I am new to gming and I run a pathfinder game where I have a player that plays an archer (fighter) that just picks off the baddies with his full attack action. I saw on another forum (in a pretty old post) a guy mentioned that there are a "ten dozen" ways to stop a fighter from having a full attack in a round. I was just curious what some of those ways may be? I want to make the fights more challenging for the players, and they would be if not for that damn barrage of arrows. I want to make him work for the full attack action, rather than just give them to him each round.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Although it approaches this conundrum from a different angle, you might find interesting this question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 18:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just how broken is his full attack barrage ? The PC is investing all his actions in this attack, it should be effective is it so effective that it's depriving everyone in the game of enjoyment ? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't say its broken per se, more that he (and the rest of the group) is not challenged in the fights. This is 100% due to the fact that he gets so many shots off with manyshot and rapid shot. I just want to get creative on my end to make him have to scramble some or somehow lose his full attack here and there so he is not just sitting back picking the baddies off. I am new to gming and was looking for ideas to challenge him so that the battles have some depth to them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wulfgaar
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


NPC Tactics

  • If the monsters are intelligent, they may concentrate fire or rush the archer.
  • Also mentioned by Dan B, melee-types might stand in front to block the rangers attacks.
  • The monsters may have built fortifications, or choose defensive positions which make ranged attacks difficult.
  • If the archer moves, he can't make take a full attack action. The monsters might try using fire, natural hazards, or a charge to convince the archer to move.
  • Archers are especially vulnerable to stealth and hiding. Monsters are often able to find enough cover to hide, and may be able to sneak up.

Obscure Their Vision

  • Anything that grants cover or concealment will hinder the archer. As already mentioned, obscuring mist (a level 1 spell) is easily accessible.
  • Terrain is a common impediment. Walls, trees, low brush, or other features can all but ruin an archer's day.
  • Tower shields can also be used to grant cover. This doesn't happen often.

Stand Next To Them

  • A ranged attack provokes attacks of opportunity.
  • If the archer moves, their movement may also provoke an attack of opportunity.

Some Magical Options

  • Many illusions might be used to confuse an archer. An illusory wall is just as effective at limiting line of sight as a real one, for example.
  • Protection from Arrows does what it says on the tin.

Other Ideas

  • If the target is engaged in melee, the archer's attack roll gets -4.
  • Remember penalties due to range.
  • The Deflect Arrows feat allows NPCs to catch arrows
  • The Arrow Catching and Arrow Deflection armor enhancements offer protection against arrows.
  • How much ammo does the archer have? Arrows are cheap, but it's easy to run out.

The traditional way to stop a (melee) fighter from having a full attack is to not stand next to him. Monsters could use Spring Attack to attack and then move away without provoking, or they could attack and move away and accept the attack of opportunity (as it's less painful than taking the full attack would have been).

Stopping an archer from having a full attack is harder. One thing to think about is that most spellcasting classes have access to the first-level spell obscuring mist which is a very good response to enemy archers. Many player characters will carry around a scroll of this spell, just in case -- it's very cheap for what it does.

If the party is fighting monsters, the monsters should respond to the presence of an archer by immediately charging (and moving to flank, if possible, so that the archer can't five-foot step away). The party fighters can stand between the archer and the monsters to prevent charging, but then the monsters get a +4 AC bonus due to cover. That's at least a little bit like making the archer work for his full attack.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .