How do crossbows work?


Advice


This is probably a stupid question but do you add your dex to damage with a crossbow, I can't find an actual rule explaining it.

Silver Crusade Contributor

Sadly, you do not. No ability score modifiers are added to crossbow damage unless you have a specific character option, such as the Focused Shot feat or the bolt ace gunslinger archetype.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
BjørnEarakson wrote:
This is probably a stupid question but do you add your dex to damage with a crossbow, I can't find an actual rule explaining it.

Why would you?

You don't add anything to the damage roll of other bow weapons either... except for composite bows.

Wow! Focused Shot is pretty cool! INT to bow and crossbow damage?!? I've had several characters who would've loved that (though whether it would've been worth a feat is another thing).

Shadow Lodge

Note Focused Shot takes a standard action, so it only works if you don't full attack.


Wheldrake wrote:
BjørnEarakson wrote:
This is probably a stupid question but do you add your dex to damage with a crossbow, I can't find an actual rule explaining it.

Why would you?

For the same reason it increases your chance to hit: Dexterity represents (among other things) your fine motor skills, which translates into better ability to target vital organs and weak points in armor.


Wheldrake wrote:
BjørnEarakson wrote:
This is probably a stupid question but do you add your dex to damage with a crossbow, I can't find an actual rule explaining it.

Why would you?

You don't add anything to the damage roll of other bow weapons either... except for composite bows.

Wow! Focused Shot is pretty cool! INT to bow and crossbow damage?!? I've had several characters who would've loved that (though whether it would've been worth a feat is another thing).

some rpgs use what every you use to hit for your damage stat so anything that uses dex to hit also nets you dex to damage, but yes if you have 5 levels in bolt ace you get dex to damage with crossbows or if your dm house rules a feat to let you get dex to damage with them as if your using a crossbow there is no point in not going bolt ace over any other class which is kinda sad


Weirdo wrote:
Note Focused Shot takes a standard action, so it only works if you don't full attack.

Furthermore it doesn't work with anything that triggers on an attack action such as Vital Strike. It's a neat idea but unfortunately does not cut it unless you expect the campaign to end before you get your first iterative.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Note Focused Shot takes a standard action, so it only works if you don't full attack.
Furthermore it doesn't work with anything that triggers on an attack action such as Vital Strike. It's a neat idea but unfortunately does not cut it unless you expect the campaign to end before you get your first iterative.

shouldn't that be second iterative?


...Maybe? The one you get at BAB +6.


Arachnofiend wrote:
...Maybe? The one you get at BAB +6.

yup 2nd iterative as you get up to 4 of them as you level(sadly a 21 bab doesn't net a 5th)


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You fire the pointy bit into the other guy. Then you crank it back until you can do it again.

I just can't help myself I'm so sorry

Silver Crusade Contributor

Arachnofiend wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Note Focused Shot takes a standard action, so it only works if you don't full attack.
Furthermore it doesn't work with anything that triggers on an attack action such as Vital Strike. It's a neat idea but unfortunately does not cut it unless you expect the campaign to end before you get your first iterative.

It also lets you keep mobile, for what little that's worth in Pathfinder. A rogue with the scout archetype might be able to make a little use of it, especially if they were building Int for the various magic talents.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Note Focused Shot takes a standard action, so it only works if you don't full attack.
Furthermore it doesn't work with anything that triggers on an attack action such as Vital Strike. It's a neat idea but unfortunately does not cut it unless you expect the campaign to end before you get your first iterative.

Even then....archery is famous for having feats that add more attacks.

So focused shot is always kind of outdated. A human fighter could get the 'basic archery feats and rapid shot by level 1.

Anyway, back to topic- crossbows do not really work. They had been relegated to 'that thing that low level wizards use when they run out of spells'.

The situation has slightly improved with bolt ace. That archetype lets you get dex to damage and improves your criticals to the point that light crossbows (the easiest ones to use for bolt ace) hit like ranged falcatas (19-20/x3). But then everyone abandons the class after level 5....


lemeres wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Note Focused Shot takes a standard action, so it only works if you don't full attack.
Furthermore it doesn't work with anything that triggers on an attack action such as Vital Strike. It's a neat idea but unfortunately does not cut it unless you expect the campaign to end before you get your first iterative.

