Is there any point to crossbow rangers any more?


General Discussion


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Is there any point to crossbow rangers any more? Hunted Shot and Twin Takedown are good enough to essentially be mandatory for any ranger. While Twin Takedown is probably better for damage during the 1st to 4th level stretch, Hunted Shot is the clear winner for games that start at 5th level or above due to a magic longbow's raw damage dice, the ease of attaining Strength 18, and the benefits of range.

Still, that leaves Crossbow Ace in the dust, no? Perhaps Crossbow Ace deserves an upgrade?


bows only get half damage from strength. So not so sure bows will have higher damage output compared to melee.

but yeah, xbows, as always, are pretty pointless if you can use bows.


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Crossbow should never have been a ranger's signature weapon. Let it be the weapon for non martial folks, like wizards and clerics.


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Yes overall crossbow seem to lack quite behind the second a composite bow enters the mix. One change that might even it out a bit is making "Crossbow Ace" give full +wis mod to damage instead of half.

It's fine that crossbow ain't as useful as a bow for most classes (since it's a simple weapon) but for rangers simple or martial isn't important. There is a range diffrent as well, but again that shouldn't really be important since the ranger wants to hunt the target. So being able to shoot 240 feet vs an opponent you need to be within 100 ft of to activate the ability doesn't seem to be a plus in all but the most niche cases.


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WhiteMagus2000 said wrote:
Crossbow should never have been a ranger's signature weapon. Let it be the weapon for non martial folks, like wizards and clerics.

Well tell that to Harsk :)

It would also make any class feat geared towards crossbows redundant.

I think the difference between bows and crossbows is fine for all classes but the ranger. (So give ranger class feats that are strong enough to make a crossbow=bow or at least close to them)


shroudb wrote:
bows only get half damage from strength. So not so sure bows will have higher damage output compared to melee.

Raw damage output, no, probably not. The real benefit is actual range at the cost of a small smidge of damage.


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I always found the dwarv crossbow ranger iconic weird. I mean allow it in the game, but to make it the iconic ranger? so wierd


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I think the crossbow, much like the Firearm from PF1e, needs to target TAC. The crossbow is designed to punch through armor.

Additionally, can you fire a short or longbow while prone?

I would think that for a stealth encounter, a heavy crossbow would be prefered in instances where you can move move attack, or sneak sneak attack. The reload feats tied to movement can make a crossbow a good enough weapon.

But otherwise, in stand up fights, the shortbow wins at shorter ranges and the longbow at excessive range.


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Just about the only saving grace of the crossbow here is that it avoids a longbow's need to multiclass into fighter for Point-Blank Shot... but even then, a ranger could settle for d6s for damage and use a shortbow instead.


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Have the Crossbow Ace feat let crossbows target TAC and give the crossbow Fatal d12 against Hunted Targets. Make the Crossbow Ace the one giant dangerous attack ranger as a different playstyle.


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I did some math on crossbow vs shortbows. With and without my proposed change to crossbow ace.

The comparison at level 1. (Assuming +5 to hit for both against AC15)

(The crossbow ranger is assumed to have at least 14 wis in this example)
Crossbow first round (Hunt target, Shoot, Reload): 3,9 average damage
Crossbow second round (Shoot, Reload, Shoot) 6,5 average damage
Crossbow third round (Reload, Shoot, Reload) 3,9 average damage
Crossbow fourth round (Shoot, Reload, Shoot) 6,5 average damage

Overall 5,2 average damage

Shortbow first round (Hunt target, hunted shot, shoot) 5,03 average damage
Shortbow second round (Hunted shot, shoot, shoot) 6 average damage
Shortbow third round (Hunted shot, shoot, shoot) 6 average damage
Shortbow fourth round (Hunted shot, shoot, shoot) 6 average damage

Overall 5,76 average damage (and getting closer and closer to 6 the longer the fight)

This is pretty even and if could stay this similar it would be good, because the crossbow ranger will have the "advantage" of a higher wis than the bow ranger that wants a high str, but be less flexible in his action economy.

But the second the composite shortbow enters the mix (assuming the ranger has at least 14 str) the shortbow ranger gets an average of7,11 damage over the four rounds.

