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Looking to play an Archer kit throughout the Baldur's Gate games, wondering about arrows in BG2:EE

13

Comments

  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,214
    Wowo said:

    @Skatan I really think for an archer that 5 pips in shortbow and crossbow asap is important due to the unique characteristics of Tuigan, Gesen and Firetooth bows not to mention the various ammo types available.

    @Wowo: Was this in reply to that post where I wrote that it's better to choose one or the other but not both?

  • fischsemmelfischsemmel Member Posts: 40
    FrdNwsm said:

    Sorry for the digression; this has little to do with choosing an Archer kit as CharName, but the topic sort of came up.

    Let's get back to discussion of Archers. Mine is doing well in early SoA having picked up the Tuigan bow. The main problem is that being basically a gatling gun that fires arrows, he uses them up fairly fast. Make sure that you bring bunches of them along, if wandering in areas where there are no shops to buy supplies.

    This was my complaint about the archer I messed around with for a little while once. It felt like playing BG1 back in the day when arrows/bolts/bullets only stacked to 20, and I'd begin every trip into the wilderness with all 6 party members' inventories full of ammo just so my casters would have something to sling at enemies when I didn't want to use spells!

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,039
    edited October 2015
    Ah, but that problem is partially solved in SoA with the quivers of endless bolts and arrows both being available fairly early on. For sling users there is a sling that makes +1 bullets, also available relatively early.

    Also, I'm just a bit slow, but I have only now noticed that arrows all do the same base damage no matter what enchantment they have. Normal, +1, +2 and +3 all do the same 1-6 damage, nor do they vary in THAC0. They only differ in being able to hit a wider variety of creatures. The only way to get a higher base damage is to use a more powerful bow. Both the Army Scythe and Tuigan's bow add +1 to damage. Well, things like acid arrows also add elemental damage but that's a different mechanism.

    If I had realized that earlier, I would have delayed spending gold on Tansheron's bow. This sucker does NOT add to base damage. It is only of value if you run into something that is immune to weapons under +3. Otherwise, it is inferior in every way to the Tuigan bow. Comparing the two, I have the following:

    Tuigan-> Attacks 9/2, THAC0 -4, damage 10-15
    Tansheron:->Attacks 7/2, THAC0 -5, damage 6-11

    I'll happily trade a miniscule reduction in THAC0 for more attacks doing higher damage per hit.

    thespace
  • demon9675demon9675 Member Posts: 30
    Actually, the arrows do vary in THAC0. If they aren't for you, I think that's actually a bug or something.

    They do not vary in damage. But I don't think ranged weapons lack damage - their APR is still great under the right circumstances, and they have the added advantage of being able to shoot from afar and avoid melee damage (although the toughest challenges don't generally come from melee attacks, but whatever).

    I'm also not totally clear on how the ranged weapons that produce their own ammo work, because their damage display in character screens is very odd. For instance, Gesen Bow shows extremely low damage without equipped arrows, as does Firetooth. With arrows and bolts equipped, these weapons actually do damage on par with other shortbows/crossbows - it seems to me that the character screen isn't taking the damage from phantom arrows/bolts into account when real ammo isn't equipped.

    Therefore, I believe your Tansheron bow should actually be doing more damage (and have greater THAC0) than what's being displayed. Tuigan will have more APR, but as a +3 bow Tansheron's damage should outpace it. Try equipping Tansheron with any arrows and you'll see the real damage (although you'd need +3 arrows to see the real THAC0).

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,039
    Hmm, ok that's odd ... and annoying. What good are those screens that show damage if they aren't accurate? Alright, I'll try equipping arrows and see what happens.

    And I'll look at the THAC0 effects again, although I am pretty sure I compared normal. +1 and +2 arrows. Hmm, could the THAC0 display be off as well as the damage display? I'll have to grab a normal bow to run a control check.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,039
    edited October 2015
    I checked things out, and it looks like the Tansheron bow is all screwed up when it comes to reporting both THAC0 and damage. Whether this extends to other self-ammunition bows, I cannot comment at this time since I have no access to them at present. I do seem to recall asking about Firetooth in a previous game, however. It looked like it was firing only +2 bolts, but I was assured that they were in reality +4. So perhaps all ammo creating bows have a similar display problem.

    The THAC0 does vary with the arrow's enchantment also; I somehow overlooked that before, probably because I was preoccupied with evaluating Tansheron. Here's my results.

