Why is Volley?


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Why does the volley weapon trait exist? I am aware of no physics that makes firing a longbow on a flat trajectory more difficult than with a shortbow or crossbow (or a sling, or a thrown weapon).


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Apparently they don't like longbows seeing use at all. When I played an archer in 1st ed I don't think I EVER shot at anything more than 50ft away.

Edit: I think the better solution would be to give the short-bow agile so you trade damage die for more attacks.

Scarab Sages

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Volley is one of my top 5 gripes with the new rules and should be eliminated as soon as possible. It makes no sense, nerfs longbows for no reason, and makes rangers unable to fully utilize their most iconic weapon.


redpandamage wrote:
Volley is one of my top 5 gripes with the new rules and should be eliminated as soon as possible. It makes no sense, nerfs longbows for no reason, and makes rangers unable to fully utilize their most iconic weapon.

I'm going to lobby that Hunt Target should eliminate the Volley Penalty for Longbows because you can't even use HT at the Composite Longbows 2nd range increment.

Scarab Sages

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I hate volley too much to have to spend an action to remove the penalty. Volley makes literally no sense and should be purged from the game with extreme prejudice. But I’ll take what I can get.


Wolfgang Hype wrote:

Apparently they don't like longbows seeing use at all. When I played an archer in 1st ed I don't think I EVER shot at anything more than 50ft away.

Edit: I think the better solution would be to give the short-bow agile so you trade damage die for more attacks.

According to another thread, longbows are already the best choice including the Volley trait.

Porridge wrote:

Some expected damage calculations.

Assume our archer is firing within 50', has a strength modifier of +str, and hits normally on an 8. To make up for the fact that one needs to reload twice on the second turn with a crossbow or sling, let's calculate expected damage over two rounds.

The expected damage of firing with every action with a composite longbow for two rounds is: 10.2+.95*str

The expected damage of repeatedly firing+reloading with a crossbow for two rounds is: 7.65

The expected damage of repeatedly firing+reloading with a sling for two rounds is: 5.95+.95*str

So the composite longbow is still substantially better than a crossbow or a sling within 50', even with the Volley penalty.

EDIT: And if we move beyond 50', then the expected damage of composite longbows over two rounds goes up to 12.9+1.25*str, and a composite longbow user with a decent strength will be doing around double the expected damage of a sling or crossbow.

So it's still looking like composite longbows are going to be strictly better than crossbows and slings across the board. And so martial characters who want to specialize in crossbows or slings are going to be at a strict disadvantage... :/

Scarab Sages

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Yeah, but even if those numbers are right, crossbows and slings seem to have more support than longbows. Especially in certain classes. (ranger)


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redpandamage wrote:
I hate volley too much to have to spend an action to remove the penalty. Volley makes literally no sense and should be purged from the game with extreme prejudice. But I’ll take what I can get.

I know that this is a playtest, but I will ignore this trait because I actualy I have a longbow and know better.

Dark Archive

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I, for one, embrace our new, shortbow overlords.


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Because c.longbows were THE option for ranged combat (and martial combat too), so paizo did what it knows best and nerfed them. 'cause giving better base options to shortbow, crossbow and sling is probably "power creep". Funny thing, UAE actually made melee a bit better compared to bows, but then we got shield-raising and grip-shifting actions.


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I hate being the person who cries realism but yeah, speaking as a former competitive archer (didn't shoot longbow but knew people who did), this makes no sense. It'd be better, both from a believability standpoint and a fun standpoint, to just try and make shortbows more appealing rather than arbitrarily nerf longbows.


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This one is a major dislike for me.

Makes no logical sense, is a hard nerf to a basic fantasy staple - this is not like complaining that my ninja multiclassed expulsionist & sanctified slayer inquisitor should be immediately buildable in the new rules - ranger or elf with longbow is a pretty basic concept* that out to be valid.

Unless they plan to start publishing a new line of massively larger battlemaps.

-------------------------------------------

*no wait, maybe I'm wrong - famously in the stories Robin Hood and his Merry Men always used crossbows for close in work when ambushing people from just off a woodland path and if you actually read Fellowship of the Ring Legolas borrows Gimli's throwing axes inside the Mines of Moria. Henry V's longbowmen carried sharpened stakes that they hammered into the group 50 feet in front of their lines to try to keep the French knights out of longbow's famed useless zone.


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The volley trait is absolutely disgusting. I sure hope they see this thread and kick that arbitrary nerf out of the game.

But in regards to realism - how the hell do crossbows have longer range than longbows? Why is nobody here talking about it?

