In character, why do people become Arcane Archers? If you are gifted with arcane powers, why not use spells rather than a bow and arrows? If you are good with a bow, then would you play around with spells instead of shooting arrows into everything?
I thought about the "why" for an Arcane Archer for quite a bit, struggling with the obvious power of a Mage and why that Mage would pick up a Bow to begin with. What I ended up with is a PC that picked up the Bow first, then got just the beginnings of Mage training. This AA just plain LOVES TO SHOOT. Part of it is the beauty of seeing the arrow fly. Another part is the challenge of hitting a target. He's not trying to kill things or hurt things. He doesn't belong to an Army or Club. Immaturity is what rules his life at the moment.
Which classes should I use? Ranger/Bard? Fighter/Sorc? Rogue/Wiz? Barb/Sorc? A number of permutations I think, including one of Ranger/Fighter/Barb/Rogue and one of Bard/Sorc/Wiz. So which to go for? Since the object is to get archery skills I assume Ranger is the obvious one. Thoughts please?
I played around with no less than 4 failed concept AAs. What I learned is that as long as you have Elf Blood in your veins you can make it to AA. Faster paths include some sort of Fighting Class, but you can still get there with an Elven Wizard.
Just make sure the PC is playable, has a reason and a direction. The rest will follow.