Author Topic: KSB Snow Owl's Archer Build Thread  (Read 355 times)

ksbsnowowl

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KSB Snow Owl's Archer Build Thread
« on: June 21, 2017, 01:26:42 AM »
This thread started years ago on the WotC Optimization Boards, as a 3.0 ed handbook of sorts, but over time has grown to include 3.5 items as well.  Now there are soley-3.0 sections, 3.0/3.5 mix sections, and soley-3.5 sections, so it can still be useful to those playing any incarnation of 3rd edition.

The classes and prestige classes used in this post, and their locations, are thus:
Deepwood Sniper (Masters of the Wild)
Order of the Bow Initiate (Sword and Fist)
Peerless Archer (Silver Marches - a Forgotten Realms campaign accessory)
Order of the Bow Initiate (3.5 - Complete Warrior) - note, the 3.5 version is only used in the 3.5-compatible builds.
Pious Templar (Complete Divine)
Cragtop Archer (Races of Stone)
Justice of the Weald and Woe (Champions of Ruin - a Forgotten Realms campaign accessory)
Dread Commando (Heroes of Battle)
Shooting Star Ranger Substitution Level (Champions of Valor - a Forgotten Realms campaign accessory)
Fighter (Player's Handbook)
Ranger (Player's Handbook)
Scout (Complete Adventurer)

And here are the acronyms and abbreviations that are used throughout this post:
Ambidex: Ambidexterity
AoO: Attack of Opportunity
BF: Bonus Feat
BW: Bless Weapon
Conc Reduc: Concealment Reduction
DR: Damage Reduction
DWS: Deepwood Sniper
Fav En: Favored Enemy
HM: Hunter's Mercy
Imp. Crit: Improved Critical
Imp. Init: Improved Initiative
Inc: Increment
OotBI: Order of the Bow Initiate
PBS / PBShot: Point Blank Shot
Peer Arch: Peerless Archer
Proj Imp Crit: Projectile Improved Critical
RSA: Ranged Sneak Attack
Sup. Weap Foc: Superior Weapon Focus
Sup. Weap Spec: Superior Weapon Specialization
TWF: Two Weapon Fighting
WF: Weapon Focus
WS / Weap Spec: Weapon Specialization


First, the Combat Archer:
Code: [Select]
Human
Level Class Feats Class Abilities
1 Ranger PBShot, Precise Shot Fav En (?), TWF*, Ambidex*,
. Track
2 Fighter Rapid Shot BF
3 Fighter Far Shot, WF BF
4 Fighter
5 Fighter Weap Spec BF/WS
6 OotBI Quick Draw RSA +1d6
7 OotBI Close Combat Shot
8 Peer Arch Expert Bowyer, RSA +2d6
9 Peer Arch Imp. Crit. Sharp Shooting 1, Fletching +1
10 Peer Arch Power Shot
11 Peer Arch RSA +3d6, Fletching +2
12 Peer Arch Manyshot Sharp Shooting 2
13 Peer Arch Fletching +3
14 Peer Arch RSA +4d6
15 Peer Arch Combat Reflexes Threaten, Fletching +4
16 OotBI RSA +5d6
17 OotBI Sup. Weap Foc
18 OotBI Zen Archery RSA +6d6
19 OotBI Free Attack, Zen Archery
20 OotBI Sup. Weap Spec
Base Saves Fort +14   Ref +8 Will +8
To use this exact progression, you must be either Human or Strongheart Halfling, because the early levels are very feat intensive to meet the prerequisites of OotBI and Peer Arch by 5th and 7th levels, respectively.   A similar build can be played by other races, but you must remove either Zen Archery, Manyshot, or Improved Crit, and move the first level of Peerless Archer back to 10th level, shifting levels 3 and 4 of OotBI up to character levels 8 and 9. Improved Crit is probably the best option for a 3.5 player, as they could stick a level of DWS into the build somewhere, only losing the Superior Weapon Specialization from the 7th level of OotBI.

This build provides some great combat abilities to an archer.  By 7th level he no longer suffers AoO's from firing his bow in melee.  At 10th character level, he is able to make Power Attacks with his bow, helping him deal damage and break through lower degrees of DR. By the 5th level of Peer Arch (12th character lvl) he no longer suffers any chance of striking his friends in combat due to them providing cover to the enemies (not otherwise able to be achieved without an epic feat in 3.0). This also replicates a large portion of the 3.5 feat Improved Precise Shot.  At 15th level this combat archer gains a large measure of his power.  The threaten ability of the Peer Arch allows him to threaten at 10 feet as if he were wielding a melee reach weapon. This, in combination with Combat Reflexes, allows him to be just as effective at melee range as a fighter with a pole-arm; better, actually, since he'll have a much higher dexterity, allowing him numerous AoO's within each round. At 19th level, the addition of the Free Attack and stacking Zen Archery abilities of the OotBI makes this archer a combat god, especially if you have another party member who wields a reach weapon.

