Advice for Rogue / Ranger Crossbow Build?


Advice

Dark Archive

Ancestry: Half-Elf
Background: Bounty Hunter
Class: Rogue (the party really needed skills)

Currently level 3. I have Nimble Dodge, Elf Atavism (darkvision), Ranger Dedication

When I started there was only one front-liner so I had to make her a switch-hitter by necessity, so her stats are not optimized for archery: 14 14 14 12 14 10. We have since recruited another melee character so I am now free to specialize in my crossbow like I planned, but it has been a bit lack-luster. The only times I tend to get sneak attack off is on the first round of combat or if I step into a flank and make a melee attack.

Flavor-wise she is a no-nonsense Nidalese bounty hunter. Thinking snares would be cool, but not sure if they're worth it for a non-ranger.

So, can't change anything that can't be retrained. With that in mind, any advice for how I should build this character? Oh, and again, pretty much need to stay a rogue because we need the skills (and the skill feats are nice too).

Thank you in advance for any helpful feedback!


Those stats are absolutely terrible, for both ranged and melee. You didn't build a switch-hitter, you built a non-hitter.

What's your racket? If it's thief, why do you need strength? If it's not thief, why not?

I would STRONGLY suggest you plead your GM to allow you rearranging your stats.

As for the crossbow thing, the rogue's damage source is sneak attack, which doesn't work that great with ranged attacks. At least not before you get Instant Opening at level 14, which is a long way off.

Your best bet is making ample use of Hide and Sneak to make enemies flat-footed. This'll become much better if you pick up running reload ASAP.

You'll also want Crossbow Ace which slightly helps to alleviate the crossbow's low damage.

All that said, I've tried - and failed - to make crossbows work on any class other than pure ranger and it never worked out. Casters are better off using a cantrip most of the time and all other martials are much more effective in melee or with a bow. Your character will never be more than "nearly decent" and even reaching that will take you another 10 levels or so.

Shadow Lodge

For a ranged rogue build, you'd probably want to:

As long as you hit your target at least once each round (and the cat doesn't die), you'll keep them flat footed and get ranged sneak attack damage. Just keep in mind that the support benefit only kicks in AFTER your first hit resolves, so it is far from perfect.

I have no idea how well this actually works in practice: If you only have one melee character in the party, the cat will either be very helpful or a big target...

Dark Archive

@Blave: Interesting take. Is this one of those "if it's not optimized it's not worth playing" things? She is a ruffian, running around in scale mail, and when she does get into melee uses a spear or bladed gauntlet. True, if I hadn't needed to be a back-up front liner when I made her I might have dumped Str for Dex (or maybe Cha for deception so I could make distractions) and taken a different racket, but so far I haven't found my stats to be a huge detriment; I am hitting about as often as the rest of the group, and my hp, AC, and saves are all decent. I think that the main problem is, as you pointed out, that once again Paizo has given very little love to crossbows and only rangers really have the feats to improve them. To be honest, my concept is pretty much a ranger, but I need to fit that onto a rogue chassis because the group needed all the skills I could muster. I definitely had Crossbow Ace and Running Reload high on my list of wanted feats.

@Taja: Ooh, I had not even considered an animal companion. I will definitely keep that in mind as a possibility, thank you.


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AsmodeusUltima,
I think there is merit in running a switch-hitter rogue / ranger who takes advantage of Surprise Attack for their first attack then wades into melee to set up flanking. Perhaps not "optimized" but I would assert neither "sub-par" and really the whole point is "fun" anyways so as long as your math isn't impeding your fun (it doesn't seem to be?) you're good.

(That said, I personally never go below "16" for a primary attack stat, but that's me).

Consider Incredible Initiative for getting that first sneak attack - it doesn't even cost a precious class feat!

Too, Hunter's Aim I would prioritize highest amongst early ranger feats, because it has direct synergy with your racket as towards getting the critical specialization effect with a crossbow.

Cheers!


AsmodeusUltima wrote:
@Blave: Interesting take. Is this one of those "if it's not optimized it's not worth playing" things?

