Archery – Player Essays

Return to: Archery Essay
Professions: The Archer
The Archer, by Lord Astynax; Edited by Xena Dragon
A Guide to Archery

In the world of Britannia, archery has a very solid place. Archery is a skill with vast flexibility. It enables the Archer the ability to hunt as a solo warrior, or become a key damage factor in a party of hunters. While it is true that archery has it’s flaws, my purpose here this evening is to educate those who wish to learn about those flaws, as well as the advantages that it serves in every scenario.


First we shall discuss the negative properties of archery, and ways to overcome the handicaps that archery can incur on the user. The main two negative points of archery are: it’s speed, and it’s cost. Archery is a VERY slow skill for the beginner; both in the rate of fire, and in skill advancement. It requires a high dexterity to be an effective skill. Low dexterity as an archer results in abnormally frequent misses, and a huge amount of time between shots. This is especially true for users of the heavy crossbow. A player who has low dexterity and attempts to use a heavy crossbow will find that the reload time between shots is an eternity, especially since even a Grandmaster Archer misses frequently with this weapon. Your best bet as a beginning archer is to stick to the bow and get your dexterity raised as quickly as possible. Archery itself raises dexterity very well, as does complementary skills such as musicianship and hiding.The cost is another high issue for the would-be archer. Supplies for this skill are expensive, even if you buy feathers and shafts separately. Keep in mind that these products are relatively useless if you do not possess any bowyer skill to assemble your ammunition. Therefore, I highly recommend taking on bowcraft and lumberjacking, if you plan on using archery as your primary combat skill. We will discuss additional benefits from these two skills shortly.

Perhaps the largest bane to archers in the combat scenario is the mage, because of the sluggish attacking speed of the archer. The reload time between shots allows the mage to throw half his spell book at you while he stands unmolested. Thus, I do not recommend archers to take up solo PvP, as your first encounter with a grandmaster mage will more than likely convince you to stick to llamas and rabbits. =) I have seen a veteran archer succumb to another player whose magery was negligible, simply because the archer’s dexterity was too low. He was fireballed to death by the new mage, who had time to heal himself and cast another attack before the archer got his next shot off.

In my opinion, however, the Pros of archery greatly outweigh the Cons. The key benefit of archery in a combat scenario (PvP or whatever) is the ability to cause mass amounts of damage without ever having to get really close to the opponent. An archer in a hunting party is highly valued because he or she takes a large amount of the damage load off of the melee warrior’s shoulders. He can stay in one place, shoot from ledges, behind rocks, etc. These are advantages that a melee warrior cannot duplicate without devoting large amounts of time and money complimenting his combat skill with magery. Another good quality to archery is the first attack factor. An experienced archer can have a first shot off well before the melee fighter ever gets in range for an attack, or before a mage can finish speaking his words of power. While the first strike is not always crucial to the outcome of the battle, every bit of damage given counts, and the one who gets the most damage out the fastest is usually the victor.

Skill Advancement

Archery is different from other combat skills in that it is less oriented on the difficulty of creature you are attacking, and more on the number of hits you achieve. It is still necessary, however, to hunt progressively tougher creatures in correspondence with your skill level. I recommend hunting the most difficult creature you are comfortable fighting until you are a master archer. At master level, advancement is slow, (this is true with almost every skill) but if your magery is high enough, you can advance much more quickly. I did this by standing on a ledge and casting blade spirits on the ground below, and then shooting the blade until it’s summon time expired. This is tedious and more expensive than gaining normally, but you gain far more skill at an advanced rate. It is also dangerous because of scoundrels who enjoy running into your blade spirit to flag you criminal so they can attack you freely without fear of a penalty. For this reason I suggest finding a secluded spot that is not frequented by other players. (If you are a registered T2A player, the ledges northeast of Delucia are quite ideal for this purpose. )Be cautious in where you place the blade as well, because if it has a route to get on the ledge with you, it could very well prove a fatal mistake. I always made sure to teleport onto a ledge that had no other entrances to remove that threat completely.For those who wish to make skill gain normally, I found that earth elementals raised skill faster than anything else I was skilled enough to hunt. Caution should be taken in that as well if you plan to hunt them in Shame, due to the frequency of murderers and villains.

