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

AdvntrGuy

First Post
Pretty cool ideas for the class. An idea lending power to the imbue ability popped into my head while reading. I may have missed it, but has there been any thought given to the idea that when attacking with an imbued arrow, the AC to hit for the arrow is normal, but the AC for the spell to go off is a touch attack? Seems like this might be helpful.

What do you guys think?
 

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Nifft

Penguin Herder
AdvntrGuy said:
when attacking with an imbued arrow, the AC to hit for the arrow is normal, but the AC for the spell to go off is a touch attack? Seems like this might be helpful.

Turning a melee Touch attack into a ranged Touch attack is too powerful, especially given the great range of a bow. Turning a melee Touch attack into a regular ranged attack is still pretty darn powerful.

-- N
 

SylverFlame

First Post
Zad said:
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?

I'm with Zad here. Why not put an ability onto the arcane archer that makes their bow cut DR like a monk. They gain the ability passively and attribute it to a bow. For this I'd cut the progression of + bonuses, and I'd only put in three or four DR cutters, like magic, alignment (would mesh with AA's alignment) and something else. I guess that makes three... so then it only needs three. That keeps the AA as a fighting power without heaping on the BAB increases and not just limiting them to cutting DR/magic.
 

Tywyll

First Post
Arcane Strike

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

There is a feat in Dragon 310 that allows someone to expend, as a free action, a spell and gain a +2 bonus to hit and +1d6 damage, both are per level (3rd level spell=+6 to hit and +3d6 damage). You can't get a bonus to hit greater then your Bab fromt he feat though.

If I'm buring my Scorching rays and what not, I would want that kind of extra bonus.

As for the build, I like it. I think some of the suggestions are good though, and I don't agree that giving them a half level caster build is useless... sure, their spells won't hurt many enemies at the highend, but they will buff and protect our AA just fine. Also, I see the AA as more of a paladin/ranger comparison... a fighter with a little bit of magic, rather then a spell caster par excellance.
 

seasong

First Post
What I like best about this PrC is that it can be so very easily tweaked for a bladesinger class. Just replace "bow" with "sword", and it works out just fine.

For that matter, swap out "hammer" and replace the arcane with divine, and this would make a pretty flavorful dwarven 'hammer of X god' :).
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Updated and More Betterer!

That Feat from Dragon would be a bit unbalanced for the ArcArch -- remember that the boost in Attack is balanced by the wizard's lame BAB, while the ArcArch has a primo BAB.

Anyway, I've re-worked the Imbue Arrows power. Now, you can choose Alignment Trait (Good, Evil, Lawful, Chaotic) for a basic Effect, and then the higher-level Enhance Effect class feature lets you upgrade them to Holy, Unholy, Anarchic, or Axiomatic -- along with making such powers as Flaming Burst contingent upon already having the Flaming effect.

So, I think it's more organic and consistant, and will please Zad (who writes one of my favorite Story Hours :) ).

To preserve the total enhancement bonus of the ArcArch, I've also added a second "Enhance Effect" at 10th level.

Seasong: IMHO, this class would be okay for a Bladesinger, but I'd require Bard spellcasting, and give advancement in Bard spellcasting instead of Wizard or Sorcerer. The "Arcane Shot" would be better for a Bard, since they're low on direct-damage spells, but they'd also be allowed to cast spells in light armor -- a key prereq for the Bladesinger IMHO, who's supposed to have shiny magic Elven Chain in pretty colors. Also, I'd probably allow some sort of Bard Song advancement, since Bard's spellcasting advancement is weaker than Wiz or Sorc spellcasting.

As to Dwarven Clerical Hammer of God PrC, you'd have to change the name of "Arcane Shot" to "Smite Conversion". Also, add some sort of ritual to attune your chosen hammer (like Monte Cook's Mage Blade class).


Zad: I'll bet Kayleigh wouldn't mind a bow with Bane(Undead), Bane (Evil Outsiders), Holy and Ghost Touch effects.

-- N
 

FrankTrollman

First Post
That Feat from Dragon would be a bit unbalanced for the ArcArch -- remember that the boost in Attack is balanced by the wizard's lame BAB, while the ArcArch has a primo BAB.

Not quite.

He's at least 1 level behind in BAB and 1 level behind in fighting abilities than is an Order of the Bow Initiate.

And he's paying an ability for Arcane Shot as well.

So if he doesn't use Arcane Shot, he's a minimum of 2 levels worth of abilities and a BAB in the hole.

However, if he does use Arcane Shot he's out his precious spellcasting - meaning that using Arcane Shot had better be worth those 2 levels worth of special abilities and a BAB.

