Bolt Ace: How do you even?


Advice

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1st error without looking at any math, is Enlarge person doesn't work on ranged weapons. UNLESS you carry around some large ammunition with you, not advised.

I'm not sure where you're getting 2 bolts to start off with.

I'll explain it with a Heavy Crossbow.

Normally its 1d10 for firing 1 bolt as a standard action and adding Vital Strike to it, we get 2d10. If I cast Gravity Bow, which now makes my bolt do the next size up in damage, we get 2d8 for 1 bolt, Vital Strike makes that 4d8 when rolling for damage. Plus any modifiers for Point Blank Shot, DEX, Deadly Aim, Weapon Spec., and Enchant/Enhancements.

On a Crit Vital Strike is separate, and assuming you're now a 5th level Bolt Ace with 18 Dex & +1 Heavy Crossbow and 2 levels of anything that gives Gravity Bow and boosts you up to +6 BAB, your crits on that crossbow do 19-20 x3 modifier. So we now are at 2d8+1 PB Shot, +2 Deadly Aim, +4 DEX x3 on Crit for 2d8+21 +2d8 Vital Strike.

If we further our game by having Aspect of the Falcon cast or using Bracers of Falcons Aim, our Crits do x4 damage turning the above into 2d8+28 +2d8 vital strike.

Once you get +8 BAB grab up Improved Critical and your threat range is 17-20.

+9 BAB grab up Devastating Strike possibly and that will add in another +16 bonus damage on a crit just from that feat alone.


Pretty sure that falcon's aim just takes a crossbow form x2 to x3.
Not sure how you get to x4.

With a double crossbow you fire two bolts with an attack action. Each bolt will get all static bonuses on both bolts. I would even apply to elemental damage and so on. I think vital strike gets doubled as well.


5th level Bolt Ace ups the multiplier on crossbows by 1, so if you have Bracer's of Falcons Aim which gives your crossbow a x3 multiplier then your class feature from Bolt Ace bumps it up to a x4.

In the examples I gave I was using a Heavy Crossbow not the Double one.

Crossbow, Double

This heavy weapon fires a pair of iron-tipped bolts with a single squeeze of the trigger.

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.

Drawback: Due to its size and weight, you take a –4 penalty on your attack roll if you’re proficient with it, or –8 if you’re not.

Load: Loading one bolt is a standard action; the Rapid Reload feat reduces this to a move action. Crossbow Mastery allows you to reload both bolts as a single move action.


I was just looking at the dex to damage that I mist the crit up.
17-20/x4 is going to hurt.


Ok, i was looking at a Double Crossbow the whole time. So does Vital Strike multiply both bolts? That makes it much more attractive i think... Also, the Double Crossbow is the only weapon i can think of where Inexplicable Reload actually does anything. All other crossbows benefit from Crossbow Mastery and no one is going to wait until level 11 to actually use a full attack.

I was confused on Enlarge Person, in another one of these Bolt Ace threads someone told me that it did affect ranged weapons and i didnt bother to look it up again. My bad on that one.

I am still loving the archetype but i am really weirded out by:

- The Firearm proficiencies and lack of Crosssbow proficiencies

- starting firearm/gunsmithing feat

- lack of ability to use Deadly Aim with their main deed

- Inexplicable Reload coming online so late as to not really do anything aside from allowing you to move and shoot with one specific weapon that the class is not proficient with and still using up your Swift Action to do it.


For a late bloomer that isn't straight bolt ace I like

(gunslinger) Bolt Ace 5 / Monk (Sohei) 6+

You gain the Dex to damage and increased critical damage from bolt ace as well as reloading without provoking and then after sohei level 6 you can flurry of blows with the crossbow. Add in a haste attack and rapid shot and you are looking at 9 shots, 10 if you burn a ki point with a single weapon.

It also gives weapon training which helps both with damage and landing all those attacks (since you'll be full BAB - 2 (flurry) and - 2 (rapid shot)).

Your save throws are going to be solid and both classes benefit from a high dex and high wisdom. Early game you can use armor and late game you can shed it grab some bracers of armor and add your wisdom to your AC along with your monk bonus to AC (So AC = 10 + Dex Mod + Wis Mod + 3 (monk) + 6 (bracers) + whatever else you have).


i was looking at double xbow the whole time too. Since most other threads were on it, it kinda just slipped into my brain i guess..
but double crossbow: vital does double both. It's double weapon damage the weapo ndamage is two 1d8 bolts. does double everything except crit and precision.
yup it is the only case where it's really useful. Unless you start at lv 11 and just don't want crossbow mastery I guess. I really wish they'd move down the reloading to lower level like 2-4 so it would save you a feat..