Complimentary Skills

As with most combat skills, archery can be complimented by a variety of skills. My personal combination is: Archery, Magery, Meditation, Hiding, Tactics, Tracking, Magic Resistance, and Evaluate Intelligence. Of course, once you hit the skill cap, you’ll have to start narrowing down any skill that you don’t use frequently. (For those that are uneducated on this, you are allowed 700 skill points, before attributes are factored into your skill scores) For the starting archer, bowcraft and lumberjacking will be the most valuable asset to compliment your archery. These skills allow you to pump out virtually endless numbers of shafts and bows at a low skill; I used my own bows until I was a master. The excess materials you make are almost always readily sellable. And, since all you need to do these skills is an axe, all the money you make is basically profit, not counting the amount of time you must put into this. On average, a good bowyer/lumberjack can make about 2 thousand gold in 30-50 minutes, depending mostly on the number of logs you can cut in that time. These two skills also do a lot to increase you strength and dexterity, the prime attributes for an archer.Another very good complimentary skill for archery, is magery. If you wish to gain magery for your archer, I’d suggest going no higher than 55 or 60 until you reach at least high master in archery. If you don’t mind running around or asking for gates, then don’t bother with magery at all until you reach this point.

Feather Locations

This may sound like a silly topic to talk about, but as an archer who makes his own ammunition, I will tell you that this information is VERY vital to the self-sufficiency of your character. If you are registered on T2A, the land in the southwestern quadrant of the map is absolutely rich in feathers. Birds are everywhere, and harpies can be found frequently to the east of Delucia. If you are not registered, or prefer to stay in the Old Lands, then your most consistent feather hunting grounds are usually in any jungle. Many eagles can be found south and southeast of Yew, and in the Orc Valley. There are many areas where birds and other feather-bearing creatures frequent, and in the old lands they tend to be in the deeper woods areas. One of the more dangerous feather hunting areas are the caves leading up to Covetous. They are typically jam-packed with harpies, AND with murderers, so be careful.

Battle tactics/PvP

As was discussed previously, attempting PvP combat with an archer is very perilous unless you are proportionally good at magery. The only way I’d suggest PvP as an archer is in a group. A group of archers can be VERY deadly. But, since you probably won’t have a group of pure archers, then you will be more of a behind-the-lines component, dealing damage from behind the fighters. One thing to remember in Non-PvP combat is this: Stay moving, and find the safest place you can to shoot from. If this sounds craven to you, wait until you’ve tried to fight 4 Ophidian Knight-Errants toe-to-toe, and you’ll catch my meaning. =) In a case such as this, (assuming your magery is high enough) I always find a ledge and cast offensive spells until my mana is exhausted, and then I pelt them with arrows. For tougher creatures, by the time they are near death, your mana has regenerated, and you can finish them off with a quick Energy Bolt or two.


It is my belief that Archery and Magery are akin to each other, because they are both range attacks, both expensive and difficult to build, and both very well worth it in the long run. It takes a great many arrows to gain prestige as an archer, and a lot of patience for misses to stick with it long enough to gain that prestige. If you have the arrows, and the patience, then perhaps you can join me as a Grandmaster in the wonderful world of Archery.Thank you.
– Lord Astynax

Bowcraft and Fletching, by The Bear; Edited by Xena
Bowcraft for Fun and Profit

When you first start out you need to find a relatively quick way of making some gold. At first the need for gold is to better equip yourself, then later to purchase skills and training from NPC’s, then much later to purchase even better equipment, reagents for magic, and perhaps a horse. So from the very start until you are quite experienced you are motivated by the need for gold. And so it is good to develop a skill or two that can get you some of what you seek with little investment in time and energy. Bowcraft is one such skill.

Learning the Ropes

This skill does not require a very high rating to be effective enough to produce a steady income. However, it is very dependent on another skill, lumberjacking. It is a poor bowmaker who can not cut his own wood, so make sure you have a bit of skill with an axe to compliment this skill. Both bowcraft and lumberjacking can be purchased from NPC’s. Just ask around until you find a NPC who can teach you. This can be done by typing the name of the NPC with the word ‘teach’ for example ‘kyle teach.’ This will prompt the NPC to give you a list of skills which he or she can teach you. If you see one you would like then add that skill to what you just said, ie: ‘kyle teach bowcraft and fletching’ or kyle teach lumberjacking.’ This will get you a price for the instruction, then you must find the coin. If you have enough with you then drag the amount over the NPC and repeat what you just said. You repeat yourself to make sure that the offer is fresh, if too much time elapses between the offer and you dropping the coin on the NPC, they will take your money as a gift. It is rather frustrating when that happens. So repeat your request and then immediately drop your gold on the NPC. He/she will say something like ‘let me show you a little bit about how this is done.’ and you will get a message that your skill has increased. It is normal for any NPC to train you up to about 30 or so in skill points. That is enough to be able to build on.

