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Best archer class


Advice

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I'd like to make an archer for an upcoming campaign. Anything in the PF SRD is open game. I've been looking over the fighter (taking bow-related feats), the ranger, and the zen archer monk variant. The zen archer looks pretty cool, but from a pure BAB/damage perspective, does it "win" against the fighter's higher number of feats?

To be honest, while I want a powerful character combat-wise, I'm even more interested in quirkiness and versatility. Any advice is welcome--thanks!


Ftr 4/ zen archer X


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Ftr 4/ zen archer X

So that I understand, why should I do this? What advantage does it give over pure fighter or pure zen archer?


Weapon focus and the + dmg thing that fighters do. Then zen archer for the badassery. Of course if you get a guided bow wis counts toward damage also. First thing zen archers should pick up.


I guess I still don't understand. Zen archers get weapon focus for free at 2nd level, and the fighter damage bonus (the weapon training ability) doesn't kick in until 5th level.


Whats the guided bow in I dont recall seeing it before?


guided weapon property.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Weapon master fighter gets weapon training at 3 instead of 5 and spec at 4, then zen archer monk for the extra abilities.


@seto83 The guided weapon enchantment is from "A history of Ashes", a module in the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path. This is not a PFRPG module, but a D&D 3.5 module published by paizo, and thus is not RAW by any stretch of the imagination, and is not legal in Pathfinder Society play.

@GuJiaXian He is referring to the feat Weapon Specialisation, which a fighter qualifies for at 4th level.


A human fighter at 1st level will have a good starting package for a Zen Archer build at the very least. I don't know why he specifically called for 4 levels. I would take maybe two levels of Fighter for the feats, then dive into Zen Archer until you think you'll benefit from something else, if you want to go that route.

Zen Archer somehow going into Arcane Archer might be a lot of fun. Maybe take a level or two in Magus to get the prerequisites. Looks to me like Zen Archers retain their unarmed damage and general melee ability (minus FoB, which is for your bow only). This could get a little convoluted though, especially if you don't want to mix in magic. Interesting concept though, a monk who can cover all three kinds of combat melee, ranged, and magic.


As I said in the Ultimate Archer thread (after explaining how to make Rogue archers work but saying they're really not worth the trouble):

As far as comparing other archer classes...

Fighter is solid at all levels and REALLY helps with the initial surge of needed feats. Fighter has the best sheer damage output for most of the game (Sohei will eventually win w/ flurry + Rapid Shot +ki points) thanks to gloves of duelling and weapon training plus the fighter-only feats. He fails at pretty much everything not directly related to shooting things dead, though (no perception class skill, poor skills in general, no casting, no stealth...).

Zen Archer Monk is very good at the early levels (I never thought I'd see an archer that WASN'T feat starved!), capping in power compared to the other archers around level 6, I'd say, that's the peak. Level 8 he gets another attack and is still looking decent. Then...the next 9 levels are almost a total wasteland, he gets almost nothing boosting his archery. At level 17, he suddenly gets awesome again, because now he can shoot stunning/serenity/punishing arrows and even chain a death effect (quivering palm) to an arrow, but gets nothing else of note afterwards. So, good at levels 1-8 and 17+, subpar the rest, and in general hampered at the mid and late levels by no spellcasting and mediocre skills, as well as medium BAB for qualifying for feats.

Sohei on the other hand doesn't even get his crap STARTED until level 6, archery-wise, and is horribly feat starved and MAD compared to Zen Archer. I think by level 12 it surpasses Zen Archer, staying ahead even post-17. Definitely works better in a high power game with more point buy and wealth, and in games that start at a later level. Possibly the best late game archer, and with Leadership or multiclassing can be a nasty mounted archer.

