It’s that time of the month again, and as the banners above and to the right of this article will hopefully make it clear, we’ve devoted this week to rangers in celebration of the release of our latest labor of love, A Necromancer’s Grimoire: Bounty of the Ranger. This “love-letter to rangers” provides not only three new ranger-themed (but not ranger exclusive) archetypes, but also provides nine new archetypes: four very detailed and in-depth archetypes for the ranger class, which allow the class to produce wildly different play experiences, instead of simply making a few minor adjustments to one or two class features, and five other archetypes (still more extensive than your standard archetype, but less so than the ones for rangers) for “ranger-adjacent” classes like fighters, druids, and rogues, which help those classes get a taste of being a ranger without having to switch classes. Finally, there are 25 new ranger-themed feats, which, like the prestige classes, are best in the hands of a ranger, but can be enjoyed and used by members of any class. And all this is a mere $4.99.
As you may have guessed, today’s article will be more than just telling you about Bounty of the Ranger: it will also show you a bit of Bounty of the Ranger. With all of the above to choose from, it wasn’t easy to pick a single thing to show off as a preview, but eventually I settled on one of my favorite archetypes from the book, which I think that you’ll enjoy, as well.
New Ranger Archetype
The word “ranger” is often taken to mean “one who ranges,” as an indicator of how far and wide the average ranger travels. In some cases, however, the word takes on a different meaning, instead indicating a greenstalker sniper who can hit targets with amazing accuracy from incredible distances, and who never fights up close, instead dispatching his enemies from a great range.
Expert Marksman (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, the greenstalker sniper can utilize his advanced training with ranged weapons in order to become a more skilled and deadly combatant. He can choose to have this manifest as either a +1 bonus on all attack rolls he makes with ranged weapons, or as a +2 bonus on all damage rolls he makes with ranged weapons. Once this choice is made, it cannot later be changed. At 5th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, the greenstalker sniper may choose again. These effects stack (so a character that chose attack rolls at 1st level and again at 5th would gain a +2 bonus to all attack rolls, while one who chose damage at 1st level and attack at 5th would get a +1 bonus on all attack rolls and a +2 bonus on all damage rolls).
This ability replaces the favored enemy class feature.
Combat Style: Beginning at 2nd level, the greenstalker sniper specializes in archery as a combat style. This functions identically to the combat style class feature of the ranger, except that the greenstalker sniper must select archery as his combat style.
This ability modifies the combat style class feature.
Ambush Shot (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, the greenstalker sniper can deliver precise shots against targets that are unaware of him. Whenever the greenstalker sniper makes a ranged attack while successfully hiding using the Stealth skill, he deals an additional 2d6 points of precision-based damage. At 8th level, and every five levels thereafter, this bonus damage is increased by another 2d6 (to a maximum of 8d6 at 18th level). This bonus damage only applies to attacks made relatively close to the target, and the bonus damage is halved for attacks made outside the weapon’s first range increment, and is negated entirely for attacks made outside the weapon’s second range increment.
This ability replaces the favored terrain class feature.
One with the Bow (Ex): At 4th level, the greenstalker sniper forms a close bond with his weapon, and he is able to imbue it with his own essence in order to grant it magical power. As a swift action, the greenstalker sniper can use this ability to add any one of the following weapon properties to his weapon: conservingUE, distance, eagle eyeEV:BoW, flaming, huntsmanUE, icy breathEV:BoW, lesser shadow shotEV:BoW, limningUE, merciful, seeking, or skyreavingEV:BoW. The chosen property is added to any properties the weapon already has, but duplicate abilities do not stack. The weapon retains this property for one minute, and the greenstalker sniper can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1/2 his ranger level (rounded down, minimum 1).
If a weapon that is currently affected by this ability is destroyed, the greenstalker sniper loses the use of this ability for 30 days, or until he gains a level, whichever comes first. During this 30-day period, the greenstalker sniper loses the use of his expert marksman class feature.
This ability replaces the hunter’s bond class feature.
Precise Aim (Ex): Beginning at 7th level, the greenstalker sniper’s ability to hit his target is so great as to overcome many defenses against ranged attacks. The greenstalker sniper’s ranged attacks can no longer be negated with the Deflect Arrows feat or similar abilities, though characters with such abilities gain a +4 bonus to their AC against any ranged attacks made by the greenstalker sniper that they would normally negate in this way. Precise aim only affects abilities that would completely negate the attack, and has no effect on concealment, or cover, or similar factors.
