Aurach's Two Weapon Combat Guide: A Ranger's Perspective

The official GemStone IV encyclopedia.
Jump to: navigation, search
Aurach

The Two Weapon Combat Ranger

The whirling scimitars of Drizzsdt Do'Urden, The 'mountain charge to rescue using hatchet and knife' in Last of the Mohicans, Lancelot's dual short swords in King Arthur, all bring the vision of our champion, the Two Weapon Combat Ranger. A challenging training path, with strong reliance on attack and speed.

Very few rangers take this path. It is uphill both ways, in the snow, at night, crossing a frigid streams, without boots.

Why are you still reading?

Let me say this one more time. It is very costly in training points, it delays most other skills/spells and you have little bolt defense.

You may find training the TWC combat skill and adjusting to this style at cap MUCH easier.

If you are still reading you are probably hard headed enough.

However, other guides have said there is really no 'bad' way to train a ranger. Two weapon combat from a rangers birth is probably really close however.

Good Luck

Why Two Weapons?

Most ambushing rangers and archers can kill with one well placed strike. So too can the two weapon ambushing ranger, but the world has creatures that cannot be critical struck and only massive raw damage will suffice.

Enter our ranger hero, weapon in each hand, spell at the ready. 'Guts, 'Glory, 'Aspects'

For me the style has always been about using your magics and blades together. This is really not a stand in the open and get beat on type of style. You can do that however. I prefer the use of good timing, and a rather large variety of spells to maneuver your opponents into situations favorable to you.

Your greatest strength is your variety of magics, combat maneuver skills, and weapons combined.

From the skills and stats a Ranger can be a very good two weapon user. Great spirit warding, good variety of spells, low costs to train a variety of skills, some of the best attack spells for a semi, great defensive spells all make for a really versatile and easily adjustable character.

While not recommended to try from early on, this style when combined with ambushing and Multi Opponent Combat is absolutely devastating.

Ranger Spells

The ranger spell list provides some unique benefits for TWC rangers, both directly and indirectly.

Phoen's Strength (606) gives a phantom increase of +10 to Strength bonus. Strength is incredibly important to keep RT down (encumbrance really affects the left hand weapon).

Mobility (618) offers a large bonus to Dodge, a TWC rangers primary defense

Camouflage (608) a +30 AS bonus from camouflage for multiple attacks. Yes both weapons get the bonus from a ranger leaping to ambush or 'plain attacking' from a camo 608 position, so this can be used by non ambusher for the boost if your quick, so you at least get the +30 AS bonus.

Wall of Thorns (640) of great assistance to a TWC ranger, the best defense is having the trees block for you and not getting hit at all.

Assume Aspect (650) is custom made for a TWC ranger, allowing you to tweak your form to meet the current threat or boost a weakness. (alternating between rat and wolf for example maintains a boost to your agi/dex)

All Rangers also benefit from a plethora of set up spells that can complement any weapon style, such as Sounds (607), Tangle Weed (610) , Call Swarm (615) and Sun Burst (609) (note the effects vs undead)

TWC rangers will find great use in the Minor Spiritual spell circle, especially Spirit Barrier (102) and Spirit fog (106), to provide added defenses. Note that 102 gives a penalty to AS so you could STOP 102, which removes the spell so you can attack without the penalty making for a creative low mana Shield/stance dance option, also breeze will eliminate Spirit Fog (106), however that is mana intensive.

Two Weapon Combat Training

The introduction of Fixskills and Fixstats, will allows new rangers to tweak their efforts with great ease. I suggest maintain your core training, finesse skills/Stats as starting Stats have increased and allow you to gain more your training points while boosting overall stat totals. (this is an entire topic all its own) (wordsmith this it isn't sounding right)

Two Weapon Combat Ranger Core Training

This is your base training that every two weapon ranger should have each level.

