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

Zad

First Post
Yep yep. It was mostly a thought exercise to see how well the class would extend. I've seen some PrCs that just got ugly when extended so it's just another quick test I tend to look at. I'm not sure that epic DR penetration is all that powerful. The as-written AA gets it at 21s after all but that's a different kettle of fish and may not be a good comparison to make.
 

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FrankTrollman

First Post
The Epic Rules are garbage, and definitionally unbalanced.

The Epic Fighter, for example, gains nothing from taking level 21 of Fighter that he wouldn't get from multiclassing into Wizard except an average of 3 hit points.

In the Epic Progression, BAB and Save progressions end, and classes which were supposedly balanced based on those advantages get nothing in return. So if you look at two character classes (say, Cleric and Paladin), where one gets a better BAB than the other in exchange for giving up some other advantages - at Epic levels the higher BAB class is still giving up those advantages but doesn't get the Higher BAB they bargained for.

Worrying about breaking Epic is pointless: it's already broken before we even consider the larger issue of characters interacting with specific challenges in an Epic environment.

-Frank
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Epic Advancement

HD: d6
Skill Points: 4 + Int bonus

21st: Greater Arrow Augmentation
22nd: --
23rd: Greater Arrow Augmentation
24th: Bonus Feat
25th: Greater Arrow Augmentation
26th: --
27th: Greater Arrow Augmentation
28th: Bonus Feat
29th: Greater Arrow Augmentation
30th: --

Greater Arrow Augmentation: The Arcane Archer's arrows are even more powerful than before. Every time this ability is gained, the Arcane Archer may choose one ability from this list:
  • Penetration: Choose one substance (Silver, Cold Iron, Adamantine), damage type (Slashing, Bludgeoning) or the Epic descriptor. Your arrows penetrate damage reduction as though they had the appropriate descriptor.
  • Enhanced Effect: The Epic Arcane Archer may upgrade a previously chosen effect as follows:
    * Flaming Burst -> Fiery Blast
    * Icy Burst -> Icy Blast
    * Shocking Burst -> Lightning Blast
    * Bane -> Dread a wee tad overpowered?
    * Holy -> Holy Power
    * Axiomatic -> Lawful Power
    * Anarchic -> Chaotic Power
    * Unholy -> Unholy Power
    * Thundering -> Sonic Blast some middle power needed?
  • Extra Effect: The Epic Arcane Archer's arrows gain one Effect or Effect Enhancement from the Arcane Archer's list of Enhanced Effect special abilities, or gains either the Wounding or Brilliant Energy special ability.

-- N
 

Zad

First Post
A second option would be to alternate the Greater Arrow's with +1 spellcaster level. I think the balance is good tho.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
The trouble with that is that no other Epic class gives ANY spellcasting progression at all!

Presumably, your PC could take some non-Epic Wizard levels to boost her spellcasting... I don't see Arcane Archers as being the sort of people who should be going around casting Epic-level spells anyway.

Also, giving a +1 Bonus equiv. -> +7 Bonus equiv. is strong enough IMHO. No need for spells. :)

-- N
 

Zad

First Post
The trouble with that is that no other Epic class gives ANY spellcasting progression at all!
You know I think I knew that in the back of my mind but never really consciously realized it. Now that I do, I withdraw the comment. ;)
 

Moobus

First Post
Very cool ideas! Definitely more interesting than the current Arcane Archer, and it doesn't look too underpowered. Like you say, it is a niche class and not for everyone.

Regarding the warrior vs. spellcaster thread...I think it's pretty clear this is supposed to be a warrior's PrC. It might be less true in 3rd Ed. (now that spells like Stoneskin are no longer caster-only), but half-level spell advancement is still plenty useful - and nicely tied into the PrC. Taking a level in Wizard will result in, what, half a bonus feat and 1 BAB less? Two levels might generally equal twice the power, but there are times when guidelines are only guidelines. 1 BAB in return for 5 caster levels (at Arcane Archer 10) seems like a good time to me. (But then, IMHO that rule of thumb doesn't work at high levels anyway.)

All that said, it does seem that this character would lag a little behind the rest of his party. A lone Arcane Archer might fare better than a lone Ranger (or what have you), but in terms of party dynamics, I dunno...
 

smetzger

Explorer
I wanted to let you know one of my players is using your class. He is an Elf Fighter 4/Wizard 4/Alt.Arcane Archer 2

I am running this group through RttToEE and this guy joined our group half-way through. He has played 2 sessions with this character. So far everything seems fine with the class.