Well, there's "not optimized" and there's "outright bad". Your stat allocation leans towards the latter. It's not unplayable, but even without complete optimization, your stats could be much better. Tacking a (for your class) below sub-par fighting style to those stats doesn't help either.

Quote:
She is a ruffian, running around in scale mail, and when she does get into melee uses a spear or bladed gauntlet. True, if I hadn't needed to be a back-up front liner when I made her I might have dumped Str for Dex (or maybe Cha for deception so I could make distractions) and taken a different racket, but so far I haven't found my stats to be a huge detriment

The stats might not be a detriment, but they aren't exactly helping what your trying to do, either. A Thief in (Studded) Leather Armor, with higher Dex and a Rapier (or something similar) would result in the same AC, while giving you more damage in melee. And your chosen weapon the crossbow doesn't care for anything else than Dexterity. The only thing you get from your Strength is a bonus to Bulk Capacity and Athletics.

Quote:
I am hitting about as often as the rest of the group

That's statistically unlikely unless you either have above-average lucky dice, or the rest of the party has equally non-optimized builds. If the whole party has a low-ish power level and the GM adjusts for that, it's fine. But if there are a few optimized characters in there - as a GM myself - I find too large of a discrepancy in player character power needlessly hard to deal with.

Quote:
To be honest, my concept is pretty much a ranger, but I need to fit that onto a rogue chassis because the group needed all the skills I could muster. I definitely had Crossbow Ace and Running Reload high on my list of wanted feats.

I'd probably have gone with Ranger and Multiclassed to Rogue for Skill Mastery if I desperately wanted a crossbow wielding skill specialist. You only need like 5 ranger feats to make Crossbows worthwhile, so picking lots of Skill Masteries wouldn't be much of a problem. Except maybe for the fact that it's not available before level 8. But really, PF2's skill system is more than generous enough. You shouldn't need to shoulder too many skills on your own.

Quote:
@Taja: Ooh, I had not even considered an animal companion. I will definitely keep that in mind as a possibility, thank you.

Not to be a spoilsport, but between reloading and comanding your animal to support you, you'll never have enough actions to fire more than once per turn, making the cat a bit pointless. If anything, get a bear companion as that comes with a support that doesn't require you to hit mulitple times to gain some advantage from it.

I also realizd that my first post might have come across as a bit more rough than intented. If so, I sincerely apologize. It was not my intention. You are of course free to play however you want. It's just that PF2 is a math-heavy system that really rewards specialization and between your ability scores and a hardly-working combat style, your character feels a bit all over the place.


Yeah any party with 4+ characters should be able to achieve a pretty decent skill coverage without a rogue, and there are a lot of ways to get more skills. Multiclassing into rogue is one way, but you can also use your ancestry feats on options like Clever Improviser and Ancestral Longevity to at least have a shot at any skill.

I'd really just try to let your GM rebuild into a ranger, and fix those stats while you're at it.


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The thing is, four 14's and a 12 and 10 is not just slightly spread out... it is THE 100% maximum mediocrity you can possibly achieve as human... Only a demihuman who boosted flaw stat for a 14/14/14/14/10/10 array is worse. OK, with Voluntary Flaw you can get Human to 14/14/12/12/12/10 but that is active sabotage at that point. Most people will tell you to have 18 in main stat, which isn't strictly necessary, but not having a 16 in ANY stat really means you're not getting anything for giving up primary power.

Then you're not even getting much out of all the 14's, with STR not giving real melee attack or damage advantage (given Thief DEX->damage option in Finesse weapons, which are best Rogue weapons anyways), and STR doesn't apply to crossbow damage (unlike full STR->damage Thrown weapons or half-STR->damage Bows), with crossbows also having disadvantage of needing more actions to reload. Having 14 CON and WIS is fine enough potentially, but it's not not worth spreading around stat boosts like this when it means you can't even have a 16 in ANY stat, let alone a primary attack/action stat. This isn't a matter of not being super specialized, but of being weakest possible combo you could achieve.

