Heavy Crossbows: They still suck?


Advice

151 to 200 of 259 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>

The bow gets Manyshot, so the first shot is actually 2d8 rather than 1d8. The -2 from Rapid Shot is also usually worthwhile to get out two attacks at nearly your full bonus although that's somewhat situational depending on AC.


Devilkiller wrote:
The bow gets Manyshot, so the first shot is actually 2d8 rather than 1d8. The -2 from Rapid Shot is also usually worthwhile to get out two attacks at nearly your full bonus although that's somewhat situational depending on AC.

Manyshot doesn't just add weapon damage like vital strike, it adds EVERYTHING save precision damage or crit damage.

Manyshot blows the entire Vital Strike chain out of the water for that one reason.


I don't deny it, I merely point out the relative strength of the crossbow if you are employing it against a high-AC target improves.

Add in some of the mechanical features we have already discussed, and the crossbow starts getting rather tasty.

For example, if the crossbow was an arbolest it could increase base damage to 2d8, which when you factor in Vital Strike scales up to a base 36 damage before adding in the weapon bonus and other features. A +5 weapon with +7 from special damage rises to 48 average damage, not so bad against the longbow's 51.


One thing that people seem to forget about crossbows. No strength penalty. If you are playing your elven wizard sporting a 7 strength, wielding a longbow does 1d8-2 damage, whereas a heavy crossbow still does the 1d10. Not much love for the heavy crossbow in particular but is some love for a crossbow. Crossbows are the only range weapon in core that aren't penalized by a low strength.


SuperTKO wrote:
One thing that people seem to forget about crossbows. No strength penalty. If you are playing your elven wizard sporting a 7 strength, wielding a longbow does 1d8-2 damage, whereas a heavy crossbow still does the 1d10. Not much love for the heavy crossbow in particular but is some love for a crossbow. Crossbows are the only range weapon in core that aren't penalized by a low strength.

Unfortunately, that still leaves crossbows as nothing more then "What wizards use when they run out of spells at level 1 or 2"

Sovereign Court

ProfessorCirno wrote:
SuperTKO wrote:
One thing that people seem to forget about crossbows. No strength penalty. If you are playing your elven wizard sporting a 7 strength, wielding a longbow does 1d8-2 damage, whereas a heavy crossbow still does the 1d10. Not much love for the heavy crossbow in particular but is some love for a crossbow. Crossbows are the only range weapon in core that aren't penalized by a low strength.
Unfortunately, that still leaves crossbows as nothing more then "What wizards use when they run out of spells at level 1 or 2"

Yeah, it doesn't really make them potent, rather just a crutch. It would be far better if they had enough potency to make martial characters stand up and take notice.


Mok wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
SuperTKO wrote:
One thing that people seem to forget about crossbows. No strength penalty. If you are playing your elven wizard sporting a 7 strength, wielding a longbow does 1d8-2 damage, whereas a heavy crossbow still does the 1d10. Not much love for the heavy crossbow in particular but is some love for a crossbow. Crossbows are the only range weapon in core that aren't penalized by a low strength.
Unfortunately, that still leaves crossbows as nothing more then "What wizards use when they run out of spells at level 1 or 2"
Yeah, it doesn't really make them potent, rather just a crutch. It would be far better if they had enough potency to make martial characters stand up and take notice.

I agree that there should be more mechanical options on the crossbow: multi-shots, stronger spans etc. that would attract the martial character by making the crossbow viable as a second weapon. Let's face it, every character really wanting to be a missile specialist is going to favour the bow because it has the rate of fire that counts above all else.

For a second weapon for the melee specialist, the crossbow should be a viable option, and could be if the fighter had the option for a double-shooting extra-heavy crossbow (two bows, two attacks at 2d6 or 2d8 damage instead of one at 1d10) rather than just the standard heavy crossbow.

The Exchange

Hmmm... Heavy Crossbows: they still suck?

Interesting question.

Historical arguments and comparisons are interesting, but I'll stick to game stuff here (after all, once you start down that path you get onto some of the much more ridiculous stuff: like spears you can't use in one hand, or bucklers you can punch people with...).

The best damage of all the simple weapons, and the best range of any weapon... I'd say no, they don't 'suck'.

As others have pointed out, it's more to do with what you want the weapon for than any innate 'suckage'.

Martial weapons are meant to be better than simple weapons - after all, being proficient with martial weapons is a class feature you don't want to cheapen by making all the best weapons easily accessable to everyone. Anyone but a Druid can use a crossbow as part of their basic class features. Heck, even a Commoner can use one if she selects that as her one 'simple' weapon of choice.

As for Wizards only using heavy crossbows when their spells run out... I guess that depends on play style. Sure you can now cast Acid Splash or Ray of Frost all day, but at close range and 1d3 damage it can be a bit of a token effort, even if they are nice ranged touch attacks. I guess if you follow the play style where you get exactly the right number of encounters for the casters' number of spells to be of critical use in each and every one, then you all go to sleep, then I can see the argument for why you'd not bother with a crossbow (or any weapon for that matter... or even any Fighters in the party...) - but that seems more '4th edition' to me than Pathfinder.

On the other hand, if your games mix up a bit of variety, then the characters having more options is never going to be a bad thing. Instead of that Magic Missile spell, maybe an arcane caster uses two heavy crossbows, a big stack of bolts, and an Unseen Servant to load and pass the things to him... for an hour per level... a potential 1d10 damage per turn... at up to 1,200 ft range... and look, he's still got the rest of his spells left for when he needs them (and hasn't had to invest a single Feat to do it either)! Range and cover are also your friend... (Try this DMs - have one 1st level apprentice Wizard defending his master's tower all by himself like this, firing his crossbow through an arrow slit: at the very least the party will expend more resources than the really should trying to stop him).

