So last night we started a seven man campaign. I wanted to go archer because, A) we have a monolith of close combat guys and zero ranged fighters or spellcasters, and B) the idea of the archer is badass. After hours of research I decided to take my first level in Ranger. The problem I'm having is that I don't know where to go. I've read the Archery Handbook again and again, I've invested another four hours in KSB Snow Owl's Archer Builds and I've considered the idea of a Swift Hunter and read that handbook. I don't think I want to do Swift Hunter though. KSB's builds seem really solid, except that for 3.5 he doesn't really explain what's going on and I'm kinda slow to the whole character building/cross-classing thing.
So can someone please please please help me build an archer who does max damage and maybe shoots from mid-ranges (we spend a lot of time in dungeons, so ridiculous range is not important).
Human (worshiping Corellon Larthian for bow proficiency)
Str - 16
Dex - 17
Con - 15
Int - 11
Wis - 14
Cha - 11
Feats: PB Shot and Precise Shot
All 3.5 material is allowed and I could use spells from Spell Compendium (to get "Hunters Mercy" for example which allows instant crit). I should mention that I've played four campaigns before but never cross-classed or prestiged. So if you can help me, please try and explain things the best you can. That's where KSB lost me :/
Thanks so much in advance!
Note: I'm not opposed to taking the Skirmish route, I just don't understand it and so that's detering me.