Entry number 5!

Quote Originally Posted by The Huntsman

The Hunstman
CE Silverbrow Human, Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 4/Life Eater 10

Dad? Dad? Ye- Iím- Not a ďcrazed bowman,Ē dad. Iím an assassin! ...Well, the difference being one is a job, and the otherís mental sickness!
--The Hunstman

Snipinís a good job, mate! Itís challenginí work, outta doors. Guarantee yehíll not go hungry, cuz at the end of the day, as long as thereís two people left on the planet, someone is gonna want someone dead.

Feelings? Look, mate, yeh know who has a lotta feelings? Blokes what bludgeon their party mates to death with a standard issue ten-foot pole. Professionals have standards: Be polite. Be efficient. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st Ranger 1 +1 +2 +2 +0 Hide 4 ranks, move silently 4 ranks, disguise 4 ranks, sense motive 2 rankscc, bluff 2 rankscc, intimidate 2 rankscc, spellcraft 2 rankscc, knowledge (local) 4 ranks Urban TrackingB, Able Learner, Darkstalker Favored enemy (humanoid - human), Urban Tracking, celestial slayer
2nd Ranger 2 +2 +3 +3 +0 Hide 5 ranks (+1), move silently 5 ranks (+1), disguise 5 ranks (+1), knowledge (local) 5 ranks (+1), knowledge (religion) 1 rank, knowledge (nature) 1 rank, sense motive 2 ranks Rapid ShotB Combat style
3rd Fighter 1 +3 +5 +3 +0 Hide 6 ranks (+1), move silently 6 ranks (+1), disguise 6 ranks (+1), bluff 3 ranks (+1) Point Blank ShotB, Knowledge Devotion Bonus feat, hit-and-run fighter
4th Fighter 2 +4 +6 +3 +0 Hide 7 ranks (+1), disguise 7 ranks (+1), sense motive 3 ranks (+1), spellcraft 3 ranks (+1) Precise ShotB Bonus feat
5th Fighter 3 +5 +6 +4 +1 Disguise 8 ranks (+1), sense motive 4 ranks (+1), spellcraft 4 ranks (+1), bluff 4 ranks (+1) Skill Focus (intimidate)B Zhentarim fighter - skill focus
6th Fighter 4 +6/+1 +7 +4 +1 Bluff 8 ranks (+4) Manyshot, Greater ManyshotB Bonus feat
7th Chameleon 1 +6/+1 +7 +4 +1 Hide 8 ranks (+1), move silently 7 ranks (+1), intimidate 4 ranks (+2), knowledge (religion) 3 ranks (+2) Aptitude focus 1/day (+2)
8th Chameleon 2 +7/+2 +7 +4 +1 Hide 9 ranks (+1), move silently 8 ranks (+1), intimidate 6 ranks (+2), knowledge (religion) 5 ranks (+2) Bonus feat
9th Chameleon 3 +8/+3 +8 +5 +2 Hide 10 ranks (+1), move silently 9 ranks (+1), intimidate 7 ranks (+1), knowledge (religion) 8 ranks (+3) Expeditious Dodge Mimic class feature 1/day
10th Life Eater 1 +8/+3 +10 +7 +4 Hide 13 ranks (+3), move silently 13 ranks (+4), knowledge (dungeoneering) 1 rank Death watch, poison use
11th Life Eater 2 +9/+4 +11 +8 +5 Hide 14 ranks (+1), move silently 14 ranks (+1), knowledge (the planes) 1 rank, knowledge (arcana) 1 rank, intimidate 11 ranks (+4) Sneak attack +1d6, death knell
12th Life Eater 3 +10/+5 +11 +8 +5 Hide 15 ranks (+1), move silently 15 ranks (+1), intimidate 15 ranks (+4), bluff 10 ranks (+2) Shadow Striker Chill touch
13th Life Eater 4 +11/+6/+1 +12 +9 +6 Hide 16 ranks (+1), move silently 16 ranks (+1), intimidate 16 ranks (+1), bluff 15 ranks (+5) Hide in plain sight
14th Life Eater 5 +11/+6/+1 +12 +9 +6 Hide 17 ranks (+1), move silently 17 ranks (+1), intimidate 17 ranks (+1), bluff 17 ranks (+2), knowledge (religion) 11 ranks (+3) Sneak attack +2d6, wounding sneak attack
15th Life Eater 6 +12/+7/+2 +13 +9 +7 Hide 18 ranks (+1), move silently 18 ranks (+1), intimidate 18 ranks (+1), bluff 18 ranks (+1), knowledge (religion) 15 ranks (+4) Improved Precise Shot Fatiguing touch
16th Life Eater 7 +13/+8/+3 +13 +9 +7 Hide 19 ranks (+1), move silently 19 ranks (+1), intimidate 19 ranks (+1), bluff 19 ranks (+1), knowledge (religion) 19 ranks (+4) Enervation
17th Life Eater 8 +14/+9/+4 +14 +10 +8 Hide 20 ranks (+1), move silently 20 ranks (+1), intimidate 20 ranks (+1), bluff 20 ranks (+1), knowledge (religion) 20 ranks (+1), disguise 11 ranks (+3) Sneak attack +3d6, draining sneak attack
18th Life Eater 9 +14/+9/+4 +14 +10 +8 Hide 21 ranks (+1), move silently 21 ranks (+1), intimidate 21 ranks (+1), bluff 21 ranks (+1), knowledge (religion) 21 ranks (+1), disguise 14 ranks (+3) Able Sniper Destruction
19th Life Eater 10 +15/+10/+5 +15 +11 +9 Hide 22 ranks (+1), move silently 22 ranks (+1), intimidate 22 ranks (+1), bluff 22 ranks (+1), knowledge (religion) 22 ranks (+1), disguise 17 ranks (+3) Feed
20th Chameleon 4 +16/+11/+6/+1 +15 +11 +9 Hide 23 ranks (+1), move silently 23 ranks (+1), intimidate 23 ranks (+1), bluff 23 ranks (+1), knowledge (religion) 23 ranks (+1), disguise 18 ranks (+1) Ability boon +2
cccross-class skill, purchased at double cost (only applies at first level; after this point, cross-class skills no longer need to be purchased at double cost due to Able Learner)
BBonus feat