Since you mentioned party lacks melee frontliners, I suspect nobody else has decent STR either... If you're worried about skills, it seems you might want one person good at STR skills useful for forcing open doors/gates as well as Climb, Swim, Jump, and "maneuvers" like Grapple, Trip, Shove. An effective Crossbow build doesn't really need much if any STR, but if you want a good STR to cover those skills that benefits Bows and Thrown weapons. So I think those would be better option for ranged weaponry, and they also don't have reload action cost like crossbows (although Throwing weapons can have cost to Draw without Quickdraw Feat) which will make your build simpler and more effective.

You could even focus equally on DEX and STR with a 16 in each, but with Bows only applying 1/2 STR modifier to damage that rounds down to the same as starting with 14 STR. I'd say you're better off moving one bonus from CON or WIS to DEX, and possibly one from STR into DEX, although you could instead use Voluntary Flaw to penalize INT and CHA to put extra bonus into DEX to have an 18 (or DEX plus STR/CON at 16). Then you want to focus on skills that you are actually good at with your stats. If other characters have high stat they can be the main character to cover that skill, although some overlap can be nice especially in certain skills, that doesn't need to be your priority.

I'm not really sure what group makes it "necessary" to play a Rogue for skills, every class gets ~4-5 plus INT so why can't they cover all the skills needed? Certainly at 1st level there isn't much difference, real distinction being later with Rogue's additional skill increases beyond normal 3 maxable skills, but group as a whole should be able to cover skills as needed. It seems like obligations are being pushed on your character when that isn't really necessary. With your current stats, you're not actually especially good at any skills either, so I think this is poor reason to stay with Rogue as base class, and if you want more skill boosts later a Rogue Multiclass can give you more...

If you do play a Rogue, you should understand that using Sneak Attack with Ranged Weapons will be difficult to reliably achieve, so even if aiming for "switch hitter" build, melee should be your focus which makes awkward weapon like crossbow a very poor choice. You could use bow and draw 1H melee weapon (Fist/Gauntlet as quick backup), or use Daggers combined with Rapier/Shortsword (with Daggers benefitting from full STR modifier to thrown damage). Having ranged option when ranged attack is convenient (hopefully when target is Flat-Footed) is nice to have, but you can't rely on it to work with your Sneak Attack which is Rogue's source of combat relevance.

If you don't actually "need" Rogue for skills, that allows classes who don't depend on Flat-Footed for combat relevance. Ranger is good choice with good archery feats, but that can also work as "switch hitter" (with Quickdraw like Rogue), and actually has a few non-Combat Feats which overlap with Rogue (as well as almost the same amount of base skills). Ranger can also get Animal Companion, which takes action to command, but could work well combined with pure bow Archery (no reload action) while giving your party "melee presence". There is really plenty of options that can work well filling in these niches.


AsmodeusUltima wrote:

@Blave: Interesting take. Is this one of those "if it's not optimized it's not worth playing" things? She is a ruffian, running around in scale mail, and when she does get into melee uses a spear or bladed gauntlet. True, if I hadn't needed to be a back-up front liner when I made her I might have dumped Str for Dex (or maybe Cha for deception so I could make distractions) and taken a different racket, but so far I haven't found my stats to be a huge detriment; I am hitting about as often as the rest of the group, and my hp, AC, and saves are all decent. I think that the main problem is, as you pointed out, that once again Paizo has given very little love to crossbows and only rangers really have the feats to improve them. To be honest, my concept is pretty much a ranger, but I need to fit that onto a rogue chassis because the group needed all the skills I could muster. I definitely had Crossbow Ace and Running Reload high on my list of wanted feats.

@Taja: Ooh, I had not even considered an animal companion. I will definitely keep that in mind as a possibility, thank you.

Unlike PF1 where there were a lot more buffs and much bigger scaling, the majority of control you have over your character's ability to do their main tasks is dependent on your ability points.

You're character is at least -2 behind a character that has dedicated themselves to a thing. -2 in PF2 is actually a pretty big deal. Consider that the rogue I'm playing relies on attacking a flanked or flat-footed enemy to reliably hit, you're probably going to find it very challenging. Not to say it can't work, but you're making a difficult situation harder with your stat choice.

I would have also suggested either being a thief rogue and using pure dex, or if you're really dedicated to another racket (I'm not sure why, but okay) then focusing on strength and relying on thrown weapons.

