Please fix Archery (and Perception)


Prerelease Discussion


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was prompted to recall this by somebody claiming the revealed P2E melee abilities as failures because it would still have drastic action economy penalty vs Archery, apparently assuming that Archery would continue exactly as it does in 3.x/P1E. So I decided to make clear why Archery should absolutely NOT continue as it does now, and thus should in no way be a goal or standard to which other mechanics should be held.

I mean, the semi-constant Full Attack just doesn't seem necessary design goal. Certainly all the bonus attack options seem un-necessary/ill advised with it. The way range increments work is ridiculous, assuming long range shots need to work basically same way, Full-Attack compatible, just w/ minor attack penalties. Of course this is so effective you would be crazy to try to do anything else in any but most particular situations, even though Archery as theme has much more cinematic possibilities than just "flurry of arrows", precise feats of archery can include called shots, interrupting casters, but that is mostly sidelined now, even when you can gain those special abilities, Full Attack is better 95% of the time. Even Zen Archer seems bizarrely misguided by mechanic-first ideology inherited from Monk Class, despite anybody who's seen real life Zen Archers knows they fire very SLOW MEDITATIVE shots at targets they can't see, they are not about "Flurry of Arrows".

The game is so intent on Longbow allowing long range shots via this ham-fisted mechanic that it ignores you can't actually see target at max range increments! Just non-Composite Longbow is -2 per 100' increment, but Perception is -1 per 10', meaning -20 at limit of 2nd increment (-2 penalty), and -100(!) at 1000' max range. If you can't see it, you can't target it, even if your attack bonus allows, so the design paradigm here is clearly disfunctional and at odds with actual use.

Since targetting is pre-requisite of aiming a shot, not sure why range penalties shouldn't follow same curve as Perception, which then means the two stay in sync. (10' increment weapons like Daggers DO use same distance curve as Perception, just max 5 increments) The rules seem built around allowing stuff that just doesn't occur 99% of the time, and indeed CAN'T occur because of adjacent rules (Perception) which are harsher than ranged/ archery rules as far as distance goes. Rather than such a non-functional dynamic, why not have ranged/archery rules which themselves embody their own limit, and which have range penalties which meaningfully impact normal play to some degree?

I don't really see the necessity of Full Attacking at these long ranges anyways, fine enough to be POSSIBLE to make A shot, but that should be slower aimed shot. Using P2E paradigm, perhaps extra actions could be used to extend normally smaller range increment, so the given range increment is shorter (for Longbow) but spending actions aiming it (precluding Full Attack or fancy shots) will double, triple it. Really, Longbow and Dagger shouldn't need to have HUGELY different range increment for close-in shots which allow rapid fire etc, just that Bows have option of aiming to extend that increment so long range shots are viable, while Daggers can't do that.

Of course reality is 95%+ of shots occur in 1st increment with zero penalty (now/P1E), so IMHO a new system should bring range penalties into some relevance by making them plausibly applicable to normal combat ranges at least to some degree (e.g. -1 to -5). Of course at the longer realistic ranges, Archers may choose to make aimed shots forgoing the Full Attack, although with only one "aim action" range extension they could still have room for another CLOSE shot OR to make their longer shot a special attack etc. EDIT: Whilst making and multiple/Full Attacks a phenomenon more at relatively closer ranges addresses balance:melee by tending to keep archer in Charge or even single Move range. Whereas now if you have Archer on Horseback it's an absolute farce.

This did get somewhat into Perception itself, which would be good to hear more beyond what we've heard, basically "Fighters can be good too" not about mechanic itself. Besides problems with range modifier itself... (should be more tied to object size, modifying distance per penalty (or vice versa), which also means it can distinguish between 'you see dozen horseman on hills' and 'you can see they carry weapons' etc)

I think Dim Light / Low-Light Vision is a wreck in need of salvaging, for example:
Rules for them work well re: point-sources (torches): without LLV you see half as far, which is how it is supposed to work according to their fluff text, which says that. But when dealing with "general lighting conditions", that isn't close to true. In that case, there is just -2 (or potentially -5) flat penalty, i.e. -20' or -50'. So at dawn/dusk where there is 20% Concealment in square next to me, instead of seeing an approaching enemy at 200', I see them at 180'. Why even bother? The conflict between Perception table and Ability description is SO huge, that given 'text trumps table' I am tempted to over-rule it and enforce 'seeing half as far' i.e. 2x distance penalties, but that seems very specific mechanic to infer, and problematic given pointsources aren't problem so Perception "solution" shouldn't doubly penalize them.

