does 4 more points of potential damage. And guess what... no strength score is required to use it. With training any 10 STR character can use it. There is allot of leeway given to what the weapon looks like, how it functions, what it is made of... etc.

Overall - I think the rules already provided work fairly well. Does this seem to make sense?


Weylin wrote:

I would not consider the knowledge of properly layering of material to be crude myself. Several cultures never developed it.

Composite bows are actually fairly advanced weaponry. Knowing what materials to layer, in what order to layer them and what adhesives to use, then how to care for such a weapon is fairly advanced weapon making.

-Weylin

Several composite bows were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1324 BCE, in Chinese tombs from the Warring States Period (220-206 BCE), and in Rome around 9 CE. These were made using horn, wood, sinew, and animal glue. Even the Inuit Cable-Backed Bow is a form of composite bow, using wood, antler, baleen, and sinew. The later Mongol and Turkish composite bows were used up to the 17th century, and those models ARE of advanced construction, using laminate materials instead the three basic layers of horn, wood, and sinew.

Most of the old world used Composite Bows at some point or another. I think it can be argued that most barbarian cultures could or did make and use composite bows at some point (the Huns and Mongols certainly did), and to add the fantasy realm to it, the bows of the Orcs and Uruk-Hai in LOTR were Composite Bows of relatively crude manufacture.


As an aside... I found this neat video someone did on youtube of their homemade version of a repeating crossbow. Fairly educational!

>>CLICK HERE<<


Considering what I posted above in comparison...

Could everyone agree that a Greatbow is essentially a English or Welsh Longbow?

Could everyone agree that a Great Crossbow is essentially a Arbalest?


Lokie wrote:

Considering what I posted above in comparison...

Could everyone agree that a Greatbow is essentially a English or Welsh Longbow?

Could everyone agree that a Great Crossbow is essentially a Arbalest?

I would actually put the long bow as the english/welsh long bow. Great bow is getting closer to the area of the foot bow from India and China.

-Weylin


Lyingbastard wrote:

Several composite bows were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1324 BCE, in Chinese tombs from the Warring States Period (220-206 BCE), and in Rome around 9 CE. These were made using horn, wood, sinew, and animal glue. Even the Inuit Cable-Backed Bow is a form of composite bow, using wood, antler, baleen, and sinew. The later Mongol and Turkish composite bows were used up to the 17th century, and those models ARE of advanced construction, using laminate materials instead the three basic layers of horn, wood, and sinew.

Most of the old world used Composite Bows at some point or another. I think it can be argued that most barbarian cultures could or did make and use composite bows at some point (the Huns and Mongols certainly did), and to add the fantasy realm to it, the bows of the Orcs and Uruk-Hai in LOTR were Composite Bows of relatively crude manufacture.

Lying, that still leaves out many many cultures throughout history...most of south america comes to mind. As does most of sub-saharan Africa. Simple fact is that composite bows were not as widespread as simpler bows. Construction of such weapons is more advanced than simple bows and represents a large step forward in archery technology, thus far from crude methods.

-Weylin


Weylin wrote:


I would actually put the long bow as the english/welsh long bow. Great bow is getting closer to the area of the foot bow from India and China.

-Weylin

Hmm... interesting. Good thing the designers did not think this. Being forced to fire from prone would stink. :)


Lokie wrote:
Weylin wrote:


I would actually put the long bow as the english/welsh long bow. Great bow is getting closer to the area of the foot bow from India and China.

-Weylin

Hmm... interesting. Good thing the designers did not think this. Being forced to fire from prone would stink. :)

Yeah, the Great Bow is probably the Equivalent of the English War Bow (not the standard hunting long bows), or the Yumi bow.


Lokie wrote:
Weylin wrote:


I would actually put the long bow as the english/welsh long bow. Great bow is getting closer to the area of the foot bow from India and China.

-Weylin

Hmm... interesting. Good thing the designers did not think this. Being forced to fire from prone would stink. :)

except for the ballista like arrow you are firing in volley fire.

I agree the in-game great bow is probably closer to the english war bow, but I think the yumi might remain equal to the in-game long bow...you cannot actually make a full draw relative to the bows length because of the gripping technique and construction.

