False Options in Pathfinder


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Nicos wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

The crossbow is a simple weapon, and therfore less martial inclined characters get it. A lesser weapon should not be as good as a better weapon. Otherwise why are those martial classes doing all of that training.

I agree that a bard using a crossbow should not be that good that a ranger using a bow. But for martials there is not diference between a simple weapon and a martial weapon. Why a ranger witht the crossbow combat style should be just plain weaker* than a ranger using a bow? why is the point in giving them that "option" in the first place?

(* and it is just plain weaker, you need an extra feat just to do what an archer do for free, you can never use manyshot so your DPR is lower and forget about point blank master cause reloading a xbow always provoke)

Crossbows are cheaper, and lower level enemies are more likely to have them. Later when you get more loot you can get a better bow, and like I said you don't need the best option to be effective.


wraithstrike wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Kimera757 wrote:
I sort of disagree about crossbow. They're simple weapons, not martial weapons. No fighter should ever specialize with them. (I don't care about archetypes; there's probably an Ambidextrous Yo-yo Wielder archetype out there somewhere.) I wouldn't expect specializing in standard clubs to be a "fighter thing" either.

Then that should be stated. "hey this is a simple weapon do not make false ideas about being a great crossbowman". Instead they give a feats (rapid reload, crossbow mastery) and an archetype that give the illusion of choise.

I am not complaining about crossbow as a back up weapon for non martial classes, in that case I think the crossbow is fine. But at the moment a fighter or ranger start taking feats into that style they should not be so purporsely weaker than an archer.

The feats are to make it better. They never state you will be great with it, and there is no illusion. The crossbow is so inferior to the bow that I don't see many players being fooled. I don't even see new players try to focus on the crossbow.

The feat is to make it still inferior to bows.

I am not talking about system mastery, it is not enough for me to know that bows are superior so I just have to use a bow everytime I want to use a ranged martial. The issue for me is that I have to spend more to play a particulary character concept and still I will be inferior.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Tholomyes wrote:

I fail to see why this thread is spending so much time on the historical uses of crossbows vs longbows. Does it really matter, honestly? Personally the bigger concern to me is that you can choose one to fit the concept you want, without feeling like you're gimping the character.

I think what we're seeing here are fundamental differences in what we want out of RPGs, or at least a particular RPG. There are games that allow players to model whatever concept they want without significant prejudice on any of the specifics and then there are games that do have differences in specifics, not all of which are mathematically balanced, because they are intended to provide a particular kind of experience or support a particular kind of genre/versimilitude with some fidelity. Generic games like Hero and even Mutants and Masterminds are part of the former while D&D, Pathfinder, Traveller, Boot Hill, and Top Secret are part of the latter.

If you want a game that allows you to play any concept without running into simulationist inequalities, I would submit that you'd be better off selecting a generic system rather than trying to change Pathfinder to conform with your preferences.


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Pyrrhic Victory wrote:
This is really an argument that just cannot be won. At best you can say the reason weapons, abilities, feats, etc. are different is because that is the way it is...

Exactly. The game is meant to simulate (not replicate) real world things. Crossbows and bows in the real world are different from each other.

What if we took this argument to d20 modern or similar mechanic? I could say that my character has a Mossberg pump action shotgun, and the OP could take a snubnose .38. Next thing you know, he'll be screaming about why his gun handles differently from mine, why there might be feats for his that do not match mine, and why he also cannot target two enemies standing adjacent to one-another with a single shell.

The fact will remain that there are options in the game(s) that reflect real-world options, and that not all options are equal in the eyes of all players. Without this, we have no verisimilitude. With it, we have variety.

Non issue.


wraithstrike wrote:


The crossbow can be made to be decent. It will just never match a bow. Manyshot and composite longbows are the reason for that. Speaking of the composite bow, it is a lot better than the regular bow also.

Though I'm now kind of tempted to see if I can put together a viable crossbow archer based on selling down Str.


Day 2:
After making it to a big city the heros learn of the next part of their quest.
Raid the tomb of Gheoni'k the Vile a long dead lich, and retrieve the Book of Shadows.

After dealing with a few zombies the heroes know the tomb is not completely abandoned so our characters are put up front.

Quote:


The goal is to find and possibly disable a trap. If disabling is not allowed then bypass it by other methods.

Yeah I know none of us are made for actually disabling a trap.

The Challenge wrote:

ENERGY DRAIN TRAP CR 10

Type magic; Perception DC 34; Disable Device DC 34
EFFECTS
Trigger visual (true seeing); Reset none
Effect spell effect (energy drain, Atk +10 ranged touch, 2d4 temporary negative levels, DC 23 Fortitude negates after 24 hours)


thejeff wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


The crossbow can be made to be decent. It will just never match a bow. Manyshot and composite longbows are the reason for that. Speaking of the composite bow, it is a lot better than the regular bow also.
Though I'm now kind of tempted to see if I can put together a viable crossbow archer based on selling down Str.

I think someone did it with the double crossbow.


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I've been following this thread, and I have to say, I don't know how there could be options if there were no good or bad options. I mean, if I'm trying to figure out which restaurant to eat at, and every one of them has the same menu, prices, and service, do I really have an option? If one of them has clearly better food but is more expensive, perhaps I'll go there for the quality. Maybe another place is cheap but has lousy service. Maybe I just really like greasy food despite the fact that everyone else thinks it's nasty.