Scarab Sages

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Exactly. It seems like no one considered what a longbow is and just wanted to nerf them.


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Skrzynek wrote:

The volley trait is absolutely disgusting. I sure hope they see this thread and kick that arbitrary nerf out of the game.

But in regards to realism - how the hell do crossbows have longer range than longbows? Why is nobody here talking about it?

Well, they saw: reload time, must give something...hmm...range?

As someone who practiced HEMA and archery, seeing this weapon table makes me want to bash my head into a wall.


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Yeah Volley is one of the worst things i've ever seen in game rules so far. Compared to actual realism of course.


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Igor Horvat wrote:
Skrzynek wrote:

The volley trait is absolutely disgusting. I sure hope they see this thread and kick that arbitrary nerf out of the game.

But in regards to realism - how the hell do crossbows have longer range than longbows? Why is nobody here talking about it?

Well, they saw: reload time, must give something...hmm...range?

As someone who practiced HEMA and archery, seeing this weapon table makes me want to bash my head into a wall.

Yeah, using logic on the equipment lists is a little painful. You could make the argument that it's easier to aim with a crossbow. I don't shoot bows or crossbows myself but my understanding is that it's fairly hard to hold and aim with a bow while the crossbow has the advantage of not requiring any effort keep ready while you aim.

Could actually use that to give crossbows a niche. Likely not a terribly great one, but still having them be the sniper style weapons is something. I would still probably give them a base damage increase.

Scarab Sages

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That’s still stupid as fromexperience, training and strength fox that. Add minkinum strength if’s that’s the case. And doesn’t explain short bows.


I suspect it's to discourage the silliness of a character using a longbow indoors or in a dungeon without giving the weapon such a significant Bulk that characters would be reluctant to carry one at all.


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So you can remove the penalty with point blank shot.

Would be bad enough as a feat tax, but ok you don't need to worry about precise shot.

Oh no - this is fighter only. Only fighters can use longbows properly.


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I go with removing volley and adding agile to a shorbow, sounds way more fun - and makes the shortbow a pretty good option


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JulianW wrote:
Oh no - this is fighter only. Only fighters can use longbows properly.

The Playtest has clearly made the Fighter the superior choice for archery. It's not even close. In P1, a competently built Archery Ranger could hold is own against the Archery Fighter and Zen Monk on account of the combat style giving archery feats and spells like Gravity Bow that were much early. Except for Favored Aim = Improved Precise Shot, Ranger's aren't getting a leg up on anything else.

Many Shot and Rapid Shot are gone for the Ranger in Playtest, though I'd expect we'll some of those back in the final version.

Dark Archive

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JulianW wrote:

So you can remove the penalty with point blank shot.

Would be bad enough as a feat tax, but ok you don't need to worry about precise shot.

Oh no - this is fighter only. Only fighters can use longbows properly.

OR, you could use a shortbow and get a bonus to damage on most of your attacks.

Embrace the shortbow!


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You know, you COULD just use a shortbow when not wanting insane range... I'm prettty sure that's the reason for the Volley tag, to make the shortbow worth something. The old mechanic of Longbow > Shortbow is weak, and not really reflective of how weapon designs work. If you are going to be making your way through tighter spaces - dungeon crawling, or hunting in the woods, it just makes sense to carry a shortbow - it's just the more appropriate weapon. A longbow makes perfect sense for open battlefield use, or stationary defense from a parapet.

Mechanically, the shortbow is only 1hp/attack less than the longbow, and on a crit, they are equal (both are Deadly d10, I believe)

Shadow Lodge

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I actually like the volley trait on the longbow. As it stands the vast majority of players use the longbow because it not only has name recognition but is just flat out better than EVERY OTHER RANGED OPTION IN THE GAME. Giving it a bit of a nerf helps make it less of an all around, anytime superior option and gives it more of a specialized niche, allowing other weapons the room necessary to start filling those roles and not have to have every ranged weapon play the game of "but is it a better longbow?"

Maybe we'll get lucky and even things like javelins, guns, and CROSSBOWS might become good enough that they don't just feel like punishment choices for new players and a 3 week excursion into the depths of the splat to find a way to make work XD.


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CraziFuzzy wrote:
You know, you COULD just use a shortbow when not wanting insane range... I'm prettty sure that's the reason for the Volley tag, to make the shortbow worth something. The old mechanic of Longbow > Shortbow is weak, and not really reflective of how weapon designs work. If you are going to be making your way through tighter spaces - dungeon crawling, or hunting in the woods, it just makes sense to carry a shortbow - it's just the more appropriate weapon. A longbow makes perfect sense for open battlefield use, or stationary defense from a parapet.

