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d20 Character Builds | The Specialist Sniper

This is an Eclipse build for a specialist sniper based character.


Sniper’s are awesome in almost any game genre. Well, for me they are anyway. There are a few issues in d20. The first been a huge penalty to the hide / stealth check when trying to be stealthy after shooting – that is a –20 btw. The second is that Sneak Attacks work at 30feet or less. So we have two problems to over come.

On a side note, we don’t want all her eggs in one basket, so there will be some diversity in skills – many physical/acrobatic style skills, and some social skills to get into buildings or out of trouble.

Getting Started

At level 1 we have 48cp + 6 for the first level feat. We are leaving race out of this one to make it ‘open to all’. Disadvantages: If the character is an assassin for a group, there will be duties (2cp per level) or could even be some delusions too. But we will leave this off as well.


The Basics

Hit Dice: d6. 2cp. This character should not be getting into toe to toe fights, ever.

Warcraft: +1 specialised for ranged attacks. 3cp. Game Masters should watch players who do this, and should still insist that at least a +1 per 3 levels for all attacks is included in the build.

Saves: +2 Will – 6cp. Even though a physical/dex based characters, we have improved Will Saves to counter magical spells/charms and some divinations.

Skills: 12cp. The character is highly skills based.

Proficiencies: Simple Weapons (3cp), Short Bow (3cp) and Light Armour (3cp)

Total: 32cp. Ouch. We might need some disadvantages after all!


Augmented Attack, Sneak Attack: 1d6. 3cp.

– We buy extended range for this for +6cp. And specialise this to a single ranged weapon – short bow for example or light crossbow. Specialising for effect.

– Now the book says it adds +45 feet to the range of projectile weapons. I am thinking this was a ‘typo’ and should mean that the range is increased to 45 feet instead of 30feet. Thus our specialisation increases it to 60feet. 60 feet sneak attacks sound good to me.

We buy this a second time, to increase the range now to 90feet. For another +6cp.

Skill Specialisation: Stealth/hide skills for Sniping. 1cp for a +3 bonus.

Total 16cp

Build Total: This brings us neatly to 48cp.

Basic Character Sheet

High Dex: 16+, Good Intelligence: 14+, and Charisma: 14+, Strength and Wisdom are also important, 12+. Con is not so much, but might be needed to fight off fatigue while ‘laying in wait’. If we used the standard allotment, these would then be

Strength 12, Dex 15, Int 14, Cha 13, Wis 10, and Con of 8.

Skills: Rogue skill set.

Stealth (we combine stealth and perception in our games): 4 ranks. +6 total, and +9 if we using the Sniping Option.  (Yes, I know, I never covered that in this level one build… but see later)

Climb, Jump, Tumble, Balance. These should all be 2+ ranks. 

Bluff, Diplomacy: again 2+ ranks

Knowledge Skills, Local Knowledge, possible a ‘shadow knowledge special skills’ – ie knowledge of underground/thieves/ etc.

Survival: Useful for checking out the weather, wind direction and strength and the like. GM’s may be kind to let the character off set weather based penalties with a good Survival roll.

and of course perception, searching, open lock, and disable device.

With only 20 skill points (excluding racial benefits and including an Int of 14) means the character will have to make do with low ranks at level one.

Weapon: Short Bow (only because it is faster to load. One could take Light Crossbow too and get a fast loading feat later on). 1d6 damage. +1d6 for sneak attacks within 90feet. Thats approximate 30meters. With a +3 bonus to hit.

With only 5hp. Definitely need to stay out of melee combat.

Not bad for level one I guess.


Level 2, 24cp:

hit dice: 2cp, skills: 12cp, saves: 3cp. 17cp.

Skill Emphasis: Stealth +2 bonus, 3cp.

Skill Focus: Stealth, +2 bonus, 4cp.

– Both of these we specialise for Sniping Rolls Only. Specialisation is for double effect. So this becomes a +8 bonus while sniping, and combines with the +3 specialisation thats a +11. The penalty is no a –9. Still huge, but will get manageable.

Level 3, 30cp

hit dice: 2cp, skills: 12cp, saves: 3cp. Warcraft, 6cp: 23cp.

Increase Skill Focus for another +2 bonus for 2 cp (specialised as above).

Specialist: 3cp. We buy this with the GM’s permission to offset Sniping Check Penalty only. This grants a +4 bonus/offset.

-This would lower the penalty to a –16. With the bonuses it results in a -3 check penalty still. Skill Rank would now be 6, or +8 with Dex Bonus. Now that is more like it!

The remaining 2cp for this level could be saved or put into skills.

Cheaper Way to ignore/reduce Sniping Penalty

My other thought on this was for immunity…

Let’s take a look:

Common Effect (character will be using it often I guess). Base 3cp

I would class it as a Severe Effect for +9cp.

The Amount I would put in as Major (30 points? –20? fair? not sure.) and thus brings us to a total of 9cp to ignore the –20. That is the cost of a feat and a half. This could be ok I guess.

Other Options:

Inherent Spell, Camouflage, specialised in some way to only be used for Sniping Checks. 6cp, gives you a +10 bonus or reduces the penalty by 10.

There are probably a dozen more options, but I don’t want to go into too many… One could spread out the bonus / range upgrades etc above over a few levels. Oh and I forgot to add another sneak attack at level 3, my bad.

Sorry no pic for this one, had computer issues Smile

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