Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 82
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Sydney, NSW
    Gender
    Male

    Default So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    So you want to play an archer?

    Spoiler: Disclaimers
    Show
    • This is my first D&D guide and still WIP
    • English is not my first language
    • UA is not allowed at my table so I donít keep myself much updated with it, therefore I will only consider official material.
    • All of the information below comes from direct gaming experience on different levels, however every table is different so ymmv.



    Spoiler: Edits
    Show
    • 1st June 17: added races breakdown; Ranger's Colossus Slayer vs Horde Breaker breakdown; added To Do list.
    • 2nd June 17: expanded colour guide; minor modification to classes; added spells breakdown; added magic initiate to feats; added Dancing Lights, Bless, Divine Favour to the spells.
    • 15th June 17: Added Alert to feat list; added bits and pieces about CEx; added link to DeAnno's analysis of UA options.
    • 4th September 18: Fixed some formatting.



    Spoiler: To do
    Show
    • Races breakdown;
    • Spell options;
    • Magic items breakdown;
    • Dex vs Feat for each class evaluation;
    • Crossbow Expert re-evaluation for Rogues;
    • Multiclassing options;
    • Builds
    • Battlemaster Manouvers breakdown;
    • Xanathar's Guide to Everything Subclasses.



    Table of contents
    1. Introduction
    2. Colour guide
    3. Races
    4. Feats
    5. Classes
    6. Relevant Spells
    7. Conclusions


    Spoiler: Unearthed Arcana
    Show
    As per the disclaimer, I never play tested UA thoroughly and therefore will not be giving any advice on it. DeAnno has written a post with his independent views here.


    Introduction
    The archer is by far my favourite archetype in any game, and D&D is no different. While looking online I found a lot of threads and suggestions about how to implement the concept in the game, but no real comprehensive analysis, so I thought Iíd give it a go.

    Colour guide
    Purple: Meh, or your least priority.
    Black: Ok, suboptimal choice.
    Sky blue: Good, not your top priority but not a bad choice.
    Gold: Oh God, yes, top priority.

    Races
    In 5E, any race can be a great archer, so pick whatever you like. If you use point buy, you will want a race with a bonus in Dex to start with a 16.
    Human (Variant): If variant Humans are allowed, theyíre probably the best of the races, as the bonus feat will let you reach 20 Dex faster. Their lack of darkvision can hurt at some tables though. If not allowed, than there are better choices than the standard Human.
    High/Wood Elf: Darkvision, and longbow proficiency for Rogues and Bards under lvl 3. The High Elves are great for any archer thanks to their bonus cantrip and Wood Elves are also good for the extra 5ft movement.
    Feral Tiefling (SCAG): Darkvision and flying speed are great. That is if they are allowed.
    Aaaracockra (SCAG): Not allowed in AL league play, but otherwise just a tiny worse than the Feral Tiefling because of their lack of darkvision.
    Tabaxi (VOLO): Darkvision, Feline Agility and proficiency in two great skills make Tabaxies very good archers. Plus I love cats, so thereís that.
    Bugbear (VOLO): Darkvision, better caring capacity, stealth proficiency and surprise damage are not bad at all.
    Goblin (VOLO): Darkvision, mini cunning action and bonus damage every rest are great. The fact that you're a small creature (see gnome below) take it down a notch.
    Half-Elf: Not a bad choice, you get darkvision and two bonus skill proficiencies, but not much else.
    Drow: To be chosen only if you manage to protect yourself from the sunlight, but even then itís just ok as it doesnít really bring anything to the archer table.
    Forest/Deep Gnome: Darkvision and minor illusion are nice, but the small size means you will have to stay away from the longbow and heavy crossbow. The Deep Gnome (SCAG) trades the cantrip for a better darkvision.
    Kobold (VOLO): You're small and have sunlight sensitivity. Otherwise darkvision, Pact Tactics and Growel Cower and Beg are pretty good.
    Halfling (any): Same as the gnome above, but without darkvision.
    Air Genasi (EE): Not much other than the stat bump.
    Kenku (VOLO): See Air Genasi, the bonus proficiencies are decent though.

