dnd 5e – How do Dimensional Shackles interact with an Arcane Archer fighter’s Banishing Arrow?

I would say that if interpreting the banishing arrow as a means of movement between the planes (in this case both forward and back), the Dimensional Shackles would prevent the secondary trip back to the plane of origin.

In addition to serving as mundane manacles, the shackles prevent a creature bound by them from using any method of extradimensional movement, including teleportation or travel to a different plane of existence.

Even though the shackles specifically state that:

They don’t prevent the creature from passing through an interdimensional portal.

Interpreting the banishing arrow to be considered an interdimensional portal would be an even bigger stretch than it being considered a type of movement between the planes.

However, the banishing arrow specifically also states that:

You use abjuration magic to try to temporarily banish your target to a harmless location in the Feywild.

So whether or not a location where some other creature puts on the shackles would be considered to be a “harmless” location is also something to consider.

dnd 5e – What happens if an Arcane Archer fighter’s Banishing Arrow hits a mounted combatant?

When the mount and rider are charging into combat, and the rider is hit with an banishing arrow, what may happen?

The rider is banished if they fail the save.

Does the mount keep moving without the rider?

Worgs are intelligent mounts (Int 7), so you’re dealing with a creature that acts independently per the rules for mounted combat:

Intelligent creatures, such as dragons, act independently…

An independent mount retains its place in the initiative order. Bearing a rider puts no restrictions on the actions the mount can take, and it moves and acts as it wishes. It might flee from combat, rush to attack and devour a badly injured foe, or otherwise act against your wishes.

Does it get its own separate turn while the rider is banished?

Per the rules for independent mounts above, it always has its own separate turn.

When the effect ends, will the rider appear back in the space where they vanished? Or will they reappear back on the mount some distance away?

When they come back, they’ll reappear in the space they left or the nearest unoccupied space, per the rules for that feature. Whether they fall on their duff or not would be a DM ruling; however, the Mounted Combat rules I cited above have some useful guidance:

If your mount is knocked prone, you can use your reaction to dismount it as it falls and land on your feet. Otherwise, you are dismounted and fall prone in a space within 5 feet it.

This DM would force the Hobgoblin to burn their reaction to not fall prone.

As an aside, canonically worgs are incredibly vicious and dangerous intelligent mounts that are only slightly less likely to kill their handler than to kill their enemies. So once a worg has elected to charge the party, don’t expect the banishment of their rider to deter their attack.

dnd 5e – How to optimize an ‘arcane archer’-ish half-elf sorcerer?

Sorcerer has very little to offer an Arcane Archer-type build, with the exception of the Elemental Affinity feature from the Draconic Bloodline origin. Combined with Elemental Weapon, this allows you to add your Cha modifier as elemental damage to every shot you fire from your crossbow. The problem here is that Elemental Weapon is restricted to the Paladin class only.

So you have 3 options, explained below. Regardless of which you take, you’ll be focussing on Cha and Dex, with Con as a secondary as usual. So you’ll want to spend your 27 points in the 15,15,15,8,8,8 pattern. Then Half-Elf brings you up to 17 Cha, 16 Dex, 16 Con very neatly. Each build gets you 5 ability score increases over your career. You’ll want to use these to bring Cha and Dex up to 20 and take Crossbow Expert so that you can dual-wield hand crossbows.

Option 1 is to take at least 9 levels of Paladin so you can cast Elemental Weapon. Then you’ll want to bring Sorcerer up to 8 and Paladin up to 12 so you don’t lose ability score increases. This isn’t a terrible idea, as many of the Paladin’s (X)ing Smite spells work with ranged attacks, making a pretty reasonable Arcane Archer. With the Oath of Devotion’s Sacred Weapon ability, you could also add your Cha modifier to your attack rolls. That said, many of the Paladin’s class features don’t work with ranged attacks, and it’s not exactly an Arcane Archer anyway. Also, you’ll have to have Str 13 to multiclass Paladin; so your starting ability scores will be 15,15,13,12,8,8 with Half-Elf making it 17 Cha, 16 Dex, 13 Str, 13 Con. (You only lose out on Con, so it’s not too bad.) The main thing this option gets you that the other 2 don’t is the cool Smite spells that add damage and additional effects to your crossbow attacks, just like an Arcane Archer.

