I'm in the midst of working on a character, a gestalt Zen Archer monk and likely a paladin of some sort. Is this a viable character that's going to be able to stay competitive? If so, are there any paladin archetypes that compliment the Zen Archer? I've considered the Divine Hunter, but all the party buffs just won't get used as there's no other primarily ranged characters to benefit from it.
I was also contemplating having this character be a craft-intensive character who specializes in crafting Slaying arrows for his own personal use. Is this worthwhile? What would be some ways to make this successful, if it's even a decent option?
Empyreal Bloodline Sorcerer going into Arcane Archer.
Empyreal Bloodline uses Wisdom instead of Charisma, which gives you good synergy with your zen-archer's reliance on Wisdom. It also gets you access to spell casting, which is always good. Further, you get all kinds of bonuses to archery with arcane archer. And can combine your archer might with magic.
The arcane archer levels aren't really optimal. And you could probably just choose to stop after Arcane Archer 2, which allows you to imbue your arrows with spells. However, to me this seems like a great opportunity with using Gestalt rules.
I would stay away from Paladin. The Code is always a pain, and the Zen Archer has no need for Charisma while the Paladin has no need for Wisdom.
I'll second the Empyreal Sorcerer - Arcane Archer idea, or offer an alternative of a Survivor Druid.
Survivor Druid gives up wild shape which restricts your archery in exchange for ranger traps giving you the ability to shoot traps to further enhance your archery. You have a full companion for mounted archery, and druid spells.
|nate lange RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32|
+1 to inquisitor or empyreal/AA...
both have great Wis synergy and both add more tricks to your bag.
-for sorc/AA: spells and unique archery abilities from AA would give good flavor and potentially lots of utility.
-for inq: judgments and bane would make you a true DPR power house, lots of skills with a broad skill list would give you some good out of combat options, and you'd still have a domain and all your spells to improve stuff!
another great option would be a ranger...
between the bonus style feats and the ZA bonus feats you'd be one of the few archers who could afford to spend feats on non-archery things. still get decent Wis synergy. have just as many skills as an inquisitor. some spells for utility (and gravity bow). favored enemy could come in pretty handy if you have some idea what you'll be mostly fighting (or once you get access to Instant Enemy), or you could take Guide for the focused enemy. and an animal companion could be very useful. on top of all that, you get d10 hp, full BAB even when you can't flurry and earlier access to feats with BAB requirements (like improved snap shot).
Lot of great ideas here, guys.
I guess one of the big reasons I wanted to hang onto the paladin was for the Smite - the general idea of this character is to be an absolute hunter of evil. Put an arrow through a balor's eye at a hundred paces and whatnot. I'm not typically a code person, but the paladin's code works very well for this character.
That being said, I'm not opposed to a different option, although I really would prefer to have Smite access. The Empyreal Sorcerer is a great idea, but not really what I'm looking for. I'm not super-hot on the ranger idea, but compelling reasons will certainly pique my interest. The Inquisitor is an intriguing idea that I hadn't considered - I'm definitely open to the idea.
Blackblood - No build yet, still playing with some options. 25 pt buy. I'll probably end up playing a half-celestial, but not sure what yet. Open to race suggestions as well.
I'm going to go ahead and also suggest the Inquisitor, especially with the Heretic archetype (although that's just a personal favorite of mine).
You want to Smite? Or you want to be a holy hunter who slays the enemies of his church? Paladin comes with all these restrictions--what you can and can't do, who you can and can't kill. But inquisitors get judgments, which are in some ways almost as devastating as smites. They can be used against any enemy you feel like (not just evil), and they can be switched up during a fight if you need to alter your plans. For archers, there are a few in particular that will let you really rack up the damage.
The true beauty comes with all of the Wis synergy, though. Inquisitors get:
--Wisdom-based spellcasting at a 6-level progression, with a nice array of spells good for combat and utility.
--Wisdom-based skills. Basic inquisitor adds Wisdom to Knowledge checks to identify monsters, so you'll be able to put an arrow through that balor's eye at a hundred paces and know that that's the best way to do it. If you go Heretic, you instead add Wisdom to Bluff and Stealth checks, so you're able to easily get wherever you need to go to dole out your own version of justice. And if you take the Conversion Inquisition--which you probably should--you can use Wisdom for your social skills. Wisdom-based Intimidate+Stern Gaze=One terrifying divine assassin.
--Wisdom to initiative. Go first, go last, all in one turn. Your enemies won't know what hit them.
Plus plenty of other goodies...
--Stern Gaze: Mentioned this earlier, you get to add 1/2 your level to Intimidate and Sense Motive, which can easily both be Wisdom-based skills for you. You'll be the archetypal badass who terrifies you with a look and doesn't get fooled.