By 19th level, with a Dex score of 24 (easily obtainable by the higher levels), and under the effects of Haste, this archer is able to fire up to 18 arrows a round; 11 of them at one target.  Here's the breakdown: 4 arrows from iterative attacks, 1 arrow from Rapid Shot, 4 arrows from Manyshot (during your hasted action), 1 arrow from an AoO, and 1 arrow from Free Attack.  You also have the possibility of 7 more AoO's due to Combat Reflexes.

Now, the Sniper Archer:
Code: [Select]
Human
Level Class Feats Class Abilities
1 Ranger PBShot, Precise Shot Fav En (?), TWF*, Ambidex*,
. Track
2 Fighter Rapid Shot BF
3 Fighter Far Shot, WF BF
4 Fighter
5 Fighter Weap Spec BF/WS
6 DWS Quickdraw Keen Arrows,
. Range Inc Bonus +10ft/lvl
7 DWS Conc Reduc 10%, Magic Weap,
. Proj Imp Crit +1
8 Peer Arch Expert Bowyer, RSA +1d6
9 Peer Arch Manyshot Sharp Shooting 1, Fletching +1
10 Peer Arch Power Shot
11 DWS Safe Poison Use
12 DWS Craven Take Aim +2
13 DWS Consistent Aim 1/day
14 DWS Conceal Reduc 20%
15 DWS Imp Crit Consistent Aim 2/day,
. Proj Imp Crit +2
16 OotBI RSA +2d6
17 OotBI Close Combat Shot
18 OotBI ? Imp Init ? RSA +3d6
19 OotBI Sup Weap Foc
20 OotBI RSA +4d6
This is the be-all and end-all of snipers.  The following analyses are dependant upon a few different things.

First, a character with a single level of ranger is able to use wands of ranger spells. You do not have to be a 4th level ranger before you can use wands.  I will post the quoted rule at the bottom of this thread, so as to not clutter this section.

Secondly, Hunter's Mercy (found in Magic of Faerun) causes your next bow shot to automatically hit and threaten a critical. Also note that HM affects you, not your weapon.

Thirdly, Bless Weapon causes your next critical threat against an evil creature to automatically confirm as a critical hit.  Apparently, BW is not a valid spell to be made into an oil (potion) under 3.0 rules; however, it is listed as a randomly generated oil in the 3.5 DMG.  For 3.0, you can obtain a wand of BW and have either the party Paladin or Rogue (through use of Use Magic Device) cast it for you.

Fourthly, it is debatable whether a weapon with the burst enhancement can produce damage higher than +3d10 (on a x4 critical), since it does not list it as going higher than that in the DMG; however, at the time the DMG was printed there was no way to get a critical multiplier of higher than x4.  I am of the opinion that it is obviously linear, and would increase to +4d10 at a x5 critical and +5d10 at a x6 critical.  As such, that is what is represented in this build.

Lastly, it is unlikely that BW can be used on an arrow fired from an Oathbow, so I will show at each level the values without using an Oathbow, but will also show the use of an advanced Oathbow at 20th level, along with the to-hit modifiers (assuming a Dex of 20). In that advancement of the Oathbow, I am treating the Oathbow property as a +3 modifier, as it is similar to Bane (a +2 modifier), but perhaps a little better.

   The last 5 levels of the build can really be composed of any +1 BAB class; however, I chose OotBI because of its sneak attack progression.  Here is an analysis of this build's damage potential at character levels 10, 15, and 20.  If there are any mistakes that anyone notices, please point them out so that I may fix them.

The items used for this analysis are:
A wand of Hunter's Mercy
A wand or oil of Bless Weapon
Bracers of Archery
Magic arrows obtainable at that level from a straight classed wizard or cleric of equal level
A Mighty Composite Longbow (+4 str mod) of magical enhancement relatively appropriate for the level (+2 shocking burst @ 10th, +5 Shocking Burst @ 15th, +5 Shocking Burst, Icy Burst or advanced +5 Shocking Burst Oathbow @ 20th).

The tactics employed by this sniper are composed of him being made invisible (either through the help of party spell-casters, Wondrous Items, or a Ring of Invisibility at higher levels), placing Bless Weapon upon an arrow (either with an oil or wand), sneaking to within 30 feet of the target, and casting Hunter's Mercy from a wand.  He then uses Manyshot to fire the maximum number of arrows at the target.

