Two Weapon Fighting with Pistols


Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

Okay, so heres the deal: Our Wild West campaign has a dhamphir gunslinger that want to shoot with two pistol. Great. Fine. I love it. Do they count as light weapons or normal weapons for the penalties? What indicates that?

Thanks! Sorry if this has been brought up, I just couldn't find it by searching. Maybe its a dumb question?

Paizo Employee Design Manager

They are one-handed weapons. You can never lower the penalties for TWF with pistols below -4/-4 (unless you take the Two Weapon Warrior Archetype or something similar that specifically lets you treat one-handed weapons as light).
If you check out the Firearms section of UC, you'll see that they are all classified as either one-handed or two-handed. There is no light category for firearms.


According to the Pathfinder Guide to the Inner Sea it looks as if they are one-handed weapons. There are at least 2 feats that make the off-hand pistol count as a light weapon, but I think both are in D&D, not Pathfinder.
Pasty white dhampir with two guns? Does he dress in a long, black overcoat too? And wear sunglasses?

Shadow Lodge

I tried to dissuade him from a black overcoat... unsuccessfully. Haha. And not glasses. Goggles.

And thank you!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

But the goggles, they do nothing.


The mai nissue is that he has to reload his pistols.


johnlocke90 wrote:
The mai nissue is that he has to reload his pistols.

Wild West theme, so I'm guessing he's got repeating pistols/advanced firearms. That's a lot of bang-bang before you even have to worry about it, especially at lower levels.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

Yeah, revolvers will carry him through most combats without him needing to reload until the fight is already over.

Shadow Lodge

Lamontius wrote:


But the goggles, they do nothing.

For 10g they negate Light-Sensitivity.

Scarab Sages

Thread Necromancy!!

One of my players just pointed out that with the Two Weapon Fighting feat and the crossbow rules, a pair of hand crossbows can be fired at -2/-2. It seems to make sense to apply the same rule to two pistols. What do you think?


KarlBob wrote:

Thread Necromancy!!

One of my players just pointed out that with the Two Weapon Fighting feat and the crossbow rules, a pair of hand crossbows can be fired at -2/-2. It seems to make sense to apply the same rule to two pistols. What do you think?

I don't think it works that way. The text for the hand crossbow explicitly adds an exception making them count as light weapons for the purposes of using two of them:

Equipment wrote:

Crossbow, Hand: You can draw a hand crossbow back by hand. Loading a hand crossbow is a move action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

You can shoot, but not load, a hand crossbow with one hand at no penalty. You can shoot a hand crossbow with each hand, but you take a penalty on attack rolls as if attacking with two light weapons.

So unless a pistol or other firearm includes similar text, then they are one-handed weapons.

Scarab Sages

Thanks.

I'm still leaning toward applying the "light weapon" rule to all pistols, whether they fire bolts or bullets, but it's true that the firearms descriptions don't contain that text.

I'm guessing there hasn't been an official ruling from Paizo?


Pistols are listed under 'one-handed weapons' on the Firearms chart. No clarification is needed; they are clearly and unambiguously one-handed weapons, not Light.


KarlBob wrote:

Thanks.

I'm still leaning toward applying the "light weapon" rule to all pistols, whether they fire bolts or bullets, but it's true that the firearms descriptions don't contain that text.

I'm guessing there hasn't been an official ruling from Paizo?

The effective -2 to hit of pistols versus light weapons is not a good idea to dump. You're going to run into two basic situations 1) the gunslinger is close enough to attack touch AC in which case the non-light weapon penalty is a part of the balance versus non-firearms or 2) the range is outside touch AC range and the gunslinger is fighting for every point of hit chance and should only use one pistol (or a rifle) anyway.

Scarab Sages

Zhayne: Light/one-hand/two-hand is a classification scheme for melee weapons. Darts, javelins, shortbows and longbows aren't labeled with those categories on their chart, but that doesn't mean that bows can be fired one handed. By the same token, the fact that no guns are listed as light doesn't mean that they never count as light.

As far as I can tell, light and hand crossbows were wrangled into the light/one/two scheme because unlike bows, they don't require two hands to fire. Neither do pistols. From a "similar items should act in similar ways" perspective, treating pistols as light makes sense to me.

cnetarian: As a matter of game balance rather than Rule As Written/Rule As Intended, your points make a lot of sense. Hand crossbows can be -2/-2 with Two Weapon Fighting, but they aren't touch attacks at any range. Pistols are touch attacks at close range, but they never qualify for -2/-2. Each has an advantage and a drawback compared to the other.

I'm still undecided, but the trade-off idea is swaying me back toward disallowing -2/-2.


KarlBob wrote:

Zhayne: Light/one-hand/two-hand is a classification scheme for melee weapons. Darts, javelins, shortbows and longbows aren't labeled with those categories on their chart, but that doesn't mean that bows can be fired one handed. By the same token, the fact that no guns are listed as light doesn't mean that they never count as light.

As far as I can tell, light and hand crossbows were wrangled into the light/one/two scheme because unlike bows, they don't require two hands to fire. Neither do pistols. From a "similar items should act in similar ways" perspective, treating pistols as light makes sense to me.

