Ok, so some discussion on the optimization bords put an idea into my head the other night for a revamped version of the arcane archer, This is what I have so far, and I'm looking for a little feed back. I finished this up at around 2:30 am last night, so if anyone notes any mistakes please feel free to point them out (by mistakes I mean mathematical, or grammatical), otherwise, thoughts, opinions, ect, on how you think this redone version would play, enjoy picking me apart lady's and gentlemen!
Arcane Archer revamp
The purpose of this revamp is to make the Arcane Archer not only an appealing class to play, but to make it balance by that standards set forth by other supplemental prestige classes. This revamp has the following goals in mind:
A) Making the Arcane Archer more fluid as part of an arcane casting build that utilizes ranged weaponry.
B) Giving the class more utility via augmenting some of its class abilities, and giving additional uses to others.
C) Encouraging the player to complete all the levels of the prestige class by offering incentive to do so that will not hinder a primary caster as much as the current class features do.
With these goals in mind, let us review the revamped Arcane Archer.
Race: Any Elf or Half-Elf
Base Attack Bonus: +6
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (long bow or short bow)
Spells: Ability to cast 3rd-level arcane spells
The Arcane Archer
Hit Die: d8
Class Skills: Craft (Int), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis)
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int Modifier
Base Attack Bonus
Enhance Weapon, Imbue Ammo
Armored Mage, Seeker Arrow
+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
Arrow of Death
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An Arcane Archer is proficient with all martial weapons, and with light armor, but not shields.
Armored Mage (Ex): Normally, armor of any type interferes with an arcane spellcaster's gestures, which can cause his spells to fail (if those spells have somatic components). An Arcane Archer of 2nd level however can avoid arcane spell failure as long as he sticks to light armor. This training does not extend to medium or heavier armors, nor shields. This ability only apply to spells gained from the class he has added his +1 existing level of spell casting to.
Enhance Weapon (Su): Any projectile weapon used by an Arcane Archer gains the benefit of a greater magic weapon spell as long as the weapon is in hand with a caster level equal to the character level of the Arcane Archer. Only weapons with which the Arcane Archer are proficient with gain this benefit, and the weapon can only gain a maximum enhancement bonus equal to their Arcane Archer level. For example, Lucian a 5th level wizard, 4th level fighter, 1st level arcane archer would have an effective caster level of 10, normally granting a +3 enhancement bonus to a weapon. However since Lucian has only 1 arcane archer level, any projectile weapon he wields only gains a +1 enhancement bonus. When Lucian advances to a 3rd level arcane archer however he would gain the full benefit of Enhance Ammo’s caster level relative to his arcane archer level. This ability only effects weapons and not ammunition intended to be used for the weapon.
Imbue Ammo (Sp): An arcane archer gains the ability to place an area spell upon a piece of ammunition. When the ammunition is fired, the spell’s area is centered on where the ammunition lands, even if the spell could normally be centered only on the caster. This ability allows the archer to use the weapon’s range rather than the spell’s range. It takes a standard action to cast the spell and fire the ammunition. The ammunition must be fired in the round the spell is cast, or the spell is wasted.
Seeker Shot (Sp): At 2nd level, an arcane archer can launch an attack with a ranged weapon at a target known to her within range, and the ammunition travels to the target, even around corners. Only an unavoidable obstacle or the limit of the weapon’s range prevents the attacks flight. This ability negates cover and concealment modifiers, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally. Using this ability is a standard action (and shooting the ammunition is part of the action) that the arcane archer can use a number of times per day equal to his class level.
Spells per Day: At 2nd level and 4th, an arcane archer gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in whatever arcane spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (bonus metamagic or item creation feats, bard or assassin abilities, and so on). This essentially means that she adds the level of arcane archer to the level of whatever other arcane spellcasting class the character has, and then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly. If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before she became an arcane archer, she must decide to which class she adds each level of arcane archer for the purpose of determining spells per day.
Phase Shot (Sp): At 3rd level, an arcane archer can launch an attack with a ranged weapon at a target known to her within range, and the shot travels to the target in a straight path, passing through any nonmagical barrier or wall in its way. (A wall of force, a wall of fire, or the like stops the arrow.) This ability negates cover, concealment, and even armor modifiers (except armor modifiers from force effects such as mage armor or shield), but otherwise the attack is rolled normally. Using this ability is a standard action (and shooting the ammunition is part of the action) that the arcane archer can use a number of times per day equal to his class level.
Arrow Storm (Sp): At 4th level, an arcane archer can use Arrow Storm (spell compendium pg. 16) as a spell like ability usable a number of times per day equal to her class level.
Arrow of Death (Sp): At 5h level, an arcane archer can create an arrow of death that forces the target, if damaged by the arrow’s attack, to make a DC 20 Fortitude save or be slain immediately. It takes one day to make an arrow of death and the arrow only functions for the arcane archer who created it. The arrow of death lasts no longer than one year, and the archer can only have one such arrow in existence at a time.
You may have noticed that the wording of the arcane archers abilities have been altered slightly. This was done so that an arcane archer would not be limited to a bow and arrow when using most of their abilities, but still encourage the use of a bow via the feat prerequisites, and select class abilities. The arcane archer can just as easily utilize a hand cross bows or a ballista with abilities like phase shot and seeker shot however he is still restricted to the use of a bow with arrow storm and arrow of death, giving him a little leeway with the weapons he uses at a given time, but still making a bow the most optimal weapon in his arsenal. The class has been reduced to a 5th level cap as opposed to a 10th level cap in order to make its options more appealing and to service spell casting advancement more.
On that note, two levels of spell casting advancement have been added in as to not nerf the casting capabilities as the prior version did, well also not giving away “free bees” by making it a full casting progression. Another simple reason why arcane archer has been condensed into five levels is that it’s particularly strong attributes of good base attack, fortitude saves, and reflexes saves (all week points of the standard caster) would not be exploited by a prolonged level advancement like its prior rendition that simply had spell casting advancement “slapped over it”. The +2 additional levels or existing arcane spell casting on the other hand give a slight advancement to the core spell casting of any overall build well not making it the focus of the class.
The addition of the armored mage ability is also a tweak that gives spell casters a little bit more standing power and utilizes proficiencies that a build would likely already have, but not be able to use due to arcane spell failure. Finally, the addition of multiple uses of class ability fixes a problem the previous arcane archer had, which was a lack of options relative to encounters. Originally everything save for Imbue arrow was usable only once per day, putting a painful choice on the player as to whether or not to use X ability in Y scenario. Giving multiple uses takes the worry out of using Phase Shot (formerly phase arrow) in one encounter, because there are more uses of them left in the day.