Zen and the Art of Monk Maintenance: A Guide to the Zen Archer


Advice

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I currently play a very similar concept, with only minor deviations.
I think almost every single advice given by Porpentine makes perfect sense; but if you play the archer from level one, which I did not, I'd still say grab Clustered Shots.

There is at least one other zen archer guide around that really isn't half that good.

Improved Precise Shot is not needed if you can get a seeking bow, because seeking is even better than IPS.

I took Big Game Hunter instead of Hammer the Gap, because I do not like the mechanics of the latter, already calculating enough things during combat. I made some other minor feat changes, but I would not generally recommend them, just a matter of style.


Mantis style is very cool. however it assume you have one hand free to employ its special abilities. as you wield a longbow - a 2 handed weapon - wouldn't this negate that style?


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Turgan wrote:

I currently play a very similar concept, with only minor deviations.

I think almost every single advice given by Porpentine makes perfect sense; but if you play the archer from level one, which I did not, I'd still say grab Clustered Shots.

There is at least one other zen archer guide around that really isn't half that good.

Improved Precise Shot is not needed if you can get a seeking bow, because seeking is even better than IPS.

I took Big Game Hunter instead of Hammer the Gap, because I do not like the mechanics of the latter, already calculating enough things during combat. I made some other minor feat changes, but I would not generally recommend them, just a matter of style.

actually, Improved Precise Shot IS needed for any and all archers as it ignores cover and some concealment, while the seeking property inores ALL concealment miss chances.

So the 2 abilities overlap, on some things, but BOTH are required to get by all of cover, except Total cover.

Again, seeking is good, and overlaps a small amount with IPS (concealment), but not everything, so both are needed.

I also made some feat changes, but kept hammer the gap. The zen archer and sohei are the only real ranged characters that can benefit greatly from hammer the gap, with so many attacks. Big game hunter is an amazing feat, especially later on where many more enemies are more likely to be large or bigger.


Happy to see this is still proving useful.

In Pathfinder terms the guide is quite old now, so please do continue to update it with new gear, feat and etcetera options - and older alternative feats, too.

Clustered Shots is certainly a strong feat, for example. It doesn't do much for One, though - or for any archer at very high levels - since a +5 bow renders it largely redundant (Epic DR withstanding). I'm not fond of having that looming redundancy, myself, but if you're not playing to high levels, Clustered Shots is gold. (And I suppose it comes back into play if you're heading into epic levels, but that's a whole 'nother ballgame).

I swear I will post that sorcerer guide soonish.

Scarab Sages

Clustered Shots is still good at high levels even if it is redundant for DR, as it can cause the Death by Massive Damage rule to come into play if your GM is using it.


My DM likes to throw out dr/- types now and then so a +5 bow won't help with that. For this, clustered sorts is the only real route to go when dealing with that. Otherwise, epic dr is the only issue.


sorry if this is a stupid question, but I am new to the game, and I just don't see where you are getting the +11 damage on your attacks at 6th level with a bow? would someone be able to break it down for me please? thank you in advance.


I think it's:
+2 bow: +2 enhancement damage
Composite bow: +2 strength damage
Deadly aim: +4 damage (and -2 to hit)
Weapon Specialization feat: +2 damage
Point Blank Shot: +1 damage (assuming close range)
(And no, it's not a stupid question. Keeping track of what all these feats and bonuses do isn't easy.)


2-3 ST + 2 WS +4 Deadly Aim + 1-2 enhancement +0-1 Point Blank Shot = +9-12


thank you everyone for your help. I have some other questions for you if you would be so kind. both of your calculations assumed the use of deadly aim, and that is the only way that I could workout +11 to damage. my problem then comes with the +12 to hit. I could see the +12 working with just a normal attack (the +2 from feats cancels out the -2 from deadly aim) but flurry of blows give you an additional -2, so would the table at level 6 be +10+10+10+6. I guess what I am asking, is would you go through the trouble of laying out the totals to hit for the various attacks. again sorry for any inconvenience.


