Crossbows and other unloved weapons


Product Discussion

Liberty's Edge

Greetings you fine third party publishers! I was wondering if any of you had printed better stats for the crossbow or any crossbow variants in any of your materials? a couple of my players prefer crossbows to bows however in core pathfinder crossbows are mechanically inferior to bows.

Also do any of your fine wares happen to give love to some of the lesser used weapons such as flails, warhammers, spears and others?


I know Blackdirge did a series like this for 3.X but I think he's closed up his shop so there are no new ones.

In the meantime I found these at Rpgnow that might be of interest.

* Patches with Punch: Crossbow
* Lightning Strike Virtuoso - this may have been updated in Ultimate Psionics
* Master at Arms: Arbalestier

I cannot speak with any certainty to the quality of these releases. I just located them on a quick search.


Our group has a houserule that just gives crossbows a preset Strength rating when you buy them; a 14-Str crossbow requires at least a 14 Str to operate and always does 1d8+2 damage, for example.


You could always check out what's available for Crossbowmen & women in the New Paths Compendium; There's an Elven Archer variant, the Dwarven Crossbowyer.

Liberty's Edge

excellent suggestions. thank you for pointing me in the right direction guys

Contributor

Changing Man wrote:
You could always check out what's available for Crossbowmen & women in the New Paths Compendium; There's an Elven Archer variant, the Dwarven Crossbowyer.

I'm very highly biased, but I'll go ahead and second this recommendation anyway. ;)

Liberty's Edge

The dwarven Crossbowyer is fantastic, i like the idea that crossbows could reduce armor class based on their size. Light crossbow reduces it by one, regular by 2 and heavy by 3 i could dig it.

Sovereign Court

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I've written a house rule widget for this.

The Exchange

The relatively obscure AD&D 2nd Edition Birthright setting had rules for crossbows that... well, if I were converting the rule directly, it would amount to ignoring 4 points of armor or natural armor AC as long as you're in point-blank range.


That's a brilliant way to give them their own niche, and also hearkens back to why the Pope banned them in his patch notes. Well done to those designers!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Is there a mechanical difference between "ignores 4 points of AC" and just making it a +4 to hit weapon?

Sovereign Court

@Mosaic: the "within point blank range" part?


It only works for armor shield or natural armor bonus to AC.


The monk laughs at you, I expect, though I'd have it not work against force effect AC, like mage armor or bracers of armor.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Got it, thanks. So physical armor - armor, shield, natural - but not Dex, or supernatural or magical effects. That makes sense.

Sovereign Court

Interjection Games wrote:
The monk laughs at you, I expect, though I'd have it not work against force effect AC, like mage armor or bracers of armor.

Eh. Let the monk have his fun.

I wouldn't make any exception for Mage Armor. If you want magical deflection, use something that gives a Deflection bonus. Mage Armor is not impenetrable force, it's just sturdy.


I think crossbows are great they way they are.
Why?
It is a simple weapon. It should be worse than a martial weapon.
The X-bow can be used prone and you can dual-wield 2 light x-bows or 2 hand xbows. The bow has a better rate of fire and you can make it stronger.
There are even repeating x-bows for a better rate of fire.
So the X-bow is exaclty where it should be.
I would also like to add that many weapons are in fact categories for a whole set of weapons who work the same way.
Rapier = rapier + epee.
I am sorry if your favorite weapon doesn´t work the way you think it should work. But if you make the X-bow even stronger, you should make it either a martial weapon or even an exotic weapon!


The "Kirthfinder" rules account for simple, martial, and exotic proficiency in all weapons. That means that a fighter wields a light mace better than a cleric. I've introduced these rules to my campaign and the fighty-guys love it.


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Helikon wrote:

I think crossbows are great they way they are.

Why?
It is a simple weapon. It should be worse than a martial weapon.
The X-bow can be used prone and you can dual-wield 2 light x-bows or 2 hand xbows. The bow has a better rate of fire and you can make it stronger.
There are even repeating x-bows for a better rate of fire.
So the X-bow is exaclty where it should be.
I would also like to add that many weapons are in fact categories for a whole set of weapons who work the same way.
Rapier = rapier + epee.
I am sorry if your favorite weapon doesn´t work the way you think it should work. But if you make the X-bow even stronger, you should make it either a martial weapon or even an exotic weapon!

Just a quick note, Repeating Crossbows are Exotic and all they get over ordinary crossbows is a better reload method, which still is inferior to a bow (a Martial weapon :P).


