Archer Prestige Class

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Ty to those that were helpful with suggestions on how to improve what was intended!
Esspecially thanks to the ones that private messaged.

All the DMs i play with have approved the class!

Moderator plz delete this thread
When it comes to "archer PrCs" the two that I think of are Order of the Bow Initiate and Arcane Archer.  I've heard of Peerless Archer but believe it is from a Realms book (which often contain a lot of "stronger" material) that I do not own.

Now I think that if the OotBI had its prereqs cleaned up a bit and could use its bonus damage as something other than a standard action it may not be the worst thing in the world.  As written I think the OotBI could work great as a CROSSBOW class with some prereq rewriting.

I feel the Arcane Archer gets a very bad wrap.  It may technically be an "elf only" class but I think that can safely be overlooked.  The spellcasting requirement may seem harsh but with Duskblade and Hexblade it is possible to get the needed spellcasting without ever giving up any BAB.  Coupled with the spellcasting requirement is the 2nd-level ability Imbue Arrow which some people think is the whole reason to take the class; there ARE ways to make it work but it really an ability the class could live without.  Where the AA gets killed in 3.5 is in the stacking rules which no longer allow its free Enhanced Arrows to stack with a bow's magic; the potential of free +5 arrows in your choice of materials is great but when using a magical bow the bow's required +1 is basically lost.  I favor a minor reworking that will allow the AA's Enhanced Arrows to stack with a bow's magical +'s.  The other changes I make to the AA is to turn those "trick" shots into a pool that potentially allows one to be used multiple times and I also alter the Arrow of Death's DC to 15+(half AA level)+abiliy modifier although which modifier isn't set. 
Now to look at some of the things about your PrC:

1.  Prereqs:  They are a bit low.  I'd definitely add more feats such as Precise Shot and possibly some other things.  Should I also point out that a character doesn't need to be proficient in any ranged weapons to take this class?

2.  Class Skills/skill points:  You have some requirements listed but don't say how many skill points this class would produce at each level or which class skills those points could be spent on.

3.  Armor/Weapon proficiencies:  Most classes note any armor and/or weapon proficiencies a PrC will grant even if it is to say that "this class does NOT grant any additional armor or weapon proficiencies."

Ranged Flank:  A EXTREMELY powerful ability that probably should not be in the game at least as presented here.  IF I allowed such an ability it would be limited to "once per round a target hit by your range attack considers your position to be the adjacent space through which the attack passed with regards to flanking until the beginning of your next turn."  Basically, you can pick one target you've hit and "flank" it for someone until you go again.

Sneak Attack:  You're confusing things.  Sneak Attack should be a well known game mechanic and doesn't need all that additional information.

Keen Arrows:  You should check your levels but really all you need to do it have the class give the Improved Critical (Bows) as a bonus feat.  The net effect should be identical.

Storm of Arrows:  An interesting ability that I may understand conceptually but have a hard time seeing it work mechanically.  As written it looks like you want to send an "arrow ball" into an area but I don't see the mechanics.  If you want this ability I think you should model it more closely to an arcane archer's Hail of Arrows ability although granting that at 3rd-level (or a 9th-level character) may be a bit much.  
    
Perhaps I was a bit misleading into my request.
I'm looking for input as to the prestige class I have written.
I'm aware of the legit ones out there and of them only soulbow is really any good for pure damage build.
I'm looking to create an alternative that doesn't require the psionics or something to take once you've already completed the soulbow.

Patience, I was getting there.

In all fairness I don't think archery is really the way to go for a "pure damage build" in 3.5.  If you do you're looking at lots of attacks that are gaining some kind of damage bonus on top of it.  I may not have all the pieces but I think there is a build that uses the Scout's Sudden Strike ability (a SA like ability that activates when you move) and GREATER Multi-attack to fire a bunch of arrows at a target which are benefiting from a damage increase.

Although it was a video game one of my original Neverwinter Nights was a Bard/Shadowdancer/ArcaneArcher that could do some pretty extreme damage at range.  The game limited me to three characters so I needed Bard to enter the other two classes.  AA had the magic bonus stack (it was 3.0) so I could utizile magic on top of magic.  She also had a good modified STR score to increase damage.  Shadowdancer was there so she could Hide in Plain Sight before and after unloading devestating full attacks.
   

I agree with StevenO on keen arrows and storm of arrows. I'd actually use arrow storm (Spell Compendium) as the basis rather than hail of arrows. It's shorter-range, but allows more targets.


Your ranged flank ability kind of resembles distracting attack (Player's Handbook II, p55).

