Possible replacement for the volley property


Homebrew and House Rules


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I have a hard time accepting that it is more difficult to shoot a longbow at a target less than 30 feet away, so I have issues with the idea of the volley property in 2E. I understand that its real purpose is so that both the longbow and shortbow are viable in game, and I came up with a possible replacement. Would it be reasonably balanced to remove the volley propery from the longbow, but instead give the shortbow the agile property as the lighter draw weight makes it easier to fire quickly? Then each hit with the longbow will still do more damage and have longer range, but the shortbow will hit multiple times more often.


RealAlchemy wrote:
I have a hard time accepting that it is more difficult to shoot a longbow at a target less than 30 feet away, so I have issues with the idea of the volley property in 2E. I understand that its real purpose is so that both the longbow and shortbow are viable in game, and I came up with a possible replacement. Would it be reasonably balanced to remove the volley propery from the longbow, but instead give the shortbow the agile property as the lighter draw weight makes it easier to fire quickly? Then each hit with the longbow will still do more damage and have longer range, but the shortbow will hit multiple times more often.

That was a suggestion ever since the playtest actually saw it a lot, i thought it was the way it should go... But then playing with a fighter ranger i saw it would be just silly the fighter wouldn't benefit from it at all. And rangers would go crazy with the shortbow, besides that point blank shot gets useless.

I think both are fine even if i do agree... It makes no sense 30 feet is just silly you can hit 5-10 foot away with a longbow and it's easier than 30 feet haha.

Shadow Lodge

Arrows shot from a bow do tend to 'wobble' at the beginning of their flight before they stabilize, so there is some level of justification for being slightly less effective at really close ranges.

Of course, if this trait were based on actual physics, the short bow would need to have it as well, so it's pretty clear this was a 'we don't want everyone to use a longbow, but we can't just drop it from the game entirely without sparking a riot' issue.


I think part of the whole thing could also be that longbows are indeed very long and it is harder to aim in a quick battle over short distances if that darn bow gets stuck in furniture, clothing and possibly the ground itself

Sovereign Court

oholoko wrote:
RealAlchemy wrote:
I have a hard time accepting that it is more difficult to shoot a longbow at a target less than 30 feet away, so I have issues with the idea of the volley property in 2E. I understand that its real purpose is so that both the longbow and shortbow are viable in game, and I came up with a possible replacement. Would it be reasonably balanced to remove the volley propery from the longbow, but instead give the shortbow the agile property as the lighter draw weight makes it easier to fire quickly? Then each hit with the longbow will still do more damage and have longer range, but the shortbow will hit multiple times more often.

That was a suggestion ever since the playtest actually saw it a lot, i thought it was the way it should go... But then playing with a fighter ranger i saw it would be just silly the fighter wouldn't benefit from it at all. And rangers would go crazy with the shortbow, besides that point blank shot gets useless.

I think both are fine even if i do agree... It makes no sense 30 feet is just silly you can hit 5-10 foot away with a longbow and it's easier than 30 feet haha.

Why do you say "Fighters wouldn't get any benefit at all" from Agile? They can use Agile just like any other character can't they? And it's true Rangers would love it most, but I don't know if that is reason enough. People keep mentioning how powerful a +1 bonus is in 2e, so much so that Animal companions can't even get Magic Fang anymore. Yet Point Blank Shot gives a +2 to hit in the first range increment, either by negating Volley or just giving a +2 bonus.


Samurai wrote:
oholoko wrote:
RealAlchemy wrote:
I have a hard time accepting that it is more difficult to shoot a longbow at a target less than 30 feet away, so I have issues with the idea of the volley property in 2E. I understand that its real purpose is so that both the longbow and shortbow are viable in game, and I came up with a possible replacement. Would it be reasonably balanced to remove the volley propery from the longbow, but instead give the shortbow the agile property as the lighter draw weight makes it easier to fire quickly? Then each hit with the longbow will still do more damage and have longer range, but the shortbow will hit multiple times more often.

That was a suggestion ever since the playtest actually saw it a lot, i thought it was the way it should go... But then playing with a fighter ranger i saw it would be just silly the fighter wouldn't benefit from it at all. And rangers would go crazy with the shortbow, besides that point blank shot gets useless.

