Archer, 2nd Variant (5e Class)
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An elf flees down narrow hallways, running from his pursuers. He turns a corner, then spins around. When the duergar turn the corner, he pulls out his crossbow and fills them full of arrows. They all collapse to the ground. He continues to run, knowing more will be on their way. But when they do, he will be ready. He keeps his crossbow out, just to be sure
A halfling squints off into the distance. A horde of humanoids is approaching rapidly. They are far off, but the first group of them is just in range. She stands up, pulls out her bow, and nocks an arrow. She closes one eye to focus, aiming directly at the head of the leader of the pack. They are in a perfect position now. She smiles and releases her arrow. It flies through the air, making a whistling noise as the air in front of it is displaced. It lands directly on its target, and the leader of the horde sprouts an arrow on his forehead, then falls over dead. The horde scatters in panic, then retreats. the halfling puts away her bow and grins.
A human pulls out his longbow, ready for combat. While the rest of his party is rushing in, he remains back, calculating. He waits. The orcs haven't noticed him yet. He waits some more. Finally, what he was waiting for arrives- they coalesce together, forming a small huddle. He nocks an arrow and aims for the center of the huddle. They shift a bit, into an even better position. He releases the arrow. It hits the orc in the center, and it explodes outward in a blast of magical fire. The orcs didn't stand a chance. He slowly puts away his bow.
Archers are all manner of people. They can be magical, wise, strong, or even just a normal person. One thing that makes them all similar, however, is their use of ranged weapons to fight the enemies in their path.
Masters of the Bow
Archers are a broad category, but overall they are warriors who specialize in the bow. They are accurate and deadly with ranged weapons of all manners, but they usually use one kind of weapon. They are great fighters as a whole, but they are champions at ranged combat. Some are better at shooting long distances, while others are better at dealing more damage with their attacks. Some fire one shot at a time, making their shots as deadly as possible, while some try to make as many shots as they can. Some enhance their attacks with magic, while others shun it. Some use crossbows, while others use more typical bows. All of these people, however, fall under the category of an archer- people who specialize in hitting their targets from a distance.
Some believe that it is simple to fire a bow, and mock archers because of this. This is not so. The art of archery is tough to master in concept, and even harder in practice. To the untrained eye, it does look rather simple, but it requires techniques that take years to master. Those who practice the ways of archery are disciplined warriors who have spent years practicing to get their peerless aim and skill with a bow, much like the way a wizard studies the arcane for years to become a master of its ways, or a cleric devotes their life to their god.
Archers Across the Ages
Archers play a huge role historically, both in the fantasy world and the real world. Archers are a core part of any successful army, able to take down enemies from a long distance away, striking down foes before they even get close. Legolas, Robin Hood, and Odysseus were all amazing archers. Almost all armies during the Dark Ages had archers, and if you're looking for something a bit more realistic, you could be a sharpshooter from. Most armies in the world of D&D do as well. Archers play a crucial role in both fiction and nonfiction, and the world would be a very different place if it wasn't for their influence.
Creating an Archer
When you're making an archer, think about why you wanted to become a master of the bow. Was your father a master huntsman, and you want to take after him? Maybe you found a bow at childhood and learned how to use it effectively. Perhaps you have learned archery techniques that no one else has, and you wish to spread them. Also, think about who or what made you into an archer. Almost all archers had some reason to become a master of the bow. Maybe you were drafted into the military, or an old sage taught you secret techniques. Perhaps you're an outlaw, and you learned how to use a bow to protect yourself. Whatever the case, it's important to have your backstory influence why you became an archer and your abilities as an archer today.
- Quick Build
You can make an archer quickly by following these suggestions. First, Dexterity should be your highest ability score, followed by Intelligence or Wisdom. Second, choose the outlander or soldier background. Third, choose a longbow, a quiver with 20 arrows, a dungeoneer's pack, a scimitar, leather armor, two daggers, and a light crossbow and 20 bolts.