    Feats
    Sharpshooter (SS):
    Unless you play a Rogue, you want sharpshooter asap.
    Sharpshooter has three effects:
    1) it lets you add 10 damage each shot you take,
    2) it lets you shoot at max range without disadvantage,
    3) it lets you ignore enemiesí cover.
    1) Is fantastic for Fighters, great for Rangers and Bards and meh for Rogues. 2) and 3) are great for everyone, but will depend on your DM - if all your fights are in dungeon rooms and your DM ignores cover, for instance, the value of these benefits is obviously greatly diminished.
    More on why each class gets different benefit on the section below.
    For why and how the value of SS diminishes depending on base damage, see this thread.
    Crossbow Expert (CEx):
    If you want to be a crossbowman rather than an archer, Crossbow Expert is even more important than SS.
    The feat gives you the following:
    1) it lets you perform a bonus action attack with your hand crossbow, if you take the attack action to attack with the same weapon;
    2) it lets you use the extra attack ability when using crossbows;
    3) it lets you shoot at point blank range.
    1) Is great Fighters, ok for Rangers and Bards (although potentially meh), and not that great for Rogues if you plan on using Cunning Action a lot; the whole point is to use your bonus action for the extra attack with a Hand Crossbow, which has great synergy with SS. 2) is mostly for fluff reasons to multi-attack with a Heavy Crossbow (1 more damage than the Long Bow per attack). The ability to shoot at point-blank range is quite good on paper - and the only reason why a Rogue should take the feat in my opinion, as to me Cunning Action is more important - but aren't you supposed to be killing things from a distance?
    The problem with CEx is the same with dual-wielding: action economy. Fighters don't have much use for their bonus actions, but everyone else does. The bonus attack sounds very good on paper, but from actual game experience you will be spending more turns casting spells or using cunning action than attacking.
    Lucky: This is great for any class in any situation. If you have an ASI to spare, rerolling a missed SS hit can be quite nice.
    Magic Initiate: Use this to pick Find Familiar and a couple of cantrips. Not as useful for Arcane Tricksters and Eldritch Knights, who can get the spell without spending a feat, but they could be looking at Bless.
    Alert: A good choice for any class that is not a healer, and a great choice for Rogue (the best choice for Assassins).
    Skulker: For the stealthy types, this can be good for Rogues and high level Rangers that don't know what else to pick.


    Classes
    In 5e there are 4 classes that can be accomplished archers: Fighters, Rangers, Rogues and Bards.

    Fighter:
    Fighters get the most ASIís which help with getting to max 20 early while grabbing Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert. Fighter archers are the least MAD of the lot, and with the Urchin background they can also be your party Rogue if you lack one.
    Archery fighting style: At level 1, Fighters get a +2 to using range weapons, which is huge by itself and even better with Sharpshooter.
    Action Surge: Or why a 2-level dip in Fighter is always good.
    Archetypes: All three fighter archetypes can make a good archer. Between Champion, Battle Master and Eldritch Knight I prefer the Battle Master myself, although there is no ďbestĒ archetype. I like the BM because of Precision Strike, which lets you turn a SS miss into a hit, and the extra crowd control (and damage) abilities. Eldritch Knight also lets you crowd control, but itís mostly built for melee in my eyes and requires high Intelligence. Sure, you get Haste:, but thatís at lvl 14 and you may very well get someone else to cast that on you 8 lvls prior to that, and if you want to play an arcane archer that imbues his/her arrows with magic you are better off with Ranger or Bard. Champions get better crit chance and initiative, and that's about it.
    Extra attacks: The reason why SS is so good for fighters compared to other classes. At lvl 11 (for humans, lvl 12 for others), with SS, CEx and 20 DEX, assuming all SS attacks hit you are looking at 74 average damage per round, without a magic weapon or using action surge (add 55.5 to that). At lvl 20, it gets even better.

    Ranger:
    In my opinion, the Ranger should be the archer class, however the devs obviously see it in a different way. The Ranger fits the theme of the sniper in the wild quite nicely, and its spellcasting ability adds flavour to your arrow shots. It also is the best equipped AoE damage dealer of the lot, while having decent crowd control capabilities.
    Since each blow does more damage thanks to Hunterís Mark, Rangers gain lesser benefit from SS. CEx is also difficult to evaluate, as if you cast a lot of spells you will have less bonus actions to use for your extra attack. If you're playing a low level campaign however (1-5), CEx is great with Hunter's Mark, but only if your target will last for a few turns.
    Archery fighting style: Same as Fighters, but one level later.
    Spellcasting: Many of the Rangerís spells are meant to enhance their archery skills, and they all very flavourful. The problem? Most, if not all of them, are concentration, which means no flashy magical arrows when Hunterís Mark, Conjure Animals or what have you are up.
    Archetypes: Not including UA, the Ranger is stuck to the Hunter archetype to be a truly efficient archer. Pick Colossus Slayer or Horde Breaker (for help on which to choose, look here). The Volley ability (lvl 11) is way less awesome that it sounds, as in most occasions you will not have more than two targets within 10 feet, and at that point youíre probably better off with just attacking twice.
    Extra Attack: You get only one like the Bard, but it still is pretty great combined with SS.

