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ShneekeyTheLost
2007-01-27, 11:22 PM
Okay, we all know that the Arcane Archer... umm... well, there's no nice way to say this... it just plain sucks.

You get magical bonuses to a bow... okay, kinda nifty. Prerequsite includes at least one level of a caster class, and it offers absolutely no caster progression, which really hurts. But the granted abilities... let's look at this:

Imbue Arrow: This one is decent if you know how to use it right. Touch of Fatigue is a handy cantrip to load into an arrow to halt persuit if you're running. Basically, it's best for touch spells at range. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of good spells at low levels, and you're never going to realistically be able to cast anything over 3rd level spells pre-epic, and that's only if you dip a single level of AA.

Seeker Arrow: Improved Precise Shot gives me 99% of this, other than going around corners, unlimited times per day. No thanks.

Phase Arrow: 1/day touch attack. Still underpowered.

Hail of Arrows: By this time, you should be shooting 5 shots/turn anyways, how often will you need to shoot exactly one arrow per target (max 8-10 targets)? I'd rather just shoot two or three per critter to kill them off instead of piss them all off.

Death Arrow: The only 'cap' ability in which the DC is fixed and can never be improved. Sure, I guess it can be handy against things with abysmal Fort save... if your friends will let you spend a whole day to make one... then it's used and you need to spend another DAY to make another one. Or, I could have gone EK instead of AA and been able to cast Finger of Death with a higher DC and able to be done multiple times per day.

Right. That's the main problem. So, here's my fix:

ARCANE ARCHER
Hit Die: d8.
Requirements
To qualify to become an arcane archer, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +6.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot
Spells: Ability to cast 1st-level arcane spells.
Class Skills
The arcane archer’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Craft (Int), Hide (Dex). Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.


Table: The Arcane Archer

{table="head"]Lvl | BAB | Fort | Ref | Will | Special
1st | +1 | +2 | +2 | +0 | Enhance arrow +1
2nd | +2 | +3 | +3 | +0 | Imbue arrow +1 CL
3rd | +3 | +3 | +3 | +1 | Enhance arrow +2
4th | +4 | +4 | +4 | +1 | Elemental Arrow +1 CL
5th | +5 | +4 | +4 | +1 | Enhance arrow +3
6th | +6 | +5 | +5 | +2 | Ghost Touch +1 CL
7th | +7 | +5 | +5 | +2 | Enhance arrow +4
8th | +8 | +6 | +6 | +2 | Superior Rapid Shot +1 CL
9th | +9 | +6 | +6 | +3 | Enhance arrow +5
10th | +10 | +7 | +7 | +3 | Ghostly Shot, Death Attack +1 CL[/table]Class Features
All of the following are Class Features of the arcane archer prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An arcane archer is proficient with all bows and crossbows.
Spells per Day
At 2nd level, and every even level thereafter, when a new arcane archer level is gained, the character 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.
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.
Enhance Arrow (Su): At 1st level, every nonmagical arrow an arcane archer nocks and lets fly becomes magical, gaining a +1 enhancement bonus. Unlike magic weapons created by normal means, the archer need not spend experience points or gold pieces to accomplish this task. However, an archer’s magic arrows only function for her. For every two levels the character advances past 1st level in the prestige class, the magic arrows she creates gain +1 greater potency (+1 at 1st level, +2 at 3rd level, +3 at 5th level, +4 at 7th level, and +5 at 9th level).
Imbue Arrow (Sp): At 2nd level, an arcane archer gains the ability to place a spell upon an arrow. When the arrow is fired, the spell’s area is centered on where the arrow lands, even if the spell could normally be centered only on the caster. Touch or ranged touch attack spells are also able to be imbued, and affect the target of the arrow. It takes a standard action to cast the spell and fire the arrow. The arrow must be fired in the round the spell is cast, or the spell is wasted.
Elemental Arrow (Sp): At 4th level, an arcane archer's unique application of magic expands to a certain degree of control over the elements, with respect to his arrows. He may enhance any arrow he shoots to add one the following elements to his arrows: Fire, Ice, and Lightning. The arrow then do +1d6 of the given elemental type. Like Enhance Arrow, this ability only functions for her. Arrows are automatically destroyed after use if they are affected by this ability.
Ghost Touch (Sp): At 6th level, the Arcane Archer gains a deeper understanding of the ethereal plane and creatures who partially reside between it and the Prime Material Plane, commonly known as Incorporeal. As such, any arrow he picks up may turn ghostly and affect such creatures normally, without the 50% miss chance, effectively giving any arrow he shoots the Ghost Touch enhancement.
Superior Rapid Shot (Ex): At 8th level, an Arcane Archer's bowmanship reaches levels that are near legendary. When he uses his Rapid Shot feat, he may shoot one additional arrow (total of two additional arrows to a full attack).
Ghostly Shot (Sp): At 10th level, an arcane archer gains an even truer understanding of the Ethereal. As a full round action, he may make a single attack a touch attack, ignoring the target's armor and natural armor bonuses to AC.