Of course there's also spells you can cast on the bolts themselves - starting with the basic Light cantrip cast on a crossbow bolt to let you take a look down that long corridor, or to act as a nice nighttime signal to your friends. Sure, you could do that with other missile weapons, but with the heavy crossbow you get both maximum range, and the utility of not needing a handy Fighter along to fire it for you.

An then there's traps: your heavy crossbow basically doubles as a portable trap when you need it to - with somewhere to wedge it in place and a length of twine being the only other required components. Yup - flexibility of use is a nice thing to have.

So my answer to the question: no, heavy crossbows don't suck.


A lot of good points there ... and having Unseen Servants reloading for you - I love it! In the stronghold builder's guide it gives instructions as to how you can enchant sections of your stronghold with, for example, an unseen servant. So what if your wizard enchants his tower's loopholes (also called archery slits) with an unseen servant to reload crossbows? All of a sudden your first level apprentice, or even commoner servant, can lay down a respectable hail of fire from heavy crossbows ...

The Exchange

Oh - forgot to add: you can fire and reload a crossbow from a prone position too. Sniping anyone?


- Good Range
- Simple Weapons
- You can fire prone
- In case of situation in which you must move + shoot 1 arrow/bolt, trying the chance to obtain a stun, stagger, blind (critical feats)...

With Xbows, you have twice the chance to crit compared to a bow (maybe preparing an action vs a flying caster or spell-like abilities user).

I feel them more different than "sucky".

@Profpotts: great post.

EDIT: and you just ninjaed me about the "shoot from prone" :P

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Yeah, but shoot from Prone is a NPC/Ambush thing. It seldom has an effect on PC fights, and when firing from ambush, you're better off with a full attack action. +2 to AC against ranged attacks back at you, and you only get one shot off? meh...cool in real life, not in superhuman life.

The unseen servant idea is okay...but that just means you need to enchant two or more heavy crossbows to have a decent rate of fire. Again, an NPC thing, not a PC thing. Useful for level 1-6. we're trying to get ideas for making it viable from 7+.

You also only have twice the chance to crit 'per shot'. As the bow ultimately gets 2-4x (or more, with Greater Manyshot) crit opportunities, this doesn't work, either.

==Aelryinth

The Exchange

Quote:
@Profpotts: great post.

Cheers!

Quote:
Yeah, but shoot from Prone is a NPC/Ambush thing.

Your PCs don't set up ambushes as often as possible? Differing play styles again I guess... ;)

Quote:
+2 to AC against ranged attacks back at you, and you only get one shot off? meh...cool in real life, not in superhuman life.

Try 'prone on top of a roof' instead of just 'prone on the ground' - improved cover anyone?

Quote:
Useful for level 1-6. we're trying to get ideas for making it viable from 7+.

Viable for whom? Poor BAB advancement classes don't even get multiple attacks until level 12 - by then you probably could've enchanted the heck out of your favourite masterwork heavy crossbow... or two.

But anyway, the point is style of play: if you create characters and play in a style where the heavy crossbow loses out then, sure, for that character and style that weapon 'sucks' - doesn't really equal universal suckage IMHO.


ProfPotts wrote:
But anyway, the point is style of play: if you create characters and play in a style where the heavy crossbow loses out then, sure, for that character and style that weapon 'sucks' - doesn't really equal universal suckage IMHO.

Just so. If you are not a full BAB class, the crossbow stays useful later and later in your career. If you are, the vital strike feat chain keep it useful. A lot depends on how you play; in a game where all encounters tend to be close range, a shoot-and-drop weapon has a lot to recommend it.


Aelryinth wrote:


You also only have twice the chance to crit 'per shot'. As the bow ultimately gets 2-4x (or more, with Greater Manyshot) crit opportunities, this doesn't work, either.

==Aelryinth

How many shot you deliver, if you move before? Manyshot and Rapidshot work on full round attacks. Sometimes you are forced to move.

What about a prepared action shot? Think about a fighter built about high crit chances and critical feats.

Now imagine the fighter preparing an action, as I said above. A vital strike vs a caster. Having double the chance to crit and to deliver a debuff is something.

Maybe many would choose the bow anyway, but is not trivial, expecially if you have a way to drop the Xbow and take the bow in the subsequent round (quickdraw).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Kaiyanwang wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:


You also only have twice the chance to crit 'per shot'. As the bow ultimately gets 2-4x (or more, with Greater Manyshot) crit opportunities, this doesn't work, either.

==Aelryinth

How many shot you deliver, if you move before? Manyshot and Rapidshot work on full round attacks. Sometimes you are forced to move.

What about a prepared action shot? Think about a fighter built about high crit chances and critical feats.

Now imagine the fighter preparing an action, as I said above. A vital strike vs a caster. Having double the chance to crit and to deliver a debuff is something.

Maybe many would choose the bow anyway, but is not trivial, expecially if you have a way to drop the Xbow and take the bow in the subsequent round (quickdraw).

My return rebuttal is...you're an archer. Standing in one place and shooting stuff at range is what you do. The only timie you are NOT going to do this is when you are in melee...at which point your weapon becomes moot.

One of the facts of life in D&D is that archers get off full attack actions ALL the time. melees do not (and when they do, it's impressive!). It's the job of the melees and battlefield controllers to wage fights so that the archer CAN get off full-round attacks.

You are trying to whittle this down to a comparison of standard actions. In which case, we again come to par...the archer can move and shoot every round without a problem. The crossbowman can move, and can shoot every OTHER round. In which case crit chances are the same, but the archer is doing more damage.


Aelryinth.. here is the thing: if your job is dispatch enemies ranged, well, bow > crossbow.

I don't advocate the opposite. But one thing is a fighter that spent 50% of his feats on ranged combat, and one thing is be a fighter with quickdraw and critical feats.

The former will always use a bow: I listed examples where the second could choose a crossbow.

I mean that, in some instances of situational advantage, the crossbow has its niche(range, critical threat for 1 shot, shoot from prone position).

For the fact that is a simple weapon, it has his niche.

