Bolt Ace: How do you even?


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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

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?

Dark Archive

Im not sure but I hope someone chimes in down the road because this was one of the archetypes that made me happy when I started reading into it, but like you I see some issues.


I'd imagine you'd build it exactly the same as a Gunslinger; it's essentially exactly the same, complete with the "a bit all over" that shows in core Gunslinger.

So cookie-cutter archery build, excluding Manyshot and added Rapid Reload, and then take Signature Deed for Sharp Shoot ASAP.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It doesn't even seem to change proficiencies.

Does the classes' Pistol-Whip work with Crossbows?


Yeah the lack of proficiency change is odd, yet still works for the most part. It's strange that you are locked out of repeating crossbows though, and even stranger that you are still a Gunsmith, but that's probably an errata issue, same with specifying that all remaining class features referring to firearms now refer to crossbows.

That said, it's a bit rough, much more so than you would expect it to be, but everything important seems to function RAW without errata and seems to run almost identically to the core Gunslinger.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I mean, a Human or Half-Elf can nab EWP for a better crossbow, and their favored class bonus is nice.


It doesn't inherently do anything to fix the reloading issue of crossbows, so you'll be mostly limited to a light crossbow till you can pick up Crossbow Mastery.

Beyond that, it doesn't really seem to change much from a standard gunslinger, so you'd just go for an archery build. The added crit multiplier tacked onto the weapon training seems like going for a crit focus would be solid, too.

Progression for a human could be something like
1. PBS, Rapid Reload
3. Precise Shot
4. Rapid Shot
5. Crossbow Mastery
7. Deadly Aim
8. Improved Critical
9. Critical Focus
11. Signature Deed
12. Improved Precise Shot
13. Staggering Critical
15. Weapon Focus
16. Snap Shot
17. Improved Snap Shot
19. Greater Snap Shot
20. Whatever, doesn't matter much by this point

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Seems pretty weak before 5th.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Seems pretty weak before 5th.

Same as core Gunslinger really.


Good question.

I cannot figure out the purpose of inexplicable reload. When IR becomes available by BAB the character will have 3 attacks if full attacking, but IR only allows 2 attacks per round for light and hand crossbows without rapid reload and all other crossbows with rapid reload. but hand and light crossbows get free action reloading already with rapid reload and are the only ones which permit a full attack with or without inexplicable reload.


I guess it technically helps a bit with a Double Crossbow... which isn't saying much for the actual helpfulness of the ability.


There is a list of deeds that work, gun whipping was on that list if I remember right...
I wish they'd had take n that bouncing shield from brawler and made it a deed for the bolt ace. bouncing shots all around with the various bolts would let you make trick shot style character.

I think IR assumes you'll have other reload lessens. This lets you have decent reloading with a variety of crossbows.
Since crossbow mastery only speeds up one specific type.

I have a weird crossbow build, It has a heavy one for sniping, repeating hand for closer, and launching crossbow (launches splash weapons, with dex to damage, and if you wanted to dip alchemist one, you can raise the damage and the splash damage decently).

I haven't played with it yet.. so I'm kinda thinking in actual play he'l l default to launching xbow until they are closer then switch to hand crossbow..

I'd probably pull a Green Arrow or Hawkeye with it. The various amusing different bolts you can get, and then quick draw for launching crossbow (I wish there was a bandoleer kinda item that let you just drop the item , but it would hang from you. Not really weapon cords persay, idk if they work for something that big anyway)
With the various reloads you can make the launching crossbow pretty quick reload. Though the "ammo" is problematic and depends on how your GM views things in flux. (when using the xbow, splash weapons are it's ammo, but normally not ammo. if they're nice they'll let yo udraw it quickly).

That is just a weird build though...

I think I would totally wanna pull double repeating hand crossbows with a straight Bolt ace...
Or heavy crossbow with some heavy one shot buffs.
yeah, none of my builds are optimal but I love the weirdness or style


You could always go for a gnome with the Master Tinker trait and just personally craft your own repeating crossbows. I could see this being fun for hand crossbows, too, possibly using TWF, though the hit penalties of TWF on top of Deadly Aim penalties combined with not hitting touch AC might make that harder to land.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Boy, I would likely houserule proficiency with all Crossbows, instead of Firearms.

You sort of figured that would have been included.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Boy, I would likely houserule proficiency with all Crossbows, instead of Firearms.

You sort of figured that would have been included.

Much as I like the concept, the archetype itself does feel a little half-assed/lazily constructed.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I wish there was a way to get Crossbow Mastery earlier.

