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Dragan's Fletching Guide

ATT: OUTDATED MATERIAL!

Fletching is a trade skill about making bows and arrows, the components of a distance attack. This manual will tell you what you need to do to create this stuff. All prices mentioned here are for a half-elf in Kelethin with unaltered charisma, so I estimate that it will be a bit cheaper for each race in their home town (half-elfs pay a bit more everywhere. Note: If you really want to be a trader, pump all points into charisma). Price notation is pp/gp/sp/cp. Retail value is the amount you get when you sell the item to a merchant.

General hints

Verant finally fixed something. Now you actually get 5 skill checks per attempt. So the infamous 5-item patch no longer quintuples the cost of the trade. Hurray! Another change: The range of your shooting is now determined by adding the arrow range to the bow range! Double hurray! And there is more... Rangers now get critical hits with bows too! Triple hurray! Of course all that still does not change archery from being a pulling technique but this is a fletching guide, not an archery one... ah and the Fletching Kit was increased to 8 slots. So now you can make 4 cam, planned and whittled bows.

You will not Get rich fast™ with this trade skill. You should only use this skill to make stuff cheaper for yourself or to make a living as a merchant in your spare time. If your skill is high enough in the long run, then you can easily be cheaper than the NPC merchants, while providing top-notch quality wares.
As with every trade skill in Everquest, special skills will be best trained at special places. For training your fletching skill I really recommend going to Surefall Glades or Kelethin. In a recent patch, arrow part vendors have been added to almost all zones (South Karans, East Commons, Kithikor to name but a few). They all sell arrow components. Too bad they don't sell Fletching Kits. So you still have to buy one of those in kelethin or Surefall Glades. See the arrow vendor list for all locations or the bow part vendor list.
You should start making arrows to hone the fletching skill (it is advised to not start making bows before skill level 15-20 upwards, succesful bow making may be done from 25 onwards - I made 4 bows in a row. However dont make bows to increase your skill - it's far too expensive for that). Arrows are the cheapest way to raise your skill.
Using more expensive (and therefore complex) components seems to make your skill progression move faster. If you are not progressing and such is your desire, use a better component or two. Of course this will up the cost quite significantly, so you may want to wish to try that after you reached the basic level of 15 or so.
Note 1: It always costs more to make bows and arrows then the retail value is (selling it to a merchant). However, merchants charge a lot more for completed items, so you may be able to sell the stuff to fellow travellers between the cost to make them and the retail value, so you both come out ahead. Alas, to date I have yet to find people buying arrows from me.
Note 2: Only WAR, PAL, RNG, SHD and ROG can use bows at all! So there is a very limited buyer class (as opposed to the banded or jewelry market). Note that WAR and RNG both get critical hits with bows!

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Making arrows

It is advised to buy a book on it, the Fletching book (prize of 0/1/4/0) (unconfirmed rumour: the chances of success may be higher if you have a training manual in your inventory). The book can be bought at the local fletcher store in Kelethin or Surefall Glades.

To make arrows you need a fletching kit (price of 1pp 2 gp), which also can be purchased at the local fletching store Kelethin or Surefall Glades.
To create a stack of 5 arrows you must place one item of each component into the opened fletching kit and combine them. If your skill is high enough, an arrow will be produced. The more expensive the different parts, the better your arrow will be. The four components of an arrow are:
  1. Groove Nock
  2. Shaft
  3. Tip (Arrowhead)
  4. Fletch
There are also arrow vanes which can be used instead of shafts or fletches (not sure which one). So they can be used as cheap skill advancements above 102.
The default values for an arrow are a range of 50 and a damage of 1. The different types for the 4 components influence these default values:
Groove Nocks Tip (Arrowhead)
Name Effect Price Name Effect Price
Large - 0/0/0/6 Field Point - 0/0/0/6
Medium Rng +25 0/0/1/9 Hooked Dmg +1 0/3/8/0
Small Rng +50 0/0/5/1 Bladed Dmg +2 4/8/1/4
Shafts Fletches
Name Effect Price Name Effect Price
Wooden - 0/0/0/6 Round Cut - 0/0/0/6
Bone Dmg +1 0/0/9/5 Parabolic Cut Rng +25 0/0/3/2
Ceramic Dmg +2 1/3/9/4 Shield Cut Dmg +1
Rng -50
0/2/2/8
Steel Dmg +3 3/4/2/1
Vanes
Wood Dmg +1
Rng -25
0/8/2/4
Bone Dmg +1
Rng +25
1/6/4/7
Ceramic Dmg +2 3/3/5/7
Examples
A CLASS 1 Wood Point Arrow is made with all the standard components, has a range of 50, a damage of 1, costs 4cp to make and has a retail value of 3cp (the mechant sale price is ???). This arrow becomes obsolete (for raising ones skill) at skill level 16 (You then should move on using at least one second level component, which will get your level up to 35).
A CLASS 2 Wood Point Arrow is made with a Medium Groove Nock, has a range of 75, a damage of 1, costs 7cp to make and has a retail value of 4cp (the mechant sale price is ???cp). This arrow becomes obsolete (for raising ones skill) at skill level 35.