As for why the ruffian racket is simply meh, it's lets you use sneak attack with any simple weapon vs the normal weapons the rogue is restricted to. About the only simple weapon remotely worth it is a longspear for reach, which still isn't really worth it IMO.

Also, could you get away with just using a shortbow and pretending it's a crossbow?

As you observe, only the ranger is really able to use crossbows effectively. And multiclassing just to make crossbows usable...doesn't seem like a great use of class features.

Dark Archive

I tend to agree with what everyone is saying about your stats, but they have already given you the information, so I will try to help you find feats to make your rogue/ranger work.

As you are playing a rogue as your base class and the defining feature of the rogue is sneak attack, I’d advise you to focus on getting feats that help make opponents flat-footed to you. Unfortunately, despite having spread out your boosts, you don’t have anything in the stat that most easily makes enemies flat-footed: charisma. But you do have the skill feats available to make it possibly viable with good luck.

Anyway, for class feats I would pick up unbalancing blow (rogue 2) and dread striker (rogue 4). Unbalancing blow gives flat-footed to targets on crits (which will be less likely with low to-hit) while dread striker makes frightened enemies flat-footed (greatly increasing accuracy, but will need skill proficiency investment into deception or teamwork). Another option for getting sneak attack to land is the deception action create a diversion, which makes you hidden, and the skill feat confabulator lowers the enemy’s bonus from +4 to +2 on subsequent attempts within a minute.

From ranger, I would definitely grab running reload at level 8. Before that, I think hunter’s aim as well as crossbow ace could be useful for versatility. If you play in more open areas (I.e. not dungeons), you could also use far shot. I think you’ll really need to focus on accuracy though, especially if you are fighting creatures at higher levels.

At level 10, I would take precise debilitation for flat-footed on a sneak attack. At 12, I’d take sly striker. At 14, I’d take instant opening. At 16, deadly aim. At 20, penetrating shot or impossible striker.

Dark Archive

Okay, well, apparently the consensus is that I made my character incorrectly. Which is... annoying? I thought PF2 was supposed to allow more freedom in character build, but it seems like it is the same-ol story of "better build 'em a certain way or you're hosed".

Anyway, I was able to get away with a minor stat change: when I retrained my racket from Ruffian to Thief I changed my prime stat from Str to Dex and the GM allowed that to change my stats as if I had picked that from the beginning. So now I'm 12 16 14 12 14 10. We just hit level 4, so now I look something like this:

LN F Human (Half-Elf) Bounty Hunter
Rogue L.4
Perception +10; low-light, darkvision
AC 22; HP 48
Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +10

+1 Striking Crossbow +10 (2d8 or 2d10+2 w/Crossbow Ace)
+1 Rapier +10 (1d6+3)
+1 Spiked Gauntlet +8 (1d4+1)

Thief Racket, Sneak Attack 1d6, Surprise Attack, Deny Advantage

Nimble Dodge, Ranger Dedication, Basic Hunter's Trick (Crossbow Ace)

Elf Atavism (Darkvision), Canny Acumen (Fortitude)(Will retrain this at level 9)

Acrobatics +9(T), Athletics +7(T), Crafting +7(T), Deception +6(T), Lore (Legal) +7(T), Medicine +8(T), Nature +10(E), Religion +8(T), Society +7(T), Stealth +9(T), Survival +10(E), Thievery +11(E)

Still interested in the Cat Animal Companion suggested because the support ability makes them flat-footed until the END of my next turn. So sure, I'll only be getting off one attack a round, but so long as I can keep hitting they will all be against flat-footed opponents, plus the cat will be one extra body to set up flanks and the like for the front-liners. Worried it will be pretty squishy though.

I don't know for sure how the other characters in the party are built, but my guess is that they are not really much more optimized than mine, because we do tend to have similar success rates (and we do tend to just barely make it through tough fights). But hey, we, a group of 4 level 3 characters, managed to beat a Severe 4 encounter last session, so I guess we're not that bad. :P


AsmodeusUltima wrote:

Okay, well, apparently the consensus is that I made my character incorrectly. Which is... annoying? I thought PF2 was supposed to allow more freedom in character build, but it seems like it is the same-ol story of "better build 'em a certain way or you're hosed".