Just check the math:

+12 to hit makes an average of 8.2 of damage per attack,

+10 to hit gives you a DPA of 9.3


@crippledlord:
The attack at 6th Level should be +6BAB +6Wis +2magic (Bow) +1Point Blank Shot +1Weapon Focus -2 Deadly Aim -2 Flurry = +12


Turgan wrote:

@crippledlord:

The attack at 6th Level should be +6BAB +6Wis +2magic (Bow) +1Point Blank Shot +1Weapon Focus -2 Deadly Aim -2 Flurry = +12

BAB at 6th level is only +4


KCWM wrote:
Turgan wrote:

@crippledlord:

The attack at 6th Level should be +6BAB +6Wis +2magic (Bow) +1Point Blank Shot +1Weapon Focus -2 Deadly Aim -2 Flurry = +12
BAB at 6th level is only +4

Flurry uses monk level as bab.


Ha...I play the class and forgot about that...


thank you all so much for the help.


Arano wrote:

However, I have a small question. In the trail of beasts, how do the Tarrasque only save on 20s from being stunned? As far as I can see stunning fist it a fort save not a will and it has +31 fort.

It might be that I am missing something obvious somewhere.

I got the same question: What am I missing?


porpentine wrote:


(3) A zen archer can certainly take vows, rules as written. This is discussed early in the Guide, in the spoiler section before Beastmass, marked 'bits readers might disagree with.' Essentially, a zen archer lacks Still Mind, just like a ninja: both can take vows; both have nothing to lose.

No. You can not 'double dip' an existing ability that is changed by multiple archetypes, or in this case, Vows. This isn't something that people disagree with, this is something that the RULES disagree with.

Also, how are Ninja, an alternate class from the Rogue, dipping into the Monk vows?

Vows wrote:
The ability to take these vows replaces the still mind class feature, even if the monk abandons all his vows.
Archetypes wrote:
A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature.

If one thing 'replaces' Still Mind from an Archetype, including Vows, you can not use any other Archetype that also replaces the Still Mind class feature. Vows and the Zen Archer are incompatible.

The only thing that can come close to doing this is the Qinggong monk, as it specifically states:

FAQ wrote:

Can a qinggong monk take a second archetype if the character doesn't swap out abilities the second archetype requires?

Yes. However, the other archetype takes priority over the various abilities granted at each level, and the character can't delay taking an ability that the other archetype replaces—he must allow the second archetype to replace the standard ability at the standard class level.

Using the 'have nothing to lose' doesn't work. If you can get two abilities that specifically say they replace the same feature, then you can also take any number of archetypes and get all of the benefits, which is just silly.

However, despite this, your build is still awesome. It just merely downgrades it from the 'brokenly awesome' category.


What do you guys think about this build?

http://www.myth-weavers.com/showthread.php?t=217038


I've been considering a Zen Archer build for a long time now. I have considered the Emp. Sorcerer dip and the Inquisitor dip. I've also heard that they work extremely well with ninja, but that character was a gestault, so that would make a big difference. If third party resources were legal, Serene Barbarian would be a wonderful 1 level dip. It subs "serenity" for rage and changes stat boosts to DEX and WIS.

Silver Crusade

This build is going well in PFs, with minor modifications.


Playing my 4th level zen at her qingong monk for last 2 months. Has been surprisingly very helpful and powerful when needed. Can't wait till higher levels for more zen archer fun.


How has going qingong been helpful? I haven't looked that far into it.


I was referring more to the zen archer overall, but as for the qinngong part of the character it has actually been wuite helpful.

Well on a few separate occasions I knew myself, or the party would be Ina a fight situation fairly soon. I was able to buff my already somewhat decent AC of 19 at level 4 to AC 21 for 40 min with Barkskin. That +2 higher AC even for 40 min really helped save my butt a few times when the DM was rolling particularly well. Didn't do him to much good. I might have had the range but so have some of the opponents, so that added AC boost plus whatever cover or concealment I could get really started to stack up pretty high in my favor.

I plan on later doing a whole bunch of swap outs, next being for restoration at 7th level I believe or 8th.


I'm not sure wether to be insulted or patting devs on the back this archtype.

Honest comment here devs: Why didn't you do what did with this archtype with other classes archtypes? It's perfectly balanced/optimized, and especially perfect for PFS play. Great damage, defense and three great saves. It's probably too good.


Havoq wrote:

I'm not sure wether to be insulted or patting devs on the back this archtype.

Honest comment here devs: Why didn't you do what did with this archtype with other classes archtypes? It's perfectly balanced/optimized, and especially perfect for PFS play. Great damage, defense and three great saves. It's probably too good.

