Arcane Archer (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

Those who seek to perfect the combination bow and magic pursue the path of the arcane archer. Arcane archers are masters of ranged combat, as they possess the ability to strike at targets with unerring accuracy and can imbue their arrows with powerful spells. Arrows fired by arcane archers carry spells, fly at weird and uncanny angles to strike at foes around corners, and can pass through solid objects to hit enemies. At the height of their power, arcane archers can fell even the most powerful foes with a single, deadly shot.

Class Information

This is a prestige archetype.

Publisher: Purple Duck Games.

Prestige Class: Arcane Archer.

Build Classes: Magus, ranger, wizard.

The arcane archer merges archery and spellcasting into a deadly whole.

Role: Arcane archers deal death from afar, winnowing down opponents while their allies rush into hand-to-hand combat. With their capacity to unleash hails of arrows on the enemy, they represent the pinnacle of ranged combat.

Alignment: Arcane archers can be of any alignment. Elf or half-elf arcane archers tend to be free-spirited and are rarely lawful. Similarly, it is uncommon for elven arcane archers to be evil, and overall the path of the arcane archer is more often pursued by good or neutral characters.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills

The arcane archer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (planes) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Abilities

These are all the class features of the arcane archer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

An arcane archer is proficient with all simple and martial weapons. An arcane archer is also proficient with light armor. She can cast arcane archer spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, an arcane archer wearing medium armor, heavy armor, or a shield incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component. A multiclass arcane archer still incurs the normal spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.


An arcane archer casts arcane spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. An arcane archer only ever learns to cast spells up to level 6. Sorcerer/wizard spells of level 7 or higher are not on the arcane archer's spell list. An arcane archer must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time.

To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the arcane archer must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an arcane archer's spell is 10 + the spell level + the arcane archer's Intelligence modifier.

An arcane archer can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Arcane Archer. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Intelligence score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells).

An arcane archer may know any number of spells. She must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the arcane archer decides which spells to prepare.

Spellbook: An arcane archer begins play with a spellbook containing all 0-level spells on her spell list plus three 1st-level spells of her choice. The arcane archer also selects a number of additional 1st-level spells equal to her Intelligence modifier to add to the spellbook. At each new arcane archer level, she gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that she can cast (based on her new arcane archer level) for her spellbook. At any time, an arcane archer can also add spells found in other spellbooks to her own (see Magic). An arcane archer can only add a spell to her spellbook if it is on the arcane archer spell list.

Archery Pool (Su)

At 1st level the arcane archer gains a reservoir of mystical arcane energy that she can draw upon to fuel her powers and enhance her bow. This archery pool has a number of points equal to ½ her arcane archer level (minimum 1) + her Intelligence modifier. The pool refreshes once per day when the arcane archer prepares her spells.

At 1st level an arcane archer can expend 1 point from her archery pool as a swift action to grant any bow she is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.

At 5th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: anarchic (+2), axiomatic (+2), distance (+1, ultimate equipment), flaming (+1), flaming burst (+2), frost (+1), holy (+2), icy burst (+2), seeking (+1, ultimate equipment), shock (+1), shocking burst (+2), and unholy (+2). The arcane archer cannot choose an ability that is the opposite of her alignment. For example a lawful good arcane archer could not choose anarchic or unholy as her weapon quality.

Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price, which is listed in parenthesis after each ability above. If the bow is not previously enchanted to at least +1, a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added.

These bonuses and properties are decided when the archery pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the arcane archer uses this ability. These bonuses do not function if the bow is wielded by anyone other than the arcane archer.

An arcane archer can only enhance one weapon in this way at one time. If she uses this ability again the first use immediately ends.


Arcane archers can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on Table: Arcane Archer under "Spells per Day". These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again.

Spell Archery (Ex)

At 1st level, an arcane archer learns to cast spells and shoot her bow at the same time. This functions much like the Rapid Shot feat, but the extra attack is a spell that is being cast. To use this ability, the arcane archer must be wielding a bow. As a full-round action, she can make all of her attacks with her bow at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the arcane archer spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty). If she casts this spell defensively and fails, the spell is wasted, and any attacks in the round still take the penalty.

An arcane archer can choose to cast the spell first or make weapon attacks first, but if she has more than one attack, she cannot cast the spell between weapon attacks.

Archery Style Feats (Ex)

At 2nd level, an arcane archer gains expertise in archery. This manifests in the form of bonus feats at 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level. She can choose feats from her style even if she does not have the normal prerequisites.

The benefits of the arcane archer's chosen style feats apply only when she wears light or no armor. She loses all benefits of her combat style feats when wearing medium or heavy armor.

An arcane archer can choose from the following list whenever she gains a combat style feat:

  • Far Shot, Focused Shot (Advanced Player's Guide), Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (longbow or shortbow).
  • At 6th level, she adds Improved Precise Shot, Mounted Archery, Parting Shot (Advanced Player's Guide), Point Blank Master (Advanced Player's Guide), Manyshot, and Weapon Specialization (longbow or shortbow) to the list.
  • At 10th level, she adds Greater Weapon Focus (longbow or shortbow), Pinpoint Targeting, and Shot on the Run to the list.

Ranged Spellstrike (Su)

At 2nd level, whenever an arcane archer casts a spell that requires a ranged touch attack from her class spell list, she can deliver the spell through a bow she is wielding as part of a ranged attack. Instead of the free ranged touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, an arcane archer can make one free ranged attack with her bow (at her highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell. If successful, this ranged attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell.

