The Bolt Ace


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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25 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the errata. 9 people marked this as a favorite.

This could probably go under advice just as much, my apologies if it seems out of place.

So, i love the concept of the Gunslinger. My first pathfinder book was Ultimate Combat just so i could try one out... how sad i was when the GM vetoed it due to his hate of guns in a fantasy setting and the disturbing things he heard about the class online. But then along comes this class, which is a fully supported archetype along the lines of a homebrew i suggested to that very GM that he almost signed off on!

But the archetype seems... incomplete perhaps? It doesnt affect loading times until level 11 when it gets a nifty rapid reload + but how would you get to level 11 without Crossbow mastery? It also holds onto the proficiencies for firearms and the gunsmithing feat while not gaining proficiency with any exotic crossbow types or getting a juicy personel repeating or double crossbow at level 1. That seems like a strange choice. I feel a starting crossbow of any type and free rapid reload for that type would do a lot to help the class out.

As is, how would one best allocate feats? Point-blank shot, precise shot, rapid shot, crossbow mastery and rapid reload all seem like mandatory feats to make a feasible build, most of those being requirements for Crossbow Mastery. Extra grit too in order to power your touch attacks and compensate for the lowish threat range of crossbows.

So five nearly mandatory feats and one very nice to have and thats before looking at things like clustered shots and improved precise shot which are also near mandatory for ranged builds.

It looks like it could play OK at levels 1-2 where positioning, range and a D10 can potentially knock out an enemy before they close to melee... if the battel field supports that. Once you are fighting enemies that can easily survive 2D10 damage you are in a bit of a bind until you hit level 5 and that sweet dex to damage. Level 5 is also about where you can expect to have Crossbow Mastery up and running so you all of a sudden throw down 2D10 +8-10 in a single round.

How does everyone else envision the class running? I think i love it but i am daunted by the number of feats needed to make it work like i feel it should.


Deadly Aim would probably be a good feat to take too. And yeah, it was weird that Gunsmithing was not replaced for the Bolt Ace. Signature Deed for the Sharp Shoot deed would probably be the best use of your level 11 feet as well.


What they could have done was replace Gunsmithing with Precise Shot (or another feat) and Medium and Heavy armor Proficiencies would replace the firearm proficiency and any firearms gained (however that is worded).

But I also like how the Bolt Ace seems to fix the problem where people are scared of guns in a fantasy setting.


Its the only "Archer" type with Dex to damage... well other than an actual Gunslinger of course. I think it makes it super competitive with the other big ranged classes (Zen Monk, Fighter Archer, Ranger, ect).

The Hooded Champion Archetype is also very interesting... I am knocking around a few ideas on ways to tweak it.


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So I tried to place all the feats as I would probably take them. Here are a few things I noticed...

1. You really dont start rolling until Level 5 when you get Dex to Damage and Crossbow Mastery. I went Light Crossbow with Two weapon Fighting.
2. You dont need Improved Precise shot with Signature Deed (Shooter's Resolve) doing the same thing.
3. Shooting two Light Crossbows is a Free Action at 5th level, and with a Glove of storing by 7th level your set for Two weapon Fighting. At 11th level it becomes "no action".... whatever that means. Not sure if you even need the glove at that point if its not an action to reload.
4. You can take Improved Crit with one of your free feats but honestly I would just get the Keen enchant at a much earlier level. Sig Deed (Vigilant Loading) is an option, but you can always just step back 5 feet or wait for the "No action required" at 11th level.

H: Rapid Reload (Light Crossbow)
1: Point-blank Shot
3: Precise Shot
4: Rapid Shot
5: Crossbow Mastery
7: Two Weapon Fighting
8: Cluster Shots
9: Improved Two Weapon Fighting
11: Greater Two Weapon Fighting
12: Signature Deed (Sharp Shoot or Shooter's Resolve)
13: Deadly Aim
15: Signature Deed (Sharp Shoot or Shooter's Resolve)
16: Free Feat
17: Free Feat
19: Free Feat
20: Free Feat

1d8 + Dex on a 19-20/X3 is pretty sick. At 20th with a 20 Starting Dex, you could potentially max it out at a 36 dex or so. With +5 Keen Crossbows thats...

+38 to hit
-2 Rapid Shot
-4 from Two weapon Fighting
-6 from Deadly Aim

26/26/26/21/21/16/16/11 (Touch AC within 80ft )
1d8 + 30 (13 Dex + 12 Deadly Aim + +5 Weapon) + weapon enchants.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I would love to see a build.


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I'd house rule that you start with repeating crossbow proficiency (edit: possibly even hand crossbow proficiency, so they can use one something one handed) instead of firearms, and rapid reload instead of gunsmith, as this archetype will mostly be used in worlds without firearms.

Also, you only get a -2 to fire two light crossbows. They count as light weapons


The no action reload is strange... I assume that is to get around the free action limit they FAQ'd for firearms? But that does open the can of worms about not needing a free hand for something that isn't an action. Weird.

I kind of like the ricochet shot deed and a Heavy crossbow, that lets you hit touch AC from 240 feet if I read it right. Considering how rarely you fight beyond that range, it's off the table for most games I've seen, it makes the bolt ace the undisputed sniper master of the game.

Gravity bow doesn't have a permanent enchantment version does it? Darn shame that.

Dark Archive

Dotting


The -4 is because -2 for TWF, and -2 for shooting a light crossbow one handed, you care until you are hitting touch everytime

this looks to start off pretty slow, but get nice higher up, some GMs may frown on the glove of storing juggling to get around 'need free hand to reload'

I'm pretty sure 'inexplicable reload' moves all the way to not an action at all specifically to address normally needing a free hand


plaidwandering wrote:

The -4 is because -2 for TWF, and -2 for shooting a light crossbow one handed, you care until you are hitting touch everytime

Herp derp


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Duraxis wrote:
I'd house rule that you start with repeating crossbow proficiency (edit: possibly even hand crossbow proficiency, so they can use one something one handed) instead of firearms, and rapid reload instead of gunsmith,

That's what I was going to do, basically. I might just make it "all crossbows".


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I'd love an all crossbows proficiency thing.

I have been thinking about their level 11 "Start all combats and every round with a loaded Crossbow" and it hit me, this is THE Repeating Crossbow class. You could cut out Rapid Reload and Crossbow Mastery by just getting EWP for a repeater and dropping 2-3 shots a round until level 11. It frees up space for Deadly Aim earlier on and you already get DEX to damage so having to stop every third round to reload isnt that bad. If you have clustered shots you could switch between two loaded regular crossbows at round three and not lose out on as much action economy. At 11 you get a full 5 round magazine every turn which accounts for 3 by BAB, 1 by Rapid Shot and 1 by Haste. I never get past level 16 so that last attack isnt a worry for me.

Any glaring errors in the plan?


A dip into inquisitor can solve that. Especially with some archetypes, it could be well worth it.


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It could be but i wouldnt want to dip to make an archetype work the way it feels like it should from the get go. Always nice to grab the Travel domain though.

The more i look at the archetype, the more i think its more than just a fix for the no guns in my fantasy crowd, the extreme range they can get with their touch attacks is awesome. I do feel they will be short on Grit up until Signature Deed though. Hence freeing up feats from rapid reload and crossbow mastery for extra grit :)


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Torbyne wrote:
Any glaring errors in the plan?

Just what you've already noted, that you have to stop firing every two or three rounds to full round reload. Ranged shots tend to be all about the "volley fire" approach with feats like Clustered Shot and Rapid Shot making sure you want as many bolts in the air as possible. Assuming Haste and rapid shot, you'll want to be firing 4 shots a round at level 6.

You could circumvent that by using two crossbows, but keeping two weapons enchanted gets really expensive in the low levels.

Personally I'm inclined to give the bolt ace Rapid Reload with a crossbow of his choice at level 1 in place of of Gunsmith. That feat really doesn't make any sense for an archetype that focuses on crossbows.