Oh .. That enlarge person was my bad. Reduce person says
"Melee and projectile weapons deal less damage. Other magical properties are not affected by this spell. Any reduced item that leaves the reduced creature's possession (including a projectile or thrown weapon) instantly returns to its normal size. This means that thrown weapons deal their normal damage (projectiles deal damage based on the size of the weapon that fired them)."

So i thought enlarge was the same but it's not.
All equipment worn or carried by a creature is similarly enlarged by the spell. Melee weapons affected by this spell deal more damage (see Table: Tiny and Large Weapon Damage). Other magical properties are not affected by this spell. Any enlarged item that leaves an enlarged creature's possession (including a projectile or thrown weapon) instantly returns to its normal size. This means that thrown and projectile weapons deal their normal damage. Magical properties of enlarged items are not increased by this spell.

I really don't understand why, when smaller it deals the damage of the weapon size , but when enlarge does not deal the size of the weapon. Since reduce specifically says it's deal by the weapon the fired them.. but enlarge does not? It's weird.. reduce and enalrge combined say this
"Projectiles deal damage the size of the weapon that shot it" "projectiles r deal their normal size damages"
Is this just a case of purely defaulting at making reduce person and enlarge less useful even if it's reverse?

Near as I can tell the critical modifiers do stack here. so yeah x4 17-20 goodness there. Just a whomp stomp there. That is a good way to go with xbows if you ask me. Too bad they can't pick up critical mastery ver yeasily. but at least one crit feat isn't a horrible idea.


i think the idea is that the projectile reverts to its default size once launched, if reduced to sizes up and if enlarged it shrinks down. Either way it goes back to a medium sized weapon. It ignores the overly complicated models needed to determine the force of a projectile fired from an enlarged (and presumably greater imparted force) crossbow bolt shedding mass while reataining energy and thus accelerating after leaving the launcher, i suppose? Rocket bolts?

still bummed that two of the definitive class features, deeds to reduce reload time and target touch AC, are too wonky to use effectively :( Can someone just post in a thread with a, "oh yeah, we totally meant for the archetype to work, we'll look at fixes soon"?


Torbyne wrote:
i think the idea is that the projectile reverts to its default size once launched, if reduced to sizes up and if enlarged it shrinks down. Either way it goes back to a medium sized weapon.

No they specifically played, "Screw you" with enlarge/reduce person.

If enlarged then it reduces in size but if reduced it stays the smaller size.

Basically whichever is worse for you is what the spells do in this case.


Is that just an issue of enlarge person missing a line? it seems like they are otherwise copy and paste of each other at the end.


Not quite. Both say projectiles return to their normal size, but Reduce ends with "This means that thrown weapons deal their normal damage (projectiles deal damage based on the size of the weapon that fired them)." and Enlarge ends with "This means that thrown and projectile weapons deal their normal damage."

I wonder if one of those was altered from 3.5 and the other was missed?

The oddity is reduced projectiles returning to normal size, but still doing less damage.


When it was going through beta this was actually a huge point of contention. The developers left it on purpose for projectiles. It was a while back though... the threads are archived if you want to look for them.


Torbyne wrote:

i think the idea is that the projectile reverts to its default size once launched, if reduced to sizes up and if enlarged it shrinks down. Either way it goes back to a medium sized weapon. It ignores the overly complicated models needed to determine the force of a projectile fired from an enlarged (and presumably greater imparted force) crossbow bolt shedding mass while reataining energy and thus accelerating after leaving the launcher, i suppose? Rocket bolts?

still bummed that two of the definitive class features, deeds to reduce reload time and target touch AC, are too wonky to use effectively :( Can someone just post in a thread with a, "oh yeah, we totally meant for the archetype to work, we'll look at fixes soon"?

but reduced version doesn't deal normal. it deals the weapon damage it says, which is reduced version of it. Thrown still reverts.

It's weird because reduce person says the projectile is reverted to normal size, but the damage is still based on the weapon size (which is reduced).

it is pretty darn weird. I guess it does default in "least amount of damage" which is a bummer. But thats how I got confused in a different thread I guess. It's really a shame it makes so much moresense to me that it deals damage based on the weapon size (as thats where the energy comes from, it does lose some mass i guess though)


Zwordsman wrote:
Torbyne wrote:

i think the idea is that the projectile reverts to its default size once launched, if reduced to sizes up and if enlarged it shrinks down. Either way it goes back to a medium sized weapon. It ignores the overly complicated models needed to determine the force of a projectile fired from an enlarged (and presumably greater imparted force) crossbow bolt shedding mass while reataining energy and thus accelerating after leaving the launcher, i suppose? Rocket bolts?

still bummed that two of the definitive class features, deeds to reduce reload time and target touch AC, are too wonky to use effectively :( Can someone just post in a thread with a, "oh yeah, we totally meant for the archetype to work, we'll look at fixes soon"?

but reduced version doesn't deal normal. it deals the weapon damage it says, which is reduced version of it. Thrown still reverts.

