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D&D 3E
Ranger - Archery Feats 
10th-May-2006 12:48 pm
Quote - Comfort the Distrubed
Hey, folks. I'm thinking about playing a ranger for the first time ever (if you can believe it). I'd like to hear some thoughts on good feats to choose for an archery-based ranger. I'm really trying to explore feats that will make his archery better. I am ignoring most of the other skills he has as a ranger, but here's some more detail on the character:

I'm thinking that he's going to be fairly stealthy, putting some points into knowledge: dungeoneering, going to try to make him great with animals and, if the GM will let me, let him ride his animal companion (given that he's a halfling and I'm spending the points on ride). The idea is that he'll be the guy you want to hire to take you in to a dungeon to scout out the way before you, offer suggestions on trouble spots, etc.

Thoughts and ideas?
10th-May-2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
**DM speak** the two most annoying features of a ranger are the archery feats, and the animal companion. The archery feats makes your ranger melee retarted and never want to get into melee combat, even though they are also good at it. The animal companion is just a headache I don't feel like worrying about

**normal speak** All of the archery feats are good feats. Point blank shot, precise shot, and the feats you get for free are incredibly necessary if you intend on shooting in any kind of combat. You may also want to look at the arrow crafting tips in (i think) the arms and equipment guide to help expand your abilities.
10th-May-2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Heheheh. That's the *point* of going archery - so someone else can take the brunt and the archer can stand back and plunk arrows into things. Melee combat is something that should be avoided unless necessary as this kind of player. If the DM doesn't like, make better ranged challenges. ;) What makes an animal companion such a headache?

The feats you get as a ranger just make it possible to shoot lots of arrows, yeah? So if you want to avoid a negative from shooting into combat, you still need to take point-blank and precise shot, right?
10th-May-2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
Animal companions can be fun, it's just too easy for them to be an annoyance. Either people forget about them ("oh yeah, my wolf just stays behind") or spend too much time on them (I had a player who had a riding dog as a mount and spent the entire game saying 'I pet my dog'. It was the most irritating thing ever). But I think it is possible to use them well--I like the idea of a mounted combat specialist who's horse is an animal companion (kind of like a paladin's special mount). I'm also into the idea of a druid who wildshapes into a wolf and pincers an enemy. As long as the DM isn't afraid of killing off the animal companion ("no, the dragon is not going to ignore your pet while you get flanking bonuses") and the animal doesn't slow the game down (which it easily can), the feature can be cool.

I'm also going to just outright disagree with you about the archery feats. I mean, you could argue the same thing about playing a wizard. Unless of course you're talking about an idiot player who refuses to do anything except shoot his bow.
10th-May-2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
"Unless of course you're talking about an idiot player who refuses to do anything except shoot his bow."

-bingo! I've thrown close quarters combat at her, multiple opponents all threatening her, a wind wall, long distance shots at many combatants....nothing seems to affect her using her bow. I'm actually actively trying to make her take out her sword and stab someone with it now heheh.
10th-May-2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
Might I suggest a Sunder? If you threaten her precious bow, maybe she'll put it away ;p
10th-May-2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
Gorrrammit, one of my fellow players the other week (fighter with a longsword) was USELESS against a foe we couldn't approach because he *only had a longsword.* That's right. Only one sword. If I were DM I would so take it away from him. Don't these people understand the concept of a Golf Bag? It seems so obvious. I understand not wanting to spend money on magicking up your bow when you've just spent twelve levels worth of fighter-feats making yourself skilled with a longsword, but....jeebus!
10th-May-2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
Your character is going to be kind of nerfed if you're going to ignore the most powerful ranger abilities (favored enemy and spells). The combat style stuff is worse than a fighter of comparative level. But I guess skill points are nice. There's a feat called Able Sniper in Complete Adventurer (I think) that you might be interested in.

Um, one of the options for an animal companion is the Riding Dog, which you certainly can ride. If your DM doesn't let you ride it, there is something seriously wrong with your DM.
10th-May-2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
So, tell me more about what feats go well with the chosen enemies and spells? I'm not necessarily going to ignore them, but I was concentrating on archery-related feats for now.

I'm not taking a smegging Riding Dog as an animal companion! That's lame! I want a wolf or a bear that my dude can ride on! I'm making him a halfling probably. :o
10th-May-2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure about what feats support those abilities. I'm just saying you can't ignore them. If you don't use those abilities, might as well play just play a fighter.

