Have Crossbows Changed in a Meaningful Way?


Rules Discussion

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ChibiNyan wrote:
Pretty sure all bonuses and precision damage are all multiplied on a critical hit. But extra elemental rider damage form runes or effects will not.

Not a major factor if you're using the extra elemental rider damage to trigger vulnerabilities as that activates even on normal hits.

Silver Crusade

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Voss wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Just for any simple weapon in general, rather than crossbows in particular, they are not going to be as powerful as a martial weapon. If they were, what's the point of having simple and martial weapons as a distinguishing feature between characters? When comparing them to bows, as in the OP, they are supposed to be weaker on the net; they are a category down. Now in PF1, due to the action economy, they were pretty terrible even when compared to other simple weapons. In PF2, they're quite solid for a simple weapon, which means worse than a martial.

The problem is, simple weapons occupy a weird niche where martial weapons are given for free or at a really trivial cost. So 'simple weapons are not as powerful' just means that they're bad, and not worth using (with specific exceptions for piling wackiness together from various sources).

I have no problems that simple weapons aren't particularly good without investment. As this thread shows, at least at low levels a crossbow is effective for rangers.

But most spellcasters are going to want one so they can at least spam SOMETHING when the enemy is out of cantrip range. Sure you're not doing much but at least it's SOMETHING


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Voss wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Just for any simple weapon in general, rather than crossbows in particular, they are not going to be as powerful as a martial weapon. If they were, what's the point of having simple and martial weapons as a distinguishing feature between characters? When comparing them to bows, as in the OP, they are supposed to be weaker on the net; they are a category down. Now in PF1, due to the action economy, they were pretty terrible even when compared to other simple weapons. In PF2, they're quite solid for a simple weapon, which means worse than a martial.

The problem is, simple weapons occupy a weird niche where martial weapons are given for free or at a really trivial cost. So 'simple weapons are not as powerful' just means that they're bad, and not worth using (with specific exceptions for piling wackiness together from various sources).

Even the characters that don't have access and don't want to pay the general or ancestry feat tax universally have access to cantrips or are monks, so, again, don't have any reason to manipulate their starting stats to be mediocre at using bad weapons.

Bad and trap options are basically non options.

Given all the arguments about "my random weapon I used weapon proficiency to grab doesn't scale with me", I would say no, they aren't given at a trivial cost.


ChibiNyan wrote:
Pretty sure all bonuses and precision damage are all multiplied on a critical hit. But extra elemental rider damage form runes or effects will not.

All damage gets multiplied on a crit, except that which only applies on a crit.

So if you had a +1 striking flaming composite longbow and Strength 14 (so +1 damage from propulsive), your damage on a normal hit would be 2d8+1 piercing plus 1d6 fire, and on a crit it would be (2d8+1) x2 + 1d10 piercing, plus 1d6 x2 fire, plus 1d10 persistent fire.

Liberty's Edge

Neo2151 wrote:
How would Running Reload interact with the Reload 2 of a heavy crossbow? Does it let you simply reload with the action? It doesn't say it reduces reload time, but rather it just lets you reload.

No, it wouldn't allow you to reload faster. You could move during both actions you spend reloading, though.


To me, I'm not so concerned about crossbows in the abstract, but given that Rangers have gotten extra boons for choosing crossbows, I do hope we see in the future options that are comparative to the Crossbowman Fighter archetype. It's not an archetype that can really directly parallel PF2e, given how much the PF1e archetype relied on Vital Strike and Readied actions, but I think there are ways that could achieve similar results in 2e, that I hope to see in future books.


I mean they could likely create martial or advanced Crossbows fairly easily in the future.
Probably won't go to Double Xbow maybe as that has some weird situations. But I can see some design space for specific weird or unique crossbows. They set a fair prescident for cool weird in the Alchemical Crossbow.

Wouldn't be too hard for them to put in martial or advanced versions, while changing some of the effects. Like I"m pretty sure we'll see a Repeating Heavy Crossbow as an advanced or perhaps martial, that will have Heavy Xbow damage dice and range, but will not be reload 2. I assume advanced because of maintainence knowledge.
I'd love to see an Personal Balista down the line I bet. Something with Reload 2, but heavy heavy damage(and weight). Basically being a crossbow type you sling over your shoulder strap Ala' Monster Hunter.

