Blade Thirst is currently an all in one package spell. It provides (in order of importance) 1) Positive dice bonus ... 98) Enhancement +12 (scalable to +14 with LSF Ench) 99) Keen 100) Vampiric Regen
The spell as a whole can be only applied to slashing weapons (unless you have GSF Trans). It is the only damage dice enhancing spell having this limitation. I suspect this is the case due to the Keen aspect of the spell already present in Vanilla NWN.
What I propose is to allow casting it on non-slashing weapons and only apply the slashing limitation to the Keen portion of the spell.
That way Rangers could choose from much broader selection of weapons without having to resort to either GSF Trans in green, GSF Ego item or Trans Book just to get the damage part of the buff.
Main outcome with the proposed change: Non-slashing Rangers can choose different Spell Focus Tome and are not forced to either slashing or Trans Tome.
Non-slashing Rangers can choose different Spell Focus Tome and are not forced to either slashing or Trans Tome.
This does something we typically avoid: it removes a build decision. If we're going to make this edit, it needs to increase build diversity. If all this edit does is permit them to use any weapon without requiring trans, it's not advancing build diversity. So, questions like: 1) are the remaining bonuses enough to merit taking trans for some builds? 2) are all builds currently taking trans 3) does this edit increase or decrease viable build options?
Currently rangers use Spell Tomes for three schools. 1) Illusion - raises Camouflage Hide Skill bonus from +7 to +19 2) Transmutation - allows non-slashing weapon to be used (unless swapping items pre-buffing) ... 3) Enchantment - gives +13 Enhancement instead of +12, only really an option for soloers but you don't really want to solo with a tank.
Current spell selection provides little to no use for other spell schools (Conju for summons, Div for short Poison imm + Search buff). The spell foci also don't provide enough bonuses to justify taking regular feats, so only Tomes are really used as a "Flavor".
There are three main archetypes - 2H weapon wielders, Dual wielders and Zen archers. Splashing paladin or rogue is optional if desired.
I find tying the whole spell to Trans for non-slashing users actually limiting, as I find weapon choices to diversify tanks too. There's no other class (apart from specific quasi like Threader, Lash or Staffy, or quarterstaff monk or ranged users) that forces a special weapon category just because of one spell. So it's generally either slashing + Illu or non-slashing + Trans.
The underlying issue is that there are not many meaningful choices for other foci, possibly changing if/when new Ranger spells come out.
So yes, right now lifting the limitation would probably even out build diversity - 95 % of Rangers would take Illusion BUT would be independent of weapon category choice - so both decreasing AND increasing diversity. The edit would also potentially increase build diversity if/when new spells come out in the future, as Rangers wouldn't be tied to Slashing + anything vs. non-slashing + Trans.
If I approach this incorrectly, I'm sorry for your time in advance.
Removing the GSF Trans requirement from BT would increase weapon choices you CAN make on a ranger, but decrease choice you HAVE TO make when building one. The latter usually applies to how building works here.
Sickles are good, probably way too good: finessable, intuitive simple slashing weapon with 19-20/x3? YES PLEASE! Other weapons exist too however, for instance spears / tridents which retain their wis AC bonus to medium size rangers. Not to mention that later on you might want to get PWA, to adapt to the rare zomg high immunity / DR monsters.
Yeah, looks like u can cs anythin non crit imm. - Big Crit
I was factoring the lowering of 2h damage bonus (and DP changes and proposed restrictions coming on rangers losing 2h options) and eventual dual wield extra attack feat into my considerations for choice of sickle.
Waiting to see what 2h rangers will have as options after the decisions are made on what 2h weapons will let you keep wis ac if any, which has delayed my making a ranger anyways til the dust settles.
I don't find enchant appealing at all since its only convenience when solo or new and dont have a crafted hell or dis weapon for when you dont have a buffer or buff items/equip, and you need lsf enchant to hit 14 which is still less than bard. So enchant is basically a worst choice option unless you are a soloer since it gives nothing special for an endgame equiped partying character.
Bladethirst is a signature spell with a relatively short duration, needing to invest for even its base qualities to work or limit your weapon choices is a turn off. As is a rangers practical choice is effectivley use slashing and get a tiny hide boost or get options on weapons, so the choice isn't that meaningful as much as made for you based on what weapon you choose. There's other factors but they are mainly minor comparatively imo.
So a suggestion to enhance meaningful and still impactful choices is to combine EB and wpn choice facets (if you feel needing to spend feats to have weapon choice options and still have your signature spell even work as a necessary facet) into one school, and let the EB bonus scale higher with extra feat investment, 14 at gsf 15 at lsf 16 at psf (can go bardless parties easier when needed, and if you invest non free feats can give a rare meaningful buff to yourself and others when needed since it's not auto refresh...plus offsets soak a bit for if/when rangers are hedged into dual wielding.)
But I'd probably increase the hide bonus from lsf and psf feats in camo to make the difference noticible on the average party to make it appealing also to take as an investment path. As is the difference is what 3 or 4% conceal between book and non book. Which only matters that much if your targets are heavily invested in hide which makes it more likely that they don't need the hide bonus anyways.
This in my mind opens up meaningful choices and makes BT a unique signature spell. (Limited by duration and 4/5th level slots) It changes from the current choice of weapon choice or buffing group survivability a minor amount towards choice between buffing group survivability or offense.
Since one esf is free both options being worth investing furthur changes the current pick one of two books based on if you're using slashing or not that the current spell encourages. Plus the bonus is that little new coding would be neccessary, just tweaking of existing values. Neither tweak is game breaking. A few other classes can +16 with longer duration making uptime more manageable, with only battle clerics having to make a hard choice to take the feats to do so. And a camo bonus is eventually made less gamechanging based on how well equiped the party is, helping out non uber tanks the most.
Just my 5 cents, waiting to see how ranger changes with dual wpn feat and wis bonus before i get too into one. But these ideas make the choice an intersting and meaningful one instead of premade to me.