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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    In the same vein as ksbsnowowl’s excellent archer thread, I thought I’d put together a build compendium of some ranged builds that I’ve been working on. This has all existed basically as a Google Doc for some time, since for some reason I love tinkering with ranged builds. A recent thread on archery’s shortcomings made me decide to put this together in a more complete form, and try to strengthen up some of these builds a bit.

    It's worth noting that some of these builds barely even qualify as archers - the Totemist, for example, is just a standard ranged Totemist with special focus on the Manticore Belt. Still, I like having this around for any time I'm considering playing a ranged build.

    In any case, there are three things that I always try to keep in mind when building an archer:

    1. Do something useful besides archery.

    Every single one of these builds is meant to fulfill at least one other party role besides “damage dealer.” I like having something handy to do in most situations, and build accordingly.

    The thing is, archers can be surprisingly easy to shut down. Wind Wall, Protection from Arrows, high damage reduction, weather conditions, concealment - all of these wreak havoc on the standard archer.

    Also, while I absolutely love archers thematically, they share a problem with uberchargers - they’re kind of boring. A charger build probably only has a couple of tactically useful things it can do on any given round, and most of those are some variation of “charge and Power Attack for full.” The same is often true for archers. Without some other party role, they can get very repetitive.
    2. Knowledge skills are important.

    Unless you’re willing to metagame like crazy, I believe that any archer needs to dedicate a few skill points to most of the monster-related knowledge skills. The biggest reason for this is damage reduction. Damage reduction is the bane of the archer’s existence - it can turn a volley of 8 attacks into a joke. A good archer will carry a variety of arrows to pierce most types of DR, but if you don’t know what you’re fighting, you won’t know how to use them.

    Monster identification can certainly be passed on to another party member, but at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility. At the bare minimum, I always push in at least a point for each, so I can make the checks at all. As an added bonus, those knowledge skills feed the easiest source of bonus damage out there - Knowledge Devotion.

    3. No over-reliance on precision damage.

    Archery is already surprisingly easy to shut down (see point 1). Making your archery build ALSO contingent on precision damage is an easy way to spend a lot of combat sessions feeling useless.

    Entire swaths of enemies are immune to precision damage. And no, I’m not talking about undead and constructs - thanks to things like Swift Hunter and weapon crystals, these are actually the least of your problems. But there are a lot of OTHER things that cancel out precision damage, things that are not so easy to get around (especially without Penetrating Strike). Any concealment at all renders precision damage impossible, for example. Fortification is another big concern.

    None of these problems are insurmountable, and I’ve seen decent ranged builds that rely on precision damage (Stormwind & co.’s Chaingun Porcupine, for instance). But I don’t like doing it. Like I said, archery is easy enough to shut down on its own. Instead, I prefer to have precision damage be a nice bonus, an easy way to rack up extra damage when I do come across susceptible enemies.

    So yeah, while several of these builds might include precision elements, they are all designed to still be decent if that side of things gets shut down for any reason.

    Anyhow, here are the archers!

    1. The Zen Chameleon, a Wis-centric Chameleon/Soulbow with splashes of Swordsage
    2. Soul Dreamer, a Chameleon/Earth Dreamer alongside Incarnate
    3. The Ultimate Arcane Archer, a build that combines all the goodness of Chameleon's dual casting with Arcane Archer
    4. Savage Singer, an iconic bard 20 archer
    5. Arrow of the White Raven, a DFI bardblade archer
    6. The Strafing Manticore, a totemist 20 focused on making strafing flyby Manticore Belt attacks
    7. The TISP Sniper, an Arcane Archer/Nar Demonbinder/Unseen Seer that can see and fire imbued arrows through walls
    8. The Psycarnum Archer, a neraph ranger/psychic warrior with splashes of incarnum to fuel bonus damage and PP recharge tricks
    9. The Murderous Sniper, my take on ksbsnowowl's classic sniper archer, which relies on Murderous Intent and hunter's mercy to deliver track down enemies and headshot them from afar
    10. Factotum Poison Archer, a factotum-based archer that creates poisons and uses Phase Cloak to ethereally phase in, fire off several volleys of poison arrows, and then phase back out.


    ..................................................

    In my opinion, it is hard to find a better archery prestige class than Chameleon. Access to all of the best archer-specific spells, an excellent pool of turning for divine metamagic, decent base chassis, easy to qualify for - if there's a better prestige class, I have yet to find it.

    In any case, three of my archery builds currently involve the Chameleon. Though the builds look similar from the outset, they've got some differences. One is an arcane archer focused on single debuffing shots, one is a Wis-centric zen archer, and one focuses on Sighting Gloves for bonus damage.

    The Zen Chameleon

    BUILD STUB: Human, Cloistered Cleric (Knowledge, Planning, Trickery) 1/Soulknife 2/Ranger 2/Soulbow 2/Chameleon 10/Swordsage 2/Warblade 1

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    1. Cloistered Cleric1- Point Blank Shot, Able Learner, Knowledge Devotion, Extend Spell
    2. Soulknife1- Weapon Focus (mind blade), Hidden Talent (psionic minor creation)
    3. Ranger1- Track, Precise Shot
    4. Ranger2- Rapid Shot
    5. Soulknife2-
    6. Soulbow1- Zen Archery, Persistent Spell
    7. Soulbow2-
    8. Chameleon1-
    9. Chameleon2- Divine Metamagic (Persistent Spell)
    10. Chameleon3-
    11. Chameleon4-
    12. Chameleon5- Extra Turning
    13. Chameleon6-
    14. Chameleon7-
    15. Chameleon8- Travel Devotion
    16. Chameleon9-
    17. Chameleon10-
    18. Swordsage1- Woodland Archer
    19. Swordsage2-
    20. Warblade1-


    This is my attempt at a solely Wis-centric zen archer. Ends up with Wisdom to attack, damage and AC, in addition to powering Chameleon spellcasting. I must say, I do like Chameleon alongside a splash of initiating classes, for the ability to pick up Martial Study for maneuvers on demand. (I do similar things with the incarnate archer, picking up Totemist-only soulmelds or chakra binds when necessary).
    Soul Dreamer

    BUILD STUB: Azurin, Cloistered Cleric (Knowledge, Trickery, Planning) 1/Incarnate 2/Ranger 2/Chameleon 10/Earth Dreamer 5

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    1. Cloistered Cleric1- Able Learner, Extend Spell, Persistent Spell
    2. Ranger1- Track
    3. Ranger2- Rapid Shot, DMM (Persistent Spell)
    4. Incarnate1-
    5. Incarnate2-
    6. Chameleon1- Earth Sense
    7. Chameleon2-
    8. Earth Dreamer1-
    9. Earth Dreamer2- Open Least Chakra (Hands)
    10. Earth Dreamer3-
    11. Earth Dreamer4-
    12. Earth Dreamer5- Chain Spell
    13. Chameleon3-
    14. Chameleon4-
    15. Chameleon5- DMM (Chain Spell)
    16. Chameleon6-
    17. Chameleon7-
    18. Chameleon8- Extra Turning
    19. Chameleon9-
    20. Chameleon10-


    This was actually an early draft for the Archer Assassin, but I liked it so much that I branched it off on its own. In addition to the standard persist shenanigans, this also uses DMM (Chain) to apply Brilliant Energy Arrow to all her arrows as a swift action. Earth Dreamer provides Earth Glide and Earth Sight to stalk enemies from afar, while Chameleon's floating feat can be used to nab higher level chakra binds or totemist soulmelds when necessary.
    Ultimate Arcane Archer

