How good is a switch hitter ranger?


Advice


Hi everyone,

I am an almost complete PF2E noob about to play a Ranger with an Animal Companion.

And my question is exactly as the title says - I have taken Precision, Gravity Weapon and Hunted Shot. STR14 and DEX16. At level 2 I will grab an Animal Companion, and the feats to improve him as we go.

With this kind of setup, if a ‘normal’ enemy (not a BBEG) moves up into close quarters with me, I draw a morningstar and a shield and go to town with him. How well will I fare?

Apologies if the question seems absurd, but I am just trying to get a feel for the relative power levels in PF2 :)

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

Cheers,
Edeldhur


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Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think you'd want to find a finesse weapon instead of a non-finesse weapon, but otherwise it should be fine. Ie, use dex to-hit. You still get str to-damage, so the ability scores you list still help, but just to have a better accuracy.


That is a good advice. Thanks NielsenE!

Any recommended finesse weapon which would make sense for an outdoors, wild kind of guy? :)


Gravity Weapon targets you - not your weapon. So it will still work after switching weapons.

I would agree with using a finesse weapon for the better accuracy. A lot of your damage will be from the precision damage anyway, so the lower base weapon damage isn't going to be noticed as much.

Just drawing a Shield will require an action, but also won't give you any benefits. You have to also use the Raise Shield action in order to get the +2 bonus to AC. Ranger also doesn't get Shield Block automatically, so that might be something that you pay a General Feat to get if you want to go with that.

So some options for your turn when you want to switch it up:

◆ Draw melee weapon
◆ Strike
◆ Store bow

◇ Drop bow
◆ Draw melee weapon
◆ Draw shield
◆ Strike

◇ Drop bow
◆ Draw melee weapon
◆ Draw shield
◆ Raise Shield (provides the +2 AC bonus)


Edeldhur wrote:

That is a good advice. Thanks NielsenE!

Any recommended finesse weapon which would make sense for an outdoors, wild kind of guy? :)

Short Sword.

Edit: Light Mace would also work and would be more in line with your original thought of Morningstar.

Unless you want to get exotic about it.

Scarab Sages

For better action economy, you may want a melee weapon with the thrown trait, although there a few of those with the finesse trait, and the die size is fairly low.


Edeldhur wrote:

That is a good advice. Thanks NielsenE!

Any recommended finesse weapon which would make sense for an outdoors, wild kind of guy? :)

It’s uncommon so you’d need to get your GM on board, but the Dueling Spear from Grand Bazaar is 2-handed Finesse spear, and hunting with spears sounds very outdoorsy. At least to me.


Treantmonk's Guide to Rangers in Pathfinder 1st Edition recommends that a switch-hitter ranger invest in Strength more than Dexterity.

Alas, Pathfinder 2nd Edition has made some changes to handling weapons that weakens the switch-hitter build. In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition (for which Treantmonk originally wrote his guide) and Pathfinder 1st Edition, a ranger could draw his melee weapon as part of a move. Pathfinder 2nd Edition does not allow that. Drawing a weapon is an Interact action that provokes an Attack of Opportunity from the fighter-like opponents that have Attack of Opportunity. The AoO is not a significant problem, since most opponents don't have Attack of Opportunity; rather, costing an extra action is the problem.

In addition, without a penalty for shooting into melee and with fewer opponents able to make an Attack of Opportunity, sticking to a bow has fewer downsides in PF2.

In my campaign, the high-Dexterity elf ranger with Flurry Edge took Twin Takedown, intending to dual wield finesse weapons in melee. But he also owned a longbow. Encounters in the forest began at long distance, so he carried the longbow regularly rather than his two kukris. Thus, he began combat by shooting arrows and then had to sheathe the longbow in his first action, draw one kukri in his second action, and draw the other kukri in the third action. Thus, switching weapons took an entire turn with no actions left for movement. I created a houserule that he could draw or sheathe the kukris together, but switching weapons still took 2 actions (he was not going to drop his expensive longbow on the ground). And a longbow has a volley 30 feet trait, so the ranger preferred to shoot from more than 30 feet away. Closing in took 2 Stride actions.

In the long run, the ranger stopped using his melee weapons unless forced into melee. His new runestones went to his longbow rather than his kukris.

