I see no reason whatsoever to bother with composite bows


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I see no reason whatsoever to bother with composite bows. They cost more than regular bows, and it takes Strength 14 to add a measly +1 extra damage to a composite bow. Considering that the majority of damage comes from magic weapon damage dice, I cannot see a dedicated archer ponying up the Strength 14 for the +1 damage.

Why even bother with the Strength 14 when you could be raising Dexterity (for your attacks) and some mix of Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma?


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Colette Brunel wrote:

I see no reason whatsoever to bother with composite bows. They cost more than regular bows, and it takes Strength 14 to add a measly +1 extra damage to a composite bow. Considering that the majority of damage comes from magic weapon damage dice, I cannot see a dedicated archer ponying up the Strength 14 for the +1 damage.

Why even bother with the Strength 14 when you could be raising Dexterity (for your attacks) and some mix of Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma?

Because int is a dump stat for archers anyway.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Senkon wrote:
Because int is a dump stat for archers anyway.

At higher levels, I will take a couple more skill trainings over a measly +1 damage.


The problem is Propulsive.

I'd rather have bows and such getting LOWER BASE DAMAGE just so we can add FULL STRENGTH MOD to damage.

Less math is better.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
I see no reason whatsoever to bother with composite bows.

Because they're much better than crossbows or slings? :P


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

More seriously, drawing on the expected utility calculations done here, the expected damage over 2 rounds for repeatedly firing a composite longbow, if an 8 is needed to hit, and +str is the strength modifier, is: 10.2+.95*str within 50' (given the Volley penalty), or 12.9+1.25*str (if in the first range increment, but beyond 50').

The expected damage for an ordinary longbow will be the same, but without the strength modifier. So: 10.2 within 50' (given the Volley penalty), or 12.9 (if in the first range increment, but beyond 50').

So every two points of strength will up your expected damage by about 7-10%. That's not a huge amount, but it's not-trivial. And at higher levels, when the cost difference between longbows and composite longbows is trivial, and you have several rounds of 4-stat increases to play with, my hunch if you'll see most archers raising strength and using composite longbows.


You might be a dorf fighter who wants a ranged option. Are you just going to let your 18 STR go to waste?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Porridge wrote:


So every two points of strength will up your expected damage by about 7-10%. That's not a huge amount, but it's not-trivial. And at higher levels, when the cost difference between longbows and composite longbows is trivial, and you have several rounds of 4-stat increases to play with, my hunch if you'll see most archers raising strength and using composite longbows.

"You have several rounds of 4-stat increases to play with" may be overstating matters. If you start with Strength 10 at 1st level, it will take 10th level to hit Strength 14, presuming that you do not raise other ability scores instead. By, say, 12th level, you probably have a +3 weapon potency rune, for 4d8 damage on the longbow. That extra +1 damage is looking quite marginal then.


They should bump light/heavy crossbow to 1d10/1d12 damage and let composite longbow add full str mod to damage.


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also, what is with volley trait penalty?

didn't this people read any history books? bows(and crossbows) were most deadly at point blank range!!


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Igor Horvat wrote:

also, what is with volley trait penalty?

didn't this people read any history books? bows(and crossbows) were most deadly at point blank range!!

It's a backdoor attempt to nerf ranged damage. Since the vast majority of combats indoors occur inside 50', and you aren't going to carry two bows in dungeon, I think Paizo is trying to compel players to use shortbows when indoors. This brings down the damage.


Igor Horvat wrote:

also, what is with volley trait penalty?

didn't this people read any history books? bows(and crossbows) were most deadly at point blank range!!

I guess the rp is that it's harder hit when close? Like if someone is up in your face it's easier to strafe out of the way and harder for you to keep up with the aiming.


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Senkon wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

also, what is with volley trait penalty?

didn't this people read any history books? bows(and crossbows) were most deadly at point blank range!!

I guess the rp is that it's harder hit when close? Like if someone is up in your face it's easier to strafe out of the way and harder for you to keep up with the aiming.