Agrees - good damage at range with minimal compromise for hand to hand if needed. Good saves and fairly good A.C. too - as a class probably too good.


"actually, Improved Precise Shot IS needed for any and all archers as it ignores cover and some concealment, while the seeking property inores ALL concealment miss chances."

Thanks for Grizzly the Archer for pointing that out.

Some suggestions for items:

- swarmbane clasp (useful for all martials) for the earlier levels
- golembane scarab (later levels; it is currently helpful as we are fightng adamantine golems)
- ghosttouch arrows (very expensive but handy vs. incorporal enemies)
- jingasa of the fortunate soldier (again, useful for all martials)
- most important alternative arrows are blunt arrows, cheap & superb. besides ghosttouch arrows my zen archer uses no other special arrows, only normal and blunt, until now that was always enough)


Great guide! Found after having made my ZAM and played to level 7 (6ZAM/1Inq). An item suggestion I have for anyone dipping into Inquisitor is Bane Baldric. It's a chest slot item for 10k that allows the use of the Bane class ability at 5 levels higher than your current level.


Read about the following in another thread: "Weapon Blanch, Ghost Touch"
Cost: 200 gp, usable for ten arrows.

Buy 50 normal arrows, "blanch" them = 50 Ghost Touch arrows for 1.000 gp instead of 8.000 gp.

from the Pathfinder Society Field Guide.


I'm currently trying to convince my DM that an Inquistor can use the Baldric with a bow. It says non-inquistors have to attune it to light or melee weapon. At least that's how I read it.

I'm building the same character (ZAM/Inquisitor), but I'm adding a level of Serene Barbarian (check it out!) and Empyreal Sorcerer. Probably just 2 levels of Inquisitor, but thinking about the 3rd for teamwork feats like Target of Opportunity.

Scarab Sages

CKorfmann wrote:
I'm currently trying to convince my DM that an Inquistor can use the Baldric with a bow. It says non-inquistors have to attune it to light or melee weapon. At least that's how I read it.

The way I read it, you should be able to use the Bane Baldric on your longbow. You're still an Inquisitor because it specifically says that an Ex-Inquisitor "slipped into corruption or changed to a prohibited alignment." As long as you didn't have to change your alignment too far from your deity's to be able to take the Monk/Zen Archer levels, you should still be seen as an Inquisitor for abilities and items.


I haven't had any luck convincing him. His argument is that a baldric is used to hold a melee weapon and had no useful interaction with a bow to start with and should therefore only be used with a melee weapon. It's hard to argue with that point so I just gave up trying. I might be able to create (or have created) something else that does the same thing though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Turgan wrote:

Read about the following in another thread: "Weapon Blanch, Ghost Touch"

Cost: 200 gp, usable for ten arrows.

Buy 50 normal arrows, "blanch" them = 50 Ghost Touch arrows for 1.000 gp instead of 8.000 gp.

from the Pathfinder Society Field Guide.

Sorry don't get the math.

Base cost for arrow
20 arrows for 1 gp.
Weapon blanch cost
200 gp = 10 arrows
50 arrows at 200gp/10 arrows = 1,000 gp. plus 2.5 gp for the base cost of arrows.

1,002.5 gp for 50 blanched shots. A bit over 20 gp each.

How do you get 1 gp each?

Sczarni

He meant 1,000 gp opposed to 8,000 gp. He was off by 2.5 gp


Is using unarmed damage still better now that haste and the Ki attack stack?

As to beastmass, I will give him the underwater action.

Fickle winds does seam to be a problem for ONE

The gold dragon is two far away to close with one and get the AM off so I think this one is a win for ONE. If stunning fist is countered by AM then maybe the dragon can close.

If spells that work all day can be cast ahead of time then one is in real trouble. Since not all golds are the same we trade out a spell for getaway and that allows the gold to get next to One and get up AM

I think that the extra 3 points needed to know about the solar can be gained for HP so this fight is as scripted.

Not sure how T got stunned to so not sure how this plays out.


Turgan wrote:
Improved Precise Shot is not needed if you can get a seeking bow, because seeking is even better than IPS.

I was looking at the PRD, and I noticed that Seeking does not have the note saying that bows, crossbows, and slings crafted with this ability bestow this power upon their ammunition.

Wouldn't that mean that Seeking only works if it is placed on arrows, bolts, bullets, and thrown weapons?

