Gunslinger Shots Per Round - Is the Math Correct?


Rules Questions

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Helpful Harry wrote:
Hendelbolaf wrote:


Any other thoughts on how to get to this point other than what has been mentioned?
Pistol of the Infinite Sky

You sure are helpful, Harry! Heck you might also be hairy, Harry!

Expensive, but this was what I was looking for in addition to the original post and other ideas presented. Thanks!


thejeff wrote:
If gunslinger damage really is a balance issue, rather than just a "they shouldn't be able to reload like that" issue, I'd rather see rules aimed directly at that - disallow Rapid Shot for guns, for example. Maybe ban the advanced Two Weapon Fighting feats with runs. Hell, change how BAB bonus grants iteratives with guns if you have to.

Or simply change the reload progression for firearms from move->free to move->swift. Still allows double barrel Vital Strike, and makes the Lightning Reload deed no longer useless!


Derklord wrote:
thejeff wrote:
If gunslinger damage really is a balance issue, rather than just a "they shouldn't be able to reload like that" issue, I'd rather see rules aimed directly at that - disallow Rapid Shot for guns, for example. Maybe ban the advanced Two Weapon Fighting feats with runs. Hell, change how BAB bonus grants iteratives with guns if you have to.
Or simply change the reload progression for firearms from move->free to move->swift. Still allows double barrel Vital Strike, and makes the Lightning Reload deed no longer useless!

At which point, you're limited to one shot a round, 2 at 11th level. That's crippling. You can't even use the double barrel repeatedly. And the Vital Strike chain is very weak, since it only bumps weapon damage, not static bonuses.

The all or nothing limit on attacks if you base the limit on allowing free actions rather than on iteratives & feats like all other attacks is the problem.

I did suggest above a boosted Vital Strike approach to make guns viable as a heavy single attack weapon, but it absolutely requires something better than the current Vital Strike.


thejeff wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
thejeff wrote:
If gunslinger damage really is a balance issue, rather than just a "they shouldn't be able to reload like that" issue, I'd rather see rules aimed directly at that - disallow Rapid Shot for guns, for example. Maybe ban the advanced Two Weapon Fighting feats with runs. Hell, change how BAB bonus grants iteratives with guns if you have to.

Yeah, one of my big annoyances with how Paizo handled the problems double-barreled pistols caused was that they spent years trying to fix the double-barreled pistol by FAQ-rattaing everything except the double barreled pistol. You know, the thing that was actually causing the problem in the first place.

I'd be all for good house-rules (or a Pathfinder rules overhaul) to make guns and crossbows into One Big Hit weapons, but that's the kind of thing that would require completely redoing the rules for those weapons and the Gunslinger/Bolt Ace. Though at that point, we might as well address 3.X's broader issues of all martials being tied to iteratives and full attacks.

Yeah, shut down iteratives for guns completely and just give gunslingers a better Vital Strike style effect. That's a perfectly reasonable approach to "reloads are unrealistic". Tweak it as needed to be balanced.

I am note sure how you would balance that though, get a full attacks worth of damage on round one, spend round two reloading spend round three firing again and never get to move?

But on the other hand, why not just carry around multiple guns then to get around the reloading limit?


dwayne germaine wrote:

There is a small issue I noticed with your attack routine.

CRB wrote:
If you get multiple attacks because your base attack bonus is high enough, you must make the attacks in order from highest bonus to lowest. If you are using two weapons, you can strike with either weapon first. If you are using a double weapon, you can strike with either part of the weapon first.

I don't think that means that you do all attacks with one weapon from highest attack bonus to lowest, you would be doing your main hand shot #1 and then off hand shot #1, then going on to the next iterative shots.

So you would have to be drawing and holstering each gun a lot more than the way that you describe. If your GM allows that then it should work, if not then you might have to look into other ways of getting that many attacks.

Again, late to the party, but the OP was actually correct in going from all attacks from one pistol to all attacks from the other pistol.

This FAQ has two TWF attack examples. In both examples, you take all of your Primary attacks first, then all of your Off-hand attacks, regardless of what you declare your Primary or Off-hand weapon.

@ OP: You also have to have the weapons drawn and in-hand when performing TWF (whereas with a regular Full Attack Option, you don't have to) based on that FAQ, as well as the Armor Spikes FAQ setting the precedent that you are considered attacking with those weapons for the entirety of the TWF action, resulting in no hands free to reload the pistols (which means you need a third hand or some ability to reload without requiring hands to do so).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
dwayne germaine wrote:

There is a small issue I noticed with your attack routine.

CRB wrote:
If you get multiple attacks because your base attack bonus is high enough, you must make the attacks in order from highest bonus to lowest. If you are using two weapons, you can strike with either weapon first. If you are using a double weapon, you can strike with either part of the weapon first.

I don't think that means that you do all attacks with one weapon from highest attack bonus to lowest, you would be doing your main hand shot #1 and then off hand shot #1, then going on to the next iterative shots.

So you would have to be drawing and holstering each gun a lot more than the way that you describe. If your GM allows that then it should work, if not then you might have to look into other ways of getting that many attacks.

Again, late to the party, but the OP was actually correct in going from all attacks from one pistol to all attacks from the other pistol.

This FAQ has two TWF attack examples. In both examples, you take all of your Primary attacks first, then all of your Off-hand attacks, regardless of what you declare your Primary or Off-hand weapon.

@ OP: You also have to have the weapons drawn and in-hand when performing TWF (whereas with a regular Full Attack Option, you don't have to) based on that FAQ, as well as the Armor Spikes FAQ setting the precedent that you are considered attacking with those weapons for the entirety of the TWF action, resulting in no hands free to reload the pistols (which means you need a third hand or some ability to reload without requiring hands to do so).

Better late than never, Darksol!

Point taken on making all of one with primary weapon and then all of the rest with the secondary.

I could see it your way of needing to have both weapons in hand at the same time to make use of two-weapon fighting, however, that FAQ seems to me to say that you must declare that you are doing so before taking any actions, not that you must have both weapons out and at the ready at that time. That latter point may just be an assumption as a part of two-weapon fighting, but you know us, we like things spelled out or else we find loopholes galore (and even then we will still find loopholes)!

Thanks for the extra added insight!

By the way, I have really reviewed it and discussed it with others but the more I ponder on it, I have come to believe that it hardly seems worth the investment of about 5 feats (Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Dazzling Display, and Gun Twirling) to get three extra attacks per round. I think that investment might be better served with feats like Improved Critical and such that may or may not be possible early on due to needing to get all of these feats. Of course, a gunslinger/fighter or some other multiclass option may help out in that situation.


thejeff wrote:
You can't even use the double barrel repeatedly.

Sure you can, by using one alchemical cartridge and one regular bullet. So you can spend a swift action to reload one barrel, and a move action to reload the other. At 11th level, you can move between shots, so there's an incentive to stay in class!

thejeff wrote:
I did suggest above a boosted Vital Strike approach to make guns viable as a heavy single attack weapon, but it absolutely requires something better than the current Vital Strike.

The Gunslinger actually already has that: The Dead Shot deed. If we'd remove the Grit cost, a Gunslinger could still make iterative attacks but couldn't get extra attacks form Haste, Rapid Shot, or TWF.

While we're at it, I'd also alter the Targeting deed to work with the Vital Strike chain, which would fit thematically and make the Gunslinger more versatile.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
You also have to have the weapons drawn and in-hand when performing TWF

I don't think so. The TWF FAQ makes it clear that using TWF is a decision to make, similar to using Power Attack. I don't think the Armor Spikes FAQ has anything to do with this matter, because if you couldn't use your hands for anything else, you could also not reload and fire a musket in the same round without having three hands. Also, if one would need to wield both weapons the entire time, Weapon Cords would never have worked, anyway, so they wouldn't have changed them.

Making all MH attacks first (thanks for pointing that out, somehow my brain never made the conection) actually drastically cut's down on the free actions needed to "merely" number of attacks plus two. Two more for subsequent rounds if you need to have a specific main hand weapon.

@Hendelbolaf: You do get quite a lot of damage from those feats, and there is zero reason to stay in class past 5th level anyway (Fighter or Vigilante help with the feats), but you're still basically right. Your damage with but one weapon should be high enough, and Musket Master allows for twice the range. It's also not feeling as abuse-y.


Derklord wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
You also have to have the weapons drawn and in-hand when performing TWF

I don't think so. The TWF FAQ makes it clear that using TWF is a decision to make, similar to using Power Attack. I don't think the Armor Spikes FAQ has anything to do with this matter, because if you couldn't use your hands for anything else, you could also not reload and fire a musket in the same round without having three hands. Also, if one would need to wield both weapons the entire time, Weapon Cords would never have worked, anyway, so they wouldn't have changed them.

Making all MH attacks first (thanks for pointing that out, somehow my brain never made the conection) actually drastically cut's down on the free actions needed to "merely" number of attacks plus two. Two more for subsequent rounds if you need to have a specific main hand weapon.

