Author Topic: Shortbow Vs Hand Crossbow:Versatility or Survivability?  (Read 300 times)

Offline Masakan

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So basically the whole dilemma comes from which matters more in the long run. And bear in mind this in regards to a sneak attack archer: Meaning skillful and Medium BAB

Crossbows offer more survivability due to crossbow sniper allowing you to sneak attack from 60 feet, well out of the range of most people. But your options tend to be limited as a result of this. it's also somewhat feat intensive.

The other option is the regular short-bow, which you can only sneak attack from 30 feet, but you have a myriad of different arrow types to choose from Blunt, Serpentounge, signal, smoking, etc

Now this is the part where most people would be like, it shouldn't be a problem to get bolt equivalents right? But we should assume we do things as RAW, and there are some spells that simply can not be used with bolts such as arrow storm, and melf's slumber arrows.

So with all this in mind, which would objectively offer you more in the long run?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 12:34:02 PM by Masakan »

Offline ketaro

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In regards to a sneak attack archer most of the things you mentioned besides the range of sneak attack and spells are rather moot, imo. At best you'd simply need special material bolts moreso than specific damage types.

Also, unless you run with hand crossbows (or I think light crossbows as well), you can't fullattack and fullattacking with sneak attack on every shot is, like, the bee's knees yo.

Also Dragon Mag 348 & 349 give you exploding and splintering bolts, respectively.
Tumbling bolts are also just fantastic :p

Offline Masakan

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In regards to a sneak attack archer most of the things you mentioned besides the range of sneak attack and spells are rather moot, imo. At best you'd simply need special material bolts moreso than specific damage types.

Also, unless you run with hand crossbows (or I think light crossbows as well), you can't fullattack and fullattacking with sneak attack on every shot is, like, the bee's knees yo.

Also Dragon Mag 348 & 349 give you exploding and splintering bolts, respectively.
Tumbling bolts are also just fantastic :p

Yes it is with hand crossbows in mind sorry i should have been more clear about that.

Offline Garryl

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Hand crossbows and light crossbows do require significantly more investment to make effective use of. Without the Rapid Reload feat or a similar option (there are low-level spells, magic items, etc.), reloading requires a move action. The rogue class gives proficiency with hand crossbows, otherwise you need Exotic Weapon Proficiency for them, too. Light crossbows are simple weapons, and every player class except druid and monk get proficiency with them.

If you go with Crossbow Sniper while using a hand crossbow, you also need to remember that its range increment is only 30 feet, so anything in your extended Sneak Attack range imposes a -2 penalty on your attack roll (or -4 at exactly 60 feet). If you're doing this often enough, you might as well use a light crossbow with its 80 foot range increment, and can be fired one-handed for only a -2 attack roll penalty if needed. Not game breaking, but significant enough to be worth remembering.

You still need two hands to reload a crossbow, even if you're firing it one-handed, so with Rapid Reload you're not even really freeing up a hand for other things. There are some options to enable one-handed shooting and reloading, although I'm not familiar with them offhand.

Offline nijineko

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auto-reloading is also possible as is extradimensional storage for lots of extra bolts.
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Offline Masakan

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Hand crossbows and light crossbows do require significantly more investment to make effective use of. Without the Rapid Reload feat or a similar option (there are low-level spells, magic items, etc.), reloading requires a move action. The rogue class gives proficiency with hand crossbows, otherwise you need Exotic Weapon Proficiency for them, too. Light crossbows are simple weapons, and every player class except druid and monk get proficiency with them.

If you go with Crossbow Sniper while using a hand crossbow, you also need to remember that its range increment is only 30 feet, so anything in your extended Sneak Attack range imposes a -2 penalty on your attack roll (or -4 at exactly 60 feet). If you're doing this often enough, you might as well use a light crossbow with its 80 foot range increment, and can be fired one-handed for only a -2 attack roll penalty if needed. Not game breaking, but significant enough to be worth remembering.

You still need two hands to reload a crossbow, even if you're firing it one-handed, so with Rapid Reload you're not even really freeing up a hand for other things. There are some options to enable one-handed shooting and reloading, although I'm not familiar with them offhand.

If allowed the gnome crossbow sight, fixes that issue quite nicely. It's 3.0 though.

Offline Keldar

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Shortbow is better with a low investment of resources, Hand Crossbow has a slightly higher ceiling but takes a lot of resources to get there.  So which is better depends on how much you want to dedicate to it.  And an extra 30 feet of range can wind up being useless a shocking amount of time in a game called Dungeons and Dragons.