-Weylin


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think the Arbalest should be a martial weapon not an exotic weapon. Since the weapon is impossible to fire more than once a round even with the rapid reload feat it is far less powerful than a great bow.


dulsin wrote:

I think the Arbalest should be a martial weapon not an exotic weapon. Since the weapon is impossible to fire more than once a round even with the rapid reload feat it is far less powerful than a great bow.

maybe..

Greatbow does 1d10, crit 20x3.

Arbalest you suggested doing 2d8, crit 19-20x2. However, even with rapid reload, you would only be firing it at most once a round.

But, since you only get one shot, you would certainly be taking the Vital Strike chain.

I guess since you are loosing the extra attacks the Greatbow master could out-damage the Arbalest, but then you have the crit range. With imp crit, that's a 30% chance to crit every shot vs 10%, but with more shots and a better crit multiplier, that 10% adds up fast. However, the Greatbow IS an exotic weapon. And loki's post above does a good job of comparing the equivelant damages.

Overall, it seems the Great Crossbow, or Arbalest, should be a weapon step lower than the Great Bow, just like the Heavy Crossbow is a step lower than the Longbow. This justifies (IMO) making it a martial weapon.

And what a martial weapon! The slow RoF results in it doing less damage than a longbow eventually, but that is a long trip to get there. In some ways, it IS more feat intensive, since you really need Rapid Reload to get a shot every round. AND a shot every other round is just like doing 1d8 every round. With Rapid Shot the bowman does 2d8, gets double the bonuses, almost equivelant chances to crit (2 shots), better crit multiplier, but suffers a -2 to hit. Both look pretty equivelant...

So, if it's a strength 18 Great Crossbow, do you think it needs a full 18 str to draw quickly, or just a 14? I supported the 14 as an exotic weapon, but maybe making it a full 18 with the option of taking longer to load the weapon is more appropriate for a martial weapon.

And is a SA for every pt of strength bonus too slow? Should it be instead your str bonus applied every SA? So a 14 str soldier with an 18 str Arbalest would take 2 SA's to reload (bonus 2, twice, equals the +4 bonus for the bow).


The whole point of the heavier crossbows is that you had mechanical aids that made it possible for nearly anyone to pull them back... it just took time. Taking Rapid Reload means you have practiced your reload drill so that you can reload faster. The Crossbow Mastery feat as mentioned from the Pathfinder Campaign Setting book would allow you to do so as a free action no matter the crossbow. (perhaps you perfected the gearing to allow for a quicker reload)

Imposing a strength requirement on crossbows kind of seems against the grain or point of the thing.


Lokie wrote:
Imposing a strength requirement on crossbows kind of seems against the grain or point of the thing.

True, but why can't you have a +1 str bonus to damage on a crossbow, as opposed to a longbow or greatbow? THAT is what generally makes the crossbow lose out as a viable weapon: if you have the strength, you use a bow, because it WILL be better than the crossbow.

So, if you have a str crossbow, that consideration goes away. However, the -2 to att for not having the required str doesn't seem to make any sense for a crossbow. Thus, if you go through the effort to make a str crossbow, and you have the str, you can crank and fire just as you would a regular crossbow. With the PFCS feat, you get to use it like a bow (this is now 2 more feats than the bow user needs...)

However, if you don't have the str, you just need longer to draw it. So how long? I think most could draw even a very heavy bow in a round or two...

If you have a very mighty arbalest (str 40 or +15) and you have a 20 str (+5), it would take you 3 SA's to draw the arbalest, 3 MA's with Rapid Reload (so a shot every other round!).

At least, that's what I propose. I want to see more crossbow options for directed, single damage (thus a strength crossbow).

The Exchange

Mirror, Mirror wrote:
Lokie wrote:
Imposing a strength requirement on crossbows kind of seems against the grain or point of the thing.

True, but why can't you have a +1 str bonus to damage on a crossbow, as opposed to a longbow or greatbow? THAT is what generally makes the crossbow lose out as a viable weapon: if you have the strength, you use a bow, because it WILL be better than the crossbow.

So, if you have a str crossbow, that consideration goes away. However, the -2 to att for not having the required str doesn't seem to make any sense for a crossbow. Thus, if you go through the effort to make a str crossbow, and you have the str, you can crank and fire just as you would a regular crossbow. With the PFCS feat, you get to use it like a bow (this is now 2 more feats than the bow user needs...)

