View Full Version : Is Skirmish Optimization Viable in Pathfinder?

2010-04-07, 06:57 PM
So I'm starting a Pathfinder game at level 1, and I've long been a fan of Rangers, and Scouts...And so Swift Hunter seems only natural a course to pursue. However, upon reading the various improvements (mostly) Pathfinder offers archery, it seems Skirmish tactics have been destroyed. Manyshot now only works on a full attack, and Greater Manyshot would presumably do the same. That, as far as I know, was the only way to gain multiple Skirmish attacks without going Cleric Travel Domain feat or Elocator or somesuch...

So I ask you all; can one play a Swift Hunter without too much trouble in Pathfinder?

2010-04-07, 07:38 PM
Not very familiar with pathfinder, but dervish's ability dervish dance should work. More difficult tumble rolls though.

Akal Saris
2010-04-07, 08:14 PM
Depends a bit on whether you can use outside sources and get Travel devotion or what-have-you - you're already playing a scout, which is outside Pathfinder anyhow. Ranger got a decent boost in PF, so you're not losing a lot of power relative to 3.5-only games.

3.5 stuff you could use: Dervish, Pounce from barbarian in CC, Belt of Battle and Chronocrym of Time for more move actions (both MIC), Boots of Swift Leap (Tome of Battle), Travel Devotion (Complete Champion), etc...

Core-only PF, you could go down the Vital Strike chain, which will pretty much eat half your feats but result in quite a lot of damage. There are a lot of good PF-only feats worth taking for a swift hunter though.

My take on it, using only scout, swift hunter and Pathfinder:

Human Scout 3/Ranger 17
Actual progression: Scout 1/Ranger 3/Scout 2/Ranger +14

1: Point Blank Shot
1: Nimble Steps (Ignore 5ft of difficult terrain)
3: Acrobatic Steps (Ignore 20ft of difficult terrain)
3B: Precise Shot
4B: Endurance
5: Swift Hunter
7: Vital Strike (2x damage on 1 attack)
9: Deadly Aim (PA for archers)
9B: Improved Precise Shot
11: Dodge
13: Improved Vital Strike (3x dmg with 1 attack)
13B: Shot on the Run
15: Wind Stance (20% concealment when you move)
17: Lightning Stance (50% concealment when you move)
17B: Pinpoint Targeting (ignore armor or shield bonus w/1 attack, can't move)
19: Greater Vital Strike

BAB +19, 5d6/+5 AC skirmish.

Assuming starting with 20 Dex and 16 Str, a +5 composite bow, +6 Dex and Str item, improved bracers of archery, and full deadly aim on a primary favored enemy within 30ft, it will look like this:
+39 to hit, 4d8+98+5d6. That's an attack at any point in about a 60ft move (assuming boots of speed, otherwise 40ft) with 50% concealment and hide in plain sight, no cover or concealment for enemies, ignoring 20ft of difficult terrain, and with +5 AC from scout. And that's before the other 500,000g of equipment and without accounting for an animal companion.

So probably not as much damage as somebody abusing travel devotion, and definitely less than a pouncing ubercharger scout, but still quite solid, and with better defenses than either of the other builds. As somebody who plays a swift hunter (scout 3/ranger 9 with travel devotion for boss fights), you're really not a high damage character compared with a charger already, so it wouldn't be a huge change to tactics or power.

If using Vital Strike, if you could house rule skirmish to not be precision damage, that would add 15d6 damage to the build, which is quite respectable.

2010-04-07, 09:06 PM
Thanks much for the excellent advice Akal Saris; I should have been clear; 3.5 options are available as well (being that Scout is an option). Liking the progression you put together; I will have to borrow a lot of ideas from that, if not copy it entirely :smallbiggrin:

What do you think of Raptorian, to take Flyby Attack and negate the need for Nimble Moves/Acrobatic Step?

Akal Saris
2010-04-08, 12:32 AM
Glad you liked the build :) I was pleasantly surprised by the PF feat options for a scout, to be honest. I couldn't even fit in Improved Critical, the critical feat lines, or Improved Initiative.

If you do follow the build, I really recommend picking up the belt of battle and a chronoytrym from MIC, as well as an item of swift leap from the Tome of Battle. They'll give a good increase in burst damage during boss fights - those 3 items are 15,500g for 5/day full attack skirmishes.

As a matter of personal preference, I wouldn't go Raptoran, since I've never wanted to play a bird-person. :smalltongue: From a Char Op perspective, the better option might be to choose a race with excellent base stats and then go Dragonborn from Races of the Dragon. A dragonborn wild elf has flight and +2 Str/-2 Int, for example.

Flight is always nice, but in this case you "lose" 1 feat by not being human, raptorans and dragonborn both have weight limitations and don't get full flight until 6th level, and eventually you're going to get a semi-useless bonus feat that you might as well spend on Shot on the Run. And you're either a bird or a dragon :P