Having read something in another thread, I'd like to propose 4 new crossbows (2 each light and heavy) to add to the list of weapons dropped by either DB or DIS (whichever is deemed more appropriate by the DMs):
Light (The Kobold's Thumper)/Heavy Crossbow (Gnomish Hand Cannon) #1: +17 AB (+18 if DIS) Mighty +17 (+18 if DIS) Additional Ranged Damage Type: Bludgeoning
Light (The Kobold's Slicer)/Heavy Crossbow (Gnomish Spear Thrower) #2: +17 AB (+18 if DIS) Mighty +17 (+18 if DIS) Additional Ranged Damage Type: Slashing
I propose this because a long time ago crossbow rogues did decent damage - not amazing by today's standards, but decent. Today, they're crap - the ammunition sucks, and piercing as a damage type is probably the *worst* damage type of all for most runs. These bows, provided they work as intended, would bring their damage back up to something reasonable. These bows would also help GIs out with their damage, allowing them to do more than they do now, but not (imo) overpowering them (they sacrifice a lot of SA ability for their utility - both in the amount of damage their SAs do and in what they can SA).
Of course, these crossbows are made on the assumption that Additional (Ranged/Melee) Damage Type works like a normal dual-type weapon does in 1.69 - if it doesn't, these are worthless.
Not to torpedo your idea arek, I´m all for boosting that weapons and build option, but:
As nice as Might is, getting enough strength is troublesome on a rogue (unless you go strength based, but then why waste your time with a crossbow?). On a GI you simply cannot do it. No sub-race would work well enough to boost your strength that high and on top still have maximum dex (even with maxed dex the dc the bombs/hand-grenades get is below anything useful (55 to 56 at level 80 = fail rofl), but that is another topic).
Besides that there are the beholder crossbows already with +17 ab/might. They make no difference what so ever to the +16 ones. I personally think finally implementing some decent ammunition quivers alá the lvl 50 melee weapons would be better.
For the idea with dual damage types: even if that actually works, don't expect any serious improvement on the dps side. I had my fair share of testing with my GI for that...
tl/dr In order to make xbow user viable (aka rogue) it'd require such huge buffs that str rogue would become way better in progress (as it is alrdy, but also compared to other classes)
Being able to alter physical damage would surely be a boost to pure rogue, sadly how ever, pure rogue wont hit good defence with xbow, making it a glasscannon. For such a build, its damage would need to be very high to be worth dropping defence aspect. AC of xbow rogue looks something like: 10base 12tumble 15robe 30dex 20dodge 20deflection (assuming arty giving this) 18natural 2armor skin +craft armor =roughly 130
Sure rogue also gets epic dodge and self concealment up to 69% if invest lot of feats (which'd mean less imp sneak attacks or less ab/ac), more likely relying on mass camo for conceal.
I'm not saying that xbow rogue needs to match sword&board rogue in defence, but only way to reach, IMHO reasonable, defence is by splashing monk (and propably paladin/bg for saves) but even losig 1 level costs you sneak attacks vs all. And at that point you can say byebye to huge part of your damage with ranged attacks. You cant buff up your ammunition, which means you're doing in best case: 6d6 elect 6d6 fire 6d6 magic + physical Physical without sneaks are something like: d8 + 6d6 ammo + 15'ish (might) +2Prell +8prince win(was it 8?) =~50
Total damage without sneaks is around 110-115 (paladin with halberd for example has same number at 360 with 4x wep buff, 270'ish without any weapon buffs)
Then adding sneaks in for 15d6 + (possible extra 10d6) = ~52 (~87) Total sneak attack physical being ~100 (~135 with extra sneaks). Total damage somewhere around 165(200). Still nearly 200 less than what paladin gets, meanwhile paladin also gets superior damage immunity, same AC and some decent buffs for example crit imm. Lacks conceal, overally same defence than xbow rogue.
Now, damages arent totaly compareble as presented above, since damage resist/immunity plays huge part. Paladin has 7 damage types vs rogue's 4. Both do physical as main source however and paladin has huge adventage here via doubledamage type. (Then we should also take count smite damage vs crippling attack/trap, but not getting there or any utility aspects).
Anyways, in order to be even remotely compareble xbow rogue needs: -2hand damage bonus, which is applied on all damage, including sneaks, still 100 less, we can call this reasonable difference after immunities/resist are applied. -dual physical type weapon or ability to use !opt to swap damage type on the fly -more diverse ammunition, atm there's pazuzu bolts which cannot be crafted, aka any fire/elect/mag healer you are forced to swap, vs any immunity ones your damage is gimped since you cant just swap on working elemental type. Where as any melee just pulls out their alternative weapon with more or less optimal damage/buff types and loses nothing but a round worth of attacks on 100% conceal, which swapping bolts does aswell btw) -sneak immunity bypassing downed from pure to 35rog (still leaves lock pick and treasure scent carrot for pure's). This could/should propably only be the case for ranged attacks, if possible to code, or given to specific weapon stating it ignores sneak immunity in almost all targets.
And they need it all. Then we might actually see them played for "a change", still not as strong as paladins or barbarians are, but given their ability to loot it is difference that would be reasonable, at least to play rogues every now and then. However, changes above would make standard str 2hander rogues extremely potent damage dealers, basicly what we saw right after 2hand changes and they were nerfed for it. Which is also why I dont recommend making it happen.