Ranger has a slow start, falling behind first the fighter, then the Zen Archer. But once Zen Archer starts falling off in power and the spells per day start adding up, I think Ranger might shine the brightest. Certainly, once he hits level 10 and has both IPS and Point Blank Master, Ranger starts feeling like "a zen archer, except with full time full BAB, better HD, better skills, spells, and an extra set of actions per round (companion)." Not sure if he beats out Sohei late game, probably subjective. Sohei outdamages, but Ranger can do much more than shoot a bow.

Paladin, I don't like as an archer. Don't know why so many people do. He completely destroys a number of solo encounters per day equal to his Smite Evil uses and is subpar to every other archer class by a fair margin the rest of the time. Just doesn't sound fun to me, on either extreme.

Inquisitor fails at being an archer. Medium BAB, no bonus feats to help the high entry cost to archery, can't ever get Point Blank Master AND has to wait till level 15 to get IPS! That's freaking awful! It wasn't even until UC that we got teamwork benefits archery-related. A whole 2 of them. One requires knowing another teamwork feat and the other has a moderately high level requirement. So you basically get Lookout at 3, then the only 2 archery teamwork feats that exist at 6 and 9, I guess.

So, in conclusion, there is no best archery class. They're all with their ups and downs. Except Inquisitor and Rogue and (IMHO) Paladin, which just suck at it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
GuJiaXian wrote:

I'd like to make an archer for an upcoming campaign. Anything in the PF SRD is open game. I've been looking over the fighter (taking bow-related feats), the ranger, and the zen archer monk variant. The zen archer looks pretty cool, but from a pure BAB/damage perspective, does it "win" against the fighter's higher number of feats?

To be honest, while I want a powerful character combat-wise, I'm even more interested in quirkiness and versatility. Any advice is welcome--thanks!

If you're interested in the Zen Archer - which was until very recently my favorite archer and one of my favorite characters, then here is the build I've been using:

Human Monk (Zen Archer)

Attributes:
Str - 14
Dex - 14
Con - 14
Int - 12
Wis - 16 (+2 Racial bonus, +1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th)
Charisma 8

Feats:
1st level Improved Initiative
1st level (Human) Toughness
1st level (Monk) Improved Unarmed Strike
1st level (Monk) Improved Precise Shot
1st level (Monk) Perfect Strike (Special – Monk level #/day, 3 rolls after 10th level)
2nd level (Monk) Weapon Focus: Longbow
2nd level (Monk) Point-Blank Shot
3rd level (Monk) Point-Blank Master
3rd level Snake Style
5th level Skill Focus: Sense Motive
6th level (Monk) Weapon Specialization: Longbow
6th level (Monk) Improved Precise Shot
7th level Defensive Combat Training
9th level Clustered Shots
10th level (Monk) Improved Critical: Longbow
11th level Deadly Aim
13th level Critical Focus
14th level (Monk) Pinpoint Targeting
15th level Bleeding Critical
17th level Stunning Fist
18th level (Monk) Shot on the Run
19th level Touch of Serenity

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dex) 1 / level
Craft: Bows (Int) 1 / level
Perception (Wis) 1 / level
Sense Motive (Wis) 1 / level +2 (Snake Style 3rd), +3/+6 (Skill Focus 5th)
Stealth (Dex) 1 / level
Climb (Str) 1 / 2 levels
Swim (Str) 1 / 2 levels

Traits:
Deft Dodger (+1 Reflex saves)
Heart of Clay (+1 Fortitude saves)

Clearly the Zen Monk doesn't fall far behind the Fighter when it comes to feats. This is an incredibly quick and mobile character who also has a lot of versatility and survivability through his Ki powers, high saves, spell resiatnce and so on. Pay special attention to the defensive ability offered by the Snake Style feat. My only real problem with him has been relatively low damage compared to some other archers, but I have effectively soloed two campaigns with him.

As I said, this has been my favorite archer for some time, but I was recently turned on to an entirely new archer build and its been the an absolute blast to play - so much so that I started an entire thread about it entitled 'The Eldritch Archer' here. Highly reccomended.