Death Attack (Sp):: As the regular Arcane Archer's Death Attack, only the save is based on the primary casting stat of the Arcane Archer.

Krimm_Blackleaf
2007-01-27, 11:28 PM
I think the biggest problem is it barely advances the spellcasting aspect of the class. Imbue arrow, commonly thought to be it's greatest feature, can only use low level spells unless you take quite a few levels of a spellcasting class beforehand.

Darkshade
2007-01-27, 11:38 PM
in a campaign i was in we only made one easy adjustment, we gave it half casting progression, every level you dont get enhanced arrows you get casting.

if you want to go a little more into detail, imbue arrow needs to have a limit on how often you can do it, your touch of fatigue example doesnt work because its a touch spell which cannot be imbued, the elemental arrow is a good add on as is the ghost touch, the improved rapid shots are a little odd and their is already an improved rapid shot feat which i believe removes the -2 penalty anyway, and ghostly shot is just eh.
give it back seeker arrow, and phase arrow and make them 1/day per three levels of the class, do the same to imbue and maybe put back Death Arrow and just unlock the DC.
10 + AA level + Cha bonus

knightsaline
2007-01-28, 12:48 AM
there was a class that could have taken over the arcane archer called the gun mage. just change all references to guns into arrows. it even has its own spell list. mind you, gun mage is to arcane archer as swashbuckler is to duelist.

Icewalker
2007-01-28, 03:09 AM
This is a good idea. I never really liked the Arcane Archer.

But, have to say it, this replacement still kinda sucks, it needs to get a little more, like maybe elemental arrow goes up in power? maybe adding 1d6 at 7th and then 10th level. Then maybe give it back Death Arrow, that move wasn't that bad, just kinda weak for a capstone of a prestige class.

knightsaline
2007-01-29, 02:30 AM
I think the AA could do with some spellcasting progression. a PrC focused on firing magical arrows with the ability to imbue spells onto arrows has NO spelcasting progression? Its called ARCANE ARCHER, yet it has NO spellcasting progression? what in the nine hells were the wizards who live on the coast thinking?

Dr. Weasel
2007-01-29, 04:33 AM
Two thing seem a bit off: Giving the archer shield proficiency (It probably won't actually affect anything, but there seems to be no reason for it) and the big high-pointed 10th level ability is a feat that most archers will get around sixth level anyway (Improved Rapid Shot). Maybe switching the 8th and 10th level abilities or finishing the progression with something like the Duskblade's use of a single spell to fuel a round's worth of attacks.

This, as mentioned earlier, still leaves the biggest Arcane Archer problem- the lack of spell casting. giving 1/2 spellcasting progression should be fine (this seems very similar to the bladesinger which has 1/2 progression and is still on the weak end of prestige classes)

If you don't like continuing the original progression, you might even give the AA it's own spell list focused on touch and area-effect spells.