This ability replaces the swift tracker class feature.
Distance Shot (Ex): Beginning at 9th level, the greenstalker sniper can hit targets at incredible distances, effectively increasing the range increment of any weapon he wields by 20 feet. This ability is applied before the effects of Far Shot or similar abilities.
This ability replaces the evasion class feature.
Pinpoint Targeting (Ex): Beginning at 11th level, the greenstalker sniper can zero in on a target in order to make a very accurate and deadly attack. The more time he spends studying the target, the more powerful the effect. Studying a target in this way is a standard action.
1 round: By studying the target for one round, the greenstalker sniper can bypass the target’s shield, allowing him to negate the target’s shield bonus to AC for the next attack that he makes against the target.
2 rounds: By studying the target for two consecutive rounds, the greenstalker sniper can locate the target’s most vulnerable spot, allowing him to deal an additional 2d6 points of damage on the next attack that he makes against the target. The greenstalker sniper must still successfully hit the target, or this has no effect.
3 rounds: By studying the target for three consecutive rounds, the greenstalker sniper can find a completely unprotected area of the target, allowing him to negate the target’s armor and natural armor bonuses to AC (but not other bonuses, such as deflection, dodge, or insight) for the next attack that he makes against the target.
All the effects of pinpoint targeting are cumulative and apply only to the next attack the greenstalker sniper makes against the target with a projectile weapon. If the greenstalker sniper studies a second target, or if he allows a full round to elapse without studying the target, then any benefits of studying the target are lost, and the greenstalker sniper must begin the process again. The greenstalker sniper may choose to study the target for more rounds beyond three, in order to “hold” the benefits he has accrued, but gains no additional benefit from doing so until he gains the improved pinpoint targeting class feature. When used in conjunction with the Manyshot feat, or similar abilities that allow him to fire more than one arrow with a single attack, any bonus damage as a result of studying the target is treated as though it were part of the weapon’s normal damage (and multiplied accordingly).
This ability replaces the quarry class feature.
Long Distance Shot: Beginning at 16th level, the greenstalker sniper can make shots at unbelievably long distances, and he ignores the maximum range of the weapon he wields when making ranged attacks. He still suffers penalties on attack rolls based on how many range increments away the target is, as normal.
This ability replaces the improved evasion class feature.
Improved Pinpoint Targeting: Beginning at 19th level, the greenstalker sniper can further study his target in order to make supremely crippling and deadly attacks. When he uses his pinpoint targeting ability, he may choose to spend even more time studying his target in order to gain further benefits.
4 rounds: By studying the target for four consecutive rounds, the greenstalker sniper may choose to automatically treat the next attack that he makes against the target as a critical threat. The greenstalker sniper must still successfully hit the target, or this has no effect.
5 rounds: By studying the target for five consecutive rounds, he can fire a shot with such accuracy that it can cripple the target. The next time he makes an attack against the target, if the attack hits, the target must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + damage dealt) or be stunned for 1 minute. Even if the target succeeds on its saving throw, it is staggered for 1 round. The greenstalker sniper must still successfully hit the target, or this has no effect.
6+ rounds: By studying the target for six consecutive rounds, the greenstalker sniper can nearly ensure a successful hit. For each consecutive round beyond the five that the greenstalker sniper studies the target, he gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls for the next attack he makes against the target, to a maximum bonus of +5 after 10 rounds.
The greenstalker sniper may choose to study the target for more rounds beyond ten, in order to “hold” the benefits he has accrued, but gains no additional benefit from doing so
This ability replaces improved quarry.
Lethal Shot (Ex): Beginning at 20th level, whenever the greenstalker sniper successfully deals bonus damage due to his ambush shot class feature, the target must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the greenstalker sniper’s ranger level + the greenstalker sniper’s Dexterity modifier) or instantly die. If the greenstalker sniper’s attack deals nonlethal damage, this attack instead deals nonlethal damage equal to the targets maximum hit points on a failed saving throw. Creatures that succeed their saving throw still suffer damage as normal and are sickened for 1 minute.
This ability replaces the master hunter class feature.
If you enjoyed that, you’ll want to pick up a copy of A Necromancer’s Grimoire: Bounty of the Ranger, which is available right now for a mere $4.99, and packs over 32,000 words of awesome ranger-themed content. Just something to consider.