All these things make Xbows it not "suck" but simply being different. IMO, of course.


Kaiyanwang wrote:

Aelryinth.. here is the thing: if your job is dispatch enemies ranged, well, bow > crossbow.

I don't advocate the opposite. But one thing is a fighter that spent 50% of his feats on ranged combat, and one thing is be a fighter with quickdraw and critical feats.

The former will always use a bow: I listed examples where the second could choose a crossbow.

I mean that, in some instances of situational advantage, the crossbow has its niche(range, critical threat for 1 shot, shoot from prone position).

For the fact that is a simple weapon, it has his niche.

All these things make Xbows it not "suck" but simply being different. IMO, of course.

I agree with you. historically, the bow - in the hands of an expert - was the better weapon: while damage and penetration were slightly less, they were comparable and rate of fire was way up there. Therefore it makes sense for it to be the weapon of choice for missile specialists. But for the non-specialist, the crossbow is not a bad option, especially if he soups it up a little, because he doesn't have to blow feats on it to have a missile option.


The problem with continuously stating "look it's not bad as a simple weapon" is that it's not good for a weapon period.

Ranged weapons are a whole different ballgame then melee weapons. All melee weapons inherently have the most powerful ability in the game - the ability to make multiple attacks. Ranged weapons don't have that.

The other problem is that there is no class that would ever use a crossbow other then wizard. At all. Wizard and sorcerer are the only half-BAB classes in the game. All of the 3/4ths BAB classes either get a better weapon naturally (rogues and bards get bows), or they're a cleric and laugh at your silly need for a ranged weapon, or they're a druid and laugh at your silly need to have a weapon period.

People keep saying "Well if you're a missile specialist you should OBVIOUSLY use a bow." That's the problem. That's what needs to be fixed. And I'm sorry, but once you hit level 6, the switch hitter won't be using a crossbow, because he loses an attack on it. You don't need a single feat to use a bow - not one. The fact that the critical feats don't enter play until you're hitting 3+ attacks only buries the crossbow even more.

In 3.5, you could be a bow slinger, sure. They also used PrCs to make throwing weapons - a very flavorful and very fantasy oriented style - good too. D&D is about being a cool awesome fantasy character. You can make an awesome fighter who uses a spear or one that uses a greatsword, and the differences between the two will be relatively minor. But it actively punishes you if you want to make a cool fighter that uses a crossbow.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
People keep saying "Well if you're a missile specialist you should OBVIOUSLY use a bow." That's the problem. That's what needs to be fixed.

It's certainly your problem, at any rate. However, the crossbow's main drawback is one you can't get around: it's slow at reloading. That's why the bow is a better weapon, plain and simple. You want to make a repeating crossbow a simple weapon, go ahead, then you can have a crossbow that can fire as fast as a bow. But the crossbow's strength is in its design, which means anyone can use it, and that also limits it because unless you deliberately make a multi-shot crossbow, you can't multi-shot with it (but if you do, you can do that without the feat, so it's not so big a drawback). We've gone over lots of suggestions for being able to improve on the mechanics, we've added ideas for changes in the rules to make a spanned and ready crossbow a better weapon. All these things improve it greatly, making it a great 2nd-weapon choice.

So why does it need to be fixed any further? Why does it have to replace the bow as the weapon of choice for a missile specialist?

Comparing the aspects of the two, there wasn't much to choose between them in terms of range, penetration, or damage. The one that makes a huge difference is rate of fire, and while the rates of fire for 20th level PCs are crazy, they are in proportion to those historically possible with both types of weapon.


Dabbler wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
People keep saying "Well if you're a missile specialist you should OBVIOUSLY use a bow." That's the problem. That's what needs to be fixed.
It's certainly your problem, at any rate. However, the crossbow's main drawback is one you can't get around: it's slow at reloading.

Why does it need to have a "main drawback?" I've asked multiple times in all of these threads what the "main drawback" of the bow is, and never got an answer.

Quote:
So why does it need to be fixed any further? Why does it have to replace the bow as the weapon of choice for a missile specialist?

See, here's your problem. You keep thinking of "replacing." There doesn't need to be a rigid hierarchy of missile weapons. Like I said, while there is a "best" melee weapon, the difference between them are often small enough to make allowances for flavor. If you want your fighter to use a greatclub, you can, and he'll be just as effective as a greatsword fighter. The end difference is 1-2 points of damage.

With melee weapons, there is no "replacement" unless you want a very specific type of character. For the most part, the weapons are close enough to make it a matter of flavor. All I ask is that ranged weapons get the same. I don't mind bows being a little better then crossbows. I do mind when there isn't a choice to make.

Quote:


Comparing the aspects of the two, there wasn't much to choose between them in terms of range, penetration, or damage. The one that makes a huge difference is rate of fire, and while the rates of fire for 20th level PCs are crazy, they are in proportion to those historically possible with both types of weapon.

Stop bringing up reality and history. Neither is applicable in my game about flying firebreathing reptiles and secret magical interiors. A monk can punch through armor. Your "realism" never comes into play.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
Stop bringing up reality and history. Neither is applicable in my game about flying firebreathing reptiles and secret magical interiors. A monk can punch through armor. Your "realism" never comes into play.

Well, here's your problem: Most gamers like to have their fantasy games rooted in a reality they can relate to.

If it has nothing to do with reality in your games, make up clockwork automatically spanning crossbows with 50 bolt magazines that weigh only a feather and can shoot three times for each 'attack' the character makes - it's your game, do what you like. Just don't inflict them on the rest of us that like to keep our sense of verisimilitude.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I don't know if it's really a reality that we 'relate to', so much as it is a sacred cow. The D&D longbow shoots drastically faster and more accurately than RL. The way it works is closer to how it's seen in fiction (Green Arrow, Legolas, Robin Hood, etc).

There's a mechanical incentive to make the anemic crossbow better. The question is how, to which I say it should more closely emulate how they're portrayed in fiction.

