How to Build and Play a Sniper October 23, 2015 13:39
The lone figure crouches behind a barrel, the only contrast to his silhouette is the glint of his rifle. He chances a look above the barrel and spots his unsuspecting target. He stabilizes himself on the barrel’s top and lines up the crosshairs. Time seems to slow down. While releasing a deep breath, he squeezes the trigger, and within a brief moment the target lies motionless on the ground. As confusion and panic spreads among the bystanders, the lone figure makes his exit.
Playing a sniper is among one of the most popular roles for Tephra adventurers. This role has the ability to look down the sights at a creature and silently eliminate it. It’s a tactical position to be in and in some cases the options for building one can be overwhelming, confusing, and unclear. In Tephra, there are many ways to build and play a sniper and with the wide selection of specialties, you have all the tools you need to design a sniper to fit your preferred playstyle.
The role of a sniper requires planning, precision, and patience. Here are some tips for playing one effectively. Firstly, cover is a sniper’s best friend. Maintaining cover will help hide you from sight, provide a barrier between you and your target, and protect you from return fire from other sharpshooters. A shrubbery may not block any bullets, but it’s better than giving your opponents a clear shot at your vitals. Secondly, consider target selection . Taking an easy kill on a minion can work wonders for thinning a crowd, but weakening the hulking monster that threatens the rest of the party may prove more effective for making the combat go smoothly. Sometimes your surroundings can be used to your advantage. Shooting the chain of a hanging chandelier may cause it to fall and severely injure one or more targets. The final, and most helpful tip is stay mobile. Finding a good spot is difficult, and a good position can turn into a deadly one from one turn to the next. Keeping your options open and moving from one location to another makes it harder to locate you. Playing and building a sniper are two different things, and it may seem like options are limited. The first instinct might be to play a rifle-based sniper, but there are a number of options when it comes to long-range combat. Let’s look at three examples for snipers: the Archer, the Gunslinger, and the Grenadier.
Long before the invention of rifles and crossbows, a dependable long-range bow made the Archer into the sniper of choice. The most important thing about being an archer is having a bow (No, no, no not a crossbow, those are for arbalests, not archers). Because of the way bows work in Tephra, it can be an Action Point sink, especially with heavy and super-heavy bows. For the purpose of this build we’ll use light and medium bows, but it can work with heavy and super-heavy bows if you take the Efficient Ranger specialty. The advantage of playing an archer is the potential to attack at a greater range than other snipers. When built with care, the archer can decimate foes when they least expect it. Three specialties that can help do this are: Arching Shot, Long Shot, and Head Popper. Arching Shot is really nice, since it only boosts the range of bows (and not Crossbows), which, when combined with Long Shot, means this build can easily deal damage while keeping its distance. Both of those specialties will cost all your action points on their own, which is where Head Popper comes into play, allowing the archer to make a normal shot for only one action point the second the target is revealed. With this setup, the archer waits for the targets to leave their hiding spots and turns them into fountains of blood. Since your effective range is anywhere between 200 and 250 feet, this build has excellent coverage on an open battlefield.
Leveling up: The Archer will benefit from just about any specialty from Marksmanship. Flight of Arrows will benefit an archer with low strike, and Penetrating Shot will help take down armored targets faster.
The Gunslinger is a form of sniper that is often overlooked. This build uses a small firearm at a great range, and it’s easier to build than you might think. The three specialties that make this build work are Invisible Blade, Gunsmith, and Follow Up. Invisible Blade allows you to fire two light firearms for only one action point each, allowing you to make three attacks at level 1. With the crafting bonuses from Gunsmith, add the Accuracy augment and two scopes to improve your range and chances of hitting. Yes, you can apply the scope augment multiple times. Doing so simply turns the fixed scope into a telescope. Finally, the Follow Up specialty makes every second and third shot more accurate and more likely to deal more damage. With an effective range of 100 feet, and three shots per turn, the Gunslinger starts out with the ability to handle a decent mob.
Leveling Up: The Gunslinger is a trickshot build. Because Invisible Blade has reduced the attack cost as low as it can go, any specialties that cost an additional action point work well in this build. Espionage and Marksmanship will turn your peashooters into hand cannons. Using the Heart Seeker, Pinpoint Shot, and Penetrating Shot specialties, the Gunslinger can take one shot in a turn that will ignore most armor. If more range is needed, then taking Long Shot is a good call.
Last, but not least, is the Grenadier. This may not sound like a sniper build, but it is by far the most deadly. The weapon of choice for this build is a crossbow capable of launching various explosive objects. The three specialties that work well for this build are: Crossbow Craftsman, Long Shot, and Seeker. In order to have cheap and easy access to crossbow augments, you will need to have the Crossbow Craftsman specialty. This build benefits from the Delivery and Scope augments, Delivery for allowing you to load anything in your crossbow, and Scope for increasing your attack range. For a Grenadier, accuracy is more an art than a science. This weapon should have two scopes for maximum range capacity. Long Shot is also handy for this build, doubling the range of the attack for an additional action point. Also consider the Seeker specialty, which reduces the effectiveness of cover to take out frightened targets that attempt to hide from their inevitable demise. While you’re adventuring, keep an eye out for explosives, acids, gases, and anything else that will fit into the crossbow. WARNING: Party members are not excluded from the effects of explosions and/or gases and it is entirely possible to kill EVERYONE in the affected area. Use with caution... or don’t.
Leveling Up: The Grenadier focuses on launching hazardous objects, so improving the effects on impact are optional, but not necessary. Taking Aim will help to ensure the proper delivery of the bomb or vial, and Warning Shot with a grenade launcher is too enjoyable to not have happen. Another specialty to look at is Turret, which only serves to reinforce the idea that getting closer is hazardous to one’s health.
These sample builds are just a few of the many different kinds of sniper one can play. It should also be noted that these ranges and stats are assuming you are playing anything but a gnome. Gnomes have a distinct advantage of doubling these ranges, as well as being more accurate, making them the bogeymen of the battlefield marksmen.