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View Full Version : The Retooled Arcane Double Whammy Extravaganza!!



T.G. Oskar
2012-10-13, 02:06 PM
WWitches and WWizards, Hogwwarts students of all ages!! Spirits of the Fade and Arcane Horrors are wwelcome too!!

POP REFERENCE x3 COMBO!!!!

So...it's been a while, no?

I've been VERY distracted, in multiple projects at once, and seemingly I've neglected my 'brewing release schedule.

Since releasing a class is usually a big release, and the few classes I haven't released are pretty big, how about we do something simple for a change, no? Thus, a prestige class is fine too!

Except...how do I cover essentially two months worth of non-releases? How about releasing TWO prestige classes at once? Shouldn't be hard, no?

But of course, the title says "Arcane Double Whammy", right? That's, of course, because both classes have to deal with arcane spellcasting! Not only that, they have "Arcane" on their title as well! And, just for extra coincidences, both are PrCs from the Dungeon Master's Guide!!

Of course, you know which PrCs I'm talking about...but wait; I mentioned that both classes had the word "Arcane" in their title, no? Yes, yes I did! You see, I had to do a change to one of the PrC's names, in order to fit better (not to mention that the name the original class has would suggest something different; you can blame that change on Complete Mage).

So, without further ado, allow me to present the first of the Arcane Double Whammy extravaganza:


ARCANE ARCHER
http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff312/Osky-kun/Untitled.jpg
Original image from Dragon Magazine #374

"An enchanted bow? Parlor tricks. Aiming a ball of flames beyond cover? A bit more interesting. Arcing a lightning bolt so that it aims all creatures beyond walls? Slightly more impressive. Now, turning a prisoner into a hydra while disguised as the enemy from dozens of steps away? I'd love to see a feeble mage do that..." - Quarrath Faeresril, drow surfacer, explaining the arts of the arcane archer to a dead mage.

Requirements
To qualify to become an arcane archer, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +5
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (shortbow or longbow)
Skills: Spot 5 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 5 ranks, Spellcraft 5 ranks
Spells: Able to cast 1st level arcane spells, including magic missile and magic weapon
Special: An elf may enter this class and ignore the Weapon Focus (shortbow or longbow) requirements, so as long as it complies with the rest.

As you may have noticed, the requirements are now open to anyone. Why elves should be the ones holding all the fun?

On the other hand, they're a bit more stringent. For starters, it requires 8 ranks in Spot, so unless you multiclass, you'll rarely have a chance of entering by means of being a Fighter. Now, Ranger? Excellent choice! There's also Guerrilla Scout if you insist on entering as a Fighter, in any case. Since you no longer need a BAB of 6 to enter, you can enter a bit earlier.

Elves, being the developers of the arts of the arcane archer, have it just a tad easier. They only need two feats instead of three, so they enter a bit faster and require less feats. This involves any elf subtype, hence drow are also allowed, even though they're not exactly longbow wielders.

Class Skills
The arcane archerís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Hide (Dex). Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis) and Tumble (Dex)
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Skill-wise, they get a larger skill list to justify that large amount of skill points. The skill list resembles a ranger's skill list quite a bit, aside from the Knowledge skills. This means they get a good bit of athletic and acrobatic skills, plus Intimidate. The latter is a rare choice, but an interesting one, considering they get absolutely no interaction skills. Bluff is unnecessary because they don't fight up close and personal, and Diplomacy on an archer is kinda lost, but Intimidate can be used to demoralize from a distance, particularly if you get ways to do it faster.

{TABLE=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells per day
1st|+1|
+0|
+2|
+2|Conjure arrows, enhanced arrows (greater magic weapon), mental acuity|--
2nd|+2|
+0|
+3|
+3|Arcane precision +1/+1d6, close combat shot|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3rd|+3|
+1|
+3|
+3|Bonus feat, enhanced arrows (resilient)|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4th|+4|
+1|
+4|
+4|Arcane precision +2/+1d6, seeker arrows|--
5th|+5|
+1|
+4|
+4|Enhanced arrows (elemental), slayer's arrows (bane)|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
6th|+6|
+2|
+5|
+5|Arcane precision +2/+2d6, bonus feat, phasing arrows|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
7th|+7|
+2|
+5|
+5|Enhanced arrows (force sheen), storm of arrows|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
8th|+8|
+2|
+6|
+6|Arcane precision +3/+2d6, imbue arrows|--
9th|+9|
+3|
+6|
+6|Bonus feat, elemental arrows (elemental burst)|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
10th|+10|
+3|
+7|
+7|Arcane precision +3/+3d6, slayer's arrows (death)|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class[/TABLE]

So, the biggest change you might see is that arcane archers lack a good Fort save, but instead have an awesome Will save. It has full BAB, and it has even MORE spell levels than the PF version (because anything below 6/10ths in terms of PrCs sucks).

Now, what does this means for the Arcane Archer? Well, for starters, it means you have one of the second rarest setups of saving throw arrays (Ref/Will, accessible mostly by the Bard), but with full BAB (great for a martial character), with a whopping 7/10ths spellcasting (a golden opportunity for any kind of spellcaster, but superb for Duskblades), specializing in archery. It is very specific, but the methods of entry and how they benefit each method are spectacular.

Class Features
All of the following are features of the arcane archer prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The arcane archer is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, as well as light and medium armor if she wasnít proficient already. She is also proficient with any kind of exotic bow or crossbow; if she had the Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat for any exotic bow or crossbow (as a feat chosen by character levels or Hit Dice), she gains a bonus feat of her choice with which she meets the prerequisites for each such feat.

In case you enter by means of pure Wizard, Sorcerer or arcanist levels, you get proficiency with a wide variety of weapons and armor. The ability to gain proficiency with all kinds of exotic bows or crossbows (including greatbows, repeating crossbows of all kinds, amongst others) means you're the undisputed master of archery. Since that means any Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat you choose becomes worthless. Thus, you can replace any feat of your choice with a more advanced feat; a sound tactic to get better feats from your limited feat slots.

Though, you get a few more feat slots, so...

Spells per Day: At all levels except 1st, 4th, and 8th, whenever an arcane archer gains a new level, she gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) 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 .

If the character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before she became an arcane archer, the player must decide which class to assign each level for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.

The reason I went for 7/10ths spellcasting is because half-spellcasting for PrCs is essentially worthless, but full spellcasting is a bit too much for a very loaded class. Thus, the compromise was to have a reduction on spellcasting progression, but a reasonable one. All points where you don't advance your spellcasting have their reasons: 1st level to prevent dips and because you get a free spell, 8th level because you get the signature ability of the arcane archers, and 4th level because you get homing projectiles. 4th level may seem a tad weak, but you essentially get the ability to have any arrow hit without an attack roll, so it's a fair exchange.

Conjure Arrows (Sp): The first technique an arcane archer learns is to always have arrows available, at any moment. Usually, the arcane archer will always have an arrow available, but when she runs out of arrows, she does the most plausible thing; summon arrows from thin air. These arrows are usually coated with a magical sheen that identifies them as weapons suited for the arcane archer, and rarely work for other creatures.

At 1st level, an arcane archer may expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher to conjure a stack of arrows as a swift action. The arcane archer summons 2d6 sets of arrows per level of spell expended (treat 0-level spells as Ĺ level for purposes of this ability, and thus you may only summon 1d6 arrows by these means), and these arrows last for a number of rounds equal to her caster level. These conjured arrows work only for the arcane archer, and return to her quiver if fired by a character thatís not the arcane archer. Once fired by the arcane archer and causing damage, the conjured arrows dissipate into nothingness. Unlike other kinds of arrows, conjured arrows are always imbued with uncanny precision and thus gain the benefits of arcane precision.

An arcane archer that uses crossbows may conjure bolts if she so desires, but she must make the choice when using this ability.

More than a signature ability, this ability is quite interesting. It means you never run out of arrows, having an average of 7 arrows per spell level for a short while. Essentially, it's a last-ditch resort in case you lack arrows to fire, so that you never lack arrows. It's also a decent way to expend 1st level spell slots you might not use.

Enhanced Arrows (Su): A natural result of using magic to enhance her archery, the arcane archer naturally suffuses her arrows with magical power. Arrows fired by the arcane archer are more precise, more dangerous, resilient, and even capable of incredible force.

At 1st level, any arrow that the arcane archer fires is treated as magical and gains an enhancement bonus as if it was enchanted with the greater magic weapon spell cast by a spellcaster of the arcane archerís caster level, unless the enchantment bonus of the bow or arrow is higher. To use this ability, the arcane archer must have prepared the spell (or know the spell and have a spell slot of the spellís level available); for those purposes, the arcane archer learns the greater magic weapon spell for free, and she adds it to her spellbook or her list of spells known at the moment she learns to cast spells of the level requires for greater magic weapon (immediately if she can cast spells of that level); if she already knows the spell, she gains no further benefit. In the case that she does not have greater magic weapon prepared (or she has exhausted spells from the same level or higher than greater magic weapon) but she still has prepared magic weapon (or has spell slots of the same level or higher as that of magic weapon remaining), she still may imbue any of her weapons with a +1 enhancement bonus. In the case she doesnít have any of the spells prepared (or no spell slots of the same level or higher), she may not apply this benefit nor any of the other benefits that follow.