10th level:
+2 Mighty Comp (+4) Shocking Burst Longbow (19-20/ x4 crit)

Damage: 4d8(primary arrow) +8(+2 magical bow) +12(+3 magic arrow) +40(power shot) +8(Weap. Spec.) +16 (strength) +4 (PBS) +4(Bracers) + 1d6(sneak attack) + 1d6(shocking) + 3d10(burst) +1d8(2nd arrow) +2(2nd magical bow) +3(2nd magic arrow) +10(power shot) +2(Weap. Spec.) +4(strength) +1d6(shocking)
Total: 5d8 + 3d6 + 3d10 + 113
Avg Dmg: 162.5
Max Dmg: 201
Min Dmg: 124


Alternatively, one could take the Craven feat at 9th level and push Manyshot back to 12th level.  If this is done, it boosts the overall damage at 10th level thusly:

10th level:
+2 Mighty Comp (+4) Shocking Burst Longbow (19-20/ x4 crit)

Damage: 4d8(primary arrow) +8(+2 magical bow) +12(+3 magic arrow) +40(power shot) +8(Weap. Spec.) +16 (strength) +4 (PBS) +4(Bracers) + 40(Craven) + 1d6(sneak attack) + 1d6(shocking) + 3d10(burst)
Total: 4d8 + 2d6 + 3d10 + 132
Ave Dmg: 173.5
Max Dmg: 206
Min Dmg: 141


15th level:
+5 Mighty Comp (+4) Shocking Burst Longbow (18-20/ x5 crit)

Damage: 5d8(primary arrow) +25(+5 magical bow) +25(+5 magic arrow) +75(power shot) +10(Weap. Spec.) +20 (strength) +5 (PBS) +5(Bracers) + 75(Craven)+ 1d6(sneak attack) + 1d6(shocking) + 4d10(burst) +2d8(2nd&3rd arrows) +10(2&3 magical bow) +10(2&3 magic arrow) +30(2&3 power shot) +4(2&3 Weap. Spec.) +8(2&3 strength) +2d6(2&3 shocking)
Total: 7d8 + 4d6 + 4d10 + 327
Avg Dmg: 369.5
Max Dmg: 422
Min Dmg: 317


20th level:
+5 Mighty Comp (+4) Shocking Burst, Icy Burst Longbow (18-20/ x5 crit)

Damage: 5d8(primary arrow) +25(+5 magical bow) +25(+5 magic arrow) +100(power shot) +10(Weap. Spec.) +20 (strength) +5 (PBS) +5(Bracers) + 100(Craven) +4d6(sneak attack) +1d6(shocking) +4d10(burst) +1d6(icy) +4d10(burst) +3d8(2nd, 3rd, &4th arrows) +15(2nd, 3rd, &4th magical bow) +15(2nd, 3rd, &4th magic arrow) +60(2nd, 3rd, &4th power shot) +6(2nd, 3rd, &4th Weap. Spec.) +12(2nd, 3rd, &4th strength) +3d6(2nd, 3rd, &4th shocking) +3d6(2nd, 3rd, &4th icy)
Total: 8d8 + 12d6 + 8d10 + 398
Avg Dmg: 520
Max Dmg: 614
Min Dmg: 426


You could, at great expense (approximately 16,000 gp), obtain and use four +10 equivalent arrows in the above attack.  Actually, you could make that four +6 equivalent arrows that are +1 with +5-worth of abilities, and then subject them to a Greater Magic Weapon spell, so the four arrows would cost less than 6000 gp.  For example, you could obtain four +5 Holy, Acidic Burst, Screaming arrows (Acidic Burst and Screaming are found in MoF).  Using these would add 8d6 (Holy), 4d6 (Sonic), 4d6 (acid), and 4d10 (burst) damage to the above analysis.  This would increase the Average, Maximum, and Minimum damage from 520, 614, and 426 respectively, to:
Avg Dmg: 598
Max Dmg: 750
Min Dmg: 446


Although this is talking in extreme hypotheticals, it is also possible that you could obtain four arrows with the bane property against your target. For example, four +5 Holy, Bane, Screaming arrows.  Against the Bane target the arrows would function as +7 arrows.  This would add 16 (magical) + 8d6 (Bane) +8d6 (Holy) + 4d6 (sonic) damage, and would increase the 520, 614, and 426 values to:
Avg Dmg: 606
Max Dmg: 750
Min Dmg: 462


Now, with an oathbow, and simple +5 arrows.

