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Lets talk Archers, What are the pros and cons of diferent classes / Archetypes?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


So, This question comes from me kind of wanting to try a archer character at some point, But I dont know what archer class or archetype to pick so I wanted to see if people could give me some pros and cons of diferent archer classes or archetypes?


The top two by damage per round are Molthuni arsenal chaplain warpriest and inquisitor, probably ravener hunter inquisitor. I think weapon master fighter came third but I'm not sure.

There's dozens of other ways to make a useful archer though. Are you most interested in weird trick arrows? A grenadier alchemist with the explosive missile discovery will cover you. Extreme range? A warpriest without the arsenal chaplain archetype so they can get the air blessing. Survivability? Maybe a zen archer monk, maybe a non-arsenal archetype warpriest. Mounted archery so you can stay out of reach? A divine hunter or a nature fang druid,

What about playing an archer appeals to you exactly?


I want to be versatile and useful, Dosent have to be top DPR. i'm not quite sure what I wanna do, But.. I wanna be using a bow in combat primarily, Maybe using diferent types of arrows, Trick arrows if that exists, Something versatile and useful.

Thats kind of why I asked for generic pros and cons, What they do good and what they do not so good, As I'm not quite sure what I want.. I just always liked the idea of archers..


Inquisitors aren't the most damaging archers, but they get skills and spells.

Paladins are good healers.


From my limited knowledge, Rangers can be good archers with a animal companion and some spells (Woo!). Hunters are not quite as good archers but have better animal companions and more spells. Fighters can be good archers cus they are masters of weapons with all the feats. And Zen Archer Monks are tricksy and fire arround corners and flurry of blows with their bows (Or flurry of bows if you prefer).

And thats about what I know for Archer classes/archetypes.. xD


Archers generic pro is that they do a s&&& load of damage, and they can hit things that are flying and fleeing.
Their generic con is they can be shut off a lot easier by cover and the weather and various lowish level spells like wind wall. They also require a lot of feats.

For versatility and damage I'd definitely suggest the inquisitor, good Spell like, lots of skills, class features to further boost said skills and the second best DPR

Sovereign Court

The highest damage output on an archer, of the many I've spec'd out (for PFS, at least), was Zen Archer Monk 3/Arsenal Chaplain Warpriest 7/Medium 1.

Damage at 11:
+18/+18/+13 for 2d8+40/1d8+20/1d8+20, with backup Unarmed Strikes at +17 for 1d6+11

The only included gear there is a +1 Comp Longbow (+3).
The build has Keen Scent, and can use Pheromone Arrows for an additional +2 to hit and damage.
Can also grab Gloves of Dueling for another +2 to hit and damage.

Sovereign Court

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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

Archers generic pro is that they do a s*&& load of damage, and they can hit things that are flying and fleeing.

Their generic con is they can be shut off a lot easier by cover and the weather and various lowish level spells like wind wall. They also require a lot of feats.

For versatility and damage I'd definitely suggest the inquisitor, good Spell like, lots of skills, class features to further boost said skills and the second best DPR

Just FYI, Silver Nocking Point is a thing that basically every archer should be buying, which makes weather and wind effects significantly less of a concern.


I'd also suggest Inquisitor for the versatility. I'd argue that it is one of the best all-around classes in the game. Decent enough in combat to not be left in the dust by dedicated damage dealers. More skill points that all but the dedicated skill monkey classes. Sixth level spontaneous divine spell casting drawing from a decent spell list. Interesting class abilities complemented by some interesting archetypes that offer a wide variety of customization.

The Inquisitor can have a lot of moving parts in combat, depending on how you build it, so make sure you have a good understanding of each spell and class ability as you progress from level to level.


Would you not have been better off taking the war priest to 10 for Divine power?


ranger -> archer with dogs

summoner (broodmaster) -> army of archers

rague -> basic archer

cleric -> healing and archer

wizard -> true strike spammer archer

druid -> horse archer ? (never tried)

cavalier -> legit horse archer

Sovereign Court

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Would you not have been better off taking the war priest to 10 for Divine power?