At 3rd level, any arrow that the arcane archer fires (except for conjured arrows) have a 50% chance of not destroying themselves after hitting the enemy, and are never destroyed if she misses her target.

At 5th level, an arcane archer may imbue any arrow she fires with an element of her choice. She must have prepared a conjuration or evocation spell of at least 1st level that has the same element descriptor as the element she intends to imbue her arrow with (or know the spell and have a spell slot of the same level or higher); acid spells for the corrosive property (see Magic Item Compendium page 31), fire spells for the flaming property, ice spells for the frost property, sonic spells for the screaming property (see Magic Item Compendium page 42), and electricity spells for the shock property. She may change the element of the spell she wishes to enhance her arrows with as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

At 7th level, an arcane archer may imbue her arrows with a screen of magical force. Any arrow she fires is treated as if having the force property (see Magic Item Compendium page 35), and thus it ignores damage reduction and affects incorporeal targets. In order to imbue her arrows with a force sheen, the arcane archer must have prepared the magic missile spell (or know the spell and have a spell slot of the spellís level or higher). Spells like force missile and chain missile are considered as if they were magic missile for purposes of this ability.

At 9th level, an arcane archer may imbue any arrow she fires with a powerful manifestation of an element of her choice. She must have prepared a conjuration or evocation spell of at least 4th level that has the same element descriptor as the element she intends to imbue her arrow with (or know the spell and have a spell slot of the same level or higher); acid spells for the acidic burst property (see Magic Item Compendium page 28), fire spells for the flaming burst property, ice spells for the icy burst property, sonic spells for the screaming burst property (see Magic Item Compendium page 42), and electricity spells for the shocking burst property. She may change the element of the spell she wishes to enhance her arrows with as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

An arcane archer may, if it desires, activate or deactivate these properties as a free action. She may deactivate (or activate) one or more of the properties, as applies.

An arcane archer that uses crossbows may enhance her bolts if she so desires, but she must make the choice when using the ability.

Clever, huh?

While most of these abilities exist on the PF version of Arcane Archer, it's quite obvious that enchanting arrows towards their conservation, the ability to hit incorporeal creatures and ignore Wind Walls goes above and beyond what the original arcane archer did.

Now, why insist on the requirements? The idea is that arcane archers use the same kind of resource as users of reserve feats, drawing only a bit of their prepared spells (or spell slots) to enchant their arrows with magic. That way, if you don't have the spell prepared, you're hurting a bit, but not that much. The idea is that you should exploit archery more than your spellcasting, in any case.

Now, since it says any arrow, this means conjured arrows also gain the benefit (except for one, which is explicitly mentioned above). That means you can conjure arrows that gain up to +5 to attack and damage rolls, deal 1d6 elemental damage (including acid and sonic damage!) with a chance of 1d10/2d10 extra damage with critical hits, which just happen to hit incorporeal creatures and ignore wind walls. That alone is VERY powerful.

Mental Archery (Ex): Although she may have some training when attacking with a ranged weapon and above-average Dexterity and possibly Strength scores, it is inevitable that an arcane archer will have a much stronger intellectual bent and mental potential. Part of the techniques of the arcane archer involve using her logic, or even her inner power, to aim the arrow and deal the largest amount of damage possible. When using any bow or crossbow, the arcane archer adds her Intelligence (if she casts prepared spells) or her Charisma (if she casts spontaneous spells) modifier for all attack rolls and damage rolls with these weapons.

Yup, now you get EVEN MORE bonuses to attack and damage rolls, by applying your bonuses from your main spellcasting ability score to your ranged attacks. Since you'll probably seek to advance your spellcasting score rather than gain a middling bonus by advancing Dexterity, this is a good way to keep your main attack method worthwhile.

Arcane Precision (Sp): Although it may seem like a pointless move, an arcane archer has the opportunity to imbue her arrows with greater magical power and thus she is capable of causing greater damage with her arrows. Some may say that she is wasting her time expending her spell potential when she should be casting spells; that line of thought goes against the path of the arcane archer, who is willing to expend her spell energy to grant greater power to her arrows. However, this doesnít mean she does not use her spells carefully.

At 2nd level, an arcane archer may expend a prepared spell (or a spell slot) as a swift action and gain a bonus on her attack rolls and damage rolls for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell expended. Thus, if she expends a 1st level spell, she gains a +1 bonus to her attack rolls and deals an extra 1d6 points of damage on all attacks she makes for 1 round. Since the precision and damage is magically powered, she may use this ability even on creatures that are normally immune to sneak attacks, deal the damage at any range, and at any moment she has the ability active. This benefit applies only to projectile weapons (bows or crossbows only), or weaponlike spells (rays and other ranged touch attack spells), and deals hit point of the same type damage the projectile (or spell) would have dealt. Arcane precision only applies to the first hit of a spell with an extended duration (thus, an acid arrow improved with this ability deals 2d6 points of acid damage on the first round and 1d6 points of acid damage on subsequent rounds), and only once per target; thus, a 10th level sorcerer/2nd level arcane archer casting scorching ray and dividing her three rays between two opponents may deal 9d6 points of damage on one opponent and 5d6 points of damage on the other, but if she concentrates all three spells on the same target, she deals only 13d6 points of damage; alternatively, an arcane archer using Multishot or attacking two creatures deals damage equal to the amount of successful shots plus 1d6.

If the arcane archer conjures arrows, each of these arrows automatically gains the benefit of arcane precision even if she has not expended a spell to activate this ability.

At 4th level and every 4 levels afterwards, the bonus on attack rolls increases by 1. At 6th level, and every 4 levels afterwards, the extra damage granted by this ability increases by 1d6.

Alright, you can bash at me if you think this is excessive, but this ability is awesome. Basically, you sacrifice a spell slot to provide a small, but reasonable, amount of damage with EVERY attack. While it starts with 1d6 per shot, an arcane archer can eventually deal 3d6 with every hit, for what's essentially 5 sure hits (what with the obscene bonus to attack rolls), by sacrificing one spell slot. That's more damage than what you can do with a spell alone.

However, it's not limited to bows and arrows exclusively. Certainly, it's limited to ranged attacks, but you can use it with weaponlike spells (so you can use it with Scorching Ray all the way to Polar Ray), and it lasts for a good while because the level of the spell only defines for how many rounds the effect lasts.

Now, this may seem a bit too abusive for those who decide to conjure arrows, because they have to expend two spell slots to gain the same effect. As you may have noticed, all conjured arrows are automatically (or should I say, automagically?) empowered to deal the extra damage, so there's yet another reason why you should conjure arrows every now and then.

Close Combat Shot (Ex): An arcane archer knows that the worst nightmare of her style is someone drawing far too close; thus, she learns how to deal damage at the closest range possible. A 2nd level arcane archer may attack with her bow (or crossbow) at melee range and make ranged attacks with her bow without provoking attacks of opportunity.

Since you're going to focus on ranged attacks almost exclusively, the last thing you want is to have your main attack method completely nullified. Hence, you can now use bows and crossbows in melee range. It takes a while, but it's still acquired at a pretty early level.

Bonus Feat: At 3rd level, and every three levels afterwards, an arcane archer gains a bonus feat. This bonus feat must be chosen from the list of fighter bonus feats. An arcane archerís effective fighter level for purposes of qualifying for bonus feats is equal to her class level, plus any levels in fighter or effective fighter levels she may already have.

No martial class can be complete without bonus feats, so here they are! You get three bonus feats, which should help A LOT with the feat-intensive archery tree, making the already formidable arcane archer even better! With some luck, you may even qualify for Weapon Supremacy for a single weapon, which is reasonable enough.

Seeker Arrows (Sp): One of the nastier tricks of arcane archers is their knowledge, as many fledging arcanists, of the simple yet effective magic missile spell. A spell that defines simplicity in that deals very effective damage, but specifically that it never requires the arcanist to actually aim the spell, and that it bypasses most of the defenses of typical warriors so it is very literally a spell to cast and forget. The biggest trouble of this spell, simple as it may be, is that the spell rarely, if ever, progresses; too much is sacrificed for its versatility. The arcane archer, thus, combines something as natural as projectile weaponry with one of the most useful traits of the spell; the ability to bypass cover and to land squarely upon the opponent, even though the arcane archer must still practice its aim. Worse, when the arcane archer imbues her arrows with the full power of the spell, even the most difficult shot is done with ease.

When the arcane archer has the magic missile spell prepared (or knows the spell and has a spell slot of the spellís level or higher), any arrow the arcane archer shoots ignores cover and concealment, unless the concealment is of ethereal nature (such as the blink spell). The arcane archer must still have line of sight to the target (but not line of effect) to shoot the arrow.

