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I have a question about different weapon things and if they stack for their bonus.

A composite bow +x

A composite longbow can be made with a high strength rating to take advantage of an above-average Strength score; this feature allows you to add your Strength bonus to damage, up to the maximum bonus indicated for the bow.

And the adaptive weapon property

An adaptive bow responds to the strength of its wielder, acting as a bow with a strength rating equal to its wielder's Strength bonus.

The first one is a mundane/non-magical bonus while the other is a magical effect, so do they stack?

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The damage from a Strength bow and adaptive don't stack

So, fortunately, this isn't a worry. The Pathfinder Core Rulebook FAQ includes this exchange:

Do ability modifiers from the same ability stack? For instance, can you add the same ability bonus on the same roll twice using two different effects that each add that same ability modifier?
No. An ability bonus, such as "Strength bonus", is considered to be the same source for the purpose of bonuses from the same source not stacking. However, you can still add, for instance “a deflection bonus equal to your Charisma modifier” and your Charisma modifier. For this purpose, however, the paladin's untyped "bonus equal to her Charisma bonus (if any) on all saving throws" from divine grace is considered to be the same as "Charisma bonus (if any)", and the same would be true for any other untyped "bonus equal to her [ability score] bonus" constructions.

Thus a composite bow with a +1 or higher Strength rating gains its damage bonus from the wielder's Strength bonus, and a composite bow with the weapon special ability adaptive likewise gains its damage bonus from the wielder's Strength bonus. The game says those are the same source—the wielder's Strength—and don't stack.

From the special ability's publication in Ultimate Equipment until that Oct. 2014 FAQ entry, it seems like it may have been possible to make an argument that the strength rating damage and the adaptive damage stack—such an argument likely hinging on adaptive's errant as if, a phrase inevitably leading to unresolvable disagreements. My research yielded no one during that time having actually made that argument, and this GM would have ruled against it had the issue been raised at his table.

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No, they overlap.

If you have a Composite Longbow +2 and a Strength score of 18, you'll be limited to +2 instead of +4 on your rolls. Make that bow a +1 Adaptive, and now you'll get the full +4. The benefit is the flexibility although arguably you'd be better off applying Adaptive to a normal longbow.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Its the same type of question as rpg.stackexchange.com/a/82585/23058, and since these ones stack, why would this not? \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jul 1 '16 at 6:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering It's a totally different question. These aren't properties that add your Strength bonus, these are properties that change the Strength rating of the bow. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jul 1 '16 at 7:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ My personal follow up question would then be. 'Can you make a normal longbow Composite by making it adaptive, or would it have to be Composite already (if only Composite +0)' \$\endgroup\$ – Cyberspark Jul 1 '16 at 10:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cyberspark The weapon special ability adaptive answers this in its requirement: "This ability can only be placed on composite bows." \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 1 '16 at 11:04

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