I would actually say it's much more important in PF2 to build the "right way" than it was in PF1. In PF1 you could get enough magic and buffs to make up for bad base stats. In PF2, you can't. The game is built so that you're never going to get more than about a +3/4 to checks. And you need those bonuses to really consistently do your thing. Otherwise you have a 60%-75% chance of success at whatever you're doing. If you start behind by another 4 ability points (-2 modifier) you're behind another 10%.

It's really hard to make up for that in PF2.


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Claxon wrote:
AsmodeusUltima wrote:

Okay, well, apparently the consensus is that I made my character incorrectly. Which is... annoying? I thought PF2 was supposed to allow more freedom in character build, but it seems like it is the same-ol story of "better build 'em a certain way or you're hosed".

I would actually say it's much more important in PF2 to build the "right way" than it was in PF1. In PF1 you could get enough magic and buffs to make up for bad base stats. In PF2, you can't. The game is built so that you're never going to get more than about a +3/4 to checks. And you need those bonuses to really consistently do your thing. Otherwise you have a 60%-75% chance of success at whatever you're doing. If you start behind by another 4 ability points (-2 modifier) you're behind another 10%.

It's really hard to make up for that in PF2.

Conversely though it is much much easier to fully optimize. Getting an 18 in your main stat and figuring out the ideal armor to wear with your dexterity score gets you most of the way there.


I would say the harsh approach of his GM in disallowing build revamp seems insane to me, in a new game system that everybody is learning. Realizing a fundamental mistake and correcting it early in the game, which doesn't even really imply a conceptual shift of character identity, doesn't seem like problem to me. Persisting with "mistake" build doesn't seem like good way for everybody to learn new system well. It's fine if they aren't maximally optimized and have no interest in that, but being stuck in builds that impede them in multiple ways just doesn't seem like it has any value for anybody.

If he really likes the idea of being crossbow combatant, he should be a Ranger, Rogue can't reliably achieve ranged Sneak Attack which is purpose of Rogue as combatant. If needs Ranger feats to make Crossbow viable, yet has to pay "Feat Tax" for the priviledge while getting less out of Hunt Prey action than a Ranger (who can get bonus damage not dependent on Flat-Footed). The Scoundrel Racket could help ranged Flat-Footed but he needs CHA for that, and that is honestly a more advanced build anyways, and still would be awkward when trying to combine with Ranger Multiclass / Hunt Prey action.

Or if he gives up on Crossbow to use the generally better martial Shortbow from Rogue he can at least not have to spend Feats just for baseline viability and can be switch-hitter with melee too. Although it seems like he never was even enthused about that possiblity, but was pushed into it by group dynamic, similar re: skill situation although I'm not even sure if there is any real basis there that needs Rogue.

But re: melee role, a pure ranged Ranger with animal companion could also help in that area, and "just work" easily, unlike the options he is still persisting with. Combining crossbow reload with animal companion commanding is somewhat limiting, but it honestly works way better than what he is struggling with, and is later ameliorated with Mature Companion (level 6 Ranger, but would be level 12 as multiclass). It sounded like he was attracted to possibility of that approach, so I really think that is best route for him, whether he sticks with crossbow or goes to normal bows.


So I’ll say this, I actually think the Ruffian Rogue can make those stats work, so I wouldn’t say incorrectly made.

The character can potentially be one heck of a wild card because they have so many options, and options in this edition are actually a lot stronger because of how often conditions in combat can cause certain choices to become optimal.

Now, personally, since I mostly GM, this type of character would be a nightmare to play, because the value is derived entirely on looking at all your options and selecting your best one each time. As a GM, a straightforward build with a bag of tricks and some narrative power is about all I need, but as a player I think the character could be a lot of fun and nuanced (if I could stomach not being amazing at anything but good at most things)

14 Str, Dex, Con, Cha, 12 Wis, and 10 Int gives damage, ac from armor, decent saves, decent hp, good charisma for intimidate and social skills, wisdom for perception and will, and with a 10 Int since you don’t have to worry about skills anyways.

I mean idk that I’d want to play it, but it’s certainly one of the best class and sub class combinations to test whether stats like these are good choices.

