The Tip.It Times

Issue 199gp

Ranging to Make Ends Meet

Written by and edited by Tip.It

I am a ranger. Certainly not a master of putting sharp objects in vicious monsters from a safe distance, but skilled enough to put an arrow between the shoulder blades of a fleeing goblin from two hundred feet away. My choice of combat style came from a severe allergy to blunt, sharp or pointy things being swung in my general direction, and the fact that I look silly wearing a pointy hat. So I walk the lands with bow in hand, raining pointy death down on the heads of my enemies. I dress myself in the skins of slain dragons, carry around a bow carved from the finest maple wood and fill my quiver with steel-tipped arrows that provide me with the perfect balance between damage output and cost.

Of course there are those that express prowess in cold, impersonal numbers, otherwise known as levels. While I personally do not condone this practice, I will provide some relevant levels for the sake of clarity. My defense level is 40, just enough to know how to put on armour made of dragonhide. My ranged level is 62, enough to wear the hides of the red dragon and fire bolts with a runite crossbow. I can, on a good day, take 53 points of damage and my offerings of various types of bones have pleased the gods enough to allow me to use each protection prayer, as well as the Eagle Eye prayer that enhances my prowess as a ranger even further.

I've been doing the adventuring thing for about two years now. I've spent my time cleaning out dens of monsters with no pay other than whatever I could pick from their corpses (why a zombie walks around with tin ore in its pockets I'll never know). Occasionally I'll clean out a specific den of evil for some terrorized villagers, but the rewards are rarely stunning and the number of people that will offer me quests has shrunk to the point that I'm often left with lack of purpose. I have seen the far corners of this realm and am left with very little to explore indeed.

So at last I crumbled, reaching deep into my real life pockets to pay the tithe that the masters of the realm require in return for access to new realms, new quests, new skills and new equipment to wear. The first week in these new worlds were spent running around not unlike a headless chicken; I tried a new quest here, wandered around a new land there, and every now and then I put my attention to a new skill, only to be distracted by something shiny. This lack of focus was somewhat of a problem, as the new equipment often came with a massive price tag that left my coffers quickly draining.

I needed to make money, and I didn't have the attention span of miners, fletchers and the like. I needed some action, preferably action that would yield massive loot. This left me with only one option: Killing stuff. My relatively low combat level would make this somewhat challenging, as the truly impressive drops usually came from monsters whose combat levels was measured in the triple digits. The fact that these monsters were at least twice my level coupled with my aforementioned allergies meant that I would have to pick my target carefully. I needed a low-risk, high-reward monster that was also located close enough to a bank.

The answer was found deep in the wilderness. Packs of green dragons rove the blasted landscape, preying on whatever passes by. The bleak surface of the wilderness would be perfect for a ranger like me, as the widespread debris would give me plenty of places to hide as I peppered the vile beasts with crossbow bolts. I knew from the bestiary that there was a pack lurking within running distance of the teleporters which would be perfect for my purpose, as revenants were a constant threat and conventional methods of teleportation would be impossible this far in the wilderness.

Now that I had my target, my next focus was equipment. As dying was a very realistic possibility, my first priority was food. I had a massive cache of cooked tuna that was a gift from a friend from before the time of trade laws. At 10 HP per slot and essentially no cost, I decided that this was my best option. Next was armour. I hadn't passed the trials that would give me the right to wear an archer helm, and dragonhide coifs were too expensive to risk so I ended up going with a normal coif. I wore a full set of red dragonhide armour, the most powerful armour I could wear at my ranged level. The anti-dragon shield was a no-brainer. Snakeskin boots provided a nice ranged bonus but were, like the dragonhide coifs, too expensive to risk in the wilderness. For the same reason I took no ring. An Amulet of Glory gave me a nice bonus to ranged attack at a reasonable cost. Ava's Accumulator was my choice, as it has the highest ranged attack bonus of any cape. I chose the most powerful crossbow, runite, and steel bolts, since I wasn't a skilled enough slayer for the broad-tipped variant.

