FAQ: Is it intended that the hornbow be freely usable by bards & others with no EWP feat?


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You can see the discussion of this issue here.

And here is the item's text listing from Adventurer's Armory 2:

Quote:

Price 130 gp; Type exotic

Larger even than a longbow, these bows are often made from the horns of great beasts. Though they have a shorter range than other bows, their greater destructive power is highly favored by orcs and their kin. All hornbows are composite bows and can be modified to benefit from high Strength scores in the same way as other composite bows. Any effect that applies to both longbows and shortbows also applies to hornbows.

The confusion stems from the wording that any effect that applies to longbows & shortbows applies to hornbows. It seems clear that this is intended to mean that a feat like Rapid Shot would totally apply to the hornbow. However, some are interpreting this to mean that any PC with shortbow proficiency can use a hornbow without needing to take Exotic Weapon Proficiency. And if you have longbow proficiency, same deal -- free use, no feat needed.

So bards and ninjas are now equipping hornbows at no penalty, with no feat taken. Was this the intention?

Note: Hero Lab is indeed giving the hornbow out for free, no EWP feat needed.

Whether you are on one side or the other, please hit the FAQ button so we can learn the official intention. Thanks!


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Hero Lab is wrong.

By their interpretation it is impossible to have proficiency in martial weapons and not the hornbow, an exotic weapon, which is clearly nonsense.

Certainly "Bards are proficient in shortbows" is not "an effect that applies to both longbows and shortbows" since it doesn't even apply to longbows! I might go so far as to say trying to finagle "shortbow proficiency" as "an effect that applies to both longbows and shortbows" is a degree of loophole exploitation which would make you unwelcome in my game if you were insistent about it.

It would be my personal perspective that "proficiency" is not an effect that applies to weapons.


That’s weird because neither bards nor ninjas should be getting this automatically, since their class ability of weapon proficiencies isn’t effecting both longbows and shortbows, but just shortbows only.

Quote:
Any effect that applies to both longbows and shortbows also applies to hornbows.

Grand Lodge

Personally, I'd be fine with it working for anything that specifically calls out Longbow and Shortbow proficiencies such as the Zen Archer monk. But I certainly don't think just Martial Weapon Proficiency should work.

And since it specifically says effects that apply to both longbows and short bows, ninjas and bards should definitely not be getting it as that is an effect that applies to only one.

Scarab Sages

The phrasing of the question is off. It’s not intended. It’s pretty obvious that it’s not intended. Even people who are arguing that it works know it was not intended. They are arguing that it works as written, regardless of what the intention was. Personally, if it’s clear how a rule is supposed to work, then I think that’s how it should work. This is not a complicated interaction. It’s an Exotic weapon. Unless something allows you to treat it as Martial, Martial proficiency isn’t enough. Half-orcs (and Orcs?) can treat it as Martial. There’s an Ioun Stone that would allow you to treat it as Martial. Proficiency in Longbow and/or shortbow is not enough.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Personally, I'd be fine with it working for anything that specifically calls out Longbow and Shortbow proficiencies such as the Zen Archer monk. But I certainly don't think just Martial Weapon Proficiency should work.

Regarding "specifically calling out longbow and shortbow proficiencies" I don't think the intent was be to make all Elves proficient in the Orc weapon whereas all Orcs are not- an Elf Wizard would have Hornbow proficiency whereas an Orc Wizard would only get to treat it as a martial weapon.

It's best to just consider "proficiency" distinct from "effect" I feel.

Shadow Lodge

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Proficiency doesn't effect weapons anyway, it effects the character.


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But proficiency is an effect and declaring it not to be would likely just break further rules sources.

Grand Lodge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Personally, I'd be fine with it working for anything that specifically calls out Longbow and Shortbow proficiencies such as the Zen Archer monk. But I certainly don't think just Martial Weapon Proficiency should work.

Regarding "specifically calling out longbow and shortbow proficiencies" I don't think the intent was be to make all Elves proficient in the Orc weapon whereas all Orcs are not- an Elf Wizard would have Hornbow proficiency whereas an Orc Wizard would only get to treat it as a martial weapon.

It's best to just consider "proficiency" distinct from "effect" I feel.

I just can't reconcile proficiency not being considered an "effect". Definitely agree that elves shouldn't be auto-proficient in the hornbow though. I'll probably houserule it as just any class that specifically calls out proficiency in both long and shortbows is proficient in it.


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I really don’t see the problem with elves getting it. Those guys are naturals trained from childhood to use big bows. You give them a hornbow and they just think it’s like using daddy’s bow back when they were kids.

It’s not like there’s something special or complicated about the hornbow. It’s still just a bow. It’s so much of just a bow that it explicitly works with all the other things that work with bows.


This thread discusses another weapon from the same book with the same wording.

Grand Lodge

Wow, I'd forgotten that I made that thread.

Personally I think things are a little more muddied here than with the spiral rapier. The logic I used there to discount martial proficiency giving you proficiency with the spiral rapier is harder to apply to the hornbow due to it's both wording.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
I just can't reconcile proficiency not being considered an "effect".

I guess the ontological question is what is the effect- the thing that causes the bonus or penalty or the thing that indicates you don't get the bonus or penalty. My inclination is to say that the thing which applies the numerical modifier is an effect, and its negation is not.

Like being shaken is an effect- you get a -2 to attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. Not being shaken is not an effect since it just means "apply no modifiers"

Likewise, being non-proficient is an effect- you get a -4 to attack rolls. Being proficient is not an effect since it just means "apply no modifiers".

As written the rule isn't "what happens if you attack with a weapon you are proficient in" it's "what happens if you attack with a weapon you are not proficient in."


It seemed obvious to me that the orc hornbow's ability to copy effects that affects longbow/shortbow is meant for feats/class features/spells and such, not proficiency.

As such, this racial feature would be relevant to the matter "Weapon Familiarity: Half-orcs are proficient with greataxes and falchions and treat any weapon with the word “orc” in its name as a martial weapon."

Considering the previous racial feature, the only way to be able to use a orc hornbow without EWP is by being a half-orc with martial weapon training or having martial training feat to use the hornbow.

As for the effect, well so long as the feat/feature/spell or whatever can affect both longbow/shortbow, then it also applies to the hornbow for being a bow.


Whether or not proficiency is an effect altering a weapon I guess can be argued both ways, but even if you assume it to be true there's also a question of how granular weapon proficiency is. In the context of the hornbow, longbows and shortbows is meaningfully distinct from longbows and shortbows, after all.

Regardless, the real takeaway here is that if you're ever designing a ruleset, please future proof your work.

outshyn wrote:


So bards and ninjas are now equipping hornbows at no penalty, with no feat taken. Was this the intention?

Regardless of how you fall around these questions however, there's no argument to be made that Bards and Ninjas have proficiency. There's no need to ask whether or not it's the intention because it's not remotely consistent with the rules anyways.


swoosh wrote:
Regardless of how you fall around these questions however, there's no argument to be made that Bards and Ninjas have proficiency. There's no need to ask whether or not it's the intention because it's not remotely consistent with the rules anyways.

Actually, the need to ask the question is what prompted me to post this FAQ request. You see, the gang over at the Hero Lab forum discussion of this issue is flat-out adamant that you guys (and myself) are completely wrong. They say they "Don't agree at all" with the statement that an "effect" does not convey Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat for free. In other words, they are not only defending the free use of the bow, but they're doubling-down with hard, unambiguous language to convey the certainty of their beliefs.

Of course, these are just forum posters, not Hero Lab employees. However, it looks pretty clear that without a FAQ, the "fans" of this mistake intend to argue HARD to keep their interpretation. They really want that free super-bow, and they're prepared to pronounce the "common sense" interpretation here to be garbage, and their interpretation to be dead-on superior.

