My starting stats are 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, and 15. I’m trying to figure out the best ‘bang for my buck’ build for a campaign starting at level one and (hopefully) ending at 20. When I say bang for my buck, I mean a character that is decent throughout the entire campaign. I was looking at being a straight Ranger with a Horse companion, but Zen Archery seems excellent as well. I just need help on deciding on the most consistent class.
FWIW though Fighter is probably the best straight archer, their Weapon Training and unique feats give them major edges in accuracy and damage, and their bonus feats are nice considering how many feats are involved in archery.
Ranger is a close second though and probably the better choice if you want a horse. They get less feats than Fighter and don't get Fighter-specific feats, but their combat style lets them get some cool feats early.
You might consider the Divine Marksman archetype. It trades away Ranger spells and a couple other things but gives you some okay extra feats and most importantly adds half of your highest favored enemy bonus to accuracy and damage even if you aren't attacking a favored enemy (Doesn't stack with your FE bonus if you ARE attacking a favored enemy. If you take this archetype you will want to put all of your FE +2s into one enemy type for the best passive bonus).
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Inquisitor is the best. Ranger is a close second though. Fighters aren't even in contention, IMHO. Both Inqusitor and Ranger can cast Named Bullet, which kicks archery damage into overdrive. Ranger in particular can abuse it even more thanks to Instant Enemy. But Inquisitor is more well-rounded overall, IMHO.
I've posted on this many times and I admit I'm gonna copy and paste in a moment just to make my life easier. But honestly I would go with the sactified slayer Inquisitor, every level will just kinda ramp you up and honestly you can kill a lot of things fast. This is assuming you took the trait fate's favored. I would go human and move stats to 13 str, 15 dex (I would put the +2 here) 12 con, 10 int, 14 wis and 8 cha... I'm not keen on it but str and wis might need to be switched (when investing in a composite longbow might be easier to just go with +2)
Lvl 1 Point blank and Precise Divine favor will give you +2 hit and damage and studied is +1 hit and damage
Level 3 Rapid shot and friendly fire maneuvers
level 5 boon companion if you go with a AC) At this point divine favor will give you +3 hit and damage, studied will be up to +2 hit and damage and you should pick up the spell bloodhound and give pheromone arrows (for a untyped +2 hit and damage) So by this point with a +1 composite longbow (+2str) 2 arrows in the air at 9 to hit 1D8+10 damage (not counting point blank) also not counting if you want something really dead you bane them for +2 hit and damage and 2d6 damage for each arrow