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Deadeye's Servant: A Guide to the Archer Paladin


Advice


Click here to go straight to the guide

Greetings. For the past few months I've been working on a guide for playing a paladin as an archer. It's not the most popular build out there, but it is one that's viable and fun to play. I've always liked the class guides that get posted here, so I thought I'd write my own. Feedback is appreciated.


I think it's a good explanation of the archer paladin and comes to the same conclusion that Bodhizen has with regards to Divine Hunter. As you can see, this character is built as a Divine Hunter. I miss the fear immunity and some other things, but I think if you have a lot of ranged folks in your group, might be something to consider.

What I'd like to see, since you are focusing on one part of the paladin class, is a build from 1-20 and then perhaps one focused on PFS. Since you've played PFS as one of these, perhaps show some equipment ideas and when they might be available or necessary. Maybe a more exhaustive review of all the gear an archer paladin might look for, even the steps to get to the top goal?

I hadn't thought about the Aasimar as a paladin, but your right up made it something to really think on. The bonus feat for being human is really tough to give up with someone who doesn't probably have a lot of extra feats.


What's wrong with an oath of vengeance archer paladin? You give up something you probably won't use anyway for lots of extra smites.


In mentioning Aasimar you might want to include the feats from the ARG to get wings. Sure it takes 2 feats from an already feat starved archers, but being able to fly at will is a big boost for an archer.


A fine beginning to your guide. I think that Max Smithson has some good comments for you. It might help to distinguish your guide.

Best wishes!


Alright, time to answer some replies!

Max Smithson wrote:
What I'd like to see, since you are focusing on one part of the paladin class, is a build from 1-20 and then perhaps one focused on PFS. Since you've played PFS as one of these, perhaps show some equipment ideas and when they might be available or necessary. Maybe a more exhaustive review of all the gear an archer paladin might look for, even the steps to get to the top goal?

I must confess that I've yet to play any farther than eighth level (or tier 7-11 PFS scenarios), so I'm probably not the best person to ask for a full 1-20 build, but I think I could make a 1-12 PFS build without too much trouble. I'll also put together a section on useful gear for the next update to the guide.

FangDragon wrote:
What's wrong with an oath of vengeance archer paladin? You give up something you probably won't use anyway for lots of extra smites.

I actually never thought about this since I didn't own Ultimate Magic until fairly recently. I kind of like the swift-action healing provided by lay on hands, but it still looks like a solid archetype. I will update the guide accordingly.

Suma3da wrote:
In mentioning Aasimar you might want to include the feats from the ARG to get wings. Sure it takes 2 feats from an already feat starved archers, but being able to fly at will is a big boost for an archer.

I'm hesitant to include that pair of feats because Angelic Blood requires more constitution than my point buys recommend and you really need all the feats you can get for improving your archery.


M. Laakso wrote:

Alright, time to answer some replies!

FangDragon wrote:
What's wrong with an oath of vengeance archer paladin? You give up something you probably won't use anyway for lots of extra smites.

I actually never thought about this since I didn't own Ultimate Magic until fairly recently. I kind of like the swift-action healing provided by lay on hands, but it still looks like a solid archetype. I will update the guide accordingly.

Lay on hands is awesome and you should never give that up, fortunately oath of vengeance trades channel positive energy (not loh) for extra smites which is usually a good trade.


Oath of Vengeance is clearly superior in my eyes based on the additional smite, once he catches up on feats.

In light of litany of righteousness I'd recommend a couple of feats later on devoted to spell penetration, or a metamagic trait like wayang spellhunter and the spell peircing metamagic feat. Typically everything you'd want to LOR badly enough to blow a second level spell will have SR, and paladins are going to be behind on caster level checks.


Manyshot should be blue, it allows you to further maximize your smite (which is the only thing setting you apart from any other full BAB archer).

Clustered shot is not blue, it's green at best. Smite already bypasses DR, which is a lot to begin with. Secondly, archers are the best damage in the game for bypassing DR since you can carry whatever arrows you like.

Between those two things I can't really think of a reason to take clustered shots before many shot, or even take it at all since you have so many mandatory archery feats already filled in. Remember that PBS, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Deadly Aim, Manyshot and Improved Precise Shot completely fill any non human paladin through level 11. Human Paladins only have one feat to play with until 13th level. That's not including the Divine Hunter option, which IMO gives up too much for too little return.


It would be nice if you gave a few more details on the Azata version of the Aasimir since that information isn't in the Advanced Race Guide. Allow someone to know what they gain if they pick up Blood of Angels.