My red dragonhide body, amulet of glory and runite crossbow would be kept on death. This left red dragonhide chaps (5K), red dragonhide vambraces (2K), Ava's Accumulator (1K), a coif (negligible), anti-dragon shield (negligible) and boots (negligible) as items that I would lose upon death. I also took a maximum of 100 steel bolts (6K). This would mean that a death would cost me 14K GP (9K GP if I could get the item protection prayer up in time), a price quite manageable at my combat level. Furthermore, with the market price of green dragonhide set at 1.600 GP, this meant that with 20 inventory slots left over for loot, it would be realistic to expect at least 20.000 GP for each trip. All this added up to a method of making money that looked very attractive on paper.

Of course paper rarely translates as well into reality as one would hope, so I decided to make a handful of scouting trips before I took the plunge. For reconnaissance, I brought only an anti-dragon shield, crossbow, a few bronze bolts and a small array of draconic taunts (including 'your mother has no horns' and 'your father was an oversized gecko'). I stepped on the teleportation pedestal and activated the obilisks. After a few attempts I found myself overwhelmed by a sweltering heat and the glow of lava-filled trenches to the north. This was a place where the earth's crust was just a thin scab barely holding back the earth's molten core. Something told me that here be dragons.

I soon had the attention of several green dragons, and through trial and error I learned to position myself in a way that none of them, despite their supposed intelligence, could hope to touch me. After a few more errant insults and crossbow bolts I ran back to the teleport pad, which took me to the back to the bank near the Bounty Hunter arena. I decked myself in the hides of the dragons' red cousins, filled my quiver with steel-tipped bolts and headed back towards the fell beasts.

The first few trips were mostly a matter of learning through trial and error. I learned to plan out my supplies to allow myself to bring back as many hides as possible without taking risks with the revenants. I learned what spoils were worth dragging back to the bank and what could be left behind. I learned the movement patterns of the three dragons that were usually visible on my minimap and I learned to tell the difference between the clan cape merchant that was trying to do business in the area and the revenant werewolves that try to cure me of my chronic breathing.

Of course running as fast as my legs could carry me wasn't always enough to evade death, as at times the revenants were more dangerous than the bloodthirsty humans that formerly haunted the wilderness. One particularly painful moment was when a revenant werewolf jumped me at the dragons' territory. I dashed straight for the teleportation pad as usual, which took me into the very bowels of the wilderness, near the rogues' castle. Just as I got ready to log out I was hit with a teleportation block, forcing me to run as I got pelted with projectiles which, even with divine protection, tore through me faster than I could recover with food. Just as I stuffed the last tuna down my gullet I moved beyond the range of whatever the revenant vampire was throwing at me, and I logged out.

When I logged back in on another world, ready for a mad dash back to the teleportation pad, the first thing I saw was the chaos elemental. As it hit me with all sorts of nastiness I decided to just leg it to the gate to the south-east and run south until I can use my amulet of glory to teleport back to safety. What followed was a hellish trek through the blasted wilderness landscape hanging onto the last shreds of my life, without food, energy or prayer points to increase my chances of survival. I barely made it past the demonic ruins, but the stretch between the clan wars area and the water looked fairly safe, except of course for yet another revenant which blasted me just two levels short of safety.

Despite this painful death, and a few more which were only slightly less painful, killing green dragons was surprisingly fun. With only an hour or so each day I still gained quite a respectable amount of experience and money. I am now well on my way to earning the right to wear black and blessed dragonhide, can take up to 55 points of damage, and have access to the Retribution prayer which allows me to go out in a blaze of glory, should the need arise. Just a few more buried dragon bones should give me access to the Redemption prayers. With the money I've made from green dragonhides so far I've bought a set of blessed dragonhide armour. Even though I don't currently have the ranged skill needed to wear it, it makes a nice dangling carrot to help me focus on my training. I've gained several ranged, hit points and prayer levels in just a week without the training ever feeling like a grind. Overall the green dragons make for an excellent training spot, although knowing that their red cousins are out there hoarding even bigger riches is still tempting. For now I will keep slaying green dragons, and encourage all those rangers whose 'levels' hover somewhere between 50 and 75 to do the same.

Did You Know...
...that your defense against Magic attacks is based more on your Magic level rather then your Defense level? To protect yourself from Binds and Blasts it might be worth investing into studying the arcane arts.(Special thanks to the Tal Shiar Alliance!)

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Will you use Menaphos to train your skills?

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