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View Full Version : Arcane Ranger base class - balance evaluation needed!



WarKitty
2010-11-01, 11:02 AM
This is the class a player submitted to me as a ranger/arcane archer meld. The game is running at a non-optimized Tier 2 to optimized Tier 3. How does the balance on this class stack up?

Class: arcane ranger
Hit Die: d8
Skill Points: 6 + Int mod
Class Skills: Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex)


{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Spells 1|Spells 2|Spells 3|Spells 4
1st|+1|+2|+2|0|ranger bonus feat, Track, wild empathy|-|-|-|-
2nd|+2|+3|+3|+0|ranger bonus feat, imbue arrow 2/day|-|-|-|-
3rd|+3|+3|+3|+1|Endurance|-|-|-|-
4th|+4|+4|+4|+1|Special mount, imbue arrow 4/day|0|-|-|-
5th|+5|+4|+4|+1|ranger bonus feat, aligned arrow 1/day|0|-|-|-
6th|+6/+1|+5|+5|+2|woodland stride, imbue arrow 6/day|0|-|-|-
7th|+7/+2|+5|+5|+2|ranger bonus feat, aligned arrow 2/day|1|-|-|-
8th|+8/+3|+6|+6|+2|camoflauge, improved mount|1|0|-|-
9th|+9/+4|+6|+6|+3|Evasion, aligned arrow 3/day|1|1|-|-
10th|+10/+5|+7|+7|+3|ranger bonus feat, imbue arrow 8/day|2|1|0|-
11|+11/+6/+1|+7|+7|+3|Skirmish +1d6, Improved Imbue Arrow, Quarry, Weapon Focus (ranged)|2|1|1|-
12|+12/+7/+2|+8|+8|+4|Imbue Arrow 10/day, Hide in Plain Sight, Enhance Arrows (magic)|2|2|1|-
13|+13/+8/+3|+8|+8|+4|Aligned Arrow 4/day, Add Spell|3|2|1|0
14|+14/+9/+4|+9|+9|+4|Skirmish +1 to AC, Enhance Arrows (elemental), Improved Precise Shot|3|2|1|1
15|+15/+10/+5|+9|+9|+5|Skirmish +2d6, Seeker Arrow 1/day|3|2|2|1
16|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+10|+5|Imbue Arrow 12/day, Improved Evasion, Enhance Arrows (distance)|3|3|2|1
17|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+10|+5|Aligned Arrow 5/day, Far Shot, Phase Arrow 1/day, Seeker Arrow 2/day|4|3|2|1
18|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+11|+6|Skirmish, +2 to AC, Hail of Arrows, Enhance Arrows (elemental burst)|4|3|2|2
19|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+11|+6|Skirmish +3d6, Pinpoint Targeting, Improved Quarry, Seeker Arrow 3/day, Phase Arrow 2/day|4|3|3|2
20|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+12|+6|Imbue Arrow 14/day, Seeker Arrow 4/day, Phase Arrow 3/day, Arrow of Death, Weapon Mastery|4|4|3|3[/table]

