View Full Version : Paragon Archer [PEACH]

2011-06-13, 10:14 PM
Since 3.5 has no real "Archer" class, I thought I could make some justice to fellow archers out there. My idea when I thought of the skirmish/sneak attack add-up was to somehow mimic those caster prcs which do the same to their spells. I believe that this is slightly better than a pure rogue/scout (swift ambusher) build.


{table=head]Level|BAB|F|R|W|Special|Skirmish/Sneak Attack

+0|Battlefield Archer 10ft; Sniping +10ft|+1 level / +1 level

+0|Close Combat Shot; +2Str|+1 level / +1 level

+1|Fast Movement +10ft; Sniping +10ft|+1 level / +1 level

+1|Improved Precise Shot; +2 Str|+1 level / +1 level

+1|Sniping +10 feet; Deft Shot 1/day|+1 level / +1 level

+2|Ranged Reflexes; +2Str; Wilderness Lore|+1 level / +1 level

+2|Sniping +10 feet;|+1 level / +1 level

+2|+2Str; Wilderness Lore|+1 level / +1 level

+3|Sniping +20 feet; Fast Movement +10ft|+1 level / +1 level

+3|Deft Shot 2/day; +2Str|+1 leve / +1 level[/table]

BAB: +6
Skills: Hide 9 ranks, Move Silently 9 ranks, Spot 9 ranks.
Feats: Rapid Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (Any Bow).

Hit Die: d6

Class Skills
The archersís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (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).

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Skirmish/Sneak Attack:
A Paragon Archer progresses his Skirmish and/or Sneak Attack as if he had also gained a level in the class with one (or both) of these features.

If the Paragon Archer has no sneak attack or skirmish ability before entering this prestige class, this ability doesn't grant it to him.

This ability only applies to attacks made with a bow.

Close Combat Shot: The same as the Order of the Bow Initiate.
This ability only works when the archer is wearing light or no armor.
This ability only applies to attacks made with a bow.

Improved Precise Shot: The Paragon Archer gains this feat even if he doesn't have the pre-requisites to it.
This ability only applies to attacks made with a bow.

Deft Shot: The Paragon Archer may ignore a target's armor. This requires a Spot check (done as a free action) against a DC equal to your targetís Armor Class. If you succeed, you ignore the targetís armor bonus and natural armor bonus to AC (including any enhancement bonuses to armor or natural armor) until the beginning of your next turn. Other AC bonuses still apply normally.

Sniping: Beginning at level 5 and every 2 levels after, the Paragon Archer is able to increase his Skirmish and/or Sneak Attack range when using a bow. This ability only works when the archer is wearing light or no armor.

Battlefield Archer: At level 1, the Paragon archer is able to threaten an area of 10ft around him.

Ranged Reflexes: The Paragon Archer gains the "Combat Reflexes" feat, but it only applies to attacks made with a bow.

Wilderness Lore: The Paragon Archer may choose one of the following special abilities at levels 6 and 8: Woodland Stride; Swift Tracker; Camouflage; Hide in Plain Sight.

Ability Boost: As the Archer shoots with his bow, he grows accustomed to his drawing weight, leaving room to draw heavier ones. Thus, even without using a composite version, he may now add his Str bonus to the damage.
(Let's assume that he gets a new bow each time his str goes up... :smallbiggrin:)

2011-06-23, 01:43 AM
anyone out there?

2011-06-23, 08:07 AM
I am out there! :smallsmile:
Anywho, I believe this is a necessary class. You seem to have hit the high points well enough, though there are a few things I would add just because of the low number of class features.
-Start the sniping feature at 2nd level, at 10th make the range of it LoS.
-Make him threaten an area with his bow at some point. Maybe a stance round/level/day.
-Clarify the Skirmish/Sneak Attack business, the way it is written it looks like a 9th level rogue entering this class could get 19d6 SA.
Other than those points I think this class hits the right vein. Keep it up!

2011-06-23, 08:22 AM
Dead levels
Why ?!

2011-06-23, 12:44 PM
I tried to clarify the skirmish/sneak thing but I don't know if I was successful, you tell me.
I added a threaten range (5ft) at level 10 - Those dead levels I had at first, was because I'm afraid this prc get too unbalanced.
Btw, about the LoS skirmish/sneak attack, I don't think I've ever seen something like this, at best, a feat in dragon that let's you sneak attack at 60ft (and that's what I tried to accomplish here).

awaiting more replies o/

Twin Dragons
2011-06-23, 01:09 PM
I think it is pretty weak to not grant the class a 1st level Special ability. My advice is to use the following chart:

01 Close Combat Shot
02 Sniping +10 ft
03 Bonus Feat
04 Improved Precise Shot
05 Sniping +10 ft
06 Bonus Feat
07 (Pinpoint Targeting)*
08 Sniping +10 ft
09 Bonus Feat
10 Battlefield Archer

*Not sure if you'd want to include this, but I thought it would be good to include as to eliminate dead levels.