You only end up getting one of those per day (two, if your WIS is really high). It's not really worth it. Instead, Warpriest 7 with Magical Knack gets you to CL9 for the extra Divine Favor bump, and you've got access to Channel Vigor for that personal Haste if you really want that side of the Divine Power effect.

Also, 3 levels of Zen Archer just gives you an obscene number of feats + virtual feats.


With generic pros and cons I meant for the diferent archer classes and archetypes, Like "Ranger is good at these things and bad at these things" and so on. Sorry.. I'm realy bad at words..

Does all the Inquisitor things works with a bow? Like Bane and judgements and such? Or is there a specific archetype for Inquisitor archers?

Sovereign Court

Merellin wrote:

With generic pros and cons I meant for the diferent archer classes and archetypes, Like "Ranger is good at these things and bad at these things" and so on. Sorry.. I'm realy bad at words..

Does all the Inquisitor things works with a bow? Like Bane and judgements and such? Or is there a specific archetype for Inquisitor archers?

If you decide to go Inquisitor you almost certainly want to use the Sanctified Slayer archetype. But yes, Bane and Judgement work with a bow just fine. In fact, the Bane class ability is fantastic for an archer.


Thank you! ^_^


I'm also a fan of the Sanctified Slayer. The Studied Target granted by the Sanctified Slayer isn't categorically superior to Judgments, but it isn't limited in uses per day like Judgments are.

Sovereign Court

So, I guess to give a simplified pros/cons for the build I mentioned above:

Pros

  • 3 levels of Zen Archer Monk gives you 6 bonus feats
  • Those 3 levels also get you 2 virtual feats in the form of Flurry of Blows (which perfectly replaces Rapid Shot until you can take Manyshot), and Zen Archery (which does the same thing as the Erastil's Blessing feat)
  • Zen Archer also gets you the ability to threaten with unarmed strikes and to not provoke with your bow (which means you're not afraid to be up close and personal, like many archers)
  • Warpriest gets the amazing Fervor ability, primarily to be used to Divine Favor yourself at the start of combat
  • The Arsenal Chaplain archetype for Warpriest gets you Weapon Training, which is awesome
  • Warpriest gets bonus combat feats which also give you access to feats with Fighter requirements
  • Due to the sheer number of bonus feats there is a lot of leeway in what feats you can take

Cons

  • Not the best initiative, particularly since you end up as a WIS based archer instead of a DEX based archer
  • Only get up to 3rd level spells for Warpriest
  • End up wasting Flurry of Blows when you eventually replace it with Rapid Shot so that you can use Manyshot
  • Requirement to be Lawful in alignment (some people care more about this can others)


I have one more question, Please dont hate me, But, Can a Summoner work as a archer? A Archer summoner, With a melee Eidolon (Or maybe a snake person archer eidolon)


You certainly can make a summoner archer (a quick search reveals that others have done it in the past). Your archery damage won't be especially high (and you'll need to find a way to even get proficiency with bows, such as being an elf), but you can make up for it with eidolon damage and helpful spellcasting.


Merellin wrote:
I have one more question, Please dont hate me, But, Can a Summoner work as a archer? A Archer summoner, With a melee Eidolon (Or maybe a snake person archer eidolon)

Not well. Low BAB and too many archery feats are required. Basically you'd end up just being a Summoner who happens to be able to fire a bow a bit. Your Eidolon would be doing most of the damage anyway, which is standard for summoners.


Merellin wrote:
I have one more question, Please dont hate me, But, Can a Summoner work as a archer? A Archer summoner, With a melee Eidolon (Or maybe a snake person archer eidolon)

my build

summoner with simple weapon prof -> archer weapon + cyclops mask

eidolon -> simple weapon feat -> archer weapon + cyclops mask

all of them using cyclops mask.

craft it and you will win first round shot without miss.

use brood master. divide your eidolon at lvl 8 you will use large to get medium size each eidolon. (or 4 small eidolon).

arm them and get them that mask.