Well, without dipping.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I will discuss with friends for ideas about builds.

In the meantime, if anyone has any more ideas on viable builds, please share.


Chengar Qordath wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Boy, I would likely houserule proficiency with all Crossbows, instead of Firearms.

You sort of figured that would have been included.

Much as I like the concept, the archetype itself does feel a little half-assed/lazily constructed.

*Facepalms* Opens mouth to speak *Facepalms again* Walks away head low.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Under A Bleeding Sun wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Boy, I would likely houserule proficiency with all Crossbows, instead of Firearms.

You sort of figured that would have been included.

Much as I like the concept, the archetype itself does feel a little half-assed/lazily constructed.
*Facepalms* Opens mouth to speak *Facepalms again* Walks away head low.

Oh, do tell...


The points I've seen elsewhere on the archetype come down to three big head scratchers: retaining firearm proficiency, retaining gunsmithing/stating firearm and not being able to use their main deed for attacks against touch AC with deadly aim.

I am confident that they are meant to be proficient with more crossbows, if it isn't FAQ'd soon I bet I could still get any reasonable GM to house rule it.

I'd like to see gunsmithing traded away for a starting exotic crossbow and some deed or feature to improve reload times, Maybe one that stacks with rapid reload. But it is probably more likely they will just gain rapid reload with the same crossbow they start with.

Deadly aim seems like a quick fix, can't think of any reason why they shouldn't be allowed to stack them.

If the above turns out to be true then I will definitely be rolling a heavy repeating crossbow the next chance I get. I'll try to put together a plan based on some of these assumptions later today.


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blackbloodtroll wrote:
Under A Bleeding Sun wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Boy, I would likely houserule proficiency with all Crossbows, instead of Firearms.

You sort of figured that would have been included.

Much as I like the concept, the archetype itself does feel a little half-assed/lazily constructed.
*Facepalms* Opens mouth to speak *Facepalms again* Walks away head low.
Oh, do tell...

If there's more to the story, I'd certainly like to hear it. It would be shame if we're dealing with another archetype like the Titan Mauler, where the archetype wound up getting broken somewhere between when the designer turned it in and the book was published.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I just, really want this to work.

Just, be viable, you know.


Really makes me wish there was an Archer class for Bolt Ace to be an archetype of... that way the entire 'gunslinger' concept could be excised cleanly from the game.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Calybos1 wrote:

Really makes me wish there was an Archer class for Bolt Ace to be an archetype of... that way the entire 'gunslinger' concept could be excised cleanly from the game.

There is nothing wrong with the Gunslinger.

I just hoped this would give all the fun toys of the Gunslinger class, to the under appreciated crossbow user.


Speaking of fun toys, i would love a Bolt Ace deed to empty a Repeating Crossbow using the same attributes as the technology guide for making a line attack. what do they call it? Suppressive or automatic? ... burst maybe? Or to have that penetrating quality, that would be a fun trick for vital striking a shot straight down a 120' line of the board. I think we need more exotic and named magic crossbows in future splatbooks.


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blackbloodtroll wrote:
Under A Bleeding Sun wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Boy, I would likely houserule proficiency with all Crossbows, instead of Firearms.

You sort of figured that would have been included.

Much as I like the concept, the archetype itself does feel a little half-assed/lazily constructed.
*Facepalms* Opens mouth to speak *Facepalms again* Walks away head low.
Oh, do tell...

Yes, I'd like to know what is face-palm worthy about calling out this archetype that either wasn't implemented as intended due to shoddy editing or is woefully designed.

The intent behind it seems solid, but lack of exotic crossbow proficiencies, while retaining firearm proficiencies, as well as access to a gunfighter's starting firearm and gunsmithing is silly.


Doug OBrien wrote:
Yes, I'd like to know what is face-palm worthy about calling out this archetype that either wasn't implemented as intended due to shoddy editing or is woefully designed.

I think he's facepalming at the shoddy editing, not on the calling out.


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Moee than likely,

Even with the glitch, I utterly love this class. I only wish they got their reloading ability closer to 5 or 6. That way it could replace the need for xbow mastery. Or, for those who use heavy weapons, like double xbow, combo with xbow mastery for a more usuable reload speed.


My DM incorporated Bolt Ace into the default Gunslinger, changing its deeds to firearm only. He did that because the archetype is kind of a mess and we don't really care about crossbows. We like Gunslingers though and Bolt Ace's deeds are a good addition, making GS a bit more versatile and powerful.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Seems like, if you go Half-Elf or Human (for the bonus Exotic Wpn Proficiency), and dip 1 level of Alchemist, that a Dex/Int Launching Crossbow build could be fun.