    Rogue:
    The more I play them, the more I feel Rogues make the best archers in the game, although in a very particular way. Using your cunning action each turn to assure you a Sneak Attack (SA) you can very well act as the lone hidden sniper who follows the one shot, one kill rule.
    As mentioned before, Rogues benefit the least from both SS and CEx: you will want your one attack to hit, and with the lack of the Archery Fighting Style that -5 is a lot to take even with Advantage on the attack roll. If you don't plan to use your bonus action for Cunning Action though, CEx is certainly better. SS scales best with multiple attacks, and SA scales greatly of its own. Mathematically, the higher the SA damage, the least value SS gets. The ability to ignore cover and range is what a Rogue that chooses Sharpshooter should look at. Rogues donít get proficiency with Longbows though, and the lack of reach can hurt depending on the setting.
    CEx can possibly be better, assuming you get to use the bonus action as an extra attack (extra chance to land SA) instead of hide or dash. I suppose it depends on your play style, but the way I see it, Rogues can very well do without both feats.
    Rogues should focus on getting to Dex 20 asap. Since they get one extra ASI at level 10 and are with the Fighter the least MAD archer class, and with less need to get SS and CEx they can just go crazy with whatever feats they want.
    Sneak Attack: The signature ability of the Rogue keep you consistent in damage with all other martial classes and works just wonderfully for the archer concept.
    Cunning Action: Hide with your bonus action, shoot with your action with advantage and SA. Rinse and repeat.
    Archetypes: As per the Fighter, all archetypes will do just fine. Assassins get that first round nova which really gives you that sniper feeling and not much else, but my favourite is the Arcane Trickster, which gives you access to Minor Illusion (easy cover to hide in), Invisibility and Greater Invisibility. Thieves donít directly enhance your archery skills, but theyíre not a bad archetype at all and have the best soft capstone in the game at lvl17.

    Bards:
    To be honest, when I started writing this guide, before I played one, I meant not to include the Bard - reason being that most of the arguments you read about them being good archers is ďMagical Secrets, get Swift QuiverĒ. Thing is, while Bards donít get SA or the Archery Fighting Style, they are full casters who can access to a whole lot of other useful stuff.
    SS is mandatory for this build (use your spells to get advantage on the shot). CEx is a bit of a trap since it competes with your Bardic Inspiration; even worse at higher levels, when you will be using Swift Quiver (10) or Battle Magic (14).
    Spellcasting: As mentioned, Bards are full spellcasters and have as such heaps of ways to enhance their archery prowess and get advantage on their shots; you get Fairie Fire from lvl 1 (awesome spell in any situation), Greater Invisibility at level 7, Swift Quiver at level 10 via Magical Secret etc. Basically youíre playing an arcane archer whose only weakness compared to the Ranger is a -2 to hit, which you can offset with much better spells.
    Archetypes: Valor, no question. You get proficiency with the longbow and heavy crossbow, Combat Inspiration, an Extra Attack at lvl 6 and the fantastic Battle Magic at lvl 14. Lore Bards are just better off using their action for a spell rather than an arrow.

    Relevant Spells
    Note: in this section I'll give a a rating for the spell itself in term in relation to the impact it has on your archery skills and a separate rating for each class as a choice. Lest I repeat myself more often than note, I will not consider spells under 3rd level for the Bard's Magical Secrets choice.

    Spoiler: Cantrips
    Show

    Dancing Lights: Eats your concentration and only illuminates 20ft, but has crazy good range. Can have its uses.
    Light: For those races lacking dark vision. (action, VM)
    Mending: Rating assumes your DM tracks arrows and you can just fix broken ones with this. (action, VSM)
    Minor Illusion: Need cover? Just conjure a 5 foot wall to hide behind. (action, SM)

    Spoiler: Level 1
    Show

    Absorb Elements (EE): On-demand resistance to an element is great, unfortunately the rider effects does not work on ranged attacks. Only on Ranger and Eldritch Knight's spell list. Arcane Tricksters have no use for it after level 5. (reaction, S)
    Beast Sense: Maybe for some weird Crossbow Expert melee Ranger build? Į\_(ツ)_/Į Ok, no. (action, VSM, concentration, ritual)
    Bless: Not a terrible choice for Magic Initiate, but you're better off having someone else cast this on you instead or Multiclass. (action, VSM, concentration)
    Divine Favor: Reduces the value of SS, increases the value of CEx. You can only get this via Multiclassing - with War Cleric rather than Paladin. (bonus action, VS, concentration)
    Expeditious Retreat: Reduces the value of CEx. Useless for Rogues who get this for free, not worth it even for other classes since it's on neither spell list. (bonus action, VM, concentration)
    Fairie Fire: Only available to Bards. Best use of your concentration for a long time. (action, V)
    Find Familiar: Get an owl, have it use the help action each turn to give you advantage on the attack roll for maximum profit. Easy to get for Eldritch Knight, better than Shield for Arcane Tricksters. The best choice for Magic Initiate. (VSM, 1 hour, ritual)
    Fog Cloud: Decent option for Rangers, not worth it for anybody else. (action, VS, concentration)
    Hail of Thorns: Another decent option for Rangers only, unfortunately it's concentration. Not worth it for anybody else. (bonus action, V, concentration)
    Hunter's Mark: Reduces the value of SS and increases the value of CEx. Rangers are king of ranged damage at low levels thanks to this, too bad most of all other interesting spells in their list are also concentration. Not worth it for anybody else. (bonus action, V, concentration).
    Shield: Automatic pick for EK, good option for AT, not worth it for Rangers. (reaction, V)
    Silent Image: Ok pick for AT, not so much for the others. (action, VSM, concentration)