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To raise your skill cheaply

The basic idea is to use to use the next more expensive part once a type has become trivial for you.

Level 01-15 - Standard Items
Level 16-34 - Medium Groove Nock
Level 35-44 - Parabolic Cut Fletch
Level 45-55 - Small Groove Nock
Level 56-67 - Bone Shaft
Level 68-81 - Shield Cut Fletch
Level 83-101 - Hooked Tip
Level 102-121 - Wooden Vane
Level 122-134 - Ceramic Shaft
Level 135-161 - Bone Vane
Level 163-201 - Ceramic Vane
Level 202-??? - Steel Shaft
Level ???-??? - Bladed Tip
???

Pricing the arrows

Forget it. Almost noone will buy arrows form you. If you don't need them yourself just sell them back to the merchant to get some cash back for more tries.

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Making bows

It is advised to buy the book on it, the Bowying book (prize of 0/1/4/0) (unconfirmed rumour: the chances of success may be higher if you have a training manual in your inventory). The book can be bought at the local bowyer store (often fletcher and bowyer stores are combined) in Kelethin or Surefall Glades.

To create an bow you must place at least a wood and a string into the opened fletching kit and combine them. If your skill is high enough, a bow will be produced. The more expensive the different parts, the better your bow will be. The components of an bow are:
  1. Lumber / Wood
  2. String
  3. Cams
  4. A Tool
Tools should only be used for higher level bows. At the start of your bow-making career you don't need them, just put the lumber and the string together and combine. If you add the whittling knife or planning tool it will be consumed in the combine process, so it will be quite costly. Using a tool with Hickory wood will result in a failure. The Whittling Blade can only be used on bows with Elm wood or above, the Planning Tool (as the superior to the blade) requires Ashwood or above. Bows made without a tool are denoted by the prefix Rough (as in Rough Hickory Recurve Bow), bows made with the Whittling Blade are Carved, the Planning Tool makes Shaped bows. Since the tools are the same upgrades like string it makes no sense to use a Blade on an Elm bow. The best result would be 10dmg/39dly. Instead use them on better bows where the delay/damage tradeoff is better. Do not try to make silk string bows before you reached at least 40-50 skill points. I tried twice and failed. Yet I had no problems making Hickory/Linen bows with a skill of 25 (5 out of 7).
Cams are used to make composite bows (up to 4 cams per bow). They work like planing tools and reduce the delay time with a damage tradeoff. Cams can be used together or instead of tools.
The default values for a bow are a range of 50, damage of 10 and a delay of 50. The different types for the components influence these default values:
Lumber / Wood String
Name Effect Price Name Effect Price
Hickory - 0/2/2/7 Hemp Twine - 0/0/1/1
Elm Rng +25
Dmg +3
Dly +1
2/2/7/4 Linen Dmg -1
Dly -4
0/0/2/3
Ashwood Rng +50
Dmg +6
Dly +8
16/8/7/0 Silk Dmg -2
Dly -8
0/0/5/7
Oak Rng +75
Dmg +11
Dly +15
74/6/6/7 Tools
Darkwood Rng +100
Dmg +15
Dly +18
244/3/6/6 Whittling Knife
(Elm and above)
Dmg -1
Dly -4
2/2/7/4
Steel ?? n.a. Planning Tool
(Ash and above)
Dmg -2
Dly -9
11/5/3/9
Ceramic ?? n.a. Cam
(Oak and above)
Dmg -1
Dly -5
40/7/2/8
2nd Cam
(Darkwood and above)
Dmg -1
Dly -5
40/7/2/8

Examples:
Using the Hickory Lumber with a hemp string will make a Rough Hickory Recurve Bow with a range of 50, damage 10 and delay 50 (retail value is 0/1/5/0, merchant sales price is 0/8/8/2!!). If you use Linen or Silk instead of Hemp it will still be a Rough Hickory Recurve Bow, but with better stats (Linen merchant sales price is 0/9/2/4). I made about 5 bows with linen until I got the message that this item became trivial (at skill level 35). Hickory + Silk becomes trivial at around 45. I then tried to make a Rough Elm Recurve Bow a few times and succeeded most of the time.

Pricing the bows

Be warned that many people will want to dabble in archery, but they freak at even the most modestly priced Elm bow (4-5 pp). So you can either squeak out an existance on Hickory or just use Bowery to improve the bows you and your close allies (trading with your group members for example).

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Achnowledgements

Many thanks go to the following people and their respective fletching guides:

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