Spoiler: Alternate Class Features

Alternate Class Features:
  • Ranger - Urban Tracking (replaces Track)
  • Ranger - Skilled City Dweller (replace knowledge (nature) with knowledge (local))
  • Ranger - Celestial Slayer (lose wild empathy, animal companion and woodland stride for bonuses against [Good] creatures and spells)
  • Fighter - Hit-and-run fighter (lose heavy armor and tower shield proficiency for bonus to initiative and damage bonus against flat-footed foes)
  • Fighter - Zhentarim fighter (modified skill list and gain Skill Focus (intimidate) at level 3)

Spoiler: Additional Build Details

Spoiler: Stats

32 point buy:
Str 12/Dex 16/Con 12/Int 14/Wis 14/Cha 10

Boost Dexterity at every available level. With items, prioritize Dexterity first, then Wisdom (youíll want at minimum to go up to 16 for a bonus 3rd level chameleon spell). Strength and Con can be boosted by Life Eater class abilities, so they are less essential to boost than on a typical build, but arenít bad choices as well.

Spoiler: Chameleon Spellcasting

Spells per Day (does not include bonus spells due to specialization or high Int bonus)
Level 0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
7th 4 2 0 - - - -
8th 4 3 1 - - - -
9th 4 3 2 0 - - -
10th 4 3 2 0 - - -
11th 4 3 2 0 - - -
12th 4 3 2 0 - - -
13th 4 3 2 0 - - -
14th 4 3 2 0 - - -
15th 4 3 2 0 - - -
16th 4 3 2 0 - - -
17th 4 3 2 0 - - -
18th 4 3 2 0 - - -
19th 4 3 2 0 - - -
20th 4 4 3 1 - - -

Spoiler: Suggested items

Youíre an archer, so equip yourself like one. In particular, youíll want to boost Dexterity as high as possible, focus on light or medium armor with the highest possible Dexterity bonus to benefit and the shadow and silent moves properties, and work hard on your bow.