Class Features
Imbue arrow: You convert the damage of any ranged attack to one of the following: acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic. The weapon deals 1.5 times normal damage.
Aligned arrow: Deal your arcane ranger level of damage extra to creatures of alignments opposed to yours on a ranged attack
Spells: A arcane ranger gains the ability to cast a small number of spells, which are drawn from the ranger spell list. A arcane ranger must choose and prepare her spells in advance. To prepare or cast a spell, a arcane ranger must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The DC for a saving throw against a arcane ranger's spell is 10 + the spell level + the arcane ranger's Wisdom modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a arcane ranger can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given in the table. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score. When the table indicates that the arcane ranger gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Wisdom score for that spell level.
A arcane ranger must spend 1 hour per day in quiet meditation to regain her daily allotment of spells. A arcane ranger may prepare and cast any spell on the arcane ranger spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.
Her caster level is equal to her level – 3.
Skirmish: The archer deals an extra 1d6 points of damage on all attacks she makes during any round in which she moves at least 10 feet. The extra damage applies only to attacks taken during the archer’s turn. The extra damage increases by 1d6 for every four levels gained above the level that she gained Skirmish. The extra damage only applies against living creatures that have discernible anatomy. Undead, constructs, oozes, plants, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to extra damage from critical hits are not vulnerable to this additional damage. The archer must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. The archer must be within 30 feet of the target. At 3rd level after obtaining Skirmish, the archer gains a +1 competence bonus to AC during any round in which she moves at least 10 feet. The bonus applies as soon as the archer has moved 10 feet, and lasts until the start of her next turn. This bonus improves by 1 for each four levels gained after the 3rd. The archer loses this ability when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.
Improved Imbue Arrow: Imbued arrows now deal twice (actual multiplication) the typical amount of damage, instead of 1.5 times. A arcane ranger can also choose to imbue the arrow with positive energy, rather than one of the elemental qualities. Extra damage from other magic effects on the imbued arrow is not multiplied.
Quarry: A arcane ranger can, as a standard action, denote one target within her line of sight as her quarry. Whenever she is following the tracks of her quarry, a arcane ranger can take 10 on her Survival skill checks while moving at normal speed, without penalty. In addition, she receives a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls made against her quarry, and all critical threats are automatically confirmed. A arcane ranger can have no more than one quarry at a time. She can dismiss this effect at any time as a free action, but she cannot select a new quarry for 24 hours. If the arcane ranger sees proof that her quarry is dead, she can select a new quarry after waiting 1 hour.
Weapon Focus (ranged): The ranger automatically gets a +1 to all attack rolls with her chosen ranged weapon. Once the choice of weapon is made it cannot be changed.
Hide in Plain Sight: A arcane ranger can hide even while being observed.
Enhance Arrows (magic): Every non-magical arrow an arcane ranger nocks and lets fly becomes magical, gaining a +1 enhancement bonus. Unlike magic weapons created by normal means, the archer need not spend gold pieces to accomplish this task. However, an archer's magic arrows only function for her.
Add Spell: An arcane ranger gains the ability to place an area spell upon an arrow. When the arrow is fired, the spell’s area is centered on where the arrow lands, even if the spell could normally be centered only on the caster. This ability allows the archer to use the bow’s range rather than the spell’s range. It takes a standard action to cast the spell and fire the arrow. The arrow must be fired in the round the spell is cast, or the spell is wasted.
Enhance Arrows (elemental): Every non-magical arrow fired by an arcane ranger gains one of the following elemental themed weapon qualities: flaming, frost, or shock. The element can be changed once per day, when the arcane ranger prepares spells.
Improved Precise Shot: Your ranged attacks ignore the AC bonus granted to targets by anything less than total cover, and the miss chance granted to targets by anything less than total concealment. Total cover and total concealment provide their normal benefits against your ranged attacks. In addition, when you shoot or throw ranged weapons at a grappling opponent, you automatically strike at the opponent you have chosen.
Seeker Arrow: An arcane ranger can launch an arrow at a target known to her within range, and the arrow travels to the target, even around corners. Only an unavoidable obstacle or the limit of the arrow's range prevents the arrow's flight. This ability negates cover and concealment modifiers, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally. Using this ability is a standard action (and shooting the arrow is part of the action).
Improved Evasion: A arcane ranger's evasion improves. This ability works like evasion, except that while the arcane ranger still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless arcane ranger does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.
Enhance Arrows (distance): Every non-magical arrow fired by an arcane ranger gains the distance weapon quality (doubles the range of the weapon).
Far Shot: You only suffer a –1 penalty per full range increment between you and your target when using a ranged weapon.
Phase Arrow: An arcane ranger can launch an arrow once per day at a target known to her within range, and the arrow travels to the target in a straight path, passing through any non-magical barrier or wall in its way. (Any magical barrier stops the arrow.) This ability negates cover, concealment, armor, and shield modifiers, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally. Using this ability is a standard action (and shooting the arrow is part of the action).
Hail of Arrows: In lieu of her regular attacks, once per day an arcane ranger can fire an arrow at each and every target within range, to a maximum of one target for every arcane ranger level (level – 10) she has earned. Each attack uses the archer's primary attack bonus, and each enemy may only be targeted by a single arrow.
Enhance Arrows (elemental burst): Every non-magical arrow fired by an arcane ranger gains one of the following elemental burst weapon qualities: flaming burst, icy burst, or shocking burst. This ability replaces the Enhance Arrows (elemental) ability. The elemental burst can be changed once per day, when the arcane ranger prepares spells.
Pinpoint Targeting: As a standard action, make a single ranged attack. The target does not gain any armor, natural armor, or shield bonuses to its Armor Class. You do not gain the benefit of this feat if you move this round.
Improved Quarry: The arcane ranger's ability to hunt her quarry improves. She can now select a quarry as a free action, and can now take 20 while using Survival to track her quarry, while moving at normal speed without penalty. Her insight bonus to attack her quarry increases to +4. If her quarry is killed or dismissed, she can select a new one after 10 minutes have passed.
Arrow of Death: An arcane ranger can create an arrow of death that forces the target, if damaged by the arrow’s attack, to make a DC 20 Fortitude save or be slain immediately. It takes one day to make an arrow of death, and the arrow only functions for the arcane ranger who created it. The arrow of death lasts no longer than one year, and the archer can only have one such arrow in existence at a time.
Weapon Mastery (ranged): Any attacks made with her favored weapon automatically confirm all critical threats and have their damage multiplier increased by 1 (to x4). In addition, she cannot be disarmed while wielding her favored weapon

Ranger bonus feats:
Deflect arrows
snatch arrows
mounted archery (mounted combat not required)
point blank shot
far shot
precise shot
rapid shot
manyshot (requires BAB +4)
shot on the run
improved precise shot
quick draw

IcarusWings
2010-11-01, 11:32 AM
Haven't read this yet, but your formatting makes it hard to. Unspoiler everything except the bonus feats, and makes the names of abilities bold. I'll read this in a minutes or two and give comments, but I know a lot of people will just not bother to read something unless it's formatted properly.

