Which bow is better?


Advice


I have an Elven cleric of Sarenrae who uses his bow when not casting.

I have a chance to upgrade my bow and I'm not sure which to choose:
+2 flaming
or
+1 holy

We're bound to face natural foes but I guess that the major threats will mostly be evil, especially the BBEGs.
But then maybe I'll be spending more time casting against those foes?
How important is the extra +1 to hit?
In major conflicts, I can probably afford a slot on cat's grace but I won't always have the time...

I'm really not sure which to go with.


Fire is the number one most common (and most commonly resisted) elemental damage in the game. Since it's only 1d6 damage, even resist 5 fire really puts a damper on its usefulness. Nothing has resistance to Holy damage. Sure, you'll face Neutral foes, but they're just as likely to have fire resistance as the bad guys. Go with Holy, more likely to be useful.


Holy is overall far more useful.

Usually you can get enough to-hit from other sources so that another +1 is not that important. You can always compare your iterative attack expected damage with another +1. However, being a cleric with numerous spells that can boost your power, that +1 is likely to not be important.


Definitely the Holy. The elemental +1d6 enchants just aren't worth it.


Plain +3.


Pupsocket wrote:
Plain +3.

Depends if he can get Greater Magic Weapon or not. Sure, "actual" enhancements will bypass some types of DR, but Holy is useful for that, too. And eventually he can just get Clustered Shots anyway.

But yeah, between +1 Holy or +2 Flaming, no question, the former. I'd pick just about anything over flaming.


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Pupsocket wrote:
Plain +3.

Depends if he can get Greater Magic Weapon or not. Sure, "actual" enhancements will bypass some types of DR, but Holy is useful for that, too. And eventually he can just get Clustered Shots anyway.

But yeah, between +1 Holy or +2 Flaming, no question, the former. I'd pick just about anything over flaming.

Given that he's playing a cleric, he could always prepare the spell himself.


Ah, right. They get it a level later, but they still get it. For some reason, I thought they needed to get it from a domain.


I agree with the +3. Not only are you now bypassing Silver and Cold Iron DR, but +2 to hit and damage all the time is going to be more useful than +2d6 damage some of the time. And Flaming is a joke.

The Exchange

Does a +3 bow confer the ability to overcome DR in its ammunition? I thought it didn't.


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The Todd wrote:
Does a +3 bow confer the ability to overcome DR in its ammunition? I thought it didn't.

Yes it does.


http://www.d20pfsrd.com wrote:
A holy weapon is imbued with holy power. This power makes the weapon good-aligned and thus bypasses the corresponding damage reduction.

I think this is selling agument ;)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Yes, a Greater Magic weapon combined with a Holy Bow should work wonders. Upgrade to +3 when you can.

==Aelryinth


Was a +3 bow on the list of bows he could get?

Sovereign Court

Wow, thanks for the advice everyone.

I hadn't even thought about taking Greater Magic Weapon but that would mean that I could have +2 holy when I cast it.

I could probably talk the GM round to a +3 but I still want to keep up with my PC's theme and persona. Given the choice he would choose holy over pure power.

Holy it is.


A straight +3 bonus or a +1 Holy are always good options for a cleric, however if I may suggest a few alternatives...

Merciful: An extra 1d6 damage on every attack, however all damage is subdual (a fitting thing for a cleric).

Designating: A cleric is a buffing class. This gives all allies a +2 to hit and damage to all of their attacks until your next turn against the target you shoot. Boom.

Planar: Ignore 5 points of DR against all outsiders (however you're better off getting clustered shots at that point).


I thought you couldn't add the enhancement bonus of bows to they're ammunition. Where does it say that it does?

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

.....read the tables from the magic item area....be sure to check the special mark meanings....then read the part right under that for ranged weapons....can't miss it...then you answer yourself...

thotham wrote:

I thought you couldn't add the enhancement bonus of bows to they're ammunition. Where does it say that it does?