    Spoiler: Level 2
    Show

    Blindness/Deafness: Targets Constitution, gives you advantage on attack rolls and also protects you party. I would rate it better if it wasnít that the target gets new a saving throw each turn. Not worth it for AT and EK, may be situationally useful for Bards. (action, V, concentration)
    Blur: I personally never liked this spell, and prefer Mirror Image. Only really a choice for AT. (action, V, concentration)
    Darkness: Can be used for field control, but itís only an option for AT or those races that get it natively. (action, VM, concentration)
    Hold Person: Better overall than Blindness/Deafness (targets Wisdom and prevents the enemy to act) but youíre better off having someone else cast it. Not worth it for AT and EK, may be situationally useful for Bards. (action, V, concentration)
    Invisibility: Can be useful to set up an ambush or to get to a safe spot when you need it. Good choice for AT and Bards, a little worse for EK (action, VSM, concentration)
    Magic Weapon: This would be a decent spell for both AT and EK, but you canít get it before level 8, and by then you should already have a magic weapon. If you donít, then do consider it. (bonus action, VS, concentration)
    Mirror Image: I personally love this spell, and prefer it over Blur since itís not concentration. Only really a choice for AT though. EK may consider it. (action, VM)
    Misty Step: One of my favourite spells in the game, but not in any of our archers spell list (cries). Probably the extra-list choice for EK. Rogues wonít miss it. (bonus action, V)
    Pass Without Trace: The Rangerís version of Invisibility, I guess. At least it extends to your allies which is pretty good. (action, VSM, concentration)
    Spike Growth: Probably the best 2nd level spell for Rangers and, surprise! it's concentration (notice a trend?). (action, VSM, concentration)

    Spoiler: Level 3
    Show

    Conjure Animals: Great spell unique to the Ranger (Bards probably wonít take it) and a direct DPR increase over Hunterís Mark. Note that the DM chooses which animals spawn, not you. (action, VS, concentration).
    Conjure Barrage: Your AoE upgrade over Hail of Thorns for Rangers. Damage is a bit meh (3d8, half with a save) but at least itís not concentration for once. Bards have no reason to choose this. (action, VSM)
    Elemental Weapon: Increases the value of CEx. Only available to Bards who choose this at lvl 10. You could consider it if you donít already have a +2 weapon. Not worth it if you do. (action, VS, concentration).
    Flame Arrows: Reduces the value of SS and increases the value of CEx. You would think this was a Ranger-only spell, instead itís also on the Druid, Wizard and Sorcerer lists, which means youíre better off having someone else cast it on you. Both Bards and Rangers have better use of their concentration at this point (so do your party allies, to be fair). (action, VS, concentration)
    Fly: Flying can have a lot of uses. Decent pick for both EK and AT. Bards[/B] will likely choose a higher spell. Of course donít choose this spell if your char has other means of flying. (action, VSM, concentration)
    Haste:: This is a must have for both EK and very well worth considering for Rogues at level 14. Bards will probably want to choose a higher spell level anyway. (action, VSM, concentration)
    Lightning Arrow: Way better than Conjure Barrage for Rangers, worth considering for Bards just because itís probably the coolest spell an archer can have. Too bad for the concentration requirement. (bonus action, VS, concentration)
    Major Image: Could be worthwhile for AT for field control. (action, VSM, concentration)

    Spoiler: Level 4
    Show

    Conjure Woodlland Beings: Since itís the DM who chooses what creatures spawn, due to its options this is not as powerful as Conjure Animals:. Still a decent spell for Rangers, while Bards will want to skip this. (action, VSM, concentration)
    Evardís Black Tentacles: Imposing the restrained condition in an area is not a bad use of your concentration at all for Bards. Eldritch Knights will want Greater Invisibility instead, while Arcane Tricksters could consider it at lvl 20. (action, VSM, concentration)
    Freedom of Movement: This spell gets a rating bump for not being concentration. Rangers donít have many good alternatives at this level so they might as well take this and not worry about being grappled/restrained. Not a bad option for Bards either since itís on their spell list. (action, VSM)
    Greater Invisibility: This is the concentration spell for Bards from as as early as level 7. AT get it at level 19 and EK at 20. Better late than never. (action, VS, concentration)

    Spoiler: Level 5
    Show

    Conjure Volley: Great range and radius, good damage, no concentration and super cool effect. If you're a Ranger, you should have it. If you're a Bard you have a harder competition, since it doesn't scale (you might just as well take Fireball and fluff it as an exploding arrow). (action, VSM)
    Swift Quiver: Greatly diminishes the value of CEx (Unless you switch to a heavy Crossbow for the duration). Rangers should have this as well, it's just a matter of which to choose first. Oddly enough this is even better for Bards since they get it a level 10. Note that this spell also solves your ammo issues.


