Please allow me to be the first to officially welcome you to Bow Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, the week set aside to honor the bow and arrow, crossbow, and other such fantasy staples, as well as to sell out and push our latest book, The Ebon Vault: Bows of War, which, in case you didn’t know, is huge, with over 50 new magic weapon properties, several special kinds of mundane ammunition and specialized mundane bows, and no less than 10 specific projectile weapons of all sorts, each with custom-tailored magic abilities unique to them as well as extensive and rich backgrounds and physical descriptions that make them come alive at your table. Plus, despite the name, the book provides support for ranged weapons of all sorts (and a few of those magic weapon properties can even be applied to melee weapons).
Anyway, getting down to business, you want a new archetype, and I’m going to give you one. It’s for magi, and is designed to allow you to make a magus who specializes in using a ranged weapon, instead of fighting in melee. Enjoy.
New Magus Archetype
Though most magi choose to blend their arcane art with cold steel, or other melee weapons, others prefer to deliver their spells from afar, combining their art with archery, instead. Such magi are frequently among the most terrifying to their foes, for as deadly as a magus wielding a sword or axe may be, when combined with the archer’s ability to kill from hundreds of feet away, they become truly deadly instruments of war.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A bow magus is not proficient in light armor. A bow magus who becomes proficient in light armor is able to cast spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance, like any other magus.
Gesture Mastery (Ex): At 1st level, the bow magus is able to make arcane gestures for his spells even while wielding two-handed weapons. If the bow magus is wielding a two-handed weapon (such as a greatsword or a longbow) he can still make arcane gestures for spells with somatic components, as though he had a free hand. This does not apply to other things that would prevent him from casting spells with somatic components (such as being tied up).
Arcane Projectile (Ex): At 1st level, the bow magus learns to channel spell energy into the form of a projectile, which he can fire. Whenever the bow magus uses the full attack action to attack with a projectile weapon, he may choose to expend a prepared spell in order to create and fire an additional projectile made of pure energy. This takes the form of an extra touch attack at his full base attack bonus, and if it hits, it deals 1d6 points of damage per level of the sacrificed spell. If the sacrificed spell has the acid, cold, electricity, or fire descriptors, then the projectile deals damage of that type; otherwise, it deals piercing damage. In either case, the arrow is subject to spell resistance, if the target has any.
Using this ability imposes a -2 penalty on all attack rolls made as part of that full attack action (including the extra touch attack), just like the Rapid Shot feat. This ability cannot be used in conjunction with the Rapid Shot feat.
This ability replaces the spell combat class feature.
Spellshot (Ex): At 2nd level, whenever the bow magus casts a spell with a range of touch, or which requires a touch attack in order to hit its target, he can deliver the spell with an arrow, instead. Instead of the free melee touch attack or ranged touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, the bow magus can make one free attack with a projectile weapon he is wielding (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting the spell. If successful, this attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. This attack uses the weapon’s critical range and the weapon damage uses the weapon’s critical multiplier, but the spell’s damage, if any, is only doubled on a critical hit.
If the spell in question has more than one target (allowing more than one touch attack or ranged touch attack to deliver the spell), you may only deliver one of those attacks in this way: the others are delivered normally. If you make the ranged attack on a creature that is not a valid target of the spell, or who is out of the spell’s range, the attack deals its normal damage, but the spell has no effect.
This ability replaces the spellstrike class feature.
Weapon Focus: At 7th level, a bow magus gains Weapon Focus as a bonus feat. The weapon he selects for this feat must be a projectile weapon.
This ability replaces the medium armor class feature, and even if the magus becomes proficient in medium armor in another way, he suffers arcane spell failure while wearing it.
Improved Arcane Projectile: Beginning at 8th level, the bow magus can create and fire more magical projectiles. When he uses his arcane projectile class feature, he can choose to sacrifice an additional spell to create and fire a second magic projectile, which functions identically to the first, except that it uses his full base attack bonus -5. Using this ability does not increase the penalty imposed by the arcane projectile class feature.
This ability replaces the improved spell combat class feature.
Weapon Specialization: At 13th level, the bow magus gains Weapon Specialization as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. The bow magus must choose a projectile weapon for which he possesses the Weapon Focus feat. If there is no such weapon for which the bow magus does not already also possess the Weapon Specialization feat, he may gain one of the following feats as a bonus feat, instead: Far Shot, Improved Precise Shot, Manyshot, Mounted Archery, Precise Shot, Rapid Reload, Rapid Shot, or Shot on the Run.
This ability replaces the heavy armor class feature, and even if the bow magus becomes proficient in heavy armor in another way, he suffers arcane spell failure while wearing it.
Greater Arcane Projectile: Beginning at 14th level, the bow magus can create and fire even more magical projectiles. When he uses his arcane projectile class feature, he can choose to sacrifice a third spell to create and fire a third projectile, which functions identically to the first two, except that it uses his full base attack bonus -10. Using this ability does not increase the penalty imposed by the arcane projectile class feature.
This ability replaces the greater spell combat class feature.
Spellbreaker (Ex): At 16th level, whenever a character within one range increment of a projectile weapon that the bow magus is wielding casts a spell, the bow magus can make a free attack against the caster with that projectile weapon. This free attack otherwise functions as an attack of opportunity (and counts against the number of attacks of opportunity that the bow magus can make in a round). If this attack hits, it may disrupt the spell, as normal. Characters who successfully cast defensively do not trigger this ability.
This ability replaces the counterstrike class feature.
True Magus: The bow magus gains the benefits provided by this class feature whenever he uses his arcane projectile class feature, instead of the spell combat class feature. Otherwise, this class feature remains the same.