However, if you don't have the str, you just need longer to draw it. So how long? I think most could draw even a very heavy bow in a round or two...

If you have a very mighty arbalest (str 40 or +15) and you have a 20 str (+5), it would take you 3 SA's to draw the arbalest, 3 MA's with Rapid Reload (so a shot every other round!).

At least, that's what I propose. I want to see more crossbow options for directed, single damage (thus a strength crossbow).

I like the idea of a Mighty(+1-5str) Crossbow with the idea that you need to have that strength bonus to be able to load it unassisted.

A Mighty(+3str) Shocking Crossbow +1 has a nice sound to it.....


Actually we've statted up Arbalests as stone-throwing crossbows in the 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming book Gear & Treasure, due out in January 2010 I think.


Not sure I can agree with this. There is no hard and fast rule that says the crossbow HAS to do everything a bow can do. They are different weapons and have different strengths. A crossbow has a higher crit range and can be fired from prone for example. While a bow can only crit on a natural 20 and cannot be fired from prone.

Give any character EWP Great Crossobw and they can deal 2d8 damage per shot. For a archer to approach that max damage they need to spend a feat on EWP (Great Bow), a ton of extra money and have a 22 strength more than likely enhanced via magic to do the same damage on one shot. Yet for each gold piece spent on enhancing himself and his bow, the Great Crossbow wielder can spend the same amount on magical ammo or enhancements to his weapon as well.


Lokie wrote:

Not sure I can agree with this. There is no hard and fast rule that says the crossbow HAS to do everything a bow can do. They are different weapons and have different strengths. A crossbow has a higher crit range and can be fired from prone for example. While a bow can only crit on a natural 20 and cannot be fired from prone.

Give any character EWP Great Crossobw and they can deal 2d8 damage per shot. For a archer to approach that max damage they need to spend a feat on EWP (Great Bow), a ton of extra money and have a 22 strength more than likely enhanced via magic to do the same damage on one shot. Yet for each gold piece spent on enhancing himself and his bow, the Great Crossbow wielder can spend the same amount on magical ammo or enhancements to his weapon as well.

During one of the campaigns of John Hawkwood involved street-fighting in one of the cities of Italy, and while his longbowmen had the edge in range, the fact that they fired in arcs, while crossbows fired at a flat trajectory, game them a significant disadvantage in the hilly and narrow streets against the defending crossbowmen.


Lokie wrote:
Not sure I can agree with this. There is no hard and fast rule that says the crossbow HAS to do everything a bow can do. They are different weapons and have different strengths. A crossbow has a higher crit range and can be fired from prone for example. While a bow can only crit on a natural 20 and cannot be fired from prone.

I agree they should be different, but things the crit range is balanced against other weapons using the same mechanics (19-20x2 = 20x3), and things like firing from prone are actually worse in game than in reality (-4AC).

Lokie wrote:
Give any character EWP Great Crossobw and they can deal 2d8 damage per shot. For a archer to approach that max damage they need to spend a feat on EWP (Great Bow), a ton of extra money and have a 22 strength more than likely enhanced via magic to do the same damage on one shot. Yet for each gold piece spent on enhancing himself and his bow, the Great Crossbow wielder can spend the same amount on magical ammo or enhancements to his weapon as well.

Or the bow user took Rapid Shot and is using a longbow (1d8 twice). almost the same chance of criting, better multiplier, bonus damage twice, but -2 to hit. Seems like a fair trade to me.

Later on, the bow user gets interiative attacks, many shot, and magical/strength bonuses.

The Great Crossbow will never get those extra attacks, and so gets the Vital Strike chain, which does less damage than the multiple bow shots.

So the Great Crossbow is still not quite a bow, but is a single-shot monster and much more viable than a bow for a non-specialist.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mirror, Mirror wrote:

And what a martial weapon! The slow RoF results in it doing less damage than a longbow eventually, but that is a long trip to get there. In some ways, it IS more feat intensive, since you really need Rapid Reload to get a shot every round. AND a shot every other round is just like doing 1d8 every round. With Rapid Shot the bowman does 2d8, gets double the bonuses, almost equivelant chances to crit (2 shots), better crit multiplier, but suffers a -2 to hit. Both look pretty equivelant...