    Normal bow, normal arrows -> THAC0 -2, damage 9-14, attacks 7/2
    Normal bow, +1 arrows -> THC0 -3, damage 9-14, attacks 7/2

    Tuign bow, normal arrows -> THAC0 -3, damage 10-15, attacks 9/2
    Tuigen bow, +1 arrows -> THAC0 -4, damage 10-15, attacks 9/2

    Pretty much what you would expect. The display for Tansheron is definitely wonky, however

    Tansheron, no arrows, -> THAC0 -5, damage 6-11, attacks 7/2
    Tansheron, normal arrow -> THAC0 -5, damage 9-14 (!), attacks 7/2
    Tansheron, +1 arrow -> THAC0 -6, damage 9-14, attacks 7/2

    OK, I don't have any +3 arrows, but if I did, by extrapolation Tansheron would have a THAC0 of -8. Presumably then, when firing on it's own, the THAC0 would still be -8 with 9-14 damage. It just doesn't show up that way on my screen. I'll still prefer Tuigen bow for targets with poor AC, but use Tansheron for hard to hit foes.

    Wowo
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,705
    edited October 2015
    I think in the case of using weapons without any arrows the ranger bonus isn't reflected in the total min/maxes when it comes to damage (it is for Thac0 however). So that probably accounts for the issue you are seeing. It should still be doing the appropriate amount of damage however.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,039
    elminster said:

    I think in the case of using weapons without any arrows the ranger bonus isn't reflected in the total min/maxes when it comes to damage (it is for Thac0 however).

    No, the Thac0 clearly changes also when I put a +1 or +2 arrow into it. I'm pretty sure the same thing happened with Firetooth on a previous run, although I had given it to Keldorn, having no archer in the party on that one.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,705
    edited October 2015
    I'm assuming you are using a short bow when you say a "normal bow"

    If a shortbow is -2 thac0 then tansheron would be -5 with no ammo. Any thac0 bonus granted from magical arrows being used is granted on top of that. So +1 arrows would give you -6.

    JuliusBorisov
  • demon9675demon9675 Member Posts: 30
    edited October 2015
    Weird! Yeah I wish this would be fixed, since it's very confusing for any archer. Mine used Firetooth and I never understood why the THAC0 and damage displayed were worse than with other weapons. (Additionally, the in-game text for Firetooth describes the crossbow as firing +2 arrows but they are in fact +4 or +5 if it's been upgraded in ToB; hence that crossbow being a godsend for archers trying to hit some super tough enemies. Clearly, there are a lot of strange issues going on all at once here.)

    Again, I don't fully understand the cause but damage/THAC0 displayed for ranged weapons that create their own magical ammo are wonky. So to reiterate, while Tuigan might indeed be better because of APR, Tansheron should be doing more damage per hit and have better accuracy. The character screen just isn't properly displaying this.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,039
    edited October 2015
    Elminster, I'm getting even more confused now. Are you saying that it's better to use +1 arrows with Tansheron than to just let it fire its +3 innate ammunition? From the description attached the bow, it sounds like using arrows of less than +3 power should make it less effective, not more. In ToB you can get +3 arrows; would using those in Tansheron make it a +6 weapon?

    Using +3 bolts in upgraded (+5) Firetooth makes the bolts +8?

    Neither of those seems likely. I rather suspect that it is indeed an erroneous display on the character screen, due to some oddity of the programming.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 15,523
    As I understand it, how a weapon counts (for enemies requiring weapons (or in this case, arrows) +1, +2, + 3 to hit etc) and a weapon's THAC0 are different things.

    What elminster is saying here is that THAC0 bonuses from both a bow and an arrow stack. So if you fire +1 arrows from the Tansheron bow, you get +4 THAC0 bonus. But in this case you'll fire +1 arrows so an enemy immune to weapons +1 to hit will be immune to your attacks.

    elminster
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,705
    Using +3 bolts in a +5 Firetooth would result in a thac0 bonus of -8. But when it comes to the bolts enchantment level (when it comes to determining if they could hit certain enemies) it would only count as firing +3 ammo.

    JuliusBorisov
  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,039
    edited October 2015
    I see what you are saying now. Thanks for clearing that up. The whole bow:arrow interaction is poorly described; in fact the description page for Tansheron specifically recommends not using arrows in the bow. It doesn't make the distinction as clearly as you did just now.

    The damage displayed on the character screen for no arrows still seems erroneous, however. Or does the damage somehow stack also? No arrow shows as 6-11, any sort of arrow gives 9-14 (+3 more) on the damage display. Is this due to the grand mastery damage bonus? Maybe I don't get the damage bonus either unless arrows are equipped? That would mean that this bow makes its own ammunition, but if you use it that way it's inferior in both respects if you have any sort of bow proficiency bonus. That's really strange (and confusing!) design if true.

