Ranged Combat

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Version 0.14: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.


Ranged Combat is a term used to describe any action that consists in striking from afar a target with a missile. To do so in a effective way, the attacker may need to wield a launcher.

Commands

The commands used by the player to perform ranged attacks are:

  • f: After selecting a target, you shoot the next appropriate item.
  • F: Like f, but you can also select the item to fire.
  • Q: This command is used to select the item slot that will be used by next f command

Requisites

The player is not always able to do ranged attacks:

The only monsters that can use ranged attacks are those with the Weapons armour flag or the Use starting equipment flag. Those monsters need to meet the following conditions:

  • Not being incapacitated. Some effects that can cause this are paralysis, sleep, confusion, being entangled, and petrification.
  • Not being submerged.
  • Monsters with the Archer flag are more likely to use ranged attacks: 8/9 for archers vs. 4/5 for normal monsters.
  • They need to be able to see their target.
  • Monsters adjacent to their target won't use ranged attacks, except if they have the Archer flag.
  • Monster with ranged spells won't use ranged attacks, unless they start with some ranged weapon.
  • Fleeing and pacified monsters have lower chances to use ranged attacks.
  • Not being inside sanctuary.
  • Not being berserk.

Costs

Unlike melee attacks, ranged attacks don't have any nutritional costs. The only cost is the energy taken and the possibility of ammo destruction.

The energy cost (also called attack delay) of a ranged attack depends on the kind of launcher used:

(Speed brand multiplier) × max(
 Shield penalty×Base delay - Weapon Skill×4×Effective Stat/250 ,
 Shield penalty×Minimum delay)

Where:

  • Base delay: 10 for blowguns, 11 for slings and bows, 12 for longbows, and 15 for crossbows.
  • Weapon skill: Throwing for blowguns, Slings for slings, Bows for bows and longbows, and Crossbows for crossbows.
  • Effective stat:
Weapon Effective stat:
blowgun Dexterity
sling 0.9×Dexterity + 0.1×Strength
bow 0.8×Dexterity + 0.2×Strength
longbow 0.7×Dexterity + 0.3×Strength
crossbow 0.2×Dexterity + 0.8×Strength
  • Minimum delay: 7 auts, except bows and longbows that can reach 6 auts.
  • Speed brand multiplier: 2/3 if the weapon has the speed brand, 1 otherwise.
  • Shield penalty: For slings and blowguns 1 (no penalty); for bows, longbows, or crossbows:
Shield type Shield penalty
buckler 1+0.25×(1-Shield skill/(2×27))
shield 1+0.5×(1-Shield skill/(2×27))
large shield 1+(1-Shield skill/(2×27))

The base delay and min delay of a bow, longbow or crossbow is increased by +25% for bucklers / +50% for shields / +100% for large shields. This penalty can be halved with 27 levels in the Shields skill becoming: +12.5%/+25%/+50%.

Damage

These expressions are valid only for the player.

Longbows and bows

The formula is:

Damage = 1d({Base damage - 2 + 1d8 + Racial bonus 
         + 1d[Launcher enchantment - 1 + 1d(Ammo bonus) + strbonus]}×Modifiers + Slaying)
  • Base damage: 6 for longbows, 3 for bows.
  • Racial bonus: 1 when using a (long)bow designed for your species, 0 otherwise.
  • Launcher enchantment: The to-damage enchantment of your (long)bow.
  • Ammo bonus: (Bow skill/3) capped to 3.
  • strbonus: (10 + 2d8 + 2×Racial bonus + Ammo bonus) × (Strength - 10)/8, but never a value greater than (Launcher enchantment + 1).
  • Slaying: 1d(1 + (to-damage slaying)) - 1
  • Modifiers: Skill modifier × Brand modifier
    • Skill modifier: 1 + (1d(Bow skill + 1) - 1)/17 (average bonus: +2.8% per level; at level 27, +76.5%)
    • Brand modifier:
Brand Brand modifier
Vorpal (velocity) ×1.2
Elemental (flame, frost) ×1.4 (beam type is changed)

If your Bows skill is greater or equal than 9, Ammo bonus is 3, and then we can easily obtain an approximate expression that tell us how much strength we need to maximize strbonus:

Strength = 10 + 0.36 × Launcher enchantment 

When strbonus is maximized, we get this expression for the damage, which is easier to understand:

Damage = 1d({Base damage - 2 + 1d8 + Racial bonus + 1d[2×Launcher enchantment + 1d3]}×Modifiers + Slaying)

As you can see, launcher enchantment is extremely important: it can double your final damage. The skill bonus is also very important: +76% at level 27. Using elemental ammo with a vorpal launcher can increase your damage output by 1.2×1.4=1.68 (+68%). Finally, the difference between a bow and a longbow is also notable (+3 base damage).

Without strbonus (eg: strength = 10), we get a very similar expression:

Damage = 1d({Base damage - 2 + 1d8 + Racial bonus + 1d[Launcher enchantment - 1 + 1d3]}×Modifiers + Slaying)

For example, if you are using a +7 longbow (base damage = 6, enchantment = 7) with strength=10, the lack of strength is decreasing your final damage approximately a 24%.

It's also possible to have a negative strbonus, which is something quite bad. This happens when strength < 10. Typically, you should try to have 14-16 points of strength. Anything above that is useless most of the time.

Crossbows

The formula is:

Damage = 1d({3 + 1d10 + Racial bonus 
         + 1d[Launcher enchantment - 1 + 1d(Ammo bonus)]}×Modifiers + Slaying)
  • Racial bonus: 1 when using a crossbow designed for your species, 0 otherwise.
  • Launcher enchantment: The to-damage enchantment of your crossbow.
  • Ammo bonus: (Crossbow skill/3) capped to 3.
  • Slaying: 1d(1 + (to-damage slaying)) - 1
  • Modifiers: Skill modifier × Brand modifier
    • Skill modifier: 1 + (1d(Crossbow skill + 1) - 1)/22 (average bonus: +2.2% per level; at level 27, +59%)
    • Brand modifier:
Brand Brand modifier
Vorpal (velocity) ×1.2
Elemental (flame, frost) ×1.4 (beam type is changed)
Steel ×1.3


See also