So, if it's a strength 18 Great Crossbow, do you think it needs a full 18 str to draw quickly, or just a 14? I supported the 14 as an exotic weapon, but maybe making it a full 18 with the option of taking longer to load the weapon is more appropriate for a martial weapon.

Which is why the weapon should be priced out of the hands of a level 1 character. At 200gp it will be a stretch to get even at level 2. It is also a great reason to keep the strength penalties harsh.

If you don't have a 20 str then there must be severe penalties to using a Str 20 weapon.


Mirror, Mirror wrote:


I agree they should be different, but things the crit range is balanced against other weapons using the same mechanics (19-20x2 = 20x3), and things like firing from prone are actually worse in game than in reality (-4AC).

You have -4AC from firing prone against melee, you have +4AC against ranged. If you are using a crossbow prone in melee you deserve what you get. They can walk up, step on your neck, and pierce your heart/lungs.

Most DM's would give you circumstance bonuses to stealth for being prone with cover, much harder to see than a person standing up. You can probably also get a circumstance bonus to hit as shooting from prone(at least firearms, I've never shot a crossbow) is much more accurate than fireing from a standing or even crouched position.

A medium sized weapon that does 2d8 damage, I would price it at least 400, where the repeating heavy crossbow is. Probably more, no other weapon can do that unless you go large size. Everyone would want one for the first round of battle for a pot shot.


"Stand Up (Ex): A rogue with this ability can stand up from a prone position as a free action. This still provokes attacks of opportunity for standing up while threatened by a foe."


Mirror, Mirror wrote:
Lokie wrote:
Not sure I can agree with this. There is no hard and fast rule that says the crossbow HAS to do everything a bow can do. They are different weapons and have different strengths. A crossbow has a higher crit range and can be fired from prone for example. While a bow can only crit on a natural 20 and cannot be fired from prone.

I agree they should be different, but things the crit range is balanced against other weapons using the same mechanics (19-20x2 = 20x3), and things like firing from prone are actually worse in game than in reality (-4AC).

Lokie wrote:
Give any character EWP Great Crossobw and they can deal 2d8 damage per shot. For a archer to approach that max damage they need to spend a feat on EWP (Great Bow), a ton of extra money and have a 22 strength more than likely enhanced via magic to do the same damage on one shot. Yet for each gold piece spent on enhancing himself and his bow, the Great Crossbow wielder can spend the same amount on magical ammo or enhancements to his weapon as well.

Or the bow user took Rapid Shot and is using a longbow (1d8 twice). almost the same chance of criting, better multiplier, bonus damage twice, but -2 to hit. Seems like a fair trade to me.

Later on, the bow user gets interiative attacks, many shot, and magical/strength bonuses.

The Great Crossbow will never get those extra attacks, and so gets the Vital Strike chain, which does less damage than the multiple bow shots.

So the Great Crossbow is still not quite a bow, but is a single-shot monster and much more viable than a bow for a non-specialist.

A Vital Strike with a Great Crossbow would be 4d8 before any other modifiers. Thats 4 shots with a regular longbow. Improved Vital Strike with a Great Crossbow would deal 6d8 before any other modifiers. 6 Shots with a regular longbow. Greater Vital Strike would be 8d8 or 8 shots with a regular longbow again before any modification.

This shot is made at your highest attack mod. and could still include modifiers to damage from magic, weapon specialization, greater weapon specialization, point blank shot, and deadly aim. The fact that the Crossbow user is not taking penalties on the single attack as a Longbow user (composite or not) is taking on Rapid Shot or Multi-shot and constantly decreasing to hit bonus on each attack after.

So yes... you are not letting loose a flurry of arrows (some missing) against multiple targets. But the one target you shot will most assuredly feel it. I say thats fair. :)

But wait there more! As has been mentioned the crossbow user can spend the entire feat tree for Crossbow Mastery out of the PFCS and be able to fire and reload any crossbow as a free action. If you really wanted to... you could be making multiple attacks per round just like the longbowman.