    Tansheron's description:

    image


    The ideal scenario would then be to use +3 arrows in this bow, to get both the Thac0 and damage bonuses, but the supply of these is limited. I should probably buy up as many as I can when I get the chance, and stockpile them for special case use.

    Post edited by FrdNwsm on
  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,039
    edited October 2015
    I suspect that this confusion is due to the fact that arrow/bow mechanics date back to before the Archer kit was designed, and the interaction of new kit abilities with old mechanics isn't quite perfectly implemented.

    Skatan
  • Abi_DalzimAbi_Dalzim Member Posts: 1,363
    Necroing this a bit, but as a guy who's played way more than his share of Archer PC's, I feel the need to throw in a few observations, especially about Tansheron's Bow, which does indeed have some weird issues. Long story short: don't use it except when facing enemies that need +3 ammunition and you don't otherwise have any (i.e., pre-TOB or Watcher's Keep). Otherwise, the Tuigan Bow is superior with its extra attack. Also, Tuigan Bow means you can easily get 5 attacks per round, so don't get Whirlwind with an Archer, use Critical Strike instead and make sure someone in the party can use Improved Haste on you, and you'll get ten attacks for a lot longer.

    lunarJuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    While you're absolutely right in your assessment, GWW can be very effective with the right weapon, too. Hard-hitting weapons like Firetooth or even Slings (with STR bonus) can be quite devastating to pair with GWW, for some nice on-demand burst. An option to keep in mind!

    JuliusBorisov
  • DemivrgvsDemivrgvs Member Posts: 315
    edited January 2016
    Just my 2 cents.

    Archer kit is awesome. I have no idea why this damn legend that players need +4 weapons is still around. Here's the incredibly long list of enemies immune to +3 weapons:
    - The Ravager
    - Demilich (only 2 of them, Kangaxx and WK's one)
    - Aurumach Rilmani (WK's last fight before Demogorgon)
    - The end game Solar (you are not supposed to fight her)
    That's it, 4 enemies in the entire game.

    Vanilla's behaviour of Tansheron, Gesen and Firetooth is kinda simple:
    - ammo enchantment lvl is used
    - ammo thac0/dmg bonuses stack on top of the box/xbow ones
    Short story: if you don't need the enchantment lvl then use ammo.

    Item Revisions "fixes" this weird behaviour by preventing the use of different ammo when using Tansheron, Gesen and Firetooth. You automatically get an infinite amount of Phantom Arrows, Lightning Spears, and Fire Bolts respectively.

    Alternatively you could go get the Item Revisions mod, which heavily changes most items in the game to be more balanced and more competitive across weapon types. Longbows are the best bows there, but the mod does change a LOT and may not be for people who don't know the game well already.

    @Lord_Tansheron May I ask why you think IR is "only for veterans"? :) While Spell Revisions may require some attention from the user I don't think IR requires any.

    Post edited by Demivrgvs on
    semiticgodelminsterJuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    Demivrgvs said:

    @Lord_Tansheron May I ask why you think IR is "only for veterans"? :) While Spell Revisions may require some attention from the user I don't think IR requires any.

    "Only for veterans" is probably a bit too much, but it certainly changes a lot of things around. This can be an issue because of the proactive nature of BG's proficiency system, which essentially requires you to know what weapon you'll end up with when you spend your points (especially when GM is involved). People who don't know what they're doing may find themselves in a spot where their usual plans suddenly aren't that great anymore, which can be a nasty surprise if you're not prepared.

    Then again, if you mod your game to change perhaps it's not unreasonable to assume that things will, you know, CHANGE :P

    I guess in that respect IR isn't all that different from SR, you just need to be aware things are going to be different.
    Demivrgvs said:

    That's it, 4 enemies in the entire game.

    I believe there's also the demon lord from Ust Natha and the shade from the Deck of Many Things, both of which require not just +4 but actually +5 to hit.

  • Abi_DalzimAbi_Dalzim Member Posts: 1,363


    Demivrgvs said:

    That's it, 4 enemies in the entire game.

    I believe there's also the demon lord from Ust Natha and the shade from the Deck of Many Things, both of which require not just +4 but actually +5 to hit.

    There's also Anath in the Temple Ruins who needs a +4, but the general point stands. Seven enemies, four of which you shouldn't even be fighting. Pretty negligible altogether.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    Oh, for sure. It's never been a huge concern.

  • DemivrgvsDemivrgvs Member Posts: 315
    @Lord_Tansheron Us Natha's Lesser Demon Lord has never been immune to +3 weapons. Ironically, it's immune to +4 weapons but not to +3. Bad coding there imo and I take the liberty to remove that weird +4 immunity when IR is installed.

