Pathfinder Optimized Paladin Archer Build


Posted in 2012, this build is no longer optimal, though it is still effective.  The newer traits, feats, weapon enchantments available to archers, nerfs to the Greater Magic Weapon Spell, new insights, and new Paladin spells would change the advice for an optimal Paladin build today.  And the current Optimal Paladin ranks among the best martial archers and is available in Optibuilds Greatest Martial Archers PDF.

       Original Goodwill Hunting Build

Human Pathfinder optimized paladin build “Goodwill Hunting“.  He’s got high BAB, high saves, smite evil from range, deadly critical, good AC, good healing, leadership, and range feat buffing abilities.  Let’s take a preliminary look at the stats:

  • Bow Attack: +13 BAB +1PBS +1WF –2RS +8Dex +3GMW –4DA +1BoA +3DF= +25 (x2 from Manyshot) / +25 / +20 / +15
  • Bow Damage: 1D8 +8DA + 3GMW + 1PBS + 1D6 flame + 1D6 shock -1Str +3DF = 1D8 +14 +1D6 shock +1D6 fire
  • Smite Evil: +4 attack & +13 damage against run-of-the-mill evil and +26 damage against the real evil added to the numbers above.

So anyone who says that this Paladin can’t dish out the damage is smoking some good stuff.  It does not matter that his Str is low.

Summary: This human Pathfinder optimized paladin archer build is to 13th level with all levels in the paladin class.

  • Paladin archetype is Divine Hunter, which gives this build Precise Shot, the ability to enchant her bow and the ability to grant other party members bow related feats and abilities.
  • Boa Jangle’s role in the party is Buffer / Range Damager / Secondary Healer / Leader.

Starting Stats (25 points): Str (9), Dex (20), Con (10), Int (10), Wis (7), Chr (17)
Starting Stats (20 points): Str (8), Dex (19), Con (10), Int (10), Wis (7), Chr (17)
Starting Stats (15 points): Str (9), Dex (18), Con (10), Int (10), Wis (7), Chr (16)

Raising Stats – For 25 point build put leveling stats into Dex, Dex, Chr, Dex, and Dex. For the 15 point build put points into Dex, Chr, Dex, Dex, and Dex.  For the 15 point build put points into Dex, Dex, Dex, Dex, and Dex.

Favorite Class Option: Take the extra hitpoints at every level.

Campaign Traits / Feat Progression: Traits) Reactionary and Dangerous Curiosity; Human Feat) Point Blank Shot; 1) Rapid Shot; 3) Deadly Aim; 5) Weapon Focus (Longbow); 7) Manyshot; 9) Critical Focus; 11) Bleeding Critical; 13) Sickening Critical

Mercies: 3rd: Sickened; 6thN/A; 9th: Nauseated; 12th: Paralyzed

Skills Ranks at 13th (39 points): Diplomacy (10); Use Magic Device(10); Knowledge Religion (5); Fly (4); Ride (5); Acrobatics (5)

Spontaneous Spells: 1st: Divine Favor(2), Grace, Hero’s Defiance; 2nd: Fire of Entanglement, Righteous Vigor (2); 3rd: Magic Weapon, Greater, Magic Circle v. Evil

Typical Weapon Enchantments Selected: All the potential enchantments Goodwill Hunting can place onto his bonded bow have there time and place. However, with his critical weapon build, he typically will choose flaming burst and speed.

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

Miscellaneous (31.5K): Handy Haversack (2K); Efficient Quiver (1.8K); +3 Cloak of Resistance (9K); Winged Tattoo (Priced Like Winged Boots) (16K); Cloak of Elvenkind (2.5K)

AC Related (42K): +2 Ring of Protection (8K); +2 Amulet of NA (8K); +5 Mithril Chainmail (26K)

Weapon Related (23K): Bracer’s of Archery (Lesser) (5K); +1 Shocking Burst Longbow or +1 Shocking Burst Heavy Crossbow (18K)

Stat Related (20K): +4 Belt of Dexterity (16K); +2 Headband of Charisma (4K)

Wands (6.75K): Expeditious Retreat (50), Abundant Ammunition (50), Gravity Bow (50), Cure Light Wound (50), Invisibility (50), Air Bubble (50); Note: The number in brackets represents the number of charges in the wand.