It's weird because reduce person says the projectile is reverted to normal size, but the damage is still based on the weapon size (which is reduced).

it is pretty darn weird. I guess it does default in "least amount of damage" which is a bummer. But thats how I got confused in a different thread I guess. It's really a shame it makes so much moresense to me that it deals damage based on the weapon size (as thats where the energy comes from, it does lose some mass i guess though)

Yeah, but the same energy in a lower mass should impart a higher velocity which would balance out to the same level of force, i.e. an enlarged projectile that shrank on firing would hit the same as an enlarged weapon and a reduced weapon would revert to higher mass and likewise carry the same energy. But that would also affect range and chance to be affected by atmospherics and tons of other things that the game doesnt (and shoudnt) model. Would have been easiest to just same same damage as modified size. You eat an accuracy penalty (-2 DEX) to go up a Die size or drop a die size to gain a boost to hit, sounds fine to me.

But thats all an aside to me being a little sad that the archetype doesnt quite pull off what it looks like it should.


Yeah. It is a really cool step in the right direction though. I likely would as k most gms to modify things...
standard profici/gunsmithing as talked but def move the reload to 3-7..
the only issue i forsee with moving it lower would be with a double xbow becoming swift. prior to BAB 6.

That would let you as afull round action, with crossbow mastery (doable by lv 3 with human and assuming gunsmithing gave reload instead) use rapid shot to shoot the double xbow twice around. Which (except crits and precision) is basically 4 shots. Kinda a lot at low level . Even accepting the fact that you won't get more than that, unless you dip into casting or get wand of reloading hands. then you could shoot 3 times.

I wonder how that would equal out with other generic archery who gets rapid shot, many shots, etc.. I guess it actually sorta equals out pretty well doesn't it?
I guess the only concern with that kind of thing would be doing it low level.. Since many shots doesn't come online until bab 6.
normal crossbow and bow prior to bab six can get 2 shots via rapid shot?
double xbow gets closer to 4 shots (assuming reloading hands or moving down the reload). but considering all the work that goes into a double xbow I guess that makes sense.

Scarab Sages

Abraham spalding wrote:

For a late bloomer that isn't straight bolt ace I like

(gunslinger) Bolt Ace 5 / Monk (Sohei) 6+

You gain the Dex to damage and increased critical damage from bolt ace as well as reloading without provoking and then after sohei level 6 you can flurry of blows with the crossbow. Add in a haste attack and rapid shot and you are looking at 9 shots, 10 if you burn a ki point with a single weapon.

It also gives weapon training which helps both with damage and landing all those attacks (since you'll be full BAB - 2 (flurry) and - 2 (rapid shot)).

Your save throws are going to be solid and both classes benefit from a high dex and high wisdom. Early game you can use armor and late game you can shed it grab some bracers of armor and add your wisdom to your AC along with your monk bonus to AC (So AC = 10 + Dex Mod + Wis Mod + 3 (monk) + 6 (bracers) + whatever else you have).

That's basically my preferred Grammaton Cleric Build for gun kata, but you don't need to go Weapon Master Fighter 3 to pick up weapon training in Firearms to flurry with them since Sohei grants weapon training with crossbows.

Unfortunately, by stopping at GS 5 you loose the ability to get signature deed for Always On touch attacks.


Imbicatus wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

For a late bloomer that isn't straight bolt ace I like

(gunslinger) Bolt Ace 5 / Monk (Sohei) 6+

You gain the Dex to damage and increased critical damage from bolt ace as well as reloading without provoking and then after sohei level 6 you can flurry of blows with the crossbow. Add in a haste attack and rapid shot and you are looking at 9 shots, 10 if you burn a ki point with a single weapon.

It also gives weapon training which helps both with damage and landing all those attacks (since you'll be full BAB - 2 (flurry) and - 2 (rapid shot)).

Your save throws are going to be solid and both classes benefit from a high dex and high wisdom. Early game you can use armor and late game you can shed it grab some bracers of armor and add your wisdom to your AC along with your monk bonus to AC (So AC = 10 + Dex Mod + Wis Mod + 3 (monk) + 6 (bracers) + whatever else you have).

That's basically my preferred Grammaton Cleric Build for gun kata, but you don't need to go Weapon Master Fighter 3 to pick up weapon training in Firearms to flurry with them since Sohei grants weapon training with crossbows.