Edit: seeing now the 12 is in Int and 14 in Wisdom this just takes Intimidate off the table, which while a bit rough, is still okay with the boosted wisdom (saves are solid across the board). If you can trigger FF enough it could work, but I’d avoid ranged outside of first round with surprise attack since ruffian rogue with those stats is going to thrive in melee flanking enemies.


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Nobody ever called him or his build "incorrect", they gave straight analysis of efficacy and pay-off for investment. It's not just ineffective stat array, it's that combined with a subpar weapon (crossbow) whose particular flaws are in addition to general difficulty in combining ranged weapons with his class' primary combat feature. Then paying "Feat Tax" for Ranger Multiclass to access their Feats (at 1/2 level, so good L6 Feat -> L12), while lacking native Ranger Edge benefits for Hunt Prey. That isn't "incorrect", it's just "hard mode" in consistently avoiding even average synergy and mechanical efficacy, all for no obvious pay-off. That just can't be recommend for a new player with less system mastery, it just isn't a formula for success or enjoyment.

Probably just looking at weapon table, it's easy to think crossbows do more damage, but that is not exactly the case despite appearances.
Just 12 STR (+1) makes shortbow equivalent damage to crossbow NOT EVEN counting it's deadly bonus on crits AND 1 action advantage VS reload.
Just 14 STR (+2) makes shortbow equivalent damage to heavy crossbow NOT EVEN counting it's deadly bonus on crits AND 2 actions advantage VS reload.
(eventually, at greater striking and above, direct damage moves in crossbows favor, but reload still is effective damage penalty along with lack of deadly crit damage)
This shouldn't be surprising as crossbows are lesser category of weapon, that even Wizards get despite lacking full Simple proficiency.
For a Wizard they are OK, who don't expect to need to make MANY weapon attacks in a combat so reload matters less,
and don't have any native armor proficiency so may prefer ignoring STR and thus crossbow lack of STR damage is irrelevant.
Rangers do have Feats to make Crossbows more effective and viable, and Precision Edge bonus damage option that is less impacted by reload,
but Multiclass "Feat Tax" just to qualify for those while lacking "native" Edge benefits for Hunt Prey is formula for high investment and little pay-off.
(and half level equivalency with multiclass means even 6th level feats get pushed to 12th level, also now competing against actual high level Rogue feats)
I think Multiclassing dynamics like that can be overlooked, but your base class is ALWAYS highly relevant even with MC,
you can't expect a MC to let you function just like a real member of that class, even same Feats can have different effect.

The entire crux of Rogue combat value is about Sneak Attack, which is very difficult to achieve on Ranged attacks beyond winning Init with Surprise Attack. 2nd level Thief Feat Unbalancing Blow imposes FF until end of your next turn on Crits, which is more reliable than Brutal Beating which also triggers on Crit but only imposes Frightened 1 which ends at end of THEIR turn, so can help 2nd/3rd attacks but not next round of your attacks. That is viable for STR focus Ruffian because they are also getting full STR damage to melee on non-Sneak attacks, and also have Medium Armor to be more comfortable in melee (maybe CON>DEX, later Fortification), but for a Ruffian rogue, ranged weapon is really for 1st round combat with weak ability to use their combat bonuses beyond that. Possibly other allies' class abilities could impose FF, but that is shaky, and is hardly advisable for somebody who isn't highly experienced in the rules... ESPECIALLY somebody whose party allies don't seem inclined to support them, but instead are making demands they fill melee role, they provide skills, etc.

So IMHO Thief is better ranged/switch-hitter than Ruffian because of Unbalancing Blow ability to impose FF until end of next turn. But melee is still more reliable than ranged, so investing alot in ranged just won't have efficacy in value for investment, certainly not with something like crossbow. I think switching to normal bow is most effective change that is least disruptive to his character, and could be compatible with switch-hitting Thief Rogue... Although Throwing weapons may be good thing to consider, especially once he can get Quickdraw and/or Returning weapon rune. If he really likes crossbows, definitely a rebuild to just be a Ranger would be in order to make that viable, which can "fulfill" melee role indirectly with Animal Companion which may be more satisfying to him personally since he didn't actually want melee character from the beginning.

