Eladrin archer type: Bard or Rogue?

Howdy friends. I'm making a new character, level 1, standard point buy with no bells or whistles. I'm picturing this character as a sort of whimsical trickster type, who's good with a bow. I'm torn between Bard and Rogue, and I'm not sure which I want to go with. I like Bard because of all the buttons they get, but I feel like they make lackluster archers overall, and the more I level, the more I'll want to be casting spells rather than relying on my weapon. Rogues I feel like I'm already much better at shooting things, but I want to have a good charisma so I can be the party face, but the only archetype that really support having a good charisma is the Swashbuckler which is a totally melee-centric build. So I'm sort of in a rock and a hard place. Any insight on which way I should go with it? Has anyone played either of these classes as an archer? What were your experiences with it?


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
A valor bard can make a ... well, still lackluster archer but better than mediocre. Extra attack, using magical secrets (at 10th!) for some hunter archery things and maybe hunter's mark. Meh. Bards are lots of fun, but may not be the best at pure archery. On the other hand, a bard built around it can be a party face like no other.

Rogues can make great archers. They get little in terms of class out of investing in CHR, but you can sidestep that whole issue by just taking a mildly positive CHR and making your CHR skills your two expertise skills. So you're a party face because you're skilled, not because you're a natural.

An off the beaten path suggestion:
What do you like about archery? If it's mostly the feel of it, you could take a warlock and flavor Eldritch Blast as you make a magic bow and fire an arrow from it. It's an attack roll, with more attacks as you level up. CHR is the prime ability for Warlocks, and they also get several Invocations that are very useful for a party face. Sorcerers can do something similar, but with less support.
The honest answer? I was trying to come up with a new character concept for a game I'll be joining, and I originally wanted to be a backstabby changeling rogue, but the DM said I can't play a changeling since it's UA content. So while trying to find a suitable substitute, I came across the Eladrin Elf, and when I saw the art for the Autumn Eladrin I was sort of struck. I really like the idea of a whimsical, playful fey creature who shoots a bow and is just generally fun. it's definitely a flavor thing for me.

Although circumstances have changed slightly since I posted this. Essentially the new campaign is because we're swapping DMs, but I found out that this is only for a couple of months, then we're going back to our regular campaign. My character died in the last session of our regular campaign, and I fell in love with this character. So rather than waste her on a 4-session campaign, I'll be taking her back to the other one, where we're all level 8 already. That opens up a lot of options for me to play around with ideas that don't come online until later in life. Specifically a Warlock archer. It'll eat up almost all my invocations, but Eldritch Smite, Improved Pact Weapon, and Thirsting Blade can make for a pretty potent archer build from what I can tell. I can even do it with the Fey pact for an even stronger flavor win.

I know I could just refluff Eldritch Blast and be one with it, but I dunno. I hate Eldritch Blast so much for just ALWAYS being the best option. It outpaces anything else you can really do as a Warlock, and it's very frustrating. But at least with this theoretical build I can get some mileage out of Eldritch Smite, and I think that's pretty rad. :D


Fighter 1, Valor Bard 10 with Swift Quiver makes an excellent archer, but until you pick up Swift Quiver, it's only mediocre.

I'd say just go straight Archer Fighter with a good Cha and take Magic Initiate: Bard.

Or you could dip Warlock GOO and take the social invocations.

Devotion Paladins can make good Archers since you can make a Longbow your Sacred Weapon to add Cha to the attack rolls.


Just go for what you like. A valour bard makes a great party support and durable archer. At level 5 you might use your other spells over a bow, but at every other level you can easily keep a good stream of damage towards your enemies.

You have martial weapon proficiencies, mobility and Dex and Charisma that allows you to even take a feat later on or earlier.
With that in mind, feary fire and sharpshooter combo might actually let you do real damage from level 4 upwards. At level 10 you can also use swift quiver to get 4 attacks.
If you want to maximize it, I´d second taking fighter at level 1 to have +2 attack for your bow attacks and constitution saving throws. You are even 1 more level behind in extra attacks, but now you don´t lose concentration on your feary fire and your +2 helps offsetting the -5 penalty to hit from sharpshooter.
If you want to dial up your own contribution to combat, take college of swords to boost your own attacks. Your mobility increases even more due to flourishes and except for slashing flourish all are quite useful for an archer. Defensive flourish makes you harder to hit and the last one pushes the enemy back which is always nice for an archer. Since you expend all inspiration dice on hit, your damage is not far behind that of a battlemaster from level 5 bard upwards. At level 7 you won´t miss a lot. (A stat increase mostly. Spells should offset that a bit.)