I am running a 1dm/1pc game where the pc is a ranger and I am having a bit of trouble understanding the specifics for ranged combat (Specifically long bow).

I was under the impression that bows had a rate of attack of 2... so a PC could fire two arrows/combat turn.

However, in the combat chapter it talks about standard actions vs. full round actions. It states that if you want to use more than just one attack you have to use a full round action. Are the two arrows a single attack or are they separate attacks, I.E if the player where to fire and retreat in the same round would they fire one or two arrows? When the ranger gains a high enough level that they get 2 attacks (Thats what BAB +6/+1 means right?) Does that mean the player can fire four arrows per combat turn using a full turn action?


2 Answers 2


I'm... not sure where you got the idea that a long bow can fire twice as fast as any other weapon. That's simply not true.

Your rate of attack is determined solely by your base attack bonus unless there's a special effect that specifically says it gives you additional attacks. Yes, you are correct; +6/+1 indicates that the Ranger can make two attacks, one at +6 and one at +1 (plus any relevant ability modifiers, attack modifiers etc).

Your Ranger player might have the Rapid Shot feat, which specifically indicates that you can make an extra attack during a full-round attack action if you take a -2 penalty (I believe; not looking at the rules just now) to all attacks you make that round. This would mean he could attack twice before level 6, which is when you get a +6 BAB and two attacks. If your Ranger has +6/+1 attacks and Rapid Shot, he could fire three times in one round with a -2 to all attacks.

Moving on to full-round actions, I can't think of any weapon, feat or anything else that gives the player the ability to attack more than once in a standard action off the top of my head except for a two-weapon fighting feat (and I might have misremembered that). Even with Haste you still need to take a full-round action to make use of the extra attack it gives. If you want to take advantage of your full range of attacks that you have, no matter what level you are, you must take a full-round action, at which point you can use all of the attacks separated by slashes in your character's BAB.

The "Rate of attack" thing you mentioned reminds me of AD&D, however, where darts had three attacks per attack action. Me and my buddy had some pretty funny discussions about an ogre that threw large-sized darts. Those days are long gone, however (unless you decide to switch systems).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Bows have a RoF of 2 in AD&D. That might be where the asker is getting that impression from. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I was thinking of AD&D longbows. The change over from AD&D -> Pathfinder has been more troublesome then I had expected. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 16:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AuthenticOwl If you're going from AD&D straight to Pathfinder, don't think of it as switching editions; think of it as learning a completely new system from scratch, and things will go much much smoother. This is because the transition from AD&D to 3.0, which is on the path from AD&D to PF, pretty much was exactly that: a whole new system, with a lot of fluff and setting carried forward, but only a very small measure of the mechanics. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 20:25

No weapons in Pathfinder have a "rate of attack", including the longbow. This means that the shooter may only take one shot in a standard action, and one shot per BAB segment (your +6/+1 for instance would be two shots)

However, this cane be expanded with the Rapid Shot feat:

Rapid Shot (Combat) You can make an additional ranged attack. Prerequisites: Dex 13, Point-Blank Shot. Benefit: When making a full-attack action with a ranged weapon, you can fire one additional time this round. All of your attack rolls take a –2 penalty when using Rapid Shot.

  • \$\begingroup\$ -1 Firearms do not have "a rate of attack of more than one". Neither they, nor any other Pathfinder weapon has "rate of attack" at all. "Rate of attack" as a property of a weapon is not a thing in pathfinder. The closest it has is certain weapons with reloading rules which limit put a cap on what rate can be applied to the weapon, but you're still just capping a rate that is otherwise a function of the character, not of the weapon. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthewNajmon Ah this is true, I thought I recalled an ability of some weapons to fire multiple times per round without expending full-round actions. Upon further inspection, the type of attack I recalled is handled as a single attack (in the case of the double barrel shotgun). I will adjust my answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zer0ah
    Commented Nov 1, 2014 at 22:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Matthew: You're right in that there's no such thing as a "rate of attack" in Pathfinder, but some of the items in the Technology Guide can be fired more than once with a standard action as a property of the weapon. \$\endgroup\$
    – Robert P
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 17:28

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