How does the ranger cope with having to switch prey so much?


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We played one recently and it seemed a very cumbersome mechanic. I'd prefer choosing a creature type and sub type ("soldiers of the white moon army" or "orcs of the bright plains") and let the player change it daily.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

This is basically why the Ranger gets action economy boosting attacks like Hunted Shot or Twin Takedown.


I have a player that is a lvl 10 Precision Ranger right now, he never really complained about it with me at least, so I don't think that he really mind to do it, but to be fair he does have the Monster Hunter feat since the lvl 1, so he gets a free recall knowledge every single time that he uses it.

While he have Hunted Shot, he often fights melee as well with a rapier and a free hand.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

In my experience the ranger copes quite well. To be fair, our ranger doesn't focus fire alongside the rest of the party, and instead usually focuses on a prey no one has touched so she doesn't have to switch as often. Still works wonderfully though, especially because her crits pin her prey and help keep them out of the fight.


It's... okay, but not a great situation in my experience (precision crossbow ranger). It ends up being about equal to a "regular" action economy, as while you're using hunt target every couple of rounds typically, you also have actions that give action economy. That being said, Fighter and Monk, I think, tend to do much better on this front because stances last an entire battle vs against a single enemy.


In my experience my rangers don't always hunt minions, but will drop their hunt target on anyone they're either focused on, or big obvious targets.

Basically, if they know they won't need the advantage (both precision) they won't hunt.

Horizon Hunters

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Anne sends Yogi Berra (brown bear animal companion) in to Support, which costs an action. She marks her quarry (action), then shoots twice with Hunted Shot (action) at 0 & -3 (thanks to Hunter's Edge/Flurry). This yields bow damage + 1d8 support damage per shot, which is respectable. While it's nice if Anne gets in a shot at -6, it's not a great loss if she doesn't as these are the shots that rarely hit.


Anne Archer wrote:
Anne sends Yogi Berra (brown bear animal companion) in to Support, which costs an action. She marks her quarry (action), then shoots twice with Hunted Shot (action) at 0 & -3 (thanks to Hunter's Edge/Flurry). This yields bow damage + 1d8 support damage per shot, which is respectable. While it's nice if Anne gets in a shot at -6, it's not a great loss if she doesn't as these are the shots that rarely hit.

This is my strategy as well, except I switched to Precision. I also have Rogue Dedication and Sneak Attacker.


Anne Archer wrote:
Anne sends Yogi Berra (brown bear animal companion) in to Support, which costs an action. She marks her quarry (action), then shoots twice with Hunted Shot (action) at 0 & -3 (thanks to Hunter's Edge/Flurry). This yields bow damage + 1d8 support damage per shot, which is respectable. While it's nice if Anne gets in a shot at -6, it's not a great loss if she doesn't as these are the shots that rarely hit.

This makes crossbows even worse that I thought they were because you're getting the support bonus on each shot.


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krobrina wrote:
Anne Archer wrote:
Anne sends Yogi Berra (brown bear animal companion) in to Support, which costs an action. She marks her quarry (action), then shoots twice with Hunted Shot (action) at 0 & -3 (thanks to Hunter's Edge/Flurry). This yields bow damage + 1d8 support damage per shot, which is respectable. While it's nice if Anne gets in a shot at -6, it's not a great loss if she doesn't as these are the shots that rarely hit.
This makes crossbows even worse that I thought they were because you're getting the support bonus on each shot.

Yeah, crossbows are in a rough place this edition. Particularly since the only class that gets bonuses to using crossbows is the one who can't use it with one of their most important feats, Hunted Shot. Hopefully new crossbows in later books will make things better.

PS. Paizo, gib fighter crossbow feats


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My party's rangers do their best to hunt the target before combat begins. After that first target is downed, then they focus on whatever big threat is still up.

So far it hasn't been that big of a deal.


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krobrina wrote:
Anne Archer wrote:
Anne sends Yogi Berra (brown bear animal companion) in to Support, which costs an action. She marks her quarry (action), then shoots twice with Hunted Shot (action) at 0 & -3 (thanks to Hunter's Edge/Flurry). This yields bow damage + 1d8 support damage per shot, which is respectable. While it's nice if Anne gets in a shot at -6, it's not a great loss if she doesn't as these are the shots that rarely hit.
This makes crossbows even worse that I thought they were because you're getting the support bonus on each shot.