A straight +3 is really, really suboptimal. That's fine, and it is simple, but if you have access to greater magic weapon then you will almost never benefit from a pure enhancement bonus on your weapon as much as a real ability.
Now that we have that out of the way:
Holy weapon is a substantially better enhancement than flaming, assuming your enemies are largely evil. Fire resistance is really common, and the damage boost isn't enough to make it worth it. Cast greater magic weapon, and you will have a +2 holy bow. Even without GMW, I'd still say a +1 holy bow is better than a +2 flaming bow.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It also largely depends on how much you want to spend on ammo. A real +3 means you don't need CI or silver...GMW does. While it may not seem like much, laying down 2g per arrow starts to add up for silver. I advocate holy as well over the +3... But caveat an awareness in rising ammo costs or having to deal with DR. Since your not a primary archer, it likely won't make much difference.


Right I see now the enhancement bonus of say a plus2 is only applied to the purpose of overcoming damage reduction, but not on plus to attack or damage.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Uh, what?

The arrow is still +2 Th/dmg.

==Aelryinth


If that is true what is the purpose of plus1 etc. ammunition if they don't stack w existing bonuses, why would it even be for sale when buying a bow with the same enhancements cost nearly the same. Just how our group understands it maybe we are wrong.


thotham wrote:
If that is true what is the purpose of plus1 etc. ammunition if they don't stack w existing bonuses, why would it even be for sale when buying a bow with the same enhancements cost nearly the same.

Buying magic ammunition is mostly a foolish idea, but it is significantly cheaper to buy a few magic arrows than it is to buy a magic bow (which is equivalent to buying 50 of said magic arrows).

A higher level archer may want to carry a small handful of Bane arrows for specific foes, for example, or spell storing arrows to nova a BBEG or something.

Besides, there's lots of bad options that are still in the game. Have you ever seen anyone using a Greatclub? Not every option is in the game for PCs to choose.


The enhancement bonus on arrows and bows do not stack. Other enhancements however, do stack.

+3 arrows and +3 bow = +3 bonus on to hit
+1 bow and +1 flaming arrow = +1 to hit and +1d6 fire damage.
+1 flaming bow and +1 bane arrows = +3 to hit and +3d6 vs target as long as its the appropriate type, otherwise just +1 to hit and +1d6 fire damage.


thotham wrote:
If that is true what is the purpose of plus1 etc. ammunition if they don't stack w existing bonuses, why would it even be for sale when buying a bow with the same enhancements cost nearly the same. Just how our group understands it maybe we are wrong.

One of the best houserule ever is to allow the enchantment of arrow without that +1. For example plain Flamming shocking arrows.


thotham wrote:

I thought you couldn't add the enhancement bonus of bows to they're ammunition. Where does it say that it does?

If you couldn't, what on earth would be the point of enhancement bonuses on bows then? In case the string breaks and you have to use it as an improvised club?


Kudaku that's what we thought. Thanks


Nicos wrote:
One of the best houserule ever is to allow the enchantment of arrow without that +1. For example plain Flamming shocking arrows.

I used to have the idea of a special type of magic arrows. They could have a +1 equivalent special property, but did not need to have a +1 enhancement. On the downside, aside from being limited to +1 effects, the arrows' magical properties only functioned when fired from a magical bow.

..I kind of soured on the idea when I realized how easy/prevalent magic weapon / greater magic weapon was. And the Chain Spell metamagic feat...


It does seem best to use Greater Magic Weapon for projectiles and then use Holy for the main weapon.


Malaswyn Tyddewi wrote:

I have a chance to upgrade my bow and I'm not sure which to choose:

+2 flaming
or
+1 holy

I would state go with the holy. Fire is the single most resisted energy in the game. 1d6 fire can help but even a mere 5 points of Fire Resist makes it pretty useless.

Nothing resists Holy damage. While you won't get extra damage on animals and mindless thingies, you will on most of the really nasty things you will fight that are evil when your really gonna want that extra damage.


magical ammo is good if you know if your going to fight a white dragon but not any think else that was weak vs fire.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Actually, cold tends to be more resisted then fire.

the 'fire is resisted most' tends to be overrated. It's just that creatures with the fire subtype are usually encountered in more areas then those with the cold subtype.

Note that daemons are immune to acid, demons to lightning, and devils to fire. Cold is actually the best thing to use on all of them, if they don't have the right subtype. The problem is that if you're going into cold areas, cold subtypes are everywhere!

I find it interesting that undead are no longer immune to cold damage..

==Aelryinth

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