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Introduction
This text attempts to collect my thoughts and knowledge on fletching and bow making in the land of Norrath. As a master fletcher of some skill, I have made alot of arrows and many different types of bows, and have researched information about both of these. I hope this information helps you in your journeys.

Ranuven, Master Fletcher,Half-Elf Ranger,Templar of  light,Vallon Zek




Background
Bowering Basics
Arrow Fletching
How to master Fletching
Bow recomendations
Trueshot
Tips and Tricks
Bow merchants
Arrow merchants


Background
There are many types of bows that can be made, and many types of arrows. Even the most basic hickory staff bow is better than store bought, and it doesn't require much fletching skill to make.

To use a bow (archery): put your bow in your range weapon slot. Put some arrows in your ammo slot. Put your range attack button somewhere on your hotkeys. Then, while not in auto-attack mode, target something and hit your range attack button. You hear the pluck of the bow and see the arrow head towards its mark. If your archery skill is high enough, you get a hit! If not, you lost an arrow (unlike Ultima Online, you cannot pick up arrows that missed, nor do arrows that hit appear in the loot of your kills). If you are too close to or too far from your target, you will be informed.

In order to improve your archery, you must attack creatures that will yield experience. Picking on poor light green creatures won't help improve your archery skill.

Don't buy a quiver. You can put arrows in any container you carry, and these will feed your ammo slot. A quiver is not necessary. When and if a quiver can be put in your ammo slot, they will become much more interesting.

You can now hit magic creatures with any bow firing magic arrows. Arrows summoned by a mage are supposed to work. I have no personal experience with this, but have received enough credible evidence to trust it. Also, arrows made with the new silver tipped arrowhead (these used to be the bladed arrowheads) can hit and damage magic creatures.

Total possible damage from an arrow hit is the bow damage plus the arrow damage. After level 20 strength and level modifiers can yield extra damage. Rangers and Warriors can also score an occasional critical hit, which roughly doubles thier highest hit at maximum damage.

Maximum range of an arrow shot is the range of the bow plus the range of the arrow. This was not always true, but was fixed in a patch. A bow with good range firing arrows with good range can hit a target a long way off (maybe further than the maximum spell casting distance).

Both arrows and bows are made in a fletching kit. This kit now has 8 slots (via a recent patch, to accommodate making bows with multiple cams), and is lightweight, so it now makes sense to carry it with you. Be careful to NOT hit combine with your treasures in the fletching kit, or you will loose them! I tend to keep cheap arrows in mine, so if I do hit combine by mistake, I haven't lost much of value.

Classes that can use bows are: Ranger, Paladin, Warrior, Rogue, Shadow Knight.
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Bowerying Basics
Quality (damage / delay ratio, and range), cost, and skill to make a bow increases as the bow staves: hickory (easiest, cheapest, a few gold for the staff), elm, ash, oak, darkwood (hardest, most expensive, over 225pp for the staff).

There are 3 kinds of string: hemp, linen, silk. Hemp yields most damage, highest delay. Silk yields least damage, least delay. There is little cost difference among these. Any bow staff can be combined with any of the strings.

To make a basic (or rough) bow: put a bow staff and string in your fletching kit. Cross fingers and hit combine. If you succeed, you get a new bow. If you fail, you loose the staff and string.

Fancier bows: starting with elm, you can augment the bows when making them by using tools. Elm bows can be carved. Ash bows can be carved or shaped. Oak bows can be carved or shaped and optionally cammed. Darkwood can be carved or shaped and optionally cammed with one or two cams. Better string, tools, and cams improve the bow by lowering the damage it delivers and lowering the delay of the bow such that the damage / delay ratio is improved.

