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Archon May 13 '12 4:55am

Provoking Firearms
So the Pathfinder rules state that you provoke an AoO when you
1) load a firearm
2) shoot a firearm (because it's a ranged weapon)

Considering the cost, misfires, risk of wet ammo, and other factors I feel firearms should maybe get a break.
I'm considering waiving the AoO for shooting a firearm in my campaign.
After all, pulling a trigger leaves you less vulnerable than drawing a bow or twirling a sling.

Can you think of any reason(s) why changing this might be a bad idea?

Aftershock May 13 '12 6:16pm

Personally, I think it's fine the way it is... they have their disadvantages, but many of them don't come up... the misfires only make you waste a turn if you don't want to take the risk of it blowing up (it simply takes the negatives for being broken until you roll another misfire, and only takes a single turn to clear the misfire), the cost is mitigated if you take a class that actually specializes in firearms, since they get a free one and the ability to make their own, and makes sense for rare objects like firearms... as firearms get more common, the prices go down considerably. Wet ammo likely comes up only rarely, unless your DM is just a dick.

All those disadvantages make up for the very powerful fact that firearms do a lot of damage, and are considered a touch attack within 30 ft. What are the only other things that generally do damage with a touch attack... spells. Which also provoke attacks of opportunity if used within melee range. Spell AoOs can be mitigated with a concentration check, but firearm AoOs can be mitigated with feats, and a firearm you can use every single round (with the correct firearm/feats), while spells will run out eventually. I think it's good the way it is.

dauphinous May 16 '12 2:02pm

After thinking about this, I really don't think it's wrong the way it is. It's a ranged weapon. All the other ranged weapons provoke when you fire them. It's not only easy to overcome with feats, though, it's also easy to overcome with a 5 foot step. Yeah, the loading is an extra step that provokes, but again, 5 foot step. If it comes down to a situation where you can't take a 5 foot step and your only weapon is a gun, odds are good that you're already screwed to the wall and probably should have planned better by having a melee weapon or a meatshield as a backup.

FearlessFreddy May 16 '12 2:49pm

I tend to agree with the previous comments. I very rarely see archers and spellcasters get in situations where they provoke an AoO because the 5' step will usually be enough to avoid that. Plus, the fact that they provoke twice is usually moot, since the enemies within range will have used the AoO the first time around.

I know all about big enemies with reach and Combat Reflexes, but what were they thinking trying to shoot in reach of those baddies anyways?

Rejakor May 19 '12 12:06am

There are ways at least in 3.5 to make ranged attacks not provoke. Make reloading not provoke, and then it's the same as other ranged weapons.

They honestly don't do that much damage. Compared to an archer using a composite longbow (or greatbow!) they're positively tame. Compared to a rogue tossing knives, they're tame.

Dual wielding pistols (that you can't reload) for 1d8 x 2 damage is meh compared to tossing off 4 knives that each come with 5d6 sneak attack damage (or acid flasks for touch attacks) or firing off 1d8+4 arrows that you get more of because you have rapid shot and the pistol guy had to spend all his feats to be able to Rapid Reload his pistols.

impfireball Jul 31 '12 8:50am


Considering the cost, misfires, risk of wet ammo, and other factors I feel firearms should maybe get a break.
I'm considering waiving the AoO for shooting a firearm in my campaign.
After all, pulling a trigger leaves you less vulnerable than drawing a bow or twirling a sling.
I agree. A firearm makes a bang and smoke when it shoots, which can throw off the swing of a melee attacker (make you forget your name for half a second; enough to eliminate that AoO, if AoO's intent was to simulate frantic-paced melee). It's nearly impossible for even a master bowmen to draw and shoot while a target is swinging for them, unless they had the physical awareness of spiderman (or legolas, whichever). Better to stab at said target with their arrow.

Not provoking an AoO for a firearm makes sense. It can't miss at close range, but it might potentially hurt both involved, depending on the caliber, maybe (ricochet, heat or shrapnel)?


Originally Posted by FearlessFreddy (Post 5631534)
I know all about big enemies with reach and Combat Reflexes, but what were they thinking trying to shoot in reach of those baddies anyways?