Just because the current xbowo are simple, Doesn't mean they'll always be


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Dang it... I lost a huge post because my internet crapped out on me. To briefly summarize:

White Room DPR comparisons fail to capture the tactical significance of Running Reload. Being able to Stride or Sneak (as opposed to just step with Skirmish Strike) means being able to more easily bypass cover and render yourself hidden and therefore the enemy flatfooted. That can swing your chance to hit up by as much as +4 easy, which is very nice on a single high damage attack action. A hafling with distracting/ceaseless shadows can flit around his allies ankles while 360 no scoping people like no tomorrow. He can also leave his strength at 8 and put more points into Wisdom and constitution than the archer can.

Flurry archers are basically PF1 archers: machine gun turrets with a 5 foot step. Crossbow rangers are much, much more interesting IMO. I really want to play one.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Just for any simple weapon in general, rather than crossbows in particular, they are not going to be as powerful as a martial weapon. If they were, what's the point of having simple and martial weapons as a distinguishing feature between characters? When comparing them to bows, as in the OP, they are supposed to be weaker on the net; they are a category down.

To me, that sounds like a very good argument against the existence of a simple/martial distinction, since without it, the two weapons could be as mechanically equivalent as a player would be conceiving them to be.


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Tectorman wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Just for any simple weapon in general, rather than crossbows in particular, they are not going to be as powerful as a martial weapon. If they were, what's the point of having simple and martial weapons as a distinguishing feature between characters? When comparing them to bows, as in the OP, they are supposed to be weaker on the net; they are a category down.
To me, that sounds like a very good argument against the existence of a simple/martial distinction, since without it, the two weapons could be as mechanically equivalent as a player would be conceiving them to be.

That doesn't really follow. You can make a simple weapon with feat investment equal to a martial weapon with feat investment, you just need to balance the feats right.

If crossbows are normally a 4 and shortbows an 8, a crossbow ranger feat can raise that by 6 while a shortbow feat can raise it by 2. Both wind up with a result of 10, while still leaving the baseline simple weapon a worse option for non-martials to have access to.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

That doesn't really follow. You can make a simple weapon with feat investment equal to a martial weapon with feat investment, you just need to balance the feats right.

If crossbows are normally a 4 and shortbows an 8, a crossbow ranger feat can raise that by 6 while a shortbow feat can raise it by 2. Both wind up with a result of 10, while still leaving the baseline simple weapon a worse option for non-martials to have access to.

This will then undermine the requirement that simple is worse than martial. A Simple weapon should require more investment/sacrifice/opportunity cost to be statistically equal to a martial weapon. Any feats or mechanics that sets aside the categorical difference undermines the depth of the design.

It's tantamount to saying a non-martial class should be able to do the same melee damage as a martial class with the same amount of feat investment.


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These topics have amused me for years; they came up since the beginning of these forums.

If option A is mathematically the strongest, a vocal group will assert that options B-Z are all "garbage."

If one weapon build has a DPR of 10, and another has 8.5, the latter is "unusable."

This place needs eye-roll emojis.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Just for any simple weapon in general, rather than crossbows in particular, they are not going to be as powerful as a martial weapon. If they were, what's the point of having simple and martial weapons as a distinguishing feature between characters? When comparing them to bows, as in the OP, they are supposed to be weaker on the net; they are a category down.
To me, that sounds like a very good argument against the existence of a simple/martial distinction, since without it, the two weapons could be as mechanically equivalent as a player would be conceiving them to be.

That doesn't really follow. You can make a simple weapon with feat investment equal to a martial weapon with feat investment, you just need to balance the feats right.

If crossbows are normally a 4 and shortbows an 8, a crossbow ranger feat can raise that by 6 while a shortbow feat can raise it by 2. Both wind up with a result of 10, while still leaving the baseline simple weapon a worse option for non-martials to have access to.

No, you're not following me.

Starting with the premises that weapons must be divided into simple and martial weapons, that simple weapons have to be worse than martial weapons, and that crossbows have to be the former while bows are the latter, your conclusion does indeed logically follow.

