Technological Weapons (semi-auto / number of attacks possible)

Iron Gods

I would like clarification on this because I could only find one post that slightly touched on the issue on reddit, but didn't clarify completely.

Currently in my campaign, my archaeologist bard has made the transition from bow to Arc Rifle with a dip in technomancer. However there is some debate on how many attacks can be made with tech weapons.

The clarification for the related fire rates is as follows on the 'Technological Weapons' page:
"Semi-Automatic: A semi-automatic weapon normally fires one shot as an attack. However, the user can take a full-attack action to fire twice, as if using the Rapid Shot feat (including taking a -2 penalty on all attacks). If the wielder has the Rapid Shot feat, she can use the additional shot from that as well, but the penalty for all shots fired in that round increases to -6.

Slow-Firing: A slow-firing weapon requires a full-round action to use, and thus cannot be used to make iterative attacks."

The Arc rifle is a semi-auto weapon, so my assumption is that a semi-auto rifle can be used to attack as many times in a round as your bab allows + the additional shots allowed from rapid shot. Logically, it would make sense that you can make multiple shots as easily as you can with a bow, since a semi-auto rifle would only require that you keep pulling the trigger; making this even more obvious is that tech semi-auto weapons have rapid shot built in (this weapon is logically so easy for anyone with proper proficiency to use, that you can basically fire an extra shot for free).

To me this seems clear, especially since the 'modern weapons' page on d20pfsrd states:
"When making a full-attack action with a single-shot or semi-automatic firearm, you may fire a firearm as many times in a round as you have attacks, up to the number of cartridges in the weapon (or more, if you can reload the weapon as a swift or free action while making a full-attack action)."

However, my party members believe that how it is explained under technological weapons implies that you can only make 3 shots EVER (no matter your bab). This is because it says a semi-auto weapon makes a single shot as a attack or two, or three based off of rapid shot.

Long Story short: Is the Semi-auto description under the tech weapons page simply saying you get extra attacks as per rapid shot, or that you can only make up to 3 shots BECAUSE of rapid shot. Id assume this works like regular rapid shot and allows me to make a regular number of shots based on bab + rapid shot. Only that I basically get double rapid shot.

So your fellow players are arguing that muzzle loaded blackpowder weapons can be fired 5-6 times per round (bab+rapid shot+haste) but a modern semi auto weapon only 3 times ever? That with similarily skilled and buffed combatants, the one with a musket can shoot twice as fast as the one with AR-15?
I really don't see how they can argue against the text you quoted on the 'modern weapons' page.
Tech weapons are almost worthless (as weapons that is, as loot they are worth a lot) already, this interpretation would make them totally obsolete.

Unfortunately our usual GM has convinced our current newbie GM that that is how it works. So I may be stuck making only 3 attacks for the rest of the campaign despite bab increases.

I would ditch the tech weapon then. It has been nerfed to uselesness. You are far better off with the bow, especially as you have no way to get dex to damage. Admantine arrows negate hardness of robots, but there is no way to negate that with tech weapons. Also, lot of the late game robots have either elemental resistances or outright immunities on top of that. Now way around those either.
For example the annihilator robot has electricity resistance 30 and hardness of 10. Good luck piercing 40 points of resistance, even with clustered shots. At least it is not cryo weapon, there are a metric ton of enemies straight up immune to cold in this AP.
Besides, it is easier to get enchanted bows than rifles.

Too bad I don't have the AP myself (I'm a player in it), otherwise could take a look at how the rifle wielding enemies are statted up.

Yeah I know at least that pretty much all robots have weakness to electricity, even if they have resistance to it(as stupid as that sounds). I've also read that energy damage bypasses hardness if the creature is weak to said element. That along with the bonus to hit metal creatures that arc weapons get was the main pull of the arc rifle weapon.

What made the damage good was the fact that I'd get an extra attack from the semi-auto's additional rapid shot. With a +3 DMG from archaeologists luck, +2 from arcane shot, and +2 from good hope at most times, it was pretty okay 2d6+8 X 4 Shots total with double rapid shot.

