Remember, Guns did not over take swords and bows because they where more powerful, but because they where easier to use (and a few other reasons).


Gunslinger Class


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Two unarmored solders, equally trained with their respective weapons, are in a duel and fire a single shot. One has a long bow, and the other has a flint lock. All else being equal, the archer is most likely going to win the match. Not only is the damage a arrow can cause roughly equal to that of a bullet, but the arrow is way more likely to need surgery to be removed and prevent infection. Guns do not deal more damage than other weapons, or at least not the guns we're getting. The advantage of guns is its ease of use and its penetrating abilities. Pointing a gun an pulling a trigger is way easier compared to the years of mussel memory and strength needed to shot a bow in combat, and aiming is still less important than with a crossbow. This is mostly shown with how most "common" guns being simple weapons, with marital guns mostly being on the mechanically complex side of things. The second advantage of guns is their ability to just go through things. Sure, when an arrow goes through most of the body, it's going to leave comparable collateral to a bullet, but if the bullet hits a vital organ, that's a much different story. A arrow to the head is bad, but not a absolute death sentence if you have a good helmet on. A bullet is almost certainty going to kill you if the brain in in its way. This is represented by the fatal trait, making crits way more damaging (and versatile to a small extent, to better pierce some armors). Guns deal the appropriate amount of damage, and their general design is about as accurate as we can get without bringing in touch AC to represent armor piercing. We can debate if guns are balance in a game sense, but from a historical perspective they're as far as they are going to get.


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I think your initial premise is a little off. Guns overtook bows because they were both easier to use and had greater stopping power.

Crossbows overtook bows because they were easier to use and had more stopping power against an armoured knight.

While a properly trained team of archers were more effective than a team of crossbowmen (especially against infantry), you could field a LOT more crossbowmen because wielding a longbow properly required training from youth.

Firearms overtook crossbows because they hit harder again. Full plate was effectively impervious to arrow fire, and would shrug off everything short of a point-blank bolt, but the rounds fired by early guns were so massive and dense that even full plate couldn't deal with it.

We saw an evolution from full plate back to just an extremely reinforced breastplate (the cuirass) as a response to firearms.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
TheGentlemanDM wrote:

I think your initial premise is a little off. Guns overtook bows because they were both easier to use and had greater stopping power.

Crossbows overtook bows because they were easier to use and had more stopping power against an armoured knight.

While a properly trained team of archers were more effective than a team of crossbowmen (especially against infantry), you could field a LOT more crossbowmen because wielding a longbow properly required training from youth.

Firearms overtook crossbows because they hit harder again. Full plate was effectively impervious to arrow fire, and would shrug off everything short of a point-blank bolt, but the rounds fired by early guns were so massive and dense that even full plate couldn't deal with it.

We saw an evolution from full plate back to just an extremely reinforced breastplate (the cuirass) as a response to firearms.

Longbows were still preferential for distance though on a battlefield. Crossbows were good for short range defense.. But if you're on an actual field or need distance, you'd want to use a longbow.


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Pronate11 wrote:
Two unarmored solders, equally trained with their respective weapons, are in a duel and fire a single shot. One has a long bow, and the other has a flint lock. All else being equal, the archer is most likely going to win the match. Not only is the damage a arrow can cause roughly equal to that of a bullet, but the arrow is way more likely to need surgery to be removed and prevent infection. Guns do not deal more damage than other weapons, or at least not the guns we're getting. The advantage of guns is its ease of use and its penetrating abilities. Pointing a gun an pulling a trigger is way easier compared to the years of mussel memory and strength needed to shot a bow in combat, and aiming is still less important than with a crossbow. This is mostly shown with how most "common" guns being simple weapons, with marital guns mostly being on the mechanically complex side of things. The second advantage of guns is their ability to just go through things. Sure, when an arrow goes through most of the body, it's going to leave comparable collateral to a bullet, but if the bullet hits a vital organ, that's a much different story. A arrow to the head is bad, but not a absolute death sentence if you have a good helmet on. A bullet is almost certainty going to kill you if the brain in in its way. This is represented by the fatal trait, making crits way more damaging (and versatile to a small extent, to better pierce some armors). Guns deal the appropriate amount of damage, and their general design is about as accurate as we can get without bringing in touch AC to represent armor piercing. We can debate if guns are balance in a game sense, but from a historical perspective they're as far as they are going to get.