That is only if someone is almost in your face.

If they wrote volley 10ft or 15ft, I would say: Hey, this is great, they realy tried to think something good.


Igor Horvat wrote:
Senkon wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:

also, what is with volley trait penalty?

didn't this people read any history books? bows(and crossbows) were most deadly at point blank range!!

I guess the rp is that it's harder hit when close? Like if someone is up in your face it's easier to strafe out of the way and harder for you to keep up with the aiming.

That is only if someone is almost in your face.

If they wrote volley 10ft or 15ft, I would say: Hey, this is great, they realy tried to think something good.

I mean that would probably be fine but I would think that the closer you are the more amplified your sideways movement is. So it would be the most obvious point blank but still a bit harder if they are mid range to you. To me it's not so obviously wrong that I can't deal with it at least.


Volley makes hitting something 100 feet away harder than hitting something 10 feet away. I don't care about the balance, it just makes no sesnes and should be removed from the game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
Porridge wrote:


So every two points of strength will up your expected damage by about 7-10%. That's not a huge amount, but it's not-trivial. And at higher levels, when the cost difference between longbows and composite longbows is trivial, and you have several rounds of 4-stat increases to play with, my hunch if you'll see most archers raising strength and using composite longbows.
"You have several rounds of 4-stat increases to play with" may be overstating matters. If you start with Strength 10 at 1st level, it will take 10th level to hit Strength 14, presuming that you do not raise other ability scores instead. By, say, 12th level, you probably have a +3 weapon potency rune, for 4d8 damage on the longbow. That extra +1 damage is looking quite marginal then.

That's a fair point. The extra dice you get as you stack weapon potency will make the relative effect of your strength bonus smaller as you level up. So I agree that the strength modifier won't make much of a difference.

Of course, once you get past the first few levels, the financial cost difference is negligible. And archers with a 14+ strength (to help them fight in melee, say) will want to go for the composite bow, since it adds a (admittedly small) damage bonus for basically no cost.

So drawing out the consequences of your point, one nice feature of this way of setting things up is that it makes all of the composite and non-composite bow options potential "best" weapons for an archer:

  • Composite shortbow: Best for archers with a 14+ strength who will be firing within 50' a lot.
  • Composite longbow: Best for best for archers with a 14+ strength who will be firing outside of 50' a fair amount of the time.
  • Shortbow: Best for archers with less than 14 strength who will be firing within 50' a lot.
  • Longbow: Best for best for archers with less than 14 strength who will be firing outside of 50' a fair amount of the time.

I actually like having things set up so that lots of different weapons can be "best" for different characters.

Now if only they could find a way to also do that for crossbows and slings... :P


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It looks like shortbow proficiency does not mean composite shortbow proficiency, and that longbow proficiency does not mean composite longbow proficiency, judging from the wording of Weapon Familiarity (Elf).

With that in mind, there really is no reason to build for a composite bow, is there?


I'm agreeing with the previous interpretation that composite bows are only useful as a backup ranged option for high-strength melee builds that want something with better range than a javelin.


I still think that the Composite/non-composite distinction should just be tossed. Treat all bows with the current rules for composites. There really isn't much reason to keep the split.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
I still think that the Composite/non-composite distinction should just be tossed. Treat all bows with the current rules for composites. There really isn't much reason to keep the split.

I have to agree. Whatever design space the non-composites create, seems trivial in the context of the game. What's more, even if Paizo did try to leverage this distinction, I don't see it as any improvement to the player experience.

It just occurred to me that I've overlooked something. The reason to have the distinction is to give PCs an advantage over NPCs. By sticking humanoids with non-composites, it allows the PCs to gain consistent advantage. So on that basis, I would reverse my opinion. Keep the distinction.

Grand Lodge

Jason Buhlman has already stated that Paizo is looking at this and he indicated in the twitch stream that he had seen an idea he liked.

Play, send feedback, post in the forums here. They appear to be listening.

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