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DnD3.5e: Making the Arcane Archer Not Suck

   
The only thing I would change about the skills is exchange Balance for Survival - again it strikes me as very much a Ranger-y class, so... yeah. Other than that, looks good to me.

The Arcane Archer was sad and pathetic before the change. It actually became less so, but still horrid. Your changes do nothing to alter this state.

I would have to disagree with Roy. This is looking more like a PrC I would actually play now. I'd say leave the possibility of Epic enhancement bonuses pre-epic. There are only 2 monsters in the MM that have DR/Epic anyway and one of them is a pushover for anyone with this much casting ability. Recall that any Psion with the Bolt power can be an archer penetrating this by level 16 (or earlier with any manifester level boosts/PP saving).

In any case, the original Arcane Archer sucked because of 3 reasons:

1. The only class feature worth worrying about came at level 2
2. Required spellcasting to enter, but didn't advance it
3. Crappy prerequisites and a ton of them.

You've managed to completely remove 2 and 3 and also gave a good capstone ability. I would, however, possibly look into some class features that weren't just money savers. As it is, though, I would play it. The ability to turn any targeted spell into possibly hitting a foe 20 times is rather juicy.

Also, people buy +1 weapons with a bunch of properties because it's just better that way. Unless I know I can't get a Greater Magic Weapon each day, I never go higher with one possible exception. Since MIC came out, I might get a +3 weapon for the Greater weapon crystals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snakeman830 View Post
I would have to disagree with Roy. This is looking more like a PrC I would actually play now. I'd say leave the possibility of Epic enhancement bonuses pre-epic. There are only 2 monsters in the MM that have DR/Epic anyway and one of them is a pushover for anyone with this much casting ability. Recall that any Psion with the Bolt power can be an archer penetrating this by level 16 (or earlier with any manifester level boosts/PP saving).

In any case, the original Arcane Archer sucked because of 3 reasons:

1. The only class feature worth worrying about came at level 2
2. Required spellcasting to enter, but didn't advance it
3. Crappy prerequisites and a ton of them.

You've managed to completely remove 2 and 3 and also gave a good capstone ability. I would, however, possibly look into some class features that weren't just money savers. As it is, though, I would play it. The ability to turn any targeted spell into possibly hitting a foe 20 times is rather juicy.

Also, people buy +1 weapons with a bunch of properties because it's just better that way. Unless I know I can't get a Greater Magic Weapon each day, I never go higher with one possible exception. Since MIC came out, I might get a +3 weapon for the Greater weapon crystals.
I have Roy on my ignore list, so I can't actually read anything he says anyway. That aside, I appreciate your input. As far as magic weapons go, I admit that I've never actually played a game that got sufficiently high enough level to take multiple weapon enhancements into consideration. I just assume that most martial characters would want flat enhancements most of the time, since it grants to-hit as well as damage. *Shrugs*

Just out of curiosity, what sort of "other class features" would you see a class like this having?

Bonus archery combat feats, or trick-shot feats? There's some really fun ones available, even if situational/underpowered, that provide you with a few more combat options.

I'd say the ability to fire a bow without provoking AoOs, but that's covered with a single 1st-level spell (arrow mind)...perhaps give them that spell's effect as a SLA, or a permanent/continuous benefit?

I never really saw a need for something like that, myself. I mean, between 5 ft. steps and 8/10 spellcasting, I don't see any reason an archer should have any trouble avoiding getting smacked in the head to begin with.

Ever faced enemies with reach?

Maybe something like traveling with the arrow? That could be a unique class feature. Alternatively, seeing things as though you were the arrow.

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Originally Posted by snakeman830 View Post
Ever faced enemies with reach?
I don't really see that as a problem when the character in question has an effective range of 100'+, and at least 3/4 spellcasting. I mean, regular full progression spellcasters have no problem with avoiding getting smacked in the face, right? So why would this be any different?

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Maybe something like traveling with the arrow? That could be a unique class feature. Alternatively, seeing things as though you were the arrow.
lol you know, I actually thought of a "you are the arrow" effect at one point, but then I thought "what purpose would that actually serve that they wouldn't already have through spellcasting?"

Ooh. Descent-style missile cam, writ d20!