Storm of arrows, not sure how your visuallizing a ball out of that. Rain storms I've been in don't fall as a ball on me. Hail of arrows is a severly underpowered ability, IMO.

You took him too literally.

You didn't describe the ability at all, all you said was that it was called an "arrow storm".  StevenO was likening it to an AoE spell, specifically fireball, hence the "arrow ball" reference.  You really should try to describe what the "arrow storm" ability does.  You can use the space saved by describing sneak attack with "you may sneak attack as a rogue does; here's your damage".
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56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
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Does this sound better?

Storm of Arrows – At third level, once per day, a “insert class name” as a full round action may create a storm of arrows. This storm will rain arrows in a 20 foot radius hitting all foes within the area as if the “insert class name”  had made a single attack on each foe. This ability increases to 2/day at 6th level and 3/day at 9th level. Reflex save for half damage, DC equal to “insert class name” weapons highest attack bonus. Any abilities or feats that would normally apply to your ranged attack, such as that from mindarrow or multiattack, apply to each creature hit in the target area


So how many arrows does Storm or Arrow use?  This in EXTREMELY important question because you are implying that the archer is somehow saturating the area with arrows yet not specifically attacking anyone in that area.  When you say "had made a single attack on each foe," I REALLY wonder how that is much different from what Hail of Arrows does.  I also wonder just what and how your abilities would apply to each creature in the target area.

I believe I understand what the ability is supposed to look like but I really don't see how it works with a single character and without explaining the mechanics much better.  I view it as an effect similiar to what would happen if an entire UNIT (at least TEN men and probably more) shot their bows up in the air so that the arrrows all would come down in the same area.  I don't know where 3.5's rules for indirect arrow fire are (probably HoB or MH) but what I picture is a group of archers forgoing individual attacks and "raining arrows" down on a group.  A problem with that is that no individual gets targetted but there may be a higher chance at damage as a random arrow glances off.

Why don't you give an example of how this Storm of Arrow is supposed to work?   
ok say there is 3 foes within the 20 yard radius and you normally (with a single attack) can shoot 2 arrows, the storm of arrows would hit with 6 arrows (2 on each foe). I envision more than that flying through the air though and these are the only ones that hit as the foes try to move out of the way (hense reflex save). The save is setup in a way that most foes you should be fighting would be making the save anyway and taking half damage (glancing blows). At level 15, the earliest you can get this ability, an archer would be able to make 4 attacks normally and would be forgoing 3 of those to make one. Picture all the arrows he would be able to fire in a round all going up and coming down together.

Maybe this would be better as a psionic feat, in the psionic shot chain, as I originally intended it. Dozens of mind arrows pour down from the sky.


Getting your Storm of Arrows was available at 9th-level.  I see you've changed the prereq from a +6 BAB to +9 but in all honesty I don't see why.  Even with that change you could get it at 12th-level which is just three itterative attacks.

Should I point out that a 20 YARD radius is huge.  You're talking about a circle that is 120 feet (240 squares!!!!) across which basically means you should be hitting everyone on the battlefield.  In all honesty even a 20' radius is pretty significant.

You never mention how much damage it does.  Is this unaimed attack just doing normal attack damage on a failed save and half that on a miss?  It is hard to add additional factors when one doesn't know what is going it before any kind of special modifiers.

You still haven't mentioned how much ammuntion this option uses.  You also don't mention the action requriement which I believe should need a standard action at the minimum if not a full attack action.  You may mention "2 on each foe" but when you envision multiple arrows in the air they all count. 
Maybe this would be better as a psionic feat, in the psionic shot chain, as I originally intended it. Dozens of mind arrows pour down from the sky.

Agreed.  Maybe just make the class a psionic (and probably better) version of an arcane archer?  All it would really require is a PP pool, and wouldn't necessarily require any levels in a psionic class.

Obviously it does the damage that your arrows would normally do. I can't go and say it does a d8 each when a small creature could possibly use it.

Except that it's not obvious when you don't state it as clearly as you could.  In the sentence about feats and abilities applying to it, just mention that damage is affected as well.  If the arrows are summoned, not shot, say that they deal damage as if dealt by whatever bow of the appropriate size.  If they're shot, say that damage is applied just as it would be on a normal full attack.  That should be the action requirement, BTW.
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56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Getting your Storm of Arrows was available at 9th-level.  I see you've changed the prereq from a +6 BAB to +9 but in all honesty I don't see why.  Even with that change you could get it at 12th-level which is just three itterative attacks.

It was changed to correspond with the sametime that a pure ranger would get 3rd level spells and be able to cast arrow storm.
And your a archer, meaning you have rapid attack and thus 4 attacks. If you don't have rapid attack you should rethink playing.