I think both are fine even if i do agree... It makes no sense 30 feet is just silly you can hit 5-10 foot away with a longbow and it's easier than 30 feet haha.
Why do you say "Fighters wouldn't get any benefit at all" from Agile? They can use Agile just like any other character can't they? And it's true Rangers would love it most, but I don't know if that is reason enough. People keep mentioning how powerful a +1 bonus is in 2e, so much so that Animal companions can't even get Magic Fang anymore. Yet Point Blank Shot gives a +2 to hit in the first range increment, either by negating Volley or just giving a +2 bonus.

Fighter got a whole tree for archery, dual shot and etc.

It's a +2 damage bonus on a non-volloy... Or a +2 to hit on a weapon first range increment making long bows viable.

Giving agile will just make rangers better with bow do nothing for fighters. And make everyone else use shortbows because +1 on the second shot is just better than an average +1 damage.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The weapon trait budget likely requires the Longbow to have a negative trait.

I'm leaning toward giving Longbows a "Strenuous" trait. Longbows have an absurd draw weight, and using them rapidly will make even the most trained archer knackered quickly.

No other weapon requires you to go to the extreme of your physical capabilities for every attack like a 200lb bow.

So, I'm trying out a "firing this weapon reduces your movement speed by 5 for every shot fired this round" type penalty. Still working on it though.


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My interpretation was that Volley was intended to represent the idea that the longbow's size made it unwieldy to quickly maneuver at close ranges compared to smaller weapons, while the shortbow's smaller size made turning and repositioning easier to do. YMMV on whether or not that makes sense or isn't super arbitrary.

TBH my biggest problem with it is the name. 'Volley' sounds like a cool, good thing you want to do, not the name of a penalty.

WatersLethe wrote:
So, I'm trying out a "firing this weapon reduces your movement speed by 5 for every shot fired this round" type penalty. Still working on it though.

That seems like a pretty nothing penalty. As it is ranged characters are the ones most capable of and best incentivized to turret and if you are in a position to move, you're probably best off doing it at the start of the attack.

I can think of a few situations where this penalty would be a pain, but they're all very specific ones.

Sovereign Court

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WatersLethe wrote:

The weapon trait budget likely requires the Longbow to have a negative trait.

I'm leaning toward giving Longbows a "Strenuous" trait. Longbows have an absurd draw weight, and using them rapidly will make even the most trained archer knackered quickly.

No other weapon requires you to go to the extreme of your physical capabilities for every attack like a 200lb bow.

So, I'm trying out a "firing this weapon reduces your movement speed by 5 for every shot fired this round" type penalty. Still working on it though.

How about a kind of opposite-Agile? Increase the penalty for additional shots in the same round to -6/-12?


Volley just happens to be one of two weapon properties out there that makes zero sense to me, so I am trying to find something that is mechanically balanced but does not make someone with archery experience call BS.


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Volley
This ranged weapon is large and unwieldy. If you Step, Stride, or use any other action with the Move trait, any subsequent attacks you make with this weapon during the same round suffer a -2 circumstance penalty.

Sovereign Court

Volley means a "simultaneous discharge of a number of missile weapons".(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volley) Why not take that literally?

Volley (>>>)
Weapons with the Volley trait may make a 3 Action Volley attack. A volley consists of 2 attack rolls, each with a -2 penalty. There is no MAP because Volley counts as a single action. Both strikes must be aimed at the same target.

Now Volley can situationally be a positive trait. 2 attacks at the same target at -2/-2, or choose 0/-5 and still have 1 more action to move or attack again at -10? A better chance at hitting with the +0 first attack, and can change targets if needed, and you still have a 3rd action, or stand there and let the Volley of arrows fly?


Samurai wrote:

Volley means a "simultaneous discharge of a number of missile weapons".(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volley) Why not take that literally?

Volley (>>>)
Weapons with the Volley trait may make a 3 Action Volley attack. A volley consists of 2 attack rolls, each with a -2 penalty. There is no MAP because Volley counts as a single action. Both strikes must be aimed at the same target.

Now Volley can situationally be a positive trait. 2 attacks at the same target at -2/-2, or choose 0/-5 and still have 1 more action to move or attack again at -10? A better chance at hitting with the +0 first attack, and can change targets if needed, and you still have a 3rd action, or stand there and let the Volley of arrows fly?