My point being, if a feat is lousy, or a certain weapon is inferior, those are things to take into account when choosing between my options. If I really like the flavor of a weapon, I may choose that option regardless of some of the drawbacks. If I don't like the flavor enough, I'll pick something else.

I'm afraid a game where there was no mechanical differences would have much less options than one where there are clear distinctions between the options. Life is full of options and they are rarely equally good. Why would we expect anything else in a game?


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wraithstrike wrote:
The crossbow can be made to be decent. It will just never match a bow. Manyshot and composite longbows are the reason for that. Speaking of the composite bow, it is a lot better than the regular bow also.

Yea, from a game design standpoint I just really don't like that some weapon styles simply can't become good. It should only take one extra feat to make a crossbow be at least close to being as good as a bow in my opinion.

The composite bow > regular bow isn't really an issue since they are basically the same thing and use the same proficiencies/feats.


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mplindustries wrote:
Imagine if people who chose to play a brunette character got +2 to any attribute, while anyone who wanted to play a blonde had to take a -2 penalty to an attribute.

Actually both could only be applied to INT, because. . .you know.


Strannik wrote:


I'm afraid a game where there was no mechanical differences would have much less options than one where there are clear distinctions between the options. Life is full of options and they are rarely equally good. Why would we expect anything else in a game?

This is about making the option A exactly equal to option B, that would be boring. I suppose I just do not like to have option A,B,C,D,E but with only E being good.


Matrix Dragon wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
The crossbow can be made to be decent. It will just never match a bow. Manyshot and composite longbows are the reason for that. Speaking of the composite bow, it is a lot better than the regular bow also.
The composite bow > regular bow isn't really an issue since they are basically the same thing and use the same proficiencies/feats.

The damage potential is pretty good enough to be noticed. That bow is not really much better than the crossbow. The only thing saving it is manyshot, so in that case it is a feat, not a weapon that matters.


Wow this quickly became just about Crossbow vs. Bow: Should The Former Get Any Love?

Anyhow back to the OP's broader question: It's lamentable but probably unavoidable. There are always going to end up being strictly inferior and strictly superior options in anything like this.

Arguably it could be done better but at this point it would require a whole new edition and any fix would only be temporary because eventually the same issues would seep in as more and more products got released.

I think designers do care about things like this but they also cannot entirely avoid the pitfall without making everything seem sort of the same, which would then become bland.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

None of your suggested false choices are bad in all situations.

The double crossbow can be a great choice for an Xbow fighter (if feat intensive)

Thrown weapons can usually be hidden easily (daggers)

I finished jade regent with no primary stat booster and did ridiculously high damage (samurai with only 20 str)

I've made a few different wizards only one went teleport subschool, I didn't feel weak because of it.


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Erato wrote:
Drachasor wrote:

Simulationist vs. narrativist? I think you mean Sim vs. Gamist. I don't see how Narativist enters into it really. And D&D games have largely gone on the gamist side of things, because that IS the origin of D&D; wargaming.

In fact, this is a pretty poor example of Simulationism. Because as you adequately demonstrate the Crossbow is largely HARDER to master than the Bow, when it should be EASIER. Not simulationist at all.

It's more gamist, because the Crossbow is a simple weapon. That said, it's not all that great at that either (since the difference is one feat, yet not quite catching up requires more than just one feat).

So it's kind of the worst of both worlds.

I think you misunderstand. Crossbows are not so much supposed to be easier to master as they're supposed to be easier to learn the basics of. Look at it this way: Crossbows are easier to learn to use (represented by them being simple weapons), but they're also less effective than bows in most cases, since they can't be fired as fast, and (from what I've read) don't have significantly longer range or precision to make up for it. Getting a crossbow up to the effectiveness of a bow is next to impossible, so it makes sense from a simulationist perspective to have it require more resources (or not be possible at all).

Whether it makes for good gaming is a completely different matter.

Crossbows are certainly easier to master than bows. It doesn't take a lifetime of dedication like a Longbow does. Just because you might argue that mastery has a lower ceiling doesn't mean they aren't easier to master. For that matter, it's easier to master using a gun than using a longbow, but a mastering a gun is going to give greater returns.

However, that's not how it is in the game with Crossbows. They are HARDER to master. They require more feats, not less. And then they give you less after spending all those extra resources on them. That's the worst of all possible worlds. It's bad design from a gamist perspective. It makes no sense from a simulationist perspective. And it leaves the narrativists scratching their heads.

If it were to be properly simulationist, then it should be significantly easier to master a crossbow, but then be worse (generally) than mastering a longbow (which would take more feats). Again, that's not what we have at all.


GeneticDrift wrote:

None of your suggested false choices are bad in all situations.

The double crossbow can be a great choice for an Xbow fighter (if feat intensive)

Can you get the double crossbow down to a free action to reload?


Nicos wrote:
Strannik wrote:


I'm afraid a game where there was no mechanical differences would have much less options than one where there are clear distinctions between the options. Life is full of options and they are rarely equally good. Why would we expect anything else in a game?
This is about making the option A exactly equal to option B, that would be boring. I suppose I just do not like to have option A,B,C,D,E but with only E being good.

