Optimized Pistol Flurry (Gunslinger / Fighter / Monk)


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


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Just had some fun building this today, and thought I'd put it out there for the world...s.

The headline: Flurries with Double-Barreled-Pistols for a maximum of 5880 damage per round, attacking vs touch AC at +39 for 10 attacks, +34 for 4, +29 for 4, and +24 for two.

For this we're using a Goblin, who is a Gunslinger (Pistolero) 7, Fighter (Weapon Master) 5, and Monk (Sohei / Qinggong) 8.

Starting Stats: Point Buy 20.
9 Str (11-2 Goblin)
22 Dex (18+4 Goblin)
14 Con
7 Int
14 Wis
5 Cha (7-2 Goblin)

Lv20 Stats: All ability points go into Dex. Online at level 12.
223 HP, 48 AC (36T/32FF/52CMD/37FCMD)
9 Str
40 Dex
20 Con
7 Int
20 Wis
5 Cha

Equipment: (roughly 800,000 gp)
+6 Wis Headband
Boots of Speed
Wings of Flying
Otherworldly Kimono
+6 Belt of Physical Might (Dex/Con)
+5 Manual of Quickness of Action
+2 Dex Ioun Stone (Deep Red Sphere)
Gloves of Dueling
+8 Bracers of Armor
Goggles of Truesight
Endless Bandolier (Intelligent, Greater Named Bullet at-will, detect special purpose foes)
+5 Double Barreled Pistol
Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier
Ring of Spell Turning
Ring of Freedom of Movement

Feats / Abilities By Level: (I will * critical parts for later explanation)
1: Gunslinger - Get your Firearm proficiency, *Point Blank Shot, Up Close and Deadly and Gunsmithing
2: Fighter - *Precise Shot (bonus)
3: Fighter - Rapid Shot
4: Fighter - Deadly Aim (bonus), and *Weapon Training: Firearms
5: Fighter - Weapon Focus: Pistols
6: Fighter - Weapon Specialization: Pistols (bonus) & Reliable Strike
7: Monk - Clustered Shots & Combat Reflexes (bonus), as well as flurry (but not with Pistols... YET!)
8: Monk - Dodge & Evasion (bonus)
9: Monk - *Hammer the Gap
10: Monk - *Ki Pool
11: Monk - *Rapid Reload and Barkskin
12: Monk - ***Sohei Weapon Training (any)
13: Monk - *Imp. Precise Shot
14: Monk - *Improved Flurry & Restoration
15: Gunslinger - *Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
16: Gunslinger
17: Gunslinger - Snap Shot & *Goblin Gunslinger
18: Gunslinger
19: Gunslinger - Improved Snap Shot
20: Gunslinger - DeadEye

Critical Build Elements: Precise and Point-Blank shot are prereqs so should be grabbed early. This is also why we take Gunslinger at level 1 - so our Fighter bonus feats can be spent on Weapon Focus which requires proficiency. We get Weapon Training: Firearms at Fighter level 3. This will allow us to flurry with Firearms when we pick up the Weapon Training class feature from our Sohei levels. Also gives a nice boost if you're leveling using this build, which is possible but will suffer at some points.

Hammer the Gap is responsible for a full 210 damage per round (if everything hits vs. Touch AC) on it's own, and is critiplied so contributes a total of 840 damage to our 5880 figure. It's not the biggest contributor, but it's significant.

We're spending a swift action to gain an extra attack from Ki every round we feel we aren't doing enough damage (lol) so ensuring we have enough Ki is crucial. To this end, we take four vows for +16 Ki at level 20: Celibacy, Cleanliness, Fasting and Truth. I highly recommend role playing these (or others of your choice) for added flavor and fun.

Sohei Weapon Training comes online at clvl 12, which is where things get fun. Now you can flurry with your double-barreled pistol. If you can't get an abundant ammunition enchantment right away, you want to consider taking Rapid Reload around this time. You need paper cartridges and the Rapid Reload feat to reduce reloading your pistol to a free action, allowing you to take all 10 shots (x2, 1 per barrel.)

Improved Precise shot is another prereq. At Monk level 8 (clvl 14) we get improved flurry, simulating improved 2WF for free. This is where we exit the monk class for good. Staying to 15 to get greater flurry isn't worth it when we can match it with the feat, which we do next level.

This is somewhat controversial. Flurry of Blows is explained as attacking "as though using" two weapon fighting feats. It doesn't actually grant those feats. It is also not directly tied to Monk level for acquisition. Depending on the GM, you may get greater flurry at clvl 15 regardless of whether or not you progress there as a monk. Most abilities tied to class level specify that they require levels in that class, and some do not require you to level with that class. So, like I said, it's controversial.

If they won't give it to you free at clvl 15 after exiting monk, some GMs may allow you to take the Greater TWF feat as though you already had Basic and Imp. 2WF (since you're pseudo-granted them from Monk's Flurry description,) with the caveat that it only applies to your flurry. If they won't give it to you at all, you're going to be down 1 shot (2 attacks, 1 per barrel), which costs you 660 off your maximum damage. It's a chunk, but you can live without it, so no need to argue the point very hard. Plus you gain a feat slot for whatever you want.

Goblin Gunslinger is interesting. It negates the penalty for a Goblin using Medium sized firearms as a Small creature. This allows you to be a goblin - with all the AC and to-hit benefits that entails - and not lower your damage dice (1d8 instead of 1d6 with double-barreled pistols.) It's not really necessary. The average you lose is 1 damage per shot, and the maximum you lose is 2 damage per shot, but this build largely operates abusing flat damage bonuses and crits, and every little bit adds up. We take it late, but it's a good feat for us (+160 max damage.)

