Trick Shot (Explosive Barrel) Is Problematic


Gunslinger Class


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Something that has always been a staple of Pathfinder (both editions) is feats. Feats allow you to do things you wouldn't/couldn't/shouldn't be able to do otherwise. As such, I've always been under the impression that if there is a feat for something, and you don't have that feat, you can't do that thing. Otherwise, go nuts and do whatever the hell your DM lets you get away with.

So with that said, why is there a feat for shooting things to make them explode? Doesn't that now, by its very existence, preclude (for example) an archer with a flaming arrow from making a "barrel of expensive rum" explode?

I understand that perhaps the main point of it is that it gives specific mechanics for what happens when the PC does that (As opposed to the DM having to make it up on the fly). But there's just something about this feat that seems counter to the freedom of character action choice that ttrpgs are known for.

Maybe its just me * shrug *

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I don't think so because the damage is based on your level instead of whatever the item you're exploding. It explodes that powerfully because you're just that awesome.


I don't see an issue with it. Nothing is stopping you from carting around small barrels of gunpowder to throw around the battlefield to act as triggers. It would take a bit of haggling with the GM to determine what you could use, and how expensive it is, but it's not the worst thing I've ever seen.

Then again, I've allowed some shenanigans in games, and pulled off shenanigans much worse than this.

I recall a treefort in an AP once that I convinced the party needed an extra ramp. So we cut down a nearby tree to create such a ramp. The guards that were in the way were happy accidents.

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I think my only problem with this feat is that it is something that should be handled narratively and mechanically by GMs, it should not require a feat. Or alternatively, if it requires a feat, it should not need GM approval.

If I was a GM, and my Gunslinger wanted to shoot an unattended object, I'd think 'is this feasible for a bullet to move this object, if yes then go for it'. I wouldn't require a feat to do it.

Same thing goes for the barrels... this is something that GMs can put into combats to make things interesting, but it is on the GMs to do so.

I strongly dislike feats that put players at odds with the GM.

Let's look at it this way:

Nice Guy GM: "Sure, every combat there's always something to explode and you can use this ability all the time."

Bad Guy GM: "No you are in the middle of a desert and you are not hauling barrels of gunpowder around, you will never be able to use this ability for most if not all the campaign."

The worth of this feat completely comes down to how lenient your GM is, and I really don't like that. The main issue I have is it specifically requires GM approval. If it was something like "The gunslinger has dynamite (or some equivalent) that he can occasionally throw out and do AoE damage" I wouldn't bat an eye.

Shooting an unattended object and moving it, again, should be handled by GM fiat, not by feat.

If you a) get rid of the shooting an unattended object and b) just give the gunslinger the ability to pull out a black powder charge, throw it, and shoot it to do AoE damage I'd be fine with it.


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It should probably be reworded to make it highly explicit that it improves the damage that such actions would likely have already triggered up to level-based amount of damage. Since things like this are already things people are meant to be about to do in PF2e (GMG even talks about doing this sorta thing with yeeting Produce Flame onto a barrel of explosives iirc as an explicit example of 'here is the sorta stuff you should let players do when they're improvising and using their environment').


I see the feat as enhancing something that you could already do. Sure you can shoot an unattended object to move it, but this feat makes that action both more precise, and stops the possibility of damaging that object with your shot. You can always shoot something on the battlefield to do AoE damage, but the feat guarantees that said damage will be scaled to your level rather than some other, possibly smaller number.


This feat should be replaced with x number of gunpowder grenades per day with class dc and listed damage, or creating adhoc gunpowder bombs rather than forcing a gm to place a keg i every hard encounter to balance it.
Could be to even allow an adhoc explosive round with missfire chance to avoid x per day stuff or something, as it feels very situational now.

But the feat could keep the barrelshooting as a bonus effect to bump damage and dc for "larger area bursts"

This expansion release should have some rules for shooting/using explosive material for all classes (a rogue would like it probably)

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Laki7z wrote:


This expansion release should have some rules for shooting/using explosive material for all classes (a rogue would like it probably)

It will! This is specifically a gunslinger abillity completely separate from the gunpowder rules that will be in the final book and available to everyone who has access to gunpowder. There's an entire block on gunpowder slated for the final release that includes things like lighting a trail of gunpowder to trigger an explosion, shooting a keg of gunpowder, etc., all as generic actions that only require you having gun powder to interact with.