Agreed. i think i am being influenced by the martial physics limit. Magic can be Magic but reloading a 100 pound draw, crank driven, crossbow seven times in six seconds? eh, give me a retro-victorian repeating crossbow (possibly with steam resevoirs and pnumatics?) and i'll bite though.

But also for the exotic flavor of a Gunslinger, to get free proficiency and a battered or customized repeater bow at level 1 seems to fit.

The action economy would probably drive too many players away form it without free reloads before level 11.


Dragonamedrake wrote:

Its the only "Archer" type with Dex to damage... well other than an actual Gunslinger of course. I think it makes it super competitive with the other big ranged classes (Zen Monk, Fighter Archer, Ranger, ect).

The Hooded Champion Archetype is also very interesting... I am knocking around a few ideas on ways to tweak it.

There is the Crossbowman Archetype that gets Dex to damage. Though it isn't as good as Gunslinger or Bolt Ace.


Yup, getting the extreme range touch attacks was more shocking than dex to damage when I first saw the class.


ngc7293 wrote:
Dragonamedrake wrote:

Its the only "Archer" type with Dex to damage... well other than an actual Gunslinger of course. I think it makes it super competitive with the other big ranged classes (Zen Monk, Fighter Archer, Ranger, ect).

The Hooded Champion Archetype is also very interesting... I am knocking around a few ideas on ways to tweak it.

There is the Crossbowman Archetype that gets Dex to damage. Though it isn't as good as Gunslinger or Bolt Ace.

Only with prepared actions... Which means it can't even full attack. It shouldn't even be mentioned... If it can't full attack it doesn't have the main strength of Archers.


Torbyne wrote:
eh, give me a retro-victorian repeating crossbow (possibly with steam resevoirs and pnumatics?) and i'll bite though.

I was actually going to suggest an air powered crossbow to my GM. you'd pump it rather than cranking it (I've been playing too much Metro: Last Light)

Proficiency with all crossbows would be a lot easier, it also opens up stuff like double crossbows and great crossbows, assuming they're allowed


4 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I just noticed the bolt ace doesn't change the gunslinger weapon proficiency options. So you can still use firearms (and start with one, courtesy of Gunsmith), but you're not proficient with hand, double, or repeating crossbows.

I wonder if that's intentional, an oversight, or if they simply ran out of space and couldn't fit the extra text.


It really must be an over sight considering the archetype description going on about how the Bolt Ace won't sully themselves with firearms. And the concept needs a lot of feats, trading away gunsmithing for a crossbow feat would be wonderful. Even without those changes though, love the archetype.


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A great idea, but half baked execution. They need to trade out gunsmithing and firearm proficiencies for full crossbow access and, as someonesaid earlier a free rideeload on crossbow of choice and it'll work out well enough.

Also, grit for touch AC on a single attack is very underwhelming. Still, it's more options for crossbows at least.


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Keeping Gunsmithing/Gunslinger/Firearm proficiency, as said, feels like the archetype is in complete.

Also not a fan of how picking up Crossbow Mastery makes two of your deeds worthless, but Crossbow Mastery is mandatory for anything other than a light crossbow.


Doug OBrien wrote:

A great idea, but half baked execution. They need to trade out gunsmithing and firearm proficiencies for full crossbow access and, as someonesaid earlier a free rideeload on crossbow of choice and it'll work out well enough.

Also, grit for touch AC on a single attack is very underwhelming. Still, it's more options for crossbows at least.

Between levels 6-10 it makes your second attack from BAB *really* accurate. At level 11 all of a sudden all attacks can be at touch AC which is a monster.

Shadow Lodge

THere is the problem of the gunsmith nad proficiencies, however there are also problems with many deeds (which were not replaced) which call specifically "when you shoot your firearm...". So they are just unusable with the crossbow, i hope they address this on a faq soon

Dark Archive

ACG wrote:

Deeds: A bolt ace can perform the following deeds with a crossbow instead of a firearm: gunslinger initiative, pistolwhip, dead shot, targeting, bleeding wound, death’s shot, and stunning shot. The bolt thrower swaps the following deeds.