In a realistic sense, can't miss? If pathfinder introduced hand cannons that are otherwise innacurate, it might be popular. New weapons equals new styles of play - that's sorta how it went in D&D.

As it stands, are pistols really just high-maintenance crossbows that can be one handed? Tbh, crossbows should be harder to maintain - the wood can warp and make shooting difficult in poor weather. For guns, all you have to worry about is powder getting wet - sure, you may have to replace the gun when it mishaps or warps after extended use, but if even peasants can use them, the demand should be enough that there are gunsmiths everywhere and the price for new guns should lower.

Maybe if pathfinder wants to keep the system of 'you must be X class to use this firearm', then allow that class to get a 'guild signet' that is given to them after their first purchase. It gives them discounts to make using firearms a better choice than crossbows, like a costco card, and can be magically bound (like a costco digital registrar). xD

Powderhorn Jul 31 '12 9:22am

What sort of firearms does Pathfinder use? I'm not familiar with the rules set, but as for failures to fire, or any of the finicky things that can go wrong with guns, I've either done it myself, or seen somebody else do it.

Rejakor Jul 31 '12 4:40pm

It's like later muskets and stuff... just-pre-rifling-and-bullets early firearms. They 'jam' on a 1-X, where the bigger and 'better' the gun is the higher X is (doesn't go above 4 I think), and you need a Craft (Gunsmithing) check to 'clear' them otherwise they risk exploding if you try to fire them again. They do generally unimpressive damage (max is like 2d10 on big takes 2 rounds to reload rifle) but hit Touch AC if fired at a target in their first range increment (which is a not-terrible way to show their penetration) and have decent ranges.

Also, I understand the point of about half, maybe a third, of what impfireball said, and what I understood of it, I generally disagreed with, just fyi.

Powderhorn Jul 31 '12 6:17pm

Ahhhh, good old muzzle loaders. They do tend to foul after a few shots, though they're less prone to fouling as smoothbores than they are as rifles. Fouling is when the powder builds up in the barrel that the diameter of the bore gets smaller and smaller and it becomes harder and harder to ram a shot down. There are many different historic accounts that I've read as to how soldiers would deal with that in the thick of battle, whether it was pouring some water from their canteen down the bore and sloshing it out a bit, or using a rock to keep hammering down their ramrod. (I recommend the former, the latter is time consuming and solves nothing.)

I would actually think a smaller caliber gun would have a larger chance of fouling, and that's been my own experience. Though I've never had my smoothbore foul, I'll attribute that to using undersized shot. (.715 for a .75 cal.) So much so, you can actually hear the shot rolling out the barrel if you shoot down hill!

I do have one gun that never seems to foul though. I used to shoot a Zouave Rifle competitively, (mine is a bit prettier than the one in the picture, on account of the fact that I took all the bluing off the barrel) and with the lubricant I put on the bullets, I could fire it all day long without cleaning it once, and I'm talking 50 - 80 rounds through the thing, when my Jäger fouls after about 5 shots. In fact, the Zouave wouldn't even shoot straight until I put a couple of rounds through it to "dirty up" the barrel a little bit!

Rejakor Jul 31 '12 7:38pm

I guess it was built with tolerances with that sort of thing in mind? The difference between really well-made and well-designed equipment and run of the mill trash is something most roleplaying games don't model very well - DnD's magic item system is a poor substitute for skilful tool design.

There was a game I joined as a musketman set in the New World with renaissance firearms, with great rules for muskets, that were very deadly and terrifying, but also incredibly annoying in terms of loading and bracing, which worked really well I thought. For example, making my character (this was in 3.5, level 5ish) I spent a number of feats to make him able to handle a musket without a firing stick at only a -2 to hit, and be able to reload as a full-round action instead of 2, but I also invested in a brace of pistols, a good bayonet(masterworked), and a pair of boot knives, and stuck close to the pikeman who had a pair of hand weapons and spiked lobstered steel gauntlets as well as his pike - the guy clearly knew what he was about.

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