Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Tale of Two Archers



By Joe Amon

Archers have always fascinated me, both in fiction and in history.  I've had a really hard time, though, putting together an archer character that I wanted to play.  When I started making D Rev builds, I knew I wanted to make a fantasy magical archer character, but wasn't sure what class/path combination would give me what I wanted.  After alot of playing around, I came up with two options: a gunboy and a scout.  Both of these are magical archers, in that they do things with their bow and arrows besides putting holes in people and in that they fill a variety of roles in the party.

The Awesome Archer


Quote: “Sure, I can knock that can off the top of that barn blindfolded.  The question is, can you afford to pay up when you lose the bet?”

Why Build it?

Ever wanted to be a total D-bag but your friends threaten to leave you in the woods if you do? 
Well, now you can channel your desire to mess with people against tiny, fake people in the Hodgepocolypse.  Attack when it’s not your turn, stop enemies from charging you, prevent enemies from hitting your teammates as they run around the board…the possibilities to be irritating are endless.

You should also reskin all your special attack feats to be special arrows, so you can play that superhero archer you’ve always dreamed of.  And hey, trick arrows!

One downside to the build: all joking aside, you need your teammates to play along to get maximum use out of this build.  Enemies have to provoke attacks of opportunity for you to shoot at them when it’s not your turn and you’re going to need someone else to set that off (see combat maneuvers for some ideas).

Who Are You?

For some reason, while all the other kids were playing with revolvers, plasma guns and chainswords, you picked up a piece of wood with a string and started sending arrows all over the place.  You’ve gotten a lot better since then.

People tell you you’re arrogant.  They’re right.  You’ve trained your body and mind to turn simple shafts of wood into a symphony.  Is it your fault if they can’t face the music?

Race: Human
Class: Combatant/gungal
Attribute focus: Dex.  A little Cha also never hurt anyone, especially if you’re going for a performer type character.

Skills Focus: Gunplay (reskinned as Bowplay).  Use Vehicle and Acrobatics (good if you want to do vehicle stuns).

Equipment:

Your bow will be your main focus, of course.  This character tends to not move a lot, so feel to invest in some medium armor.  Trick arrows and the inevitable Efficient Quiver should do the trick.


Level 1
Feats: Combat Reflexes.  CR: Stand Still
Talents: General Bowmanship.  Sharp Shooting.  SS: Reflex Shot

Tactics:  The basis of this build starts from level one: attack when it’s not your turn.  Reflex shot gives you the ability to make attacks of opportunity at range, Stand Still lets you use those attacks to stop enemy movement.  Sharp Shooting gives you a second attack chance if you miss the first, and combat reflexes means you can do all this multiple times a round.  General Bowmanship is a great out of combat skill that lets you be the talk of the town and gather some extra GB out of combat.  Also useful for skill challenges. 

Level 5
Feats:  CR: Combat Adaption.  Point Blank Shot. (Improved Combat Maneuvers: Trip, Disarm)
Talents: Boot Camp.  Vital Spot.  Vital Spot: Armor Penetration

Tactics: Here’s where you start to add more arrows to your quiver, so to speak.  Combat Adaption and Point Blank Shot mean you can stack attacks on those hard to reach enemies.  Vital Spot and VS: Armor Penetration mean you’re more likely to do higher amounts of damage when you do hit.  Boot Camp, with its associated combat maneuver skills, is useful for when people get too close, but is really going to pay off at the next level.

Level 10
Feats: Precise Shot.  Cover Fire.  CR: Punitive Strike
Talents: Defensive Position.  VS: Combat Maneuvers.  Favourite Weapon: Bow
Achievement: Combat Reflexes (See Book of Adventure)

Tactics: Now you’re in superhero territory.  VS: Combat maneuvers means you get “trip” and “disarm” arrows, Precise Shot means you can shoot past your friends and into enemies, and Cover Fire is a “smoke” arrow that gives your allies cover.  CR: Punitive Strike means you can now use Stand Still even against enemies using a 5 foot step: you control the battlefield.  Defensive positon gives you a great boost to your AC while you stand behind cover and fire.  FW: Bow gives you extra to hit and damage on your weapon of choice.  And, if you’re using

Achievements from the Book of Adventure, you now get extra bonuses on all your opportunity attacks.  Make as many of them as you can.

Level 15
Feats: CM: Agile Manuevers.  CM: Trip Improved
Talents: Gun Club.  Amor Specialization.  Duck and Cover.  SS: Ricochet.
Tactics: Now you’re moving into supreme D-bag territory (against the enemy, of course). 
Armor Spec adds to your ability to dodge all the hate that will be coming your way, as will Duck and Cover.  CM: Agile Manuevers and CM: Trip Improved means you’re even better at dropping enemies on their faces.  SS: Ricochet means they can’t hide from you, and Gun Club is for those special occasions when you get rushed by an enemy, thinking you’re a wimpy archer. 

Level 20
Feats: CM: Disarm Improved.  CM: Boot to the Head.  Critical-Improved
Talents:  Combat Damage Reduction.  Combat Sense.  CS: Sudden ActionGunguy Master Ability: Perfect Trick Shot
Achievement: Tripping (See Book of Adventure)
Tactics: Supreme trickster.  CM: Disarm Improved means it’s easier than ever to turn a badass enemy into an unarmed chump.  CM: Boot to the Head let’s your friends get in on the action and attack the people you’re sending to the ground.  Combat Sense means a better to hit, CS: Sudden Action means better initiative and Combat Damage Reduction means, even if they do hit you, your sheer awesomeness makes you bulletproof (sort of).
Critical-Improved adds a little more to your already impressive crit range (and you get extra damage on crits from Vital Strike).  Perfect Trick Shot is for those desperate moments when you have to show off…I mean, save the day. 

