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5E Balance Inquiry Arcane Archer Modification

SkidAce

Adventurer
Supporter
I like the version of the Arcane Archer (AA) that was published in Xanathar's more than the previous Unearthe Arcana (UA) versions, but felt like there should be something more "always? usable" at 3rd level when the subtype is gained.

There are two thoughts for review...feel free to offer pro/cons.

a. Ability to change the damage type of the arrows (piercing) to fire, cold, lightning, or acid. Nothing else changes.
Benefit?: Can target vulnerabilities, maybe light haystacks on fire etc.

b. Use an arrow to deliver the effects of a cantrip you know to the range of the bow. No arrow damage, just cantrip damage and effects.
Benefit?: Extended range for "tricks", (negligible effect in dungeons, big diff outside)


PEACH
 

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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think the elemental shot would nice. To be honest there's only a few creatures with elemental vulnerabilities to exploit, and the ability to target an element that isnt resisted by the creature is not that powerful, since most spellcasters can already to that with their lvl 1 cantrip selection.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I would consider both those options. At low levels the AA is pretty bad. Maybe limit cantrip-enhanced shots to one so muti-attack shenanigans don't get OP. Booming Blade from an arrow is a cool idea. Your first option is almost a ribbon, so I'd be fine trying both out and seeing how it goes.
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
I think the damage type is good. The most useful aspect would be getting around resistance to piercing from non-magical weapons, but I think that's fine.
 


I also like elemental arrows because it was what I was expecting when I first read the words "Arcane Archer" and was disappointed not to find. Also I like anything that gives a martial character a potential area to make strategic decisions that doesn't impose a huge learning curve.
 


SkidAce

Adventurer
Supporter
I would consider both those options. At low levels the AA is pretty bad. Maybe limit cantrip-enhanced shots to one so muti-attack shenanigans don't get OP. Booming Blade from an arrow is a cool idea. Your first option is almost a ribbon, so I'd be fine trying both out and seeing how it goes.
Maybe like "Once per turn when you fire an arrow from a shortbow or longbow as part of the Attack action, you can apply one the effects of a cantrip you know to that arrow, utilizing the bow's range, but replacing the damage of the arrow with the effects of the cantrip."
 

Maybe like "Once per turn when you fire an arrow from a shortbow or longbow as part of the Attack action, you can apply one the effects of a cantrip you know to that arrow, utilizing the bow's range, but replacing the damage of the arrow with the effects of the cantrip."
So Arcane Archers only get 1 cantrip, which is either Druidcraft or Prestidigitation. Would you be changing that, or would this just be a multiclass thing?

I do really like the idea of having some way to synergize archery and cantrips. It would make Archer/Spellcaster multiclasses more viable since the cantrips upgrade based on class level. But I'd kind of just like to have some sort of ranged weapon equivalent to the SCAG cantrips.
 

Weiley31

Adventurer
Reflavored Eldritch Blast with Agonizing Blast built in to it OR scaling off of the spell casting modifier/proficiency bonus.

Simple, effective, and keeps the whole "magic arrow shots" while allowing the AA to save its special arrow shots for rougher things.

Also I like the image of an Arcane Archer going full on Panzer Dragoon with multi-lock on magic arrow bolts.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Elemental arrows are nice and is a feature where, if a player asked about, I'd add without giving it any thought.

I'd also be tempted to grant the subclass cantrips just for your cantrip cast through arrows ability. I could actually see that as the level 7 ability which uses an action and deals normal arrow damage + cantrip damage (if any). I think players would get creative with that an also use it with cantrips like light to send out a flare.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
Supporter
So Arcane Archers only get 1 cantrip, which is either Druidcraft or Prestidigitation. Would you be changing that, or would this just be a multiclass thing?

I do really like the idea of having some way to synergize archery and cantrips. It would make Archer/Spellcaster multiclasses more viable since the cantrips upgrade based on class level. But I'd kind of just like to have some sort of ranged weapon equivalent to the SCAG cantrips.
Good point. I hadn't realized it was that much of a deficit. Will have to ponder overnight. Thanks.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
Supporter
Maybe learn cantrips slowly as they level, starting with one at 3rd, based on something...choose one, change after long rest.

