Bow Master (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Bow Master[edit]

Sometimes just for fun, we let them come within 15 paces of us!
—leader of a bow master squad
"This is harder than it looks!"

"What is, hitting all the targets in the center?"

"No, missing."

—anonymous with anonymous bow master


A Bow Master is the epitome of ranged weapon combat, his abilities with the bow are the stuff of legends and bards sing of their astonishing deeds. The Bow Master achieves his skill through dedication to his chosen weapon. To Bow Masters the act of fighting with a bow is not a choice of combat style, it is an art form that very few can appreciate. No matter what the pursuit of making their bowman ship an art form is what drives to search for battle.

Adventure: Bow masters view adventure as a chance to polish their skills and earn some gold at the same time. A bow master is never found wanting for a job as they always find an employer whose more than willing to hire them. Bow masters, in short, are either elite mercenaries who fight for gold or dedicated protectors of an area they consider important. However, in both cases they pursue total mastery of their art.

Characteristics: The most important ability of a bow master is his mastery of ranged combat, the bow master aims to end all engagements with his opponent never reaching him in close quarters because as long as he has range he can win. The bow master is prepared to fight all odds to win and has trained with the mindset that he will have no allies to assist him when fighting a band of foes.

Alignment: A bow master is eternally filled with wanderlust, always wanting to see new places and meet knew people (or feather them). This leads to a slight inclination towards chaotic instead of lawful. In his travels a bow master tends to defend the powerless rather than attack them leading to most bow masters being good instead of evil. However, bow masters come in all alignments and are not restricted to chaotic good, it's just the most common.

Religion: There is no set religion for bow masters, usually those who become bow masters continue to worship their base class deity.

Background: Usually it is rangers, fighters, and scouts that become bow masters. However there are a few ninjas and rogues who have also joined the ranks of the bow master, probably because they enjoy the ability to kill their foes over great distances. Who ever aspires to be a bow master is usually taught by another bow master, resulting in very few bow masters throughout the world due to the difficulty in finding a bow master willing to teach you.

Races: Humans, the versatile creatures that they are, approach the bow master class in the hopes of mastering the art of ranged combat. Elves, with their views of archery of as an art form see the bow masters as kindred in this regard and eagerly try to learn what they have mastered. Half-elves are attracted for both of these reasons. Halfings and half-orcs rarely become bow masters, halfings because a bow master is too famous, and half-orcs because of a lack of close range combat. Gnome bow masters enjoy the notoriety that follows bow master and will sometimes showcase his abilities as a performance, however this is not the norm. The few Dwarves that become bowmasters usually become famous for closely guarding their secrets.

Other Classes: The Bow master class is surrounded by superstition and mystery, as rumors claim that Bow masters can hit an ant across a forest and fell hundreds of men charging a hill with merely a dozen bow masters. Bow masters do nothing to disavow those rumors knowing that they merely intimidate their opponents and shroud their perceptions of the truth. As a result, many view the bow masters in awe or disbelief, and quickly ask them to display their legendary prowess, a request which bow masters usually refuse.

Role: A bow master should never be seen on the front lines, the bow master takes advantage of distance to feather their enemies before they even reach them.

Prerequisites[edit]

Base Attack Bonus: +6

Feats: Weapon Focus (longbow) or Weapon Focus (shortbow), Point Blank Shot or Rapid Shot, Run, Dodge

Skills: Spot 4 ranks, Listen 4 ranks, Intimidate 8 ranks


Table: The Bow Master
Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special
1st +1 +0 +2 +0 Bow Mastery
2nd +2 +0 +3 +0 Sniper
3rd +3 +1 +3 +1 The Essence of Speed
4th +4 +1 +4 +1 Curve Shot
5th +5 +1 +4 +1 Maestro
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
Intimidate (Cha), Climb (Str), Listen (Wis), Spot (Wis), Sense Motive (Cha)

Class Features[edit]

All the following are class features of the Bow master:

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Bow masters gain no proficiency with any new weapons and armors

Levels in Bow Master counts as levels in fighters when determining feat selection.

Bow Mastery (Ex): A bow master has Bow Mastery as a bonus feat.

Sniper (Ex): When a bow master fires a bow, its range increment increases by one-half. This stacks with Far Shot.

The Essence of Speed (Ex): When a bow master uses the Rapid Shot feat to take an extra ranged attack with a bow, the attack roll penalty is -1 instead of -2.

Curve Shot (Ex): A bow master can apply a lateral curve to the path of her arrows, as well as control the natural ballistic curve. When she makes an attack with a bow against a target behind cover, the target's cover AC bonus is 2 less than normal (i.e. +2 AC instead of +4 AC).

Maestro (Ex): The Bow master's intense dedication to his training has finally paid off. He is now a Maestro of the art of Bow. The Bow master ignores the cumulative -2 penalty of the Manyshot feat (Still maintaining the initial -4 penalty of Manyshot however). When making a full attack action, a Bow Master may make one extra attack with any Bow or Crossbow he is proficient with. The attack is made using the Bow Master’s full base attack bonus, plus any modifiers appropriate to the situation. This effect is not cumulative with similar effects, such as that provided by a weapon of speed, or the haste spell.



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