It's not that bad. You take crossbow ace on a Precision ranger and that bear and your first round is Hunt Prey, Command Animal and Strike for 1d10 +2 + 2d8 at second and 120' range with NO volley. This is all at 1st level for human ranger or 2nd for others. Add in running reload at 4th and you use your reload action to keep at range too.

WatersLethe wrote:
My party's rangers do their best to hunt the target before combat begins.

Yep, that's what I've seen too.


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krobrina wrote:
This makes crossbows even worse that I thought they were because you're getting the support bonus on each shot.

Consider the support benefits companions grant:

Badger: target can't Step until the start of your next turn.
Bear: 1d8 damage (2d8 at higher levels)
Bird: 1d4 (2d4) persistent bleed, and dazzled for as long as they're bleeding.
Camel: ranged spit that may dazzle.
Cat: flatfooted until end of your next turn
Dromaeosaur: Easier flanking.
Horse: better charges.
Hyena: frightened 1.
Snake: Can't use reactions against you unless higher level.
Vulture: Save or be sickened.
Wolf: -5 speed.

The only one of these that's useful to do more than once on the same target is the bear's bonus damage. So, if you're planning on being a ranger with a crossbow, either don't get a bear companion or don't have it support. After all, it can still attack on its own.


I'd like to see what animal companions are registered with PFS because I do not believe some of them exist.


krobrina,
Some have the blue ("yes") glyph, some have the red ("no") glyph.


rainzax wrote:

krobrina,

Some have the blue ("yes") glyph, some have the red ("no") glyph.

Yeah, it's the 3 from Pathfinder #149: Against the Scarlet Triad [camel, hyena and vulture] that are PFS restricted.


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Kids these days and their exotic animals. Why can't they have normal pets like a dinosaur? Did we raise them wrong?


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Captain Morgan wrote:
In my experience the ranger copes quite well. To be fair, our ranger doesn't focus fire alongside the rest of the party, and instead usually focuses on a prey no one has touched so she doesn't have to switch as often. Still works wonderfully though, especially because her crits pin her prey and help keep them out of the fight.

My experience with the one PF2 ranger that I played and the other one that I GMed is that he just doesn't cope.

Focus fire is a really important tactic. You can't not do it and not expect to have a major problem

The action economy is really tough. The feats that improve it are very good. EG Hunted Shot or Twin Takedown, Quick Draw, Mature Animal Companion.

Personally I wouldn't take an animal companion as a ranger. They get in the way and just don't stack up. Their to hit numbers are awful and go down hill from there, they soak up a lot of the parties healing capacity.

Archery doesn't work well. You are stuck with a 1d6 weapon or a 1d8 weapon with a volley penalty. Then you will often have a partial cover penalty for firing into a melee over an ally. It is very sad, and very ineffective. If you want to play a ranged striker then try a Sorcerer or a Rogue instead.

It can work with multiclassing into say Rogue. But a Fighter to Rogue multiclass is a better way to do it.

But otherwise from me it gets a hard pass in PF2. To be fair the D&D5 one is crap too.

Very disappointing. I like rangers.


Gortle wrote:
My experience with the one PF2 ranger that I played and the other one that I GMed is that he just doesn't cope ... But otherwise from me it gets a hard pass in PF2. To be fair the D&D5 one is crap too.

Something has to keep the supply of Zz'dtri clones in check.


graystone wrote:
krobrina wrote:
Anne Archer wrote:
Anne sends Yogi Berra (brown bear animal companion) in to Support, which costs an action. She marks her quarry (action), then shoots twice with Hunted Shot (action) at 0 & -3 (thanks to Hunter's Edge/Flurry). This yields bow damage + 1d8 support damage per shot, which is respectable. While it's nice if Anne gets in a shot at -6, it's not a great loss if she doesn't as these are the shots that rarely hit.
This makes crossbows even worse that I thought they were because you're getting the support bonus on each shot.

It's not that bad. You take crossbow ace on a Precision ranger and that bear and your first round is Hunt Prey, Command Animal and Strike for 1d10 +2 + 2d8 at second and 120' range with NO volley. This is all at 1st level for human ranger or 2nd for others. Add in running reload at 4th and you use your reload action to keep at range too.

You and I have different ideas as to what the word BAD means.

Crossbows are shocking. You have several feats to take and you never get close to bows - which I still dislike BTW. I probably would only use them for a switch hitter precision ranger as an option before going into melee.