Option 2 is to take 6 levels of Lore Bard for Additional Magical Secrets, which you can use to gain access to Elemental Weapon. You could use the other magical secret to get Branding Smite for that Arcane Archer flavour. Then, you’ll want to take 5 levels in a martial class for Extra Attack; I’d strongly recommend Fighter, so that you can take Fighter 6 and not lose an ability score increase. Once you’re Sorcerer 6/Bard 6/Fighter 6, take 2 more levels in whichever of these 3 classes you like to get your last ability score increase. This option is the least focussed, but you get the Archery fighting style and Improved Critical for your crossbow, so it’s got a slight edge with the crossbow you’re looking to optimize. This can also get you Arcane Archer-ing the fastest, since your combo comes into play at level 12.

The final option is to take 10 levels of Valor Bard, and use Magical Secrets to get Elemental Weapon. The other magical secret could be used for Banishing Smite, Branding Smite, or Staggering Smite for more Arcane Archer flavour. While this doesn’t sound as good as Lore Bard, you get Extra Attack for free along the way. Then you should probably take Sorcerer up to 8 and Bard up to 12 to keep all your ability score increases. This option gets you the most powerful spellcasting of all of them, but you don’t get the Archery fighting style.

pathfinder 1e – What is an Arcane Archer’s spell progression?

Each time you gain an indicated level of Arcane Archer, choose a class which grants arcane spellcasting and in which you already have at least one level. When looking at the “spells per day” and “spells known” tables, start with the number of actual levels you have in that class, and add the number of times you’ve chosen that class in step one. Similarly, when determining ranges, durations, and other level-dependent effects, use that higher caster level.

So, your Sorc 3/Ranger 5 wants to start taking Arcane Archer levels. She gains enough XP to attain level 8, and takes her first AA level. The AA “Spells Per Day” column has a dash, so spell casting is unaffected. She does gain Enhance Arrows, of course.

A while later, she gains 9th level and takes her second AA level. AA’s “Spells Per Day” column has “+1 level of existing class”, so she has to choose an arcane spell-casting class in which she has levels; her only choice is Sorcerer, so she chooses Sorc. AA gives her Imbue Arrow, and she treats her Sorc level as 4 to determine spells per day (ie., she gains 2nd level Sorc spells (plus whatever she gets from her CHA)), spells known (ie., she learns one cantrip and one 2nd level spell), caster level-dependent effects (eg., range, duration, number of magic missiles, concentration check modifiers, etc.). She does not, however, increase the power of any Bloodline Powers she may have. Were she to have Wizard levels, she could choose to increase her Wizard caster level in the same way, but she would not get the two spells per level for free (ie., she’d have to add spells to her spellbook by transcribing them from a scroll or another spellbook), nor would her familiar or bonded item gain in power.

If a wholly different character were going into Arcane Archer with two classes which offered arcane spellcasting, they could choose which class to advance at each AA level. There are 7 levels at which he could increase an arcane caster level, so he could add 7 to one class and 0 to another, or 6 and 1, 5 and 2, or 4 and 3; similarly, he could choose to do so in any order he wished: 3 of one class, one of the other, then 3 of the first again, for example.

pathfinder 1e – Arcane Archer “within range”

All ranged weapons have a maximum range; beyond this, targets are out of range, and within, they are in range. That is what the arcane archer is referring to. And yes, it is the same in 3.5 and Pathfinder.

Gamemastering > Combat > Ranged Attacks (PF), Combat > Actions in Combat > Ranged Attacks (D&D 3.5)

The maximum range for a thrown weapon is five range increments. For projectile weapons, it is 10 range increments. Some ranged weapons have shorter maximum ranges, as specified in their descriptions.

dnd 5e – Would allowing a Ranger to take the Arcane Archer archetype be OP/UP?

It would likely be underpowered.

Let’s compare the benefits of the arcane archer against the Hunter archetype.

As an Arcane Archer Ranger, you get free +1 ammo, an extra attack if you miss, a single skill proficiency, and what are effectively a handful of spells.

A Hunter Ranger could likely get a +1 weapon and the Volley ability is strictly better than the Curving Shot ability. Therefore, you’re essentially comparing Arcane Shot against all of the other benefits of the other archetypes. It’s up to you to determine whether it’s worth it, but it doesn’t seem like it to me.