EDIT: critique (I've added in the formatting)



Class: arcane ranger
Hit Die: d8
Skill Points: 6 + Int mod
Class Skills: Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex)

Pretty normal so far



{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Spells|1|2|3|4
1st|+1|+2|+2|0|ranger bonus feat, Track, wild empathy|-|-|-|-
2nd|+2|+3|+3|+0|ranger bonus feat, imbue arrow 2/day|-|-|-|-
3rd|+3|+3|+3|+1|Endurance|-|-|-|-
4th|+4|+4||+4|+1|Special mount, imbue arrow 4/day|0|-|-|-
5th|+5|+4|+4|+1|ranger bonus feat, aligned arrow 1/day|0|-|-|-
6th|+6/+1|+5|+5|+2|woodland stride, imbue arrow 6/day|0|-|-|-
7th|+7/+2|+5|+5|+2|ranger bonus feat, aligned arrow 2/day|1|-|-|-
8th|+8/+3|+6|+6|+2|camoflauge, improved mount|1|0|-|-
9th|+9/+4|+6|+6|+3|Evasion, aligned arrow 3/day|1|1|-|-
10th|+10/+5|+7|+7|+3|ranger bonus feat, imbue arrow 8/day|2|1|0|-
11|+11/+6/+1|+7|+7|+3|Skirmish +1d6, Improved Imbue Arrow, Quarry, Weapon Focus (ranged)|2|1|1|-
12|+12/+7/+2|+8|+8|+4|Imbue Arrow 10/day, Hide in Plain Sight, Enhance Arrows (magic)|2|2|1|-
13|+13/+8/+3|+8|+8|+4|Aligned Arrow 4/day, Add Spell|3|2|1|0
14|+14/+9/+4|+9|+9|+4|Skirmish +1 to AC, Enhance Arrows (elemental), Improved Precise Shot|3|2|1|1
15|+15/+10/+5|+9|+9|+5|Skirmish +2d6, Seeker Arrow 1/day|3|2|2|1
16|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+10|+5|Imbue Arrow 12/day, Improved Evasion, Enhance Arrows (distance)|3|3|2|1
17|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+10|+5|Aligned Arrow 5/day, Far Shot, Phase Arrow 1/day, Seeker Arrow 2/day|4|3|2|1
18|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+11|+6|Skirmish, +2 to AC, Hail of Arrows, Enhance Arrows (elemental burst)|4|3|2|2
19|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+11|+6|Skirmish +3d6, Pinpoint Targeting, Improved Quarry, Seeker Arrow 3/day, Phase Arrow 2/day|4|3|3|2
20|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+12|+6|Imbue Arrow 14/day, Seeker Arrow 4/day, Phase Arrow 3/day, Arrow of Death, Weapon Mastery|4|4|3|3[/table]

Do you mean for them not to get any 4th level spells? if so why have the column. Full BAB and two good saves, a strong chassis so far.


Class Features

First off, why aren't woodland stride, track, wild empathy, endurance, the special mount and the ranger bonus feats in the list of class abilities?



Imbue arrow:You convert the damage of any ranged attack to one of the following: acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic. The weapon deals 1.5 times normal damage.

Okay, seems a little strong for a 2nd level ability, but not much and I could be wrong.


Aligned arrow: Deal your arcane ranger level of damage extra to creatures of alignments opposed to yours on a ranged attack

Ok, like a smite but useable less often, seems fine.

Spells: A arcane ranger gains the ability to cast a small number of spells, which are drawn from the ranger spell list. A arcane ranger must choose and prepare her spells in advance.
To prepare or cast a spell, a arcane ranger must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The DC for a saving throw against a arcane ranger's spell is 10 + the spell level + the arcane ranger's Wisdom modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a arcane ranger can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given in the table. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score. When the table indicates that the arcane ranger gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Wisdom score for that spell level.
A arcane ranger must spend 1 hour per day in quiet meditation to regain her daily allotment of spells. A arcane ranger may prepare and cast any spell on the arcane ranger spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.
Her caster level is equal to her level – 3.[/quote]

No glaring problems


Skirmish: The archer deals an extra 1d6 points of damage on all attacks she makes during any round in which she moves at least 10 feet. The extra damage applies only to attacks taken during the archer’s turn. The extra damage increases by 1d6 for every four levels gained above the level that she gained Skirmish. The extra damage only applies against living creatures that have discernible anatomy. Undead, constructs, oozes, plants, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to extra damage from critical hits are not vulnerable to this additional damage. The archer must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. The archer must be within 30 feet of the target. At 3rd level after obtaining Skirmish, the archer gains a +1 competence bonus to AC during any round in which she moves at least 10 feet. The bonus applies as soon as the archer has moved 10 feet, and lasts until the start of her next turn. This bonus improves by 1 for each four levels gained after the 3rd. The archer loses this ability when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

This is pretty weak considering the level they gain it at. +1d6 at level 11? not really gonna help much.


Improved Imbue Arrow: Imbued arrows now deal twice (actual multiplication) the typical amount of damage, instead of 1.5 times. A arcane ranger can also choose to imbue the arrow with positive energy, rather than one of the elemental qualities. Extra damage from other magic effects on the imbued arrow is not multiplied.

By imbuing it with positive energy, I assume you mean it heals (but damages undead)? You should specify as positive energy doesn't always heal.