Grand Lodge

WatersLethe wrote:
My party's rangers do their best to hunt the target before combat begins.

I didn't realize that you could Hunt Prey before combat.

I assumed it was similar to the other abilities that you can't do until combat starts.


Our party ranger has been very successful. To be fair, I'm playing a bard, and the flurry ranger benefits from my bard's support better than any other class. Haste + Inspire Courage/Dirge of Doom + Flurry Ranger is an extremely powerful combination.

The ranger by itself does have some issues. In general, melee with an animal companion is hard to do since you don't quite have enough actions to move, hunt, twin takedown, and command your companion. Ranged with an Animal Companion works well, and riding the animal companion as a small character works especially well. 1 action to move 80 feet helps you use a longbow without taking the volley penalty.


Garretmander wrote:

In my experience my rangers don't always hunt minions, but will drop their hunt target on anyone they're either focused on, or big obvious targets.

Basically, if they know they won't need the advantage (both precision) they won't hunt.

This is how I would play it. Treat Hunt Target as a tool that is available and useful - not as a must-use ability that is taking up actions even if it is not useful.

Gorignak227 wrote:
I didn't realize that you could Hunt Prey before combat.

Yeah. It even provides benefits to things like tracking - which isn't a combat thing to do.

In fact, I think that generally any abilities can be used outside of combat. Some of them may initiate combat...


breithauptclan wrote:
Garretmander wrote:

In my experience my rangers don't always hunt minions, but will drop their hunt target on anyone they're either focused on, or big obvious targets.

Basically, if they know they won't need the advantage (both precision) they won't hunt.

This is how I would play it. Treat Hunt Target as a tool that is available and useful - not as a must-use ability that is taking up actions even if it is not useful.

Gorignak227 wrote:
I didn't realize that you could Hunt Prey before combat.

Yeah. It even provides benefits to things like tracking - which isn't a combat thing to do.

In fact, I think that generally any abilities can be used outside of combat. Some of them may initiate combat...

The problem with not using hunt prey versus mooks is that will usually hinder the amount of actions you can take rather than help since the 2 attacks with 1 action abilities can only be used on hunted prey.


Gortle wrote:
You have several feats to take

It's 2, so one more than a bow... It's not really onerous.

Gortle wrote:
and you never get close to bows

It depends on what you're looking at: the crossbow has a longer range without the volley traits vs the longbow. Precision only works once per round, so firing more than once isn't as much of a bonus. You also aren't using str so you only have to have enough to cover equipment.

Gortle wrote:
You and I have different ideas as to what the word BAD means.

I guess. Bows can be annoying with the range limits if your encounters vary in distance often: if you go from an encounter starting up 10' from the enemy and then meet one 240' the next, half the time you're stuck with the wrong kind of bow [either short range or volley] and taking penalties right off the bat. The crossbow isn't great but it works in all ranges and synergies well for precision for one big hit, especially vs DR's: that single crossbow hit from the precision ranger is most likely doing more damage to a skeleton [dr5 vs piercing] than multiple bow shots rapid fire.

Liberty's Edge

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At 2nd level, assuming both have a Bear, a Precision Crossbow Ranger has a DPR of 9.9 vs. an AC 18 enemy (using the actions Graystone mentions above). A Flurry Bow Ranger with a longbow has a DPR of 10.5 vs. the same enemy (using Hunt Prey + Command + Hunted Shot) if they invest in Str 14 (they go down to 9.45 if they have only Str 10, the level a Crossbow Ranger can get away with), going down to 8.5 if they're too close and he takes Volley penalties (less on the Str 10 version). A -6 attack ups the Bow Ranger to 13.5, but only to 10.5 if his Volley penalty is in play (and both those numbers go down with lower Str investment, too...the Volley number is worse at Str 10 even on three attacks).

Without the bear, the crossbow Ranger goes down to 7.2, and the bow ranger goes down to 5.575 (7.225 if they get a -6 attack).

So, in short, if you really want to hyper-specialize in damage, investing every possible resource into it (all your actions, the whole archery and animal companion Feat lines, upping Str at every opportunity, making sure you engage at precisely the right distance, etc.) then bow does do more damage...but it should. You've invested heavily in doing so.