I think it would be more accurate to say A>B=C>D>E. Anytime you have options that are not equal, then you will have something at the top and something at the bottom. That's the nature of having an option.

I'm sorry that you're preferred option (crossbows apparently) has ended up on the bottom of the rankings though. I think the best option for you would be to make some house rules.


Strannik wrote:

I've been following this thread, and I have to say, I don't know how there could be options if there were no good or bad options. I mean, if I'm trying to figure out which restaurant to eat at, and every one of them has the same menu, prices, and service, do I really have an option? If one of them has clearly better food but is more expensive, perhaps I'll go there for the quality. Maybe another place is cheap but has lousy service. Maybe I just really like greasy food despite the fact that everyone else thinks it's nasty.

My point being, if a feat is lousy, or a certain weapon is inferior, those are things to take into account when choosing between my options. If I really like the flavor of a weapon, I may choose that option regardless of some of the drawbacks. If I don't like the flavor enough, I'll pick something else.

I'm afraid a game where there was no mechanical differences would have much less options than one where there are clear distinctions between the options. Life is full of options and they are rarely equally good. Why would we expect anything else in a game?

There's a different between good and bad options due to limitations on balance, and filling the game field with landmines for unwary players to explode in their faces. That's what stuff like the crossbow Fighter are, and there's a lot of things like that. And pretending these things are "simulationist" doesn't truly justify them. They aren't simulationist, they're just not that great design (whether accidentally or due to a desire to make system mastery matter or something else, I don't know).


Drachasor wrote:
Erato wrote:
Drachasor wrote:

Simulationist vs. narrativist? I think you mean Sim vs. Gamist. I don't see how Narativist enters into it really. And D&D games have largely gone on the gamist side of things, because that IS the origin of D&D; wargaming.

In fact, this is a pretty poor example of Simulationism. Because as you adequately demonstrate the Crossbow is largely HARDER to master than the Bow, when it should be EASIER. Not simulationist at all.

It's more gamist, because the Crossbow is a simple weapon. That said, it's not all that great at that either (since the difference is one feat, yet not quite catching up requires more than just one feat).

So it's kind of the worst of both worlds.

I think you misunderstand. Crossbows are not so much supposed to be easier to master as they're supposed to be easier to learn the basics of. Look at it this way: Crossbows are easier to learn to use (represented by them being simple weapons), but they're also less effective than bows in most cases, since they can't be fired as fast, and (from what I've read) don't have significantly longer range or precision to make up for it. Getting a crossbow up to the effectiveness of a bow is next to impossible, so it makes sense from a simulationist perspective to have it require more resources (or not be possible at all).

Whether it makes for good gaming is a completely different matter.

Crossbows are certainly easier to master than bows. It doesn't take a lifetime of dedication like a Longbow does. Just because you might argue that mastery has a lower ceiling doesn't mean they aren't easier to master. For that matter, it's easier to master using a gun than using a longbow, but a mastering a gun is going to give greater returns.

However, that's not how it is in the game with Crossbows. They are HARDER to master. They require more feats, not less. And then they give you less after spending all those extra resources on them. That's the worst of all possible...

I would not say they are harder to master. I would say they are more difficult to bring up to par, and it does not help that they start off farther behind.

A dagger will never equal a falchion unless the person wielding the falchion goes out of his way to not do well. That is not much different than the crossbow vs longbow situation.


How many times do you think you could load, aim, and fire a real crossbow in six seconds? Once, maybe? Pathfinder goes well beyond real-world weapon mastery for the crossbow.

But, the broader, more general point of the OP is simply, "Option A is better than Option B. Therefore, Option B is unusable."

If you believe that, then there is no point in debate. The problem will never be resolved. Power Gamers desperately hunt for the slightly superior option, and are miserable until they find it. The only way to perfectly balance everything is to remove the options. "Everything is a d6, with the same modifiers. Add your own fluff."

I prefer the variety.


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Drachasor wrote:
There's a different between good and bad options due to limitations on balance, and filling the game field with landmines for unwary players to explode in their faces. That's what stuff like the crossbow Fighter are, and there's a lot of things like that. And pretending these things are "simulationist" doesn't truly justify them. They aren't simulationist, they're just not that great design (whether accidentally or due to a desire to make system mastery matter or something else, I don't know).

I think you go far in describing a fighter crossbow build as a "landmine". In most games such a character would be fine. Only in the games that focus only on optimization will it be a "landmine" and in those games the players wouldn't choose that build anyway.

I'm not participating in the "simulationist" argument, talk to someone else about that.

I like having options, and as I said before, that means some have to be better than others, otherwise they don't really exist.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Drachasor wrote:


Crossbows are certainly easier to master than bows. It doesn't take a lifetime of dedication like a Longbow does. Just because you might argue that mastery has a lower ceiling doesn't mean they aren't easier to master. For that matter, it's easier to master using a gun than using a longbow, but a mastering a gun is going to give greater returns.

However, that's not how it is in the game with Crossbows. They are HARDER to master. They require more feats, not less. And then they give you less after spending all those extra resources on them. That's the

I would not say they are harder to master. I would say they are more difficult to bring up to par, and it does not help that they start off farther behind.

A dagger will never equal a falchion unless the person wielding the falchion goes out of his way to not do well. That is not much different than the crossbow vs longbow situation.