Unfortunately, by stopping at GS 5 you loose the ability to get signature deed for Always On touch attacks.

I like the build, not sure if you would want to end up Bolt Ace 14/ Sohei 6 or Bolt Ace 5 / Sohei 15.


Zwordsman wrote:

Yeah. It is a really cool step in the right direction though. I likely would as k most gms to modify things...

standard profici/gunsmithing as talked but def move the reload to 3-7..
the only issue i forsee with moving it lower would be with a double xbow becoming swift. prior to BAB 6.

That would let you as afull round action, with crossbow mastery (doable by lv 3 with human and assuming gunsmithing gave reload instead) use rapid shot to shoot the double xbow twice around. Which (except crits and precision) is basically 4 shots. Kinda a lot at low level . Even accepting the fact that you won't get more than that, unless you dip into casting or get wand of reloading hands. then you could shoot 3 times.

I wonder how that would equal out with other generic archery who gets rapid shot, many shots, etc.. I guess it actually sorta equals out pretty well doesn't it?
I guess the only concern with that kind of thing would be doing it low level.. Since many shots doesn't come online until bab 6.
normal crossbow and bow prior to bab six can get 2 shots via rapid shot?
double xbow gets closer to 4 shots (assuming reloading hands or moving down the reload). but considering all the work that goes into a double xbow I guess that makes sense.

Keep in mind, in this set up you are eating a -6 on every hit to get those four bolts, only two can crit, you give up on precise shot so most of those hits will have an extra -4 to them as well.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Checking out the Bolt Ace Gunslinger archetype, it looks like a way to make a viable Crossbow Build.

Except, it seems a bit all over the place.

How does one build such a PC with this archetype?

I mean, what was the designed focus and tactics to be used?

What does a build for this archetype even look like?

We had a threat exploring the Bolt Ace a few weeks ago, it can be found here. It's a really nice archetype, but it feels like it could have benefited from some more development time and/or tighter editing. There are a number of quirky traits that seem unintentional, like how it starts with Gunsmith and firearm proficiency.

As far as I know, RAW Bolt Ace can't use Deadly Aim with the Sharp Shoot deed, though I wonder if it was an oversight rather than an intentional limitation - if there's an errata or FAQ on that I'd love to see it!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are no current Errata/FAQ for the ACG, yet.

Expect many though.


i do. i really really do. expect clarification that is. I'd love to see a blog post or even off hand comment about possible timelines or priorities so i could temper my expectations. This is an archetype for an older class so it may be low on their list. But it also seems like an easy(ish) fix so maybe it will be one of the first?


blackbloodtroll wrote:

There are no current Errata/FAQ for the ACG, yet.

Expect many though.

Yeah, that book is going to require a splatbook worth of errata...


Torbyne wrote:
Zwordsman wrote:
YSHORTENED
Keep in mind, in this set up you are eating a -6 on every hit to get those four bolts, only two can crit, you give up on precise shot so most of those hits will have an extra -4 to them as well.

Oh yeah it wil lbe eating -4 for each shot, but you can pop 2 grit for it; quite a cost really. Even if you can regen it from kills and crits, not guaranteed it.. Tt higher level if your pure acebolt you can make it free touch; but by the time you get to that level there isn't an issue at all.

I think it's a fair trade for allllll those minuses to get that I think. So I would def think that the reloading needs to moved down to somewhere between 2-6.. That would really allow some really cool niches and the ability to build a semi mobile one shot a round build which is something I think is good.
Though I'd still do Acebolt 5, Feral Hunter (not sure until when; since I've not played manny over 15 games)

I do hope any post release modifications will move some stuff around and add stuff..
Hell even if the balance was just movig the reload instead of gunsmithing and counting it as reload. Well except for the issue of dipping. so it reall yshould be 3-6 maybe.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

There are no current Errata/FAQ for the ACG, yet.

Expect many though.

There have been a few unofficial FAQs already, like the slayer studied target skill bonus. I was hoping the bolt ace got caught in that as well. Oh well, I can wait. :)


Mathius wrote:

I was just looking at the dex to damage that I mist the crit up.

17-20/x4 is going to hurt.

I looked back over the specific wording of Falcon's aim/bracers, it would just be 19-20 x4.

Although that is still not bad at all, it is like getting hit with a scythe from 100 feet away with a slightly better die.


Whisperknives wrote:
Mathius wrote:

I was just looking at the dex to damage that I mist the crit up.

17-20/x4 is going to hurt.

I looked back over the specific wording of Falcon's aim/bracers, it would just be 19-20 x4.