As a swift action, if the arcane archer expends a prepared magic missile spell (or a spell slot of the same level as magic missile), arrows that the arcane archer shoots automatically hits the target without the need for a roll. This allows the target to hit automatically, but since there is no need for a roll, the arrow does not provoke a critical hit. This ability affects one arrow, plus one other arrow for every four caster levels above 1st (to a total of 5 arrows at caster level 17th), but the effect only lasts for one turn.
If the arcane archer knows and decides to a prepared spell slot containing chain missile (or a spell slot of the same level as chain missile), the arcane archer can combine her resilient arrows with the magic of this spell. Any arrow that is not destroyed by means of the resilient enhancement instantly flies off and strikes secondary targets of your choice that are within 30 ft. of the primary target, striking automatically and dealing the same damage as it dealt the primary target. Any secondary target can only be struck by 1 arrow at a time; you may choose fewer secondary targets than the amount of remaining arrows so as to not affect allies.

In both cases, infusing arrows with the power of magic missile or chain missile also has its drawbacks. If a creature somehow has immunity to any of these spells (such as by having a shield spell or a brooch of shielding), the arrows do not hit the target (and are treated as a miss, which means the arrows remain whole by means of the resilient enhancement). However, unless the arcane archer uses the force sheen enhancement mentioned above, arrows are not treated as force projectiles, meaning they cannot affect incorporeal creatures and are vulnerable to damage reduction (they do not gain the vulnerabilities of force weapons, however).

An arcane archer that uses crossbows may apply this benefit to any bolt she shoots, although unless she gains a swifter way to reload bolts, she may not take the full benefit of this ability.

Let's face it: seeker arrows aren't really that hot. Sure, cover and concealment can be a problem, but when you're casting spells, that really doesn't matter.

So, how about homing arrows?

Indeed: by sacrificing Magic Missile spells, you can make any shot you fire from a bow or crossbow hit automatically. With some preparation, that means that you can sacrifice a Magic Missile spell to make a full attack hit automatically, no need for a d20 roll.

Let that sink in. That means you deal 1d8/1d10 points of damage, plus your Int or Cha, plus the enhancement bonus, plus 1d6 points of elemental damage, plus arcane precision (if you activated it), plus any other benefit you want to add in, and without making a single attack roll. As part of a full attack. And all it takes is one or two spell slots, so you're in less risk of going fully nova on your enemies.

...Well, it still doesn't compare to what a full spellcaster with full spellcasting ability can do, but it's pretty darn impressive for what's essentially the most troubling attack method in the game.

Slayerís Arrows (Sp): An arcane archer learns to imbue her arrows or bolts with magical power that is anathema to a creature that she faces. This is a callback to the first elven arcane archers, who often combined their magical prowess with their enmity towards orcs in order to slay as many as they could. However, even the bizarre orc arcane archer (who somehow gains wind of the talents of an arcane archer) may use this ability, effectively twisting the weapons of their former enemies against them. In fact, the technique of creating slayerís arrows is devoid of tradition or ceremonial purpose; to an arcane archer, using the right weapon against her enemy is what really matters.

At 5th level, as a swift action, the arcane archer may expend any prepared spell (or spell slot) of at least 2nd level to imbue any arrow she shoots with the bane property. The creature must choose which creature type (and subtype) when using this ability, and the enhancement lasts for a number of rounds equal to the spellís level -1. If the arcane archer expends a spell of at least 3rd level, she may imbue her arrows with the fiercebane property (see Magic Item Compendium page 35) for a number of rounds equal to the spellís level -1. If she instead expends a spell of 4th level or higher, she may choose her weapons to become greater bane, gaining an effective +4 enhancement bonus and dealing 4d6 points of damage for a number of rounds equal to the spellís level -2. An arcane archer does not need to apply higher-tier bane properties to her arrows if using spells of higher level, but if she does, she also gains the other properties so as long as they are not replaced (hence, an arcane archer that expends a 4th level spell slot may add the fiercebane and greater bane properties for 2 rounds to any arrow she shoots, but not the bane property as this one is replaced by greater bane; for these purposes, greater bane is treated as the bane property for the fiercebane requirement). If the arcane archer uses both this ability and arcane precision on subsequent turns, the effect of both feats stack; thus, a 6th level arcane archer with an arcane caster level of 7th that expends a 3rd level spell slot for arcane precision on one round and a 4th level spell to imbue her arrows with the fiercebane and greater bane properties adds a +8 to her attack roll (+2 from the arrowís enhancement bonus unless higher, +2 from arcane precision, and +4 from the greater bane property) and deals 6d6+6 points of damage (+2 from the arrowís enhancement bonus unless higher, +4 from the greater bane property, +2d6 from the arcane precision extra damage and +4d6 from the greater bane property) when attacking a creature of the type chosen for her greater bane arrows.

At 10th level, she may imbue a single arrow of her choice with the ability to instantly slay a creature of her choice. By expending a spell slot of 5th level or higher as a swift action, the arcane archer makes a single arrow of her choice carry this property. The decision must be made before the arrow is shot, and the effect is lost if the arrow misses. If the attack is successful, the creature must succeed on a Fortitude saving throw equal to 20 + the arcane archerís Intelligence (for prepared spellcasters) or Charisma (for spontaneous spellcasters) modifier. If she prepares her spells and decides to expend a prepared necromancy spell of 5th level or higher, the arrow is unusually stronger; the DC increases by an amount equal to the level of the spell -4. Unlike other abilities, this attack is treated as if it were a necromancy spell for purposes of feats that increase its DC (such as Spell Focus [necromancy]).

If the arcane archer has the favored enemy as a class ability, the benefits of this ability improve. The duration of arrows enchanted with the bane, fiercebane or greater bane property increase by 1 for every 2 points of her favored enemy bonus, and the saving throw DC for her slaying arrow increases by 1 for every 2 points of her favored enemy bonus; both apply when the arcane archer chooses the bane property for the creature type (and subtype) of her favored enemy (and if the creature upon which she uses the ability is one of her favored enemies) in a case-by-case basis; thus, an arcane archer with orcs and goblinoids as her favored enemies (the former with a +4 bonus, the latter with a +2 bonus) adds two rounds when creating orc bane arrows, orc fiercebane arrows or greater orc bane arrows and the saving throw DC for the death attack increases by 2 against orcs, but the duration of bane arrows and saving throw DC of the death attack is only 1 when dealing with goblinoids.

An arcane archer that uses crossbows may imbue her bolts with either of the two properties, but she must make the choice when using this ability.

Just when you thought that the damage potential of the arcane arrow wasn't enough, here's Bane!!

...By now you must think I'm going mad, but bear with me! This is perfectly reasonable. You need to expend about two or three spells to deal exorbitant amounts of damage for a few rounds, but if you choose to do so, even a single arrow should be enough to one-shot any opponent. This is a far more focused effect than Arcane Precision or your normal bonuses, and lasts for much less, but allows you to have the right weapon for the task.

However, the effect is better for Rangers, whom should gain an even LARGER benefit from it, because it applies their favored enemy bonuses in a way it saves on their consumption of spell slots. Combine this with Arcane Hunter (for favored enemy: arcanists), and you can make the Arcane Archer a seriously powerful mage-killer.

Speaking of mage-killer: slayer's arrows are essentially a way to make Arrow of Death a worthwhile ability. DC 20 is strong at first, but since it doesn't scale, it slowly becomes weak. DC 20 + Cha modifier helps it somewhat, but that means AAs that enter by means of the Wizard class get shafted. 20 + Int or Cha modifier is a lot more reasonable. However, since we want Arrow of Death to matter, I decided that necromancy spells get a special benefit. Now, you can shoot an arrow that hits harder than the Finger of Death spell you can cast, and if you have ways to improve necromancy spell save DCs, it becomes even stronger. THIS is an Arrow of Death, if I may say so.

Phasing Arrows (Su): An arcane archer gains the ability to imbue her arrows with the ability to phase between dimensions, thus allowing her to strike creatures that hide beneath barriers and at different dimensions than her own (or that at least are coterminous to her own plane).

At 6th level, by expending a spell slot of 3rd level or higher as a swift action, any arrow that she shoots shifts between the Material Plane, the Ethereal Plane, and the Plane of Shadow. The arcane archer needs only to have line of sight to strike the enemy, and the arrow travels in a straight line, bypassing any barriers in her path (magical or non-magical) and striking any creatures that exist in the Material Plane, Ethereal Plane, or Plane of Shadows (the latter two if the arcane archer is aware of creatures in any of the planes, thus gaining line of sight to them). This ability lasts for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell expended -2. This ability foils even dimensional lock and antimagic field, since the projectile effectively exists in all three planes at the same time (given that the effect is instantaneous), but the arrow still cannot be fired if within one of the aforementioned (or similar) areas; thus, while an arcane archer cannot imbue her arrows inside a dimensional lock or antimagic field (or a dead magic zone), she may shoot into a creature that is inside one.

An arcane archer that uses crossbows may imbue her bolts with this property, but she must make the choice when using this ability.