20th level:
+5 Mighty Comp (+4) Shocking Burst Oathbow (18-20/ x5 crit)
(+7 Mighty Comp (+4) Shocking Burst Oathbow (18-20/ x6 crit) [versus a sworn enemy]

Bonuses to confirm the Critical Hit: +14 = +7(bow) +5(arrows) +1(Weap Foc) +1 (Grtr Weap Foc) +1(PBS) +2(bracers) +5(Dex) –8(manyshot); Or +16(with an additonal +2 by taking a full-round to aim [DWS's Take Aim +2 ability])

Damage: 6d8(primary arrow) +42(+7 magical bow) +30(+5 magic arrow) +120(power shot) +12(Weap. Spec.) +24 (strength) +6 (PBS) +6(Bracers) +100 (Craven) +4d6(sneak attack) +1d6(shocking) +5d10(burst) +3d8(2nd, 3rd, &4th arrows) +21(2nd, 3rd, &4th magical bow) +21(2nd, 3rd, &4th magic arrow) +60(2nd, 3rd, &4th power shot) +6(2nd, 3rd, &4th Weap. Spec.) +12(2nd, 3rd, &4th strength) +3d6(2nd, 3rd, &4th shocking)
Total: 9d8 + 8d6 + 5d10 + 460
Avg Dmg: 556
Max Dmg: 630
Min Dmg: 482


20th level, but at a distance of greater than 30 feet:
+5 Mighty Comp (+4) Shocking Burst Oathbow (18-20/ x5 crit)
(+7 Mighty Comp (+4) Shocking Burst Oathbow (18-20/ x6 crit) [versus a sworn enemy]

Bonuses to confirm the Critical Hit: +21 = +7(bow) +5(arrow) +1(Weap Foc) +1 (Grtr Weap Foc) +2(bracers) +5(Dex); Or +23(with an additonal +2 by taking a full-round to aim [DWS's Take Aim +2 ability])

Damage: 6d8(primary arrow) +42(+7 magical bow) +30(+5 magic arrow) +120(power shot) +24 (strength) +1d6(shocking) +5d10(burst)
Total: 6d8 + 1d6 + 5d10 + 216
Avg Dmg: 274
Max Dmg: 320
Min Dmg: 228

ksbsnowowl

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Re: KSB Snow Owl's Archer Build Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2017, 01:31:45 AM »
3.5 Updated Sniper Build
3.5 Sniper Archer update:
Code: [Select]
Human
Level Class Feats Class Abilities
1 Ranger PBShot, Precise Shot Fav En (?), Track
2 Ranger Rapid Shot Combat Style
3 Ranger Far Shot
4 Ranger (Shooting Star Sub-Level) Spells, Bonus Spell
5 Fighter WF: Longbow BF
6 Fighter Quickdraw BF
. Sword of the Arc Order
7 DWS Keen Arrows,
. Range Inc Bonus +10ft/lvl
8 DWS Conc Reduc 10%, Magic Weap,
. Proj Imp Crit +1
9 Peer Arch Manyshot Expert Bowyer, RSA +1d6
10 Peer Arch Sharp Shooting 1, Fletching +1
11 Peer Arch Power Shot
12 DWS Craven Safe Poison Use
13 DWS Take Aim +2
14 DWS Consistent Aim 1/day
15 DWS Imp Init Conceal Reduc 20%
16 DWS Consistent Aim 2/day,
. Proj Imp Crit +2
17 Peer Arch RSA +2d6, Fletching +2
18 Peer Arch ? Sharp Shooting 2
19 Peer Arch Fletching +3
20 Peer Arch RSA +3d6
This is an update to my Sniper Archer build, and was built using the assumption that all WotC Third Edition material is usable, but all 3.5 updates apply where applicable.

Part of the impetus for this revision is the inclusion of Hunter's Mercy in the Spell Compendium.  The new incarnation of Hunter's Mercy makes your next hit an auto crit, removing the need for Bless Weapon.  The spell has all the same target line and duration information as its previous self, but it now functions such that if you successfully strike an opponent in the following round, HM causes that attack to auto-critical.

True Strike affects your next attack roll, and since all the arrows fired in a Manyshot attack use one attack roll, TS applies to all arrows in that Manyshot attack.

Again, I am of the opinion that the burst enhancement is obviously linear, and would increase to +4d10 at a x5 critical and +5d10 at a x6 critical.  As such, that is what is represented in this build.

The Shooting Star 4th level Ranger Substitution level from Champions of Valor drops the Ranger's animal companion ability, but provides him with one extra ranger spell slot at each level of spells (once he gains access to them at levels 4, 8, etc.) as if he got the bonus spell from a high Wisdom score.  It also provides that the Ranger's caster level for all Ranger spells is equal to ½ his Ranger level plus 2, plus any arcane caster level he also possesses.  In this instance, since he only has 4 levels of Ranger, his caster level is four ([1/2 * Ranger 4] +2 = 4).

The Sword of the Arcane Order feat (also from Champions of Valor) allows a Ranger (or Paladin) to use a Wizard spellbook (either borrowed from another caster, or one they scribe themselves) and prepare Wizard spells in his Ranger spell slots.  These spells are arcane, and require an appropriately high Intelligence score (Int 11 to cast 1st level Wizard spells, etc.)  The feat also allows your Wizard caster level, if you have levels as a Wizard, to equal the sum of all your Wizard, Paladin, and Ranger levels.  Note that the Shooting Star organization is one of three sub-orders that are a part of the Arcane Order, so there are no roleplay problems between these two feats.

