Gunslinger Shots Per Round - Is the Math Correct?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think this should be in rules rather than advice, because I am looking to see if the math on this is correct.

If I have two pistols and I am using alchemical cartridges along with the below set of feats, is my math below correct on the number of shots?

Feats: Rapid Reload (Pistol), Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (Pistol), Dazzling Display (Pistol), and Gun Twirling

Assuming 16th Level Gunslinger (BAB +16)

Round 1:

Begin with Pistol in Primary Hand or use Quick Draw to draw the Pistol into Primary Hand
Primary Shot #1
Free Action Reload
Primary Shot #2
Free Action Reload
Primary Shot #3
Free Action Reload
Primary Shot #4
Free Action Reload
Primary Shot #5
Free Action to Holster Primary Pistol (Gun Twirling with Quick Draw)
Free Action to Draw Secondary Pistol (Quick Draw)
Secondary Shot #1
Free Action Reload
Secondary Shot #2
Free Action Reload
Secondary Shot #3
Free Action Reload

Round 2

Repeat

Does that look correct?

So with Haste I could get a 6th Primary Shot.

I realize that it does not matter which pistol is primary and which is secondary and they could change every round, but I see being able to get 9 shots a round this way at 16th level.

With the change in Weapon Cord rules this is the only way I see to get to this set of actions. Are there others?

I realize a revolver could make it so that you do not need so many feats, but at some point in rounds two and three you will need to stop and load the revolver. Hence I see Gun Twirling with Quick Draw as essential (even though you have to pay the feat tax of Dazzling Display).

Thoughts?

Grand Lodge

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I have a feeling most GM's would rule that "Two Weapon Fighting" requires utilizing both weapons, simultaneously.
so, with your off-hand preoccupied with your second pistol, it negates Rapid Reload.

Also, I think after one round of this, most GM's would put a hindrance on how many "Free" actions you are taking, without a Bandolier of some sort.

Liberty's Edge

Needing to use both weapons simultaneously is still not a problem because of Gun Twirling and Quick Draw. On the larger point I agree, most GM's would limit the number of free actions. Because this number of actions without magic in 6 seconds is ridiculous.
But yes that is as RAW the correct number of shots per round.


And, before it was nerfed, you used to be able to double that by using double-barrelled pistols...

Grand Lodge

By RAW it works, but your GM can limit your # of free actions.

Personally, as long as you go the guntwirling route, I like the idea of the gunslinger shooting with superhuman speed and would allow it as a GM regardless of the # of free actions.

Grand Lodge

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.


You cannot by the rules of Full Attack do what you have described above.

Full Attack rules state: 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.

That also includes when TWF.


The attacks granted by TWF aren't attacks granted from high BAB and are not technically subject to that rule.

However, I do agree most GMs expect all attacks to be made from highest to lowest including attacks granted from TWF.

As for the attack sequence, it is begrudgingly, correct.

It does however illustrate why I removed guns attacking touch AC from my games when I GM.


Riggamortis wrote:

You cannot by the rules of Full Attack do what you have described above.

Full Attack rules state: 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.

That also includes when TWF.

To be fair, that doesn't by RAW affect the number of shots - it just makes the free action abuse uglier.

With Quick Draw and Gun Twirling, both drawing and holstering your pistol is a free action. Therefore, if your GM wants to be a stickler about attacks in order, you can do it as needed between shots. You can also overcome the "must have both weapons in hand to use TWF".

Round 1:

Pistols in each hand
Primary Shot #1
Secondary Shot #1
Free Action to Holster Secondary Pistol (Gun Twirling with Quick Draw)
Free Action Reload Primary
Free Action to Draw Secondary Pistol (Quick Draw)
Primary Shot #2
Free Action to Holster Primary Pistol (Gun Twirling with Quick Draw)
Free Action Reload Secondary
Free Action to Draw Primary Pistol (Quick Draw)
Secondary Shot #2
Free Action to Holster Secondary Pistol (Gun Twirling with Quick Draw)
Free Action Reload Primary
Free Action to Draw Secondary Pistol (Quick Draw)
Primary Shot #3
Free Action to Holster PrimaryPistol (Gun Twirling with Quick Draw)
Free Action Reload Secondary
Free Action to Draw PrimaryPistol (Quick Draw)
Secondary Shot #3
Free Action to Holster Secondary Pistol (Gun Twirling with Quick Draw)
Free Action Reload Primary
Primary Shot #4
Free Action Reload Primary
Primary Shot #5
Free Action Reload Primary
Free Action to Draw Secondary Pistol (Quick Draw)
Free Action to Holster PrimaryPistol (Gun Twirling with Quick Draw)
Free Action Reload Secondary
Free Action to Draw PrimaryPistol (Quick Draw)

Round two starts in the same state as round one, so you can repeat as needed.

It's ridiculous in terms of actions of course, but I think the larger question is "Is it too powerful?" or is it just a cheesy way of getting the expected damage in?

If you're going to rule against it, please do so up front and consider the effects - don't let your player invest heavily into it before killing it.
Bear in mind that it's a really heavy feat investment - You can't even get basic TWF running without 6 feats and if you push that direction you're leaving Rapid Shot off the table until late and you're getting little return on all those feats until you're all the way there. Or take Rapid shot early and don't get your TWF until post level 10.

If you're going to limit it, especially by curbing free actions, consider carefully how many you want to allow.

Honestly, if I was just bothered by the cheesiness of it all, I'd just introduce a auto-loading weapon enhancement, so the gunslinger could get his attacks without looking so silly.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks for all of the input!

Nobody in my group (I am sometimes a player, sometimes the DM) has yet to run a Gunslinger. Most of that was due to not really wanting to mix the genres. I think that there are ways to include them without totally ruining the thematic nature of most Pathfinder campaigns.

As for the free actions, yes that seems excessive when written out like this. That was part of the plan to here to first see if it worked, then, as folks mentioned, see if it was reasonable.

I am of the opinion to play test it like this and see if the hitting touch AC with a lot of attacks is any better or worse than an archer getting a lot of attacks doing as much or the same damage or a standard melee type getting fewer attacks with more damage per attack. Of course there are a lot of archer builds and a lot of melee builds.

I really do appreciate the quick review of the game mechanics behind this with the thought that any DM could and might limit the free actions per the rules. Thanks!


As a reminder, the Shadow Shooting enchantment exists now. So, even without the gun twirling and free action juggling you could still shoot 8-9 times in a round with a relatively low investment.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Torbyne wrote:
As a reminder, the Shadow Shooting enchantment exists now. So, even without the gun twirling and free action juggling you could still shoot 8-9 times in a round with a relatively low investment.

That is interesting. Not bad at lower levels, but the will save should not be too difficult at higher levels. It could buy some time until you have enough feats to go the other route.

Thanks for the insight!


Hendelbolaf wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
As a reminder, the Shadow Shooting enchantment exists now. So, even without the gun twirling and free action juggling you could still shoot 8-9 times in a round with a relatively low investment.

That is interesting. Not bad at lower levels, but the will save should not be too difficult at higher levels. It could buy some time until you have enough feats to go the other route.

Thanks for the insight!

Though you can't use it until you can afford 2 +2 weapons.


So what if they make the save? the damage comes from the number of hits and the riders, DEX and enchantment/Magic Weapon. At the level you are looking at you could easily have +8 from DEX and Magic Weapon getting another +5 on each gun. Deadly Aim would be at +8 So they take minimum damage, 22 per hit, you are hitting touch AC so grab Hammer the Gap at some point and when you land your first 6 hits you will grab and extra 15 points... Possibly more since you are likely to hit with almost all your attacks.

So even with minimum damage you are rocking out over 200 damage per round with Shadow Shooting pistols.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A free action to reload muzzle-loading firearms is ridiculous. Suggest to your DM that he use a modicum of common sense, and limit the number of free reloads to 1 per round, or just remove the rapid reload feat entirely.

And watch Mel Gibson's film The Patriot. Those guys reload really fast, but it sure as heck isn't a free action.

I'd rather see a pirate-type guy with 6 muzzle-loading pistols stuck in his belts and sashes, and using free actions to draw them. It's still very silly, but with a lower cheese count than the sequence I see above with... 20 free actions per round???


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Wheldrake wrote:

A free action to reload muzzle-loading firearms is ridiculous. Suggest to your DM that he use a modicum of common sense, and limit the number of free reloads to 1 per round, or just remove the rapid reload feat entirely.

And watch Mel Gibson's film The Patriot. Those guys reload really fast, but it sure as heck isn't a free action.

I'd rather see a pirate-type guy with 6 muzzle-loading pistols stuck in his belts and sashes, and using free actions to draw them. It's still very silly, but with a lower cheese count than the sequence I see above with... 20 free actions per round???

Honestly, even one per round is ridiculous. And even by mid levels 6 pistols won't last through a fight. You're basically just ruling "Don't play a gunslinger".

Which is fine, but not really the point.


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GMs may eventually draw the line at the number of free action reloads, but honestly let him have his fun. More than likely the guy's guns will break/explode under sheer weight of misfire chances and he already was a poor bastard who took 16 levels of gunslinger rather than virtually anything else.

As for the realism arguement for loading that many blackpowder weapons so quickly. Manyshot exists for archers, wizards routinely tell physics to go to hell, and barbarians can fly due to being really angry. Realism is not something pathfinder even attempts to emulate (except when they do to kick martials in the teeth anyway)


Tarik Blackhands wrote:

GMs may eventually draw the line at the number of free action reloads, but honestly let him have his fun. More than likely the guy's guns will break/explode under sheer weight of misfire chances and he already was a poor bastard who took 16 levels of gunslinger rather than virtually anything else.

As for the realism arguement for loading that many blackpowder weapons so quickly. Manyshot exists for archers, wizards routinely tell physics to go to hell, and barbarians can fly due to being really angry. Realism is not something pathfinder even attempts to emulate (except when they do to kick martials in the teeth anyway)

That's pretty much my stance.

I'm actually a little more bothered by the low level gunslingers being able to reload as fast as they do, since they're supposed to be closer to normal mortals. That the high level superhuman one can do ridiculous superhuman things isn't as disturbing. They're already not playing by real world rules.


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I don't really frequent the rules forum, so I can't offer any good advice.

But I'm just going to drop this song here.


thejeff wrote:


I'm actually a little more bothered by the low level gunslingers being able to reload as fast as they do, since they're supposed to be closer to normal mortals. That the high level superhuman one can do ridiculous superhuman things isn't as disturbing.

I mean you can still do all sorts of goofy things even at low levels. Reloading crossbows as a free action? Firing off 2 accurate shots from a longbow straight from the quiver in a round? There's also the assumption that basically every martial, straight out the gate at level 1, has practiced and is equally proficient with hundreds of different weapons which is frankly mind boggling.

You're best off just rolling with these bits of madness. Pathfinder was never, ever meant to be a simulation of reality.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Having magic guns & ammo where the guns somehow magically reload themselves... I could live with that. But the free reloads already make archery better than it should be (once you have all the right feats) and the way the gunslinger and guns themselves were executed in PF just rubs me the wrong way.

You're right, I just don't like guns in my fantasy. So I don't use them, and no player has ever really insisted on trying. That's the easy way out.

But every time one of these discussions comes up, I can't help myself from sounding a discordant note.

This said... 20 free actions? Really? And y'all are good with that? What if the DM said "max free actions per round = (DEX bonus + 1 per iterative attack)" or something similar. Would that totally invalidate the gunslinger?


Wheldrake wrote:

Having magic guns & ammo where the guns somehow magically reload themselves... I could live with that. But the free reloads already make archery better than it should be (once you have all the right feats) and the way the gunslinger and guns themselves were executed in PF just rubs me the wrong way.

You're right, I just don't like guns in my fantasy. So I don't use them, and no player has ever really insisted on trying. That's the easy way out.

But every time one of these discussions comes up, I can't help myself from sounding a discordant note.

This said... 20 free actions? Really? And y'all are good with that? What if the DM said "max free actions per round = (DEX bonus + 1 per iterative attack)" or something similar. Would that totally invalidate the gunslinger?