It'll take a little bit, because more commonly in fiction, bows tend to be more slow-firing with very heavy damage to make up for it. Generally, the crossbow is used as a medieval gun expy, so it'd likely be easier to do it that way. The first step would be to make the handcrossbow and the repeating crossbow simple weapons instead of exotic, and from there we can try to figure out something.


Virgil wrote:
I don't know if it's really a reality that we 'relate to', so much as it is a sacred cow. The D&D longbow shoots drastically faster and more accurately than RL. The way it works is closer to how it's seen in fiction (Green Arrow, Legolas, Robin Hood, etc).

This is certainly true - the absolute maximum rate of fire the very best longbowman could manage would be 20-24 shots per minute. With Rapid Shot in D&D a 20th level fighter can churn out 50. But then, get above 10th level and you are in legend territory anyway. For accuracy, it really depends on the individual, the weapon and the ammunition.

The same, though, is true of the crossbow: a historic heavy crossbow could manage 2 shots per minute, maybe up to 4 at an absolute pinch. In D&D a heavy crossbow starts at 5 per minute, and with Rapid reload a first level character can get out 10. The downside is that it doesn't get better, and that is what makes the longbow a preferred weapon for the specialist.

Virgil wrote:
There's a mechanical incentive to make the anemic crossbow better. The question is how, to which I say it should more closely emulate how they're portrayed in fiction.

I cannot think of many examples in fiction of crossbows, but those that I can don't effect fire rate, they effect range and accuracy. Range the crossbow already has in D&D. How do you reflect accuracy?

Take Aim
You can take careful aim with your crossbow and inflict serious damage even at range.
Prerequisite: Point Blank Shot, Vital Strike.
Benefit: If you take a full round to aim at your target, your shot will inflict double damage. If you score a critical hit, it will inflict triple damage. This may be stacked with Vital Strike.

Virgil wrote:
It'll take a little bit, because more commonly in fiction, bows tend to be more slow-firing with very heavy damage to make up for it. Generally, the crossbow is used as a medieval gun expy, so it'd likely be easier to do it that way. The first step would be to make the handcrossbow and the repeating crossbow simple weapons instead of exotic, and from there we can try to figure out something.

I don't have a problem with this, it's been suggested before in this thread, they were fairly simple (although in reality the repeating crossbow was horribly underpowered and relied on poisoned bolts for the fear-factor, we can fudge that for heroics).

We could also introduce a heavier crossbow, an arbolest, that inflicts more damage with a windlass cocking mechanism.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
Why does it need to have a "main drawback?" I've asked multiple times in all of these threads what the "main drawback" of the bow is, and never got an answer.

The basic longbow does not get any STR bonus, and needs a whole chain of feats to be a decent weapon. For instance, you really REALLY want Rapid Shot, which requires Point Blank Shot. There's Manyshot, too. Not to mention precise shot, and anything else you want on top of that.

That is the disadvantage of the bow: it needs a load of feats and additional costs to become an uber weapon. Anyone can use a Xbow. If your intention is to fire and forget, like if you are a mounted charger, or a TWF rogue, then you really don't need ANY feats to support the Xbow. Not for an opening shot. And the TWF rogue is BEST when letting the enemy close with him first. An ally moves into flanking, and the Rogue lays waste. A shortbow is just too much of an investment for not getting that SA AND needing to be upgraded a lot to make up for the damage difference when they already have TWO weapons they are trying to support.

Now, the composite longbow is an issue only because there is no equivelant for the Xbow. This, however, does not make the Xbow "suck". It also does not make it strictly weaker than the longbow. It DOES make the weapon weaker IN GENERAL, much like a Greatclub is rubbish next to a Greatsword.


Mirror, Mirror wrote:
...much like a Greatclub is rubbish next to a Greatsword.

Problem: the Greatclub is not "rubbish" it's just "sub-optimal" and that's a big difference.

Changes I'd enact:

Hand Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 1d4
Light Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 2d4
Heavy Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 3d4, 10 STR to reload
Repeating L/H Crossbow (Martial Weapon and Bow Equivalent)

Composite Heavy Crossbow (Martial Weapon): strength rating damage bonus, X strength required to reload, damage with C.H.Crossbow ignores 5 points of damage reduction (see Penetrating Strike)


Stynkk wrote:
Mirror, Mirror wrote:
...much like a Greatclub is rubbish next to a Greatsword.
Problem: the Greatclub is not "rubbish" it's just "sub-optimal" and that's a big difference.

Actually, it is rubbish. It's so rubbish that Paizo had to make the Earthbreaker just to give their large creatures a viable two-handed blunt weapon. Assuming a 50% hit rate, Greatclubs deal 2.8875 expected damage, while Greatswords deal 3.85 expected damage. That's exactly 4/3 as much damage for Greatswords compared to Greatclubs. When you're dealing 33.333...% more damage with one weapon over the alternative, the alternative is total rubbish.

There exists no circumstance or situation where the Greatclub is better than the Greatsword ... but there do exist circumstances and situations where the Heavy Crossbow is better than the Longbow (or even Composite Longbow), and there are even more situations where the Light Crossbow is better than the Longbow.


Zurai wrote:


Actually, it is rubbish. It's so rubbish that Paizo had to make the Earthbreaker just to give their large creatures a viable two-handed blunt weapon. Assuming a 50% hit rate, Greatclubs deal 2.8875 expected damage, while Greatswords deal 3.85 expected damage. That's exactly 4/3 as much damage for Greatswords compared to Greatclubs. When you're dealing 33.333...% more damage with one weapon over the alternative, the alternative is total rubbish.

There exists no circumstance or situation where the Greatclub is better than the Greatsword ... but there do exist circumstances and situations where the Heavy Crossbow is better than the Longbow (or even Composite Longbow), and there are even more situations where the Light Crossbow is better than the Longbow.

