D&D 3E/3.5 3.5 Arcane Archer -- Nifft's Version!

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Arcane Archer

Role: Niche Archer

Prerequisites:
Skill Ranks: Knowlege (Arcana) 5+, Spellcraft 5+
BAB: 5+
Feats: Weapon Focus (any Bow), Point Blank Shot and at least one of Rapid Shot, Precise Shot or Far Shot
Spellcasting: Ability to cast 1st-level Arcane spells as a Sorcerer or Wizard


HD: d6
BAB: Full (as Fighter)
Good Saves: Reflex, Will / Bad Save: Fortitude
Skill Points: 4 + Int bonus
Class Skills: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowlege (Arcana, Nature, Religion, Dungeoneering, Geography, Planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis) and Swim (Str).


Code:
Lev  BAB  Fort  Ref   Will  Spellcasting    Special Abilities
1    +1    +0    +2    +2    --             Imbue Arrows (+1 Magic)
2    +2    +0    +3    +3    +1 Level       Arrow Touch
3    +3    +1    +3    +3    --             Imbue Arrows (Effect)
4    +4    +1    +4    +4    +1 Level       Arcane Shot I
5    +5    +1    +4    +4    --             Imbue Arrows (Effect)
6    +6    +2    +5    +5    +1 Level       Combined Casting
7    +7    +2    +5    +5    --             Imbue Arrows (Effect)
8    +8    +2    +6    +6    +1 Level       Penetrating Arrow
9    +9    +3    +6    +6    --             Enhance Effect
10  +10    +3    +7    +7    +1 Level       Arcane Shot II, Enhance Effect
Special Abilities:
  • Imbue Arrows (Magic) (Su): All arrows fired by the Arcane Archer gain a magical +1 Enhancement bonus. (Thus, they penetrate DR/Magic.)
  • Arrow Touch (Su): The Arcane Archer may deliver Touch or Ranged Touch spells via her arrows, though the arrow must hit normally (it is not treated as a ranged touch attack, simply as a ranged attack which also delivers the touch spell). The character must be "holding the charge" when she fires the arrow, and each arrow uses up a charge even if it misses.
  • Imbue Arrows (Effect) (Su): All arrows fired by the Arcane Archer are treated as if they had a single specific special ability from the following list: Bane*, Distance, Flaming, Frost, Ghost Touch, Keen, Merciful, Seeking, Shock, or Thundering; or gain a single alignment trait (Chaotic, Evil, Good, Lawful) for the purpose of penetrating damage reduction.
    Each special ability can only be chosen once, except Bane, which can be chosen multiple times (picking a different designated foe each time). Once chosen, special abilities are fixed (cannot be exchanged).
    You may choose a maximum of two Alignment traits, and they may not conflict (e.g. Lawful and Chaotic).
  • Arcane Shot I (Su): As a free action, the Arcane Archer may expend a prepared spell and focus its energy into one of her arrows. If the arrow strikes, it deals +1d4/spell level damage. The spell is expended even if the arrow misses. (A Cantrip grants +1 damage.)
  • Combined Casting (Su): As a full-round action, the Arcane Archer may both cast a spell (with a Casting Time of 1 standard action) and fire a single arrow.
  • Penetrating Arrow (Su): The Arcane Archer may choose to subtract a number from his BAB and add that number to his caster level for the purpose of overcoming SR. This ability only applies to spells delivered via his arrows.
  • Enhance Effect(Su): The Arcane Archer may upgrade one of his previously chosen Imbued Effects to a more powerful effect, as follows:
    • Chaotic Alignment Trait -> Anarchic
    • Lawful Alignment Trait -> Axiomatic
    • Flaming -> Flaming Burst
    • Good Alignment Trait -> Holy
    • Frost -> Icy Burst
    • Shock -> Shocking Burst
    • Evil Alignment Trait -> Unholy
    • Alternately, the Arcane Archer may choose to add an additional Effect from the lower-level ability list.
  • Arcane Shot II (Su): As Arcane Shot I above, except the arrow receives +1/spell level to the attack roll and +1d6/spell level to the damage roll. (A Cantrip grants +1 to both Attack and Damage.)