Sharp Shoot (Ex): At 1st level, a bolt ace can resolve an attack against touch AC instead of normal AC when firing a crossbow at a target within its first range increment. Performing this deed costs 1 grit point. This deed replaces deadeye.
Vigilant Loading (Ex): At 1st level, as long as a bolt ace has at least 1 grit point, she does not provoke attacks of opportunity when loading a crossbow. This deed replaces quick clear.
Shooter’s Resolve (Ex): At 3rd level, a bolt ace can spend 1 grit point when making a crossbow attack as a standard action and ignore the effects of concealment (though not total concealment) and cover (other than total cover) against that shot. This deed replaces utility shot.
Distracting Shot (Ex): At 7th level, a bolt ace can spend 1 grit point and choose to miss a target that she could normally attack within her range with a crossbow attack. When she does, the target loses its Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) for 1 round. This deed replaces startling shot.
Vigilant Shooter (Ex): At 11th level, as long as a bolt ace spends 1 grit point when she does so, she does not provoke attacks of opportunity when firing a crossbow. This deed replaces expert loading.
Inexplicable Reload (Ex): At 11th level, loading a crossbow becomes unthinking and automatic for a bolt ace. As long as she has at least 1 grit point, she always starts each round of combat (even a surprise round) with her crossbow loaded. Also the amount of time needed to reload a crossbow decreases by one step: a standard action becomes a move action, a move action becomes a swift action, a swift action becomes a free action, and a free action becomes not an action. This deed replaces lightning reload.
Pinning Shot (Ex): At 15th level, the bolt ace can spend 1 grit point while shooting a crossbow and attempt to pin down its target with the bolt. If the crossbow attack hits, it pins the target to a nearby object, to a wall, or to the ground, entangling and staggering the target. While pinned by the bolt, the target cannot move out of its space until it takes a standard action to free itself from the pinning bolt, except by means of teleportation. This deed replaces menacing shot.

Which Deeds are you talking about that specifically call out requiring a firearm? Because if they're not these, then it's probably the intention.

edit for inclusiveness.


I looked over the base gunslinger and I couldn't find any deeds that weren't either covered by the note Seranov quoted, were replaced with bolt ace deeds or work without firearms.

While I still wish they'd have tweaked the proficiency and replaced the gunsmith feat, near as I can tell the deeds seem to work well.

Shadow Lodge

Seranov wrote:
ACG wrote:

Deeds: A bolt ace can perform the following deeds with a crossbow instead of a firearm: gunslinger initiative, pistolwhip, dead shot, targeting, bleeding wound, death’s shot, and stunning shot. The bolt thrower swaps the following deeds.

Sharp Shoot (Ex): At 1st level, a bolt ace can resolve an attack against touch AC instead of normal AC when firing a crossbow at a target within its first range increment. Performing this deed costs 1 grit point. This deed replaces deadeye.
Vigilant Loading (Ex): At 1st level, as long as a bolt ace has at least 1 grit point, she does not provoke attacks of opportunity when loading a crossbow. This deed replaces quick clear.
Shooter’s Resolve (Ex): At 3rd level, a bolt ace can spend 1 grit point when making a crossbow attack as a standard action and ignore the effects of concealment (though not total concealment) and cover (other than total cover) against that shot. This deed replaces utility shot.
Distracting Shot (Ex): At 7th level, a bolt ace can spend 1 grit point and choose to miss a target that she could normally attack within her range with a crossbow attack. When she does, the target loses its Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) for 1 round. This deed replaces startling shot.
Vigilant Shooter (Ex): At 11th level, as long as a bolt ace spends 1 grit point when she does so, she does not provoke attacks of opportunity when firing a crossbow. This deed replaces expert loading.
Inexplicable Reload (Ex): At 11th level, loading a crossbow becomes unthinking and automatic for a bolt ace. As long as she has at least 1 grit point, she always starts each round of combat (even a surprise round) with her crossbow loaded. Also the amount of time needed to reload a crossbow decreases by one step: a standard action becomes a move action, a move action becomes a swift action, a swift action becomes a free action, and a free action becomes not an action. This deed replaces lightning reload.
Pinning Shot (Ex): At 15th level, the bolt ace can spend 1 grit point while
...