So, now a 4th level Ranger with a mere 12 Wisdom can get two spell slots per day, and assuming he also has an 11 Intelligence, he can cast True Strike.

The last 4 levels of this build can really be composed of any +1 BAB class.  I think Dread Commando would be a good choice, but sadly our archer is a bit short of feats to complete its entry requirements.  Any easily obtainable PrC that grants either Dodge or Mobility at its first level would be helpful in this case.  I used Peerless Archer because it has Full BAB and grants +2d6 Sneak Attack in those 4 levels.

Due to the fact this Sniper Build comes into his power slightly later than the previous version (by one level), I am just going to do an analysis starting from level 12, then again at 16, and lastly at level 20.

The items used for this analysis are:
A spellbook with the spell True Strike
A lesser rod of extending - 3000 gp
Bracers of Archery, Lesser (@12th level) - 5000 gp
Bracers of Archer, Greater (@16th level+) - 25000 gp
Magic bow enhancement obtainable at that level from a straight classed wizard or cleric of equal level (thus granting the enhancement values below).
A Mighty Composite Longbow (+4 str mod) of magical enhancement relatively appropriate for the level (+3 Fierce @ 12th, +4 Fierce, Shocking Burst @ 16th, +5 Fierce, Shocking Burst, Acidic Burst @ 20th).
Assume the Sniper started with an 18 in dex, places all his increases into it, and has the highest Gloves of Dexterity available at his wealth level (+4 @ 12th, +6 @ 16th and 20th), granting scores of 25 @ 12th, 28 @ 16th, and 29 @ 20th.
Assume the Sniper has a14 Strength and has use of a Belt of Giant Strength +4.

The tactics employed by this sniper are composed of him being made invisible (either through the help of party spell-casters, Wondrous Items, or a Ring of Invisibility at higher levels), placing Bless Weapon upon an arrow (either with an oil or wand), sneaking to within 45 feet of the target, casting an extended True Strike, and sneaking to within 30 feet of the target and casting Hunter's Mercy.  He then uses Manyshot to fire the maximum number of arrows at the target.

12th level:
+3 Mighty Comp (+4) Fierce Longbow (19-20/ x4 crit)

Attack Bonus = +24 = +20(True Strike) +3(bow) +1(Weap Foc) +1(bracers) +7(Dex) –8(Manyshot)

Damage: 4d8(primary arrow) +12(+3 magical bow) +48(power shot) +16 (strength) +4 (PBS) +28(Fierce) +48(Craven) +1d6(sneak attack) +2d8(2nd&3rd arrows) +6(2nd&3rd magical bow) +24(2nd&3rd power shot) +8(2nd&3rd strength) +14(2nd&3rd Fierce)
Total: 6d8 + 1d6 + 208
Avg Dmg: 238.5
Max Dmg: 262
Min Dmg: 215


16th level:
+4 Mighty Comp (+4) Fierce, Shocking Burst Longbow (19-20/ x5 crit)

Attack Bonus = +26 = +20(True Strike) +4(bow) +1(Weap Foc) +2(bracers) +9(Dex) –10(Manyshot)

Damage: 5d8(primary arrow) +20(+4 magical bow) +80(power shot) +20 (strength) +5(PBS) +5(Bracers) + 75(Craven) +45(Fierce) + 1d6(sneak attack) + 1d6(shocking) + 4d10(burst) +3d8(2nd,3rd,&4th arrows) +12(2,3,&4 magical bow) +48(2,3,&4 power shot) +12(2,3,&4 strength) + 27(2,3,&4 Fierce) +2d6(2&3 shocking)
Total: 8d8 + 4d6 + 4d10 + 349
Avg Dmg: 421
Max Dmg: 477
Min Dmg: 365


20th level:
+5 Mighty Comp (+4) Fierce, Shocking Burst, Acidic Burst Longbow (19-20/ x5 crit)

Attack Bonus = +27 = +20(True Strike) +5(bow) +1(Weap Foc) +2(bracers) +9(Dex) –10(Manyshot)

Damage: 5d8(primary arrow) +25(+5 magical bow) +100(power shot) +20(strength) +5(PBS) +5(Bracers) + 100(Craven) + 45(Fierce) +3d6(sneak attack) +1d6(shocking) +4d10(burst) +1d6(acidic) +4d10(burst) +3d8(2nd, 3rd, &4th arrows) +15(2nd, 3rd, &4th magical bow) +60(2nd, 3rd, &4th power shot) +12(2nd, 3rd, &4th strength) +27(Fierce) +3d6(2nd, 3rd, &4th shocking) +3d6(2nd, 3rd, &4th acidic)
Total: 8d8 + 11d6 + 8d10 + 414
Avg Dmg: 532.5
Max Dmg: 624
Min Dmg: 441


ksbsnowowl

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Re: KSB Snow Owl's Archer Build Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2017, 01:45:06 AM »
3.5 Core and Complete series

Well, I've finally broken and succumb to the requests to add fully-3.5-compatible Archer builds.  My summer gaming group does play 3.5, and I took a look at my group members' books this afternoon.  Here is what I've come up with; however, this is largely from memory, so if there are a few minor errors I apologize now, and ask that you point out any errors so I may fix them.  The following build works for those restricted to 3.5 Core and the Complete series.