So you are giving up at least two things such as "Improved Combat Style", "Power Shot", or "Ranged Sneak Attack +1d6" and an entire BAB to get this ability. It had better be worth it.

-Frank
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
FrankTrollman said:
He's at least 1 level behind in BAB and 1 level behind in fighting abilities than is an Order of the Bow Initiate.

If you're crazy enough to allow OoBI in your game, that's really not my problem. I don't feel any compulsion to make my PrCs "measure up" to clearly unbalanced Splatbook nonsense.

"Ranged Power Attack"? Don't waste my time.

-- N
 

Elder-Basilisk

First Post
This is really an excellent revision to the Arcane Archer prestige class.

WRT Frank's contention that the 1/2 caster level is useless, he's flat out wrong because he's making the wrong comparison. If you compare the Ftr 8/Wiz 2/Arcane Archer 10 to the Fighter 20 (the proper comparison since the class's prerequisites and abilities are clearly geared towards a character who is primarily a fighter with some integrated magic rather than a wizard who uses magic to fight (like the Eldritch Knight)), it doesn't look nearly so bad.

-1 BAB, -26 hp, -6 feats for an extra strong save, +20 skill points on a good skill list, a boatload of special abilities, and seven spellcasting levels--(which are probably slightly more useful than paladin or ranger spellcasting ability due to the dramatically more diverse spell list).

Since this is an archer class, the hit points aren't as much of a loss as they would be to a melee character. I'd say that the extra strong save probably offsets the loss. The point of BAB is not incredibly significant either. (IME, a character can afford to lose a point or two of BAB and still be able to perform any of the roles that a single-classed fighter would perform without much of any trouble). And I'll assume that the special abilities make up for the feats that the fighter would get (really, they probably more than make up for it since the only ones an archer is likely to care about are Improved Precise Shot, Greater Weapon Focus, and Greater Weapon Specialization so the extra six feats the fighter 20 gets suffer from an extreme case of diminishing returns).

Which leaves the arcane archer seven levels of spellcasting in the black. And the archer should be able to do a fair amount with those levels (there are quite a few 1st-4th level spells which are useful at high levels and don't suffer from reduced caster level--Fly, Blink, Slow (in the dispelling haste function), Rope Trick, Greater Invisibility, Solid Fog, See Invisibility, etc).

My only complaint is that Imbue Arrows (Magic) is really a waste of an ability since arrows fired from magic bows are considered magic already and any character able to take the prestige class ought to have a magic bow. It's not a really big deal since it has flavor and fits the progression of abilities but it would be nice to either give that ability more oomph or add another ability at level 1.
 

FrankTrollman

First Post
If you compare the Ftr 8/Wiz 2/Arcane Archer 10 to the Fighter 20 (the proper comparison since the class's prerequisites and abilities are clearly geared towards a character who is primarily a fighter with some integrated magic rather than a wizard who uses magic to fight (like the Eldritch Knight)), it doesn't look nearly so bad.

But if you compare flotsam that washes up on the beach to a 20th level Fighter it doesn't look so bad either.

Single Classed Fighters are severely underpowered - and making direct comparisons between them and absolutely anything else is pointless unless you are simply making note of the fact that SC Fighters "R teh suk."

If the best thing you can say about your class is that it doesn't look all that bad when compared against a Single Classed Fighter - your class probably needs a lot of work. After all, the Single Classed Fighter is wildly underpowered compared to the Single Classed Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, Druid, Rogue, or even Bard. Single Classed Warriors get punched in the balls in D&D hard.

A character who, after massively multiclassing, is still not superior to one of the worst possible builds in D&D is not writing themselves a good reccomendation.

-Frank
 

Elder-Basilisk

First Post
The Arcane Archer doesn't look so bad compared to a single classed ranger, paladin, or barbarian either (although of all of those characters, only the ranger is good for typical archer builds making a direct comparison potentially misleading).

I wouldn't call Fighter 8/Wizard 2/Arcane Archer 10 "massive multiclassing" either. It's pretty much as vanilla as you can get and still qualify for the class. Massive multiclassing is something like Ftr 2/Clr 2/Mnk 2/Pal 3/Templar 3/Hospitaller 6/Warpriest 4 or Ftr 2/Rgr 1/Bbn 2/Wiz 2/Rog 4/Arcane Archer 3/Deepwood sniper 2/Order of the Bow Initiate 1/Peerless Archer 1 or Ftr 4/Bbn 1/Rgr 1/Rog 2/Temple Raider 2/Holy Liberator 3/Devoted Defender 3/Templar 2/Weapon Master 1.