*:> Scott
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
smetzger said:
I wanted to let you know one of my players is using your class.

Yay! Please do let me know how it goes -- I'm going to throw a few of these against my players eventually. ;)

-- N
 

WizarDru

Adventurer
Nifft said:
Yay! Please do let me know how it goes -- I'm going to throw a few of these against my players eventually. ;)

-- N
So just so I'm clear, which version is the current operating version? Is it the one in the first post, at the top of the thread? I'm assuming you've been editing it as you go, and that it's the 'living' copy.
 


Nifft

Penguin Herder
WizarDru said:
So just so I'm clear, which version is the current operating version? Is it the one in the first post, at the top of the thread? I'm assuming you've been editing it as you go, and that it's the 'living' copy.

I've been updating the version at the top of the thread. The other versions in this thread (exept for the Epic ArcArch) are not mine.

For an up-to-date & easier-on-the-eyes version, you can always check my web site:

(EDIT: <--- See link in the menu that drops down from my name!)

-- N
 
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Nifft

Penguin Herder
After trying to build some Arcane Archer NPCs, I've decided that the first level is too weak. So, now the first level has the same effect as the Core Arcane Archer -- all arrows fired are effectively +1 for damage, overcoming DR and hitting incorporeal foes.

Anyone think this is too strong, or that the PrC needs to lose something to make up for it? I think this is a minor boost, but it's important.

-- N
 

Isgrimnur

First Post
Gotta say I like this one...

Nifft,
just wanted to say good job, been gaming here in iraq for the past 11 months and wishing for a better archer class. this is much better than any other version I've seen of the arcane archer. And I dont think its too powerful with the +1 arrows at 1st level, makes more sense that way, and not at all overpowered. anyway, its great, and I'm going to have to steal it for my game.
 

Zad

First Post
I think it's fine. I think you're right - it does weigh in light at first level. I've mostly been evaluating it from the high end (since that's how I'd be using it) but I think this is fine, and when you figure you have a magic bow by that point, it really doesn't change much anyway.
 

Spatzimaus

First Post
I agree that they needed something extra at first level, although it was a pretty decent level already. With the two good saves, they get two +2 resist bonuses at first level; good, although not enough to justify the loss of caster level.

Anyway, I went back through to check the balance, and I came up with a few other things you might want to consider:

1> Your new "Imbue Arrows (Magic)" is still phrased awkwardly. You explicitly list the benefits, but not all of them; for example, you don't mention the +1 attack bonus (unless you use the house rule that enhancements on the bow give an attack bonus and those on the arrows give the damage bonus instead of the 3.5 rule?)
Just say "All arrows fired by the Arcane Archer gain a +1 enhancement bonus" and be done with it.

Question: can this be suppressed? If I'm fighting an enemy with DR 5/(NOT magic), can I turn it off?

Nitpick: I've never liked how the GMW spells bypassed the masterwork requirement, or any other characteristics of the material. For example, making Cold Iron arrows magical with this ability wouldn't be any different than normal arrows. You COULD say "all MASTERWORK arrows gain a +1 enhancement bonus; non-masterwork simply gain the ability to bypass X/magic Damage Reduction with no other bonuses"; slightly weaker, of course. Not that this really needs to be changed. If you DID require masterwork arrows, you'd need to add Craft (fletching) and Craft (bowyering) as class skills.

2> On Imbue Arrows (Effect), you want to be careful with the phrasing on the enhancement bonus part. Right now, the way you wrote it implies that it stacks with an enhancement bonus already on the arrow, which means if I fire an arrow already enchanted to +5, I can get into Epic range. You were using words like "cumulative" to imply that it stacks with itself, and it stacks with the Imbue (Magic) ability, but it can't stack with an existing Enhancement or with that of the bow.

Just say something like "All arrows fired by the Arcane Archer gain one of the following abilities: increase the benefits of Imbue (Magic) by +1 (to a maximum of +5), or (all those other +1-equivalent abilities)"

You need the explicit +5 maximum because if all they take for Imbue (Effect) and Enhance Effect is the enhancement bonus boost, they'd be at +6. While "epic" DR isn't +6 any more, it's still not good to have your arrows be better than anything someone could make.