My point is that animal companions can serve as mounts, so saying they can't is stupid. The worse your DM could do is say you can't use a saddle on the wolf, so give you some minuses to your ride check. If you're going for a mounted character, get Mounted Combat eventually.

10th-May-2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
Good stuff. Thanks, man! :)
10th-May-2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
Riding Dogs are restricted to carrying Small-sized creatures, being a medium-sized animal.
10th-May-2006 08:59 pm (UTC)
He said (twice now!) that he was playing a halfling!! That's why I said riding dog instead of a horse.
10th-May-2006 11:34 pm (UTC)
hahaha he failed his Spot check ;)
11th-May-2006 06:11 am (UTC)
You have any names of those spells?
11th-May-2006 01:39 pm (UTC)
I haven't looked at the spell compendium. I wasn't saying they are mutually exclusive or anything, just saying you can't ignore the ability (which is what it had sounded like).
10th-May-2006 09:01 pm (UTC)
Get Point Blank and Precise Shot as soon as you can. Rapid Shot and Multishot are nice,but you will get them for free.

If you're going to take Favorite Enemy, Camoflauge, Tracking, etc. with a grain of salt, look into sniper prestige classes. Darkwood Stalker is a decent one, but there are others.

The Scout is another base class to consider, or a few levels of Rogue (for skirmish or sneak attack, respectively).

Arrow Mind, from Spell Compendium. Most Broken Ranger Spell ever. if you DM allows it, get it in scroll form. Taking Scribe Scroll just to make the spell into scrolls may be worth it. (Immediate action spell, or maybe swift. Threaten with your bow as if it were a melee weapon, no AoO for firing when threatened.)

The PHBII has a number of new, interesting feats. Deadeye Shot, and Penetrating Shot. if you go the Fighter archer build, there is also the Ranged Weapon Mastery feat. http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20060501a&page=4 for the excerpts

10th-May-2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
Point Blank Shot - a pre-req for almost everything
Rapid Shot - gives you an extra shot at your highest bonus (but all at -2)
Precice Shot - firing into melee is a normal attack (without the normal -4)

when you can take it definately take Woodland Archer from Races of the Wild... it grants you 3 'abilities':
~Adjust for Range - +4 to hit after a missed shot in the same round
~Pierce the Foliage - After hitting a target in concealment, ignore miss chance the rest of that round
~Mobile Sniper - repeat sniping attacks if you pass hide checks

There are various others, but anything that increases your ability to duck, move and block/evade AoO's will help too.


(and if you take Nemesis the extra damage to your chosen favored enemy helps too... you get an extra 1d6 per arrow plus a couple other things)

10th-May-2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
Races of the Wild has some cool sniping feats.
10th-May-2006 11:30 pm (UTC)
If the animal companion is something the size of a riding dog or so, you shouldn't have any trouble at all riding the animal companion.

For feats, just follow the archery tree in the PHB. You'll get
Rapid Shot
Improved Precise Shot

for free as a Ranger (unless you multiclass heavily or go for a PrC or two; then you'll lose Improved Precise Shot and maybe Manyshot).

That leaves:

Point Blank Shot
Far Shot
Precise Shot
Shot on the Run

And as a rider, the following will come in handy.

Mounted Combat
Mounted Archery

That's six out of your seven pre-epic feats. Since most games don't actually go to epic, you can probably start out by only considering stuff up to level 12 or so. If you go with the rider concept, I'd drop Shot on the Run and take the two mounted feats.

As for skills, stealth implies Hide and Move Silently (though riding might largely negate your personal stealth). Spot and Listen are ALWAYS good to invest in as heavily as you can (especially as a scout). Handle Animal and Survival are natural choices for rangers, given their class abilities. How high is your Int, exactly?
10th-May-2006 11:32 pm (UTC)
Great feedback, thank you! My Int is 17
10th-May-2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
Seven skills to max, then.

Move Silently
Handle Animal

If you *really* want some points in Knowledge (or any other) skills, I'd drop a few points from Hide and Move Silently and invest in some Shadow and Silent Moves-enhanced armor when you can.
11th-May-2006 08:11 am (UTC)
Any medium or larger animal that you can train to bear a rider should be viable as a mount. Also, check Heroes of Battle for some more archery feats.
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