Phasing Arrows were a tad weak. If you could see through walls, then there's the big chance that you could shoot through them, but any kind of magical barrier (or anything that neglects supernatural abilities) screws it. Not anymore. Now, you can shoot through any barrier, because you can shoot arrows to any creature that hides on the Plane of Shadow (through Shadow Walk, for example) or the Ethereal Plane (Ethereal Jaunt, Etherealness, Blink), even if they're protected by Antimagic Fields and other such wards. Sure, it takes one more spell slot, but you should be rolling on several spell slots, given that by 6th level you should have at least two more spell levels worth of spells.

Storm of Arrows (Ex): An arcane archer learns to imbue her arrows with several forms of magical power, but her training within the arts of archery is never neglected. When she is surrounded with enemies and devoid of magical power, she still has an ace behind her proverbial sleeve.

At 7th level, as a full-round action, an arcane archer may fire an arrow at each and every target within range in lieu of her regular attacks, to a maximum of one target for every arcane archer level she has earned. Each attack uses the archerís primary attack bonus, and each enemy may only be targeted by a single arrow. If the arrow is imbued with any enhancement or special ability, this also applies; thus, she may apply all of the enhancements to arrows, arcane precision, seeker arrows, slayerís arrows and precise arrows (but not imbue arrows, see below). In the case of seeker arrows, the arcane archer ignores the restriction on arrows when using this ability; thus, an 8th level arcane archer using the seeker arrows main property ignores cover and concealment, and if expending a magic missile spell, she does not need to roll in order to hit (and if using chain missiles, any arrow that is not destroyed may hit a secondary target).

Unlike other arcane archer abilities, this ability cannot be used with crossbows (unless the arcane archer is capable of loading crossbow bolts as a free action, but not when using repeating crossbows).

A legacy ability makes its return, and one level earlier to boot. It's one of the few Extraordinary abilities the Arcane Archer has, after all.

Now, it's important to notice that, when using storm of arrows, you can exceed the number of attacks you can normally do with a full attack action, but only if you have an equal number of opponents. The other point that should matter, which is how to make each attack count, depends on the rest of the AA's benefits, meaning you can reliably nova on a wide amount of opponents, even though it's not gonna be a Fireball or a Web or a Maw of Chaos.

Imbue Arrows (Sp): At 8th level, an arcane archer learns to imbue whole spells into her arrows. Although she may only imbue a single arrow with a single spell, the effect is usually devastating to see. All of her training focuses into this one moment; the moment in which she can use the range of her arrows to deliver spells, including if the spell was never intended to be delivered or if the spell is actually beneficial. Some arcane archers learn to imbue their arrows with beneficial spells, usually though a non-lethal method.
As a swift action, an arcane archer may imbue an arrow she shoots with a spell. The spell may not last more than a standard action (thus, the spell is effectively quickened even if the arcane archer does not know the Quicken Spell metamagic feat). When the arrow is fired, the spellís area is centered on where the arrow lands, even if the spell could normally be centered only on the caster (but not if the spell is personal in range). This ability allows the archer to use the bowís range rather than the spellís range (thus, it benefits touch spells or close-range spells more than medium or long-range spells), or to shoot an arrow using the spellís range instead of the bowís range (thus, effectively extending the range of the arrow). When using a beneficial spell (a spell that has ďharmlessĒ in the spell reduction section), the archer may elect to deal non-lethal damage instead of lethal damage and imbue a target with the spell without taking a penalty on the attack roll (thus, although the ally will still take non-lethal damage, the arrow may imbue the ally with a beneficial spell; in the case of cure light wounds or stronger spells in the case of arcane archers that are also bards, the effect of the spell cancels the effect of non-lethal damage to an extent); as well, the arcane archer may voluntarily null any of the above-mentioned properties when using an arrow to deliver a beneficial spell (thus, an arcane archer that has chosen to imbue her arrows with a higher enhancement bonus, a specific element, the seeker and phasing arrows properties, and the arcane precision may negate all of these properties when shooting an arrow to deliver a beneficial touch spell, or all except seeker arrows).

An arcane archer that uses crossbows may imbue her bolts with spells, but she must make the choice when using this ability.

And here we are: the iconic ability of the Arcane Archer...seven levels late. You may be arguing why this had to happen.

Well, it's obvious. Imbue Arrows is a powerful ability that essentially made the original Arcane Archer useful until 2nd level. Delaying it doesn't reduce its power at all, but reaffirms the power of all the other class abilities.

The second? It makes any touch attack gain increased range, and it works with beneficial spells. What's best, you can pepper an ally with beneficial spells and deal no more than non-lethal damage (and without the rest of the damage boosters), so you can use imbue arrows for something more than just touch attack spells. It also works with spells centered on the caster, so you can have emanations working away from the caster. It opens quite a bit of tactical opportunities.

T.G. Oskar
2012-10-13, 02:08 PM
Time for the (delayed) part 2 of the Arcane Double Whammy extravaganza!!

Just like the ranged combatants have their improved arcane fighting style, melee must do the same, no? We have three prestige...no, FOUR prestige classes devoted to blending melee and magic. Or, actually, two classes and FOUR prestige classes. Of those six examples (namely, the Hexblade, the Duskblade, the Eldritch Knight, the Spellsword, the Bladesinger and the Abjurant Champion...oh, wait, I forgot Knight Phantom, but that's Eberron-exclusive), two are the prime examples of gishing (Duskblade for a class and Abjurant Champion for the PrC) and the others are workable for dips...save for one. Eldritch Knight works less as a dip and more as filler, because it allows progressing both spells and BAB almost to completion.

Thing is, though, Eldritch Knight needs a change. It's not exactly a "knight", because it doesn't equip decent armor, nor prefers the use of a shield. And...Eldritch is now used for different purposes. As you may know, "Eldritch" is used for classes which blend Warlocks with other classes (namely, spellcasters). Thus, I had to make a slight change.

Thus, and in order to keep things short, I present to you...


ARCANE FENCER

"I'm more dangerous up close than at a distance..."

Requirements
To qualify to become an arcane fencer, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 6 ranks
Feats: Combat Casting, proficiency with all martial weapons
Spells: Able to spontaneously cast 2nd level arcane spells or prepare 3rd level arcane spells
Special: Able to cast magic weapon or greater magic weapon. A spontaneous spellcaster must know at least one of the spells, while a prepared spellcaster must have at least one of the spells accessible through the Spell Mastery feat.

The requirements are a combination of the Eldritch Knight's own (proficiency with all martial weapons) and those of the Spellsword (BAB, Knowledge [arcana] requirement), but with something else.

As you can see, there's a new requirement, which is access to Magic Weapon at ALL times, as well as Combat Casting. The spellcasting requirement is less stringent for spontaneous spellcasters, and makes a few choices slightly better (Battle Sorcerer and Stalwart Sorcerer, for once). The extra requirement of Spell Mastery may make prepared spellcasters flinch a bit, but there's a reason for it.

As you can figure, it's a pretty stringent set of requirements. It forces, at the very least, to be level 6-7: you need at least 2 levels of a martial class and 4-5 levels in a spellcasting class. Some options (namely, Battle Sorcerer) might land it at 5, with some sacrifices done.

Class Skills
The arcane fencer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis) and Swim (Str)
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Again, the skill list has been upgraded a bit, adding all athletic skills to the class, with the sacrifice of Knowledge (nobility and royalty), which is no longer necessary. As usual, the class has an increased skill list, even though you have two Intelligence-focused classes.

Hit Die: d8.

{TABLE=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells per Day
1st|+1|
+2|
+0|
+2|Ignore spell failure 15%, channel energy|--
2nd|+2|
+3|
+0|
+3|Bonus feat, arcane fencing|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3rd|+3|
+3|
+1|
+3|Channel spell (1 spell)|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4th|+4|
+4|
+1|
+4|Ignore spell failure 20%, spell defense|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5th|+5|
+4|
+1|
+4|Bonus feat, channel energy (element)|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
6th|+6|
+5|
+2|
+5|Channel spell (area spells)|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
7th|+7|
+5|
+2|
+5|Ignore spell failure 25%, spellmight|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
8th|+8|
+6|
+2|
+6|Bonus feat, deflect spell|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
9th|+9|
+6|
+3|
+6|Channel spell (2 spells)|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
10th|+10|
+7|
+3|
+7|Ignore spell failure 30%, channel spell (full attack/casting|+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class[/TABLE]

The original PrC has a d6 Hit Die, and Pathfinder decided to boost it to a hefty d10. So why d8? Simple.

Thing is, a d8 is right in the middle of the hit point range. Rangers and monks have this same Hit Die, which suggests a character that likes skirmishes instead of frontal combatants. As you can see, the class is a "fencer", not exactly a heavily armored warrior. It has the ability to wield shields, and medium armor isn't exactly a skirmisher's kind of armor (they prefer light armor), but gishes thrive on light (or even no) armor, and they have quite a lot of different mobility options (teleportation, for example). Their tanking options don't rely on having a load of hit points, but on all the spells they can cast on themselves to buff their defenses to "you can't hit me, period" and then deal damage equal to "you better beat me first or I end you". There are a few ways to get temporary hit points with spells, and how to ignore the effect of negative hit points, so there's no need for loads of HP; however, there is a need for a significant amount.