Remember that your chameleon levels and floating feat allow you to craft things yourself. Youíll only have a CL of 6 for a good chunk of your career, but that can be boosted to hit what you need. For example, if you want to get to CL 10 for improved shadow armor, all you need to do is use your death knell SLA, then cast infernal threnody (off the divine bard spell list) and adept spirit. This gets even easier once you can afford a prayer bead of karma. This will go a long way to ensuring you always have the gear you need.

Speaking of crafting things on your downtime, spells like divine insight and magecraft can help you competently make poisons or alchemical items in your downtime (which you can make even more potent by using your floating feat on Poison Expert). Having a decent variety of poisons is always handy, and I also highly recommend crafting a good store of trollbane in case you encounter any foes with regeneration.

For your bow, I recommend an elvencraft composite longbow with multiple wand chambers, so that you can keep wands of common spells and activate them without dropping your bow. As far as enhancements, the splitting enhancement from Champions of Ruin is pricey at +3 but literally doubles your potential damage output, so itís hard to go wrong. Collision is another great option. As an archer, though, you benefit from the ability to swap out arrows as the situation demands. Rather than spending lots of money on your bow itself, you can keep seeking arrows and force arrows and magebane arrows and brilliant energy arrows, and pull them out as needed.

The only other item I really recommend is the collar of umbral metamorphosis. While you have a superior version of hide in plain sight already, it still provides darkvision, a speed boost, cold resistance and a very nice racial bonus to hide and move silently. Definitely worth the price.

Spoiler: Level by level

1 Ranger1- You wonít be particularly skilled at regular tracking or Urban Tracking, but the Urban variety is a better fit for you as a city dweller, and will at least carry some synergy with your knowledge (local). Down the road youíll be able to use this to track just fine via spells like divine insight. More interesting is your celestial slayer ACF, which trades out your underwhelming wild empathy for SR against good spells/SLAs and a sizable bonus to confirming crits against creatures with the [Good] subtype. Your main focus, though, is stealth: Darkstalker means that youíre decent at stealth right from the get-go; no point mucking about with trying to sneak past the guards and getting your cover blown by something as simple as a CR ⅓ guard dog. Also, I know everyone and their mother takes arcane hunter with rangers, but youíre Chaotic Evil and so you break the mold: go ahead and enjoy the fact that you can actually pick humans as your favored enemy.

2. Ranger2- Rapid Shot without the requirements alongside your Dex means youíre a pretty decent archer at this point.

3. Ranger 2/Fighter 1- The hit-and-run fighter variant from DotU is key here, making your archery way more potent. You werenít using heavy armor or shields anyhow, so itís basically free, and now you get a bonus to Init and your Dex as bonus damage against flat-footed enemies within 30í. You also have PBS here, which is generally a filler feat meant to gatekeep future archery stuff, but is actually not too bad at this level when every +1 helps. If you win initiative against your foe, firing off a couple of arrows dealing hit-and-run and PBS damage is actually pretty decent, especially since it doesnít require you to be suicidal and run headlong into danger like most chargers. Add on Knowledge Devotion, which guarantees at least another +1 to attack and damage once you drop a skill rank into all the relevant knowledge skills, and youíre actually doing pretty good damage-wise.

4. Ranger 2/Fighter 2- Precise Shot is a necessary evil; otherwise youíre forced to target enemies on the fringes of combat or eat big penalties. Luckily it also opens up the splitting enhancement and Improved Precise Shot down the road, so itís all worth it.

5. Ranger 2/Fighter 3- Intimidation is never a bad tool to have in your belt, and you get Skill Focus (intimidate) for free as a Zhentarim fighter, so enjoy. More important is that Zhentarim fighters get bluff as a class skill, which is a necessity for your various PrCs. By the end of your career youíll actually have quite good bluff, intimidate and disguise checks despite the middling Charisma, letting you play as the party face a bit if necessary.