You’d also experience some unevenness in your progression, because the typical ranger gets archetype abilities at levels 3, 7, 11, and 15, whereas the Arcane Archer gets new archetype abilities at 3,7, and 18 (though there are new arcane shot options between those).

This mismatch is due to developer intent

Rodney Thompson wrote an article detailing some of the developer intent behind each class. In it, he states that Fighters get most of their power from their base class:

Fighters gain most of their combat prowess from three characteristics of the class: being able to make up to four attacks per round; using Action Surge to grant quick bursts of combat potency; and having the highest number of Ability Score Improvement features…The fighter archetypes are largely meant to be different flavors of the base class, in which most of the fighter’s combat strength lies.

On the other hand, Rangers get most of their combat ability from their archetype:

Much of the ranger’s extra potency in combat comes from spells such as hunter’s mark and from the class features granted by the ranger archetypes.

Basically, Fighters have a strong base class and weaker archetypes, whereas Rangers have a weaker base class and stronger archetypes. By using the Ranger’s base class and a Fighter archetype, you end up with the weaker aspects of both classes.

dnd 5e – How does the Arcane Archer fighter’s Piercing Arrow interact with magical ammunition such as +3 arrows?

5th Edition D&D doesn’t stipulate that there’s an “order” to which creatures get hit first by Area-of-Effect effects, and the effect of the Piercing Arrow Shot is to turn an arrow into an area-of-effect.

Piercing Arrow. You use transmutation magic to give your arrow an ethereal quality. When you use this option, you don’t make an attack roll for the attack. Instead, the arrow shoots forward in a line, which is 1 foot wide and 30 feet long, before disappearing. The arrow passes harmlessly through objects, ignoring cover. Each creature in that line must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes damage as if it were hit by the arrow, plus an extra 1d6 piercing damage. On a successful save, a target takes half as much damage.
The piercing damage increases to 2d6 when you reach 18th level in this class.

Arcane Archer, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, pg. 29

So while some DMs might interpret this to logically mean “it hits the first target in the line, then the creature behind them, then the creature behind them, …”, the rules don’t expressly say that this is how it is meant to work, and in most other terms (things like Saving Throws, etc.) the damage is occurring simultaneously against all targets.

So by my reading of the rules (and their absence of any clarifying information in relation to this question), if the damage occurs simultaneously for all creatures, then that also means the arrow must “hit” all creatures simultaneously as well. So because no one creature is hit before any other, all of them must take the bonus damage associated with the arrow, if it applies to them (like in the Arrow of Slaying example).

dnd 5e – What counts as damage by an ammunition when using Arcane Shot in regards to poison?

The effects of the poison happen after the effects of an Arcane Shot

Arcane Shot options are applied “when the arrow hits a creature” meanwhile the poison happens “when a creature takes damage”. Whether getting hit and taking damage are simultaneous events is unclear, and thus, whether these are simultaneous or not is unclear. Furthermore, the exact timing of “when” in these features is similarly unclear.

However, we can see that most Arcane Shot options cause the attack to deal extra damage, meaning that damage is still part of the same event, the same damage roll. This can be seen from how critical hits interact with extra damage, in particular, the fact that Sneak Attack, which does “extra damage” is doubled on a critical hit, and thus the Arcane Shot options would be as well.

Therefore, I would conclude that we actually do know some of the order of events:

  1. You hit the creature
  2. You choose to use an Arcane Shot option
  3. The damage of the attack and Arcane Shot are rolled together
  4. The poison is applied (assuming the target takes damage)

Now to address some of the specific cases:

A Bursting Arrow only poisons the initial target

Bursting Arrow states (emphasis mine):

(…) The energy detonates after your attack. Immediately after the arrow hits the creature, the target and all other creatures within 10 feet of it take 2d6 force damage each. (…)

Meanwhile, the Poisoner feat states (emphasis mine):

(…) Once applied to a weapon or piece of ammunition, the poison retains its potency for 1 minute or until you hit with the weapon or ammunition. When a creature takes damage from the coated weapon or ammunition, that creature must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or take 2d8 poison damage and become poisoned until the end of your next turn. (…)

The poison loses its potency the moment you hit something, which happens before the effects of Bursting Arrow. Therefore it does not apply its poisoning effects to the creatures damaged by the burst.