EDIT: Actually LLV itself is problematic, as it both says you can see "twice as far" in Dim Light, and says you can see in moonlight as well as you can during day (which also removes Concealment). Which is it? Full negation of dim light, or just seeing twice as far? Dim Light itself (Lighting) only says creature with DARK VISION negate it's Concealment, nothing about LLV seeing "like normal", although the point-source rules DO allow LLV characters to see "like normal" in the area that is "really" Dim Light.

Of course all this is re: vision, Dim Light shouldn't affect how far you hear... Although in many cases you should be able to see further than you can hear normal sounds. (you can see far off group of soldiers with war elephant, but you can't hear their conversation) That gets into 'degrees of perception' which can be specific to each sense. (e.g. "aware of", "detailed perception", etc.)

P.S. I'm sure I forgot something in all this, so please be gentle when you share.


I agree that Perception and range increments are stupid in PF1. Perception and range penalties should really only be in three or four steps: Close (no penalty), Medium (-2), Long (-4 or -5), and maybe Extreme (-8 or -10).

There is no need for micromanaging ranges any further than that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Perception having - 1 every 10 feet is a different can of worms. I don't know anyone who uses that awful rule strictly. By Raw, you can't see a mountain 1 mile away. But seeing a flea in your skin , or 10 feet away, is the same DC


They seem directly related. Ignore mountains, ignore fleas.
(although I mentioned size should affect range scale more, not just flat modifier to total DC)
You need to see person to attack it (or know it's square with 50% Concealment).
Yet Perception despite logical role in 'aiming' is grossly detached from ranged attacks.

I didn't fit it into that wall, but it occured to me, Perception i.e. Seeing
can/should be seen as the next easier step from Touch Attack after 'normal' attack.
(hopefully Paizo clears that terminology up, no word to denote 'normal AC non-touch attack, irrespective melee/ranged)


I think one of the things that may "help" is them having the 3 modes, downtime, exploration, and combat. I feel that they can say, for non-combat follow these rules, for combat follow these rules. Making it easy to see the mountain a mile away except in combat when you're a lot more focussed on right around you. cause right now all the rules are for combat ranges and that doesn't extrapolate well to non-combat.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Perception having - 1 every 10 feet is a different can of worms. I don't know anyone who uses that awful rule strictly. By Raw, you can't see a mountain 1 mile away. But seeing a flea in your skin , or 10 feet away, is the same DC

I don't know if that's RAW - you could easily say the Perception DC to see a mountain is -2000, whereas the Perception DC to see a flea is the flea's Stealth check (including its +16 size bonus for being Fine.)

Scarab Sages

If I remember correctly, the combat and out of combat time and rules sets harkens back to 2nd Edition. It was confusing for those not mired in the books like me, so not sure that's a great idea. I'll have to see the final result before I draft an official opinion though.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
RumpinRufus wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Perception having - 1 every 10 feet is a different can of worms. I don't know anyone who uses that awful rule strictly. By Raw, you can't see a mountain 1 mile away. But seeing a flea in your skin , or 10 feet away, is the same DC
I don't know if that's RAW - you could easily say the Perception DC to see a mountain is -2000, whereas the Perception DC to see a flea is the flea's Stealth check (including its +16 size bonus for being Fine.)

I think what they are forgetting is that size matters. The larger it is, the easier it so to see. Also, "seeing" a mountain is not the same thing as seeing a mountain. You aren't going to get any details 1 mile away. You'll see the picturesque landscape with sloping hills and fuzzy green texture (trees) with a visible tree line and a blue/black grainy texture (rock and brush) with a bluish to bluish/white snowcap with some of the graining black texture peaking through. That's about it. No need to make a perception check to see landscape. And RAW supports that.

But you sure as heck aren't going to see any interesting or important details about the mountainside from 1 mile away. And that's what a perception check is for.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
but Perception is -1 per 10', meaning -20 at limit of 2nd increment (-2 penalty), and -100(!) at 1000' max range.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
By Raw, you can't see a mountain 1 mile away.

Mountains can't make stealth checks, therefor perception checks are unnecessary to see them and there is no DC to penalize with the distance penalty.

The same goes for enemies you may wish to spot. You only need a perception check if they make a stealth check, which in most cases requires cover and concealment. At very long ranges (like 900 feet) this means stealth is a simple pass/fail on whether you have cover or concealment.

Seriously, the rule works just fine by RAW. The problem is that people misunderstand it.