  • 2x (6/4) Combat Maneuvers: When points are too tight, you can skip some here if you have to, try to keep singling.
  • 2x (9/6) Two Weapon Combat:
  • 2x (9/3) Edged Weapons (Blunt weapons can be used, slightly increased training cost, do not over look this if it appeals to your style of ranger)
  • 1x (4/0) Physical Fitness: (no shield, you will be getting hit, you need this)
  • 1x (7/5) Dodge
  • 1x (0/5) Harness Power
  • 1x (0/17) Spell Research: (May have to skip spells a few levels until training points work out)
  • 1x (0/3) Perception: take higher at cap (if you can single, go for it, I think you will be strapped for points: You can skip this when you need to)
  • 1x Armor (5/0) Can skip if you have to for points, but you will need armor training and good armor with this build (Aurach's goal was 110 ranks for a chain hauberk and then 170 ranks post cap to reduce maneuver penalties in hauberk)

Total of (40/43)

After wearing hauberk for a decade. I have switched to augmented chain. I find the spell failure a little more manageable and the maneuver is easier to train off post cap. I also find I get hit a lot less, so losing the chain coverage on the head is easier to handle.

TWC Ranger Discreet Training

These values are plateaus you should strive to reach at some point in your career.

  • 5 ranks of Multi Opponent Combat (10/4) as soon as you can fit it in. (30 ranks allows 2 strikes per weapon on a target, 55 ranks allows you to focus mstrike 3 times per weapon on a single target) Reduces effects of being outnumbered.
  • 50 Ranks in Climbing (2/0) by level 100, train this as needed to make climb checks prior to that.
  • 50 Ranks in Swimming (2/0) by level 100, train this as needed to make swim checks prior to that.
  • Spiritual Lore, Blessings (0/10) 1 rank as soon as you can fit it in after Getting 650
  • Spiritual Lore, Summoning (0/10) 1 rank as soon as you can fit it in after getting 650

(your 1 rank of these two lores gives slight increases in many of your spells, low training point cost boosts, 5 ranks is Blessing lore is very interesting also as it will allow your 117 spirit strike to have a 3% chance to affect two strikes for you being both weapons)

Spell Research

My preferred training order: for a two weapon build 601, 101-103, 602-618, 104-107, 619-650, 108-130, Ranger ranks for life 'Aurach Moonshadew'

(other rangers prefer minor spirit 140 and ranger 162 which provides the best CS)

I prefer to get hues, then 101-103, I like having the low mana shield of 102 with this type of character. After that Mobility is the goal. Then getting deep blues. Then I would head for Aspect. This is simply my preference looking back on my build.

Optional Additional Training

A list of the most common skills to use your additional training points on.

  • 1x Ambush when you can fit the ranks in, 1x at cap (more as you feel the need) (I am singled at cap currently and do very well ambushing)
  • 2x Stalking and Hiding – If you plan to ambush at cap you will want to 2x this, post cap
  • 1x-2x Survival – This will aid skinning, foraging, and overland movement
  • 1x-2x First Aid – This will aid in skinning and reduce herb eating RT
  • Spiritual Lore: Blessing and Summoning ranger preference, I think it should be gained after ranger spells are maxed, however 5 ranks of blessing lore will allow a 3% chance to have MS117 affect two strikes low chance but is nice when it happens)
  • Magic Item Use I regret not having this 1x earlier. I did it post cap and love it.
  • Arcane Symbols I regret not having this 1x earlier (immediately after MIU).
  • 15 ranks Spiritual Mana Control as soon as you learn it is fun to share and play well with others. 15 ranks is enough to share with most Older Spirit mana using folks (25 ranks post cap if you like).