I see the Crossbow being a weapon with a heavy punch against one target at a time. The longbow is good for a flurry of arrows against multiple targets dealing slightly less damage per hit. (Again - Not every bowman will have the 22 strength required for their composite bow to deal the same damage as the great crossbow on every single shot)

More shots vs. heavier punch. A good balance to choose between the two.


Lokie wrote:
A Vital Strike with a Great Crossbow would be 4d8 before any other modifiers. Thats 4 shots with a regular longbow. Improved Vital Strike with a Great Crossbow would deal 6d8 before any other modifiers. 6 Shots with a regular longbow. Greater Vital Strike would be 8d8 or 8 shots with a regular longbow again before any modification.

FYI, Vital Strike does not multiply ANY additional bonuses, so it would be 8 shots, but only applying WS, PBS, magic, str, etc. once vs up to 8 times.

Or rather 5 + 1 unmodified from manyshot.

And, yes, the crossbow mastery feat can be taken eventually, but it is a longer feat chain and really does not significantly improve the damage over the longbow (1d8, no modifiers, avg 4.5dmg) or the greatbow (avg 3.5dmg).

So you do the same thing with this crossbow that you do with a longbow, but it takes you 2 more feats (rapid reload + crossbow mastery). 4.5dmg per shot for 2 feats is slightly better than WS and GWS, but only slightly.

I agree that it's a powerful weapon, and a cost of 200gp ought to keep it out of the hands of the commoners. The intensive feat chain may make maxing it's poetntial worth it for the dedicated fighter, but few others.

If you really think the crossbow mastery feat makes this too much, just say that Arbalest's do not count as crossbows. Thus, Rapid Reload needs to be takes specifically for the Arbalest, while crossbow mastery is excluded.


As a cleric with the crossbow (simple weapon) or great crossbow. Not only can you do the above but you can add divine favour, anarchic or holy etc depending on your domain choice and righteous might for the die increase.


Mirror, Mirror wrote:
Lokie wrote:
A Vital Strike with a Great Crossbow would be 4d8 before any other modifiers. Thats 4 shots with a regular longbow. Improved Vital Strike with a Great Crossbow would deal 6d8 before any other modifiers. 6 Shots with a regular longbow. Greater Vital Strike would be 8d8 or 8 shots with a regular longbow again before any modification.

FYI, Vital Strike does not multiply ANY additional bonuses, so it would be 8 shots, but only applying WS, PBS, magic, str, etc. once vs up to 8 times.

Or rather 5 + 1 unmodified from manyshot.

*SNIP*

Agreed. This is why I said "before modifiers" and "regular longbow". I was simply stating the amount of shots you would need to hit to equal the dice of one shot from the crossbow on a vital strike.

True, you can add your bonuses to damage multiple times for a longbow, however you also have just as many chances to miss the more shots you make at increasing penalties. (Rarely have I consistently seen full flurries of arrows all hit past the first shot.) So always counting on those numbers and saying that the bow is "better" than the crossbow is actually a myth.

I'm not putting the crossbow up as the be all end all weapon... I'm just saying that anything you can do with a bow, I can roughly equal with a crossbow. In Pathfinder, both crossobows and longbows are about equal.

For example two 6th level human fighters assuming weapon focus/training/specialization... basically working under elite array. 14 STR and 18 DEX (15 +2 racial +1 4th level) firing at an AC 20 target.

(Note: I'm not a math/statistics major so check my numbers)

Vital Strike with a great crossbow using deadly aim from a 6th level fighter would be 4d8 +7. (11-39) With a +10 to hit. 50% chance to hit.

A 14 STR Composite Longbow (Again the norm from what I've seen) using rapid shot and weapon spec. from a 6th level fighter would be 1d8 +5 each for 3 shots. 3d8 +15 IF they all hit. (18-39) With a +10/+10/+5 or 50%/50%/25% chance to hit.

The longbow has a slight edge on low end damage but were the last shot to miss (as often would happen) you deal 2d8 +10 (12-26)

The fighter with the longbow could also opt to use deadly aim... but at an additional penalty (-2) for +8/+8/+3 (better have some hot dice) for +12 more damage if you hit all three times. (need to roll two 12's and a 17)

Assuming first two hit (20-32 damage)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Lokie wrote:

For example two 6th level human fighters assuming weapon focus/training... basically working under elite array. 14 STR and 18 DEX (15 +2 racial +1 4th level)

Vital Strike with a great crossbow using deadly aim from a 6th level fighter would be 4d8 +7. (11-39) With a +10 to hit.

