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DnD3.5e: Making the Arcane Archer Not Suck

   
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Arrow of Death - At 8th level, an arcane archer can create an arrow of death that forces the target, if damaged by the arrow’s attack, to make a DC 15 + 1/2 Arcane Archer level + 1/2 BAB Fortitude save or be slain immediately. It takes one day to make an arrow of death, and the arrow only functions for the arcane archer who created it. The arrow of death lasts no longer than one year, and the archer can only have one such arrow in existence at a time. An Arrow of Death may still be split by the Split Arrows class feature, or any similar effect.
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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.
Let us examine this...

With the build as is, minimum level you're going to get Arrow of Death is character level 15 (this account for Level 1 casting class, and 6 levels of a full BAB progression class

Death Arrow save is going to be 15+7+7 = DC 29

Comparable save or die from a level 15 caster, assuming a base casting stat of 24 and a level 7 spell:

10 + 7 + 7 = DC 24

This does not include ways to increase caster level and spell difficulty. And the Arcane archer can only do this one, and then takes at least an hour to get it back... assuming he stops everything right there and starts to craft another arrow.


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Now, if you take level 20 arcane arher, same as above. If you assume a BAB of +18 and a caster level of +18 (which I'm sure is possible somewhere out there in build land), and a caster stat again of +24. You can have:

1. One death arrow, DC 15 + 10 + 9 = DC 34 Save or die

or

2. Imbue a level 8 save or die spell, DC 10 + 8 + 7 = DC 25 Save or die. Shoot 4 arrows, how it split into 8 arrows, now you have 8 save-or-die arrows.

I'd prefer #2, personally.

I would suggest you just make Death arrow a 1/hr ability, and ignore the whole crafting idea.

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Originally Posted by Wippit Guud View Post
Let us examine this...

With the build as is, minimum level you're going to get Arrow of Death is character level 15 (this account for Level 1 casting class, and 6 levels of a full BAB progression class
Level 14 for Duskblades, Paladins, and Rangers.

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Death Arrow save is going to be 15+7+7 = DC 29
15 + 4 + 7 = DC 26
It's 1/2 Arcane Caster level, not 1/2 Character Level.

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Comparable save or die from a level 15 caster, assuming a base casting stat of 24 and a level 7 spell:

10 + 7 + 7 = DC 24

This does not include ways to increase caster level and spell difficulty. And the Arcane archer can only do this one, and then takes at least an hour to get it back... assuming he stops everything right there and starts to craft another arrow.
Takes a day for him to get it back. It takes a full day to craft an Arrow of Death.

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1. One death arrow, DC 15 + 10 + 9 = DC 34 Save or die
DC 15 + 5 + 9 = DC 29

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2. Imbue a level 8 save or die spell, DC 10 + 8 + 7 = DC 25 Save or die. Shoot 4 arrows, how it split into 8 arrows, now you have 8 save-or-die arrows.

I'd prefer #2, personally.
Yeah, that was something I thought about while rewriting the class as well, but I decided to wait and see if anybody else brought it up as an issue before making any changes. I kept the Arrow of Death idea because I thought it was nice and thematic, but even if it's effected by Split Arrow, it's not hard to see that it's easier just to imbue arrows with Finger of Death every round.

So, I guess the real question is, do I make Arrow of Death more... deadly? Or do I nix instant-death spells from the Imbue list?

...good answers. I'll withdraw everything I said bar the first, with a side helping of d'oh for not having actually read through the Imbue Arrow ability.

On Enhance Arrow, every other mechanic in the game to enhance weaponry currently works this way (overlap, not stack). While you might disagree with it, this will be the single and only class with an exception to that rule. Specifically, in a world where the best archer from any other method can have a +5 bow, your Arcane Archer will be capable of obtaining a +10 bow. While it's not double the power (it is flat damage, and from either method you can still only reach a maximum of +15 in bow bonuses or their equivalent) it's double the bonus to attack and damage.

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Originally Posted by Stam View Post
On Enhance Arrow, every other mechanic in the game to enhance weaponry currently works this way (overlap, not stack). While you might disagree with it, this will be the single and only class with an exception to that rule. Specifically, in a world where the best archer from any other method can have a +5 bow, your Arcane Archer will be capable of obtaining a +10 bow. While it's not double the power (it is flat damage, and from either method you can still only reach a +15 in equivalent bow bonuses) it's double the bonus.
Yeah, I don't have a problem with that. Honestly, the only complaint I've seen about this is "no other class gets to do that," but when has that ever stopped a new class from getting original and creative abilities? There's this glass ceiling that everybody seems to be crowding under with "enhancements over +5 not allowed" scrawled on it that people are unwilling to break through. As a general rule, I agree that the weapon enhancement restrictions are in place for a reason, but I don't believe that it should be a stranglehold on class abilities that are otherwise fair and balanced.

If somebody can give me a legitimately good reason why it's unbalanced or abusive in some way, I will gladly look at other options. However, as it stands, I don't find "nobody else gets to do it" as a good enough reason to change it.

Hell, if it makes any real difference, I can add an addendum that states "Even though this ability may cause arrows to reach enhancement levels above +5, Enhance Arrow may not cause any weapon to be treated as an Epic weapon."

I don't see why having the Imbue Arrow stack with the bow's enhancement bonus is getting so much hate. It's not like it will unbalance anything.

I think it's that glass ceiling effect that I mentioned in my last post.

Also, I edited that post with an additional thought tacked on to the end.

You know, giving more thought to Imbue, I'm thinking of narrowing it to only area and touch spells. That should remove the problems of overlap with Arrow of Death, while maintaining a solid list of spells to use with the ability. What do you guys think?

Why not treat it as an Epic weapon? There are other ways of getting that (which are in the realm of single-classed casters/manifesters) pre-epic, and truthfully, it's not a big deal. As I said, there are only 2 monsters in the MM that have DR/Epic, one of them is a pushover for a full caster and the other is a CR 23. The fact that a weapon is considered Epic means jack for virtually any game.

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Originally Posted by Greyfeld View Post
If somebody can give me a legitimately good reason why it's unbalanced or abusive in some way, I will gladly look at other options. However, as it stands, I don't find "nobody else gets to do it" as a good enough reason to change it.
Let's see here...

Split Arrow comes in at L6, so there's a minimum level requirement of 12th to pick this up. At that point you'd have a BAB of +12 and a primary attack stat of at least +6 if not more. Add in Weapon Focus and other sundries, and you're probably looking at a regular archer coming up with a +20-+22 modifier to hit. They spent all their offensive-weaponry cash on a +2 Splitting Longbow, have Rapid Shot (obviously) and Improved Rapid Shot, plus some means of obtaining haste or a similar effect (since they're a volley archer). This gives them five attacks, which count as ten, each dealing 1d8 plus 4-8 depending on Str mod and choice of bow enchantment.

The Arcane Archer, using all of the same, can instead spring for a +3 Collision Longbow at the precise same price, and then stacks their +3 Imbue Arrow atop that. An additional +3 to hit and additional +8 to damage on all ten of those arrows.

(I suppose you might say my objection here is the potential combination of two class features!)

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Originally Posted by snakeman830 View Post
Why not treat it as an Epic weapon? There are other ways of getting that (which are in the realm of single-classed casters/manifesters) pre-epic, and truthfully, it's not a big deal. As I said, there are only 2 monsters in the MM that have DR/Epic, one of them is a pushover for a full caster and the other is a CR 23. The fact that a weapon is considered Epic means jack for virtually any game.
*Shrugs* I just thought it might mollify a lot of the snap judgments I'm seeing about the ability, without actually effecting its usefulness in 99% of combat encounters.





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