Why do Martials need better things?


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shroudb wrote:

i don't think that giving abilities similar to spells to fighters will help. they need something UNIQUE that no spell can replicate, something to call their own.

because if you just give them something similar to a few spells, then, again, they will be miles behind, given the multitude of spells a caster has access to (which it would be insane to somehow incorporate into a fighter)

given the gadzillion of spells in existance that is kinda tough, because you will be hardpressed to find things that no spell can do to give them.

I know I'm WAY behind the current conversation, but I figured I'd reply to this.

The Fighter doesn't need something magic can not do [in fact, I doubt that's possible given the sheer breadth of magic in this game, and there is more coming out every year.] What he DOES need, is the ability to carve out a niche for him [according to his personal theme and concept] and do it so damn well it's comparable to a Wizard using the very best spell he has available at any given level to accomplish the task, except the Fighter can freely fulfill his niche every round all day long.

The mage excels in versatility and variety, while the Fighter is 100% equally potent but lacks in versatility while massively exceeding in endurance.

The old 'Wizards have limited mojo while Fighters can go all day' thing works great, IF the Fighter's are given enough things of high enough power [scaling with level] to make it worthwhile. Basically a Fighter of level 17 has the equivalent of one ninth level spell he can use over and over again, a few secondary tricks comparable to 8th level spells and a few tertiary ones comparable to 7th level spells.

Meanwhile the Wizard has a massive suite of tricks running the gamut from 9th to 1st, but his top level spells are quite limited.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
LoneKnave wrote:
Opuk0 wrote:
I hear the 'crossbows can pierce fullplate' thing a lot when they come up, but why can't bows do that if they had the same pull strength?
Crossbows had way higher pull strengths than bows.

Crossbows have way higher pull strength than (normal) bows, but a much shorter string, which means much less leverage to amplify the pull strength. If I could somehow make and deploy an eight-meter long bow, I could get unbelievable amounts of penetration using only a 20-30 pound pull.

Of course, that thirty pound pull would provide continuous acceleration for close to eight meters (because of the bow geometry), which in turn would mean that the arrow would be flying at an unbelievable rate. And I'd also need either to rig up some sort of ingenious launching system or I'd need an arrow that was eight meters long.

But that's why longbows have so much better penetration than self bows. Better leverage.

this is what compound bows are for.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
I find it illuminating that he's waited until after leaving Paizo before expressing these ideas (haven't listened to these videos in detail, just going off initial impressions). Especially given his ardent stance on Pathfinder's rules being fine as they were written while employed by Paizo (see his claims regarding water balloons and crossbows). I wonder how long he's had these opinions.

You think it's weird that a guy whose job was to defend the design decisions of Paizo on the forums stopped doing so after it was no longer his job? I don't. Anyone who's worked in customer service knows full well that you have to toe the party line and parrot their bull s&~+ regardless of whether or not you believe it. Anyone who's actually looked at Sean's individual design (or read blog posts like his "Why keen and improved critical should stack" article from back in the D&D days) can see that he had his own ideas that weren't exactly in line with the rest of the Paizo design team. How about the fact that he wrote a 2 page article in Mother of Flies about why Asmodeus would have paladins, and James Jacobs has spent the last 5 years trying to pretend it never happened? Granted, those aren't about martial/caster disparity, but the point is that just because someone's job requires them to publicly agree with the company's policies doesn't mean they actually think that way.

Liberty's Edge

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
shroudb wrote:

i don't think that giving abilities similar to spells to fighters will help. they need something UNIQUE that no spell can replicate, something to call their own.

because if you just give them something similar to a few spells, then, again, they will be miles behind, given the multitude of spells a caster has access to (which it would be insane to somehow incorporate into a fighter)

given the gadzillion of spells in existance that is kinda tough, because you will be hardpressed to find things that no spell can do to give them.

I know I'm WAY behind the current conversation, but I figured I'd reply to this.

The Fighter doesn't need something magic can not do [in fact, I doubt that's possible given the sheer breadth of magic in this game, and there is more coming out every year.] What he DOES need, is the ability to carve out a niche for him [according to his personal theme and concept] and do it so damn well it's comparable to a Wizard using the very best spell he has available at any given level to accomplish the task, except the Fighter can freely fulfill his niche every round all day long.

The mage excels in versatility and variety, while the Fighter is 100% equally potent but lacks in versatility while massively exceeding in endurance.

The old 'Wizards have limited mojo while Fighters can go all day' thing works great, IF the Fighter's are given enough things of high enough power [scaling with level] to make it worthwhile. Basically a Fighter of level 17 has the equivalent of one ninth level spell he can use over and over again, a few secondary tricks comparable to 8th level spells and a few tertiary ones comparable to 7th level spells.

Meanwhile the Wizard has a massive suite of tricks running the gamut from 9th to 1st, but his top level spells are quite limited.

I think you mean the fighter has a 5th level spell he can use over and over, along with a couple 3rd level spells. The fighter isn't petitioning gods for miracles or stopping time. He's punching stuff real good.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Good point, draw length is a factor. The length of the bow staff is relevant only in so far as that a long bow staff is the mechanically simplest way to maximize force over the full draw length. Compound bows do the same thing, composite bows do the same thing. I think most medieval crossbows are composite bows, but I'm not an expert. At any rate the composite bow of crossbow size is still smaller than the composite bow of longbow size and thus a shorter draw length. So yeah I can see how that affects the str factor. Exactly how that impacts damage considering the mechanical advantage factor as well, no clue. I just know that crossbows have different pulls and stronger people can use stronger crossbows.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Ssalarn wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
I find it illuminating that he's waited until after leaving Paizo before expressing these ideas (haven't listened to these videos in detail, just going off initial impressions). Especially given his ardent stance on Pathfinder's rules being fine as they were written while employed by Paizo (see his claims regarding water balloons and crossbows). I wonder how long he's had these opinions.
You think it's weird that a guy whose job was to defend the design decisions of Paizo on the forums stopped doing so after it was no longer his job?

Was it SKR's job to defend design decisions on the forums? It seemed like he chimed in a lot when he could've just let a topic be.


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Deighton Thrane wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
shroudb wrote:

i don't think that giving abilities similar to spells to fighters will help. they need something UNIQUE that no spell can replicate, something to call their own.

because if you just give them something similar to a few spells, then, again, they will be miles behind, given the multitude of spells a caster has access to (which it would be insane to somehow incorporate into a fighter)

given the gadzillion of spells in existance that is kinda tough, because you will be hardpressed to find things that no spell can do to give them.

I know I'm WAY behind the current conversation, but I figured I'd reply to this.

The Fighter doesn't need something magic can not do [in fact, I doubt that's possible given the sheer breadth of magic in this game, and there is more coming out every year.] What he DOES need, is the ability to carve out a niche for him [according to his personal theme and concept] and do it so damn well it's comparable to a Wizard using the very best spell he has available at any given level to accomplish the task, except the Fighter can freely fulfill his niche every round all day long.

The mage excels in versatility and variety, while the Fighter is 100% equally potent but lacks in versatility while massively exceeding in endurance.

The old 'Wizards have limited mojo while Fighters can go all day' thing works great, IF the Fighter's are given enough things of high enough power [scaling with level] to make it worthwhile. Basically a Fighter of level 17 has the equivalent of one ninth level spell he can use over and over again, a few secondary tricks comparable to 8th level spells and a few tertiary ones comparable to 7th level spells.

Meanwhile the Wizard has a massive suite of tricks running the gamut from 9th to 1st, but his top level spells are quite limited.

I think you mean the fighter has a 5th level spell he can use over and over, along with a couple 3rd level spells. The fighter isn't petitioning gods for miracles or...

At 17th level or later? You're damned right he should be.

Moving so fast time seems to freeze around you [which is the actual fluff of the Time Stop spell] is a thing martials are occasionally known to do in fiction.

Not only that, the Martial [because he's doing so through pure speed and reflexes] can actually directly affect the things/beings around him during the frozen time. They don't react to the effect [get knocked flying, fall over from damage taking them below zero HP, etc etc] until time starts ticking again, but they are genuinely affected.


Ssalarn wrote:
You think it's weird that a guy whose job was to defend the design decisions of Paizo on the forums stopped doing so after it was no longer his job? I don't.

1) I never said it was weird.

2) I even acknowledged I by no means expect Paizo employees to air their disagreements with company decisions publicly.
3) I don't know that it was his job to make the arguments he did, given I've never seen anyone argue with the rigor he used. I can only presume he did agree with his own arguments at one point and that these viewpoints changed over time.

When he started working with WotC a few months ago there was panic on the forums that he was going to start implementing 3.5e-isms and ruin 5th edition (or save it depending on your point of view). I pointed out that Sean expressed certain viewpoints while working for company(ies) that had these views as a base part of the game. I said we would need to wait and see what his viewpoints were post-Paizo employment and now we're seeing those viewpoints. I find that interesting.

(As a note he isn't working on 5th edition rules, or at least wasn't a few months ago).


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chocobot wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
the thing about bricks and concrete is they're brittle, if it's something that can be polished to be a smooth pillar, than it is more than likely 10 fold stronger than concrete or brick.
Similar to how a level 20 fighter is 10 times stronger and tougher than any real world human, perhaps?

Not only 10 times.

If we assume the most powerful human ever to live in the real world was level 6 [I'm more of a mind it's in the neighborhood of level 4, but I'm using level 6 for this calculation] then according to the CR system a level 20 fighter is supposed to be 128 times as powerful [every 2 levels aka CR is supposed to be twice as powerful as 2 levels/cr below it] than the mightiest real-world [history not myth] hero we've ever had.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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John Lynch 106 wrote:


3) I don't know that it was his job to make the arguments he did, given I've never seen anyone argue with the rigor he used. I can only presume he did agree with his own arguments at one point and that these viewpoints changed over time.

It was. He may have used his own phrasing, but responding to the forums and defending the design team's decisions was specifically part of his job, just like it's part of Mark Seifter's job now. If you go read some of the more infamous decisions he had to defend (like the TWF/Flurry debacle) he even told people right after posting the response that he literally turned in his chair to ask Jason what he meant when he wrote, and then delivered that response. Regardless, having spoken to him on many occasions, I don't believe there was any change of heart or principle, just an unshackling from the restrictions imposed by the necessity of providing a united front.

If you look at the decisions he himself actually made, or tried to make, while on the design team, they're almost universally in favor of trying to buff martial characters up (Duelist's INT to DEX for AC not being capped by Max Dex, charge lanes that can be easily drawn through any of three squares to allow functional Ride-by Attacks, etc.)

I just hate to see aspersions cast by people who don't really know what they're talking about (and yes, your little "Aw gee, maybe I'm just cynical, but his change of heart is probably just a marketing ploy" was an aspersion, no matter how cleverly you think you couched it.)


Ok really late on this one but i have read afew of these threads in their entirety. Something i think might help would be adding STR or CON to all saves for martials to show them just brushung it off. Adding a physical stat to all their social skills because words dont always inspire as much as action, sort of going off the whole i fear not an army of lions led by lambs but one of lambs led by lions. Definitely on board with scaling feats and more skill points. Remove the pointless feat taxes. Special stance and maneuver feats, like monks have style feats do the same for different weapons.

Liberty's Edge

kyrt-ryder wrote:
Deighton Thrane wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
shroudb wrote:

i don't think that giving abilities similar to spells to fighters will help. they need something UNIQUE that no spell can replicate, something to call their own.

because if you just give them something similar to a few spells, then, again, they will be miles behind, given the multitude of spells a caster has access to (which it would be insane to somehow incorporate into a fighter)

given the gadzillion of spells in existance that is kinda tough, because you will be hardpressed to find things that no spell can do to give them.

I know I'm WAY behind the current conversation, but I figured I'd reply to this.

The Fighter doesn't need something magic can not do [in fact, I doubt that's possible given the sheer breadth of magic in this game, and there is more coming out every year.] What he DOES need, is the ability to carve out a niche for him [according to his personal theme and concept] and do it so damn well it's comparable to a Wizard using the very best spell he has available at any given level to accomplish the task, except the Fighter can freely fulfill his niche every round all day long.

The mage excels in versatility and variety, while the Fighter is 100% equally potent but lacks in versatility while massively exceeding in endurance.