Grand Lodge

Okay i know i am wet behind my ears when it comes to pathfinder but why is One using nonlethal damage and how is he doing it without taking a -4 penalty.


Bow with 'merciful' property.


Is he 'mercifully' using non-lethal so he can use Ki Leech on enemies twice, once when they get knocked down and again when he finishes them off? Mercifully.
:)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

One tip for PFS players:
Exile is not a viable PFS trait, however you can take Resilient (Combat) and have the +1 fort saves from a couple different sources including: Heart of Clay (Regional - Lingshen) from the Dragon Empire Primer, Isgeri Orphan (Regional - Isger) from the Inner Sea Primer, or Mana Wastes Survivalist (Regional - Mana Wastes) also from the Inner Sea Primer.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

porpentine,

How are you taking the vows?

"The ability to take these vows replaces the still mind class feature, even if the monk abandons all his vows." Ultimate Magic (page 50).

As a Zen Archer, Point Blank Master replaces still mind. Doesn't this mean that Zen Archers cannot take vows?


WiseWolfOfYoitsu wrote:

porpentine,

How are you taking the vows?

"The ability to take these vows replaces the still mind class feature, even if the monk abandons all his vows." Ultimate Magic (page 50).

As a Zen Archer, Point Blank Master replaces still mind. Doesn't this mean that Zen Archers cannot take vows?

I agree, don't think Zen Archer qualifies for Vows. They do not have Still Mind to begin with. Can't replace something you never had...


I have a few questions/ideas...

How would the Fortune Witch Hex interact with Perfect Strike? My feeling is that you'd get 3 rolls, and can choose any 1 of them (or any 2 of them if you crit).

Once a Monk gets iterative attacks, is it best to use Perfect Strike on their highest attack, or lowest? I ask because while the highest obviously has best chance at hitting, you also get a better chance of confirming a crit. On the other hand, the lower attack will have a better chance of connecting...

Can I take I Improved Natural Attack (Unarmed Strike) + Vital Strike, spend a point of ki to use Unarmed damage in place of bow damage, and reap the benefits? :)


Honored Fist of Society trait will get you a +1 to ki pool.

Reactionary trait will get you a +2 trait bonus to initiative (in lieu of Exile which might not be allowed as it is campaign specific). Just as an alternative.

Rich Parents trait lets you start with 900 gp which affords you enough money to get a Masterwork Darkwood Composite Longbow +2 Strength (630 gp) and have some left over...

Scarab Sages

I don't think Rich Parents is a legal trait...

As per Additional resources page 5:

Pathfinder Character Traits Web Enhancement (Available at paizo.com/traits) Feat: Additional Traits; Traits: all traits are legal except for the following: Hedge Magician, Natural-Born Leader, and Rich Parents.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Huu-Yuu wrote:

I don't think Rich Parents is a legal trait...

As per Additional resources page 5:

Pathfinder Character Traits Web Enhancement (Available at paizo.com/traits) Feat: Additional Traits; Traits: all traits are legal except for the following: Hedge Magician, Natural-Born Leader, and Rich Parents.

Correct. You would have to wait for 2 prestige points to pick up a masterwork darkwood composite longbow with a +3 strength modifier (730 gp) if you are playing Society (or more painful but less expensive in the long run is wait for the 3,400 for +1 adaptive longbow.)


Brilliant guide/story of ONE

Now I can't shake the image of a Solar with his garden gloves on weeding the turnip patch.


Has anyone got any examples of play with this build? Things you tweaked or situations you excelled or failed at?


Question about Perfect Strike and Flurry of blows.

I just wanted a little Clarification. I'm new at pathfinder. So at first level a Zen Archery Monk has two bow shots when I do a flurry of blows. If I use perfect strike with my attack, do I roll two d20s for one of those bow shots or do I roll 2 d20s for each shot. Meaning does perfect strike work for every attack on a full attack or just one attack of a full attack?

Thanks


SH527 wrote:

Question about Perfect Strike and Flurry of blows.

I just wanted a little Clarification. I'm new at pathfinder. So at first level a Zen Archery Monk has two bow shots when I do a flurry of blows. If I use perfect strike with my attack, do I roll two d20s for one of those bow shots or do I roll 2 d20s for each shot. Meaning does perfect strike work for every attack on a full attack or just one attack of a full attack?

Thanks

One attack only and only once pr round.

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