The Volley trait exist for two reasons and two reasons alone:

1) It nerfs ranged damage for everyone but the archery Fighter;

2) It creates design space. The Fighter gets Point-Blank Shot, which nullifies the Volley penalty. This means all the fluff behind why Volley is irrelevant. The bottom line is that they are forcing behavior and trying to make sure the Fighter is the best at combat, regardless of mode.

I'm hoping that Rangers will get access to this feat, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Why? One of Hunt Target's benefits is eliminating the 2nd range penalty. This seems to be clearly aimed at allowing the Ranger to not get totally penalized for having to use a shortbow. You'll note that Hunt Target doesn't even work at the 2nd range increment of a longbow. Plus, I get the sense the designers think the shortbow is really the "hunting" weapon, not the longbow.

Quote:
Mechanically, the shortbow is only 1hp/attack less than the longbow, and on a crit, they are equal (both are Deadly d10, I believe)

That might be true at level 1, but you'll recall that each +1 adds a damage die. So +1 Shortbow does 2d6 while a +1 Longbow does 2d8. That +1d/hit is now +2d/hit. Add a crit and that's another damage die. At higher +'s the shortbow is going to really pale in comparison to the stopping power of a longbow. You're essentially telling the Ranger that he now has to fight with the shortsword of bows while the Fighter gets the longsword.


N N 959 wrote:
That might be true at level 1, but you'll recall that each +1 adds a damage die. So +1 Shortbow does 2d6 while a +1 Longbow does 2d8. That +1d/hit is now +2d/hit. Add a crit and that's another damage die. At higher +'s the shortbow is going to really pale in comparison to the stopping power of a longbow. You're essentially telling the Ranger that he now has to fight with the shortsword of bows while while the Fighter gets the longsword.

The absolute difference might be increasing, but the relative difference is not. The damage difference between a +5 legendary c.shortbow (6d6+.5*Str*6, 21+3*Str) and a +5 legendary c.longbow (6d8+.5*Str*6, 27+3*Str) is the same as the difference between a standard c.shortbow (1d6+1/2 Str, 3.5+.5*Str) and a standard c.longbow (1d8+.5*Str, 4.5+.5*Str). The shortbow deals ~77% to ~88% (based on character Str) the damage of a longbow given the same quality level and number of potency runes.

Also a Fighter wants to use a shortbow or c.shortbow when engaging targets at a distance within 60ft. With Point Blank Shot a shortbow (1d6+2, 5.5) actually deals superior damage to a longbow (1d8, 4.5) within 60ft.

The longbow seems to be intended to be a reserve ranged weapon rather than a primary weapon. The only real reason to use a longbow over a shortbow is to deal more damage to targets more than 50ft/60ft away.

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The Volley mechanic is just a plainly wrong wya to do a good thing (to make long bows NOT automatically best weapon in the game).

I would rather see long bows being slower at attacks than short bows (in realy life they are, although not as slow as x-bows).

But leaving the Volley as is just not good at all.


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Ultimatecalibur wrote:
The absolute difference might be increasing, but the relative difference is not.

Relative difference is actually irrelevant. What matters is how much damage your doing and if that gap increases as the weapon becomes more powerful. It does. If one weapon averages 3 point and the other averages 4, it's irrelevant that the 75% is maintained when one is doing 75 points and the other is doing 100. What matters is how substantive a benefit it is to do 25 more points In addition, a higher max damage (because of a higher base die) is an asymmetrical advantage because it means you have a greater chance of killing the target outright.

Quote:
Also a Fighter wants to use a shortbow or c.shortbow when engaging targets at a distance within 60ft. With Point Blank Shot a shortbow (1d6+2, 5.5) actually deals superior damage to a longbow (1d8, 4.5) within 60ft.

I'm not sure a circumstance bonus for damage applies to each die. It may be just 2d6+2, not 2d6+4. if I'm correct, then a +1 longbow is averaging 9 points and a +1 Shortbow with PBS, is averaging 9...and then the shortbow gets worse. If you can find a rule that clarifies this, it would be appreciated.

Quote:
The longbow seems to be intended to be a reserve ranged weapon rather than a primary weapon. The only real reason to use a longbow over a shortbow is to deal more damage to targets more than 50ft/60ft away.