    BUILD STUB: Half-Elf, Half-Elf Paragon 3/Martial Wizard 1/Cloistered Cleric (Trickery, Planning) 1/Fighter 2/Chameleon 10/Death Delver 1

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    1. Half-Elf Paragon1- Human Heritage, Able Learner
    2. Cloistered Cleric1- Knowledge Devotion, Extend Spell
    3. Wizard1- Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
    4. Fighter1- Rapid Shot
    5. Fighter2- Weapon Focus (longbow)
    6. Chameleon1- Persistent Spell
    7. Chameleon2-
    8. Chameleon3-
    9. Chameleon4- Divine Metamagic (Persistent Spell)
    10. Arcane Archer1-
    11. Arcane Archer2-
    12. Chameleon5- Extra Turning
    13. Chameleon6-
    14. Chameleon7-
    15. Chameleon8- Extra Turning
    16. Chameleon9-
    17. Chameleon10-
    18. Death Delver1- Extra Turning
    19. Half-Elf Paragon2-
    20. Half-Elf Paragon3-


    OK, I love Arcane Archer, and I love Chameleon, so it should be no big surprise that I tried to get them both into the same build. Half-Elf Paragon lets me take both Human Heritage and Able Learner at first level, allowing me to qualify for both Arcane Archer and Chameleon down the road.

    This should allow me to persist a ridiculous number of buffs, depending on how your DM interprets mimic class feature - with five turning pools (cleric, death delver, mimic class feature x3), that's 75 + (5xCha) turn attempts before items. In any case, as for spells to imbue, there are a huge number of options, since as a Chameleon you can cast just about any spell in the game of 6th-level or below. The classic is AMF, of course. You can also pick up Control Weather off the shugenja list as a 6th-level spell, and that's a fun one to imbue. Guards and Wards is another.
    Another great damage source is Inspire Courage. I couldn't help but do a vanilla bard 20 inspire build, even though it doesn't really have anything too new or exciting about it. I also put together a Song of the White Raven bard/warblade archer, which is actually one of my favorite builds on this compendium.

    Savage Singer

    BUILD STUB: Silverbrow Human, Savage Bard 20
    ACFs: Bardic Knack, Music of Creation

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    1- Dragonfire Inspiration, Point Blank Shot
    3- Knowledge Devotion
    6- Rapid Shot, Song of the Heart
    9- Precise Shot
    12- Words of Creation
    15- Woodland Archer
    18- Improved Precise Shot

    Spells Known:
    1- Inspirational Boost, Improvisation, Silent Image, Grease, Swift Invisibility
    2- Alter Self, Glitterdust, Pass Without Trace, Sonorous Hum, Harmonize
    3- Haste, Dispel Magic*, Glibness, Alter Fortune, Charm Monster
    4- Dimension Door, Summon Nature’s Ally IV, Shadow Conjuration, Celerity, Ruin Delver’s Fortune
    5- Commune With Nature, Greater Blink, Greater Dispel Magic, Mislead, Shadow Walk
    6- Superior Resistance, Find the Path, Reincarnate, Greater Scrying

    *Retrain to Slow when Greater Dispel is taken.


    I decided I ought to have at least one standard bard archer (barcher? archard?) here. This is nothing fancy - just a fairly straightforward IC build, with an archery focus. Bardic Knack + Knowledge Devotion is a nice little damage boost across the board, and with regular Inspire Courage, DFI, Knowledge Devotion and haste, it should actually be putting out pretty solid numbers.

    My original version of this build was more of a tracker, and involved a rat familiar with Stealthy PsyRef’d out for Track. But I decided I wanted to make this build as straightforward as possible, and so went this way.
    Arrow of the White Raven

    BUILD STUB: Silverbrow Human, Bard 3/Warblade 17
    (Alternately, go Bard 4/Warblade 16. One fewer maneuver per day, but more uses of bardic music when it counts. Especially valuable if you can't take flaws to get Extra Music early.)

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    FEATS:
    1- Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
    3- Rapid Shot
    6- Song of the Heart
    8- Improved Initiative
    9- Song of the White Raven
    12- Dragonfire Inspiration, Iron Will
    15- Woodland Archer
    16- Great Fortitude
    18- Extra Music
    20- Blind-Fight

    MANEUVERS:
    1- Sudden Leap, Moment of Perfect Mind, Leading the Attack
    2- Wall of Blades, Action Before Thought
    3- White Raven Tactics, Iron Heart Surge
    4- Covering Strike
    5- Iron Heart Focus, Mountain Hammer
    6- Order Forged from Chaos
    7- Iron Heart Endurance, Quicksilver Motion
    8- Raging Mongoose, Diamond Defense
    9- Time Stands Still

    STANCES:
    Blood in the Water, Hunter's Sense, Hearing the Air, Stance of Alacrity


    This is basically just combining everything I love about bard archers with everything I love about warblades. This build is especially good at making crazy volley attacks, which alongside Blood in the Water and Woodland Archer will rack up some pretty decent damage as time goes on. It also has the standard DFI/IC/Song of the Heart goodies.

    If I were to play any of these builds tomorrow, it would probably be this one.
    Next, I wanted to put together a decent build that utilizes the Manticore Belt. Of course, after I built this, Stormwind&Co more or less blew it out of the water with the Chaingun Porcupine, but I still really like the simplicity of this one.

    The Strafing Manticore

    BUILD STUB: Azurin, Totemist 20

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    1- Darkstalker, Expanded Soulmeld Capacity
    3- Shape Soulmeld (Sighting Gloves)
    6- Martial Study (Cloak of Deception)
    9- Double Chakra (Totem)
    12- Martial Stance (Assassin’s Stance)
    15- Craven
    18- Bonus Essentia


    Focusing on the Manticore Belt, this build is a ranged skirmisher. The idea is to be constantly surrounded in an inky cloud of darkness, swooping by and releasing a huge volley of spines. Manticore Belt bound to the Waist gives excellent Fly speed plus Flyby attack, while binding it to the chakra gives you the ability to fire one spine per essentia invested as a standard action... and by 14th level, both should be bound. The Shadow Mantle’s shoulders not only surrounds you in a globe of magical darkness (which, unlike regular darkness, explicitly prevents any sight), it also gives you blindsight within that globe. This should make it very easy to activate sneak attack via Assassin’s Stance, and Craven damage.

    Instead of blowing two feats on PBS/Precise Shot, instead the build blows one feat on Sighting Gloves, which give the same benefit but also provide a significant damage boost.

    Plus, you know, you’re a level 20 Totemist, so you’ve got skill boosters out the wazoo, can switch to melee when necessary, etc.

