Pathfinder Optimized Barbarian Archer Build

Introduction:This is human Pathfinder optimized barbarian archer build Mr. Salem Puritan. A tough, snap shooting, multi-attacking, ghost, witch and supernatural creature hunter that is impervious to spells and spell-like abilities saves.

Witches, Sorcerers, Clerics
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha going do when Salem comes for you?
Wizard, Oracles, Magus
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha going do when Salem comes for you?

Summary: This 13th level human Pathfinder optimized barbarian archer build is Fighter1Barbarian12. While raging the saves are Fort (+21), Ref (+21), Will (+15),  Normal AC is (29),  Touch AC is (27), DR is 6/-.  At 13th while raging, Salem Puritan effectively shoots deadly aim / reckless abandon arrows at +23 / +23 / +23 / +18 / +13 (1d8 +17) from within 30 feet (the first two shots are really a Manyshot for two arrows made with one roll). Add +4 damage against creatures with spells and spell-like abilities.

Barbarian archetypes are Urban Barbarian and Invulnerable Rager. Urban Barbarian allows her the option of increasing her Dexterity while raging for increased accuracy with the bow. She can also just increase Strength when she decides to fight melee. She can increase both if she thinks she will be fighting range and melee during her rage.

Ms. Salem Puritan role in the party is primarily Range Damager and Melee Damager.  Note that though this build is one mean archer, she can dish out considerable melee damage; typically  (+23/+18/+13 (2d6 + 17)).  Considering the mage will probably also enlarge and haste Ms. Salem Puritan, you can see how she could step into melee if the big guy were to fall.  What other archers can say that?

Starting Stats (25 points): Str (17), Dex (18), Con (12), Int (10), Wis (10), Chr (10)
Starting Stats (20 points): Str (17), Dex (18), Con (12), Int (10), Wis (9), Chr (7)
Starting Stats (15 points): Str (16), Dex (18), Con (11), Int (10), Wis (8), Chr (7)

Leveling Stats – For the 20 and 25 point build raise leveling stats in this order: Str, Dex, Dex, Dex, and then Dex. For the 15 point build raise leveling stats in this order: Con, Str, Str, Dex, and then Dex.

Favorite Class Option: Take +1/3 to the bonus from the superstition rage power every level.

Campaign Traits / Feat / Rage Power Progression: Traits) Reactionary and Dangerously Curious; Human Feat) Point Blank Shot; F1) Precise Shot, Rapid Shot; B3) Reckless Abandon, Deadly Aim; B5) Superstitious, Weapon Focus; B7) Witch Hunter, Manyshot; B9) Ghost Rager, Snap Shot; B11) Quick Reflexes, Improved Snap Shot; B13) Clustershot, Unexpected Strike

  • Green = Human Feat; Red = Rage Power; Blue = Level Feat; Purple = Fighter Feat
  • See advice for progression through 20th level at the end of this article. 

Skills Ranks at 12th (60 points): Acrobatics (10); Perception (13); Stealth (11); Use Magic Device (13); Swim (1); Climb (1); Ride (1); Survival (10)

Items 12th Level: Total Wealth for 13th Level is 140 K. Use the leftover amount for pocket change.

  • Miscellaneous (37.8K): Handy Haversack (2K); Efficient Quiver (1.8K); +3 Cloak of Resistance (9K); Winged Boots (16K)
  • AC Related (33K): +2 Ring of Protection (8K); +2 Amulet of NA (8K); +4 Mithral Shirt (17K)
  • Weapon Related (37K): +3 Adaptive Longbow Composite (+5) (19K); +2 Furious Greatsword (18K)
  • Stat Related (16K): +2 Belt of Dexterity/Strength/Constitution (16K)
  • Wands (3K): Gravity Bow, Glitterdust, Resist Energy, Cure Light Wounds (x2) and whatever other wands will be useful for your adventure.

Playing Strategy – The strategy for the optimized pathfinder barbarian archer is pretty straight forward. Multi-attack on your turn with the bow. Snap shot against enemies on their turn as they move around the battle find. Use unexpected strike to snap shot enemies that just take a five foot step.  Increase your Dexterity with rage if your are shooting your bow for the entire fight. In the rare instances that you find yourself using a melee weapon, increase Strength instead of your dexterity during rage. Disrupt and destroy all enemy spellcasters/magical creatures first since you hate them and do more damage to them. Have your spellcasters buff you and/or heal you before you enter rage because you will have to save against their spells after you enter rage (though lay on hands & channeling will work anytime without having to save). Laugh when you have to roll saves or dodge touch attacks.

