A question of archers

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A question of archers

Postby Shamsy » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:52 pm

So... I am a Bob the Fighter kind (Ian will get the reference).

As such my very patchy first PC uses a crossbow. Well... this needs to change. I have come to the realisation that in 3.5 the normal bow sits so much higher than the crossbow on feasible weapon list for higher levels.

A crossbow can only be enhanced by magic for one and the reloading speed is eye roll worthy. So, the question is, what options are there bow wise (non magical)? So composite bow is obvious. Are there other options?
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Jiriki » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:31 pm

Try complete warrior? And remember you can also get crystals to augment the bow and spells laid on them to increase their batting average. (Sham will get the Ashes reference here.)
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Corvin » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:30 pm

Bracers of archery affect longbows, but not crossbows. If memory serves, the Lesser grants a +1 to attack and the Greater grants a +2 to attack and a +1 to damage.
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Stam » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:29 pm

Most exotic bows only add a very limited increase on damage. Other than suggesting you use an Elven Bow (in house errata/equipment listings) for those rare occasions where you have to use your bow in melee or to block a melee attempt, I haven't really seen a single one worth jumping for.

There are a few key weapon enhancements to look at.

One is a variable strength pull, drawn from the Bow of the Winterlands (MIC relic) or similar. Regardless of what Strength your character has (buffed or unbuffed), you will always be able to add it to your damage rolls. This is a flat GP price, and so doesn't increase your weapon cost exponentially.

Another is the Shining property, that gives a 1-minute faerie fire effect to anything you hit. This is a flat GP price, and so doesn't increase your weapon cost exponentially.

Then there's my go-to first enhancement for archers: The +2-equivalent Force special ability. DR is no longer an issue, neither is incorporeal - discard any special arrows you carried around, as you've moved past mundane arrows and on to firing bolts of pure force.
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Shamsy » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:17 am

Excellent, thank you all for the assistance
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Kemian » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:36 am

If you want to burn a Feat on EWP you can get a Bone Bow from Frostburn, It is a little more damage and works better against Large Creatures but you are burning a Feat to make it usable and the bows themselves are expensive.
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Jiriki » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:46 am

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#pointBlankShot next step, feats, feats, feats, feats, feats... You can never have enough. Never. Get them when you can at each level as they come available.

Point Blank Shot [General]
Benefit
You get a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at ranges of up to 30 feet.

Special
A fighter may select Point Blank Shot as one of his fighter bonus feats.

Then go, Precise, improved precise. - both of this means you can fire into melee without hitting your mates.

Rapid - this is what Legolas did in the battle of Pelenor Fields, fire, fire, fire again. Many is also good.

Manyshot [General]
Prerequisites
Dex 17, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, base attack bonus +6

Benefit
As a standard action, you may fire two arrows at a single opponent within 30 feet. Both arrows use the same attack roll (with a -4 penalty) to determine success and deal damage normally (but see Special).

For every five points of base attack bonus you have above +6, you may add one additional arrow to this attack, to a maximum of four arrows at a base attack bonus of +16. However, each arrow after the second adds a cumulative -2 penalty on the attack roll (for a total penalty of -6 for three arrows and -8 for four).

Damage reduction and other resistances apply separately against each arrow fired.

Special
Regardless of the number of arrows you fire, you apply precision-based damage only once. If you score a critical hit, only the first arrow fired deals critical damage; all others deal regular damage.

A fighter may select Manyshot as one of his fighter bonus feats.

A 6th-level ranger who has chosen the archery combat style is treated as having Manyshot even if he does not have the prerequisites for it, but only when he is wearing light or no armor.

Weapon Focus [General]
Choose one type of weapon. You can also choose unarmed strike or grapple (or ray, if you are a spellcaster) as your weapon for purposes of this feat.

Prerequisites
Proficiency with selected weapon, base attack bonus +1.

Benefit
You gain a +1 bonus on all attack rolls you make using the selected weapon.

Special
You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new type of weapon.

A fighter may select Weapon Focus as one of his fighter bonus feats. He must have Weapon Focus with a weapon to gain the Weapon Specialization feat for that weapon.


