The earliest known Archer Lords were shadow elves and could be found only by the most persistent searchers. Today however, while most remain shadow elves or half-elves with shadow elven ancestry, humans and other elves can also train to be counted among these most elite of archers. While they can be of any alignment, most Archer Lords are male. Female characters can be Archer Lords but only if they take extraordinary measures to flatten their chests (even the ancient amazons knew breasts interfere with proper archery). Archer Lords can use any bow allowed by the Game Master but are forbidden from using any kind of crossbow. They can also use any other weapon without restriction, although any weapon that isn’t a bow will cost one additional proficiency slot.
All Archer Lords automatically have the bowyer/fletcher secondary skill and can choose any non-weapon proficiencies from general, warrior, and rogue categories. They also must specialize in the bow of their choice as per the guidelines in The Complete Warrior’s Handbook with proficiency points spent accordingly. Archer Lords must have a minimum strength of 9 and a dexterity of 18. They are a variant of warriors and as such share their stats and abilities except where noted. Archer Lords can use any armor up to banded mail without suffering any penalties to their attacks and rogue abilities. Anything heavier than banded mail though negates their special archery skills as well as their rogue skills. Every Archer Lord starts at level 1 with the following rogue skills, and every time the character goes up in level they can divide another 15 percentage points to these (neither of these can ever exceed 95%):
Move Silently: 20%
Hide in Shadows: 30%
The special archery skills of an Archer Lord manifests in three ways; THAC0 is lowered by 2 points for all archery attacks, increased attacks per round (3 shots per round from 1st to 6th level, 4 shots per round from 7th to 12th level, and 5 shots per level from 13th level to 18th), and extended range categories (all ranges extend 20 yards further than listed in the Player’s Handbook). The lower THAC0 rating allows for an Archer Lord to make called shots more easily in order to highlight their incredible skill with the bow.
Archer Lords that reach 10th level and establish themselves in an area by constructing a fortified base of operations will attract followers the same as any normal warrior, but there is a greater chance of these followers being archers or crossbowmen rather than normal infantry. The Game Master of course has final say, but arrows and bolts are more welcomed by an Archer Lord than swords and shields.