    Aesgareth is only immune to +1 weapons, and the Death Shade from the Deck of Many Things doesn't have any particular weapon immunity.

    @Abi_Dalzim Anath isn't even immune to +1 weapons.

    Regardless, the point stands.

    Demivrgvs said:

    @Lord_Tansheron May I ask why you think IR is "only for veterans"? :) While Spell Revisions may require some attention from the user I don't think IR requires any.

    "Only for veterans" is probably a bit too much, but it certainly changes a lot of things around. This can be an issue because of the proactive nature of BG's proficiency system, which essentially requires you to know what weapon you'll end up with when you spend your points (especially when GM is involved). People who don't know what they're doing may find themselves in a spot where their usual plans suddenly aren't that great anymore, which can be a nasty surprise if you're not prepared.
    But with IR you don't have to plan because every weapon type has great utility, and if you plan with vanilla's items in mind you are surely not going to be screwed. Vanilla's "top tier" items/weapons (e.g. Celestial Fury, Carsomyr, Crom, SotM, etc) are still "top tier".

    Btw, if you really want to plan ahead anyway there's a detailed online item index. ;)

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    Oh, don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly and without reservations endorse and support IR. It's amazing, and I would never play without it again.

    But I know that some people are just so firmly entrenched in the established vanilla items that a caveat is warranted.

    There's also the issue of power levels being curbed a bit in IR (which is absolutely fine). That may take some people by surprise.

    Demivrgvs
  • Abi_DalzimAbi_Dalzim Member Posts: 1,363
    Huh. I heard somewhere Anath had that immunity, but never tested it because, as I said, there's no point in fighting her. I don't even go into her cave to talk anymore. Ah well.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 9,858
    Last I fought her and checked her stats, Anath was immune to non-silver weapons. So, immune to almost everything.

  • DemivrgvsDemivrgvs Member Posts: 315
    edited January 2016

    Last I fought her and checked her stats, Anath was immune to non-silver weapons. So, immune to almost everything.

    There was a similar problem with BG1 Greater Werewolf and I remember most player thought it required +3 weapons because the only weapons flagged as 'silver' had a "fake" +3 enchantment such as Kondar (bastard sword +1, +3 vs. shapeshifters). Anath has no such immunity in the original BG2, but I cannot check on EE2 because I only have EE1 installed right now. I'll check it if needed.

    @Lord_Tansheron I get your point now, albeit it affects more power players than standard and roleplaying ones. The only real things imo that might affect common players is that IR has a "Hard Times" approach when it comes to money, and to a lesser extent that OP items are just incredibly powerful but not broken/godly.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,084
    Demivrgvs said:

    @Lord_Tansheron I get your point now, albeit it affects more power players than standard and roleplaying ones. The only real things imo that might affect common players is that IR has a "Hard Times" approach when it comes to money, and to a lesser extent that OP items are just incredibly powerful but not broken/godly.

    It's part of what I like so much about your mod - it curbs the power of unreasonably strong items, especially Flail of Ages. Much closer gaps between items now, and consequently much more room for interesting choices!

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,906
    I am playing with "Kivan" mod and he's an archer.

    Awesome damage, has 4 pips in long bow but, and it's a big but.

    Without going to WK and picking up the infinate +1 arrows quiver, I would have run out, hours of play beforehand.
    No magical arrows for sale in Ust Nathar, bought all the stocks of plus 2 in Athkatla.

    Admitedly I also had 3 other bow users, but now we are down to Gesen bow (no ammo) for Imoen, swapped to Crossbow for Haer Dalis (firetooth) and keeping some for emergencies and Charname when they have to fall back.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,039
    UnderstandMouseMagic said:

    "Without going to WK and picking up the infinate +1 arrows quiver, I would have run out, hours of play beforehand."


    Why would you NOT head to WK and grab both of the endless quivers ASAP? You can do the first level of WK fairly early in SoA. While you are there, you also can buy the rather useful potion case from sister what's her name on top. Later on you can buy Firetooth and Tansheron's bow, both of which make their own ammunition. You can accumulate a fair number of +1 arrows prior to that by hanging out in the Windspear Hills and mugging orc archers, all of whom carry some of these.

    Conserve magical arrows by using normal ones on any foe that can be hit by normal weapons. Tuigan bow + mastery turns your archer into a Gatling gun, army scythe does the same for crossbow users.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,039
    Oh, helpful hint. While Archers cannot wear metal armor, they are not limited to leathers. Mine was wearing Ankheg plate up until the time we whacked Firkraag, and now I'm wearing the Red Dragon armor. AC now is -8. Neither of these armors is metallic.

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