So suddenly damage output and flexibility is better for the shortbow ranger, that hardly seems fair.
If Crossbow ace increased the damage to +wis mod instead of half +wis mod the crossbow would be able to do more damage than the shortbow, but again be much less flexible.

EDIT: I had forgot about the reduced MAP due to Hunt Target, this have increased the distance between crossbow and shortbow, but the numbers should be right now.


who cares about ranged!
we can now make "wild monks" that can hunt->twin takedown->flurry for 4 attacks at 0/-3/-6/-6 from the frist round. Next round you can even skirmish strike to your target and deal another 5 attacks to him

not to mention that later on gets ridiculous, I mean, we're talking about an "easy" -1/-2/-4/-4/-4 each round as an attack routine.

And even if "unarmed" aren't counted as weapons, nothing forbids you to both kick your opponent (hell, if you don't want your armor, you could even pick up dragon stance and REALLY kick like a mule) and hit him with a pair of swords/axes/picks.

you could even use your extra action aside from flurry and twin for stuff like commanding an AC, or using twin riposte, and etc


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ikarinokami wrote:
I always found the dwarv crossbow ranger iconic weird. I mean allow it in the game, but to make it the iconic ranger? so wierd

That was one of the things with the iconics that I liked the most. It really showed that you can play against stereotype. That rangers don't all have to be humans or elves with a longbow or two swords. The rules never really supported it though. And still don't in PF2. I'd like crossbows to have a niche as a heavy-hitting sniper weapon while composite bows are there for large number of arrows being shot.


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shroudb wrote:
we can now make "wild monks"

Twin Takedown requires you to be wielding two melee weapons, each in a different hand, and the attack is made with "one with each of the required weapons."

You would have to take Monastic Weaponry and use a temple sword in one hand and a kama in the other.

Hunt Target is not actually offsetting your multiple attack penalty, either.


Colette Brunel wrote:
shroudb wrote:
we can now make "wild monks"

Twin Takedown requires you to be wielding two melee weapons, each in a different hand, and the attack is made with "one with each of the required weapons."

You would have to take Monastic Weaponry and use a temple sword in one hand and a kama in the other.

Hunt Target is not actually offsetting your multiple attack penalty, either.

that's a ranger multiclassing Monk, so Hunt target does offsets attack penalties.

the weapon/unarmed issue is why i said you kick for your unarmed attacks.

you use 2 "whatever you like" weapons and 2 kicks

with monastic weapons, you can easily use Kama's instead of "whatever weapon you want+kicks" and while kamas are a bit worse, they are better WBL wise (you don't also need handwraps, just 1 magic weapon+doubling)


shroudb wrote:

who cares about ranged!

we can now make "wild monks" that can hunt->twin takedown->flurry for 4 attacks at 0/-3/-6/-6 from the frist round. Next round you can even skirmish strike to your target and deal another 5 attacks to him

At 10th, sure.


graystone wrote:
shroudb wrote:

who cares about ranged!

we can now make "wild monks" that can hunt->twin takedown->flurry for 4 attacks at 0/-3/-6/-6 from the frist round. Next round you can even skirmish strike to your target and deal another 5 attacks to him
At 10th, sure.

\

well, yeah.

it's not like you're doing nothing till then.

you still have twin from level 1, you still have hunt, you still use your regular armor and etc.

it's not that crazy an investment to get 2 class feats by level 10 to gain 1 extra attack, (or 3 feats if you want all your attacks to be with your weapons instead)


Since this doesn't seem focused on Crossbow Rangers so much :-)
What is opinion about Hunt Target's range penalty reduction?
I first read that it ONLY benefits targets in 2nd range increment, but I don't see the need to limit the benefit to only targets in the 2nd range increment, why shouldn't 3rd increment benefit from "ignoring" one increment penalty? (although that implying extra increment range due to -10 cap is other issue, as is whether short range should benefit at all)
...????


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Unarmed Attacks are separate from Weapon Attacks. You can't use your Fists with Twin Takedown.

Also,the Ranger Dedication's Hunt Target doesn't confer any MAP reduction.