Nefreet wrote:
Seems like, if you go Half-Elf or Human (for the bonus Exotic Wpn Proficiency), and dip 1 level of Alchemist, that a Dex/Int Launching Crossbow build could be fun.

Haha. I have abuild like that. Except he's human (though I'mma push for Android). but more than likely my gm's will roll with acebolt changes

drop all gun related, gain proficncy with all xbows, and get rapid reload instead of gunsmithin.
works pretty decently except the cost.
Though I only go 5 levels in acebolt then Alchemist (and add conductive launching xbow)


How on earth does it's crossbow training work with a set of bracers of falcons aim? I love the idea of a crossbow wielder and I want this to work but for however good it looks on paper this archetype seemed to fly under the editing radar.


haruhiko88 wrote:
How on earth does it's crossbow training work with a set of bracers of falcons aim? I love the idea of a crossbow wielder and I want this to work but for however good it looks on paper this archetype seemed to fly under the editing radar.

Bracers of falcon's aim are written poorly and are supposed to up the threat range of bows, but because of how they word it it actually ups the crit multiplier of crossbows.

by level 5 you have a crossbow that crits x4 on 17-20.


Looking through the options i keep coming back to either Light Crossbows using Clustered Shots or Double Crossbows with Vital Strike. the reloading action economy just doesnt mesh with any others... am i missing something?


Whisperknives wrote:
haruhiko88 wrote:
How on earth does it's crossbow training work with a set of bracers of falcons aim? I love the idea of a crossbow wielder and I want this to work but for however good it looks on paper this archetype seemed to fly under the editing radar.

Bracers of falcon's aim are written poorly and are supposed to up the threat range of bows, but because of how they word it it actually ups the crit multiplier of crossbows.

by level 5 you have a crossbow that crits x4 on 17-20.

With the Bolt Ace's Crossbow Training, it only increases your critical multiplier, it says nothing of the sort for changing the threat range. So you'd have 19-20 and x3 multi or with Aspect of Falcon running/Bracers of Falcon's Aim it'd be 19-20 x4.

So you'd have to wait to get Imp. Critical to have your x4 on 17-20.


Nefreet wrote:
Seems like, if you go Half-Elf or Human (for the bonus Exotic Wpn Proficiency), and dip 1 level of Alchemist, that a Dex/Int Launching Crossbow build could be fun.

What feats/discoveries/formulae do you need to have in order for an Alchemist bow/crossbow user?


I will be playing a lower level double xbow (and later vital strike) user. I'm looking forward to it so much. Though I'm not pure Acebolt.. I snagged Hunter levels for reloading spell and gravity bow. I'll at least hit acebolt 5 but i'm not sure which way i'll go after..


Torbyne wrote:
Looking through the options i keep coming back to either Light Crossbows using Clustered Shots or Double Crossbows with Vital Strike. the reloading action economy just doesnt mesh with any others... am i missing something?

Crossbow mastery?


double crossbow wll never be faster than a move action for both bolts. Until bolt ace lv 11, at which time it becomes Swift action.

Every other crossbow i know of in pf can be made free action with crossbow mastery3


Is the feat investment worth it for moving up from 1D8 to 1D10?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I wish you could retrain the Gunsmithing feat.


Torbyne wrote:
Is the feat investment worth it for moving up from 1D8 to 1D10?

Not by itself, no. And since Crossbow Mastery's other big benefit (No AoOs for reloading) is granted at level 1 of Bolt Ace...


nope not worth it unless your going for gravity bow vital strike shenangans


Eigengrau wrote:
Whisperknives wrote:
haruhiko88 wrote:
How on earth does it's crossbow training work with a set of bracers of falcons aim? I love the idea of a crossbow wielder and I want this to work but for however good it looks on paper this archetype seemed to fly under the editing radar.

Bracers of falcon's aim are written poorly and are supposed to up the threat range of bows, but because of how they word it it actually ups the crit multiplier of crossbows.

by level 5 you have a crossbow that crits x4 on 17-20.

With the Bolt Ace's Crossbow Training, it only increases your critical multiplier, it says nothing of the sort for changing the threat range. So you'd have 19-20 and x3 multi or with Aspect of Falcon running/Bracers of Falcon's Aim it'd be 19-20 x4.

So you'd have to wait to get Imp. Critical to have your x4 on 17-20.

I think even improved critical won't stack...