Note that an Arcane Archer can selectively suppress any Imbued effect at will (for example, he might suppress the Flaming property if he did not wish to set fire to a structure).

-- N

EDIT1: Imbue Arrow (Effects I) clarification.
EDIT2: Lowered Skill Rank requirements.
EDIT3: Fixed a typo in the Special Abilities list. Thanks, Zad!
EDIT4: Changed Penetration and Arcane Shot abilities.
EDIT5: Changed how Imbued Effects work.
EDIT6: First-level grants +1, instead of just Magic.
EDIT7: Fixed up language, Cantrips, moved suppression text, etc.
 
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DrSpunj

Explorer
Nifft said:
Let me know what you think, and feel free to steal my gloriously unique and awe-inspiring mechanics!
:D

You've got some cool ideas here, N!

I like the Imbue Arrow Effects especially. Combining it with the enhancement bonus is kind of neat. It's not clear to me, though, if the AA chooses those abilities for each arrow on the fly (even swapping abilities for different arrows in a full attack action) or if it's a fixed choice made when the AA reaches each level and gets that ability. Can you please clarify?

Finally, have you seen this in play?
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
DrSpunj said:
It's not clear to me, though, if the AA chooses those abilities for each arrow on the fly (even swapping abilities for different arrows in a full attack action) or if it's a fixed choice made when the AA reaches each level and gets that ability. Can you please clarify?

Fixed. The Arcane Archer in a sense becomes a magic bow. I left in the Enhancement bonus as an option, but with Greater Magic Weapon so widely available, I can't see many archers getting all excited about it. Unlimited Ghost Touch arrows, though, that might excite someone. :)

There ought to be provisions for switching out special abilities later, but I can't think of any good methods that aren't better left for the Epic expansion of this class.

Thanks for your comments! -- N
 

FrankTrollman

First Post
Since we are accepting that these people want to use magic in conjunction with their bows - there is absolutely no reason for them to take an enhancement bonus instead of a special ability.

Remember - they will be using GMW unless their enhancement bonus from the class feature is bigger. And since it doesn't start out bigger, there's no point in them ever investing in it.

---

Also - at +1 caster level every other level - they might as well just not get it. Remember that the Theurge falls behind a set number of levels and stays that way. If your character is falling behind faster than that, they are becoming useless as their levels approach infinity.

Halfcaster progression was bad design - and hopefully it's been removed from 3.5. I don't suggest bringing it back.

-Frank
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
FrankTrollman said:
Remember - they will be using GMW unless their enhancement bonus from the class feature is bigger. And since it doesn't start out bigger, there's no point in them ever investing in it.

Also - at +1 caster level every other level - they might as well just not get it. Remember that the Theurge falls behind a set number of levels and stays that way. If your character is falling behind faster than that, they are becoming useless as their levels approach infinity.

1) I agree. I added the "+1 Enhancement Bonus" as an option, but IMHO it's stupid. The Special Abilities are the real class ability, the Enhancement Bonus is there for "insurance". After all, it's not unbalancing to allow sub-optimal options -- if it were, Toughness wouldn't be Core.

2) Well, ya see, the class gets Fighter BAB, two good saves, and a sheep-load of special abilities -- one at every level. So, it ain't getting full spellcaster progression. I think that +5 Spellcaster Level is a pretty good boost for what's primarily a ranged fighter class.

-- N
 

FrankTrollman

First Post
) Well, ya see, the class gets Fighter BAB, two good saves, and a sheep-load of special abilities -- one at every level. So, it ain't getting full spellcaster progression. I think that +5 Spellcaster Level is a pretty good boost for what's primarily a ranged fighter class.

Why not?

It's supposed to be Fighter and a Wizard. That means it has to progress in both. When you enter the class you are several levels behind in your spellcasting and fighting progressions. So having them fall any farther behind in either makes them worthless.

The CR system assumes that one character 2 levels higher is worth about two characters at the lower level. That could be two fighters, or a spellcaster and a fighter working together. Once your character is fighting at the level of a character a couple of levels lower than he is - he has to gain fighting prowess at the same rate as a regular fighting PrC or he's falling behind. Once the character is a couple of levels behid where he could be in spellcasting - he has to gain spellcasting at the same rate as a spellcaster PrC or he's falling behind.

