Update: I guess this update to this Arcane Archer build is long overdue. When I originally posted this build in 2012, it was the thing. Your almost a full caster and still can shot a bow pretty well. However, how times have changed for caster archers. Ironically, things have not changed for Arcane Caster Archers, but definitely for Primary Divine Caster Archers.
Throughout 13 levels (the number of levels the Optibuild Primary Divine Caster Archers PDF is based on), and beyond, Primary Divine Caster Archers cast at a higher level and shoot the bow with more accuracy and damage. Why? Well, first because of the Divine Favor spell which works great with the Fate’s Favored trait. Second, other spells and class abilities they get access to increase bow accuracy and damage. Third, they get access to riding companions much easier.
Optimized Arcane Archer Build
Build: Elven Fighter 1/Wizard5/Eldritch Knight 3/Arcane Archer 3/Eldritch Knight 2
Starting Stats (25 Points): Str (14), Dex (18), Con (12), Int (17), Wis (10), Chr (8)
Starting Stats (20 Points): Str (12), Dex (18), Con (12), Int (17), Wis (10), Chr (7)
Starting Stats (15 Points): Str (10), Dex (18), Con (10), Int (17), Wis (10), Chr (7)
Stat Advancement: Place your stat increases in the following order: Dex, Dex, Int, Int, Int as you advance from 1st to 20th level.
Favorite Class (Wizard) – Take the extra hit point for all five wizard levels
School of Specialization: Divination (Foresight)
Arcane Bond: Ring
Traits / Feats / Bonus Feats 0) Traits: Reactionary, Magical Knack; 1) Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot; 3) Precise Shot; 5) Weapon Focus (Longbow Composite); 6) Arcane Strike; 7) Elven Accuracy, Deadly Aim; 9) Manyshot; 11) Weapon Specialization (Longbow Composite); 13) Cluster Shot; 14) Point Blank Master
Skills (84pts): Fly 6, Stealth 6, Acrobatics 6, Perception 6, Spellcraft 6, Knowledge Nature 6, Knowledge Arcana 6, Knowledge Religion 6, Knowledge Planes 6, Knowledge Dungeoneering 6, Intimidation 6, Ride 6, Climb 3, Swim 3, Survival 6
Note: Skill point don’t reflect any increase that may come from magic item increases to Intelligence.
Primary Prepared and Wand/Scroll Spells – The following spells are not all of the spells that this optimized pathfinder arcane archer build can learn. However, I am suggesting that they are the first ones that he should learn outside of the divination spells that he must learn once per level from level 2 to 6 from wizard advancement. Those divination spells are not listed below. Choose them as you will. I focused on the spells that go to the heart of who he is.
- Prepared: Mage Armor, Gravity Bow, Vanish (2), Color Spray; Wand: Arrow Eruption, Protection from Evil, Protection from Chaos, Expeditious Retreat, Abundant Ammunition, Reduce Person, Enlarge Person, Gravity Bow
- Prepared: False Life, Heroism, Ricochet Shot, Invisibility, Glitterdust; Wand: Rope Trick, Resist Energy, Darkvision, Summon Swarm, Levitate
- Prepared: Phantom Steed, Keen Edge, Greater Magic Weapon, Stinking Cloud, Slow; Wand or Scroll: Magic Circle from Chaos, Magic Circle from Evil, Dispel Magic, Flame Arrow, Fly, Summon Monster III, Haste
- Prepared: Named Bullet, Black Tentacles, Dimension Door (2); Scroll: Summon Monster IV, Wall of Ice, Greater Invisibility, Confusion
- Prepared: Elemental Body, Wall of Stone; Scroll: Teleport
- Prepared: Named Bullet, Greater; Scroll: Shadow Walk
Items 14th Level: Handy Haversack (2K); Efficient Quiver (1.8K); +3 Cloak of Resistance (9K); Bracer’s of Archery (Greater) (25K); +3 Ring of Protection (18K); +3 Amulet of NA (18K); +2 Belt of Physical Might (Con/Dex) (10K); +1 Shocking Burst Longbow Comp (+2) (18K); Rod of Extend (11K), Rod of Extend Lesser (3K), Cloak of Elvenkind (2.5K); Boots of Speed (12K); Wands & Scrolls (see suggestion in spell section); +2 Headband of Vast Intelligence (16K); 4 Pearls of Power (1st level)(4K); 1 Pearls of Power (2nd level)(4K);
Note: While wands are originally made with 50 spell uses on them, you don’t have to buy them that way. The market would contain partially used wands. This will increase the variety of wands you can afford. As for scrolls, remember that wizards can make scrolls at half of the market price.
Playing Strategy: The strategy for this optimized arcane archer build is pretty striaght forward. You start off each day using your Rods of Extend to cast Phantom Steed, Mage’s Armor, False Life, Greater Magic Weapon, and Keen Edge to last for all day. You may even add other 1hr/level spells into the mix that are relevant for you day’s adventure (like Darkvision). If fairly definite combat is in the near future, you don’t hesitate to cast some 10 minute/level spells with your rods of extend like Gravity Bow or Flame Arrow. As you can see, long before battle arrives you are at an unfair advantage.
You can increase this unfair advantage right before battle by casting heroism, greater invisibility, elemental body, ricochet, named bullet, etc… just before the battle begins (maybe as you are sneaking up on the enemy). You obviously don’t need everything so pick one and move on, unless this is the boss you are about to take down.
If you happen to get initiative before battle breaks out and the enemies intermingle with your party in melee, consider use a standard action to let off an imbues arrow that strike one enemy in the chest and devastates the rest of the enemy party with a vicious area spell that stuns, entraps, crushes, confuses, slows or blinds them.
Don’t forget your divination school abilities, which will give you re-rolls on d20s and will grant bonuses to your allies.
Other options are to just destroy the other side raining down tons of arrows, using arrow eruption when an enemy drops, going invisible and then summoning monsters, teleporting away is things are lopsided.
LOL! Lopsided only happens in your favor doesn’t it?