So, with their level of certainty, I do have to ask the question about intention, because the gang over at the Hero Lab forums is adamant that the intention is free hornbows for almost everyone.


outshyn wrote:
swoosh wrote:
Regardless of how you fall around these questions however, there's no argument to be made that Bards and Ninjas have proficiency. There's no need to ask whether or not it's the intention because it's not remotely consistent with the rules anyways.

Actually, the need to ask the question is what prompted me to post this FAQ request. You see, the gang over at the Hero Lab forum discussion of this issue is flat-out adamant that you guys (and myself) are completely wrong. They say they "Don't agree at all" with the statement that an "effect" does not convey Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat for free. In other words, they are not only defending the free use of the bow, but they're doubling-down with hard, unambiguous language to convey the certainty of their beliefs.

Of course, these are just forum posters, not Hero Lab employees. However, it looks pretty clear that without a FAQ, the "fans" of this mistake intend to argue HARD to keep their interpretation. They really want that free super-bow, and they're prepared to pronounce the "common sense" interpretation here to be garbage, and their interpretation to be dead-on superior.

So, with their level of certainty, I do have to ask the question about intention, because the gang over at the Hero Lab forums is adamant that the intention is free hornbows for almost everyone.

I'm willing to bet Paizo rules it's not a free proficiency nor was it ever intended to be, if they say anything at all.

If I ever have to rule or vote on this in a home game it would be no proficiency.


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outshyn wrote:
swoosh wrote:
Regardless of how you fall around these questions however, there's no argument to be made that Bards and Ninjas have proficiency. There's no need to ask whether or not it's the intention because it's not remotely consistent with the rules anyways.
Actually, the need to ask the question is what prompted me to post this FAQ request. You see, the gang over at the Hero Lab forum discussion of this issue is flat-out adamant that you guys (and myself) are completely wrong. They say they "Don't agree at all" with the statement that an "effect" does not convey Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat for free. In other words, they are not only defending the free use of the bow, but they're doubling-down with hard, unambiguous language to convey the certainty of their beliefs.

I'm not sure, but I think he is referring to how the ninja and bard should be considered explicitly excluded, because they don't have both proficiencies from their single class feature. Now, if we were talking about something like the inquisitor, where their class feature explicitly grants both longbow and shortbow, then the question should come up.


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People are usually convinced their interpretation is correct and other views are ridiculous (including myself).

But the question would become, if you intended for short bow or long bow proficiency to suffice why would you make the weapon exotic?

To me this question is so obvious it's not deserving of an FAQ, but we might need Paizo to clarify to LoneWolf that their software is incorrect.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The issue is that you have two questions here, mixed together.

A. If a character has both longbow proficiency and shortbow proficiency, are they proficient with a hornbow?

B. If a character has shortbow proficiency, are they proficient with a hornbow?

My guess would be that if you just had question A and many people FAQ'ed it, you would probably get an answer. If you just had question B, the response would probably be 'no FAQ needed,' because shortbow proficiency clearly doesn't apply to both longbows and shortbows. By mixing the two together, you're unlikely to get any response at all.


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Redelia wrote:
A. If a character has both longbow proficiency and shortbow proficiency, are they proficient with a hornbow?

Almost, but the actual question is a little more tricky:

If the same source grants proficiency in "both longbows and shortbows", does that source also grant proficiency in hornbows?

Follow up questions might be:
Is the weapon proficiency class feature considered a source?
Is proficiency considered an effect?
Does an effect need to explicitly specify "longbows" and "shortbows" to qualify for applying to hornbows, or can it be from more general references, like "all martial weapons"?


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Does Herolab assume that classes that grant short sword profiency but not proficiency with all martial weapons (Bards, Investigators, Rogues, etc.) are also proficient with the gladius?