For that matter, fighter 20 is certainly not "one of the worst possible" builds in D&D (although it may be one of the weakest viable builds). Things like (and, yes, I have actually seen this) Rog 2/Ftr 1/Clr 1/Wiz 1/Rgr 1/Bbn 1/Thief Acrobat 1/Lasher 1 and Wiz 4/Clr 2/Brd 3/Drd 2 are among the worst possible builds. (Halfling Monk/Necromancer is pretty close too).

My experience of D&D (only up to 16th level in 3.x but I think it's enough to let me understand what works) indicates that single classed fighter types are just as viable as single-classed anything else. Nearly any build can be improved by taking a dozen different prestige classes and the warrior types are easier to do this with than others but they're still quite viable in single-class form

FrankTrollman said:
But if you compare flotsam that washes up on the beach to a 20th level Fighter it doesn't look so bad either.

Single Classed Fighters are severely underpowered - and making direct comparisons between them and absolutely anything else is pointless unless you are simply making note of the fact that SC Fighters "R teh suk."

If the best thing you can say about your class is that it doesn't look all that bad when compared against a Single Classed Fighter - your class probably needs a lot of work. After all, the Single Classed Fighter is wildly underpowered compared to the Single Classed Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, Druid, Rogue, or even Bard. Single Classed Warriors get punched in the balls in D&D hard.

A character who, after massively multiclassing, is still not superior to one of the worst possible builds in D&D is not writing themselves a good reccomendation.

-Frank
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Elder-Basilisk said:
My only complaint is that Imbue Arrows (Magic) is really a waste of an ability since arrows fired from magic bows are considered magic already and any character able to take the prestige class ought to have a magic bow. It's not a really big deal since it has flavor and fits the progression of abilities but it would be nice to either give that ability more oomph or add another ability at level 1.

Thanks, E-B!

I feel very strongly about not front-loading my PrCs. The "Imbue Arrow (Magic)" ability isn't very strong, but it could be important in many circumstances, and it leads well into the other abilities.

Also, IMC I nerfed missile weapons differently: bonuses on bows contribute to the attack roll, and bonuses on arrows contribute to the damage roll. Thus, IMC magic bows don't negate DR -- spells like "(Greater) Magic Weapon" remain useful, and this ability counts for something.

Finally, there are some low-magic campaign settings where people don't get exactly the magic items they want -- my campaign is high-magic, but my PCs still don't always get what they want, due to lack of funds, item availability, etc. Currently, they're 7th-8th level, and they have three magic weapons between them (all found, none bought).

Finally, to give Frank what he wants, consider this build:

Ftr1/Wiz5/EK4/ArcArch10 -- 13th level Spellcaster, BAB 17. Well poised to go on to the Epic Arcane Archer... ;)

-- N
 

ruleslawyer

Registered User
Elder-Basilisk said:
My experience of D&D (only up to 16th level in 3.x but I think it's enough to let me understand what works) indicates that single classed fighter types are just as viable as single-classed anything else. Nearly any build can be improved by taking a dozen different prestige classes and the warrior types are easier to do this with than others but they're still quite viable in single-class form
Err, no.

Single-classed fighter is without a doubt the worst single core class build in the game, E-B. You have no useful skills, no class abilities, and the worst saves in the game; one good save without divine grace, rage, evasion, slippery mind, or any of the other goodies that the other one-save classes get to bolster their low save capability. You have lower hit points and damage-dealing capability than the barbarian, which theoretically should be about your equal or inferior in melee, and no ability to enhance your own combat abilities or counter magical attack without using items, which everyone else will have anyway. In fact, your viability at early levels is something of a penalty later on; lots of other folk will dip into fighter, take all of the nifty feats that you have, and then go into other classes or PrCs to roll up those abilities as well.

Nifft: OotBI doesn't have Ranged Power Attack; that's the Peerless Archer.

But I digress. Ultimately, I do see this arcane archer as a somewhat weak build. I keep running over an Eldritch Knight or cleric archer build in my mind and seeing much better potential. The EK in particular really does outclass this character. I think either slightly amped-up spellcasting (Nail's version) or a bonus feat or two are needed to bring this PrC to parity with other core PrCs.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
ruleslawyer: to be a really top-notch Fighter Archer, you need quite a few Feats:
- Point-Blank Shot
- Precise Shot
- Improved Precise Shot
- Far Shot
- Rapid Shot and/or Manyshot
- Mounted Archery (Mounted Combat)
- Shot on the Run (Dodge, Mobility)
- Weapon Focus (Some Bow)
- Greater Weapon Focus (Some Bow)
- Weapon Specialization (Some Bow)
- Greater Weapon Specialization (Some Bow)

For a skirmisher character, also useful would be:
- Weapon Finesse
- Ride-By Attack and maybe Spirited Charge
- Run
- Spring Attack
- WFocus, WSpec, GWFocus, GWSpec in some melee weapon.