Crossbow, meanwhile, has a lower ceiling on damage, because you simply cannot invest all your actions or stat points into increasing your damage, but what you can do is use those stat points and actions on things other than damage. I mean, you can move or Sneak while reloading (starting at 4th), invest those points in Wis for better Perception, Skills, and Will Save, and just generally do stuff that the hyper invested bow build can't very well (or not without sacrificing their damage advantage, anyway), all while doing pretty respectable damage.

So the question is...how invested in damage are you? If it's to the maximum possible degree then you 100% should go bow...but that's not the right choice for everyone, or even necessarily the 'optimal' one.


Take the square root for damage ratios in cases where you do not increase hit points to match. A unit that does 2X as much damage as another unit can only fight 1.4X as many as they have the same hit points. This from Lanchester's square law for military combat simulations.

However at the scale of pathfinder characters, damge spikes are much more important than DPR. Spiked enemies die and don't hit back. DPR is more appropriate for long boss fights. The bow's damage spike on the turn that both shots hit can be signigicant.

Liberty's Edge

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krobrina wrote:
However at the scale of pathfinder characters, damge spikes are much more important than DPR. Spiked enemies die and don't hit back. DPR is more appropriate for long boss fights. The bow's damage spike on the turn that both shots hit can be signigicant.

It's not a huge spike, honestly, at least not at low level. The build above, the crossbow does an average of 16.5 on a hit, while two bow shots do only 20. A theoretical round where all three hit is 30, sure, but the odds of that are very low (something less than 6% by my calculations) and can only happen on the second and subsequent rounds.

As levels rise, the spikiness does become more pronounced, but not really enough to make it meaningful very often, IMO.

Sovereign Court

My main gripe is that neither of the directly attack-focused ranged edges works nicely with a crossbow because you can't shoot twice per round, every round. Even if you argue that the DPR is good enough, it just doesn't feel good.

If the APG has more ranger edges to choose from and one of those works well if you're making only one attack per round, that would make crossbows a lot more fun to play with.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

...

So, in short, if you really want to hyper-specialize in damage, investing every possible resource into it (all your actions, the whole archery and animal companion Feat lines, upping Str at every opportunity, making sure you engage at precisely the right distance, etc.) then bow does do more damage...but it should. You've invested heavily in doing so.

Crossbow, meanwhile, has a lower ceiling on damage, because you simply cannot invest all your actions or stat points into increasing your damage, but what you can do is use those stat points and actions on things other than damage...

This analysis makes it seem good. But you are missing the reload action that you are having to do. The next round is not nearly so nice. You are also going to have to hunt prey, and command an animal. Running reload will give you that action back if you need to move. Then you need to attack as well. Its still tight and there are choices every turn. You should have to hunt prey often or you are not focussing fire on your enemies. The archer/pet ranger is struggling for actions the crossbow/pet ranger is a lost cause.

Where crossbow works, is as you say, if you don't want to make a big investment in a ranged weapon. Just the odd shot here or there as tactically required. But then I probably don't want to invest 2 feats in it. I'd rather do something else with those slots.


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Ascalaphus wrote:

My main gripe is that neither of the directly attack-focused ranged edges works nicely with a crossbow because you can't shoot twice per round, every round. Even if you argue that the DPR is good enough, it just doesn't feel good.

If the APG has more ranger edges to choose from and one of those works well if you're making only one attack per round, that would make crossbows a lot more fun to play with.

That is literally what the Precision Edge do?


Deadmanwalking wrote:

It's not a huge spike, honestly, at least not at low level. The build above, the crossbow does an average of 16.5 on a hit, while two bow shots do only 20. A theoretical round where all three hit is 30, sure, but the odds of that are very low (something less than 6% by my calculations) and can only happen on the second and subsequent rounds.

16.5 vs 20 DPRspike. Are those for a 2nd level Ranger?

GMG hit point thresholds for high/mod/low:

CR 0: 20-17, 16-14, 13-11

CR 1: 26-24, 21-19, 16-14

CR 2: 40-36, 32-28, 25-21

CR 3: 59-53, 48-42, 37-31

Quite a few of these interact with 16, 17 and 20 in some different matter. Example a CR 1 moderate, a CR 2 high.

Nothing's guaranteed because of dice and ally actions, but I do think this shows that DPR is not the only (and maybe not the primary) consideration.

Liberty's Edge

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Gortle wrote:
This analysis makes it seem good. But you are missing the reload action that you are having to do.

