Pathfinder optimized ranger build

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.       

Archer (Hannibal)

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.

Pathfinder optimized ranger build


26 Responses to Pathfinder optimized ranger build

  1. Sim says:

    I’m a fan of your builds! I’m a little confused with this one, I thought Point-Blank Master requires Weapon Specialization? I don’t see that on the list of feats. Also, doesn’t that requires 4 ranks of fighter but the build only calls for one rank of fighter at 7th level? I’m not sure I understand why have the 1 level of fighter? Just the extra feat?

    • Robert Eubanks says:

      Rangers from sixth level on can get point blank master without meeting the prerequisites if they choose it as one of their bonus feats and if they have chosen the archery combat style. This build chooses the archery combat style.

  2. southy78 says:

    just wondering how do you get two feats in lvl 7

  3. anonymous says:

    Any recommendations for feats if only CRB and APG are allowed? This also means no boon companion, but I’m going spirit ranger for RP reasons.

    • admin says:

      Well maybe others can give suggestion, but I don’t have the time to go back and figure out all of the feats that don’t come from the CRB and APG. That said, replace boon companion with leadership. Actually, leadership should be in every optimized build. I just don’t put it in because many GMs either ban it or nerf it. Other than that, here are some other feats for archers to consider (improved precise shot, improved initiative, improve critical feat chain). You will have to check to see if they come from CRB or APG.

  4. Doesnt the wolf need the armour proficiency feat for it to wear armour?

  5. Nil Utsahma says:

    So do you class choose: RNG (6x), Fighter (1x), and continue with Ranger? Why do you need one Level Fighter?

  6. Cwiik says:

    Large Bardings cost 4x as much as their humanoid counterparts. A piece Mithril Chainmail costs 4,150gp so the barding would cost 16,600 without being enchanted. With the enchantment it would increase to 36,600gp.

  7. Archer Dangerzone says:

    How would this build work with the beast master archtype. I am new to pathfinder and haven’t played D and D since the mid 80s. So looking for a good ranger build as my group gets ready to play rise of the rune lords.

  8. Parabolic says:

    How does this build intend on using rods/ wands without any points in Use Magical Device?

    • admin says:

      You don’t need UMD to use rods. You don’t need UMD to use wands if the spells you are using are on your ranger spell list.

  9. Kveldulf says:

    How might you build this for the new “Hunter” class (Druid/Ranger blend) from Advanced Class Guide?

    • admin says:

      Are you asking me how to make a hunter that is similar to the ranger build or just how to make an optimized hunter? Once I know your question I could give you a generalized answer or I could custom make a build for you.

  10. David says:

    How did you take Greater Overrun at Wolf 7? Your companion level is a level 7 (boon companion maxes at your character level) which I think means the wolf’s BAB is a +4. And yet Greater Overrun has a prerequisite of BAB +6. Is there some way to bypass this requirement for your companion?

  11. Tony says:

    You stated under “Playing Strategy” that you ride your wolf into battle, is this your way of stating B.A. is considered to be a Dire Wolf? Because I fail to see the logistics of a human riding a average size wolf. Beyond that, well done.

  12. scottishduck88 says:

    Love this build.

    What is the purpose of focusing so much on Intimidate (15)? Is this a playstyle choice, or does it make the Archer better for certain things?

    I ask because I am new to Pathfinder, and D&D in general, and was trying to find a good Archer when I stumbled upon this build.

    Thanks again,

  13. andreafawcett77 says:

    was wondering about the use of intimidate as well if this could be answered would greatly appreciate it as well

  14. Haldhur says:

    Furious Focus (Combat)

    Prerequisites: Str 13, Power Attack, base attack bonus +1.

    Benefit: When you are wielding a two-handed weapon or a one-handed weapon with two hands, and using the Power Attack feat, you do not suffer Power Attack’s penalty on melee attack rolls on the first attack you make each turn. You still suffer the penalty on any additional attacks, including attacks of opportunity.

    The pet can’t use it.

Comments and Questions are Appreciated