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Kuro_Neko
2019-01-31, 12:10 AM
I've been trying to figure out Double Crossbows. The Raw is a mess, with at least two different entries that contradict each other, and in at least one case contradict themselves. Not to mention they're fuzzy on some parts and flat out missing other parts. I've used the two entries, plus the core crossbow entries, plus some good old RAMS logic to come up with something I think is worth while to use without being overpowered.

A double crossbow is 1.5x the weight of the base crossbow and 2x the cost. Each "barrel" (for lack of a better word) needs to be loaded separately at the full action cost of loading the base crossbow (minus any loading modifiers like rapid reload). Each "barrel" also has to be enchanted separately.

The double crossbow can be fired one of two ways:
The "barrels" can be fired sequentially (aka single-barrel mode) as part of a full round attack provided the wielder has multiple attacks such as from a high BAB, from the Rapid Shot feat, etc. All normal penalties and bonuses apply. The wielder only needs to have proficiency in the base crossbow to fire a double crossbow in this fashion.
Alternately the two "barrels" can be fired simultaneously (aka double-barrel mode) as part of a normal attack action, either as a standard attack or a full round attack (provided the wielder can reload fast enough). Both bolts use the same attack roll at a -2 penalty (plus normal penalties for multiple attacks if applicable). Critical damage and precision damage is only applied once. Using a double crossbow in this manner requires both proficiency in the base crossbow and exotic weapon proficiency: double crossbow (which covers all double crossbows rather than a specific base type). Attempting to fire a double crossbow in double-barrel mode without the double crossbow proficiency incurs the usual -2 penalty plus a -4 non-proficiency penalty, which stacks with the non-proficiency penalty for missing the base crossbow proficiency as well if applicable.

At first glance this seems like it might be overpowered, especially if you take a look at the base damage for a great crossbow (2d8) but I think the trade-offs balances it out. First of all it's going to cost at least two feats (double crossbow proficiency and rapid reload), possibly three depending on whether or not you get the base crossbow proficiency from your class or not. Next, for the great and heavy crossbow, even with rapid reload the reload time is going to be such that absent some pretty decent enchantments the user is only going to get to fire it in double-barrel mode once at the beginning of the battle, and then will have to resort to one single-barrel attack a round from then on. For the great and heavy, to get one double-barrel attack every round requires a minimum of 8k gp in enchanting, and to get multiple double-barrel attacks every round the total enchanting cost increases to 16k gp. Which highlights the final trade-off, 2x enchanting cost.

Even when you consider the crossbow base type most viable, the light crossbow, which can full attack every round in double-barrel mode with no enchanting, once you get down to that base type the damage is only 1d8. That's equal to a basic longbow. With rapid shot the double light crossbow can out-shoot a longbow but pays for that with twice the feats and twice the future enchanting cost. The long bow also has longer range and can with a composite add str damage.

What do you all think? I think it works fine for the heavier crossbows but does the fact that the double light crossbow can out-shoot the longbow 2/1 mean it needs nerfing? Suggestions welcome.

Edit:
I've been thinking about this while I was at work today and I'm thinking it's if anything still a little under powered. The double light crossbow doesn't really out-shoot the longbow, it's the same number of attack rolls (since both bolts from a double-barrel attack use the same attack roll), it's effectively just double damage. At the cost of -2 to attack and 2-3 feats in addition to the 2x ammo and enchanting costs, I think that's at least a fair trade. Make a house rule changing manyshot to use a normal attack action rather than a standard action and the longbow could do pretty much exactly what a double light crossbow does (if at -4 attack rather than -2) at considerably cheaper cost.

noob
2019-01-31, 06:37 AM
I've been trying to figure out Double Crossbows. The Raw is a mess, with at least two different entries that contradict each other, and in at least one case contradict themselves. Not to mention they're fuzzy on some parts and flat out missing other parts. I've used the two entries, plus the core crossbow entries, plus some good old RAMS logic to come up with something I think is worth while to use without being overpowered.

A double crossbow is 1.5x the weight of the base crossbow and 2x the cost. Each "barrel" (for lack of a better word) needs to be loaded separately at the full action cost of loading the base crossbow (minus any loading modifiers like rapid reload). Each "barrel" also has to be enchanted separately.

