Help with fighter (crossbowman) build.


Advice


So I wanted to make a crossbow focused warrior. Starting at 7. Here's what I have so far, suggestions are appreciated.

Ability scores:
Str: 10
Dex: 20 (2+1)
Con: 14
Int: 14
Wis: 14
Cha: 08

Feats:
1- point blank shot, precise shot, deadly aim.
2- weapon focus (heavy crossbow)
3- focused shot
4- weapon specialization (heavy crossbow)
5- rapid reload
6- vital strike
7- snap shot
Planned feats:
8- Rapid shot
9- combat reflexes
10- Improved snap shot
11- Improved precise shot
12- Improved vital strike
13- Improved precise shot
14- Penetrating strike
15- iron will

The idea is too one-sided ready a standard attack action on each turn, (getting dex to damage with the fighter archetype) use a Large sized heavy repeating crossbow for 2d8 base, gravity bow makes it 3d8, enlarged 4d8.

Since a readied action to attack counts as a standard attack action, I apply focused shot+ vital strike and deadly aim.

So, with just this, at level 12 doing, with just a +3 crossbow
12d8+22 I believe.


Is there any particular reason that you want to go Crossbowman instead of Bolt Ace? I know that Bolt Ace is considered just plain better.


Or Ranger Crossbow Style.


Mostly flavor reasons. The character uses the crossbow because it's fairly easy to use and he's rather lazy. And I like making fighters. I've used the bolt ace before and it was all but a rehash of an archer character save a couple nifty deeds. so I thought this guy would provide something different. Just looking for feats/ideas to make it work to the best of its ability.


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I'm with Nohwear - the Bolt Ace archetype accomplishes what you're looking for as a core character concept (Dexterity to damage), and doesn't require some stupid mechanics (only on one attack, which has to be readied? Not gonna happen).

Keep in mind that the class feature you really need requires only a partial investment, so you really only need to take Bolt Ace for 5 levels, and then take your remaining levels into Ranger (probably with a special Archetype).

The reason I suggest Ranger is because A. It's full BAB just like your Fighter, B. It has 6 skill points/level, C. It has 2 good saves compared to the Fighter's 1, and D. It can take Bonus Feats which can circumvent extensive or ridiculous pre-requisites. It's not so much that you won't be taking them with your character, but it allows you to pick up the ones you really want sooner, without having to waste levels of not having them to get the other stuff that is 'meh' to get the feats you truly want. I'd also gloss over the archetypes and consider whether any of them are good or not. I personally like the Witchguard and the Infiltrator archetypes myself, and they can combine.

There's also the factor that you have an acceptable Wisdom score to make use of the Ranger spellcasting and the Gunslinger's Grit pool, and some of the Ranger spells are nice, and the Gunslinger deeds are amazing (Sharp Shoot basically makes the attacks you really need to hit count). Although this may require taking the Extra Grit feat once or twice, it's definitely worthwhile and powerful.

I'd consider simply using a Light Crossbow. It's not so much that a Heavy Crossbow is going to be bad, but reloading is a pain, and this way you don't have to spend a feat on Crossbow Master, which forces all reloading into Free Actions. You can't feasibly TWF with it, and plus its damage, critical multiplier, etc. are the same. The only real benefit to a Repeating Crossbow is that you don't have to reload it all the time, but if you can reload it for free, well...

Also consider that Repeating Crossbows are Exotic Weapons, and require proficiency for them. Thankfully, you can still use Repeating Crossbows with a Bolt Ace, as they are proficient with every Crossbow, including the Exotic ones. Hooray!

I am presuming this is 25 point buy, because your attribute allocation is a little off if so; otherwise it would be way off. Even applying the 17, reducing the Charisma to 8, you would be 1 point over having the 3 14's, and you'd be 6 points, or more, if it was less point buy. My suggestion is to dump your Charisma to 7, reduce your Intelligence to 12 (you'll have plenty of skill points via Ranger), and raise your Dexterity to 18.

Anyway, here's my projected feat path (* = bonus), take it or leave it:

1. Point Blank Shot*, Precise Shot
3. Deadly Aim
4. Rapid Reload*
5. Weapon Focus (Light Crossbow)
7. Snap Shot, Rapid Shot*

Later on, you'll continue the Snap Shot feat chain, pick up Point Blank Master with your Ranger Bonus feat at 11th, Clustered Shots to bypass DR easier, and then spend your remaining feats on whatever you fancy.