Class Features
All of the following are features of the arcane fencer prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An arcane fencer gains proficiency with light and medium armor and with all shields (except tower shields), if she does not already has them.

In case you somehow don't have proficiency with light and medium armor (for example, you might have entered as a Swordsage or as a Swashbuckler), you get those proficiencies for free.

Spells per Day: When an arcane fencer gains a new level after the first, she gains new spells per day as if she had gained a level in any one arcane spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (except for advanced learning; her levels in this class stack with the levels of the class that grants the advanced learning class feature), save for an increased effective level in spellcasting. If the arcane fencer had more than one spellcasting class before entering this prestige class, she must decide to which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day (and spells known, if applicable).

As the original, the class retains its 9/10ths spellcasting ability, which is more than formidable. The other interesting thing is that, beyond the usual advancement language (spell slots, spells known per day), Arcane Fencers also gain new advanced learning slots. This makes Arcane Fencers the best options for Warmages, Beguilers and Dread Necromancers.

Ignore Spell Failure (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, an arcane fencer learns special techniques to blend her somatic components with her swordplay, allowing her to cast spells easier even in the most restrictive of armor. She may ignore a portion of the arcane spell failure chance associated with using armor; this reduction starts at 10% and gradually increases to 30%, as indicated on the table above. This reduction may not decrease the arcane spell failure chance to lower than 0%, but if there is a remnant of the reduction remaining, she may apply it in case a spell or effect imposes a higher penalty.

Hunh!? Why do I give a class ability from the Spellsword to the Eldritch Kn...I mean, Arcane Fencer?

Why, because the Arcane Fencer has magically stabbed the Spellsword with a magical blade that channeled Finger of Death and took its stuff, that's why!

Oh, but there's a slight new surprise. Ever since Spellsword came, there's a few spells that intensify the arcane spell failure (or apply a new one; Armor Lock is the example that comes to mind). In that case, you can "reserve" that chance of arcane spell failure for other stuff. This works wonders in case you wish to equip a mithral full plate with the twilight enhancement AND a shield...though you may want to think on adding the Somatic Weaponry feat if you wish to do so and hold a weapon as well.

Channel Energy (Sp): At 1st level, an arcane fencer can imbue her melee weapons with raw arcane energy, allowing her to temporarily increase her damage at the cost of her spellcasting. As a swift action, an arcane fencer may sacrifice a prepared spell (or spell slot) and imbue her weapon with temporary energy. Treat this as if using a magic weapon spell (or greater magic weapon if the spell slot is of 3rd level or higher), except as follows: the charge lasts for an amount of rounds equal to twice the level of the prepared spell (or spell slot) expended, and the weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of arcane energy damage (which may not be resisted by any means). For example, a 2nd level fighter/5th level wizard/3rd level arcane fencer may sacrifice a 3rd level spell to grant her weapon an effective enhancement bonus of +2 and deal an extra 1d6 points of damage for 6 turns.

At 5th level, if the arcane fencer sacrifices a prepared spell with the acid, cold, fire, force, electricity or sonic descriptors and that deals hit point damage, her weapon also deals an extra 1d6 points of damage of the same energy type (or damage type; force and sonic spells instead grant an extra 1d4 points of damage) as the descriptor; thus, if the same arcane fencer expends a fireball spell, her weapon gains a temporary enhancement bonus of +2 as well as 1d6 points of fire damage and 1d6 points of arcane energy damage. In the case of spontaneous spellcasters, the arcane fencer must know a spell with the desired descriptor in order to use it, and then expend a spell slot with the spell having the desired descriptor. If using a spell with the [force] descriptor, the arcane fencer may ignore the miss chance caused by incorporeality.

So: now, you can choose to have any weapon act as if having the (Greater) Magic Weapon enhancement AND add extra damage to each hit. Not only that: you sacrifice a Magic Missile spell, and you get the ability to hit ghosts and wraiths for 1 round with all your attacks, including attacks of opportunity. What's better, it works with just about any weapon, not merely melee weapons. Thrown weapons are fine too.

Bonus Feat: At 2nd level, and every three levels afterwards, an arcane fencer gains a bonus feat in addition to those she obtains by means of improving levels. These bonus feats may come from the list of fighter bonus feats, metamagic feats or reserve feats (see Complete Mage for more details). The arcane fencer must still comply with the prerequisites for the bonus feat, as usual. An arcane fencer stacks her levels in the prestige class with her effective Fighter level for purposes of fighter level prerequisites.

Yep, as you may know, I'm a fan of giving bonus feats to all martial characters. However, the Arcane Fencer also adds metamagic and reserve feats to the list of bonus feats they may choose, not just Fighter bonus feats. You also get more feats than you'd normally get with the original Eldritch Knight, so it's a legacy ability turned better.

Arcane Fencing (Su): At 2nd level, an arcane fencer surpasses some of her limitations in combat when imbuing her weapons with arcane energy. When she uses her channel energy or channel spell class features, she may, as part of the same action, add either her Intelligence or her Charisma modifier to her attack rolls or her damage rolls (her choice when using these abilities) until she discharges her energy or the effect ends. Prepared spellcasters usually apply their Intelligence modifiers, while spontaneous spellcasters usually apply their Charisma modifiers.

Well, shouldn't it be obvious? This version is a bit different from that of the Arcane Archer in that it's not active at all times, but it's just as good.

Channel Spell (Sp): At 3rd level, an arcane fencer gains the ability to cast spells into her weapon, which serve as a reservoir of the energy and the effect of the spell. Hence, she may deliver her spells through her weapon, as if they were an extension of herself. Using this ability requires a move action, and the arcane fencer uses up the prepared spell or spell slot just as if she had cast the spell. The spell must have a casting time of no more than 1 full-round action, must be a touch or ray spell (not an area spell), and must affect only one creature. The channeled spell affects the next target that the arcane fencer successfully attacks with her weapon (saving throws and spell resistance still apply, but the arcane fencer adds the weapon's enhancement bonus as a bonus to her caster level for purposes of bypassing spell resistance). In the case of a full attack action (or if the spellsword uses an attack of opportunity or attacks outside her action), the spell discharges on the first successful attack. An arcane fencer may only channel one spell into her weapon at any one time, and the charge is lost if she is disarmed or otherwise loses her grip on the weapon; at 9th level, the arcane fencer may imbue her weapon with two spells, either as separate move actions or as a full round action. An arcane fencer may only channel spells into melee weapons. The charge of the spell remains until discharged or lost. An arcane fencer can hold a spell charge in her weapon even if she has already channeled energy through her weapon.

At 6th level, the arcane fencer may imbue her weapon with an area spell. If she succeeds, she may affect only her target, or use her target as the destination of her spell. If she wishes to affect multiple creatures with the spell, the arcane fencer is not treated as a target for purposes of the spell.
At 10th level, the arcane fencer may unleash the effects of a channeled spell as part of a full attack action. The spell is completely discharged after the last attack.

If the arcane fencer has an ability to channel a spell into her weapon by means of a class feature (such as the duskblade's arcane channeling), levels in arcane fencer stack with levels in that class to determine whether such ability progresses. For example, a 10th level duskblade/8th level arcane fencer gains the ability to channel a spell as part of a full attack action, even if she has not reached 10th level in the class. If she has the ability to channel a spell as part of a full attack action, she instead gains the ability to cast a spell (any spell, including a spell with a personal range or that affects an ally) and make an attack action or full attack action (or a standard action that involves a melee attack, such as grappling, tripping, or using a martial maneuver Tome of Battle: the Book of Nine Swords[/I]]) as part of the same full-round action. The spell is cast as a move action if she makes a standard action that involves a melee attack, or as a swift action if she makes a full attack action or a full-round action that involves melee attacks.

Another ability [S]stolen borrowed from the Spellsword, Channel Spell no longer has daily limitations and is vastly improved from the original. It's heavily based on the Duskblade, and for good reasons: it is an excellent version of the Channel Spell ability.

As you can see, this improved version allows not only to channel one spell, but channel TWO spells if you desire, and eventually get the ability to channel a spell with every hit of a full attack action, just like our friend the Duskblade. Of course, it happens as the capstone, but it's a superb capstone if I may so myself.

Speaking of the Duskblade, they get a stackable version of their own ability, given that they can cast spells and have enough BAB and abilities to enter early on, and they get arcane channeling much earlier. They also get a different capstone, as they get the ability to cast a spell and make a full attack action (though it doesn't stack with Quicken Spell, but it means you can channel a spell through the full-round action and cast a primary spell that weakens it first).

Another thing I thought of was martial maneuvers. Think about somehow getting Time Stands Still (a 9th level maneuver, of course) in combination with the capstone, so you get two full-round actions worth of attacks with the first one enchanted with a spell, then probably going Greater Celerity for a THIRD round of attacks.

*Sigh*...if only it were that easy. But, at least, you can get other awesome maneuvers to get the benefit of spells, like Adamantine Hurricane, or Bounding Assault. It's most evident if you're a Duskblade, but it should also work normally because it only requires "hitting an enemy with your weapon", and a martial maneuver does just that.