Here I thought you were working on an Archer class that anyone could use.  The is NO requirement for this character to have levels in Ranger (although they may help) so changing a prereq because "that is when X would gain Y" doesn't mean much unless you actually say the character needs to be able to do Y to enter the class.

I also don't see any requirement for an archer to have Rapid Shot.  I guess you're throwing out every mobile archer concept when you say Rapid Shot is a requirement for an archer.  I'm sure there are some Manyshot character out there who would disagree with that assesment.  If you also remember that a crossbow wielder could take the class then the "need" of Rapid Shot is greatly diminished.
...

I was typing fast and wrote yard, the ability clearly says feet. Its not significant, it is the same as most aoe spells do.

I can give you the typo but would point out that there is nothing "magical" about the class to explain the area.
You never mention how much damage it does.

Obviously it does the damage that your arrows would normally do. I can't go and say it does a d8 each when a small creature could possibly use it.

But is it obvious?  I certainly wouldn't add precision damage (sneak attack) to any kind of area effect that involves saves.
You still haven't mentioned how much ammuntion this option uses.  You also don't mention the action requriement which I believe should need a standard action at the minimum if not a full attack action.  You may mention "2 on each foe" but when you envision multiple arrows in the air they all count.

The ablility clearly says a full round action.
If your playing in a campain where people actually care exactly how much ammunation you use then perhaps this class is not for you. If you really want an amount then say twice the amount of arrows that hit get fired.

Ok, I'll admit I missed the full round action part but when you start talking about including other feats and abilities I get confused because many of those also have action requirements which you obviously couldn't use when performing Storm of Arrows as a full round action.  Most "multi-attack" type effects will require their own standard action or more which just will not work with a full round action.

As for tracking ammo I may not make a practice of doing it after a few levels with regards to mundane ammuntion but I do for special ammunition and when resupply could become an issue.  The vast amounts of ammunition that some archer concepts require could be seen as a "balance" against them when it comes time to figure out how much they can carry and the cost with special ammuntion.

Now if you are just looking for some variation of the Arcane Archer for other "spellcasters" (this included Psionics) then I'd simply adjust the spell entry requirements for AA.  I may not do psionics but as far as I'm concerned an "Eldritch Archer" would just be an AA who can use Invocations instead of spells to enter the class and probably will be able to do something to combine Invocations/Eldritch blast with its arrow attacks in place of the Imbue Arrow ability.  Something similiar should be possible for psionics and probably divine spellcasting. 
Steven, while in general I agree with your critique, I think he was referring to balance points when comparing it to the ranger, instead of assuming that the archer would be a ranger. (You're spot-on right that he's dead wrong about Rapid Shot. Any foe with high AC makes Rapid Shot less than stellar, and anyone with enough speed to either reach the archer or reach cover makes Manyshot much more appealing.)

As for tracking ammo, unless the ammo is expensive, I usually steal a houserule I played around with in Saga - each quiver gives you a certain number of natural 1s before it runs out. Statistically you can expect to roll one natural 1 per 20 attacks, so a quiver of 60 arrows lasts for three "strikes" before you're out, unless you restock somehow. For super-expensive ammunition I track it normally. I've only seen a handful of archer builds that chew through expensive ammo like Heavy Weapons Guy, and all of them tend to use the Quiver of Anariel (which was on the WotC website until they took it down; long story short it was an infinite quiver that came in different varieties for different enhancements of arrows).

A psionic version of the stock arcane archer would be identical to the existing one, but with "arcane spells" replaced with "psionic powers"; the stock arcane archer has nothing in it except fluff that limits it to arcane magic. In fact, psionics has some amazing archery powers of its own right (Arrow Mind and Telekinetic Arrow come to mind); it's only the ranger-only spells that make traditional mages better archers.




I should also note that I'm nearly finished my own variation on the arcane archer which, while it remains arcane-only, is now compatible with the warlock and has slightly enhanced links between arcane magic and archery (such as a version of Arcane Strike which works on ranged weapons). I did keep Hail of Arrows, but I described it as firing moonlight echoes of your ammunition (or throwing weapon), costing you only one "shot" to pull off. (It even says that if you're using a crossbow, the weapon technically remains strung until the last bolt fires, with the astral bolts being propelled by will alone.) There is a slightly more radical change to the class beyond that, but I'll reveal that when it's ready to be released.

If you want a similar alternative, the Pathfinder arcane archer is surprisingly similar to mine, which was odd since I hadn't read it when I outlined my revision. Comparing the two, the pathfinder version will be a better spellcaster (although mine gets a slightly improved caster level), while mine will be a better warrior.

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