If we balanced around how fighting styles were in reality then unarmed and unarmoured fighters should lose 99/100 against anyone with a sword.

We don't do that because this is a game, options that fulfil a similar role need to be balanced against each other. Preferably in a way that keeps verisimilitude in tact. If we decided it would be more realistic to have black powder guns be inferior to Longbows then Gunslinger becomes an inferior choice to Archer Fighter, because these characters do not gain anything from their fighting style being easier to learn. Unless you want to go back to early D&D style different levelling speeds, Guns should be competitive with Bows.

You can certainly have them be less accurate by giving them lower range but this should be compensated in another area that makes sense. Giving them lower DPR or inferior abilities would be a mistake unless you boosted the utility of the Gunslinger into more of a Rogue or Alchemist style or gave them ways to fulfil DPS role despite the drawbacks of their weapons.

The balance doesn't have to be perfect, but generally it would be a good thing if a Gunslinger brought a similar amount of effectiveness in their role as a Bow Fighter does, regardless of how realistic or historically accurate that might be for their weapon.


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Longbows were phased out much more quickly than Verzen insinuates.

Muskets (especially flintlocks as we see in Pathfinder) largely appeared in Europe in the mid 15th Century. The last known use of Longbows by the English military was in 1642, during the battle of Bridgenorth. Source for final "known" use of Longbow by a military. Source for arrival of the "Heavy Arquebus", one of the earliest rifles in Europe and later the Musket. Basically the Musket was invented in 1550, and the Longbow saw it's last battle in 1642.

A little more than 100 years between the adoption of "modern" firearms and the retirement of Longbows by the military that made the Longbow famous. Given the service length of the Longbow, that is not a very long time at all and for good reason. Muskets were much easier to train soldiers to use and quite deadly.

Saying that an arrow wound was as traumatic as a large bore musket wound is also suspect. Sure, you would need surgery to remove an arrow properly. But almost no amount of surgery could mend a wound from a firearm that didn't occur to an extremity. The term Gut shot springs to mind. Arrows deal their damage to a relatively small area, and usually stop unless the arrow splinters. Bullets, even large caliber balls used in early muskets, had a tendency to balloon out and deflect around the body cavity. This is still the deadliest part of a gunshot wound today, and was no less prevalent then.

The fact is that, for all their penetrating power, musket balls liked to stay inside the body and wreak havoc on your internals. Source for severity of musket wounds. While this source does speak about slightly later "minie balls" rather than original muskets, the core of my argument stands: You would rather take an arrow to the knee than a musket ball that blew everything south of your knee off.


Just to add in here, musket balls traveled slowly enough that when they hit bone, they bounced, rather than went through, so it you got shot in the gut, the ball would bounce around in your ribcage until it ran out of energy (imo, the fatal trait is an AMAZING way to replicate this)

It's certainly true that bows did have some advantages over muskets and the like (they were quieter, weren't as finicky about rain and muck, and could be loaded and shot faster), but a nastier wound channel was not one of them


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Just recently watched a video of Todd's Workshop showing arrows going right through sandbags while even pretty high caliber modern bullets failed.

While that was showing the protectiveness of sandbags against these two weapons, it also showed how effectively bullets transfer their energy to soft targets.

Just thought it was interesting.

Regarding the topic of this post, it's true it was easier to train people to use guns, and younger/weaker/disabled people could use them, however guns wouldn't have been used if they weren't powerful *enough*.


Alchemic_Genius wrote:

Just to add in here, musket balls traveled slowly enough that when they hit bone, they bounced, rather than went through, so it you got shot in the gut, the ball would bounce around in your ribcage until it ran out of energy (imo, the fatal trait is an AMAZING way to replicate this)

It's certainly true that bows did have some advantages over muskets and the like (they were quieter, weren't as finicky about rain and muck, and could be loaded and shot faster), but a nastier wound channel was not one of them

I think fatal is doing the opposite. Deadly and fatal as traits represent getting more from a weapon by being more accurate. There's lots of ways to get hit by arrows and on average survive well enough. Musket balls and similar nearly always did lethal damage when hit, even in extremedies.

