What if guns caused bleed


Gunslinger Class

Scarab Sages

Random thought without any math behind it, but what if guns caused bleed damage on a normal hit instead of getting fatal on a crit? Right now, they seem extremely swingy and gunslinger feels like a crit-fishing class. But if guns caused bleed damage, that could simulate the ball dealing internal damage. Suddenly the 1d6 you’re doing with a musket becomes 1d6 plus 1d4 bleed (or whatever). A crit doubles the bleed to 2d4. So a crit is still doing a lot, but doesn’t spike the damage quite so much, and a normal hit is slightly buffed. There could also be other options, like still getting fatal (maybe at a lower die than now) but not doubling the bleed.

There are obvious drawbacks to this for shooting things that don’t bleed.


Bleed damage is a weird thing conceptually, because of course if you shoot someone they should bleed... but they should also generally bleed if you hit them with an axe.

I mean, arrows do generally leave bigger holes than bullets.


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I don't hate it.

Quote:
I mean, arrows do generally leave bigger holes than bullets.

Internal hemorrhaging is still bleed damage IMO.

Scarab Sages

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Realism isn’t the main goal. It’s more that reports so far have been generally that guns as implemented in the playtest aren’t quite (excuse the pun) hitting the target. Causing bleed (or persistent damage in general), is something right now that alchemical bombs, spells, and some class abilities do (Rogue, swashbuckler), but that no non bimb weapon does short of a crit effect. It’s a mechanic that could fill a niche and give guns a relatively unique play style. It might also help with getting fewer shots off due to reload issues, because the bleed damage would still be there. Getting more shots by finding ways around reload wouldn’t break things, because bleed wouldn’t stack.

Anyway, like I said, it was a spontaneous thought and I haven’t fully researched the existing options or done any calculations on what would be the appropriate amount of bleed damage. But I’m thinking of many, many examples of the hero getting shot and shrugging it off, only to find it’s a more serious wound later. Mr. Orange from Reservoir Dogs also comes to mind, though I wouldn’t say that he shrugged off the initial shot.

Later more modern ammo that’s designed to go straight through wouldn’t have to cause bleed, necessarily, if it’s ever added to the game.


The swinginess of the weapon type as a whole can't be understated, after replaying a mock-up scenario several times the difference between one where a crit ocurred and one where it didn't is night-and-day, and that difference becomes even more of a nuisance if you try using a gun with a different class (because of lower prof.). Ideally they'll find a way to flatten the damage curve a bit towards the middle while still pushing the notion of GS's being the best at using them (higher base die + deadly instead of fatal?), because at the moment it makes a world of difference if those opening crits come out or not (that becomes even worse at mid levels when the powerful crit spec becomes a thing).

With that said I'm not sure if bleed on hit is the solution, that seems more in line with a serrated weapon of some sort (think the Bloodborne Saw Cleaver/Spear).

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

The other issue with bleed is, isn't it usually only useful on the first attack?

The second time you shoot someone, if they're already bleeding, the bleed rider adds nothing.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The real problem with a change like this is that it makes guns way worse against PCs than against monsters. It is pretty much what we see with a lot of alchemical bombs.

Monsters just don't tend to live much longer than a round or two past getting first hit, especially with a crit. Persistent damage brutalizes PCs because they generally, hopefully do tend to survive a couple of rounds of combat, but doing so while taking ongoing damage makes everything a lot more lethal for player characters.

If you get dropped from a crit to a gun, most PCs could easily be dead the very next round, where as getting hit for a lot of damage can outright kill a character, but it is pretty unlikely even on a crit with a firearm, so most characters will get 2 or 3 more rounds at a minimum.

Now personally, I very much like the crit fishing nature of the gunslinger, so I don't see a problem with having guns be fatal, but if people are really hating it, I am hoping that at least the sniper version of the class keeps the crit fishing fatal aspect of the class that is so much fun, as there really is no other way for a sniper class to work other than being about lining up devastating single shots that kill because of accuracy.

Scarab Sages

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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

The other issue with bleed is, isn't it usually only useful on the first attack?

The second time you shoot someone, if they're already bleeding, the bleed rider adds nothing.

Correct, but dealing bleed on every attack could lead to interesting strategy. Like shooting multiple opponents to maximize the number taking bleed. Bleed not stacking is also a way to keep guns from becoming overpowered.