Crossbows in the game ARE harder to master. There are a ton more feats to take as part of mastering them. Whether mastering them brings them up to par (it doesn't), is an different thing. However, the fact that mastering them takes more resources and gives less is quite ridiculous -- like I said, it makes no sense no matter the perspective.

The dagger/falchion situation is a bit different. For one, mastering a dagger isn't really any easier/harder than mastering a falchion. So there's not some bizarre situation here like you have with the crossbow/bow. That said, the dagger does have advantages in that it can be thrown and hidden far more easily.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
GeneticDrift wrote:

None of your suggested false choices are bad in all situations.

The double crossbow can be a great choice for an Xbow fighter (if feat intensive)

Can you get the double crossbow down to a free action to reload?

I don't remember, but the build I am thinking of uses vital strike (also generally though of a false choice) and readied actions.

double crossbow:

Benefit: Make one attack roll. If the attack hits, the target takes damage from both bolts. Critical hits, sneak attack damage, and other precision-based damage only apply to the first bolt.

vital strike:

Benefit: When you use the attack action, you can make one attack at your highest base attack bonus that deals additional damage. Roll the weapon’s damage dice for the attack twice and add the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage, and other damage bonuses. These extra weapon damage dice are not multiplied on a critical hit, but are added to the total.

crossbowman archetype

Edit: and yes if a gunslinger can reload a musket as a free action should a crossbow specialist. But I did not see a way to do it.


Strannik wrote:
Drachasor wrote:
There's a different between good and bad options due to limitations on balance, and filling the game field with landmines for unwary players to explode in their faces. That's what stuff like the crossbow Fighter are, and there's a lot of things like that. And pretending these things are "simulationist" doesn't truly justify them. They aren't simulationist, they're just not that great design (whether accidentally or due to a desire to make system mastery matter or something else, I don't know).

I think you go far in describing a fighter crossbow build as a "landmine". In most games such a character would be fine. Only in the games that focus only on optimization will it be a "landmine" and in those games the players wouldn't choose that build anyway.

I'm not participating in the "simulationist" argument, talk to someone else about that.

I like having options, and as I said before, that means some have to be better than others, otherwise they don't really exist.

The Fighter is already a weak class. Going the Crossbow route with a Fighter will give you are character that can't even do his one schtick very well. It's not just a little bit worse than a Bow, it's a LOT worse. So yeah, fair to say it's a landmine, I think. For instance, it brings you in much closer parity with a Druid's Animal Companion in terms of effectiveness.


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Drachasor wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Drachasor wrote:


Crossbows are certainly easier to master than bows. It doesn't take a lifetime of dedication like a Longbow does. Just because you might argue that mastery has a lower ceiling doesn't mean they aren't easier to master. For that matter, it's easier to master using a gun than using a longbow, but a mastering a gun is going to give greater returns.

However, that's not how it is in the game with Crossbows. They are HARDER to master. They require more feats, not less. And then they give you less after spending all those extra resources on them. That's the

I would not say they are harder to master. I would say they are more difficult to bring up to par, and it does not help that they start off farther behind.

A dagger will never equal a falchion unless the person wielding the falchion goes out of his way to not do well. That is not much different than the crossbow vs longbow situation.

Crossbows in the game ARE harder to master. There are a ton more feats to take as part of mastering them. Whether mastering them brings them up to par (it doesn't), is an different thing. However, the fact that mastering them takes more resources and gives less is quite ridiculous -- like I said, it makes no sense no matter the perspective.

The dagger/falchion situation is a bit different. For one, mastering a dagger isn't really any easier/harder than mastering a falchion. So there's not some bizarre situation here like you have with the crossbow/bow. That said, the dagger does have advantages in that it can be thrown and hidden far more easily.

You are equating number of feats taken with mastering. I am not.

Mastering it to me means making it viable, and it takes more effort to make the dagger viable than it does the falchion.

Crossbows have advantages because they can be fired while prone, and the light one is easier to hide. As for the heavy crossbow, I have no idea why it cost more since you get less attacks with it.


Drachasor wrote:
Strannik wrote:
Drachasor wrote:
There's a different between good and bad options due to limitations on balance, and filling the game field with landmines for unwary players to explode in their faces. That's what stuff like the crossbow Fighter are, and there's a lot of things like that. And pretending these things are "simulationist" doesn't truly justify them. They aren't simulationist, they're just not that great design (whether accidentally or due to a desire to make system mastery matter or something else, I don't know).

I think you go far in describing a fighter crossbow build as a "landmine". In most games such a character would be fine. Only in the games that focus only on optimization will it be a "landmine" and in those games the players wouldn't choose that build anyway.

I'm not participating in the "simulationist" argument, talk to someone else about that.

I like having options, and as I said before, that means some have to be better than others, otherwise they don't really exist.

The Fighter is already a weak class. Going the Crossbow route with a Fighter will give you are character that can't even do his one schtick very well. It's not just a little bit worse than a Bow, it's a LOT worse. So yeah, fair to say it's a landmine, I think. For instance, it brings you in much closer parity with a Druid's Animal Companion in terms of effectiveness.

I think the term "landmine" can only apply if it is true across the board. If it's just a bunch of casual gamer it should be ok, and as for the druid AC, that depends on which animal is chosen, and how much effort is put into making the animal effective. The animal companions vary wildly depending on several factors.