No, I'm not. You reload on the second round instead of using Hunt Prey.

Gortle wrote:
The next round is not nearly so nice. You are also going to have to hunt prey, and command an animal. Running reload will give you that action back if you need to move. Then you need to attack as well. Its still tight and there are choices every turn. You should have to hunt prey often or you are not focussing fire on your enemies. The archer/pet ranger is struggling for actions the crossbow/pet ranger is a lost cause.

Only if you're trying to Hunt Prey on a new enemy every turn. That's crazy. And unnecessary. Foes that PCs can take out in a single round probably don't even need you to use Hunt Prey on them. Unlike the

Flurry Ranger, a Precision Ranger gets only an extra 1d8 damage from Hunt Prey at low levels...that's not exactly crippling not to have occasionally vs. weaker enemies. And it is only weaker ones, as enemies last quite a bit longer in PF2 than they did in PF1. Yes, your action economy will occasionally suffer, but it's Command An Animal or Hunt Prey that gets left off occasionally, not attacking.

There's also the whole 'if you don't want to invest in an animal companion' thing, which is a valid choice and removes most of these problems. Not everyone gets an Animal Companion even if they are very good mechanically.

Gortle wrote:
Where crossbow works, is as you say, if you don't want to make a big investment in a ranged weapon. Just the odd shot here or there as tactically required. But then I probably don't want to invest 2 feats in it. I'd rather do something else with those slots.

No, going crossbow is a fine primary combat role for a character who's just not hyperfocused on damage. Which is a lot of characters, honestly.

Liberty's Edge

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krobrina wrote:
16.5 vs 20 DPR. Are those for a 2nd level Ranger?

That's not DPR in the normal sense, it's if they hit. And yes, those are on a 2nd level Ranger.

krobrina wrote:
Nothing's guaranteed because of dice and ally actions, but I do think this shows that DPR is not the only (and maybe not the primary) consideration.

Not the only one, no, but given ally actions and dice variance, I'm not sure the average damages compared to HP are super relevant on their own either.

The full range would be 5-28 for the crossbow user, and 6-34 for the bow user on two shots (which actually only happens 22% of the time). That's a spike, sure, and it is better, but I don't know if it's '-1 on all Will Saves, Fort Saves and Perception, and -1 HP per level' better, and that's potentially what you're giving up since it involves 4 stat points.

Now, they will hit with at least one attack more often, but that's not a damage spike, which is what I was disagreeing was more relevant than DPR.

Sovereign Court

Kyrone wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

My main gripe is that neither of the directly attack-focused ranged edges works nicely with a crossbow because you can't shoot twice per round, every round. Even if you argue that the DPR is good enough, it just doesn't feel good.

If the APG has more ranger edges to choose from and one of those works well if you're making only one attack per round, that would make crossbows a lot more fun to play with.

That is literally what the Precision Edge do?

*Extract foot from mouth* Upon re-reading, you're right. I was led astray by the Masterful Hunter text which also gives you precision damage on the second hit per round. But I suppose by level 17 you can find a way to reliably shoot twice per round, say with Haste.


I can see the saves and HP being useful in some parties or for scout-type rangers. We don't play PFS with random groups so getting hit is less of a problem if you build DPS.


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krobrina wrote:
I can see the saves and HP being useful in some parties or for scout-type rangers. We don't play PFS with random groups so getting hit is less of a problem if you build DPS.

...

So most of the discussion has to do with white room DPS calculations. The fact that your party negates some of those assumptions does not invalidate those arguments.

It's no different then saying "this is all well and good but we're playing a party of merfolk so I can't have a bear companion."


It's not white room if you actually don't get hit in a real game.

I don't think any opinion here is invalid.


krobrina wrote:

It's not white room if you actually don't get hit in a real game.

I don't think any opinion here is invalid.

It's a very, very odd game you've played that you've never had to make a roll that would be affected by a '-1 on all Will Saves, Fort Saves and Perception, and -1 HP per level' So not a single will/fort save, never took ANY damage or made a perception check?


graystone wrote:
krobrina wrote:

It's not white room if you actually don't get hit in a real game.

I don't think any opinion here is invalid.

It's a very, very odd game you've played that you've never had to make a roll that would be affected by a '-1 on all Will Saves, Fort Saves and Perception, and -1 HP per level' So not a single will/fort save, never took ANY damage or made a perception check?