In the example situation, a musket would be something like 1d6 plus 1d4 bleed. If you aren’t critting, then you’d do that on the first attack, and 1d6 on subsequent attacks.

If you do crit, that goes to 2d4 bleed. For 2d6 plus 2d4 or assuming at least one round of bleed, and average of 12 damage.

Currently, a musket is 1d6 and 1d10 fatal. If you weren’t critting, you’d do 1d6, then 1d6 on subsequent attacks. So even without bleed stacking, the attack with bleed does more damage on a series of normal hits.

If you crit currently with a musket, you do 2d10 or an average of 11 damage. So with bleed is actually slightly higher.

The trade off is lower damage against things that don’t bleed.

Scarab Sages

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Re: Snipers, my random thought posted on a different thread was to give snipers some kind of true strike mechanic when they are hidden and have time to aim. So that would firmly keep them in crit fishing territory.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Ferious Thune wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

The other issue with bleed is, isn't it usually only useful on the first attack?

The second time you shoot someone, if they're already bleeding, the bleed rider adds nothing.

Correct, but dealing bleed on every attack could lead to interesting strategy. Like shooting multiple opponents to maximize the number taking bleed. Bleed not stacking is also a way to keep guns from becoming overpowered.

In the example situation, a musket would be something like 1d6 plus 1d4 bleed. If you aren’t critting, then you’d do that on the first attack, and 1d6 on subsequent attacks.

If you do crit, that goes to 2d4 bleed. For 2d6 plus 2d4 or assuming at least one round of bleed, and average of 12 damage.

Currently, a musket is 1d6 and 1d10 fatal. If you weren’t critting, you’d do 1d6, then 1d6 on subsequent attacks. So even without bleed stacking, the attack with bleed does more damage on a series of normal hits.

If you crit currently with a musket, you do 2d10 or an average of 11 damage. So with bleed is actually slightly higher.

The trade off is lower damage against things that don’t bleed.

Sure, or I could shoot once with the gun to get bleed ticking on the enemy, and then quickdraw a weapon with higher base damage for the rest of the fight.

Once bleed is up, the bleed gun loses its advantage—there’s little reason to keep using it.. At least with the fatal gun, there’s a chance of a second crit.

Scarab Sages

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What you just described seems like a great tactic for a Drifter. Using the gun to get bleed going on someone, then moving into melee.

If it were added, then presumably there might be other feats to build off of it. Something like getting a bonus or a free intimidate against someone who is bleeding from your shot.

I glanced back through and Vital Shot does add some bleed damage for a Sniper, so it's at least somewhere in the design process.

With the fatal gun, there's a better chance of no crit at all, which is the issue. The suggestion isn't to add bleed only on a crit. It's to make it part of the base damage that a gun does, because with fatal it's too common to have very disappointing combats where you're doing 1d6 (or 1d8+2 with Firearm Ace) firing 3 times in 2 rounds while everyone else is doing far more base damage and attacking 4-6 times in the same amount of time. And you're spending most of your feats the first 6 levels trying to offset that reload time. Tacking on persistent damage means you get more out of fewer shots, which means you might actually be able to take some of the non-reload Gunslinger feats and not fall behind.

But if removing the extra damage on a crit entirely is too much, have the bleed not double but give it a d6 deadly. That way there's still some extra damage if you keep shooting and happen to crit someone who is already bleeding.

I'm looking for ways to make the round more interesting and to not be walking away from fights feeling like the class way underperformed, which is inevitable in a crit-fishing focused approach. You'll have fights where you over perform, but they'll be against lower powered enemies and a lot of that damage will be wasted due to exceeding their hit points by an excessive amount. Or against higher level enemies, you will be unlikely to crit in the first place. Expert->Legendary helps with that, but given that you don't have as many options to get things like flat-footed as a melee character, you still aren't going to be critting as much as a fighter with a pick would be.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

To be clear, I’m largely with you—I don’t really like the crit fishing play style the fatal guns seem to push, especially because that hurts gun usage for non-gunslingers.

I’m just not sure I like bleed as the mechanism to fix it.

It would work for the drifter/sword and pistol types, because the gun becomes a decent opener, but you’d mainly fight with a melee weapon.

But for the dedicated ranged gunner, bleed doesn’t seem like a great fit.

Liberty's Edge

An idea I came up with (in a similar way to the process the OP described) is to have guns toy with the 4 degrees of success.