A Word On Lumberjacking

So now you have a little bit of skill with lumberjacking and a little bit of skill with bowcraft. If you started with even 1 point of lumberjacking you will have a newbie hatchet. This is a very good thing to have so don’t loose it. It can not be stolen, or lost when you die. Which can be a very handy thing when you get stuck out someplace and need to make a bow fast, or you get PK’ed and want to make some cash on the way back to town. Plus its nice to be able to leave the PK’s with nothing but logs if you get killed while cutting trees. So once you upgrade to a better weapon just put the newbie hatchet in your locker and keep it. One day you will carry it again, as just a back up incase of death.

Cutting, Carving, and Creating

In order to use the lumberjack skill you must double click on an equipped axe. That means your character has to be holding the axe in his hand to use it on a tree. You will get a crosshair which you will use to select the tree you wish to cut. Depending on the availability of wood, your skill and the weight and item limit of your backpack you will get one of the following messages:

  • “You hack away at the tree but are left with nothing to show for it.”
  • “You put some logs in your backpack.”
  • “You have no more room in your backpack” (or something similar)
  • “There is no wood left to be harvested.”

Once you have your logs you can use fletcher’s tools to engage the bowcraft skill. You will be given a menu to select the type of item you wish to try to create. The items get more difficult as you move right through the menu. The easiest thing to make is kindling and the hardest is a heavy crossbow. You will not have the option to make all of the items until you have sufficient skill. The skill needed to make a bow is 30, for a crossbow it is 60 and for a heavy crossbow it is 90. (Kindling, arrows, and bolts can be attempted at any skill level. At the minimum skill level required to create the item in question, you will have a 50% chance to succeed.It should be noted that the skill necessary refers to your skill level after it is modified by your stat bonuses. This would be why it might appear that the minimum skill required to make a particular item is lower than the values I have suggested. Keep in mind that success rate depends on displayed skill and not base skill.

Exceptional Bows

At a displayed bowyering skill of 38.1 you can start to make exceptional quality bows. Success rate for exceptional bows at that skill level is only 0.1% but will increase as your skill improves. If you use Arms Lore on such a bow it will say “an extraordinary deadly bow”. Exceptional bows do damage in the range from 20 to 30+. Exceptional heavy crossbows do damage in the range from 25 to 35+. A Grandmaster Bowyer can place his Makers’s Mark on a bow if he creates a bow of exceptional quality


Depending on your goals you can choose to employ different strategies to maximize your bowcraft skill. If you plan on building your skill you would use a different process than you would if you were planning on using your skill to earn gold. It is possible to do both, but if you wish to get the most benefit in one area or the other then here is my suggestions.

  • Building Skill
    Start off slow with arrows and an occasional bow. Make your shafts one at a time. In order to do this you will need to separate your wood into individual logs before you attempt to carve them. This is because if you target a group of logs and choose arrows or bolts as your product then you will attempt to make arrows or bolts from the whole pile. Sense your skill builds upon each successful attempt at the use of the trade, you would glean more advancement from your work by making them one at a time. Once you are to 30 in skill make only bows until you get to 60. This is because once you have reached this level you will be producing arrows with a 100% chance of success and this does not allow for advancement, it seems you must be challenged in order to learn. At 70 you can start making crossbows along with bows with fairly good odds of success. Once you reach 80 you are good enough to make a heavy crossbow with a fairly predictable rate of success so start making them intermittently. At higher levels it seems to work better if you switch back and forth between bows, crossbows, and heavy crossbows. Making a wide range of archery weapons seems to stimulate skill building more than sticking with one product. 
  • Earning Gold
    If you are just looking to make a quick pile of gold then stick with producing what you are able to make the best. Arrows require feathers as well as wood so in the long run they are actually more work than making a bow. They take more time because they require more resources. I would suggest for the young entrepreneur that you start with bows and stick with them until your skill is up to 75 or so. This may sound a bit silly to some but you will make more gold from a pack full of bows than you will from a couple of crossbows and a pile of shavings. The money gets better for the harder items but wasted wood gains nothing. You well see that it is much better to make 10 of something you are able to make well rather than to make 1 or 2 of something you are just learning to make. Be ever mindful of your weight. You should always know how much more you can carry, once you get close to your limit head back and sell your wares. There is no sense in leaving product behind because you can not carry it all. It would also be good to note that you will not always be able to unload your pack full of bows on just one merchant. It may become necessary to travel in order to turn your wares into gold. To this end it would be a wise bowcrafter that learned the ways of magic, especially in the areas of transporting ones self
In Conclusion

As skills go bowcraft is a reliable and easy source of income. It is a good skill to have in case of a disaster, all it takes to make back a lost fortune is your newbie axe, tree’s and time. So if you find yourself out of gold and in need, don’t go begging for handouts, go cut a tree. It is true, money does grow on trees.

Last modified: February 11, 2013

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.