Spell Defense (Sp): At 4th level, an arcane fencer learns not only to use her spellcasting ability to enhance her combat capabilities, but also to improve her defensive qualities. Instead of applying her Intelligence or Charisma modifier to her attack or damage rolls, an arcane fencer may choose to apply her modifiers to her Armor Class or to any one of her saving throws for the same amount of time.

Just in case you needed an extra bit of AC or an improvement to one of your saving throws, now you can do so. You'll sacrifice your bonus to attack and damage rolls, but since you can probably hit well and deal decent enough damage, it's reasonable that you might beef up your defenses.

Spellmight (Sp): At 7th level, an arcane fencer acquires the ability to reinforce her spellcasting with her own physical might. If the arcane archer is channeling energy or has a spell charge imbued in her weapon, she may end the effect as a swift action whenever she casts a spell. If she does, she may add her Strength modifier (if positive) as a bonus to her damage with any spell that deals hit point damage (adding her modifier times the level of the spell, up to her character level), or to the saving throw DC. She may discharge the spell to add her Strength modifier when making a dispel check, as well. So as long as she channels energy or has a spell charge imbued in her weapon, she adds her Strength modifier to her caster level checks to bypass spell resistance (but she does not gain the bonus if she discharges a spell through her attacks).

Ah, now we have an ability that's different from the rest! Basically, instead of using your mental ability score to power up your physical attacks or imbue your physical attacks with magic, you can power up your spells with your physical ability scores!

For starters, having a spell charged through your weapon makes your attacks harder to resist. Assuming a reasonable 14-16 Strength score, that means a +2/+3 bonus to your CL to beat spell resistance, which is pretty good. However, while it takes sacrificing your spell slots to use them, gaining the ability to charge up your spell to deal extra damage or have a higher spell save DC makes it worthwhile, considering that you can use it to finish a battle easily, or have a key spell affect the enemy almost surely. Since it's also very buff-friendly (anything that boosts your Strength boosts this ability), it makes your spellcasting abilities improve just as well as your fighting abilities.

Deflect Spell (Su): At 8th level, whenever the arcane fencer is targeted by a spell, she may choose to end the benefit of her channel energy ability or discharge the spell imbued in her weapon to negate the effects as an immediate action. The level of the spell expended must be the same or higher as the level of the opposing spell in order to negate its effect. Make an opposed attack roll (if the spell would otherwise hit automatically, the opposing caster must make a caster level check instead); if successful, the spell is negated as if the arcane fencer had readied an action to counterspell.

A pretty awesome defense, if I may say so myself. It involves cancelling your charge benefits, but you can prevent being targeted by really dangerous spells. It's a slightly better version of counterspelling, because you don't need to use a ready action for it and works exactly as if using Greater Dispel Magic (aside from the spell level requirement).

T.G. Oskar
2012-10-13, 02:09 PM
SPECIALIST ARCANE FENCERS
Most arcane fencers come from a generalized training in magic; most are sorcerers or wizards, and those whom are wizards generally eschew specialization. However, there are nine schools of arcane fencing that sacrifice a bit of their combat prowess for an increased understanding of their swordplay and their specialty school, often acquiring impressive results.

At 2nd, 5th, or 8th level, a wizard/arcane fencer that has chosen a specialty school (and thus, is a specialist wizard) may sacrifice her bonus feats for special abilities related to her chosen school. She needs not sacrifice all her bonus feats; however, she gains increased abilities if she sacrifices access to more than one of her bonus feats (especially if she sacrifices access to all of her bonus feats). Unless otherwise indicated, all abilities are considered supernatural in origin. The abilities acquired are as follows:

Just like Wizards have specializations, the Arcane Fencer has specializations of their own. Interesting, no?

The reason for it is that, since Wizards have the entry requirements harder and very few PrCs consider specialists, the Arcane Fencer should have options that fit their specialization. An Illusionist won''t fight in the same way as a Necromancer or Transmuter does. Thus, the idea is that they get abilities of their own, which represent the core aspects of their specialization (hopefully).

The drawback? You're sacrificing your bonus feats for them. You don't have to sacrifice them all, but the benefits you get for sacrificing all three are quite tempting, if I may say so myself.

Abjuration
1 feat: an abjurer/arcane fencer may expend a prepared abjuration spell to her shield. Her shield gains an increase to its enhancement bonus as if the shield was a weapon, but the enhancement bonus may apply to her shield bonus to AC instead of her attack and damage rolls when attacking with a shield. Treat this as if using the channel energy class feature to determine the duration of the effect.
2 feats: an abjurer/arcane fencer may expend a prepared abjuration spell on her armor. Her armor gains an increase to its enhancement bonus as if the armor was a weapon, but the enhancement bonus may apply only to her armor bonus to AC. If she expends a prepared spell with the acid, cold, fire, electricity or sonic descriptors (or expends a spell slot from a spell level that has a spell with the desired descriptor), she gains energy resistance equal to 3 plus 3 times the level of the spell (maximum of resistance 30) for as long as the enhancement bonus lasts. Treat this as if using the channel energy class feature to determine the duration of the effect.
3 feats: an abjurer/arcane fencer may apply her temporary enhancement bonus by means of her earlier abilities as an enhancement bonus to her saving throws (thus, they stack with any resistance bonus to saves she may already have). Alternatively, she may instead gain spell resistance by an amount equal to 10 plus her caster level.

Abjurers, by nature, seek to improve their defenses; therefore, an arcane fencer that prefers abjuration will seek to improve their defenses. You get the equivalent of Magic Vestment (a Cleric spell) and Resist Energy at once, an enhancement bonus to saving throws (all saving throws, and a stackable bonus to boot), or spell resistance. Since you get Greater Magic Weapon, you can get any of these bonuses and still apply their bonuses to attack and damage rolls (though not the bonus damage).

Naturally, you'll seek to fit levels of Abjurant Champion with it. Because...I wouldn't say "why not", but rather "it fits like a glove".

Conjuration
1 feat: a conjurer/arcane fencer may temporarily summon a magic weapon (her choice when first using this ability; once done, the choice is permanent and may not be changed) with an effective enhancement bonus equal to 1 for every four caster levels she has (minimum +1). The weapon lasts for a number of rounds equal to the level of the prepared conjuration spell. The weapon is of a size relative to its wielder. The arcane fencer must be proficient with the weapon in order to summon it. If the arcane fencer has the Weapon Focus feat, she must choose the weapon (or weapons) chosen for her Weapon Focus feat to the exception of all others. Unlike other abilities, if the arcane fencer using this ability enters an antimagic field, the weapon remains conjured but temporarily loses its effective enhancement bonus (it is treated as a masterwork weapon, however).
2 feats: a conjurer/arcane fencer may summon a "blade spirit" by expending a prepared conjuration (calling or summoning) spell that serves it in battle. The "blade spirit" works identically to the weapon created by the spiritual weapon spell, except the arcane fencer chooses the weapon type (the arcane fencer must be proficient with the weapon in question in order to summon it). The weapon is of a size appropriate for the arcane fencer and deals damage appropriately. The weapon makes attacks using the arcane fencer's BAB or caster level (whichever is higher, but iterative attacks depend on the arcane fencer's BAB), and uses the arcane fencer's Strength, Intelligence or Charisma modifiers for purposes of attack and damage rolls. The weapon has no other properties, but deals damage as if a magic weapon. This is a supernatural ability.
3 feats: a conjurer/arcane fencer may expend a prepared conjuration (teleportation) spell as a swift action to teleport a short distance. The distance is equal to 5 feet, plus 5 feet for every level of the spell slot expended (maximum 50 ft.).

Conjurers get some nice tricks, given that they never are weaponless, and they get the blade spirit ability which provides a helpful "ally" in combat. The key aspect is the teleportation tactic they get (which can be used in tandem with Abrupt Jaunt), useful for making full attacks while channeling spells (such as the Orb spells).

Divination
1 feat: a diviner/arcane fencer may expend a prepared divination spell as a swift action to sense hostile creatures within a 30 ft. area. Treat this as the blindsense ability, except it only lasts for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell slot expended. The arcane fencer only senses the location of hostile creatures (even if invisible or concealed), but this ability does not defeat concealment unless other means also apply. A "hostile creature" is defined as any non-ally that has made a melee or ranged attack, casted an offensive spell or used the Intimidate skill in the last round. This is a supernatural ability.
2 feats: a diviner/arcane fencer that holds a spell charge on her weapon may choose to withhold discharging the spell for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the level of the spell. Hence, she may discharge the spell as a free action whenever she is entitled to a melee attack.
3 feats: a diviner/arcane fencer may expend a prepared divination spell as a swift action to gain a flash of insight. For a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell expended, the arcane fencer gains an insight bonus to attack rolls, Armor Class, Reflex saving throws or skills used in combat (Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Knowledge [any], Move Silently, Ride, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Spot, Tumble) equal to +1 for every four caster levels (minimum +1).

