Introduction to the Arcane Archer
The Arcane Archer is one of the five prestige classes introduced with the first expansion to the Neverwinter Nights game, ‘Shadows of Undrentide’. As the name describes, it is aimed at characters that favour the bow as their primary weapon, but also possess the ability to cast arcane-based magic. This means that your character must be initially built as an arcane-caster, and not as a divine-caster where the Wisdom attribute is more important.
As an Arcane Archer you will have the ability to imbue you arrows with magical properties, along with other abilities which you will acquire as part of the class. This is the major ability which this prestige class will grant you and you will be able to cast more and more powerful arcane properties to your projectiles as you gradually gain levels. The maximum level which can be reached in any prestige class is level 10, and the Arcane Archer is no exception.
Race, Skills and Feats requirements
In order to qualify as an Arcane Archer you must have built an elven or half-elven character. Since elves are known for their ability with the bow, this is the only race which is allowed to take this prestige class. Aside from limiting what race you can choose in order for your character to eventually grow into a powerful marksman, you also need to have the following:
A Base Attack bonus with a positive modifier of 6 (+6 BA bonus), which is determined by your class (fighter, rogue, monk etc…). The character-classes are known as ‘Main’, ‘Second’ or ‘Third’. In the ‘Main class’, your BA bonus starts at 1 point at first level and increases by 1 point subsequently. In ‘Second’ and ‘Third’ classes it starts at 0 at first level. The Arcane Archer belongs to the ‘Main’ classes, and as a result you should expect to have a BA bonus of +6 by level 6.
You must possess the following feats: Weapon Focus on any bow and also Point-blank Shot
You must be able to cast at least 1st level Arcane spells. Of course, if you want to progress further as an Arcane Archer, further spell-levels are required.
Some Feats acquired
These feats will become available as you choose this prestige-class and gradually gain levels. Some of the feats are acquired at first level:
Enchant Arrows (Level 1) – This feat will give your arrows magical powers, inflicting more damage to the targeted opponents. The power of the enchantment will increase by 1 point every two levels of Arcane Archer.
Imbue arrow (Level 2) – Essentially considered a spell of sorts, as it allows you to summon forth an arrow imbued with arcane properties, with which you will target your foes. Should the arrow hit, it will deal the same damage as a fireball spell by a battle-mage, covering an area instead of a specific target.
Arrow of death (Level 10) – You wouldn’t want to be on the end of this lethal enchantment, as it allows you to create an arrow which will instantly kill your opponent, should it hit. You can do this once a day, and the target can only survive if he rolls a higher fortitude save. The initial DC (Difficulty class) of the deathly dart is 20.