That ranger could retrain away Twin Takedown for Quick Draw, a 2nd-level feat that would let him Draw and Draw in a single action. Then he could keep holding the longbow in one hand and Draw and Strike after Striding twice. But the player does not want to lose the higher damage of Twin Takedown when forced into melee. A Flurry ranger is not a switch hitter.

Edeldhur's Precision ranger with Gravity Weapon depends more on the first Strike, so spending the other two actions on Strides and Interacts would not be as bothersome. Start with bow in hand. First turn, Hunt Prey, cast Gravity Weapon, and shoot with the bow once. Second turn, draw the melee weapon, Stride to the enemy, and Strike. The bow is still held in hand for later use. Gravity weapon affects the ranger and not the individual weapon, so it works for both the bow and the sword.

But Precision Edge and Gravity Weapon don't help the 2nd Strike from Hunted Shot. Getting the Animal Companion at 1st level would be more effective. Note that commanding an Animal Companion takes an action every turn, so it competes with casting Gravity Weapon and drawing weapons.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Shortsword is the standard finesse weapon for most characters I've seen. Dueling Sword if you're human or tengu and willing to spend a feat.

... That said, given the action cost and the relative rarity of AoOs, feels like you might be better off just continuing to shoot your bow rather than spending actions switching weapons.


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I would go for 16 STR and 18 DEX at level 1 if you want to do that. Switch hitting as Ranger works really well in general as a backup (enemies are already in melee and you can benefit from flanking without moving, enemies are closing in and they have AoO...), but not as your main strategy, switching to melee in lots of situations makes no sense. My advice is to pick up a Rapier as your weapon of choice and to get Quick Draw ASAP.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Switch hitting works great. The optimal set up is 18 Dex, 16 strength, flurry edge. Human is recommended because of natural ambition, and there are 3 immediate feats you want:

Hunted Shot
Twin Takedown
2nd level: Quick draw.

You can carry a longbow for long range up to 200 feet without penalty thanks to Hunt Prey), a shortbow for midrange, and then your choice of melee weapons. I personally like dual shortswords or another set of agile/finesse weapons. Light bulk makes room for bow bulk, and the having agile in both hands helps with Quickdraw.

Stealth should be your primary skill, as Avoid Notice is amazing for archers. You need to critically fail a check to not start the fight at least hidden, and that means flatfooted foes on your first strike. And it is hard to critically fail once you factor in cover bonuses. And by God, take Terrain Stalker if you know you'll be in an appropriate terrain.

Next best skills are Survival with Survey Wildlife, and Crafting for Snares. The Survival stuff lets you save an action by Hunting Prey before the fight, and with Survey you might even be able to identify the creature before the fight, allowing you and your party to roll knowledge checks until you exhaust everything you know about the creature. That's a bunch of actions freed up in combat, and Intel that can help you prep for it.

Speaking of prep, let's talk Snares. Rangers have a feat that gives them several free ones everyday. Snares are hard to utilize big completely demolish enemies when you do. By level 8 Snares deal devestating damage, and will continue to as long as you keep your formulas current. They're especially good in tight quarters with limited paths, and larger enemies that can step in multiple squares at once.

The perfect set up involves using Terrain Stalker to scout out your enemies. Pick a sniper's nest with only one path to reach you. Lay snares in said path. Light the enemy up with the longbow from maximum distance. Drop the longbow, quick draw to shortbow if they get within volley range but not melee. Watch and laugh as they trigger a snare or two, and then have to worry what other squares you might have laid them in, wasting actions to seek them. If your Prey manages to reach you, drop your bow and do quick draw, quick draw, twin takedown.

The biggest problem is keeping all those weapons fully runed up. You may need to ditch something eventually. Automatic Bonus Progression helps immensely, but you'll also probably wind up with more than enough striking runes eventually.

Now, if you want to go Animal Companion, Precision is indeed the better edge. Quick draw is still important, but if you can't fit it in I recommend using a two handed for maximum damage with minimum actions. Elven Curve Blade, Spiked Chain, or other finesse options are your best bet.

I wouldn't recommend shields, as they don't work with quick draw and you don't have the actions for them. I also highly recommend against 14 strength 16 Dex. You should really get your to hit stat to 18 out the gate. Swinging a weapon with a 14 is just bad. If you get dex to 18 you can leave strength at 14 if you need points elsewhere. Just stick to finesse weapons.