Arcane fencers specializing in the divination school get a way to pinpoint (though not exactly see) hidden or invisible creatures and an awesome insight bonus to one of various rolls and checks for a decent amount of rounds. The ability to hold the spell charge is mostly thematic, but can be useful if you want to hold the spell and retain the bonuses until they're really needed.

Enchantment
1 feat: an enchanter/arcane fencer that channels energy through her weapon may forego the effect as a swift action as part of an attack. If she does, the effective enhancement bonus that her weapon held instead becomes a penalty to the target's Will saves for the remaining number of rounds the benefit would have lasted. For example, assume a 2nd level fighter/5th level enchanter/3rd level arcane fencer channeled energy through her weapon to temporarily add a +2 enhancement bonus to her weapon by sacrificing a 3rd level spell. If she decided to discharge her benefit at the second round against an opponent, her target would instead take a -2 penalty to all Will saves for 5 rounds (the round currently ongoing, plus four extra rounds). This is a supernatural ability.
2 feats: an enchanter/arcane fencer that channels energy through her weapon may discharge the effect as a swift action as part of an attack. If she succeeds on the attack, the creature is dazed for 1 round, plus 1 round for every four caster levels. The target may make a Will save to negate the effect (DC equal to 10 + the level of the spell slot expended for the channel energy ability + the arcane fencer's Intelligence or Charisma modifier; an arcane fencer with the spellmight class feature may apply her Strength modifier to the DC as well).
3 feats: an enchanter/arcane fencer that holds a spell charge on her weapon may ignore immunity to mind-affecting effects that come from spells or effects when discharging the spell as part of the attack. If the attack roll made by the arcane fencer exceeds 15 + the caster level (or HD) of the creature that used the spell, the target is affected as if it didn't have the immunity. In the case of protection from evil and similar spells, the mental block effect is suppressed for the arcane fencer for a number of rounds equal to the arcane fencer's caster level.

Enchanters don't really have reasons why to make melee attacks, and might have the least chances to enter the class. They're more subtle, less prone to practical application of force. Thus, the abilities provided must be real good.

So, how about lowering their Will or bypassing immunity to mind-affecting abilities? Surely that's a worthwhile reason to enter in melee: smack a lich with a mace, and it'll become your slave for several days! Hilarity ensues.

Oh, and you get a pretty brutal daze effect as part of a melee attack. That means you can do battlefield control AND crowd control!

Evocation
1 feat: an evoker/arcane fencer may add her Intelligence or Charisma modifier to spells that deal hit point damage. When using arcane fencing, the arcane fencer adds her Intelligence or Charisma modifier to her attack and damage rolls (instead of choosing). To gain this benefit, she must expend a prepared evocation spell.
2 feats: an evoker/arcane fencer that channels energy through her weapon or holds the charge of an evocation spell deals damage to any creature that succeeds on a melee attack or melee touch. The damage is equal to 1 + 1 per level of the spell expended, and lasts for as long as the channeled energy or held charge would last. The damage is applied only to the first successful melee attack or melee touch per character.
3 feats: an evoker/arcane fencer that channels energy through her weapon or holds the charge of an evocation spell may, once per round, deflect a single ray or ranged touch attack spell without expending the charge or the channeled energy. If the evoker/arcane fencer has the Deflect Arrows feat, she may deflect a second ray or ranged touch attack spell per round, but she is treated as if she had deflected a ranged attack instead (and thus, may not use the Deflect Arrows feat to deflect ranged attacks during the same round).

Evocation is the specialization that might favor becoming an arcane fencer, but one of the least favored specializations, because...well, you know the reasons. Many ways to deal damage, not much else, and the really great Evocation spells can be replicated with Illusion spells. Thus, the bonuses have to be pretty good.

The first ability is basically the Warmage Edge class feature as presented originally, with a caveat: you get either Intelligence or Charisma. The arcane fencing bonus is mostly an afterthought, but it's a hint that it'd work great for Warmages; something I'd wish to see if you guys agree with.

The second ability is a retributive elemental shield ability, limited in scope but allowing you to deal damage even when opponents hit you. The third ability is the one I expect evokers to like the most, as they get a much better Deflect Spell feature while retaining their charge.

Illusion
1 feat: an illusionist/arcane fencer that channels energy through her weapon gains concealment (20% miss chance), which lasts for as long as the channel energy effect.
2 feats: an illusionist/arcane fencer that channels energy through her weapon may end the effect as a swift action. This allows her to produce a superposed image, which protects her as if she had cast a mirror image spell lasting for as long as the channel energy effect would have lasted (or the image is destroyed).
3 feats: the superposed image produced by the earlier feat is made of shadows. Whenever an illusionist/arcane fencer makes an attack and has the benefit of the superposed image, she may make two attack rolls. If the lowest of the two rolls succeeds, the target takes damage as usual; however, if the arcane fencer misses with her lowest roll but succeeds with her highest roll, her phantom image succeeds on the attack. A failed Will save (DC 10 + the level of the spell expended + the arcane fencer's Intelligence or Charisma modifier) causes the target to take full damage as if the arcane fencer succeeded on the attack; else, she takes only 20% of the damage the arcane fencer would have otherwise dealt, and any extra damage dice coming from her channel energy class feature or weapon qualities is negated (she may still make precision damage, such as a sneak attack, if she is capable of).

Well, how to deal with illusionists? They're not focused on attack but on defense, so the abilities provided should be defensive in origin.

Concealment (and a very slim Mirror Image effect) are very powerful defenses, fit for Illusionists, but shadows are also an important part of Illusion spells. Thus, their third-tier ability makes their phantom image become covered with shadow-stuff. Yes, it seems like you're shafting yourself because you require that both rolls succeed in order to land a proper attack; that said, if your attack roll is low enough to make your attacks fail, this makes that basement a bit higher than the norm. You may collaborate with a better ability if you desire, though.

Necromancy
1 feat: a necromancer/arcane fencer may expend a prepared necromancy spell to gain temporary hit points as a swift action. The amount of temporary hit points is equal to 5 times the level of the spell expended, and lasts for a number of rounds equal to the arcane fencer's caster level.
2 feats: when a necromancer/arcane fencer channels energy (by expending a prepared necromancy spell) or channels a necromancy spell, any attack she makes for as long as she retains the charge or the channeled energy forces a creature to make a Fortitude saving throw (DC equal to 10 + the level of the spell expended + the arcane fencer's Intelligence or Charisma modifier; at 8th level, she may also apply her Strength modifier to the DC) or render the enemy fatigued. If the enemy becomes fatigued (or exhausted, if already fatigued) by discharging a spell through the channel spell feature, she gains temporary hit points equal to the Hit Dice of the target creature for 1 minute.
3 feats: instead of fatiguing a creature, the necromancer/arcane fencer may choose to impose a negative level on the creature. The arcane fencer may not impose more negative levels on any one creature than 1 per four caster levels (rounded up). If she would have received temporary hit points by means of the fatigue effect, she may instead heal an equal amount of damage (up to her maximum Hit Points; the exceeding points are lost) or gain twice the amount of temporary hit points (her choice when making the attack). Negative levels are recovered after 1 hour.

Necromancers are a bit more practical, choosing to weaken their enemies with their attacks rather than improving their defenses. Certainly, they can turn necromancy spells into impromptu False Life spells, but they get enduring charges that take advantage of necromancy spells to fatigue or impose temporary negative levels. Specifically, the negative levels debuff (which ends up with a brutal 6 negative levels at CL 20th), which end up being slightly better than a normal Enervation spell.

Transmutation
1 feat: a transmuter/arcane fencer that channels energy through her weapon may choose to receive the following benefit instead: for a number of rounds equal to twice the level of the transmutation spell slot expended, the weapon is treated as if it had the metalline quality (acting as if it were made of adamantine, alchemical silver or cold iron). An arcane fencer may expend two spells with the same swift action in order to gain both this benefit and the channel energy benefit, but one of them must be a transmutation slot (with separate duration for each benefit based on the spell slot expended).
2 feats: a transmuter/arcane fencer that channels energy through her weapon may choose to receive the following benefit instead: for a number of rounds equal to twice the level of the transmutation spell slot expended, the weapon is treated as of one size category larger. Treat this as if using the mighty wallop spell, except it applies to all weapons even if they are not bludgeoning weapons. An arcane fencer may expend two transmutation spells with the same swift action to gain this benefit and the one mentioned above, and spend three spell slots with the same swift action to gain both benefits plus channel energy, but two of them must be transmutation spells (and all three effects have durations based on the level of the spell expended).
3 feats: a transmuter/arcane fencer may choose to alter all damage dealt by a melee attack or channeled spell to deal a different form of damage. This exchange must be done at the moment the arcane fencer channels energy through the weapon or imbues the weapon with a spell, and once the choice is done, it may not be changed until the effect is discharged or its duration expires (even if, for example, the weapon is channeled energy first and then is channeled a spell; in that case, the latter spell, if it deals hit point damage, has its damage type changed to the specified). The arcane fencer chooses to deal acid, bludgeoning, cold, electricity, fire, force, piercing, slashing or sonic damage.