Perception is letting you detect something that is hard to detect... Thus the modifiers.

There is no perception check to see a man standing in an empty field 1000' away, you just see him.

If he trying to hide he gets stealth + distance modifiers, because if you're hiding behind a bush from a distance you can't tell if it's just a bush or a bush with a guy behind it.

A mountain is not trying to hide, nor is the sun--which has a -trillion to see it--

Perception isn't tied to being able to see things, it's tied to being able to detect things that are not obvious.

That being said, archery should probably be changed..range should have a _far_ larger impact than it does.


RumpinRufus wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Perception having - 1 every 10 feet is a different can of worms. I don't know anyone who uses that awful rule strictly. By Raw, you can't see a mountain 1 mile away. But seeing a flea in your skin , or 10 feet away, is the same DC
I don't know if that's RAW - you could easily say the Perception DC to see a mountain is -2000, whereas the Perception DC to see a flea is the flea's Stealth check (including its +16 size bonus for being Fine.)

If seeing a mountain is - 2000, then that only means you lose mountains out of sight at around 20.400 feet. Which is roughly 3-4 miles instead of one. And yes, the flea has +16 to stealth by size. Assuming it uses stealth, you have exactly the same DC to spot it right in front of you, or 10 feet away (well, 9.99 feet away).

The perception rule sucks, because it is a flat modifier. It breaks in a lot of examples.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hearing a thunder is another example.


Perception works if they just add a line about the 'perception modifiers' for larger creatures also working on objects and continuing on as indicated on the table - using that things like 'seeing the sun' give a 'can't not see it unless blind' bonus to the sun - and other large objects would get similar bonuses.

I pointed that out and was told how that table didn't 'extend' - even though using the rules as they exist and just continuing on makes the math work - I guess 'adherence to RAW' is more important than 'common sense'.

That all said ranged does need to be balanced along melee - the odd penalties - and mostly the feats that make it easy to not take any penalties. Rapid shot and Manyshot also contribute to this - giving a full attack archer unreal attack options - before haste.

That all said I hesitate to speculate on a fix given the new action economy and 'bounded crits' - but it would be nice to see some design attention given to *incentivize* archers to move, or possibly make a single attack to do 'something different' rather than full attack.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dasrak wrote:
Seriously, the rule works just fine by RAW. The problem is that people misunderstand it.

I love gazing at the mountains and counting fleas on the climber's backs. Since they're not trying to hide and all.

"You only need a perception check if they make a stealth check" is flat wrong, Perception is used to notice details of environment, including "Notice a visible creature" and "Notice a creature using Stealth". Stealth makes it harder (if a positive modifier), but not required to need a check.

But seriously, you're missing the point. The post was mostly about systemic dynamic of Archery, minutae of range increments and Perception were coincidental to that. Even without that, one cannot just say "the rules works fine" and Archery thus logically becomes paradigm by which melee should aspire to and be measured. I can write a Feat that says "as Move Action, all enemies in all time and existence are killed" and that does not mean that is good system dynamic, even though "rules work fine".

As I detailed, the problem is really the Archer Full-Attack works so "well" for them, they generally avoid doing anything else. I've seen people discuss combos of Archery AoO+Combat Patrol but in 99% of cases Full-Attack is preferred. That's most boring game in world, all Archers taking same Feat chain to fully negate tactical "terrain" that impedes "Always Full-Attack" strategy. That Archery range is so disparate from other tactical ranges just further amplifies this.


Ckorik wrote:

Perception works if they just add a line about the 'perception modifiers' for larger creatures also working on objects and continuing on as indicated on the table - using that things like 'seeing the sun' give a 'can't not see it unless blind' bonus to the sun - and other large objects would get similar bonuses.

In my experience, perception works because the GM uses common sense and an arbitrary DC. Any rule you try to make with a set penalty for range will break given certain examples. Except when you ignore the rule altogether, and give an arbitrary DC that makes sense.

As an example, lets say the mountain has a tower on it. It is slightly camouflaged, so it is not automatic to see. You could see that tower from a certain distance, but it is not guaranteed. Let's say the DC is 20, at 2 miles. Then at 3 miles the DC is 548, and at 1 mile the DC is -508. At 2.0 miles the DC is 20, but at 2.1 miles the DC is about 70.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
I love gazing at the mountains and counting fleas on the climber's backs. Since they're not trying to hide and all.

