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Is there any feat that allows wielding inappropriately large ranged weapons?

There are a few feats that allow one to wield inappropriately large weapons, but all of them are obviously intended for melee combat: Lighten Weapon, and Improved Lighten Weapon; Goliath Grip; Titan Technique, Titan Grip, and Titan Slayer.

Can any of these feats be used with ranged weapons as well? If not, is there any feat that exists to wield inappropriately large ranged (or thrown) weapons?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Unless you want answers to make such a distinction, when talking about ranged weapons its good to specify either projectile weapons or thrown weapons. (I think you mean bows not spears, for example, but I'm not sure.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 14 '16 at 19:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ You say "feat that exists". Are we talking Core, 1st party, 3rd party? The feats you have linked are all 3rd party but I'm not sure whether you are aware of that fact. \$\endgroup\$ – Ligwin Oct 14 '16 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know they're all 3rd party and it's not the first time I stumble upon different feats from different publishers attempting to do the same thing. The worst is when a feat is made useless by another feat that's better in every way. \$\endgroup\$ – user26561 Oct 14 '16 at 22:37
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If you have those feats, you can definitely use a ranged weapon at least up to 4 size categories larger than you

Which would be Colossal for a Medium creature.

The rules behind this are kind of weird. Basically, it is unclear if projectile weapons requiring two hands to be used are considered two handed weapons or not. Fortunately, this ends up being irrelevant to your question. Either projectile weapons have a handedness corresponding to the number of hands they require to be used, or projectile weapons have no handedness. If projectile weapons have no handedness you can actually use any size of projectile weapon you wish, taking a -2 penalty to hit for every category away from your category the weapon's size is, since the rule prohibiting the use of excessively oversized or undersized weapons applies only to weapons with a handedness (weapons whose handedness is not light, one-handed, or two-handed don't change). If projectile weapons have a handedness, then these feats, which do not specify anywhere that they only apply to melee weapons, certainly apply to ranged weapons as well.

So, in any case, a character that has the listed feats or similar abilities can definitely use ranged weapons as if the feats affected their use, though the feats may not in fact do anything, in which case anyone could use such weapons by default. I've not had a GM choose the later interpretation once the situation was explained (people have thus far invariably favored the former, in my experience), but either is valid by the RAW.

Note that if you are using a firearm the handedness of the weapon doesn't change regardless of size, which used to mean that the rules explicitly allowed you to use a firearm of any size, but this has been FAQ-errataed to disallow the use of oversized weapons "just like non-firearms".


Further explanation:

Here's the most explicit rule that bans weapon use outside of normal handednesses (from the weapons section of the CRB but also found in the 'normal' section of e.g. Titan Technique):

The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed. For example, a Small creature would wield a Medium one-handed weapon as a two-handed weapon. If a weapon's designation would be changed to something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed by this alteration, the creature can't wield the weapon at all.

So 'how much effort it takes to use a weapon' is defined to be its handedness and handedness is explicitly limited to three valid options: light, one handed, or two handed. When we upsize or downsize a weapon, we change its handedness one step and if our end result would be something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed than the weapon can't be used. Of the feats listed, Golaith Grip, Titan Technique, Lighten Weapon, and Titan Slayer all reduce the handedness modification for certain oversized weapons so that you could choose a suitable oversized weapon so that its handedness would be the handedness of a similar weapon of the appropriate size. If ranged weapons have a handedness (which must be light, one-handed, or two-handed, remember) then the feats would result in the handedness for an oversized weapon being an element of the set (light, one-handed, two-handed), so in this case ranged weapons benefit from the feats.

The fiasco with the handedness of firearms seems to lend credence to this interpretation as the designers, in their FAQ errata of the terrible, terrible firearm handedness rule stated:

Just like with non-firearms, a creature cannot wield a weapon that’s far too big or small for it.

Rather than 'just like with melee weapons'.

It could instead be argued that, while they may require one or two hands to be used to wield them, projectile weapons don't have a handedness, for example the CRB says:

Light, One-Handed, and Two-Handed Melee Weapons: This designation is a measure of how much effort it takes to wield a weapon in combat. It indicates whether a melee weapon, when wielded by a character of the weapon's size category, is considered a light weapon, a one-handed weapon, or a two-handed weapon.

Since these designations, in this viewpoint, only apply to melee weapons, ranged weapons have no handedness at all! When a game entity lacks a property and a rule tells you to modify that property, you ignore that modification. For example, if you cast Bear's Endurance on a Zombie the spell works just fine (i.e. the Zombie can be a valid target and the spell will come into effect normally) but the Zombie's Constitution score does not change.

If this is the case, then the handedness of projectile weapons can't change when you increase their size. You can certainly still get projectile weapons in different sizes-- the rules explicitly call out that every weapon has a size-- and you still take an accuracy penalty from that other rule:

Inappropriately Sized Weapons: A creature can't make optimum use of a weapon that isn't properly sized for it. A cumulative –2 penalty applies on attack rolls for each size category of difference between the size of its intended wielder and the size of its actual wielder. If the creature isn't proficient with the weapon, a –4 nonproficiency penalty also applies.

but since the handedness doesn't "[change] to something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed by this alteration" you aren't barred from using it regardless of the size. This, obviously, would also render your feats useless with regard to projectile weapons (since there's no handedness to reduce, either).

Despite the weirdness of this perspective, the rules do tend to go out of their way to call out the handedness of ranged weapons when relevant to Two-Weapon fighting in a manner that would seem to lend credence to this interpretation:

Thrown Weapons: The same rules apply when you throw a weapon from each hand. Treat a dart or shuriken as a light weapons when used in this manner, and treat a bolas, javelin, net, or sling as a one-handed weapon.

The "Treat x as y" language seems to strongly imply, but doesn't necessarily mean, that these thrown weapons at least don't have a handedness. Certainly the bola in particular never gives itself a handedness-compatible requirement in its description, despite the general rule that ranged weapons ought to do so. This would seem to indicate that at least some ranged weapons have no handedness, but the results of accepting that implication are extremely problematic (an Atomie, for example, could dual-wield Colossal Repeating Heavy Crossbows for example). Similar wording is used when describing how crossbows interact with Two-Weapon Fighting.

It's probably worth noting that the 'treat x as if it were a y' language doesn't always mean that x is not a y in practice as well as theory; for an example, the Forge domain variant channeling reads in part:

you may repair damage to metal objects and metal constructs as if they were creatures

While we all know that constructs, metal or otherwise, are creatures anyways.

Regardless of which of the two RAW-valid positions your group plays by (it's the first one. No one uses the second one. It only comes up when people start trying to argue why these feats and similar things don't work and put their feet in their mouths, but in that context it comes up quite a lot), a character that has any of these feats can wield a projectile weapon at least as large as if that projectile weapon were a two-handed melee weapon.


Extra notes from experience:

  • If you get yourself too big of too good of a gun (e.g. my favorite, the X-Laser) your damage will literally be off the charts. Specifically this chart. This is a bad thing because the rules don't say anything about what happens there and there is no way to resolve it as the rules explicitly require you to take actions that you can't take, so my recommendation is not to do it.
  • You can safely make any weapon that deals 4d6 or less damage at medium size any size up to Colossal, which conveniently covers all melee weapons (the most damaging I'm aware of is the Chainsaw which deals 3d6 which converts to 3d8 which hits the very maximum value on the table for d8s), but several of the weapons in the technology guide have base damages higher than that. Be extra-careful with Rocket Launchers, which break the table at 'Huge'.
  • Oversized technological firearms, while less game-breaking than vanilla full casters, are very blatantly game breaking and you should make sure your making the right character for your group's desired power level before doing this, as being able to hide your power by making e.g. bad spell prep choices is not a luxury you have.
  • Unless you're using firearms, be really careful about that -2 per size category attack penalty. That can really add up, especially when you're taking another -5 or so for range. Consider investing in True Strike.
  • Regardless of whether you use firearms or not, strongly consider gaining access to Named Bullet if at all feasible. Your investment in damage via your oversized weapon will be redoubled by the free critical hit, and the ability to hit touch AC makes up for the accuracy problems you may be facing if you don't choose to use firearms.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you cite “the rule prohibiting the use of excessively oversized or undersized weapons applies only to weapons with a handedness”, or otherwise expand on that? That's a sufficiently odd fact that most readers are going to need it shown, not just said, and this answer hinges on it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 17 '17 at 22:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie better? I also added an extra section at the end but I'm not sure I want to keep it, since it's related but maybe not related enough. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 18 '17 at 7:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ That lays out the reasoning better, yes. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '17 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know this answer's gone pretty long already, but the handedness of thrown weapons when two-weapon fighting is a thing as is how some projectile weapons mention in their descriptions alternative effort (e.g. the light crossbow). Also, I think you're saying that, for example, a kobold can technically wield a Colossal light crossbow in one hand. That is a controversial enough position that it may deserve to be stated outright. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 18 '17 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yeah, that's probably worth mentioning. I'll add a section. And I'm saying that a kobold being able to wield a colossal light crossbow in one hand is a necessary consequence of deciding ranged weapons have no handedness (assuming you are playing by the rules). I think it's a pretty good reason to go with the equally valid interpretation that they do have a handedness, which prevents the Atomie dual-wielding Colossal pistols problem. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 18 '17 at 18:33
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Just for the record, there is but a single official PFRG feat that I'm aware of (from the PFRG Advanced Race Guide) that affects the ability to wield a larger ranged weapon:

Goblin Gunslinger (Combat, Goblin)

You have learned how to fire the big guns.

Prerequisites: Goblin.

Benefit: You can wield Medium firearms without taking the penalty for an inappropriately sized weapon.

Normal: You take a –2 penalty when using an inappropriately sized weapon.

In addition, based on the "Normal" text of this feat, it seems to support the idea that a character can wield inappropriately sized ranged weapons with their associated penalties without need for additional feats or other class ability. In spite of this however, I'd recommend expecting table variation on whether a GM allows use of any inappropriately sized ranged weapons, even though it seems there aren't any official rules that place a restriction on their use.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Inappropriately sized weapon is a weapon originally designed for a creature that is not of your own size. Example: A longsword designed for a small creature would cause a -2 penalty when wielded by a medium creature. Example 2: A large dagger, when wielded by a medium creature, would also apply a -2 penalty. This penalty isn't even considering the handedness of the weapons. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Aug 9 '18 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras, I understand and agree with that. It's just that the OP appeared to believe that a character cannot wield inappropriately sized ranged weapons in the first place except through expanded abilities, such as through feats, so my last paragraph was aimed at clarifying the misconception. \$\endgroup\$ – Brandenfascher Aug 12 '18 at 6:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should clarify that on the answer. Still, I dont think you could use a large bow or crossbow due to the increase in the number of hands required. Pistols and hand crossbows, sure. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Aug 12 '18 at 12:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've (hopefully) clarified my answer. In my rules searching, I've never found any definitive, strict RAW that would indicate ranged weapons have the same restrictions as what is explicitly stated for melee weapons, since ranged weapons weren't generally classified into "handedness" groups as melee weapons were. Without rules for such, we can either assume that all ranged weapons are fair game, or make GM inference rulings for each ranged weapon, but this means there's a lot of table variation on the matter, which is unfortunate. \$\endgroup\$ – Brandenfascher Aug 13 '18 at 4:57
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Under the current core rules, there are no feats which allow you to use incorrectly sized weapons in the manor you are wanting. However there is a spell called gravity bow which allows your ranged weapon to deal damage as if it were a size category larger. You can then stack this with enlarge person. The problem with enlarge person is that the projectile resumes its original size once it leaves you, so you have to address that with endless ammunition spell or by providing correctly sized arrows in the first place.

So with this method you are able to increase the weapon dice damage by 2 categories which for bows should be 4 steps on the damage scale.

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No

Some of the feats upon first glance may work because they refer to size category rather than to the handedness of a weapon but upon reading those feats in their entirety all of them reference the amount of hands required to wield a weapon based on its size which only happens with melee weapons.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It wouldn't apply to throwing weapons? Or melee/throwing hybrid weapons? \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Feb 17 '17 at 20:03
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There's no RAW feats in Core that will allow this (or in 3rd party that I know of), but I would cheerfully allow, even encourage, someone who was interested in this to write up the feat and present it for approval. Something like the Lighten Weapon and Improved Lighten Weapon feats that you cite above.

Yes, this means that the character uses up two Feat slots to wield a bow too large for them under normal circumstances ... so it's a choice, with both advantages and drawbacks. That way, it's up to the player to decide if that price is worth the advantages that it brings.

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