There is also a huge thread entitled 'Ultimate Archer' here which could prove very informative.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Paladin does it good.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
StreamOfTheSky wrote:
So, in conclusion, there is no best archery class. They're all with their ups and downs. Except Inquisitor and Rogue and (IMHO) Paladin, which just suck at it.

I've read your very well reasoned opinions on this subject and respect them, but I think you should make the point that Inquisitors and Rogues may suck at it, but you simply don't like the way the Paladin plays. An Oath of Vengeance Paladin, perhaps one with a couple of levels of Fighter to help out with the feat requirements can be one of the most potent characters in the game. When you factor in 3 encounters a day (5 at most), he can almost Smite at will, can self-heal as a swift action, has access to some potent buffs, great AC and saves... not many archers can keep up with him. Moreover, he's more capable of drawing a Greatsword and wading into melee than the others who can end up cole slaw pretty quick if backed into a corner.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Paladin does it good.

Agreed. Best gaming duo I ever ran were two Oath of Vengeance Paladins, a male and a female, one melee based, one archer based. Toughest fight they ever had was against a crazed Druid and a couple of Dire Bears (Chaotic Neutral all) - they were basically reduced to having to be Fighters who just happened to have Axiomatic weapons, ridiculously high saves, immunity to Fear and Charm effects, swift action self-heals and spells to fall back on.


Why don't we throw the Luring Cavalier in the mix?


Yes, let's not forget that between bonded weapon and spells like divine favor the paladin can almost keep up with the fighter even without smiting (and put it to shame when it does).


I admit, Paladin other than lack of bonus feats and no early access to them, has nothing really against it as an archer. I just personally don't like how it plays. The saves and healing are nice, but archers usually don't need nearly the defenses a melee character does, so it's not much more than a "nice perk".


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Crysknife wrote:
Yes, let's not forget that between bonded weapon and spells like divine favor the paladin can almost keep up with the fighter even without smiting (and put it to shame when it does).

Blessing of Fervor FTW.


Zen archer/ magus/arcane archer sounds like fun!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
JJJ wrote:
Why don't we throw the Luring Cavalier in the mix?

Because nobody likes Cavaliers. Don't you remember Eric?

:P


Wiggz wrote:
JJJ wrote:
Why don't we throw the Luring Cavalier in the mix?

Because nobody likes Cavaliers. Don't you remember Eric?

:P

What if just one person liked Eric? Could we include the cavalier?


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
I admit, Paladin other than lack of bonus feats and no early access to them, has nothing really against it as an archer. I just personally don't like how it plays. The saves and healing are nice, but archers usually don't need nearly the defenses a melee character does, so it's not much more than a "nice perk".

I've been in a situation in which being able to heal and having good saves as an archer mattered. Then again, it was against a twf-style vampire antipaladin (the GM didn't understand the concept of how the CR system works, so the vampire was 3 levels higher than me, for the extra challenge), the rest of the party was utterly useless against it.

The fight came down to everyone except the oracle doing unimportant stuff, the oracle healed me, and I fought the vampire/healed myself. The tipping factor was that I'd bought boots of speed.


Okay, I scanned through most of those other threads you guys linked to (thanks for that info). I agree that a straight fighter archer will be boring outside of combat, and I'm expecting this campaign to not just be a dungeon crawl/grindfest, so noncombat utility is good.

That said, I want to make sure I understand the finer points of the zen archer. Can the zen archer apply the magic/adamantine/etc. status of his fists to his arrows? The monk's Ki Pool ability only says that this can be applied to his unarmed attacks.

Zen archers also get weapon specialization for free, so that's one less reason to take four levels in fighter. Also, doesn't the fighter's weapon training ability only progress if you level up as a fighter? If so, taking multiple levels of fighter to qualify for that ability seems dubious at best.