I am not sure at all how it could be done, but I feel the ability that many spells have to hurt the opponent even on a successful save is something that martials should have some access too. And because it is so different form what the weapons we currently have do, I think firearms might be the perfect weapon group to implement it.

For example, if you miss, but not critically miss, your opponent might have to succeeds on a REF save or take some damage. If you hit, you do the base damage and your opponent has to succeeds on a REF save or take some additional damage. And if you critically hit, you get deadly (rather than fatal) additional damage with no REF save.

Come to think of it, we could have the same amount of additional damage at each step, described by a trait like Fatal or Deadly. Let's call it Harmful.

Using the Musket example, it could be Musket 1d6, Harmful 1d4 :

Critical failure : No damage
Normal failure : Opponent makes a REF save to avoid 1d4 damage
Normal success : Opponent takes 1d6 damage and makes a REF save to avoid an additional 1d4 damage
Critical success : Opponent takes 2d6 damage and an additional 1d4 damage.


The Raven Black wrote:

An idea I came up with (in a similar way to the process the OP described) is to have guns toy with the 4 degrees of success.

I am not sure at all how it could be done, but I feel the ability that many spells have to hurt the opponent even on a successful save is something that martials should have some access too. And because it is so different form what the weapons we currently have do, I think firearms might be the perfect weapon group to implement it.

For example, if you miss, but not critically miss, your opponent might have to succeeds on a REF save or take some damage. If you hit, you do the base damage and your opponent has to succeeds on a REF save or take some additional damage. And if you critically hit, you get deadly (rather than fatal) additional damage with no REF save.

Come to think of it, we could have the same amount of additional damage at each step, described by a trait like Fatal or Deadly. Let's call it Harmful.

Using the Musket example, it could be Musket 1d6, Harmful 1d4 :

Critical failure : No damage
Normal failure : Opponent makes a REF save to avoid 1d4 damage
Normal success : Opponent takes 1d6 damage and makes a REF save to avoid an additional 1d4 damage
Critical success : Opponent takes 2d6 damage and an additional 1d4 damage.

I look at this and think shotgun, because it's harder to miss completely when you're firing shot.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The blunderbuss already does damage everything in the cone regardless of attack roll.

Liberty's Edge

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I think the root of the problem lies in all firearms having Fatal (except for the Blunderbuss which goes the Scatter way).

Whereas previous weapons with the Fatal trait had alternatives, making crit-fishing a build choice and not an obligation.

For the moment, if you want to use a firearm and be effective, the only way to build is crit-fishing. And the only way to play too, which makes using firearms dull and repetitive, rather than conducive to a variety of builds and tactics.

Unless we get deeds or feats that provide more opportunities for criticals, but that feels like curing the symptoms rather than the root cause.

Scarab Sages

Looking at the four degrees of success is a good thought. I'm not sure how I feel about putting an attack roll AND a save on every shot the Gunslinger makes. I know there are some spells that work like that, but for a single attack action that's a lot of rolling of dice to figure out what happens.

To be honest, in a lot of ways I feel like some of the Swashbuckler mechanics would work better on Gunslinger. Confident Finisher allowing reduced damage on a miss, for example, makes a lot more sense to me for the Gunslinger than it does for a Swashbuckler. And somehow the quick, agile, fast character that I think of when I think of swashbucklers became the use all of your actions to build up to one big attack class, which feels more appropriate for the flintlock era of guns. Fatal tries to capture that on guns, but I'd prefer something more consistent, even if it's slightly less damage on the high end.


Actions that add a save onto attacks is a good thing for a feat. But it probably shouldn't auto-on, because sometimes that's going to slow things down for no reason.

Like you might not care to learn if you inflicted staggered if you just shot someone who has 9HP left.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I agree, that crit fishing can seem frustrating if it is your primary means of contributing, unless you like the gambling being such an important part of your character, then all the better for you. But it would be nice if guns didn't have to rely so heavily on them.

The mention of concern about rolling a save for every shot. I understand that as a concern, but a couple things might help remedy that (and might be built in).

If they are already taking bleed damage, you don't need to roll the save again, unless this gun does more bleed damage.

Potentially, if the attacker crits, allow the base bleed damage to become automatic, rather than dependent on a fort save.

Another potential idea. A gun hitting someone who already is suffering g from bleed damage, could upgrade the normal size of the damage die to the fatal die size, even if they don't get a critical (but wouldn't get an extra one).

And since the idea of gun causing bleed, if you made a normal hit, I don't imagen it being a reflex save, to have a chance of causing bleed damage, I'd have it be a fortitude check against the DC of the gun strike. [i.e. 10 + gun proficiency + item bonus] That way gunslingers and fighters would have a high number on these compared to others.

Simple firearms would probably do 1 bleed damage, martial firearms might be 1d4 bleed damage, and I'm imagining not doubling bleed on a crit, but simply making it automatic (not requiring the target to fail a save) Potentially could make crit hit do +1 bleed damage (as would Crit failing the fort Check, from a normal hit, simple success might do half normal bleed damage)

Potential New trait
_Bloody_ (value: 1 | d4 | d6)
If an individual struck by a bloody weapon is already subject to bleed damage:
They take the given amount a bleed damage again during this attack as extra damage.
If the striking weapon also has a fatal trait, the damage die of the weapon increased to the fatal size, even if not a critical (but no bonus die).

After causing the determined damage, the bloody weapon causes bleed damage to apply to the target as specified in its given value following the trait if it did not already have any. (this application of causing bleed damage does not trigger the above two items if they didn't already have bleed damage before this strike)

Simple weapons, reduce the die for fatal by 1 die step and make it Bloody (1).
Martial weapons, reduce the die for fatal by 1 die step and make it Bloody (d4). [trying to decide if bleed is enough to dropping the normal die down one notch one martial as well for martial since bleed damage assuming not immune would happen each strike.]

Firearm Ace, perhaps offer them the chance to boost the bleed value of a target who already has a Bleed by +1.

Granted, bleed doesn't do damage to undead and such, so that might be relevant to balance. Although you could stipulate if a target is immune to bleed damage, it simply takes the specified bleed damage as a precision damage at the time of the strike, if we don't think that firearms should be less useful against things like constructs that aren't affected by bleed.

This would mean that guns certainly get extra kick from critical hits, but also benefit from multiple strikes, or synergies with other effects that cause bleed damage.

Now they aren't just crit fishing weapons, as there are other synergies they can leverage to increase there general damage output. There are reasons to consider spreading fire out, to maximize bleed damage, or to focus fire on targets already bleeding to take out specific targets quicker, even though that effectively shortens how many rounds they take the bleed damage.

Another alternative, make Bloody a trait that offers anyone trained in the weapon, the ability to use a reaction, who's condition is making a successful strike. The effect of the reaction is that the strike does bleed damage equal to the normal weapon die, or the fatal die on critical hits. Representing when you have the opportunity to get a good hit you take it. It would offer some bleed damage to firearms, but at the cost of a reaction expenditure. If that seems too powerful, make it go against a fortitude check.

edit: I want to point out that in novels and movies crit fishing is perfectly fine, since the crit will invariably happen when it needs to in order to make the story work out for the best. However, when the crits are determined purely by the Die roll, that can become problematic potentially for a rpg player if they hit a bad spot.


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I do feel like crit fishing does work to make guns work like a lot of action movies and shows, because a lot of the time you shoot people a lot but it doesn't necessarily stop them unless you put one between the eyes and that drops them immediately.

Like John Wick shoots a lot of dudes in the chest or legs 2-3 times before he puts one in their head, and sometimes he just puts one in their head straight off and that's the end of that person.

Scarab Sages

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That’s just as true with swords in media, and it’s already represented by the hit point system. John Wick is firing multiple shots a lot faster than the playtest allows.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like John Wick shoots a lot of dudes in the chest or legs 2-3 times before he puts one in their head, and sometimes he just puts one in their head straight off and that's the end of that person.

You could say the same thing with a knife, fist or a pencil [all things john wick used]... I mean John Wick is said to have once killed three men in a bar with a pencil so should we give them fatal too?


graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like John Wick shoots a lot of dudes in the chest or legs 2-3 times before he puts one in their head, and sometimes he just puts one in their head straight off and that's the end of that person.
You could say the same thing with a knife, fist or a pencil [all things john wick used]... I mean John Wick is said to have once killed three men in a bar with a pencil so should we give them fatal too?

I’m fine with that, they have a lot of grafight in them.