As a Archer you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, ranged martial weapons, scimitar
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Wisdom
Skills: Choose three from Acrobatics, Insight, Investigation, Perception, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, and Survival
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a longbow and a quiver with 20 arrows or (b) a heavy crossbow and a quiver with 20 bolts or (c) any ranged weapon of your choice
- (a) dungeoneer's pack or (b) explorer's pack
- (a) a scimitar or (b) any melee weapon of your choice that you are proficient with
- leather armor, 2 daggers, and a light crossbow and 20 bolts
- If you are using starting wealth, you have 5d4 x 10 gp in funds.
|Trick Shot Damage||Features|
|1st||+2||-||Agile, Fighting Style|
|2nd||+2||1d4||Quick Fire, Trick Shot (x2)|
|4th||+2||1d4||Ability Score Improvement|
|7th||+3||1d6||Archery Specialty Feature|
|8th||+3||1d6||Ability Score Improvement|
|9th||+4||1d8||Stand Your Ground|
|10th||+4||1d8||Fleet-Footed, Trick Shot (x3)|
|11th||+4||1d8||Archery Specialty Feature|
|12th||+4||1d8||Ability Score Improvement|
|13th||+5||1d10||Quick Fire Improvement|
|15th||+5||1d10||Archery Specialty Feature|
|16th||+5||1d10||Ability Score Improvement|
|18th||+6||1d12||Trick Shot (x4)|
|19th||+6||1d12||Ability Score Improvement|
Your time serving as an archer has made you extra nimble. At 1st level, select a Dexterity-based skill. You gain proficiency in that skill. If you are already proficient in that skill, you add double your proficiency bonus to checks you make with it. In addition, you add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that uses Dexterity that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus.
You adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can't take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.
You gain a +2 to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.
- Close Quarters Shooter
When making a ranged attack while you are within 5 feet of a hostile creature, you do not have disadvantage on the attack roll. Your ranged attacks ignore half cover and three-quarters cover against targets within 30 feet of you. You have a +1 bonus to attack rolls on ranged attacks.
While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 to AC.
- Thrown Weapon Fighting
You can draw a weapon that has the thrown property as part of the attack you make with the weapon. In addition, when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a +1 bonus to the damage roll.
At 2nd level, you have learned how to trade accuracy for speed. When you use your turn to make a ranged weapon attack, you can give yourself disadvantage on all attacks for this turn. If you do, you can make another ranged weapon attack with disadvantage as a bonus action. You must use ammunition for each shot, as usual. At 13th level, your speed has improved, but so has your accuracy. You can ignore the disadvantage that this feature implies on your ranged attacks. Alternatively, you can keep the disadvantage, but make three ranged attacks with disadvantage as a bonus action instead of just one.
At 2nd level, you learn how to make your shots trick shots, making them much more impressive. Before you make a ranged weapon attack, you can choose to make it a trick shot. These trick shots have special effects that can change the way your attack may happen. You can only make one trick shot per turn. Whether the attack hits or misses, you expend one use of this feature.
Some trick shots may require a saving throw. The DC for this saving throw is 8 + your Dexterity modifier + your proficiency bonus. All trick shots deal extra damage to the target on a hit which increases as you level up, as shown in the Trick Shot Damage column.
You have 2 uses of this feature, and you regain all uses of this feature after you finish a long rest. The number of uses increases by 1 at 10th level (3 uses) and 18th level (4 uses).
- Disarming Shot
Make your ranged weapon attack as normal. On a hit, the target must make a Strength saving throw or have their weapon knocked out of their hand and fly 10 feet in a direction of your choosing.
- Forceful Shot
Make your ranged weapon attack as normal. On a hit, the target takes an extra 1d8 piercing damage and must make a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
- Head Shot
Make your ranged weapon attack with a -5 penalty and disadvantage. On a hit, the damage the attack deals is doubled.
- Long Shot
You double both the normal and long range of your ranged weapon.
- Piercing Shot
Make your ranged weapon attack as normal. On a hit, a target within a 10-foot line of your original target, with the angle of the line being determined by the angle of you and your original target, must make a Dexterity saving throw or take half of the damage the original target took (rounded up).
At 3rd level, you choose an archery specialty. Choose between Crossbow Expert, Elemental Archer, Weapon Master, and Marksman, detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 3rd and again at 7th, 11th, and 15th level.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
Your mind thinks fast in combat, letting you notice things that others may not, and letting you take in things out of your peripheral vision. Beginning at 6th level, you can take the Search action as a free action on each of your turns. In addition, whenever you take the Search action as an action, not a free action, you gain advantage on the Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation) check.
Stand Your Ground
You know how to fend off foes that are approaching fast. Starting at 9th level, when an enemy takes the Dash action and they are within the normal range of your ranged weapon, you can use your reaction to make a ranged weapon attack against them.
Beginning at 10th level, you are quicker than most people, and it shows when you fight. Your movement speed increases by 10 feet. In addition, you can take a bonus action on each of your turns in combat. This action can only be used to Dash or Disengage.
You have seen danger charge you before, and you are not scared by it. At 14th level, you become immune to the frightened condition.
At 17th level, your mastery of ranged weaponry extends to your everyday life. When you finish a long rest, choose a skill that uses Dexterity or Wisdom. You gain proficiency in that skill until the end of your next long rest. Alternatively, you can pick a skill that you are already proficient in, but does not have an effect that doubles its proficiency bonus such as Expertise. You can add double your proficiency bonus to that skill until the end of your next long rest.
At 20th level, your aim with the bow is unerring, and you can make shots that seem impossible. Your Dexterity score increases by 4, to a maximum of 24. Additionally, when you miss a creature with a ranged attack, you can reroll the attack with advantage. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
Crossbow Experts are different from what people typically think of archers. Instead of their chosen weapon being bows, they choose to use crossbows instead. Regardless, they are amazing fighters, and their expertise with the crossbow allows them to perform incredible feats that some would consider borderline supernatural.
- Crossbow Adept
Your mastery of crossbows allows you to draw and use them quickly and effectively. Staring at 3rd, you can draw your crossbow or stow it as a free action. In addition, you can ignore the loading property of your crossbows, and you can add your proficiency bonus to damage rolls with your crossbow.
- Fast Mind
You have the ability to think fast in combat. Starting at 3rd level, you gain a bonus to your initiative modifier equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of +1).
- Rapid Fire
Starting at 7th level, you have learned how to fire your crossbow incredibly fast. On your turn, you can use your bonus action to make three attacks with your crossbow. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
- Precise Shot
At 11th level, you have learned how to make your crossbow shots more accurate. You gain a +1 to attack rolls with crossbows. In addition, you can give yourself a +5 bonus to hit a creature. You can use this feature a number of times equal to half your Dexterity modifier, and you regain all uses of this feature after a long rest.
At 15th level, your aim is so great with crossbows, you can target a creature's weak points. You can use your bonus action to mark a target. When the target is marked, you gain the following benefits against them:
- Their AC is reduced by a number equal to half your Dexterity modifier to all your crossbow attacks against them.
- Your crossbow attacks deal extra damage against your target equal to your Dexterity modifier.
- Your crossbow attacks score a critical hit on a 19 or 20.
- While within 30 feet of your target, you have advantage on attack rolls against them.
These benefits last for 1 hour, or until they die. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.
Elemental Archers have learned an ancient technique for archery, long forgotten to most people, only acquired through special means. They have learned how to channel primordial magic from each of the elemental planes into their attacks. While archers themselves may not seem intimidating, when an arrow strikes you and it erupts fire upon you, or when an arrow flies past your head and then turns around and hits you, you may want to rethink underestimating the power of the bowman.
- Minor Magic
At 3rd level, you have learned some of the practices of the wizard. You gain proficiency in the Arcana skill. If you already have proficiency in this skill, you add double your proficiency bonus to any checks you make with it. You learn two wizard cantrips of your choice. In addition, choose one 1st-level spell to learn from the wizard spell list. Using this ability, you can cast the spell once at its lowest level, and you must finish a long rest before you can cast it in this way again. Intelligence is your casting ability for these spells.
- Elemental Arrow
At 3rd level, you learn how to weave traces of primordial magic into your shots with your bow. Once per turn when you fire an arrow from a shortbow or longbow as part of the Attack action, you can apply one of your Elemental Arrow options to that arrow. You decide to use the option when the arrow hits a creature, unless the option doesn't require an attack roll. You have two uses of this ability, and you regain all uses after a short or long rest. The number of times you can use this feature increases by one at 7th level (three uses), 11th level, (four uses), and 15th level (five uses). If it requires a saving throw, the DC is 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus. Below are the Elemental Arrow options:
Blinding Arrow You conjure magic from the Elemental Plane of Earth and add it into your attack. When you hit a target with your arrow, they take an extra 2d6 bludgeoning damage. In addition, they must make a Constitution saving throw or be blinded for 1 minute. They can repeat the save as an action every round, ending the effect on a success. The bludgeoning damage increases to 3d6 at 15th level.
Flaming Arrow You weave the flames of the Elemental Plane of Fire into your arrow. When you hit a creature with an arrow, every creature within 10 feet of them- including your original target- must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. The fire damage increases to 3d6 at 15th level.
Freezing Arrow You conjure water from the Elemental Plane of Water to freeze your target. When you hit a creature with an arrow, they must make a Constitution saving throw, taking 2d6 cold damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful save. In addition, their movement speed is reduced by 10 feet for 1 minute. The cold damage increases to 3d6 at 15th level.
Storm Arrow You enhance your arrow with the power of storms from the Elemental Plane of Air. When you hit a creature with your arrow, every creature in a 5-foot wide by 15-foot long line originating from the original target must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d6 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. The lightning damage increases to 3d6 at 15th level.
- Magical Shots
At 7th level, you have learned how to enhance all of your weapon attacks with magic. All of your ranged weapon attacks count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage. The magic fades from the arrow immediately after it hits or misses the target.
- Powerful Magic
At 11th level, your connection with magic strengthens. You can add your Intelligence modifier to the damage rolls for every ranged attack you make.
- Arcane Master
At 11th level, when you roll initiative and have no uses of your Elemental Arrow feature, you regain one use.
- Planar Archer
At 15th level, you can channel your magic to make a portal through the planes. As an action, you can create a portal on a location you can see within 60 feet of you. This portal has a 5-foot radius, and is circular in appearance. This portal travels to the Elemental Plane of Air, Earth, Fire, or Water, or to the Material Plane. It takes you to a location of your choice that you have visited on that plane, or a location of the DM's choosing if you have not visited that plane. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.
- Amplified Arrows
At 15th level, your Elemental Arrows become more potent, and you learn how to channel extra magic into your arrows. The damage of your Elemental Arrows all increase by 1d6 of the damage type added to the arrow. In addition, you can amplify your Elemental Arrow. When you hit a creature with an arrow and apply an Elemental Arrow effect to it, you can choose to amplify it. If you amplify it, it gains an additional benefit, as shown below:
Amplified Blinding Arrow You pierce your target's skin and transform it by using the raw magic of the Elemental Plane of Earth. When you amplify your Blinding Arrow, if the target fails their Constitution saving throw, they are petrified for 1 minute instead of blinded.
Amplified Flaming Arrow You conjure cursed fire from the Elemental Plane of Fire to hang on to their skin, even after the initial flames. When you amplify your Flaming Arrow, every creature that failed the Dexterity saving throw against your Flaming Arrow effect also takes an additional 1d6 fire damage at the start of each of their turns- as well as any time you hit them- for the next minute.
Amplified Freezing Arrow The ice you fabricate fractures and spreads to other targets as well. When you amplify your Freezing Arrow, every creature within a 10-foot radius of the original target must make a Constitution saving throw, taking 2d6 cold damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. In addition, any creature that fails their saving throw has their movement speed reduced by 10 feet.