Although that is still not bad at all, it is like getting hit with a scythe from 100 feet away with a slightly better die.

I think he was applying the critical feat. It should stack in the case of crossbows because the bracers do not modify the threat range (as they do with bows) .


Zwordsman wrote:
Whisperknives wrote:
Mathius wrote:

I was just looking at the dex to damage that I mist the crit up.

17-20/x4 is going to hurt.

I looked back over the specific wording of Falcon's aim/bracers, it would just be 19-20 x4.

Although that is still not bad at all, it is like getting hit with a scythe from 100 feet away with a slightly better die.

I think he was applying the critical feat. It should stack in the case of crossbows because the bracers do not modify the threat range (as they do with bows) .

I was the one who mentioned the 17-20 x4 thing in the first place but I was wrong. It specifically says it does not stack with imp. crit or keen.

Even though Falson's Aim says does not stack with other abilities that improve crit range, despite the fact that it does not improve the crit range in the first place. It increases the threat MULTIPLIER of crossbows, but the crit RANGE of bows.

In the end it was just badly written.


Yup written in the old core theme. Generally my GM's have just said if the threat range isn't increased then there isn't anything to interfere with improved critical. citing the multiplier increase doesn't interfere with the threat range. (but most of them agree that it was written that way to give a bonus one way or another to both). I've had one who said it just applied increase of crit modifier, and gain improved critical feat.


Just had a thought; wish there was a deed for Gunslingers/Bolt Ace to gain an accuracy bonus when prone. Could have been a cool thing and i may try it for flavor with a sniper build.


Torbyne wrote:
Just had a thought; wish there was a deed for Gunslingers/Bolt Ace to gain an accuracy bonus when prone. Could have been a cool thing and i may try it for flavor with a sniper build.

That should really have been prone shooter..the normal AC changes from prone but adds +2 or 4 to accuracy.

Not a bad deed idea though. Especially since it often seems like they wanted it to the the accurate one shot vs bow spaming.

Kinda bulls eye feat kind of effect..


Huh..

I honestly forget if it was this thread or the other one but. Someone pointed out deadly aim doesn't work with touch attacks. but. the crossbow deed Sharp shot resolves agianst Touch ac it is not atouch attack. So I guess it would work no?


Zwordsman wrote:

Huh..

I honestly forget if it was this thread or the other one but. Someone pointed out deadly aim doesn't work with touch attacks. but. the crossbow deed Sharp shot resolves agianst Touch ac it is not atouch attack. So I guess it would work no?

You may have a case, but I'm not entirely convinced. First of all the firearms rules reads as follows:

Quote:
When firing an early firearm, the attack resolves against the target’s touch AC when the target is within the first range increment of the weapon, but this type of attack is not considered a touch attack for the purposes of feats and abilities such as Deadly Aim.

Note that it uses the phrasing "resolves against the target's touch AC" but then goes on to clarify that it's not a touch attack, and that "this type of attack" is (in my opinion at least) referring to early firearm attacks. The language is also repeated for advanced firearms.

Secondly, I find it a little hard to believe that the designers wanted to draw a line between "this attack targets touch AC" and "this attack resolves against the target's touch AC" and treat the two as completely different actions, but couldn't use more varied language than this. I find it extremely odd that they wouldn't make a more clear distinction.

Finally, if they intended to make a distinction between the two phrases, it seems strange that they used "make a ranged touch attack" rather than "resolve against touch AC" when writing the Hooded Champion, which gets an identical class feature with bows.

Then again, this is the game that distinguishes between an "when you use the attack action" and "move up to twice your speed and attack during the action" so anything is possible.


Kudaku quote:
Kudaku wrote:


Secondly, I find it a little hard to believe that the designers wanted to draw a line between "this attack targets touch AC" and "this attack resolves against the target's touch AC" and treat the two as completely different actions, but couldn't use more varied language than this. I find it extremely odd that they wouldn't make a more clear distinction.

Well. I'm not sure how related the firearm note is, but i feel it supports it more. It says “resolves against touch ac" and this type of attack I think is referring to that type of attack: attacks that resolve against the target AC but are not labeled as a touch attack. Which is directly what the Crossbow deed does (and the bow deed you mention does not) This specific scenario only occurs in a few specific places.
Kudaku quote:
Kudaku wrote:


Finally, if they intended to make a distinction between the two phrases, it seems strange that they used "make a ranged touch attack" rather than "resolve against touch AC" when writing the Hooded Champion, which gets an identical class feature with bows.

stuff like hooded champ
dead aim:
Dead Aim (Ex): At 1st level, the hooded champion's can spend 1 panache point when making a single ranged attack with a bow to make a ranged touch attack instead. The target must be in the bow's first range increment.
, spells, Arcanist/sorcerer SLAs all say ranged touch attack. So the ability is not the same at all.

it was more that most other things that target touch attack, outside of the ACG will say (something to the effect of) "this is touch attack that targets touch ac" not "this attack resolves against touch ac" So It looks like they wanted to continue to let Gunslinger gain deadly aim even with crossbows. however, they did not want to let bows (mechanically far superior) to target touch and gain certain bonuses bonuses I guess.