UE wrote:

GLADIUS

Price 15 gp
Type martial
The gladius is the favorite sword of gladiators, with a heavier blade than the standard shortsword. Feats and abilities that affect shortswords apply to the gladius.

Knowing that might help clarify how they are viewing proficiency.


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The answer is: It doesn't. It declares the hornbow as 'Exotic' and the rest of the information in question doesn't change it. That information applies to feats relating to bows, not proficiency.


Gisher wrote:

Does Herolab assume that classes that grant short sword profiency but not proficiency with all martial weapons (Bards, Investigators, Rogues, etc.) are also proficient with the gladius?

UE wrote:

GLADIUS

Price 15 gp
Type martial
The gladius is the favorite sword of gladiators, with a heavier blade than the standard shortsword. Feats and abilities that affect shortswords apply to the gladius.
Knowing that might help clarify how they are viewing proficiency.

I don't know, but I really have no problem with that. It's much less questionable. Both are martial weapons, and if you had the feat weapon proficiency(shortsword), that feat would also seem to apply to the gladius.


Redelia wrote:
B. If a character has shortbow proficiency, are they proficient with a hornbow?

Can someone please make the case for the affirmative here for me? I don't get at all, the text is clearly an If P and Q proposition, so having just one of the propositions is not sufficient.

I mean, it's established that the Hornbow was written explicitly to exclude Deadeye Bowman (which applies to longbows only), so why would anyone think "shortbow proficiency" works here?

Grand Lodge

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Fourshadow wrote:
The answer is: It doesn't. It declares the hornbow as 'Exotic' and the rest of the information in question doesn't change it. That information applies to feats relating to bows, not proficiency.

Except nothing says or even hints that it's only for feats. It says "effects". Which is why this discussion is happening.


Melkiador wrote:
But proficiency is an effect and declaring it not to be would likely just break further rules sources.

Is proficiency an effect on you or the weapon?

A +1 bow grants it's bonus, regardless who wields it's.

Non-proficiency penalties apply based on the user. Just because a Fighter uses a long sword does not grant the sword proficiency that affects all users in the future.

The sentence is clearly referring to effects that target the bow. Proficiency targets the user.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Redelia wrote:
B. If a character has shortbow proficiency, are they proficient with a hornbow?

Can someone please make the case for the affirmative here for me? I don't get at all, the text is clearly an If P and Q proposition, so having just one of the propositions is not sufficient.

I mean, it's established that the Hornbow was written explicitly to exclude Deadeye Bowman (which applies to longbows only), so why would anyone think "shortbow proficiency" works here?

I can't see it either, but the OP was talking about this as being something people were defending.


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Irontruth wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
But proficiency is an effect and declaring it not to be would likely just break further rules sources.

Is proficiency an effect on you or the weapon?

A +1 bow grants it's bonus, regardless who wields it's.

Non-proficiency penalties apply based on the user. Just because a Fighter uses a long sword does not grant the sword proficiency that affects all users in the future.

The sentence is clearly referring to effects that target the bow. Proficiency targets the user.

That logic doesn't track with what we know for sure is intended to work , the weapon training trait, which says, "You gain a +1 trait bonus on damage rolls with the following weapons: bastard sword, battleaxe, greataxe, greatsword, handaxe, light hammer, longbow, longsword, shortbow, short sword, throwing axe, and warhammer." Since the bonus is given to "you" and not the weapon, then we can assume that your bit of pedantics isn't the intended ruling.


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Melkiador wrote:
Gisher wrote:

Does Herolab assume that classes that grant short sword profiency but not proficiency with all martial weapons (Bards, Investigators, Rogues, etc.) are also proficient with the gladius?

UE wrote:

GLADIUS

Price 15 gp
Type martial
The gladius is the favorite sword of gladiators, with a heavier blade than the standard shortsword. Feats and abilities that affect shortswords apply to the gladius.
Knowing that might help clarify how they are viewing proficiency.
I don't know, but I really have no problem with that. It's much less questionable. Both are martial weapons, and if you had the feat weapon proficiency(shortsword), that feat would also seem to apply to the gladius.