I picture this Fighter riding on a flying steed of some sort, to do many nasty things with bow or lance.


Okay, back on topic: at very high levels, my ArcArch gains some significant advantages to a Cleric or Eldrich Knight: relative immunity to Disjunction, immunity to the ancient "I SUNDER HIS BOW!" tactic, and insurance against ambushes (not necessary to pre-buff).

Note that Disjunction and bow-sundering are the big two classic tactics used against high-level archers, and this class is immune to both.

-- N
 

DrSpunj

Explorer
Nifft said:
Okay, back on topic: at very high levels, my ArcArch gains some significant advantages to a Cleric or Eldrich Knight: relative immunity to Disjunction, immunity to the ancient "I SUNDER HIS BOW!" tactic, and insurance against ambushes (not necessary to pre-buff).

Note that Disjunction and bow-sundering are the big two classic tactics used against high-level archers, and this class is immune to both.
Can you explain how your build is immune to sundering? If you mean that once his bow is sundered he can pull out his back-up bow with no real loss of power, then I agree with your claim. As you know, in my build here I tried make sundering difficult with the bow enhancement bonus being higher than what is typically available at the earliest levels. Obviously that isn't nearly as much help if someone took their first AA level at 12th character level or higher.

Still, Disjunction wouldn't work very well against either build! :)

Thanks.
 

Zad

First Post
Nifft said:
Zad: I'll bet Kayleigh wouldn't mind a bow with Bane(Undead), Bane (Evil Outsiders), Holy and Ghost Touch effects.
Heck no ;) Of course, she has the epic feat of holy strike now (special dispensation from the DM).

The disturbing part I realized was that there's no way she can make a new bow - epic magic items are ridiculously expensive and we don't get that kind of cash.

Really like the way this is coming together. WotC should be paying attention.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
DrSpunj said:
Can you explain how your build is immune to sundering? If you mean that once his bow is sundered he can pull out his back-up bow with no real loss of power, then I agree with your claim.

That's exactly what I mean! :)

Stash a dozen or so spare Composite Longbows in your gear -- one on the wagon, two in the Bag of Holding, two in your Quiver of Ehlonna, an extra two on your back (in case you can't get to your Friendly Local Extradimensional Space), and one in every other party member's equipment.

Or perhaps have your neighborhood Wizard cook you up a Robe of Bows... :)

-- N
 

WizarDru

Adventurer
Zad said:
Heck no ;) Of course, she has the epic feat of holy strike now (special dispensation from the DM).

Really like the way this is coming together. WotC should be paying attention.
As far as you're concerned, I should be paying attention. Which I am, as it happens.

Looks very nice, Nifft. Glad to see you're keeping an eye towards balance. I'll have to run some numbers on it when I have a free minute.

Back to work, now.
 

Zad

First Post
Quick correction:

except the arrow receices +1/spell level
... receives ...

Sorry I notice these things.

Now I'm really gonna stretch your brain though. I usually find it an interesting question of balance to see what happens when you try to extend a class into epic levels and see if anything breaks.

So for starters, we can say that the AA gains a caster level every other level, so that progression would continue. Nothing else on the list truly repeats regularly, so that's the end of the easy stuff.

Options include extending the Imbue Arrow effect into the epic progression, or just letting it go with epic feats. My gut reaction is to extend it and go with a very low number of epic feats (1/4 or 1/5 levels, whatever that slowest progression is - I won't list it below but pretend.)

Hrm. First thing should be that they're arrows bypass epic DR thusly:

21st - Imbue Arrow (epic) All arrows fired by the Arcane Archer are considered "epic" for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction

Then we need something like Imbue Arrow (Effect II) that would either let them beef up the arrows more, or perhaps get something like fiery burst?
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Zad said:
21st - Imbue Arrow (epic) All arrows fired by the Arcane Archer are considered "epic" for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction

I dunno. DR/Epic is a leeeeeeetle more powerful than DR/Magic. I'm thinking that at every level of Epic ArcArch, the arrows would penetrate DR/Epic of one type of critter: say, Evil Outsider or Undead or any other category that could apply to the Bane special ability. Then, at 10th Epic level, all arrows would penetrate all DR/Epic. This Epic Penetration would be in addition to the rest of the class powers.

In your world, is it the case that +4 enhancement + Bane = Epic? (since the total to-hit bonus is +6)

Anyway, I need to take a look at the Epic rules for a while before I design the Epic ArcArch advancement.

-- N
 

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