TLDR
Outside of Gunslinger and a few cases in ACG, Resolve agianst touch AC is a specific case. Everything else seems to specifically say "touch attack" and deadly aim specifically says it doesn't work with touch attacks. This by far looks like a specifically worded choice to allow gunslingers to almost perfectly model gun styles with a crossbow instead, to allow it in games that prevent guns.
The more I read it and other examples the more it sounds like that was the intent to me.


Just had a look in the Technology Guide, which throws another wrench into the debate. It lists the "touch" weapon special quality, which is defined as follows:

Quote:
Touch: Attacks with the weapon resolve as touch attacks.

So now we have three different phrasings - "resolve against touch AC", "resolve as touch attacks", and "make a touch attack", as used in the Dead Aim class.

It seems to me the latter two terms are used interchangeably - if there was meant to be a distinction between the two I find it odd that the phrasing is not consistent. I suspect the odd phrasing in Ultimate Combat is simply because firearm attacks are not "pure" touch attacks, since they stop being touch attacks once they leave a specific range increment. Therefore they "resolve against touch AC" rather than simply being "a touch attack" with a specific stipulation for Deadly Aim.

I am not convinced the hooded champion's ability, which is also inspired by the gunslinger and is otherwise functionally identical to the bolt ace ability, is meant to be limited but Sharp Shoot isn't, especially since Sharp Shoot is already the superior deed since it can be combined with full attacks and be used multiple times in a round. It's also noteworthy that while I agree that generally speaking bows are better than crossbows, the crossbow is at least as good as a longbow when used by a bolt ace.

Dark Archive

I just wanted to toss out there, people are complaining about reloading heavy crossbows taking longer. But the same is true for reloading large guns as well. I played a Musket using Gunslinger in PFS once when another player approached me after session and talked to me about his high level PFS Gunslinger. He said it was fun, sure, but to do a ton of damage at higher levels, you have to invest a lot of feats plus spend gold regularly on powder cartridges. "Every shot costs you 2 gold." Which is true.

I think that being able to get pretty much all crossbows down to free (or even no action at level 11) is kind of cool. You are basically the Demon Hunter from Diablo at that point. You are a Gatling Gun in medieval society. That is kind of cool, no?


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Koujow, to continue to use the gunslinger analogy - it's noteworthy that the musket master gunslinger (a gunslinger who specializes in a single group of weapons) gets Rapid Reload as a bonus feat on level 1 and treats muskets as one-handed firearms at level 3, meaning he can reload his musket as a free action at level 3 if he's using alchemical cartridges. IE he gets two class features at low levels to improve the otherwise problematic action economy of his chosen weapon.

Conversely Inexplicable Reload is only available at level 11 and doesn't allow you to make full attacks with a heavy crossbow. Assuming you have Rapid Reload (which unlike the musket master you do not get as a bonus feat), it means you start each round with a loaded heavy crossbow and you can reload it as a move or swift action - ie your best case scenario goes as follows:

Make a full attack, fire your first bolt.
Reload your crossbow as a swift action.
Continue your full attack, fire your second bolt.
You have three additional attacks which you cannot make with the crossbow as you have no way to reload it.

On the other hand, if you have rapid reload with a light crossbow, you can already make full attacks and the deed doesn't really change anything.

If Inexplicable Reload was altered to read "move action --> free action" the way alchemical cartridges work rather than "move action --> swift action" it'd be a viable (if late) way to get full attacks with heavy crossbows without taking Crossbow Mastery, but the way it's currently written makes for an underwhelming ability. If you're using light crossbows you're already loading as a free action (and the difference between free and non-actions are only relevant with extremely picky GMs) and if you're using heavy crossbows you're still extremely limited in how many shots you can get off.

At best the deed means you can skip rapid reload with light crossbows, but using a light crossbow without rapid reload for 10 levels because you want to use this deed seems extremely frustrating.

I find this archetype frustrating because I actually really like the Bolt Ace - I think it's awesome that there is finally a viable way to play a crossbow marksman! I just really wish it had gotten a little bit more attention so that it could really make the best of what it is. A few relatively small tweaks would take it from "flawed gem" to "awesome". Something like this:

A bolt ace gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, and with all crossbows. This replaces the Gunslinger's weapon proficiency.

