Let's Talk Reloading


Gunslinger Class

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Ascalaphus wrote:

Yeah, the Quickdraw paradigm doesn't work for me, because it locks you out of all the other "do something interesting with a Strike" feats.

I realize drawing and reloading weapons is a big thing in this class.

...
But I think the best solution is something else I've seen proposed - pair Reloading with interesting actions. Do a Recall Knowledge for free while your Reload. Move while Reloading (this already exists, and is a good example of what we need more of). Maybe grit your teeth (see what I did there) while you Reload and attempt a saving throw to throw off a bad condition at the same time. Stare threateningly at someone while you Reload and bring you your gun again their direction.

Reloading is a signature of this class. But it should be an interesting signature, not a chore to try to circumvent.

[Emphasis mine and copied over from main thread...]


I recognize a magic item shouldn't be the solution to much of anything, but I'd like to see something (perhaps gloves) like Handiwraps, except it works on 1-handed ranged attacks. So throwers & gunners could both benefit from having a brace of different weapons.
Sure you're a pirate firing and dropping lots of weapons, but they'll all perform at level. Or Trejo with all those knives. :)

Speaking of items, auto-reloading firearms seem like a given, even if they come as specific items so only get Fundamental Rune upgrades.

---
Separately, I'd like to note that with crit fishing it's the first attack that makes up the majority of the Gunslinger's offense. A second is nice, especially vs. minions, but I think ways to improve the first Strike might be the best route. The Fighter has many examples that could be ported over to Gunslinger of single Strikes that have extra benefits. These generally cost 2 actions, so that'd spend the round.

---
Just now realizing it'll be hard to balance a Gunslinger vs. a Fighter with a gun. Too much emphasis on item improvement might tilt things awry. So yeah, a lot of abilities will have to be hardwired into the Gunslinger chassis. Except too far that way and nobody else could use guns (which may or may not be fine).


Cellion wrote:


  • Reloading Strike (6th level) for the Way of the Drifter saves you the reload action if you're alternating melee and ranged attacks.
  • Personal annoyance that I shared in the main thread about this: As reloading is an interact action with the manipulate trait and Reloading Strike specifies you take an Interact action, if the enemy has attacks of opportunity then they shut down the sword-n-pistol build pretty hard against the AOO enemy since the action would just lead to free attacks on you.

    If duel-wielding pistols (or maybe pistol-n-sword builds too) though, the Dual-Weapon Warrior archetype is a no-brainer for Dual-Weapon Reload (as it lets you reload without a hand free). However, it does lead to spending a painful two actions to reload your double pistols and, like others mentioned, reloading is an empty action that I'm not sure gets fixed enough with things like Reloading Strike along with a damage output that I don't think is strong enough to compensate for two actions to activate (one to reload, one to fire). That's putting aside you need the Free-Archetype rule to make it worthwhile.


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    OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
    Kelseus wrote:

    With quickdraw, you can have a routine like this.

    1: melee, shoot, sheath.
    2: reload, quckdraw/strike, shoot.
    3: sheath, reload, shoot.
    4: QD/melee, sheath, reload
    5: QD/melee, shoot, sheath

    5 rounds, 4 shots, 4 melee strikes with investing only a level 2 feat. Since you are unlikely to use that third strike most rounds anyways, you are really just losing 2 strikes over 5 rounds.

    Yep, that *looks* like a useful set of actions, but it seems more like calculus than a simple playstyle. I would like the gunslinger or even just the sword and pistol approach to be simple. Then again, mich of this may just be flintlock based, and circumvented by any magazine/multiple chamber weapon...

    If you want simple, just wield a firearm alone.

    Dual-wielding swords and pistols should be more interesting than simply full-attacking. The visual of a gunslinger sheathing their sword to reload, then whipping it out again to stab an enemy before taking their shot is pretty darn cinematic.

    Scarab Sages

    Lightdroplet wrote:

    I guess a simple way to temporarily solve the Drifter issue before level 6 is to use a Gauntlet as your melee weapon. Free-hand makes reloading a gun possible even though you are technically wielding a melee weapon in your hand.

    Of course, you lose all the sword&gun flavor that was intended for the class, but at least you get something mechanically functional.