Transmuters are already pretty powerful, so their effects are somewhat minor compared to others. However, they get the most ways to ignore damage reduction and energy resistance. They can also deal slightly more damage than usual.

--

So, after this long and winded double whammy, what are your thoughts? A double heap of awesome, or a double load of bull? Does it confirm that the best things come in pairs, or you cringe because of the double punishment? Hopefully, this is but a small gesture to compensate for my obliviousness.

Eurus
2012-10-14, 02:03 AM
I like the Arcane Archer a lot, but man, it's pretty wordy for a PrC. It's not really hard to understand, once you read it, but some of those abilities are just long-winded. I'm not sure if there's any good way to streamline it, I'm just concerned that it might be a turn-off for some.

T.G. Oskar
2012-10-15, 08:23 PM
I like the Arcane Archer a lot, but man, it's pretty wordy for a PrC. It's not really hard to understand, once you read it, but some of those abilities are just long-winded. I'm not sure if there's any good way to streamline it, I'm just concerned that it might be a turn-off for some.

Well, that's the way I do it. I tend to be VERY wordy at times. I definitely need an editor that simplifies the things I say, but I prefer wordiness to vague rulings that end up interpreted wrong and threaten absurd RAW readings.

Also: Arcane Fencer is complete. In case you were waiting for everything to post; now's the time to post, if you want to.

Lord_Gareth
2012-10-15, 08:53 PM
Combat casting is already a horrific feat tax for Arcane Fencer; requiring Spell Mastery as well for prepared casters seems strange.

NineThePuma
2012-10-27, 04:24 PM
Seeker Arrows (Sp):

If the arcane archer knows and decides to a prepared spell slot containing chain missile (or a spell slot of the same level as chain missile), the arcane archer can combine her resilient arrows with the magic of this spell. Any arrow that is not destroyed by means of the resilient enhancement instantly flies off and strikes secondary targets of your choice that are within 30 ft. of the primary target, striking automatically and dealing the same damage as it dealt the primary target. Any secondary target can only be struck by 1 arrow at a time; you may choose fewer secondary targets than the amount of remaining arrows so as to not affect allies.I believe "expends" should be somewhere in there.


Slayerís Arrows (Sp):

At 5th level, as a swift action, the arcane archer may expend any prepared spell (or spell slot) of at least 2nd level to imbue any arrow she shoots with the bane property. The creature must choose which creature type (and subtype) when using this ability, and the enhancement lasts for a number of rounds equal to the spellís level -1. If the arcane archer expends a spell of at least 3rd level, she may imbue her arrows with the fiercebane property (see Magic Item Compendium page 35) for a number of rounds equal to the spellís level -1. If she instead expends a spell of 4th level or higher, she may choose her weapons to become greater bane, gaining an effective +4 enhancement bonus and dealing 4d6 points of damage for a number of rounds equal to the spellís level -2. An arcane archer does not need to apply higher-tier bane properties to her arrows if using spells of higher level, but if she does, she also gains the other properties so as long as they are not replaced (hence, an arcane archer that expends a 4th level spell slot may add the fiercebane and greater bane properties for 2 rounds to any arrow she shoots, but not the bane property as this one is replaced by greater bane; for these purposes, greater bane is treated as the bane property for the fiercebane requirement). If the arcane archer uses both this ability and arcane precision on subsequent turns, the effect of both feats stack; thus, a 6th level arcane archer with an arcane caster level of 7th that expends a 3rd level spell slot for arcane precision on one round and a 4th level spell to imbue her arrows with the fiercebane and greater bane properties adds a +8 to her attack roll (+2 from the arrowís enhancement bonus unless higher, +2 from arcane precision, and +4 from the greater bane property) and deals 6d6+6 points of damage (+2 from the arrowís enhancement bonus unless higher, +4 from the greater bane property, +2d6 from the arcane precision extra damage and +4d6 from the greater bane property) when attacking a creature of the type chosen for her greater bane arrows.The first underline want to be changed to "The Arcane Archer" or something, while the second should be "the effects of both features stack"


All in all, a very nice PrC that gives archers a much needed boost. I'll read through Arcane Fencer later.

Loki_42
2012-10-28, 09:41 AM
Just want to say, it looks pretty nice. I'm thinking of playing the Arcane Archer soon, so I might be able to give you some feedback.

Phosphate
2012-10-28, 02:24 PM
Combat casting is already a horrific feat tax for Arcane Fencer; requiring Spell Mastery as well for prepared casters seems strange.

Allow me to disagree. The requirements are not nearly as harsh as the incredible amount of benefits you receive in the form of the Arcane Fencer for basically...nothing. d8, good fort, good BaB, actuall class features, and only two caster levels lost for your trouble (one from the PrC, one from taking a level in something that gives you all martial weapons). Kinda too good, imo.

Lord_Gareth
2012-10-28, 02:30 PM
Allow me to disagree. The requirements are not nearly as harsh as the incredible amount of benefits you receive in the form of the Arcane Fencer for basically...nothing. d8, good fort, good BaB, actuall class features, and only two caster levels lost for your trouble (one from the PrC, one from taking a level in something that gives you all martial weapons). Kinda too good, imo.

Swiftblade. That is all.

mrcarter11
2012-10-28, 02:49 PM
Lack of sleep maybe afoot here, but I'm not sure I follow you.

If I'm thinking of the right prc, which I hope I am, I thought it was considered mildly balanced.

The arcane fencer though,, I'm not seeing it. It feels like it's just way to much. Lowered HD, or one good save but really I feel like it should lose more CL then it does, several more. 2-3 more.

ShneekeyTheLost
2012-10-28, 02:50 PM
Some things about Arcane Fencer:

1) Channel Spell can be horribly broken. Being able to get a Move Action in the middle of your Full Attack (Belt of Battle, WRT, etc...) gives you the ability to spam the heck out of spells.

2) Serious typo:

At 3rd level, an arcane fencer gains the ability to cast spells into her weapon,
You forgot to specify MELEE weapon. You just obviated Arcane Archer here.

T.G. Oskar
2012-10-28, 04:04 PM
Combat casting is already a horrific feat tax for Arcane Fencer; requiring Spell Mastery as well for prepared casters seems strange.

Spell Mastery isn't as strange. It's just basically justifying you'll ALWAYS have Magic Weapon around. There's a reason why a specific spell has to be part of Spell Mastery: Channel Energy and Channel Spell are basically variants of that spell.


Allow me to disagree. The requirements are not nearly as harsh as the incredible amount of benefits you receive in the form of the Arcane Fencer for basically...nothing. d8, good fort, good BaB, actuall class features, and only two caster levels lost for your trouble (one from the PrC, one from taking a level in something that gives you all martial weapons). Kinda too good, imo.


Swiftblade. That is all.

Swiftblade is pretty good. On the other hand, 6/10ths spellcasting isn't as good as 9/10ths spellcasting. Swiftblade has TWO bad feats instead of one (Combat Casting vs. Dodge AND Mobility). Swiftblade is focused on mobility and basically screwing action economy; Arcane Fencer relies on heavy damage and protective capabilities.

In other terms, I don't follow what's the problem... Swiftblade is an awesome PrC, and I hope Arcane Fencer is just as awesome. At the very best, it's comparable.


Lack of sleep maybe afoot here, but I'm not sure I follow you.

If I'm thinking of the right prc, which I hope I am, I thought it was considered mildly balanced.

The arcane fencer though,, I'm not seeing it. It feels like it's just way to much. Lowered HD, or one good save but really I feel like it should lose more CL then it does, several more. 2-3 more.

I refuse to do so.

For starters, it's based on BOTH Eldritch Knight and Spellsword. Spellsword offers half spellcasting, which is definitely a mistake. The channel spell ability is great, but has limited uses. The reduction to arcane spell failure is great, especially if combined with mithral armor (and if you need some more, the Twilight enhancement). That's probably the only reason it's good as a dip, if you aim for full casting gish.

I might settle for making Fort progress poorly, but there'll be no reduction to spellcasting progression. If ANYTHING, I might reduce ONE, but no more, and only around 5th or 10th.

Fun to see how the class is apparently OP and having stringent requirements...


Some things about Arcane Fencer:

1) Channel Spell can be horribly broken. Being able to get a Move Action in the middle of your Full Attack (Belt of Battle, WRT, etc...) gives you the ability to spam the heck out of spells.

Odd...wouldn't that be the same as with Duskblade?


You forgot to specify MELEE weapon. You just obviated Arcane Archer here.

Now that's a big blooper. Though...I recall having it on the back of my head. Should change it at any moment.

Lord_Gareth
2012-10-28, 04:12 PM
Duskblade has sharp limitations as to which spell they can channel and severe hoops must be leapt through to circumvent those.

NineThePuma
2012-10-28, 04:13 PM
Considering that the original Eldritch Knight had nothing in terms of class features, while still being able to serve as a decent Gish choice and the class features that the Arcane Fencer has added are pretty powerful, I can understand the power concerns. Dropping one or two spell levels would be a fair trade, in my opinion.