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Scale mail costs 50 gp.

Kikko armor costs 30 gp, and it has a better max Dex bonus, a better armor check penalty, a better arcane spell failure chance, and it's lighter. On the other hand...there is no other hand. Kikko armor is just better.


The Crusader wrote:

How many times do you think you could load, aim, and fire a real crossbow in six seconds? Once, maybe? Pathfinder goes well beyond real-world weapon mastery for the crossbow.

But, the broader, more general point of the OP is simply, "Option A is better than Option B. Therefore, Option B is unusable."

If you believe that, then there is no point in debate. The problem will never be resolved. Power Gamers desperately hunt for the slightly superior option, and are miserable until they find it. The only way to perfectly balance everything is to remove the options. "Everything is a d6, with the same modifiers. Add your own fluff."

I prefer the variety.

Pretty much. I find it hilarious that the vast majority of this board is of the opinion that if you don't play the most optimal build of your class you're d%+$$~~. Most characters my friends and I have played committed the cardinal sin of being flavorful as well as effective and have still been fine.

But as I've said before if you're not playing a party of 4 schrodinger's wizards apparently you are not playing PF 'correctly' for most posters here. (Although I'd love to see how those wizards survive past level 3 in any real game)


Expostfacto wrote:
Pretty much. I find it hilarious that the vast majority of this board is of the opinion that if you don't play the most optimal build of your class you're d@&&#~$. Most characters my friends and I have played committed the cardinal sin of being flavorful as well as effective and have still been fine.

I asked, non-rhetorically, in another thread how many people actually play only "Optimized" characters at their actual gaming tables.

I think a lot of people, myself included, talk optimized and better/worse options but the reality of play for probably 90% of forumers in actual play at actual tables is that they take flavorful/campaign-specific choices, if only because what's needed in a given campaign or what seems fun at a specific time or even what makes for a well-rounded character is often different from Theorycraft-Tactical-Optimized-Build.

People do give the impression that if you don't play the mot optimal build you're sort of screwed (because, in a way, you're screwing not just yourself but your party; the feared and hated "waste of space"). But - and it's just a SWAG - in actual play what is optimal for long-term play in a variety of circumstances (to include having fun) is different from buildcraft-optimization.

One poster (sorry, I forget who now), just this week said that when he's making his character, he alternates between "fluff/this would be fun" choices and "mechanically optimal" choices. My suspicion is that in practice, like I said, 90% of people who post here do something like that, building characters that are both unique and competent (but not "every OP choice, and only OP choices"). But I might be wrong.

(The PFS Class Thread sort of confirmed that suspicion, though. Everyone and their uncle who posts here notes the "Caster-Martial Disparity," but in actual play people *do* choose Martial classes, even though we all know that "a properly built Caster" can outstrip a Martial even in the roles the Martial is supposed to excel in. If the forum-dwellers were only taking the consensus-OP options, you'd see a much lower proportion of Martials in threads like that).


Expostfacto wrote:
But as I've said before if you're not playing a party of 4 schrodinger's wizards apparently you are not playing PF 'correctly' for most posters here. (Although I'd love to see how those wizards survive past level 3 in any real game)

Did someone really say that? Or are we using hyperbole?


Someone's already brought up that 'false options' only matter to optimizers*?

*optimizers is not being used as a bad word here. Any derision assumed is your problem, not mine.


Crossbows are not a trap option. They are simple weapons, and even a new player can tell that martial weapons are generally better than simple weapons. Proficiency with crossbows is a fighter perk; the intention is that they will focus on melee, bows, and maybe some interesting thrown weapon options. Nonetheless, crossbow feats are offered, both for the benefit of non-fighters, and for the benefit of players who acknowledge that crossbows are less awesome than bows and want to do it anyway. For roleplaying reasons, as a challenge, for variety, as a way of engaging the system, whatever. For a human rogue, the choice isn't between Rapid Shot with a bow versus Rapid Shot with a crossbow, it's between Rapid Reload with a crossbow and proficiency with a bow. Strictly from a mathematical point of view, the game favors bows for martial characters (or for elves). Nonetheless, crossbows aren't terrible. Sink a feat or two in, and they follow the same curve as bows, maybe a little lower.

Spending a feat to do something unusual is the standard tax the system levels. It is a mechanism that works and works well. It prevents system anarchy while leaving open real options. Not false options. If bows and crossbows were interchangeable, the choice between them would be a false choice. As it stands now, the system creates real choices. For human rogues, it is a matter of style and circumstances. For human fighters, is is between concept and pure utility.

That is not to excuse some poor designs. I'm still not sure for whom Focused Shot was intended. A rogue's Int isn't necessarily so high as to make this a good alternative to Vital Strike, while a Wizard isn't going to have Precise Shot and PBS, generally. As such, Focused Shot to me looks like a waste of word count. That's not a "false choice," just an editorial problem.


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wraithstrike wrote:

You are equating number of feats taken with mastering. I am not.

Mastering it to me means making it viable, and it takes more effort to make the dagger viable than it does the falchion.

Crossbows have advantages because they can be fired while prone, and the light one is easier to hide. As for the heavy crossbow, I have no idea why it cost more since you get...

Well that's certainly interesting, but that's not what the word means.

mas·ter·y
[mas-tuh-ree, mah-stuh-] Show IPA
noun, plural mas·ter·ies for 1-4.
1. command or grasp, as of a subject: a mastery of Italian.
2. superiority or victory: mastery over one's enemies.
3. the act of mastering.
4. expert skill or knowledge.
5. the state of being master; power of command or control.

There's no implication that mastery of one thing means you're someone equal to someone who mastered something else.

Since feats equate to training, crossbow feats equate to training with the crossbow, which is part and parcel of gaining mastery in the crossbow. Since there are more crossbow feats, gaining mastery in the crossbow is more difficult in D20 than mastery in the bow.


Expostfacto wrote:
Pretty much. I find it hilarious that the vast majority of this board is of the opinion that if you don't play the most optimal build of your class you're d&~*$!*. Most characters my friends and I have played committed the cardinal sin of being flavorful as well as effective and have still been fine.

Really this thread is about the bottom say 20-30% of stuff that's just so awful that game would be likely be better if it didn't exist at all. This is the stuff that new players look at and think must be viable options, otherwise why would the game even bother to have them? But they aren't viable, just wastes of feats, class abilities, etc, and picking them means falling into a trap of very bad choices.

That's quite a bit different from saying people have to optimize. Heck, from a certain point of view it is anti-optimization. We're really saying that the level of system mastery in 3.5/PF is far too high, and a lower level would make for a better game. Such a thing would reduce the impact of optimizing (and make more builds viable).


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"Sub-Optimal" does not equal "Ineffective".

I have played non-Teleportation-ist Wizards... They weren't gimped.

I have played a Barbarian that didn't use any of those rage powers... He wasn't gimped either.

Never used a crossbow as my primary, but... whatever.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Drachasor wrote:


Well that's certainly interesting, but that's not what the word means.

mas·ter·y
[mas-tuh-ree, mah-stuh-] Show IPA
noun, plural mas·ter·ies for 1-4.
1. command or grasp, as of a subject: a mastery of Italian.
2. superiority or victory: mastery over one's enemies.
3. the act of mastering.
4. expert skill or knowledge.
5. the state of being master; power of command or control.

There's no implication that mastery of one thing means you're someone equal to someone who mastered something else.

Since feats equate to training, crossbow feats equate to training with the crossbow, which is part and parcel of gaining mastery in the crossbow. Since there are more crossbow feats, gaining mastery in the crossbow is more difficult in D20 than mastery in the bow.

That logic is terrible. Does it really require taking every feat to have expert skill in the crossbow?!? I don't think so. You wouldn't need to know 100% of Italian grammar rules and vocabulary to have a mastery of Italian or be considered to have expert skill in it. Why should it be required for being a master of the crossbow in Pathfinder?


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MrSin wrote:
Expostfacto wrote:
But as I've said before if you're not playing a party of 4 schrodinger's wizards apparently you are not playing PF 'correctly' for most posters here. (Although I'd love to see how those wizards survive past level 3 in any real game)
Did someone really say that? Or are we using hyperbole?

Absolute and disgustingly unfair hyberbole :)

Drachasor wrote:

Really this thread is about the bottom say 20-30% of stuff that's just so awful that game would be likely be better if it didn't exist at all. This is the stuff that new players look at and think must be viable options, otherwise why would the game even bother to have them? But they aren't viable, just wastes of feats, class abilities, etc, and picking them means falling into a trap of very bad choices.

That's quite a bit different from saying people have to optimize. Heck, from a certain point of view it is anti-optimization. We're really saying that the level of system mastery in 3.5/PF is far too high, and a lower level would make for a better game. Such a thing would reduce the impact of optimizing (and make more builds viable).

No that's not what this is about that's what the "What's the most useless feat" thread is about. The OP in his first post says "WHY WOULD SOMEONE EVER FOCUS ON CROSSBOWS THEY'RE SOOOO TERRIBLE". They're not. You lose out on 2-5 damage a hit and have to take 1 more feat than bows. OH NO!

The Crusader wrote:

"Sub-Optimal" does not equal "Ineffective".

I have played non-Teleportation-ist Wizards... They weren't gimped.

I have played a Barbarian that didn't use any of those rage powers... He wasn't gimped either.

Never used a crossbow as my primary, but... whatever.

Currently playing a ranger with crossbow style. Works just fine.

Grand Lodge

wraithstrike wrote:


You are equating number of feats taken with mastering. I am not.

Mastering it to me means making it viable, and it takes more effort to make the dagger viable than it does the falchion.

Crossbows have advantages because they can be fired while prone, and the light one is easier to hide. As for the heavy crossbow, I have no idea why it cost more since you get...

Actually on daggers.. They've got a lot of stuff they can do easily that Falchions cannot. You can throw them, hide them, etc.

Now, everyone is going Martial is better than Simple.. Exotic better than martial..

Then why is the simple dagger better than the martial/exotic versions?

Also, Mastery is not just simply being able to use something. I can pick up a rifle, and shoot at things, and probally hit. But Mastery? Thats being able to take a single shot, and hit a target over a mile away. /thats/ mastery. That's what feats are for.

Ideally, its not that option A and B should be equal, but that while option A is a stronger option over all, Option B has.. well.. something.