Post Cap Goals

Thrown Weapons may be a very interesting post cap goal, since you will throw both weapons and you already have the required support skill (TWC, Perception, Combat Maneuvers)

Blessing Lore

Summoning Lore

Combat Maneuver skills (mine at cap at moment) Post Cap goals:

Skill Mnemonic Ranks
Cunning Defense cdefense 5
Combat Movement cmovement 5
Hamstring hamstring 5
Disarm Weapon disarm 5
Shadow Mastery smastery 5
Sweep sweep 1
Garrote garrote 1
Subdual Strike sstrike 1
  • TWC rangers will find these useful (order of preference for me was Cdefense, Cmovement, Hamstring, Disarm, Smastery)

This is simply how Aurach trained Combat maneuver skills at cap. Since then Aurach has changed his cmans some. More focused on defenses. Cmove2, focus 4, smastery 5, disarm 5, side by side 5, cunning defense 5.

Race

I would hope race depends largely on the vision you have for your ranger. That being said, Agility and Dexterity are very important to reduce RT. A race that has strength and can manage encumbrance would also be wise.

What Armor to use?

The best armor you can afford.

My advice is Double leather, then Brigandine, then hauberk, for Full body coverage. I like the full body coverage as it allows me to wear arm/leg greaves, helm, and aventails, if I choose with no added penalties. I kept my eye out for enhancives on the added armor pieces. Padding crit or damage is always a good choice if you can afford it.

My cap armor is an imflass chain hauberk, with added helm, arm and leg greaves and aventail, it has 11% hinderance. I find the failure acceptable to my style. Some will not. A paladin for fluidity would be fantastic. I also kept training armor to reduce maneuver penalties. Armor skill is also a secondary skill for redux so serves some double duty.

Keeping Your RT Manageable

You will find the links below for Agi/Dex and Two weapon combat RT. The RT is probably the most confusing part of using two weapons. I say this because from time to time, it does not match the documents. Weapon weights, base speed, Agi/Dex, encumbrance, and Character strength all affect your RT. (Assume Aspect, Phoen's Strength, Enhancive items, and Wizard strength will be the greatest help here)

To really enjoy and work the two weapon using ranger. You will need to test various combinations of weapons. Early on you might try short sword and gauche for the gauches added DS when used in off hand. Later on perhaps a long sword/short sword when you want to hit harder and keep RT manageable. Too many weapons to list.

A Rangers Weapon Sets

There are many weapons to try. Your ranger will have two or possibly three different sets as he heads out on patrol at certain points in their career. This is where you get to show your rangers individuality.

My carry weapons at cap are: longsword/shortsword set, two hand axe set, and a dagger set. This is not based on min maxing, it is more a collection of style, effectiveness vs heavy armor, and a couple speed weapons for when encumbered by heaps of treasure and skins.

Do not forget to look at blunt weapons if that is more appealing to you.

I can say, that this will be fun. Try all kinds of cheap sets of weapons to get what feels right. This will evolve as Stats increase, better enhancive items are acquired, and weapon choice vs armor types are considered

So, what feels right now, may change at various training stages and against different types of armor types (critters).

Feras weapons, Flares, Ensorcellment, Weighting (crit and damage) can all boost your effectiveness. You hit twice as often and good combinations of the previous can add great advantages to your ranger.

TWC Defenses

'All about that AS that AS , no defense, it's all about the AS'

Ok, so seriously, defenses as a two weapon using ranger. As usual we have some good options available.

TWC Parry DS: I cannot explain it better than is listed.

Stances: No really there are stances other than OFF and DEF. A good understanding of how you can adjust your stance to maintain adequate defense for the current threat and still provide you with enough offensive punch to down your enemies will really help. Your ranger spells have a great variety to help you to do this.

TWC Out Right Parry: each weapon will provide a 5% chance to parry incoming melee attacks against like level foes in stance offensive

Assume Aspect:Mantis aids nicely with both weapons chances to parry.

Bolt Defenses: Two Weapon Combat style does not offer good bolt defenses (no shield). So, as a ranger we adapt. The ranger spell list and minor spell list will provide a great amount of assistance to our Bolt DS. I would like to focus on those that you can use to finesse things and make your twc ranger even more protected. Minor Spirit Air wall 102, and Fog 106 can be used as well as seeking areas when hunting that provide natural defenses. Your wall of thorns blocking incoming attacks,(later boosted by Aspect Porcupine), and Evasion/dodge (boosted by serpent) however will all aid you greatly. Assume Aspect Mantis with a runestaff will parry bolts/arrows as well. (test it) Rotating aspects when mana is not the main issue.

