About Iradyiel Madras
Stats: Str. 14, Dex. 18, Con. 10, Int. 9, Wis. 16, Cha. 14,
channel energy 3d6 @ 5
First Level: 3+1+1:
Second Level: 3+1+1:
Third Level: 2+1+1:
favored class bonus:
key:this is the key he was carriying
Total weight of all gear:
The Switch Hitter isn't quite the Archer that the Archer Ranger is, but he's close. Furthermore, the switch hitter is a melee character, ready to wade into melee whenever the chance presents itself. You know those video games where you can switch between archery and melee fighting and be good at both? That's the Switch hitter in a nutshell. A fighter can pull this off too, but wouldn't you rather have all the skills, all the spells, the animal companion, the class abilities, excellence in archery, and excellence in melee? Sound too good to be true? It's not, and I'll prove it.
Tactics: At first level you are just a melee fighter. Grab a greatsword or a longsword and shield if you prefer and bash away. You'll find that high strength melee builds are always optimal at first level, and the switch hitter is no exception.
When you can afford a mighty composite longbow, get one. You should have quick draw early on, so you'll be firing a bow at range, and when the range drops, you drop the bow and draw your melee weapon. At this point don't be using a shield, you just don't have time to get it on. Therefore, your melee weapon at this point should be two handed, beyond that, whatever you like.
When you get to 6th level you will notice that your arrows are really quite deadly. With Deadly Aim, Manyshot, and Rapid shot, you can fire 4 arrows in one round for pretty nice damage potential. Then when you drop your bow and enter melee, you should be having a to hit and damage that rivals pure melee builds. This is in addition to all the skills and the spells you are starting to receive. The animal companion is just gravy in the mix.
By upper levels your arrows will continue to rival a dedicated archer's, and your melee ability should rival a dedicated meleer. The pure fighter will outshine you in melee eventually, and the Paladin will outshine you vs. evil, unless you are fighting a favored enemy, which will tilt the scale in your favor, but you will always be competitive, with the archery ability as a pure bonus.
Combat Style: The combat style of the Switch Hitter is Archery. The Switch Hitter doesn't use TWF, he uses a two handed weapon instead. His skill in archery is gained through the combat style class feature, while his skill in melee is gained through his regular feat selection.
Strength is the primary stat for the switch hitter. The Switch hitter doesn't need a high Dex to qualify for Archery Feats because combat style allows you to bypass stat requirements. Strength however will determine the strength of the mighty composite longbow (damage), and determine to hit and damage for a 2 handed weapon (utilizing a 1 and 1/2 bonus to damage on the weapon). Dexterity will affect your to hit with archery, as well as affect your AC. It's not as important as Str, because you've got a great BAB already, so those arrows will have a pretty good to hit anyways. That said, jump on Dex stat bonus items when they become available. Wisdom affects your ability to cast spells, as well as the duration on one of your potential abilities, so a bit is needed, Con affects your HP, which are nice to have, but you have a good base already. Int affects your skill points, which is nice, but you have a decent amount of skills already, so not too important. Cha is your only true "dump stat".
Remember the Archer Ranger? Remove Elf, and put the +2 stat into Strength for the others. That's it.
Combat Style Feats to choose:
2nd: Rapid Shot
Why no precise shot? If you think about it, precise shot is worthless to the switch hitter, because when melee breaks out, he's in it, and you don't need it to qualify for Improved Precise Shot, because you are a Ranger...yay! Why no Point Blank Shot? Because he doesn't need it. Ranger's can avoid prerequisite feats for their combat style bonus feats. The only other archery feat you'll be taking is deadly aim, and Point Blank Shot isn't required for that either.
Regular Feat Selection:
Level 5: At level 5 you will select Deadly Aim. Its the one archery feat you will select with your regular feats, and it's absolutely a necessity, so just do it.
Quickdraw ****: In order to make the switch from Bow to Two Handed Weapon, this is a must. Level 3 at the latest.