Unless it's something like mathematics, it's impossible to communicate while dealing in absolutes.


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krobrina wrote:
graystone wrote:
krobrina wrote:

It's not white room if you actually don't get hit in a real game.

I don't think any opinion here is invalid.

It's a very, very odd game you've played that you've never had to make a roll that would be affected by a '-1 on all Will Saves, Fort Saves and Perception, and -1 HP per level' So not a single will/fort save, never took ANY damage or made a perception check?
Unless it's something like mathematics, it's impossible to communicate while dealing in absolutes.

But you just tried to do so: "It's not white room if you actually don't get hit in a real game." You're making it sound like you never have to worry about your saves, hp and perception checks because you party allows you to attack with impunity without ever having to worry about such things. You can say they are less important because of party composition but you just brushed them off like it was never an issue. If you can sit in one place and use every action to attack until everything is dead, never having to move or defend then I'd like to see that team set-up.


Obviously, my statement is not an absolute.


krobrina wrote:
Obviously, my statement is not an absolute.

It was presented as such: To a post that said "The fact that your party negates some of those assumptions does not invalidate those arguments", you where saying it wasn't a "white room" if you "don't get hit in a real game"... You said general statement wasn't true because of a specific absolute of yours. If it wasn't framed as an absolute, I never would have posted to it. :P


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gortle wrote:
This analysis makes it seem good. But you are missing the reload action that you are having to do.

No, I'm not. You reload on the second round instead of using Hunt Prey.

Gortle wrote:
The next round is not nearly so nice. You are also going to have to hunt prey, and command an animal. Running reload will give you that action back if you need to move. Then you need to attack as well. Its still tight and there are choices every turn. You should have to hunt prey often or you are not focussing fire on your enemies. The archer/pet ranger is struggling for actions the crossbow/pet ranger is a lost cause.

Only if you're trying to Hunt Prey on a new enemy every turn. That's crazy. And unnecessary. Foes that PCs can take out in a single round probably don't even need you to use Hunt Prey on them. Unlike the

Flurry Ranger, a Precision Ranger gets only an extra 1d8 damage from Hunt Prey at low levels...that's not exactly crippling not to have occasionally vs. weaker enemies. And it is only weaker ones, as enemies last quite a bit longer in PF2 than they did in PF1. Yes, your action economy will occasionally suffer, but it's Command An Animal or Hunt Prey that gets left off occasionally, not attacking.

There's also the whole 'if you don't want to invest in an animal companion' thing, which is a valid choice and removes most of these problems. Not everyone gets an Animal Companion even if they are very good mechanically.

Gortle wrote:
Where crossbow works, is as you say, if you don't want to make a big investment in a ranged weapon. Just the odd shot here or there as tactically required. But then I probably don't want to invest 2 feats in it. I'd rather do something else with those slots.
No, going crossbow is a fine primary combat role for a character who's just not hyperfocused on damage. Which is a lot of characters, honestly.

Sorry but totally not my experience. The Hunt Prey action occurs most of time in the first round of combat, but in a typical fight you should redo it in two thirds of the subsequent rounds. It is not uncommon to have a fight where you choose to do it every round. In a typical fight for a party of 4-5 against a similar number of enemies, the party will take down an opponent most rounds. Against a boss, not much at all, but that encounter is much less often.

A crossbow ranger is a ranged striker, they should be choosing their targets carfeully each round based on tactical priority. That is a strength of the ranged build - they don't have to fight what they are next too like most melee specialists.

This is a discussion that included DPR. The analysis and play experience is clear - the ranger with a crossbow as a primary focus is not great, good or even just OK, it is a poor choice. If you aren't concerned about effectiveness then fine take it, if you want. I often take mechanically suboptimal builds just for fun, but typically not those like this with such a deep mechanical problem.

I'm only marginally warmer on an archery based ranger. It is not a good build.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I feel like that's because you're convinced focus fire is always the best way to win a fight, though. That's not the case.

Liberty's Edge

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Gortle wrote:
Sorry but totally not my experience. The Hunt Prey action occurs most of time in the first round of combat, but in a typical fight you should redo it in two thirds of the subsequent rounds. It is not uncommon to have a fight where you choose to do it every round. In a typical fight for a party of 4-5 against a similar number of enemies, the party will take down an opponent most rounds. Against a boss, not much at all, but that encounter is much less often.

