The Genius Guide to Archer Archetypes (Pathfinder) PDFThe archer is a figure of heroic legend and romance-often coming from the ranks of commoners. In eras when the battlefield was dominated by heavily armored knights, archers represented the idea that skill and determination can level the playing field, both in warfare and conflicts between the social classes.
Robin Hood and his merry men are the classic icons of the heroic archer, but they are far from the only examples of that archetype. Historic examples of archer warriors range from the horse archers of Attila the Hun to the English and Welsh longbowmen at the battle of Agincourt.
Such heroics are difficult to achieve using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and with good reason. The rules are designed to provide broad, flexible, balanced characters for players to take through adventures and, as history shows, skilled archers very much tip the balance in almost any combat in which they participate. But with the addition of archetype packages-a new character creation option-and a few new ranged weapon combat feats, it is possible to heighten the role heroic archers can play in your campaign without making them the overwhelming force they were on the battlefields of our ancient world.
What is an Archetype Package?
All classes are built to fulfill a mechanical role in the game-fighters, for example, are supposed to get close to opponents and engage them in melee combat so they can't focus on other members of the party. While players can always take a character concept in a different direction, the mechanical role of a character class is what the rules most strongly support that character doing as part of a group of adventurers. An archetype package is a collection of additional abilities that a class can perform in addition to those it needs to fulfill its mechanical role.
The Genius Guide to Archer Archetypes was written with the assumption that every class has at least one archetype package built into it which represents a standard set of powers all members of that class receive (see below for details). It is designed around the premise that it's possible to remove some of the standard abilities of a class and replace them with new options that, while different from what the core rulebook says, have no detrimental effect on the class's ability to fulfill its basic mechanical role.