A 14 STR Composite Longbow (Again the norm from what I've seen) using rapid shot and weapon spec. from a 6th level fighter would be 1d8 +5 each for 3 shots. 3d8 +15 IF they all hit. (18-39) With a +10/+10/+5

The longbow has a slight edge on low end damage but were the last shot to miss (as often would happen) you deal 2d8 +10 (12-26)

This example is not a good one because Deadly Aim is just a better feat than Rapid Shot, and you have the bow-user not using Deadly Aim.

Let's say you have Cary the crossbowman and Bob the bowman. Cary is using Vital Strike and Deadly Aim, and Bob is using Manyshot and Rapid Shot and Deadly Aim. (Admittedly Bob is using more feats, but then again we're talking about 6th-level fighters.) They're each shooting at a wyvern flying around overhead, far enough that PBS isn't applicable but close enough that range penalties aren't kicking in.

Cary has a to-hit of +15 (+6 BAB, +4 from natural dex, +1 from a +1 weapon, +1 Weapon Focus, +1 from dex-boosting item, +1 weapon training). His crossbow bolts do 2d8+5 (+1 magic weapon, +1 weapon training, +2 weapon specialization).

Bob has a to-hit of +15/+10 (+6 BAB, +4 from natural dex, +1 from a +1 weapon, +1 Weapon Focus, +1 from dex-boosting item, +1 weapon training) and his arrows do d8+7 (+2 str, +1 magic weapon, +1 weapon training, +2 weapon specialization).

Cary aims his one shot carefully, and fires. With Vital Strike and Deadly Aim, he needs a 6+ to hit the AC 19 wyvern, and does 4d8+9 damage on a hit. He has a 75% chance to hit for an average of 27 damage.

Bob on the other hand, fires off a salvo of four swiftly-fired arrows. With Deadly Aim, Manyshot, and Rapid Shot, he needs a 8+ (for two hits)/8+/13+ to hit, and each arrow does an average of 15.5 damage. If he drops Rapid Aim, he needs 6+ to do 31 damage on average and also gets a 11+ to do 15.5 more.

Next turn, Bob does it again, while Cary reloads his pocket ballista, if we're talking about the great crossbow from Races of Stone.

The new PF archery feats mean that crossbows just plain suck compared to bows.


A Man In Black wrote:
Lokie wrote:

For example two 6th level human fighters assuming weapon focus/training... basically working under elite array. 14 STR and 18 DEX (15 +2 racial +1 4th level)

Vital Strike with a great crossbow using deadly aim from a 6th level fighter would be 4d8 +7. (11-39) With a +10 to hit.

A 14 STR Composite Longbow (Again the norm from what I've seen) using rapid shot and weapon spec. from a 6th level fighter would be 1d8 +5 each for 3 shots. 3d8 +15 IF they all hit. (18-39) With a +10/+10/+5

The longbow has a slight edge on low end damage but were the last shot to miss (as often would happen) you deal 2d8 +10 (12-26)

This example is not a good one because Deadly Aim is just a better feat than Rapid Shot, and you have the bow-user not using Deadly Aim.

Let's say you have Cary the crossbowman and Bob the bowman. Cary is using Vital Strike and Deadly Aim, and Bob is using Manyshot and Rapid Shot and Deadly Aim. (Admittedly Bob is using more feats, but then again we're talking about 6th-level fighters.) They're each shooting at a wyvern flying around overhead, far enough that PBS isn't applicable but close enough that range penalties aren't kicking in.

Cary has a to-hit of +15 (+6 BAB, +4 from natural dex, +1 from a +1 weapon, +1 Weapon Focus, +1 from dex-boosting item, +1 weapon training). His crossbow bolts do 2d8+5 (+1 magic weapon, +1 weapon training, +2 weapon specialization).

Bob has a to-hit of +15/+10 (+6 BAB, +4 from natural dex, +1 from a +1 weapon, +1 Weapon Focus, +1 from dex-boosting item, +1 weapon training) and his arrows do d8+7 (+2 str, +1 magic weapon, +1 weapon training, +2 weapon specialization).