I am playing one right now and it feels pretty damn good.
I put an 18 in strenght and a 16 in dexterity with precision edge, grabbed a bastard sword (great witcher fan) and an heavy repeating crossbow (i started with a normal one) and currently going to town.
Gravity weapon and quick draw are being my best feats for the moment and I cannot wait for sudden charge at level 4 since I free archetyped into fighter. Feeling pretty good despite being in a 8 people party that faces very strong enemies.


Thanks a lot for so much valuable input from everyone - it definitely is giving me a better understanding of the available options and tactics!

I would love to have a 18Dex/16Str, but really am not able to stretch my Ability Scores that much :)

I have currently for my Half-Orc Ranger:

STR 14 (+2 lvl1 +2 Ancestry)
DEX 16 (+2 lvl1 +2 Background +2 Class)
CON 12 (+2 lvl1)
INT 10
WIS 14 (+2 lvl1 +2 Ancestry)
CHA 10

Half-Orc Ancestry (for Low Light Vision).
Ancestry Feat: Natural Ambition > Gravity Weapon
Background: Feral Child because it is just cool, but also because of the Darkvision (I just can't play a Scout without Darkvision...) and Scent.
Class Feat: Hunted Shot

Is there any way to improve on those stats?
And should I have two bows?

----------

From what I have read, perhaps I could go (assuming the worst possible scenario without any preparation):

If enemy is further than 30'
Hunt Prey
Draw Longbow
Hunted Shot

If enemy stays further than 30'
Gravity Weapon
Hunted Shot
Regular Shot?

If enemy closes to less than 30'
Move to more than 30'?
Hunted Shot
Regular Shot?

If enemy closes to less than 30' and I cannot move away more than 30'
Stow longbow
Draw Shortbow
Hunted Shot

If engaged in melee
Drop bow (free)
Draw shortsword
Draw shield
Raise shield or strike (depending on how strong the enemy is)

Next round
Raise shield
Strike
Strike

Would these kinda be my options?
Though... If I take Animal Companion at level 2, I will also need an action to have him do something (attacking, etc), right? Hmmmmmm.... I may need extra actions :P


Edeldhur wrote:


Is there any way to improve on those stats?

Any human ( or any human heritage, like half orc ) can hit 18 DEX and 16 STR.

DEX: 18 > 10 ( base ) +2 ( class ) + 2 ( ancestry ) + 2 ( background ) + 2 ( one of the 4 bonus stats )

STR 16 > 10 ( base ) + 2 ( ancestry ) + 2 ( background ) + 2 ( one of the 4 bonus stats )

you'll also have 2 extra bonus stat ( for example, 10 > 12 WIS and CON ).

As for weapons, I suggest you to just go:

a) Unconventional Weaponry > Hornbow ( using a rapier/Shortsword as main weapon and a shortsword as offhand )
b) Unconventional weaponry > Dueling sword ( using a shortbow as ranged weapon ).


Thank you HumbleGamer, but is 12Wis enough for a Ranger?

EDIT: Also I think I see the issue - Feral Child Background only allows ONE stat increase...


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Edeldhur wrote:

Thank you HumbleGamer, but is 12Wis enough for a Ranger?

EDIT: Also I think I see the issue - Feral Child Background only allows ONE stat increase...

Wisdom means nothing for a combatant ( will saves / wis skills apart ). You'll also rely on gravity weapon, which doesn't require counteract checks or class DC, so it's perfectly fine ( you'll find the lack of con more a thing than the lack of wis, to be honest ).

Every 5 levels you'd increase STR/DEX/CON/WIS, becoming more and more sturdier.

As for feral child, yeah... it's a weird one.

If I were you, I'd give mechanics the priority ( getting a normal BG with +2 stats ) and, eventually, play the feral ranger in terms of flavor ( searching tracks like a hunting beast, be perceptive, etc... ).


Yeah, but the Darkvision...


Edeldhur wrote:
Yeah, but the Darkvision...

Half orc can get it by lvl 1 ( orc sight).

You'll just wait lvl 3 for natural ambition ( if you want it).

Basically, is trading an imprecise sense for +2 stat.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I really wouldn't recommend trying to sword and board on a switch hitter. If you're going to try, you absolutely need Quick Drawand Twin Takedow to let you get both weapons out while still attacking. (I believe you can strike with a shield boss or shield spikes with quick draw, but you might see some pushback. There's some table variance around whether you hold a shield, strap it to your arm, or dealer's choice.)

