I’m back, Gamer Nation. This week, I want to welcome the new year by looking at a long favorite ranged build – the Sniper. Striking hard from hiding, taking down the opponent as quickly as they can; they’re mantra being “one shot, one kill.” While that goal can be difficult with some of the more powerful foes in Star Wars Saga Edition, with the proper build it can be possible to take an opponent the entire way down the condition track in one round.
So, without further ado:
Species: Gran – The Gran may not have a Dexterity bonus, but they do have a few abilities that make them perfect for the Sniper build (or any ranged attacker build for that matter). First off, they don’t take penalties to Perception checks made out to 50 squares, and once per encounter, they can Aim as a single swift action, a very powerful ability.
Strength -12 (+1)
Dexterity – 16 (+3)
Constitution – 13 (+1)
Intelligence – 10 (+0)
Wisdom – 10 (+0)
Charisma – 10 (+0)
Survival (trained at Level 8 )
Level 1 – Soldier 1
Starting Feats: Armor Proficiency (light, medium), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons).
Level 1 Feat: Point Blank Shot – This is one of the keynote feats you’ll need to build off a lot of your other feats and one of your prestige class entry requirements. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use it at further than 30 squares until later in your build, but it’s still an important feat to have.
Species Conditional Bonus Feat: Precise Shot
Level 1 Soldier Talent: Devastating Attack (rifles) – This starts the build off of the condition track mastery track. This talent lets you treat your foe’s damage threshold as 5 lower, letting you break their threshold more often.
Level 2 – Soldier 2
Level 2 Soldier Bonus Feat: Careful Shot – This talent gives you a bigger bonus to your attack roll when aiming, which is a tactic you should be using fairly often with this build.
Level 3 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 1
Level 3 Feat: Far Shot – This feat drops the penalty from firing at longer range. nothing to sneeze at.
Level 1 Scoundrel Talent: Dastardly Strike – This is the first talent that allows you to move an opponent multiple steps down the condition track. If you catch your foe flat-footed, then you move them an automatic -1 step down the condition track.
Level 4 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 1/Scout 1
Ability Bonuses: +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity
Level 1 Scout Talent: Acute Senses – This is the keystone talent for the Awareness talent tree, which you need to satisfy a prestige class requirement.
Level 5 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 2/Scout 1
Level 2 Scoundrel Bonus Feat: Quickdraw – This may or may not be a feat you get a lot of use out of, but it requires a feat requirement for the Gunslinger prestige class.
Level 6 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 2/Scout 2
Level 6 Feat: Steadying Position (GaW 26) – This feat lets you ignore your opponent’s Dexterity bonus to Reflex Defense when you fire from a prone position, letting you use your Dastardly Strike talent more often.
Level 2 Scout Bonus Feat: Deadeye – This feat grants you a bonus die of damage on your next attack when you use the Aim action, which as stated under the reasoning for the selection of the Careful Shot feat, is a tactic you should be using as often as you can, if not every round.
Level 7 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 2/Scout 3
Level 3 Scout Talent: Keen Shot – This talent lets you ignore concealment when attacking with a ranged weapon, and finishes your talent requirements for the Bounty Hunter prestige class.
Level 8 – Soldier 2/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4
Ability Bonuses: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 4 Scout Bonus Feat: Skill Training (Survival) – This finishes your entry requirements for the Bounty Hunter prestige class.
Level 9 – Soldier 3/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4
Level 9 Feat: Double Attack (rifles) – This feat lets you take a second shot as a full round action, helping set up a powerful combination in a few levels.
Level 3 Soldier Talent: Penetrating Attack (rifles) – There aren’t a whole lot of opponents out there with Damage Reduction in Star Wars Saga Edition, but those that do have it can ruin your day real quickly. This talent helps offset some of that.
Level 10 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4
Level 4 Soldier Bonus Feat: Accelerated Strike (KOTOR 32) – This feat lets you make a full-round attack as a standard action once per encounter, allowing you to aim, gain the benefits of such on your first attack, and follow up with a second stinging shot with your Double Attack feat.
Level 11 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1
Level 1 Bounty Hunter Talent: Hunter’s Mark – This talent states that when you aim and deal damage, you move your target down -1 step on the Condition Track. As long as you fire from a prone position and deal damage, you move the target at least -2 steps on the condition track, -3 if you break their damage threshold.
Level 12 – Solder 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 1
Ability Bonuses: +1 Constitution, +1 Wisdom
Level 12 Feat: Riflemaster (GaW 25) – This feat does a number of things for different rifles, most notably letting you increase the damage die of the heavy blaster rifle from d10s to d12s.
Level 1 Gunslinger Talent: Debilitating Shot – This talent does the same thing as Hunter’s Mark, letting you move your opponent a possible -4 steps down the Condition Track in a single shot, and possibly moving them to the bottom of the track in a single round if you use your Accelerated Strike feat and break their threshold with the second attack.
Level 13 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 2
Level 14 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 3
Level 3 Gunslinger Talent: Precision Shot (GaW 31) – This talent lets you gain the benefits of the Point Blank Shot feat at range.
Level 15 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 4
Level 15 Feat: Triple Attack (rifles) – One more attack with a full-round attack is largely gravy, and may seem a little unnecessary, but can be a wonderful ability against foes with higher than normal Damage Thresholds.
Level 16 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 5
Ability Bonuses: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 5 Gunslinger Talent: Draw a Bead (GaW 31) – This talent lets you add your Dexterity modifier (which by this point is nothing to sneeze at) to your damage rolls against an opponent you have aimed at from a range by spending a single swift action, but lasting until you finish your opponent off or until he leaves your sights.
Level 17 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 6
Level 18 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 7
Level 18 Feat: Weapon Focus (rifles) – This may seem like a really late point to take this feat, but every point of attack bonus helps.
Level 7 Gunslinger Talent: Multiattack Proficiency (rifles) (LECG 41) – This talent lowers the attack penalty when you make multiple attacks with rifles, easy as that.
Level 19 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 8
Level 20 – Soldier 4/Scoundrel 2/Scout 4/Bounty Hunter 1/Gunslinger 9
Ability Bonuses: +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Level 9 Gunslinger Talent: Old Faithful (LECG 41) – This talent lets you add your Trusty Sidearm damage to rifles, netting you an extra four points of damage per attack with your attacks.
Alternate talent choices include a second pick of Multiattack Proficiency (rifles) in order to further mitigate the penalties on your Double and Triple Attack. The rest of the Sharpshooter talent tree from Galaxy at War is also have some great alternatives, so check those out as well.
When looking at equipment, you want to go with a weapon that’s going to deal good damage, such as the heavy blaster rifle, equipping it with either an enhanced low-light targeting scope to give you an edge in darker environs. If you decide to wear armor, you can go with the regular targeting scope should you choose to install a helmet package on your armor. You may also want to look at the Dashade Weapon template from the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide since you’ll be playing with the Condition Track a lot more often than you’ll be concerned with dealing straight hit point damage, and this helps you keep them pushed down the track for longer.
Obvious tactics for this build include finding a position far enough away with solid cover, dropping to the prone position, and aiming before squeezing off your shot. Once per encounter, you’ll be able to aim and take either the Double Attack or Triple Attack action, thanks to the combination of your species ability and the Accelerated Strike feat.