Deadly Aim: Pathfinder’s Best Kept Secret

As the sun began to set, the ranger took a final look around before making his move. The encampment was quiet now; all the guards had taken their posts for the night. The ranger had stalked his prey for weeks now, and tonight was the night he would take his revenge.

He nocked an arrow and drew back his bowstring, taking careful aim. His heart was pounding in his chest, but his hand was steady. He released the arrow, and it flew true, sinking into the evil warlord’s skull.

Pathfinder is a complex game with many rules and options for players to choose from. One common choice for players is the deadly aim feat. This feat can be extremely powerful if used correctly, but it is often misunderstood. 

In this post, we’ll break down the mechanics of deadly aim and give some examples of using it effectively in your game. We’ll also look at who might benefit from taking this feat and what other abilities or weapons work well with it.

Deadly Aim Mechanics

Prerequisites: weapon specialization

You aim for your prey’s weak spots, making your shot more challenging but dealing more damage if you hit. Make a ranged Strike against your hunted prey at a –2 penalty. You gain a +4 circumstance bonus to damage on that Strike. This bonus increases to +6 at 11th level and +8 at 15th level.

Source: Core Rulebook pg. 174

What is Deadly Aim in Pathfinder 2nd Edition?

Rangers in Pathfinder have access to a variety of different combat styles, making them highly versatile on the battlefield and able to adapt to any situation.

One of the best choices for rangers is the deadly aim feat. This feat allows you to make a trade-off between accuracy and damage. By aiming for the gaps in the enemy’s defenses, you can strike a killing blow. This can be especially useful for taking down tough enemies like bosses.

If you’re thinking about playing a ranger in Pathfinder, deadly aim is worth considering as one of your feat options. 

How To Use Deadly Aim

Rangers are master hunters, capable of killing monsters using various tools and tricks. For rangers, deadly aim is one of the most potent weapons in their arsenal.

When using deadly aim, you take a penalty to accuracy in exchange for increased damage. Be careful when choosing to use this feat as it is more likely to miss than a normal attack. 

That being said, deadly aim can sometimes be the best option for defeating formidable enemies. If you can land a hit with deadly aim, the extra damage may be enough to finish your foe.

If you’re thinking about taking the deadly aim feat, you should keep a few things in mind. First, this feat has the open trait. This means you can’t use it if you’ve already taken an attack this turn. Second, deadly aim requires the weapon specialization feat as a prerequisite. 

The Open Trait:

These maneuvers work only as the first salvo on your turn. You can use an open only if you haven’t used an action with the attack or open trait yet this turn.

Source: Core Rulebook, pg. 634

Is the Deadly Aim Feat Worth It?

Deadly aim can be beneficial for taking down foes that are difficult to hit or heavily armored. In these situations, you need to look for ways to increase your damage.

This feat is aimed at rangers with the bow specialization. The extra damage afforded by deadly aim increases as your character grows stronger. At higher levels, you’ll be able to pinpoint even the slightest weakness and deal massive amounts of damage.

Who Can Use Deadly Aim?

Deadly aim is a level 8 feat available to rangers. Deadly aim is an excellent choice for rangers who want to specialize in archery. It’s especially well-suited for battle against well-armored creatures, allowing you to take full advantage of a lucky attack roll.

By going for the jugular with deadly aim, you can maximize your critical hit damage. Some enemies will be difficult to hurt without a critical hit, so this can be a lifesaver in combat. 

This feat is also good when you are sure to hit, such as when fighting low-level monsters. Use it to pick off weak enemies before they get a chance to attack.

The Archer Archetype

Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Nature, Stealth, Survival, Thievery

Hunter’s Edge: Flurry

Feats: Hunted Shot, Quick Draw, Far Shot, Deadly Aim, Penetrating Shot

Source: Core Rulebook, pg. 178 

Ranger Danger

The ranger deftly steps through the undergrowth, silent as a shadow. Ahead, she can hear the sounds of her enemies – the clanking of armor, the rustling of leaves. She draws her bow and takes a breath, preparing to unleash death on her foes.

Suddenly, the group of enemies appears before her, carelessly laughing. They don’t see the silent death that awaits them. The ranger takes aim and lets her arrows fly, watching with satisfaction as each sinks into its target.

Rangers are a fun class to play because it’s easy to modify these characters to suit your playing style. As archers, rangers can lend support to melee fighters. This makes them powerful allies during combat.

With deadly aim, rangers will be more efficient at slaying enemies from a distance. When the stakes are high, this feat can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Aiming High: Tips and Strategies

There are some things to consider when playing a ranger in Pathfinder. First, you’ll need to select your feats and abilities carefully. Rangers have various options available to them, so it’s essential to choose those that will best suit your character.

Next, look for ways to increase your damage with feats, skills, and spells. Selecting the right weapons and armor for your character can also make a big difference.

Finally, remember that rangers are a versatile class. You’ll need to be ready to adapt to any problem during an encounter. Whether you’re fighting alone or with a party, your ranger skills make you a formidable opponent.

Magic Bows

The benefits of using a magic bow are considerable. A magic bow can provide a significant damage boost to your attacks, as well as other advantages.

First, a magic bow will improve your accuracy, ensuring that you can hit your target every time you draw your bowstring.

Second, a magic bow also provides a damage boost to your attacks. This extra damage will be the difference between thwarting an enemy quickly and having them escape.

If you’re lucky enough to find a magic bow, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master ranger.

Weapon Specialization

This feat is a prerequisite for deadly aim. Weapon specialization gives you a bonus to damage rolls with your weapon of choice. As a ranger, you can pick this feat at level 7. 

You’ll deal an extra two damage on attacks with the weapon you specialize in at the expert skill level. As your skills improve further, you’ll dole out even more damage, up to 4 if your skills reach legendary status.


Rangers focused on archery are encouraged to take flurry. With this hunter’s edge, you’ll be able to reduce your multiple attack penalty, giving you a better chance of hitting your opponent. 

Far Shot

Some rangers have learned how to be accurate at a distance, making them deadly at long range. The far shot feat allows you to double the range increment for your weapon.

This can be an excellent feat if you want to focus on archery as your main form of combat. It’s also useful for rangers who want to have more options available to them on the battlefield. Paired with deadly aim, it allows rangers to pick off enemies before they get too close.


Another way to improve your prowess during encounters is to use the haste spell. This spell gives you an extra action on your turn. This can be a lethal combination when used in conjunction with deadly aim.

Keep in mind that haste comes with a few drawbacks, however. The first is that it wears off after a short time, so you’ll need to be careful not to overuse it. Second, it can be countered by enemy magic users.

If you choose to utilize haste, make sure that you have a plan for when the effect wears off. Additionally, try to target enemies who are susceptible to being knocked out or killed outright so that you can defeat them before they have a chance to counter you.

A Deadly End

The deadly aim feat is perfect for defeating villains and monsters, especially when time is critical. By learning to exploit your enemy’s weaknesses, you’ll be able to deal massive damage with this feat.

When used with other abilities, such as haste or weapon specialization, deadly aim can be devastating. Keep these tips in mind when using this feat, and you’ll be sure to come out on top.