But even on subsequent rounds, you'll struggle to find the actions to raise a shield. That's where Twin Takedown comes in. You can use it strike twice while still commanding hour animal and raising your shield. (Two strikes is all you usually want to do on a precision Ranger.) I'd actually argue Twin Takedown is more important than Hunted Shot if you want to make shields work. You can squeeze off two actions to strikes and still have one left to Hunt or Command when you're at range.

Get dex to 18. With Imprecise Scent you can locate enemies without rolling perception. (Also, make sure you remind your DM you have scent before you open doors and such. You can potentially learn what is on the other side.) Wisdom is still good and all, but 18 Dex is better.

Also, is regular human on the table? Because right now Feral Child is wasting your heritage. I sort of think Feral Child is better in the short-term but you might see better returns from a normal background in the long run.

Assuming you stay feral child, your best bet is probably:

18 Dex
Versatile Human: shield block
Ancestry feat: natural ambition: Animal Companion
1st Class feat: Twin Takedown
2nd class feat: Quick Draw
6th class: Mature Companion

A feral child should really have one of the beasts they grew up with from level one, and twin takedown and quick draw are more important to your action economy than Gravity Weapon and Hunted Shot. You can go back for those feats later, if you like, but action economy is king.

Oh, and for similar reasons, I recommend grabbing a shortbow too. Switch hitters should really try and move as little as possible, and your shield exacerbates that. Try to make enemies come to you.

Shadow Lodge

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Edeldhur wrote:

Hi everyone,

I am an almost complete PF2E noob about to play a Ranger with an Animal Companion.

And my question is exactly as the title says - I have taken Precision, Gravity Weapon and Hunted Shot. STR14 and DEX16. At level 2 I will grab an Animal Companion, and the feats to improve him as we go.

With this kind of setup, if a ‘normal’ enemy (not a BBEG) moves up into close quarters with me, I draw a morningstar and a shield and go to town with him. How well will I fare?

Apologies if the question seems absurd, but I am just trying to get a feel for the relative power levels in PF2 :)

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

Cheers,
Edeldhur

Switch Hitters:
  • A Melee focused character with Archery options is a good idea.
  • An Archery focused character with melee options isn't nearly as good an idea.
The issue with 'backup options for archers' can be seen in the following logic:
Does my foe have an Attack of Opportunity?
If no, you can continue to use your bow freely
If yes, then drawing a new weapon will provoke just as much as a fuil round of archery attacks.
Note: Most creatures have one or fewer reactions per round, so even a foe with an AoO might not have it available when your turn comes around.

Does my threatening foe have reach?
If not, you can probably just Step away to avoid AoOs
If yes, you can probably Stride away and take just as many AoOs as any other attack option.
Spending an action to reposition is not a wasted action.

Do I really want to keep investing resources into a backup weapon I don't actually need?
Runes get expensive pretty quickly, and I don't know of any rune-sharing technique that will work with a bow, so your attack/damage will generally be rather subpar with such a backup weapon.

Now, that being said, your mileage may vary greatly depending on your party: A shortage of melee characters, poor coordination, or just an intense dislike of your character might put you in melee range far more often than you'd like...


Taja the Barbarian wrote:
...or just an intense dislike of your character...

Still digesting these last two posts - a lot of information there. But could not help but laugh at this bit :D


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Edeldhur wrote:

Hi everyone,

I am an almost complete PF2E noob about to play a Ranger with an Animal Companion.

And my question is exactly as the title says - I have taken Precision, Gravity Weapon and Hunted Shot. STR14 and DEX16. At level 2 I will grab an Animal Companion, and the feats to improve him as we go.

With this kind of setup, if a ‘normal’ enemy (not a BBEG) moves up into close quarters with me, I draw a morningstar and a shield and go to town with him. How well will I fare?

Apologies if the question seems absurd, but I am just trying to get a feel for the relative power levels in PF2 :)

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

Cheers,
Edeldhur

Switch Hitters:
  • A Melee focused character with Archery options is a good idea.
  • An Archery focused character with melee options isn't nearly as good an idea.
The issue with 'backup options for archers' can be seen in the following logic:
Does my foe have an Attack of Opportunity?
If no, you can continue to use your bow freely
If yes, then drawing a new weapon will provoke just as much as a fuil round of archery attacks.
Note: Most creatures have one or fewer reactions per round, so even a foe with an AoO might not have it available when your turn comes around.