No, that's incorrect. The fact that PBS removes the Volley penalty is proof positive that Paizo fully intends for the longbow to be a used by archery Fighters or anyone who multi-casses into a Fighter to use a bow. Magic Items like the Oathbow (composite longbow) don't seem to have any suggestion that the weapons is intended for any specific style/range of combat. If anything PBS seems to be an attempt to make thrown weapons more of a factor.

Another data point working against your supposition is that the shortbow is decidedly inferior past 60 ft, where it does not get a +2 bonus for PBS. As no one carries a short and a longbow in P1 and it would be nonsensical for Paizo to try and impose such behavior pattern on archers. As such I can only interpret PBS as Paizo wanting the Fighter to be the only class that makes effective use of the longbow and Hunt Target an attempt to make the shortbow/crossbow palatable to the Ranger.


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N N 959 wrote:
I'm not sure a circumstance bonus for damage applies to each die.

I'm quite certain that it does not.

N N 959 wrote:
If anything PBS seems to be an attempt to make thrown weapons more of a factor.

A fighter trying to use thrown weapons would hit a snag pretty quick: fighters don't get Quick Draw.

Making the shortbow agile seems a far more reasonable way to balance it with the longbow. That's how the 1d6 melee weapons are balanced against the 1d8 ones, so I don't see why it wouldn't work just as well for ranged weapons.


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I'd rather Shortbows gained Agile and Volley was purged from the game. Alternately, give Longbows a Reload 1, since it does take more time and effort to draw a longbow string than a shortbow.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
I'd rather Shortbows gained Agile and Volley was purged from the game. Alternately, give Longbows a Reload 1, since it does take more time and effort to draw a longbow string than a shortbow.

Yup, Mark Seifter even said at sometime that one mechanic changed because it felt like punishment, to some other option becoming a reward, while keeping game's math basically the same. They've should have went with something like that here. Edit: there's a similar issue with standard PF1 best armors, they are punishing the best ones instead of buffing the worse ones.

Grand Lodge

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Also voicing a displeasure at the whole 0-50' Volley penalty. We don't understand why it is harder to hit something from 0-50' with a longbow.


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I made characters with my group (some 0F one players, a 5e player, and a newbie) for Doomsday Dawn and this was the one thing that stuck out. Resonance didn't bother then, Half-Orc/elf as a feat didn't bother them, new proficiency system didn't bother them, the ranger not having archery feats didn't bother them. Volley bothered them it it bothers me too.


Bardarok wrote:
I made characters with my group (some 0F one players, a 5e player, and a newbie) for Doomsday Dawn and this was the one thing that stuck out. Resonance didn't bother then, Half-Orc/elf as a feat didn't bother them, new proficiency system didn't bother them, the ranger not having archery feats didn't bother them. Volley bothered them it it bothers me too.

Did you point out the shortbow to them? What was the reaction to that?


Yah the ranger took a short bow instead. Since most fights take place within 50ft he thought the shortbow was just plain better.


Bardarok wrote:
Yah the ranger took a short bow instead. Since most fights take place within 50ft he thought the shortbow was just plain better.

Which seems to be exactly what Paizo wants to happen. Volley exist to compel behavior and allow them to have a feat e.g. Point Blank Shot, that removes the penalty.


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N N 959 wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Yah the ranger took a short bow instead. Since most fights take place within 50ft he thought the shortbow was just plain better.
Which seems to be exactly what Paizo wants to happen. Volley exist to compel behavior and allow them to have a feat e.g. Point Blank Shot, that removes the penalty.

I get that but this is hamfisted game design. They could give short bows the agile trait and then there could be a competitive choice instead of locking fighters to longbows and rangers to shortbows for no justifiable reason.


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I don't see a problem with it. Just because its different, doesn't mean its bad.

I see it as they wanted to differentiate longbows and shortbows as longbows are better at long range shots and shortbows are better at short range shots. Real world physics can be put aside because that has never applied to a fantasy setting in the first place.

Shortbows: 1-60 ft. (no penalty) / 61-120 ft. (-2 to hit)
Longbows: 1-50 ft. (-2 to hit) / 51-100 ft. (no penalty)

Looks okay to me. I think I like this better than the previous edition where the only real difference was rolling a 1d6 or a 1d8 for damage.


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Bardarok wrote:
They could give short bows the agile trait and then there could be a competitive choice instead of locking fighters to longbows and rangers to shortbows for no justifiable reason.

I am not a fan of how much the playtest has locked in certain option based on class. Let's hope its strictly to improve the data and will be fixed come next year.


Has anyone tried using a longbow in the playtest yet to test this out?


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Unicore wrote:
Has anyone tried using a longbow in the playtest yet to test this out?