2011-06-23, 01:24 PM
Those pre-reqs are a little high... level 9 character, to start, plus 4 feats. Drop that a little perhaps? And then, for a prestige class, especially with those prereqs, you don't crank out the power of most prestige classes. A level 9 character could just keep on going with whatever class they were in and get most of the stuff given by the class.

Also, dead levels. The first level should have at least two things going on. Suggestions:

Combat Reflexes, bow style! Let's dominate that battlefield! (may require some custom rules...)
Bows: IN MELEE! Arrows as well! Arrow throwing!
Maybe add some sort of way for them to get used to shooting in heavier armor?
Note: English Longbows required LOTS of strength to use (STR estimate: 14-16). Maybe get an addition to STR.
One thing that some people do is have specialization within a class. Two or three different tracks, perhaps:
Heavy Archer. Melee, tank-ish archer. (Bonuses to STR, Melee, Hit Dice, etc.)
Sniper. Long range, high damage. (Damage based on Spot, perhaps? Ranged attack, sneak attack, etc.)
Quick Shot. Running through a battlefield, shredding enemies with lightning reflexes. (Combat reflexes, sneak attack, Bonuses to STR, extra speed, etc.)

Also, some of the skills seem a bit off... Geography? Ride?

Anyway, I see this as having potential, and it's a great start. Bookmark'd.

2011-06-23, 02:01 PM
Needs more dakka!

All martial classes are on the low side of the power scale. Do not worry about overpowering your class. You don't want to make it unbalanced, by throwing its numbers out of whack, but I doubt it would be possible to make the class overpowered.

Sniping is a good idea, but very weak. Triple it.

Battlefield Archer is also a good idea, but very weak. Grant it at 1st level instead of 10th.

Improved Precise Shot is a good feat. If you wanna be really edgy, grant it earlier than 5th level and allow the PC to ignore its prerequisites, so that Paragon Archers have access to this feat before other sorts of characters do.

Ditch the bonus feats and the fighter emulation. Anyone who wants fighter feats can take levels in fighter. In their place, give players something they can't get from fighter.

There is considerable room here for you to expand your concept and envision the class more broadly. Prestige classes that focus on a single fighting style (like exotic weapon master, tempest, or abjurant champion) are usually 3-5 levels long. You've chosen a 10-level format, which is generally used to describe an archetype. "Good with a bow" is a fighting style, not an archetype. I'm not sure I'm explaining myself clearly. Does this make sense?

2011-06-23, 03:33 PM
I added a few things based on your tips, and I have some thoughts here:

How would I add this STR bonus? just like "at level x you get +2 to str" ? Is there any precedents on this?

Concerning the armor I feel a bit uneasy, since any mithral-forged medium armor counts as a light one -

I'm particularly fond of forest archer shenanigans, would it be bad if I added camouflage or woodland stride to this prc ?

ah, about the deft strike, I based it on complete adventurer's feat: deft strike but modified so it would apply to all attacks and you would be able to rapid shot with the check being a free action.

2011-06-23, 06:01 PM
I'm particularly fond of forest archer shenanigans, would it be bad if I added camouflage or woodland stride to this prc ?
Not if you want to make this an Archer class, no.

'Archer' is extremely specific: It's a person who shoots a bow. Camouflage, woodland stride.. Those would be 'hunter' abilities, but then: So would Sneak Attack/Skirmish.

Archery itself is specific, so you'd be granting bonusses to things archers should do: Long range, precision, volleys and, indeed, sniping. However, that does leave a bit of a one-trick pony, which is rather the reason why I think there isn't a dedicated archer class. After all; why have one if a fighter can just invest feats and be a dedicated archer? Sure; it's not very powerful, but all things archery could easily be crammed into a fighter build.

If I were you, I'd check out the weapon specialist classes, because that is what an archer is, essentially. A bow-specialist. Maybe have a look at the Kensai or something.