Does my threatening foe have reach?
If not, you can probably just Step away to avoid AoOs
If yes, you can probably Stride away and take just as many AoOs as any other attack option.
Spending an action to reposition is not a wasted action.

Do I really want to keep investing resources into a backup weapon I don't actually need?
Runes get expensive pretty quickly, and I don't know of any rune-sharing technique that will work with a bow, so your attack/damage will generally be rather subpar with such a backup weapon.

Now, that being said, your mileage may...

The costs of runes are an issue, although one that only matters for certain levels. Usually around level 5 every martial in the party has at least one striking rune, and you'll find a back up option soon after.

But there are advantages to having a back up melee option for an archer. If you're using a longbow, you'll have the volley penalty to deal with unless you use an archetype to get Point Blank Shot, which won't be an option until level 4 at the earliest. Melee weapons also give you agile and full strength to damage, so usually your DPR is better with them. And you can also use doubling rings and back up weapons to take advantage of damage types or precious materials. Zombies and skeletons are common at low levels and piercing isn't great on either.

Plus they errataed ranged flanking out, and with a pet flanking is easy.


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Others have said enough, but one thing I'd like to add is that unless you know you're going to be fighting in big open spaces, I'd go with a shortbow rather than a longbow. The 30 foot Volley is a big thing, and I'd rather have a smaller weapon die than be less accurate. 75% of the cases, you'll be fighting in small rooms anyway, and you'd have to hang back a lot to make it work.


Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Edeldhur wrote:

Hi everyone,

I am an almost complete PF2E noob about to play a Ranger with an Animal Companion.

And my question is exactly as the title says - I have taken Precision, Gravity Weapon and Hunted Shot. STR14 and DEX16. At level 2 I will grab an Animal Companion, and the feats to improve him as we go.

With this kind of setup, if a ‘normal’ enemy (not a BBEG) moves up into close quarters with me, I draw a morningstar and a shield and go to town with him. How well will I fare?

Apologies if the question seems absurd, but I am just trying to get a feel for the relative power levels in PF2 :)

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

Cheers,
Edeldhur

Switch Hitters:
  • A Melee focused character with Archery options is a good idea.
  • An Archery focused character with melee options isn't nearly as good an idea.
The issue with 'backup options for archers' can be seen in the following logic:
Does my foe have an Attack of Opportunity?
If no, you can continue to use your bow freely
If yes, then drawing a new weapon will provoke just as much as a fuil round of archery attacks.
Note: Most creatures have one or fewer reactions per round, so even a foe with an AoO might not have it available when your turn comes around.

Does my threatening foe have reach?
If not, you can probably just Step away to avoid AoOs
If yes, you can probably Stride away and take just as many AoOs as any other attack option.
Spending an action to reposition is not a wasted action.

Do I really want to keep investing resources into a backup weapon I don't actually need?
Runes get expensive pretty quickly, and I don't know of any rune-sharing technique that will work with a bow, so your attack/damage will generally be rather subpar with such a backup weapon.

Now, that being said, your mileage may...

This is what I came to say. If you view your character as primarily melee and want to have a backup bow that's prudent. Not everything will always be able to be in melee range.

If your concern however, is needing to switch to a melee weapon because an enemy is in your face then you need to consider:
1) Does this enemy even have AoO? If no, then you don't care and can continue to make ranged attacks.
2) Is the enemy's reach more than your movement speed? If no, you will spend at least as many actions swapping weapons as you will to stride away, and provoke as many AoO.

So, there's very little reason to actually switch to melee weapons. Especially if you're considering attempting to invest runes onto both weapons.


Here's my list of weapons and unarmed attacks with the finesse trait. Instances of the thrown trait are in bold to help you find those which can be used as ranged weapons.

Finesse Options


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Thank you Gisher!

And thank you everyone for the insightful advice!

For now I will go the 18Dex 14Str Gravity Weapon Hunted Shot archery route + AC at level 2 (this is actually more for story reasons).

Will see if it is worth it at all to resort to drawing a melee weapon, or simply stepping back (or moving away).

