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    RangerGuy

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    Question lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Hey guys, we just started a new campaign in our group and I just wanted to post my idea up for suggestions. I was thinking of going for a build that focuses on mounted archery. I have started out as a Mad Elf Ranger (PHB Elf but +2 dex -2 int as stat adjust and Ranger as preferred class) There's a few quirks to our campaign that should be noted before continuing:

    - There is a low amount of "creatures" in our world, most of our enemies will consist of humanoid races. This makes the Favored Enemy class feat from Ranger alot more enticing, I have picked elves as my first enemy (a choice that was easy to make considering my tribe was murdered by dark elves)

    -no psionics, apart from that we can use feats and prc from any 3.5e supplement (after clearing for game balance with DM and on the strict condition we can RP it without obstructing the flow of the session)

    - we have a BIG party. I myself wouldn't call myself very experienced, this is probably my 5th campaign or so. we have 2 pretty much completely new players. the 3 other players in the party are seasoned veterans, but so far I haven't gotten any coherent advice on my character build from them :P The DM also has 1 NPC character in the party for story purposes which puts us to a grand total of 7 (1 druid, 1 fighter (tank), 1 dervish dancer, 1 skill monkey/burglar rogue, 1 wizard, myself and the NPC which we don't know yet but he's definitely not a spellcaster)

    Since we will be playing from level 1, I've made a level by level build for myself and I just wanted to know if there were any improvements that could be made. I have only listed the choices that have to be made each level. Dipping into a 3rd base class will most likely not be an option due to the fact we are playing with normal XP penalties.

    attributes at level 1:
    Strength 14
    Consitution 12
    Dexterity 19
    Intelligence 10
    Wisdom 13
    Charisma 8

    1. Ranger1 - feat:PBS - FE:Humanoid(elves)
    2. Fighter1 - bonus feat:precise shot (this will help alot in early combat!)
    3. Ranger2 - combat style:Rapid Shot - feat: weapon focus (composite longbow)
    4. Ranger3 - 1 bonus point in dexterity for a base total of 20
    5. Ranger4 - Animal companion:Horse
    6. Fighter2 - bonus feat:Mounted combat - feat:Impr. favored enemy (comp. warrior)
    7. Ranger5 - FE:Humanoid(humans)
    8. Ranger6 - 1 bonus point in strength for a base total of 15
    9. Fighter3 - feat: Improved Rapid Shot
    10. Fighter4 - bonus feat: Weapon Specialization (composite longbow)

    From here, I wanted to get 2 levels in Wild plains stalker for extra mobility and synergy with my mount and then put the rest in more fighter levels so i can get greater weapon specialization at clvl 20. My DM has already let us know that this campaign could take us to epic level, and this seemed like a very strong noncaster build to me. feats in clvl 11-20 will include mounted archery, improved mounted archery and maybe even some ranged pin/disarm feats, or things like impr. initiative.

    sorry for the wall of text :)

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    The feats you want for a classic horse archer probably look something like this

    Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery, Impoved Mounted Archery, Point Blank Shot, Far Shot

    Rapid Shot would probably be the next choice.

    Precise Shot and Improved Rapid Shot are nice to have, but you should expect to be hitting most of the time anyway. Rapid Shot > Precise Shot, but you get it free at Ranger 2

    How often do you intend to fight from horse back ?
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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Isn't the class called Wild Plains Outrider[Complete Adventurer]? Maybe get a lvl or two Beastmaster[CAdv] for better animal companion progression. If your character is good you could consider the feat Exalted Animal Companion for a better choice of animal companions maybe even a pegasus or unicorn at high levels.
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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    precise shot because its a prerequisite for impr. rapid shot and because we are playing from level 1 (next session we will be leveling our PC to level 2) and the DM is not playing around so I have to also think of a build that will be able to hold its own while growing. I have been missing alot of crucial attacks because the target was in melee combat with a party member, so I feel it will help me alot in the early levels. Impr. rapid shot might not be a necessary feat, but I will have so many feats to spend from fighter levels that again I feel it's a strong choice for at that moment in the game.

    I intend to be fighting from horseback as much as possible, only when absolutely forced to I will be on foot. But I have manyshot for when I cannot make full attack actions ;)

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Quote Originally Posted by Hikarizu View Post
    Isn't the class called Wild Plains Outrider[Complete Adventurer]? Maybe get a lvl or two Beastmaster[CAdv] for better animal companion progression. If your character is good you could consider the feat Exalted Animal Companion for a better choice of animal companions maybe even a pegasus or unicorn at high levels.
    Yes it's wild plains outrider, my DM just told me the same thing over skype I'm sorry for that. The PRC already gives me 2 levels in animal companion advancement, but I agree that it's not enough. Maybe, if I'm very lucky, my DM will let me use a homebrew feat that adds my fighter levels to my ranger levels to determine my animal companion's advancement (giving me an effective druid level of 11 at level 20) or does that seem overpowered?

    The pegasus sounds pretty awesome, a flying mount could be sweet :P I'm afraid that it won't fit in our campaign though. Also yes I am CG but I doubt I'd want to RP an exalted character, especially since my PC is on a quest of vengeance and all ;)

    edit: the problem i have with taking a 2nd prc is that I would'nt reach fighter 12 and thus wouldn't get greater weapon spec. Seeing as I will be optimising my Rapid shot, I feel that maximising my on hit bonus damage is a priority, or am I tunnelvisioning?
    Last edited by warbringer; 2012-11-18 at 08:16 AM.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Here is an archery handbook. It has a section on mounted archery.

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Supermount is a mounted archer build.
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    LG Strongheart Halfling
    1. Paladin - Mounted Combat, Track
    2. Paladin
    3. Paladin - Skill Focus: Handle Animal (prereq for Beast Master)
    4. Paladin
    5. Paladin
    6. Beastmaster - Devoted Tracker
    7. Beastmaster
    8. Wild Plains Outrider
    9. Wild Plains Outrider - Mounted Archery
    10. Wild Plains Outrider
    11. Halfling Outrider
    12. Halfling Outrider - Natural Bond
    13. Halfling Outrider
    14. Halfling Outrider
    15. Halfling Outrider - Ride By Attack (or some other feat)
    16. Halfling Outrider
    17. Halfling Outrider
    18. Halfling Outrider - Spirited Charge (or some other feat)
    19. Halfling Outrider
    20. Halfling Outrider

    Special Mount: 18th level Paladin = Paladin 5 + Wild Plains 3 + Half-Out 10
    Animal Companion: 18th level Druid = Beast Master 5 + Natural Bond 3 + Half-Out 10

    If flaws are available squeeze in Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot at first level.

    Another Dragon Mount option can be found on page 136 of the Draconomicon.
    You would be able to use it starting at level 11 with this build
    (equivalent paladin level 9 for mount abilities).

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Wild cohort gets you a mount that's better than a ranger's animal companion from level 1 instead of having to wait until level 4 for a guaranteed non-cannon fodder mount. Gets you a flying mount at level 7 or 10 as I recall, depending upon your size. Halfling is good here and in general for mounted builds because of the potential for supermounting.

    Alternatively, you could be a smaller than usual creature and get an urban companion/familiar and ride that.
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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    A couple of things...

    1. The main advantage mounted archery has over being a regular archer is mobility. You can move and still make a full attack with a bow when mounted. Definitely take advantage of this.

    2. Wild Plains Outrider, as mentioned, is a lot of fun. If you've got decent stealth skills, you can now pass them onto your mount. This is actually a pretty big deal, since otherwise mounts are pretty much the equivalent of wandering down a dungeon, ringing a large bell and shouting at the top of your lungs.

    3. Unless you're pretty sure that you're going to be outside for the vast majority of the campaign, I strongly suggest going with a small character so that you can ride a medium mount. A horse simply can't get into every dungeon and cave you want him to, whereas a dog or goat or what not usually can.

    Here is a stealth-based mounted archery build that I've toyed around with...

    Stealth Bomber
    Muckdweller, Druid 3/Ranger 2/Fighter 2/Wild Plains Outrider 3/Justice of Weald & Woe 10

    1. Druid1- Point Blank Shot
    2. Ranger1- Track
    3. Ranger2- Rapid Shot, Mounted Combat
    4. Fighter1- Precise Shot
    5. Druid2-
    6. Druid3- Mounted Archery
    7. Wild Plains Outrider1-
    8. Fighter2- Weapon Focus (Longbow)
    9. Justice of Weald & Woe1- Woodland Archer
    10. Justice of Weald & Woe2- Weapon Specialization (Longbow)
    11. Justice of Weald & Woe3-
    12. Justice of Weald & Woe4- Ranged Weapon Mastery
    13. Justice of Weald & Woe5-
    14. Justice of Weald & Woe6-
    15. Justice of Weald & Woe7- Darkstalker
    16. Justice of Weald & Woe8- Improved Precise Shot
    17. Justice of Weald & Woe9-
    18. Justice of Weald & Woe10- Improved Mounted Archery
    19. Wild Plains Outrider2-
    20. Wild Plains Outrider3-

    Play a tiny muckdweller (Serpent Kingdoms) and ride an eagle, giving you flight at level 1 and the ability to get into pretty much anywhere. Max out your stealth skills, because they will apply to your eagle as well... and make sure that Darkstalker is one of the first feats your eagle takes!

    I've also been working on a whisper gnome paladin that uses the Shadow Cloak substitution levels, which gives him Hide and MS as class skills, and the same HiPS that the shadowdancer gets at 6th level (ie, you can hide as long as you have a shadow within 10', even if there is nothing to hide behind and you're being observed). The basic deal is that it hides in its mount's shadow and fires arrows while hidden. If anyone tries to attack the mount instead, it negates hits on it using Mounted Combat. It's a neat idea, but I still haven't found a good way to finish the build...
    Last edited by Piggy Knowles; 2012-11-18 at 05:23 PM.
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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Become a dragonrider using both of the Prestige classes from Draconomicon and the dragonlance campaign guide
    A couple of levels in duskblade never hurt
    Last edited by Annos; 2012-11-18 at 05:31 PM.
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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    I wouldn't go with fighter. You'll miss out on your skills, reflex save, spells, class abilities, and your mount will be worse. All you get out of it is extra feats, maybe some more hp. I know the weapon spec line looks appealing, but at higher levels its nothing compared to what you would be getting with ranger. Don't do it - it's a trap. You'll have plenty of feats already - there aren't that many archery feats.

    Stay with ranger. I wouldn't bother with prestige classes, honestly. The wild plains outrider is good for you, though.

    As an archer, you want as much in spot as possible. Listen, climb, jump, balance, and tracking are very useful as well. Of course you also want handle animal and ride. Since you're going with wild plains outrider, you'll also want good hide and move silently. Your dexterity is high enough, I'd start boosting str from now on and work on getting a mighty bow with a high str rating.

    Are greatbows available? They have better range and damage. How about dragonbone bows? Check those handbooks for special arrows and the enhancements you want to put on your bow and arrows. Force is fantastic.
    Another thing to remember is to put as many damaging enhancements on your bows and arrows as you can, since the arrows you shoot have the enhancements from the bow as well - so, your +1 flaming orcbane bow with +1 holy anarchic arrows fires +1 flaming orcbane holy anarchic arrows. With manyshot, each arrow gets all that. Yeah.

    Your favored enemy bonuses are great for skills, but for damage you have to be within 30ft - which probably isnt so great as a mounted archer. But if you're manyshotting, thats not really a problem.

    Spells are going to be very useful for you. Things like entangle and spike growth keep your enemies from getting to you and forces them to stand still. Wind wall keeps other archers from shooting you. You can cure yourself with wands. You get several spells that can make you and your mount better. You have stealth spells, hold person, buffing spells, animal control spells, darkvision, and I think even summoning spells - all in core.

    Dont forget things like camoflage and hide in plain sight - if your mount gets those, even better.

    If you can get wild cohort - great, do it. Pegasi would probably be the best mount, if its ever available. They're very fast and as smart as people - they also have good perception, will saves, and are CG like you.

    You may as well get a two handed weapon for those situations where archery isnt such a great idea - you can deal decent damage, help others flank, and depending on the weapon - make trips and disarms. Power Attack would not be a wasted feat. Also, don't forget to wear a spiked gauntlet so you can make attacks of opportunity or otherwise attack without drawing a weapon. Also, you can use it in grapples. A knockback spiked gauntlet would be a great idea....

    You might also want to look into quick draw: You're in melee, you drop the enemy you were fighting with your greatsword or halberd or whatever, but you have attacks left...what do you do? With quick draw, you get out your bow and make the rest of your attacks!

    I think that's all I have.
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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Summing up the reactions so far (thanks alot guys!), there's a few things I have to mention.

    - I am a Mad Elf (glamredhel), so making a halfling, muckdweller or any other small creature build will be... challenging to say the least ^^
    - I fail to see how Rapid Shot > Precise Shot.. afaik they synergise 100% (maybe you are mixing it up with the Precision Shot class feature from OotBI?)
    - I had chosen the fighter levels initially because otherwise I felt I would not have enough feats to completely focus on dealing as much damage as possible with full attack actions, but I agree that leveling it all the way to fighter12 would leave me with too many feats to spend (however, a few melee feats as Seharvepernfan suggested would be a great solution for that)

    Taking from the last post, which was by far the most helpful one (thx sehar!), taking the fighter levels for the extra feats and the weapon mastery tree is far too big a trade-off if compared to simply going full ranger (with 2 levels in wild plains outrider and perhaps even beastmaster), because of the spells, skill checks and a much stronger mount.

    Did I get that right? :)

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Quote Originally Posted by warbringer View Post
    Taking from the last post, which was by far the most helpful one (thx sehar!), taking the fighter levels for the extra feats and the weapon mastery tree is far too big a trade-off if compared to simply going full ranger (with 2 levels in wild plains outrider and perhaps even beastmaster), because of the spells, skill checks and a much stronger mount.

    Did I get that right? :)
    You're welcome!

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Quote Originally Posted by warbringer View Post
    - I fail to see how Rapid Shot > Precise Shot.. afaik they synergise 100% (maybe you are mixing it up with the Precision Shot class feature from OotBI?)
    Because it gives you an extra attack. Precise Shot is useful but eventually, like by 10th at the latest, you should have so many plusses to hit that the +4 will rarely matter.
    Quote Originally Posted by warbringer View Post
    - I had chosen the fighter levels initially because otherwise I felt I would not have enough feats to completely focus on dealing as much damage as possible with full attack actions, but I agree that leveling it all the way to fighter12 would leave me with too many feats to spend (however, a few melee feats as Seharvepernfan suggested would be a great solution for that)
    It's opportunity cost.
    Dipping 1 or 2 levels of Fighter is probably OK, but only if you need the feats. The cost is in Skill Points and delayed access to Ranger class features, which include free feats and also spells.
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Since not super well versed on archers or mounted combat in general. would it work since this build is based on mobility to pick up some levels of Scout for the skirmish bonus? or even possibly the Ashworm Dragoon from sandstorm for some flavor?

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Hmmm that's actually a good idea! The first two levels of fighter are the best two levels anyway, I wouldn't need to waste a feat on wfocus as prereq, giving me a vast array of feats to work with early and even gives me the opportunity to multiclass into a 3Rd base class without taking XP penalties if desired. I really want to RP my char as someone skilled with a bow above all else, but I guess at later levels I will really be gimping myself if I don't make use of the ranger spell list on higher levels. Besides, hiding in plain sight while moving 60 ft a round without being heard IS pretty awesome :p more for RP than combat prowess.

    On precise shot, I know it's not gonna help at level 10, but I'm level 1 right now. We will be levelling almost every session till 6 or 7. I have been missing a lot, which is why I thought it would be good. Also, wouldn't it still help on the later attacks in your full attack action? rapid shot will likely still be my most used attack in most of combat, and taking a 6 penalty to attack on all your attacks must cause a significant amount of misses. I guess I'm trading 1 feat slot for damage reliability.

    Pffft typing on phone is time consuming...

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Quote Originally Posted by GutterFace View Post
    Since not super well versed on archers or mounted combat in general. would it work since this build is based on mobility to pick up some levels of Scout for the skirmish bonus? or even possibly the Ashworm Dragoon from sandstorm for some flavor?
    Scout isn't useful, since skirmish was errataed to not work while mounted.
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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Quote Originally Posted by warbringer View Post
    - I am a Mad Elf (glamredhel)
    Does you DM read a lot of Raymond E. Feist?
    "It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. NEVER hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you, IF it goes against the obvious intent of the game. As you hew the line with respect to conformity to major systems and uniformity of play in general, also be certain the game is mastered by you and not by your players..."

    --Gygax

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Quote Originally Posted by LeshLush View Post
    Does you DM read a lot of Raymond E. Feist?
    Don't know, but yes he told us straight up about the campaign being based off a trioligy written by the author. He also asked the entire group if anyone had read it (thankfully no).

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    Default Re: lvl 1-20 mounted archery build

    Feist was the chief literary landmark of my misspent middle school years.
    "It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. NEVER hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you, IF it goes against the obvious intent of the game. As you hew the line with respect to conformity to major systems and uniformity of play in general, also be certain the game is mastered by you and not by your players..."

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