Playing Strategy –The strategy for this optimized paladin archer builds is pretty straight forward.  Cast spells on your bonded weapon and enchant your bonded weapon before battle.  Let the arrows fly.  Smite Evil.  Normally heal once battle is over, unless you are forced to do otherwise.  Use Flight, Grace, Righteous Vigor and Hero’s Defiance to keep you in the fight during tough battles.  Turn your allies into range specialist. Use wands when you need to for extra damage, escape and healing.

Also see this Paladin Tank and Paladin Quick Guide.

13 Responses to Pathfinder Optimized Paladin Archer Build

  1. Yumad says:

    Optimized archer build?

    9 strength?
    Crossbow mentioned at all?


    • admin says:

      Crossbow feats burn a lot of feat resources. This build does not have all of the required feats for a crossbow. However, there is a crossbow package mentioned. If a person decided to go that route I have assumed that they would know to get a crossbow instead of a longbow.

  2. TheHunted says:

    Doesn’t the 2nd level spell RIGHTEOUS VIGOR only work on melee attacks?

    • admin says:

      You are correct. So choose some other spell in its place for now. I will replace it with another suggestion when I get a chance to.

  3. mike_lv says:

    No precise shot? I find firing into melee happens a great deal. :)

    • admin says:

      A divine hunter gets precise shot for free. Therefore, it makes no sense to take it as one of your selected feats.

  4. The_Wick says:

    Yeah, the 9 strength is not really “optimized”. The highest priority for an archery build is getting more damage, which is why Deadly Shot is so important. Having a positive strength modifier allows you to increase your damage by using a compound longbow. Having 9 strength will actually reduce your damage, even with a regular bow. It’s worth giving up some charisma to have at least a 12 in strength; the only combat benefit you get from it really is extra uses of Lay on Hands. As long as your charisma is a 14 by the time you get your level 4 spells you’ll be fine.

    Everything else looks good though.

    • I agree with your point for a bow user, but you are also giving up Smite Evil bonus to hit, AC, and divine grace bonuses to all saves. If you are removed from fight, you aren’t dealing damage.

  5. BotSW says:

    I am newish to the pathfinder rules, and maybe you covered this in here somewhere, butt… Isn’t the threat range on this archer’s bow the same as all the other peasants out there using bows? Maybe i am not familiar enough to know or skipped it in the post, but all i see is a threat range of 20. Isn’t the threat chance at least (if not more important) than the confirmation of it?

    • admin says:

      When I say threat range in this particular case I am talking about the range at which you threaten opponents with attacks of opportunity – not your threat range for critical attacks.

      This is a snap shot build. Most archers do not threaten for attack of opportunity purposes. This guy/gal does. .

  6. Damiano says:

    I don’t understand why, when Smiting Evil, he adds +26 damage on every attack in place of +13 (his level). Even if he hits an undead/evil dragon/evil outsider he can add 2 damage per level only on the first attack.

    • admin says:

      He gets that added attack bonus and damage to all of his attacks – not just his first attack. I have now noted above that for some evil the damage is +13.

  7. Todd says:

    This has been very helpful at least I know I am on the right track. I am playing as a Divine hunter Aasimar, Angel-blooded Yes, I can not believe how effective it is. So everyone in my party has the ability to be a ranged support. With being an Aasimar and the DM give out 36 points add in racial bonus ect. Its superb built, I don’t normal play paladins, its more Ranger/rogue slayers and fighters. It has really changed my mind about paladins, if can play this. Its holy ranger or at least way I see it. I would not think Erastil wouldnt have paladins, divine hunter suits Erastil.

    My thoughts, to improve either get few lvls in Slayer: Deliver or at least 5 levels in fighter to poor on the archer feats. The slayer is more skills and some nice abilities

Comments and Questions are Appreciated