Honestly, I don't mind if crossbows take a backseat to bows in most cases, but I would like it if there were legitimate reasons to use a crossbow, in a way that feels different than a bow ranger.

PF1e gave an interesting take on this with the Crossbowman fighter archetype, which had some interesting things keying off of Readied attacks, and I think this could be a reasonable way to take this. Maybe a feat where you get bonuses when using readied attacks with the crossbow (maybe as suggested above, targetting TAC, and Fatal d12, though I think deadly might be better, just because with crossbow ace, fatal is not a big step up prior to master quality, and deadly is a bigger step up upon getting a master quality weapon; though if crossbow ace no longer gave +1 die size it might be reasonable). But I think, while it shouldn't be everyone's thing, at least for the ranger and probably the fighter, some way for crossbows to be competative with bows, but not necessarily in a straight DPR comparison, would be what I want to see.


Pramxnim wrote:

Unarmed Attacks are separate from Weapon Attacks. You can't use your Fists with Twin Takedown.

Also,the Ranger Dedication's Hunt Target doesn't confer any MAP reduction.

He specifically talked about "use 2 "whatever you like" weapons and 2 kicks". So it's 100% irrelevant how Twin Takedown functions with fists as the "2 "whatever you like" weapons" are the ones being used.

PS: You could also just pick up the monk's weapon feat and use the same weapon for flurry AND Twin Takedown.

Secondly, if you take a ranger and the monk dedication, at 10th level, you can flurry.


A lot of classes have level 1 feats which lead into a feat tree, creating a clear path for a build. Ranger's crossbow feat is just kind of there. If they had something which reduced reload, they'd still only get to a point where crossbows compare to shortbows, whereas shortbows just start out better and then get even more so with feats. It feels like a trap option.


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I think what you would need to do is figure out what the real strength of a crossbow are and enhance those instead of a bunch of feats that lead up to being just as good as a short bow instead have some that does whatever niche a crossbow is suppose to hold and have it improve that niche.


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Sanmei wrote:
A lot of classes have level 1 feats which lead into a feat tree, creating a clear path for a build. Ranger's crossbow feat is just kind of there. If they had something which reduced reload, they'd still only get to a point where crossbows compare to shortbows, whereas shortbows just start out better and then get even more so with feats. It feels like a trap option.

They actually have something which reduces reload, specifically, running reload, which let you reload and move, for one action. But something that reduced reload to zero? As I stated above, I want crossbows to have their own niche, where they're not competing for the same DPR spot, because you have two cases: 1) they're still worse than a shortbow, in which case, there's not much point in investing in a crossbow anyway, or 2) they're better than a bow, to the point that the Bow becomes the new Crossbow. I guess there's the third option, where crossbows are better with investment, but a bow doesn't require that investment, but I think this leads back to either option 1 or 2, depending on what the opportunity cost for the crossbow feats is.

Rapid Reload and Crossbow mastery was a major point of wasted design for me in 1e, because it felt like those existed solely because crossbows didn't work well in the 3.x paradigm, but people might still want them for thematic reasons. Meanwhile, the crossbowman archetype was something that actually did something different, and while it was almost certainly less powerful than just using a bow (and probably worse than just picking up rapid reload and crossbow master, and trying to ape a bow user), it ceded ground to the bow on DPR, to get extra benefits with readied actions, which allowed for things like more readily disrupting enemy casters' spells, or avoiding cover penalties, or the like. That's where I want to see the design space for Crossbows go. Don't try to be better than a bow at being a bow, but make a path for them that maybe isn't as powerful, but is something that they can do better than a bow user.

Edit: Ninja'd far more succinctly by Vidmaster, though I think the strength of crossbows is fairly hard to ascertain, as there really isn't one, so I'd say look for places where their weaknesses are more negated. For instance, my suggestion about readied attacks isn't just piggybacking on 1e design, but the fact that crossbows can't reliably attack more than once a round, so the 2 action cost for readied attacks hurts them less.


Colette Brunel wrote:

Is there any point to crossbow rangers any more? ***

Still, that leaves Crossbow Ace in the dust, no? Perhaps Crossbow Ace deserves an upgrade?