The old 'Wizards have limited mojo while Fighters can go all day' thing works great, IF the Fighter's are given enough things of high enough power [scaling with level] to make it worthwhile. Basically a Fighter of level 17 has the equivalent of one ninth level spell he can use over and over again, a few secondary tricks comparable to 8th level spells and a few tertiary ones comparable to 7th level spells.

Meanwhile the Wizard has a massive suite of tricks running the gamut from 9th to 1st, but his top level spells are quite limited.

I think you mean the fighter has a 5th level spell he can use over and over, along with a couple 3rd level spells. The fighter isn't
...

Sorry, I didn't really phrase that very well. What I was trying to allude to is that it's very hard to have an ability that's considered mundane or realistic that competes with what 9th levels spells can do. Which is the problem, because the fighters abilities are basically rooted in no magic origins, having something comparable to level 9 spells is not likely to happen. Especially since fighter get their abilities all day long, and Paizo over values always on abilities.

And things like moving so fast enemies can't react definitely falls into the supernatural category, which maybe makes sense for a ki ability, but the dwarf fighter with the 20' move speed moving so fast people can't react isn't realistic as an Ex ability. Which, once again is the problem, fighters are based in what realistic. So either you have to let go of the no magic abilities base of the fighter, or come up with clever abilities that fall within the Ex category. That's why I was saying that fighter only gets 5th level spells, not that that's what their limit should be, but that where their limit is, because of the design philosophy of the class.


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A Fighter reaching level 20 and only moving 20 feet per move action is pretty unrealistic.

That being said, it was just one possibility. The key is to make sure they have comparable powers not to shove the exact same ones down every fighter's face.


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Deighton Thrane wrote:

Sorry, I didn't really phrase that very well. What I was trying to allude to is that it's very hard to have an ability that's considered mundane or realistic that competes with what 9th levels spells can do. Which is the problem, because the fighters abilities are basically rooted in no magic origins, having something comparable to level 9 spells is not likely to happen. Especially since fighter get their abilities all day long, and Paizo over values always on abilities.

And things like moving so fast enemies can't react definitely falls into the supernatural category, which maybe makes sense for a ki ability, but the dwarf fighter with the 20' move speed moving so fast people can't react isn't realistic as an Ex ability. Which, once again is the problem, fighters are based in what realistic. So either you have to let go of the no magic abilities base of the fighter, or come up with clever abilities that fall within the Ex category. That's why I was saying that fighter only gets 5th level spells, not that that's what their limit should be, but that where their limit is, because of the design philosophy of the class.

I think the whole take away from all of these martial-caster disparity threads is that those that feel it is an issue that needs to be addressed feel that your stated design philosophy is fundamentally wrong.

When a caster gets to the point of casting 9th level spells, they are effectively demigods. They're doing things that are beyond even most myths and legends.

So, let's recalibrate a bit. Is it realistic for a demigod to move faster than those around them can react? I'd say so, especially if speed is part of that demigod's domain. True, some creatures may have similar levels of speed or can make preparations to deal with the demigod's speed and catch him off-guard. But, in the general case, I think that's perfectly reasonable and realistic to expect of someone that can be described as a demigod.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Well in that paradigm the dwarf fighter wouldn't have a 20 speed, he'd have a 200. Because why is it totally realistic for fighters to be colossus but not quicksilver? There's zero difference in realism, and it's just an arbitrary decision that the muscle groups in their arms are allowed to develop beyond human potential but those in their legs are not. Monks of course can develop superhuman musculature in their legs, but fighter for some reason are restricted to arms. Totally arbitrary.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
ZZTRaider wrote:
Deighton Thrane wrote:

Sorry, I didn't really phrase that very well. What I was trying to allude to is that it's very hard to have an ability that's considered mundane or realistic that competes with what 9th levels spells can do. Which is the problem, because the fighters abilities are basically rooted in no magic origins, having something comparable to level 9 spells is not likely to happen. Especially since fighter get their abilities all day long, and Paizo over values always on abilities.

And things like moving so fast enemies can't react definitely falls into the supernatural category, which maybe makes sense for a ki ability, but the dwarf fighter with the 20' move speed moving so fast people can't react isn't realistic as an Ex ability. Which, once again is the problem, fighters are based in what realistic. So either you have to let go of the no magic abilities base of the fighter, or come up with clever abilities that fall within the Ex category. That's why I was saying that fighter only gets 5th level spells, not that that's what their limit should be, but that where their limit is, because of the design philosophy of the class.

I think the whole take away from all of these martial-caster disparity threads is that those that feel it is an issue that needs to be addressed feel that your stated design philosophy is fundamentally wrong.

When a caster gets to the point of casting 9th level spells, they are effectively demigods. They're doing things that are beyond even most myths and legends.

aye, i feel the realization of this as of late has put me in a pretty bummer mood. It means no matter how much we bring it up, they will shrug it off and things will not get better.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Later-era plate armors pretty much stopped all but the heaviest crossbows and all bows cold. You didn't kill a knight with a longbow unless you got him in the eyeslit...the armor was just that good. Even a near point-blank shot would just leave a dent.

Heavy crossbows that had to be cranked up to fire were made SPECIFICALLY so they could punch heavy plate armors, but it wasn't until you actually got bullets that armor was overcome.

The 'fast' way of cocking a heavier crossbow was a belt-hook. You just lowered the crossbow, and lets its own weight help you as pushed down on the hook, slapping a new bolt in at the time.

Yes, a crossbow should have a strength rating. It is perfectly likely that you'll have a team with one crossbow person cocking and reloading the weapon, and one person with skill shooting it. That's the reason they don't put Str ratings on crossbows...they don't want 18 dex snipers benefiting from 18 Str quiverbearers swapping weapons.

Extremely strong crossbows might require a stirrup in addition to a belt hook.

Massively strong crossbows that took a winch were definitely later era armor-punchers, and quite unwieldy to use as a result. They were just shy of the Siege Crossbows that required a stand to use, or a footbow that was drawn back with two hands and propped against your feet.

Bows were good against lighter armored troops. But it is notable that at the battle of Hastings, the charging knights were not killed by longbow arrows. They were killed because the mud floundered their horses, and infantry basically dragged them off their mounts and killed them by stabbing them through their visors.

==Aelryinth

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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chocobot wrote:
Well in that paradigm the dwarf fighter wouldn't have a 20 speed, he'd have a 200. Because why is it totally realistic for fighters to be colossus but not quicksilver? There's zero difference in realism, and it's just an arbitrary decision that the muscle groups in their arms are allowed to develop beyond human potential but those in their legs are not. Monks of course can develop superhuman musculature in their legs, but fighter for some reason are restricted to arms. Totally arbitrary.

Well, it's analogous to "Why can the Hulk jump 3 miles, but Colossus and the Thing can't?"

Strength and Power are two very different things. Power directly implies speed of motion. Someone who can bench 100 tons, but not move much faster then anyone else doesn't have a lot of power (the Thing). The human limit on hand speed is in the 40 mph range. Even if you can bench 100 tons, you can't exert a lot of power if you can't go fast.

The Hulk, on the other hand, can break Mach 3 when jumping (able to jump 3 miles at a time, which takes a 30.06 bullet normally). At ridiculous extremes, he can jump hard enough to achieve escape velocity and break orbit.
If you let the Hulk hit you, you're done. His fist is coming in at Mach speeds, AND he can bench 100+ tons.

YOu start combining speed and strength for power, and things get spiraling quickly out of control.

==Aelryinth


A question to Aelryinth who seems to know his s*&~, where said s!*+ translates to crossbow smarts

People are always griping that it's unrealistic for someone to reload a crossbow as a free action because of all the hassle it takes in real life.

Fine, they can continue to hold themselves to realism if that's their cup of tea, but I still want crossbows to be shot at least twice in a fight.

Proposition: What if PF crossbows were more advanced than real-life crossbows? Surely some dwarf thought "Hey, I could go to the bar, drink a gallon (because what self-respecting dwarf drinks only a pint?), and still have time left over to take a piss in the time it would take me to reload this thing. What if I made it not take that long?". Two months later, the dwarf develops a crossbow that can be reloaded like a bolt action rifle (this is only to provide a visual, not say that the dwarf knows what a bolt action rifle is) thanks to a bunch of gears and pulleys inside the stock of the crossbow?

Sure, we can say it'll be more expensive due to reasons X, Y, and Z, but would it A) be feasible and B) at least somewhat realistic?


Ssalarn wrote:


I just hate to see aspersions cast by people who don't really know what they're talking about (and yes, your little "Aw gee, maybe I'm just cynical, but his change of heart is probably just a marketing ploy" was an aspersion, no matter how cleverly you think you couched it.)

You know what, I am sorry. I was going to try to defend this but if this is the way it was taken then I'm sorry.

Ultimately I think SKR is trying to do a lot of damage control that his reputation took after years of working at Paizo. I think he is currently trying to market his games and that these games by necessity are designed to be dissimilar to Pathfinder so as to not compete with it and to try to unburden himself with a lot of assumed baggage by the player base.

If we take it for granted that SKR spent years towing the company line and didn't agree with all these statements (which is what I'm interpreting your post as saying) then it is equally probable he is now marketing himself in a way he feels is much more profitable for this time. It could change again with the market at which point he'll espouse different design ideologies.

I think it more likely, as I said, that he actually did agree with the design ideals he championed! At least for the most part. I think most designers enjoy whatever they're working on at the time, but if given the opportunity, would happily explore a game that on some level could be seen as the antithesis of what they'd worked on in the past if only to explore new ideas.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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You're talking about a repeater crossbow. Such things do exist, they are Chinese in origin, and you can often see them in kung fu films set in older days. They are also in Pathfinder (the big bad at the end of Skulls and Shackles AP uses one, for example).

The problem is a) the magazine size and b) the strength of the bow isn't that high, because you're aiming to deliver a ton of bolts fast, not powerful bolts.

IN real life, the bolts are small and thin, and so don't have much penetrating force. They are basically used against unarmored individuals at close ranges as surprise attacks, and yes, they have a decent rate of fire. If you're wearing any kind of armor, however, they are mostly useless.

Two, you only get like 6 bolts in a magazine, because, well, they are crossbow bolts! Not bullets! At which point you have to carefully put in 6 more bolts in the correct pattern so as not to mess up the mechanism that sets them in position. You can't just swap in a new magazine like you can with a firearm.

Now, if you start using MAGIC...you can start throwing some of these assumptions out the window.

The old 1E Crossbow of Speed had a great line "This weapon cocks itself" and so it doubled your rate of fire with the crossbow. All you had to do was put the bolt down to fire, which is no harder then drawing it out of a quiver.

The problem with using a 'pump action' to cock a crossbow is quite simple...you are pushing your hands TOGETHER, not APART.

What happens when you draw a bow?
One hand is pushing away from another. You are doubling your strength because your muscles are using lever action against one another to expand that arc of strength for the bow. It's synergy.

If you are pumping a shotgun, you are pushing your hands TOGETHER. That's not nearly as effective. Instead of using one another as anchors to magnify strength across your shoulder blades, all the strength is basically at the elbows and forearm.
Thus, you can't bring nearly as much strength to bear.

To do it properly, it would actually have to pump on the OUTWARD part of the pump motion. Here again is a problem, as you only have ONE arm doing the pumping motion, the other arm is remaining rigid against your chest supporting the weapon, because it has to keep it in place while you are pushing outwards with your forward arm. AFTER the pump, now you can go get a bolt.

That's a time waster.

The beauty of a bow is that it combines the reload and the pull into one motion. You draw the arrow, nock. Both arms pull against one another, expand the bow. Steady. You release tension. The bow goes back to neutral, the outer arm comes back in to get the string into range of the reload, you're good.

An 'auto pump' repeater crossbow would have everything getting done by one arm, and the reload sequence is not part of the draw sequence, it is logical you'd 'pump' it by holding the stock steady, pushing out on the action with ONE hand, using mechanics to move the string in the opposite direction, then push your hands together (inefficient) to draw the bolt out of the magazine into place, then fire, still keeping it steady.

So, two inefficient motions vs one efficient motion mean you'd be firing with much less draw strength then a similar bow.

The only way to get around this sort of thing would be to have basically a shoulder harness that locks the stock of the crossbow into place, so you don't have to have both hands separated to keep it steady and aim, like having a swivel point against your elbow or hip. Then you could apply two hands to the pump motion...and could even technically make them opposed motions, but the fixed nature of the crossbow means it's not working across the natural motion of the body, so you'd end employing your lower back instead of across the long muscles and connections of your arms and upper back.

IMC, there are 'autobows' that do exist, and they are pump action crossbows with magazines of 60 arrows and such. They also use magic to magnify the force of the pump action, and the magazines are basically all shrunken/compressed bolts. the 'pump action' is actually applied against the whole body, not just the arms, to disperse the load of the crossbow, and the shrunken bolt clicks into position and un-shrinks in the last action of the pump.

It's a very dangerous weapon, but it doesn't work without magic expressly busting physics.

BTW, IMC compound bows are known as 'dwarvish bows' and compound crossbows as 'gnomish xbows', respectively. Elves loathe both, naturally enough.

==Aelryinth

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

As an aside, ever seen the Lars Nelson video, where he's rapid firing a bow? Holding the arrows in his hand, he doesn't have a 'grab the arrow' motion, so he can snap fire like 3 arrows in one second if he has to.

But, he's using VERY light draw strength (30-40 lbs) and VERY light arrows.

The technique he uses is a horsebow technique designed for night raids and shooting down unarmored civilians at speed. Holding all your arrows in hand is basically MUCH stabler then trying to draw them out of quiver while riding a horse.

Get 60 feet away and have on even leather armor, and his shots have no penetrating power whatsoever. If he shoots heavier arrows, his arrow speed drops dramatically, which means his poundage goes up, which means he can't snap-draw with just his forearm, which means RoF drops VERY quickly.

This is much the same problem the crossbow has, only it doesn't have the huge arc of a bow, which is where the power of a bow comes from...the length of the draw, far more then the poundage. A crossbow relies on high draw strength to do what it does with a shorter draw range, because of the mechanics of construction. If you want more RoF you MUST sacrifice poundage to get it. There's no other way. With less poundage, your range either drops or you shoot lighter arrows, meaning less damage and less penetration.

It's a very simple mechanical problem, and you really can't improve crossbow design over what is possible today, mechanically. You can only use magic to explain it away (such as 'auto-winching', if you like, using a constantly spinning internal engine).

==Aelryinth

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

chocobot wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
hmmm, maybe we could make a house rule that crossbows have a str mod, and sicne you load them with two hands you can use 1.5 your str mod to determine how strong of a crossbow you can load.

after further consideration that should probably 1.5 for light crossbow, 2x for heavy crossbow(better mechanical advantage causes slower load), .5 for hand crossbow (cause it's tiny and offhand capable) Cost would be the same as bow str 100 for heavy, 75 for light, maybe 50 for hand.

And if you don't have the required str you just can't load it, period. Attaching different mechanisms or using longer actions is way too complicated. You can still shoot it if you get someone else to load it for you.

Easier to say it takes an additional move action to draw it properly for every +1 you are low (as instead of drawing the string back with your hand, you use a belt hook or stirrup and two hands).

Which is EXACTLY what heavier crossbows do use! The difference between heavy and light crossbows thus reflects the innate difference in poundage of the weapon. H Crossbows are not only bigger, but have higher poundages, necessitating lower Str individuals to use mechanics to cock them.

===Aelryinth


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Aelryinth wrote:

Bows were good against lighter armored troops. But it is notable that at the battle of Hastings, the charging knights were not killed by longbow arrows. They were killed because the mud floundered their horses, and infantry basically dragged them off their mounts and killed them by stabbing them through their visors.

==Aelryinth

I think you mean Agincourt, not Hastings. But otherwise, good stuff.


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"Nerf Martials!!!! Caster martial disparity!!!"

Required statements here .


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Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
"Nerf Martials!!!!

Paizo does a pretty good job of that without any encouragement.


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Chengar Qordath wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Bows were good against lighter armored troops. But it is notable that at the battle of Hastings, the charging knights were not killed by longbow arrows. They were killed because the mud floundered their horses, and infantry basically dragged them off their mounts and killed them by stabbing them through their visors.

==Aelryinth

I think you mean Agincourt, not Hastings. But otherwise, good stuff.

The longbow did do a decent job against knights at Crecy.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:

As an aside, ever seen the Lars Nelson video, where he's rapid firing a bow? Holding the arrows in his hand, he doesn't have a 'grab the arrow' motion, so he can snap fire like 3 arrows in one second if he has to.

But, he's using VERY light draw strength (30-40 lbs) and VERY light arrows.

The technique he uses is a horsebow technique designed for night raids and shooting down unarmored civilians at speed. Holding all your arrows in hand is basically MUCH stabler then trying to draw them out of quiver while riding a horse.

Get 60 feet away and have on even leather armor, and his shots have no penetrating power whatsoever. If he shoots heavier arrows, his arrow speed drops dramatically, which means his poundage goes up, which means he can't snap-draw with just his forearm, which means RoF drops VERY quickly.

If you're thinking of the guy who i think you're thinking of, he shoots at armored targets, armored with chain and leather while moving at a good distance, he also has been shown to shoot at long range targets as well as accurately.

the techniques he used were actually common place since quivers in general didn't hold up very well in battlefield conditions (back quiver is very high, waist quiver easy to fall out) so it was better to have a few in your hand as grabbing from your quiver quickly can be disastrous.

@late plate, yeah late plate was designed to deal with gunfire so of course crossbow bolts didn't do s$@# against them. :P that was late plate, right before they stopped using them, because guns.

also i would say the crossbows power comes from the bow design as well, many were separated at the middle and used wrapped rope or twine for the power, it made for a very compact powerhouse that you couldn't put on a bow.


thorin001 wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Bows were good against lighter armored troops. But it is notable that at the battle of Hastings, the charging knights were not killed by longbow arrows. They were killed because the mud floundered their horses, and infantry basically dragged them off their mounts and killed them by stabbing them through their visors.

==Aelryinth

I think you mean Agincourt, not Hastings. But otherwise, good stuff.
The longbow did do a decent job against knights at Crecy.

600,000 arrows loosed. 2,000 men-at-arms killed, some (most, plausibly) in melee.

That doesn't look like a great performance.


thorin001 wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Bows were good against lighter armored troops. But it is notable that at the battle of Hastings, the charging knights were not killed by longbow arrows. They were killed because the mud floundered their horses, and infantry basically dragged them off their mounts and killed them by stabbing them through their visors.

==Aelryinth

I think you mean Agincourt, not Hastings. But otherwise, good stuff.
The longbow did do a decent job against knights at Crecy.

300,000 arrows loosed. 2,000 men-at-arms killed, some (most, plausibly) in melee. Doesn't really suggest the longbow was that good.

Also, I think Aelyrinth might be describing Courtrai. Or perhaps Halmyros.


The thing about crossbows is that they're not terribly efficient. Since the string doesn't travel very far it has little time or distance over which to accelerate the projectile. More force is stored in the bow, but it's not transferred to the bolt. The rule of thumb I remember is that a longbow imparts as much energy to its arrow as a crossbow with about three times the draw weight. That's why longbows can penetrate unhardened plate without crossbows going through it like tissue paper even though crossbows have much higher draw weights.

A 240 pound crossbow hits about as hard as an 80 pound bow. The heaviest reasonably portable crossbows hit about as hard as the heaviest draw longbows. That would be 1d8+5 or -- since weapons usually have base dice and to make vital strike a decent substitute for ridiculous rapid fire that certainly isn't seen from heavy crossbows -- 2d8. Light crossbows might weigh in at 2d6 or 3d4. Possibly even a die step up from that (3d6 and 2d8) to compensate for not getting to add deadly aim multiple times when vital striking.


I actually kinda like that idea of letting crossbows have higher base damage over bows, like 2d6 base for heavy and 1d10 for light.

Crossbow Mastery feat would probably have to go away.


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Crossbows already have higher base damage... It simply doesn't come even close to compensate for the lack of Str modifier to damage and the inability to make a full attack.


What if they had something similar to compound but instead of adding strength, they'd progressively bypass armor class? Like a HXBow (+1) ignores 1 point of armor class from armor or shields, and going up to +5?


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Atarlost wrote:

The thing about crossbows is that they're not terribly efficient. Since the string doesn't travel very far it has little time or distance over which to accelerate the projectile. More force is stored in the bow, but it's not transferred to the bolt. The rule of thumb I remember is that a longbow imparts as much energy to its arrow as a crossbow with about three times the draw weight. That's why longbows can penetrate unhardened plate without crossbows going through it like tissue paper even though crossbows have much higher draw weights.

A 240 pound crossbow hits about as hard as an 80 pound bow. The heaviest reasonably portable crossbows hit about as hard as the heaviest draw longbows.

As an engineer, what you said seems wrong to me.

But, after some research it appears I have no clue what I am talking about (that's my favorite link out of the selection).


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

yeah, if you;re using an actual bow for the energy storage on a crossbow it's not going to be very powerful. Late crossbows broke the bow up and used twine in hold the energy. think about 2 sticks tied together and then twisting the sticks, the energy gets stored in the material holding the sticks together. The same principle was applied to crossbows for a more compact energy storage device.

now the longbow was a beast of a weapon being so huge, so it could be the numbers are still comparable.


Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

"Nerf Martials!!!! Caster martial disparity!!!"

Required statements here .

Oh here is some idea's to Nerf Martials

1) Require a concentration check to see if they can get a melee/ranger attack off.
Whether it is looking for an opening in there opponent defenses stance, getting buffeted by wind/rain/hail, or getting hit by damage and not able to see an opening due to pain/suffering. If they fail there concentration check, they lose the attack this round.

2) Melee attack Provoke Attacks of Opportunity, unless you make a concentration check to prevent the AoO vs DC 15 + ( 1 vs simple weapons, 3 vs Martial weapons, or 6 vs Exotic weapons). If they fail the check, they lose the attack this round.

3) Require a saving throw on Blunt/Slashing/Piercing damage.
Blunt damage can be halved with a fortitude saving throw.
Slashing damage can be halved with a will saving throw. (( dont make me come up with a excuse for using a will saving throw on damage attack, it is a bloody game, and i need a saving throw for slashing damage.... ok. ok. a reason = The target is using there will check to see if they get hit by the flat side of the slashing weapon vs the cutting blade side.. there happy now ;p ).
Piercing damage can be halved with a Reflex saving throw.

PS = Dont forget that Rogue/Monk/ 9th level ranger can also now use evasion to further reduce Piercing damage with there evasion ability. It make a much sense vs arrows and pikes as it does vs fireballs.

...................................................

As an alternative = Would be glade to call a truss, if you

Get ride of spell resistance from the game altogether.
Get ride of Evasion/Improved Evasion from all classes.
Get ride of AoO, for casting in melee range ( still would suffer AoO for casting range attack spells ).


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Oliver McShade wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

"Nerf Martials!!!! Caster martial disparity!!!"

Required statements here .

Oh here is some idea's to Nerf Martials

1) Require a concentration check to see if they can get a melee/ranger attack off.
Whether it is looking for an opening in there opponent defenses stance, getting buffeted by wind/rain/hail, or getting hit by damage and not able to see an opening due to pain/suffering. If they fail there concentration check, they lose the attack this round.

2) Melee attack Provoke Attacks of Opportunity, unless you make a concentration check to prevent the AoO vs DC 15 + ( 1 vs simple weapons, 3 vs Martial weapons, or 6 vs Exotic weapons). If they fail the check, they lose the attack this round.

3) Require a saving throw on Blunt/Slashing/Piercing damage.
Blunt damage can be halved with a fortitude saving throw.
Slashing damage can be halved with a will saving throw. (( dont make me come up with a excuse for using a will saving throw on damage attack, it is a bloody game, and i need a saving throw for slashing damage.... ok. ok. a reason = The target is using there will check to see if they get hit by the flat side of the slashing weapon vs the cutting blade side.. there happy now ;p ).
Piercing damage can be halved with a Reflex saving throw.

PS = Dont forget that Rogue/Monk/ 9th level ranger can also now use evasion to further reduce Piercing damage with there evasion ability. It make a much sense vs arrows and pikes as it does vs fireballs.

...................................................

As an alternative = Would be glade to call a truss, if you

Get ride of spell resistance from the game altogether.
Get ride of Evasion/Improved Evasion from all classes.
Get ride of AoO, for casting in melee range ( still would suffer AoO for casting range attack spells ).

Wait...

Are you... Implying that being a caster is difficult? That concentration checks and SR are actual problems???

Heh... Heheh... Hah... HAHA...