A sidenote about Snap Spot and Imp. Snap Shot: These are luxury feats. Together, they allow you to threaten AoOs out to 10' with your pistols, without provoking when you shoot at melee range. This is good, and it's even better when you realize one of the only half-decent bonus feats we got from our Monk levels is Combat Reflexes. This means that with your huge Dex, you're hitting up to 16 times *when it is not your turn* for 1d8+52+1+2d6 vs touch AC, and multiplying most of it x4 on a crit. It's unlikely anything survives your first volley, but having that 10' threat for AoOs really helps if anything does manage to close with you. Use (or don't) as you prefer, we choose them late so we can safely ignore them if we're playing at lower levels.

The Mechanics: Here's where things get interesting. How do we do what we do? First, our attacks:
Monks get to use their class level as their BAB during flurrying, and Fighters and Gunslingers are both full BAB classes, so we're starting at a nice 4 attacks. Flurry, Imp. Flurry and Greater Flurry give us one each, for 7. Then we have Haste (from boots or party cast), Ki, and Rapid Shot for 3 more, totaling 10. Each barrel in a double-barreled pistol fires twice per shot/attack, doubling that figure. 20 attacks per round. With Rapid Reload & alchemical paper cartridges, you can safely fire all of those (though there is a misfire chance, more on that later.) Without Rapid Reload & alchemical cartridges, your option is an abundant ammunition enchantment. Abundant ammunition would be a +1 equivalent if allowed by a GM. Some may not want to allow you to reload 10 times per round. It is worth pointing out that you have spent a feat, purchased special ammunition and have class features all dedicated to allowing you to do this. If they won't let you reload, the build is sunk. That you can get it to a free action enabling 10 reloads per round is something which makes it mechanically, RAW legal, but GMs are allowed to limit free actions. YMMV.

Second, attack modifiers: we're coming in at +39 to attack rolls. How? Easy. BAB & Dex is a whopping +35. Weapon Focus and Point Blank Shot are +2. Weapon Training (from Weapon Master archetype) is +5 at level 20, and we get another +2 from our Gloves of Dueling. Our pistol is enhanced for another +5, and we could make this a lot cheaper in terms of gp if we were willing to lose the extra ki attack, by using our Sohei ability to make it +5. We're small, for +1, and hasted a few rounds per day for another +1 when it counts. Deadly Aim is costing us -6, our double-barrel shots are costing us -4, flurrying is another -2, and totaled up we hit a nice round +39 on full BAB.

There are some controversies in the above. The way Weapon Training reads, it is tied to level, not necessarily class level. This will vary by GM, and if they rule it only advances during levels you take in that class, you will still get 13 levels worth (5 Fighter, 8 Sohei monk which *should* count). Your loss in that case would be -2.

Third, damage modifiers: we get Dex to damage thanks to Pistol Training from the Pistolero class, so we start with a neat +15. Another +2 comes from Weapon Specialization. We get the same +7 from Weapon Training that applies to attack, may have to subtract two depending on rules interpretations. +5 from your weapon enhancement, +12 from Deadly Aim. Now +8 from Greater Named Bullet - I'll come back to this. +3 from Pistol Training - same as Weapon Training, it scales to level, not class level, but rules nazis may make you lose it for the same reasons as the two from Weapon Training. We're at +52.

We get another 2d6 per hit (up to grit limit) thanks to the Up Close and Personal Deed from the Gunslinger class. Note that grit is returned on successful crits or kills, so if we crit enough we may be able to use more than our limit per round - more on this later too. Then we add a cumulative +1 for each shot that hits from Hammer the Gap. That's +1 on the first hit, +2 on the second hit, +3 on the third, etc...

At 1d8 + 52 + x(1, 2, 3, etc...) + 2d6 per shot, and 20 shots per round, we reach the total: 20d8 + 1040 + 210 + 40d6. All but the 40d6 is multiplied on crits, for our max damage figure of 5880 damage per round.

Given that we're shooting at touch AC with an enormous bonus, there's a high chance we're hitting everything in range. If not, we can spend grit to expand our touch AC range thanks to the Deadeye deed, but we have to suffer -2 to our attack roll for every range increment we extend due to our pistol's limit of 20' range. Either way, very few things have a high enough touch AC to not be auto hits. We're firing 20 shots, which means another 210 damage which IS multiplied on crits.

Before we can sum up our total damage we need to look at Greater Named Bullet in more detail. Remember that thing I kept saying I'd come back to? This is it. Greater Named Bullet is a 4th level spell on the ranger's class list (among others.) We can get it at 6th level by using other classes, which benefits us with scaling damage, but this becomes prohibitively expensive. The reason we *want* the spell is because, if applied intelligently, it makes every hit a critical threat (as well as adding a flat damage bonus.) Since we're almost guaranteed to hit everything we shoot, and we have a 4x multiplier, this is very powerful for us, because if we can guarantee a hit vs touch AC we can guarantee a confirmation roll as well. As an example, the Tarrasque has a touch AC of 5. It's like they're begging us to gib him. The other major advantage of Named Bullet is that it completely nullifies misfire chance. Because all hits are crit threats, assuming we confirm with our massive bonuses against touch AC we're regaining grit every shot we hit with Named Bullets, allowing us to continually apply that +2d6 from Up Close and Deadly for *every shot of every round* without losing grit unless we miss a confirm for some reason. Which we can re-roll (I'll get to that, too.)