Even then....archery is famous for having feats that add more attacks.

So focused shot is always kind of outdated. A human fighter could get the 'basic archery feats and rapid shot by level 1.

Anyway, back to topic- crossbows do not really work. They had been relegated to 'that thing that low level wizards use when they run out of spells'.

The situation has slightly improved with bolt ace. That archetype lets you get dex to damage and improves your criticals to the point that light crossbows (the easiest ones to use for bolt ace) hit like ranged falcatas (19-20/x3). But then everyone abandons the class after level 5....

every one kinda abandons all the gunslinger stuff after level 5 XD paizo nerfed all the late game stuff into the ground so not worth going more than 5 levels heck imo if the dm allows guns the trench fighter is better than a gunslinger. also they should add the great crossbow into the game just saying...


They really just need to consolidate ranged projectile weapons and let players describe it as a crossbow or bow as desired. With martial weapon proficiency allowing you to reload as a free action which doesn't provoke and allowing you to add strength to damage by paying extra money like a composite bow. For a crossbow just imagine you are increasing the tension and using one of those fancy wench mechanism for reloading.


Honestly.. I've made a lot of folks with Focused shot..
When its used straight up it succkked bad.
But..
I had one Gm who removed the 30ft range (cause it is kind of silly restriction when you're using your head to predict where to shoot for efficiency it wasn't terribly out of the norm for the idea to work far. They went up to first iterative. with it. It made for a lot more fun.

Though, that Gm also let the "swift action done as a move action" thing. So that character also used Kirin style (started each adventure section, first round, move to aim with kirin style, standard with Focused, swift with int damage.

Never broke anything, or that great. but it was solid and I enjoyed it.

but yeah.
I wish they'd really make broader categories, and different stats for them depending on your proficiency level. It does take away some of the mechanical uniqueness if the guy who uses a knife and a guy who uses a pinyon both use it with the same stats( assumign same proficiency) but I'm fine with that. Because that would mean one could use a verity if unique sounding weapons. Shovel with the same stats as an axe for instance. The guy who throws screw drivers instead of shuriken etc.
Crossbow, bow, using the same stats (martial and exotic offereing higher qualities) with both offering some sorta power up damage offering as well later. tube arrow shooter like things, arrow slings, slings, chakrams and the like being effectively similiar

Adding in a system like that, with broader feats for adding damage types or osmething would ben eat.
but I could talk about profieicnes all day really (like how I really think it should be an innate ability to have one free weapon proficiency as a character trait/history backstory thing... and how i dislike exotic in general because rarely do they even get used)


Claxon wrote:
They really just need to consolidate ranged projectile weapons and let players describe it as a crossbow or bow as desired. With martial weapon proficiency allowing you to reload as a free action which doesn't provoke and allowing you to add strength to damage by paying extra money like a composite bow. For a crossbow just imagine you are increasing the tension and using one of those fancy wench mechanism for reloading.

well...they could do with general weapon consolidation. why both with scimitars, cutlasses, and katanas when you could just have 'one handed curved swords'.

Scarab Sages

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lemeres wrote:
Claxon wrote:
They really just need to consolidate ranged projectile weapons and let players describe it as a crossbow or bow as desired. With martial weapon proficiency allowing you to reload as a free action which doesn't provoke and allowing you to add strength to damage by paying extra money like a composite bow. For a crossbow just imagine you are increasing the tension and using one of those fancy wench mechanism for reloading.
well...they could do with general weapon consolidation. why both with scimitars, cutlasses, and katanas when you could just have 'one handed curved swords'.

You see those Sarenrites from Qadira? They’ve got curved swords. Curved. Swords.


Crossbows use mechanical systems to store greater amounts of kinetic energy than a Human wielding a bow could ever achieve. In addition to gaining increased power, the Crossbow was also easier to learn to use than a bow, allowed more soldiers to actively use a ranged weapon (since many simply did not have the strength to make using a bow worthwhile), had greater armor penetration, and reduced fatigue. At one point in time the Pope attempted to ban the use of Crossbows in wars because they resulted in a huge increase in the deaths among nobility during warfare. You see nobility were the only ones able to afford heavy armor, and that means they suffered the most from the improvement in armor piercing technology. Crossbows were the greatest change in warfare until the first cannons were used to crush Constantinople's walls.