    The problem with this is that Gunslingers are DEX-based and expert in only firearms. Their attack modifier with the gauntlet is about 4 or 6 points lower than with a firearm. Even with the gauntlet's agile trait, that's pretty bad.

    A finesse unarmed attack is better, but the Pistol and Sword feat only partially works with unarmed attacks.


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    As it stands a Gunslinger is making significantly less attacks per round than a Bow Fighter, and Fatal just doesn't make up for the damage difference. The Longbow is a good comparison point for the Dueling Pistol because it requires a similar number of hands to operate (one hand to hold the weapon and a free hand to reload/fire it).

    Lets look at a level five Gunslinger vs. a level five Bow Fighter. Assume Firearm Ace and Propulsive cancel each other out, and assume both either start in their preferred range or have to spend an action getting into it (either Striding or entering Point Blank Shot Stance) for simplicity.
    A +1 Striking Dueling Pistol deals an average of 7 damage on a regular Strike (2d6) and an average of 27.5 damage on a critical hit (5d10 damage).
    A +1 Striking Longbow deals an average of 9 damage on a regular Strike (2d8) and an average of 23.5 damage on a critical hit (4d8 + 1d10).

    Given the bow does +2 damage on regular hits and does -4 damage on a Crit they would deal equivalent damage if you're critting approximately a third of the time (I think that tracks anyhow). Against an on level foe with High AC (most enemies have High AC, and important fights will be against enemies a few levels above you) you will hit 75% of the time and crit 25% of the time.

    So in this scenario (which favours the Gunslinger due to the low AC of the target relative to more important fights), their damage is on par with each other! Except... you have to reload after every shot with the Pistol, and your second shot of a round only has a 5% chance to crit vs. a 50% chance to hit. What this means is that even if the Gunslinger had their Capstone feat Perfect Readiness for free reloads, they wouldn't be able to keep up with the Longbow on damage.

    I may have made a mistake somewhere in my reasoning, and obviously it's white room math, but it looks to me that the Longbow does more damage on average before you include the action tax of reloading.

    Reload 1 is big disadvantage as it reduces both the number of attacks you can make (by approximately ~50%, assuming you're trying to do two attacks a round) and the number of other actions you can do on your turn, given that your third and often your second action in a round will be spent reloading (due to the Reload, Shoot, Reload routine). It also has the problem of forcing you to keep a hand free with your Dueling Pistol (the ways around this all have significant disadvantages, and optimally they still do less damage than a Longbow). This disadvantage would be fine if Firearms had a big advantage (that wasn't just how cool they are) that made up for it, like if they did enough extra damage on the fewer shots they do get to make to offset it.

    My (somewhat radical) suggestion: give Firearms (or just Gunslingers with Reload 1+ weapons) a +2 Circumstance bonus to hit in their first range increment. I'm not certain this would be balanced and it seems extreme at first, but eyeballing it we're looking at an extra ~20-30% damage to your attacks, whereas reload is costing you attacks that would boost your damage by roughly 25%. I haven't explored this idea thoroughly so I may have missed something obvious in my napkin math.

    Thanks for listening to my TED talk.


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    The sniper is also not balanced correctly for what a sniper should feel like.

    Its being given the same reload and damage as a regular gun, when it should take longer to reload, and deal a lot more damage.


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    Even with feats, Gunslingers are still going to be having issues with reload soaking up their action economy.

    I feel like they might need another class feature at 1st or 3rd level to compensate. Something like:

    Rapid Reload (free action)
    Trigger: Your turn ends
    You may interact to reload one crossbow or firearm you are wielding.

    End of turn means that it isn't automatically feeding Firearm or Crossbow Ace, and it helps ensure you'll have rounds in the chamber to use your reactions.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    An end of turn reload would be pretty cool. Kind of opens up their action economy a bit and makes it harder to reaction starve yourself while still making ammo considerations relevant overall.

    You could reliably shoot > load > shoot (assuming you never used a reaction) or go from load > shoot > load to load > shoot > ??

    Allows gunslingers to be more flexible and mobile.


    TheGentlemanDM wrote:

    Even with feats, Gunslingers are still going to be having issues with reload soaking up their action economy.

