Archer, Adventuring (3.5e Class)

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The Adventuring Archer[edit]

The adventuring archer lives for, well, adventure. They excel in ranged combat and survival, relying on their allies and quick wits to avoid the edges of blades.

Making an Adventuring Archer[edit]

Abilities: Dexterity, dexterity, and more dexterity. Wisdom is helpful for some of the finer points of archery, as well as improving their poor will saves, and constitution is always helpful with their limited hit points.

Races: Adventuring archers tend to be members of more dexterous races, though exceptional individuals are common. Most of the ranks of this group consist of humans, elves, half-elves, and halflings. Dwarves, gnomes, and half-orcs tend to lack the coordination required to excel as an archer.

Alignment: Any.

Starting Gold: 6d4x10gp (150 gp).

Starting Age: As ranger.

Table: The Adventuring Archer

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st + 1 +0 +2 +0 Power Shot,Weapon Finesse
2nd + 2 +0 + 3 +0 Endurance
3rd +3 +1 +3 +1 Hamstring,Weapon Focus
4th +4 +1 + 4 +1 Bonus Feat,Evasion
5th + 5 +1 + 4 +1 High Ground,Shot on the Run
6th +6/+1 +2 + 5 +2 Woodland Stride,Weapon Specialization
7th +7/+2 +2 +5 +2 Contingency Plan,Diehard
8th +8/+3 +2 + 6 +2 Arm Shot,Bonus Feat
9th +9/+4 +3 +6 +3 Greater Weapon Focus
10th + 10/+5 +3 + 7 +3 Exceptional Mobility,Leg Shot
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +7 +3 Dextrous Handling
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +8 +4 Bonus Feat,Improved Critical,Greater Weapon Specialization,Uncanny Archery
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +8 +4
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +9 +4 Uncanny Dodge
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +9 +5
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +10 +5 Bonus Feat
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +6
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +6 Bonus Feat

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Escape Artist (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex)

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of The Adventuring Archer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Adventuring Archer is proficient in the use of light armor, as well as all simple, martial weapons, and ranged exotic weapons.

Power Shot (Ex): At 1st level, the adventuring archer gains power shot, as the Power Attack feat, for ranged attacks. Power shot damage is treated as a sneak attack for purposes of special ability usage (ex. does not apply to additional manyshot arrows).

Weapon Finesse (Ex): At 1st level, the adventuring archer gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat, even if they do not meet the normal prerequisites for that feat.

Endurance (Ex): At 2nd level the adventuring archer gains Endurance as a bonus feat.

Hamstring (Ex): After 3rd level, while executing a melee attack, the archer may choose to execute a hamstring, with a -2 penalty to the attack roll. On a successful attack, the target will have its base land speed reduced by half, to a minimum of 10 feet. In addition, the target will be rendered incapable of running, and will be encumbered as if its carried weight has been increased by one category (i.e. light load becomes medium, medium becomes heavy, etc). The effects of the hamstring last for 1d4 + Wisdom modifier rounds, but the duration can be reduced by half (to a minimum of 1 round) if the target makes a successful fortitude save (DC = Wisdom bonus + 1/2 adventuring archer level + 10). A heal check may be made as a full-round action, at the same DC, to negate the effects of the hamstring. The target may not move during the round the heal check is being made. If a creature is already affected by hamstring and is hit by another hamstring the effects do not stack, instead the duration is calculated from the most recent hamstring applied. Creatures that are immune to critical hits are immune to this attack.

Weapon Focus (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, and every 3 levels thereafter, up to 12th level, the adventuring archer gains Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, and their Greater forms, as well as Improved Critical, as bonus feats, regardless of whether they meet the prerequisites for the feats. All of the feats must specialize in the same weapon, selected at level 3, and it must be a ranged weapon that the character is proficient with.

Bonus Feat (Ex): At 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the adventuring archer gains a Bonus Feat.

Evasion (Ex): At 4th level, an adventuring archer can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If they make a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, they instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the adventuring archer is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless adventuring archer does not gain the benefit of evasion.

High Ground (Ex): After 5th level, if the adventuring archer is at least 5 vertical feet above their target, they gain a +2 circumstance bonus to all attack rolls made against them. The effective range of the archer's special abilities (such as Sneak Attack and Point Blank Shot) is doubled. The effects of this ability cannot increase the range of the archer's attacks beyond the archer's maximum range.

Shot on the Run (Ex): After achieving 5th level, the adventuring archer gains Shot on the Run as a bonus feat, regardless of whether they meet the normal prerequisites for the feat.

Woodland Stride (Ex): Starting at 6th level, an adventuring archer may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at their normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment.

Contingency Plan (Ex): Upon reaching 7th level, if the archer is engaged in melee combat, they may choose to use the effects of contingency plan. Under the contingency plan, the archer may make melee attacks with their arrows, applying all the standard bonuses they would receive as if it were a ranged attack (bonuses from bows, crossbows, and slings are not applied), though ranged special abilities cannot be applied. In addition, the archer uses their bow, crossbow, or sling as a shield (no penalties for non-proficiency), giving them an AC bonus of 1 + (any modifiers the weapon has, such as a shortbow +1) against melee attacks. Standard melee weapons may not be used while the archer is wielding a bow or crossbow, as they are still considered 2-handed weapons. Attacks made while using a sling as a shield do not suffer two-weapon fighting penalties, though standard ranged attack bonuses only apply if the archer is attacking with bullets or other ammunition.

Diehard (Ex): Upon reaching 7th level, the adventuring archer gains Diehard as a bonus feat.