Note, you need to worship a deity with a favored weapon of Longbow or Composite Longbow.

Code: [Select]
Human
Level Class Feats Class Abilities
1 Ranger PBShot, Precise Shot Fav En (?), Track*, Wild Empathy
2 Ranger Rapid Shot* Combat Style
3 Fighter Far Shot, WF BF
4 Fighter Imp. Init. BF
5 Ranger Endurance*
6 OotBI True Believer Precision Shot +1d8
7 OotBI Close Combat Shot
8 Pious Temp Mettle
9 Pious Temp Manyshot Smite 1/Day
10 Pious Temp Weap Spec WS, DR 1/-
11 Pious Temp Imp Prec Shot BF
12 OotBI Imp Crit Precision Shot +2d8
13 OotBI Grt Weap Foc* Greater WF
14 Pious Temp
15 Pious Temp ? Smite 2/Day
16 Pious Temp DR 2/-
17 Pious Temp ? BF
18 ? ?
Those last three feats could be filled with Dodge, Mobility, and Shot on the Run, or some of the ranged feats from Complete Warrior (Ranged-Disarm, -Pin, -Sunder, etc).

Also, remember that Pious Templar casts spells from either the Paladin or Black Guard spell lists.

I am unsure what would make a good end to this build.  You could continue in OotBI, but it doesn't get anything great in the next few levels.  You could take a couple more levels of Ranger to get actual spellcasting ability, or even insert 3 Ranger levels starting at level 8, so as to get Manyshot for free, and thus opening up another feat slot.  You could add one level of Ranger and two of Fighter, gaining another Fighter Bonus Feat.  You could add levels of Dragonslayer from the Draconomicon, improving your Pious Templar spell casting along the way; or take three levels of Dragonstalker from the same book, gaining the ability to ignore Natural Armor once per day.

Now, you may wonder why I chose to go with the 3.5 version of OotBI to gain Close Combat Shot, rather than taking a level of Exotic Weapon Master and using a greatbow.  Well, I have a feeling that you will have a hard time finding a god with a greatbow as his favored weapon.  I know some FR gods do have bows as favored weapons, and in 3.5 Ehlonna now has the longbow as her favored weapon.

Swift Hunter

I know, I'm late in the game when it comes to scouts.  I didn't get Complete Adventurer until long after it came out, and didn't feel the need to rehash what others had done a hundred times.  However, with the fairly recent addition of the Swift Hunter feat from Complete Scoundrel, it is perhaps time to bring a skirmishing archer into the thread.

For those who do not know the feat, Swift Hunter allows Scout and Ranger levels to stack for Favored Enemies and Skirmish.  Here is a basic framework for a Swift Hunter archer:

Code: [Select]
Level Class Feats Special

. Human Point Blank Shot
1. Scout 1 Precise Shot [Skirmish +1d6], {Favored Enemy 1}
2. Ranger 1 Track* [Favored Enemy]
3. Ranger 2 Rapid Shot*, Open Feat {Skirmish +1d6/+1 AC}
4. Scout 2 [Battle Fort +1], [uncanny dodge]
5. Scout 3 [Skirmish +1d6/+1 AC], [Trackless Step],
. [Fast Movement +10 ft.], {Skirmish
. +2d6/+1 AC}, {Favored Enemy 2}
6. Scout 4 Swift Hunter, Improved Skirmish^
7. Ranger 3 Endurance* [Skirmish +2d6/+2 AC]
8. Ranger 4 [1st level spells], [Animal Companion]
9. Ranger 5 Open Feat [Skirmish +3d6/+2 AC]
10. Ranger 6 Manyshot [Favored Enemy 3]
11. Ranger 7 [Skirmish +3d6/+3 AC], [Woodland Stride]
12. Ranger 8 Greater Manyshot [2nd level spells], [Swift Tracker]
13. Ranger 9 [Skirmish +4d6/+3 AC], [Evasion]
14. Ranger 10
15. Ranger 11 Improved Pecise Shot*, [Skirmish +4d6/+4 AC], [3rd level spells],
. Open Feat [Favored Enemy 4]
16. Ranger 12
17. Ranger 13 [Skirmish +5d6/+4 AC], [Camouflage]
18. Ranger 14 Open Feat [4th level spells]
19. Ranger 15 [Skirmish +5d6/+5 AC]
20. Ranger 16 [Favored Enemy 5]

For additional info on Swift Hunter, check out the Swift Hunter's Handbook.  Dictum Mortuum has done a good job of organizing and explaining ways to optimize this feat.