I'm disputing the premises in the first place. Who says weapons needed to be so categorized? Prior to the game introducing this expectation, the player is thinking of both choices as equivalent (i.e., crossbows AND shortbows are normally an 8 and taking a feat raises them to a 10). "Crossbows are a 4 and shortbows are an 8" is a complication the game insists on.

To put it another way, glaives are not categorized as "martial" (and therefore 8) while longswords are categorized as "martial-plus" (so, 10). They are distinct from each other without being required to be in separate categories of effectiveness. Crossbows and bows could also have been so distinguished (that is, without requiring weapons to be categorized as simple versus martial). As is, the simple/martial distinction reminds me of this sign, existing just to insist on itself.


Tectorman wrote:
I'm disputing the premises in the first place. Who says weapons needed to be so categorized?

It's a construct that's part of the art-form. To create an experience for a player, the game designer has to create tools that allow the designer to implement the designer's concept. Since D&D first began, the use of weapon categories has been a tool that has shaped the player experience. Obviously Paizo felt it was some combination useful and necessary for continuity, so they kept it.

The Simple/Martial/Exotic-Advancd construct is a foundation on which some portion of the class system sits. Eroding that construct can have cascade effects on other parts of the game for the player experience. Deciding how and to what degree to bend/modify these constructs is part of the art-form.


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N N 959 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

That doesn't really follow. You can make a simple weapon with feat investment equal to a martial weapon with feat investment, you just need to balance the feats right.

If crossbows are normally a 4 and shortbows an 8, a crossbow ranger feat can raise that by 6 while a shortbow feat can raise it by 2. Both wind up with a result of 10, while still leaving the baseline simple weapon a worse option for non-martials to have access to.

This will then undermine the requirement that simple is worse than martial. A Simple weapon should require more investment/sacrifice/opportunity cost to be statistically equal to a martial weapon. Any feats or mechanics that sets aside the categorical difference undermines the depth of the design.

It's tantamount to saying a non-martial class should be able to do the same melee damage as a martial class with the same amount of feat investment.

It is not, actually. At least not as it stands in PF2. A non-martial character needs to spend their second level and fourth level class feats to get the same mileage out of a crossbow that a Ranger can with a 1st level feat. It takes more investment for a class that isn't inherently good at weapons to catch up to a class that is.

I agree with you the simple/martial distinction is an important building block of the system being class based. I just don't see why a martial character can't utilize their feats to make a simple weapon competitive. I don't think the art-form requires that some weapons are inherently worse for all characters, just that some weapons are inherently worse to be given to the caster classes while the martials can kick butt with weapons.


Captain Morgan wrote:


I agree with you the simple/martial distinction is an important building block of the system being class based. I just don't see why a martial character can't utilize their feats to make a simple weapon competitive.

I don't think people necessarily object to this in principle. But I'm responding to this:

Quote:
ou can make a simple weapon with feat investment equal to a martial weapon with feat investment, you just need to balance the feats right.

I read this as saying that the feat investment is equal for both and the Simple weapon catches up. That would break the written design rule.

Quote:
I don't think the art-form requires that some weapons are inherently worse for all characters, just that some weapons are inherently worse to be given to the caster classes while the martials can kick butt with weapons.

Kind of confused by this. I think the art form does require that Exotic>Martial>Simple. I think what you're arguing for is a class that can bring a Simple to the same effectiveness as a Martial?

Sure, in theory. But it has to come at some cost commensurate with what others would have to pay to do the same thing, even if only X class can do it. This is all contrived, so it really comes down to what experience the game wants to engender and what land mines the designers are willing to step on to get there.

Look, I'd love to see the Inquisitor brought back to be the crossbow class (van Helsing). But if Van Helsing on a crossbow is pumping out ranged damage equal to a Robin Hood with his composite longbow, you're probably going to have problems with player perceptions. I think a lot of the skill in the design of these "balanced-centric" games is managing the classes so that you don't induce turf wars.

One way to deal with this is allow a crossbow to excel in narrow context. So the crossbow is equal or better in these circumstances, but make sure those circumstances are not so common that bow users feel supplanted.

In short, if you want the crossbow to feel "viable" then figure out a way it can do that with out encroaching on a bow.