    Conclusions
    In my opinion, Fighters make the best archers along with Rogues, with Bards coming right behind them. The three classes have very different play styles so you can safely choose the one that has the most appealing flavour to you. Rangers are not terrible by any means, but lose a lot of steam after lvl 5 and in my opinion need a serious rework in the next official book.
    So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed reading this guide and of course please do post your comments/criticism/insults right below.
    Last edited by TheBirba; 2018-10-08 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Update n.3

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Sydney, NSW
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    [reserved for possible future additions]

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Banned
     
    ClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    'Get a horse'.

    When mounted you can use your horses movement speed (60' for the horse) and it can use its action to dash and disengage (leaving your action and bonus action free for the round to shoot things).

    Great for kiting.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Really well done.

    One additional option I've been looking at is Elf + Way of Shadows Monk. Definitely not a conventional archer, but the speed boost, "dodge as a bonus action" and "deflecting missiles" gives it some interesting defensive options that you don't get from many other places.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    I think you're overselling the rogue's cunning hide.
    Popping out of the same spot is liable to the dm not giving you advantage, and often the terrain doesn't allow for you to pick out a new poke hole.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Louisville
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by StoicLeaf View Post
    I think you're overselling the rogue's cunning hide.
    Popping out of the same spot is liable to the dm not giving you advantage, and often the terrain doesn't allow for you to pick out a new poke hole.
    A Lightfoot Halfling will be able to find somewhere to hide most of the time.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by imanidiot View Post
    A Lightfoot Halfling will be able to find somewhere to hide most of the time.
    I'm not questioning the hiding bit, I'm questioning the repetitive attack pattern.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Troll in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Regarding Bards: Crossbow Expert can be used in conjunction with Sharpshooter and the Elemental Weapon spell, which is actually stronger with a hand crossbow than Swift Quiver with a longbow if you don't have at least a +1 magic weapon. Swift Quiver overtakes it (by a small amount) with a +1 or +2 magic weapon. Elemental Weapon also has a longer duration, makes the weapon count as magical, and can be cast on others, if necessary. Swift Quiver is a great option, no argument, but don't count Elemental Weapon out. Crossbow Expert also has the (very valuable, in my experience) benefit of removing the penalty for shooting when an enemy is within 5ft. I wouldn't call it a trap option.

    Dipping a level of Fighter to start, for Archery style and Constitution save proficiency really helps an archer bard's average damage and helps them keep their spells up.
    Last edited by JAL_1138; 2017-05-30 at 07:01 AM.
    Spoiler: Playground Quotes
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Safety Sword View Post
    JAL_1138: Founding Member of the Paranoid Adventurer's Guild.
    Quote Originally Posted by TeChameleon View Post
    - If it's something mortals were not meant to know, I've already found six different ways to blow myself and/or someone else up with it.
    Gnomish proverb


    I use blue text for silliness and/or sarcasm. Do not take anything I say in blue text seriously, except for this sentence and the one preceding it.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    I think you vastly underestimate crossbow expert for rogues. An extra chance to land sneak attack is highly valuable and only gets more so as you level up. And sometimes you just really need something to be dead yesterday and pumping every ressources in damage is the best strategy. Crossbow expert allows that.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Troll in the Playground
     
    jaappleton's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    First: Well done. The Archer is somethhing that can be made so many different ways, so having all this analysis in one place is great. So, well done.

    Secondly, I do think you're short changing the Feats for a Rogues just a bit. Also, it is important to note that without Crossbow Expert, the single attacks of the Rogue means hit or miss, all or nothing. IMO, that's a big drawback (Pardon the pun). I wait all round for my turn to swing and miss? That's disheartening. Just something to note.

    Third, any shot of evaluating the Unearthed Arcana archetypes? I know not all tables allow them, but I think they should be discussed.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    You might also want to discuss the biggest handicap of an archer, ammunition (as opposed to say a melee character).

    I find mending to be a big help here. After each fight (when practical) I try to collect what ammo I can, my DM lets me get about 50% back (locatable and not broken), with mending I can increase that to 75% to also get the broken ones back.

    Carry two quivers for a base of 40 arrows and should be okay for most adventures.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by tieren View Post
    You might also want to discuss the biggest handicap of an archer, ammunition (as opposed to say a melee character).

    I find mending to be a big help here. After each fight (when practical) I try to collect what ammo I can, my DM lets me get about 50% back (locatable and not broken), with mending I can increase that to 75% to also get the broken ones back.

    Carry two quivers for a base of 40 arrows and should be okay for most adventures.
    Eh, this is just a guess but I bet most DMs don't require strict ammo counting.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    I think you're significantly underselling Crossbow Expert, which I'd rank even more highly than Sharpshooter. It's an extra attack. It does extra damage, gives you the extra chance of hitting, lets you spread your damage over more targets, triggers things like Hunter's Mark an extra time, gives you an extra shot at landing things like Sneak Attack...

    I also note that you haven't mentioned vHumans. Given how much of archery's power is tied up in the two feats, getting an extra at level 1 is invaluable.

    STaRS (and STaRS Lite)
    A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system, by me. Now officially released!