It seems major problem of OP is operating under compulsion to serve certain roles, that he wasn't actually personally interested in... Not addressing that "table" dynamic results in bad compromises like this, even if they need not be quite as bad a compromise as original build. But the rest of his group really needs to be held to higher standard, demanding he play melee and demanding he cover all skills is just jaw-dropping in pig-headed arrogance... never mind the latter being a strange demand considering his stats meant he wasn't particulary good at any skill he was trained in.


Sorry, for some reason I used full 14 STR(+2) to damage for bow even though bows halve that.
I think the general point still stands with Deadly crits and action advantage, but that was silly goof.

Ranged Rogue could work alot better if other allies can impose FF for their allies even semiregularly, which can combine with Rogue's own FF creation. Alchemists and Fighters can do that fairly early (6), and Rangers later (12), Rogue Dread Striker (4) benefits from Fear conditions imposed by allies, not sure what else. Combined with lesser damage from Sly Striker (8) or later Precise Debilitation (10) or Instant Opening (14), that could be viable Ranged Sneak Attacker even with Ruffian. But that requires depending on alot of group synergy and cooperation, which described table dynamic doesn't inspire confidence in. It's also just alot to demand when everybody is learning the basics of their own class and the game, which is why I suggest solid straightforward build.


Quandary wrote:

Nobody ever called him or his build "incorrect", they gave straight analysis of efficacy and pay-off for investment. It's not just ineffective stat array, it's that combined with a subpar weapon (crossbow) whose particular flaws are in addition to general difficulty in combining ranged weapons with his class' primary combat feature. Then paying "Feat Tax" for Ranger Multiclass to access their Feats (at 1/2 level, so good L6 Feat -> L12), while lacking native Ranger Edge benefits for Hunt Prey. That isn't "incorrect", it's just "hard mode" in consistently avoiding even average synergy and mechanical efficacy, all for no obvious pay-off. That just can't be recommend for a new player with less system mastery, it just isn't a formula for success or enjoyment.

Probably just looking at weapon table, it's easy to think crossbows do more damage, but that is not exactly the case despite appearances.
Just 12 STR (+1) makes shortbow equivalent damage to crossbow NOT EVEN counting it's deadly bonus on crits AND 1 action advantage VS reload.
Just 14 STR (+2) makes shortbow equivalent damage to heavy crossbow NOT EVEN counting it's deadly bonus on crits AND 2 actions advantage VS reload.
(eventually, at greater striking and above, direct damage moves in crossbows favor, but reload still is effective damage penalty along with lack of deadly crit damage)
This shouldn't be surprising as crossbows are lesser category of weapon, that even Wizards get despite lacking full Simple proficiency.
For a Wizard they are OK, who don't expect to need to make MANY weapon attacks in a combat so reload matters less,
and don't have any native armor proficiency so may prefer ignoring STR and thus crossbow lack of STR damage is irrelevant.
Rangers do have Feats to make Crossbows more effective and viable, and Precision Edge bonus damage option that is less impacted by reload,
but Multiclass "Feat Tax" just to qualify for those while lacking "native" Edge benefits for Hunt Prey is formula for high investment and little pay-off.
(and...

Quandry, OP said he built it “incorrect” I was commenting on how it’s salvageable and considering the class and sub class he chose could even be a viable jack of all trades.

I was not contesting that it has challenges, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be effective (in fact this makes me realize how cool PF2 can be in regards to builds not being inherently bad just required to be played different).


No, the OP wrote "Okay, well, apparently the consensus is that I made my character incorrectly."
Which is a claim as to the consensus of other people's statements, not the OP himself directly saying "I built it incorrectly".
But nobody actually ever said it was incorrect before, you can Ctrl-F search the thread to verify that.
I certainly directly explained that did not reflect my opinion or intent, and that was Favorited by other thread participant.
So it's just not reasonable to believe his representation of consensus was accurate, therefore is a fabrication.

Atop that inacccurate representation of consensus, he constructs narrative of negativity and disappointment:
"Which is... annoying? I thought PF2 was supposed to allow more freedom in character build,
but it seems like it is the same-ol story of "better build 'em a certain way or you're hosed"."