6. Ranger 2/Fighter 4- And now you can grab both Manyshot and the Greater version. This will be your main way of moving and attacking. Because youíll soon want to always have your swift action free for spells such as sniperís shot, guided shot or grave strike, the most common method of attacking multiple times while still retaining the ability to move (Travel Devotion) isnít actually useful here. Instead, youíll focus on using Greater Manyshot, which allows you to eventually take up to 4 attacks (or 8 with a splitting bow) while still retaining your move action.

And why is staying on the move so important? Well, tactically staying on the move is always very nice, allowing you to use terrain to your advantage to keep foes away, eliminate clusters of allies that otherwise encourage area attacks, force enemies to split up, etc. Most importantly, though, donít forget that hide checks arenít their own action but rather are combined with movement. Now, in general there are a few things keeping this from being relevant at this level. The first is that you canít hide without concealment or cover, or while being observed. The second is that you take a big honking -20 penalty for hiding on the same turn that you attack. Itís OK, youíll get past both of these issues soon enough.

7. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 1- Enter chameleon, with its incredibly flexible casting. The ranger spell list in particular is a doozy, giving you everything from camouflage (a +10 bonus to hide checks on a long duration spell that stacks with shadow armor!) to longstrider (combine with your Dex focus, Expeditious Dodge and Greater Manyshot to keep a surprisingly high AC up as you dance around) to guided shot (concealment? cover? not your problem, mate). It gets even better once you get access to sneak attack, with spells like sniperís shot or grave strike to bypass many of sneak attackís usual limitations.

8. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 2- The second level of chameleon comes online, giving you more spells and a free bonus floating feat. On days when you expect combat, there are some neat options. I like Ranged Pin if you know youíre fighting humanoid foes; you arenít a dedicated grappler but it takes a standard action for your enemy to unpin themselves. Able Sniper is another good one (though itíll get a lot better in a couple of levels, when you get HiPS).

Outside of combat, though, itís all about crafting. In particular youíll want wands of low level ranger spells so that you donít need to burn through all your spell slots keeping camouflage and the like up, and youíll want to enchant your armor with shadow and silent moves as quickly as possible. Both of those are easy to do with your chameleon spell access, and thanks to SLAs like feather fall, you have a caster level with which to qualify for the feats. Youíll also eventually want to add on the splitting enhancement to your bow, though thatís a bit pricey at this level even if youíre crafting it yourself. Or speaking of crafting, take the Poison Expert feat to boost the DCs on any poisons you craft (using divine insight and magecraft to power said crafting). Or take Extra Spell and start building an arcane spellbook. The world is your oyster.

9. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3- Mimic class feature isnít nearly as good as aptitude focus, but immediate action evasion is always nice, especially since one common way of dealing with enemies you canít find is to carpet-bomb the area with AoE spells. A much bigger deal is access to 3rd-level spells off any divine list, which means (among other things) spells like arrow storm and find the gap. Expeditious Dodge alongside Greater Manyshot and the longstrider spell (or an item that boosts movement) is a nice way of keeping your AC up while attacking.

10. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 1- The SI comes online, giving poison use and always-on deathwatch. Archers are great with poison, since they can apply it to their arrows before combat and can use a variety of poisons that they choose based on what type will be most effective. Considering that you can make poison yourself fairly easily during your downtime thanks to the divine insight and magecraft spells (donít you just love chameleons?), this is definitely nice. And deathwatch is huge, instantly letting you know whether anyone is hiding within range (if you get pings for creatures that you canít see, welp, somethingís hiding) and if anything is a type that might otherwise be immune to precision damage. As itís a cone-based emanation, you can even use it as radar, sweeping it back and forth to determine the location of hidden foes - at which point all it takes is one use of faerie fire or glitterdust and bing, no more hiding.

11. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 2- Sneak attack on a volley archer is always great. Go ahead and nab Craven with your floating feat as your top combat option. Pop a swift invisibility or target foes whose initiative hasnít rolled around yet and fire off three attacks, each dealing 1d8+1d6+12+Dex+Str, plus Knowledge Devotion, plus any bonuses from your magic bow, plus Favored Enemy, plus poisonÖ it starts to add up fast. If you need to stay mobile, you can instead use Greater Manyshot.

As for death knell, donít think of this one as a combat spell. Instead think of it as a quick and cheap way to boost your CL before you start crafting, or before you cast an hours/level buff spell for the day.

12. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 3- Youíre not a melee brute, but chill touch gives you a way of dealing with enemies who get really up close and personal. Shadow Striker is a tactical feat that on its surface seems like it would be better suited for melee, but actually has some very nice options for you. Evade notice and ghost strike both give you some ways to get out of melee if someone does end up closing with you (and ghost strike also provides an additional way for you to active sneak attack), but in particular youíre interested in the second option, fade away. This says that when you attack with a standard action (which Greater Manyshot is) and then make a Hide check as part of your move action, you get a +5 bonus to this check. Youíll still need some form of cover or concealment to hide, and canít hide if youíre being observed, but thatís about to change very soon...

13. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 4- Hide in plain sight! This is the ability youíve been waiting for. This is the absolute best version of HiPS, letting you hide while being fully observed and without requiring any sort of concealment. Combined with Shadow Striker, your attack routine is complete. Keep camouflage up and stay hidden. Come out of hiding to make a sneak-boosted Greater Manyshot attack to fire off three arrows, applying sneak and poison and Knowledge Devotion and Craven and hit-and-run fighter damage and all that good stuff. If necessary, pop a guided shot to bypass concealment or sniperís shot to extend your range or grave strike to make sure you can hit undead. Then take your move action, and use the action to go into hiding again as you move. You take a -20 penalty to your hide check, but just from camouflage and Shadow Striker and improved shadow armor (well within your WBL at ECL 13, especially if you craft it yourself) alone, you have a +25 bonus on this check, which more than makes up for the difference. As a bonus, even if your enemy does have a way to locate you (with, say, Mindsight), you can also activate Expeditious Dodge by moving (though keep in mind that you do take an additional -5 penalty to hide if you move at more than half speed).

14. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 5- A bump to sneak attack damage, and your sneak attacks now bleed extra damage each round. Ouch.

15. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 6- Fatiguing touch is a cute little debuff thatís especially nice to secretly deliver to anything that relies on charge damage, as fatigue prevents running or charging; thanks to the spectral hand spell, you can deliver it from 30í away. You also pick up Improved Precise Shot here, which eliminates any concealment less than total. Concealmentís a big deal, since it blocks precision damage, so this is fantastic. While you could already use guided shot to do this, Improved Precise Shot is always on and frees up your swift action for other spells. In fact, since you ignore concealment while attacking, go crazy and pop large area spells that apply concealment across the board such as darkness (there are better spells, but this one has the advantage of being something you can pre-cast on an object before combat and pull out as necessary). Your foes will have a miss chance against you, while you can attack with impunity thanks to Improved Precise Shot.

16. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 7- Enervation is another excellent debuff, and this one doesnít need any spectral hand shenanigans to be delivered at range.

17. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 8- An extra die of sneak damage is great. You know whatís even better? The fact that your sneak attacks now also dish out a negative level! The fact that you can do this at range with multiple attacks and while remaining completely hidden, and can do it against almost every foe, makes this especially deadly.

18. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 9- If damage and negative levels isnít handling things fast enough, why not just, you know, kill them? Destruction is one of the better SoD spells, since it still deals good damage even on a successful save and bypasses common resurrection magic.