HAHAHEIWAHEAWUIEHAWUIEAHWUIEWHEUIAWEHIAWUEHAWUIEHAWUIEHAWIUEAWHEUIAWHEUIAWE HAWUIEHAWUIEAWHUIEAWHEUIAWHEIUAWEHAWUIEHAWUIEAWHEUIAWEHUIAWEHUIWEHAWuIEAWHU EIAWHEUIAWEHUIAWEHAWUEHA!!!!!!!!!!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Agincourt, not Hastings. Had 1066 on my mind for some reason...

But, once hardened armor came out in 14-1500's, the era of the bows were passing, only gunfire could reasonably get through them.

Yes, longbows require MUCH less power then crossbows to do what they do. Draw length is incredibly important, just like barrel length is for firearms. The same bullet fired from a pistol or rifle will have a vastly different degree of power, because of length of acceleration.

But the upper limit is still human strength, and crossbows don't have that limit, just size and materials. Double stringing a crossbow is actually a useful tactic to disperse the weight load better.
===
Chain mail is incredibly ineffective against arrows, especially if only lightly backed. Plenty of archers replicated what he was doing, and reasonable leather armor completely stopped his class of arrows from doing anything, especially at any ranges. His arrows were simply too light. If anything better then chain, since as scale or plate was present, its basically impervious.

I never deplored his accuracy. The problem is penetration power. Putting ten arrows in the air at once is nice, but if they can't hurt anything, why are you bothering?

Because they could wear armor, crossbowers in later times would approach closer then longbowmen, set up shields, and fire with their crossbows atop their shields. They could mince a typical opposing archer formation. The Italians had plenty of mercenaries who used the formation. I'm not sure if it was Agincourt, but there was a famous battle where it raided just before the fight, and the mercenaries couldn't cover their crossbows, where the longbowmen just put their strings under their hats. Come time for the battle, the wet crossbow strings were outranged considerably by the longbows, leading to the crossbowmen getting killed...and when they retreated from the fight, decimated by the French employers who'd paid for their services.

==Aelryinth

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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I wouldn't have been quite so... blunt, as Lemmy, but I agree with his general sentiment. Casters have numerous spells that ignore SR, concentration checks are pretty trivial (as is avoiding having to make them in the first place). The "hurdles" casters face just aren't on the same level as those martials have to deal with. A caster can always cast defensively without any special training; a martial combatant who wants to use a combat maneuver he doesn't have the Improved feat version of has to be in melee, has to provoke an AoO, and then takes a penalty to the maneuver equal to the damage dealt, making it virtually impossible to perform a combat maneuver without burning multiple feats.

In a severe storm, a caster may need to make a concentration check, something he has a better than 50% chance of doing at most levels even before he looks into feats to trivialize the checks. An archer in a severe storm takes at least a -4 penalty on all attack rolls, unless it's a true windstorm, in which case ranged combat is impossible. A martial character can be completely shut down by something as simple as fog or a snowstorm, losing their ability to effectively do anything. Flip to page 199 or 437 of your CRB before you start thinking concentration checks are a big deal for casters and martials have some kind of advantage over them.


As I said before I'm working on a long poachable document rethinking a few things to help martials out without burning down the entire system and rebuilding it. I should be posting it soon. For now I'm calling it 'Rethinking: Combat Feats' which will be followed by 'Rethinking: Stamina Unlocks' and 'Rethinking: Fighter, Monk and Rogue'.

I hope that it will help.


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I could have sworn Oliver McShade's post was done in jest.


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Aelryinth wrote:

Because they could wear armor, crossbowers in later times would approach closer then longbowmen, set up shields, and fire with their crossbows atop their shields. They could mince a typical opposing archer formation. The Italians had plenty of mercenaries who used the formation. I'm not sure if it was Agincourt, but there was a famous battle where it raided just before the fight, and the mercenaries couldn't cover their crossbows, where the longbowmen just put their strings under their hats. Come time for the battle, the wet crossbow strings were outranged considerably by the longbows, leading to the crossbowmen getting killed...and when they retreated from the fight, decimated by the French employers who'd paid for their services.

==Aelryinth

I'm also reminded of Crecy, which was another case of the longbow outperforming the crossbow due to massively stacked deck. Given that Crecy was a battle where the French did everything wrong, right up from the decision to fight at all. Just to list everything the crossbowmen had stacked against them:

1: Since the entire army was still in marching order, the Crossbowmen had a lot of their gear (like their shields) stowed when the battle began.

2: The English held the high ground, and the terrain seriously limited the crossbowmens' ability to deploy.

3: The English position forced the crossbowmen to shoot into the sun.

4: The English were in a prepared position, and had plenty of time to dig in and make some cover.

5: The Crossbowmen were worn out from a long day of marching, while the longbowmen were fresh and rested.

6: A lot of the French Knights were bloodthirsty lunatics who would attack their own men for getting in between them and the fight. Also worth mentioning that point 6 is why the French started a battle where things couldn't possibly be more stacked against them. IIRC the king and generals wanted to hold of on attacking until the next day, but the knights in the vanguard pulled a classic Leeroy Jenkins as soon as they spotted the first Englishman.


They really should re-define the "(Character) Level" term, like the current state is totally bruising my immersion...

Any character, regardless of class (combinations, if multiclassed), should be able to pull off a legendary prowess by the time they've reached like 17th level, whatever means they took to accomplish so.

It's quite dreary to remind people who seriously say in public that a Fighter 17's optimized full-round Power Attack is actually better than a Wizard 17's Gate spell used to call forth a Solar angel, that "Today ain't April 1st..."


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Why do martial types need more? Unfortunately, it's a matter of comparison. The things a fighter (or other martial type) can accomplish even from level one are impressive in a vacuum. We face more an issue of balance- at low levels, the impressive feats a fighter can manage are easy to throw together and they can deal and absorb a significantly greater portion of the damage dealt in battle than your average caster.

This quickly (more or less) reverses. The fighter may still be capable of dealing more damage, as has been pointed out, but the fighter has far fewer options (which has also been pointed out). This is not always an issue, but frequently it can be due to the varied nature of combat. A party may go through some fights that are roughly similar to others they have already faced, but variety is the key. A party is just as likely to fight kobolds one day, humans the next, and dragons the third, as to fight orcs three times in a row.