Woops my bad i guess i didnt read the " A bolt ace can perform the following deeds with a crossbow instead of a firearm.." part


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So how exactly does distracting shot work? A non action where you give up your first attack in a round? Seems like a great way to make the rogue/slayer/ninja love you for ever.


Regarding the remaining firearm proficiency and gunsmithing feat, what seems the best or most likely swap outs? All crossbows seems the best fit for proficiencies and maybe rapid reload for gunsmith? A crossbow of choice or even master work crossbow would be awesome instead of a battered firearm but seems very unlikely.


Torbyne wrote:
Regarding the remaining firearm proficiency and gunsmithing feat, what seems the best or most likely swap outs? All crossbows seems the best fit for proficiencies and maybe rapid reload for gunsmith? A crossbow of choice or even master work crossbow would be awesome instead of a battered firearm but seems very unlikely.

The battered firearm as a class feature is there because the really high cost of a firearm make it impossible for a character at level 1 to afford a firearm with his starting wealth, and the classes designed to use firearms have to compensate for it providing a weapon from the get-go.

In the case of other weapons, their cost is low enough to buy them with starting wealth without difficulty.

On the other hand the Gunsmithing bonus feat to ease the production of ammo can be converted in a bonus Skill Focus[Craft(Crossbows)] or a bonus to the skill equal to the class level (or half)


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Yeah, I am going to go with proficiency with all crossbows (or at least hand & repeating) instead of firearms, and Rapid Reload instead of Gunsmith. That should make a 1st level bolt ace about as capable with a light crossbow as a first level archer with a longbow.


Yup I would def go with the all crossbows prof
Therebarw crossbows thaypt no one starts out proficiency with, like double crossbow, launchinf crossbow, and a few others. I tgink inquisitor and investigators are the only ones who start with any repeatera..

I really want to use the weirder xbows more.

Side note with all the new bolts they made, are there any explosive or splash weapon likee ones? Like how some bullets are


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Entryhazard wrote:


The battered firearm as a class feature is there because the really high cost of a firearm make it impossible for a character at level 1 to afford a firearm with his starting wealth, and the classes designed to use firearms have to compensate for it providing a weapon from the get-go.
In the case of other weapons, their cost is low enough to buy them with starting wealth without difficulty.

Check out the repeating crossbows. No way to get those at 1st unless you take a wealth giving trait. I'd be happy with a battered repeating crossbow to start. ;)


A battered one id love, you cpuld make a little backstory of how old it is, or where its from.

Meh great greatdaddy used this here xbow to slay the undead wyrmling of baska vilt. Its been serving our family since. And now my daughter I pass it to you, may darkness piercer serve you as well as it did me

Plus itd he a good and rare way of getting a launching xbow, double xbow, or repeaters


graystone wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:


The battered firearm as a class feature is there because the really high cost of a firearm make it impossible for a character at level 1 to afford a firearm with his starting wealth, and the classes designed to use firearms have to compensate for it providing a weapon from the get-go.
In the case of other weapons, their cost is low enough to buy them with starting wealth without difficulty.
Check out the repeating crossbows. No way to get those at 1st unless you take a wealth giving trait. I'd be happy with a battered repeating crossbow to start. ;)

With "mandatory" feats like Rapid Reload and Crossbow Mastery you don't even need a repeating crossbow for the time you get to iterative attacks


While Crossbow Mastery is absolutely necessary for anything other than light- and hand crossbows, I'd think that the Snap Shot chain from ultimate combat would be an interesting option if you can spare the room for weapon focus (not that likely, but still). Attacks of Opportunities with your crossbow AND the same "don't provoke" clause gained through Crossbow Mastery seems like a pretty good deal, though it sadly comes at a slightly later level.

Yes, it kind of adds COmbat Reflexes to your "get as soon as possible" list, but it still seems like a decent idea for anyone who wants to use light or hand crossbows.