Arm Shot (Ex): At 8th level, an adventuring archer may target a creature's arms. The archer attacks at a -2 penalty. If the attack hits the creature takes normal damage from the attack, and takes a -2 penalty on all melee attacks for 1 + Wisdom modifier rounds (minimum 1). If a creature is already affected by arm shot and is hit by another arm shot the effects do not stack, instead the duration is calculated from the most recent arm shot applied. Creatures that are immune to critical hits are immune to this attack.

Exceptional Mobility (Ex): By 10th level, the archer is exceptionally capable of moving in combat, and can use the Shot on the Run feat during a full-round attack, though the archer can only move before or after the attack, and at half their movement speed. In addition, while fighting on unsteady terrain (slippery, uneven, or the like), the archer may choose to take 10 on any balance check, even if distracted or endangered. The adventuring archer no longer needs to make concentration checks due to the terrain they're standing on, or any other natural environmental effects.

Leg Shot (Ex): At 10th level, an adventuring archer may target a creature's legs to attempt to hinder its movement. The archer makes an attack at a -2 penalty. If the attack hits, the creature takes normal damage from the attack, and moves at half its normal speed (to a minimum of 10 feet), which affects the creature’s jumping distance as normal for decreased speed. The reduced movement speed lasts for 1 + Wisdom modifier rounds (minimum 1). If a creature is already affected by leg shot and is hit by another leg shot the effects do not stack, instead the duration is calculated from the most recent leg shot applied. Creatures that are immune to critical hits are immune to this attack.

Dextrous Handling (Ex): Beginning at 11th level, the adventuring archer's dexterity is an exceptional augmentation to their ranged attacks. The archer adds half their dexterity modifier, rounded up, to their ranged attack damage. This does not stack with strength modifiers for composite bows, only the higher modifier will be added to damage.

Uncanny Archery (Ex): At 12th level and beyond, an archer may fire even in the midst of melee, and in fact excels at it. The archer no longer provokes attacks of opportunity for firing in melee, and receives a +2 bonus to ALL damage, including all projectiles fired with manyshot, for every 10 feet closer than 40 feet the target is (i.e. +2 dmg at 30 feet, +4 dmg at 20 feet, +6 dmg at 10 feet, +8 dmg when directly adjacent). The adventuring archer no longer needs to make concentration checks due to attacks being made against them.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 14th level, an adventuring archer can react to danger before their senses would normally allow them to do so. They retain their Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if they are caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, they still lose their Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

Adventuring Archer Bonus Feats List: Armor Proficiency (medium), Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Mobility, Diehard, Improved Critical, Improved Initiative, Mounted Archery (can gain even if they do not meet prerequisites), Point Blank Shot, Far Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Manyshot, Shot on the Run, Improved Precise Shot, Quick Draw, Rapid Reload, Run, Track

Halfling Adventuring Archer Starting Package[edit]

Armor: Padded Armor

Weapons: Sling, Short Sword.

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Balance 4 Dex -0
Hide 4 Dex -0
Jump 4 Str -0
Move Silently 4 Dex -0
Survival 4 Wis
Tumble 4 Dex -0

Feat: Point Blank Shot.

Bonus Feats: Weapon Finesse.

Gear: Standard Adventurer's Kit, Hempen Rope (50 ft.), Pouch of 10 bullets (10), Explorer’s Outfit.

Gold: 5d4x10 (125) gp.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing an Adventuring Archer[edit]

Religion: Many Adventuring Archers are woodsmen and explorers, and thus tend to worship gods of nature and travel. Adventuring Archers are known to worship all manner of gods, however.

Other Classes: Adventuring archers' relationships with those around them vary greatly based on the individual. Adventuring archers are as diverse as the world itself.

Combat: Pounding opponents from a distance, slowing their approach to you, and dispatching them with deadly close-range shots. Despite their frailty, adventuring archers are skilled survivalists and combatants.

Advancement: Common multiclass options include scout, rogue, ranger, and warrior. Scouts and rogues offer sneak attack damage at close range, while rangers and warriors offer additional feats and hit points.

Adventuring Archers in the World[edit]

Adventuring archers' lifestyle is more heavily based on the adventuring than the archery. They tend not to be especially interested in other members of their own class, though many enjoy boasting their exceptional combat skills.

"Boy were those bugbears surprised when I launched a bag-full of bullets at them. The one that wasn't smart enough to run had more lead in his face than flesh."
—Kirk Hopskipper, Halfling Adventuring Archer

Daily Life: Generally adventuring, like every other friggin' class.

Notables: None, aside from Kirk Hopskipper, Example Starting Package Extraordinaire.

Organizations: No known organizations.

NPC Reactions: Neutral.

Adventuring Archers in the Game[edit]

<-How characters of this class fit in the game (PC and NPC) and what roles they play.->

Adaptation: <-Possible variant conceptions of this class.->.

Sample Encounter: <-DM placement for NPCs of this class.->.

EL : <-Encounter scenario and character info on sample NPC including stat block. The CR of the NPC is typically the same as the EL for the encounter.->.

Author's Note[edit]

I generally don't play any campaigns past level 12, and by level 15 classes like Monk are so OP that things get ridiculous. Overall, the archer gets about the same number of feats as a fighter does by level 10, but has d4 HD and poor saves. This class is supposed to be something of a slippery glass cannon. If something manages to close on them, they're as good as dead. I haven't had a chance to test this class out, so I wouldn't call it finished. The whole idea is a DPS class that needs the group to survive. Specific bonus feats (endurance, diehard, weapon finesse) are given out because I felt the last was very necessary and the other two go well with the class theme, but are unlikely to be picked over ranged combat feats.

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