You'll possess ~3 Grit points, and can reload without provoking (if you're even in that situation) with the Vigilant Reloading deed, as well as the possibility of targeting Touch AC with the Sharp Shoot deed. Killing enemies and scoring critical hits will regenerate those points, so don't be afraid to spend one or two on an enemy at a time.

Here's a little teaser as to your Full Attack routine against a target within 30 feet of you at your current level:

+2 Underwater Light Crossbow, 2 attacks at +14, 1 attack at +9, each attack doing 1D8+7 per attack, totalling to 3D8+21, an average of 34.5 damage per full attack sequence. Up to 2 of those attacks can target Touch AC (I'd suggest the +9 one be one of them so as to better confirm your iterative attacks).

Your 12th level example would constitute using a +4 Underwater Light Crossbow with 4 Attacks, 2 attacks at +23, 1 attack at +18, and another at +13, each attack dealing 1D8+14, totalling to 4D8+56, an average of 74 damage per full attack sequence. You'll probably have ~5 Grit Points then, being able to convert your lowest to targeting Touch AC, and hoping your 3rd iterative sticks. Your 12D8+22 would average out a total of 85, 11 points more than my current build, but it's actually incorrect.

Enlarged doesn't apply to projectile attacks, as their size reverts to normal once it leaves possession of the affected creature (and therefore their damage increase does not apply), so that would actually be 9D8+22, average of 62.5. In addition, with this current build, you can pick up Gravity Bow as a Ranger spell, being able to cast it pre-combat, and buffing up your Light Crossbow to 2D6. Although it's a minor buff, 8D6 estimates to about 28 damage, added to 56 becomes 84, which is one point short of your miscalculated damage; now, that's not going to be that big of a deal, is it?


Do you have access to the Weapon Master's Handbook? If so, then you should seriously consider the Overwatch Style feat chain (1,2,3). This style is perfect with the Crossbowman archetype because it allows multiple attacks on your ready action, allowing you to to use the main source of your damage - your damage modifiers (which fighters tend to have a LOT of).

While taking five levels in Bolt Ace is almost certainly optimal, Overwatch Style allows you put all your levels in Crossbowman Fighter and stay reasonably effective. You'll be slightly behind on feats due to the chain itself, but all the other prerequisites are feats you'll take anyway. Hopefully this helps!


The first Overwatch style feat is broken, because you cannot ready anything that is a Full-round Action.

The second Overwatch style feat should've functioned as the first.

The third Overwatch style feat falls under the same improper deficiency as the first feat in the chain, meaning it fails due to not being able to follow (or otherwise allow circumvention) of the Action Economy rules.

Plus, if he's going to be focusing on his Readied Actions, then there's no reason for him to be taking feats like Snap Shot, because his damage outside of his readied action, will be at garbage levels. Seriously, 3D8 base plus the weapon enhancement bonus, an average of 18 damage at best, is crap.

Let's also not take into consideration that using a Large-sized Heavy Crossbow, as a Medium PC, requires two hands to fire, and imposes a massive penalty to hit for doing so, because it normally requires 3 hands. That's a -6 penalty to the attack, with no way of reducing it at all, and that's a dealbreaker, even if the AoO is at full BAB.


Pretty sure a large crossbow is only -2, but I could be wrong.
Also, my snap shot shots are
3d8+3(modest magic enhancement)+4(specialization)+4weapon training. So 3d8+11 or so. Not amazing, but not bad for free shots.

I'll look into the overwatch feats.


Wow overwatch style is great. Works perfectly for the character. Thanks for the suggestion.


TheOrcnextdoor wrote:

Pretty sure a large crossbow is only -2, but I could be wrong.

Also, my snap shot shots are
3d8+3(modest magic enhancement)+4(specialization)+4weapon training. So 3d8+11 or so. Not amazing, but not bad for free shots.

I'll look into the overwatch feats.

If you're using a Heavy Crossbow, it's a -4 to your shots if you're firing one-handed. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

If you're using a Large Heavy Crossbow, you need both of your hands to fire it at all, because it otherwise normally requires 3 hands for you to fire. There's also the factor that it's not properly sized for you, imparting another -2 penalty. So there's -6 right there.