Must ponder.
 

Mistwell

Legend
I like the version of the Arcane Archer (AA) that was published in Xanathar's more than the previous Unearthe Arcana (UA) versions, but felt like there should be something more "always? usable" at 3rd level when the subtype is gained.

There are two thoughts for review...feel free to offer pro/cons.

a. Ability to change the damage type of the arrows (piercing) to fire, cold, lightning, or acid. Nothing else changes.
Benefit?: Can target vulnerabilities, maybe light haystacks on fire etc.

b. Use an arrow to deliver the effects of a cantrip you know to the range of the bow. No arrow damage, just cantrip damage and effects.
Benefit?: Extended range for "tricks", (negligible effect in dungeons, big diff outside)


PEACH
I think both of these are fine, though I would restrict it to a ranged cantrip. You don't want people shooting thorn whips 120 feet away. I'd also let them choose one wizard ranged attack cantrip they can use twice per short rest.
 

Elemental Shot: As an action you can shoot an arrow and have it do elemental damage. Make a ranged weapon attack roll using a bow or a crossbow. If it hits, you deal 1d10+int damage of one of fire, cold, poison or acid instead of your standard weapon damage. At 5th level an arcane archer can fire an additional elemental shot as part of the action, and another at 11th and 17th level.

In addition to dealing damage, the elemental arrows can be used for additional effects. Fire arrows can be used to ignite unattended flammable objects, cold arrows will each freeze 1 cubic foot of water or similar liquid, acid arrows deal double damage against objects and structures, and creatures damaged by poison arrows suffer halved healing until the end of your next turn.

---

This is based off of Eldritch Blast. You require both Dex and Int to deal effective damage with this, so it is a bit weaker, but has better range (with most bows and crossbows).

The second paragraph is just ribbons. Even halved healing is so niche it isn't of huge balance concern.
 
Last edited:

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I like the version of the Arcane Archer (AA) that was published in Xanathar's more than the previous Unearthe Arcana (UA) versions, but felt like there should be something more "always? usable" at 3rd level when the subtype is gained.

There are two thoughts for review...feel free to offer pro/cons.

a. Ability to change the damage type of the arrows (piercing) to fire, cold, lightning, or acid. Nothing else changes.
Benefit?: Can target vulnerabilities, maybe light haystacks on fire etc.

b. Use an arrow to deliver the effects of a cantrip you know to the range of the bow. No arrow damage, just cantrip damage and effects.
Benefit?: Extended range for "tricks", (negligible effect in dungeons, big diff outside)


PEACH
I can't think of any issues for either. b) will have to have some rules around it and multiattack.

I like a) more than b) if choosing just one.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
Supporter
Okay so still in brainstorming mode: so this may go to far into the OP side of the equation.

But consider, we all mostly like the elemental arrow part. The cantrips that are available have elemental damage, so if we picked "acid splash, fire bolt, ray of frost, and shocking grasp" as known cantrips that could only be used with a bow and once per turn, how would that work?

They could target an elemental vulnerability, get around resistance to piercing (cause applying the cantrip would change the damage), gain any cantrip riders, and maybe set stuff on fire etc.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Replacing the bow damage with the cantrip isn't OP, especially at one per turn. You're essentially just casting the cantrip using Dex at at the bow's range, and at the expense of additional attacks at higher levels. It's fine IMO. It's a buff for acid splash and shocking grasp, but that's countered by the incompatibility with multiple attacks.

What might be more interesting is to base four bespoke elemental arrows roughly on those cantrips, for a more unique mechanic. Then we'd be looking at uses per rest, either short of long, but that mimics a lot of other fighter subclasses so we're in the right design space. So maybe a fire arrow does 2d8 and sets things on fire. That could scale with level too, so at higher level an AA get to elementalize all his shots for the round in question.
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I have some conceptual issues with Green Flame Bolt. I think Booming Bolt is a cool idea though, even more so than the elemental bolts.
 

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