What was the first and last straw was when I used my arc rifle for the first time. Our spell warrior skald gave us a +1d6 fire and +1d6 lightning.

Hasted making It +13/+13/+13/+13/+8 = 5 shots hitting touch ac.
And 4d6 + 8 damage with all shots hitting at 160 max potential damage I did 140 something.

Kinda op yes, but the amount of effects that needed to be present is not going to be common.

As far as I know the energy damage bypassing hardness is up to the GM. Good thing your GM allows it.
So your GM did not limit the amount of attacks to 3? Or was it after this that he limited the attacks? What level are you? That damage sounds good but not OP, depending of course on the level.

Level 10. And it was not until after that attack that they re read the rules on semi auto and decided to limit attacks made to 3.

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Firstly, this upset me, as the GM of our current Iron Gods AP, to hear that not only what was supposed to be a spectacular and world building piece of loot was nerfed beyond desire, but also that a player has invested a level dip into a piece of gear, and after doing slightly above average damage for a 10th-level character, was rewarded with a revision of his stats. That's just really sad, but as far as RAW goes, this took me a couple of minutes before I could come up with anything to say. Number 1, if you're indeed using an arc rifle, then no problem, it doesn't have the semi-auto property, but in fact, the automatic property, enabling you to make a cone attack with every single attack in the round. On the other hand, if you meant arc pistol, then it is semi-auto. It is hard to see, just by looking at the description of semi-auto weapons, how to make a case for getting your iterative attacks, however, Paizo doesn't make a habit of redundancies, and when they do, they typically specify that it is for your convenience and not a special case. What that means is that the fact that Slow-Firing weapons are described as requiring a full-round action to use, and that "cannot be used to make iterative attacks" is included in the description, means that Slow-Firing weapons are an exception to the normal iterative attack rules, and the lack of the Slow-Firing property on the semi-auto weapons is intended, and as such are specifically excluded from the weapons that are unable to make iterative attacks. If semi-auto weapons were not intended to be capable of iterative attacks, then Paizo would not have created a weapon category to mean specifically that, and then not included it in the weapon's description.

Well put Job Lauder, could not have said it better.

That's a good point. While paizo can be pretty unspecific, they usually clarify restrictions.
Still a few days until our next session, so i'll try and talk it over with the gm. If they want to enforce this, they are going to have to deal with the consequences of a lot of enemies we come across wielding rifles being limited to 2 shots, since a good number of mooks don't already have rapid shot.

Also, all weapons with automatic by default have semi-auto(its the first sentence).

Isuma (an NPC) has a cryo rifle, I wonder what her attack routine looks like in the book.
I don't actually remember any other NPCs using rifle weapons.

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Although this is ultimately up to your GM, the way I've been running Iron Gods is that the Semi-Automatic description is a bonus, not a restraint: you can make iterative attacks as normal, but if you don't get iterative attacks you can still take multiple attacks using a semi-automatic weapon as a full round action, and that stacks with Rapidshot if you have it.

The text for Automatic weapons also, iirc, specifically calls out that they *may* be used as Semi-Automatic weapons at the user's discretion, as a toggleable choice.

As evidence for that, I'd point to all of the NPCs who use semi-automatic weapons and get iterative attacks in line with the above -- Book 6 has one on page 47, for example. In Book 4, page 58, a character with a technological rifle and +10 Base Attack is listed as having, in their attack line, "zero rifle +15/+10 touch (2d6+4 cold)" -- that's clearly an iterative attack offset by five and not the flat -2/-2 that the text of Semi-Automatic calls for when making multiple attacks. My read has been that this character, with that statline, could elect as a full-round action to:
- Attack twice at +15/+10 (iterative)
- Attack three times at +13/+13/+8 (iterative + semi-automatic)
- Attack four times at +9/+9/+9/+4 (iterative + semi-automatic + rapidshot)
- Attack in a line (since the rifle can fire on automatic mode)

Those other options aren't specifically called out on the NPC pages, but that's in line with how feats that you can elect to use or not use are not always included in NPC statlines.

All of that's moot if you GM disagrees, obviously, but I would argue that the clear intent is for semi-automatic lasers, etc, to be used as often as your BAB allows.

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