Feats feats feats feats feats...
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Ian » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:48 am

It's basically already been said, but for neat organization:

- The best core weapon for archery really is Composite Longbow. Get it, match it to your Str bonus, enjoy. If you are not a truly dedicated archer and plan to use your ranged weapon as a 50/50 or backup, this is probably sufficient.

- Elven Bows are basically the same thing except you can also use them in melee. The server at the Internet Archive housing the extant copy is currently down, but I'll try to copy it over here once that link comes back up. You can get nearly the same effect by wearing a pair of spiked gauntlets, but if you're archery-focused, it might not be an awful thing to pick up. This thread posits the existence of a composite version and lists prices thereof.

- Bonebows from Frostburn and Greatbows from Complete Warrior are your Exotic high-damage option. For the price of a feat, you increase damage one size (1d8-1d10) and range by +20 feet, and take some sort of extra limiter (a Greatbow, for instance, explicitly cannot be used while mounted). It's basically the standard EWP trade-off.

- The Quick-Loading enhancement from MIC makes crossbows viable: for a +1 bonus, you basically have a Simple repeating crossbow with a 100-round magazine and a free Rapid Reload feat. That said, if you're Medium, have any sort of Str bonus, and are proficient, you're still better off with the C-Longbow.

Edit To Add: Whatever you decide to go with, make sure all of your base ammunition is actually cold iron, not steel. Ammo is dirt-cheap, double dirt-cheap is still dirt-cheap, and steel doesn't beat the DR of anything while cold iron does affect some stuff. You can buy some special silvers and whatnot, but never buy steel-tipped arrows--they're for suckers.
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Shamsy » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:03 pm

I am quite liking the Bow of the Winterlands (MIC relic) suggestion from Stam. After all, any strength mod I have now will (hopefully) be higher in the future. The relic isn't that expensive either, so would we be able to have an equivalent enchantment? Maybe something Ian could look at?

Feats are good Bex, more or less what I was steering towards anyway, especially precise shot and rapid shot.

When I invest I'll make sure to get cold iron arrows to ;)

Thanks again!
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Jiriki » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:14 am

You can get those cold iron arrows, but I'd also recommend some bane arrows of sometime. You just never know when the Ian will strike.
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Re: A question of archers

Postby Ian » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:14 pm

Bex: You absolutely want other types of arrows, yes--you don't want all cold iron. You just specifically want to buy cold iron at any time in which you would otherwise be buying normal, non-magical, wood-and-steel arrows.

Shamsy: We have such an enhancement already. As extrapolated from the bow of the wintermoon and other items, we have the mighty enhancement, which for +3,000g will add a Str bonus to damage equal to your own.
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Re: A question of archers

Postby JuneBarcarolle » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:16 pm

For feats, I'm a big fan of Cooperative Shot. Your allies don't provide cover, and it's been ruled that you can even fire into a grapple and hit your intended target.

And since we're talking bows, here's the write-up for elven bows. If you're making a dedicated archer you might as well be able to use it in melee. I played an archer for years and this did make a difference at times.

Elven Bows: During their years of experience, elves have found that often archers are attacked without much chance to defend themselves. They have therefore created the elven shortbow and elven longbow. They are designed to fire with the same rate of fire and accuracy, and yet the elves can use them to fend off attacks until they can protect themselves with a better weapon or spell.

Elven bows are beautiful pieces of work, carved mostly from wood, and highly decorated and polished. All elven bows are masterwork bows. To fulfill their function the elf crafters have also given the bows metal inlays. These enable the bow to be used as a parrying weapon until the elf can draw a more suitable weapon. Meanwhile, the elf's bow has not been damaged by the attack and can be used again.

If used as an offensive weapon, an elven shortbow acts as a one-handed melee weapon that deals 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage and an elven longbow acts as two-handed melee weapon that deals 1d6 points of bludgeoning damage. The wielder does not get any masterwork or enhancement bonuses when using the bow to attack in melee. These bows weigh twice that of their standard counterparts and have a hardness of 8 and 5 hit points each. Elven shortbows cost 360 gp and elven longbows cost 450 gp.



Another nifty enchantment that I enjoyed was making a bow into a sword-bow (from MIC). That way if you really found yourself needing to switch to melee for a round, you don't have to drop your bow, switch to another weapon, then pick up the bow again.
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