You may want to point out that you can bond to a bow and that there is nothing preventing you from smiting with a bow. You only can do this a limited number of times, but since smite against evil bypasses all DR it is worth going into the details on that.

Some words about melee would be appropriate. You aren't always going to be able to just shoot everything.

Suggestions on magic to get and just as importantly things to skip would be good. Bracers of Archery, trade-offs of medium vs heavy armor, etc. If they take your suggestions on strength, weight will be a problem until they get a magical enhancement for it.

Thanks for writing this up. I've just recently started playing a Hospitaler of Erastil myself.


I'm not OP, but I can answer most of this:

BretI wrote:
It would be nice if you gave a few more details on the Azata version of the Aasimir since that information isn't in the Advanced Race Guide. Allow someone to know what they gain if they pick up Blood of Angels.

It's well known that this exists. Because PF is open source it's perfectly legal to just go read that stuff. Maybe a link would be nice, but it's hardly worth mentioning when anyone can just look it up themselves.

BretI wrote:
You may want to point out that you can bond to a bow and that there is nothing preventing you from smiting with a bow. You only can do this a limited number of times, but since smite against evil bypasses all DR it is worth going into the details on that.

Just remember it costs you an action to do this, so unless you get the drop on an an encounter and can prebuff, it is usually not worth giving up a full attack action.

BretI wrote:
Some words about melee would be appropriate. You aren't always going to be able to just shoot everything.

When does this happen? Aside from the fact you can 5'step out of most AOO situations, I'd take the AOO for shooting in melee before I tossed my bow and picked up a melee weapon. You literally have no room for melee feats anyway, it would be a tremendous amount of lost damage to swap into melee for a paladin archer, especially considering you can just swift heal yourself every round for any damage you take.

Scarab Sages

I always found that the Divine Hunter gave up too much I wanted for things that weren't all that valuable long run. I prefer the core Paladin chassis modified with Oath of Vengeance and a mount for the Divine Bond feature, as mounted archery is probably the best combat style in the game. I've been running a gnome Paladin archer mounted on a boar to great effect. The +1 bonus to hit from being small is a fair trade to the average 1 point of damage lost since you'll be getting big damage boosts from Smite, Litany of Righteousness, etc. anyways and helps reduce your penalties for Rapid Shot/Manyshot/Deadly Aim.


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I don't understand this guide. You might be able to make a case for the Divine Hunter archetype being useful if you had a bunch of archers in your party. But how often do you have more than one in a group?

Also if you have other archers in your group, they are already going to have the feats you can give your companions... because they are archers.

I mean what is the whole idea here? Everyone carries a bow, so they can drop whatever it is they normally do, swing blades, cast spells, etc. so the Divine Hunter can make archers of them?

Only use for it I see is if you are leading a group of mooks or something, and you can make a skilled group of ranged attackers out of peasants or warriors or something.

This archetype seems totally useless to me. I really don't think it makes a better archer than the base Paladin to be honest. Unless you are enhancing your mob of peasants, what makes this a better archer than a base paladin?


Lastoth wrote:
BretI wrote:
You may want to point out that you can bond to a bow and that there is nothing preventing you from smiting with a bow. You only can do this a limited number of times, but since smite against evil bypasses all DR it is worth going into the details on that.
Just remember it costs you an action to do this, so unless you get the drop on an an encounter and can prebuff, it is usually not worth giving up a full attack action.

Smite Evil is a Swift action. You can still do a Swift action with a Full Round Action.

I may be missing something, but it looks to me like you can Smite and Full Attack in the same round.

Lastoth wrote:
BretI wrote:
Some words about melee would be appropriate. You aren't always going to be able to just shoot everything.
When does this happen? Aside from the fact you can 5'step out of most AOO situations, I'd take the AOO for shooting in melee before I tossed my bow and picked up a melee weapon. You literally have no room for melee feats anyway, it would be a tremendous amount of lost damage to swap into melee for a paladin archer, especially considering you can just swift heal yourself every round for any damage you take.

Great, then this should be pointed out.

As I said, I've just started with this sort of Paladin. In the one PFS adventure I've done, the combats quickly devolved into melee and I had a caster to try and protect. As I saw it, that sort of required I switch to melee combat.

At the low levels it seems like that would be common. I know it would depend on who else is in the party, but with PFS that is likely to change every time.


Sorry, I was talking about weapon bond. It costs you a standard action to get those bonuses, and often times the bonuses do not pay off relative to the full attack action you missed. This is more specifically a problem with archer paladins, since they always full attack.

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