I'd also even question if you can reload it without help, because you would need 3 hands to load it (but not to fire), and that would actually fall into Ballista territory.


Readied Actions wrote:

...Readying is a standard action...

...You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition.

Again, it's a matter of Specific Trumps General. The style feat might allow you to circumvent the factor that you can't ready a full-round action, but there is another subject to deal with entirely, in that readying, by itself, is its own standard action.

At certain tables, they'd allow it to go as it says, but at other tables, they would rule the other way and say that it doesn't work because of broken action economy.

All I'm saying is that I'd vet this with your GM before you pursue it, because he may not see it, and therefore not rule, the way that you (and all the others) do.


I don't see a conflict, takes alot of finagling to shimmy that argument around. That's like saying, sense a full attack requires an attack action, which is a standard action, due to action economy you cant full attack.


I don't see where overwatch tries to ready a full-round. You use a full-round (instead of a standard) to ready two attack actions (instead of one).


TheOrcnextdoor wrote:
I don't see a conflict, takes alot of finagling to shimmy that argument around. That's like saying, sense a full attack requires an attack action, which is a standard action, due to action economy you cant full attack.

You might not, but I see the potential for it, and I know of a couple others who would say that there is one, either for the same reasons that I would think there is one, or for something else altogether. Thankfully, it doesn't particularly matter what I or the others think, it only matters what the GM rules. It's just prudent to cover your bases with the GM before he pulls a 'Gotcha!' card on you and your character concept falls apart because the GM doesn't rule the way you would.

@ Cult of Vorg: You say this as your first sentence:

Cult of Vorg wrote:
I don't see where overwatch tries to ready a full-round.

Then you say:

Cult of Vorg wrote:
You use a full-round...to ready two attack actions...

Did you see what you wrote? You said that you don't see where it tries to ready a full-round, and then you say that you use a full-round to ready two attacks instead of one.

I mean, that's some Ancient Aliens argumentation right there; you're not saying that it's Readying a Full-Round Action, but it's Readying a Full-Round Action. Do you see how silly and ridiculous that sounds?

There's also the factor of the general rules regarding Full Attacks:

Full Attack wrote:
If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough (see Base Attack Bonus in Classes), because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon, or for some special reason, you must use a full-round action to get your additional attacks.

Even if you're readying to get two attacks, you'd have to spend a Full-Round Action to get those two attacks because you're getting more than one attack per round "for some special reason," which is the style feat. I'm not going to say that the Full-Round Action is in addition to whatever actions you'd have to spend to perform the actions itself, or that you have to spend it to even perform AoOs, because that leads to madness and impossibility, but I am going to say that if an effect, ability, or action generally allows you more than one attack, you'd have to spend a Full-Round Action to perform it unless it specifically says otherwise.


Yes... the feat let's you ready two attack actions as a full round action. That's the benefit

Normal: you ready one attack action as a standard action.

The feat is specifically stating you may use your full round action to do X.

If X, do Y. Or, if you do X, you can do Y.

Just like if you charge, that counts as your -full round action- but you can move(double movement) and still make an attack action. Charging let's you move double movement (normally an action that requires a nice+ standard) and still make an attack

If X, then Y.

Not arguing for the sake of it, just so I have a thread to fall back on with the GM if I need to.

I believe its rendered moot upon taking the second style feat. You do it as a standard anyway.


Regarding the build: Not sure that focused shot+vital strike actually works, unless I missed something. Because focused shot takes a special standard action, and vital strike only works with the "attack" standard action. You might want to find room for crossbow mastery and ditch the repeater, unless you only intend to make 5 shots/fight.


Focused and vital require one standard action. So nothing conflicts. I suppose if both require a specific standard action. But I don't think both do. I'll have to reread.


TheOrcnextdoor wrote:
Focused and vital require one standard action. So nothing conflicts

Each standard action is a different standard action and therefore can't be used together.


You do realise they both require different standard actions?


After reading over both, vital strike only requires an "attack action"

While focused shot states, " as a standard action, you may make an attack" which, for all I can tell would be an "attack action". I don't see the conflict but I've never used the vital strike feats so may be reading it wrong. Either way, it would likely be a feat better spent elsewhere, as its only +2 damage.


@Overwatch Style: Darksol, you realize that it's not readying a full-round action, right? It's taking a full-round action to ready two attacks. The "Benefit:" section pretty clearly says that you ready two attacks as a full-round action, each with their own set of triggering conditions.