Linen string lowers damage by 1, lowers delay by 4.
Silk string lowers damage by 2, lowers delay by 8.
A whittling tool lowers damage by 1, lowers delay by 4.
A planing tool lowers damage by 2, lowers delay by 9.
A cam lowers damage by 1, lowers delay by 5.
A rough bow used no tools when it was made (just the staff and string).
A carved bow is made with a whittling tool.
A shaped bow is made with a planing tool.
A cammed (1-cam) bow is made with a bow cam.
A shaped cammed bow is made with a planing tool and bow cam.
A compound bow is made with 2 bow cams (only possible with darkwood bows).
The damage / delay effects of the tools and strings are cumulative. So if you make a carved silk bow, you subtract 2 + 1 (3) from the damage, and subtract 8 + 4 (12) from the delay, of the equivalent rough bow with hemp string.

For example, a rough elm bow with hemp string has damage 13 and delay 51. To make a carved elm bow with a silk string (the fastest bow available): put an elm staff, whittling tool, silk string in your fletching kit, pray and hit combine. If you succeed, your carved elm bow is damage 10 delay 39.

Typically a tool isn't used unless cheaper components providing their benefit (delay reduction) are also used. For example, you would not make a shaped bow with hemp twine, as a silk string could have improved the bow almost as much for a few silver (instead of 35pp+ for the cam). So before you use any tool, be sure you're already using silk string. Before using a cam, be sure you're already using a planing tool.

The Rangers Glade has a nice chart of most kinds of bows, their parts costs, and damage / delay information. The following chart lists the range, damage, and delay of a rough recurve bow made with each kind of bow staff and hemp string. Range is not affected by choice of string or tools, while damage and delay are affected as noted above.

Name Damage Delay Range
Rough Hickory 10 50 50
Rough Elm 13 51 75
Rough Ash 16 58 100
Rough Oak 21 65 125
Rough Darkwood 25 68 150

The following chart shows the effects of different strings and the use of tools on a rough bow. As mentioned earlier, the effects of better strings and tools are cumulative:

String or Tool Starting With Damage Delay Bow Name
Hemp String hickory 0 0 rough
Linen String hickory -1 -4 rough
Silk String hickory -2 -8 rough
Whittling Tool elm -1 -4 carved
Planing Tool ash -2 -9 shaped
Cam oak -1 -5 1-cam
2 Cams darkwood -2 -10 compound

Fletching skill to make various bows:

Hickory: pretty low. As I recall, almost any fletching skill can make a hickory bow.
Rough Elm: possible at 55 or so, trivial at 70 (maybe lower).
Carved Elm: not sure when possible, trivial at 102 (I didn't make these until my skill was over 120).
Rough Ash: possible at 101, trivial about 128.
Rough Oak: possible about 150 to 155, trivial at 168 (probably lower).
Rough Darkwood: possible about 175 to 180, never trivial. Some highly experienced fletchers suggest not trying darkwood bows at all until fletching skill 200 (the maximum). My first attempt at a rough darkwood bow was at fletching skill 180, and I succeeded on the second try.
Choice of string doesn't seem to make much difference in the necessary skill. However, making carved, shaped, or cammed bows takes more skill than making rough bows.
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Arrow Fletching
Now you have a nice bow you made or bought from me ;-) You need something to shoot from it.

To make arrows: buy arrow parts (4): point, shaft, fletch or vane, nock. Place one (only) of each into your fletching kit, cross fingers and hit combine. If you succeed, you made 5 arrows; if not you lost the components.

At first, buy the cheapest components (6cp/each, or 24cp per attempt, but you get 5 arrows if you succeed (just under 5cp per arrow)). With some +CHA items you can make this 5cp each (20cp/attempt) or 4cp / arrow. These arrows are 1 damange, 50 range. Very nice for the price and better (and cheaper) than store bought.

At about fletching skill of 16, these arrows become trivial. This means you don't get any more skill points trying to make them. This does NOT mean you cannot fail when making them (you can and will fail, but the number of failures goes down as your fletching skill increases). You can still make them, however, and I use these most of the time due to cost. To improve your fletching skill, you need to upgrade one or more of the components you use to make arrows (see how to master fletching).

Different arrow parts affect damage and range, with approximate costs (with good CHA) are given below. A base arrow is made with Field Point, Wood Shaft, Round Nock, and Large Fletch. It has 1 damage and 50 range.
 
