View Full Version : [3.5/Pathfinder-ish] Crossbow Fighter

Fax Celestis
2009-08-11, 01:56 PM
So my group is playing a 3.5/Pathfinder-ish game (I say "ish" because we're using Monte Cook's Book of Experimental Might I and II (like fighter domains, which I'm not familiar with in particular but know how they work in general) and allowing most of 3.5 stuff (barring cheese) and using some house rules (srzly, wtf CMB (yay for nested quotes))), and I want to have a character prepped in case my character dies.

So I was looking at some of the feats in the PHB-II and was considering utilizing some of the (cross)bow-centric ones (like Penetrating Shot). Problem is, I can't really seem to scrap together a build. I'd like to be able to use Dungeoncrasher, because the concept of shooting someone and flinging them backwards into a wall for EXTRA DAMAGE is awesome (and on that note, I actually considered finding a way to get UMD as a class skill so I could use a wand of battering ram or a wand of explosive burning hands or something to shove people around because that is equally awesome).

Another slowdown I'm running into is that I won't really have a source of bonus damage short of Weapon Specialization (ew), which means either I need to go Rogue or Scout instead of Fighter (for sneak attack/skirmish and find a way to flat-foot people; the Scout 4/Ranger 16 with Swift Hunter is a possibility, but probably not what I'm looking for), or I need to find another way to get bonus damage.

I also considered going Fighter (Dungeoncrasher) into Bloodstorm Blade and pushing people around with thrown weapons, but it doesn't really have the same visual appeal.

Now the Dungeoncrasher thing is completely arbitrary: I just like how it looks. Fundamentally, I want to be The Best Crossbow Fighter Ever. What're people's thoughts on how to do it?

2009-08-11, 02:04 PM
Well, Crossbow Sniper and Ranged Weapon Mastery [both PHBII] are obvious choices. Beyond that, well, if going Dungeoncrasher you'll want the 6 levels of Fighter. Quick-Loading [MiC] Crossbow solves the reloading problem so you can let loose with full attacks.

Though how are you getting the Bull Rush for Dungeoncrasher? I can't think of any way to do that at range short of Bloodstorm Blade, which just so happens to only work with thrown weapons.

Some Fighter 6/Ranger 2/Martial Rogue 2/Whatever 10 would work out for a build; you'll really just want a bunch of feats and skills (Spot in particular is handy) so that kind of a shell should be nice. For some extra damage, Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Great Crossbow [RoS] is really nice. 2d8 base damage, size increases at this point are already 1d8 extra so Strongarm Bracers mean you can wield what comes out effectively at a handheld Ballista.

Combine this with the Dex from Crossbow Sniper and +4 from Ranged Weapon Mastery & Weapon Spec and you've got a decent damage output, especially with full iteratives + Rapid Shot. And if you do find ways to Bull Rush people (I can only imagine this comes from Book of Experimental Might), the 8d6+3xStr is just gonna rock. It doesn't even feel that unplausible with a Great Crossbow.

Fax Celestis
2009-08-11, 02:08 PM
Though how are you getting the Bull Rush for Dungeoncrasher? I can't think of any way to do that at range short of Bloodstorm Blade, which just so happens to only work with thrown weapons.As of right now, I'm not. Unless I can custom-make arrows of battering ram or something.

Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Great Crossbow [RoS] is really nice. 2d8 base damage, size increases at this point are already 1d8 extra so Strongarm Bracers mean you can wield what comes out effectively at a handheld Ballista.Oooh, I hadn't thought of that.

2009-08-11, 02:11 PM
If you're wanting a Crossbow Fighter with Pathfinder, you need to pick up their Exotic ones, the Minotaur Double Crossbow. It'll take a few extra feats for the reloading, but you'll end up taking a -2 penalty to your attack in exchange for doubling your damage. Not adding it it by an amount, but doubling it (which gets truely ludicrous later on).

2009-08-11, 02:17 PM
Oh, there's also a nice tool in the Arms & Equipment Guide: Gnome Crossbow Sight. It costs 150gp and allows you to fire the length of three range increments at no penalties. Very handy. Of course, A&EG is technically 3.0, but it was never updated and it has such an awesome bunch of everything fun that it's a great book to allow in 3.5 too.