Seeing as how one interpretation (yours) makes an entire style feat chain useless, while the other (everyone else's) makes it work as intended, I think it's safe to say that it functions as intended.


First off, relevant FAQ regarding Vital Strike. The intent is that if you're using anything other than an Attack Action, you can't use Vital Strike with it, or if you're using Vital Strike, you can't use anything that functions on stuff that's not an Attack Action. Effects which are their own, specific Standard Action, such as casting a spell, performing Cleave, etc. will not work with Vital Strike because they are not performing the Attack Action.

Jason Buhlman, the man himself, originally wanted to design Vital Strike to work with things like Charge or Spring Attack, but wasn't pursued or revised to function as such for unknown reasons (my guess is balance, but even then, there's no reason to take Spring Attack, or focus on Charge, unless you have abilities that further enhance it, because Full Attacks are just flat-out better).

bigrig107 wrote:

@Overwatch Style: Darksol, you realize that it's not readying a full-round action, right? It's taking a full-round action to ready two attacks. The "Benefit:" section pretty clearly says that you ready two attacks as a full-round action, each with their own set of triggering conditions.

Seeing as how one interpretation (yours) makes an entire style feat chain useless, while the other (everyone else's) makes it work as intended, I think it's safe to say that it functions as intended.

I disagree, and I've cited why that is. Performing more than one attack without any specifics as to what action it takes, defaults to a Full-Round Action according to the rules. Plus, the feat states that the attacks you make are readied, which means that you are, in fact, readying more than one attack, which means you are, in fact, readying a Full Attack, which is delegated as a Full-Round Action, which you are then doing as a Full-Round Action.

I understand how it's supposed to work, and the intent behind it, all I'm saying is that there is probable cause for tables to say it fails upon itself, because it does hardly anything to circumvent the standard that is Readied Actions. As I've said previously, it's a matter of Specific Trumps General, and how the GM applies the Specifics to the General Rules, and as you know, GMs are like snowflakes, no two are alike, nor do they look or feel the same. Similar, perhaps, but not the same.


That's convoluted. It says you ready two attacks. You're assuming that means a full attack, but it doesn't say that, and it doesn't act as a full attack in any other way. The feat does what it says it does, allowing you to ready multiple separate attack actions. Unless you think it's intended to allow extra attacks from haste iteratives twf etc, but wouldn't that have been written closer to: as a full round action you can ready a full attack, instead of what it actually says?

Compare to spells like scorching ray, they allow multiple attacks without requiring full attacks. Or taking an AoO, that also lets you make multiple attacks in a round without a full attack. It's just a strange assumption to make here.


I like to think that feats do what they say they do.

Liberty's Edge

Just want to point out that Overwatch syle allows you to ready attacks, which is specifically different than the normal ready rules, which allow for a standard, move, swift or free action. Normal rules don't allow you to ready an attack specifically, but you can ready the attack action as a standard. Now, since overwatch style allows you to ready attacks, not attack actions, abilities that are usable only while using the attack action (like vital strike) do not apply, similar to how they do not apply to attacks of opportunity.


"While using this style, as a full-round action you can ready two ranged attacks with"

It's literally readying two "attack actions". But with this I can easily avoid tedious use of vital strike. Because devs in Pathfinder only want full attacks to be good.

Liberty's Edge

You can ready 2 attacks, not 2 attack actions.


Ok i think darksol is just reading it wrong on purposs lol. Overwatch style works fine


the attack from an AoO is an attack, which isn't an attack action.
The attacks from a full attack are attacks that aren't an attack action.
The attack action is a specific standard action that it's being used in overwatch.


Overwatch Style doesn't specify* the use of "Attack Actions", if you want to split hairs. However, "Attack Actions" are the most straightforward interpretation of what Overwatch style does; it's consistent with the normal operation of readied attacks, and it doesn't require you to invent and interpret brand new rules items from negative inference.


Why would you want to use crossbows? According to Paizo, they're as effective as water balloons.


Mavrickindigo wrote:
Why would you want to use crossbows? According to Paizo, they're as effective as water balloons.

Now I want a fighter specializing in water balloons...


Mavrickindigo wrote:
Why would you want to use crossbows? According to Paizo, they're as effective as water balloons.

Water Balloons are pretty Terrifying.

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