On other matters, just having found this thread recently, tossing my own comments into the mix!
  • Enhance Arrow: As everyone else says, overlap not stack.
  • Imbue Arrow: Which spells are allowed needs to be much more clearly defined, and how they work. You'd probably want to stick to very very specific uses, like the original wording and maybe touch spells.
    Area spells (target is new center or point-of-origin of the area) but limit to specific shapes so you DON'T get someone trying to shoot a target with an Antimagic Field.
    Touch spells (target is spell's primary target, follow original spell's rules for any subsequent or additional targets). The word 'touch spell' is nonspecific enough to still allow you to put Disintegrate on this.
  • Seeker Arrow: Specify that you must be able to determine your target's location (correct square, if nothing else). Improved Precise Shot and the Seeking ranged weapon ability both have good wording for this.
  • Split Arrow: Playtest, fine, but my gut feel is 'No,' simply because anyone else is shelling out a minimum of 32,000 gp for this. Perhaps limit to a number of times each day or each encounter, or require investment like your Swift action.
  • Arrow of Death: Save DC based on half of your BAB? Dude, that's crazy. 10 + class level + spellcasting mod is what I'd recommend.
  • Improved Imbue Arrow: You...uh...might want to limit what spells can go into this. Even if you're going to cap it at 3rd-level arcane spells, I will totally load up on Vampiric Touch just to ensure a half-dozen targets eat 10d6 of damage and I get half of it back in temp HP.

Other options:
Give them the Power Shot effect to mitigate the archer's typical problem with DR.
Alternatively, give them the Transmuting effect (MIC weapon property) on any bow they wield. First round they'll still suck, but second round they can rock. (This one fits thematically, too, as they alter the energy signature of their arcane arrows to penetrate.)
Look at possibly providing AoOs within a limited radius, a la Peerless Archer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stam View Post
Enhance Arrow: As everyone else says, overlap not stack.
I already said why I wanted it to stack. If you have a reason, please state it clearly so as to facilitate discussion.

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Imbue Arrow: Which spells are allowed needs to be much more clearly defined, and how they work. You'd probably want to stick to very very specific uses, like the original wording and maybe touch spells.
Area spells (target is new center or point-of-origin of the area) but limit to specific shapes so you DON'T get someone trying to shoot a target with an Antimagic Field.
Touch spells (target is spell's primary target, follow original spell's rules for any subsequent or additional targets). The word 'touch spell' is nonspecific enough to still allow you to put Disintegrate on this.
I think the wording on the new spell is fine. I don't see anything wrong with a ranged AMF (this was actually one of the few core uses of the original Imbue Arrow, so taking it away would be rather silly).

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Seeker Arrow: Specify that you must be able to determine your target's location (correct square, if nothing else).
I kept the same wording from the original Seeker Arrow, simply changing it to a persistent ability, rather than a single-arrow-per-standard-action activated ability. You already have to know the enemy is there, and it's a seeker arrow. Just assume it says "homing arrow" if that helps.

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Split Arrow: Playtest, fine, but my gut feel is 'No,' simply because anyone else is shelling out a minimum of 32,000 gp for this. Perhaps limit to a number of times each day or each encounter, or require investment like your Swift action.
I'm still considering a swift action to activate, especially since doing so would force players to choose between using this, and using Improved Imbue Arrow, rather than stacking them on top of each other. But I don't see a problem with the ability itself.

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Arrow of Death: Save DC based on half of your BAB? Dude, that's crazy. 10 + class level + spellcasting mod is what I'd recommend.
The DC for the original Arrow of Death was DC 20. By the time a player gets this ability, the DC will be DC 26 (19 + 1/2 BAB), while the character is level 14 at the very earliest. At level 20, it's DC 30, and only increases by +1 every two levels (this is assuming the character has full BAB for the entirety of his adventuring career).

Assuming your change, the same character would receive this ability at level 14 with a DC of 18 + ability mod, which is probably going to be at least +7, which puts the DC right around the same spot mine currently is. I don't really see a difference here. And not only that, it hurts characters who are more martially focused like Rangers and Paladins.

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Improved Imbue Arrow: You...uh...might want to limit what spells can go into this. Even if you're going to cap it at 3rd-level arcane spells, I will totally load up on Vampiric Touch just to ensure a half-dozen targets eat 10d6 of damage and I get half of it back in temp HP.
Temporary HP from the same source doesn't stack.




 

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