Quarry: A arcane ranger can, as a standard action, denote one target within her line of sight as her quarry. Whenever she is following the tracks of her quarry, a arcane ranger can take 10 on her Survival skill checks while moving at normal speed, without penalty. In addition, she receives a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls made against her quarry, and all critical threats are automatically confirmed. A arcane ranger can have no more than one quarry at a time. She can dismiss this effect at any time as a free action, but she cannot select a new quarry for 24 hours. If the arcane ranger sees proof that her quarry is dead, she can select a new quarry after waiting 1 hour.

Seems OK, the automatic critical confirmation is good, the rest is meh.


Weapon Focus (ranged): The ranger automatically gets a +1 to all attack rolls with her chosen ranged weapon.

Pretty meh at this level, the Weapon Focus feat tree is pretty subpar even at level one.


Hide in Plain Sight: A arcane ranger can hide even while being observed.

fine


Enhance Arrows (magic): Every non-magical arrow an arcane ranger nocks and lets fly becomes magical, gaining a +1 enhancement bonus. Unlike magic weapons created by normal means, the archer need not spend gold pieces to accomplish this task. However, an archer's magic arrows only function for her.

this comes pretty late, considering it is the first ability of the Arcane Archer prestige class, which you can enter at 8th level.


Add Spell: An arcane ranger gains the ability to place an area spell upon an arrow. When the arrow is fired, the spell’s area is centered on where the arrow lands, even if the spell could normally be centered only on the caster. This ability allows the archer to use the bow’s range rather than the spell’s range. It takes a standard action to cast the spell and fire the arrow. The arrow must be fired in the round the spell is cast, or the spell is wasted.

still pretty meh


Enhance Arrows (elemental): Every non-magical arrow fired by an arcane ranger gains one of the following elemental themed weapon qualities: flaming, frost, or shock. The element can be changed once per day, when the arcane ranger prepares spells.

Pretty weak, an extra 1d6 energy damage on arrows?


Improved Precise Shot: Your ranged attacks ignore the AC bonus granted to targets by anything less than total cover, and the miss chance granted to targets by anything less than total concealment. Total cover and total concealment provide their normal benefits against your ranged attacks. In addition, when you shoot or throw ranged weapons at a grappling opponent, you automatically strike at the opponent you have chosen.

this is fine


Seeker Arrow: An arcane ranger can launch an arrow at a target known to her within range, and the arrow travels to the target, even around corners. Only an unavoidable obstacle or the limit of the arrow's range prevents the arrow's flight. This ability negates cover and concealment modifiers, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally. Using this ability is a standard action (and shooting the arrow is part of the action).

this is Ok.


Improved Evasion: A arcane ranger's evasion improves. This ability works like evasion, except that while the arcane ranger still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless arcane ranger does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Fine, evasion's pretty good.


Enhance Arrows (distance): Every non-magical arrow fired by an arcane ranger gains the distance weapon quality (doubles the range of the weapon).

Again, pretty weak. This just saves you money. As most people wood get arrows with the distance quality anyway.


Far Shot: You only suffer a –1 penalty per full range increment between you and your target when using a ranged weapon.

Pretty weak for this high a level


Phase Arrow: An arcane ranger can launch an arrow once per day at a target known to her within range, and the arrow travels to the target in a straight path, passing through any non-magical barrier or wall in its way. (Any magical barrier stops the arrow.) This ability negates cover, concealment, armor, and shield modifiers, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally. Using this ability is a standard action (and shooting the arrow is part of the action).

this is alright.


Hail of Arrows: In lieu of her regular attacks, once per day an arcane ranger can fire an arrow at each and every target within range, to a maximum of one target for every arcane ranger level (level – 10) she has earned. Each attack uses the archer's primary attack bonus, and each enemy may only be targeted by a single arrow.

this is pretty good.


Enhance Arrows (elemental burst): Every non-magical arrow fired by an arcane ranger gains one of the following elemental burst weapon qualities: flaming burst, icy burst, or shocking burst. This ability replaces the Enhance Arrows (elemental) ability. The elemental burst can be changed once per day, when the arcane ranger prepares spells.

Would be good at a lower level, right now though it's too little too late.


Pinpoint Targeting: As a standard action, make a single ranged attack. The target does not gain any armor, natural armor, or shield bonuses to its Armor Class. You do not gain the benefit of this feat if you move this round.

this is kinda neat, but AC is pretty much worthless at high levels anyways.


Improved Quarry: The arcane ranger's ability to hunt her quarry improves. She can now select a quarry as a free action, and can now take 20 while using Survival to track her quarry, while moving at normal speed without penalty. Her insight bonus to attack her quarry increases to +4. If her quarry is killed or dismissed, she can select a new one after 10 minutes have passed.

This is almost weaker than normal Quarry, a +4 means nothing, and you can usually take 20 on checks to track anyway, as it's done in your own time.


Arrow of Death: An arcane ranger can create an arrow of death that forces the target, if damaged by the arrow’s attack, to make a DC 20 Fortitude save or be slain immediately. It takes one day to make an arrow of death, and the arrow only functions for the arcane ranger who created it. The arrow of death lasts no longer than one year, and the archer can only have one such arrow in existence at a time.

this is OK, but consider the fact that a straight Ranger 8/Arcane Archer 10 build can get this ability at level 18. It's powerful, but not enough for a capstone.