The issue with Greater Named Bullet is it only applies to one piece of ammunition per shot. Some past threads have talked about how it interacts with a quiver of Abundant Ammunitionn, and that's certainly one way to go, but I don't like it... because it requires you to recast it every time you face a new foe (that's how it works. You name a creature type and gain the bonuses against just that type.) So we have a couple options. We could ask our friendly party caster to follow us around and recast it every time we meet something, but who wants to do that? Which brings us to the solution... intelligent items.

Intelligent items are rare, and accordingly expensive. But they have one benefit, which is they gain certain powers which are otherwise difficult to obtain. In this case, we're looking at the ability to cast a 4th level spell at-will as well as, "detect any special purpose foes within 60 feet," for the appropriate cost. This suits our needs nicely, enabling our intelligent pistol to cast Greater Named Bullet at caster level 4 on all our ammunition every round, specific to whichever enemy we want to shoot that round. "But wait!" you say? "Greater Named Bullet only affects one bullet at a time!" Right, but remember, abundant ammunition, +1 enchant equivalent (level 1 spell and comparable costing on other items) says, "If, after casting this spell, you cast a spell that enhances projectiles, such as align weapon or greater magic weapon, on the same container, all projectiles this spell conjures are affected by that spell." In other words, for a rather hefty sum of cash, you get a +5 intelligent weapon which can sense the enemy you're fighting, Name your bullets to automatically crit threat vs. them and do +8 damage, and replenish your ammo. One convenient side effect is that once you've purchased this incredibly expensive (and useful) weapon, it eliminates your reloading needs.

On the other hand, if your GM gets hung up on the "one container touched" target requirement for Abundant Ammunition (for some reason, some people don't see "chamber" as a "container." Geez, right?), you simply apply the enchantments (and intelligence) to your Endless Bandolier instead. It's a whole lot cheaper than adding them to your weapon anyway, at least in terms of gp. On the flip side, you are still required to manually reload.

An alternative which works occasionally is to take a look at the Pistol of the Infinite Sky, which is essentially everything you want in a +5 pistol except it is not double-barreled. Ask your GM if you can get that strapped onto a double-barreled pistol body and you're half-way home. If he'll let you make it intelligent too, you've got your Named Bullets and next stop is gravy town. One significant bonus is that Pistol of the Infinite Sky is a CL 15th item, meaning your Named Bullets will overcome a higher level of SR (SR negates the auto-crit effect,) giving you a wider range of creatures you can deal max damage against. Significantly, Pistol of the Infinite Sky also nullifies misfire chance without using Named Bullet, so even though you lose almost 3/4 of your damage by not guaranteeing every hit is a crit, you really don't need that 3/4 of your damage. I'd take the double-barreled Pistol of the Infinite Sky 10/10 times over a free, constant Greater Named Bullet if it was a choice between the two. (Though I'd consider taking Imp. Critical feat in that case.) Cheaper, too.

Variables/Options:

You can take an 8th Gunslinger level instead of the 5th fighter level, since your archetype gains Weapon Training early, and you end up with the same number of feats. The upside to doing that is 2 skill points. The downside is the Weapon Adept gains a few perks at level 5, which also follow the same rule of Weapon Training and Pistol Training, that is: they appear to scale to character level, not class level. Even if they don't, at level 5 the Weapon Adept gets to reroll a crit confirmation, attack roll, damage roll or miss chance once per day. At 20, it's 4x/day. This allows you to smooth out the very few speed-bumps you might run into in combat.

One other major option with this build is to go with a composite longbow for high fantasy settings, instead of firearms. This benefits from not encountering the complaints about doubling your attacks per round that you may otherwise receive, and has some distinct advantages, in being able to use both str and dex for damage, in not needing to multiclass so heavily (you don't need Gunslinger at all) and having more feats that are tailored for you, because bows have been in pathfinder (and fantasy RPGs) a lot longer than firearms. Downsides are you're slightly more str-dependent, you're *much* more dependent on getting a source of Greater Named Bullet (because it allows arrows to hit touch AC, like bullets already do,) and you're at half the attacks per round. Either way, it's very workable and still well over 2500 dpr.

This is a statted out sheet for those who are curious.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Stories inspired by this build? I'd love to hear them.

Silver Crusade

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Kaeroku wrote:
Each barrel in a double-barreled pistol fires twice per shot/attack, doubling that figure.

...

double barreled pistols since the third printing wrote:
Firing both barrels request a standard action...

...

So yeah, you're going to have to change your damage calcs.

Also if you're not taking GS 5 until 18th level, isn't this build spending a lot of time without one of its biggest contributing factors to damage?

You're also counting up close and personal on every shot? That seems rather disingenuous due to the fact that you're not always attacking creatures that promise to give grit for killing them, and the crit range on your weapon is rather small.

Also I'm sure you're aware of how shaky a terms you're on using an intelligent item to get an at will spell, so that's also shaky. Also almost certain abundant ammunition doesn't provide any magical ammo anymore after the Ultimate Combat errata. I could be wrong on that, can't find the source at the moment, but I know it did get hit with an errata so I'd check up on that.

So I think a good amount of this build just doesn't work anymore, but I'd need for someone else to confirm some of the things that I've mentioned here.


The Ioun Stone doesn't stack with the belt.