 

 Name       Damage   Range   Cost
  Points Field                             5cp
  Hooked         +1 damage     315cp
  Silver Tipped (*) +2 dmg   3990cp
  Shafts Wood                           5cp
  Bone            +1 damage        79cp
  Ceramic          +2 damage  1155cp
  Steel              +3 damage   2835cp
  Nocks Large                           5cp
  Medium              +25 range    16cp
  Small                 +50 range     42cp
  Fletch/Vane Round                  5cp
  Parabolic             +50 range   26cp
  Shield  +1 damage -50 range 189cp
  Wood Vane +1 damage -25 range 682cp
  Bone Vane +1 damage +25 range 1365cp
  Ceramic Vane +2 damage    2782cp
 

For example, to make damage 2 range 100 arrows, the cheapest combination is field point (5cp), bone shaft (79cp), large nock (5cp), and parabolic fletch (26cp), for a cost of about 115cp for 5 arrows (23cp per arrow).

(*): When making arrows with silver tipped arrowheads, you make a set of 10 arrows instead of 5. These arrows can be used to hit and damage magic only creatures. Silver tipped arrowheads were called bladed arrowheads in the past, before the patch that enabled fletcher made arrows to hit magic only creatures (Jan 2000).

Note: when using a vane to make an arrow, the vane is used instead of the fletch. Don't try to use both, it's unnecessary (and may not work). Be careful with vanes, since they look like arrow shafts (they have the same inventory icon).

A nice chart of the names of different arrows may be found  here



How to Master Fletching
Make arrows. Make more arrows. Make lots more arrows. Do not try to improve your skill by making bows (it's much cheaper to make the arrows). Make the cheapest arrows that don't tell you they're trivial. The Rangers Glade has a very helpful chart for this purpose.

When the arrows you're making become trivial, move to the next combination of arrow parts. These will be more expensive. Most of these arrows you will sell back to a merchant, since they're too expensive to use. Best price tends to be at your guild hall, but you might experiment.

For example, with fletching skill 150, the arrow parts to make one set of 5 arrows that might increase your fletching skill cost about 1p4g (with good CHA and faction). That's almost 3gp per arrow (assuming no failures). Compared to 5cp per cheapest arrow, this is a big difference. These can be sold to a friendly merchant for 2g5s per arrow (with good CHA and faction). You will not make money on this. However, some high level arrows can be sold back to a merchant for a profit if you have good CHA and faction. For example, field point, wood shaft, large nock, ceramic vane arrows cost 2797cp to make (for 5), and can be sold for 638cp (each; 3190cp for 5) to a merchant, about a 14% profit. It doesn't take many failures to offset any profit you might make. These are the cheapest arrows you can make to improve your fletching starting at skill 162 (and they will take you all the way to the maximum fletching skill of 200); at least there's some hope of not spending all your plat on your fletching.
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Bow Recommendations
Some of these are my own recommendations, others (particularly darkwood) are from fletchers more knowledgeable and experienced than I. I have heard of a very nice ranger only bow called Wind Saber, but no details on where to acquire it. If you have any information about this bow, please let me know. There are some other very nice bows available.

Rough Hickory for starting lower level characters (cheap).

Rough Elm with hemp string: for young archers. Damage 13, delay 51. Max damage of 14 with cheap arrows is nice, reasonably fast, not very expensive. Once I could make these, I used these until I could make ash bows.

Carved Elm with silk string: for someone serious about raising their archery skill quickly. Damage 10, delay 39, the fastest bow in all of Norrath. You can shoot alot of arrows more quickly with this bow, more chances to improve your archery skill. Not too expensive. Doesn't hit very hard though.

Rough Ash with hemp string: 16 damage (thus max 17 damage with cheap arrows) is very nice. Downside, delay of 58 is a bit slow, but this is the bow I used until I made myself a trueshot. It's nice to get that non-melee hit for 17 ;-) More expensive (34pp retail) but a very nice bow.