Cary aims his one shot carefully, and fires. With Vital Strike and Deadly Aim, he needs a 6+ to hit the AC 19 wyvern, and does 4d8+9 damage on a hit. He has a 75% chance to hit for an average of 27 damage.

Bob on the other hand, fires off a salvo of four swiftly-fired arrows. With Deadly Aim, Manyshot, and Rapid Shot, he needs a 8+ (for two hits)/8+/13+...

I actually edited to include deadly aim on the bowman, however if we give our crossbowman rapid reload he is now firing once a round... no biggy. (yes the example great crossbow I'm using is the one from Races of Stone)

As I said... my actual at-table experiences tell me very rarely will you be hitting multiple times on a flurry of arrows... even less so the more feats you add to tweak the amount of shots/damage you deal.

Everyones mileage may vary.

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Lokie wrote:
I actually edited to include deadly aim on the bowman, however if we give our crossbowman rapid reload he is now firing once a round... no biggy. (yes the example great crossbow I'm using is the one from Races of Stone)

Rapid Reload makes no mention of Great Crossbows. This is a houserule, albeit a reasonable one.

Quote:
As I said... my actual at-table experiences tell me very rarely will you be hitting multiple times on a flurry of arrows... even less so the more feats you add to tweak the amount of shots/damage you deal.

wut.

Cary with Deadly Aim/Vital Strike needs 6+ to do 27 damage.

Bob with Manyshot/Deadly Aim needs 6+ to do 31 damage and he gets a second shot to boot.

Cary is just worse than Bob and it gets worse the higher they go in level. This could not be simpler.


A Man In Black wrote:
Lokie wrote:
I actually edited to include deadly aim on the bowman, however if we give our crossbowman rapid reload he is now firing once a round... no biggy. (yes the example great crossbow I'm using is the one from Races of Stone)

Rapid Reload makes no mention of Great Crossbows. This is a houserule, albeit a reasonable one.

Quote:
As I said... my actual at-table experiences tell me very rarely will you be hitting multiple times on a flurry of arrows... even less so the more feats you add to tweak the amount of shots/damage you deal.

wut.

Cary with Deadly Aim/Vital Strike needs 6+ to do 27 damage.

Bob with Manyshot/Deadly Aim needs 6+ to do 31 damage and he gets a second shot to boot.

Cary is just worse than Bob and it gets worse the higher they go in level. This could not be simpler.

Hmm... true... I had not included manyshot in my calculations. That feat is highly unbalancing as it effectively gives the archer a free shot.

Though... Manyshot is "weak" vs. DR as both arrows have DR applied against each. The higher the DR, the more overall damage it would sap from the unprepared archer. Against hard targets with DR... a vital striking crossbow user does have a slight advantage as it would only apply once. A DR 5/- creature would knock 10 points of damage off of Bob's 31 while only subtracting 5 from Cary's 27. A DR 10/- would knock off 20 points off of Bob's 31 while only subtracting 10 from Cary's 27. A DR 15/- would practically negate Bob's damage and leave Cary with a still hefty 12 points.

Not huge... but still something.


Thinking about this... I may want to develop something feat-wise just for crossbowman to balance them vs. the Manyshot of a bowman. A feat that played off of the "single shot" strength of the crossobow.

Call it "Piercing Shot" or something like that. Against targets with DR a crossbowman would deal +5 damage.

Instead of trying to compete point to point... instead go another direction and give the crossbow a new specific strength against DR.


Lokie wrote:
Instead of trying to compete point to point... instead go another direction and give the crossbow a new specific strength against DR.

Well, massive damage from a single source is essentially saying the weapon is strong vs DR. However, with magic plusses bypassing DR, the issue is less important than it used to be.

I think the real weakness of the crossbow is actually a weakness of the Vital Strike feat. FWIW.


Dreaming Warforged wrote:
One idea that sprung during the playtest was the Mighty crossbow, where you could add your STR to the damage, much as it works for a composite bow. The cost would be way higher, as it is a simple weapon, in part, and the strength would be necessary for the loading.

The extra effort to load such a crossbow would probably drastically increase the load time and reduce the usefulness.

I'd much rather be able to load as a free action and fire quickly.
IMO, it's better to fire off several weaker shots rather than one stronger shot.
Quantity over quality.