Anyway; kudos are in order for getting this far. ^_^ As it is, it's still rather underwhelming, but ufortunately, that's just the nature of D20 for martial characters (on the whole).
If I may make a suggestion: Sniping could be an auto-crit. Make it function more or less like a death attack, take aim for a round (or two), and make an automatic critical hit (because you've hit something vital) if you hit with the actual attack. Still underwhelming (because who on earth goes aiming for a whole round or longer in the middle of a combat for a single hit when you could make four or more attacks?) but with the added range, it would.. Well; it would at least add something, as well as practically do what 'sniping' is all about. ;)
I agree about increasing the range benefit of sniping, by the way. On the other hand, 80 ft is a long distance, especially with a bare bow, so maybe you should leave it as it is. :)

Here's an idea for level 8, though:
Spend one round doing nothing (well; prodding arrows into the ground as a means of preparation) and the next round, you can make a full attack, with all your attacks benefiting fully from your BaB. You do not gain additional attacks due to the fact that your BaB is always full for each consecutive attack, of course, but it should still help. ^_^
I don't know how powerful this would be in combination with manyshot, but I think it won't be too bad..

2011-06-23, 06:39 PM
How would I add this STR bonus? just like "at level x you get +2 to str" ? Is there any precedents on this?

Dragon Disciple from the Dungeon Master's Guide and War Hulk from the Miniatures Handbook come to mind.

Concerning the armor I feel a bit uneasy, since any mithral-forged medium armor counts as a light one

What makes you feel uneasy? Restricting the class to light armor? If so, I wouldn't worry about it. If some idiot wants to dress up in full plate and then shoot a bow, let him. He will quickly discover that using ranged combat at close range against melee fighters rewards mobility, not armor plate.

I'm particularly fond of forest archer shenanigans, would it be bad if I added camouflage or woodland stride to this prc ?

ah, about the deft strike, I based it on complete adventurer's feat: deft strike but modified so it would apply to all attacks and you would be able to rapid shot with the check being a free action.

THIS is what I meant by broadening your concept! Yes, this is an excellent idea! Between this and your class skill list, you've now moved beyond "shoots a bow" into "trained to move stealthily and attack precisely from range in outdoor settings." This is a broader concept more worthy of a 10-level class. I'd encourage you to widen it even more. Is there a particular organization in your campaign setting that might prefer this prestige class? Perhaps you could include abilities that reflect their unique flavor or skills.

2011-06-24, 12:58 PM
done some more changes, added the forest shenanigans (though I feel it still needs some tweak, either in the level he gets it or in the abilities options...)

I'm liking what this guy is becoming (indeed, pretty much what I've always strived to make of an archer when playing DnD) - (btw Jiriku, your swift hunter is awesome).

But I think this paragon archer is more like a "paragon-guerilla-archer" or... say a "paragon scout" - perhaps I should change his name :smallbiggrin:

2011-06-24, 03:05 PM
Well done (and thanks for the compliment on the swift hunter, BTW :smallsmile:).

A couple of further recommendations:

It's worth writing out what Woodland Stride, Swift Tracker, Camouflage, and Hide In Plain Sight do. In particular, there are actually several versions of the HiPS ability that work differently from one another but all have the same name.

I'm thinking that a +10 Strength bonus over ten levels is probably a little over-the-top: it's likely to make this "paragon archer" better in melee combat than at range! A +2 bonus at two different levels would probably get the point across sufficiently.

Also, I just noticed that the class advances both sneak attack and skirmish, rather than either. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that the ideal entry point becomes a rogue/scout or fighter/rogue/scout multi-class - you're just throwing away class eatures if you don't take levels in both rogue and scout before entering the class. Is that what you wanted?

Finally, while considering this, I realized that the base attack bonus requirement makes this a very late-entry prestige class. Your likely entry paths are fig2/rog3/sct3 or rog6/sct3 or rog3/sct6, which means you don't get your first level of paragon archer until character level 9 or 10. I'd encourage you to reduce the BAB requirement to +4, which would allow entry at 6th level via fig4/rog1/sct1 or rog3/sct3.

2011-06-27, 09:05 PM
On the note of the Str increase, I would say something more like...

"Greater Draw (Ex): At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the Archer Paragon learns how to get more and mor from his bow's draw strength. He is treated as though his strength were 2 higher per 2 class levels for the purpose of determining the extra damage from using a composite bow. The bow is also considered to have 1 higher extra damage potential per 2 class levels. This ability functions with ordinary bows as if they were composite bows with an extra damage potential of +0."

You would put it in the table at every even level with +2,+4, etc.

Also, I would look at the archery feats on this thread, (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=201831) you can include them or no, but make sure to give credit and type out the descrip., as not a lot of people are familiar with them.

2011-06-27, 11:39 PM
I suggest you look at this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/printthread.php?t=152550) for ideas, and to make sure your aren't simply duplicating other people's efforts. There is always room for more than one take on things but you should check to see if your take IS different enough.