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D&D 3E
I'm running a high-level 3E adventure and my characters are all at… 
23rd-Sep-2004 01:13 am
I'm running a high-level 3E adventure and my characters are all at 3rd-4th level. I'm wanting to throw in some type of dense-forest/sniper encounter using elves and the Deepwood Sniper prestige class, but I'd have to have them be 6th Level NPC, and I believe that would be a bit much. I want the NPCs to be about 3 total with good hiding abilities in trees and good ranged attacks. Any suggestions?
22nd-Sep-2004 11:09 pm (UTC)
I would just suggest rangers or rogues with high Dex. Just min/max the NPCs for ranged attacks and nice climb and hide mods.
23rd-Sep-2004 12:00 am (UTC)
I would suggest Rog1/Ftr2. The two levels of Fighter give you two extra feats that you can spend on archery abilities. The one level of Rogue, taken first, gives you plenty of skill points for Climb, Move Silently, Hide, Spot, Listen, and so on. The level of Rogue also gives you a die of sneak attack - great for ambushes as long as the archers are within 30 feet of their targets.

Just make their DEX their highest stat, with STR second highest, and equip them with masterwork mighty composite longbows and masterwork arrows. It's not the same as the Deepwood Sniper special abilities, but you do get bonuses to hit (from the masterwork items, which stack in 3.0) as well as to damage (from the strengh bonus when using a mighty bow). Not bad at level three.

A character doesn't need a Prestige Class in order to look and feel elite - use good tactics to make them fight as a unit, and give them each a high quality bow to show that they are specifically a skilled archery group. The huge number of skill points that a first-level Rogue has will also make them appear particularly well-trained, especially when combined with the extra feats.

(And if anyone survives and/or flees the battle, you can always make them return to get revenge on the PC's for their fallen comrades ten levels down the road, when they *do* have several levels of the Deepwood Sniper Prc...)
23rd-Sep-2004 12:57 am (UTC)
Weirdly enough, Deepwood sniper, doesn't really work very well for deep woods(or dense forest) the first few abilities are okish, but extra range etc is pretty useless.
If there's a specific reason why they are trying to hunt down the PCs, there is the option of giving them oath bows; this is quite sufficient to make them scary, but each one will probably then be firing at only one PC.
If that's not appropriate then as others said, there are plenty of other options; if it's a well prepared ambush then there should also be escape routes that are easy enough for the elves to take whilst from the PC side their location should be difficult to reach-behind thorny bushes etc.
23rd-Sep-2004 02:58 am (UTC)
You need to start thinking about ELs (encounter level) for a 4th level group.

You could take elven experts/warriors (see DMG). If you were to use 2nd level experts or warriors you could use 4-6 of them for an EL 4 ambush encounter. Just max them all on the skills you want them to have. Experts choose their own class skills. Also have a tiger-trap or some snares preset in the ambush area, and have the bad guys waiting in the trees, hidden, behind concealment.

23rd-Sep-2004 05:42 am (UTC)
that sounds more like a low-level adventure... :)

Anyhow, for good ranged attacks you need high dex scores and a decent BAB. The following feats are all good to give the attackers:

Precise Shot - allows the snipers to shoot at people threatening other snipers without penalty
Mobility - gives better AC when the archer 5' steps away from the PC who has charged into melee range, then shoots the PC. :)
Point Blank Shot - helps if the ambush is going to be short range
Rapid Shot - gives an extra attack, but at a -2 penalty to all attacks, this is worth it if they need a 1 to hit, or a 5 or higher to hit (it has the same damage potential on a 2 or 4 to hit, and is worse on a 3 to hit... go figure), assuming they aren't using sneak attack or a similar damage adder that only works on the first attack.
Weapon Focus - an extra +1 to hit... take this before point blank shot, it is more powerful obviously.

Give the ambushers good Hide, Move Silently, Spot and Listen checks.

Are you giving the elves PC classes or NPC? If PC classes, 3 levels of Ranger makes a pretty effective sniper, you get lots of skill points for the above skills, plus two of the above feats (and Rapid Shot as a class feature). 1st level as Rogue and next 2 as Fighter gives 3 feats to play with, and you could skip Rapid Shot since it doesn't stack so well with sneak attack damage.

In either case, if you want to play up the woodcraftiness aspect, have the ambushers fire from hiding, (let the PCs make spot checks of course, and make the ambushers make spot checks to see if they see the party...) then immediately retreat and set up a new ambush zone (do let the party disengage if the elves don't keep contact somehow. Repeat ambushes are hard without good intel, don't let your DM knowledge allow the elves to do stuff that they shouldn't, unless it is necessary for dramatic purposes of course)
23rd-Sep-2004 06:08 am (UTC)
Why are your characters 3rd/4th level if you're running a high-level game?
23rd-Sep-2004 11:27 am (UTC)
Heh. That's what I was wondering. Actually, I remember running a 4th level character in a high level game (mostly 8th - 12th level). That was painful (quite literally, the number of times I almost died). Thank the gods for high level clerics!
23rd-Sep-2004 11:45 am (UTC)
Depends on the definition of "high level". I've been in a game where your standard commoner had several levels of commoner, and there were other perfectly ordinary people who had more levels of that and other appropriate classes. A certain petty bureaucrat we dealt with had, IIRC, 14 levels of aristocrat.

We started this game at level 1. Definitely not a high-level party, but a high-level world nonetheless.
23rd-Sep-2004 11:56 am (UTC)
Thanks, that's precisely the sort of explanation I was looking for :)
23rd-Sep-2004 12:48 pm (UTC)
What I meant is that they're high-powered 3rd/4th level characters. Stupid me.
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