Matthew Downie wrote:
You certainly can make a summoner archer (a quick search reveals that others have done it in the past). Your archery damage won't be especially high (and you'll need to find a way to even get proficiency with bows, such as being an elf), but you can make up for it with eidolon damage and helpful spellcasting.

the key is not to raise dex for summoner. just buff your eidolon, and having your eidolon qick draw will help a lot.

you can use bow but just once. (cyclops helm will help you get extra DPS)


Why would a summoners archerybe aspecialy weak? If you mean because of point buy ability scores, My group rolls for ability scores and it would be simple to put a good one in dexterity. As for BAB, The Summoner has the same BAB as the Hunter and Inquisitor and Warpriest so I dont see why low BAB would make the Summoner exceptionaly bad either..


Merellin wrote:
Why would a summoners archerye aspecialy weak? If you mean because of point buy ability scores, My group rolls for ability scores and it would be simple to put a good one in dexterity. As for BAB, The Summoner has the same BAB as the Hunter and Inquisitor and Warpriest so I dont see why low BAB would make the Summoner exceptionaly bad either..

the summoner job is to buff your eidolon, so he must not having dex build up. that's why use Broodmaster to max your DPS.

but you can shot your bow without dex anyway. with the help of cyclops helm. (craft them)


I really enjoyed my Inquisitor (non-archtyped) choosing the chivalry domain for a mount. Mounted archery is insanely powerful, and it gives you a beat stick to help defend you.

Judgement + Greater Bane is superior to the Sanctified Slayer's Studied Target eventually, but for early levels Studied Target and the bonus feats you can get are really awesome.


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I will offer you my favorite archers with some rationale.

Nature fang druid

This build makes you a competent archer, definitely behind other builds in damage, but you get to use studied target to boost spell DCs. You can grab Lenses of the Predator’s Gaze to boost that further. Bloodstained Gloves double your studied target damage against a specific type of creature (about equal delinquency gloves but more fun).

If you take the eagle domain you can add 1/2 level to your manyshots to make them hit.If you put obscuring mist on a ioun stone and have you familiar cast it you can sneak attack with your bow using a goz mask.

If there is a surprise round you use stone discus for a pseudo full attack.

You are still a 9th level caster, so you can provide all of the support that entails to your part.

Evangelist Cleric

Not actually a great archer as it take a while to get the feats going but a great support class that puts out damage when needed and has something to do after the second round of combat. Inspire courage, discordant voice, quickened blessing of fervor, make the build come together nicely until then your the best parts of a cleric and a bard.

Ravener Hunter/Sanctified Slayer (wood mystery)

Great spell list, lots of skills, potent archer (wood bond/divine favor/studied target/bane). Outstanding AC for the cost of a single revelation. The build can maintain reasonably high spell dcs versus studied targets.

Hunter Archer

These are not super notable with two exceptions. They have powerful animal companions (grappling makes hitting easier), and they have named bullet, as a third level spell, on a 6th level caster. After level 7 they can pack a few pumped up auto-crits each day.

Warpriest
The benefit of being a prepared caster is that you can prep the need spells to be useful. Providing a group with removal, resist, and protection spell for example will always improve your utility. Warpriest also happen to be top level damage dealers.


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

The ranger archer is extremely powerful against certain enemy types. Give him a wolf AC and boon companion and the amount of damage inflicted per round is insane. The free trip makes the wolf ridiculous. The wolf essentially prevents anyone from approaching the ranger while he's machine-gunning everyone else, too. I don't know if any of those DPR studies have taken into account the animal companion, so I can't comment.


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The arrowsong minstrel bard is a really good looking archer.

Pros:

skill list, and good number of skills.

They have spells that help with archery added to their spell list (like gravity bow.)

Inspire courage helps their to hit and damage for yourself, and even the entire party (it's one of the best buffs in the game).

One bonus feat (precise shot at 2nd level).