    Grod's Guide to Greatness
    A big book of player options for 5e, by me

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Agreed that you're selling crossbow expert short for a Rogue. A rogue wants to maximize the chance to hit with their Sneak Attack every single turn. The strategy assumes you're using bonus action Hide at the end of each round, not the beginning, but once you're doing that it means you've got the option to take a second shot with your Bonus Action if you missed with your first one. This maximizes your chance of hitting with Sneak Attack each round (assuming that you can trigger Sneak Attack without the advantage from Hide, presumably because you're shooting at an enemy who's adjacent to one of your allies).

    Also, it's criminal to mention Arcane Trickster and not the fact that you can grab Find Familiar as one of your spells at Level 3, which gives you another way to get Advantage!

    Other stuff you might want to consider including is an evaluation of the various archer oriented magic items. I'm personally trying to figure out how much to value the Oathbow, for example, relative to a +2 Longbow. The Longbow is my primary go-to weapon, but for BBEG fights I'm trying to figure out if picking up an Oathbow as an alternative weapon is worthwhile.
    Last edited by rooneg; 2017-05-30 at 09:16 AM.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Dominican Republic
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    For people pointing out the usefulness of Crossbow expert, does it not bring the problem that you will have to use your bonus action attack to make a melee attack? (maybe you can throw your weapon)

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxilian View Post
    For people pointing out the usefulness of Crossbow expert, does it not bring the problem that you will have to use your bonus action attack to make a melee attack? (maybe you can throw your weapon)
    Umm, I have no idea what you're talking about here. Someone who takes Crossbow Expert is unlikely to ever be using their bonus action to make a melee attack, they're either using it to make a hand crossbow attack (assuming their other hand is empty), or they're using it for a Cunning Action (if they're a Rogue).

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Dominican Republic
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by rooneg View Post
    Umm, I have no idea what you're talking about here. Someone who takes Crossbow Expert is unlikely to ever be using their bonus action to make a melee attack, they're either using it to make a hand crossbow attack (assuming their other hand is empty), or they're using it for a Cunning Action (if they're a Rogue).
    NVM, i assumed that if you have Crossbow Expert, you couldn't use the Attack action to attack with the crossbow and then use the bonus action to attack with the same crossbow again.

    NOTE: I was talking about the second chance of hitting with the Sneaking attack
    Last edited by Maxilian; 2017-05-30 at 10:39 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Corran's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Greece
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    I dont know if this was mentioned (didnt read all the previous comments), but I am surprised that you rated horder breaker lower than collosus slayer. An archer can capitilize more easily of the horde breaker requirement (two enemies adjacent to each other) than a melee character, and if my memory serves right it takes 3 turn for collosus slayer to catch up with 1 impact for horder breaker (or something close enough).
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I hereby bestow upon you a magic sword, the Sword of Corran, which will henceforth be the only thing that can permanently destroy my withered undead hand and nose.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Specter's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Brazil

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Things I suggest/can't agree with:

    - Anyone who intends to call themselves an archer needs the Archery fighting style. No exceptions. +2 to all your attacks are too much to be ignored.
    - You rate the Eldritch Knight as black, while the Battlemaster is gold. Then below, you rate the Arcane Trickster as the best archetype for archery because it gives you Minor Illusion, Invisibility and Greater Invisibility. Eldritch Knight gives you the same things, except one level later. Additionally, EKs also have much better reaction uses through Shield/Absorb Elements than any archer. You should mention those things.
    - If you find a way to add more damage dice to your attack (like a Ranger or Rogue multiclass), you should give Champion a try. A normal crit is not scary, but when 5d6 are riding on that attack it becomes serious.
    - Ranger spellcasting as black is a massive understatement. Ensnaring Strike can leave a foe completely powerless for one or more rounds, along with the damage. Conjure Barrage has insane range. Lightning Arrow/Hail of Thorns are like an arrow smite that can damage multiple foes. Conjure Volley is like a Fireball with twice as much radius (so, four times the area). Swift Quiver gives you as many attacks as a level-20 fighter. Black? What?

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Dominican Republic
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by Specter View Post
    Things I suggest/can't agree with:

    - You rate the Eldritch Knight as black, while the Battlemaster is gold. Then below, you rate the Arcane Trickster as the best archetype for archery because it gives you Minor Illusion, Invisibility and Greater Invisibility. Eldritch Knight gives you the same things, except one level later. Additionally, EKs also have much better reaction uses through Shield/Absorb Elements than any archer. You should mention those things.
    Arcabe Trickster give you acess to Sneak Attack (this is the main reason he rated it so high), Though i do agree that EK could be a really good archer.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Specter's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Brazil

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxilian View Post
    Arcabe Trickster give you acess to Sneak Attack (this is the main reason he rated it so high), Though i do agree that EK could be a really good archer.
    I know. I'm talking specifically about the rating of the rogue archetypes, not the rogue itself.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Dominican Republic
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by Specter View Post
    I know. I'm talking specifically about the rating of the rogue archetypes, not the rogue itself.
    But its weird to compare 2 subclasses from different classes, while ignoring the classes. (as the things that make the classes are what tell you if the subclass even work)
    Last edited by Maxilian; 2017-05-30 at 04:02 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Nice guide.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Greece
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    CE is better for rogues than you give it credit for. Using the bonus action for CE is strictly better than advantage and the fact that you can combine it with advantage sometimes, allows for 4 rolls per turn, which is pretty good for SA crits.