As I said, this is a bare-bones build, leaving several feat slots open.  Possible archery feats to gain in these slots include Woodland Archer (Races of the Wild), Improved Rapid Shot (Complete Warrior), Improved Critical, as well as Martial Study: Cloak of Deception, and Martial Stance: Assassin's Stance, both from Tome of Battle.

Many of the archer feats listed above have the problem of not synergizing well with skirmish.  Skirmish requires you to move 10 or more feat, while Rapid Shot requires you to move no more than 5 feet.  Improved Critical works to increase your critical damage, while much of your damage cannot be enhanced by criticals.  If you do take Improved Critical, it may be wise to look into the Telling Blow feat from the Player's Handbook II.  Combined with Hunter's Mercy from your Ranger spellcasting, it could lead to a nice combat-opening combo.

Martial Study: Cloak of Deception, and Martial Stance: Assassin's Stance from Tome of Battle open up a few interesting options for this or any other archer.  Cloak of Deception allows you to, once per encounter, make yourself invisible for your turn as a swift action.  Note, this is not Invisible, as the spell, this is the condition of being invisible.  In combat it is functionally equivalent to being affected by a Greater Invisiblity spell for one turn.  Thus it allows you easily activate Sneak Attack, if you have it.  That is where Assassin's Stance comes in.  Assassin's Stance grants you +2d6 sneak attack, so long as you remain in the stance.  Since you have no other stances, you will be in that stance virtually all the time.  Just a handy trick for boosting an archer's damage, especially on a full attack.  For a Swift Hunter it would be a nice companion to your Greater Manyshot feat.

Of the feats listed in this build, Swift Hunter is the most important, for obvious reasons.  Next is Greater Manyshot (from the XPH), which allows you to make separate attack rolls with your arrows from a Manyshot attack, aiming them at different targets, and applying precision-based damage, such as skirmish, to all arrows fired.  Thus, it will be the main method for moving and getting off multiple skirmish-inflicting attacks.

Third most important is Improved Skirmish from Complete Scoundrel.  If you move 20 ft, you get an additional +2d6/+2 AC skirmish on top of your normal skirmish.  Along with your Woodland Stride ability, it can make you into a great guerilla fighter.

Some may not agree with my choice to take Ranger 2 so early.  Others may wish to get to scout 3 and 4 as quickly as possible, so as to pick up Swift Hunter one level earlier.  However, in my play experience with archers, I've noticed that in the early levels, when you don't have very many bonuses to attack, it is often more advantageous to get more opportunities to hit, than to only attack once and pray that you roll high.  Thus, I chose to get Rapid Shot earlier, when it will actually make a difference in play, and thus hold off on emphasizing the bonus skirmish damage to a slightly later level, when your chances to hit with the one big shot have improved.

One possible alternate ending to the above build would be to sacrifice the last two levels of Ranger, and instead take two levels of Highland Stalker from Complete Adventurer.  You would be sacrificing your 5th Favored Enemy and a bonus spell slot or two, but you would gain Skirmish +6d6/+4 AC rather than Skirmish +5d6/+5 AC.  The class would require no extra expenditures on your part (BAB +5, Listen 8 ranks, Spot 8 Ranks, Survival 8 Ranks, Track, Skirmish class feature), and would actually compliment your Woodland Stride ability with Mountain Stride (like woodland stride, but functions through scree, dense rubble, and moving up steep slopes).

3.5 Core, Complete series, and Races series

Since there is a preview of the Cragtop Archer for me to work from, I figured I'd add in a build that incorporates it. As I do not own the book I don't know what it has for good and bad saves (I would assume good Fort and Ref), but those of you who actually own Races of Stone can find that out for yourselves.  I'm also taking into account the fact that there are several new Ranger spells in Complete Adventurer that are pretty powerful.  So, without further eloquence, here are two different takes at a fully 3.5 compatible archer build for those restricted to Core, the Complete series, and the Races series.

I will readily admit that the second build may not work, due to the fact that there probably aren't a lot of deities that have a Greatbow as a favored weapon.