Crossbow Mastery: At level 1 a bolt ace gains Crossbow Mastery as a bonus feat. This ability replaces Gunsmith.

Scarab Sages

Kudaku wrote:

I find this archetype frustrating because I actually really like the Bolt Ace - I think it's awesome that there is finally a viable way to play a crossbow marksman! I just really wish it had gotten a little bit more attention so that it could really make the best of what it is. A few relatively small tweaks would take it from "flawed gem" to "awesome". Something like this:

A bolt ace gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, and with all crossbows. This replaces the Gunslinger's weapon proficiency.

Crossbow Mastery: At level 1 a bolt ace gains Crossbow Mastery as a bonus feat. This ability replaces Gunsmith.

I like this, but I would give free rapid reload at 1st and Crossbow Mastery at 6th. No class should offer something as good as Crossbow Master for a one level dip.


I see where you're coming from, but keep in mind that the Bolt Ace already gets to reload crossbows without provoking AoOs because of the Vigilant Loading deed, which comes online at level 1. The main benefit the bolt ace gains from crossbow mastery is free action reloads with heavy and repeating crossbows, whereas Rapid Reload means light crossbows is your only real option if you want to make full attacks.

I was also tempted to give the bolt ace martial versatility with the crossbow weapon group so he'd actually be "ace" with all crossbows rather than just one type of crossbow, but that's probably just my house rules kicking in.


Imbicatus wrote:
Kudaku wrote:

I find this archetype frustrating because I actually really like the Bolt Ace - I think it's awesome that there is finally a viable way to play a crossbow marksman! I just really wish it had gotten a little bit more attention so that it could really make the best of what it is. A few relatively small tweaks would take it from "flawed gem" to "awesome". Something like this:

A bolt ace gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, and with all crossbows. This replaces the Gunslinger's weapon proficiency.

Crossbow Mastery: At level 1 a bolt ace gains Crossbow Mastery as a bonus feat. This ability replaces Gunsmith.

I like this, but I would give free rapid reload at 1st and Crossbow Mastery at 6th. No class should offer something as good as Crossbow Master for a one level dip.

I would say that Crossbow Mastery is a band aid to make Crossbows viable as an actual weapon choice and even then you normally have to spend too many feats to get it online. Making it hard baked into the archetype seems entirely appropriate for a class that is supposed to use crossbows from level 1. You still have to burn feats for Deadly Aim (which may or may not work) and Rapid Shot.

Silver Crusade

Eigengrau wrote:
Lots of stuff with math.

You forgot to multiply the actual bolt damage for the critical. With x3 critical, the total damage is 8d8+21 and with x4 critical, the total damage is 10d8+28. Although, to be honest with you, +7 seems really low for static modifiers.

Let's look at what you could actually be doing as a Bolt Ace 5/Hunter 2

Attack bonus:
Dex: +5 (could easily be +6)
PBS: +1
Weapon Focus: +1
BAB: +6
Deadly Aim: -2
Weapon enhancement: +1

Damage Bonus:
Dex: +5 (could easily be +6)
PBS: +1
Deadly Aim: +4
Weapon Enhancement: +1
gravity bow" 1d10 ~> 2d8

So altogether your attack sequence, with vital strike and bracers, is:

heavy crossbow +12 (4d8+11, 19-20/x4)

When you crit, the damage becomes: 10d8+44 [2d8 VS + 4*(2d8+11)]

Dark Archive

What feature of the alchemist is making it worth a level dip? I am not terribly familiar with the classes abilities.


I don't think anyone was saying to take a level dip in alchemist. Hunter, yes for Gravity Bow. Alchemist? The only way to justify dips into alchemist is either to add bomb damage to a single bolt through a discovery and maybe due to the alchemist level being added to Craft Alchemy checks for crafting.

I do support the 2 levels of Hunter just because of the free Precise Shot. Between that and the Bolt Ace stuff, I could conceivably see a repeating crossbow build.

Assuming human, the feats/class lineup might go like so.

1st Bolt Ace: Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload
2nd Hunter
3rd Hunter: Precise Shot, Rapid Shot
4th Bolt Ace
5th Bolt Ace: Crossbow Mastery
6th Bolt Ace
7th Bolt Ace: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (repeating crossbow)
8th Bolt Ace
9th Bolt Ace: Deadly Aim
10th+ Bolt Ace: standard ranged combat applies.

Scarab Sages

Well, if you had a high INT, a single level of alchemist would give you throw anything that gives you +INT to splash weapons, and if you were using Alchemical ammo that would let you add INT to the damage caused by the alchemical portion of your shots.

