Archery is a combat style with a lot of advantages over melee, but suffers in terms of damage. I’m planning a character based around using Dragonfire Inspiration for damage – none of the silly restrictions of Sneak Attack, and it helps out allies, too. I’d prefer to be making full attacks with Rapid Shot.
It’s fairly easy to pick good feats and magic items for archery, and I have a good idea of what I want to take there. Similarly for race, the need for dragonblood makes it pretty easy to pick. However, there’s very little support for archery by way of classes.
So my question is, what class(es) should a Dragonfire Inspiration-based archer take? For this character, I don’t care too much about Bard spellcasting, so the main things I’m looking for are:
- Full BAB
- Progressing Inspire Courage
- More uses of Bardic Music
- Abilities that will make full-attack archery easier or better (for example, not provoking opportunity attacks)
- Abilities that make Inspire Courage easier or better (for example, activating Inspire Courage as a swift action, or maintaining 2 Bardic Music abilities simultaneously)
Classes I’m already looking at (the “show your research” section):
- Bard: Gives more music uses, progresses Inspire Courage. I’ll probably take at least 4 levels, since there’s no loss of BAB after the first levels. But 3/4 BAB means iterative attacks come slowly and the fourth one never.
- Exoticist Fighter + Exotic Weapon Master: I like Exoticist Fighter 1/Exotic Weapon Master 1 better than Order of the Bow Initiate 2 for not provoking opportunity attacks, since there’s less pre-reqs and I get to use a greatbow this way. More levels of Fighter are a definite possibility, since there’s lots of feats that I need or want.
- Order of the Bow Initiate: As previously mentioned, I can get its best trick in a much easier way. Its normal best trick is expanding Sneak Attack range, but that doesn’t matter for me.
- Warblade or Crusader: Full BAB, and with Song of the White Raven, progresses Inspire Courage and allows swift action activation. I’m not too interested in maneuvers, though, since they’re mostly focused on melee.
- Arcane Archer: Full BAB, and Enhance Arrow is nice, I guess.
- Warior Skald: Full BAB, extra music uses, progresses Inspire Courage. But the pre-reqs are awful (for this character, I mean).
- Dawncaller: Full BAB, extra music uses, progresses Inspire Courage. But being a goliath is awful (for this character, I mean).
- War Chanter: Full BAB, extra music uses, maintain 2 Bardic Music abilities.
- Harmonious Knight Variant Paladin: Full BAB, Divine Grace, 1 use of Inspire Courage that can’t be progressed.