1) Yes, it does mean that no guns are counted as light. The factor that makes hand crossbows count as light is a specific exception built into their description. If that were meant to apply to firearms, something like the Derringer would have a similar clause. The fact that it doesn't means the devs felt that was unnecessary and/or mechanically unbalanced.

2) It wouldn't make sense to say that "pistols" are all light weapons because they're closer to heavy crossbows (which also lack the 'light clause' of the hand crossbow). The only firearm for which it would be apt to apply the 'light' clause to would be the Derringer (coat pistol as it's called in PF). The rest would still be normal 1-h firearms.

3) Lastly, this is, entirely, a houserule and shouldn't be presented as if it were part of the rules proper. It can lead to confusion. Nothing wrong with houserules, mind you, but they should be recognized for what they are and they always take the back seat because this is the Rules forum; to discuss the actual rules and what they mean.

Scarab Sages

Kazaan wrote:
KarlBob wrote:

Zhayne: Light/one-hand/two-hand is a classification scheme for melee weapons. Darts, javelins, shortbows and longbows aren't labeled with those categories on their chart, but that doesn't mean that bows can be fired one handed. By the same token, the fact that no guns are listed as light doesn't mean that they never count as light.

As far as I can tell, light and hand crossbows were wrangled into the light/one/two scheme because unlike bows, they don't require two hands to fire. Neither do pistols. From a "similar items should act in similar ways" perspective, treating pistols as light makes sense to me.

1) Yes, it does mean that no guns are counted as light. The factor that makes hand crossbows count as light is a specific exception built into their description. If that were meant to apply to firearms, something like the Derringer would have a similar clause. The fact that it doesn't means the devs felt that was unnecessary and/or mechanically unbalanced.

2) It wouldn't make sense to say that "pistols" are all light weapons because they're closer to heavy crossbows (which also lack the 'light clause' of the hand crossbow). The only firearm for which it would be apt to apply the 'light' clause to would be the Derringer (coat pistol as it's called in PF). The rest would still be normal 1-h firearms.

3) Lastly, this is, entirely, a houserule and shouldn't be presented as if it were part of the rules proper. It can lead to confusion. Nothing wrong with houserules, mind you, but they should be recognized for what they are and they always take the back seat because this is the Rules forum; to discuss the actual rules and what they mean.

I'm Convinced Now. No -2/-2.


KarlBob wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
KarlBob wrote:

Zhayne: Light/one-hand/two-hand is a classification scheme for melee weapons. Darts, javelins, shortbows and longbows aren't labeled with those categories on their chart, but that doesn't mean that bows can be fired one handed. By the same token, the fact that no guns are listed as light doesn't mean that they never count as light.

As far as I can tell, light and hand crossbows were wrangled into the light/one/two scheme because unlike bows, they don't require two hands to fire. Neither do pistols. From a "similar items should act in similar ways" perspective, treating pistols as light makes sense to me.

1) Yes, it does mean that no guns are counted as light. The factor that makes hand crossbows count as light is a specific exception built into their description. If that were meant to apply to firearms, something like the Derringer would have a similar clause. The fact that it doesn't means the devs felt that was unnecessary and/or mechanically unbalanced.

2) It wouldn't make sense to say that "pistols" are all light weapons because they're closer to heavy crossbows (which also lack the 'light clause' of the hand crossbow). The only firearm for which it would be apt to apply the 'light' clause to would be the Derringer (coat pistol as it's called in PF). The rest would still be normal 1-h firearms.

3) Lastly, this is, entirely, a houserule and shouldn't be presented as if it were part of the rules proper. It can lead to confusion. Nothing wrong with houserules, mind you, but they should be recognized for what they are and they always take the back seat because this is the Rules forum; to discuss the actual rules and what they mean.

I'm Convinced Now. No -2/-2.

I would also argue that the Coat Pistol in particular may be granted an exemption from this rule.

1) It does the same damage as the hand crossbow which is considered light.

2) They have direct references in some of the books about similar qualities. Such as their ability to be concealed.

3) The weight of the coat pistol falls well within the acceptable range for a light weapon.

I believe that a coat pistol would make a easily acceptable sidearm for dual-wielders with many of the same penalties the hand crossbow would have in that position such as trickiness to reload and others like the misfire chance.


Lamontius wrote:


But the goggles, they do nothing.

I don't care if this is two years old. You, sir, get a favorite.

Grand Lodge

What about the flat damage of the gun which is holded in the off-hand? Does it also benefit from character's full DEX modifier (of course, after gaining gun training feature)?


Class features that add such benefits which don't explicitly tie into the rules for offhand damage do full damage. Gun training is fine, as is sneak attack.

I'd like to pipe in that a gun is a lot heavier than a crossbow. To compare two ordinary objects, consider a rolling pin and a pipe. Even with the pipe being much more hollow than a rifled weapon, it still makes a rolling pin seem negligible.

I'd also like to point out that recoil is a thing, as is a gun's muzzle flash and thrown gunpowder or smoke upon firing. It's hard to compare that to a crossbow's recoil is a forward kick that would affect aim less significantly.

For these two reasons, I can understand why a one-handed pistol of any type wouldn't be considered light without some specific training.

Grand Lodge

Thanks for the comment Falkyron.

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