--Detect Alignment: So you always know exactly what kind of morality you're dealing with. They don't ping as evil? Check to see if they're good.
--Track: Never lose your target.
--Bane: Limited usage, but you can really bring down an enemy fast when you need to.
And the list goes on from there. Wall of text I know, and it's probably coming mainly from my love of the class--one of my absolute favorites--but I really strongly urge you to look into it. I think it's the best option out there right now to make a strongly flavorful divine hunter.
Well that just sounds beautiful. Certainly sounds like something that is worth giving up Smite for, without a doubt. Inquisitor's never been a class I've really done a whole lot of poking in, and I've never actually played in a group with one, so I don't tend to assign it a position of "worth thinking about" since it rarely comes to mind! Foolishness on my part.
Any further thoughts from anyone on the specializing in crafting Slaying arrows?
My thoughts on the Slaying Arrow idea are:
1) Slaying arrows seem really expensive for being so pigeon-holed. You have to pick a creature type WHEN YOU MAKE IT, and then it might be money down the drain if/when they pass their Fort save.
2) If you are interested in the Inquisitor route, which it seems you are, you gain the Bane ability at level 5, which lets you deal extra damage to a particular creature type, just like Slaying Arrows do (just not as much) but for free. You could easily flavor this as your character sitting around during off time "making" certain arrows that they then use when you use the Bane ability. There's even a limit on how often/long you can use the Bane ability, which can be flavored as you running out of your special arrows. Just seems easier than trying to fit in item crafting.
3) If you are dead set on creating them, the only requirement other than the Item Creation Feat (Craft Magic Arms and Armor) is the Finger of Death spell; a 7th/8th level spell that is too high for the Inquisitor (or Paladin for that matter) to cast. This means you'll have to take the +5 DC penalty for not being able to provide the spell, unless you can convince a team mate to provide the spell for you for that day every time you want to make an arrow. The Spellcraft DC is 5+ CL of the item (13 for the arrow) which equals a Spellcraft DC of 18. When you add in the +5 for not having the spell, that's a Spellcraft DC of 23. I'm not positive, but I believe for the greater verison it would be another +5 for not having Heighten Spell, though the requirement only mentions a Heightend Finger of Death, so since not providing the spell is already covered, it might still be the same DC, just takes longer because of the higher cost. So, for the greater version, you might be looking at a Spellcraft DC of 28. Archery is a bit feat intensive, but you can probably afford to spare a slot for Craft Magic Arms and Armor, so the only other thing is getting your Spellcraft check high enough. I don't know of anything, but if you can add your Wis instead of Int to it, that will help a lot.
Thanks for the input, everyone. Here's where I'm at.
I'm definitely going with the Inquisitor/Zen Archer gestalt, probably Heresy inquisition for the Wisdom-based social bonuses. I'd like to fill in the useless monk abilities the ZA keeps with a Qinggong monk, but I'd love some suggestions in that department.
I've decided (upon further review of the Slaying arrows, as they aren't even save or die anymore, LAME) to toss the Slaying arrow idea entirely. If necessary I'll just invest in some Bane arrows and call it a day, but my Bane ability should be mostly sufficient.
I'd also be interested in taking an archetype for the Inquisitor that completely eliminates the teamwork feats. I don't think I'll really benefit from them a lot, and I'd rather have something more useful for this character.
A few more things I'm looking for: must-have feats, some good options for Inquisitor spells to select, and a good spread of magic items (besides an efficient quiver, obviously) that would be particularly useful for such a character. I'm not against race suggestions as well, with the understanding that the half-celestial template will also be applied to this character. Chances are high this character will be coming in between 5th and 8th levels.
You can make a fine archer with a warpriest. The bonus feats get you early access to everything except improved precise shot, but you can negate the need for that by worshiping Erastil and taking the Deadeye Bowman trait. The Air blessing is great for archers.
You still need to be Dex primary, but it's probally the best non-ranger/Zen Archer/Paladin ranger you can make.
I'm in the midst of working on a character, a gestalt Zen Archer monk and likely a paladin of some sort. Is this a viable character that's going to be able to stay competitive?
Are you seriously asking that question? You could gestalt the Zen Archer with 20 levels of baker and he'd be dominant. There is almost nothing you can't gestalt with which can't help butl only make you even more cracked.
The only question is how you want your bread buttered?
Fighter... cracked BAB, and a whole crapton of MORE combat feats.
Spellcaster... well, spells, and all that, including Myrmidach Magus.
Support and force multiplication... Cleric and Hunter.
Rouge... Did I hear someone say sneak attack? take a couple of talents and have Vanish twice per day.