Really what I want is a simple-to-run character that isn't heavily relying on buffs and magical items (though of course those help). I want a character with a lot of "passive" abilities and few abilities that need to be actively used, if that makes sense. I just finished a campaign playing a wizard, so I'd like to do something other than the spellcasting route, just for a change of pace (even if it means playing a slightly less "powerful" archer).

So, zen archer? A few levels of fighter and then zen archer how do BABs interact for the purposes of FOB)? The sohei class (don't know if mounted combat will be useful in our campaign or not)?

Shadow Lodge

Urban Barbarian wanted to join this conversation, but as it is she's not really needed. A sad barbarian :(


Simple to run? Stick with Fighter. But you said it would be boring outside of combat. Maybe if you use the Tactician archetype, you'll have more skills and skill points so he won't be as boring outside of battle.

As someone else mentioned, I would do at most two levels of Fighter to get all of the beginning archery feats out of the way, then go into Zen Archer the rest of the way. For FOB, you would only use your total Zen Archer levels as your bab. Your feat progression will be slowed a lot, but I honestly think you should just stick with Zen Archer all the way.


Muser wrote:
Urban Barbarian wanted to join this conversation, but as it is she's not really needed. A sad barbarian :(

A four level dip in urban barbarian gives +4 to hit (controlled rage + reckless abandon) and access to other rage powers. For the terrible price of huge hit dice and full BAB... I don't know why people dislike it.

Shadow Lodge

Rage is a finite resource, that's why.


submit2me wrote:
For FOB, you would only use your total Zen Archer levels as your bab. Your feat progression will be slowed a lot, but I honestly think you should just stick with Zen Archer all the way.

Actually, you use your Monk levels plus any BAB gained from other classes. It's been updated on the SRD, so you don't actually lose any accuracy, you just slow down the rate you get your extra FOB attacks and monk class abilities.


GuJiaXian wrote:

Okay, I scanned through most of those other threads you guys linked to (thanks for that info). I agree that a straight fighter archer will be boring outside of combat, and I'm expecting this campaign to not just be a dungeon crawl/grindfest, so noncombat utility is good.

That said, I want to make sure I understand the finer points of the zen archer. Can the zen archer apply the magic/adamantine/etc. status of his fists to his arrows? The monk's Ki Pool ability only says that this can be applied to his unarmed attacks.

I don't think so, I can't find references to that.

Consider however that cold iron and silver ammunition are cheap. Adamantine is useless at level 16, you will have a +5 weapon by then.

Quote:


Zen archers also get weapon specialization for free, so that's one less reason to take four levels in fighter. Also, doesn't the fighter's weapon training ability only progress if you level up as a fighter? If so, taking multiple levels of fighter to qualify for that ability seems dubious at best.

That's right, fighter levels are good for weapon training: it's a +1 to to hit and damage, but when you can afford the gauntlets of dueling it becomes a +3. All in all I don't think it's usually worth it,but it becomes a better trade if you go with 3 levels of weapon master instead of straight fighter (you get weapon training at 3rd level). Still, I would do so only if you are really trying to optimize damage.

Quote:


Really what I want is a simple-to-run character that isn't heavily relying on buffs and magical items (though of course those help). I want a character with a lot of "passive" abilities and few abilities that need to be actively used, if that makes sense. I just finished a campaign playing a wizard, so I'd like to do something other than the spellcasting route, just for a change of pace (even if it means playing a slightly less "powerful" archer).

So, zen archer? A few levels of fighter and then zen archer how do BABs interact for the purposes of FOB)? The sohei class (don't know if mounted combat will be useful in our campaign or not)?

I'd go straight zen archer, from what I read about them (I never played one). Fun, very effective, simple: nice abilities and decent skill points.

Ranger is another good option, I can't stress how much I lover ranger archers: the spellcasting part is nice to have but does not define the character, you can usually forget about it and prepare only stuff with very long durations (bloodhound for scent, longstrider for a bit more mobility etc.) and stuff for roleplay (like speak with animals, animal aspect spells etc.). The only spells you need are those for applying your favored enemy bonus to different kinds of enemies, but if you go for the guide archetype you can skip those and still be very effective (you also trade out you animal companion, in case you don't care about it).