And this can be a problem for martials. A wizard, by mid levels, prepares a few dozen spells and is prepared for almost any fight- not just prepared to fight, but prepared to handle each situation without ever needing to repeat an action. He (or she, or it, or...) has the luxury of thinking "how would I most like to dispatch this foe?" While the martial far too often has only a handful of small decisions to make. "Do I shoot it, hit it, or just try to interpose myself between it and the squishies?"

Many become disenchanted with the martial classes because of such perceived limitation in choices. And then some become disillusioned because of a perceived limitation in efficacy. I concede the former point, in many (but not all) cases, but vehemently deny the latter.

Choices:
The issue is that in order to really build a versatile martial type, A: one cannot specialize as deep as one might like, and B: one must know what the best choices are ahead of leveling. I am perhaps unusually meticulous in character creation in that, when I create my level 1 character sheet, I typically have at least my next 9 levels planned out. Not everyone finds that enjoyable, or has the luxury of spending that much time delving.

And so, unfortunately, one may make "suboptimal" choices, such as in feats. One doesn't have to min/max to make an effective, versatile martial character, but one can't afford to make mistakes. This is a key difference, as casters become exponentially more effective (and versatile) without ever trying. A poorly made caster is still going to have more options, and probably at least as many effective options, as an average martial.

Or, to boil it all down: Casters take no effort to be decent and entertaining to play in late levels. Martial types do take effort to be decent and entertaining to play in late levels.

Efficacy:
A secondary issue is that martial types are frequently perceived as less useful beyond the initial levels. They are viewed as keeping casters alive through their "squishy" levels, and then (in many cases) distractions to keep the enemy from closing in on the caster too quickly. A road block, nothing more. I firmly believe that this is only due to a lack of direction and thoughtfulness in martial character creation, but again, not everyone sits down and thinks out their character's retirement when they're only just starting.

Frequently martial characters are built around a very simple premise, which is often an unfortunate mistake. "I will build an archer. I will build a switch hitter. I will build a sword-and-board." A player sets forth the idea of what they would like their character to be- and essentially doom them to that small niche role. Think, conversely, how one builds a caster. "I will build an evoker. I will build an illusionist. I will build a combat cleric." These are not limited choices, committing oneself to swinging a sword as best one can. These are "confining" one's role to "only" everything from fireball to chain lightning and ice storm. A large difference.

My recommendation to any who believe martial types are ineffective would be to consider not how your character will kill, but how they will be useful. Build a fighter who uses a reach weapon and focus on combat maneuvers- you can disarm or trip without ever taking Combat Expertise and Improved X, since you'll (ideally) never be in range to provoke, and so you can diversify, or shore up your shortcomings.

Build a barbarian take Throw Anything/Body Shield/Undersized Mount, and (at level 10) Body Bludgeon as a rage power. You'll never run out of things to pick up and hurl at your foes- and if you do, grapple your foe and turn them into a shield *and* a weapon. Got into a sticky situation? Leap onto an enemy fighter and steer him out of combat back to town to rest. Hours of entertainment, believe me.

To stop meandering and succinctly answer both the actual and implied questions; I don't believe martial types need more, and I don't believe they are underwhelming either. If anything, I think that too often we have players with either too little imagination and forethought, or too much imagination and no focus.

Dark Archive

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Cool. So tell me again how your versatile fighter is going to get to the next town over in five minutes? Cause I would love to be let in on that secret.


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Legio_MCMLXXXVII wrote:
Cool. So tell me again how your versatile fighter is going to get to the next town over in five minutes? Cause I would love to be let in on that secret.

A mage buddy?

Some of the most fun I have had in 3.x has been with a fighter. But yeah, at high levels, without an artifact weapon, you are basically a walking corpse. Fun != effective. But I have started avoiding martials in PF for two solid reasons:
1) The shortcomings: Caster/martial disparity is all too true.
2) I've play enough martials recently that the fun parts have grown stale, leaving me with just the flaws. My most played characters in PF have been a monk, a rogue, and fighters.


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Aelryinth wrote:


Yes, a crossbow should have a strength rating. It is perfectly likely that you'll have a team with one crossbow person cocking and reloading the weapon, and one person with skill shooting it. That's the reason they don't put Str ratings on crossbows...they don't want 18 dex snipers benefiting from 18 Str quiverbearers swapping weapons.

==Aelryinth

just to point out that i would have no problem whatsoever with an adventuring group, carrying 18str crossbows, which the barbarian reloads out of battle so that they can fire a single opening barrage in a confrontation.

it seems both like a good strategy and realistic.

don't forget that the opposition, especially in an ambush scenario, could make use of the same tactics.


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shroudb wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:


Yes, a crossbow should have a strength rating. It is perfectly likely that you'll have a team with one crossbow person cocking and reloading the weapon, and one person with skill shooting it. That's the reason they don't put Str ratings on crossbows...they don't want 18 dex snipers benefiting from 18 Str quiverbearers swapping weapons.

==Aelryinth

just to point out that i would have no problem whatsoever with an adventuring group, carrying 18str crossbows, which the barbarian reloads out of battle so that they can fire a single opening barrage in a confrontation.

it seems both like a good strategy and realistic.

don't forget that the opposition, especially in an ambush scenario, could make use of the same tactics.

Crossbows shouldn't have strength ratings because anyone can reload a strength 18 or even a strength 24 crossbow. Almost all crossbows use some sort of mechanical advantage. This is especially true if they're going to be loaded out of combat where time isn't an issue and slow mechanisms can be used.

You could have a static value rather than larger dice, but that makes them useless with vital strike and makes the notation for magic crossbows more confusing. Bows arguably need the confusion. Crossbows don't. They just need to be several die steps deadlier.


Part of what they need is for Martial Skill [aka BAB] to naturally improve reload rates.

Couple that with higher base damage [and perhaps slower default reload rates] and you're good to go.

Say a Heavy Crossbow deals 2d10 damage and takes a full round to reload, while a light deals 2d8 and takes a standard and a hand deals 2d4 and takes a move.

Every 5 BAB reduces the action rating by one [move could either go directly to Free or to Swift first, depending.]

Rapid Reload increases these by one step with an explicit free retraining option baked into the feat for use at any time the feat-taker's BAB reaches a new reload speed tier.

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