Captain Morgan wrote:
White Room DPR comparisons fail to capture the tactical significance of Running Reload. Being able to Stride or Sneak (as opposed to just step with Skirmish Strike) means being able to more easily bypass cover and render yourself hidden and therefore the enemy flatfooted. That can swing your chance to hit up by as much as +4 easy, which is very nice on a single high damage attack action.

From what I read on the Sneak action, you cannot become hidden, only keep the condition.

"At the end of your movement, the GM rolls your Stealth check in secret and compares the result to the Perception DC of each creature you were hidden from or undetected by at the start of your movement."
The sidebar also says something like "now that you are hidden you can Sneak", book is not in hand so I can't check exactly what it says.
Are you sure you can become hidden with the Sneak action? It would be a huge buff to crossbow Rangers since they seem to underperform compared to archers at higher levels.


Sfyn wrote:


From what I read on the Sneak action, you cannot become hidden, only keep the condition.
"At the end of your movement, the GM rolls your Stealth check in secret and compares the result to the Perception DC of each creature you were hidden from or undetected by at the start of your movement."
The sidebar also says something like "now that you are hidden you can Sneak", book is not in hand so I can't check exactly what it says.
Are you sure you can become hidden with the Sneak action? It would be a huge buff to crossbow Rangers since they seem to underperform compared to archers at higher levels.

As a random sidenote. I think Goblins have race feats that help with this spepcific situation. Which i a corner case but worth mentioning.

---
As a random side note
I hope they make a higher level Alchemical Xbow. And it'll gain more shots per Item level. Or higher bonus damage per item level.

It is weird to me that a lv 1 bomb will supply the same amount of oomph and shots as a lv 20 bomb.

buut thats a slick slope.

Still would be neat if they made Xbows the "weird shots" style.


Saldiven wrote:

These topics have amused me for years; they came up since the beginning of these forums.

If option A is mathematically the strongest, a vocal group will assert that options B-Z are all "garbage."

If one weapon build has a DPR of 10, and another has 8.5, the latter is "unusable."

This place needs eye-roll emojis.

This topic is not the same as that topic. This topic is bringing up the differences between simple and martial weapons (and why they should or shouldn't be separated as such), not the DPR olympics/optimization guides like you're implying.

Also, this is one of the few text mediums that doesn't have Hipster-Egyptian on it. If entries in Pathfinder start to be written as such, I will probably cease to buy and partake in these products and any future products they publish.


Hmm, I'm gonna try going XBow + Animal Companion. Seems to synergize well to me. More so than going flurry with twf or bow with a pet.

I would likely go Human. Just so I could start with XBow Ace and a pet (likely a cat) from the get go.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

These topics have amused me for years; they came up since the beginning of these forums.

If option A is mathematically the strongest, a vocal group will assert that options B-Z are all "garbage."

If one weapon build has a DPR of 10, and another has 8.5, the latter is "unusable."

This place needs eye-roll emojis.

This topic is not the same as that topic. This topic is bringing up the differences between simple and martial weapons (and why they should or shouldn't be separated as such), not the DPR olympics/optimization guides like you're implying.

Also, this is one of the few text mediums that doesn't have Hipster-Egyptian on it. If entries in Pathfinder start to be written as such, I will probably cease to buy and partake in these products and any future products they publish.

Try reading the beginning of the thread. Here's the original post:

"Am I wrong? It really seems like we're still in a situation where a 1-die upstep in damage is nowhere near good enough to make up for the longer reload time, and that's before considering bows got sweet upgrades (deadly, propulsive?) while xbows got nothing at all.

What gives? Will fantasy rpgs ever deliver a crossbow that doesn't feel like a drag to choose?"

Subsequent posts:

"Yeah, it looks to me like crossbows are generally bad."

"I think the regular crossbow can be decent if your class has some feats to support it, but in general it's definitely a worse option than a bow."

This entire thread was started by someone complaining that the crossbow was inferior to another option. He described the crossbow as "a drag to choose."

It's irrelevant how the discussion has morphed since the beginning, as I was commenting on the original discussion.


For S&Gs I wrote up a theoretical x-bow Ranger and while it may not be optimal, the damage you can push out with Perfect Shot as a X-Bow Ace against your hunted prey with a +3 striking heavy x-bow is pretty neat.

It’s a fine sidearm for an animal companion focused ranger. Don’t think anyone else can make decent use outside of MC

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