The double crossbow can be fired one of two ways:
The "barrels" can be fired sequentially (aka single-barrel mode) as part of a full round attack provided the wielder has multiple attacks such as from a high BAB, from the Rapid Shot feat, etc. All normal penalties and bonuses apply. The wielder only needs to have proficiency in the base crossbow to fire a double crossbow in this fashion.
Alternately the two "barrels" can be fired simultaneously (aka double-barrel mode) as part of a normal attack action, either as a standard attack or a full round attack (provided the wielder can reload fast enough). Both bolts use the same attack roll at a -2 penalty (plus normal penalties for multiple attacks if applicable). Critical damage and precision damage is only applied once. Using a double crossbow in this manner requires both proficiency in the base crossbow and exotic weapon proficiency: double crossbow (which covers all double crossbows rather than a specific base type). Attempting to fire a double crossbow in double-barrel mode without the double crossbow proficiency incurs the usual -2 penalty plus a -4 non-proficiency penalty, which stacks with the non-proficiency penalty for missing the base crossbow proficiency as well if applicable.

At first glance this seems like it might be overpowered, especially if you take a look at the base damage for a great crossbow (2d8) but I think the trade-offs balances it out. First of all it's going to cost at least two feats (double crossbow proficiency and rapid reload), possibly three depending on whether or not you get the base crossbow proficiency from your class or not. Next, for the great and heavy crossbow, even with rapid reload the reload time is going to be such that absent some pretty decent enchantments the user is only going to get to fire it in double-barrel mode once at the beginning of the battle, and then will have to resort to one single-barrel attack a round from then on. For the great and heavy, to get one double-barrel attack every round requires a minimum of 8k gp in enchanting, and to get multiple double-barrel attacks every round the total enchanting cost increases to 16k gp. Which highlights the final trade-off, 2x enchanting cost.

Even when you consider the crossbow base type most viable, the light crossbow, which can full attack every round in double-barrel mode with no enchanting, once you get down to that base type the damage is only 1d8. That's equal to a basic longbow. With rapid shot the double light crossbow can out-shoot a longbow but pays for that with twice the feats and twice the future enchanting cost. The long bow also has longer range and can with a composite add str damage.

What do you all think? I think it works fine for the heavier crossbows but does the fact that the double light crossbow can out-shoot the longbow 2/1 mean it needs nerfing? Suggestions welcome.
at low level it is much better than at high level where you start getting items like hank energy bow that actually makes the shots deal tons of damage.

Ashtagon
2019-01-31, 07:54 AM
Apparently, "barrel" is the most common term used. Specifically, barrel refers to the piece of wood the bolt (sometimes called a "quarrel") rests on. The barrel will almost always have a "flight groove" carved into it. In common with archery, the correct term is to "loose" (not "fire") a bolt.

Googling images of double crossbows finds two basic configurations. One has two strings, two barrels, and two sets of arms; it is in effect a second crossbow mounted on top of the first. While it's not clear from the photos, it would seem that one or both bolts could be loosed at the same time. This seems to be the type your rules are describing.

The other has two bolts resting on a single barrel (presuming with two flight grooves carved into it). It has one set of arms and one string, and the two bolts must be loosed at the same time. As the bolts would not be centred on the string, it's not clear how this version can have both bolts aimed at the same target at an arbitrary distance. In the youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPa0r28cXZo), the guy doesn't demonstrate this crossbow hitting a target at a range greater than about ten feet.

I can't comment on the rules interpretation regarding damage output, mostly because I think the crossbow in 3.x was intentionally nerfed (possibly because the writers considered in too unheroic). In reality, it was considered so dangerous that it was banned as a weapon of war between European kingdoms one of the earliest known pieces of arms control agreements. However, I don't think making a weapon feat intensive is the best way to make it balanced.

Kuro_Neko
2019-01-31, 10:03 AM
*snip*

Thanks for the response. I was trying to stick as close to raw as possible while still making it usable. The feat stuff is pretty much straight out of the Races of the Dragon web enhancement. I took the feat stuff from there and at least the beginnings of the combat parts from Dragon Magazine #349 (the combat parts in the web enhancement are useless and in fact contradictory). But I'm open to alternate suggestions?