Weapon Mastery (longbow): Any attacks made with her favored weapon automatically confirm all critical threats and have their damage multiplier increased by 1 (to x4). In addition, she cannot be disarmed while wielding her favored weapon

Pretty weak at this level


My overall conclusion is that it starts ok, but gets quite weak at later levels.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 11:37 AM
Haven't read this yet, but your formatting makes it hard to. Unspoiler everything except the bonus feats, and makes the names of abilities bold. I'll read this in a minutes or two and give comments, but I know a lot of people will just not bother to read something unless it's formatted properly.

Fixed. Didn't know there was a proper format. :smalltongue:

If anyone knows a way to make the table wrap properly I'm interested, btw.

IcarusWings
2010-11-01, 12:17 PM
added the comments to my previous post

Analytica
2010-11-01, 12:23 PM
For symmetry with existing classes, I would actually recommend they either get a spellbook or a Spells Known table, and cast their spells off of Intelligence (or better yet Charisma for that rugged (Walker Texas? :smalltongue:) ranger look...). Also, I would give them the same use-spells-in-armor ability as bards, warlocks, duskblades and the like.

In my opinion, Ranger is already one of the strongest base classes (just looking at what you actually get by default if not in optimizability). Because of this, I would recommend making sure that this one does not strictly gain features compared to the Ranger. Still, something like a hunting falcon or dog familiar would fit this so well it really has to be added... :smallsmile:

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 12:25 PM
Thanks. I fixed the spells thing, there was apparently a formatting error that caused the columns to not line up right. Other than that, my impression was similar, especially since this is supposed to be a high-level game. I'll send it back to the player and tell her to shift things down a few levels.

[email protected]: At what levels are you thinking? The campaign is starting at level 11 and is optimized to a tier 2. So this is supposed to stay competitive next to a reasonably well-built sorcerer or a gestalt fighter/barbarian.

2nd Edit: As it's a PC-designed class I'm reluctant to change things like casting stat. My game system has pretty much already erased the arcane/divine distinction, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Prime32
2010-11-01, 02:12 PM
There are two simple ways to go about this:

Take the Sword of the Arcane Order feat, which lets you prepare wizard spells in paladin/ranger slots. Use mystic ranger and Shooting Star variants if you want more casting.
Use a duskblade and modify its Arcane Channeling to apply to ranged weapons instead of melee.

EDIT: Or heck, play a warlock or warmage and fluff things as coming from a bow. The latter has been called "an archer with a high special effects budget".


In my opinion, Ranger is already one of the strongest base classes (just looking at what you actually get by default if not in optimizability)....no, that would be the ones that get 9th-level spells. Ranger is Tier 4 (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5293.0).

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 02:37 PM
There are two simple ways to go about this:

Take the Sword of the Arcane Order feat, which lets you prepare wizard spells in paladin/ranger slots. Use mystic ranger and Shooting Star variants if you want more casting.
Use a duskblade and modify its Arcane Channeling to apply to ranged weapons instead of melee.

EDIT: Or heck, play a warlock or warmage and fluff things as coming from a bow. The latter has been called "an archer with a high special effects budget".

...no, that would be the ones that get 9th-level spells. Ranger is Tier 4 (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5293.0).

Don't like the duskblade spell list. It's built for a character that wants to play a useful arcane archer. It's supposed to be an archery ranger that can do amazing things with a bow, a few of which involve some casting, not another caster. I've taken on the rather large challenge for this game of creating non-casters and half-casters that can compete with top-tier casters.

Edit: I also still need this to be a Tier 2-3 class.

Prime32
2010-11-01, 03:32 PM
Edit: I also still need this to be a Tier 2-3 class.Then I'd say a Mystic Shooting Star ranger with Sword of the Arcane Order, who has traded his animal companion for a ranged version of the duskblade's Arcane Channeling.

Mystic rangers get spells from 0th-5th level in exchange for getting combat styles at later levels. Shooting Star ACFs grant some things like bonus spell slots. Combined with access to the wizard list it's pretty powerful.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 04:07 PM
Then I'd say a Mystic Shooting Star ranger with Sword of the Arcane Order, who has traded his animal companion for a ranged version of the duskblade's Arcane Channeling.

Mystic rangers get spells from 0th-5th level in exchange for getting combat styles at later levels. Shooting Star ACFs grant some things like bonus spell slots. Combined with access to the wizard list it's pretty powerful.

That sounds like I have no clue where any of it is. Plus by the time you're done finding the right spells and refluffing them to be not spells you might as well write your own class anyway. :smallbiggrin:

Ziegander
2010-11-01, 04:21 PM
Plus by the time you're done finding the right spells and refluffing them to be not spells you might as well write your own class anyway. :smallbiggrin:

Your class uses the Wizard spell list, as does the Mystic Shooting Star Ranger. And who's trying to refluff spells as not spells? He's saying existing mechanics allow this concept but better already.

This class is still tier 4. It might be a smidge stronger than the normal Ranger, but it's still not up there with a Warblade or Crusader and definitely has nothing on an 11th level Sorcerer.