So.. if I catch your meaning then the Halberd is Rubbish compared to the greatsword and the Heavy Flail too? Why not just make every weapon a greatsword? The goal is to make each weapon viable, flavorful, but not optimal. If they were all optimal, they'd do the same damage and we'd just change the design. Bo-ring.

The ONLY disadvantage of a greatclub vs a greatsword is the lessened damage and tweaks to the crit range (tradeoff? it can hit stuff like skeletons rather well). You do not lose attacks and you can use all of the same feats. You also get a strength damage bonus to both.

Both can be main weapons, and fill the same role and be built around. This is not true of the crossbow because it can't attack at the same rate as a bow, gets no strength bonuses and lose out on bow only feats (Manyshot).

The crossbow is a niche opening attack/low-level spell jockey weapon. It can't be a viable primary weapon (even if you wanted it to be), because of all the drawbacks that are associated with it. See: Reload Speed, No additional damage and loss of feats.

Could someone choose a greatclub over a greatsword? Yes and they'd lose some damage. Could someone choose a crossbow over a bow? Yes, but they'd hamstring themselves entirely. That's the difference. 1 Feat for Rapid Reload, 1 Feat for Exotic Weapons (Repeating Crossbow), and that would be the minimum to make the weapon equal to a standard bow. Auto-loss to a composite bow.

I like the reload speed hurdle it adds flavor to the crossbow, repeating makes this burden a little less intensive. what else can they do to make the weapon worth while? As it stands now, not much. Heck, even long spears have reach.

Give a dog a bone..


Stynkk wrote:
Could someone choose a greatclub over a greatsword? Yes and they'd lose some damage. Could someone choose a crossbow over a bow? Yes, but they'd hamstring themselves entirely. That's the difference. 1 Feat for Rapid Reload, 1 Feat for Exotic Weapons (Repeating Crossbow), and that would be the minimum to make the weapon equal to a standard bow. Auto-loss to a composite bow.

Um, no. A LIGHT Xbow with Rapid Reload is exactly equivelant to a Longbow in everything but Manyshot. And before you say "it cost a feat", not all classes GET martial weapons. It WOULD cost a feat for any of them. Making the cost all but equal, except where Manyshot is concerned.

The big difference is where it concerns the Composite Longbow. So, unless you shell out for the composite longbow, AND have a str score for it to make a difference, you have decidedly NOT hamstringed yourself in choosing a crossbow.


Stynkk wrote:

Changes I'd enact:

Hand Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 1d4
Light Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 2d4
Heavy Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 3d4, 10 STR to reload
Repeating L/H Crossbow (Martial Weapon and Bow Equivalent)

Composite Heavy Crossbow (Martial Weapon): strength rating damage bonus, X strength required to reload, damage with C.H.Crossbow ignores 5 points of damage reduction (see Penetrating Strike)

Interesting. I would do it as:

Hand Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 1d4
Repeating Hand Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 1d4
Light Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 2d4 (hand-spanning crossbow)
Repeating Light Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 2d4
Heavy Crossbow (Simple Weapon): 2d6 (goatsfoot- or lever- spanning crossbow)
Repeating Heavy Crossbow (Martial Weapon): 3d4, 12 STR to reload
Arbolest (Simple Weapon): 2d8 (windlass-spanning crossbow)
Heavy Arbolest (Simple Weapon): 3d6 (windlass-spanning crossbow)

The crossbow is unlike any other weapon for one simple reason: while it's motive power is supplied by muscles, it always loads to the same force - it's the first example of a 'machine' weapon, if you will. Rather than give crossbows strength ratings, I would just up the power of the bow. Rather than piercing DR, I would increase the damage - but then, if you have access to the Vital Strike feat tree, and you are cranking out that much damage, 5 DR isn't going to be terribly relevant.


Mirror, Mirror wrote:


Um, no. A LIGHT Xbow with Rapid Reload is exactly equivelant to a Longbow in everything but Manyshot. And before you say "it cost a feat", not all classes GET martial weapons. It WOULD cost a feat for any of them. Making the cost all but equal, except where Manyshot is concerned.

The big difference is where it concerns the Composite Longbow. So, unless you shell out for the composite longbow, AND have a str score for it to make a difference, you have decidedly NOT hamstringed yourself in choosing a crossbow.

Excepting if you're an Elf, then you can get a longbow without a hitch.

Also, you are correct about the wash with the light crossbow, but I was largely speaking to the heavy crossbow. But, yes you're correct about the feats.

@Dabbler:

Can you have a repeating hand crossbow in PF (of course we can make one)?

I put the repeating weapons as Martial because it seemed that most commonfolk would not have the familiarity with this "advanced" crossbow.

The DR is just a little bit extra for the crossbow, I tried to do something that was more about flavor, I fear adding that much extra damage dice might upset some encounters. IMO, those larger crossbows would have extended reloading time.


Stynkk wrote:
So.. if I catch your meaning then the Halberd is Rubbish compared to the greatsword and the Heavy Flail too?

Nope. You're clearly ignoring what I've written. Here, I'll repeat it for you to be helpful:

Quote:
There exists no circumstance or situation where the Greatclub is better than the Greatsword ... but there do exist circumstances and situations where the Heavy Crossbow is better than the Longbow (or even Composite Longbow), and there are even more situations where the Light Crossbow is better than the Longbow.

There are situations where both the Halberd and the Heavy Flail are better than the Greatsword. Namely, the Halberd has the option to use two different damage types and has the Trip and Brace properties, and the Heavy Flail has the Disarm and Trip properties. The Greatclub has no properties, only one damage type, no improved critical stats (either range or multiplier), and deals less damage than the Greatsword. It is a strict downgrade. Hell, it's not even any lighter.

EDIT: Do note that I did mis-speak slightly; Greatclubs are better than Greatswords at certain Strength values when attacking creatures with DR/Bludgeoning. However, there are as many with DR/Slashing as DR/Bludgeoning, so that's really not an advantage when looking at the whole picture.