You've committed yourself to writing a prestige class to be a warrior and a spellcaster at the same time. The realities of 3.5 D&D being what they are - that means that you have to give out Full BAB, Full Spellcasting, and Combat Abilities every single level.

The class might look unbalanced - but the character won't be - which is what is actually important. As long as the real wizard is still casting more powerful spells, and the Order of the Bow Initiate still has a better BAB - the class isn't unbalanced.

Whenever you design a split class PrC like this: remember that you literally could simply be an all-out warrior and spend a feat on Leadership and have a pet wizard just two levels less than yourself. If your class is handing out spellcasting that is more than 2 levels behind the curve ever - you've failed. So if you even think of putting in half caster progression you might as well not waste our time.

-Frank
 

ruleslawyer

Registered User
I dunno. Let's do the comparison:

Wiz16 vs. Wiz2/Ftr4/Arc10

Wiz16: 16d4 HD, Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +10, BAB +8, 38 + Int bonus skill points, 3 wizard bonus feats, casts spells as Wiz16

Arc: 2d4+4d10+10d6 HD, Fort +7, Ref +8, Will +11, BAB +15, 58 + Int bonus skill points, casts spells as Wiz7, all arcane archer abilities, 3 fighter bonus feats

OK, so the arcane archer gets more hit points, better saves, better BAB, and more skill points, plus the ability to magic up his arrows, in exchange for nine wizard levels. The real problem is that this actually may make for a balanced character, but one for whom the arcane archer class abilities themselves (particular the spell-affecting arrow abilities) aren't very useful. I might consider amping the spell progression up to 2/3 (no spellcasting at 3rd, 6th, and 9th level).
 

Zad

First Post
That's a damned interesting variant you have there.

Had you considered a class ability that could give an alignment property to the arrow? In other words, as an extension of Imbue Arrow (Magic) it would increase later to Imbue Arrow (Alignment) and the arrow would be treated as Good (or whatever the character's alignment is) for the purpose of overcoming DR?

Granted you could do that with the holy quality later so perhaps it's redundant. Just a thought.

I think if we had this build when my campaign started and it was 3.5 then, we might have used this instead. It allows good synergy between having a magic bow and the AA still providing other abilitites.
 

Nail

First Post
Nifft-

This is an excellent PrC.

...and of course, I'd tweak it. :)

I tend to agree with FrankTrollman in principle; you'll need to give the Arcane Archer a few more Caster levels to be competitive. ...But maybe not too many more. (Especially isnce I don't play Epic....what happens to a PrC after 20th level is irrelevant.)

I'd be tempted to give the "imbue arrow" power a bit of a boost or change.....perhaps make that power the primary power of the class. First, the PrC could cast area of effect spells, then ranged spells, then touch spells, etc.

Hmmm. Great food for thought, Nifft!

[EDIT] Linking these two threads together.
 
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Nifft

Penguin Herder
FrankTrollman: Looking at this as a Wizard's PrC is an error. It's not a specialized caster, it's a magical archer. Note the Requirements: 3 Feats, BAB 5+, and 1st-level spellcasting. It hasn't got much Wizard in it.

If you want a full Warrior/Wizard PrC, go play an Eldrich Knight: Full BAB, 1 good save (Fort), 2 skill points per level. It's got an almost full spellcasting progression.

My PrC is balanced against that as one extreme: full BAB, full spellcasting. Since my PrC grants full BAB and a load of other stuff, it sure as Shadow can't grant full spellcasting.

Your complaint makes about as much sense as whining that the Paladin should grant full Clerical spellcasting, since "it's a Fighter and a Cleric!"



Zad: Thanks! I think that "Imbue Arrow (Some DR Thingy)" would be a balanced +1 ability replacement (for most DR thingies: Silver, Cold Iron, Good, Lawful, Chaotic, Evil).

However, those things aren't standard, and I wanted this PrC to be as "Core-Compatible" as possible. The original ArcArch was the master of overcoming DR, but under those rules the DR-beater also granted them extra damage.