Rough Ash with silk string: 14 damage (max 15 with cheap arrows), but delay 50 is faster than rough elm. Nice tradeoff of speed and damage. This is a popular bow.

Carved Ash with silk string: 13 damage, delay 46. Even nicer tradeoff of speed and damage. This is also a popular bow.

Shaped Ashwood with silk string: 12 damage, 41 delay, range 100. A nice upgrade from carved elm for much lower price than an oak bow. Almost as fast as carved elm, hits harder, better range.

Rough Oak with silk string: damage 19, delay 57, range 125. Hits alot harder than rough ash (dmg 16), a little faster, and better range. Much more expensive, though.

Carved Oak with silk string: damage 18, delay 53, range 125. Very nice combination of damage and speed (hits harder and faster then rough ash). Even more expensive.

Shaped Oak 1-Cam bow: damage 16, delay 43, range 125. A great upgrade from shaped ashwood.

Rough Darkwood: damage 25, delay 68, range 150. Very popular with high levels who use the bow just for a one-shot pull rather than root & shoot or snare & kite (since it's slow). Much more expensive than oak bows.

Shaped Darkwood 1-Cam bow: damage 20, delay 46, range 150. Similar to the trueshot but with longer range. These were popular with high levels for root & shoot (or snare and kite), but has recently been superceeded by the ...

Shaped Compound (2-cam) Darkwood bow: damage 19, delay 41, range 150. Very expensive. High damage, very fast, very good range. These bows have better damage / delay ratio and range than trueshot bows. It is now possible to make these bows (at very high fletching skill) due to the patch that made the fletching kit 8 slots.

Trueshot: (if you can make it, are rich and can afford it, or have a friendly high level fletcher friend): Ranger only, damage 20, delay 45, range 100, LORE. High damage, very fast. For rangers this is a wonderful bow: cast snare on your poor unsuspecting target, then kite it (keep your distance, since it's moving slowly), and fill it with arrows that really hurt. Downside: ranger only, a pain to make due to some NO DROP items necessary in its construction (it's a quest bow), and it requires very high fletching skill to make.
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A Few Words About Trueshot Bows
The Trueshot Bow is a wonderful, ranger only, bow: damage 20, delay 45, range 100, LORE. A Trueshot bow can now be upgraded to a Raincaller bow (damage 20, delay 45, range 200, +6 STR, +6 DEX, 5 charges of FireStrike) via a high level quest.

The Trueshot bow is made from a bow staff that is the result of a quest given by Maeson Trueshot in the ranger guild hall in Kelethin. Once the staff is obtained, Maeson will tell you the components needed to make the bow. You need a highly skilled fletcher to make the bow. Some of the components required to get the staff and then make the bow are NO DROP, making this harder to do.

Quest to get the treant bow staff (spoilers):

You need treant wood chips from Jyle Windshot, a spool of dwarven wire (NO DROP), a micro servo (NO DROP), and a spiderling silk. Ask Maeson Trueshot 'how do I gather materials'. He gives you a pouch with 4 slots. Put one piece of the wood chips, one spool of dwarven wire, one micro servo, and one spiderling silk in the pouch, and hit combine. Give the resulting pouch back to Maeson Trueshot and he'll give you some faction, experience, cash, and a treant bow staff.

The staff is LORE but not NO DROP. Thus it can be traded.

To get micro servos:

In Steamfont mountains, kill rogue clockworks (both the large ones near the mino caves and the smaller ones in front of the windmills), and runaway clockworks (typically near the newbie area by the kobolds). With luck, you'll get a microservo. I'd say you get one in about 6 or 8 of these kills. The micro servos are NO DROP but they do stack.

Alternative: auction 1pp or so if folks will let you loot one of these creatures that contains a micro servo.

This is tedious and time consuming. It's a real shame these are NO DROP since it's a pain to collect them. Higher level characters running around killing very green creatures doesn't make sense from a quest or role playing point of view (IMHO). It would be much better just to auction to buy them from newbie's in steamfont. It was fixed to be this way in a patch a while back (sigh).

