Sharpshooter (3.5e Class)

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Author: Ghostwheel (talk)
Date Created: October 1, 2009
Status: Complete
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With enough skill, the sharpshooter can bring down the mightiest of enemies.

Sharpshooter[edit]

The dragon swooped once more lower than ever, and as he turned and dived down his belly glittered white with sparkling fires of gems in the moon--but not in one place. The great bow twanged. The black arrow sped straight from the string, straight for the hollow by the left breast where the foreleg was flung wide. In it smote and vanished, barb, shaft and feather, so fierce with its flight. With a shriek that deafened men, felled trees and split stone, Smaug shot spouting into the air, turned over and crashed down on high in ruin.
—J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

A consummate archer, sniper, or crossbowman, the sharpshooter excels at range combat. Their skill with the bow or crossbow is unsurpassed when compared to all but the most magically-enhanced of their peers, and their accuracy, especially at farther ranges, surpasses even those.

Making a Sharpshooter[edit]

Sharpshooters work best when behind the protective defense granted by tanks, peppering their foes foes while their stronger allies keep the attention until the enemy dies without knowing the source of its doom. Sharpshooters also work well with casters who grant them extra attacks with which to defeat their foes, but less well with those who conjure mist or clouds, since those can impair a sharpshooter's vision.

Abilities: Dexterity is the most important ability of the sharpshooter, affecting the DCs of their abilities, the damage they deal, and their attack rolls. Next is their Wisdom, which they use to perceive their foe and confirm that their shots hit where they need to go. Strength and Constitution are both important too, to add damage to the sharpshooter's attacks with the use of a composite bow and to have the health to take attacks by enemies, while Intelligence is needed for keeping the skills to track and kill their foes high.

Races: While elves are the most common sharpshooters, sharpshooters can be found amongst nearly any race. Even amongst the dwarves and gnomes can they be found occasionally, often wielding a mechanical crossbow with which to easily punch through their opponents' armor while wearing fairy heavy armor themselves.

Alignment: Any

Starting Gold: 5d4×10 gp

Starting Age: As rogue

Table: The Sharpshooter

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +2 +2 +0 Aim Pool, Sharpshooter, Weapon Focus
2nd +1 +3 +3 +0 Countershot 1/encounter, Rapid Reload
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Called Shot (Arm), Improved Rapid Reload
4th +3 +4 +4 +1 Hunter's Eye +1, Precise Aim, Sneaky Shot
5th +3 +4 +4 +1 Pierce Armor
6th +4 +5 +5 +2 Called Shot (Leg), Distant Shot
7th +5 +5 +5 +2 Confirmed Shot, Interrupt Healing
8th +6/+1 +6 +6 +2 Hail of Arrows, Hunter's Eye +2
9th +6/+1 +6 +6 +3 Called Shot (Shoulder), Leaf on the Wind
10th +7/+2 +7 +7 +3 Countershot 2/encounter, Disrupt Magic, Lightning Shot
11th +8/+3 +7 +7 +3 Improved Sneaky Shot
12th +9/+4 +8 +8 +4 Called Shot (Torso), Hunter's Eye +3, Improved Pierce Armor
13th +9/+4 +8 +8 +4 Critical Shot, Greater Interrupt Healing
14th +10/+5 +9 +9 +4 Grim Shot
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +9 +5 Called Shot (Eye)
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Improved Hail of Arrows, Hunter's Eye +4
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Ranged Execution
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 Called Shot (Spine), Countershot 3/encounter, Greater Sneaky Shot
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 Deadly Shower
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Improved Grim Shot, Hunter's Eye +5

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (Local) (Int), Knowledge (Nature) (Int), Listen (Wis) Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the sharpshooter.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Sharpshooters are proficient with all simple weapons and only with ranged martial weapons, as well as all non-thrown ranged exotic weapons. Sharpshooters are also proficient with light armor and medium armor.

Aim Pool: By carefully watching their enemies, sharpshooters can find vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their opponents' defense, as well as being able to position themselves in the best place to kill their foes quickly. A sharpshooter can gain Aim Points by watching an enemy closely, and may use Aim Points gained against one enemy only against that enemy unless noted otherwise in the ability. When switching from one enemy to another, all Aim Points in the Aim Pool are lost. These Aim Points are used to fuel many of the sharpshooter's abilities, allowing them to hit more accurately, quickly, and to reduce their foes to mere shadows of their former capabilities. When aiming at an opponent, a sharpshooter gains 1d4 Aim Points, plus his Wisdom modifier divided by four and rounded up, plus his class level divided by five (minimum 0). A sharpshooter may aim at an opponent only once per round, and gains fewer or extra Aim Points depending on how long they aim, as detailed below.

Aim Pool
Action Extra aim points received
Swift action -2
Move Action -1
Standard Action +0
Full-Round Action +2

Aim Points may only be spent on ranged weapons that must be shot (such as arrows from a bow or bolts from a crossbow) and not on thrown weapons. The Aim Pool may have a number of points in it equal to the sharpshooter's class level + his Wisdom modifier. Some abilities have a limit on how many Aim Points they may contribute to an attack; the maximum number of Aim Points that may be spent on these is equal to the sharpshooter's class level divided by two (minimum 1). When attacking a creature against which the sharpshooter has saved up Aim Points, they may add 1/2 the total number of Aim Points they have to damage.

Sharpshooter: A sharpshooter can concentrate well, ignoring the movement that lies between him and his foes. At first level the sharpshooter gains the Sharpshooter feat even if he does not qualify for it.

Weapon Focus: At first level, the sharpshooter gains the Weapon Focus feat with a single ranged weapon with which he is proficient.

Countershot (Ex): A second level sharpshooter may make attacks on the fly, gaining the ability to take one last shot at a fleeing opponent, open up with a fearsome barrage of attacks, or bring down a foe who's on his last legs. Once per encounter as an immediate action, the sharpshooter may make one attack at its highest BAB. At level 10 the sharpshooter may use this ability twice per encounter, and at level 18 three times per encounter.

Rapid Reload (Ex): A sharpshooter can use even the slowest of weapons with ease, firing off bolt after bolt as though the weapon in his hands were a bow. At second level, if the action to reload a weapon was a move action, it is reduced to a free action. This ability improves at level 3, reloading what was once a full-round action (or took less time) becoming a free action.

Called Shot (Ex): As the sharpshooter grows in mastery he may make called shots, targeting various parts of his foe's body. His aim becomes sharper, allowing him to hit different targets as detailed below. As a standard action, he may make a single attack, activating only one of the following abilities. Should he hit with the attack, the target must make a saving throw or suffer the effects as detailed below. Each ability grants the target a Fortitude save with a DC equal to the sharpshooters Dexterity modifier + 1/2 his character level + 10. This even works on creatures without an anatomy, as the sharpshooter targets parts of the nucleus of oozes, or interferes with an undead's connection to the Negative Energy Plane, or scratches some of the arcane runes used to power a golem. The sharpshooter may spend an extra number of Aim Points equal to one-quarter his class level to increase the DC by one per Aim Points spent. The use of this ability counts towards the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

  • Arm: At level three, the sharpshooter may target an opponent's arm or similar appendage by spending one Aim Point. On a failed save, the target takes -2 to attack rolls and the DCs of their abilities for two rounds.
  • Leg: At level six, the sharpshooter may target an opponent's leg by spending two Aim Points. On a failed save, the target takes a -10 penalty to speed for every six character levels the sharpshooter possesses and a -2 penalty to AC for two rounds.
  • Shoulder: At level nine, the sharpshooter may target an opponent's shoulder joint by spending three Aim Points. On a failed save, the target is staggered for two rounds.
  • Torso: At level twelve, the sharpshooter may target an opponent's torso by spending four Aim Points, interfering with their ability to resist affects due to pain or inability to move. On a failed save, the target takes a penalty to all saves equal to the sharpshooter's Wisdom modifier divided by two, or three-quarters his class level, whichever is lower, for one round.
  • Eyes: At level fifteen, the sharpshooter may target an opponent's eyes or other organs they use to sense that which is around them by spending five Aim Points. On a failed save, the target is considered Blinded for two rounds, and takes all the penalties even if they would normally have another way of seeing.
  • Spine: At level eighteen, the sharpshooter may target an opponent's spine, or other central nervous system through which they move by spending six Aim Points. On a failed save, the target is either Dazed for one round, or is considered Nauseated for two rounds, depending on the sharpshooter's choice. On a successful save, the target instead takes a -2 penalty to AC, -2 penalty to attacks, -2 to the DCs of their abilities, and is staggered until the end of their next turn.