Align Weapon is only a 2nd level spell... but it's not a Wizard spell. :(



Nail: The Imbue Arrow ability really is the focus of the class! It's certainly one of the most powerful features. Delivering Touch spells via arrow is also pretty powerful, and that's what the 2nd level ability "Arrow Touch" does! ;)


Here's how I see the ArcArch's spellcasting being used:
1) Ghoul Touch on low-level mooks.
2) Cat's Grace on himself.
3) Touch of Fatigue on a fleeing foe.
4) See Invisibility and the like on himself.
5) True Strike every now and again.
6) Shocking Grasp -- that's gonna smart!
7) Touch of Idiocy -- that's gonna dumb!
8) Utility spells like Spider Climb, Darkvision and Levitate can make an archer a lot more effective.

-- N
 

FrankTrollman

First Post
Looking at this as a Wizard's PrC is an error. It's not a specialized caster, it's a magical archer. Note the Requirements: 3 Feats, BAB 5+, and 1st-level spellcasting. It hasn't got much Wizard in it.

Just by taking wizarding to the point of casting 1st level spells you are behind on your Warrior by at least one level. Wizard gives you no BAB, and no Warrior abilities - putting you at least an entire level behind. Remember that being 2 levels behind you are half a character, and so on.

So the minimum entry is:

6th level character with 5 levels of Warrior and 1 level of Wizard. You are a Warrior and a Wizard. You are:

1 level behind as a Warrior, this makes you 71% of a character of your level.
but you are also
5 levels behind as a Wizard - which means that you are simultaneously 18% of a character of your level.

Altogether that's about 89% of a character of your level - weak, but playable. The problem is that if you ever fall any farther behind in Wizardry or Fighting you are less than 89% of a character of your level. And that's too much.

That's how the game balance math actually works out. Being a Fighter Wizard is unbalanced if you are more than a certain number of total levels behind in magic and fighting vs. a single classed character. Level proportion doesn't make any difference at all.

So any time you don't get a spellcaster level, that level had better be worth two levels of Barbarian (including BAB and Hit Dice) - or the character is falling farther behind.

And since they are already sub par - that's inexcusable.

-Frank
 

Spatzimaus

First Post
FrankTrollman said:
That's how the game balance math actually works out. Being a Fighter Wizard is unbalanced if you are more than a certain number of total levels behind in magic and fighting vs. a single classed character. Level proportion doesn't make any difference at all.

So, compare a Bard to a Fighter/Sorcerer. A level 10 Bard has the BAB and HP of a 7th-level Fighter (without bonus Feats), and the spellcasting ability of a 6th-level Sorcerer. By this math he's 35%+25%=60% of a character? But wait, that ignores all the extra skill points and class abilities he gets.

This version of the Arcane Archer has more skill points than either Fighters or Wizards, with a skill list that includes Hide and Move Silently. It has a good number of class abilities. Two good saves, full BAB... it's definitely more than the sum of its parts.

Anyway, back to the original point. I'd just make a few suggestions for ability tweaks.

I like Arrow Touch. The biggest problem, though, is that it costs you a turn; you cast a touch spell, and then the next turn fire an arrow at someone. True Strike is the same sort of thing; at low level this might be reasonable, but by high levels can you really afford that much time for one attack?

Combined Casting just seems a bit awkward as is; the spell you cast might have nothing to do with your attack. I'm sure this is nice for things like buffs. You could make it into a higher-level version of Arrow Touch, though; how about:

Combined Shot (6th level): As a full-round action, you can both cast a touch or ranged touch spell and deliver it with a single arrow to your target.
(Phrased another way: casting a touch spell becomes a Move-Equivalent Action that doesn't draw an AoO if you then use the Arrow Touch ability to deliver it, so you can cast the spell AND deliver it in the same turn.)

Penetrating Arrow just seems a bit weak; with the 5/10 caster level the class gives you, you'll already be really far behind on SR checks. If you really want to keep it about "penetration", add a DR-neutralization ability as well.

Instead, how about moving Arcane Shot II to level 8, and then adding something like:
Innate Shot (10th level): As a standard action, you can both cast a touch, single-target, or area spell and deliver it with a single arrow to your target.
(Phrased another way: casting a spell that can be put in a Spell Storing arrow becomes a Free Action (quickened spell, so only 1/round) if you then use the Arrow Touch ability to deliver it.)
 

Zad

First Post
I was just re-reviewing the class and seeing what it would do to me for a reference. Noticed a typo. Your last bullet says Arcane Shot I when it should be II.

As a side note, I'm not sure Arcane Shot I is right. Seems a little on the weak side. If I dump a third level spell, I only get +3 damage? That seems fairly inconsequential and a bad tradeoff. Heck magic missles do better. AA's can rarely cast high level spells, so it's probably safe to bump this to more damage per spell level.

Another thing I like about this is that either I can use a high enhancement-bonus bow, and use adders from the class like flaming etc, or use my class abilities for magic arrows and get flaming etc from my bow. But there's no waste.

The only downside is if I take flaming early, and want flaming burst later, but that seems minor.
 

Zad

First Post
FrankTrollman said:
So the minimum entry is:

6th level character with 5 levels of Warrior and 1 level of Wizard. You are a Warrior and a Wizard. You are:
Answer: Silly. :)

The minimum path you mention is not a good one. As a 5th level fighter you gain nothing but hit points. A better entry path is 4th level fighter, 2nd level wizard.

You still hit 4th in fighter to gain the weapon spec feat which is key. But to get that last point of BAB, you may as well do it in your spellcasting class and gain the spells and caster level. You give up a few hp but it's minor in the long run.
 

Nail

First Post
Nifft: I am so gonna steal your PrC and your formatting. Both rock! (My formatting skilz, OTOH, are not so great. :) )

Here's my tweaks:

Arcane Archer

(copy all of Nifft's model) then tweak:

Code:
[u]Lvl  BAB Fort Ref Will  Spellcasting  Special Abilities[/u]
 1   +1   +0   +2   +2       --       Enhance Arrows(+1)
 2   +2   +0   +3   +3    +1 Level    Imbue Arrow
 3   +3   +1   +3   +3    +1 Level    Penetrating Arrow, Enhance Arrows(+2)
 4   +4   +1   +4   +4        --      Improved Imbue Arrow
 5   +5   +1   +4   +4    +1 Level    Bonus Feat, Enhance Arrows(+3)
 6   +6   +2   +5   +5    +1 Level    Arrows of Energy
 7   +7   +2   +5   +5        --      Combined Casting, Enhance Arrows(+4)
 8   +8   +2   +6   +6    +1 Level    Arrows of Energy (II)
 9   +9   +3   +6   +6    +1 Level    Enhance Arrows(+5)
10  +10   +3   +7   +7    +1 Level    Arrows of Energy (III)
Special Abilities:
  • Enhance Arrow (Su): At 1st level, every arrow an arcane archer shoots gains a +1 enhancement bonus. (As usual, this does not stack with other enhancement bonuses, like those from a magical bow or arrow.) The arcane archer's arrows are only magical if she shoots them. For every two class (arcane archer) levels, the magic arrows she creates gain +1 greater enhancement (+1 at 1st level, +2 at 3rd level, +3 at 5th level, +4 at 7th level, and +5 at 9th level).
  • Imbue Arrow (Sp): At 2nd level, an arcane archer gains the ability to place an arcane area spell upon an arrow. When the arrow is fired, the spell’s area is centered (or origniates) on where the arrow lands, even if the spell could normally be centered only on the caster. This ability allows the archer to use the bow’s range rather than the spell’s range. It takes a standard action to cast the spell and fire the arrow. The arrow must be fired in the round the spell is cast, or the spell is wasted.
  • Penetrating Arrow (Su): Starting at 3rd level, when using any of herimbue arrow abilities, an arcane archer may add her class level as a bonus to caster level checks when trying to overcome a target's Spell Resistance. This bonus stacks with caster levels gained as an Arcane Archer, as well as with feats like Spell Penetration.
  • Improved Imbue Arrow (Su): At 4th level, an arcane archer gains the ability to place a touch attack arcane spell upon an arrow. In all other respects, this ability functions that same as Imbue Arrow.
  • Bonus Feat: At 5th level, an arcane archer gains an additional feat, which may be used for any metamagic or item creation feat, or one from the following list: Dodge, Far Shot, Improved Initiative, Improved Precise Shot, Manyshot, Mobility, Mounted Archery, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Shot on the Run.
  • Arrows of Energy (Su): At 6th level, an arcane archer choses one special effect her arrows may have. This decision is fixed once made. Then, as a free action, an arcane archer may make any arrow she shoots (as many or as few as she wishes) take on that special effect. The list of special effect choices are: Bane, Distance, Flaming, Frost, Ghost Touch, Keen, Merciful, Seeking, Shock, or Thundering (see DMG magic ranged weapons section) . At 8th level, and again at 10th level, the arcane archer may chose an additional special effect. Only the Bane effect may be taken more than once, and only for a different type of creature. Special effects may be stacked on an arrow, up to the normal limit for magical arrows (an effective +10 total enhancement; this includes the enhancement bonus to damage).
  • Combined Casting (Su): At 7th level, as a full-round action, the Arcane Archer may both cast a spell (with a Casting Time of 1 standard action) and use a standard attack action with the bow. This ability may not be used with the Imbue Arrow or Improved Imbue Arrow abilities.
 