This is represented in the Pathfinder universe by the Crossbow taking longer to load, being harder to make full attacks with, gaining no benefits from stats, and generally being useless. Its honestly frustrating. I would love for there to be a way to add in static damage to the Crossbow or have them treat the enemy armor/natural armor as 1+ lower for determining AC.

Anyway, play a Bolt Ace maybe play a Crossbowman fighter with Overwatch style.


ShroudedInLight wrote:
Crossbows use mechanical systems to store greater amounts of kinetic energy than a Human wielding a bow could ever achieve.

For reference a modern compound bow develops about the same kinetic energy as a modern crossbow. Arrow weight as well as the draw weight/speed of the bow will determine the overall kinetic energy of the system.

The English longbow definitely developed more power than what modern hunters use with their compound bows.

The idea that crossbow were massively more powerful than a bow could ever be are misguided. However, the main thing was that the kinetic energy could be locked and stored, which made it significantly easier to shoot. Bows required a lot of practice and strength to use accurately. But with the ability to lock back the crossbow you could load it, cock it, and then accurately fire it making it significantly easier to use compared to a bow.


English Longbows required absurd strength to use, however. Like seriously, have you ever seen one of those things? Crossbows, even larger ones, were far easier to use.

They are the one exception to the Bow < Crossbow rule, and they required giants to wield.


Wouldn't a crossbow using a windlass or some other mechanical assistance achieve far more power than a bow?


Crossbows generally have a much higher draw weight, but they impart a lower fraction of their energy into the bolt than a bow does, because bows have a greater draw distance, which as I underating often pus them on par with bows, but they also take a comparative forever to reload and often require mechanical assistance to draw, even on fairly small crossbows with steel bows.

That said, without bolt ace I don't think they're a viable option in the game, which I think is a bit of a shame.


Sayt wrote:
Crossbows generally have a much higher draw weight, but they impart a lower fraction of their energy into the bolt than a bow does, because bows have a greater draw distance, which as I underating often pus them on par with bows, but they also take a comparative forever to reload and often require mechanical assistance to draw, even on fairly small crossbows with steel bows.

Depends on the crossbow, but yeah, general idea.

The draw weight is often not that much of a problem though, since they often have better methods for drawing the crossbow than 'stretch your arms apart'- being able to store up your draw lets you go into very different positions. A fairly standard model has you use your foot hold down the crossbow while your arms pull back the mechanism, which means you are drawing it apart using more muscles and to a farther distance. It is simple enough that most people could do it with no expectation of muscle training.

Which is where you get the tactic to overcome the speed problem- just have more guys. You don't need to train up children for 20 years to be able to draw it like a longbow- you can just grab some farmers and have them train purely on their aim. If the long bow is three times faster in getting out shots, then you just need three times as many guys and just have them shoot in volleys (like when you try to get musket lines to give continuous fire).

The ability to simply things so that it is less a matter of training and more a matter of consumption (ie- more crossbows) means that you gain a major advantage. Heck, even if you are short on crossbows, you can still 'train' more troops with your superior speed, which makes it fairly simple to hand off the crossbows after the first user gets tired/hurt/killed. But the longbow user? The bow is basically scrap when the specially trained wielder is taken out.

...of course, these advantages in mass movement of the common and weak do not translate too well into a game focused on unique, specially powerful individuals. People want to jump around like legolas rather than being 'crossbowman #32'.

Silver Crusade Contributor

Sounds like a good idea for a troop, though. ^_^


Wheldrake wrote:
BjørnEarakson wrote:
This is probably a stupid question but do you add your dex to damage with a crossbow, I can't find an actual rule explaining it.

Why would you?

You don't add anything to the damage roll of other bow weapons either... except for composite bows.

Wow! Focused Shot is pretty cool! INT to bow and crossbow damage?!? I've had several characters who would've loved that (though whether it would've been worth a feat is another thing).

I was trying to think of using this in a Magus build, but since this uses a Standard Action rather than attack, it won't play well with Magus action economy. Might be not bad for an Arcane Archer build if you can fit the feat and its prerequisites into your build . . . Also not bad for an Armored Battlemage Magus (never gets Spell Combat), but that's a rather bad archetype to start with (never gets Spell Combat, and doesn't get enough in exchange).

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