Okay, straight zen archer it is. Can you speak to my other question? Can the zen archer apply the magic/adamantine/etc. status of his fists to his arrows? The monk's Ki Pool ability only says that this can be applied to his unarmed attacks.

I just want to make sure I fully understand any "disadvantages" of how the zen archer abilities mesh with the core monk abilities.


ashern wrote:
Muser wrote:
Urban Barbarian wanted to join this conversation, but as it is she's not really needed. A sad barbarian :(
A four level dip in urban barbarian gives +4 to hit (controlled rage + reckless abandon) and access to other rage powers. For the terrible price of huge hit dice and full BAB... I don't know why people dislike it.

Pretty nice, even though I think the idea of reckless abandon was for it to be used in melee: I know, that's not written anywhere, I'm just saying why I never considered it for my archers.


Going Fighter before Zen Archer is silly other than starting wealth concerns, and...hopefully your DM is smart and benevolent enough to agree an archer character needs more than ~30 gp to function. *eyeroll at paizo*

You seriously get ALL the feats you need, right away. You get Precise at 1, flurry is effectively rapid shot. You can even use your general feat on PBS if you want, or just wait till level 2 for it as your next bonus feat. You can't get Deadly Aim at 1 w/o DM houserule, but that's only because monk gets shanked on BAB when it comes to qualifying for stuff, not because of a lack of feat slots. If anything, you want to take the Zen Archer ASAP, not after whatever multiclass you're planning, if any. You get Point Blank Master earlier than anyone else can, and tie the ranger for earliest entry on Improved Precise Shot. If you did Fighter 4 THEN Zen Archer, you wouldn't get IPS until 10, where as a regular fighter can get it at 11! Why throw away your early entry so heinously?

As for Ki Pool abilities...they'd apply at level 17 when you get the Ki Focus bow, but not sooner, unfortunately.

As for boringness... I've played a Zen Archer. They themselves are nearly as boring as Fighter. You full attack, then full attack some more. Once in a while, you throw in a ki point for an extra shot and use Precise Strike to...roll more attack rolls. That's basically it, really. To put out of combat potential in perspective: you're a Fighter archer who also has Acrobatics and Stealth, possibly Sense Motive. You get an extra 2 skill points and some extra things to apply a +3 class skill bonus to, that's really about it. Don't know why people are blowing it up like fighter archer is so much more boring out of combat... Fighter w/ archer archetype at least has ranged maneuvers to mix it up a bit. Meanwhile, since you RELY on full attacking to not get gimped on BAB, on top of all the reasons an archer wants to already, I'd say Zen Archer feels far more like a "one trick pony."

I still like Zen Archer, I'm writing a guide for them, even. I just think people are being unfair to the Fighter.

Shadow Lodge

It also gets to ignore cover and concealment(almost) via Sharpened Accurary once per rage, has possibly various natural attacks to ensure he is always armed, shrugs off enemy arrows like they are nothing etc. Pretty swell class, if you ask me.


Muser wrote:
It also gets to ignore cover and concealment(almost) via Sharpened Accurary once per rage, has possibly various natural attacks to ensure he is always armed, shrugs off enemy arrows like they are nothing etc. Pretty swell class, if you ask me.

Once per rage. On one attack only. At 8th level or higher. Meanwhile, the Ranger or Zen Archer got IPS at level 6 and ignores cover and concealment on ALL attacks they ever make. They don't get to treat total concealment as concealment, but still sounds like a much better deal to me.

Shadow Lodge

Sure. I read the rage power, you know. A barbarian gets IPS at 11th level just like every other ranged character except Ranger and Zen Archer.

Liberty's Edge

There's been a lot of good suggestions so far.