In addition, you can't use abundant ammunition like that.


For one, weapon training is based on class level as it is a class feature. All class feature are based on class level and unless they say character level. Your build probably has other holes in it that have not been found yet.


N. Jolly wrote:

...

double barreled pistols since the third printing wrote:
Firing both barrels request a standard action...

...

So yeah, you're going to have to change your damage calcs.

Also if you're not taking GS 5 until 18th level, isn't this build spending a lot of time without one of its biggest contributing factors to damage?

You're also counting up close and personal on every shot? That seems rather disingenuous due to the fact that you're not always attacking creatures that promise to give grit for killing them, and the crit range on your weapon is rather small.

Also I'm sure you're aware of how shaky a terms you're on using an intelligent item to get an at will spell, so that's also shaky. Also almost certain abundant ammunition doesn't provide any magical ammo anymore after the Ultimate Combat errata. I could be wrong on that, can't find the source at the moment, but I know it did get hit with an errata so I'd check up on that.

So I think a good amount of this build just doesn't work anymore, but I'd need for someone else to confirm some of the things that I've mentioned here.

Someone else mentioned the errata to double barreled, that's interesting. I can't find it on the SRD, but since others have seen it I believe it, just wish I could find a source. Easy fix, we're down to 10 attacks per round.

I'm trying to figure out what you mean by "taking GS at 18th level." Assuming you mean Goblin Gunslinger, that's only a +1/+2 damage boost per shot, not huge but still significant. It's possible taking it earlier is better, and that's an easy swap. Quite a few of our feats have prereqs which makes the feat list a little tight, but there is room to wiggle, and it's definitely possible I've missed an optimization trick.

Up Close and Personal accounts for 40d6, (20d6 with only 10 attacks per round) which is either 240 or 120 damage total for this build since it doesn't get critiplied. It's actually about the same as a +3 flat damage boost. If we can't crit things, we lose it - but if we can, the crit range on the weapon doesn't matter due to the described Greater Named Bullet trick.

Yes, an intelligent weapon is shaky. I'd honestly prefer using a Pistol of the Infinite Sky, and given the double-barrel errata, that's a highly preferable option now because it frees up a feat, and takes all the question out of the discussion about the legality of things like Abundant Ammunition enchanted on a weapon, and it completely eliminates misfire. Granted, guaranteed crits from Named Bullet are nice for *4 damage (against things that can be crit) but the misfire chance is a much bigger issue - as if you can't shoot, you do 0.

As an example, lets drop to 10 attacks. That takes out the majority of our Hammer the Gap damage (155 of 210, leaving us with 55 or 220 on a crit), as well as half of our flat damage, 1040/2=520, or 2080 on crit. Lets assume no crit is possible. 10d8+520+55+5d6 (using Up Close and Personal for everything we can without returning grit on crit) vs touch AC still kills Tarrasque in one round on bottom damage rolls.

Then let's look at worst case, no intelligent weapon, no crit... we can take another -5 to attack and damage rolls if it's ruled that Weapon Training class features are tied to class level, and -8 to damage if we lack Greater Named Bullet. Now we're at 10d8 + 260 + 55 + 17 = 377 dpr average, which is a two round kill on Tarrasque with no question about build legality. If we get Greater Named Bullet we hit for 10d8+420+55+5d6 (45 + 420 + 55 + 17 = 537 average) and now we risk failing to kill Tarrasque in one round, but almost definitely if any of our ten attacks are a crit, and certainly get it in two.

You're also right about Abundant Ammunition. I included it only because there are some who will question Rapid Reload with paper cartridges and a free hand even though it's RAW legal, simply because you're reloading ten times per round. Workarounds such as Pistol of the Infinite Sky actually work better when there's no double-barrel to worry about (so you don't have to get any kind of special allowance or custom items.) You can also belt (lol) Abundant Ammunition on your Endless Bandolier, if reloading 10x/rd is not an issue, as I believe I included in my post. That was really just a workaround.

That said, I know a lot of this build can have holes poked in it, and will be campaign dependent. With a +5 Pistol of the Infinite Sky, no double-barrels, class features tied to level, and no Greater Named Bullet we're looking at 377 average damage, 515 max, 345 minimum, which is still decent. I prefer to show people what is possible and have them adjust down to what works for their campaign.


As someone here and on another forum noted, we lose 1 to all AC values, attack rolls and flat damage bonus because the Ioun Stone does not stack with the belt. My bad, and I can't edit the post any more.


Would it hurt to take a level in Urban Barbarian or Urban Bloodrager? You can rage for +4 dex. Same with Savage Technologist.


My Self wrote:
Would it hurt to take a level in Urban Barbarian or Urban Bloodrager? You can rage for +4 dex. Same with Savage Technologist.

If you replace a Monk level you lose Improved Flurry (Imp. 2wf equivalent from class feature) and are down one attack.

If you replace a level from Gunslinger, you lose access to Deadeye deed and thus cannot increase your touch range at-will. Since you're only moving at 30', this can be problematic for long range encounters - may be do-able if you use a Musket and take Musket Master instead of Pistolero since you are then attacking vs touch at 40' base instead of 20', but still... questionable. Given the trade-off.

If you replace a level from Fighter, you lose the ability to re-roll attack, crit confirmation, damage and misfire chance rolls. Granted, this is only 1-4x per day. This is probably the most viable trade-off; I like the re-roll option as it allows us to simulate the Zen Archer's Perfect Strike, but it's not strictly needed.