That's literally the fighter double shot...

Sovereign Court

oholoko wrote:
Samurai wrote:

Volley means a "simultaneous discharge of a number of missile weapons".(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volley) Why not take that literally?

Volley (>>>)
Weapons with the Volley trait may make a 3 Action Volley attack. A volley consists of 2 attack rolls, each with a -2 penalty. There is no MAP because Volley counts as a single action. Both strikes must be aimed at the same target.

Now Volley can situationally be a positive trait. 2 attacks at the same target at -2/-2, or choose 0/-5 and still have 1 more action to move or attack again at -10? A better chance at hitting with the +0 first attack, and can change targets if needed, and you still have a 3rd action, or stand there and let the Volley of arrows fly?

That's literally the fighter double shot...

Not quite. Double Shot takes only 2 actions instead of 3, and they must both be at different targets. But the fact that something similar is in the game is good! It shows I'm not totally out of bounds on the idea!

Ok, I've added it to my house rules now.


if you give agile to the short bow, you need to get rid of deadly, or at least dial it back to a D4 or D6. Deadly and agile is an extremely overpowered combination.

Better is the suggestion of making the MAP penalty of the long bow higher, but honestly all of that is much worse than the long bow with volley. If you are a character with a speed of 30 or 35 the longbow with volley is still a pretty fun weapon.

I get that this is all a psychological disconnect for folks so making a house rule to replace it is fine, but remember that the longbow with volley is balanced against every martial ranged weapon, not just the shortbow. The shortbow doesn't need to be made better. If you take a negative trait away from the longbow, you need you need to add a fair negative trait to the longbow.


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Samurai wrote:

But the fact that something similar is in the game is good! It shows I'm not totally out of bounds on the idea!

Ok, I've added it to my house rules now.

Er... except the thing similar to your idea is a class feat and the thing we're talking about changing is a purely punitive weapon property.

Going from "Here's a penalty" to "Here's a free bonus feat" is a pretty massive swing.

Sovereign Court

Squiggit wrote:
Samurai wrote:

But the fact that something similar is in the game is good! It shows I'm not totally out of bounds on the idea!

Ok, I've added it to my house rules now.

Er... except the thing similar to your idea is a class feat and the thing we're talking about changing is a purely punitive weapon property.

Going from "Here's a penalty" to "Here's a free bonus feat" is a pretty massive swing.

I can give the Agile trait to Shortbows to help even the odds. Would that help?

It's just that giving a positive name to a negative trait is counterintuitive and annoys me a bit. I could just rename it to "Clumsy" or something, but I'm then most bow hunters would say "But bows aren't clumsy!"


Samurai wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Samurai wrote:

But the fact that something similar is in the game is good! It shows I'm not totally out of bounds on the idea!

Ok, I've added it to my house rules now.

Er... except the thing similar to your idea is a class feat and the thing we're talking about changing is a purely punitive weapon property.

Going from "Here's a penalty" to "Here's a free bonus feat" is a pretty massive swing.

I can give the Agile trait to Shortbows to help even the odds. Would that help?

It's just that giving a positive name to a negative trait is counterintuitive and annoys me a bit. I could just rename it to "Clumsy" or something, but I'm then most bow hunters would say "But bows aren't clumsy!"

You could just rename it far-shooting instead of clumsy.


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Or just call it Unwieldy.
And I like the idea of it just being an inverse agile trait.
It's simpler and more straightforward.

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LordVanya wrote:

Or just call it Unwieldy.

And I like the idea of it just being an inverse agile trait.
It's simpler and more straightforward.

Thanks, that is what I've done.

Volley is now the Unwieldy Trait and gives a -6 on the 2nd attack roll in a round, and -12 on the 3rd. I also changed the Hunter's Edge: Flurry. Now the 1st attack is at +1, the 2nd in a round is at -4 (-3 with Agile), and the 3rd attack is at -8 (-6 with Agile). It also cancels the Unwieldy Trait.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

honestly longbow being unwieldy against targets close to you makes perfect sense to me.

those bows are big, and are likely to smack onto thing a lot more than a shortbow, and just due to their size are a bit more hefty. you can't exactly snap shot with a longbow as easily as a shortbow.

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