Due to random simplicities, and over complications within the game system, a longbow is useful anywhere. Realistically, it would have troubles in tighter quarters, same with a falchion. Three Ninjas.. a rather horrible movie, but it does illustrate this point, The smaller kids had advantage in a ships passage, cause the passage was so small the enemy Ninja couldn't pull out his really big sword.


Expostfacto wrote:


Drachasor wrote:

Really this thread is about the bottom say 20-30% of stuff that's just so awful that game would be likely be better if it didn't exist at all. This is the stuff that new players look at and think must be viable options, otherwise why would the game even bother to have them? But they aren't viable, just wastes of feats, class abilities, etc, and picking them means falling into a trap of very bad choices.

That's quite a bit different from saying people have to optimize. Heck, from a certain point of view it is anti-optimization. We're really saying that the level of system mastery in 3.5/PF is far too high, and a lower level would make for a better game. Such a thing would reduce the impact of optimizing (and make more builds viable).

No that's not what this is about that's what the "What's the most useless feat" thread is about. The OP in his first post says "WHY WOULD SOMEONE EVER FOCUS ON CROSSBOWS THEY'RE SOOOO TERRIBLE". They're not. You lose out on 2-5 damage a hit and have to take 1 more feat than bows. OH NO!

The real qustion is "why Ihave to pay an extra feat to just play my character concept and STILL be just plain inferior than archers".

2-5 damage? afther manyshot we are talking about 10+. At mid levels we are talking about much more.

And point blank master make archers a melee range combatant when needed, the poor crossbomen still do not have that option.

It is all fine taht a simple weapon to be inferior, But why on earth AFTHER spending a tax feat the crossbowman is still just plain weaker? how that can be fair and good desing?


Nicos wrote:
And point blank master make archers a melee range combatant when needed, the poor crossbomen still do not have that option.
I'm not sure why a Crossbowman couldn't take it:
Quote:
Prerequisite: Weapon Specialization with selected ranged weapon.


Bill Dunn wrote:
That logic is terrible. Does it really require taking every feat to have expert skill in the crossbow?!? I don't think so. You wouldn't need to know 100% of Italian grammar rules and vocabulary to have a mastery of Italian or be considered to have expert skill in it. Why should it be required for being a master of the crossbow in Pathfinder?

You're splitting hairs. Crossbows have more depth of mastery. It's harder to reach say 50% of crossbow mastery than it is to get to 50% of bow mastery. Crossbows are the harder weapon to master.

Expostfacto wrote:
Drachasor wrote:

Really this thread is about the bottom say 20-30% of stuff that's just so awful that game would be likely be better if it didn't exist at all. This is the stuff that new players look at and think must be viable options, otherwise why would the game even bother to have them? But they aren't viable, just wastes of feats, class abilities, etc, and picking them means falling into a trap of very bad choices.

That's quite a bit different from saying people have to optimize. Heck, from a certain point of view it is anti-optimization. We're really saying that the level of system mastery in 3.5/PF is far too high, and a lower level would make for a better game. Such a thing would reduce the impact of optimizing (and make more builds viable).

No that's not what this is about that's what the "What's the most useless feat" thread is about. The OP in his first post says "WHY WOULD SOMEONE EVER FOCUS ON CROSSBOWS THEY'RE SOOOO TERRIBLE". They're not. You lose out on 2-5 damage a hit and have to take 1 more feat than bows. OH NO!

So for instance, that could potentially be 4-7 damage per hit (specialization vs. rapid reload). Granted any bit you are behind you could still catch up as far as feats go, but you're still down a feat and the more attacks that become available, the more of a difference the damage makes. Really, not being able to use an ability score with damage is a fairly significant deal. Imagine if a weapon couldn't get enhancement bonuses to damage. This is much the same.

Your range is also shorter (but I'll grant that doesn't come up much). Hmm, though the SRD doesn't seem to indicate that there's a cap in PF on composite raiting, so potentially you could go beyond +5. And there are a lot more arrow options than bolt options.

This would be made up for if the Double Crossbow could be used without penalty, but it can't, unfortunately. And it is a significant difference. We're talking about dealing 50-66% or so of the average damage of an archer much of the time. And archers usually seem to have a bit of a harder time keeping the damage up there, at least in my experience, so you're already swimming upstream.

And it would be one thing if this was the same cost as using a bow. But it isn't. In fact it costs more, which is particularly ridiculous.


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I do wonder why so many people are laboring under the idea that you can't make things better balanced without stripping out any flavor/uniqueness in the process. Sure, perfect balance is impossible, but that doesn't mean we can't try to make things better.

So, to go with the food metaphor that came up earlier, instead of making our choices "Crap Food" vs. "Good Food" we should aim to make our choices "Beef" vs. "Chicken." Some people like one, some like the other, but they're both different and they're both good choices.

Or we could stick with the current system, which focuses on giving people with system mastery an ego boost.


thejeff wrote:
Nicos wrote:
And point blank master make archers a melee range combatant when needed, the poor crossbomen still do not have that option.
I'm not sure why a Crossbowman couldn't take it:
Quote:
Prerequisite: Weapon Specialization with selected ranged weapon.

Each reload invokes an AoO unless you also get Crossbow Mastery (requires point blank shot, rapid reload, and rapid shot).


Nicos wrote:

The real qustion is "why Ihave to pay an extra feat to just play my character concept and STILL be just plain inferior than archers".