Progression to 20th / Alternative BuildI was asked to provide feat progression through 20th level.  Accordingly, I have done so.  The progression below keeps the theme of the build (witch hunting archer) while also continuing to maximize damage and accuracy.  The last level is fighter because there is nothing significant to gain taken one more level of barbarian.  So why not take the free combat feat.            

B15) Scent (Start Shooting Durable Pheromone Arrows +2 attack/+2 damage), Improved Precise Shot; B17) Spell Sunder, Big Game Hunter; B19) Savage Intuition & Power Attack; F20) Quick Draw

  • Note  1 – This progression thru 20th level is not reflected in the stats provided for this build.  This progression is just a side note for those interested in how I  would finish out the Salem Puritan Build.
  • Note 2 – Big Game Hunter and Scent / Pheromone Arrows increase your bows accuracy/damage by (+3/+4).  At 19th level, you are increasing your Spidey Senses and picking up Power Attack that works exceptionally well with Reckless Abandon.  Finally, capping off with Quick Draw seems to make sense for arguably not only the best archer, but also the best switch hitter in the game.

Pathfinder Optimized Barbarian Archer Build


23 Responses to Pathfinder Optimized Barbarian Archer Build

  1. Asia says:

    Can you review the Starting Stats for this Salem Puritan build?
    Starting Stats (20 points): Str (17), Dex (18), Con (12), Int (10), Wis (9), Chr (7)
    Doing this puts me 1 point over (21 of 20) initially.

  2. AnonyMouse says:

    Under Feats, you have : Human Feat) Point Blank Shot; F1) Precise Shot, Rapid Shot;
    Did you take a level of Fighter to begin with? I’m just wondering how you got both Precise and Rapid shot.
    Thank you!

  3. thurmin says:

    Adaptive isn’t able to be put on melee weapons, nor is it necessary

  4. miboc says:

    I don’t quite understand. How are you getting 2 feats every other level as a barbarian?
    B3) Reckless Abandon, Deadly Aim; <- For example.

    You only get 1 feat every other level?

    • admin says:

      A barbarian get rage powers every other level. Because this build started off with one level of fighter, the rage powers and the leveling feats both come on odd numbered levels.

      For instance, at level 3 the build is 2nd level barbarian (barbarians get a rage power at thier second class level). Additionally, since the build is at third level it also gets a leveling feat.

  5. CSPTT says:

    So just to make things clear when do you put your lvl 1 in figther?

  6. Jason Brehm says:

    For your full 20 build, while you may lose 2 BAB for doing so, would it not be beneficial to maybe take 5 levels of Martial Artist Monk early in the build to allow very easy rage cycling? Just curious your thoughts.

  7. Bob says:

    Is the level of fighter at the start just for the extra feat? Starting as a Barb would give 2 more HP in PFS.

  8. Reinhold says:

    Great build, thanks a ton!

    I’m having trouble achieving the AC of this build.
    Can the author provide a breakdown of how to get to AC 29?
    (or anyone else since this is a relatively old thread)

    • Reinhold says:

      (Maybe the AC assumes that Reckless Abandon is not active?)
      It seems like we should assume this is active, since it would likely always be used, and is included in the listed To Hit values.)

  9. Reinhold says:

    I’m working on a variant of this build for use with the Primal Hunter archetype, which is found in the Ranged Tactics Toolbox (Pathfinder Player Companion).

    Any thoughts on how that compares to Urban Barbarian?
    I like that Primal Hunter provides an accuracy rage bonus in addition to the normal STR bonus.
    The fact that you don’t need an adaptive bow is a nice side-bonus, but not the deciding factor for me.—barbarian-archetypes/primal-hunter-barbarian-archetype

    • admin says:

      Primal hunter should make for a great alternative build to the one. Remember, however, that increasing your dexterity with urban increases ac and reflex save.

  10. Mbk2.0 says:

    This build is amazing. I see you have 11 ranks in Stealth, I’m not seeing stealth as a class skill, however. Is this build considering the fact that it is still Cross-Classing or do you have a way of making it a class skill that I must be reading over.

Comments and Questions are Appreciated