Only one ranged touch attack per round can be used with ranged spellstrike. If the spell normally allows several ranged touch attacks, they can be combined into one attack with ranged spellstrike, with the combined damage of all the allowed ranged touch attacks. If the ranged touch attacks from a particular spell can be spread over several rounds, the arcane archer can use ranged spellstrike over several rounds, making one ranged spellstrike attack each round without having to cas a new spell each round.

If the arcane archer makes this attack in concert with spell archery, this ranged attack takes all the penalties accrued by spell archery.

This attack uses the weapon’s critical range modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects, but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical multiplier.

This otherwise functions as a magus' spellstrike ability, see FAQ/Errata for that ability for more information.


An arcane archer gains Endurance as a bonus feat at 3rd level.

Spell Recall (Su)

At 4th level, the arcane archer learns to use her archery pool to recall spells she has already cast. With a swift action she can recall any single arcane archer spell that she has already prepared and cast that day by expending a number of points from her archery pool equal to the spell’s level (minimum 1). The spell is prepared again, just as if it had not been cast.

Woodland Stride (Ex)

Starting at 7th level, an arcane archer may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at her normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. Thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion, however, still affect her.

Imbue Arrow (Su)

At 8th level, an arcane archer gains the ability to place an area spell upon an arrow. When the arrow is fired, the spell's area is centered where the arrow lands. This ability allows the archer to use the bow's range rather than the spell's range. A spell cast in this way uses its standard casting time and the arcane archer can fire the arrow as part of the casting. The arrow must be fired during the round that the casting is completed or the spell is wasted. If the arrow misses, the spell is wasted. Imbue arrow cannot be combined with seeker arrow or phase arrow, but does work with spell archery.

Knowledge Pool (Su)

At 11th level, when an arcane archer prepares her arcane archer spells, she can decide to expend 1 or more points from her archery pool, up to her Intelligence bonus. For each point she expends, she can treat any one spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list as if it were in her spellbook and can prepare that spell as normal that day. If she does not cast spells prepared in this way before the next time she prepares spells, she loses those spells. She can also cast spells added in this way using her spell recall ability, but only until she prepares spells again.

Seeker Arrow (Su)

At 12th level, an arcane archer can launch arrows at a target known to her and within range, and the arrow travels to the target, even around corners. Only an unavoidable obstacle or the limit of the arrow's range prevents the arrow's flight. This ability negates cover and concealment modifiers, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally. Activating this ability is a swift action that costs one point from the archery pool, and it lasts until the end of the arcane archer's turn.

Improved Spell Recall (Su)

At 15th level, the arcane archer’s ability to recall spells using her archery pool becomes more efficient. Whenever she recalls a spell with spell recall, she expends a number of points from her archery pool equal to ½ the spell’s level (minimum 1). Furthermore, instead of recalling a used spell, as a swift action the arcane archer can prepare a spell of the same level that she has in her spellbook or has access to through her knowledge pool ability. She does so by expending a number of points from her archer pool equal to the spell’s level (minimum 1). The arcane archer does not need to reference her spellbook to use this ability. She cannot apply metamagic feats to spells prepared this way.

Hail of Arrows (Su)

As a full-round action at a cost of one point from her archery pool, an arcane archer of 16th level or higher can fire an arrow at each and every target within range, to a maximum of one target for every arcane archer level she has earned. Each attack uses the archer's primary attack bonus, and each enemy may only be targeted by a single arrow.

Phase Arrow (Su)

At 19th level, an arcane archer can launch arrows at any target known to her within range, and the arrow travels to the target in a straight path, passing through any barrier or wall in its way. This ability negates cover, concealment, armor, and shield modifiers, but otherwise the attack is rolled normally. It does full damage to incorporeal or ethereal creatures. It is stopped normally by ghost touch armor, force armor, or barriers made of force effects, which makes it similar to an incorporeal touch attack. Activating this ability is a swift action that costs two points from the archery pool, and it lasts until the end of the arcane archer's turn.

Arrow of Death (Su)

At 20th level, an arcane archer can create a special type of slaying arrow that forces the target, if damaged by the arrow's attack, to make a Fortitude save or be slain immediately. The DC of this save is equal to 20 + the arcane archer's Intelligence modifier. It takes 1 hour to make a slaying arrow, the arcane archer must know the target's name or have seen the target, and the arrow only functions for the arcane archer who created it. The archer can only have one such arrow in existence at a time for each individual target.

Table: Arcane Archer

Base Attack
Special Spells per Day
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
1st +0 +2 +2 +0 Archery pool, cantrips, spell archery 3 1
2nd +1 +3 +3 +0 Archery style feat, ranged spellstrike 4 2
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Endurance 4 3
4th +3 +4 +4 +1 Spell recall 4 3 1
5th +3 +4 +4 +1 Archery pool (+2, weapon properties) 4 4 2
6th +4 +5 +5 +2 Archery style feat 5 4 3
7th +5 +5 +5 +2 Woodland stride 5 4 3 1
8th +6/+1 +6 +6 +2 Imbue arrow 5 4 4 2
9th +6/+1 +6 +6 +3 Archery pool (+3) 5 5 4 3
10th +7/+2 +7 +7 +3 Archery style feat 5 5 4 3 1
11th +8/+3 +7 +7 +3 Knowledge pool 5 5 4 4 2
12th +9/+4 +8 +8 +4 Seeker arrow 5 5 5 4 3
13th +9/+4 +8 +8 +4 Archery pool (+4) 5 5 5 4 3 1
14th +10/+5 +9 +9 +4 Archery style feat 5 5 5 4 4 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +9 +5 Improved spell recall 5 5 5 5 4 3
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Hail of arrows 5 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Archery pool (+4) 5 5 5 5 4 4 2
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 Archery style feat 5 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 Phase arrow 5 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Arrow of death 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
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