His inaccurate representation of consensus isn't even fundamentally about this one character build,
he is using it to support general complaint about system "I thought PF2 was supposed to allow more freedom in character build".
Of course, nothing here has shown there isn't more freedom in character build, Rogue literally now has 3 potential Key Stats.
All that has been shown is that it is possible for weakest possible combo to actually be weak. Surprise, surprise.

Conflating support for variety of character builds with expectation EVERY SINGLE combo be equally viable is absurd.
The system isn't designed for all characters to be equally strong in every area, there is real choices and tradeoffs.
The system expects player will make those hard choices to focus on specific strengths, while still allowing secondary breadth.
Ignoring the system to hope you can do 5 unrelated/unsynergistic things well and cry when you can't is not trying to succeed.

Of course, he literally posted his build here asking for alternate build options to be more effective, and that's what he got.
There has been broad spectrum of alternate options to implement his character concept in more powerful/efficient way,
not just "[one] certain way or you're hosed", which is straw-man complaint that just isn't accurate even if he feels bad.
(I find this conceit absurd because I often argue against those pushing narrow builds, pointing out "this works fine enough too".)
Instead of constructively harvest tips and insight volunteered here, he twists it into opportunity to complain, and not learn.


His build is not the problem was my point. It’s his playstyle in combination with the build. Also if it’s possible to retrain the Ranger dedication, it can become much more palatable.

And your pedantic argument about incorrectly is silly, it’s pretty easy to tell why I said incorrectly made in my first post, since my response was to him not to anyone else and that’s what was said by them. It was not accusatory.

I understand maybe you think ops post isn’t in good faith, but I’m assuming it is and I was speaking to them, not specifically to the slew of other people in this thread telling them to gut their stats, trash their entire build, etc. the truth is, it’s not that bad a build if they use the build they have to do what it’s built to do. It’s a Swiss Army knife, but if they want to do one thing well (crossbow sneak attacks) then it’s not gonna be that good in its current state, since they built to be good at a lot of things.

If op is willing to retrain stuff to make the crossbow idea work, we should be advising that, but complaints about the stats shouldn’t be brought up because by RAW they can’t be retrained and they even state such in the OP. Yet several comments said to do so.

I was just trying to offer a concession and advice on how to play into decisions that can’t be unmade.


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To be clear, I don't have any problem with OP's first post, more so their follow up. When I responded "Nobody ever called him or his build "incorrect", they gave straight analysis" that wasn't ultimately addressed against you, but against his original false usage of it which he was spinning into broader complaint that didn't seem to lead anywhere productive...

Even if he "can't" revamp his stats (other than Racket Key Stat swap) in current character/game, I don't think it's irrelevant to touch upon why that stat array is counterproductive and where it is situated in spectrum of stat arrays... Especially since he already was spinning this into judgement on game at large ("if it's not optimized it's not worth playing") while discounting impact of stat array, suggesting he continued to believe it "average" array and not a weakness he may wish to avoid in the future. (he did manage one 16 with his Key Stat swap, so the stat advice seems far from useless)

I also don't think his cited "impossibilities" are compatible with good game environment, disallowing stat/build changes in home game is not reasonable for new players with new system. His restriction to Rogue ultimately derives from group pressure to do so, along with filling in melee role, which is negative, domineering table dynamic that should not be blindly accepted or "given a pass", doubly so when these are ultimate source of his build difficulties. Regardless, correcting a mistaken belief about Rogue necessity for skills seems very relevant for future games he may play.

And I did share advice within "requirements" to enable Rogue switch-hitter, giving up on Ranger MCD and crossbow to go with Shortbow... The OP never specifying crossbow as "requirement" and it was factor in build weakness/inefficiency, so swapping it out for more build- and action-efficient Shortbow was most direct route to viability on Rogue. I did also include advice on pure Ranger rebuild, IMHO not unreasonable considering the ultimate reason for Rogue requirement was based on false belief about skills. If his build was based around flawed belief that 16 INT and CHA was required, I would have also given advice on basis that requirement might be dropped in light of new understanding, but I did give viable Rogue advice in case it wasn't.

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