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FrankTrollman

First Post
So, compare a Bard to a Fighter/Sorcerer. A level 10 Bard has the BAB and HP of a 7th-level Fighter (without bonus Feats), and the spellcasting ability of a 6th-level Sorcerer.

No he doesn't. His variable spell effects come in at 10th level. He casts a 4th level spell every day (which could include Legend Lore - which the Sorcerer wouldn't get until 12th level). He penetrates SR as a 10th level character.

He's not a full caster, but there's no way in hell that he's 4 levels behind.

As to Fighting, he can Inspire Greatness in himself every battle - so he isn't exactly 3 levels down as a warrior either.

The minimum path you mention is not a good one. As a 5th level fighter you gain nothing but hit points. A better entry path is 4th level fighter, 2nd level wizard.


I didn't say Fighter - I said Warrior Class. The character would more than likely be a Ranger 3/Fighter 2 - or even a Ranger 2/Fighter 2/ Barbarian 1. I am well aware of the fact that Fighters get kicked in the nuts every other level starting at 3rd. That's an entirely different balance problem.

-Frank
 

Zad

First Post
Sorry - I tend to focus on fighters as the best AA lead-in for the cherished weapon specialization. Personally I think it's the best way to go but we have a tendency to avoid having 2 levels in six different classes in our games.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Spatzimaus said:
I like Arrow Touch. The biggest problem, though, is that it costs you a turn; you cast a touch spell, and then the next turn fire an arrow at someone. True Strike is the same sort of thing; at low level this might be reasonable, but by high levels can you really afford that much time for one attack?

Here's the thing: there are several Touch-ranged spells that allow more than one touch. I'm thinking that Ghoul Touch and Chill Touch would be popular at low level, and the Combined Casting class ability would synergize well with Vampiric Touch and Touch of Idiocy.

(Phrased another way: casting a touch spell becomes a Move-Equivalent Action that doesn't draw an AoO if you then use the Arrow Touch ability to deliver it, so you can cast the spell AND deliver it in the same turn.)

That's already the way Combined Casting works... I should clear that up.

Penetrating Arrow just seems a bit weak; with the 5/10 caster level the class gives you, you'll already be really far behind on SR checks. If you really want to keep it about "penetration", add a DR-neutralization ability as well.

It's there to compensate for a weakness, not to be a strength. Since the class is intended to be an archer more than a wizard, it might be a totally useless ability. Hmmm... what about a "Power Attack" type thing, that allowed an Arcane Archer to subtract a number of BAB and add that number to Caster Level for the purpose of penetrating SR? Would that be unbalanced?

The "Arcane Shot" ability is there for DR -- however, you're probably right about it being too weak. How about a version modeled on Psionic Shot:

Arcane Shot I (Su): As a free action, the Arcane Archer may expend a prepared spell and focus its energy into one of her arrows. If the arrow strikes, it deals +1d4 damage per level of the spell used. The spell is expended even if the arrow misses.