The Exchange

I'm not convinced by the 'can't make a viable heavy crossbow fighter' stuff in this thread. Surely it's just a matter of planning and playing the character appropriately?

Start by looking at you weapon of choice: what are it's features?

Best range, best damage die, (equal) best critical threat range of any ranged weapon, your Strength has zero effect (doesn't help you hit, doesn't help you damage), and you're (at best) doing a single attack each round.

So you design the character and style around those features.

To start, Strength is effectively a dump stat for you (even more so that a finesse Fighter or bow Fighter) - it helps with encumbrance and Climb rolls, but that's about it as far as your chosen speciality goes. That's far from a disadvantage - it frees up valuable Ability Score points to go where they're needed the most.

You're gonna' take Rapid Reload (since having a couple of Commoners on hand to reload for you, whilst historically accurate, proably isn't apprpriate to a lot of adventures), but that's no more of a 'wasted' Feat than the melee Fighter who 'blows' a Feat to fight with a bastard sword in one hand - you're increasing the utility of your chosen weapon for the cost of a Feat.

At level one you've already decided you're not going the multiple attacks route - that's a given, considering the weapon. Luckily, Pathfinder has the Vital Strike Feats which are designed to be available when you usually hit multiple attacks, and are optimised for big damage die, low damage add, weapons - like your heavy crossbow. So you'll be taking them as soon as they become available.

One of your weapon's advantages is superior range - you'll be wanting to exploit this, so you'll be taking Far Shot early on.

Another of your weapon's advantages is it's high critical threat range, so Improved Critical is a must, followed by the various Critical Feats once you qualify (Bleed and Blind being favourites).

Strategy-wise you're best far from the enemy and behind cover - since you can fire and load from prone, you're going to be claiming better cover than most other ranged attackers, so use that to your advantage. Height is your friend - for maximizing your 'kill zone', for claiming cover, and from slowing those pesky melee attackers who could lock you up, unable to reload: so you're gonna' make sure you have maximum ranks in Climb.

Other Feats are similar to other weapon-users: Weapon Focus and Specialization, Precise Shot, etc.. Remember, Feats which reward you for taking a single attack instead of multiple attacks are your friend - there are a few if you look closely.

Don't forget Dazzling Display if you really want to be William Tell - that opening (non-damaging) bolt which parts the enemy's hair and pins his hat to the wall (in place of the traditional apple) is pretty cool (not that your bowman can't do this too - just thought I'd mention it... and get to use the name 'William Tell').

So what do we end up with? Not a front-line 'meat shield' Fighter, but we knew that. Not a guy who's optimised for kick-in-the-door, room-by-room dungeon-crawling, but we knew that too. No, we have a thinking-man's Fighter - a guy who get's into an advantageous spot before the battle, who hits the enemy with not a flurry of low-accuracy low-damage shots, but with single, accurate, high-damage shots (much better to have one 2d10 damage Vital Strike than three 1d8 Rapid Shots if the chap you're fighting happens to have Damage Resistance, after all).

Not viable? Hmmmm... only if you game in a style which specifically makes him not viable.

And sure, a bow Fighter can take Vital Strike too, but the benefits are less (with a smaller damage die), and if he's taken Rapid and Manyshot he's chosing between them - in every attack he's deciding which Feats are going to be wasted. Our heavy crossbow Fighter can get to level 20 with every Feat being used with every shot.

And if that's not enough - take that large sized heavy crossbow, suffer the -2 to attack, and get an even bigger set of base damage dice for your Vital Strikes...

IMHO, YMMV, natch ;)


I like that, ProfPotts.

Stynkk wrote:

Can you have a repeating hand crossbow in PF (of course we can make one)?

I put the repeating weapons as Martial because it seemed that most commonfolk would not have the familiarity with this "advanced" crossbow.

The DR is just a little bit extra for the crossbow, I tried to do something that was more about flavor, I fear adding that much extra damage dice might upset some encounters. IMO, those larger crossbows would have extended reloading time.

I made up a repeating hand crossbow - actually, that's pretty close to the real repeating crossbow as used by the Chinese. While most people wouldn't have familiarity with the repeating crossbow, it isn't exactly hard to master.

Assuming extended reloading time, you could always add on magical features to such weapons, or have an Improved Rapid Reload feat. If they are sufficiently expensive, then they'd be unavailable at first level, and at higher level you are balancing low rate-of-fire against one shot with a lot of damage, especially when you get the Vital Strike feats in. Arbalest + Vital Strike = 4d8 base damage, against your composite longbow's 1d8+str x 2. Suddenly it doesn't look so bad.

Zurai wrote:
EDIT: Do note that I did mis-speak slightly; Greatclubs are better than Greatswords at certain Strength values when attacking creatures with DR/Bludgeoning. However, there are as many with DR/Slashing as DR/Bludgeoning, so that's really not an advantage when looking at the whole picture.

There is ONE advantage that the Greatclub has over the Greatsword: it's way cheaper, and way faster and easier to craft. That may seem trivial, until you are stuck in the jungle with no gear and have to craft a weapon fast.

Well it could happen!


As for another tactic: Shot on the Run. In the event you are being fired upon by the enemy, you could move out, shoot, and move back to full cover.

And, dang it, it really SHOULD stack with VS!

The Exchange

Quote:

There is ONE advantage that the Greatclub has over the Greatsword: it's way cheaper, and way faster and easier to craft. That may seem trivial, until you are stuck in the jungle with no gear and have to craft a weapon fast.

Well it could happen!

Look at what happened to Roy Greenhilt!

Now - the adventures of Will and Rob:

Will's a level 6 heavy crossbow Fighter, specialising in Vital Strike attacks.

Rob's a level 6 composite longbow Fighter, specialising in Rapid Shot and Manyshot attacks.

Will and Rob are strolling through the forest when they bump into a dreaded wondering monster! Unbeknowst to them, it has DR 10.