2-5 damage? afther manyshot we are talking about 10+. At mid levels we are talking about much more.

And? Why does it matter? My hypothetical party member who is playing a sword and board fighter does less damage than a sword and board fighter with TWF and does WAY less damage than a two handed fighter Beef McLargeHuge clone but he fulfills what a fighter should be as far as the game goes, someone who is capable in martial combat. If I'm playing a crossbow fighter do I lament that the monster would have died 1 round earlier if I had played an archer? Nah the monster still died and we still conquered the encounter.

Quote:
And point blank master make archers a melee range combatant when needed, the poor crossbomen still do not have that option.

Point blank master is totally an option for crossbow read the feat. It isn't for rangers but it is if you have a sane DM. Before you counter with "WELL YOU SHOULDN't NEED DM FIAT" remember even the core book admits the rules are a guideline.

Quote:
It is all fine taht a simple weapon to be inferior, But why on earth AFTHER spending a tax feat the crossbowman is still just plain weaker? how that can be fair and good desing?

This isn't videogame PVP. As long as everyone can be useful inferior doesn't matter. Is a crossbow fighter slightly weaker than an archer? Yes. Is a crossbow cripplingly unviable? No


Drachasor wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Nicos wrote:
And point blank master make archers a melee range combatant when needed, the poor crossbomen still do not have that option.
I'm not sure why a Crossbowman couldn't take it:
Quote:
Prerequisite: Weapon Specialization with selected ranged weapon.
Each reload invokes an AoO unless you also get Crossbow Mastery (requires point blank shot, rapid reload, and rapid shot).

Yeah, you need Crossbow Mastery and Rapid Reload. The others you'll be taking anyway.

But you need those to get your iteratives anyway.
If you were going Vital Strike w/ double X-bow I guess you wouldn't.


Expostfacto wrote:
Quote:
And point blank master make archers a melee range combatant when needed, the poor crossbomen still do not have that option.
Point blank master is totally an option for crossbow read the feat. It isn't for rangers but it is if you have a sane DM. Before you counter with "WELL YOU SHOULDN't NEED DM FIAT" remember even the core book admits the rules are a guideline.

Ranger can still get PBM if he goes Archery combat style. Which is weird, but includes Crossbow Mastery, so it must be legal. Some of the options aren't useful and some are missing, but he'll need to supplement with regular feats anyway.


Expostfacto wrote:
Nicos wrote:

The real qustion is "why Ihave to pay an extra feat to just play my character concept and STILL be just plain inferior than archers".

2-5 damage? afther manyshot we are talking about 10+. At mid levels we are talking about much more.

And? Why does it matter? My hypothetical party member who is playing a sword and board fighter does less damage than a sword and board fighter with TWF and does WAY less damage than a two handed fighter Beef McLargeHuge clone but he fulfills what a fighter should be as far as the game goes, someone who is capable in martial combat. If I'm playing a crossbow fighter do I lament that the monster would have died 1 round earlier if I had played an archer? Nah the monster still died and we still conquered the encounter.

it is not a fair comparision. Sword and shield fither prefer defense over offense, that is an actual choise "i would not do that much damage but pwople will hit me less, cool".

Crossobowman and archers have the same role, and arhcers are just way better.

Expostfacto wrote:


Quote:
And point blank master make archers a melee range combatant when needed, the poor crossbomen still do not have that option.

Point blank master is totally an option for crossbow read the feat. It isn't for rangers but it is if you have a sane DM. Before you counter with "WELL YOU SHOULDN't NEED DM FIAT" remember even the core book admits the rules are a guideline.

Well, you can take it, now you do not provoke for shooting in melee, bad luck reloading does provoke.

I find "the book is not perfect you can always houserule" as a more honest answer, at least that admit there was a problem in the first place.

Expostfacto wrote:


Quote:
It is all fine taht a simple weapon to be inferior, But why on earth AFTHER spending a tax feat the crossbowman is still just plain weaker? how that can be fair and good desing?

This isn't videogame PVP. As long as everyone can be useful inferior doesn't matter. Is a crossbow fighter slightly weaker than an archer? Yes. Is a crossbow cripplingly unviable? No

there are a lot of styles of palyeres. Some would be fine with your argument some not. a powergamer wants to have strong options, by the other hands a guy that play more for the concept should not be forced to play a subpar option. And i disagree that is slighly inferior, everything can not be perfectly balanced I am fine with some degree of imbalance, but I think the disparity Is bigger at least in this case.


Nicos wrote:

Well, you can take it, now you do not provoke for shooting in melee, bad luck reloading does provoke.

I find "the book is not perfect you can always houserule" as a more honest answer, at least that admit there was a problem in the first place.

As thejeff pointed out why would a crossbowman not have crossbow mastery?


Expostfacto wrote:
Nicos wrote:

Well, you can take it, now you do not provoke for shooting in melee, bad luck reloading does provoke.

I find "the book is not perfect you can always houserule" as a more honest answer, at least that admit there was a problem in the first place.

As thejeff pointed out why would a crossbowman not have crossbow mastery?

So we're agreed it's a two-feat tax for not being nearly as good then. Because before you were saying it was just 1 feat more than bows.


It is 1 feat and that's the one crossbow mastery is the only thing a that isn't needed on an archer. Maybe rapid reload but that's not a problem.

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