ShneekeyTheLost
2007-01-29, 09:40 PM
I wasn't aware that there was already a feat which negates the penalty to using Rapid Shot, so I deleted this.

I changed Ghostly Shot to an unlimited times per day. To counter this, and keep it from being unbalancing, I made it a full round action, so he can either shoot one touch attack, or a full round of attacks.

I always saw Arcane Archer as using his magic in other venues, using his bows and arrows as the venue through which his magic is manifested.

TheThan
2007-01-30, 02:10 AM
I like the ideas behind the arcane archer. But it was horribly implemented so I would love to see it fixed. I think the best thing to do is to give it the half spell casting progression. That way it stays relatively balanced against the other core prcs and actually becomes a viable prestige class. Now I would prefer to remove the elf or half elf requirement but I think I can work around that by making a few dwarf prcs to balance out the elf to dwarf prc classes.

edit
After flipping through all the complete series, it looks like the elf vs dwarf prc ratio its pretty close to even with the elves having one more than the dwarves. I even factored in the DMG classes. I don’t have races of stone or races of the wild, so I couldn’t look further than that.

ShneekeyTheLost
2007-01-30, 01:17 PM
There you go, I put in 1/2 casting level. Now how does it look?

ampcptlogic
2007-01-30, 01:57 PM
Note: this is my first attempt at an AA build. I started with Bard, Multi-classed into Ranger for flavor and the archery combat style. I'm a newbie, so my build is guaranteed to be sub-optimal.

That being said, I can see imbue arrow being used for battlefield control, or put to good use against the undead, even with a Bard's crappy spell selection.

Cast Cure ____ Wounds on the arrow and fire. Nifty undead-bane-ish arrow with at least a +1 enhancement. Or at high levels, Daylight.

Or Silence. Bards and Silence don't get along, so if you can cause it to go off outside its normal range. Or use it to project Shatter or Soundburst so as not to damage the party.

But yes, an improvement in caster levels would be nice.

TheThan
2007-01-30, 02:05 PM
The typical arcane archer would be a fighter/wizard or ranger/wizard (you can switch wizard with sorcerer and get similar results).

But itís possible to go solid bard. But you canít get into it until 8th level and you have to spend your 3 feats on the requirements but since you have to be an elf you get the bow proficiency for free. That might make it a bit more crunchy for you, though itíll take longer.

ampcptlogic
2007-01-30, 02:21 PM
I chose half-Elf, so I think the Ranger levels may be more necessary. But, he's only a 2d level character right now, so I have time to change things up.

As of now, my build looks like this:

1) Bard 1, PBS as my 1st Feat
2) Ranger 1 for better BAB, weapons proficiency, and ranger crunch
3) Bard 2, Precise Shot
4) Ranger 2, Archery Style (granting rapid)
5) Ranger 3 for Endurance
6) Bard 3 for 1st level spells

Take Weapon Focus (Shortbow) as soon as possible, of course). I don't own the DMG, so I couldn't say whether this happens at CL6 or 7

TheThan
2007-01-30, 02:23 PM
Ahh I see, half elf,
it looks good considering.

ShneekeyTheLost
2007-01-30, 09:48 PM
For an Arcane Archer build as a half-elf, try this:

Rng5/Sorc1/AA...

This meets all your prereqs easily. You're able to go Sorc rather than Wiz thanks your your half-elven multiclassing freedom. Sure, a Wizard can theoretically know every spell in the book. But you don't want every spell in the book, you want specific spells which are useful to your specific niche. There's not too many in the book that you can actually use. You want spells that a) can be loaded into your arrow, b) are useful to do so, and c) aren't high level so you actually have a chance of getting the spell.

You had the right idea with things like Silence and Shatter. Shatter is a Sorc spell. Silence... not so much so unfortunately. However, may I direct you to the cantrip Touch of Fatigue (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/touchofFatigue.htm)? If you're getting chased by something scary that runs fast... load this up in an arrow and shoot 'em. They not only get a -2 to Str and Dex, they can't run, so you can make good your escape. Grease is another good one. Now your Grease spell has the range of your bow, much further than it's original range. True Strike is good to know just to know it. 2nd level spells: Touch of Idiocy is just handy to load up into an arrow to shoot any sort of caster. Darkness can cover your escape. Blindness/Deafness is handy to load up. Makes it much harder for your target to hit you when it can't see you. As a 3rd level spell, Ray of Exhaustion is handy for a quick -6 to Str/Dex.

I'm sure there are others which are handy. But not too many actually are. Look carefully before choosing what class you take. If you find there's only a couple spells you want, you may decide Sorcerer is right for you.

Darkshade
2007-01-30, 11:01 PM
For an Arcane Archer build as a half-elf, try this:

Rng5/Sorc1/AA...

This meets all your prereqs easily.

that doesnt meet the B.A.B. +6 prerequisite
and here so you can look at it...
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/prestigeClasses/arcaneArcher.htm

Shadow
2007-01-30, 11:23 PM
I chose half-Elf, so I think the Ranger levels may be more necessary. But, he's only a 2d level character right now, so I have time to change things up.

As of now, my build looks like this:

1) Bard 1, PBS as my 1st Feat
2) Ranger 1 for better BAB, weapons proficiency, and ranger crunch
3) Bard 2, Precise Shot
4) Ranger 2, Archery Style (granting rapid)
5) Ranger 3 for Endurance
6) Bard 3 for 1st level spells

Take Weapon Focus (Shortbow) as soon as possible, of course). I don't own the DMG, so I couldn't say whether this happens at CL6 or 7


The only problem here is that you don't actually meet the req's yet.
With the progression you have here your BAB is only +5....

ampcptlogic
2007-01-31, 09:56 AM
Shadow: Thanks.

I stopped at CL6 because the build becomes fuzzy and tentative at that point. I'm not sure the character will survive that long or which I'm going to level at CL7 (Bard or Ranger). Probably Ranger. If he lives that long.

Shneekey: Wouldn't a 5/1 split on class levels incur a penalty?

ShneekeyTheLost
2007-01-31, 12:30 PM
Shneekey: Wouldn't a 5/1 split on class levels incur a penalty?

Ahh, but you see... this brings up the single advantage of the half-elf...


Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass half-elf takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count.

In other words, no penalty. Humans get it too, plus a bonus feat, but can't be Arcane Archers.

And for a full level 20 build setup: Rng9/Sorc1/AA10. This build gives Evasion and a full AA progression. BAB of +19, which is very good, and some minor spell utility (if we go with the 1/2 CL, it's CL 6, which means a third level spell).

ampcptlogic
2007-01-31, 12:36 PM
I think I finally understand the favored class concept rule. Somehow, it's been eluding me.

And just to be clear, prestige classes don't count against the multiclass penalty at all? I've perused the SRD over and over again, but I don't actually own the PHB or DMG, so there's some of this stuff of which I remain ignorant.

ShneekeyTheLost
2007-01-31, 01:47 PM
I think I finally understand the favored class concept rule. Somehow, it's been eluding me.

And just to be clear, prestige classes don't count against the multiclass penalty at all? I've perused the SRD over and over again, but I don't actually own the PHB or DMG, so there's some of this stuff of which I remain ignorant.

That is correct. PrC's do not count against multiclassing penalties.

Duke of URL
2007-01-31, 02:05 PM
Superior Rapid Shot (Ex): At 8th level, an Arcane Archer's bowmanship reaches levels that are near legendary. When he uses his Rapid Shot feat, he may shoot one additional arrow (total of two additional arrows to a full attack).

I like this, however since you don't list Rapid Shot as a class prerequisite, it should be worded to indicate that this ability only applies if the AA has Rapid Shot. Or add RS as a class prerequisite.

Of course, what self-respecting archery-based character doesn't have RS in the first place?