I had a few questions about arrows. I can’t find it anywhere on the recovery method for arrows. In other games its like 50% but I wanted it know if there is an official one I’ve been missing.
How are magical arrows handled? Can you get them all back? If they suffer the same way normal arrows do, how ever it is, why do they the same pricing for enchantments when you might have a chance of losing them on use? I understand not getting them back because of distance or placement but to lose them because you hit someone kinda sucks.
Also can you find arrows in lesser numbers than 20 while they are enchanted? Can I find just 1 +x slaying arrow or do they only sell in a 20 pack?
I don’t have a good answer for the rest of the questions, but:
“Also can you find arrows in lesser numbers than 20 while they are enchanted? Can I find just 1 +x slaying arrow or do they only sell in a 20 pack?”
Yes, check the Miscellaneous Weapons chart on page 212 of the core book. Most arrows come in random quantities; slaying arrows are only found one at a time.
I’ve always played it that a normal +X arrow is recoverable except in extraordinary situations (you shoot a guy with three arrows then he falls into lava), but any arrow with a special power (like slaying, or an arrow of lightning, or other such things) physically transmogrifies into a magic dealy in flight and can’t be recovered whether it hits or misses.
As far as normal arrows, no one I play with cares enough to recover them in any situation that isn’t castaway island. Assuming the characters are returning to town on a reasonably regular basis, we just pay a little extra on lifestyle expenses and no one tracks ammo.
For people that rule that magical arrows are lost when used some how: Do you reduce the prices of magical arrows then? Seems a bit unfair to have a +1 flaming arrow miss, or even hit, and poof there goes 10k while the fighter is swinging his +2 Vorpal sword all day.
I’ve never played a system that doesn’t innately reduce the price of magic arrows relative to magic weapons. (In ACKS, it’s 1/20th the cost for a single arrow; ACKS Core page 118, footnote on the table.)
If I did play one, then yes, I’d reduce the cost myself, but it’s never been necessary.
In addition, the fact that I consider them one use effects would reduce the cost on its own; having a one use magical effect costs 1/50th as much as having a permanent magical effect.
In theory, a specific arrow could be the Black Arrow and be both magical and recoverable. It would be much more expensive and rare than a normal arrow; I have no problem with these things existing, I just consider them the exception rather than the rule.
Per ACKS core, the list price of enchantment is for a batch of 20 arrows, not a single arrow. So you use the +1 flaming arrow and, poof, there goes 500gp (equivalent to using a first-level spell from a scroll or potion), not 10kgp. I see no need to reduce the cost any further than that, particularly when taking into consideration the other advantages of ranged attacks over melee.
They also have the advantage of being a ranged attack, making it harder for most creatures to respond. You run into some monsters in the overworld at wilderness encounter distances? You have a lot of time to pepper them with those magic arrows before they get close enough to be a threat.
But, as Aryxi points out, it’s not entirely unreasonable to further lower their cost if they’re one-use items.
I was trying to say that’s already included, actually.
An arrow of slaying +3 costs 4,750 gp. A +3 arrow is 35000/20, or 1750 gp per arrow. Death on hit with no save is a 6th level spell. This adds 3,000 gp to the price for a one-use item of it (spell level * 500), so the final price is 4,750 gp for a single arrow of slaying +3.
A vorpal sword doesn’t have a price listed because the ‘vorpal’ effect would be absolutely terrible on anything that isn’t a melee weapon. Imagine a vorpal spell; you roll a d20 and unless it’s a 20, nothing happens. If you roll a 20, the target dies. Who would cast this? A hypothetical sword of slaying, however (kills anything it hits with no save, unlimited usage; this is the equivalent to an unlimited-use arrow of slaying. Also, we’ll make the sword +3 because the arrow is) would cost 185,000 gp.
That arrow of slaying is starting to look like a much more reasonable price next to the slaying sword; you could have 38 arrows for the price of the sword. (If neither one had a plus, you could have 50 arrows for the price of the sword.) (The sword would also take roughly 2.5 years to make, while each arrow would take only about two months.)
The ordinary case of +X arrow versus +X sword might look to favor the sword, and it largely does, because the sword is a ranged weapon. But arrows can much more easily be used for disposable spell effects; sort of like a quiver full of scrolls; and it’s much more difficult to do that with a sword.
Some of the fun ones would include:
Arrow of Confusion (a handful of archers with these could wreak havoc in a large scale battle)
Arrow of Feeblemind (the anti-mage terror weapon)
Arrow of Fireball (because The Dark likes big boom)
Arrow of Growth of Plants (another one potentially useful for mass combat)
Arrow of Slow
Arrow of Polymorph Other (personally, I’d rule that the form has to be picked when the arrow is created)
Arrow of Sleep (at low level, these are also known as I Win arrows)
Arrow of Web (potentially useful even on a miss, depending on where the arrow hits)
I was honestly thinking about that, but ended up deciding against it because damaging the creature in the same round as hitting it with a Charm spell just feels wrong.
Since no divine class has access to bows or crossbows, but Wonderworkers, Priestesses, and Witches all get darts, while Clerics get sling, there can also be fun with divine enchanted ammunition:
Dart/Bullet of Curse (opposite of Bless)
Dart/Bullet of Command Word (usually “stop” or “surrender”)
Dart/Bullet of Cause Disease (opposite of Cure Disease)
Dart/Bullet of Dispel Evil (single target version only)
Dart/Bullet of Flame Strike
Dart/Bullet of Insect Plague
Dart/Bullet of Cause Fear (opposite of Remove Fear)
Dart/Bullet of Bestow Curse (opposite of Remove Curse)
Dart/Bullet of Silence 15’ Radius (the other anti-mage ammunition)
Dart/Bullet of Smite Undead
Dart/Bullet of Garble (reversed Tongues - useful for disabling commanders)
Bullets of Insect Plague or Flame Strike would be fairly expensive, but slingers equipped with them would be devastating in combat.
Thats assuming the GM allows such arrows to be made. I ran into the same problem in 3.5 when I wanted spell storing arrows and the GM ruled that half of them don’t work with arrows.
And anything you buy thats not slayer comes in random 20 pack meaning you have to pay Xd20 times more of arrows you want. Unless I am reading it wrong and I can get d20 for the same price of a scroll in which case thats totally broken and I will never find spell arrows in my game.
All of the listed arrow costs are for non-random bundles of 20 (except slaying). The random numbers are how many are found when that arrow type is included in treasure. A single +0 arrow with a spell attached costs the same as a scroll. Although the weirdness of a Wizard making a rare magical item that they can’t use probably should mean that they’re commission only or have to be crafted by the party.