Hunter's Eye (Ex): As time passes, the sharpshooter becomes far more accurate with his attacks when compared to other characters, placing shot after shot exactly where he wants to and sometimes even being able to split his own arrow in the middle of a bullseye. At fourth level, the sharpshooter gains a +1 competence bonus to all ranged attacks in a round during which they spend Aim points. This bonus increases by one every four class levels (up to a maximum of +5 at level 20) and stacks with any competence bonus granted by any class, but not one granted from feats or other abilities.

Precise Aim (Ex): By aiming carefully, the sharpshooter may deal more damage than they ever were able to before. At level four, before making any attacks the sharpshooter may spend a number of Aim Points up to one-quarter his level (rounded up). He adds 1d6 damage per Aim Point to attacks made that turn against the target which he currently has Aim Points added to. This does not add to the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack. Bonus damage from this ability only applies to attacks derived from BAB, spells or class abilities possessed by the character, and not ones gotten from feats or the like.

Sneaky Shot (Ex): By targeting vulnerable areas, the sharpshooter may increase the damage done to his foes. At level four, before making any attacks, the sharpshooter may spend a number of Aim points up to one-quarter his level (rounded up). He adds 2d6 Sneak Attack damage per Aim Point to all attacks made that turn against the target that round. This damage may be inflicted not only if the target is denied their Dexterity modifier to AC, but also if they are flanked by any two creatures who are hostile to them. This does not add to the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack. Bonus damage from this ability only applies to attacks derived from BAB, spells or class abilities possessed by the character, and not ones gotten from feats or the like.

At level eleven, this ability improves, and all Sneak Attack damage that would be dealt by the sharpshooter deals 1/2 damage to creatures normally immune to Sneak Attack. The sharpshooter may also use Sneak Attack (and other abilities that require one to be within 30', like Point Blank Shot) when within up to 60' of his target.

This improved further at level eighteen, and all Sneak Attack damage deals the full amount to creatures normally immune to Sneak Attack. Furthermore, the sharpshooter may now use Sneak Attack (and other abilities that require one to be within 30', like Point Blank Shot) when within 90' of his target.

Pierce Armor (Ex): At level five, the sharpshooter may shoot chinks in his opponent's armor, weakening it. By spending a number of Aim Points (up to 1/2 his class level) before making an attack, he may reduce the target's Damage Reduction by two for every Aim Point spent should the attack hit. The Damage Reduction is regained at the rate of one point per round. At level twelve this ability improves, and the target loses four Damage Reduction for every Aim Point spent. The use of this ability counts towards the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

Distant Shot (Ex): At 6th level, the sharpshooter may make shots that would daunt his peers, allowing him to shoot farther and more accurately than many ever could. Before making an attack, the sharpshooter may spend Aim Points to lower the penalty from shooting beyond his range increment by 2 for every Aim Point he spends. The use of this ability counts towards the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

Confirmed Shot (Ex): After rolling a critical hit, the level seven sharpshooter may spend three Aim Points to automatically confirm the attack without having to roll. This does not add to the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

Interrupt Healing (Ex): At level eight, the sharpshooter may target vital arteries, stopping the incredible healing abilities of his foe. By spending two Aim Points before making his attack, the sharpshooter may stop any healing the target receives from Fast Healing for three rounds should the target fail a Fortitude save, DC equal to 10 + Dexterity modifier + 1/2 character level. This lasts only one round should the target make its save. The use of this ability counts towards the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

This improves even further at 13th level, and interrupting even regeneration. All damage dealt to the target is considered lethal (except for damage that would normally be nonlethal without regeneration) and the target heals no nonlethal damage during the time when this ability is in effect.

