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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Question Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Hey guys. This is my first post here after months of lurking, so... hi

    Here's the thing. I'm having this problem with my character and I was hoping you could help. I need to bring up a little Arcane Archer from the very first levels - not that tricky, you'd say, there are plenty good builds around... well, if only.
    This character I'm playing - she has quite the temper. Yep, I'm actually role-playing, and that's where the troubles start. For instance, I can't give her any decent Cha score. She is not very nice, sucks at diplomacy, is really blunt etc. Int suffers too with her, but then she has pretty good Wis. She is a ranger and a nature-lover (yep, high Survival), so - no Fighter levels instead of Ranger, she just wouldn't go there. And most assuredly no Bard at all, as many suggest. And DDO bonuses for action points can't be applied here since this is strictly DnD character.
    I understand that I probably won't be able to optimize her the best way due to all those restrictions, but I really need at least something to make this work! On the top of all that I'm fairly new do the whole DnD system and I feel this girl is going to make my head explode soon. (She does that to people. That's why I love her )
    So, here's me with my 1st level Elf Ranger (32 point buy):
    Strength 16
    Dexterity 16
    Constitution 14
    Intelligence 8
    Wisdom 14
    Charisma 8
    And she has just those 150 gp with her for the start, so no expensive items, no tomes, no nothing - at least for now. What is the best way to raise her? How many Ranger levels should I take? And then what - Wizard, Corcerer? Sheesh, she will be scaring the mobs off just with her 'awesome' arcane proficiency

    Oh, and if I messed it up, sorry for my English - it's not my native

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    First off, you really need to bring up those INT and/or CHA scores. No arcane casting class I know of casts based off WIS, so with scores below 10 you won't actually be casting anything. This ends up disqualifying you from the arcane archer PrC altogether, as you won't be able to cast even 1st-level arcane spells. If you do get those scores up, I'd recommend going with wizard because of its more versatile spell selections, plus the INT boost gives you more skill points. This is going to require some cuts somewhere, and I'd actually divert some points from STR to get that INT where it needs to be.

    Your caster level and spell selection are going to be really limited, unless you don't mind putting your BAB through the floor. Arcane archer doesn't improve your spells/day, spells known, or caster level at all. I'd take somewhere between two and four levels of wizard to get 1st and 2nd level spells, but more than that is really going to cramp your ranger class features. Don't forget that the ranger gets some divine spells too; you might want to put more effort into those than arcane casting.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    You need to be able to cast 1st level arcane spells to qualify for the Arcane Archer prestige class. Doing so with 8 Intelligence and 8 Charisma won't work - one or the other is needed for arcane spellcasting! Probably the best solution would be to talk to your DM, and try to allow 1st level divine spellcasting to work for the Arcane Archer. That way, you can qualify as an 8th level Ranger. (or you could ask for the DM to simply drop entry requirements, as they are usually silly)

    If you are planning on a Wizard/Ranger, then you'll need a bit of Intelligence. (You need at least 11 INT to cast 1st level spells.) On the other hand, you won't be high enough level to cast any Ranger spells, so you don't need as much as 14 Wisdom. Dropping it to 10 Wisdom should work for you just fine. In this case, Ranger 6/Wizard 1 or Ranger 5/Wizard 2 will be best, depending on if you want more spells or the Ranger's combat style.

    For feats, Precise Shot (a requirement for Arcane Archer) helps a lot when shooting people your allies are swordfighting. Both of the other required feats, Point Blank Shot and Weapon Focus, will add a +1 to hit, so just choose whichever order you'd like.

    I hope that helped!

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    First , I should point out that Arcaner archer is a terrible prestige class. It's basically the benefits of a magic weapon.

    As pointed out above, you can't cast arcane spells without some Cha or Int.

    Since you're stuck playing an elf, I recommend snow elf. The Stat modifiers fit better (+2 Dex , -2 Cha) from Frostburn.

    STATS (32 pts buy)

    Str 14
    Dex 17
    Con 14
    Int 14
    Wis 14
    Cha 6

    To qualify for Arcane Archer, you can take the feat Sword of the Arcane Order. It let's you swap a ranger's spellslots for a wizard spells. You just need a spellbook like a normal wizard.

