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Lastoths Guide to Archery Rangers


Advice

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Hey all, I just noticed my little guide was taking up some discussion space from Treantmonks ranger guide. I don't want that to happen to his thread so I'd like to present you with a guide I've written after running a similar character in several campaigns.

It is my opinion that you don't need to switch hit or worry about melee if you do archery right, and this is my guide with that concept in mind:

Lastoths Guide to Archery Rangers

I look forward to your feedback.


Well let me just delete my guide. Excellent writeup cheapy, you put a lot of time and effort in there, thanks.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Close enough.

I love the animal companion advice. I was not expecting that, at all.

The tactics are also something I do not often recall seeing. Well done.


I don't know why Cheapy is acting like someone peed in his cornflakes, it seems like an interesting guide to me.


Andy Ferguson wrote:
I don't know why Cheapy is acting like someone peed in his cornflakes, it seems like an interesting guide to me.

No no, he's right, he was just asking himself "does archery really NEED a guide?" I mean if it was just going to be an archery only guide on what feats are awesome that's worthy of some sarcasm. I did it did because rangers are so much more, and I am glad it changed his mind, that's what I did it for.


Good guess cheapy. Not a bad guide all in all, spell section is good and the mounted archery section was unexpected and well written. You magic item section benefits from a lot of additional info but i'm suprised you missed out reduction potions for your mount when you are in a tight spot.

The biggest issue with archery guides is that the feat selection is so obvious that it hardly needs guiding, precise shot/rapid shot/deadly aim at low levels going into point blank master and snap shot tree are no brainers.

A very good update for the apg and ultimate books with good advice on archery in general, it would have been nice to have a bit more exploration of archtypes to go with the feat and epell info but good job well presented.


I wish I could give concise archetype information, but I dislike all of them and it would color my commentary too much to be of use.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Fine, I guess others found it too snarky. Deleted the comment.

The overrun snapshot combo is something I haven't seen before. That's cool.

Large arrows won't surpass wind wall though.

If you won't get to 9th level very fast, or if you are in a low loot campaign, then just take the Guide archetype. It is not subject to GM's whimsy, and works from level 1.


Lastoth wrote:
I wish I could give concise archetype information, but I dislike all of them and it would color my commentary too much to be of use.

Honestly i know what you mean, i like the look of guide but it kills instant enemy, the skirmisher archtype that could have done so much to replace spells and compliment the guide archtype is too melee focused for archery.

Wild stalker and urban ranger are both interesting but wild wouldn't go that well with archery since you loose all your feats.

Beast master, falconer and horselord all hold some interesting options for an archery ranger not really available to any other class though. The falconer is just very very in character, sir tristen from aurthurian legend and i'm sure many more. The horse lord for your mounted archer idea, good and useable but restrictive with the combat style (however a mounted skirmisher archer who can full move his horse and still full attack would be sweet, very mongol). The beast master could be possibly the best archtype of all for your style of play, boon companion with a level 1 horse and two level 2 hounds at level 5, admittedly you horse will be weak but thats what mounted combats for (pick up trick riding, look towards mounted skirmusher) but having two big dogs keeping your opponents at bay, helping chase down the prey, standing guard duty at night... also very characterful for a grizzled hunter archer.

Just a few ideas.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Egoish: You can already full move your horse and still full attack with ranged weapons.


You can? Thats sick, i thought you could only single shot if your horse full moved.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes sir you can. If the mount takes a move action, you take no penalty. If it takes a double move (full move?), you take -4 (-2 with Mounted Archer), if it runs (4-5x), you take -8 (-4 with Mounted Archer).


Yeah double move was what i ment, thats suprising and useful to know. Never really run or played with anything on a mount before.

The Exchange

To go with Stone Call, rangers do get Entangle at 1st level spells.

Cool guide. Very much enjoyed the M1 Abrams analogy!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Another fun thing about Stone Call is that it does an average of 7 points of damage.

Commoners have, on average, 3 hp due to NPCs not maxing hit points.


The selling point of the Beast Master, at least to me, is that it allows you to pick from the full list of Druid animal companions. So with Beast Master, at level 10, it's possible to play an archer (or mounted lancer) who rides a large flyer. Or has a beastie to stand guard for him that has access to grab, or blindsight, or any of the other cool things that druids can have. It means losing your 6th level feat though, which is rough.


As a newer player returning after a looooong hiatus (I remember looking forward to 2nd ed), I want to thank you Lastoth for the time and effort you put into this guide. It's been immensely helpful to find this community and to find your guide in particular.

For those who don't like the idea of switch hitter or melee rangers (Treantmonk's guide was amazing, but for RP reasons my ranger prefers ranged), this has been the single greatest resource I've found. How can we add this to the Guide of Guides?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If it's linked to, a nameless mod adds it to the list.


Since you do mention terrain bond if you have a high level horizon walker getting a wand of that could be crazy. I was created with this build in mind but before ultimate combat came out.


I already stated how much I appreciate this guide.

Cheapy, I also love the guide archetype, but it loses the animal companion (which this guide relies much upon).


Zenotho wrote:

As a newer player returning after a looooong hiatus (I remember looking forward to 2nd ed), I want to thank you Lastoth for the time and effort you put into this guide. It's been immensely helpful to find this community and to find your guide in particular.

For those who don't like the idea of switch hitter or melee rangers (Treantmonk's guide was amazing, but for RP reasons my ranger prefers ranged), this has been the single greatest resource I've found. How can we add this to the Guide of Guides?

Thank you, I hope you have as much fun playing this build as I have had (and continue to have). I actually had this guide mentioned by someone else on the first page of the Guide to Guides thread but it was never updated to reflect the link.

Walter: I guess I'm not clear on what you're saying. I think you're suggesting that a horizen walker with Terrain Dominance ability to treat all creatures of one terrain type as a FE could use that wand to move his FE bonus around. I suggest this is not the case. Since the FE bonus now stems from Terrain Dominance and not Favored Terrain it would have no effect. Essentially the wand would give you whatever terrain advantages it would normally grant, but it's not granting you an additional terrain dominance. I hope I got that out clearly, and that I didn't miss your point.


Just passing by to trow in an idea: what about greater snap shot in conjunction with dazing critical and named bullet? The idea is to have a named bullet arrow prepared before an important fight: when you get charged you fire it with you AoO, if you confirm the critical threat (which you should do unless you roll 1) the enemy is stopped.
How does that sound?

Sczarni

I was planing on doing Mongol horse archer. There are tons of good advices in it. Great guide.


3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Lastoth wrote:
If you’re level 10 you want Bane of the type that your best favored enemy is {on your bow}, this can be the best weapon enchantment after seeking... Now every time you pop {Instant Enemy} you can drop tremendous amounts of damage on the enemy...

Because Instant Enemy says, "...For the duration of the spell, you treat the target as if it were that type of favored enemy for all purposes," right?

That seems to open a whole different can of worms. Say you have favored enemy: animal. Could you then use hide from animals against the demilich you just instant enemied, or charm animal on the pit fiend, or hold animal on the iron golem? Or perhaps you'd like to use instant enemy on the barbarian in your party, and buff her up with animal growth, which gives all the benefits of enlarge person plus 6 more strength, 2 more con, a natural armor bonus and a shorter casting time.

Or say your most favored enemy is vermin. Repel vermin lasts a hefty 10 minutes a level.

Or say your favored enemy is undead, and you're rocking a disrupting weapon. Granted, a difficulty 14 will save isn't tough to make, but that's still a 5% chance of instant destruction with each hit, right?

I think a more conservative reading of that phrase from favored enemy might be appropriate.


Well RAW it says "for all purposes" but i don't think it was RAI to give rangers autobane etc.

I think that might need flagging for errata.


Agreed, all depends on your DM and your party. I've had some DMs who frown on using a mount in combat because you don't need any feats to use archery. They felt it was OP. Certainly RAI changes everything, but I can't write a guide to the most restrictive RAI.