Hail of Arrows (Ex): At 8th level, the sharpshooter may make a single attack as a full-round action by spending four Aim Points; compare the attack roll against the AC of all enemies within 30' of the sharpshooter; each enemy is considered to have been targeted by the attack, and all aim points spent to power abilities count all enemies targeted as having been aimed at when spending points from the Aim Pool. At level sixteen, the range of this ability grows to 60' and the sharpshooter may make two shots instead of one. The use of this ability counts towards the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

Leaf on the Wind (Ex): By level 9, a sharpshooter can see the flows and movements of the wind itself. By spending two Aim Points as a free action, the sharpshooter may ignore the effects of strong wind upon his projectiles until the start of his next turn. This includes magical effects, such as the wind wall spell. This does not add to the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

Disrupt Magic Ex): Spellcasters are fearsome enemies, and the sharpshooter knows best how to disrupt their spellcasting, even severing their connection to their supernatural powers if necessary. At level ten, the sharpshooter may make a single ranged attack as a standard action by spending five Aim Points. Should this attack his, the target must make a Fortitude Save (DC of 10 + Dexterity modifier + 1/2 character level) or be unable to cast defensively, and be forced to make a Concentration check whenever he uses a Spell, Spell-Like Ability, or Supernatural Ability, with a DC of 10 + the sharpshooter's Dexterity modifier + 1/2 the sharpshooter's character level + twice the effective level of the ability or lose the spell. The action used to activate the ability is still used up. Disrupt Magic lasts for three rounds on a failed Fortitude save, or until the end of the target's turn on a successful save. The use of this ability counts towards the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

Lightning Arrow (Ex): A sharpshooter can shoot of ammunition so quickly that his foes don't even have time to register them. Before making an attack, the sharpshooter may spend four Aim Points to cause the target to be considered Flatfooted against his next attack. The use of this ability counts towards the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

Critical Shot (Ex): The sharpshooter can make even the hardest of shots look easy when compared to other users of ranged weaponry. At level thirteen, he may spend six Aim Points to automatically make the his next attack a critical threat should he hit with it. The use of this ability counts towards the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

Grim Shot (Ex): As he learns newer tricks, the sharpshooter learns to make once-in-a-lifetime shots with ease. At level fourteen, the sharpshooter may spend seven Aim Points as a standard action to make a single attack at his highest attack bonus; should he hit, the target is forced to make a Fortitude saving throw, or take an extra 1d6 damage per character level of the sharpshooter (DC 10 + Dexterity modifier + 1/2 character level). This attack ignores cover, concealment, chance to miss (such as from the mirror image spell), armor, and natural armor. On a successful saving throw, the target takes additional 1d6 damage for every two character levels the sharpshooter's possesses instead. This ability may only be used once per encounter. The use of this ability counts towards the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

At level twenty this ability improves, and if an enemy fails the save they instead take 10 damage per class level. Damage on a successful save is unaffected by this improvement.

Ranged Execution (Ex): A level seventeen sharpshooter is so precise with his arrows that he may now deal out death at range. He may now coup de grace enemies when they are within the range he could Sneak Attack them.

Deadly Shower (Ex): At level nineteen, the sharpshooter reaches the epitome of his ability, exceeding his peers by leaps and bounds. Once per encounter when activating Hail of Arrows, he may spend an additional four Aim Points to force every creature hit to make a Fortitude save (DC is 10 + Dexterity modifier + 1/2 character level) or take an extra 1d6 damage per the sharpshooter's character level. On a successful saving throw, creatures hit take an additional 1d6 damage for every two character levels the sharpshooter's possesses instead. This does not add to the limit of Aim Points that may be spent per attack.

Elf Sharpshooter Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Longbow

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 6 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Check
Penalty
Bluff 4 Cha
Diplomacy 4 Cha
Handle Animal 4 Cha
Hide 4 Dex -2
Intimidate 4 Cha
Knowledge (Nature) 4 Int
Listen 4 Wis
Move Silently 4 Dex -2
Sense Motive 4 Wis
Spot 4 Wis
Survival 4 Wis
Tumble 4 Dex -2
Use Rope 4 Dex

Feat: Point-Blank Shot

Bonus Feats: Precise Shot

Gear: Chain Shirt, backpack, bedroll, waterskin, flint & steel, 3 torches, sewing needle, belt pouch, sack, traveler's outfit

Gold: 1d4

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Sharpshooter[edit]

Religion: While some sharpshooters venerate nature-based deities such as Obad-Hai or Ehlonna, others look to the martial strength of Kord and other deities that govern combat. Others see themselves as dealers of justice, and these often serve St. Cuthbert, while others serve in squads on the battlefield, and those worship Heironeous or Hextor depending on their alignment. Others see themselves simply as grim reapers, ushering in foes to the afterlife, and these often give praise to Nerull.

