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

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Spider -- cool idea!

The Druid would be okay by me. It's the Cleric that worries me (as he so often does).

Divine Favor + Divine Power + Inflict Critical Wounds on an arrow = woah.

-- N
 

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Votan

Explorer
Nice job -- this is way better than the original version.

I don;t think that it tends high in power, actually it tends low. The correct comparison to it are cleric/archers and fighter/magic-users --> it does well in balance compared to both.

The 1/2 casting progression, while not useless, really does ensure that the spells are only buffs and mostly flavor. So the other aspects of the class balance. Archery tends to be too weak in 3.5 so it is nice to see a viable archer prestige class that makes it a bit better.
 

Quartz

Hero
I'm just wondering how useful the class actually is. At the early levels, how many spells are there that can benefit from Arrow Touch? Remember that the character may only be Wiz 1 or Sor 1. It may sound obvious, but perhaps a prerequisite should be the ability to cast an arcane ranged touch spell?

Enhance Effect is a bit wimpy for a L9/L10 power. I'd suggest melding it into Imbue Arrows - if you choose the same twice, you get the enhanced effect for the alignment traits - and make the L10 power an automatic burst. If you do that, move Arcane Shot II to L9 as it's the equivalent of an Archmage's Arcane Fire.

I'd like to see slightly improved spellcasting (2/3) balanced by a slightly reduced BAB (+3/4) and slightly focussed spellcasting (not sure how you'd do this).

I don't understand the rationale for the good Reflex save. A fighter / wizard should have good Fort and Will saves. The skills look too rogueish too.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Quartz said:
I'm just wondering how useful the class actually is. At the early levels, how many spells are there that can benefit from Arrow Touch? Remember that the character may only be Wiz 1 or Sor 1. It may sound obvious, but perhaps a prerequisite should be the ability to cast an arcane ranged touch spell?

Your class abilities are yours to use or ignore. You're not required to summon a familiar, and you're not required to prepare -- or even know -- any useful spells. And it's any Touch spell, not just Ranged Touch spells. :)

For a list of low-level spells that apply, here you go:
0: Touch of Fatigue (!!), Ray of Frost, Disrupt Undead, Acid Splash, Light (object only)
1: Chill Touch (!!), Shocking Grasp, Ray of Enfeeblement
2: Touch of Idiocy (!!), Ghoul Touch, Scorching Ray, Acid Arrow, Darkness (object), Arcane Lock (object)
3: Vampiric Touch (!!), Ray of Exhaustion, Daylight (object), Explosive Runes (object, :uhoh: )

I was mostly looking at the Necromancy list when making this power -- from Touch of Fatigue and Chill Touch to Vampiric Touch, Necromancy is just fantastic. I hadn't considered Explosive Runes... :uhoh:


Quartz said:
Enhance Effect is a bit wimpy for a L9/L10 power.

In my experience -- certainly in my campaign -- the PCs would jump at the chance to get free Holy arrows. I think that's a high-level effect that the character shouldn't have free access to early on.

The alignment trait itself only mirrors a 2nd level Cleric spell (align weapon), so early access to that is fine IMHO.


Quartz said:
I'd like to see slightly improved spellcasting (2/3) balanced by a slightly reduced BAB (+3/4) and slightly focussed spellcasting (not sure how you'd do this).

Why?


Quartz said:
I don't understand the rationale for the good Reflex save. A fighter / wizard should have good Fort and Will saves. The skills look too rogueish too.

Ranger-ish. :) And that goes for the Reflex save, lower hit die, skill points and skill list. A Rogue would be rewarded, but his lack of Longbow proficiency is really its own punishment.

We could add Survival to the class skill list.


The main reason to not have 3/4 BAB is that a Sorcerer or Wizard could lose a lot of BAB, so to get your fourth iterative attack, you really need a lot of full-BAB levels. I don't want people taking Eldrich Knight in place of this just for the BAB. Frankly, if you want more spellcasting at the cost of 3/4 BAB, you can just take Wizard 10 / Arcane Archer 10. You get BAB 15 (same as a Cleric 20) and caster level 15.

The main reason why I do NOT want to give high hit dice or a good Fort save is: you are NOT a front liner! You get lots of goodies, but the price is that you should suck in melee relative to a full-class Fighter. Low Fort save and hit points were the only way I could find to juggle high BAB with "suck in melee".