Interesting that you think this is less questionable. I read "effects" as at least as broad "feats and abilities." That is, I think feats and abilities would both be considered effects.


Well, I'm in the camp that believes the most logical interpretation of the text is that at least inquisitors and elves get the feat for free, since their class features specifically mentions both weapons together. But of course, I doubt it was intended one way or the other for that text to give free proficiencies.

And I also can't see where the just shortbow to hornbow crowd for ninja and bards is coming from. That doesn't track with most readings of the text.

I do expect an answer of "no proficiency", with errata, if the FAQ ever gets answered.


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Melkiador wrote:
I do expect an answer of "no proficiency", with errata, if the FAQ ever gets answered.

It does seem pretty clear to me that RAI is that two types are proficient with a hornbow-

- Anybody who takes the appropriate Exotic Weapon Proficiency
- Any Orc or Half-Orc with the Weapon Familiarity racial trait who has martial weapon proficiencies.

So that's how I would recommend playing it. Particularly if weapon modifications aren't going to feature in your game, so there's no discernible effect due the Hornbow being made exotic.


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I don't think "RAI" is the right term here. It's an interaction that was unforeseen. Just because something wasn't intended doesn't mean that the opposite was intended.


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I feel like "Orcs are better at using the Orc weapon than Elves are" is, indeed, the intended behavior. Otherwise why make it an "Orc Hornbow"? Instead just name it "Hornbow" and apply the Orc weapon familiarity to the Butchering Axe if you want to give (Half-)Orcs a new weapon?


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Why are Tengu better at wielding elven curved blades than elves are? Elves are just good at bows, and the hornbow is just another bow.

The Exchange

Melkiador wrote:
Why are Tengu better at wielding elven curved blades than elves are?

Elves spend too much time with those bows to really understand the art of the sword.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would not count proficiency as an effect.

Only Half-Orcs or Elves (via racial proficiencies) would be proficient without a feat. Otherwise there is no reason to list it as an exotic weapon.


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Stali One-Penny wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
Why are Tengu better at wielding elven curved blades than elves are?
Elves spend too much time with those bows to really understand the art of the sword.

And I guess orcs spend too much time with greataxes and falchions to really understand the art of the bow.


BretI wrote:
Otherwise there is no reason to list it as an exotic weapon.

Not precisely even if everyone with martial proficiency is hornbow proficient, you would still need an additional feat to use a modified orc hornbow, per the weapon modification rules in AA2.

Issue is though that of the weapon modifications in AA2 that can even be applied to the hornbow is "Versatile Design" and I don't think there's any benefit to moving the bow to a different weapon group though, and that modification has all sorts of rules issues (e.g. can I move the hornbow to a mixed range/melee group?)


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Melkiador wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
But proficiency is an effect and declaring it not to be would likely just break further rules sources.

Is proficiency an effect on you or the weapon?

A +1 bow grants it's bonus, regardless who wields it's.

Non-proficiency penalties apply based on the user. Just because a Fighter uses a long sword does not grant the sword proficiency that affects all users in the future.

The sentence is clearly referring to effects that target the bow. Proficiency targets the user.

That logic doesn't track with what we know for sure is intended to work , the weapon training trait, which says, "You gain a +1 trait bonus on damage rolls with the following weapons: bastard sword, battleaxe, greataxe, greatsword, handaxe, light hammer, longbow, longsword, shortbow, short sword, throwing axe, and warhammer." Since the bonus is given to "you" and not the weapon, then we can assume that your bit of pedantics isn't the intended ruling.

Lastly, based on your reading of the sentence, all characters proficient with martial weapons are also proficient with the hornbow, which seems to be at odds with it's classification as an exotic weapon.

If it were intended that proficiency with other weapons gave you proficiency with the hornbow, it would be in a different class of weapons. We can assume that your bit of pedantics probably isn't the intended ruling either.