To get dwarven wire:

Get kiola nuts from the merchant near the docks on the sister isle (first stop out of freeport on the boat). They cost about 1g7s per nut. The nuts don't stack (each nut takes an inventory slot).

Get merchant-bought flasks of water from any merchant. Get the same number of water flasks as kiola nuts. Do NOT use foraged or summoned water, it will not work. There is a merchant that sells water in one of the small buildings outside the Kaladim gate.

In Kaladim (one zone in from Butcherblock), find Tumpy Irontoe (in a pub called Irontoes). Give Tumpy one kiola nut and one water flask (at the same time). He will give you one tumpy tonic. The Tumpy Tonics stack.

Now head deeper into Kaladim (same zone as the Kaladim bank, 2 zones in from Butcherblock). Find Trantor Everhot - he is usually inside the building called 'Everhot's Forge' (I think that's the name), or walking between the area by the bank and the forge building. Hail him, and give him two (2) of the tumpy tonics, and he will give you one (1) spool of dwarven wire. The dwarven wire is NO DROP, but it stacks.

To get the treant wood bits:

Buy small lanterns anywhere (there are shops in east freeport, they cost a bit under 7sp each).

Find Jyle Windshot in West Freeport. He is in a room upstairs at the Hogcaller's Inn in West Freeport. Give him one lantern and he'll give you one wood chips. The wood chips stack, the lanterns don't. The wood chips are neither LORE nor NO DROP.

To get spiderling silk:

Kill any small spider you see. You killed alot of these when you were a newbie ;-)

To make the bow:

The bow is made by putting the treant bow staff, one spool of dwarven wire, one micro servo, and a standard bow making planing tool (about 11pp-12pp at bow parts vendors) in a fletching kit, pray to Tunare, and hit combine. If you succeed you get the bow, if you fail you get the planing tool back but loose the rest of the components.

Since the dwarven wire and micro servo are both NO DROP, the fletcher doing this must obtain these items themselves. You can help by giving the fletcher the staff and tumpy tonics. Given the tumpy tonics, the fletcher can take a trip to Kaladim and turn them into dwarven wire (takes time, but is a bounded activity). The fletcher must get the micro servos personally (a real pain, see above). Giving the fletcher the staff means he has to hunt down one less micro servo.

It takes considerable fletching skill to make the bow. I have succeeded once at fletching skill 106 (a very lucky fluke, I think), once at 132, once at 150, and twice at about 161. I have fizzed many other attempts, but I'm hoping that with skill over 170 and 91 WIS via jewelry, I'll fizz less often. At fletching 161, I succeeded about once in four tries.

Thus, for one attempt at the bow, you need two micro servos, two spools of dwarven wire (thus 4 kiola nuts and 4 flasks of water), one piece of wood bits, one spiderling silk, and one planing tool.
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Other Hints and Tricks
Don't buy a quiver; they are not useful yet (you cannot put it in your ammo slot). Rather, put arrows in your ammo slot, and more arrows of the same type in any container you're carrying. When your ammo slot runs out, it leaves one arrow in your ammo slot and starts drawing arrows from your inventory. You don't need a quiver to do this.

[When and if Verant updates quivers so you can put them in your ammo slot, then quivers will be much more useful. Until then, don't bother.]

Increased INT should help your skill in fletching improve faster.

Increased WIS should improve your success rate at making bows and arrows.

Increased CHA should improve prices. My experience is that any CHA over 90 for a wood elf ranger yields best prices in Kelethin (additional CHA doesn't seem to help).

If you have the sneak skill, you can approach a merchant who is less than indifferent to you (e.g., dubious, apprehensive) and trade with them at better prices (or trade with them at all). Approach the merchant in a direction from which they cannot see you. Go into sneak mode. If you /con the merchant, they should appear indifferent. If not, either sneak didn't take hold or the merchant saw you approach. If the merchant is indiffernt, trade away.