Rob unleashes a fusilade of four arrows (two for Manyshot, plus one for Rapid Shot, plus one for BAB extras). He's a good shot. They all hit. He's a high Dex guy, but he's also got a reasonable Strength for a bow Fighter of 15. He rolls maximum damage for each. The monster takes no damage.

Will fires a single Vital Strike shot. He's a good shot (and isn't suffering penalties either). It hits. He rolls average damage. The monster takes 1 point of damage.

'B-but...' stammers Rob as he turns to Will in amazement, '... you're not viable and your weapon sucks!'

Later (after Will's despatched the monster with a few more well placed bolts, some doing better than average damage, some worse, and a few being critical hits... Rob got the occassional critical too...) Will and Rob run into an old enemy with a high AC.

Rob unleashes a fusilade of four arrows. He's a good shot, but suffering a -2 penalty on all shots, and only has a BAB of +1 for his last shot. He misses.

Will fires a single Vital Strike shot. He's a good shot, and with no penalties, and otherwise identical bonuses to Rob. He hits, inflciting 2d10 damage.

'B-but...' stammers Rob as he turns to Will in amazement, '... you're not viable and your weapon sucks!'

Nearing home, Will and Rob finally run into a band of low-level goblins.

Rob unleashes a fusilade of four arrows. He's a good shot. They all hit. Each kills a goblin.

Will fires a single Vital Strike. He's a good shot. It hits. He kills a goblin.

'Ah...' procalims Rob as he turns to Will with a haughty sneer, '... you're not viable and your weapon sucks!'

Will sighs and nods,

'Yes,' he admits, 'you got me...'

(Humour intended. YMMV. Any resemblance to persons living, dead, or legendary is purely coincidental). ;)

Sovereign Court

ProfPotts wrote:
Strategy-wise you're best far from the enemy and behind cover - since you can fire and load...

This I suspect is the biggest problem. I've got decades of D&D under my belt but it's been the rare campaign where you could consistently be able to played where encounters begin a ranges above 100' in missile friendly terrain.

Most games I've ever seen are going to not allow much in the way of long range advantage. The GM is going to feel the pressure to get the rest of the part involved and not just have them watch the crossbowman sniping the enemy. And then there are all the indoor/underground encounters.

I'm in favor of one of the numerous tweaks to the crossbow to make them more favorable, and also to move composite bows into the exotic category.


Mirror, Mirror wrote:

As for another tactic: Shot on the Run. In the event you are being fired upon by the enemy, you could move out, shoot, and move back to full cover.

And, dang it, it really SHOULD stack with VS!

Well the Great JJ has given a ruling on these boards that Vital Strike CAN be used with Spring Attack, so using it with Shot On The Run is not out of bounds.


ProfPotts wrote:
...story of crossbow vs bow

We're advocating another bump up in power level for the crossbow, nothing major, but it is lacking a certain something.

To your point about the DR 10/- monster. Magic Arrows further close the gap as far as overcoming DR, add in Deadly Aim, Weapon Specialization and the Bowman is definitely getting through the DR. And his Many shots can crit for a ton more than a vital strike. Not to mention other attacks in the round.

Dazzling Display only works within 30ft, and I forgot to mention that when you reload a crossbow you provoke an AoO when loading a crossbow.

As Mok noted, it is rare to have the perfect circumstances under which to operate the crossbow to maximum efficiency. I suppose if you just cast invisibility on yourself after every volley, things would work out fine..

So it seems pretty obvious the crossbow needs a little love to bump it up in players' estimation. We don't mind that the bow and crossbow are different, it just seems they need something more.

Silver Crusade

one thing that I have never seen in reguards to the Heavy Crossbow is a mechanic to give high strength characters a greater rate of fire with a heavy crossbow or an arblest. A high strength character say 20+ strength should be able to fire a heavy crsoo bow at the same rate of fire as a light crossbow.

the average pull on a medevil heavy crossbow was between 100 and 140lbs of pull.

A high srength character could place his foot in the crows foot and yank the bowstring back and set it at the same rate as a light crossbow.

Combine that with rapid reload and quick draw and you would have a very fast fireing heavy crossbow. If you used the +1 weapons enchanment for a extra demisional space your reload time would be cut even futher. Give the crossbow a +3 enchantment the equivlant of the 3.x epic feat instant reload and you have a real kick ass weapon for fighters and nonfighters alike.


Lou Diamond wrote:

one thing that I have never seen in reguards to the Heavy Crossbow is a mechanic to give high strength characters a greater rate of fire with a heavy crossbow or an arblest. A high strength character say 20+ strength should be able to fire a heavy crsoo bow at the same rate of fire as a light crossbow.

the average pull on a medevil heavy crossbow was between 100 and 140lbs of pull.

Actually, 750lbs was the starting point for a serious arbolest. No way any strength rating will speed up loading that!

But if you want to give the crossbow a bump, how about allowing Deadly Aim to add +3 per -1to hit instead of +2? Again it reflects the 'easier to aim' concept.

Stynkk wrote:

We're advocating another bump up in power level for the crossbow, nothing major, but it is lacking a certain something.

To your point about the DR 10/- monster. Magic Arrows further close the gap as far as overcoming DR, add in Deadly Aim, Weapon Specialization and the Bowman is definitely getting through the DR. And his Many shots can crit for a ton more than a vital strike. Not to mention other attacks in the round.

Actually all of those can apply to the Crossbow as well, the bowman gets more out of them if your target is easy to hit and has no effective DR - taking Deadly Aim sounds great until you realise it reduces four effective attacks to two. Some DR is always effective, unless you have some seriously good weapons.

There have been an awful lot of suggestions for improving crossbows here:

* Making repeating and hand crossbows simple weapons.
* Introducing heavier crossbows (arbolests) which inflict greater damage.
* Changing and adding feats to make crossbows more effective, usually in terms of damage and/or accuracy.
* Allowing crossbows to be customized to add different features, giving them the equivelant of feats without using up feats.
* Examining tactics and circumstances in which a single hit dishes as much damage as multiple shots.