Code: [Select]
Human
Level Class Feats Class Abilities
1 Ranger PBShot, Precise Shot Fav En (?), Track*, Wild Empathy
2 Ranger Rapid Shot* Combat Style
3 Fighter Far Shot, Mountain Warrior BF
4 Fighter WF BF
5 Ranger Endurance*
6 OotBI Manyshot Precision Shot +1d8
7 OotBI Close Combat Shot
8 Crag Arch Adept Climber, Farsight
9 Crag Arch True Believer Strike From Above
10 Crag Arch Arching Shot
11 Crag Arch Horizon Shot
12 Pious Temp Imp Prec Shot Mettle
13 Pious Temp Smite 1/day
14 Pious Temp Weap Spec* WS, DR 1/-
15 Pious Temp Imp Crit, Imp Init BF
16 Ranger Animal Comp, First Level Spells
17 OotBI Precision Shot +2d8
18 OotBI Grt Weap Foc*, ? Greater Weapon Focus
Code: [Select]
Human
Level Class Feats Class Abilities
1 Ranger PBShot, Precise Shot Fav En (?), Track*, Wild Empathy
2 Ranger Rapid Shot* Combat Style
3 Fighter Far Shot, ExWeap Prof (Greatbow)BF
4 Fighter WF BF
5 Ranger Endurance*
6 Ranger Mountain Warrior Animal Comp, First Level Spells
7 ExWM Close Combat Shot Trick
8 Ranger Fav En (?)
9 Ranger Manyshot*, True Believer Improved Combat Style
10 Crag Arch Adept Climber, Farsight
11 Crag Arch Strike From Above
12 Crag Arch Imp Prec Shot Arching Shot
13 Crag Arch Horizon Shot
14 Pious Temp Mettle
15 Pious Temp Imp Crit Smite 1/day
16 Pious Temp Weap Spec* WS, DR 1/-
17 Pious Temp Imp Init BF
As with the previous build, I am unsure how to finish this character off in the top levels.  Many of the options listed above would be perfectly viable in either of these builds.

All 3.5 Sources

I've recently picked up both Champions of Ruin and Heroes of Battle, and I started fiddling in an attempt to make another fully-3.5-compliant archer build for my archer thread.  Here is what I came up with, using both the Justice of the Weald and Woe and Dread Commando PrC's, though I am certainly open to suggestions.  It needs to be an Elf or a Half-Elf, due to Just W&W's entry requirements.
Code: [Select]
Level Class Feats Class Abilities
1 Ranger PB Shot, Track Fav En, Wild Emp
2 Ranger Rapid Shot
3 Fighter Precise Shot, Dodge BF
4 Ranger Endurance
5 Fighter Mobility BF
6 Dread Com WF (Longbow) Sud Strk +1d6, Team Init Bonus
7 Just W&W Spells
8 Just W&W Shot on the Run BF, Woodland Stride
9 Just W&W Weap Spec (Longbow) Sneak Attack +1d6
10 Just W&W Lucky Shot, Trackless Step
11 Dread Com Armored Ease 2
12 Dread Com Manyshot Sud Strk +2d6
13 Dread Com Armored Ease 4, Stealthy Movement
14 Just W&W Poison Use
15 Just W&W Imp Crit Steady Hand
16 Just W&W Sneak Attack +2d6
17 Just W&W Far Shot BF
18 Dread Com Imp Precise Shot Sud Strk +3d6
19 Just W&W Hide in Plain Sight
20 Just W&W Death Attack, Poison Immunity
Fort +14 Ref +14 Will +5

I've thought that perhaps Scout would be a good start for this build, though it would push the PrCs' starting levels back, and you're already taking a hit to BAB with Justice of the Weald and Woe (and I don't own Complete Adventurer...) However, overall I'd say the Ranger's bonus feats and full BAB outweigh the small ammount of Skirmish damage you'd get from Scout.

Oh yes, that rule about wand use.  Wands use the spell trigger activation method, and looking up spell trigger in the 3.5 SRD (or page 175 of the 3.0 DMG, and page 213 of the 3.5 DMG) we find that:

Quote
    Spell Trigger: Spell trigger activation is similar to spell completion, but it's even simpler. No gestures or spell finishing is needed, just a special knowledge of spellcasting that an appropriate character would know, and a single word that must be spoken. Anyone with a spell on his or her spell list knows how to use a spell trigger item that stores that spell. (This is the case even for a character who can't actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin.) The user must still determine what spell is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a spell trigger item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Emphases mine.

Here again are the acronyms and abbreviations that are used throughout this post:
Ambidex: Ambidexterity
AoO: Attack of Opportunity
BF: Bonus Feat
BW: Bless Weapon
Conc Reduc: Concealment Reduction
DR: Damage Reduction
DWS: Deepwood Sniper
Fav En: Favored Enemy
HM: Hunter's Mercy
Imp. Crit: Improved Critical
Imp. Init: Improved Initiative
Inc: Increment
OotBI: Order of the Bow Initiate
PBS / PBShot: Point Blank Shot
Peer Arch: Peerless Archer
Proj Imp Crit: Projectile Improved Critical
RSA: Ranged Sneak Attack
Sup. Weap Foc: Superior Weapon Focus
Sup. Weap Spec: Superior Weapon Specialization
TWF: Two Weapon Fighting
WF: Weapon Focus
WS / Weap Spec: Weapon Specialization
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 01:48:19 AM by ksbsnowowl »