Anyway -- hope the answers are helpful. :)

Thanks, -- N
 
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Quartz

Hero
Nifft said:
Your class abilities are yours to use or ignore. You're not required to summon a familiar, and you're not required to prepare -- or even know -- any useful spells. And it's any Touch spell, not just Ranged Touch spells. :)

For a list of low-level spells that apply, here you go:
0: Touch of Fatigue (!!), Ray of Frost, Disrupt Undead, Acid Splash, Light (object only)
1: Chill Touch (!!), Shocking Grasp, Ray of Enfeeblement
2: Touch of Idiocy (!!), Ghoul Touch, Scorching Ray, Acid Arrow, Darkness (object), Arcane Lock (object)
3: Vampiric Touch (!!), Ray of Exhaustion, Daylight (object), Explosive Runes (object, :uhoh:)
Ah, much nastier.

In my experience -- certainly in my campaign -- the PCs would jump at the chance to get free Holy arrows. I think that's a high-level effect that the character shouldn't have free access to early on.
The character would have to be 10th level at the earliest with my suggestion of stacking. Your paladin likely has a holy sword by that time.

Ranger-ish. :) And that goes for the Reflex save, lower hit die, skill points and skill list. A Rogue would be rewarded, but his lack of Longbow proficiency is really its own punishment.
Point.

As for the spellcasting, well, I like spells.

The main reason to not have 3/4 BAB is that a Sorcerer or Wizard could lose a lot of BAB, so to get your fourth iterative attack, you really need a lot of full-BAB levels.
As long as you only take 1 level of wizard, you still get the full 4 iterative attacks with a +3/4 BAB progession.
 


Nifft

Penguin Herder
Quartz said:
The character would have to be 10th level at the earliest with my suggestion of stacking. Your paladin likely has a holy sword by that time.

Earlier in the thread, I explained my reasoning for "pricing" these effects more than standard weapon enhancements.

1/ They stack with standard weapon enhancements, and with greater magic weapon, and with flame arrows, keen edge, etc. Sure, your own gmw will suck thanks to your low caster level, but you could get one cast by someone else.

2/ This class effectively removes the #1 nasty anti-archer tactic: sunder his frikkin' bow. (An Arcane Archer can pull out ANY old bow and ANY old arrows and lay down some smack.) Have you seen how horribly hosed an average archer is when his super-bow is sundered? Relative immunity to that tactic is not an obvious consequence, and it's not spelled out in the class, but it is strong IMHO.

Do you see where I'm coming from?


If I were making an optimized Arcane Archer, I'd have two or three Ehlonna's Quivers full of (masterwork) composite longbows, which would be darn cheap by level 15. I'd have the usual golfbag of obscure alchemical metal arrowheads (silver, cold iron, adamantine), and one quiver full of various bane arrows.

My main bow would be +1 speed, and I'd have a backup just like it. My arrow enhancements would be: good alignment trait, thundering, seeking, good -> holy, ghost touch. Possibly in that order.


... but I could see a very different build for an Eberron archer.

For one thing, I'd take the merciful trait, so I could deliver repair critical damage to my (theoretical) party's Warforged front-line fighter... and I'd turn that trait off most other times. ;)


Finally, it's my opinion that classes should err on the weak side, especially in their early levels. This class does the archer thing well, and allows you to conjoin arcane-ness with archer-ness in ways that you can't get just by taking Battle Sorcerer 16 + Fighter 4 (which will net you BAB +16, caster level 16) or Battle Sorcerer 8 / Fighter 2 / Eldritch Knight 10 (BAB +18, caster level 17).


My one worry: the first level class ability is really, really weak. That's the one thing I'd really like suggestions on fixing: making an ability that's not dip-worthy but is cool and useful and fun.


I've made some builds that get up to caster level 13 while retaining BAB 16-18. It really depends on what you want to do. IMHO, the Arcane Archer is mostly an Archer, but one who dabbles in the arcane arts, and who figures out how to do magical stuff with arrows.

If you want full BAB, mostly full casting, the Eldritch Knight does that. I consider it to be one extreme, and therefore it acts as a limit on what I give this PrC.


Anyway. Hope that clears up what I was thinking. Clearly I'm set on verbose mode today. :)

Thanks, -- N
 


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