Able Sniper also comes online at this level, giving you another +4 to hide after you make an attack. So letís add it all up: the camouflage spell, Able Sniper and Shadow Striker effectively give you a +19 to your hide check following an attack, almost completely eliminating the -20 penalty you take for hiding while attacking. With level appropriate gear (just greater shadow armor and a collar of umbral metamorphosis provide a very nice +23 bonus that stacks with your other boosts) and your max ranks and Dex focus, you should now have a bonus in the neighborhood of +43 to your hide check at this level even after taking the -20 penalty for attacking. Consider that the CR 23 solar, one of the most difficult enemies to hide from in the entire Monster Manual, ďonlyĒ has a +32 to their spot check. They can roll a natural 20 on their spot check and you, a lowly ECL 18 archer, still have a 50% chance of evading their sight.

19. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 3/Life Eater 10- Feed is just such a cool ability, letting you chow down on your fallen foes and steal their lifeforce in the process. Itís also very nice for shoring up that MAD that archers always fall prey to. Considering how expensive a +5 tome is, this ability isnít just cool, itís also literally worth its weight in gold.

20. Ranger 2/Fighter 4/Chameleon 4/Life Eater 10- Ability boon gives you a +2 to any ability score; how about Dex? Your hide checks after attacking should now be somewhere in the neighborhood of +47 (or +58 on turns where you arenít attacking).

Spoiler: Stealth and Precision Damage

As a stealth- and precision damage-focused character, I wanted to take a bit to talk about how to beat most anti-stealth defenses:

  • Alternate senses (tremorsense, blindsight, scent, etc.): Darkstalker allows you to make hide checks against all of these.
  • Concealment: Guided shot is a swift action and ignores the AC bonus for cover and the miss chance for anything less than total concealment, making it your go-to option until Improved Precise Shot comes online. If you do run into total concealment, you can use your at-will deathwatch ability as radar to get a decent idea of where your enemy is and then use faerie fire or glitterdust (available as a divine spell via divine bard) to completely negate most common sources.
  • Type-based immunities: You can immediately identify if an enemy is a construct or undead via your at-will deathwatch and have access to grave strike, vine strike and golem strike via your chameleon spells to bypass most type-based immunities to precision damage.
  • Mindsight: Honestly not as oppressive to deal with as youíd think. First of all, if you are hidden from view, you will still have total concealment even if your opponent has the Mindsight feat. It will not prevent you from using precision damage. Second, Mindsight typically has a range of 60í-100í, based on the telepathy ability that powers it. If you wish to remain undetected, simply stay out of this range; sniperís shot will allow you to hang out at the edge of your composite longbowís range increment and still qualify for sneak attack (though unfortunately this will mean giving up your hit-and-run damage).
  • Fortification: Extremely difficult to bypass completely, though luckily this is less common than other defenses. Fortification effects are most commonly found on armor or on items such as the Gemstone of Fortification. Your best bet if you find that your opponent is somehow still resisting your sneak attack despite all of the above is to use a dispel to attempt to suppress any magic items for 1d4 rounds. Alternately, if you have a good idea of what item is providing the bonus (learn to recognize what a Gemstone of Fortification looks like!), grab a few serpentstongue arrows and sunder the heck out of it.

Spoiler: On the Eating of Life

I put this build together after noticing that the Life Eaterís wounding and draining sneak attacks did not require melee hits. These properties are really rare for ranged attackers, and so I decided to see if I could build an archer that benefited from the Life Eaterís abilities. I wanted something that could effectively benefit from hide in plain sight as well, since mundane stealth, when done well, is incredibly hard to bypass.

All in all the class turned out to be a great fit for an evil stealth-focused archer, even better than Iíd expected. Iím pretty happy with the final outcome, and this is something Iíd absolutely play in a campaign (assuming the Chaotic Evil didnít turn off my party mates).