And, if you are using Achievements, you now have the tripping achievement.  Which means you can shoot one arrow, trip as many enemies as you feel you can get away with, and do Boot the Head for each one.  That is epic level controller right there.  Make sure everyone knows it.


The Spectre


Quote: “…”  *Arrow hits target* “…”
Why Build it?
To be an irritating half elf who prances around the battlefield and shoots people, of course.
This stealth sniper uses the scout’s skirmisher and sneak attack ability to add more damage dice to each attack.  They’re not flashy or loud: they may spend several rounds just trying to line up the perfect shot.  But when that shot hits, it should do damage equal to higher level spells or modern weaponry. 
One disadvantage of this build is that is requires a player and gamemaster to be on the same page when it comes to rules for Stealth in combat.  If you’re going to try this build, you will need to sit down with your GM and hash out the stealth rules and how your character can twist them to her advantage. 
Why use a bow, instead of a rifle?  Because then you can switch between different kinds of arrows as a fast action, rather than having to reload an entire clip.  :D

Who Are You?
You’ve heard it all; that you’re overcompensating for the elven part of your heritage, that you can’t have real relationships because you’re always hiding, that you need to grow up and stop playing Robin Hood (whoever that is).  All that talking usually stops when bandits and raiders show up, though, so that’s something.
Your origins can be as plain or as unusual as you want them to be.  What matters is who you are now: a sneak attacking, one shotting badass.  Let the others run around waving their arms and screaming their ridiculous war cries: you’re hiding in the back, where no one is looking.  You’ll strike when they least expect it.

Race: Half-Elf
Class: Adventurer/Scout
Attribute focus: Dex (will need 19 for some feats)
Skills Focus: Stealth.  Survival and Knowledge: Nature if you want to be a survivalist.  Add Ride, Perform and some charisma skills and you’ll be taking over Sherwood Forest in no time.

Equipment:
Your bow will be the most distinctive thing about you.  When you’re high enough level, you might want to consider two bows, one tech and one magic, for those days when everything you run into is magic resistant.  Tech arrows are a must and you might want to invest in an Efficient Quiver.
You’ll also need equipment and armor that adds to your stealth abilities.  The Fetish of the Unseen is almost a necessity for this character.

Level 1
Feats: Point Blank Shot.  Precise Shot.
Talents: Skill Monkey (Stealth), Sneak Attack
Tactics:  See those stealth rules in the rulebook?  Abuse the heck out of them.  Take every opportunity to hide on the battlefield so you can get your extra Sneak Attack damage.  And so you don’t get shot.
Point Blank and Precise Shot means you can harass your enemies from far away (just not too far away) while your allies harass them up close.  Skill Monkey gives you a wide range of out of combat usefulness, as well as a boost to that all important stealth skill. 

Level 5
Feats: Dodge, Mobility
Talents: Skirmisher, Sneak Attack, Expert Tracker
Tactics: Dodge means you’re less likely to get hit if you do get spotted on the battlefield.  Mobility means you have more freedom of movement, especially if you get pinned into melee by some folks who don’t like you shooting them. 
Here’s the thing about Skirmisher: if you move 10 feet and shoot a flat footed enemy, you can get skirmish and sneak attack bonus damage.  This is where you start stacking up your potential damage output.  Expert Tracker gives you more out of combat bonuses and is the starting point for a nifty power you’ll get later.

Level 10
Feats: Precise Shot- Improved.  Pinpoint Targeting (need Dex 19).  Shot on the Run
Talents: Skirmisher.  Sniper Stance.  Surefooted.
Tactics: Level 10 is when things get interesting.  By now, you should have the Dex to put together PS- Improved, Pinpoint Targeting and Shot on the Run.  This means you suddenly have whole range of combat options.  You can move 10+ feet, shoot, and then take the rest of your move action to find cover.  You can forgo all other actions and combine Sniper Stance and Pinpoint targeting: meaning you make one ranged touch attack with all your Skirmisher and Sneak Attack damage.  Or any other combination of attacks you can think up; chances are you’re going to get a bonus somewhere. 
Surefooted is a nice, quiet talent that will make it harder for your enemies (and your gamemaster) to back you into a place where you can’t get your full movement.  Feel free to let out some “elvish” laughter as you dance away. 

Level 15 (2, 4)
Feats: Rapid Shot.  Critical Improved
Talents: Skirmisher.  Sneak Attack.  Darkvision.  Blindsense.

Tactics: Now it’s time to put some icing on your stealthkill cake.  Rapid Shot gives you yet another combat option: 4 shots you can put anywhere on the battlefield.  Combine with some funky tech arrows if you feel like letting your inner controller out.  Critical Improved means you have an opportunity to do even more damage when those shots hit.
You’re adding another dice of Skirmisher and Sneak Attack damage to deal with those really big monsters you’re encountering now.  And, since you’ve spent all that time skulking in the shadows, Darkvision and Blindsense means it’s harder to hide from you. 

Level 20
Feats: Critical- Greater.  Weapon specialization: bow.  Dodge-Improved.
Talents: Skirmisher.  Sneak Attack.  Blindsense Improved.
Scout Master Ability: Slip Through the Grass

Tactics: And now, at level 20, you are a sneak attack, long distance, stealth machine.  We’re going to add the finishing touches with Critical-Greater (no more missed crits), Weapon Spec Bow and Dodge Improved (every little bit helps).  Also, we’re adding more damage dice to Skirmisher and Sneak Attack and adding Blindsense-Improved, so now no one can hide from you.
Use Slip Through the Grass when you want to really impress your friends with your stealth skills. 


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