3> Now that I think about it more, Arcane Shot I seems a little on the weak side. Not that it still isn't useful in its current form, of course. My suggestion is to add a flat +1 attack bonus as well (not +1/level, just +1). When using a low-level spell this'll almost be as good as Arcane Shot II. And, it'll actually allow you to trade cantrips for a simple +1 attack bonus (right now you can't trade them for anything).
 

Zad

First Post
Spatzimaus said:
3> Now that I think about it more, Arcane Shot I seems a little on the weak side. Not that it still isn't useful in its current form, of course. My suggestion is to add a flat +1 attack bonus as well (not +1/level, just +1). When using a low-level spell this'll almost be as good as Arcane Shot II. And, it'll actually allow you to trade cantrips for a simple +1 attack bonus (right now you can't trade them for anything).
I noticed that there's a feat in ... um... complete warrior maybe? I can't quite recall but I read it the other night and said "Wow that's very similar to Arcane Shot" so you might want to check it for balance purposes. Since CW was something I was flipping through the other night, that's probably it.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Spatzimaus said:
1> Your new "Imbue Arrows (Magic)" is still phrased awkwardly.
[...]
Question: can this be suppressed? If I'm fighting an enemy with DR 5/(NOT magic), can I turn it off?
[...]
2> On Imbue Arrows (Effect), you want to be careful with the phrasing on the enhancement bonus part.
[...]
3> Now that I think about it more, Arcane Shot I seems a little on the weak side. Not that it still isn't useful in its current form, of course. My suggestion is to add a flat +1 attack bonus as well (not +1/level, just +1). When using a low-level spell this'll almost be as good as Arcane Shot II. And, it'll actually allow you to trade cantrips for a simple +1 attack bonus (right now you can't trade them for anything).

Good points. I think that what I'm going do is make Imbue Arrow (Magic) grant a +1 Enhancement bonus, and never allow any power to grant another Enhancement bonus. The rest have to be "special effects". This eliminates the Epic issue, and forces flavor down the poor character's throat.

I think I do state that you can suppress any ability at will, though that was more for Brilliant Energy (an Epic enhancement) than for DR/Not Magic. If your DM is prone to throw silly things like that at you, be sure to check with him in advance.

You make a good point about Cantrips & Arcane Shot. I'll make AS1 grant a +1 to Damage when using a Cantrip -- this is equivalent to Psionic Talents like Force and Talons -- and +1 Attack, +1 Damage with AS2.

-- N
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Zad said:
I noticed that there's a feat in ... um... complete warrior maybe? I can't quite recall but I read it the other night and said "Wow that's very similar to Arcane Shot"

Those bastards, stealing my best ideas.

I'll have to take a look at that book.

-- N
 

Spatzimaus

First Post
Good points. I think that what I'm going do is make Imbue Arrow (Magic) grant a +1 Enhancement bonus, and never allow any power to grant another Enhancement bonus. The rest have to be "special effects". This eliminates the Epic issue, and forces flavor down the poor character's throat.

Yes, that'll solve the problem, but it also adds one: conversion. The current 3.5E AA wants a bow with tons of specials since the arrow will have a big enhancement bonus, while your AA is the exact opposite. So, anyone switching to your AA will want to replace their +1 Chaotic Shocking Burst bow with a straight +5.

But, I like it, since right now taking a bunch of Flaming/Frost/etc on the same weapon is suboptimal; you have to waste a bunch of time activating each, and then there's the resist issue, so people would prefer to stack up the enhancement bonus.

In fact, you could add a few new enchantment options that aren't available as regular weapon enchantments. For example, add an "anyElement" enchantment that only does +1d4 elemental damage but as a Free Action the wielder can change which element. At the Enhance Effect level, make a +1d8 version and allow any of the elemental boosts to upgrade to it. That sort of thing.
That might be questionable for a normal weapon, but as an AA-only ability it'd be fine.

I think I do state that you can suppress any ability at will

You say it for the special abilities selected through the "Imbue Arrow (Effect)" ability. Not for the Imbue Arrow (Magic), which previously wasn't an issue since it never actually gave anything that could be a downside. That's why it's a minor quibble; there's a precedent (well, more like a postcedent since it comes later) and it's something that'll almost never come up anyway.

As for the feat in Complete Warrior, if it's anything like the Dragon magazine feat that was discussed earlier then it probably is melee-only, where a caster would suffer from the lack of armor or HP. If not, I'd say it's horribly unbalanced; allowing any Wizard or Sorcerer to drop a 9th-level slot for thirty to forty extra ranged damage plus an attack bonus higher than a fighter would get? Not a chance.
 

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