Cons:

3/4 BAB, not full BAB in part made up by inspire courage.

Using Inspire courage, will keep your character from full attacking, cutting into your DPR, but it could help if your party is making a lot of weapon attacks.

Mediocre d8 hid die

Diminished spell casting (1 less spell per level compared to normal bard)


Merellin wrote:
Why would a summoners archery be aspecialy weak?

Good archer classes are either full BAB or have bonus abilities that add to attack and damage. For example, an Inquisitor has Bane and Judgments and self-buffing spells like Divine Favor.

Summoners are decent spellcasters. If you can cast Haste, then casting that will help the group more than firing arrows. So you will probably spend less time firing arrows than other characters too.


Thanks for all the replies ^_^ Sorry for all the annoying questions.


Merellin wrote:
Or maybe a snake person archer eidolon

Well, additional arms come for few evolution points, though you need 4 points for martial weapon proficiency (might use a feat, but see next sentence). You have limited feats (eidolon has less HD than a PC and no bonus feats), and need Multiweapon Fighting (and a GM who allows it despite it talks about 'primary hand', singular). Clustered Shots becomes especially important since you deal limited damage per hit, but shoot a lot. Rapid Shot turns from great for a PC into a trap option - you don't want -2 AB for the upgrade from many to many + 1 attacks.

You will need a stockpile of decent bows - maybe the summoner should start crafting. With a lot of damage per hit bonuses a Small eidolon might make sense. I guess there are many more things to consider - so it might be a nice challenge even for people who already did a 'normal' archer build multiple times.


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

Nobody would answer if they had a problem with the questions.


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taks wrote:
Nobody would answer if they had a problem with the questions.

Man, have you met the internet? We'd just b!#** about the question.


For myself I would approach this question ny asking what I wanted to do other than kill stuff with arrows, there are many ways to do that listed here, and some that are not.

I have a soft spot for slayers for archery, the largely mundane martial with lots of skills and feats is fun, but can easily feel surpassed by the spell boys at higher levels.

If you like crossbows the bolt ace gunslinger has potential, although many folks will advise switching classes after 5th level.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ChaiGuy wrote:

The arrowsong minstrel bard is a really good looking archer.

Pros:

skill list, and good number of skills.

They have spells that help with archery added to their spell list (like gravity bow.)

Inspire courage helps their to hit and damage for yourself, and even the entire party (it's one of the best buffs in the game).

One bonus feat (precise shot at 2nd level).

Cons:

3/4 BAB, not full BAB in part made up by inspire courage.

Using Inspire courage, will keep your character from full attacking, cutting into your DPR, but it could help if your party is making a lot of weapon attacks.

Mediocre d8 hid die

Diminished spell casting (1 less spell per level compared to normal bard)

"Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action." from the CRB says otherwise. Bards make great archers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
taks wrote:
Nobody would answer if they had a problem with the questions.
Man, have you met the internet? We'd just b%!#+ about the question.

True, but that doesn't really count as "answers." :)


Fourshadow wrote:
ChaiGuy wrote:

The arrowsong minstrel bard is a really good looking archer.

Pros:

skill list, and good number of skills.

They have spells that help with archery added to their spell list (like gravity bow.)

Inspire courage helps their to hit and damage for yourself, and even the entire party (it's one of the best buffs in the game).

One bonus feat (precise shot at 2nd level).

Cons:

3/4 BAB, not full BAB in part made up by inspire courage.

Using Inspire courage, will keep your character from full attacking, cutting into your DPR, but it could help if your party is making a lot of weapon attacks.

Mediocre d8 hid die

Diminished spell casting (1 less spell per level compared to normal bard)

"Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action." from the CRB says otherwise. Bards make great archers.

Well, I meant on the turn you start your bardic performance, in which case you're not getting an attack. It's only a hindrance on that first turn though. At 7th level the bardic performance goes to a move action so you'd get one attack, and at 13th it's a swift. I agree with bards making good archers.