I also like the idea of the switch hitter for the coolness of it, so I wll see how much it gimps me to try and go toe to toe in melee when some bad guy engages me. Will probably wield either a light mace or a shortsword in these situations. And keep a few throwing knives in my belt.

And then I will come back to report! :D


Edeldhur wrote:

Thank you Gisher!

And thank you everyone for the insightful advice!

For now I will go the 18Dex 14Str Gravity Weapon Hunted Shot archery route + AC at level 2 (this is actually more for story reasons).

Will see if it is worth it at all to resort to drawing a melee weapon, or simply stepping back (or moving away).

I also like the idea of the switch hitter for the coolness of it, so I wll see how much it gimps me to try and go toe to toe in melee when some bad guy engages me. Will probably wield either a light mace or a shortsword in these situations. And keep a few throwing knives in my belt.

And then I will come back to report! :D

I dunno, movie Legolas was pretty bas ass and he definitely mixed it up in melee range with his bow and rarely broke out his sword.


Well, the fights against Bolg were hardcore melee!

Middle Earth elves don't count though - they cheat the rules :D

Horizon Hunters

There is a lot of talk about using a shield, or the difficulty of drawing two weapons to switch from ranged to melee.

Just get yourself a gauntlet for your off hand. Then you draw your rapier / short-sword and take two swings. If you are serious about switching to melee a lot, then grab Twin Takedown as well.

My experience (strictly PFS) is:
1. use a short bow. You almost always start at 60' or less. Upgrade to composite short bow when you can, as it let's you use 1/2 of your strength modifier to add to damage. (Started at 16 str 18 dex, and bumped str at level 5.)
2. I have purchased a cold iron gauntlet as it became available and monetarily practical.
3. I almost never actually switch to melee anyway... this is an emergency protocol (Taja the Barbarian makes a number of good points in this regard). Like the time we ran into some sort of Fiend and it had weakness to cold iron and DR piercing...
4. I have started out in melee mode, but it is rare. The only instance that comes rapidly to mind is going to a party where bows/spears/pole arms where not allowed. But a dagger and a gauntlet?


Just being an Automaton lets you be a switch hitter: Warrior Automaton heritage [1d6 fist] + Energy Beam [1d4 fire, 20' range increment] at 1st. Handwraps boost both attacks so that makes things simpler.


Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Switch Hitters:
  • A Melee focused character with Archery options is a good idea.
  • An Archery focused character with melee options isn't nearly as good an idea.
The issue with 'backup options for archers' can be seen in the following logic:
Does my foe have an Attack of Opportunity?
If no, you can continue to use your bow freely
If yes, then drawing a new weapon will provoke just as much as a fuil round of archery attacks.
Note: Most creatures have one or fewer reactions per round, so even a foe with an AoO might not have it available when your turn comes around.

Does my threatening foe have reach?
If not, you can probably just Step away to avoid AoOs
If yes, you can probably Stride away and take just as many AoOs as any other attack option.
Spending an action to reposition is not a wasted action.

Do I really want to keep investing resources into a backup weapon I don't actually need?
Runes get expensive pretty quickly,

It depends, melee has a lot going for it:

Flurry or Precision - damage wise Flurry is theoretically better. But Flurry really starts to kick with an Agile weapon. But you are likely using a Bow for range as the thrown weapons aren't great. So you are wasting some of that bonus for a pure ranged build.
Full Strength bonus to damage.
Easier to use Flanking to increase you hit chance.
Different damage types - resistance to Piercing damage is not that rare
Tactical options like Disrupt Prey.

You are going to do more damage in melee.

Yes there are costs:
Potential wasted actions moving - mitigate with powers like Skirmish Strike or an Independent mount.
Potential wasted actions swapping weapons - droping weapons and Quick Draw is normally good enough.
Rune cost on weapons
Ability Scores Probably means you are going to start with 18 Dex 16 Str 12 Con, 12 Wis with a bow and a pair of finesse+agile weapons eg DogSlicer or Kukri or Short Sword. Though 18 Str 16 Dex is also possible if you view ranged as your secondary mode.

Shadow Lodge

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Gortle wrote:
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
...

It depends, melee has a lot going for it:

Flurry or Precision - damage wise Flurry is theoretically better. But Flurry really starts to kick with an Agile weapon. But you are likely using a Bow for range as the thrown weapons aren't great. So you are wasting some of that bonus for a pure ranged build.
Full Strength bonus to damage.
Easier to use Flanking to increase you hit chance.
Different damage types - resistance to Piercing damage is not that rare
Tactical options like Disrupt Prey.