Just a quick note, Repeating Crossbows are Exotic and all they get over ordinary crossbows is a better reload method, which still is inferior to a bow (a Martial weapon :P).
Yep, I know. My Inquisitor loves it.
And your point is?
A pickaxe is far worse weapon than the scythe, does less damage can only do piercing and is heavier. Although its a little bit cheaper.
There are weapons that are mechanically a bit better. No one forces you to use them.

Sovereign Court

Helikon wrote:

I think crossbows are great they way they are.

Why?
It is a simple weapon. It should be worse than a martial weapon.
The X-bow can be used prone and you can dual-wield 2 light x-bows or 2 hand xbows. The bow has a better rate of fire and you can make it stronger.
There are even repeating x-bows for a better rate of fire.
So the X-bow is exaclty where it should be.
I would also like to add that many weapons are in fact categories for a whole set of weapons who work the same way.
Rapier = rapier + epee.
I am sorry if your favorite weapon doesn´t work the way you think it should work. But if you make the X-bow even stronger, you should make it either a martial weapon or even an exotic weapon!

It's fine with me that a wizard's backup ranged weapon is not great. But there's a big lack of decent martial ranged weapons to choose from.

A fighter or ranger who wants to make a ranged warrior basically has only the composite longbow to choose from; everything else is just plain inferior. You need to spend at least one feat just to fire as fast as a bow, and even then you'll probably lag behind in damage.

This is different from melee weapons; there are multiple melee weapons that are good enough to use. They each have different advantages - the greatsword has a lot of damage, the falchion has a better crit range. But that's an actual choice, and you don't need to spend a feat for that choice.


I understand your point very well.
Personally many of my martial chars. do not use the bow at low levels, but the sling.
The problem is that there are very few diffrent ranged weapons to choose from historically. Ranged weapons, not throwing weapons. But you could always ask your GM to do you a reskinned bow. Same statistics as a longbow, shortbow, just looks diffrently.


My point was mostly directed at the "if we make xbows stronger, they need to be Martial or Exotic". As in, there are already an Exotic crossbow and it is in no way better then a (composite) bow :-)

Now, the easiest 'fix' would probably be switching composite bows up to exotic and repeating crossbows to martial. Then there would be an actual choice and trade off between the weapons.

Liberty's Edge

see one of my gripes is that the crossbow, unlike the bow cannot be upgraded via the compound ability. However crossbows can be made for a whole variety of draw weights so why could you not have a mighty crossbow?

That is my main purpose in making this thread I would like crossbows to be a competitive alternative to the bow instead of the mechanically inferior version they are right now.

House ruling is fine and dandy and i will add the crossbow variant rules to my ever growing stack of house rules for pathfinder, but the purpose of this thread is for those who like crossbows to talk about how to make them better hopefully with 3pp support


The simple/martial distinction is meaningless to a Fighter or Ranger, yet they present the Crossbow combat style and the Crossbowman archetype as though they are just as valid as using a longbow. Which they're not, they're traps because (barring houserules) Crossbows will suck forever.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Purple Duck Games wrote:
I know Blackdirge did a series like this for 3.X but I think he's closed up his shop so there are no new ones.

He had folded up shop for a while, but he very quietly put his wares back up for sale not too long ago.

For example, you can once again buy his material to make the club an attractive weapon, something I don't think any other publisher has ever tried to do.


There was an article in Dragon magazine some years ago about crossbows (1e/2e Era), essentially looking them over from a historical perspective and giving them the upgrade they needed. Iirc, they even made a 'medium' crossbow as well, and the almost-ballista Siege Crossbow. Of course, that's of little help for 3.x/PF, unless someone wants to revisit the crossbow using this as an inspiration for ideas (fairly certain the author listed sources for his research).

I think crossbows get the short end of the stick largely because they're considered 'simple weapons'. Sure, they're simple enough to use, but that doesn't make them any less deadly than a bow! Heck, a 9mm is even simpler to actually use, but by PF categorization would be 'exotic'. Ah well.


Exotic weapons not only mean easy to use, but also very difficult to manufacture or very rare!


Helikon wrote:
Exotic weapons not only mean easy to use, but also very difficult to manufacture or very rare!

Well, yes, of course, there is that factor as well :) But if I recall correctly, aren't crossbows more challenging to construct than bows?

Paizo Employee Design Manager

I believe "Thunderscape: The World of Aden" had a variant crossbow that you could crank to deal additional damage, giving it a damage bonus roughly equivalent with a composite bow's STR rating if I recall correctly.

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