You'd still need to use the exotic proficiency feat if you didn't have an ability that otherwise granted you proficiency to both longbows and shortbows too. So, there's the reason to be exotic. The exotic feat has an extra prerequisite over the martial feat.

I'm not disputing that it wasn't intended to give so many free proficiency. I'm just saying that the it wasn't intended to prevent that either. And in the absence of other rules text, the rules say what they say.

I'd never build a character around this though, because it's just the kind of thing that does get errattaed out sooner than later. Anyone relying on this is just setting themselves up for disappointment.


Being proficient with all martial weapons is an ability that grants you proficiency with both longbows and shortbows. Go look at the Fighter class and tell me if Weapon Proficiency and Bravery are in the same category of "things". Proficiency with the longbow and shortbow are class features of the Fighter.


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Irontruth wrote:
Go look at the Fighter class and tell me if Weapon Proficiency and Bravery are in the same category of "things".

Have you ever checked out archetypes? They treat them as the same category of thing, so there's precedent.


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Irontruth wrote:
Being proficient with all martial weapons is an ability that grants you proficiency with both longbows and shortbows. Go look at the Fighter class and tell me if Weapon Proficiency and Bravery are in the same category of "things". Proficiency with the longbow and shortbow are class features of the Fighter.

Now go look at fighter archetypes and tell me they AREN'T treated the same... Seems like weapon/armor proficiency is treated as an ability/effect JUST like bravery that can be changed/altered.

EDIT: Darn lizard ninja's again... :P


My point is that any class that gets proficiency with all martial weapons, under your silly interpretation of this, gets proficiency with the hornbow.

If that was the intention, then why would they make it an exotic weapon?


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Irontruth wrote:

My point is that any class that gets proficiency with all martial weapons, under your silly interpretation of this, gets proficiency with the hornbow.

If that was the intention, then why would they make it an exotic weapon?

Because some people DON'T get both long and short bow proficiencies?

Shadow Lodge

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I still don't see how proficiency effects the weapons at all. It effects a character's attack rolls with the weapon. Nothing more. Is this incorrect somehow?


graystone wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

My point is that any class that gets proficiency with all martial weapons, under your silly interpretation of this, gets proficiency with the hornbow.

If that was the intention, then why would they make it an exotic weapon?

Because some people DON'T get both long and short bow proficiencies?

No one with martial proficiency lacks either long or shortbow proficiency however. So all the same people would have proficiency if it were a martial weapon under the posited interpretation. So making it an Orc weapon accomplishes nothing since everybody gets to treat it as martial (in the sense that martial weapon proficiency makes you proficient in the weapon) not just people with orc weapon familiarity.

I could live with an interpretation that simply gaining proficiency in both bows via martial weapon proficiency is not sufficient, it needs to be specific proficiency in both the long and short bow from the same source. So elves and zen archers would get hornbow proficiency, but fighters and barbarians would not, by default. We can treat a class of weapon proficiencies (simple, martial) as distinct from specific proficiency in those weapons right? Make the check for attacking with a martial weapon be "Do I have proficiency in martial weapons in general or this weapon in particular" rather than treating martial weapon proficiency as a disjoint union of proficiencies.


Dragonborn3 wrote:
I still don't see how proficiency effects the weapons at all. It effects a character's attack rolls with the weapon. Nothing more. Is this incorrect somehow?

Because it effects things you do with the weapon. It's just the way the rules have always worked, and we know from the author it is intended for the weapon to work with abilities that effect "you", instead of just the weapon.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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Dragonborn3 is correct. Proficiency does not affect the weapons in which one is proficient. So you need to take EWP to get proficiency with the hornbow. Weapon Focus needs to be Weapon Focus (hornbow) to affect this weapon, because you normally need to take it twice to affect both long- and shortbows, while a fighter's weapon training would apply to the hornbow because bows encompasses both long- and shortbows.

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