If you can't use a Greatsword during TWF in the same round you use a Spiked Gauntlet because you're busy making attacks with the Spiked Gauntlet (despite having an obvious means to carry out both attacks within the same action), then that's exactly what the Armor Spikes FAQ is saying in regards to using a Musket during TWF; that you need a third hand to reload the musket.

Again, this is only a TWF restriction, that doesn't mean a character using a Musket can't make regular full attacks with it, since a regular full attack doesn't have the restrictions of TWF.


Well, you can't use a Musket for TWF because you need two hands to fire the musket. Much like you can't TWF with a great sword because you need two hands for that. That you can't get around that limit just because you can take your hand off while you're not actually attacking doesn't mean you can't TWF & reload pistols.


Derklord wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I did suggest above a boosted Vital Strike approach to make guns viable as a heavy single attack weapon, but it absolutely requires something better than the current Vital Strike.
The Gunslinger actually already has that: The Dead Shot deed. If we'd remove the Grit cost, a Gunslinger could still make iterative attacks but couldn't get extra attacks form Haste, Rapid Shot, or TWF.

I'd dispute the idea that dead shot is a boosted form of Vital Strike. It's exactly the same as vital strike, except it's a full-round action instead of standard and you have to make attack rolls to for each extra die of damage instead of getting them automatically. The only thing it has over Vital Strike is that it can crit on the extra dice (with an extra penalty to confirmation rolls).


That's because I suck at reading, apparently. Somehow, I thought that Dead Shot would apply bonus damage like Deadly Aim once per rolled hit.

So, yeah, it should do that.


To be fair, I only read the first dozen or so posts on this thread:

I've played as a gunslinger up to level 16, and my DM decided to let me dual wield double barreled pistols and after lvl 11 i was able to reload as a free action i believe. I don't remember all of the specifics but i remember hitting for anything from 90-440 dmg a round, and more than once one-shoting a boss. He was going to let me complete my build around lvl 30, basically 20 levels in gunslinger and the rest in alchemist so i could grow extra arms and more importantly use mutagens to buff DEX. I was also going to go with a Kasatha so i'd have 6 arms altogether so even though i couldn't use them all to fire in a round, i could hold specific guns for specific purposes and deal with threats as necessary.

Long story short the build became a headache because i had to roll too many dice every round in combat that it slowed down things for other players. It was also unfair because our other players were hitting in the 20's and 30's and sometimes i think one would pop up to the 50's but most of the other party members were built more for role-play than for combat, which is the primary reason my DM let it happen.


If you can use two weapon fighting with alchemist's bombs (which are created as you use them) then I imagine you can two weapon fight with pistols without keeping both in your hands for the full round.


At level 16, 440 damage a round is actually pretty low for dual wielded double barrel pistols (against average touch AC). With Automatic Bonus Progression (which is rather unoptimized), my DPR calculator outputs an average damage of 533 against an average CR 16 monster, which is enough to kill two of those in one round. I used only 18 starting Dex, only straight enhancement bonuses for the weapons, no magical ammunition, no Hammer the Gap, and no Improved Critical, so there's plenty of room (and 145.500gp) left for optimization.

With just a little bit optimization, even a straight Musket Master's average damage is enough damage to kill an average CR 16 monster in one round.


But with that same "just a bit of optimization" a *lot* of PCs can round a CR 16 in the same circumstances. From what i get out of the DPR threads, the Inquisitor, Barbarian and Zen Archer in particular can do more with stone age tech and most gunslingers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Derklord wrote:
At level 16, 440 damage a round is actually pretty low for dual wielded double barrel pistols (against average touch AC). With Automatic Bonus Progression (which is rather unoptimized), my DPR calculator outputs an average damage of 533 against an average CR 16 monster, which is enough to kill two of those in one round.

Maybe you play in more power games than I do, but I would be interested to see the build (with just Paizo material) for a character doing that much damage a round. I am always being accused in my circles of building "broken" characters that are far superior to others, but I cannot even hope to average in excess of 400 points per round with any consistency.


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Considering double barrel pistols got erratad, that build doesn't work anymore.


maouse wrote:
I would probably rule that you need a revolver to get so many shots off in a round simply because the reloading a cap and ball revolver eight-nine times in 10 seconds is ridiculous.

I'd recommend GMs to make house rules based on game balance first and realism second. Half the game mechanics look silly if you think about them too much.

"It's ridiculous that you could find the correct ingredient in your spell component pouch and make somatic gestures and make a touch attack all in a single standard action. From now on all spells with material components are full-round actions."

"It's ridiculous that you could hit three people in six seconds with a greatsword - a sword that size would be slow and clumsy. I'm capping your attacks per round."

"It's ridiculous that you could survive falling into lava just because you're a level 20 Barbarian, so you die."


Yeah, double barrel pistol build don't work anymore.

Shooting both barrels is a standard action by itself, so it's not really worth it. So all those builds are invalid.

Honestly, as a GM I remove misfire chance and remove guns going against touch AC. That balances things out pretty well.


Hendelbolaf wrote:
Maybe you play in more power games than I do, but I would be interested to see the build (with just Paizo material) for a character doing that much damage a round.

That build simply abuses the touch attack property of firearms like there's no tomorrow. -4 from double barrel, -5 from Deadly Aim, -2 from Rapid Shot, -4 from TWF and you still hav 95% chance to hit most of your attacks because touch AC is designed to be targetet by spells from a 1/2 BAB class who has Dex as it's secondary or tertiary stat, not by magic weapons fired from a full BAB class with Dex as it's primary stat.

4 Attacks from BAB, 3 from TWF+feats, 1 from Haste, 1 from Rapid Shot, and double the whole thing because of double barrel pistols equals 18 shots per round. With +10 damage from Deadly Aim, +11 damage from Pistol Training (DEX+2), +1 damage from point-Blank Shot, +3 damage from weapon enhancement, and 4.5 average weapon damage, most of these 18 shots hit for around 30 damage each.
Note that this isn't even half optimized - In addition to the stuff I already listed, back when that was legal, Signature Deed also didn't had the 1/round limitation and that build had 4d6 extra precision damage per shot from Up CLose and Deadly. There's also a lot of multiclassing that can make the build stronger. My original lvl20 version had ~1200 DPR at 160 feet range, and that was still rather optimized for range and still without Hammer the Gap (because I'm too lazy to write a calculation for it).

@Torbyne: That wasn't the point - the point was that TWF shenanigans aren't necessary.
With Divine Fighting Technige (Gorum) and Raging Brutality, I managed to get a Barbarian draft beyond the threshold (average 248 damage a round against 31 AC at 16th level). I'm not experienced enough with the Inquisitor, but my Zen Archer draft is kinda stuck at a little over half the necessary damage.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Okay, but with the double barreled pistol no longer able to be used to fire both barrels as part of a full round action of attacks and with Signature Deed no longer able to be applied to Up Close and Deadly, I do not see that much damage there. Without Two-Weapon Fighting you will get at most 6 shots per round now.

Also, while I agree that the touch AC attacks will hit more often than not, it is really dependent on the opponent and what protections they will likely have at levels 16 and up so at least in my games I think 95% accuracy is way too high of an estimate. I realize, however, that you were saying "if" the attacks hit, then that is the damage potential.

I am not trying to call you out or anything, Derklord, but I am dubious with some of these builds that I hear about doing so much damage.

That being said I did have a 30th level kobold sorcerer back in 3.5 that could lay down the force missiles (I forget what they were actually called) that with maximizing, empowering, splitting, and all types of other shenanigans got me to around 3,000 points of damage a round. So I know it can be done. I just feel that with Pathfinder most of that has been eliminated or at least lessened.


Hendelbolaf wrote:
Okay, but with the double barreled pistol no longer able to be used to fire both barrels as part of a full round action of attacks and with Signature Deed no longer able to be applied to Up Close and Deadly, I do not see that much damage there.

Indeed, the 533 DPR was for TatterdWings, who said he used (prenerf) double barreled pistols. Yes, that pistolero would do under 300 DPR now.

Hendelbolaf wrote:
Also, while I agree that the touch AC attacks will hit more often than not, it is really dependent on the opponent and what protections they will likely have at levels 16 and up so at least in my games I think 95% accuracy is way too high of an estimate.

I used the average touch AC of all CR 16 monsters released by Paizo. Humanoids enemies, maybe even with Rings of Deflection, will have higher touch ACs, but not by too much (let's say 12 starting Dex, +2 from APB, +3 deflection bonus from APB = 15 touch AC), and we need to use some value. My sample character has +15 on the highest attack, that mens that at the 15 AC I just calculated, he'd have 8 attacks that only miss on a natural 1 (i.e. 95% chance to hit). Regular pistol would still have 6, because without the -4 from double barrel, the first iterative and the attack from Imp.TWF only miss at a natural 1, too.


The other thing to remember is that Hendelbolaf's character has spent 16 levels of their adventuring career building towards doing one thing ,and one thing only, well which is shooting things with two pistols. There's nothing else that build can do effectively.

Considering that I'd hope that it's pretty great at that one thing.


Azih wrote:

The other thing to remember is that Hendelbolaf's character has spent 16 levels of their adventuring career building towards doing one thing ,and one thing only, well which is shooting things with two pistols. There's nothing else that build can do effectively.

Considering that I'd hope that it's pretty great at that one thing.

And even with that focus it still comes on line late.

It takes 6 feats to be able to start using two pistols reliably and going straight for that pushes off Rapid Shot, which would be more useful up front. So it's probably 10th level before you can do the thing that defines the build.

And then it gets ridiculous fast. Bad game design, in my mind.


thejeff wrote:
Azih wrote:

The other thing to remember is that Hendelbolaf's character has spent 16 levels of their adventuring career building towards doing one thing ,and one thing only, well which is shooting things with two pistols. There's nothing else that build can do effectively.

Considering that I'd hope that it's pretty great at that one thing.

And even with that focus it still comes on line late.

It takes 6 feats to be able to start using two pistols reliably and going straight for that pushes off Rapid Shot, which would be more useful up front. So it's probably 10th level before you can do the thing that defines the build.

And then it gets ridiculous fast. Bad game design, in my mind.

Which ties back to the initial push back over guns both from the "Guns are too OP" and the "Realistic guns would ruin my fantasy" groups, which led to guns being either useless or require you to bend the laws of time and space to be decent.


Talonhawke wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Azih wrote:

The other thing to remember is that Hendelbolaf's character has spent 16 levels of their adventuring career building towards doing one thing ,and one thing only, well which is shooting things with two pistols. There's nothing else that build can do effectively.

Considering that I'd hope that it's pretty great at that one thing.

And even with that focus it still comes on line late.

It takes 6 feats to be able to start using two pistols reliably and going straight for that pushes off Rapid Shot, which would be more useful up front. So it's probably 10th level before you can do the thing that defines the build.

And then it gets ridiculous fast. Bad game design, in my mind.

Which ties back to the initial push back over guns both from the "Guns are too OP" and the "Realistic guns would ruin my fantasy" groups, which led to guns being either useless or require you to bend the laws of time and space to be decent.

It's a high powered fantasy game. Bending the laws of space and time is sort of the baseline. :)


I agree but that is where a lot of GMs start freaking out since little to no magic is involved. You know martial characters have to be grounded in reality.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

For the record the character design is for the Mummy's Mask adventure path. I am not designing him to be overpowered and crazy on things like DPR (damage per round) and such. That stuff doesn't concern me. Will I make an over the top damage producing character, sure, just ask my group. Will I make an odd and quirky build to match a concept, sure, just ask my group.

This concept is Indiana Gnome since we will be in Osirian tombs and such.

So I had to be a gnome, that is underpowered from the start for most martial builds. I needed a gun and a whip as well and while the gun is rather easy with gunslinger rules, the whip is not an optimized choice at all.

I usually do not multi-class much in Pathfinder (I used to be king of mult-class in 3.5) but I thought I would try to get what I want in the most efficient way.

In order for this rules posting to not get too far off my original post suffice it to say that I am going with something like this:

Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger)
Fighter (Trench Fighter)
Swashbuckler (Mysterious Avenger)
Paladin (this is just to help add a good Charisma to what is an abysmal Will save)

He starts off a little slow, but is adding Dexterity and Deadly Aim to damage by fourth level with Rapid Shot as well so he will quickly contribute. At levels over tenth he will be able to lay down serious damage in the hundreds per round. All the classes are full BAB so that helps and his Fortitude and Reflex saves are great.

He also has Disable Device maxed with the Trap Finder trait to make him the party rogue when it come to traps (he will split the Perception portion with the party Inquisitor as his wisdom is only 10) and he has some knowledge skills and profession archaeology to round him out nicely.

So it is a concept build made for the adventure path that will also work great in combat and out of combat. I just wanted to post this as there were a few posts back that seemed concerned around "nothing else the build can do effectively" which I think is just false.


Hendelbolaf wrote:
Any other thoughts on how to get to this point other than what has been mentioned?

Two levels of Alchemist for an extra limb, at which point you cut out all the holstering actions as you have a free hand for reloading.


Conjoy wrote:
Hendelbolaf wrote:
Any other thoughts on how to get to this point other than what has been mentioned?

Two levels of Alchemist for an extra limb, at which point you cut out all the holstering actions as you have a free hand for reloading.

A Monkey Belt gives you a prehensile tail - swap the extra gun to get a free hand for reloading.


Fair enough Henelbolaf. I'm just noting that in combat the character is built to do one thing only and that's shoot stuff from 20 feet away. By Level 16 it makes perfect sense for it to be unearthly good at it. And even then I don't think it outshines other ranged builds just based on the really short range, misfire chance, and gold expenditure.

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