    The damage lost from xbow is of no consequence once you get some more levels.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Crusher's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    The sticks
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    I dont know if this was mentioned (didnt read all the previous comments), but I am surprised that you rated horder breaker lower than collosus slayer. An archer can capitilize more easily of the horde breaker requirement (two enemies adjacent to each other) than a melee character, and if my memory serves right it takes 3 turn for collosus slayer to catch up with 1 impact for horder breaker (or something close enough).
    I agree strongly. Certainly, enemies don't *always* stand close together, but its common enough that you will get those extra attacks fairly often. And given that the absolute key to maximizing SS's value is to get extra attacks, a good chance at an extra attacks seems a LOT more valuable than an extra +1d8 once/turn.

    Something like a Ranger 5/War Cleric 1 can potentially get 4 attacks/round (briefly, and in the right situation) which can result in stupidly high amounts of damage.
    "Its a setting less visitor-friendly than the Red Wedding." - 111balz

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Sydney, NSW
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by JAL_1138 View Post
    Regarding Bards: Crossbow Expert can be used in conjunction with Sharpshooter and the Elemental Weapon spell, which is actually stronger with a hand crossbow than Swift Quiver with a longbow if you don't have at least a +1 magic weapon. Swift Quiver overtakes it (by a small amount) with a +1 or +2 magic weapon. Elemental Weapon also has a longer duration, makes the weapon count as magical, and can be cast on others, if necessary. Swift Quiver is a great option, no argument, but don't count Elemental Weapon out. Crossbow Expert also has the (very valuable, in my experience) benefit of removing the penalty for shooting when an enemy is within 5ft. I wouldn't call it a trap option.

    Dipping a level of Fighter to start, for Archery style and Constitution save proficiency really helps an archer bard's average damage and helps them keep their spells up.

    Good suggestion, I should probably expand on which spells work better for each class.
    As far as the Fighter dip, definitely worth it, but I didn't tackle the topic of multiclassing at all as a choice, maybe in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaappleton View Post
    First: Well done. The Archer is somethhing that can be made so many different ways, so having all this analysis in one place is great. So, well done.

    Secondly, I do think you're short changing the Feats for a Rogues just a bit. Also, it is important to note that without Crossbow Expert, the single attacks of the Rogue means hit or miss, all or nothing. IMO, that's a big drawback (Pardon the pun). I wait all round for my turn to swing and miss? That's disheartening. Just something to note.

    Third, any shot of evaluating the Unearthed Arcana archetypes? I know not all tables allow them, but I think they should be discussed.
    No chance for UA, sorry, not going to analyse something I haven't actually play tested.
    I'll address the CEx bit below.

    Quote Originally Posted by tieren View Post
    You might also want to discuss the biggest handicap of an archer, ammunition (as opposed to say a melee character).

    I find mending to be a big help here. After each fight (when practical) I try to collect what ammo I can, my DM lets me get about 50% back (locatable and not broken), with mending I can increase that to 75% to also get the broken ones back.

    Carry two quivers for a base of 40 arrows and should be okay for most adventures.
    Good point, should mention that proficiency with the Fletcher's tools and the mending spell can be very valuable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I think you're significantly underselling Crossbow Expert, which I'd rank even more highly than Sharpshooter. It's an extra attack. It does extra damage, gives you the extra chance of hitting, lets you spread your damage over more targets, triggers things like Hunter's Mark an extra time, gives you an extra shot at landing things like Sneak Attack...

    I also note that you haven't mentioned vHumans. Given how much of archery's power is tied up in the two feats, getting an extra at level 1 is invaluable.
    I assume you mean CEx for Rogues? I did mention how CEx has synergy with Hunter's Mark.
    The problem with CEx and Rogues (and other classes) is action economy. We value Cunning Action very high at our table, and I'd rather have the chance to dash/hide/disengage rather than an extra attack. Sure, it gives you a new chance to land SA, but so does Lucky. I'm not saying CEx is bad for Rogues, just that there are better options (+2 Dex, Lucky etc.). I should probably review that however. Cheers.
    As far as vHuman vs other races, I haven't gone very in-depth about races just yet to avoid having to consider Darkvision and all the other features.

    Quote Originally Posted by rooneg View Post
    Agreed that you're selling crossbow expert short for a Rogue. A rogue wants to maximize the chance to hit with their Sneak Attack every single turn. The strategy assumes you're using bonus action Hide at the end of each round, not the beginning, but once you're doing that it means you've got the option to take a second shot with your Bonus Action if you missed with your first one. This maximizes your chance of hitting with Sneak Attack each round (assuming that you can trigger Sneak Attack without the advantage from Hide, presumably because you're shooting at an enemy who's adjacent to one of your allies).

