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Fairly straightforward question here. I'm building a gunslinger that focuses on shotguns, can I select specific creatures (enemies) to have Precise Shot apply to and have it not apply to my allies? I'm guessing the answer is no, but was hoping to find a RAW ruling.

If the answer is no, are there any feats that would allow me to reduce the chances of friendly fire?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @hey I can chan it seems fairly clear to me that the question is trying to determine if you MUST apply Precise Shot to all attacks, or not. In this specific case, the asker is hoping he can choose not to apply Precise shot to attacks against friends, to reduce his chances of hitting them, while using Precise shot on the enemies in the blast. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 3:07

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Buried in the rules for Firearms is the Scatter Weapon Quality that, in part, says

A weapon with the scatter weapon quality can… make a scattering shot, attacking all creatures within a cone.… When a scatter weapon attacks all creatures within a cone, it makes a separate attack roll against each creature within the cone. Each attack roll takes a –2 penalty, and its attack damage cannot be modified by precision damage or damage-increasing feats such as Vital Strike.… If any of the attack rolls threaten a critical, confirm the critical for that attack roll alone.…1

The shotgun (and, presumably, the double-barreled shotgun) when firing pellets creates a 30-ft. cone of doom. Fortunately, the benefit of the feat Precise Shot says, "You can shoot or throw ranged weapons at an opponent engaged in melee without taking the standard –4 penalty on your attack roll" (emphasis mine).

Thus, with the feat Precise Shot, you'll already suffer a –4 penalty for making the ranged attacks against allies engaged in melee and won't suffer any penalty for making the ranged attacks against opponents engaged in melee. In essence, the benefit of the feat Precise Shot is already selective, the feat automatically distinguishing between, for example, your need to be careful when your friends are in melee with a group of bandits, and your desire to be more reckless when you're firing into a group of bandits who are brawling with each other over who gets to kill you and take your stuff.

The teamwork feat Friendly Fire Maneuvers causes you and allies who also possess the feat not to grant opponents soft cover against allies' ranged attacks. If you have an ally between you and an opponent, for example, that ally does not give that opponent a +4 cover bonus to AC against your ranged attack, and, likewise, if there's an opponent between you and an ally, that opponent will grant that ally a +4 cover bonus to AC against your ranged attack. This same effect can't be said of, for example, the feat Improved Precise Shot that just strips all targets with less than total cover of their cover bonuses to AC against ranged attacks. The party's melee combatants will likely be reluctant to take the feat Friendly Fire Maneuvers (unless your skill with the shotgun is such that it's pretty much Take the feat or die), but they might be okay with going halvesies on a ring of tactical precision.


1 It's deeply weird that this description's written in such a way to make it sound as if the scatter weapon itself is making the attack. This reader assumes this an authorial or editorial quirk and not some subtle hint that all weapons that possess weapon quality scatter are, like, secretly intelligent or something.2 In short, I think it's safe to assume, rather than such weapons spontaneously attacking on their own, that, instead, Creatures make attacks with weapons that possess the weapon quality scatter.
2 If firearms that possess the weapon quality scatter are supposed to be intelligent, of course, I, for one, welcome our new shotgun overlords.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I don't think that ring will work the way you want it to, since Friendly Fire has pre-reqs, which the ring-wearer is unlikely to have. Nice find, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 2:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @YogoZuno Respectfully, I totally disagree. The ring says, "[A]ny creature wearing the ring may use that [imbued] feat when cooperating with the creature that imbued it…." The new creature wearing the ring doesn't get and, instead, can use the feat, prerequisites, apparently, be damned. (Further, limiting the ring only to teamwork feats for which the user has the prerequisites makes the ring nearly worthless: while that wouldn't be a first for a magic item, teamwork feats' prerequisites are often needlessly burdensome.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 5:07
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So shotguns (blunderbluss) with the scatter quality can be used to fire either a single shot or a spray of pellets. The precise shot feat would apply to the single shot attack just as you would expect, but I would argue that it does nothing when using the pellets.

The rules for a scatter attack says that it targets all creatures in a cone, the rules for firing into a melee say that you target a creature engaged in melee. Although the word "target" is a little weird here, a scatter attack is an AOE attack and so the firing into melee penalty doesn't apply at all. Since all precise shot does is remove the -4 penalty for firing at a target in melee, the feat will do nothing either in this case.

So I would think you would make the attack with -2 penalty (standard scatter penalty) against all targets (friend and foe) in the cone with or without the feat.

This also answers your question in a way, since your feat is now not applying to friend or foe.

Edit: was referencing wrong rule.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't agree with your reasoning, although I think the result is correct. Firing at an engaged target has nothing to do with concealment or cover (since you could fire at a target who has a friend engaged directly opposite you, and there would be zero concealment or cover), but more to do with trying to be careful, so that you don't accidentally hit your friend with a stray shot. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 0:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a citation for firing into melee granting a penalty due to concealment? \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 5:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @minnmass My bad. I was thinking of Soft Cover (Core Rulebook pg 196). Your allies can give cover to your enemies, but it is not the same as firing into melee. I'll change the logic accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 21:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, looking back at the description of Scatter, nothing in there says that there are any other changes to the modifiers used on each of the Attack rolls. So, this DOES seem to indicate that the engaged in melee penalty would apply. Note that this is different to a Dragon Pistol or Dragon's Breath round, which fire an actual cone area of effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 3:09

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