As for the Life Eaterís specific abilities and how this build makes the best of them:

  • Entry requirements: Life Eaterís skill requirements were a bit of a bear, but with Knowledge Devotion to put those knowledge ranks to good use, a stealth focus, and a secondary class with shared requirements for the social skills, they arenít so bad. Dodge gets replaced by the superior Expeditious Dodge; the build has a couple of ways of collecting speed boosts (longstrider at low levels, and if you obtain a collar of umbral metamorphosis, that provides a speed boost as well), and its fighting style is naturally mobile. Also, being chaotic evil opened up some neat ranger options, such as taking your own type as a favored enemy and the celestial slayer ACF.
  • Skills: Skills get a bit dicey for you in the low levels (hard to avoid when you have four levels of fighter on a build with hefty skill requirements), but the Life Eaterís excellent skill points allow you to easily make up the difference and catch up with all your relevant skills.
  • Deathwatch: Constant deathwatch without requiring an action? Heck yeah, I like that! In particular, youíll use it in two ways: as a way to identify undead foes or constructs so that you can use the appropriate spell, and as radar: sweep it back and forth to get a general idea of where foes are hiding, then use faerie fire or glitterdust to expose them.
  • Poison use: Archers in general love poison use, since they can apply their poison to their arrows in advance and donít need to waste time in combat or blow a feat. Itís even better because you can craft poisons yourself quite competently thanks to your Chameleon spells (magecraft/divine insight) and floating feat (used for Poison Expert, or even for something like Animal Devotion or Wild Cohort to obtain a source of poison).
  • Sneak attack: Obviously a huge part of this build. By combining it with Greater Manyshot, hide in plain sight and a number of ways to reduce the penalty for hiding and attacking, you have a number of reliable ways to both stay mobile and activate SA. Damage is further boosted via Craven, which you take with your floating feat on any days you expect combat.
  • Death knell: Primarily used for the caster level boost, which can allow you to craft items such as improved shadow armor that would otherwise require too high a CL.
  • Chill touch: Your main way of dealing with foes that get up close and personal. You have a decent BAB but a middling Strength score, so being able to attack foes that approach to melee range as a touch attack is definitely nice, and even though melee isnít your main schtick, Shadow Striker has some decent melee options.
  • Hide in plain sight: Another really key part of this build.
  • Wounding sneak attack: An extra point of bleeding damage every round really adds up when you start talking about firing off multiple shots a round.
  • Fatiguing touch: This applies fatigue but is Will negates, rather than Fort negates, making it a great way to shut down uberchargers. You donít love getting into melee (though your stealth means you can if you have to), but you DO have access to the spectral hand spell to deliver this from afar.
  • Enervation: Youíre really good at ranged attacks, including rays, and this is a great way to soften foes up for your draining sneak attacks.
  • Draining sneak attack: Literally the inspiration for this build. The fact that this is not melee-only makes it unique, and lets you fire off volleys of arrows that apply negative levels in addition to things like poison and damage.
  • Destruction: OK, Iíll admit that you donít do anything special with destruction beyondÖ you knowÖ using it. Itís still destruction, so itíll definitely come in handy.
  • Feed: Not only does this ability save you a bundle on the otherwise super expensive Manual of Gainful Exercise or whatever itís called, it also is a great way to the BBGG doesnít keep coming back after you kill her.

Spoiler: Sources

  • Ranger, Fighter, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Precise Shot, Skill Focus, Manyshot, Greater Manyshot, Improved Precise Shot: SRD
  • Skilled city dweller, Urban Tracking ranger: Cityscape web enhancement
  • Celestial slayer ACF: Exemplars of Evil
  • Hit-and-run fighter ACF: Drow of the Underdark
  • Zhentarim fighter ACF: Champions of Valor web enhancement
  • Chameleon: Races of Destiny
  • Able Sniper, Expeditious Dodge: Races of the Wild
  • Shadow Striker: PHB2
  • Darkstalker: Lords of Madness
  • Silverbrow Human: Dragon Magic

Ah my Gods, yehíve been shot! Didja get a good look at the handsome cad who did it? No? Well, keep lookiní, mate.

Whereíd I getcha that time? The liver? The kidney? Iím losiní track. Runniní outta places to put holes in yeh. If your strategy is to build me confidence, itís workiní.

Oh, yeh want me to stop? Hate to break it to yeh, but your own team paid me to do that. And hey, as a bonus, I get tíeat for free when yehíre done bleediní out all over the city streets.

I toldja snipiní was a good job!