Multi-class builds can prove to be amazing archers as well. I've came across a couple builds I think would be great (aka. the following builds aren't mine):

Archer Fighter 3 / Urban Barbarian 6 / Lame Oracle of (wind maybe, I don't really recall) / Fighter X - Can spell sunder from a bow from insane distances with rage cycling.

Zen Archer 2X / Empyreal Sorcerer X / has decent casting, including gravity bow and mage armor, as well as Zen archer tricks (but slowed entry into feats and lower bab).


Muser wrote:
Sure. I read the rage power, you know. A barbarian gets IPS at 11th level just like every other ranged character except Ranger and Zen Archer.

Right, so the rage power, which cost you 2 powers to obtain, becomes basically obsolete in just 3 more character levels, also. I really would not take that power even if doing a Barb 20 archer.


GuJiaXian wrote:

Okay, straight zen archer it is. Can you speak to my other question? Can the zen archer apply the magic/adamantine/etc. status of his fists to his arrows? The monk's Ki Pool ability only says that this can be applied to his unarmed attacks.

I just want to make sure I fully understand any "disadvantages" of how the zen archer abilities mesh with the core monk abilities.

If you haven't, make sure you read the Pathfinder entry for Zen Archers in detail. As I understand it, he only gets the full ancillary benefits of his Ki-powered unarmed attacks added to his arrows at level 17 when he qualifies for Ki Focus Bow - I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. This means you should consider various exotic types of arrows and take Clustered Shots as soon as realistically possible. It also means that you should 're-take' Stunning Fist right around that time.

I would never consider this character a 'one-trick pony' or boring. Sure the way he deals damage is primarily (and often exclusively) through the bow, but his enhanced mobility, his various Ki powers and so forth add up to a character who's really a lot of fun to play. Last I heard, making full attack actions and killing things left and right was pretty fun too. I don't see a lot of Fighters with self-heals, Dimension Door powers, the ability to become Ethreal, etc. As I said, my biggest beef with the Zen Archer is blunted damage potential, especially at higher levels.

One more plug for Snake Style as a feat and the Skill Focus: Sense Motive to go with it. Most of the melee attacks you are forced to face will be charges and that feat stops charges cold. Its nice to have a high AC vs. touch and ranged touch attacks as well.

Shadow Lodge

StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Muser wrote:
Sure. I read the rage power, you know. A barbarian gets IPS at 11th level just like every other ranged character except Ranger and Zen Archer.
Right, so the rage power, which cost you 2 powers to obtain, becomes basically obsolete in just 3 more character levels, also. I really would not take that power even if doing a Barb 20 archer.

So, I get to ignore concealment and cover 3 levels before, say, a paladin archer and after that have a power whose use costs me nothing and which I get to rage cycle come later levels. And all that without spending a feat. Pretty cool. Yes, it takes up precious power slots,yet remember, there's less incentive to go for totem powers, since you are an archer and have very little use for pounce or for natural attacks and those are the most power-intensive affairs for a barbarian. Unless you really want some close-quarters offense and take lesser fiend or lesser beast.

Edit: Welp, forgot that we were talking about dipping. Oh well.


I like this array for a Hu-mon Fighter (archer)
|
|
|
V

10 - 16
13 - 17+2
2 - 12
0 - 10
2 - 12
-2 - 8

If you put your FC point into Skills, then you've got 4 ranks/per level. That's plenty of resources and you can utilize a Trait to say, as an example, pick up Perception as a Class skill.

/ you may have noted the low CON; you're an archer, right? I humbly submit that if you find yourself constantly engaging in melee, then you're doing it wrong. :)

// I'm currently running a ranged Ranger and I've found that Perception and Stealth are really key to keeping the PC alive. Oh yeah, and staying in the back help a lot too.


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I just made my zen archer, and numbers-wise he is directly comparable to my archer ranger, who I've enjoyed a lot.