It would severely curtail the abilities of pistol using ones, yeah. It is a Dex based class though so 6 free actions at level 6 isnt so bad. A musketeer could do just fine with that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Like I said, I posted this in rules as I wanted to make sure I was not missing something according to the rules. As to whether it should be allowed or not, that is up to each individual.

As for the idea of realism, I personally hate when folks use words like verisimilitude. They are okay with a wizard stopping time or creating a gate to another plane. They are okay with a cleric bringing back a soul from the dead or uttering a word that can kill masses of people who hear it. They are okay with a skilled archer taking six shots in six seconds with one of those being two arrows fired at once. Why then can't they believe a gunslinger can load and shoot nine times in six seconds? It is just as ridiculous or incredible as any of the other ideas.

So long as everyone has fun and enjoys the fantasy, I am okay with the rules.

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


Wheldrake wrote:

Having magic guns & ammo where the guns somehow magically reload themselves... I could live with that. But the free reloads already make archery better than it should be (once you have all the right feats) and the way the gunslinger and guns themselves were executed in PF just rubs me the wrong way.

You're right, I just don't like guns in my fantasy. So I don't use them, and no player has ever really insisted on trying. That's the easy way out.

But every time one of these discussions comes up, I can't help myself from sounding a discordant note.

This said... 20 free actions? Really? And y'all are good with that? What if the DM said "max free actions per round = (DEX bonus + 1 per iterative attack)" or something similar. Would that totally invalidate the gunslinger?

Certain builds, yes. Hell, it might have crippled Archers, before we learned that those free actions were really non actions.

As I said above: Two separate issues. A) Is the fluff of getting your attacks too ridiculous for suspension of disbelief?
B) Is getting those attacks actually unbalancing?

If the problem is A, change the fluff so that it makes sense to you.
If the problem is B, find a way to limit the attacks based on balance concerns.

Imposing a mechanical limitation based on fluff concerns is not a good approach.


Torbyne wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:

Having magic guns & ammo where the guns somehow magically reload themselves... I could live with that. But the free reloads already make archery better than it should be (once you have all the right feats) and the way the gunslinger and guns themselves were executed in PF just rubs me the wrong way.

You're right, I just don't like guns in my fantasy. So I don't use them, and no player has ever really insisted on trying. That's the easy way out.

But every time one of these discussions comes up, I can't help myself from sounding a discordant note.

This said... 20 free actions? Really? And y'all are good with that? What if the DM said "max free actions per round = (DEX bonus + 1 per iterative attack)" or something similar. Would that totally invalidate the gunslinger?

It would severely curtail the abilities of pistol using ones, yeah. It is a Dex based class though so 6 free actions at level 6 isnt so bad. A musketeer could do just fine with that.

Limiting free actions causes more problems. Lots of things get lumped as free actions since it doesn't normally matter how you break them down or split them up.

Don't Forget:
Quote:
Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, or shuriken) is a free action.

So each reload might actually take 2 free actions?

And then there's things like speech as a free action. :)


Wheldrake wrote:
This said... 20 free actions? Really? And y'all are good with that? What if the DM said "max free actions per round = (DEX bonus + 1 per iterative attack)" or something similar. Would that totally invalidate the gunslinger?

I don't have an issue personally with a legendary adventurer doing legendary things. That's why they're legendary!

How many arrows can a bow specialist fire at level 16 as a point of comparison?


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Azih wrote:
How many arrows can a bow specialist fire at level 16 as a point of comparison?

7 for a regular archer (Fighter, Ranger et al.), 9 for a Zen Archer; each with an equivalent number of free actions.

If you want your GM to really hate you, take Double Slice and add your strength modifier to your off-hand's damage (but not your main hand's), and use Two-Weapon Rend.


Swordjockey wrote:

Needing to use both weapons simultaneously is still not a problem because of Gun Twirling and Quick Draw. On the larger point I agree, most GM's would limit the number of free actions. Because this number of actions without magic in 6 seconds is ridiculous.

But yes that is as RAW the correct number of shots per round.