I'd say we've seen a lot of ideas to make crossbows more effective missile weapons, a viable alternative to the bow even without the faster reload that bows have.


Dabbler wrote:
Lou Diamond wrote:

one thing that I have never seen in reguards to the Heavy Crossbow is a mechanic to give high strength characters a greater rate of fire with a heavy crossbow or an arblest. A high strength character say 20+ strength should be able to fire a heavy crsoo bow at the same rate of fire as a light crossbow.

the average pull on a medevil heavy crossbow was between 100 and 140lbs of pull.

Actually, 750lbs was the starting point for a serious arbolest. No way any strength rating will speed up loading that!

But if you want to give the crossbow a bump, how about allowing Deadly Aim to add +3 per -1to hit instead of +2? Again it reflects the 'easier to aim' concept.

He said a heavy crossbow is 100 to 140lbs of pull. You then said and arbalest is 750lbs of pull. Not the same thing.

Dabbler wrote:

Actually all of those can apply to the Crossbow as well, the bowman gets more out of them if your target is easy to hit and has no effective DR - taking Deadly Aim sounds great until you realise it reduces four effective attacks to two. Some DR is always effective, unless you have some seriously good weapons.

There have been an awful lot of suggestions for improving crossbows here:

* Making repeating and hand crossbows simple weapons.
* Introducing heavier crossbows (arbolests) which inflict greater damage.
* Changing and adding feats to make crossbows more effective, usually in terms of damage and/or accuracy.
* Allowing crossbows to be customized to add different features, giving them the equivelant of feats without using up feats.
* Examining tactics and circumstances in which a single hit dishes as much damage as multiple shots.

I'd say we've seen a lot...

You forgot one.

* Enchanting the crossbow to magically reload, giving it the same rate of fire as a bow.


Lord Twig wrote:
He said a heavy crossbow is 100 to 140lbs of pull. You then said and arbalest is 750lbs of pull. Not the same thing.

An arbolest is a kind of crossbow, when the awesome draw powers of crossbows is referred to it is always arbolests. A draw of 100-140lbs on a medieval crossbow would be around a light crossbow in power, because crossbows were horribly inefficient at transferring the power from the bow to the missile.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I made a new weapon for my game.

Arbalast - Martial Ranged weapon
2d8 Damage 1 full round to reload.
Rapid reload halves the reload time.

Without rapid reload you could only fire once every other round.

You are allowed to create heavier pull arbalasts but if the users strength is not equal or exceeds the bonus of the weapon add 1 more round to the load time.

It makes an excellent vital strike weapon.

We have a level 8 fighter with a 20 str so he can fire once a round for 4d8+5 damage. It still pales against the strength longbow fighter with rapid shot and multi-shot but it comes closer.


Mirror, Mirror wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
Why does it need to have a "main drawback?" I've asked multiple times in all of these threads what the "main drawback" of the bow is, and never got an answer.

The basic longbow does not get any STR bonus, and needs a whole chain of feats to be a decent weapon. For instance, you really REALLY want Rapid Shot, which requires Point Blank Shot. There's Manyshot, too. Not to mention precise shot, and anything else you want on top of that.

That is the disadvantage of the bow: it needs a load of feats and additional costs to become an uber weapon. Anyone can use a Xbow. If your intention is to fire and forget, like if you are a mounted charger, or a TWF rogue, then you really don't need ANY feats to support the Xbow. Not for an opening shot. And the TWF rogue is BEST when letting the enemy close with him first. An ally moves into flanking, and the Rogue lays waste. A shortbow is just too much of an investment for not getting that SA AND needing to be upgraded a lot to make up for the damage difference when they already have TWO weapons they are trying to support.

Now, the composite longbow is an issue only because there is no equivelant for the Xbow. This, however, does not make the Xbow "suck". It also does not make it strictly weaker than the longbow. It DOES make the weapon weaker IN GENERAL, much like a Greatclub is rubbish next to a Greatsword.

Multiple attacks.

Your argument is nullified.

Crossbows require the same number of feats bows do for a single shot. Wait, not the exact same, crossbows then require an extra feat once the person has a second attack. But you're really going to say that the crossbow doesn't need point blank shot or rapid shot while the bow "needs" it? Please.


The problem with people bringing up Vital Strike is that Vital Strike is bad. Vital Strike doesn't in any way compare to multiple attacks. Until Vital Strike also adds in bonus damage that you would've received normally, it's a terrible idea.


ProfessorCirno wrote:
The problem with people bringing up Vital Strike is that Vital Strike is bad. Vital Strike doesn't in any way compare to multiple attacks. Until Vital Strike also adds in bonus damage that you would've received normally, it's a terrible idea.

Actually it's an excellent idea. The reason it does not add that extra damage is very simple:

* With Vital Strike you sacrifice multiple attacks for one more powerful main attack.
* If Vital Strike multiplied all damage, you would have a choice between:
Standard Action, {damage x2} at {attack bonus}, or
Full round action, {damage x1} at {attack bonus} followed by {damage x1} at {attack bonus -5}.

This is a no-brainer, everyone would use Vital Strike all the time, which is why it only multiplies the dice (and hence the more you depend on the dice the better it is). However, if you combine it with the suggestions for the higher damage crossbow, you get a decent damage output that is comparable to the longbow even if it does not exceed it on a full attack - and most monk players will tell you that one very heavy single hit at full attack bonus is more effective at least half of the time than a mass of attacks at less damage individually and less chance to hit. The accumulated damage of the successful hits might be more, but once you factor in DR and hardness and other details, that one hit can actually be more effective.

Now we've covered a lot of ideas for making heavy crossbows "not suck" - what are yours?

151 to 200 of 259 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Heavy Crossbows: They still suck? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.