    I feel like they might need another class feature at 1st or 3rd level to compensate. Something like:

    Rapid Reload (free action)
    Trigger: Your turn ends
    You may interact to reload one crossbow or firearm you are wielding.

    End of turn means that it isn't automatically feeding Firearm or Crossbow Ace, and it helps ensure you'll have rounds in the chamber to use your reactions.

    I saw somewhere on here where someone suggested instead of a patch feat like the one above, they find ways to make reloading itself more interesting and I really like that. Things like being able to make knowledge checks during reloading and other minor but valuable actions like that.

    I definitely agree something should be done though. Personally I like the idea of reloading, I just don't like the idea of it feeling like a totally wasteful action.


    TheGentlemanDM wrote:

    Even with feats, Gunslingers are still going to be having issues with reload soaking up their action economy.

    I feel like they might need another class feature at 1st or 3rd level to compensate. Something like:

    Rapid Reload (free action)
    Trigger: Your turn ends
    You may interact to reload one crossbow or firearm you are wielding.

    End of turn means that it isn't automatically feeding Firearm or Crossbow Ace, and it helps ensure you'll have rounds in the chamber to use your reactions.

    This seems like the easiest and most elegant solution to a number of problems that I feel the gunslinger has: particularly having to have a "bullet in the chamber" at the end of their turn ready for reaction feats.


    I like the end-of-turn reload option.

    Also, a feat (or even class/theme ability) or several involving action economy could work.
    -Strike/Stride/Reload (any order) for 2 actions.
    -"Power Attack" lesser variant w/ reload

    Stopping myself mid-post because (other than the end-of-turn reload, which should likely be embedded in the class!) these are immediately beginning to feel game-y, like fixes rather than cool abilities. Can't say the "I always skirmish" Ranger crossbow fixes work for me either (though shooting through an enemy into another is pretty cool).


    Whatever form it takes, I think the clear design goal here should be to make Gunslingers have what they need to play. So far, from what I've seen, you already have a lot of options that enhance action economy, this is really good. I'm on the camp of keeping reload a significant drawback to all weapons, but at the same time making it more engaging and part of their playstyle.

    Things I would like to see was a feature, or feat, that allowed Gunslingers reload when they used a gunslinger reaction. Or maybe even design new reactions that include a reload in their effect.

    For instance, something for snipers could be instead of Hit The Dirt!, something that allowed them to gain the AC bonus, but instead of a leap, they get a half-movement Sneak (this is hard-coding the Sneak action to half movement to avoid swift sneak shenanigans) and a reload in the process. The same could be added to Hit the Dirt, of course.

    The main issue is with the free hands. I still remember that this was a problem to Clerics and Paladins in the playtest, when they couldn't use their focus spells because their hands were occupied. This time around, I think the solution to the issue should be gated to gunslingers, instead of something changed in the rules, like they did with Somatic Components.

    In short, gunslingers should gain a feature at 1st level that lets them count their hands free for the purpose of reloading weapons. This significantly improves the dual-wielding playstyles without adding any actual power, since they're just going to be functional with it. This also precludes the old situation of creating problems to sell the solution, also known as The Alchemist's Design Niche.

    The Exchange

    PF2 is a fairly high fantasy game and in a world of physically impossible things being accepted left and right it can really annoy when boring reality bites.

    That said things like the extra shot that appears from nowhere from incredible ricochet or the wonderful silliness of dance of thunder cover this fantastical side of things better than having someone reloading a flintlock without a free hand every round as a core class feature - which would further undermine the handiness rules.

    The narrative rule of thumb for longbows/crossbows/black powder is that they are different creatures story telling wise. Rate of fire, ease of use and damage being part of the qualitative triangle where there’s a trade off between each side.

    So reloading being the bane of an Aramis style hero’s life seems thematically spot on, same for a Sharpe style musketeer.

    If you want to play a wild west gunslinger or a Golarion John Wicks you really need a weapon that via mechanical or magical means holds several shots between reloads.

    All that said I can see dual wielding needing some work if it turns out as being as (relatively) poor an option as some are predicting.

    Avoided ‘slingers in PF1 but looking forward to experimenting with this!