Power Attack ****: An excellent deal with two handed weapons, grants +3 damage for -1 to hit. As a Ranger you have a great chance to hit, so this is a great deal
Cleave ***: This has become a nice skirmish feat. Move into position where you threaten two enemies, attack one, and if you hit, make an attack on the other. Nice.
Great Cleave **: Harder to set up than Cleave, but if you can, it's almost like pounce, except you don't need to charge.
Step Up **: A good way to hound archers and spellcasters who use the "5 foot step back and cast or fire arrows" tactic. Force them to give you an attack of opportunity instead.
Improved Sunder **: I like this feat for a two-handed weapon strength build. You have a really nice chance of destroying the weapon.
Lunge **: A handy feat for someone who is a skirmish meleer. Also works nicely with Cleave (to improve the reach for threatening foes).
Dodge **: Nice to have, just for the AC boost.
Vital Strike***: A nice feat for skirmishing, because it adds damage to standard action attacks. Also, this feat is adding to both your ranged and melee attacks. If you have two potential targets in Melee, Cleave is better, but if you are fighting a single target, then Vital Strike is just extra damage.
Heavy Armor Proficiency ***: A good expenditure of a feat so you can wear Mithril Full Plate
Improved Critical (Falchion) ***: Here's where you start to specialize in a specific weapon. The Falchion works very nicely with Improved Critical
Critical Focus (Falchion) **: Obviously just one in the chain...
Blinding Critical (Falchion) ****: Take advantage of the Falchion's nice crit range to blind foes. Rangers have full BAB, and mesh well with the critical feats.
So how does this turn out? Lets take an example build. Say a 10th level Switch Hitter Ranger, how good is he?
Human 15 point stat buy
Str (+2 racial): 18 (10)
Raise the Dex at level 4, the Con at level 8, the Wis at level 12, and Str at levels 16 and 20.
Level 1: Feats: Power attack/Cleave: At this level the character is a Greatsword Wielder. With a Breastplate he has a 17 AC, and 12 HP (for first level not too bad). His to hit with his Greatsword is +4, and damage is 2d6+9 (pretty good)
Level 6: Add feats: Quick Draw, Deadly Aim, Manyshot, Rapid Shot Dex has been increased to 14 at level 4: Equipment: Now the character is using a Greatsword and a Mighty Composite Longbow (+4 str). When enemies are at range, the ranger can take his normal move and fire 2 arrows, each at +7 to hit (1 attack roll, both hit or miss), or take a 5 foot step and attack 3 times, each at +5 to hit. Damage with each is 1d8+8. This is without any magical bonuses. Not bad eh?
The enemies close, he drops his bow, quick draws a greatsword, and in Melee he is now doing 2d6+12 on two attacks, or even on three with a move action if he plans it well. Welcome to the switch hitter.
Keep those feats concentrating on melee, archery will take care of itself now. Rapid shot and Many Shot will ensure you get all kinds of arrows in the air, and Deadly Aim will ensure they hit with a deadly punch. When melee comes, drop the longbow, and switch to a two handed weapon. Eventually a Falchion may be your best bet to take the best advantage of critical feats.
The Switch Hitter and Multiclassing:
Really, the Switch Hitter is a single class character build. A single dip into Rogue is always a decent option for Ranger, but not required. Fighter dips are also possible, but in the long run, you aren't going to see the payoff for what you give up.
Your best Switch Hitter plans on 20 levels of Ranger.
The Switch Hitter and Prestige Classes:
Again, not really the way to go with a switch hitter. Keep him Ranger all the way, use the bonus feats to keep his archery top notch, and his regular feats to ensure his melee ability remains great.
The weaknesses of the build: There is only one that I can see, and only at lower levels. It is the Armor Class. The Switch Hitter needs to concentrate on Strength, which means his AC, considering he wears only a breastplate, will mean a moderately lower AC than a fighter two handed weapon build. Heavy Armor Proficiency plus Mithril Full Plate should eliminate this weakness entirely at higher levels. Otherwise you have a ranged capacity far better than a focused melee build, but aren't facing much disadvantage in melee, you have spells, skills, an animal companion, class special abilities galore, favored enemies, favored terrain...can't complain!