Read this: http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=2858.0

Then this: http://www.enworld.org/forum/pathfinder-rpg-discussion/308138-guide-qinggon g-monk-ultimate-magic-2.html

DO NOT take two levels of fighter, you'd need to be really uneducated on the class to think it's a good idea. DO NOT take a human. The guy way up in this thread took a human and blew the feat he got on toughness. Toughness? How about +2 CON?

I went as follows:

Str 12
Dex 14
Con 10 (12)
int 10
Wis 18 (20)
Cha 7 (5)

I took Wisdom of the Flesh (Disable Device) to get it as a wisdom based class skill for me, I can't count on the party having a rogue. I also took Glory of Old (+1 to all saves vs spells, spell like abilities and Poison). If I hadn't taken Wisdom of the Flesh I'd have probably just snagged +2 initiative, since this build is lacking there. There is a better choice, some non core obscure trait gives +2 to damage when you wield a strength bow, but I can't remember its name off the top of my head.

Feats as follows
1) Steel Soul, Precise Shot (Monk)
2) Point Blank Shot (Monk)
3) Deadly Aim
5) Monkey Style (Wis to acrobatics, stand without AOO, swift stand is a DC20 acrobatics check).

The rest is gravy, the monk gives you EVERY SINGLE OTHER THING you need. Weapon Focus/Spec, Improved Precise Shot, cool abilities, a buff exposed chest to tattoo up. You could probably take Improved Initiative at 7 if it's bothering you. If you're playing pathfinder campaigns they only go to 12, you can stop advancing monk after level 8, the next good stuff you would get is at 12, but I just can't see anything else being all that great. MAYBE one level of sorcerer with the wisdom casting stat template and the rest in ranger so you can use a bunch of nice wands.

Shadow Lodge

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"best" is subject to opinion. in my opinion an eldritch knight is the "best archer " in the game.

fighter or ranger 1/wizard 5/eldritch knight 10/arcane archer4

7 attacks with a 17 BAB, full 9th level spell list, and fighter feats to increase your to hit. and static damage. you can cast a "god" spell then next round fire off 7 attacks, assuming they all hit, for over 150 points of damage.

or if you're really focused on your build, quicken the spell and full attack in the same round. arcane archer lets you shut down spell based enemies with imbued arrow + anti magic field.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm currently playing a Half-elf Zen Archer / Menhir Savant Druid (Eagle domain) in PFS and having a lot of fun. Only level 4 at the moment (3 levels monk 1 Druid) will do another level of Druid then at least one more monk level probably three to get to level 6 for specialization and improved precise shot.

Druid means I have access to great spells for a monk like:

aspect of the falcon (+3 to perception, +1 to ranged attacks are both nice but the kicker is a 19-20/x3 crit range on my bow...) plays really nice with Precise Strike...

Longstrider (or wands of long strider) means a 50 base move most of the time in dungeons. Which means when I need to move I can get around concealment and run down anything needed.

Eagle domain gives me Hawkeye as a swift action to get another +1 on a ranged attack (just the first but useful until I get my ki pool and have other uses for swift actions also good with precise strike roles when I need to land a hit)

(other domains would be fun options as well - the feather subdomain of Animal or the growth subdomain of plant are both fun. The Enlarge as swift action isn't useful for archers but is useful if you need to go hand to hand (reach, bump in unarmed damage))

I'll probably end up playing to 6 as a monk and then the rest of my PFS play gaining Druid levels. I won't be as potent an archer perhaps a single class archer (but I will be quite potent - basically the same base BAB as a pure monk but with spell casting options outside of combat. with self buffs like barkskin available to me easily.

Druid means I can use useful wands like cute light wounds. I also have an insane perception (+17 base at level 4 with +19 if my familiar is near and +22 in broad daylight). That plus also having Disable Device as a wisdom based skill means I can substitute for the party rogue as needed (detect magic as needed) and can scout effectively with my crazy fast movement. In short I have plenty to do outside of combat and am highly effect in combat. Menhir Savant means that after level 2 I can cast 3 + WIS spells a day at a +1 caster level - ie longer durations and greater effectiveness on buffs I cast on myself.