You are going to do more damage in melee.

Yes there are costs:
Potential wasted actions moving - mitigate with powers like Skirmish Strike or an Independent mount.
Potential wasted actions swapping weapons - droping weapons and Quick Draw is normally good enough.
Rune cost on weapons
Ability Scores Probably means you are going to start with 18 Dex 16 Str 12 Con, 12 Wis with a bow and a pair of finesse+agile weapons eg DogSlicer or Kukri or Short Sword. Though 18 Str 16 Dex is also possible if you view ranged as your secondary mode.

The general idea is:
  • If you like the benefits of melee combat, be a melee combatant.
  • If you like the benefits of ranged combat, be a ranged combatant.
  • Melee characters are encouraged to at least carry a ranged weapon because 'ranged only' fights are somewhat common (that first flying foe, or that annoying archer in the treetops).
  • Ranged characters aren't particularly encouraged to invest in melee combat because 'trapped in melee' fights are far less likely to occur, so they can generally get away with 'doubling down' on archery instead.


Taja the Barbarian wrote:

The general idea is:

If you like the benefits of melee combat, be a melee combatant.
If you like the benefits of ranged combat, be a ranged combatant.
Melee characters are encouraged to at least carry a ranged weapon because 'ranged only' fights are somewhat common (that first flying foe, or that annoying archer in the treetops).
Ranged characters aren't particularly encouraged to invest in melee combat because 'trapped in melee' fights are far less likely to occur, so they can generally get away with 'doubling down' on archery instead.

Yep.

If you want to be ranged, you can generally get by without a melee weapon and focus hard on the archery stuff. And generally be able to get by without a melee weapon.

Melee characters should keep a ranged weapon as a backup, but I wouldn't expect them to put much character resources into it. It's a plan B. At a certain point my primary plan would become access to flight magic (including as a potion) and flying to melee that enemy. But having a bow as a backup is still a good idea.


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Claxon wrote:
Melee characters should keep a ranged weapon as a backup, but I wouldn't expect them to put much character resources into it. It's a plan B. At a certain point my primary plan would become access to flight magic (including as a potion) and flying to melee that enemy. But having a bow as a backup is still a good idea.

Aklys and Bola make great backups for those going strength as the Ranged Trip ability lets you make an athletics check instead of an attack roll.


graystone wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Melee characters should keep a ranged weapon as a backup, but I wouldn't expect them to put much character resources into it. It's a plan B. At a certain point my primary plan would become access to flight magic (including as a potion) and flying to melee that enemy. But having a bow as a backup is still a good idea.
Aklys and Bola make great backups for those going strength as the Ranged Trip ability lets you make an athletics check instead of an attack roll.

Yeah. That's why I was bummed when they changed the Bolas to Uncommon. :(


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Gisher wrote:
graystone wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Melee characters should keep a ranged weapon as a backup, but I wouldn't expect them to put much character resources into it. It's a plan B. At a certain point my primary plan would become access to flight magic (including as a potion) and flying to melee that enemy. But having a bow as a backup is still a good idea.
Aklys and Bola make great backups for those going strength as the Ranged Trip ability lets you make an athletics check instead of an attack roll.
Yeah. That's why I was bummed when they changed the Bolas to Uncommon. :(

Yeah, I have a few ways to get access: Shoanti have bolas so being from saga lands should allow access, bounty hunter grants access with a feat, 2 gods have it as a favored weapon, Orang-Pendaks use them [a DM might let you be adopted] and Leng spiders make them so being a former slave of one might give access [say from the Kidnapped or Abandoned in a Distant Land deep background event].

For Aklys, dero use them... and that's about it.


A trip to a large city or where a well known exotic stuff salesman has their store and you are done.
Eventually, describe it in your background ( unless your dm won't find acceptable that in 10-200 years of life, depends your character, you had a chance to find a specific uncommon non magic item ).

Accessibility, especially in a multiethnic setting, would always be at worst a time gate issue ( the real issue in this 2e is getting procificency with a specific weapon, because it's something you can' achieve with just normal training, but your are rather forced to be part of a specific acenstry, or dig deep into an archetype/dedication to get access to feats that unlock it ).

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