+4 dex (+2 dex mod) gives us +2 attack, +2 damage per hit for 20 hits is 40 damage, or 160 on a crit. Given that it makes all of our attacks more likely to hit, it may be better than the Fighter Level. Good call!


So Hammer the Gap loses about 3/4ths the damage if you lose half your attacks.

You can't take Restoration at 8th level (nothing to swap out). I'm guessing you're dumping wholeness of body at 7th, you don't get to save the trade to get something better later.

If you switch to pistol of the infinite sky you can't used named bullet (bullet never exists until the gun makes it) and you lose up close and deadly and a good chunk of damage. If you unload it to use named bullets then you don't get the no misfire benefit (and have all the problems that are why you used the pistol in the first place).

The intelligent item purpose table (for making a special purpose item) doesn't include anything like "my enemies". The options are all large but fairly distinct groups (all arcane spellcasters, all elves, all cats). Additionally, what happens if there's more than one foe? Does the intelligent item have any way to communicate which one it's making named bullets for?

All class abilities that say level mean class level unless they specify character level. All classes are written assuming you are single-classed (Paizo has at least gotten better about this).

You don't qualify for Greater Two Weapon Fighting. Brawler can do this (I think) but Monk cannot.

Monster SR is generally 11+CR. Even if you use the CL 15 version, your named bullets will fail 75% of the time against CR 20 monsters. If you're using anything less than CL 10 (only needs CL 7), they will always fail.

And finally, if you're going to make a brag topic, don't include several "Provided that everyone agrees it works this way" when you know for sure that not everyone thinks it works that way.


I like the endeavor, but as others have said, there are several errors and misapplications present in this build, the most blatant of which is the misuse of double-barreled pistols. The reason you're having a hard time finding the errata is probably that it was actually an errata to the double-barreled musket (which can be seen in the Firearms section of the PRD. There was an FAQ applying it to double-barreled pistols and double-barreled shotguns as well.

I've had some thoughts about a build with a vaguely similar goal involving a high level sneak attacker who dual-wields pistols using the Lookout feat with a Valet familiar to get a full-attack in the surprise round combined with Hellcat Pounce to get a free attack after every hit, stacking on sneak attack damage against touch AC with Sap Adept, Sap Master, and Snipers Goggles. Any tricks or build elements you came across that could help out with that?


Using TWF feats to improve monk flurry isn't controversial: it just straight up doesn't work. Flurry works 'like' TWF but that doesn't mean you can stack them together in any way shape or form like you are proposing here.

You also can't take greater TWF because you have none of the TWF feat prerequisites, which flurry definitely doesn't replace.

Abilities that improve with level (e.g. "at 15th level you get X") assume single classed progression. They don't continue to improve when you multiclass. You need an exception to this general rule for an ability to continue to progress once you multiclass out.


Avoron wrote:

I like the endeavor, but as others have said, there are several errors and misapplications present in this build, the most blatant of which is the misuse of double-barreled pistols. The reason you're having a hard time finding the errata is probably that it was actually an errata to the double-barreled musket (which can be seen in the Firearms section of the PRD. There was an FAQ applying it to double-barreled pistols and double-barreled shotguns as well.

I've had some thoughts about a build with a vaguely similar goal involving a high level sneak attacker who dual-wields pistols using the Lookout feat with a Valet familiar to get a full-attack in the surprise round combined with Hellcat Pounce to get a free attack after every hit, stacking on sneak attack damage against touch AC with Sap Adept, Sap Master, and Snipers Goggles. Any tricks or build elements you came across that could help out with that?

Find a way to work in Shatter Defenses so you can also trigger it after the surprise round. With Shocking Bellow to reduce the action cost, if at all possible. Or have a level 7 gunslinger on hand to use Startling Shot (I can't find any way to make it useable by yourself and still get a full attack). Actually, maybe a friend who specializes in combat maneuvers to push them around and you take AoO with Snap Shot. Either way, you'd need help for this.


Hellcat Pounce needs to be used in the actual surprise round, not just against any flat-footed enemy. But yeah, those things would definitely help get more Sap Master sneak attacks.


Sorry to necro my own thread. First off, build does not use TWF feats. Flurry comes from the Monk class and improves via levels in Monk. The ability to do so with pistols comes from gaining Weapon Training from Fighter Class then reading the Weapon Training in Sohei. No conflict there. Worst case with a very picky GM, we lose one attack. Not going to kill us, but that would require some pretty restrictive interpretations of RAW. Regardless, I'm accounting for both to nullify the point of any argument. As always, your GM has the final say.

Regarding Intelligent Item Purposes: Neutral aligned w/ 01-20 "Diametrically Opposed Alignment" purpose would cover about half or more of your encounters. 91-95 "Slay All" qualifies, as does 96-00 "Choose One" (for the same reason as Slay All, if nothing else.) That's 10-30% if you're forced to roll, though in any campaigns with a specific enemy / class in mind many of the other options work as well.

Anyway, on to the point of my being back here: I wanted to do some average damage calculations, despite this build being nerfed, for fun future reference - and then see what it would look like accounting for errata. We're going to target a creature with a theoretical (touch) AC of 40, meaning we hit on anything but a 1 for our 10 primary attacks for a 95% hit rate, hit on a 6 for the next four (70% hit rate), hit on an 11 for the next four (45% hit rate) and hit on a 16 for the last two (20% hit rate.) Per the OP, all hits will be treated as crits for this section, though the updated section following will be modified to only allow for the normal 1/20 crit rate.
This is nice for several reasons; One, I'm reasonably certain nothing in the game has a touch AC that hard to hit. It accounts for a GM deciding that you should have as much trouble hitting a Tarrasque as anyone else. And it gives us an idea of what kind of problems we run into if we do, for some reason, miss (or lose our ability to hit Touch AC for some reason.) Since anything with a lower (touch) AC will take higher average dmg due to being easier to hit, we know that this is more or less a worst-case scenario for average DPR.