Arcane Shot II (Su): As Arcane Shot I above, except the arrow receices +1/spell level to the attack roll and +1d6/spell level to the damage roll.

-- N
 

Spatzimaus

First Post
That's already the way Combined Casting works... I should clear that up.

Well, the way Combined Casting works as written allows ANY spell, followed by a single attack. My suggestion was to limit it to only use spells deliverable through arrows, but improve the ability at higher levels by allowing single-target and area spells to go into the arrows and reducing the time needed further.

It's there to compensate for a weakness, not to be a strength. Since the class is intended to be an archer more than a wizard, it might be a totally useless ability.

If it's there to compensate for a weakness, I'd say increase its power a bit more. At 1st level, give +1 to caster level for effects you deliver through arrows, increasing by +1 at each odd level (to +5 at 9th level), which'd entirely make up for the low caster level from the reduced spellcasting levels. So, a Wizard X/AA Y would have the same caster level as a Wizard X+Y when putting spells in arrows; of course, he'd be using much lower spells.

The "Arcane Shot" ability is there for DR -- however, you're probably right about it being too weak. How about a version modeled on Psionic Shot:

Arcane Shot I (Su): As a free action, the Arcane Archer may expend a prepared spell and focus its energy into one of her arrows. If the arrow strikes, it deals +1d4 damage per level of the spell used. The spell is expended even if the arrow misses.

Arcane Shot II (Su): As Arcane Shot I above, except the arrow receives +1/spell level to the attack roll and +1d6/spell level to the damage roll.

Better. It's now a lot closer to that Feat that lets you sacrifice arcane spells for attack/damage boosts. If you sacrifice a 8th-level spell (the highest you could get, as a Wiz 10/AA 10) you'd be able to compare to the Rogue's best Sneak Attacks in damage, with a far higher attack bonus.
What I'd worry about is the quantity; a high-level Sorcerer might have 30-40 non-cantrip spells per day, averaging 3rd level or so. With Arcane Shot 2, I can just use the ability on every single shot I make, for an average of +3 attack and +3d6 damage to each arrow. The +attack makes up for the Sorcerer BAB, so compared to a straight Fighter I can do considerably more damage even if I use my spells only to power this one class ability. And that's not even considering Imbue Arrow. It might just be a bit much.

Anyway, possible changes:
1> Instead of Free Action to power Arcane Shot, make it act as a Quickened spell, with the usual 1/round limit. No using a Full Attack to wipe out everyone in one round...
2> Give the damage a specific type, say, [Force]. That way, it's possible for people to compensate for it.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Spatzimaus said:
Well, the way Combined Casting works as written allows ANY spell, followed by a single attack.

True. I'm okay with that. Since the caster level won't be great, throwing around a Fireball isn't efficient, and I don't care if the ArcArch decides to self-buff while firing a single arrow.


Spazimaus said:
If it's there to compensate for a weakness, I'd say increase its power a bit more.

Check out the current Penetration mechanism.


1> Instead of Free Action to power Arcane Shot, make it act as a Quickened spell, with the usual 1/round limit. No using a Full Attack to wipe out everyone in one round...
2> Give the damage a specific type, say, [Force]. That way, it's possible for people to compensate for it.

I don't really see how the [Force] type would restrict the damage much, since it's not a spell and therefore not subject to SR or prevention by the Shield spell.

As to damage, consider that a level 1 spell can generate 5d4+5 (equivalent to 5d6) damage, with no miss chance. IMHO it's not unfair to trade that for a chance at doing +1d6 damage.

Likewise, a 2nd level spell can do up to 12d6 Fire damage. It's not unfair to trade that for a chance at +2d6 damage.

I agree that it's a more powerful feature for Sorcerers than it is for Wizards, but it's good for both -- in either case, you can choose non-damage spells and "convert" them into damage.

Compared to Psionic Shot, it deals two dice less damage: Psionic Shot converts the cost of a 2nd level Power into +3d4 damage, and the cost of a 3rd level Power into +5d4 damage.

I think this is a flexible prestige class, and I hope it's not overpowered in any single respect.

-- N
 

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