And as noted before, no sane DM runs a game entirely by RAW. Nor is it ever suggested that you do so.


thejeff wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:

Having magic guns & ammo where the guns somehow magically reload themselves... I could live with that. But the free reloads already make archery better than it should be (once you have all the right feats) and the way the gunslinger and guns themselves were executed in PF just rubs me the wrong way.

You're right, I just don't like guns in my fantasy. So I don't use them, and no player has ever really insisted on trying. That's the easy way out.

But every time one of these discussions comes up, I can't help myself from sounding a discordant note.

This said... 20 free actions? Really? And y'all are good with that? What if the DM said "max free actions per round = (DEX bonus + 1 per iterative attack)" or something similar. Would that totally invalidate the gunslinger?

It would severely curtail the abilities of pistol using ones, yeah. It is a Dex based class though so 6 free actions at level 6 isnt so bad. A musketeer could do just fine with that.

Limiting free actions causes more problems. Lots of things get lumped as free actions since it doesn't normally matter how you break them down or split them up.

Don't Forget:
Quote:
Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, or shuriken) is a free action.

So each reload might actually take 2 free actions?

And then there's things like speech as a free action. :)

Granting no holds barred to free actions causes a LOT more problems than setting limits on them on a case by case basis. A round is six seconds. there should be a variable limit on them. Speech, for example, may be free, but quoting the Gettysburg Address should not be.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Derklord wrote:
If you want your GM to really hate you, take Double Slice and add your strength modifier to your off-hand's damage (but not your main hand's), and use Two-Weapon Rend.

Now you see, this is the kind of thing that makes me think Two-Weapon Fighting and all of its down stream feats may get some errata to make it melee only, or at least exclude any ranged attacks from being able to apply. Double Slice and Two-Weapon Rend just scream melee attack. I realize that they do not, so according to the rules this would work.

The Exchange

Hendelbolaf wrote:

Thanks for all of the input!

Nobody in my group (I am sometimes a player, sometimes the DM) has yet to run a Gunslinger. Most of that was due to not really wanting to mix the genres. I think that there are ways to include them without totally ruining the thematic nature of most Pathfinder campaigns.

As for the free actions, yes that seems excessive when written out like this. That was part of the plan to here to first see if it worked, then, as folks mentioned, see if it was reasonable.

I am of the opinion to play test it like this and see if the hitting touch AC with a lot of attacks is any better or worse than an archer getting a lot of attacks doing as much or the same damage or a standard melee type getting fewer attacks with more damage per attack. Of course there are a lot of archer builds and a lot of melee builds.

I really do appreciate the quick review of the game mechanics behind this with the thought that any DM could and might limit the free actions per the rules. Thanks!

My issue with this sort of thing compared to archers is the combination of a high dex build, dex to damage, and targeting touch AC. A maxed out gunslinger will consistently do more DPR than just about anyone in a group once the build gets rolling. And the times they are not #1 is simply because they are up against slashing DR, in which case the Archers are just as hampered.

The only real downside to the gunslinger is the misfire chance, and there are many ways to reduce that so it stays at Nat 1 even when other features would increase it. And you can even clear the misfire so sure it interrupted this round, but you're ready to roll again at 100% the next.

Sczarni

I like the imagery of a guy drawing, firing, then breaching and holstering the gun, while pulling another gun out with the other hand, and doing the shooting while loading a bullet in the breached holstered gun, and then repeating. BUT: 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. Firing 9 shots? Not as crazy Jerry Miculek can get off 6 shots, reload and get off another 6 in just under 3 seconds. And he's no Bob Munden. 0.02 seconds is the clock on Munden's draw. So yeh, the draw, holstering, and shooting is all fine with a 16th level character. The reloading a cap and ball 9x is a bit out there, though.

Also: regarding doing more damage - so will nearly anyone with a machine gun firing at lined up people. That's why guns are used now instead of bows and arrows. Go figure.


Glorf Fei-Hung wrote:
And the times they are not #1 is simply because they are up against slashing DR, in which case the Archers are just as hampered.

Clustered Shots takes care of DR for both gun and bow users.

And yes, a full attack against a target in the first range increment (or second, with Signature Deed) will kill basically anything, even if it's CR+3.


Other than the misfire chance don't forget that guns have incredibly short range especially if you want to take advantage of touch AC. They're the ranged characters most in danger of someone just walking up to them and ruining their day.

Especially in the case of pistol wielders (which is the build in question here) which have a range of 20 feet. That's real short. You can't pull this trick off with two handed guns which have a little better range.

The Exchange

Derklord wrote:
Glorf Fei-Hung wrote:
And the times they are not #1 is simply because they are up against slashing DR, in which case the Archers are just as hampered.

Clustered Shots takes care of DR for both gun and bow users.

And yes, a full attack against a target in the first range increment (or second, with Signature Deed) will kill basically anything, even if it's CR+3.

Clustered shot at least has the requirement that all shots must be against the same target, so you can't spread the damage around.

I'll try to avoid causing this to digress this into another Gunslinger Class Hate thread. And just get us back to... /sigh... yes that looks "legal".


Glorf Fei-Hung wrote:
Clustered shot at least has the requirement that all shots must be against the same target, so you can't spread the damage around.

Tte only reason to spread out your shots is because first targets die, so you're fight a bunch of enemies with low HP (either naturally or after your blaster buddy's fireball) which means the melees will be way more screwed still.

Edit: And for my last post, I once again forgot that Paizo decided that Gunslingers really shouldn't have any incense to stay in class post 5th level, so they nerfed Signature Deed to death. Yeah, so multiclass out of Gunslinger after gaining Pistol Training (Fighter and Warpriest are especially nice) if you want to optimise for damage, and if you don't, still multiclass out of Gunslinger and take a class with cool stuff like more skill ranks and/or spells.

Hendelbolaf wrote:
With the change in Weapon Cord rules this is the only way I see to get to this set of actions. Are there others?

It's not 100% covered by the rules, but if the GM allows gripping and releasing other weapons than two-handed as free actions too, Prehensile Tails or Tongues can hold one of the pistols during reloading. Apart from that, dipping two levels into either Juggler Bard or Alchemist (with Verstigal Arm discovery) works, too.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:

Having magic guns & ammo where the guns somehow magically reload themselves... I could live with that. But the free reloads already make archery better than it should be (once you have all the right feats) and the way the gunslinger and guns themselves were executed in PF just rubs me the wrong way.

You're right, I just don't like guns in my fantasy. So I don't use them, and no player has ever really insisted on trying. That's the easy way out.

But every time one of these discussions comes up, I can't help myself from sounding a discordant note.

This said... 20 free actions? Really? And y'all are good with that? What if the DM said "max free actions per round = (DEX bonus + 1 per iterative attack)" or something similar. Would that totally invalidate the gunslinger?

It would severely curtail the abilities of pistol using ones, yeah. It is a Dex based class though so 6 free actions at level 6 isnt so bad. A musketeer could do just fine with that.

Limiting free actions causes more problems. Lots of things get lumped as free actions since it doesn't normally matter how you break them down or split them up.

Don't Forget:
Quote:
Drawing ammunition for use with a ranged weapon (such as arrows, bolts, sling bullets, or shuriken) is a free action.

So each reload might actually take 2 free actions?

And then there's things like speech as a free action. :)

Granting no holds barred to free actions causes a LOT more problems than setting limits on them on a case by case basis. A round is six seconds. there should be a variable limit on them. Speech, for example, may be free, but quoting the Gettysburg Address should not be.

I've seen plenty of problems in both directions. Let's not forget what happened when Paizo tried to limit free actions to three to five per round, and utterly broke the game. Pretty much every attempt at a hard numerical limit tends to fail because the rules were written with the idea of free actions being free and unlimited as long as players don't do anything too crazy with them.

Since the only real limit on free actions is GM fiat against anything unreasonable, the subject leads to massive table variation. GMs tend to vary wildly on what is and isn't an acceptable number of free actions.

I'd personally suggest a couple general guidelines.

1) No hard numbers
Most attempts I've seen at coming up with hard numbers wind up underestimating how many free actions it takes to do some basic gameplay acts. For example, limiting free actions to "# of Iterative attacks + Dex Bonus" would make it impossible for most casters to use touch spells. Preparing material components is a free action. Speaking verbal components is a free action. The actual touching part of the touch spell is a free action. God forbid you want to do a five foot step to get close enough actually touch someone, concentrate (or not concentrate) on a spell, present your holy symbol if you're a divine caster, talk, or do anything else on your turn...

This leads into my next point...

2) Look at what they're doing, not how many Free Actions they're using.
The most common example that crops up is letting ranged characters make a full attack, since ranged attacks are especially free action heavy. Drawing ammunition is a free action, loading most ranged weapons is (at least) another free action, and so on.

"I want to make a rapid-shot hasted full attack with my sling while calling out a warning to my friends" sounds a lot more reasonable than "I want to take thirteen free actions this round."

3) Specifically and narrowly target FA abuse.
This tends to be the archetypal example of free action abuse—the oft-cited example of someone using a free action to drop prone, then another one to stand up again, repeated ad infinitum.

The solution to this is not to completely change how all action economy works. It's tell your player "stop being a dumbass."

Sczarni

RE: Free actions - we're all right with them taking NINE targeted attacks on someone but, oh no, they couldn't have possible done minor things they practice doing over and over and over until they can do them in their sleep with the speed and efficiency of a 16th level uber character.... yeh, and don't forget that FEATS are meant / intended / designed / supposed to break the rules of reality.

I have no problem with the free action count being nearly 20. Except, as I stated, I would think a revolver would be more realistic than a breach cap and ball reload situation. Packing a musket I'd need a visual explanation on. But one can definitely grab a prepared shot charge and slip it into a barrel, snap the barrel closed, then draw and shoot it in less than a second (see also Munden & Miculek) five times. And only four (80% speed)) with the other hand. I see it as fantastic, like you know... a fantasy game with spells and swords and guns might be.

A Fighter with 16x Fleet would be moving at a base speed of 110'. Take run as 17th feat (human). Now they take off at 5x BS in 6 seconds. 183m in 6 seconds? Jesse Owens would be jealous of this 110kph dash. Perfectly legal to retrain ANY 16th level human fighter to do this in PF though. Now, drop it to 100' because they are a dwarf and load them with a full load. The go roughly the same speed carrying 400 pounds with a 20 STR. 100% legal.


Chengar Qordath wrote:
The solution to this is not to completely change how all action economy works. It's tell your player "stop being a dumbass."

On the off chance, some designer at Paizo is reading this thread, don't put the onus on the player or the GM. Fix the rules. Paizo should take a long hard look at the gunslinger built and played to DPR perfection and decide if that is really consistent with the game. And it's not just one build, but a variety of them. I've seen musket masters just flat pwn. Dex to damage with a d12 for damage and x4 crit, firing as fast as any archer? Really?

In fairness, playing PFS, my Archery Ranger (not even min/maxed for damage) nearly held is own with a Musket Master in our group from levels 4-7 or so (and this is is without Deadly Aim). I'll also point out that the MM jammed his musket on several different occasions. During one battle, he ran out of grit before jamming his gun again, and had to use a bow for the rest of the scenario. Funny.

I know that the the cost of ammunition is also suppose to be prohibitive, but with feats and what not, he got the cost down pretty low. Not quite trivial, but nothing that ever stopped him from firing at will.

I would like to see Paizo do a formal treatment of this class and either show us that the class is not over the top, or admit that it is and fix it.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Granting no holds barred to free actions causes a LOT more problems than setting limits on them on a case by case basis. A round is six seconds. there should be a variable limit on them. Speech, for example, may be free, but quoting the Gettysburg Address should not be.

Like Chengar said, there are a lot of places free actions were written into the rule with the expectation they were actually free. Thus common action sequences wind up getting broken down into long strings of free actions. Slapping hard limits on free actions wind up breaking things you don't expect.

There are obvious silly abuses - There are infinite loops you can get into, like the "Drop prone", stand up thing. Again, don't be a jerk.

Basic general assumption is that attacks are limited by the built in action economy - full attacks are your iteratives & anything granted by feats. Guns, slings, xbows already make you jump through hoops just to be able to reload to make even a second attack in the same round. Slapping another limitation on there by limiting actions isn't kosher.

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.

Speech wrote:
In general, speaking is a free action that you can perform even when it isn’t your turn. Speaking more than a few sentences is generally beyond the limit of a free action.

Already covered.


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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.


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.


Chengar Qordath wrote:
I've seen plenty of problems in both directions. Let's not forget what happened when Paizo tried to limit free actions to three to five per round, and utterly broke the game.

It did not "utterly break the game". Having GMed this game from Alpha, I have YET to see a single round where more than 3 free actions were used. What caused the massive confusion was where people were breaking up things such as bow shots into individual discrete actions, aiming, drawing, firing, and drawing and firing again for multi-shooters, when it was all one full attack action. That and gunslingers with people trying to use flintlocks as revolvers.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:


It did not "utterly break the game". Having GMed this game from Alpha, I have YET to see a single round where more than 3 free actions were used.

I really doubt that. You never GMed with any full BAB archers past level 10?

Rapid shot+iteratives+haste is 5 attacks (thus 5 free action reloads). Add in a quippy 1 liner for a sixth free.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Most attempts I've seen at coming up with hard numbers wind up underestimating how many free actions it takes to do some basic gameplay acts. For example, limiting free actions to "# of Iterative attacks + Dex Bonus" would make it impossible for most casters to use touch spells. Preparing material components is a free action. Speaking verbal components is a free action. The actual touching part of the touch spell is a free action. God forbid you want to do a five foot step to get close enough actually touch someone, concentrate (or not concentrate) on a spell, present your holy symbol if you're a divine caster, talk, or do anything else on your turn...

Actually, most of those things are not defined as a free action (VSM components) and are simply part of the standard action to cast a spell. And while making a touch attack *is* defined as a free action, taking a 5-foot step is *not* a free action, but a miscelaneous action.

It's so important not to mix things up when you're talking about the specifics of action economy.

At the end of the day, I think Paizo has done a reasonably good job of adapting the action economy mess that was DD3.5. Some people like the alternate version from PF unchained better. I haven't tried it yet, so can't really say.

But I can't help feeling that some hard upper limit on the number of free actions you can take in a round would help deal with some of the extreme cheese like taking 20 free actions in a round to allow a gun-twirling double-wielding gunslinger to reload both of his muzzle-loading pistols (using both hands!) multiple times in a round, all while shooting them, holstering them, pouring in the powder, tamping down the wadding, taking out the shot and tamping it down too, and... and...

Many folks here on these boards have also commented about how much better archery can be than melee fighters, because of the way the action economy regulates a combat round.

So to the OP, I say, yes, by the RAW you can double-wield and gun-twirl and quick-reload to your heart's content. Don't be surprised, though, if the DM or other players occasionally groan at the high cheese content. <smile>


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:


It did not "utterly break the game". Having GMed this game from Alpha, I have YET to see a single round where more than 3 free actions were used.

I really doubt that. You never GMed with any full BAB archers past level 10?

Rapid shot+iteratives+haste is 5 attacks (thus 5 free action reloads). Add in a quippy 1 liner for a sixth free.

Even worse with weapons like slings or crossbows, where you're at one free action to draw ammo, and another to actually load the weapon (assuming you have the feats/traits to reduce action time).

And as I noted up-thread, just casting a touch spell takes three free actions.


Hendelbolaf wrote:


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

Pistol of the Infinite Sky


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chengar Qordath wrote:
And as I noted up-thread, just casting a touch spell takes three free actions.

And as I noted up-thread, that is not correct. VSM components are not free actions, they are part of the standard action of casting a spell. Only the touch attack is defined as a free action.


Wheldrake wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
And as I noted up-thread, just casting a touch spell takes three free actions.
And as I noted up-thread, that is not correct. VSM components are not free actions, they are part of the standard action of casting a spell. Only the touch attack is defined as a free action.

Might wanna check your rulebook again. "Prepare spell components to cast a spell" is listed as a free action.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh, buggers. I hate to be wrong.
So, one free action for the touch. One to prepare the spell components. Don't tell me you're counting the verbal components as a third free action.
<g>

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