The Pathfinder version of the Hotchkiss 6 pounder (RL info) is listed as an 8d6 B/S/P siege weapon, and it's full description says:

The Hotchkiss 6 pounder is a direct-fire advanced siege firearm that must be mounted in place on a vehicle to be used. It fires high explosive (HE) shells that deal 8d6 points of bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage in a 30-foot radius around the point of impact (Reflex DC 20 for half).

but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to parse this. Does it mean that the 8d6 weapon damage listed is in addition to the damage of the explosion (in which case the shot does 8d6, and then there's an explosion), or that the weapon damage is simply shorthand for the 8d6 of the explosion?

The first case is closer to how splash weapons behave, which raises the further questions of whether the target needs to save against the explosion separately from taking direct-hit damage, and what happens on a miss (splash weapons still explode, but that's not explicit here).

The second case is closer to how a fireball works, but it makes a "miss" really strange and raises the question of whether you can target a square to avoid having to hit someone's AC.

Can anyone help me clarify this?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Relevant: d20pfsrd's modern firearms page, and the section on siege firearms including the 6 pounder. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 4:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener - Yeah, I was looking at those earlier, but when I went to ask the question Nethys was the first search result so I used it. Unfortunately, d20pfsrd has the same information I've been looking over and there's no answer to my question there - not even in a sidebar. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobson
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 4:48

1 Answer 1


This isn't a splash weapon. Think of this like a Fireball.

A Fireball is a 30ft circle that deals damage evenly in its area. It doesn't deal damage on target and then span outward. It deals damage all at once.

This is just a Gun that fires CL 8 Fireballs.

So when the description calls it a direct-fire weapon, it's wrong? Or it means it just directly fires explosions? - Hey I Can Chan

Yes, strangely enough, the way it's worded, it directly fires explosions. Direct fire does not change the way it deals damage, simply its accuracy and range increments. In the weapon description, it is not a splash weapon. It is an area-effect weapon.

So, does it still explode if you miss? Can you miss on purpose? Fireballs aren't aimed at anyone in particular. - Bobson

Yes, it probably does explode wherever it lands, however, since it's not an indirect fire weapon, it would seem you don't get the benefit from it hitting anything other than your target. If you miss, you should assume that the payload kept going and shot off into the distance, far enough from your target that they wouldn't get hit with it. A direct-fire siege weapon targets something, not somewhere. To attack a square or area, you must have an indirect-fire siege weapon.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I guess Pathfinder uses the common definition of direct versus indirect fire. Direct fire is an attack you fire in a straight line at a point you can see. There it may explode for an area attack or not. Like an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade). Indirect fire is an attack that you fire in an arc to a point you do not necessarily observe yourself. Like a mortar. While direct or indirect implicate angle of attack, it does not say anything about what happens at the point of impact. \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 8:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that, while you cannot "aim at a square" with a direct-fire siege weapon, you can always aim at an easier target next to your intended victim - like shooting a nearby rock or tree, the wall behind your target or one of his larger or poorly armored allies... You may even work with an ally to magically create such easier targets (that's probably the worst treatment a summoned horse may get). \$\endgroup\$
    – G0BLiN
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @G0BLiN - As modern firearms, they resolve against touch AC by default, for up to 5 range increments (which is 1500' for this weapon). \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobson
    Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 23:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Bobson, Neither conflicts with the other. The table says that the weapon deals 8d6 damage and the text said that it deals this damage to everything in a 30ft radius. It's the same damage being referenced in both places. When the text says that it deals 8d6 damage, it's talking about the damage from the weapon table. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 4:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If this were a regular weapon, this would be a reasonable concern to have. However, it's a launcher that fires CL 8 Fireballs that just need to meet Touch AC to fire off. It doesn't deal damage in the same way. Almost every explosion in Pathfinder has Reflex for Half as a save opportunity. This is the nature of explosions in pathfinder, not the sources of it. Direct-fire siege weapons need to hit a target to do their damage. This is the nature of direct fire weapons. If you have a direct-fire weapon that fires explosions, it needs to beat the target's Touch AC and they need to fail the save. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 10:28

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