This is just a stronger and more flexible effect with a set DC and better damage scaling that also interacts with things the core rules can't easily account for.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As a GM, I would gently direct players not to take this feat because 1. I'll let them shoot anything they want and 2. I'm not putting big red barrels everywhere just because they took a feat.


Well, the feat's existence doesn't block others from shooting stuff, it lets you shoot an oil lamp for a 6d6 +1d6/2 levels fireball.

Like, it's very environmentally situational, but you can do some janky stuff with it. My group was discussing how a gunslinger alchemist could use a flying familiar to drop a bomb and than use explosive barrel to turn that small level 1 bomb into a pretty big kaboom, or your wizard friend could hurl bottles of oil with TK projectile.

Like, you definitely need to make sure you're fighting in a lot of buildings and such to get anything from it, but it doesn't interfere with any ol gunslinger from shooting a powder keg or w/e


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Alchemic_Genius wrote:

Well, the feat's existence doesn't block others from shooting stuff, it lets you shoot an oil lamp for a 6d6 +1d6/2 levels fireball.

Like, it's very environmentally situational, but you can do some janky stuff with it. My group was discussing how a gunslinger alchemist could use a flying familiar to drop a bomb and than use explosive barrel to turn that small level 1 bomb into a pretty big kaboom, or your wizard friend could hurl bottles of oil with TK projectile.

I'm also not okay with any old explosive dealing more damage just because of the feat. An alchemist gets limited at-level bombs. If a Gunslinger can just buy bottles of rum in bulk to roll around and deal more reliable and higher damage than the alchemist... that's a problem. And if they can't just shoot any inexpensive/low-level explosive item, you have to start trying to give them level appropriate things to shoot, which goes back to the GM just adding barrels that anyone can shoot for level appropriate damage.


Given the amount of work this requires from the GM I think this feat should have the Rare tag, for the same reason Backgrounds that require GM input are Rare.


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WatersLethe wrote:
I'm also not okay with any old explosive dealing more damage just because of the feat.

why not? You're spending a feat for a situational, but cool attack. It absolutely should be dramatic when it goes off. If you require level appropriate bombs or whatevs you're putting a really hefty price tag on something that already needs a lot of setup

WatersLethe wrote:
An alchemist gets limited at-level bombs. If a Gunslinger can just buy bottles of rum in bulk to roll around and deal more reliable and higher damage than the alchemist... that's a problem.

The alchemist honestly isn't a power benchmark you should be comparing to. It's already a class that has known issues with being underpowered. Tbh, the alchemist getting feats like this and alchemical shot might actually go a really nice way towards closing the power gap. It almost certainly would make mega bomb basically pointless, but imo it's already such an underwhelming feat so that's a bit of a wash.


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A little bit of interpretation can expand explosions to include any kind of environmental damage effect. In say a mansion you could have it bee shoot out a chandelier or something.


What might work better than the current write up of Trick Shot, as a whole, might be something like the below

Trick Shot [1 action]
You shoot not to wound, but to inconvenience your foe, or to manipulate an object.

Trick Shot has one of the following effects.
* Dance, Pilgrim! - You fire your shot at an opponent's feet, potentially knocking them down. Make a Trip attempt, substituting the result of a Strike with your firearm for your Athletics check.
* Drop It! - You fire your shot at a held item, potentially knocking it free from an opponent's grip. Make a Disarm attempt, substituting the result of a Strike with your firearm for your Athletics check.
* Grit in the Eye - You fire to kick up a cloud of dust, or other irritant. Make a Strike with your firearm against an opponent's Fortitude DC. On a success, the opponent is Dazzled for 1d4 rounds. On a critical success, the opponent is instead Blinded for 1 round, then Dazzled for an additional 1d4 rounds.
* Dislodge Object - You fire to move an object without harming it. Make a Strike against an AC of 25, or a different AC at GM's discretion, with your firearm to move an unattended object of no more than 2 Bulk out of position, moving it up to 10 feet in a direction of your choice.

Regardless of which effect is chosen, a critical failure on Trick Shot results in a misfire.

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