Author Topic: [3.5] Mystic Ranger, Shooting Star, Sword of The Arcane Order... A Mini-Guide  (Read 18075 times)

Offline zugschef

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UNDER CONSTRUCTION
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Mystic Ranger,
Shooting Star, Sword of The Arcane Order... A Mini-Guide




Contents
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I. Introduction

The mystic ranger coupled with the shooting star substitution levels und the sword of the arcane order feat leads to some interesting options...

This character concept makes an excellent gish without the need for heavy multi-classing, which has the advantage of less character-information to track.

However, the concept has some pecularities which are not immediately appearent. This guide shall help with these and be a non-exhaustive reference for the possibilities opened up with this concept.

Rating: Perfect, Good, Okay, Bad.
(highly subjective, of course)

The Sources
  • Mystic Ranger: Class variant from DR#336 p.105
  • Shooting Star: Substitution levels from cov p.50
  • Sword of the Arcane Order: Feat from cov p.34

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II. What You have to work with...

As said, the mystic ranger combined with the SotAO feat has some pecularities. Let's try to examine these.

First off, we'll focus on the benefits and what you have to give up.

  • The Good
    Cantrips and 5th level spells -- Through level 10 when it comes to spellcasting, a mystic ranger is on par with a sorcerer.
    More spell slots -- The ranger spell list is really nice, this change lets you make use of it.
    Ability to cast sorcerer/wizard spells -- Every class wants to be able to cast these spells.
    A spell-like ability and an expanded spell list -- You take what you get.

  • The Bad
    More MAD -- From now on you need a minimum of 15 intelligence at level 10 in order to cast the highest level wizard spells. Get an item with an enhancement bonus and be done with it.
    Delayed class features -- This can be annoying when multi-classing but otherwise a very fair trade-off.

  • The Ugly
    Reduced Proficiencies -- You lose proficiency in martial melee weapons and shields.
    No animal companion -- When multi-classing an animal companion is fodder anyway. But it's a useful class feature you have to give up nontheless.
    One favored enemy less -- Not only do you lose a favored enemy, you get them later. Depending on the campaign this can make a difference, but sorcerer/wizard spells are still a more than adequate compensation.

You see, it's totally worth it to go this route with your ranger (this variant actually makes a push for the most powerful class in the early to early mid levels of the game). Still, there are some more aspects which you have to be aware of.

Facts
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Debatable
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Results
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Offline zugschef

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III. Concerning Wizard Spells...

Shooting Star and Sword of the Arcane Order do not give you access to the sorcerer/wizard spell list. This is a very important problem, because it makes it a little more difficult to actually get to cast wizard spells. Further, you have to remember that you cannot substitute a primary arcane caster. You are a gish and as such need your spellcasting in combat mainly for yourself.


What a Dip in the Wizard Class means to you...

  • Access to the Wizard Spell List: First of all, you get access to the wizard spell list, which is mandatory to make your own spellbook. Otherwise you will need a spellbook from a foreign source, which means that you have to make a spellcraft check every time you try to memorize a spell. But of course, the spellcraft check is not that hard to make: You can take 10 and as a shooting star ranger you have spellcraft on your class list, and 8 ranks is the number you need to auto-succeed on up to level 5 spells, if your intelligence score is at least 15 (15+spell level).

  • Improved Caster Level: Further, your ranger caster level gets a push, because of the wording of the shooting star improved casting ability (see Chapter II: Debatable), and if you do not use the mystic ranger variant your wizard caster level increases, too.

  • At the DM's Mercy, anyway: In the end wether you dip into wizard or not, your DM has almost complete control over your selection of wizard spells: You have no way to learn new spells other than taking more levels in wizard (which would be a total waste), or finding and/or buying scrolls and/or spellbooks. And if you think about it, since you are of a Mystra-worshipping order, there should be someone who copies spells you find into a spellbook for you.

  • A quick Fix for the SotAO Feat:
    (click to show/hide)

How to get a Spellbook...

Borrow a spellbook -- As a shooting star ranger, your order should provide you a spellbook with fitting spells. This is surely the most usual way for a mystic ranger to get a spellbook. Unfortunately, you will have to make spellcraft checks to use it.
Buy a spellbook -- Read magic or spellcraft checks are necessary; highly unlikely too.
Class Dip -- At least one level in a class with access to the sorcerer/wizard spell list is required. This allows you to copy scrolls and spells from other spellbooks into your own.
Feat: Leadership -- Leadership is totally broken, but it is probably the best way for you to get to the spells you want: Simply get a wizard cohort.
Feat: Magical Training -- This 1st level only feat gives you a spellbook with three cantrips. You still won't automatically learn any new spells while leveling up, but you are now totally capable of maintaining and copying spells into your very own spellbook! Since this actually still won't give you access to the sorcerer/wizard spellist, you will still have to make spellcraft checks, but that should be a minor issue.
Loot a spellbook -- See buying, but a lot more realistic. Watch out for traps.
Share a spellbook -- Requires a friendly wizard willing to share his/her spellbook with you, which probably won't be the case regularly. Again, spellcraft checks are necessary.
Steal a spellbook --  See buying, but even more unlikely. Watch out for traps.

Wizard Spells of Note

1st Level
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2nd Level
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3rd Level
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4th Level
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5th Level
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« Last Edit: November 30, 2011, 08:21:33 AM by zugschef »

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IV. Alternate Class Features, Class Variants and Substitution Levels

You may have already settled for the variants mentioned in the thread's title, but it doesn't need to stop there: The following ACFs and substitution levels are at your disposal.

  • Alternate Class Features
    Arcane HunterCM -- Good choice as a favored enemy. A lot of BBEGs are casters.
    Spell ReflectionCM -- Reflecting targeted spells can be really satisfying, but losing evasion does really hurt. This totally depends on your taste.
    Trap ExpertDS -- Now you can be the party's trapfinder.

  • Class Variants
    Wild-Shaping RangerSRD -- A very strong class variant, this helps you reduce MAD and makes you a melee powerhouse.

  • Substitution Levels
    Elf RangerRotW -- The skillpoints come in handy if you want to be the party's skillmonkey, and you can override the favored enemy with the Arcane Hunter acf.
    Elf WizardRotW -- If you are an elf and pick up a level of wizard, you can do nothing wrong with this substitution level.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2011, 08:28:35 AM by zugschef »

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V. Builds

  • Wild-shaping ranger with the natural spell feat

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