You should also consider your party. If you're wrecking encounters before they get into range for the rest of the players to get some combat time in, you should probably step it down a notch and turn this build into a switch hitter.


Tangentially, six levels of Zen Archer provides all the key archery feats.

It gives up a lot of Ranger stuff, but it is more feat efficient, allows the option of using Wisdom instead of Dexterity when determining to-hit (for a STR-WIS build), and you're in much better shape if woken up in the night without armor. Not to mention wearing heavy armor and leaping safely down 30' allows a very dramatic way to leap onto your horse from a high window or to crash you archenemy's wedding.

Not the right plan for the campaign of Fight Giants All Day Long. But in a campaign where Favored Enemy is not so significant, it might be fun to start with one level of Ranger, do Zen Archer for six levels, and then switch back to Ranger for some non-archery style bonus feats. Might be fun for a "bow and feral" build.

Here is the feat distribution...

L1 Point-Blank Shot
L2 (Improved Unarmed Strike, Perfect Strike, Precise Shot, WIS to AC)
L3 Deadly Aim, (Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus Longbow)
L4 (Point Blank Master, Movement +10')
L5 ?? (AC bonus +1, Slow Fall 20')
L6 (High Jump)
L7 ??, (Improved Precise Shot, Weapon Specialization Longbow, Movement +20', Slow Fall 30')
...
L9 Manyshot


Looking at the guide, then looking at d20pfsrd, and I cannot find the studded gauntlets you mention. Help?


Added your guide to the Guide to the Guides.

Sczarni

Nice guide! There is a Human trait for Keleshites (I believe) called "Horse Lord" which gives you a +2 to Handle Animal and +1 to Ride skill checks that only applies to Horses, which may be worth a mention. Flavourwise it's perfect for the Abrams Tank build.

*Edit: Sable Company Marine seems like a good archetype to consider as well. It would cause the "Horse Lord" trait to become obsolete at level 4 however.


Daryl MacLeod wrote:
*Edit: Sable Company Marine seems like a good archetype to consider as well. It would cause the "Horse Lord" trait to become obsolete at level 4 however.

I started an Abrams Archer build for a new character and decided to go the SCM route. Worked well in the only battle we had tonight, but I can see how hovering out of reach could grate in the DM. Thanks for the suggestion.


I think Tree Stride should get a mention. Situational, but a situation that there is a good chance you will be in. You wouldn't be able to use a mount, but you could harass a large number of foes with reasonable safety.

And play with their heads if you are so inclined.


Crap, didn't notice this, and now I'm lvl 5... probably just common sense, but I followed the feats exactly so far. Did give myself 14 STR, 18 DEX (+2 race), 12 CON, 10 INT, 16 WIS (+1 at 4), and 7 CHA.

Main things different I may regret... I didn't get the potential benefit of a horse companion, so I went with the alt that gives allies half my favored, vs one... kind of sucks. And I still don't get favored terrain, so I went infiltrator with undead my 1st favored and took iron will, human my second, thinking natural armor and a skill focus.

Damn, though, now I really wish I had a horse... with feats.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Would the Guided weapon property work with a composite longbow?

Guided info

Dark Archive

I would just like to ask what do you think about the mammoth-lord prestige class which gives you a mammoth instead of a horse with all the bonuses that would imply.

How many levels of it would you suggest? We won't be a very good caster with it, but on the other hand there are some very nice bonuses near the end of the track, and we can still get to level 10 ranger (with all the benefits that implies, including instant enemy)


stuart haffenden wrote:

Would the Guided weapon property work with a composite longbow?

Guided info

It's intended to be melee used, but doesn't specifically state so. In this case yes it would work, and it's where zen archers using guided bows, or in this case a dex/wis ranger archer using guided become better. Now you can pump dex and wisdom to the max, without having to forfeit anything by spreading out into strength. Your will saves, damage, perception, survival, and other goodies will be better for it.


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Running this build (again) for a new campaign this winter. I'll be going sable company marine and I'll update the animal companion section with my findings. Any thoughts on feats for optimizing the griffon?


Question? I noticed the feat "Mounted Skirmisher" which seems to contradict being able to have a mount move and still full attack (ie: make use of Rapid shot, etc).

The specific benefit of the feat is that if your mount moves its speed or less, you can still take a full-attack action. It says that normally if your mount moves more than 5 feet, you can only take an attack action.

Wouldn't that contradict your build?

Sczarni

ignuspyre wrote:

Question? I noticed the feat "Mounted Skirmisher" which seems to contradict being able to have a mount move and still full attack (ie: make use of Rapid shot, etc).

The specific benefit of the feat is that if your mount moves its speed or less, you can still take a full-attack action. It says that normally if your mount moves more than 5 feet, you can only take an attack action.

Wouldn't that contradict your build?

only for melee. Ranged you can full attack if your mount only takes a single move with no penalties whatsoever..


Krodjin wrote:
ignuspyre wrote:

Question? I noticed the feat "Mounted Skirmisher" which seems to contradict being able to have a mount move and still full attack (ie: make use of Rapid shot, etc).

The specific benefit of the feat is that if your mount moves its speed or less, you can still take a full-attack action. It says that normally if your mount moves more than 5 feet, you can only take an attack action.

Wouldn't that contradict your build?

only for melee. Ranged you can full attack if your mount only takes a single move with no penalties whatsoever..

Ah which I would have seen in the Mounted Combat section and not under the Feats had I read a bit more carefully. Thank you for your help!


I love this guide. Saved and Noted.

Don't ever take it down, man.


So, I was just about ready to consider creating a new thread about an archery ranger guide but then I reconsidered and said...why completely reinvent the wheel.

However Lastoths' rather excellent guide is a bit dated at this time. Especially considering the release of the Ranged tactics toolbox and the other incredible amount of options that have been released outisde of Core, APG, UM, and UC material that is included in his guide. So I think it might be time for an overhaul. Now, I don't feel up to the task on my own, but I would love to help particpate in such activity.

Any takers?


I would like to know whether Boon Companion is worthwhile taking as an Archery ranger and if so, how? I'd love to squeeze this in somehow but based on my reading it really doesn't look possible. Also playing a non-human just seems to be another impossibility. :(


Once the material is posted to the web I'll be happy to touch up the guide.

Grokk, I don't think it's worth it for my own purposes. Half the campaign occurs in a location where I can't be on my mount, so blowing a feat on it seems wrong to me when I have other pressing feats to take.

Edit: I think the only things I would really update are the value of the Erastil trait (old deadeye?) for the ability to completely ignore the first person in the way of your shot (ghetto IPS, and slightly better), and the bow you attune to a party member to ignore them for cover purposes. I'd probably also add the greater hat of disguise which I missed the first time around for all day small status (+2 to hit at no damage cost) and it's additional darkvision and scent capabilities to couple with pheromone arrows.

Beyond that, it's still mostly the same feats we're after. Not much new to include. After poking around online the ranged tactics toolbox appears to be more fluff than anything and doesn't add much of value. I'll see when it becomes available though.


In my campaign, there are huge swaths of wide, open terrain. I am at the very minimum want a mount (horse) at full power and willing to invest a feat. I'm on the cusp of going Sable Company Marine and getting a hippogriff which would be unbelievable in this setting. It would be awesome to seem in a guide.

I found this link which shows a sample build which is largely faithful to your guide:
http://www.optibuilds.com/pathfinder-optimized-ranger-build/

Anyway, just some constructive feedback. I love your guide and I'm so torn between playing a switch hitter ranger but your guide is really swaying me to go full archery.


Boon Companion is the biggest thing I can think of in terms of adding to the guide.

I found it useful myself, but I focused on being mounted to perform my archery (mobility + full attack). It also helps that my GM allowed me to use the full druid animal companion list instead of the restricted ranger version, so I chose a Roc. I use him primarily for transportation, not for attack.