Mystic Ranger and Shooting Star Ranger are both Alternate Class Features, which can be taken together. Mystic is in one of the Dragon Magazines (can't remember which), and Shooting Star is in Champions of Valor. His suggestion to replace Animal Companion with ranged weapon based Arcane Channeling is perfect, and then substitute some of the standard Ranger class features with Arcane Archer features and I'd say you're pretty golden.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 04:26 PM
The class casts from the ranger spell list. And the player was the one that wanted the not-spells refluffing. The player wants to play an archery character that's not primarily spell focused. I want a Tier 2-3 character. This is our compromise.

Ziegander
2010-11-01, 04:38 PM
Wow. That's ridiculous. So he wants to play an arcane archer, but wants to refluff himself as not casting spells... how does he reconcile the ability to add elemental damage to his arrows at 2nd level? It's the Arcane Ranger class, and yet it casts Ranger spells. Also, how many Area spells are on the Ranger list?

I'm sorry, I can't understand how this is ever supposed to work for your player. He wants to refluff as not casting spells, and yet half of his actual class features are overtly magical in nature.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 04:42 PM
Wow. That's ridiculous. So he wants to play an arcane archer, but wants to refluff himself as not casting spells... how does he reconcile the ability to add elemental damage to his arrows at 2nd level? It's the Arcane Ranger class, and yet it casts Ranger spells. Also, how many Area spells are on the Ranger list?

I'm sorry, I can't understand how this is ever supposed to work for your player. He wants to refluff as not casting spells, and yet half of his actual class features are overtly magical in nature.

It makes sense more in my world. I play a very high-magic world where your standard spell-casting is not the only way to tap into the energies. So it makes perfect sense for a nature-connected character to tap into the powers of the elements without ever casting what your traditional wizard or cleric would recognize as a spell.

Also it would probably be best to ignore the class title. We just came up with that because we were crossing ranger and arcane archer.

Prime32
2010-11-01, 04:44 PM
It makes sense more in my world. I play a very high-magic world where your standard spell-casting is not the only way to tap into the energies. So it makes perfect sense for a nature-connected character to tap into the powers of the elements without ever casting what your traditional wizard or cleric would recognize as a spell.

Also it would probably be best to ignore the class title. We just came up with that because we were crossing ranger and arcane archer.
If you want someone who uses magical energy to fight at range, without casting spells...

You want a warlock. There's even some nature-themed abilities they can pick up (such as call of the wildCM). Here's the handbook (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=2915.0).

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 04:53 PM
This is the class my player gave me as what she wants to play. I want to make it work. I don't want to turn back on her and say "sorry, you've put all this work into your class, but how about you just play this instead?" We're trying to redo a ranger/arcane archer character that was used in the last campaign (world does not have arcane/divine distinction) to be an effective character alongside the others. Neither of us want a new character or one with abilities in a totally different line than what she had. At this point simply suggesting another class would be out of the question.

Prime32
2010-11-01, 05:02 PM
This is the class my player gave me as what she wants to play. I want to make it work. I don't want to turn back on her and say "sorry, you've put all this work into your class, but how about you just play this instead?" We're trying to redo a ranger/arcane archer character that was used in the last campaign (world does not have arcane/divine distinction) to be an effective character alongside the others. Neither of us want a new character or one with abilities in a totally different line than what she had. At this point simply suggesting another class would be out of the question....except that this class has abilities further from what they want than a warlock, what with the "gets spells but doesn't" thing. And how does the name of the class make them any more or less of a "new character"? :smallconfused:

Couldn't you replace the magical portions of this class with warlock invocations, since they fit the fluff exactly? Maybe modify the eldritch essence/shape invocations to apply to bow attacks rather than an eldritch blast?

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 05:15 PM
...except that this class has abilities further from what they want than a warlock, what with the "gets spells but doesn't" thing. And how does the name of the class make them any more or less of a "new character"? :smallconfused:

Couldn't you replace the magical portions of this class with warlock invocations, since they fit the fluff exactly? Maybe modify the eldritch essence/shape invocations to apply to bow attacks rather than an eldritch blast?

Class name? Is fine. All of a sudden your powers work in a totally different way than they did last time? Is not. Oh yeah, and you now have this weird random damage reduction instead of the pegasus mount you had, and you can't follow tracks like you used to. And you can't do elemental damage like you used to (that was already homebrewed in there), you're just doing some source of straight mysterious damage.

I just don't see that the warlock invocations fit the old character at all. They have a completely different feel. We played through with what's almost exactly the first 10 levels of this class, for several levels.

Analytica
2010-11-01, 06:24 PM
[email protected]: At what levels are you thinking? The campaign is starting at level 11 and is optimized to a tier 2. So this is supposed to stay competitive next to a reasonably well-built sorcerer or a gestalt fighter/barbarian.

In that case, fire away. How about adding a familiar hawk as an extra feature then? Eye in the sky to help you aim by sharing senses? As for armor, give it the ability to wear armors rangers are proficient in without arcane spell failure right from the start.

Also, as an arcane caster, shouldn't it have Knowledge: Arcane on its skill list?