NOTE: The following Runestaff comments are for much later down the line but am tossing it in here for reference: A rune staff will offer a chance at parrying Bolts and arrows. Test it out if you find the need for more bolt defenses beyond what you get from Wall of Thorns or out right evasion.

Evade Can be boosted by your Aspect Serpent, I saw a really significant increase here from 21% to 40%.

Redux

Runestaff test

NOTE: Since you are a semi, you have most likely already trained some magical skills, so this is something you may wish to consider. This Would require runestaff in one hand and an offhand weapon in the other and stowing runestaff and drawing main weapon. Just an option to consider.

An 800 bolt attack repetition test with the mage Drafix's assistance has shown my ranger's wall of thorns stopped about 21% of incoming bolt attacks. 24% were then outright evaded (wearing my hauberk or not wearing it was the same due to armor over training), (this increased to 40% evaded with Aspect Serpent running) and then after that 7% were blocked by the runestaff. Giving an over all total of 51%+ to 67% stopped/evaded/parried.

Also, the % was based on bolt spell by like level caster. I believe the Ball spells and Arrows the % to parry are different. And did not do a deep test of those at this time.


The rune staff below is +8 deringo. (a staff with eblade on it would cost next to nothing) (test for this posting was 8 of 20 and 10 of 27) using mantis against ball spells

Sepher gestures at you.

Sepher hurls a roaring ball of fire at you!

You deflect the bolt with your runestaff!


Sepher nocks a dull black wooden arrow fletched with white-spotted falcon feathers in his sephwir long bow. (10/35 against arrows)

Sepher fires a dull black arrow at you!

You deflect the arrow with your runestaff!

The arrow disappears into the local environs.

Now I certainly do not expect everyone using TWC to invest in runestaves. But please remember that was 7% of the overall total attacks, not the ones that got past wall of thorns or were evaded outright) the runestaff seemed to parry about 11% of the bolts it had a chance to parry. So, if bolts become an issue, it is something to consider since you already have magical training as a semi and have a Bolt Weakness using Two weapons. You could also pick up a shield and train it post cap. But this utilizes skills you have most likely already trained in.

Society

(Anyone want to toss in pro-cons please do so)

Aurach is a member of Voln. Two Weapons against the many non-critable undead has worked rather well.

Recap

So, this is my thoughts on two weapon using rangers. I will be adding more as thoughts come to me. I find the capped version to be where my character really came into his own. There seemed to be a non-stop struggle to survive when I was hunting early on. But so much has changed since then. I think a two weapon combat ranger at this point would have great strengths right from the beginning.



Aurach Moonshadew the Gallant, 'two-blader' of Auld Ta'Faendryl

I would like to thank all the friends that I have encountered playing this game over the years. The list is truly too numerous to list. Without folks aiding this build over the years it would never have been possible.

John mind behind


The dual flaring 117 spirit guidance below is a nice boost from lore training.

You leap from hiding to attack!
You swing an ancient elven waraxe at a greater construct!
  AS: +702 vs DS: +281 with AvD: +23 + d100 roll: +15 = +459
  ... and hit for 105 points of damage!
   Left leg ripped from socket at the knee!
   A deep basso rumbling can be heard as a greater construct falls over and grasps its mangled left leg!
The shimmering gold aura surrounding the greater construct flickers momentarily.

The invisible force draws back to guide you once more.
You swing a matte black kelyn hatchet at a greater construct!
  AS: +669 vs DS: +136 with AvD: +23 + d100 roll: +2 = +558
   ... and hit for 156 points of damage!
   Incredible smash to what used to be a stomach!
The shimmering gold aura surrounding the greater construct fades and goes out.
The guiding force leaves you.
Roundtime: 6 sec.

See Also