    Also, it's criminal to mention Arcane Trickster and not the fact that you can grab Find Familiar as one of your spells at Level 3, which gives you another way to get Advantage!

    Other stuff you might want to consider including is an evaluation of the various archer oriented magic items. I'm personally trying to figure out how much to value the Oathbow, for example, relative to a +2 Longbow. The Longbow is my primary go-to weapon, but for BBEG fights I'm trying to figure out if picking up an Oathbow as an alternative weapon is worthwhile.
    Good point about the Arcane Trickster (and Eldritch Knight) and Find Familiar, I literally forgot about that. I feel it's an inconsistent and cheesy tactic but it may very well work in some tables, giving a better score to CEx.
    As far as the magical items are concerned, I may be doing that next. For now, since I suck at maths, consider advantage as a flat +5 to hit. It's not totally right, but it's a start.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    I dont know if this was mentioned (didnt read all the previous comments), but I am surprised that you rated horder breaker lower than collosus slayer. An archer can capitilize more easily of the horde breaker requirement (two enemies adjacent to each other) than a melee character, and if my memory serves right it takes 3 turn for collosus slayer to catch up with 1 impact for horder breaker (or something close enough).
    Personal choice, I like Colossus Slayer better for it's consistency. Horde Breaker is good, but it depends on the fight. There is a thread somewhere with a breakdown for the two, I'll find it and add it. 👍

    Quote Originally Posted by Specter View Post
    Things I suggest/can't agree with:

    - Anyone who intends to call themselves an archer needs the Archery fighting style. No exceptions. +2 to all your attacks are too much to be ignored.
    - You rate the Eldritch Knight as black, while the Battlemaster is gold. Then below, you rate the Arcane Trickster as the best archetype for archery because it gives you Minor Illusion, Invisibility and Greater Invisibility. Eldritch Knight gives you the same things, except one level later. Additionally, EKs also have much better reaction uses through Shield/Absorb Elements than any archer. You should mention those things.
    - If you find a way to add more damage dice to your attack (like a Ranger or Rogue multiclass), you should give Champion a try. A normal crit is not scary, but when 5d6 are riding on that attack it becomes serious.
    - Ranger spellcasting as black is a massive understatement. Ensnaring Strike can leave a foe completely powerless for one or more rounds, along with the damage. Conjure Barrage has insane range. Lightning Arrow/Hail of Thorns are like an arrow smite that can damage multiple foes. Conjure Volley is like a Fireball with twice as much radius (so, four times the area). Swift Quiver gives you as many attacks as a level-20 fighter. Black? What?
    Battle Master is sky blue, not gold, same as Arcane Trickster. I state that all the archetypes are good but to me, those are the best of the three for each class. Eldritch Knight works as an archer, but works best as a melee.
    As above, I haven't looked at Multiclassing options yet, but that's good advice there.
    About Ranger spell casting, I rated it ok because most spells are concentration. If you're fighting a horde of mooks then Conjure Volley/Barrage, Lightning Arrow and Hail of Thorns are all cool, but if you're fighting one or two enemies you're better off with Hunter's Mark/Conjure Animals. Concentration is a big limit in actual play.. Swift Quiver is great but it's at level 17 and eats your bonus action. It's not bad, it's just ok to me.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    I love how Rangers are just rated "Ok" in the playstyle that should be their speciality.
    Pardon me for any weird things, I have schizophrenia.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Corran's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Greece
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonSorcererX View Post
    I love how Rangers are just rated "Ok" in the playstyle that should be their speciality.
    There was a very old thread that analyzed classes & archery.
    If I remember right, according to that thread, rangers were the best for levels 2-9.
    I'll try to see if I can find it.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I hereby bestow upon you a magic sword, the Sword of Corran, which will henceforth be the only thing that can permanently destroy my withered undead hand and nose.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Sydney, NSW
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    There was a very old thread that analyzed classes & archery.
    If I remember right, according to that thread, rangers were the best for levels 2-9.
    I'll try to see if I can find it.
    This is probably the one you referred to. The problem with this thread is the author did not weight Sharpshooter properly - I think he says so on page 2 or 3.

    Nevertheless the Ranger is still the best ranged attacker before lvl 10, assuming you manage to keep Hunter's Mark up all the time (spoiler: you won't).
    Last edited by TheBirba; 2017-05-30 at 11:33 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Euphonistan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: So you want to play an archer? An analysis of the archer concept in D&D 5E

    Yea cunning action is nice but you are WAY undervaluing that extra attack. There is a reason that TWF is considered great for melee rogues and crossbow expert is one of the few ways to get that same effect at range. Missing is a big deal with a rogue and that second attempt is huge. Also remember you can always choose to sue cunning action if you hit with the first attack or in other situations where dealing damage is less important. More options is a good thing not a bad thing.
    A vestige for me "Pyro火gnus Friend of Meepo" by Zaydos.

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/shows...5&postcount=26

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •