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Old February 13, 2016, 22:30   #1
Infinitum
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Balancing spears

Does anyone use them? Actually won a 1.3 game the other day, got both Aeglos and Ogbar (?) and.. proceeded to drop them immediatly since they're meh in comparison with pretty much all sword/axe based artifacts. Considering those two have arguably the best brands in the game (cold and sharpness, respectively) this made me wonder what exactly would be needed for players to start wielding polearms other than the odd Glaive? Being heavy-ish weapon that don't really benefit much from strength and are unusable with subtlety means they currently lack a niche.

One solution that came to mind apart from buffing the stats outright would be an ability mimicing them outreaching most opponents. Reaching two squares is fairly nonsensical given the scale (and also the brace ability), so I was thinking something like:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reach
A player character or monster with the reach ability gains reach whenever it starts a turn without enemies in any adjacent squares. A character or monster loses reach whenever an adjacent enemy scores a hit in close combat (regardless if it penetrated armor or not). A character with reach gains +3 evasion against all attacks from adjacent enemies without the reach ability.
ie as long as an enemy doesn't get past the business end of your pointy stick keeping it away from you is simple, but once it does close you're at a disadvantage.

Theorethically this it would make spearmen naturally better against enemies with low melee/high damage attacks, flitterers, slow movement or that doesn't pursue far. So basically wolves, spiders, birds and giants which make sense for a "hunting" weapon. I guess serpents, dragons and undead also apply but spears can't penetrate their armour reliably as is. It wouldn't be of much use against high melee or swarming enemies since the player is liable to take that first hit eventually and then having trouble breaking base contact. Thoughts?
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Old February 13, 2016, 23:49   #2
taptap
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I like the Spear of Boldog - often keep it for several hundred feet. Also the Glaive of Gaurin. When I experimented with seriously low strength chars (0 strength fencers back when 0.9lb shortswords were possible) a glaive was my weapon of choice until I had subtlety and my first 0.9lb shortsword. I am aware no one else runs 0 strength fighters, but yeah

Don't forget polearm mastery. Polearm mastery, focus, controlled retreat + knockback is seriously good.

One problem is you usually can't plan for a special polearm and build accordingly, while you can always assume you get a whole collection of heavy artefacts and light artefacts, so you just make your generic brawler either tending to heavy or to light weapons, but the artefact spears each play differently.
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Old February 14, 2016, 04:13   #3
wobbly
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I used a glaive most of the way down on my last doriath (str 0, power, weaponsmithing). Great spears of slay seem ideal to me for high stealth, low melee, non-assassination characters. If you can't get a lot of criticals with the light blades, the big critical on a great spear is ideal.

Just took a look at the character dump & that doriath finished up with a great spear of vanyar for the grace bonus, but from memory I was switching to Dramborleg to fight or Amrod to sneak.

Last edited by wobbly; February 14, 2016 at 04:20.
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Old February 14, 2016, 19:28   #4
Scatha
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I'm not convinced by the case that spears are too weak. As commented above, they are often a great choice for low-strength characters.

At STR 0, with Finesse, a 3lb spear does 1d11 damage (2-handed) or 1d9 (1-handed), with criticals for each 9 you hit by. Compared to a 1lb shortsword, the criticals have just about the same damage/accuracy ratio even using the spear 1-handed, and quite a bit better 2-handed. And they have a better baseline when you get few criticals. They are worse for extreme criticals than the right weapon with Subtlety, but there's also less investment. Spears are also extremely versatile, as you can use them 1- or 2-handed, or throw them, and they're compatible with Polearm Mastery.

Great spears are stronger again with few criticals, but normally a slightly worse damage ratio when you're hitting by a lot. They're even better when your STR starts getting negative, and even better with brands or slays. Note that because the protection mechanic in Sil, the high variance in damage on spears is generally a plus -- e.g. they can be one of the best ways for low-STR characters to kill serpents.

On the artefacts, I definitely suspect you're undervaluing Aeglos. In my view it is one of the strongest 1-handed weapons in the game: against foes who don't resist cold (most) it is (+1, 2d9). And although it's only 1d9 against a slice of foes, it hits 3d9 against cold-vulnerable enemies (which crucially include Balrogs).
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Old February 15, 2016, 00:27   #5
debo
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Even beyond that, Aeglos is a ridiculous throwing weapon if you have any sort of melee build at all. It's also kind of nuts as a mainhand weapon for two-weapon fighting.
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Old February 15, 2016, 00:46   #6
nikheizen
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Polearms rock.

An early-ish slay great spear is an instant main weapon for most characters I play.

Not to mention the artefact glaive is probably the best weapon in the game unless you're running a subtlety build.
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Old February 15, 2016, 14:19   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikheizen View Post
Polearms rock.

An early-ish slay great spear is an instant main weapon for most characters I play.

Not to mention the artefact glaive is probably the best weapon in the game unless you're running a subtlety build.
"The artefact glaive" - there are three of them
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Old February 15, 2016, 14:21   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taptap View Post
"The artefact glaive" - there are three of them
I think he means Gaurin, although Sirion is quite good also. Celebrist is unfortunately terrible.
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Old February 15, 2016, 14:25   #9
bagori nd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikheizen View Post
Not to mention the artefact glaive is probably the best weapon in the game unless you're running a subtlety build.
I like the black swords over Gaurin, but yeah.

I'm with Scatha on Aeglos. You also can't forget the weight: at 3 lb., Aeglos two-handed with finesse crits almost as well as a deathblade with subtlety. (At str 2--i.e. if you're using rapid attack--Aeglos averages 7 damage per 9 accuracy to the deathblade's 6 per 6. Given that Aeglos gets an extra die up front, the deathblade only really pulls ahead with stealth criticals.)

I definitely think it's one of the coolest artifacts in the game--tons of style, great for almost any melee build (all but the very heaviest and very lightest) and amazing with polearm mastery.
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Old February 15, 2016, 16:06   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bagori nd View Post
I like the black swords over Gaurin, but yeah.

I'm with Scatha on Aeglos. You also can't forget the weight: at 3 lb., Aeglos two-handed with finesse crits almost as well as a deathblade with subtlety. (At str 2--i.e. if you're using rapid attack--Aeglos averages 7 damage per 9 accuracy to the deathblade's 6 per 6. Given that Aeglos gets an extra die up front, the deathblade only really pulls ahead with stealth criticals.)

I definitely think it's one of the coolest artifacts in the game--tons of style, great for almost any melee build (all but the very heaviest and very lightest) and amazing with polearm mastery.
And this from a weapon that didn't really come into its own until the Second Age!
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