Sovereign Court

It's also worth noting that eventually you can start your Bardic Performance as a Swift action (even earlier, thanks to the spiffy newish Singing Steel). Can also be done, more expensively, with Perfect Tuning Forks.


Wayne Bradbury wrote:
It's also worth noting that eventually you can start your Bardic Performance as a Swift action (even earlier, thanks to the spiffy newish Singing Steel). Can also be done, more expensively, with Perfect Tuning Forks.

Fixed the link.

Actually, the Perfect Tuning Fork is only 600 gp per use vs. a minimum of 3000 gp for a 5# Shining Steel item. [More for other usable items made of the stuff.]

/cevah


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you want even more magical effects mixed with archery, there are a few other options:

Eldritch archer magus. Similar to the arrowsong minstrel (or, more accurately, the arrowsong minstrel is similar to the eldritch archer magus), but faster access to "spell effects on arrows" and more spells that can be used on arrows.

Myrmidarch magus. More of a switch-hitter than a dedicated archer, but gains access to fighter Weapon Training (which is very nice with the Weapon Master's Handbook). May not be able to use bows, depending on how strictly the GM interprets Spellstrike and Spell Combat; however, can do fairly well with a starknife.

Either of these (if the GM allows the myrmidarch to use bows; possibly the arrowsong minstrel, as well, although the selection of spells is not as good) may find it useful to take 2-3 levels of arcane archer for Imbue Arrow and possibly Enhance Arrows (Elemental).

It's not technically "archery," but inspired blade swashbuckler 1/spellslinger wizard 1/blade adept arcanist 6/eldritch knight can also act fairly well as a switch-hitter in melee and at range. Works best for a tiefling with the Prehensile Tail alternate racial trait or a vanara, so the character can always have a free hand (the tail holds one weapon) for reloading or spell casting.

Then, there's the [fighter or ranger or swashbuckler]* 1/wizard 6/eldritch knight 2/arcane archer 3/eldritch knight +8 for +17 BAB and spell progression as a 17th level wizard (9th-level spells).

On the divine side, in addition to inquisitors, an elf ancient lorekeeper (to pick up key arcane spells like gravity bow, true strike, etc.) oracle with the Wood mystery (using the alternate FCB to boost the Wood Bond revelation (which explicitly applies to bows) can have a total attack bonus as high as (or higher than, with divine favor/divine power) a full BAB class.

*- or whatever full BAB class granting proficiency with all martial weapons you want


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Claxon wrote:
taks wrote:
Nobody would answer if they had a problem with the questions.
Man, have you met the internet? We'd just b$#&+ about the question.

Actually, I don't believe we have been properly introduced. Are you interested in some porn or would you rather I just compare you to Hitler?

Silver Crusade

Well, depending on the sort of things you wanna do, you can even go straight Sorcerer.

This build is one of the funniest ones I've played.

Elf Sorcerer with Arial Wildblood bloodline.

Here is a descreption of the full build:

Spoiler:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aixPcR_eT0re47tG_HfisyjS58NE93MIQcutPA7 kSaE/edit#

It does not have much power early game, But I do find the fantasy of killing things with 1 shot as an Archer cool as hell.

Also, I like the tricky things you can do with spells.


Marcus Steelfeather wrote:
Here is a descreption of the full build:

Fixed link (I assume you mean the Elven Sniper character...)

Sovereign Court

Cevah wrote:
Wayne Bradbury wrote:
It's also worth noting that eventually you can start your Bardic Performance as a Swift action (even earlier, thanks to the spiffy newish Singing Steel). Can also be done, more expensively, with Perfect Tuning Forks.

Fixed the link.

Actually, the Perfect Tuning Fork is only 600 gp per use vs. a minimum of 3000 gp for a 5# Shining Steel item. [More for other usable items made of the stuff.]

/cevah

600gp per combat adds up really quickly. I think the best idea is to have one or two forks handy for when you REALLY need to reduce the action on the first round of combat, just using them sparingly, until you get yourself a proper Singing Steel item to be able to start doing it every combat.

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