Need Help with Ranged Build


Advice


So I haven't been playing in a loooooong time due to my group having dissipated on account of mixed schedules. I'm trying to get back into writing and a lot of my inspiration comes from D&d/Pathfinder. I have a character concept in mind for someone whose essentially a guardian of a forest. I'm thinking ranger/arcane archer; ranger/arcane trickster; or something along those lines.

He basically guides the PC/Main party towards a rare interaction with the "Dryad Queen" who delivers information on what the PC's mission entails, where to journey to, and prepares them with an unexpected surprise.

This character is high level with connections across the continent, though he's but a young prodigy. Hope to see some creative builds that'll inspire me to take this character to the next level :)


How high is high level? 10th or 20th?

If you're looking at something like 'ranger, but more magical' then the hunter class might fit. They also focus on the animal companion more intensely than a ranger.

If arcane magic is the exact flavour of magic you like and the ranger class is essential then arcane archer (e.g. ranger 1 / wizard 6 / eldritch knight 2 / arcane archer 10) or arcane trickster (e.g. poison darter ranger 4 / wizard 1 {w/accomplished sneak attacker feat}/ arcane trickster 10) can certainly work.

Incidentally if you're in the USA or your schedule is compatible with USA time zones then there are online games via Roll20 or similar which you might like to get into. It can be easier than finding a group you like in the same city.


There are lots of ways to build a powerful Ranged combatant. Some classic ones are Ranger, Monk with the Zen Archer Archetype, Paladin, and Inquisitor. Warpriest is a good one. You like Arcane Archer, so do I.

I have a PFS character who at level 3 is a terrific archer. She has a level or 2 in Ranger. She has Precise Shot. She has a Wand of Gravity Bow, so her arrows do 2d6 instead of 1d8. You can finagle Enlarge Person so you can shoot large arrows, combined with Gravity Bow doing Huge Damage: 3d6. that's cool. Some people have observed that Enlarge Person is not so good for a Ranged build: you take a Size Penalty on your Attack Roll, and you lose 2 points of Dexterity, resulting in an even bigger Attack Penalty. But for an extra die of damage, it might be worth it.

Warpriests' and Zen Archers' arrows do more damage as they gain levels.

Inquisitors' Bane and Paladins' Smite Evil work great with arrows.

You could be a Ninja. Take Vanishing Trick and the Rogue Talent False Attacker. Once you are hidden through a combination of Stealth and Vanishing, you can use False Attacker to Bluff as a Swift Action to make your targets think your arrows are coming from some other direction, so you can keep sniping without breaking Stealth. For this, though, I was thinking in terms of using a Wand of Scorching Ray rather than a bow, so you would be making Ranged Touch Attacks vs. Flatfooted AC that lock in Sneak Attack Damage.

If you dip 3 levels in Bard with the Flame Dancer Archetype, you give you and your allies the ability to see through fire and smoke. So then, you make smoke. An Eversmoking Bottle costs only 5400gp and it will make everyone around you within like 100' unable to see, except for you and your party because of the Song of Fiery Gaze. Now you can shoot your Blind victims all you want and lock in your Sneak Attack Damage.

With the Grenadier Archetype and the Explosive Missile Discovery, Alchemists can shoot exploding arrows. That would work with guns, too. Then you could be a Gunchemist. I was thinking Goblin...


Depending on what you want from the Arcane Trickster version, I would suggest Eldritch Archer Magus instead of Wizard. The sole reason being able to Spell Combat and getting an alternate version of Imbue Arrow (single target vs AoE).

Slightly less good (as Ranger/Wizard/Arcane Archer), but it opens up more options, is Ranger/Eldritch Archer/Arcane Archer. You would lose the high Level Wizard AoE spells, but you do bet more flexibility with how/which spells you shoot. Effectively, you can spell Combat to Shot an AoE Imbued Arrow, to then quick cast a ray spell and land then via reach Spellstrike.

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If all you want Imbue Arrow, then you can use Hinterlander instead. In exchange for getting Imbue Arrow really late, you can get bonuses for being near low population settlements (Ex: a farm), improve Favored Enemy, and some bonus archery feats.

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Also dont forget to look at the new Prestige class feats, they are kind of cool. Arcane Archer can get more Enhance Arrow options or more/better Hail of Arrows. Arcane Trickster can get a feat to debuff the will save of Sneak Attack victims.