Note this first section is based on the old build. Later in this post I'll show reworked numbers for a "fixed" version which drops some of the stuff that has been errata'd, and keeps only the RAW-allowable elements.

Damage Calc basis:
h(d+s)+tchd
h=chance to hit, expressed as a decimal-form percentile, found by taking (20 - the number you need to hit target AC) / 20, then add each chance to hit from iteratives.
d=avg dmg per hit, found by averaging your damage dice and adding any flat bonuses you get
s=average precision dmg per hit (anything not multiplied on a crit)
t=chance critical hit (expressed as a percentage, found by taking the number you need to crit over 20)
c=critical hit multiplier minus 1 (x2=1, x3=2, x4=3, etc.)

For us, this is:
H= 14.5 [ .95(*10) + .70(*4) + .45(*4) + .20(*2) ]
D= 58.2 (1d8+15+2+7+5+12+8+3+X = 4.5+52+X, X=1.7(hammer the gap avg))
T= 1 (guaranteed crits)
C= 3 (x4 critiplier)
S= 7 (2d6 Up Close and Deadly)

Note that the 1.7 hammer the gap average damage per-swing is probably wrong. I tried calculating the chance of hitting hammer the gap on each iterative, factoring in the chance to miss on each prior iterative, then dividing the sum by the number of swings. It took forever and looked messy as hell so I probably f-ed it up. If someone whose brain is working better than mine knows how to calculate average hammer the gap damage over a series of hits, I'd love to hear it.

The math looks like this:
14.5(58.2 + 7) + (14.5)(1)(3)(58.2) =945.4 +2531.7 =3477.1 Average DPR. This is before the nerf, so we can only get about half that now. This does assume we get our limited use stuff like Grit (via auto-crits) and Haste for attack bonus, damage, and an extra attack. Losing these will mean that our damage falls off, though the numbers can be plugged in to easily demonstrate that even with fall off, we should still be killing most things rather quickly.

Modifying to account for the nerf and all semi-questionable usages in the build, we do the following:

-1/2 the number of attacks, as we must fire one barrel of each gun. This probably means we should switch weapons, and there may be optimization options for doing so. Regardless, for simplicity I'm just cutting the attacks in half, and swapping to Pistols of the Infinite Sky.
-We're down 2 Dex, for which I couldn't edit the OP.
-Greater Named Bullet gives us 2 dmg, +2d6 every shot from guaranteed crits with Up Close and Deadly, and guarantees crits on what we hit. We're dropping it. We can probably make the argument that it should be allowed on an Endless Bandolier but maybe not, and I want to see what avg. DPR will be with a picky GM. We'll switch to 2d6 per volley (instead of per-shot) thanks to Grit replenishing on both crits and kills, and a reasonably high chance of one of those things happening in a volley of ten shots. Since we also switch to dual-wielding Pistols of the Infinite Sky, misfires are still not an issue, and we no longer have to reload. The biggest loss here is the free x4 crits, though, as you will see in the math.
-I really don't want to re-attempt the Hammer the Gap average-per-shot calculation again, so I'm going to divide what I came up with before by 2 and call it a day. Even if the original was right, I'm sure that's the wrong way to do it, so it will be off a bit. If anyone wants to give it a go, they are welcome to.
-Note that in the OP, Hammer the Gap max dmg was calculated wrong (as though bonus dmg started on the first shot.) So it's max 190 if everything hits, not 210. Bonus damage starts on the second shot, which is reflected in all calculations here - but we already know the average is wrong so that doesn't tell us much.

Okay, so: 10 attacks per round, 5 @ +38, 2 @ +33, 2 @ +28, 1 @ +23. No misfire, standard 1/20 crits, hitting for 1d8+50 dmg (down from +52) per shot + Hammer the Gap (VERY roughly = .85 per shot average), and an additional 2d6 on top of the volley from Up Close and Personal.

h(d+s)+tchd+(Y)

Damage Calc basis:
H= 6.75 [ .90(*5) + .65(*2) + .40(*2) + .15(*1) ]
D= 55.35 (1d8+15+7+5+12+8+3+X = 4.5+50+X, X=.85 (hammer the gap avg))
T= .05 (1/20 crits)
C= 3 (x4 critiplier)
S= 0 (No Up Close and Deadly. We'll add the single instance 2d6 (=7) separately.)
Y= 7 (Up Close and Deadly, once per volley.)

6.75(55.35+0) +(.05)(3)(6.75)(55.35)= 373.6125 +56.041875 +7 ==436.65 average damage per round, with a rough estimation of Hammer the Gap's value. Still not too shabby, even for level 20.

We went from 2531.7 average crit damage to 56.042 average crit damage, which is where the majority of damage was lost. If you can get Greater Named Bullet from anywhere, you can recover about half of the difference (since we still lost half our attacks in the errata.)