Archery Handbook (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=642.0) may have something of use for you; I've written the Crossbow Archery-section already.

2009-08-11, 04:51 PM
If you're using Pathfinder, there's a feat in another Paizo source that's great for a crossbow build (from the Curse of the Crimson Throne player's guide):

You can load crossbows with blinding speed and even fire them in melee with little fear of reprisal.
Prerequisites: Dex 15, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload, Rapid Shot
Benefit: The time required for you to reload any type of crossbow is reduced to a free action, regardless of the type of crossbow used. You can fire a crossbow as many times in a full attack action as you could attack if you were using a bow. Reloading a crossbow for the type of crossbow
you chose when you took Rapid Reload no longer provokes attacks of opportunity.
Special: A fighter may select Crossbow Mastery as one of his fighter bonus feats. A ranger may select Crossbow Mastery in place of Manyshot for his improved combat style at 6th level.

2009-08-11, 07:40 PM
Sneak Attack is only better than Sudden Strike when you're fighting in melee; the two are indistinguishable at range. With this in mind, ninja may in fact be preferable to rogue for ranged Sneak Attack damage, given that it can turn invisible for entire rounds at a time as a class ability. The Martial Stalker feat lets ninja levels stack with fighter for the sake of fighter bonus feats (if you're intent on pursuing Ranged Weapon Mastery), ki pool and AC bonus. A Sneak Attack Thug from UA might or might not qualify as a fighter for this purpose if you're concerned about BAB. If you take a fighter level alongside this (technically allowed according to UA), you can sacrifice its heavy armor proficiency for the fighter ACF in DotU that gives +2 to Initiative and lets you add your Dex bonus on weapon damage rolls against flat-footed opponents.

You might also consider Two-Weapon-Fighting with hand crossbows instead of using a great crossbow. You get hand crossbow proficiency for free by entering either the rogue or the ninja classes, and DotU has a feat called Hand Crossbow Focus which is just Weapon Focus (hand crossbow) with Rapid Reload thrown in for free, so that could be nice. In this case a Spare Hand (MIC p137) is the most efficient way to reload.

2009-08-12, 02:44 AM
For High Levels, could I suggest Dead Eye* from Dragon Magazine compendium?

Has BAB +14, weapon focus and point blank shot as prerequisites, but allows to add your dexterity bonus to ranged damage at 30 feet range.

If you take DoTU fighter ACF (give up medium and heavy armor prof, +2 init, dex bonus to damages on flat footed) and built your PC around it, you can add twice your dex modifier to damage in some istances.

The usefulness of this depends from gamestyle, but in case could be useful for you...

*different thing from dead eye shot from PHII

2009-08-12, 09:54 AM
Oh, and the Cloak of Deception (Boost) maneuver from Tome of Battle gives you Greater Invisibility until the end of your turn. I mention it because its recyclability makes it slightly better than say, Expanded Ki Pool to fuel a ninja's Ghost Step, and if you take a Warblade or Swordsage level it becomes a renewable source of invisibility; something to keep in mind for when your build depends on getting flat-footed targets. It's a second level Shadow Hand maneuver, so you can get it with your 6th level feat or with a 5th level swordsage dip.

You could even get Assassin's Stance for 2d6 extra Sneak Attack damage by taking your second level of SS at your 8th character level. I wouldn't recommend more martial adept levels than that for obvious reasons, and just using feats to get those maneuvers might be more practical.

2009-08-12, 01:48 PM
If you care for Homebrew at all in this instance, I might as well suggest this PRC: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10755

It's a little MAD, yes, but you get dual-wielding of hand crossbows that blowback targets, additions to your AC and initiative, sneak attack and reloading w/o any gimmicks. Nice deal, all in all, I'd say, though the twin capstones are a tad wonky. (Also don't post to it, as that thread hasn't been alive for years >_>;;)

Them's my 2 coppers. Take as you will.