Many people assert that bow and arrow parts prices are better in Surefall Glade than in Kelethin, especially if you have killed alot of the gnolls in the area (and improved your faction with Protectors of the Jaggedpine (or some such)). This has not been my experience, but I am a wood elf who has not spent much time in Blackburrow. A recent patch improved faction with some of the Kelethin merchants, including Merchant Neaien (who is now amiable towards me), thus the cost difference should be lower or gone.
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Locations of Bow Part Merchants
Kelethin

Merchant Sylnis: a bit hard to describe how to find her, she's by the Trueshot Bows building, at location -404, -522.

Surefall Glade

Tonsia: inside the building along with other merchants (the building you cross a short bridge to enter), location 126, -103.

South Karana Centaur Villiage

Ulan Meadowgreen: located inside one of the buildings in the village, location 122, -2185. Ulan also sells fletching kits, and apparently sells to evil races.

Feerrott

Fugla: an Ogress arrow merchant near the bridge by the entrace to Oggok, at location 966, 1256. Fugla also sells fletching kits.

East Cabilis (Kunark)

Klok Gogun: bow parts and fletching kits, at location 138, -198.

If you know of additional merchants, please l Mail me .
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Locations of Arrow Part Merchants
In the beginning, there were only two places that had merchants selling all arrow parts: Kelethin and Surefall Glade. A patch created more such merchants (in most cases, the merchants sold some arrow parts in the past, but not enough of them). This was a welcome change, since there are now more and more conveniently located arrow parts merchants.

Kelethin

Merchant Lanin: one platform north of the Priest of Discord lift, at location 407, 325. Merchant Lanin also sells the fletching kit.

Merchant Tiladinya: in Trueshot Bows.

Merchant Neaien: in the Fletcher building, same platform as merchant Lanin.

Felwithe

Merchant Longarrow: located in Faydark's Bane at location -71, -344. The shop is to the right of the Paladin guild as enter from Greater Faydark.

Kaladim

Alanury Stormhammer: female dwarf located in the Staff and Spear, at location 147, 231.

Ak'Anon

There is a clockwork bowyer at location 1245, -895.

Surefall Glade

Jarse Kedison: stands along side the ranger guild NPC at the archery target range, location 97, 99.

East Commons

Joryd Longarms: near the north zone boundary, in a smaller building next to what's known as Inn 4 (the one between the Orc camps), location 982, 3759.

Kithicor

Krile Arrowsmith: in a building south of the east-west path, at location -321, 3878. If you're a ranger, he's easy to track, and his name is easy to recognize. Krile probably does less business now that the undead run rampant in Kithicor.

East Karana

Bryan: in the shops near the North Karana bridge (southeast of the bridge, just south of the path), location -879, -7.

West Karana

Brenzl McMannus: in the barbarian village on the south shore of West Karana, near the west zone boundary, location -3683, -2008.

I have received information about a possible clone of Brenzl named Brenzle McMannus, located at the base of Froon and Choon's mountain at location -1970, -8996. I have not verified this information.

South Qeynos

Danon Fletcher: stands outside a building near the Qeynos clock, location 409, -267.

Halas

Rain: in McPherson's Bloody Blades, at location 180, -290.

Neriak

Dianax C'Luzz: a dark elf arrows parts merchant in a shop in the Neriak Commons called the Bleek Fletcher, next to the Toadstool Inn, near the Indigo Brotherhood (warrior guild).

Oggok

Praak: an Ogre arrow parts merchant just inside Oggok itself, on the second floor of the Citadel of Praak.

Grobb

Zazhar: a Troll arrow merchant in Grobb on the way to the bank, outside the shop that sells weapons and armor (Krungs Clubs & Junk), at location 454, -270.

West Cabilis (Kunark)

Zoltaz: In the northeast corner, tent area, near the merchant selling ivory weapons, at location 351, 526.

If you know of additional merchants, or have corrections, please  Mail me . Many thanks to all those who have provided additional information for this section!
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