    This way you can go straight ranger (best breakoff would be level 6 for the free feat)

    If allowed I'd swap my animal companion for solitary hunting (you gain your favored enemy bonus on to-hit as a competence bonus (stacks with everything). As you intend to multiclass so it would be extremely weak.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Assuming you take wizard as suggested, you should probably take the martial variant wizard that trades scribe scroll and the other bonus feats for fighter bonus feats at 1st and every 5 levels.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Ask your DM if you can use the Pathfinder Arcane Archer. At least it gets 7/10 casting...

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    If you want to keep the same ability scores, look into feats that let you cast a few spells per day as a spell like ability. I'm not sure if there are any that offer first level spells (they tend to be 0-level cantrips), but you might find something. That would let you enter the class after six levels of ranger.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Simple. Ranger X / wizard 1 (or 2) / arcane archer 10 / ranger X.

    All you need is an 11 int to get a level of wizard. Any more will give you an extra 1st level spell at best. Almost useless. You could actually get away with an int of 9 if you get a magic item to boost your int to 11.

    As for the basics on being effective:

    Feats: In most parties you'll need precise shot. Your first level feat should probably be point blank shot for the +1 and so you can get precise shot later. Weapon focus is very nice too. Rapid shot is the best for an archer, but you already get that from being a ranger. Beyond that, take your pick. You'll probably want a lot of the archery feats.

    Skills: Many people ignore most of these rules, even the DM. Read them carefully (especially survival, since you like it so much) or you'll be nothing but a fighter with less feats and worse armor. There are cheat sheets in my signature you can use to make it easier. Showing the wilderness rules (also in the DMG) to the DM and begging him to make more wilderness encounters wouldn't hurt either

    Favored Enemy: You don't want your favored enemy bonuses to go unused. Find out what kind of campaign it will be if you can. Or figure out what kind of monsters your DM likes. For example, some DMs might like to throw in some undead from time to time. That's just 1 type, so if you pick undead with such a DM you're bound to fight at least some. But if you picked plant creatures and those almost never cross your DMs mind, that'll be a bit of a waste.

    Spells (later): Rangers have a lot of good wilderness related utility spells. Again, read them carefully before choosing your spells and nudge your DM towards wilderness encounters.

    Equipment: Right now there's not much to it. The ranger starting package in your player's handbook should be plenty. Rope, some kind of light, flint and tinder, a potion of cure light wounds (50gp, heals 1d8+1 HP), oil (see oil rules in equipment section of PHB) and maybe an alchemical item or two (though they're kind of expensive right now) are some other common good items at level 1. A few masterwork arrows (6 gp and 5 cp each) could be good for serious fights. They give you a +1 on attack rolls.

    Equipment to go for later:
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    Weapon: Never increase your bow beyond a +1; that's what arcane archer is for. Check out the various enchantments you can add here: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicWeapons.htm . Also get a lot of different arrows for special occasions, like cold iron, adamatine, silver and bane arrows to be ready for a variety of monsters. Individual arrows cost 1/50th the cost of a bow with the same enchantments. All magic weapons must have at least a +1 before you add any enchantments. It's a waste because it doesn't stack with your class features but that's what the rules require. To upgrade a weapon (or any item), simply find an NPC crafter in town and pay him the difference in price between your old bow and your new bow. Arrows must be made in sets of 50, so hopefully your DM will let you buy individual arrows that are already made rather than finding a crafter and paying for so many.


    Misc Items: Boots of speed, gloves of dexterity and lesser bracers of archery are key.

    AC: You don't need much since you're in the back, but a +1 here and there are cheap. Items to look at are magic armor, ring of protection, amulet of natural armor and dusty rose prism ioun stone.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2010-03-07 at 08:36 PM.
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Thank you all for help. You gave me some really interesting ideas, with martial wizards and solitary hunting... I don't think any animal companion could stand a person with 6-8 Cha anyway And hunting sounds right for her.

    with scores below 10 you won't actually be casting anything
    You need at least 11 INT to cast 1st level spells.
    So do I need 10 or 11 Int?

    That would let you enter the class after six levels of ranger.
    That would be really nice...

    But come to think of it, my character is more combat style oriented. So maybe I shouldn't bother with AA at all? If I can get all the class offers just buying a magic weapon later?.. I was under impression that AAs are capable of more. Was I mistaken?

    ericgrau
    Oh, thanks for the equipment, I was having troubles with that too. Btw, since I'm an elf, do I need any light at all? Elves have low-light vision, after all.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    On the gish thread on D20CO, Dictum Mortum had an awesome Duskblade Arcane Archer, all 10 levels, that didn't suck. 20 CL/20 BAB no less, though hardly the offensive capability of a full caster.
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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marisa View Post
    So do I need 10 or 11 Int?
    You do need at least 11 INT to be able to cast 1st-level spells. At 10 INT you're limited to 0-level. Sorry about that, I should've stated it more clearly.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    mikethepoor
    I see, thanks for clarifying that.

    KellKheraptis
    Tempting, but my character is a ranger

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marisa View Post

    But come to think of it, my character is more combat style oriented. So maybe I shouldn't bother with AA at all? If I can get all the class offers just buying a magic weapon later?.. I was under impression that AAs are capable of more. Was I mistaken?
    The best feature is at level 2, Imbue Arrow, which lets you place any Area spell into an arrow and use your bow's range instead of the spell's normal range- even if the original spell was Personal or Touch only. The problem with that is if you did a minimum-casting entry.. you don't have any spells worth using it with. Things like Grease, Color Spray, and Sleep just don't cut it at level 9+ when you can get the ability.

    So, if you want to use that, you need more casting levels. Which means you probably have enough magic to make good use of Greater Magic Weapon. Which makes your free magic arrows pointless, as you can now achieve the same effect by GMWing your bow and end up only about a + behind what you would get from sinking those levels into Arcane Archer.

    Seeker Arrow and Phase Arrow are legitimately cool and useful, but that 1/day restriction kills them. There is basically no chance that you are going to want to use those abilities and only want to fire one arrow at your target. Hail of Arrows is.. well, you might find use for it, I don't see the point. You will generally contribute more by focus-firing a single target with a full attack than by pinging every enemy with a single arrow. Arrow of Death has a weaksauce save DC for a level 17+ ability.

    The upside? You get full BAB and the entry requirements are mostly things you would take anyway as an archer. That's pretty much it.. otherwise, you either have to take a lot of casting class levels to make it useful (in which case you're better off with a more normal Gish build that happens to use a bow) or you completely waste a level to get into it for relatively little payoff.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by KellKheraptis View Post
    On the gish thread on D20CO, Dictum Mortum had an awesome Duskblade Arcane Archer, all 10 levels, that didn't suck. 20 CL/20 BAB no less, though hardly the offensive capability of a full caster.
    It was not Dictum, as Dictum seems completely opposed to multiclassing a Duskblade.

    Link to the said Arcane Archer

    Even if you don't build it like that, you should really play a Fire Elf, it seems to fit your character's personality quite well.
    Last edited by BenTheJester; 2010-03-07 at 09:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by BenTheJester View Post
    It was not Dictum, as Dictum seems completely opposed to multiclassing a Duskblade.

    Link to the said Arcane Archer
    How does it get 20 caster levels?

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    If you want a non-Cha, non-Int-based Arcane Archer Ranger, you might consider the Dark Hunter. It's a wisdom-based arcane casting Ranger PrC. It's 3.0, but easily adapted to 3.5 with a couple skill changes (intuit direction+wilderness lore=>survival).

    It's hardly optimized and its casting is frankly pretty terrible, but it seems to be what you're looking for. (It would easily hold up in most games I've ever played.)

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelRogue View Post
    How does it get 20 caster levels?
    Caster level 20, which is not quite the same thing. The answer is Abjurant Champion- I missed it too until I looked specifically for the class build (it's right under the Arcane Archer picture, which.. wasn't where I expected see it.) Abjurant Champion 5 sets your caster level equal to your BAB if that's higher than it would otherwise be, and the build uses only full-BAB classes.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    Caster level 20, which is not quite the same thing. The answer is Abjurant Champion- I missed it too until I looked specifically for the class build (it's right under the Arcane Archer picture, which.. wasn't where I expected see it.) Abjurant Champion 5 sets your caster level equal to your BAB if that's higher than it would otherwise be, and the build uses only full-BAB classes.
    Ah, got it. I forgot that class feature.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    woah, you have an irritable, bad-tempered, (presumably) ugly and most probably stupid character there, looking at the 8 charisma and 8 intelligence


    thats going to be interesting
    Monk sucks, but you know, it's not actually worth negative LA.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by KellKheraptis View Post
    On the gish thread on D20CO, Dictum Mortum had an awesome Duskblade Arcane Archer, all 10 levels, that didn't suck. 20 CL/20 BAB no less, though hardly the offensive capability of a full caster.
    Even with CL20 only having low level spells still sucks ... I mean if he has to argue that he can dump all chill touches from a casting in a single arrow you know he reaching a bit. Also this build only comes together at level 12 and it would be plain better if he progressed his casting instead of taking those final 8 levels of arcane archer.

    Basically what this build shows ... splitting is OP.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Here, I'll break it down for you

    Arcane archer abilities

    the basics:
    full BAB, d10 health, x4 skillpoints per level, proficiencies (armor, shield)

    all of this can be achieved via other base classes or prestige classes

    AA also requires feats, most of which you would need though (except weapon focus)

    AA also requires spellcasting, which doesn't work at all with the build (as AA doesn't progress spellcasting)

    you can only enter it at level 7 (requires 6 BAB) and even then through a loophole (say sword of the arcane order, duskblade, etc)

    thing is at level 7 you can already afford a bow with a better enchantment (unlimited +2 arrows or +1 with an elemental bonus)

    unless your DM is stingy with magic weapons and WBL (wealth by level)

    a friendly cleric/mage could always cast magic weapon on a stack of arrows , by level 8 the cleric's bonus is higher than yours or on par most of the time

    so that leaves inbue arrow, seeker arrow,phase arrow, hail of arrows and arrow of death

    inbue arrow : the fact that you need to be able to cast the spell greatly reduces the utility of this

    seeker arrow: you can shoot 1 arrow at someone and it always hits

    an arrow is basically 1d6, 1d8 or 1d10 damage + whatever enchantment you can get on it

    and you can only do it once a day at level 10 , that is just plain terrible

    phase arrow is basically marginally better than this so I won't even bother mentioning why it's no good (level 12 ability)

    level 12 means you're facing something with a similar CR for a 4 party group so they're bound to have a lot more hitpoints than what you can do using this action, it's marginally useful in hitting something really far away (although with true strike, a level 1 spell, you can manyshot something for much better results)

    Hail of arrows: lets you pinprick a lot of enemies instead of trying to take out a serious one. You also only get it at level 14.

    Arrow of Death: is basically a fancy save of die ability that can be replaced by a poison.

    btw, if you get all the extra ranger spells possible (too many books to cite), you can replicate all of these abilites except the arrow of death,

    you can do it more often and you get them faster

    So even the abilities you do get are subpar to what you could have from playing a straight rogue, fighter, ranger or a combination of those classes

    if you want a forest oriented character, without spellcasting or animal companions, I'd go for a Barbarian with the alternate class feature from UA

    you get a ranger's ranged bonus feats and favored ennemies but you lose your rage (you still have everything else though, d12 hitpoints, a movement bonus, uncanny dodge, trap detection and damage reduction)

    you can also drop Wisdom, Cha and Int completely and you don't have to play an elf (although you still can, wood elf works well since you get way more hitpoints anyway)

    and 4 levels of fighter you let you get weapon specialization and ranged weapon mastery (+4 to damage, +2 to hit and extra range with 3 feats)

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marisa View Post
    She is a ranger and a nature-lover
    I'd just play a straight ranger and ask your DM nicely if you can use spells from Spell Compendium, which has some very cool ranger spells (finding a way to use them with scrolls and wands would also be great since ranger only has a very small number of spells per day). The core only ranger spell list is somewhat lacking.

    If you find yourself lagging behind the splitting weapon property from Champions of Ruin would fix that right up ... but it's a bit cheesy, so I would avoid it if you can.
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2010-03-07 at 09:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Okay, I want to bring up an AA less and less
    As for different classes, such as Barbarian or Fighter - I can't do that, I have this whole background story for the character, she was raised as a ranger, her father was one, and I understand Barbarian would do good to her feats, but for her that's OOC
    Maybe I should just look for a good damage dealer archer Ranger build then...
    You are really helpful, guys, thank you

    PinkysBrain
    Spell Compendium, which has some very cool ranger spells
    Are those based on Wis score?
    I'm not that keen on using magic though, I just want to hit with my arrows good and hard
    Last edited by Marisa; 2010-03-07 at 10:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    SC Ranger spells are awesome. There's one that lets you threaten adjacent squares with your bow, one that gives you precision damage, another that increases your range...full of goodness. Ranger spellcasting is WIS-based, so yes, they would key off Wisdom.
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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Rangers get so few spells/day, it's not like you really get to rely on magic. You just get to do some sweet stuff once or twice a battle that would be unexpected. There's one spell in Champions of Ruin (maybe in the Spell Compendium, as well) that makes it so the arrows you shoot for a round all split.

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    AA is mostly good for people who take a 1 level wizard dip. Those who take many levels of wizard will struggle. This isn't even a misleading class in that regard, since the DMG makes this fact quite clear. Arcane archer really is for combat focused archers.

    On the matter of effectiveness, you'll do very well unless you're in a heavily powergamed group. AA gets some flak in these forums because there are theoretically better ways, but it's still fairly decent. Namely the biggest thing arcane archer gives you is an enhancement bonus to attack rolls. You can get almost as much bonus from a party member who casts greater magic weapon on your bow. But that's the catch. Do you have a party wizard or cleric who will buff you? And why greater magic weapon? Why not heroism and flame arrow? Maybe he doesn't have enough spell slots to do all 3.

    A cleric OTOH, is a trap. Giving himself full BAB consumes a round that would be better off used to attack. It's only good for bragging about stats. Without the full BAB his buffed attack bonus is still worse than an arcane archer. But better than an unbuffed fighter. Again, only good for bragging. In reality you either play a buffed fighter or if you can't do that then you play an arcane archer.

    As for the abilities arcane archers get on even levels, I don't even pay attention to those. That only tends to lead to more traps like people who make wizard heavy arcane archers. Just think of them as minor extras.

    So don't let people discourage you if you want to play an arcane archer. Or if you want to play a pure ranger archer, that works to. Everything said above applies exactly the same. And you might want to ask a party caster for greater magic weapon in the morning once he hits level 8 or 12 or so.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, low light vision. Low light vision lets you get more out of light. So if for a human a torch would provide light up to 20 feet away and provide dim light to 40 feet, you can see clearly up to 40 feet away from the torch and dimly up to 80 feet away from it. You still can't see in total darkness.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2010-03-07 at 10:34 PM.
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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by faceroll View Post
    Rangers get so few spells/day, it's not like you really get to rely on magic.
    Can bows hold wand chambers?

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by BenTheJester View Post
    It was not Dictum, as Dictum seems completely opposed to multiclassing a Duskblade.

    Link to the said Arcane Archer

    Even if you don't build it like that, you should really play a Fire Elf, it seems to fit your character's personality quite well.
    My bad. carnivore is the one who's trademark is :D at the bottom of every post. Still, it's a pretty decent build.
    "I live apart from you
    But I know the things you do
    No angel can save you, how?
    You don't need a god, 'cause I'm here now."


  29. - Top - End - #29
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    faceroll's Avatar

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pluto View Post
    Can bows hold wand chambers?
    I dunno. Supplementing with wands & scrolls is always a good idea, especially since many of the ranger spells don't rely on caster level or ability score to be useful. If you could get a Caster's Shield on a buckler chasis, then you could cast a scroll off of that.

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    Mongoose87's Avatar

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    Default Re: Arcane Archer build DnD 3.5 - help me please!

    Pathfinder's Arcane Archer is so much better, I'd let someone use it in a 3.5e game any day.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Ring of Evasion means never playing a monk with monk levels again. There is just no reason to dip that stuff. I know we're all about using every part of the buffalo here, but can we just admit that it's inedible?

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