I honestly picked up boon companion only so he would grow to large size sooner so I could ride him.

I don't think boon companion is good in all cases, but depending on the campaign and your available options it can be good.

I've also found that I don't have much use for combat reflexes, snap shot, and improved snap shot. Mostly because I never let anything get within 15 ft of me.


Absolutely agree, if you're in a wide open campaign the flying mount works out much better, and it works directly against snapshot. For my own purposes I know that snapshot will produce a higher DPR, and has an incredible cool factor when you're getting rushed by a lot of smaller minions.

I also have been playing the sylvanite EK archer, and I think they do the flying mount better. I'll be able to craft my own flying carpet which my familiar will fly for me, which essentially means my flying mount costs me nothing but a bit of gold instead of two feats. Casters get nice things again, film at 11.

I think if you play the griffon mounted ranger you need to shuffle the feats to your advantage. You have to take monsterous mount with your second level ranger feat because you don't qualify for it otherwise (removal of your animal bond feature). Monsterous mount mastery is a horrible 6th level feat when you're free to select Improved Precise Shot instead. Monsterous Mount Mastery is open to you on your normal 7th level feat and does no good to you prior to that since you need 7th character level to use the ability anyway.

Also, the griffon is only your level -1, so no need for boon companion there, very little return on investment from that feat.

I might be tempted to take mounted combat to protect your griffon a little better, and at that point I'd probably consider taking mounted archery later in the campaign if I find double moving to be useful. Remember the maps you play on are extremely tiny, you will have trouble getting off a double move on a griffon that doesnt break the map.

I'd build like this:

Ranger1 PBS, Precise
Ranger2 Monstrous Mount
Ranger3 Rapid
Ranger4
Ranger5 Deadly Aim IPS
Ranger6
Ranger7 Monstrous Mount Mastery
Ranger8
Ranger9 Manyshot

The whole concept of my snapshot archer is to replace the need for a switch hitter or melee ranger entirely. Archery is so vastly superior to either of those builds it's not really a choice once you see what archery is capable of. You're right to say the mounted builds need a segment. I'll add it after you guys give some feedback and we hash out what works.

I'd say the griffon mounted archer is vastly superior to the normal mounted archer. If you HAVE to play a mounted archer without a griffon/flight then yes, drop weapon focus last, but combat reflexes/snapshot/improved snapshot are immediate drops for anything else you like. Take manyshot sooner, and boon companion as soon as you like. Mounted combat is okay if you're taking return fire a lot and want to protect your mount.


I think, at least for home games it would be worth mentioning that if the GM is willing to allow the full animal companion list then the griffon probably isn't worth it. But otherwise, replacing the snap shot line with monstrous mount to get a flying mount is a good way to go.

Yes, the flying mounted archer does less theoritical damage than an archer with improved snap shot and combat reflex, but is also at much greater risk.

So perhaps the most pertinent addition to the guide is talking about the perks/differences of non-mounted archery (no animal companion), normal mounted archery (normal ranger list), and flying mounted archery (through either monstrous mount or GM approval).


I've been referencing your guide heavily in my first ever Pathfinder game... currently at Ranger 6. Really appreciate the work you did to help a newbie make sense of all the feats and strategies. I found your guide after a few sessions when I was on the verge of giving up the game entirely and it's been a big help in allowing me to understand and enjoy the game.

If you're going to refresh the guide then here's one thing that confuses me: you talk about using Greater Overrun during levels 6-9, but it's not available I think until companion has +6 BAB. Which means waiting until their 10th feat level, at Ranger level 13 (or, if you added the boon companion feat to your tree, then Ranger level 10). I'm not sure if that changes how soon you'd encourage your rangers to overrun and mix it up in melee.


Another thing worth mentioning might be the animal companion archetypes that can be applied. The charger archetype for instance would allow you gain greater overrun, and gives your mount improving abilities with heavier armor.

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