Shadow13.com wrote:

The extra effort to load such a crossbow would probably drastically increase the load time and reduce the usefulness.

I'd much rather be able to load as a free action and fire quickly.
IMO, it's better to fire off several weaker shots rather than one stronger shot.
Quantity over quality.

That is usually the case, except when you face DR. But even then, a well equipped adventurer will carry appropriate ammunition or else face a DR that is to high to mitigate even with high damaging weapons anyway.

However, I have a 'conceptual' issue with fast-action crossbows. I think that high rate of fire should stay the domain of the bow, and that high damage, armor penetration and ease of aim should be the crossbow's advantages over bows.

I'd be too bad if after two feats the bow and crossbow end-up being identical (albeit a 19-20 threat on one and a x3 crit multiplier on the other).

my 2 coppers...

'findel


Laurefindel wrote:


That is usually the case, except when you face DR. But even then, a well equipped adventurer will carry appropriate ammunition or else face a DR that is to high to mitigate even with high damaging weapons anyway.

However, I have a 'conceptual' issue with fast-action crossbows. I think that high rate of fire should stay the domain of the bow, and that high damage, armor penetration and ease of aim should be the crossbow's advantages over bows.

I'd be too bad if after two feats the bow and crossbow end-up being identical (albeit a 19-20 threat on one and a x3 crit multiplier on the other).

my 2 coppers...

'findel

Its more like 4 feats total for the entire feat tree... including Crossbow Mastery itself. (3 if you don't count Point Blank Shot) For rapid fire style its far easier to just pick up a Repeating Crossbow anyway for just one feat.

As far as using Rapid Reload with a Great Crossbow... as others have pointed out it is a house rule to use. You'd need Crossbow Mastery to "officially" be able to rapidly fire a Great Crossbow.

So from a conceptual standpoint... its as simple a matter as sticking to the RAW and not allowing feats from the PFCS to keep heavy and ultra-heavy crossbows from firing at the same rate as a bow.

Although the math might say "crossbows just plain suck compared to bows" I personally still prefer being able to fire one shot and outright kill a target from damage over having to fire multiple times. There is a certain psychological factor to the enemy watching his friend have a huge hole blown through his torso or watching his friends head nearly torn off from a huge crossbow bolt impact. Used with the improved critical feat and critical focus those impacts are even more nasty and happen more often on top of a vital strike. With Bleeding Critical those wounds are most likely going to be fatal if they don't kill right off. A 4 in 20 chance of threatening a critical on top of a vital strike. (4d8 for the crit + modifiers twice with an additional 2d8, 4d8, or 6d8 from the vital strike tree.)

If you just focus with great crossbows from the beginning of a fighters career you'll have more feats to spend on the critical feat trees because of the fact that you cannot use rapid reload or multishot anyway. If you pick up the rich parents pathfinder trait, you'll even be able to afford your great crossbow at first level.

One of these days... I'm going to create "Quigley Down Under" inspired great crossbow fighter.


Lokie wrote:


Although the math might say "crossbows just plain suck compared to bows" I personally still prefer being able to fire one shot and outright kill a target from damage over having to fire multiple times.

Yes, I agree with that part...

And yes, having bows and crossbows identical after two feats was an exaggeration. I just meant that I would prefer an approach would make crossbows mechanically distinct from bows.

'findel

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Lokie wrote:

Hmm... true... I had not included manyshot in my calculations. That feat is highly unbalancing as it effectively gives the archer a free shot.

Though... Manyshot is "weak" vs. DR as both arrows have DR applied against each. The higher the DR, the more overall damage it would sap from the unprepared archer. Against hard targets with DR... a vital striking crossbow user does have a slight advantage as it would only apply once. A DR 5/- creature would knock 10 points of damage off of Bob's 31 while only subtracting 5 from Cary's 27. A DR 10/- would knock off 20 points off of Bob's 31 while only subtracting 10 from Cary's 27. A DR 15/- would practically negate Bob's damage and leave Cary with a still hefty 12 points.

Not huge... but still something.

Archers have the least problem with DR, due to the ability to switch ammo, and you're going to find that many arrows is still more damage than a single arrow against level-appropriate DR.

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