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Midnightoker wrote:
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like John Wick shoots a lot of dudes in the chest or legs 2-3 times before he puts one in their head, and sometimes he just puts one in their head straight off and that's the end of that person.
You could say the same thing with a knife, fist or a pencil [all things john wick used]... I mean John Wick is said to have once killed three men in a bar with a pencil so should we give them fatal too?
I’m fine with that, they have a lot of grafight in them.

LOL Well I'd rather they have fatal and give guns something non-crit-fishing. I already had WAY more than my fill of crit-fishing in the magus playtest: my impression of the tactic didn't improve by attaching it to equipment. :P


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

If you don't like the crit fishing aspect of firearms, crossbows work out pretty well for the gunslinger class with a higher base damage die. They need more specific feat support, but if they get it, the class is perfectly playable without using a gun.

That said, it is a chassis built around crit fishing. It is an extreme accuracy class with low HP for a martial, and really not a good class for doing the drifter's way of getting stuck up in the muck of up close combat with a ranged weapon and a melee weapon. That way really feels to me like more of a fighter class build that could utilize a gun if they wanted to, but wouldn't necessarily have to. Otherwise, the drifter really needs access to more HP or at least temporary HP to do its thing, but that isn't really a knock against the class as a whole.

Bleed is a bad overall replacement of fatal for firearms because it doesn't represent the stopping power of a direct hit to a vital area with a weapon with such penetrating power. Every slashing weapon should obviously cause bleed on a critical hit if the idea of bleed were focused on the realism of injury rather than a gamist mechanic, but bleed damage is not really that fun for PCs in comparison to big, show stopping critical hits. It is an extra number to track, it gives your enemy at least an extra round to hurt you, it doesn't stack on top of itself, and thus it makes it too difficult to put your enemy down.

I could see a special ammo that lets fire arms do some extra bleed damage being a cool thing, but I would be really disappointed if it became the official thing firearms did. It wouldn't make any sense and it would make them less effective weapons.


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Unicore wrote:
If you don't like the crit fishing aspect of firearms, crossbows work out pretty well for the gunslinger class with a higher base damage die.

That would be fine if there weren't a LARGE amount of abilities/feats that require a LOADED FIREARM. If the final version looks like the playtest, expect 1/2 you options to go away if you pick up a crossbow. I wouldn't say that's "perfectly playable without using a gun" unless you mean that it means the BARE minimum to qualify as a class. :P

Unicore wrote:
Bleed is a bad overall replacement of fatal for firearms because it doesn't represent the stopping power of a direct hit to a vital area with a weapon with such penetrating power.

I don't really agree as such penetrating wounds are more likely to hit something that causes bleeding so it seems to be as apropos: it's not uncommon to hear of someone 'bleeding out' from a gunshot or a hunter following a shot deer by it's blood trail until blood loss kills it.

Secondly, you're using stopping power wrong. "Stopping power is the ability of a weapon – typically a ranged weapon such as a firearm – to cause a target to be incapacitated or immobilized. Stopping power contrasts with lethality in that it pertains only to a weapon's ability to make the target cease action, regardless of whether or not death ultimately occurs." Fatal would be a good trait for lethality but in no way mimics incapacitated or immobilized: you'd need something that stuns or something like that if you're trying to emulate stopping power.

From wiki: "the most popular theory of stopping power is that it is usually caused not by the force of the bullet but by the wounding effects of the bullet, which are typically a rapid loss of blood causing a circulatory failure, which leads to impaired motor function and/or unconsciousness."

Scarab Sages

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Something else that might also work, which might have been suggested elsewhere, would be essentially an opposite of the Volley trait. A weapon that is better inside a certain distance than for longer range. That would also be a call back to 1E and touch AC. So if a gun did a bigger die size of damage in its first range increment or something like that. Just trying to think outside of the current box.


Ferious Thune wrote:
Something else that might also work, which might have been suggested elsewhere, would be essentially an opposite of the Volley trait. A weapon that is better inside a certain distance than for longer range. That would also be a call back to 1E and touch AC. So if a gun did a bigger die size of damage in its first range increment or something like that. Just trying to think outside of the current box.

Something for firing inside the first increment, or half the increment (if they increased them a bit) would certainly be novel design space for inaccurate but hard hitting weapons. Would be especially interesting for sword and pistol.

Not sure how I'd implement it. Can't be accuracy unless Gunslinger gives up legendary, which would kill anything not a gun. So probably damage, yes. It would need to play nice with Firearm Ace though. (or maybe not? Hmm...)

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