(Original post by Friar Chris)
I should probably write up a full blurb for it, I'll try be concise (but will fail)... It's not anywhere near fleshed out but it has a lot of features to test already:
1. Arrowsmithing and Fletching
In addition to simply being able to smith arrows and bolts (with Dawnguard/patch 1.6), I've been implementing arrowsmithing in the way of improving your arrows like you do your other gear. The first two features in these vein that I've added are controlled by Smithing Perks of the same name:
- The Arrowsmith perk is available at Smithing 25 after unlocking Steel Smithing.
- The Fletcher perk is available at Smithing 35 after unlocking Arrowsmith.
These unlock a set of crafting options corresponding to their names - Arrowsmithing allows one to improve the tip or arrowhead of the weapon, thereby improving its damage output, and you can use it on any arrow material that you have the smithing capability to work - i.e. Iron and Steel are accessible right away; Elven will require the appropriate perk. This is done at the forge, much like enhancing a crossbow - 24 arrows + the appropriate ingots or materials yields the desired tempered upgrade.
Fletching, on the other hand, allows one to fletch your arrows to have (non-magical) special properties as opposed to just improving the damage output. Currently I have added two types of special fletching that can be applied to arrows: Streamlining
arrows uses the relatively common Hawk Feathers (that are dropped, funnily enough, by Hawks) and fletches the arrows to be more aerodynamic; meaning they fly much faster than an unfletched arrow. This is very useful for hitting moving targets as leading a target is less trouble, for example; makes it harder for enemies to dodge, and is also valuable for long range shooting of course as the faster arrows can travel further with less drop.
arrows uses the harder-to-come-by Hagraven Feathers (no prizes for guessing what to kill, once again) and fletches the arrows rendering them virtually silent as they fly through the air, albeit slightly slower. The positive side is that they are, of course, the perfect arrows for the assassin and sneak.
This is the basis of a whole range of similar arrowsmithing ideas that I hope to implement, including enchanted arrows, and of course applying the same to crossbow bolts.
2. Archery Changes
The mod changes the relative behaviours of bows and crossbows - the Crossbows are virtually so indistinctly better than bows in vanilla Dawnguard that they might as well replace them; which I felt was a shame:
Crossbows, by design, fire heavy bolts at very high speeds that have a hell of an impact and lots of armour piercing capability; but in trade off require much more effort (and often a mechanical lever or gears like shown in-game) to retract the bowstrings, and as a result can not be fired as quickly as a longbow.
Longbows, on the other hand, are harder to aim and fire and lack the high velocity punch of a crossbow (and has lighter projectiles than bolts) but rely on gravity and a forward-weighted, sharp arrow to do the work. They fire in an arc and lack the capacity to puncture armour and wound as grievously, but can be repeatedly in quick succession without any need for mechanical assistance or particular strain.
To reflect this:
- Crossbows are now 20% slower to reload - that's about 16-18 shots per minute.
- Crossbows now do between 15% and 19% more damage per shot (depending on the variant)
- It is now slightly faster to nock and draw arrows in (all) bows. This comes in about 26-30 shouts per minute if the player was able to aim and fire repeatedly without delay or adjustment.
- Bow damage has not been increased.
- All arrows and bolts are faster than in vanilla generally; bolts have much higher velocity than arrows unless the arrows are streamlined. Generally the vanilla arrows are too slow - both to aim with, and too easy to dodge yourself.
The effects of which being that crossbows pack even more punch in a single shot, but are not convenient for mobile, protracted combat against multiple enemies - the longer reload, combined with the movement reduction whilst tightening the bowstring means it's best used from a vantage point, a precision weapon, a sneak-sniper or as a weapon of opportunity in battle to plug a high-powered bolt into a vampire, as its already considerable damage per shot has been increased to compensate.
Normal bows, on the other hand, lack the punch in the individual shots, but are more versatile - the high speed of nocking and drawing arrows means they can
output more damage per unit time on paper than a crossbow, but in order to do so you have to use it skilfully - though an archer can fire many shots in quick succession, actually co-ordinating movement, aiming, leading a moving target, adjusting and timing the firing correctly means that it requires a degree of skill to actually take best advantage. It does mean that bows are more versatile in closer and protracted battle, however, as they can maintain sustained fire on an enemy.
3. Gameplay 'Improvements'
I'm aiming to add some more interesting perks and options for stealth/assassin-type play in general, which is where all the arrow and crossbow ideas rose from. At present, the mod just adds a new perk set and two new utility spells, ideally needed when you're running realistic lighting mods or Climates of Tamriel that make dungeons and interiors more accurately dark; using a torch or a lantern (lantern mod, worth getting btw) as a sneak gives you away so is not ideal, but only racial abilities were available for nighteye in Skyrim which, frankly, sucked:
- In the Sneak skill tree, there is a new a two-level perk set 'Stalker' which increases your speed when sneaking, or rather, to be more accurate, offsets some of the speed penalty suffered when sneaking.
- There is now an Apprentice (25)-level Illusion spell 'Nightscan' that provides the player with nightvision whilst concentrating - i.e. like when holding down a healing or flames spell, to provide limited nightvision capacity at a lower level.
- There is now an Adept (50)-level Illusion spell 'Nightvision' that provides the player with 90 seconds of Nighteye.
Future plans include expanding the arrowsmithing/fletching features, new illusion spells, and I'm trying to get some acrobatics-style perks working so the acrobat/assassin archetype can do some somersaulting over enemies and striking from roofs kind of action (though the game doesn't seem to like this so far).