It's expensive though.


Kalvit, I think gunslingers get a bonis feat at 4. So your a feat short

Dark Archive

I was trying to figure out some way to merge alchemist bombs and Kirin Strike for x3 int to damage. Not quite seeing it. What I do see is that a launching crossbow with immolating bombs and a couple of levels in alchemist, preferably mindchemist (I think) could be pretty nice additional comsistent aoe damage. Not sure entirely how the firing of the crossbow works then. Do you deal bomb damage + crossbow damage? Could you then fire for crossbow damage, apply 2*int to that via kirin strike then let the bomb damage hit and apply the int to that normally?

If so it sounds like a good time for everyone. I know that with the proper discovery (explosove missile) this can be done with a normal crossbow as a standard action. So you're doing one big hit. But I wanted to try and keep the extra attacks an option. You also cannot use explosive missile with vital strike so the damage potential is eventually overshadowed by everything else you could do.

Assuming a +6 int mod and +7 Dex and bolt ace 5 alchemist 2+, you could pop aa mutagen for +2 dex damage.

1d10+6(int)+9(Dex)+7(weapon spec+weapon training+dueling gloves+enhancement)+6(deadly aim).

Then bomb for 1d6+6 with splash.
Then then kirin strike for +12 to the crossbow attack damage.
1d10+28+1d6+6 and once per round +12 DMG.
So damage per shot doesn't look bad and accuracy is easy to keep up so that even the third iterative has a shot at hitting even with the penalties.

A double crossbow looks promising when you look at crossbow mastery. That looks like 2x the attacks per round, am I right? The penalty for its use can actually result in a chance to miss on primaries (not likely) and any iterative (just don't roll much lower than average). I tossed together a crossbow user as my first try and ended with +25 or more attack bonus by level 11 after a -5 penalty due to rapid shot and deadly aim. A double crossbow would knock that down to +21. The proficiency with guns comes on handy here. I could see this guy dropping his double crossbow and pulling out a flame thrower when enemies got too close. This might work at the lower levels when accuracy and feats are sparse and that attack bonus isn't high enough to offset the penalty.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

What does it look like when you reload a heavy crossbow in literally less then no time? Rapid Reload -> Crossbow Mastery makes reloading a free action, and a free action is defined as something that doesn't take any time. So, however THAT looks to someone watching it happen, "Inexplicable Action" reduces it to not an action. The only thing that makes less sense than it taking no time at all is making it take less time than that.

If I were going to exploit this, I'd probably go straight fighter for 4 levels to qualify to specialize in heavy crossbow and get the feats that make having a heavy crossbow worthwhile (PBS, PS, RR, Crossbow Mastery, Deadly Aim). Then take 5 levels in this for the Dex bonus to damage and crit bump, Specialize somewhere in there., then go back to Fighter. I'm not sure if this class counts as a fighter for specialization. If it does, you should take this one first.


Christopher Dudley wrote:
So, however THAT looks to someone watching it happen, "Inexplicable Action" reduces it to not an action. The only thing that makes less sense than it taking no time at all is making it take less time than that.

Reloading as "not an action" doesn't really mean anything unless you need to be able fire multiple shots when it isn't your turn; can't take free actions out of turn after all. So Combat Reflexes and Snap Shot is the only way it matters?

Scarab Sages

chaoseffect wrote:
Christopher Dudley wrote:
So, however THAT looks to someone watching it happen, "Inexplicable Action" reduces it to not an action. The only thing that makes less sense than it taking no time at all is making it take less time than that.
Reloading as "not an action" doesn't really mean anything unless you need to be able fire multiple shots when it isn't your turn; can't take free actions out of turn after all. So Combat Reflexes and Snap Shot is the only way it matters?

If it's not an action, you don't need hands to do it. It lets you use TWF with crossbows without needing a extra limb to reload.


Imbicatus wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
Christopher Dudley wrote:
So, however THAT looks to someone watching it happen, "Inexplicable Action" reduces it to not an action. The only thing that makes less sense than it taking no time at all is making it take less time than that.
Reloading as "not an action" doesn't really mean anything unless you need to be able fire multiple shots when it isn't your turn; can't take free actions out of turn after all. So Combat Reflexes and Snap Shot is the only way it matters?
If it's not an action, you don't need hands to do it. It lets you use TWF with crossbows without needing a extra limb to reload.

Is there a source on that? I don't see it logically following that reducing the action type changes how the weapon fundamentally works.


Imbicatus wrote:
If it's not an action, you don't need hands to do it. It lets you use TWF with crossbows without needing a extra limb to reload.

[Citation needed]

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