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My Path to Arcane Archer

Qik

First Post
Hey Everybody.


A while back, I had started playing on the Living Pathfinder forums here with a level 1 wizard, with the intention of working towards Arcane Archer. Initially, I had planned to take 1 level of fighter/wizard the rest of the way, until I qualified for Eldritch Knight, then take a few levels of that, a few of AA, then EK the rest of the way. For a variety of reasons, I've decided to go with a more front-loaded, martial-oriented build. I realize there are some drawbacks to this approach, but it's what I'm going to do. Part of the impetus for this was that I felt the character called for ranger levels.
I'm about to take my second level, which means that I need to finalize my plans. Given my criteria (already have one level of wizard, want some levels of ranger), I feel I have two options in working towards AA: go six levels of ranger (I would choose the Spirit Ranger archetype), or take two levels of ranger (Guide archetype) and four of fighter (archer) (not sure what the order would be - probably 2 ranger/4 fighter). The former option gives me three lvl 1 ranger spells/day, 16 additional skill points, and possibly improved precise shot (if I decide to take it at lvl 6, which is likely), the latter option gives me an extra feat (with which I would either take Arcane Armor Training or Arcane Strike - probably the latter, as it fits the AA build concept and would make my own level of wizard valid earlier on), some minor bonuses to perception, trick shot (which I'm admittedly not too keen on), and would set me up to pick up Expert Archer for +1 attack & damage after my three levels of AA. I'm not sure which I prefer, which is why I'm asking for some input.


As an aside, I am a bit disappointed with AA - I've always loved it as a concept, but didn't really understand the crunch until after I set out on this path; for instance, I was really disappointed that enhance arrows doesn't stack with a bow's enhancement - I know there's some argument about this, but I'm pretty sure that's the case - which kind of renders the first level of AA useless. Even so, I'm still committed to the taking the class at this point, if for no other reason than I'd otherwise have to scrap my character on LPF, which I'm unwilling to do.


Think that's enough information to start with; any input will be hugely appreciated, as I'm in a bit of a quandary as to which way to go.
 

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StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
IMO, Improved Precise Shot is one of the best archer feats in the game, and getting it 5 levels early is awesome. I'd do Ranger 6.

I'm also very much unimpressed with the Fighter's Archer archetype. If you'd only do Fighter 4, in fact, I'd say to go for Weapon Master archetype, so you actually get weapon training +1.

I suppose another reason to go Ranger 2 / Fighter 4 is the Point Blank Master feat, if not provoking AoOs is important to you (considering how cheaply available Step Up is and the lack of a Concentration check to shoot defensively like casters can cast defensively, it should be important to you). The problem is, while ranger CAN get PBM, he needs to use a bonus feat to nab it, iirc. Which just completely negates the whole benefit of Improved Precise Shot at Ranger 6. Without the ranger bonus feat slot at 6+, you need Weapon Specialization, which Fighter 4 qualifies you for, to get it. Period.

EDIT: Yeah, that sucks. Whichever path you go, Ranger 2 / Fighter 4 or Ranger 6, you're basically going to be forced to choose between IPS and Point Blank Master. PBM may be more important, actually, since AA will be providing your enhancement bonuses and Seeking is a mere +1 weapon property.
 
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StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
Wait...PF nerfed the enhance arrows so it doesn't go past +1 (+1 itself being useless, since every archer's going to have at least a +1 bow regardless, since you need +1 for any other stuff) but you don't get an actual benefit till level 3?

Dang...
 

Qik

First Post
Thanks for the advice, Stream.

Yeah, I think that's where the PF got me, was with the change of Enhance Arrow. While I like the additional abilities (although the gap between lvls 3 and 7 is large enough to make it pretty much not worth it), the fact the Enhance Arrow doesn't scale, or stack, makes it pretty pointless. Kind of a bummer, actually.

As for your build pointers, I think you make some good points. I actually hadn't even considered the Weapon Master archetype; looking it over, I definitely see it as preferable to Archer.

But yeah, overall, I think the advantage of getting IPS at level 6, plus the fact that going 6 levels of Ranger will give me a class to return to once I've gotten my 3 levels of AA, makes it the way to go. I would love to get Arcane Strike, as it really fits my concept, but I just don't think it's worth mucking up either the build or the flavor of my character by taking 4 levels of fighter.
 

Dingo333

First Post
if you get the chance to do this again (another LPF game or another game) I recommend you take magus all the way through

you would need 8 levels of magus then your 9th would be AA

as for your current idea, I would say ranger 6. you can gain weapon specialization via EK and then PBM
 

StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
He can get PBM later on as a Ranger 10, as well. From Ranger 6 on, it's on your bonus feat list. The problem is prioritizing which is more important to get at level 6 -- IPS or PBM. Neither Fighter nor Ranger can have both before level 10-11, unfortunately.
 

Qik

First Post
Although I at least have some time to see which would be more useful, I would almost certainly go with IPS before PBM. The PC is clearly built to stay out of melee if possible (not always so, of course, but that's the idea), which would make IPS more useful. Plus, if I wanted PBM at Ranger level 6, I would have to take Weapon Focus at CL 5, which would force me to put off Deadly Aim until CL 7, which I'd prefer not to do (although it wouldn't be a huge deal, I suppose). Just FYI, my feat choices and order are thus:

- PBS (lvl 1)
- Precise Shot (2nd Ranger lvl)
- Rapid Shot (3rd character lvl)
- Deadly Aim (5th character lvl)
- Improved Precise Shot (6th Ranger lvl)
- Weapon Focus (longbow) (7th character lvl)
- Manyshot (9th character lvl)
- Arcane Strike? Arcane Armor Training? (11th character lvl)
 

jawill121

First Post
Ranged fighting flat lines in damage almost no matter what you do. arcane armor training wont help because you only get one swift action a turn and that would normally be used to imbue your arrows. weapon focus is crap unless your going to be able to take greater. dont take PBM. arcane strike is just as useless as it too activates as a swift action.

Another thing. arcane archer could pretty much be achieved through wizard classes alone. you could take the transmutation school to bring your physical stats up. and focus on blasting and ranged spells.

Thing i did which worked pretty awesomely. take ranger 2 (or if you want fighter 3) wizard 8 (or 7) i focused on buffing and beast shaping and then blasting. i had 4th level spells to blast, and get all the cheese i wanted. then the moment i started taking arcane archer my spells bab and pure damage went through the charts. was pulling of 140 damage a turn
 
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