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I'm a fighter archer, just turning level 4. In my last session I rolled double 00's for loot and was rewarded with a +4 composite longbow of thundering. I'm pretty freaking stoked. I plan on taking improved critical as soon as possible, but I was wondering if there are any other ways to increase my critical threat range? I'm sure folks here know a LOT more than I would.

I can probably use some third party sources but nothing too far in left field. Unfortunately you cannot apply keen to a bow and keen edge on arrows will not stack with improved critical.

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2 Answers 2

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While there may be alternative ways to increase your threat range, none of these stack. Keen, Improved Critical, etc. are all very explicit about this. The feat itself states:

This effect doesn't stack with any other effect that expands the threat range of a weapon.

In fact I would argue that if there is any possible stacking of critical range increases it is merely an error in the wording and wouldn't allow it in my games.

So taking Improved Critical, if you can spare the feat and know which weapon you want to focus on, is the cheapest way to get the highest range possible.

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Indeed. While older versions of D&D allowed for ridiculous critical range stacking ("I rolled a 12. That means I crit, right?"), the newest versions -- including Pathfinder -- fix such balance problems. –  Brian S Nov 18 '13 at 16:57
@BrianS I would argue that they didn't so much "fix" them as "break them in the opposite direction". Not that the old way was so wonderful, but in their zeal to avoid excessive stacking, they eliminated all stacking, and thus made it infeasible to make any sort of character with any real focus on critical hits. –  Matthew Najmon Nov 19 '13 at 9:12
@MatthewNajmon, Well, there are still a number of ways to get bonuses on a crit, IIRC (eg, extra crit damage), you just can't rely on critting every other attack. I'd much prefer a 10% crit with bonuses when that happens than 45% crit. This is probably straying close to "discussion," though. –  Brian S Nov 19 '13 at 14:23
The issue is that you have exactly two options to increase crit range. You can pick a weapon that has a wide range (done at lvl1), and you can pick whichever means best fits your character for doubling that range (level depends on method, but is easily achievable by lvl5, and possible even earlier). That's it. Once you do those two, you're already at as wide a range as you will ever see. No better is possible at level 500 than is possible at level 5. –  Matthew Najmon Dec 3 '13 at 0:30
And most “effect on crit” things are too expensive for something that’s so unreliable. Building for crits is very difficult in 3.5 and PF. –  KRyan Feb 7 at 20:29

in 3.5 there was a half ling specific prestige class (shock-trooper or something of the like) that had an ability that was essentially improved critical but it specifically stated that it stacked with other similar things.

I'm just saying its not totally broken as long as you balance it right/ have it in the appropriate campaign. Definitely something for a DM to keep an eye on though I'd say.

also, more on par with the main question, there's the pathfinder feat Swordplay, adds +1 to crit threat range for one slash or pierce melee weapon. it says it works with keen or improved crit but the bonus is added after multiplying. I would definitly allow a similar one for bows/crossbows with appropriate weapon focus prerequisites

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Shocktrooper was a feat in Complete Warrior that made Power Attack apply a penalty to AC instead of attack (among other things), and definitely had nothing to do with crits. To the best of my knowledge, all “crit extension stacking with Improved Critical” effects were holdovers from 3.0, and any that were explicitly updated had that possibility removed (so the only way to do it is to find things that were not updated). As far as I know, none of them were halfling specific. –  KRyan Feb 7 at 20:32
Existing as a 3.5 prestige class is one of the worst possible arguments against being totally broken... –  dlras2 Feb 7 at 20:32
@dlras2 Well that is totally untrue. I agree with gordon that it can be balanced right (and 3.5 and PF are much too conservative). The problem, of course, is that this wasn’t actually the question asked, and without a dnd-3.5e on here, it seems inappropriate to discuss 3.5 material. –  KRyan Feb 7 at 20:34
@kryan I didn't say it WAS completely broken, just that 3.5 had a lot of very poorly thought out peripheral rules. Stating that it had existed is fine, but I'd prefer to see an actual argument for how it could be balanced. That being said, I was a bit harsh on the 3.5 rules reference. –  dlras2 Feb 7 at 20:42
@dlras2 Overall, Pathfinder does worse than 3.5 by my estimation, but the point is that the statement is effectively “I’ve had larger crit ranges in my games without breaking things,” which is a fairly good argument (agree that it could use expansion), not “one of the worst possible arguments.” Plenty of 3.5 PrCs were imbalanced, but plenty more weren’t. And most were too weak, not too powerful. –  KRyan Feb 7 at 20:46

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