In the playtest, with level 1 characters, the shortbow is actually going to be better for both Fighter and Ranger. Point Blank Shot gives a shortbow +2 on damage. That puts it ahead of the Longbow. However, once you start adding damage dice from enhancements, the longbow will start to pull away. But at 1st level, as long as you're within 60', the shortbow is better.

From a reality perspective, this doesn't bother me so much. I actually think it's far more believable for shortbows to be carried indoors. But I agree with Bardarok that the way Paizo is pushing this paradigm on the players feels contrived and obvious.


If they wanted to limit the longbow in a way that's fairly reasonable, they should give it a cone of fire that requires an action to move. It would make longbows less ideal in skirmishes at close range without making them harder to use when you got closer to an immobile target.

I'd think a 30 degree arc was a good approximation of available target lines before you start sacrificing consistency. But it would probably be easier to use 45 just for simplicity sake. Then let pointblank double that arc along with its normal benefits.


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Crayon wrote:
I suspect it's to discourage the silliness of a character using a longbow indoors or in a dungeon without giving the weapon such a significant Bulk that characters would be reluctant to carry one at all.

If they want to discourage bow usage in a dungeon, all they need to do is take the ceiling into account. What if when using a bow indoors, you have a maximum range of one range increment per 10' ceiling height, otherwise you are bouncing arrows off of the ceiling.*

*Actual numbers subject to change based on someone less lazy than me running the muzzle velocity of a bow and the arc of the arrow's flight vs. gravitational drop.


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Carrot is better than the stick, so they should look for some bonus to have with shortbow not avoiding penalty of longbow.

Personaly, I think agile should be the way for shortbow.

Shortbow, 1d6, range 60ft, agile, can use while mounted.

Longbow, 1d8, range 120ft, cannot be used while mounted.


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avatarless wrote:
Crayon wrote:
I suspect it's to discourage the silliness of a character using a longbow indoors or in a dungeon without giving the weapon such a significant Bulk that characters would be reluctant to carry one at all.

If they want to discourage bow usage in a dungeon, all they need to do is take the ceiling into account. What if when using a bow indoors, you have a maximum range of one range increment per 10' ceiling height, otherwise you are bouncing arrows off of the ceiling.*

*Actual numbers subject to change based on someone less lazy than me running the muzzle velocity of a bow and the arc of the arrow's flight vs. gravitational drop.

Or, they could make it so that using such a weapon in inappropriate situations causes a penalty - but that penalty would have to be based on a strictly known game mechanic - very often, ceiling height is not necessarily defined, so we need to look at something else. I know, how about we just make it harder to use longbows in short ranges? That would approximate the desire to limit their 'indoor' effectiveness, while still allowing them to work great for long range attacks. We can still refer to the reasoning for this mechanic by calling it something like 'bombardment' or something - but that word sort of implies siege weapon use.. I know, we'll call it Volley. That should work.

Grand Lodge

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According to the Twitch Stream they may get rid of Volley from Longbows and rebalance bows in a different way.


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longbows are flat out better than shortbow. the only places or people who used shortsbows were places where the longbow had not yet been invented. not everything has to be balanced mechanically. a longbow costing more than a short bow is enough.


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ikarinokami wrote:
longbows are flat out better than shortbow. the only places or people who used shortsbows were places where the longbow had not yet been invented. not everything has to be balanced mechanically. a longbow costing more than a short bow is enough.

Now do it for plate armor vs leather and sword vs dagger.


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ikarinokami wrote:
longbows are flat out better than shortbow. the only places or people who used shortsbows were places where the longbow had not yet been invented. not everything has to be balanced mechanically. a longbow costing more than a short bow is enough.

This is really not true.

Longbows are *horribly* awkward weapons. Their advantage is their range which, yes, was very effective in large open battles that have been popular throughout history. In battles with poor visibility or at closer quarters, longbows are a bad choice.

I think they've become popular in D&D circles because, mechanically, they've been good and people's mental image of them has... actually been shortbows, while people see shortbows as some miniature silly weapon.

I'd be happy for the longbow to become the mechanically weaker ranged option for most Pathfinder combats, as its range is rarely a factor and that was supposed to be its shtick.

That said, I think Volley is the wrong way to do this, and an example of the worst parts of 2E's design. Instead of having weapons do cool things, they're making weapons awkward and feel bad to use. It's the 'nerf everything' style.

Killing Volley and adding Agile to shortbows would go well to both making the more appropriate shortbow better, and to making players more likely to feel rewarded for good weapon choice instead of punished for weapon choice.

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