Hannibal, below, was the most accurate and damaging ranger build in 2014, when he was originally posted. However, the most annoying thing about rangers back then was Favorite Enemy bonuses. Unless you knew the creatures you were going to be fighting, your main class feature would be wasted until you picked up the spell Instant Enemy at 10th or 11th level. Before that, there were simply no class bonuses to accuracy.
Oh, but the world has changed. You can now build a ranger with consistent attack bonuses against all enemies, while still having favorite enemies that really take it on the chin. By 13th level, the new Optibuild Ranger has more feats and is +5 attack and damage per arrow over Hannibal without prep-time. Hannibal is still fun to play. However, Optibuilds Greatest Martial Archers PDF (2017) has the most current optimized Barbarian, Bloodrager, Fighter, Monk (Sohei), Paladin, Ranger, and Slayer Archers that can be created.
Starting Stats (25 points): Str (14), Dex (19), Con (12), Int (10), Wis (14), Chr (10)
Starting Stats (20 points): Str (14), Dex (18), Con (12), Int (10), Wis (14), Chr (8)
Starting Stats (15 points): Str (14), Dex (18), Con (12), Int (9), Wis (13), Chr (7)
Raising Stats – For 20 and 25 point builds, put all leveling stats into dexterity. For 15 point build, go Wis, Dex, Dex, Dex, Dex. These Stats don’t include bonuses from equipment listed below.
Traits / Teamwork / Human Feat / Level Feat Progression: Traits) Reactionary; Magical Knack; Human) Point Blank Shot; 1) Rapid Shot; 2) Precise Shot; 3) Deadly Aim; 5) Weapon Focus (Longbow Comp); 6) Manyshot; 7) Boon Companion; 9) Snap Shot; 10) Point Blank Master; 11) Improved Snap Shot; 13) Improved Share Spell; 14) Pinpoint Targeting; 15) Clustered Shots
Favorite Terrain Selections: 3) Forest; 8) Underground; 13) Urban; Note: If the GM is will clue you in on the typical terrain you will be in, take the tip.
Favorite Enemies: 1) Humanoid (human), 5) Undead, 10) Magical Beast, 15) Outsider (evil); Note: If the GM is will clue you in as to what you will be facing, take the tip. That said, I have included the most common creatures faced in the average dungeon.
Skills Ranks (112 points): Spellcraft (10); Climb (10), Swim (7); Perception (15), Ride (10), Stealth (15), Survival (15), Handle Animal (15), Intimidate (15). Your skills points will only be 96 points, so adjust accordingly.
Typical Prepared Spells: 1st: Longstrider, Entangle, Lead Blades, Gravity Bow; 2nd: Wind Wall or Ricochet Shot, Barkskin, Ape Walk, Chameleon Stride; 3rd: Greater Magic Fang, Plant Growth or Instant Enemy; 4th: Bow Spirit or Terrain Bond or Animal Growth. Note: These are just typical prepared spells. If he has information about what to expect for the day, then he may prepare other spells. See all the Ranger Spells Here
Wealth 16th Level: Wealth for a 16th level character is 315K. Keep the change.
General Items (56.8K): Saddle with Harness Straps (for riding upside down); Chime of Opening (3K); Feather Token Tree (1.5K), 5 Pearls of Power (1st Level) (5K); 2 Pearls of Power (2nd Level) (4K); Handy Haversack (2K); Efficient Quiver (1.8K); +4 Cloak of Resistance (16K); Cloak of Elvenkind (2.5K); Boots of Speed (12K); Reservoir Tattoo (5K); Extend Rod, Lesser (3K)
Armor Class Related Items (118.2K): +4 Belt of Dex (16K); +4 Amulet of NA (32K); +5 Celestial Armor (38.2K); +4 Ring of Protection (32K);
Weapons (34K): +4 Longbow Comp (+2) (32K); +1 Greatsword (2K);
Animal Companion (83K): See animal Companion Section below
Wands( 9.75K): Abundant Ammunition, Glide, Cure Light Wounds, Lead Blades, Delay Poison, Residual Tracking, Pass Without a Trace, Gravity Bow, Resist Energy, Read Magic, Charm Animal, Hide From Animals, Speak with Animals
Animal Companion (B.A. Baracus)
Wolf Skill Selections: Acrobatics (1), Climb (1), Fly (1), Perception (1), Stealth (6), Survival (1), and Swim (1). Note that all of these skills, other than survival, are animal class skills, so the wolf gets an additional +3 bonus with all of them. With that said, I will, nonetheless, list the Wolf’s tricks learned.
Wolf’s Tricks: Assume that by 16th level you have taught your companion all of the tricks. Most GMs won’t make you use tricks because you can speak with you companion. Some GMs still require a handle animal check even for Int 3 companions. If you have a GM who is the later, then you should be able to get your wolf to react either with tricks + handle animal or by letting you smart companion figure out on its own (remember you control him) what to do.
Animal Companion Ability Stats: Place the first ability stat in Int and second in Strength. Animal Companions with Intelligence 3 do not need tricks to operate. You can just tell them what to do (some controversy) or let them figure out what to do on their own (much easier). See .
Wolf Feat Selections: 1)) Power Attack, 2) Improved Overrun, 5) Combat Reflexes; 9) Greater Overrun; 12) Optional 15) Optional. Some potential feat packages for 12 and 15 are as follows:
- AC Boost Package: 12) Dodge; 15) Improved Natural Armor: Your animal companion is built to spend time in melee. The increased AC will increase survivability in melee and, thereby allow your companion to stay in melee longer against more difficult opponents.
- Deadly Bite Package: 12) Furious Focus; 15) Weapon Focus: This package makes your animal companions bite more deadly because it will allow him to use power attack with more accuracy and, thus makes power attack a viable option against more difficult opponents.
- Strong Will Package: 12) Iron Will; 15) Improved Iron Will: Will is the weakest save for you wolf. This is Charm Animal, Dominate Monster, Fear, or other will based effects insurance. Note that an animal companion’s Devotion ability does help with this, but maybe not enough for high level encounters.
Wolf Item Selections: +5 Mithril Chainmail Barding (26K), +5 Vest of Resistance (25K), Collar of Mighty Fist (Holy ) (16K); +4 Clasp of Mighty Strength (16K)
Playing Strategy: This optimized pathfinder ranger build is actually a very straight forward character to play.
Every day you wake up and use the Extend Rod to cast Greater Magic Fang and Longstrider on your animal companion. Now, the wolf has a +4 to his attack and damage and +10 foot speed all day. When you are about to go into a fighting situation (a dungeon, the dragon is up ahead killing people, your sneaking up on a foe, etc…) you cast Barkskin with Extend Rod. It will last for almost 6 hours.
With just the above routine, the A-Team is unbelievable formidable. Sometimes you ride straight into combat overrunning, hitting with attacks of opportunity and tripping. Other times you ride on wolf back staying away from harm while you rain down arrows. Sometimes you and the wolf fight separately. If there were an opponent that could stand up to you and these deadly options, remember that you still have all your other deadly spells to entangle them, slow them down or do more damage to them.
Finally, remember you have Improved Share Spells so you can cast some enhancing spells on both yourself and your pet.