Originally Posted by Analysis View Post
In my opinion, Ranger is already one of the strongest base classes (just looking at what you actually get by default if not in optimizability).
...no, that would be the ones that get 9th-level spells. Ranger is Tier 4.

That is, of course, true. Still, I always get fuzzy feelings thinking about something with two good saves, good hit points, excellent skill points, class features, proficiencies and spellcasting - all spells off of a large list including healing magic - without being hindered by armor. I realize that in optimized games, MAD and lack of high-level spells will matter much more, but for a casual game at lower levels, it seems there's so many more different things that a ranger can do than many other classes...

Glimbur
2010-11-01, 06:51 PM
What kind of action are Aligned Arrow and Imbue Arrow? It probably makes the most sense to make them free actions.

Are you allowing spell compendium?

I don't think the class does enough... check out the spell Arrowmind. Give them that as an Ex ability all day at about level 6 or 7. Give out all the Ranged X feats throughout the 20 levels, where X is disarm or pin or sunder or whatever, mostly because they're cool not because they're great.

Tier 2-3 means it should be able to deal with several different kinds of problems, not just do one thing. Spells are the general way to get this flexibility, but skills are kind of nice too. They just don't go far enough. Give them a use for survival which multiplies overland speed based on the check, and other cool stuff which increases utility, not just combat. Sorry, I'm kind of drawing a blank on other things they should be able to do.

WarKitty
2010-11-01, 08:38 PM
In that case, fire away. How about adding a familiar hawk as an extra feature then? Eye in the sky to help you aim by sharing senses? As for armor, give it the ability to wear armors rangers are proficient in without arcane spell failure right from the start.

Also, as an arcane caster, shouldn't it have Knowledge: Arcane on its skill list?

I think I forgot to put it in the descriptive part, but the character gets a paladin-esque mount. Currently a pegasus. The armor is a good point, I had forgotten about that. And the knowledge


What kind of action are Aligned Arrow and Imbue Arrow? It probably makes the most sense to make them free actions.

Are you allowing spell compendium?

I don't think the class does enough... check out the spell Arrowmind. Give them that as an Ex ability all day at about level 6 or 7. Give out all the Ranged X feats throughout the 20 levels, where X is disarm or pin or sunder or whatever, mostly because they're cool not because they're great.

Tier 2-3 means it should be able to deal with several different kinds of problems, not just do one thing. Spells are the general way to get this flexibility, but skills are kind of nice too. They just don't go far enough. Give them a use for survival which multiplies overland speed based on the check, and other cool stuff which increases utility, not just combat. Sorry, I'm kind of drawing a blank on other things they should be able to do.

It's a free action I guess? It's part of the same action as firing the arrow. I like the arrowmind spell, that would greatly improve the class's utility.

Survival and track are nice skills that I'll have to play with. Since it's an arcane ranger, maybe add in the ability to "track" spells?

Ziegander
2010-11-02, 12:23 AM
Hold on, can I get a complete description of what it is your player wants to play? I understand she wants to play the Ranger class, and that you felt that the Ranger wasn't powerful enough to stand up to Tier 2 or 3 classes. Beyond that I'm not getting a clear idea what we're going for here, and more importantly what the player actually wants.

WarKitty
2010-11-02, 12:58 AM
Hold on, can I get a complete description of what it is your player wants to play? I understand she wants to play the Ranger class, and that you felt that the Ranger wasn't powerful enough to stand up to Tier 2 or 3 classes. Beyond that I'm not getting a clear idea what we're going for here, and more importantly what the player actually wants.

Actually she wanted to play an arcane archer with some ranger abilities. The arcane archer is really the base. More to the point, the first 10 levels of this class have already been in play, as our first attempt to put something together. She likes the character and the flavor but we have both been frustrated by her inability to contribute to battles in any meaningful way. We're re-working an existing character for a continuation campaign, which is why I'm very reluctant to change classes all together. The idea is to be able to fix a few skill points and retcon abilities she should have gotten earlier in as things she just wasn't using. At this point it's just easier to fix the class up than to rebuild the character in an entirely new class.

She sent me a revised version of the class a few hours ago, but I haven't been able to open it because of some file problems. I'll post it once we get that sorted out.

Ziegander
2010-11-02, 01:50 AM
Hrm... I suppose I'm still not understanding what the heck is supposed to be going on here...

She wants to play an Arcane Archer, so she wants to be casting spells. Mechanically speaking, at least.

She wants to also have Ranger-esque capabilities. I assume this is supposed to include scouting and tracking skill sets. What other Ranger-type things does she like to do?

She wants to cast spells mechanically, but in character she wants to be able to roleplay as if she is not casting spells.

The first and third point there seem to be in direct confrontation and contradict themselves in my brain. This is why people are suggesting that it would be easier to simply play a different class because not only are the mechanics easier, more elegant, and more effective; reconciling the roleplaying is ALSO easier and more elegant. It could simply be that I'm totally missing something obvious, but I want to explain my issues so that perhaps we can help each other.

I'm planning to try and homebrew you something to fit the specifications and power level, but I'm having a hard time grasping "shoots arrows that unleash spells when they hit, but doesn't cast spells" in mechanical terms.

WarKitty
2010-11-02, 06:54 AM
Hrm... I suppose I'm still not understanding what the heck is supposed to be going on here...

