I am building an alchemist who will be launching bombs like a rocket launcher. I have a question about using a Heavy Crossbow and the Explosive Missile Discovery.

Normally the Heavy Crossbow takes a full round action to reload (meaning you cannot fire on that turn). However, the Explosive Missile discovery says that the alchemist can "load the ammunition, and shoot the ranged weapon" as part of a standard action.

Does that mean that I can load and fire the Heavy crossbow in a single turn if I am using it to launch a bolt infused with my bomb?

As always, my GM will have the final say, but just wondering if I am missing something that clearly makes this not even worth bringing up to him.


1 Answer 1


You're Correct

The discovery Explosive Missile says

As a standard action, the alchemist can infuse a single arrow, crossbow bolt, or one-handed firearm bullet with the power of his bomb, load the ammunition, and shoot the ranged weapon. He must be proficient with the weapon in order to accomplish this. When the infused ammunition hits its target, it deals damage normally and detonates as if the alchemist had thrown the bomb at the target.

The word can applies to all three of infuse, load, and shoot, which collectively take but a single standard action.

It's a matter of character and campaign whether this discovery is valuable; that is, to use it the character must A) usually make a ranged attack instead of a ranged touch attack, and B) factor in the additional expense, inconvenience, and weight of the weapon and its ammunition.

The discovery Explosive Missile is remarkably evenhanded. The discovery changes the typical crossbow-toting alchemist's bombs from bombs that're ranged touch attacks to bolts that're ranged attacks that also inflict bomb damage. Further, the discovery permits the alchemist to quickly load and fire that crossbow. The game realized the alchemist was already sacrificing a significant advantage by having the alchemist make a ranged attack instead of a ranged touch attack and compensated for that by permitting the alchemist--in some unexplained, maybe magical way--to reload and fire even a heavy crossbow as a standard action if the alchemist expends one of his bombs per day. That's a superior balancing act.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that's how I read it. But I can't understand how that makes sense. Adding another step in the process makes everything faster? At most I would expect the infusing to be a free action and everything else take the same amount of time. \$\endgroup\$
    – James
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 0:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ The discovery text mentions specific projectiles and there is another discovery for siege weapons. d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/alchemist/discoveries/… \$\endgroup\$
    – James
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 2:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your input. I will let it ride another day or two before selecting an answer so I do not discourage others from giving their input. On a semi-related note, I wonder if I can use this discovery on a ranged weapon with the conserving magical enhancement: d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/magic-weapons/… \$\endgroup\$
    – James
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 2:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm sure you could, but depending on the GM it might be a bad idea. I know MY GM would make the ammo explode after returning to my quiver, because that's just how he is. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 16:52

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