Ishpumalibu wrote:
Eigengrau wrote:
Whisperknives wrote:
haruhiko88 wrote:
How on earth does it's crossbow training work with a set of bracers of falcons aim? I love the idea of a crossbow wielder and I want this to work but for however good it looks on paper this archetype seemed to fly under the editing radar.

Bracers of falcon's aim are written poorly and are supposed to up the threat range of bows, but because of how they word it it actually ups the crit multiplier of crossbows.

by level 5 you have a crossbow that crits x4 on 17-20.

With the Bolt Ace's Crossbow Training, it only increases your critical multiplier, it says nothing of the sort for changing the threat range. So you'd have 19-20 and x3 multi or with Aspect of Falcon running/Bracers of Falcon's Aim it'd be 19-20 x4.

So you'd have to wait to get Imp. Critical to have your x4 on 17-20.

I think even improved critical won't stack...

Improved Critical doesn't need to stack anything, it just plain old gives you 17-20 threat range. Regular crossbows do 19-20 anyway.


Eigengrau wrote:
Ishpumalibu wrote:
Eigengrau wrote:
Whisperknives wrote:
haruhiko88 wrote:
How on earth does it's crossbow training work with a set of bracers of falcons aim? I love the idea of a crossbow wielder and I want this to work but for however good it looks on paper this archetype seemed to fly under the editing radar.

Bracers of falcon's aim are written poorly and are supposed to up the threat range of bows, but because of how they word it it actually ups the crit multiplier of crossbows.

by level 5 you have a crossbow that crits x4 on 17-20.

With the Bolt Ace's Crossbow Training, it only increases your critical multiplier, it says nothing of the sort for changing the threat range. So you'd have 19-20 and x3 multi or with Aspect of Falcon running/Bracers of Falcon's Aim it'd be 19-20 x4.

So you'd have to wait to get Imp. Critical to have your x4 on 17-20.

I think even improved critical won't stack...
Improved Critical doesn't need to stack anything, it just plain old gives you 17-20 threat range. Regular crossbows do 19-20 anyway.

Okay so do this through 5, dip 1 hunter at 6 for gravity bow, back into gunslinger, at 7 pick up vital strike. With the poorly written bracers and the poorly written archetype by my understanding this means a 19-20/x4 crit, with everything working on a vital strike 4d8 normally and a potential crit of 16d8 as a standard action... I would kill for that.


Well wait. you don't multiply the vital strike on crit, nor the extra bolt.
so 2d8 +gravity 4d6. Vital strike for 8d8 +dex (one per bolt) +whatever else per arrow.
on a crit: 1d8 or 2d6 , +1 dex +the other stuff, are multiplied by critical


Zwordsman wrote:

Well wait. you don't multiply the vital strike on crit, nor the extra bolt.

so 2d8 +gravity 4d6. Vital strike for 8d8 +dex (one per bolt) +whatever else per arrow.
on a crit: 1d8 or 2d6 , +1 dex +the other stuff, are multiplied by critical

Ah sorry, I always forget that last sentence that my group houserules away. It makes vital strike much more appealing for people that want to do one shot one kill type characters.

It's still I believe 4(2d8+other modifiers)+2d8+precision or elemental damage if applicable. Still pretty nice.


So with Bracers of Falcons Aim, 5th level Bolt Ace, a Heavy Repeating Crossbow, 2 Levels of Hunter (or something giving +1 BAB and Gravity Bow),Vital Strike and Gravity Bow = 19-20 x4 so bolt does 4d8+DEX before Crit, and on Crit does 8d8+Dex+2d8. At 9th level with Devastating Strike you'd do another +4 on regular hit and +16 more on a crit.


I think I am still missing something on the vital strike build...

Two 1D8 bolts, gravity bow bring that to two 2D6 bolts. Vital strike doubles one bolt to 4D6 and the other is still 2D6 for a single 6D6 shot plus 2x dex mod, 2x Deadly Aim bonus and 2x enchantment mod.

A crit (x3) on the vital strike with gravity bow would be 8D6 (2D6 base plus an extra 4D6 critical dice plus 2D6 from vital strike) plus the second bolt with 2D6 and that all carries a static mod of 4x dex, enchantment and deadly aim.

If bracers of falcons aim ups the crit multiplier than it jumps to a vital strike crit of 12D6 + 5x static modifiers.

A pure bolt ace could also go for potions of enlarge to pull this off. Otherwise, the sequence goes 1D8 (base) + 1D8 (vital strike) + (2D8 with a 3x crit) and the second bolt for another 1D8 + 2x static modifiers (or 4x on a critical)

How many errors in my math are there?

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