Again, this assumes you focus fire all the time. That's not necessarily a great plan every single time.

It also assumes large numbers of low level foes, which is an odd assumption not borne out very well by the existing published adventures.

What adventures have you been playing? From looking through the first couple of APs and Plaguestone, fights with a 'boss' are around 1/3 of the fights in the game, while fights with a number of foes equal to the PCs are more like 1/4, if that.

Age of Ashes Chapter 1, for example, has 12 fights with creatures higher level than the PCs, but only five with creatures that equal them in numbers or outnumber them (there's an overlap of one fight there, too), and even adding fights with three foes to the 'high enemy' fights doesn't hit 12. Most other chapters I've looked at those numbers are more skewed away from large groups, if anything, rather than less.

Gortle wrote:
A crossbow ranger is a ranged striker, they should be choosing their targets carfeully each round based on tactical priority. That is a strength of the ranged build - they don't have to fight what they are next too like most melee specialists.

This is one strength of a ranged build, but not by any means the only one. Ranged builds are also a lot better at not getting attacked or effected by area effects, and with their mobility and ability to hide even while reloading, those advantages are where a crossbow Ranger really excels.

Gortle wrote:
This is a discussion that included DPR. The analysis and play experience is clear - the ranger with a crossbow as a primary focus is not great, good or even just OK, it is a poor choice. If you aren't concerned about effectiveness then fine take it, if you want. I often take mechanically suboptimal builds just for fun, but typically not those like this with such a deep mechanical problem.

The analysis is not remotely clear, nor is your play experience universal by any means. Nor is there a 'deep mechanical problem', there is a different playstyle more focused on defense and utility than raw damage, which you apparently don't like, but that's in no way the same thing as a bad build.

Gortle wrote:
I'm only marginally warmer on an archery based ranger. It is not a good build.

If you're constantly able to focus fire on every target, and those targets are lower level than you, and you choose to do so, no Ranger is gonna be as good. That's true. That's also not a universal scenario by any means.

Additionally, a non-Animal Companion crossbow build is actually quite doable with doing Hunt Prey every round, and does pretty decent (if not exceptional) damage.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


Again, this assumes you focus fire all the time. That's not necessarily a great plan every single time.

It also assumes large numbers of low level foes, which is an odd assumption not borne out very well by the existing published adventures.

What adventures have you been playing? From looking through the first couple of APs and Plaguestone, fights with a 'boss' are around 1/3 of the fights in the game, while fights with a number of foes equal to the PCs are more like 1/4, if that.

Age of Ashes Chapter 1, for example, has 12 fights with creatures higher level than the PCs, but only five with creatures that equal them in numbers or outnumber them

I would suggest that, with the caveat that this is a role playing game and having fun is more important, that this is our play experience not a theory. Age of Ashes is the campaign I'm GMing and we are only on the second book. My players are crushing it. I'm regularly adding extra enemies, bumping up levels of monsters, and typically add 50% to the hit points of bosses. Monsters go down very fast. 3 out of the 5 players are highly optimised. The number of monsters are supposed to be increased due to 5 not 4 players. But even so the point remains.

I'm not talking about lower level opponents, they are easily crushed and not really relevant to any discussion on effectiveness.

If you are not focusing fire on enemies one at a time, in the majority of situations, then you are playing a very sub optimal game.

Liberty's Edge

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A five player game where you often add additional enemies to round out encounters is gonna really skew your data as compared to the default assumptions of the game, in terms of how many foes there are per encounter, and in terms of how long individual foes last.

Which is to say, I wouldn't necessarily assume that your play experience in that very specific environment is very generalizable to people playing any other way.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

A five player game where you often add additional enemies to round out encounters is gonna really skew your data as compared to the default assumptions of the game, in terms of how many foes there are per encounter, and in terms of how long individual foes last.

Which is to say, I wouldn't necessarily assume that your play experience in that very specific environment is very generalizable to people playing any other way.

Which is precisly why I provided that information so you could make your own judgement. We often play with four as well. There is a difference, but my conclusion doesn't change. Ranger action economy is very poor even with the feats. Crossbow is significantly worse than archery. Archery does not stack up well - it really only seems OK when you critical.


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I haven't found any need to "cope". On turns where I need to Hunt Prey my action economy is the same as everyone else's due to Hunted Shot. On every other turn, it's better than everyone else's.

Once you hit Double Prey it gets even better.

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