Entryhazard wrote:
graystone wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:


The battered firearm as a class feature is there because the really high cost of a firearm make it impossible for a character at level 1 to afford a firearm with his starting wealth, and the classes designed to use firearms have to compensate for it providing a weapon from the get-go.
In the case of other weapons, their cost is low enough to buy them with starting wealth without difficulty.
Check out the repeating crossbows. No way to get those at 1st unless you take a wealth giving trait. I'd be happy with a battered repeating crossbow to start. ;)
With "mandatory" feats like Rapid Reload and Crossbow Mastery you don't even need a repeating crossbow for the time you get to iterative attacks

Iterative maybe, but how soon can you use rapid shot? 1st as a human. I'd be more than happy to get 2 shots from 1st-5th.


Tonlim said wrote:
...AND the same "don't provoke" clause gained through Crossbow Mastery...

Turns out that I'm misremembering and Snap Shot only negates Attacks of Opportunities for FIRING at melee range, not reloading. Still a decent pick for higher levels I'd imagine.


graystone wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:
graystone wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:


The battered firearm as a class feature is there because the really high cost of a firearm make it impossible for a character at level 1 to afford a firearm with his starting wealth, and the classes designed to use firearms have to compensate for it providing a weapon from the get-go.
In the case of other weapons, their cost is low enough to buy them with starting wealth without difficulty.
Check out the repeating crossbows. No way to get those at 1st unless you take a wealth giving trait. I'd be happy with a battered repeating crossbow to start. ;)
With "mandatory" feats like Rapid Reload and Crossbow Mastery you don't even need a repeating crossbow for the time you get to iterative attacks
Iterative maybe, but how soon can you use rapid shot? 1st as a human. I'd be more than happy to get 2 shots from 1st-5th.

Vanilla Gunslinger doesn't do it better with a firearm


Entryhazard wrote:
graystone wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:
graystone wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:


The battered firearm as a class feature is there because the really high cost of a firearm make it impossible for a character at level 1 to afford a firearm with his starting wealth, and the classes designed to use firearms have to compensate for it providing a weapon from the get-go.
In the case of other weapons, their cost is low enough to buy them with starting wealth without difficulty.
Check out the repeating crossbows. No way to get those at 1st unless you take a wealth giving trait. I'd be happy with a battered repeating crossbow to start. ;)
With "mandatory" feats like Rapid Reload and Crossbow Mastery you don't even need a repeating crossbow for the time you get to iterative attacks
Iterative maybe, but how soon can you use rapid shot? 1st as a human. I'd be more than happy to get 2 shots from 1st-5th.
Vanilla Gunslinger doesn't do it better with a firearm

Don't understand what you're saying. I thought we where talking about high price weapons.


Forget the double. Never the double. A Minotaur Double is the real double crossbow. Accept no purposefully-designed-as-utterly-horrific-for-the-wielder-not-the-targets, king-of-trap-equipment-options substitutes

A Masterwork would set you back what, about 1100 gold? That's decently ballpark for a starting bolt ace weapon replacement.


I was locked onto a heavy repeater but what is this miniature double?


http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2oiy1?Minotaur-Double-Crossbow

Old discussion listinf it.

Though debatable if double crossbow is any different..


Oh. Question....
Xan you get an oversized crossbow? Ala monster hunter, id love a big one with a holt ace, and the touch ac...

Liberty's Edge

In terms of the replacement feat for Gunsmith - wouldn't it be more likely to get 'Precise Shot' as per the Divine Hunter Paladin Archtype?
Rapid reload forces you to choose one weapon, Precise Shot works with all ranged weapons. Just saying.


Would it be that over powered if the bolt ace replaced the starting firearm and gunsmithing feat with an "improved rapid reload" that applied to all crossbows? Might be a little much though. As for oversized weapons, I'd say you can fire them two handed with a -4 following the one handed firing rules for appropriately sized weapons. Though I would also increase loading times by one step to a minimum of a swift action from a free action with crossbow mastery.


In Council of Thieves, there's an oversized crossbow in book one, so there's a precedent.

Functionally, it's a good idea, the penalties to hit are offset by more damage.

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