Then again, people always has and always will play suboptimal builds, to have fun. Playing ranged is different experience and mind set to what melee is and positioning your self so that you get sneaks is another minigame, so I do get some people liking rogues. Tbh, they were my first love in NWN, I played them for years in other servers, but here they are basicly lootbots, apart from few glasscannon versions which are not enough fun for me to like.
Edit: -Other possible solutions: buffable ammonition, no idea if possible to make happen, would assume not since it wasnt added with rest of the weapon buff edits. -Set of mega damage bolts (as Paradoom suggested), ideally ones that you can combine into AA bow style swappable via !dam, stepping on AA's toes here.
I would like to also see bolts that have alternate or additional damage types more than putting it to the xbow itself since it is the ammo that does the damage. On that sort of note I wouldn't mind seeing GIs get their own specially craft-able unlimited ammo container and allow this to give them bolts that do additional damage types or boost the piercing instead of that extra packet damage of the weak !gi bolt 1/2/3 bludgeoning/slashing/piercing. GI specific changes might be better on another thread.
No, this won't bring crossbow rogues or GIs up to the level of top melee damagers (Which do 200k-300k+ damage on a run, depending on the build and the circumstances). What it would do is bring their damage up to reasonable levels. I believe (based on experience) that this would bring a pure crossbow rogue up from its current standard of 50-100k/run to a more reasonable 100-150k/run average (that's what Jaerilla used to do before hell mobs got physical resists added - using only Divine Pings), given even a reasonable idea of what monster physical imms/resists are.
Now...2 problems have been mentioned here: The first is whether or not the property has to be applied to the ammunition rather than the bow. If the property has to be applied to the ammunition this leaves 2 options: New ammunition that has the property, or crossbows that add the property to the ammunition. Unless the scripting work would be too high, having the bows apply the property to the ammunition would probably require the least work, so lets go with that unless it's said that the other way would be better.
The second is the ammunition itself. I'd like to see better ammunition as well, or at least more variety in ammunition. Also, I do *not* believe that Level 50 ammunition with the same damage amounts as current Level 50 weapons would step on the toes of AAs. Here's why: "Pure" AAs get 15d8 elemental or 13d8 exotic damage on their bows (averaging 56 damage per hit elemental or 48 damage/hit exotic), plus extra damage of other types on their arrows. Level 50 Ammunition would get 5d12 damage in each of 1 element and 1 exotic (averaging 27 damage per hit per type). That's not even taking a Farseer's augment into account (pushes the AA up to d10s instead of d8s). It does, however, allow non-AAs to potentially have ammunition that doesn't (significantly) heal magic-healing enemies. At the very least, lets see if we can get a set of Dustbone and/or Dis bolts that doesn't have Magic on it as a primary damage type (1 magic damage if it MUST have magic for scripting purposes).
P.S. fallenwizard: Bow/xbow users are generally glass cannons - and I like it that way. If I *had* to have better defenses than I can currently get for some reason, I'd either aim to get Favored of Solonor asap once it becomes available, or try to find an Aboleths conceal helmet - I wouldn't burn feats or levels on it at this point. For now, I do promote the use of Efi'elion's Anklets on such a build if you can fit 'em in. If the sneak bypass requirement is moved to level 35, or a rogue ego item is made which grants a bonus to rogue levels for the purposes of all rogue abilities, I'll reconsider that position. Also, I think you're under a misapprehension about how the GI Tinkered bolts work. My understanding is that the additional damage they add isn't from the property I've mentioned, but instead is an "intelligent weapon" addition that adds the damage separately - I know that I usually left it on Piercing since that usually wound up doing more damage even than setting it to a monster's "weakness" since the entire "packet" would basically bypass resistance. If it actually altered the bow/ammo to have dual-type ammunition, I think you'd see a few more "Rubber Bands and Duct Tape" type (30/10 rogue) GIs out there.
It seems to me that with all the other level 50 weps there ought to be level 50 arrows & bolts.... & shurikens. Why not? An honest question. Or why not even better- db x-bow bolts or arrow quivers and shurikens.- unending types, yet there are none for these at LL level. Well there are some- but not like the quivers in pre-LL, or am i wrong?
Lootwise, I'd be super madbro to deal with ammunition occupying slots on DB/Dis/Min weap table.
That would be really weak. Atm could do Dis, shrug couldn't care less, but if those weaps ever get the buff they deserve, competing with ammo would be a total buzzkill, and in current environment, the concept of ammo competing with dbweap drop makes me want to puke.
UR/50weaps tier sounds about right for any new projectiles imo. Get way too many 50 weaps as it is anyway.
Could make a different run the db of ammo but only issue is most ammo is useless. AA has their own special longbows, rangers have their own special shortbow and are far less damage focused, & slings are only used by slingers who have their own special ammos. The remaining ammo is bolts & the various throwing weapons and the throwing weapons are only really used as 2ndary backup items for when you have that enemy you can't/shouldn't run down and beat with your pointed stick.
Ammo being uncraftable automatically kills any hope of making any Xbow class/archetype viable. Then there's ammo being unbuffable and everything fallen wrote up. Until the first point is addressed there is no conversation to be had really