Have you considered Advanced Weapon Training as an option? In particular, I'm looking at Item Mastery (with Weapon Evoker Mastery so you can trade that extra ki attack for 1d4 extra elemental damage per hit or Flight Mastery for the ability to cast fly) and Warrior Spirit (to give one of your guns increased enhancement bonus and/or weapon abilities).

Also is there a particular reason you picked Weapon Master over another archetype? Was it important for him to grab his weapon training at clvl 4th rather than 6th? Are weapon guard and reliable strike especially necessary for this? I was looking at others that might benefit this build, and think Trench Fighter may work well (bonus damage to your firearms' damage rolls equal to Dex mod and +2 additional AC behind cover). It's likely the bonus damage won't stack with that provided by pistol training, however, in which case the archetype is pretty meh, but it could open up the door to other gunslinger archetypes if you don't want to rely on up close and deadly. I can see Mysterious Stranger being useful if you don't use Cha as a dump stat (and in this case it WILL stack with Trench Fighter's bonus since it's a different stat being added).


Onyx Tanuki wrote:
Have you considered Advanced Weapon Training as an option? In particular, I'm looking at Item Mastery (with Weapon Evoker Mastery so you can trade that extra ki attack for 1d4 extra elemental damage per hit or Flight Mastery for the ability to cast fly) and Warrior Spirit (to give one of your guns increased enhancement bonus and/or weapon abilities).

1d4x9 (avg 22.5) which you would get from Weapon Evoker Mastery seems strictly worse than the extra attack, given that our average DPR is 436.65, our average DPHit would be 43.665. Advanced Weapon Training requires a lot more levels in Fighter than we have to spare as well, so that becomes difficult. I do like the idea, though.

Onyx Tanuki wrote:
<snip>Are weapon guard and reliable strike especially necessary for this? Trench Fighter may work well (bonus damage to your firearms' damage rolls equal to Dex mod and +2 additional AC behind cover).

While Weapon Evoker Mastery was not a thing when I originally posted this, Trench Fighter certainly was and it appears I overlooked it. I may have been looking to get Weapon Training as early as possible because I originally wanted as few fighter levels as possible.

The damage bonus from Trench fighter just says add dex to damage, just like Gun Training and Pistol Training in the GS trees - it's possible some GMs would allow a double-dip there, though I would understand if they didn't. If allowed, that is positively brilliant. Even if it's not allowed, as you said it allows us to step away from the Pistolero type, which is not serving us as well given the loss of the double-barrel shenanigans. Trench Warfare also gives the bonus +2 AC you mentioned, which is another bonus over Pistol Training. (We don't gain enough levels in either class to gain the secondary benefits from those class abilities, so those are a wash.) Another factor is that with Pistolero, we're not getting Pistol Training until clvl 18 unless we reorder our leveling plan. Taking it in our Fighter levels gives us Dex to damage MUCH earlier, possibly making this a viable character during low level campaigns. Trench Fighter does open up a lot of options for build flexibility. Good find!

Also note, if a GM is allowing GMB on an intelligent Bandolier, keeping Pistolero is potentially worthwhile at high levels due to 2d6 (+7 avg dmg) per shot from Up Close and Deadly. This will take a while to pay off, though.

As for Reliable Strike, those rerolls are incredibly strong. Weapon Guard is a trash ability we take on the way to getting Weapon Training and Reliable Strike. I mean, it might help avoid getting disarmed, but the # of times I see this happen in games is rare enough that it's nearly inconsequential. Delaying Weapon training to level 5 (using base fighter progression w/ Trench Fighter) doesn't seem to hurt us. I'm looking at feat selections to see if delaying it puts us off at all but a quick glance doesn't seem to reveal any conflict. So losing Weapon Master for Trench Fighter is an option, opening the way to swap Pistolero for any other GS Archetype.

Mysterious Stranger isn't synergizing a whole lot with the rest of the build; we're not misfiring (due to our weapon choice, or GMB) so that is out. Really Focused Aim is it, and with -5 Cha that's going to be expensive to make useful. Especially given that Grit from Wisdom synergizes well with our Monk levels for AC, ki, and the like.

I think pumping Cha is going to be very difficult, as it creates too much MAD - you already want high Con for survival and high Dex for everything else. I was able to make 3 stats work, but any meaningful increase to Cha means dumping Con or Wis, which have significant costs for this build. A different build which doesn't care about Wis could definitely do it, though.

However... Musket Master looks very strong. Fast Musket gives us a solution to reloading, making it as fast as reloading the double-barrel pistol would have been. We still can't fire both barrels with every attack (due to the same errata that killed it for pistols) but we DO get a much higher range increment (40 ft instead of 20,) which means we're hitting touch AC a LOT farther out. We won't have to take Rapid Reload, since it's a bonus feat. Might want to spend that on improving critical threat range, if not using GMB. This does serve the build well, and is probably worth looking into more.

We could... also ignore the Gunslinger archetypes altogether and just pick up a rifle. We go down a damage die (d12 > d10) but go up to 80 ft. of range, and since we don't have to worry about the # of barrels, it becomes a meaningful choice. Nevermind - this would prevent us from shooting more than twice per round due to being unable to reload fast enough. Downside of BOTH of the above options is there is no musket/rifle equivalent of Pistol of the Infinite Sky. Getting misfire chance to zero is pretty important for this class, even with Quick Clear as an option.

Based on the above, I'll have to come up with a new build, but essentially we're looking at:
1 Gunslinger (Musket Master)
2-6 Fighter (Trench Fighter - notably losing re-rolls but gaining Dex to damage MUCH earlier)
7-14 Monk (Sohei / Qinggong)
15-20 Gunslinger (Musket Master)

For a similar build as OP. We've also freed up a Feat choice at level 11 due to gaining Rapid Reload for free from Musket Master.


Kaeroku wrote:
Onyx Tanuki wrote:
Have you considered Advanced Weapon Training as an option? In particular, I'm looking at Item Mastery (with Weapon Evoker Mastery so you can trade that extra ki attack for 1d4 extra elemental damage per hit or Flight Mastery for the ability to cast fly) and Warrior Spirit (to give one of your guns increased enhancement bonus and/or weapon abilities).
1d4x9 (avg 22.5) which you would get from Weapon Evoker Mastery seems strictly worse than the extra attack, given that our average DPR is 436.65, our average DPHit would be 43.665. Advanced Weapon Training requires a lot more levels in Fighter than we have to spare as well, so that becomes difficult. I do like the idea, though.

I was actually talking about the feat, not the regular class ability. It can be taken at Fighter 5th (and as bonus feat at 4th by a Weapon Master), so you'd have access to it by CL 7th. It won't help much to take Focused Weapon (with only 5 levels of Fighter it just converts your weapon to a 1d6, which you're likely surpassing already). I do still think Warrior Spirit could be worth it, since you could add corrosive/flame/frost/corrosive (as well as +1 if the Weapon Training from Sohei counts toward this), giving you 1d6+1 extra damage, or bane for 2d6+3 extra damage against specific enemy types. If you can force crits, the bursts could be viable, as they'll deal an extra 3d10 on top of your crit damage and whatever damage the baseline enchants do.

I am finding one issue with both the original and musket builds: how are you flurrying when reloading is a move action for you? From my reading, only light crossbows and hand crossbows can be reloaded as a free action, and thus are the only things that could be used for full attacks. Am I missing something that reduces the reload time further than Rapid Reload does?

Liberty's Edge

I don't think you can flurry with firearms. The Sohei weapon training is limited to bows, crossbows, monk weapons, polearms, spears, or thrown weapons

Liberty's Edge

Also there is the problem of miss fires.


Swordjockey wrote:
I don't think you can flurry with firearms. The Sohei weapon training is limited to bows, crossbows, monk weapons, polearms, spears, or thrown weapons
Weapon Training (Ex) wrote:

At 6th level, a sohei gains weapon training in one of the following weapon groups, as the fighter class feature: bows, crossbows, monk weapons, polearms, spears, or thrown weapons. He may select an additional group of weapons for every six levels after 6th, to a maximum of three at 18th level. A sohei may use flurry of blows and ki strike with any weapon in which he has weapon training.

This ability replaces purity of body, diamond body, quivering palm, timeless body, and tongue of the sun and moon.

The bolded part is what's important, as it doesn't specify that the weapon training necessarily has to be the sohei's weapon training. As such it should legally come from any class which provides weapon training, such as fighter.

And misfires aren't as big an issue as you'd think. Pistols' misfire can be reduced to 0 with the reliable weapon ability, while a musket could be via greater reliable, and both lucky and greater lucky can reroll misfires.

It's only the ability to reload that's in question here. 1h guns take a standard to reload, and Rapid Reload reduces this to a move. Musket master get a deed to treat 2h guns as 1h for the purpose of reloading at 3rd level as long as they have grit remaining, so this doesn't change for them. The thing is, flurry is a full attack, which takes up a full round action - essentially, both a standard and a move. This means he either needs to be able to reduce reloading to a free action (which only is possible with light and hand crossbows) or have a gun with enough capacity that all attacks in the flurry could be made anyway (which means advanced firearms like a revolver or pepperbox rifle).

Liberty's Edge

Two things, first if a sohei gets flurry from any weapon training. Then why limit sohei to just the weapons listed? Why not just state that the sohei gets weapon training without restrictions.

Second rapid reload and using cartridges are how you get reloading down to a free action.


Swordjockey wrote:

Two things, first if a sohei gets flurry from any weapon training. Then why limit sohei to just the weapons listed? Why not just state that the sohei gets weapon training without restrictions.

Second rapid reload and using cartridges are how you get reloading down to a free action.

Aight, I thought I was missing something. So basically Rapid Reload + alchemical cartridges means 1h guns reload as a free and 2h reload as a move.

I think what you're missing, Swordjockey, is that the limitation stands only if the sohei is being used as a pure class with no other levels. The intent was to limit them to only being able to flurry with those specific weapons, as that wouldn't allow them to take weapon training in anything else. However, this is exploiting a loophole in that the way the sohei's weapon training is worded doesn't specify that it must be the sohei's own weapon training that allows them to flurry with a weapon. If he so wished, he could have exploited this with the magus's myrmidarch archetype or the warpriest's arsenal chaplain archetype, but the fighter bonus feats and benefits of the trench fighter archetype were likely a greater appeal than the possibility of adding war blessings or ranged spellstrike. If you're just wondering why it was worded to allow any weapon training when the sohei's weapon training in particular is limited to certain weapon choices, well, that's really a question to be asking whoever authored the archetype.


Correct on all counts, Onyx.

Musket master archetype allows muskets to reload as 1h, which goes to free w/ cartridges and Rapid Reload.

This is why we can't do the build with a rifle. Although, I do think it's pretty silly to deny a class iteratives simply due to being unable to reload their chosen weapon, it's still important we account for it.

Liberty's Edge

OK I get it now.

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