She wants to play an Arcane Archer, so she wants to be casting spells. Mechanically speaking, at least.

She wants to also have Ranger-esque capabilities. I assume this is supposed to include scouting and tracking skill sets. What other Ranger-type things does she like to do?

She wants to cast spells mechanically, but in character she wants to be able to roleplay as if she is not casting spells.

The first and third point there seem to be in direct confrontation and contradict themselves in my brain. This is why people are suggesting that it would be easier to simply play a different class because not only are the mechanics easier, more elegant, and more effective; reconciling the roleplaying is ALSO easier and more elegant. It could simply be that I'm totally missing something obvious, but I want to explain my issues so that perhaps we can help each other.

I'm planning to try and homebrew you something to fit the specifications and power level, but I'm having a hard time grasping "shoots arrows that unleash spells when they hit, but doesn't cast spells" in mechanical terms.

You're overemphasizing the "doesn't cast spells" bit. It doesn't have to be "I never cast spells at all." It's just not supposed to be the primary emphasis. The roleplaying is *fine*; the power is the only issue here. I don't get what the issue is. We like the mechanics the way they are. Neither of us are at all interested in something that doesn't look basically like what I've got posted. It's like saying "I want to play my barbarian without having to mess with his skill points or gear or losing access to any of the stuff I had beforehand" and having people say "Oh but you should be playing a ToB class instead." Just...no, that doesn't work at all, no matter what you do it's not going to be the same character.

Ziegander
2010-11-02, 02:50 PM
Okay, so what you're saying is, you don't want anyone to suggest any changes to the class table you've got posted, but if it's the general consensus that what you've posted isn't powerful enough you'd like us to help you power it up?

WarKitty
2010-11-02, 03:13 PM
Okay, so what you're saying is, you don't want anyone to suggest any changes to the class table you've got posted, but if it's the general consensus that what you've posted isn't powerful enough you'd like us to help you power it up?

More, changes to the table are ok in the sense of "this ability should come earlier, you should add another damage die here, maybe an extra ability at 5th level, etc." are just fine. But what I'm hearing is "you should scrap this whole table and do something completely different mechanically." I want to power up *this* class, not build a new class. And what I'm hearing is people wanting to build a new class. I want to keep the basic mechanic of adding various abilities to an arrow x times per day, with a primary focus on elemental and energy damage.

ericgrau
2010-11-02, 03:24 PM
Most of what this class adds to the ranger is minor. By the time they become major at high levels they're on par with, say, greater weapon focus (more hits => % increase to damage which is less but all day long) and greater weapon specialization (flat +4 damage). And the ranger is already behind the fighter in terms of combat ability. The boosts help, but again enough fighter feats will replace most of it, with a few feats to spare. The skills and spells let him retain some of the advantage of the core ranger, but neither applies in combat. Otherwise versatility is unchanged compared to normal. If this is a high power game I think he'll be disappointed. If it's on par with core I think he'll keep up. If there are a lot of wilderness encounters he'll be slightly ahead of core builds.

Ziegander
2010-11-02, 11:28 PM
Yeah, the biggest reason this class isn't performing at 10th level and will continue to underwhelm at higher levels is because the majority of features are just adding damage. You have three different class features that add damage to ranged attacks (more than that after 10th level). Not only does this clutter up the table, but compare it to say, the Paladin, the Rogue, or the Scout. They all have just one class feature that adds damage to their attacks.

More than that, not to be harsh, but the only relevant class feature in the first 10 levels is Evasion.

After the first 10 levels we get a whole lot more irrelevant abilities like Skirmish, Quarry, Weapon Focus, Enhance Arrow, and Weapon Mastery.

Other stuff like Seeker Arrow, Phase Arrow, Hail of Arrows, and Arrow of Death are basically irrelevant because they have so few uses per day. Seeker Arrow should seriously be every arrow the Archer fires at that level. In fact, same with Phase Arrow to be honest. Arrow of Death not only is far too limited, but it also is too easy to resist. Finger of Death is castable at 13th level multiple times a day and it's still not even really amazing then. Seriously, at 20th level, a full-round action Arrow of Death at-will doesn't seem overpowered.

Pinpoint Targeting is kind of cool, but a single attack with a bow made as a touch attack and you can't move? Even if you do layer Imbue Arrow and Aligned Arrow on that it's VERY underwhelming. Compare to Emerald Razor, a maneuver tier 3 classes can use at 3rd level which turns a single melee attack into a touch attack. Combined with Power Attack they can pull off more damage with that single attack at probably 6th level or so than you can with your inferior option at 19th level. And they can still move.

My first suggestion is to completely lose the Aligned Arrow, Enhance Arrows, Quarry, and Improved Quarry features. By way of replacement give them a full Skirmish progression (or at the very least a 3/4 progression). Then change the per day mechanic of the Imbue Arrow feature into something that can just be triggered whenever the Archer wants as a swift action to convert Skirmish damage into elemental damage of the type of their choice.

In fact, at maybe 8th level, give them the ability to cast ALL of their spells as a swift action. Hell, maybe even let them cast from the Druid list. At least then Add Spell might do something.

I probably have more comments but I have to eat dinner.