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    An idea I'm surprised no one has suggested yet which simultaneously helps with dual-wielders, heavy crossbows, and the eventual Capacity/Magazine weapons if/when we get them...

    Nimble Fingers (1 Action) Feat 6
    Gunslinger
    Reload twice. You can reload even if you don't have a free hand.


    Maybe being able to feint on distance after a reload? That's something that only kobolds are able to do and it's quite a fun ability since flatfooted for ranged is quite rare. That would fix some flat-footed problems for the class and specially give a cool theme.
    The free hand is still a problem... I hope they give ways to keep your hand occupied and reload.

    Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

    I love the idea of being able to do things while reloading. They could tie it in with The Way.

    Everybody gets Running Reload

    Drifter can also Tumble Through or Leap

    Pistolero can (ranged) feint or demoralize

    Sniper can Hide or Take Cover


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    TheGentlemanDM wrote:

    An idea I'm surprised no one has suggested yet which simultaneously helps with dual-wielders, heavy crossbows, and the eventual Capacity/Magazine weapons if/when we get them...

    Nimble Fingers (1 Action) Feat 6
    Gunslinger
    Reload twice. You can reload even if you don't have a free hand.

    So... Dual-wielding gunslingers are supposed to come online at 6th level?

    I rather my class feature given to the gunslingers at level one.

    Quote:

    [Nimble Fingers/Hands] 1st Level Feature

    After countless hours of training, the steps to reload weapons have become second nature to you. You can reload a weapon even if you don't have a free hand.

    It makes Gunslingers better at guns than any class and more versatile, it also allows dual-wielding builds from level 1. Reload feats should offer more interesting thing instead of solving core problems.


    One thing I thought of was throw weapons and making a small change so they can come back after your next action instead of only after the strike.


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    There should be a base universal reload action hack for gunslingers in general.

    Probably if not running reload. Then 5ft step and reload.

    Or, have a unique action hack for each subvariant. Like hide for sniper.

    Then provide feats that opens it up further.


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    In my opinion the way to go is changing feats like Alchemical Shot or Shooter's Aim to something like Alchemical Reload or Shooter's reload, being just 1 Action and not letting you strike, but it modifies your next strike until the end of your next turn. In this way you take a boring reload action and turn it into something interesting, as it can combo with a special attack later on.

    Also all gunslingers should be able to take reload actions with both hands full. If they end up going for the bandolier thing it still would have its niche, as Quick Draw with it allows for more shots per turn.

    Basically I think GS needs both action economy enhancers and ways to improve their performance through the reload action.


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    roquepo wrote:

    In my opinion the way to go is changing feats like Alchemical Shot or Shooter's Aim to something like Alchemical Reload or Shooter's reload, being just 1 Action and not letting you strike, but it modifies your next strike until the end of your next turn. In this way you take a boring reload action and turn it into something interesting, as it can combo with a special attack later on.

    Also all gunslingers should be able to take reload actions with both hands full. If they end up going for the bandolier thing it still would have its niche, as Quick Draw with it allows for more shots per turn.

    Basically I think GS needs both action economy enhancers and ways to improve their performance through the reload action.

    That's an excellent idea. Much like other martials often tie in Stride, Step, or other basic abilities to something cool, Gunslingers could be the ones getting Reload tied to cool abilities.

    Reload boosts would have to balance with some of the Strike action boosts, so hmm...maybe Reload/Strike together for the stronger stuff?
    Or have any of the special Reload Actions (including a basic 1st level one for the class/Ways) be prereqs for the special Strike actions later. (Much like Panache sets up Finishers or Sneak Attack is tied to Debilitations).


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    I like the idea of the nimble fingers feature someone mentioned above but I fear that removing the free hand requirement for reloading may lead to unforeseen shenanigans. Someone else mentioned “way” themed reload boosts, like pistoleros being able to reload while duel wielding. I think the pistolero would be better off with a 1st level deed that makes a hand wielding a gun count as a free hand for the reload action. Therefore we get the effect we’re looking for without unforeseen consequences. The drifter gets the same but with melee weapons? The sniper gets to combine reloading with the aim action for their unsteady weapon trait?

    I also really like the end of turn free action reload. Sounds like a good 4th or 6th level feat to me, for those that want to invest in the reactions

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