I don't see what's wrong with gazing at mountains. They're pretty hard to miss in good conditions. But hey, maybe we'll get some specific rules on visibility of terrain features when exploring this time around.

As for counting fleas on the climber's back, I guess it depends on how hairy he is whether that counts as cover. If he didn't have any hair, I'd imagine it would be pretty easy to spot the fleas unless their coloration matched his skin tone exactly. If they did have cover from the hair, then an ordinary person would need to take 20 to find them (which sounds about right to me).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dasrak wrote:
Quandary wrote:
I love gazing at the mountains and counting fleas on the climber's backs. Since they're not trying to hide and all.

I don't see what's wrong with gazing at mountains. They're pretty hard to miss in good conditions. But hey, maybe we'll get some specific rules on visibility of terrain features when exploring this time around.

As for counting fleas on the climber's back, I guess it depends on how hairy he is whether that counts as cover. If he didn't have any hair, I'd imagine it would be pretty easy to spot the fleas unless their coloration matched his skin tone exactly. If they did have cover from the hair, then an ordinary person would need to take 20 to find them (which sounds about right to me).

I think he's talking about fleas on the climber on the mountain. None of those things are trying to hide and thus are all auto-visible right?


Maybe re-read the first post. No fleas, Weapon Range-Perception issue was only 2 of 10 paragraphs. If Dasrak wants to fixate on that and his strange belief which ignores Perception (Table)'s explicit application re: non-Stealthing characters, let him make his own thread and have fun there.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Perception modifier should be logarithmic by range, perhaps that each doubling of range (after the initial 10 ft) is -2. So you might have
10': -2
20': -4
40': -6
80': -8
etc...
1000': -14
1 mile: -20
10 miles: -24
93 million miles: -72 (you can see the sun!)

It's a bit fiddly, even for those of us who use dB every day.

Archery could just work like melee attacks: 1 shot per action. If rapid shot and multishot and those things are nerfed a bit, that'll probably fix it. Maybe using an action to aim gives +2 to hit on the next shot; with the new crit rules it may well be worthwhile.


It's okay for ranged to do "full attack " when possible, and it's okay for it to be possible often. Melee want to full attack as often as they can too...

To balance the "ease" of full attacking the penalties for shooting into melee and for shooting people who have moved and people more than 30 feet away should be more severe. 1 feat and you have no penalty for shooting into melee.. that's more powerful than most feats.

There is no penalty for shooting someone who is running full speed , there is no penalty for shooting someone who is running in a zigzag.. if those penalties existed and there were ways to reduce those penalties via "careful aim"--1 attack no penalties and maybe some precision damage... Then archers would do different things.


If bows keep the ability to be fired without "reloading", perhaps they should have a severe range donut keeping you from attacking within their "first" range increment (which would have to be reduced), while crossbows can be fired at close ranges to make up for reloads. After all, Reach Weapons have a donut even though they only have ONE extra square of range.


Bows vs Crossbows vs Thrown is definitely somewhere where change to 3.x/P1E dynamic is called for. I can see all of these having their niche, and mechanics to do that may be unrelated or complete opposite of current status.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mudfoot wrote:

Perception modifier should be logarithmic by range, perhaps that each doubling of range (after the initial 10 ft) is -2. So you might have

10': -2
20': -4
40': -6
80': -8
etc...

We don't need mathematics as complicated as logarithms. Proportion will do. Create reasonable Perception penalties for up to 100 feet and scale down anything further away proportionally. Spotting a 25-foot tall giant at 500 feet has the same difficulty as spotting a 5-foot tall human at 100 feet or a 2.5-foot tall gnome at 50 feet.

As for the main issue, archery, I suspect that Paizo has put a lot of thought into how to adapt archery to the PF2 actions and I look forward to seeing their results. I hope it matches historical archery well.


^ you want a crossbow that you can shoot once every 3 rounds, that almost auto-kills any human it hits? That's "historical"...


I'm specifically curious to see what they do with the Heavy Crossbow, if it's even still a thing.


Logarithmic modifiers would work better for the Tower in the mountain, but will make people able to see fleas at ridiculous distances. There is no fixed penalty that works for all. Arbitrary DC using common sense and a set ef examples is by far better


Of the new "proficiencies" are as epic as they claim, and they can apply to perception (It's not a skill anymore, so might not work off proficiency). I would hope the LEGENDARY tier guy would be able to see those fleas in the mountain :p

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest Prerelease Discussion / Please fix Archery (and Perception) All Messageboards
Recent threads in Pathfinder Playtest Prerelease Discussion