Other Classes: Most other classes are split in their opinions on sharpshooters. Most enjoy their company, keeping them close for their abilities to impinge upon a foe's ability to fight; yet others are fearful and jealous of their abilities, always wondering where the deadly eye of the sharpshooter will wander next.

Combat: Sharpshooters often stay back, away from the thick of combat and shoot arrow after arrow into their foes while their allies cut into them with sword and steel. Sharpshooters may not always do the most damage, but they know that without them the foe would be a far greater threat, and their allies might die--or worse.

Advancement: A good class for sharpshooters to multiclass into is often the cleric class, with their buffs as well as their focus upon Wisdom which can help the sharpshooter gain more Aim Points. Just about any martial class that can help one fight better with a ranged weapon can aid the sharpshooter, while dipping into the scout or rogue classes can net a sharpshooter the ability to find advanced traps.

Sharpshooters in the World[edit]

I saw it myself--that bolt cut right through the dragon's hide like it was made of butter!
—Lanfor, Human Knight

Daily Life: Often, sharpshooters serve as guides and scouts. They guide wayward travelers through treacherous terrain, scout ahead to make sure no monsters lurk behind the next corner, and are comfortable in the wilderness. Other times they serve as elite scouts and assassins in military divisions, taking out targets from afar with pinpoint accuracy.

Organizations: Guide organizations that head deep into treacherous territory often employ Sharpshooters as pathfinders and trailblazers, employing their skills in dangerous missions. Sharpshooters are also often employed in guilds with assassins, since they can kill a target at range before disappearing into the shadows.

NPC Reactions: In the guise of a guide, most people welcome the sharpshooter as a knowledgeable companion who knows their ways around the wilderness. For the most part, people have no problem with sharpshooters, seeing them as another user of the bow, though often knightly orders may disdain them due to their use of "peasant weapons" rather than proper swords and shields.

Sharpshooter Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Local) can research sharpshooters to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (Local)
DC Result
7 There are a group of people who seem adept with the use of the bow or crossbow. It is said that they can shoot the nads off a fly at one-hundred paces.
12 Distance and cover often means little to sharpshooters, and they can even time their shots to ignore people in the way.
17 If someone looks at you for a time and doesn't take their eyes off of you, be cautious--they might be a sharpshooter sizing you up and waiting for the chance to bring you down.
22 This check allows one to find out about specific sharpshooters.

Sharpshooters in the Game[edit]

Excellent damage-dealers and debuffers, sharpshooters concentrate on one enemy and bring them down or debilitate them so that their friends may take them out. They can also serve as neutralizers of enemy magic-users, hindering their ability to bring magic to bear against a party.

Adaptation: Sharpshooters can function as assassins, scouts, pathfinders and more depending on their place in a setting. Just about anyone who wields a ranged weapon might be a sharpshooter. One adaptation may be allowing them to use their abilities with other ranged weapons such as the sling, but don't allow them with the use of thrown weaponry.

Sample Encounter:

EL : 6



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Ghostwheel's Homebrew (290 Articles)
Ghostwheelv
Article BalanceHigh +
AuthorGhostwheel +
Identifier3.5e Class +
Rated ByAarnott + and Leziad +
RatingRating Pending +
SkillBalance +, Bluff +, Climb +, Craft +, Diplomacy +, Disguise +, Escape Artist +, Gather Information +, Handle Animal +, Heal +, Hide +, Intimidate +, Jump +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Move Silently +, Profession +, Ride +, Search +, Sense Motive +, Spot +, Survival +, Swim +, Tumble + and Use Rope +
Skill Points6 +
SummaryA formidable user of ranged weaponry who can bring any foe down from afar. +
TitleSharpshooter +