Future feats I'll take are probably a style feat (snake or monkey) and deadly aim. I may also take the alternative ki power for slow fall at level 4 (perhaps ki stand?) or I may just keep slow fall for the effectiveness of it.

At level 11 I'll probably be zen archer 6 / menhir savant 5 which will mean I am frequently flying - another level and I'll get evasion when I'm flying.
All in all I should have a lot of fun and be effective all the time.


Lastoth wrote:

Read this: http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=2858.0

Then this: http://www.enworld.org/forum/pathfinder-rpg-discussion/308138-guide-qinggon g-monk-ultimate-magic-2.html

Thank you for linking to my guides! :) I assume you meant to link to page 1 for the Qingong Monk, page 2 really has no information of particular use as far as I can tell...

Lastoth wrote:
There is a better choice, some non core obscure trait gives +2 to damage when you wield a strength bow, but I can't remember its name off the top of my head.

I know what you're thinking of. It's actually a feat, not a trait. If it's allowed by your DM, it's probably my suggested 1st level feat for a ZAM (since you can snag PBS at level 2 and no other feat that you can take at 1 really helps archery at all). It's called Noble Scion (a "local" feat), and you can find it here, under House Narikopolus. It used to be on d20pfsrd, but one day for some reason it was removed. Note there is a Noble Scion feat on d20pfsrd, but it is completely different. The site used to list both of the feats.


TheSideKick wrote:

"best" is subject to opinion. in my opinion an eldritch knight is the "best archer " in the game.

fighter or ranger 1/wizard 5/eldritch knight 10/arcane archer4

7 attacks with a 17 BAB, full 9th level spell list, and fighter feats to increase your to hit. and static damage. you can cast a "god" spell then next round fire off 7 attacks, assuming they all hit, for over 150 points of damage.

or if you're really focused on your build, quicken the spell and full attack in the same round. arcane archer lets you shut down spell based enemies with imbued arrow + anti magic field.

QFT.

Ranger (Trapper) 1/Wizard 5/EK 10/AA 4 can be the party's striker, skill monkey, AND arcanist (read: crafting/out of combat casting for solving problems/divinations/identifying items/etc.....NOT claiming he's a good in-combat arcanist or God Wizard, because it'd be too MAD to do that).


It's on D20pfsrd here.

Thank you for your guides, were you going to finish the ZAM guide? It's so hard to get used to the idea that you're really not feat starved, I found it very helpful to allow me to see the full spread of abilities. I think not enough emphasis was placed on taking PBS at second level to conserve a feat for something neat.

Our GM has chosen to give us an extra feat at 1st, which I was thinking of using for Improved Initiative, but since you can only take Noble Scion at 1st level, I supposed I will need to exchange it.


Huh...it WAS taken off of d20pfsrd. I guess it got put back up.

You're welcome, it's just nice after how much BG / minmax guides have helped me, to be able to contribute. Haven't finished ZAM handbook yet, I will eventually. :)

I don't know how much more emphasis I could put on taking PBS at 2 and using level 1 for something fun. I listed it as the default 2nd level bonus feat choice on my suggested bonus feat progression...


I didn't mean not enough emphasis by you, you clearly listed it and I passed it over somehow, it was never mentioned anywhere else in other ZAM discussion. I guess it's just been really hard for me to take in all the difference between ZAM and my ranger. You go from clamoring for a ton of feats right away to only needing to think about 3 feats over the course of the first three levels (PBS,Precise,Deadly Aim).

EDIT: We're starting Skull & Shackles in July I think. As we get rolling I will go post up to the discussion thread for the guide. Once I hit 9+ I may be able to offer some input of my own if you'd have it :-)


Sure, that'd be great.

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