Amplified Storm Arrow You have learned how to control the winds that remain from the Elemental Plane of Air to your advantage. When you amplify your Storm Arrow, you gain advantage on all ranged attacks against creatures that failed their Dexterity saving throw against your Storm Arrow effect for 1 minute.
Once you amplify an arrow, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest.
Marksmen are typically what people think of when they hear the word archer- exellent shots with a bow. However, they are so much more than that. Marksmen have honed the art of archery to perfection, allowing them to make precise, deadly shots. When a marksman is training their shot on you, beware, as they are precise and deadly.
- Master Shot
You are very precise with the bow. You gain the Archery fighting style, as described earlier in this class. If you already have this fighting style, your ranged weapon attacks score a critical hit on a 19 or 20.
- Marksman's Stance
You have learned a special stance that makes you much more accurate. As a bonus action, you can go into a marksman's stance. While in this stance, you gain the following benefits:
- You gain a bonus to attack rolls with ranged weapons equal to your proficiency bonus.
- Your bow's short range and long range both double.
- When you hit a creature with a ranged weapon attack, it deals an extra 1d6 damage of the bow's damage type.
These benefits last for 1 minute, until you use a bonus action to leave the stance, or until you take the Dash action. Once you use this feature, you can't do it again until you finish a short or long rest.
- Stealthy Shot
At 7th level, your shots are so precise and quick they can't be traced back to you. When you hit a target with an arrow and you are hidden, it doesn't reveal your position, and when you hit a target with an arrow they do not know that you fired the arrow unless they could see you fire the bow. In addition, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls against creatures that cannot see you and on surprise rounds.
- Unerring Eye
At 11th level, your vision is honed to near perfection. You have advantage on all Perception checks.
- Unwavering Shot
At 15th level, your arrows almost always hit their target, no matter the circumstances. You never have disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls. In addition, when you miss an attack roll, you may reroll with advantage. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.
Weapon Masters are archers who are masters in all weapons, not just bows and crossbows. They use their abilities in all weapons to their advantage, fighting in close range as well as long range. Beware of getting too close to these archers, for they can cut you down with a sword just as easily as they can with a bow.
- Combat Mastery
Starting when you take this subclass at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in all martial weapons, medium armor, and shields.
- Close Combat Archery
You are a master in close quarters with your ranged weapons. You gain the Close Quarters Shooter fighting style. If you already have this fighting style, then you gain a +1 to ranged attack rolls against creatures within 10 feet of you.
- Agile Fighter
You have learned how to you use your nimbleness rather than your strength to fight. When you attack a target with a melee weapon, you can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier for your weapon as long as it does not have the Heavy or Two-Handed property.
- Blade & Bow
At 7th level, you are able to switch back and forth between ranged and melee combat easily. When you use the Attack action and use a melee weapon, you can use your bonus action to attack once with a ranged weapon. Additionally, when you use the Attack action and use a ranged weapon, you can use your bonus action to attack once with a melee weapon.
- Master in Battle
At 11th level, you are a master on the battlefield. You learn two maneuvers from the Battle Master maneuver list. You can only use 1 maneuver per attack. You gain 3 superiority dice, which are d6s. A superiority die is expended when you use it to fuel your maneuver. You regain all of your expended superiority dice when you finish a long rest. There are no restrictions on what maneuvers you can learn. However, if a maneuver you choose requires you to use a melee weapon, you can instead use a ranged weapon.
- Speed Striker
At 15th level, you are so quick at attacking you can attack very quickly in a small radius. As an action, you can make a single melee weapon attack against every creature within range of your weapon. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest or you roll initiative again.
At 15th level, you can use your action to make a ranged attack against any number of creatures within 10 feet of a point you can see within your weapon’s range. You must have ammunition for each target, as normal, and you make a separate attack roll for each target.
Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Archer class, you must meet these prerequisites: A Dexterity score of 13 or higher
Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Archer class, you gain the following proficiencies: Light Armor, Ranged Weapons, one skill from the class list.