Bows required more skill to use well, while anyone can be deadly with a gun.


Eh, I'd disagree about fatal and accuracy. Most fatal weapons are ones that do huge, grievous wounds. At the moment, the pick line are the main fatal weapons. Of the class feature granted fatal weapons, we have bestial mutagen claws and jaws and I think cobra strike, so it's a bit of a wash there. Either way, it's enough to show that accuracy is not a key component to the trait inherently.


Wasn't a significant practical difference between longbows and firearms that in a military context longbows were used "to arc your shot to land in a general area" whereas guns were largely "point in the direction in which you want something to die"?

Also you can fix a bayonet to a longarm much more readily than to a bow.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Wasn't a significant practical difference between longbows and firearms that in a military context longbows were used "to arc your shot to land in a general area"

Actually, that's an area of debate. Many experts today believe that most longbow usage involved minimal arcing. I can rustle up some citations in a bit.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Nevermind, I found some videos of people talking back and forth, the name Lars Anderson came up, and I lost interest. There appears to be speculation that straight on shooting was more prevalent, but no citable discussion proving it. At least we do know that the distance of engagement would be big factor.


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OrochiFuror wrote:
Alchemic_Genius wrote:

Just to add in here, musket balls traveled slowly enough that when they hit bone, they bounced, rather than went through, so it you got shot in the gut, the ball would bounce around in your ribcage until it ran out of energy (imo, the fatal trait is an AMAZING way to replicate this)

It's certainly true that bows did have some advantages over muskets and the like (they were quieter, weren't as finicky about rain and muck, and could be loaded and shot faster), but a nastier wound channel was not one of them

I think fatal is doing the opposite. Deadly and fatal as traits represent getting more from a weapon by being more accurate. There's lots of ways to get hit by arrows and on average survive well enough. Musket balls and similar nearly always did lethal damage when hit, even in extremedies.

Bows required more skill to use well, while anyone can be deadly with a gun.

I chose to rationalize the current firearm rules (with the base weapon having a low die size and compensating with powerful criticals) as a result of the inaccuracy of early firearms, so "regular hits" (that go as low as 1d4 for Flintlocks) are simply glancing blows that still hurt because of their unparalleled stopping power and the fatal criticals are the actual direct hits, this also aligns in my mind with the only ones being able to take full advantage of these imprecise engines of destruction being those whose uncanny mastery and aim with the thing is legendary in itself (Gunslingers and Gun-toting fighters).


Taçin wrote:
OrochiFuror wrote:
Alchemic_Genius wrote:

Just to add in here, musket balls traveled slowly enough that when they hit bone, they bounced, rather than went through, so it you got shot in the gut, the ball would bounce around in your ribcage until it ran out of energy (imo, the fatal trait is an AMAZING way to replicate this)

It's certainly true that bows did have some advantages over muskets and the like (they were quieter, weren't as finicky about rain and muck, and could be loaded and shot faster), but a nastier wound channel was not one of them

I think fatal is doing the opposite. Deadly and fatal as traits represent getting more from a weapon by being more accurate. There's lots of ways to get hit by arrows and on average survive well enough. Musket balls and similar nearly always did lethal damage when hit, even in extremedies.

Bows required more skill to use well, while anyone can be deadly with a gun.
I chose to rationalize the current firearm rules (with the base weapon having a low die size and compensating with powerful criticals) as a result of the inaccuracy of early firearms, so "regular hits" (that go as low as 1d4 for Flintlocks) are simply glancing blows that still hurt because of their unparalleled stopping power and the fatal criticals are the actual direct hits, this also aligns in my mind with the only ones being able to take full advantage of these imprecise engines of destruction being those whose uncanny mastery and aim with the thing is legendary in itself (Gunslingers and Gun-toting fighters).

This actually fits very well the the low precision of early firearms

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