A Grasping Arrow only deals poison damage once

Grasping Arrow states (emphasis mine):

(…) When this arrow strikes its target, conjuration magic creates grasping, poisonous brambles, which wrap around the target. The creature hit by the arrow takes an extra 2d6 poison damage, its speed is reduced by 10 feet, and it takes 2d6 slashing damage the first time on each turn it moves 1 foot or more without teleporting. (…)

One reason Poisoner cannot apply to the movement-induced damage is because it is from conjured, magical, grasping, poisonous brambles which are not part of the ammunition itself. Another reason is because the poison’s potency is completely gone once the arrow hits the target, so the poison is gone by the time the target moves.

A Seeking Arrow poisons the target normally

To use the Seeking Arrow Arcane Shot option, you must declare that you are using it before you make an attack roll. The shot option states:

(…) When you use this option, you don’t make an attack roll for the attack. (…)

Then the arrow strikes the target, whether they succeed on the saving throw or not, which forces them to make the saving throw against the poison.

A Piercing Arrow… does something? Ask the GM?

Piercing Arrow states:

(…) Each creature in that line must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes damage as if it were hit by the arrow, plus an extra 1d6 piercing damage. (…)

Meanwhile, the Poisoner feat states (emphasis mine):

(…) The poison retains its potency for 1 minute or until you hit with the weapon or ammunition. When a creature takes damage from the coated weapon or ammunition, that creature must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw

Notably, the feat assumes you are damaging only a single creature, so what exactly happens when multiple creatures are damaged at once is, at the very least, unclear.

Personally, I would not let an Arcane Shot option expand the number of targets you can effect with a poison when poisons are designed around being single-use effects. I would rule that the poison effects only the first creature in the line of a Piercing Arrow. A GM is free to rule otherwise, and I can’t see much in the rules that makes this any clearer.

A small note about the Seeking Arrow and Piercing Arrow Arcane Shot options: The poison only loses its potency when you hit something and it’s possible you haven’t actually hit anything in these cases. The exact meaning of the “as if it were hit by the arrow” phrase found in both options is not clear; does this remove the poison from the ammunition?

Personally, for me, it would remove the poison because you have used up the poison damage, and its effects should end just like any other time it does its damage. You should not be able to pick up the arrow and repeatedly apply the poison by doing this again.

dnd 5e – Is there a canonical source for the Arcane Trickster’s magic?

I’ve been curious about the source of the Arcane Trickster’s magic. All the player’s handbook offers about the source of magic for this subclass is as follows:

PHB p. 97

Some rogues enhance their fine-honed skills of stealth and agility
with magic, learning tricks of enchantment and illusion. These rogues
include pickpockets and burglars, but also pranksters,
mischief-makers, and a significant number of adventurers.

While this says they learn tricks and illusions, there does not seem to a lot of info on where this magic comes form and how they obtain it. I know the Arcane Trickster uses the Wizard’s spell list and it seems to be backed up that in the spell casting ability section of the subclass, but while there is a focused study it’s not very clear on the source of the studies.

PHB p. 98

Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your wizard spells, since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization.

So, canonically where does a rogue’s magic come from and how would they study to become an arcane trickster?

dnd 5e – How does range interact with the Arcane Archer’s Curving Shot?

In general, things only do what they say the do, and the specific outweighs the general.

On range:

When attacking a target beyond normal range, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. You can’t attack a target beyond the weapon’s long range.

RAW: The original attack must be made against a creature within the weapon’s range, or else there will be disadvantage on the attack roll.

If the attack misses, the Arcane Archer can use their Curving Shot ability to

reroll the attack roll against a different target within 60 feet of the original target.

RAW: So long as the new target is within 60ft of the original target, the Curving Shot ability works as described. There would not be disadvantage on this attack since Curved Shot does not say there would be disadvantage imposed. However, since you are rerolling the attack roll, if the original attack had disadvantage so too would the reroll.

RAI (and what I would do): This may allow an Arcane Archer to extend the range of their missed attack by 60ft, but I think this also fits thematically with the Arcane Archer as a fighter imbued imbuing magic into their archery.