    NOTE: Rules Compendium states that a volley attack is ANY attack that fires multiple shots in less than a full round, even if there are separate attack rolls for each, and in a volley only the first hit applies precision damage. If that ruling is in effect, the damage on this build goes down considerably against precision-vulnerable enemies, although it still has some decent utility and potential damage. Check with your DM.
    Next, a build that might not fly at most tables, but that I'm pretty proud of:

    The TISP Sniper

    BUILD STUB: Gray Elf, Feat Rogue 2/Ranger 2/Martial Wizard 1/Assassin 1/Earth Dreamer 5/Arcane Archer 2/Nar Demonbinder 1/Unseen Seer 6
    ACFs: Feat rogue, martial wizard, immediate magic (abrupt jaunt)

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    1. Feat Rogue1- Point Blank Shot, Darkstalker
    2. Ranger1- Track
    3. Ranger2- Rapid Shot, Iron Will
    4. Feat Rogue2- Precise Shot
    5. Martial Wizard1- Weapon Focus (Longbow)
    6. Assassin1- Earth Spell
    7. Unseen Seer1-
    8. Earth Dreamer1-
    9. Earth Dreamer2- Spell Focus (Conjuration)
    10. Arcane Archer1-
    11. Arcane Archer2-
    12. Earth Dreamer3- Greater Spell Focus (Conjuration)
    13. Earth Dreamer4-
    14. Earth Dreamer5-
    15. Nar Demonbinder1- Practiced Spellcaster (Assassin)
    16. Unseen Seer2-
    17. Unseen Seer3-
    18. Unseen Seer4- Practiced Spellcaster (Nar Demonbinder)
    19. Unseen Seer5-
    20. Unseen Seer6-

    Assassin spells known:
    1- Sniper's Shot, True Strike, Shock and Awe, Ebon Eyes
    2- Brilliant Energy Arrow, Spellslayer Arrow, Alter Self, Darkness
    3- Create Fetch, Arrowsplit, Magic Circle Against Good, False Life
    4- Assassin's Darkness, Glibness

    Nar Demonbinder spells known:
    2- Hunter's Eye*
    4- Lesser Planar Binding, Dimensional Anchor, SMIV, Wall of Fire
    5- Flame Strike, Plane Shift, Spell Resistance, SMV
    6- Greater Dispel Magic, Planar Binding, Fiendform
    7- Blasphemy, Fire Storm, Moment of Prescience*
    8- Greater Planar Binding

    *Advanced Learning


    The goal of this build is to combine Earth Dreamer's Earth Sight ability with the Assassin spell Brilliant Energy Arrow. The idea is to be able to fire brilliant energy arrows through dirt, walls, etc., from hiding. Since Brilliant Energy Arrow means I'll be firing single shots, I thought I'd add in Arcane Archer for Imbue Arrow. This way I can fire things like Blasphemy or Fire Storm from the other side of a wall.

    Now, just to get this out of the way: your DM has every reason to say this won't work. Brilliant Energy does not turn the whole weapon into brilliant energy, only a significant portion (the head of the arrow). Technically it still says that the arrow will ignore any nonliving material, but it's a stretch, and I would highly recommend getting this DM-approved before springing it on anyone (as I would with any build). I'm mostly going by rule of cool here - the idea of tracking someone from behind a wall or underneath their feat, then peppering them with imbued brilliant energy arrows, is just too cool to not include.
    Next, the Psycarnum Archer - a Wis-focused Psychic Warrior archer gish that uses incarnum-based PP recharge and augment tricks.

    The Psycarnum Archer

    BUILD STUB: Neraph, Ranger 2/Psychic Warrior 18

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    Feats:
    1. Ranger1- Track, Shape Soulmeld (Sighting Gloves)
    2. Ranger2- Rapid Shot
    3. PsyWar1- Zen Archery, Azure Talent
    4. PsyWar2- Psycarnum Infusion
    5. PsyWar3-
    6. PsyWar4- Open Least Chakra (Hands)
    7. PsyWar5- Psicrystal Affinity
    8. PsyWar6-
    9. PsyWar7- Psicrystal Containment
    10. PsyWar8- Psionic Meditation
    11. PsyWar9-
    12. PsyWar10- Improved Essentia Capacity
    13. PsyWar11- Midnight Augmentation
    14. PsyWar12-
    15. PsyWar13- Expanded Knowledge (Metamorphosis)
    16. PsyWar14- Expanded Knowledge (Schism)
    17. PsyWar15-
    18. PsyWar16- Shape Soulmeld (Incarnate Avatar)
    19. PsyWar17- Linked Power
    20. PsyWar18-

    Powers:
    1- Expansion, Metaphysical Weapon, Extend Range
    2- Hustle, Psionic Scent, Damp Power
    3- Greater Concealing Amorpha, Dimension Slide, Mental Barrier/Telekinetic Boomerang
    4- Schism, Metamorphosis, Steadfast Perception, Psionic Freedom of Movement, Inertial Barrier
    5- Empower Weapon, Oak Body, Change Fate
    6- Personal Mind Blank, Dispelling Buffer, Inconstant Location


    • Several ways to regain and expend psionic focus each round, to feed Psycarnum Infusion
    • Psycarnum Infusion + Azure Talent to break the PsyWar's low PP problem
    • A soulmeld that grants Precise Shot, and Rapid Shot as a bonus feat, letting this become a build that totally dumps Dex in favor of Wis (yay for more bonus PP!)
    • Ability to metamorph into an Arrow Demon for multiple full attacks each round
    • Bonus damage via Sighting Gloves or bonus attack via Incarnate Avatar as needed (and able to be maxed out when necessary via Psycarnum Infusion again)
    • Ability to augment powers to their max without expending additional PP with Midnight Augmentation + Psycarnum Infusion, mostly used for long lasting powers
    • Ranger levels to gain Rapid Shot without needing pre-reqs, and also to open up wand chambers of swift action Ranger archery spells
    Finally, the Murderous Sniper. This is my take on ksbsnowowl's classic Deepwood Sniper archer. The build relies on Murderous Intent combined with hunter's mercy to make single high-critting shots from distance.

    The Murderous Sniper

    BUILD STUB: Human, Ranger 2/Wilderness Feat Rogue 4/Deepwood Sniper 7/Chameleon 7

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    (Dedicated to an Elder Evil of your choosing.)

    1. Feat Rogue1- PBS, Precise Shot, Able Learner, Evil Brand
    2. Ranger1- Track
    3. Ranger2- Rapid Shot, Darkstalker
    4. Feat Rogue2- WF (Comp. Longbow)
    5. Feat Rogue3- Blood War Conscript
    6. Feat Rogue4- Far Shot, Martial Study (Shadow Jaunt)
    7. Deepwood Sniper1-
    8. DWS2-
    9. DWS3- Knowledge Devotion
    10. DWS4- Murderous Intent
    11. Chameleon1-
    12. Chameleon2- Martial Stance (Assassin’s Stance)
    13. DWS5-
    14. DWS6-
    15. DWS7- Apostate, Craven
    16. Chameleon3-
    17. Chameleon4-
    18. Chameleon5- Maiming Strike
    19. Chameleon6-
    20. Chameleon7- Insane Defiance


    • All of the relevant stealth and tracking goodies, including Darkstalker, excellent skill ranks, and any stealth related spells as needed.
    • Poison Use, plus Chameleon spells for minor creation to make poisons on demand.
    • Murderous Intent automatically confirms any crits versus favored enemies. Arcane Hunter gives a huge range of favored enemies (anyone who can cast spells or SLAs), and the Chameleon floating bonus feat can pick up additional enemies on demand via Extra Favored Enemy.
    • Kaorti resin arrows allow for ×6 crits, for hunter's mercy/Murderous Intent fun.
    • Hunter's eye brings the sneak attack up to +8d6 for 4 points of Charisma damage (which is multiplied on a crit, unlike the variable sneak attack damage would be). That's a solid 24 points of Charisma damage on every successful crit. Sniper's shot lets you do this from any range.


    So, assuming a +2 collision energy bow with GMW cast on it, and a +4 strength bonus, we can look at something like...

    1d8 +2 FE +20 craven +1 Blood War Conscript +5 enhancement +5 collision +4 strength +17 power shot +5 knowledge devotion = 1d8+59 base damage. So with a single arrow, we're looking at a MINIMUM of 360 points of damage, plus poison and 24 points of Charisma damage. That's just from the first shot that successfully hits - if this fails to KO, the remaining shots should.
    Factotum Poison Archer

    Human, Factotum 8/Warblade 3/Fighter 2/Heir of Siberys 3/Uncanny Trickster 3/Mindbender 1

    PROGRESSION:
    Spoiler
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    1. Factotum1- Hidden Talent (Psionic Minor Creation), Master of Poisons
    2. Factotum2-
    3. Factotum3- Heroic Spirit
    4. Factotum4-
    5. Factotum5-
    6. Mindbender1- Mindsight
    7. Fighter1- Point Blank Shot
    8. Fighter2- Rapid Shot
    9. Warblade1- Manyshot
    10. Factotum6-
    11. Factotum7-
    12. Factotum8- Greater Manyshot
    13. Heir of Siberys1- Action Surge
    14. Heir of Siberys2- Mark of Stars
    15. Heir of Siberys3- Open Lesser Chakra (Shoulders), Shape Soulmeld (Phase Cloak)
    16. Warblade2-
    17. Warblade3-
    18. Uncanny Trickster1- Darkstalker
    19. Uncanny Trickster2-
    20. Uncanny Trickster3- Blind-Fight

    (Uncanny Trickster progresses Warblade. Siberys mark is the Mark of Sentinel.)

    MANEUVERS:
    1- Wolf Fang Strike, Sudden Leap, Moment of Perfect Mind
    2- Claw at the Moon
    3- Mind over Body
    5- Dancing Mongoose
    6- Moment of Alacrity
    7- Quicksilver Motion

    STANCES:
    Blood in the Water, Leaping Dragon Stance


    ALTERNATIVES:
    • This build assumes multiclassing penalties are in effect. If they aren't, drop uncanny trickster for more warblade, giving you Factotum 8/Warblade 6/Fighter 2/Mindbender 1/Heir of Siberys 3.
    • If flaws are allowed, drop fighter and uncanny trickster, and instead run Factotum 8/Warblade 8/Mindbender 1/Heir of Siberys 3. End result is +16 BAB, 8th-level maneuvers and all relevant tricks.
    • If fractional BAB is used, feat rogue is a viable alternative in place of fighter.
    • If Dragon material is allowed, two levels of Invisible Fist Martial Monk can go in over fighter.


    The basic plan is as follows:

    • TRACK your enemies via Mindsight;
    • PHASE IN ethereally via Phase Cloak;
    • ATTACK with multiple poisoned arrows via Greater Manyshot, gaining extra standard actions with Action Surge and Cunning Surge;
    • PHASE OUT as a swift action via Quicksilver Motion or Sudden Leap.


    In addition, this guy has excellent skills, has Mind Blank up 24/7 via his Siberys mark, is never surprised or flat-footed, has great stealth (Mind Blank, ethereal movement, spells, skills and Darkstalker), and has all of the goodies you'd expect from an 8th-level Factotum.
    Last edited by Piggy Knowles; 2014-02-05 at 07:08 PM.
    Current project:
    Optimization Showcase in the Playground

    Former projects:
    Pulvis Et Umbra Sumus: Shadowcaster Handbook
    Archer Build Compendium

    Iron Chef Awards!
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    GOLD MEDALS
    IC LXXVI: Talos
    IC LXXV: Alphonse Louise Constant
    IC XLIX: Babalon, Queen of Bones
    IC XLV: Dead Mists
    IC XL: Lycus Blackbeak
    IC XXXIX: AM-1468
    IC XXXV: Parsifal the Fool
    IC XXX: Jal Filius

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Bellona

    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    BUILDS IN PROGRESS
    Uurkrau Archer - A Dex-focused illumian Ultimate Magus that uses the Uurkrau sigils to have Dexterity drive the spells on both casting classes.

    OTHER ARCHERS
    Bird of Prey, by Emperor Tippy - A druid-based soulbow sniper that strikes unerringly from a thousand miles away.
    The JPAM, by Vaz - A sha'ir/incantatrix/jade phoenix mage focused on throwing.
    Zen Archer, by thethird - A cleric-based Zen Archer using Prestige Ranger to get into Stalker of Kharash.
    Psionic/Roguish Archer, by Draz74 - A tiefling rogue/psychic warrior/shadowmind taking advantage of CPsi's archery powers and arrow demon metamorphosis.
    Boomerang Daze Thrower, by Draz74 - A half-giant warblade/psychic warrior/bloodstorm blade that runs off of Boomerang Daze
    Throw & Snatch, by thethird - A thrower that disarms from afar, steals the weapon, and throws it back at the enemy, while getting iajutsu damage all the while.


    TO-DO:
    • Finish formatting on all builds so that they are consistent
    • Add in maneuvers on Zen Archer build
    • Add in spells on Arrow of the White Raven
    • Add general "Items" section
    • Finish and add in Ultimate Magus Dex-focused arcane-only persistifying archer.
    • Finish and add in Psycarnum archer.
    • Add links to existing archery handbooks.


    So, I'm interested in where I should go with this. I wanted to have this up as a build compendium that I can reference back to, both for my own personal use and also so that I can point to it when I recommend archer builds to other people.

    I didn't want to turn this into a handbook, because we already HAVE archer handbooks, some of which are quite good. I'd be interested in feedback on tightening up the existing builds, and I'd be happy to offer advice on anyone else's range-focused build. (As a note, though, I do tend to build archers different than other people - I really don't recommend building archers without magic or something similar, such as meldshaping or initiating.)

    Finally, I'm still working on the two more builds that I'd like to include. One is a Dex-centric Uurkrau illumian, basically an attempt to build an arcane-only Persist archer. The other is a Psychic Warrior with a splash of incarnum and Psycarnum Infusion to max out damage-focused soulmelds. I'd love some more ideas, though - both on these, and more directions to go in for archers.

    Thanks, all!
    Last edited by Piggy Knowles; 2013-06-26 at 05:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Can you jam a level of Shiba Protector into the Zen Archer build? An extra +WIS to attack and damage is nice to have.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Can you jam a level of Shiba Protector into the Zen Archer build? An extra +WIS to attack and damage is nice to have.
    Hmm... That's not a bad idea, although it'll be tough. I could knock off the level of Warblade, which means I wouldn't get access to WRT, but adding Wisdom yet again to both attack and damage, especially once I start bringing Owl's Insight into play, is pretty juicy.

    More difficult would be the feats. Three otherwise useless feats is a pretty high cost for that, and I would hate to lose Travel Devotion, Extra Turning and Woodland Archer. I guess if I cheesed in Iron Will via Otyugh Hole, I could drop two out of the three, although I'm not sure which ones should go. (Extra Turning could of course be dropped in any game that allows Nightstick stacking, but I have yet to play in a game that does...)
    Last edited by Piggy Knowles; 2013-05-19 at 01:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    You can get Alertness for 10k (Dark Blue Rhomboid Ioun Stone), so you only really need to drop one feat on Combat Expertise. Woodland Archer seems like the logical choice, since the +Wisdom to attack greatly outweighs the +4 on attacks it might give you, and the other benefits are relatively marginal.
    Last edited by Flickerdart; 2013-05-19 at 01:48 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    For a Thrower build, it's a bit cheesy;

    Insectile (+2LA) X=16/Mindbender 1/Cancer Mage 1 with Brutal Throw and Mindsight.

    Arbitrary Strength, means that you're hitting 19/20 and insta-gibbing anything without immunity to no-save, no SR Force Damage (from Gloves of Endless Javelins) with 6 Thrown Shots a turn.

    If you can find some way to regain your thrown weapons instantly (Returning Crystals; a couple of quivers etc), an Insectile character with the Multi-weapon fighting chain and Shadowblade (using Aptitude enchantment to allow Shadowblade to trigger with Javelins). It also can make Girallon Windmill Flesh Rip incredibly fun should they ever get too close.

    Arcane Strike explicitly channels into melee weapons; melee weapons can still be thrown however, which might not be allowed in all games, though, due to RAI and liberal wording.

    Sha'ir 6/Incantatrix 3/Sacred/Exorcist/Jade Phoenix Mage 10 with Martial Study (Twice) and Martial Stance (Once). Take Arcane Disciple (Competition) for Divine Power. Extend for Persistent Spell prerequisites, Persist as the free spell. This gets you a huge number of Spell slots. JPA sacrifices spell levels for more Initiator ability, more melee ability.

    Divine Power (requires Wis 14), which you then Persist for Day-long BAB20. You can now use the Arcane Strike to gain the ability to sacrifice a number of spells as a free action; which we'll say is 20. This grants you +20 to hit, and +20d4 damage. Which at 20th level, as a Wizard/Sorcerer 18 is not particularly brilliant, admittedly due to the number of save-or-sucks, but as you're a prepared caster, with another primary caster elsewhere within the party, you can prepare a load more utility spells.

    Throw on other persist cheese; Wraithstrike etc, but with a touch attack with in excess of +45ish to hit, you're hitting whatever you want, doing 80 damage a shot. Typical optimization outside of that.

    Travel Devotion, and Death Devotion, etc. If Nightstick stacking is allowed, then you could arguably allow DMM Persist in place of Incantatrix. Death Devotion is less useful on a thrower; but Travel Devotion for Full Attacking etc is hella useful. Death Devotion is better on an Archer build.

    Hope some of that's useful. ;).

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    No Vald Lokkur? That build of yours was amazing.

    I really like the Arcane Sniper (though he needs a better name ) but it looks a bit diptastic (also, he doesn't appear to have a Summon Monster spell as a spell known before taking the nar demonbinder level. How is he qualifying?). As a variant, taking flaws would allow the fighter levels to be left out at least (moar skills). Most of the others seem pretty necessary .

    Good builds here all around. Nice job Piggy .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    *snip*
    Hmm. Yeah, arbitrary Strength-boosting shenanigans unfortunately don't excite me much, any more than Tainted Sorcerers with arbitrarily high taint scores. It's clever from a TO perspective, but once you get to that point, it seems silly to be mucking around bothering with throwing weapons and the like.

    That being said, I might not mind including a thrower build. The main problem is coming up with something more interesting than a straight Bloodstorm Blade, which already does a pretty excellent job at it. I'll give it some thought, and post my ideas in a bit.

    The Sha'ir/Incantatrix build is a little more interesting. I've been hoping to work in an arcane persister here - the build I'm currently working on goes that route from another angle, using Ultimate Magus, but the JPM is pretty nice too.

    Death Devotion requires one melee weapon, so bows aren't really an option. Yes, elvencraft means that your bow is a melee weapon as well, but even at tables where persistent spells are being thrown around like crazy, I still have trouble imagining a DM who rules that a melee-only effect put onto an elvencraft bow will transfer to the arrows you fire.

    Still some good thoughts here, though. I think I might toy around with your JPM idea a bit and see where it takes me.

    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    No Vald Lokkur? That build of yours was amazing.

    I really like the Arcane Sniper (though he needs a better name ) but it looks a bit diptastic (also, he doesn't appear to have a Summon Monster spell as a spell known before taking the nar demonbinder level. How is he qualifying?). As a variant, taking flaws would allow the fighter levels to be left out at least (moar skills). Most of the others seem pretty necessary .

    Good builds here all around. Nice job Piggy .
    Thanks! A Divine Crusader/Arcane Archer might be nice to include, although there's some things I would change if I weren't making the build for an Iron Chef competition. (Actually, there are things I'd change even if I was - it was my first IC, after all, and I think I could make it better after competing for a year and a half.)

    Re: the Arcane Sniper - crud, you're right. I was so focused on meeting the level 4 spells requirement of demonbinder that I completely forgot about the Summon Monster requirement.

    That being said, there's an easy fix that also solves your issue with the fighter levels, and ends up netting the build an extra feat:

    1. Remove the Spellthief and Fighter levels. Change Master Spellthief to Practiced Spellcaster.

    2. Replace with a level of Martial Wizard and two levels of Feat Rogue. (Alternatively, keep Spellthief/Master Spellthief, and replace Fighter with one level of Feat Rogue and one level of Wizard, but that drops you to only +10 BAB on a build with no Divine Power... even with the plan of primarily using Imbue Arrow and touch attacks, I kind of shudder at the idea of dropping below +11.)

    So the final build stub would be:

    Gray Elf, Feat Rogue 2/Ranger 2/Martial Wizard 1/Assassin 1/Earth Dreamer 5/Arcane Archer 2/Nar Demonbinder 1/Unseen Seer 6

    I'll edit that all in and maybe do a build table of contents, too. And Vaz, when I come up with something interesting on the thrower end, I'll toss that up here as well.

    PS- I really was not being particularly original when coming up with names - in my archer google doc, they're all called things like "Chameleon #4 (zen arch, no psywar)" and so on. If anyone has better ideas for names, please don't be shy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    <snip>
    Death Devotion requires one melee weapon, so bows aren't really an option. Yes, elvencraft means that your bow is a melee weapon as well, but even at tables where persistent spells are being thrown around like crazy, I still have trouble imagining a DM who rules that a melee-only effect put onto an elvencraft bow will transfer to the arrows you fire.

    Still some good thoughts here, though. I think I might toy around with your JPM idea a bit and see where it takes me.
    I suppose it depends if making a successful attack with the bow includes using the bow to fire arrows. I'm not a RAW expert but it seems to be that it could go either way, and it isn't overpowered so what's the problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    Thanks! A Divine Crusader/Arcane Archer might be nice to include, although there's some things I would change if I weren't making the build for an Iron Chef competition. (Actually, there are things I'd change even if I was - it was my first IC, after all, and I think I could make it better after competing for a year and a half.)
    Oh? Which things? The only thing I can think of that would improve the build is exchanging the 3 levels of Abjurant Champion for 3 levels of Hexblade (much more elegant that way).

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    Re: the Arcane Sniper - crud, you're right. I was so focused on meeting the level 4 spells requirement of demonbinder that I completely forgot about the Summon Monster requirement.
    I did a bit of research on this when looking for alternative ways to enter the Fiendbinder PRC. Off the top of my head, the feat Fiendish Legacy gives you teleport (self plus 50 pounds of objects only), summon monster V (fiendish creatures only), and unholy blight as SLA's once per day (you can take Magic in the Blood to increase that to 3/day). It requires the crappy Fiendish Heritage feat though.

    There are also a bunch of other ways. I'll look them up when I have a bit more time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    That being said, there's an easy fix that also solves your issue with the fighter levels, and ends up netting the build an extra feat:

    1. Remove the Spellthief and Fighter levels. Change Master Spellthief to Practiced Spellcaster.

    2. Replace with a level of Martial Wizard and two levels of Feat Rogue. (Alternatively, keep Spellthief/Master Spellthief, and replace Fighter with one level of Feat Rogue and one level of Wizard, but that drops you to only +10 BAB on a build with no Divine Power... even with the plan of primarily using Imbue Arrow and touch attacks, I kind of shudder at the idea of dropping below +11.)

    So the final build stub would be:

    Gray Elf, Feat Rogue 2/Ranger 2/Martial Wizard 1/Assassin 1/Earth Dreamer 5/Arcane Archer 2/Nar Demonbinder 1/Unseen Seer 6

    I'll edit that all in and maybe do a build table of contents, too. And Vaz, when I come up with something interesting on the thrower end, I'll toss that up here as well.
    Ah yes, Feat Rogue. Forgot about that ACF. Nice.

    I assume you replaced the spelltheif level with the Martial Wizard level for the Summon Monster Prequisite? As I said above in this post, you don't have to do that. Giving up that tasty stackable CL is harsh (and I've always felt that dipping a tier 1 class like wizard on a lower tier build is a little inelegant).

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    PS- I really was not being particularly original when coming up with names - in my archer google doc, they're all called things like "Chameleon #4 (zen arch, no psywar)" and so on. If anyone has better ideas for names, please don't be shy.
    Instead of the Sniper assassin, call him...the TISP (Totally Interactive Slim Particles) assassin. It references WISP's (Weakly Interactive Slim Particles), theorized light particles that can shine through walls. I have no idea if they're valid or real but who cares? They fit well with the shtick of the build.

    TISP doesn't really have a good ring to it though...I picked "totally" because the arrows the build can shoot can go through peoples bodies and kill them. A different word that can give the same "feel" would be nice.
    Last edited by 123456789blaaa; 2013-05-19 at 07:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    I suppose it depends if making a successful attack with the bow includes using the bow to fire arrows. I'm not a RAW expert but it seems to be that it could go either way, and it isn't overpowered so what's the problem?
    Personal preference, I guess. It's not overpowered and I could see a pretty decent argument for it technically working, but it has always felt pedantic to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    Oh? Which things? The only thing I can think of that would improve the build is exchanging the 3 levels of Abjurant Champion for 3 levels of Hexblade (much more elegant that way).
    Yeah, if I were to redo it for IC, I would do exactly that.

    If I were to do it for a game rather than an Iron Chef competition, though, I'd probably add in some warblade for Weapon Aptitude and a few nice maneuvers, use a greatbow instead of a shortbow (switching the weapon focus (shortbow) to greatbow accordingly), which would actually give me better range than Ranged Weapon Mastery + shortbow, and take only a level or so of Divine Crusader to progress the rest with another decent PrC.

    I did a bit of research on this when looking for alternative ways to enter the Fiendbinder PRC. Off the top of my head, the feat Fiendish Legacy gives you teleport (self plus 50 pounds of objects only), summon monster V (fiendish creatures only), and unholy blight as SLA's once per day (you can take Magic in the Blood to increase that to 3/day). It requires the crappy Fiendish Heritage feat though.

    There are also a bunch of other ways. I'll look them up when I have a bit more time.



    Ah yes, Feat Rogue. Forgot about that ACF. Nice.

    I assume you replaced the spelltheif level with the Martial Wizard level for the Summon Monster Prequisite? As I said above in this post, you don't have to do that. Giving up that tasty stackable CL is harsh (and I've always felt that dipping a tier 1 class like wizard on a lower tier build is a little inelegant).
    Yeah, Wizard was brought in to meet SM requirements. Fiendish Legacy is a nice alternative that I hadn't really thought about.

    If I switched back to Spellthief, I could theoretically pick up Iron Will via Otyugh Hole (although I always consider feats from magical locations about the same as I do flaws - great if your DM allows them, but better used for "extra" feats in case they aren't kosher). If I did that and dropped Precise Shot, I could fit the feats in.

    On the other hand, switching to the Martial Wizard version does hurt my CL a bit (although not as much as it could - I didn't really cheese out Master Spellthief this build), but also means I can nab Abrupt Jaunt, and even pick up a spare feat for Darkstalker.

    Not really sure - might be worth having two variants, one with Spellthief and one with Wizard.

    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    Instead of the Sniper assassin, call him...the TISP (Totally Interactive Slim Particles) assassin. It references WISP's (Weakly Interactive Slim Particles), theorized light particles that can shine through walls. I have no idea if they're valid or real but who cares? They fit well with the theme of the build.

    TISP doesn't really have a good ring to it though...I picked "totally" because the arrows the build can shoot can go through peoples bodies and kill them. A different word that can give the same "feel" would be nice.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Okay, put some more work into the build; For names? Is the JPAM too obvious?

    Aasimar Racial Class; http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sp/20040213a/Human

    Str; 17 (All increases go here)
    Dex; 8
    Con; 10
    Int; 10
    Wis; 13+2 (Required for Divine Power)
    Cha; 16+2 (Requires items for 9ths)

    Flaws; Travel Devotion (or through Human), Iron Will (or through Otyugh Hole)

    Additional Feat options if going for Human+Otyugh hole); Bind Vestige (Charisma based, become Diplomancer), Death Devotion (swing it in melee).

    1- Sha'ir 1; Extend
    2- Sha'ir 2;
    3- Sha'ir 3; Martial Study (Clinging Shadow Strike)
    4- Sha'ir 4;
    5- Sha'ir 5;
    6- Sha'ir 6; Martial Study (Any)
    7- Incantatrix 1; Persist
    8- Incantatrix 2;
    9- Incantatrix 3; Martial Stance (Child of Shadow)
    10- Sacred Exorcist 1
    11- JPA 1
    12- JPA 2; Brutal Throw
    13- JPA 3
    14- JPA 4
    15- JPA 5; Arcane Strike
    16- JPA 6;
    17- JPA 7;
    18- JPA 8; Arcane Disciple (Competition)
    19- JPA 9;
    20- JPA 10;

    If you want to go for a more melee build, swap Brutal Throw with Shadow Blade, and use an Aptitude Weapon. As it stands, this is a 48 Hour long buffer, with access to Persistable Sor/Wiz spells; Metabreath spells being very, very fun. http://brilliantgameologists.com/boa...hp?topic=12944.

    If thrower; any weapon works, but Endless Javelins gives you a free action reload. DMM works best (obviously) with Nightsticks; but you're a Cha based Caster. Of awesome note is a scroll of the Wu Jen Spell "Transcend Mortality"; use your Incantatrix Metamagic effect for; DR 30/epic, SR39 (without augmentation), all energy resist (50), Immunity to ability damage, disease, energy drain, poison, and death effects, +10 enhancement to saves, then use JPA capstone to dismiss before the end and reform.

    Spells; Fist of Stone, Guided Shot, Wraithstrike, See Invisibility, Elation, Blink, Ruin Delver's Fortune, Greater Mirror Image, Draconic Polymorph etc, see handbook above all help. Incantatrix gets ability to Persist scrolled effects, so use that on Divine Spells; http://brilliantgameologists.com/boa...p?topic=2018.0
    Last edited by Vaz; 2013-05-19 at 07:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    Personal preference, I guess. It's not overpowered and I could see a pretty decent argument for it technically working, but it has always felt pedantic to me.



    Yeah, if I were to redo it for IC, I would do exactly that.

    If I were to do it for a game rather than an Iron Chef competition, though, I'd probably add in some warblade for Weapon Aptitude and a few nice maneuvers, use a greatbow instead of a shortbow (switching the weapon focus (shortbow) to greatbow accordingly), which would actually give me better range than Ranged Weapon Mastery + shortbow, and take only a level or so of Divine Crusader to progress the rest with another decent PrC.
    Fair enough. Personally I'm enjoy pedanticness if it results in something cool.

    And would you do anything about the damage problem the build has? When using the pure Hexblade/AA/DC combo I feel the elegance and simplicity of the build overcomes the lower power. However if you're going to be adding in dips and such-oops. Forgive me, I think of all builds in terms of IC contests .

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    Yeah, Wizard was brought in to meet SM requirements. Fiendish Legacy is a nice alternative that I hadn't really thought about.

    If I switched back to Spellthief, I could theoretically pick up Iron Will via Otyugh Hole (although I always consider feats from magical locations about the same as I do flaws - great if your DM allows them, but better used for "extra" feats in case they aren't kosher). If I did that and dropped Precise Shot, I could fit the feats in.

    On the other hand, switching to the Martial Wizard version does hurt my CL a bit (although not as much as it could - I didn't really cheese out Master Spellthief this build), but also means I can nab Abrupt Jaunt, and even pick up a spare feat for Darkstalker.

    Not really sure - might be worth having two variants, one with Spellthief and one with Wizard.
    Two variants sounds good. Although you can get PBS and Weapon Focus from the Domain Drought item [Elf Domain (SpC) and War Domain (DMGII) respectively. 3,300 gp cost. (MIC)]. It's single use so you don't have to worry about it getting destroyed.

    You can also get the Precise weapon special ability: the wielder is treated as having Precise Shot feat at a +1 bonus cost to the weapon (I personally dislike relying on losable items for feats though).

    If you're using the Spelltheif variant you also free up one or two feats (later on in the build though).

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    The Quantum Tunneler?
    Sounds good. Personally I prefer mine more . Go with what feels right.
    Last edited by 123456789blaaa; 2013-05-19 at 08:27 PM.

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    Honestly, Swift hunter is more powerful than any of those, with the sole exception of the Bard build, and has the knowledge skills and out-of-combat utility to boot (trapfinding from scout).

    Furthermore, it's surprisingly difficult to be immune to the precision-based damage a Swift Hunter can deal. He isn't reliant on conditions like 'denied dex bonus to AC' or 'flanked', all he needs to do is move around, which is easily accomplished. Swift Hunter also bypasses immunities. As far as Fortification or Concealment... there's an answer to that as well. Concealment is negated with Improved Precise Shot which you pick up automatically from Ranger. For everything else, Pierce Magical Concealment solves the problem.

    It's a clean and elegant build which is, quite bluntly, the best archer build to date I've seen. Unless you want to count HFW Cheese in the mix.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Swift Hunter is great for reliably delivering Skirmish damage, but I wouldn't put it on par with 6th level casting from multiple lists in terms of power, I don't think...I feel like if nothing else, the Chameleon builds up there are more powerful than a Swift Hunter build just on the strength of being Chameleons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A_S View Post
    Swift Hunter is great for reliably delivering Skirmish damage, but I wouldn't put it on par with 6th level casting from multiple lists in terms of power, I don't think...I feel like if nothing else, the Chameleon builds up there are more powerful than a Swift Hunter build just on the strength of being Chameleons.
    Not really. Take another look at the limitations on Chameleon and you'll discover the reason it is only used as a two-level dip for the floating feat.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    If you're going Hexblade, don't forget the Hexbands from the MIC for a nice boost to damage.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    An 18th level Caster, meanwhile is a walk in the park?

    Cheating, I know, to roll out a Full Caster (as arguably, the Caster is better on its own without optimizing the Bow side), but hey-ho.

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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Honestly, Swift hunter is more powerful than any of those, with the sole exception of the Bard build, and has the knowledge skills and out-of-combat utility to boot (trapfinding from scout).

    Furthermore, it's surprisingly difficult to be immune to the precision-based damage a Swift Hunter can deal. He isn't reliant on conditions like 'denied dex bonus to AC' or 'flanked', all he needs to do is move around, which is easily accomplished. Swift Hunter also bypasses immunities. As far as Fortification or Concealment... there's an answer to that as well. Concealment is negated with Improved Precise Shot which you pick up automatically from Ranger. For everything else, Pierce Magical Concealment solves the problem.

    It's a clean and elegant build which is, quite bluntly, the best archer build to date I've seen. Unless you want to count HFW Cheese in the mix.
    I'm really not sure I agree. Don't get me wrong, the Swift Hunter is a fine build. I didn't address it because I think the Chaingun Porcupine and the Swift Hunter handbook have plumbed its depths fairly well, and I don't have anything new to add to it.

    But I would argue that basically any of these builds can stand up to the best Swift Hunter build and then some. The Chameleon builds all have DMM Persist, 4-5 pools of turning (cleric plus Mimic Class Feature x3), and just about every persistable spell you could want off the divine side - and they still have their arcane side to cast during the day, after spending a good chunk of their divine spells on buffs.

    For example, here's the sample persist list I have for the Chameleon/Arcane Archer build:

    • Divine Power
    • Bite of the Wererat
    • Swift Haste
    • Greater Blink
    • Find the Gap
    • Inspired Aim
    • Recitation
    • Hunter's Eye
    • Arrow Mind
    • Cloud of Knives
    • Master Air
    • Divine Favor


    That could probably be improved, it's just a sample list I pulled up. The arcane side can then be dedicated to utility spells and area spells to channel via Arcane Archer for single shots or debuffs, as well as swift action spells like Sniper's Shot and Arrowsplit.

    The bard build can almost certainly outdamage the Swift Hunter thanks to Words of Creation/DFI, although admittedly fire resistance is an issue. But it's still a level 20 bard with casting on top of that, and boosts its party as well. The bardblade might have lower damage overall, although Blood in the Water, Raging Mongoose, Time Stands Still and all certainly do a good job of bridging the gap. But it also aids its party with pretty decent DFI/Inspire, and gets the various counters/boosts and utility stances like Hunter's Sense and Hearing the Air.

    The totemist theoretically keeps up thanks to eight shots a round + Assassin's Stance + Craven. But the damage definitely drops below the Swift Hunter against precision immune enemies. Still, the totemist has the advantage of being able to rebind its totem chakra and switch over to melee or utility when necessary.

    The arcane sniper/TISP build definitely deals far less damage than a Swift Hunter, no argument there. That's not it's goal, though. It was just an attempt to make a build that can fire through walls, and seeing where I could take that. It's definitely the most situational of the builds here, but I mostly put that one together for the cool factor.

    Again, none of this is to knock the Swift Hunter - I agree, it's an excellent archery option. But I'd like to think almost any of these builds do just as well in combat, and have a whole host of other options as well.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    Okay, put some more work into the build; For names? Is the JPAM too obvious?
    Not too shabby, although it does seem more like a sha'ir build that just happens to be able to throw fairly well.

    My own attempts have been circling around an aeshkrau illumian Warblade/Wu Jen with giant size and two levels in Bloodstorm Blade. I still have yet to come up with something I really like, though.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    That was my first thought as well, but I struggled to come up with a reason for not optimizing the Wu Jen more using similar tricks as the Sha'ir build (DMM'ing and Incantatrix); and because the Sor/Wiz combined lists are more powerful than the limited access Wu Jen uniques (except the obvious ones; Transcend Mortality, BoB, Giant Size, Minute Form, Arboreal Transformation, Scarf etc), despite the slower progression, and the wording on Arcane Strike allowing "melee weapons" (which can then be thrown) to be so enhanced, in combination with a UMD check high enough to get Wu Jen scrolls (which can then be Persist+Extended for 48 Hour duration).

    That's the problem with using a Spell-slot build. Especially as a Giant Size spell really limits dungeoneering potential. Unless of course you use the Shrink Collar (A+EG, pg80, 10K); Become small, do not change stats.

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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Arcane Strike was my main reason for thinking aeshkrau illumian - bonus spells off Strength (with its huge +32 bonus) to feed into AS alongside full PA and thunderous throw.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Just realised, completely forgot about Stormguard Warrior. Yup. I agree, go for it!

    UMD'ing something to gain Bite of the Werebear. Draconic Polymorph into high strength form (Pit Fiend is a large form with 37 (?) strength. While there is stronger (Dusk Giant?), I think they're also huge or larger, which unless you have something like the Collar mentioned above, makes adventuring difficult in the dungeons.

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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    How would you feel about another zen archer?

    (Cloistered) Cleric 3 / Church inquisitor 4 (4th level not really useful) / Prestige ranger 2 / Stalker of Kharash 4 / Seeker of the misty island 7

    It can pierce illusions
    It needs the animal domain, and elf domain would be nice too.
    It gets the knowledge domain, the inquisition domain (any of either can be traded for knowledge devotion), the travel domain (which can be traded for travel devotion), and the magic domain.
    If you use urban companion instead of animal companion (probably a good idea anyway) it would gain alertness, and thus reduce the feat tax.
    Favored enemy evil, with some favored enemy optimization is good.
    It also has all ranger spells over a cleric basis so he gets them much faster.

    Alternatively I really like Archivist Archers but Archivists can do whatever they feel like.
    Last edited by thethird; 2013-05-20 at 01:35 PM.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    If 4th level's not useful, then something like Contemplative can get you additional domains for funzies.

    Edit; with regards to Bloodstorm Blade; can you use it alongside Pounce? When you charge, do you need to attack the person you charge, or can you pounce and throw your weapons against another target, and combine with Leap Attack Shock Troopers?
    Last edited by Vaz; 2013-05-20 at 11:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    I'll comment on the build and all when I'm not on a smartphone, but your mention of archivist archers did remind me of a character I once considered playing, an archivist that used lesser celerity or hustle to stun enemies with dread secret, then followed it up with a full attack, with sneak from persistent hunter's eye.

    Never turned it into an actual build, rather than just a neat idea, but maybe one day I'll stat it out.
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Not really. Take another look at the limitations on Chameleon and you'll discover the reason it is only used as a two-level dip for the floating feat.
    Okay, so I went back and reread Chameleon, and I'm really not sure what limitations you're talking about. The fact that you can't use the spellcasting to qualify for stuff? That just means no PrC's, and locks you out of a couple (mostly bad) metamagic options. It's still spells up to level 6 off of any list you want. That's, like, really good, right? Not as good as 9th level spellcasting, but a lot better than 5d6 bonus damage.

    And, I always thought people use all 10 levels of Chameleon all the time. Three of these builds do; it's how everybody always tells people to finish a Factotum 8; and it's a great way of making a character who's good at crafting without making everything about them focused on it like an Artificer is.

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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by A_S View Post
    Okay, so I went back and reread Chameleon, and I'm really not sure what limitations you're talking about. The fact that you can't use the spellcasting to qualify for stuff? That just means no PrC's, and locks you out of a couple (mostly bad) metamagic options. It's still spells up to level 6 off of any list you want. That's, like, really good, right? Not as good as 9th level spellcasting, but a lot better than 5d6 bonus damage.

    And, I always thought people use all 10 levels of Chameleon all the time. Three of these builds do; it's how everybody always tells people to finish a Factotum 8; and it's a great way of making a character who's good at crafting without making everything about them focused on it like an Artificer is.
    It's also worth noting that, assuming you've got the stats for it, you can end up with essentially two classes worth of 6th-level casting simultaneously, and that Mimic Class Feature means three pools of turning to spend on domain feats, DMM and the like in addition to whatever other places you've picked it up.

    Chameleon is one of my favorite classes in general, and I especially like it for an archer - it gets all of the cool ranger-only archery spells without the suckage of ranger casting, and also gets the other spells necessary to become a good archer (such as Divine Power or Bite of the XXX).
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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Thinking on how to improve/modify some of the other builds, what about a modification of the BardBlade, using Bard 3/Warblade8/Crusader 1/Cloistered Cleric 1/Ruby Knight Vindicator 7, levels interspersed to get the greatest benefit (IL of 13, for 6th(?) level maneuvres.

    While you take a hit on the Maneuvre front (notably, no Diamond Mind for Time Stands Still), you do get to use Divine Impetus and Recovery to get that ability.

    Notably; only works on the Turn Undead stacking from Nightsticks; otherwise, you don't get enough feats between needing Dragonfire Inspiration, Extra Turning, Extra Music, (and potentially Draconic Heritage (Howling) for Sonic).

    Assuming Nightstick stacking;

    Silverbrow Human
    1- Point Blank Shot, Precise ShotDraconic Heritage; Precise Shot picked up from Precise Weapon or Flaw
    3- Rapid Shot
    6- Song of the Heart
    9- Song of the White Raven
    12- Dragonfire Inspiration (Sonic)
    15- Woodland Archer
    18- Extra Music

    Or does WRT remove the need for RKV?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    If 4th level's not useful, then something like Contemplative can get you additional domains for funzies.
    Derpity derp It could qualify for seeker of the misty isle down there, so it is an option

    Cloistered Cleric 3 / Church Inquisitor 3 / Seeker of the misty Isle 1 / Prestige ranger 2 / Stalker of Kahrash 4 / Seeker of the misty isle +6 / Stalker of Kahrash +1

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    I'll comment on the build and all when I'm not on a smartphone, but your mention of archivist archers did remind me of a character I once considered playing, an archivist that used lesser celerity or hustle to stun enemies with dread secret, then followed it up with a full attack, with sneak from persistent hunter's eye.

    Never turned it into an actual build, rather than just a neat idea, but maybe one day I'll stat it out.
    I enjoyed a lot playing an Illumian Uurkrau archivist with knowledge devotion, collector of stories and other knowledge focused stuff. I used it as an archer, but it could be anything it wanted really... Archivists are truly versatile and have good class features. If you also are a persistomancer then more power to you.
    So after my pc blowing up, getting new job, moving out, getting some new internet and a new computer I'm back in the saddle. It took a while.

    All hail Kymme for making my av.

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    Default Re: Piggy Knowles' Archer Build Thread

    Great thread idea.

    I'm surprised Stormlord wasn't mentioned, however.
    If I find the recent build, I'll toss it up.
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