No. If you want a crossbow class, it should be the Inquisitor a la Van Helsing, who is not a Ranger. The bow should be superior for those who are skilled enough to use a bow.


Alchemists could plausibly have Tinker Feath Path including custom Crossbows, also working as Alchemical launchers etc along with technique to use regular Crossbows excelently probably tying in with INT (which may also be Wizard friendly).


There really never was a point to 2Es crossbow Ranger. The feats are just bad choices and do not synergize with the class at all


make a repeating crossbow that has no reload time.


Nettah wrote:
WhiteMagus2000 said wrote:
Crossbow should never have been a ranger's signature weapon. Let it be the weapon for non martial folks, like wizards and clerics.
Well tell that to Harsk :)

Does anyone cares about Harsk?

If I ask random people to name one ranger, I'm quite sure more people will answer "Gimli" than "Harsk". Throwing axes would make more sense as the iconic weapon of rangers than crossbow.


Colette Brunel wrote:
shroudb wrote:
we can now make "wild monks"

Twin Takedown requires you to be wielding two melee weapons, each in a different hand, and the attack is made with "one with each of the required weapons."

You would have to take Monastic Weaponry and use a temple sword in one hand and a kama in the other.

Hunt Target is not actually offsetting your multiple attack penalty, either.

I mean I think the 10th level Ranger-Monk could be funny to see, simply because flurry + twin takedown. For what, -0,-3,-6,-6,-6 in following turns with agile weapons.


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A crossbow is the perfect hunter sniper weapon. The reload time is a problem, but the crossbow has advantages to compensate that the rules should reflect.

1. Bracing for precision - Unlike a bow or other weapons, you can brace it on a solid object to steady it. You can put feet on it and use the ground to steady it. That means that at least on the first shot when your target isn't ready for you, you can much more easily than with other ranged weapons get an ultra precise shot at a much larger distance. If you really know your anatomy, you're much more likely with less pure dexterity to hit the critical spot that you need to to take out your target. Rules should reflect this. If the character with the crossbow has stealth to stay quiet and nature knowledge of anatomy, a first attack against a flat-footed target should be devastating.

2. Bracing for one-handed operation - Because you can brace the weapon, even a heavy crossbow braced on an object should be fireable with one hand. The other hand should be free to hold a bolt for quick loading or another action. Two hands could be used to hold the weapon extra steady for more precision, and that could be a trade off between having the extra hand free or not.

3. Ready to fire for forever - You can be on a hair trigger aimed near where you expect a target to arrive ready to fire the weapon for a long time with little fatigue. If you have a bow drawn, that is exhausting to hold. Having a sling ready to fire, that's really bad. Spear or other thrown weapon, no. Having a prepped crossbow should have an advantage over other prepped weapons. Initiative should be higher using it than with any other weapon.

4. Firing is fast - There's just a small finger squeeze to fire it, no twirl of the weapon. It's nothing like bringing a thrown weapon back. Releasing an arrow is similar, but compared to other ranged weapons, it's quite fast. That should be reflected in how the action to fire it is processed.

The first attack by a ranger against a flat footed opponent should be similar to a sneak attack by a rogue.

Those advantages should largely go away after the first round when the target becomes aware of what it's up against and the direction of the attack, if it isn't killed immediately, but a trained crossbow wielder should know how to use distraction to go into stealth and find a new position to do it all over again. With a team of people to act as the distraction themselves, that should be even easier.

A ranger with a crossbow should rock as a terrifying sniper that could kill you unseen anywhere in an instant.


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Crossbows could have 3 action attack where you line up a shot and deal double base damage of the weapon.

I.E. 1d8 turns into 2d8 for 3 action attack.

As Madame Endor said, great for ambushes.

Also it is possible to fire prone(nut sure about reloadind while prone)

You can get more cover than shooting a longbow(except arrow slits, then it is no difference)

As it takes almost no effort to shoot readied crossbow, ready action can be more precise with crossbow.


To me I see crossbow as a single bolt being more damaging then an arrow but you being able to fire more arrows so I think the idea of maximizing a single shot type build for crossbows would be the way to go.


+ support for crossbows getting higher damage-per-shot and keeping the reload awkwardness to make them different to bows.

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