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Finally, you dont need an Arcane class to enter Arcane Archer. You could instead get the Deadeye Devotee Prestige class archetype (released in a paizo blog post), you just need to worship Erastil (and within 1 step of lawful good). It replaces Seeker Arrow with the ability to shoot Cure/Inflict wounds spells.

Arcane Trickster also got an Archetype, that uses Phychic casting as a pre-req.


avr wrote:

How high is high level? 10th or 20th?

If you're looking at something like 'ranger, but more magical' then the hunter class might fit. They also focus on the animal companion more intensely than a ranger.

If arcane magic is the exact flavour of magic you like and the ranger class is essential then arcane archer (e.g. ranger 1 / wizard 6 / eldritch knight 2 / arcane archer 10) or arcane trickster (e.g. poison darter ranger 4 / wizard 1 {w/accomplished sneak attacker feat}/ arcane trickster 10) can certainly work.

Incidentally if you're in the USA or your schedule is compatible with USA time zones then there are online games via Roll20 or similar which you might like to get into. It can be easier than finding a group you like in the same city.

Higher level the better. I'm very open as he will primarily be used in writing. Maybe brought to the roleplaying world if I ever DM down the road but simply looking to learn anything interesting the gives off the vibe I have for this character in my mind.


I am open to all ideas my friends. I'm mostly interested in seeing a diversity of ideas as my image of the character may shift to a degree based on what I can learn here.

He has to have a deep love of nature which is why I immediately went to ranger, and his animal companion (Bear) will play a significant role.


KitsuneKid wrote:
I'm trying to get back into writing and a lot of my inspiration comes from D&d/Pathfinder.

Okay, so this character is going to be a literary character in addition to a Pathfinder Character, so you will be interested in a thematic, roleplaying concept at least as much as a game-mechanics concept.

KitsuneKid wrote:
He basically guides the PC/Main party towards a rare interaction with the "Dryad Queen" who delivers information on what the PC's mission entails, where to journey to, and prepares them with an unexpected surprise.

So, you said you are getting back into playing. Are you in fact getting back into running? Will you be the GM?

KitsuneKid wrote:
This character is high level with connections across the continent,

Sure, he's a quest-giver.

KitsuneKid wrote:
though he's but a young prodigy.

Is he actually young, or does he just appear young, like an elf or something?

He and the Dryad Queen are both quest-givers for the party. So, what exactly is his relationship with the Dryad Queen?. Is he some young hunter who encountered this stunningly beautiful, wild, wise, wood nymph in the woods and his chasing after her, striving to complete quests himself to win her heart? Has she already taken him for her lover. Dryads have a reputation for keeping charmed slaves to use to protect their forests. He might have been in her service for centuries.

Lots mechanical character builds can work for your character. Personally, I like to multiclass a lot, taking a few levels of this and that in order to cobble together powers, spells, feats and class abilities that I think are powerful and cool.

Ranger, Warpriest, Inquisitor, and Arcane Archer are all obvious choices. My suggestion for a 3 level dip in Bard will probably make the character too powerful as a support for your party, but a dip in Bard can give a hint of Bardic Knowledge to give the party some hints in the right direction. My idea for an Alchemist shooting exploding arrows or a Vanishing Ninja are less natury, although, you could have 2 Alchemist Archers shooting exploding arrows! Add an old Druidzilla Hierophant named Uncle Jesse, and the 4 of them, Dryad in her gingham halter top and her short-short cutoffs, and 2 good ole boys shooting exploding arrows are the Dukes of Hazard! Maybe let them share a sufficiently large animal companion named General Lee? A bear you said, an orange bear...


KitsuneKid wrote:
He has to have a deep love of nature which is why I immediately went to ranger, and his animal companion (Bear) will play a significant role.

Yeah, let's look at the hunter. On the one hand PF offers the courtly hunter archetype which makes your bear more intelligent and skilled, or on the other the basic, no-archetype hunter is exceptional at coordinating with their companion in combat.

Either archetype gets more spellcasting than a ranger (up to 6th level druid spells, any ranger spells) and at the high levels you're looking at a hunter can talk telepathically with their companion or raise it from the dead without using spells. Favored enemies are not a thing, but a hunter does get the animal aspect ability which allows their companion and them to take on aspects of various animals - e.g. the tiger to improve dexterity, or owl for stealth, or bear (whether or not he has a bear companion) for constitution.

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