Jump to content

Effectiveness of Gymnastics and Sniper for extra actions

Recommended Posts

I took an analytical look at the relative usefulness of the six ways we have to increase actions points using statistics, including looking at which ones are still useful once you start combining them. The six ways are:

  • HASTE: 1/3 chance of recovering 4 AP's when you act. Can only activate once per turn, but you get that 1/3 chance each time you take an action, if you haven't gotten the 4 bonus AP's yet. Easy and cheap to cast; can also be cast before encounters begin. Doesn't last forever, but its duration is boosted by Spellcraft and blessing bonuses. A very strong buff overall. Skill point cost: nothing if you have a mage.
  • BATTLE FURY: 5 bonus AP's at the start of each turn. Obviously amazing. Hard to produce. Haste level 3 will do it 30% of the time, so you can start battles with it easily (Haste costs just 8 SP so reloading isn't really necessary either). Can also be produced with a battle discipline (but that's painful and usually inferior to Adrenaline Rush) or by certain Simulacrums, but unreliably. For that reason, I assume if you have Battle Fury you also have Haste. Haste level 3 is available pretty early (walk to Almaria and use a piercing crystal).
  • ADRENALINE RUSH: Provides a one-time bonus of +20 AP. (Does consume an action, so it's a net bonus of +11 AP in most cases. If your AP is negative, just sets it to 20 instead.) The battle discipline par excellance. For obvious tactical reasons, the first turn of a battle is the best time to get 2 extra actions, so this is truly amazing. Difficult to acquire early (unlike in A:EFTP) but with trainers and items, everyone (even spellcasters) can have this by the mid-to-late game.
  • MERCURIC EQUIPMENT: Each piece gives +1 AP each round. The armor comes with minor penalties. Mercuric Leather is available very early (Townsend in Formello) and everyone can get it; the only non-chest piece is a single set of shoes, which are in Angierach and thus not available until late. Combining two pieces is great since you get 2 actions EVERY round. 1 piece doesn't do much unless you have Gymnastics. So, in this analysis I only consider 1 piece and only in concert with Gymnastics.
  • GYMNASTICS: Every point gives you an independent 10% chance for +1 AP at the start of your turn. (Also provides a not very useful +2% to evasion.)
  • SNIPER: Works just like Haste, except the chance is 5% per point of Sniper rather than 1/3. If you have both effects, each one has a chance to trigger the +4 AP, but the +4 AP will STILL only trigger once between both effects, which really sucks. (Also provides a nearly useless low chance of causing some status effects with regular ranged attacks only.)

Since the impact of Haste, Battle Fury, and Adrenaline Rush is straightforward, and the decisions to apply those are either whole-party or situation-specific decisions, I'm going to look at Gymnastics, Mercuric items, and Sniper, alone and in combination, to see when they work and when they don't.


For each scenario, I've provided three end results of my calculations: the average actions per turn, the percent increase in actions per turn due to Gymnastics/Sniper, and the percent increase per skill point invested. I've used Gymnastics 12 and Sniper 10 for all of these calculations; it's not hard to estimate where the numbers would fall for lower (or higher, with items) values of those skills. (If you're interested in the exact calculations, PM me and I'll share the Excel spreadsheet. I don't really want to clean it all up for public display, but the math is there to examine if you're unconvinced. Yes, I did take into account the quirks about how some of these things work, did the full table of possibilities for Gymnastics, etc.)



Alone 1.34 34% 3%
Haste 1.56 17% 1%
BF... 2.19 9% 1%
AR... 3.34 11% 1%
AR+BF 4.19 5% 0%

As you can see, this is a reasonable value by itself, but is a very bad value when Haste, Battle Fury, or Adrenaline Rush are in effect.



Alone 1.72 72% 6%
Haste 1.81 36% 3%
BF... 2.40 20% 2%
AR... 3.72 24% 2%
AR+BF 4.40 10% 1%

A great value by itself, and a passable value outside of the all-buffs scenario. Not amazing for boss fights, but IF you rarely buff and your character is out of the fray, this could be worth the skill points and the loss of better armor. Not recommended for Torment though.



Alone 1.50 50% 5%
Haste 1.67 25% 3%
BF... 2.00 0% 0%
AR... 3.00 0% 0%
AR+BF 4.00 0% 0%

A good value by itself, and plays okay with Haste; but completely useless with Battle Fury and/or Adrenaline Rush. If for some reason you don't use the two most powerful effects in the game in any boss fights, this could be okay, I guess...



Alone 1.67 67% 3%
Haste 1.78 34% 2%
BF... 2.30 15% 1%
AR... 3.34 11% 1%
AR+BF 4.30 8% 0%

OK by itself, but gets worse the more buffs you have applied. Not really recommended.



Alone 1.86 86% 4%
Haste 1.91 43% 2%
BF... 2.64 32% 1%
AR... 3.72 24% 1%
AR+BF 4.64 16% 1%

OK by itself, but still gets worse the more buffs you have applied. Not really recommended either.


In conclusion, Sniper is still completely awful. Gymnastics could be okay in combination with a Mercuric item, but the build that uses it is very specific, and probably not optimal on Torment or even Hard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some great info here, thanks! Yeah, it looks like archers really fall off when playing completely optimized. Haven't done torment yet on Crystal Souls (been playing on hard), but I hope it's like AEftP where you don't need to be super optimized to win.


I think I more frequently don't have haste than have it (at least for my first runthrough of a game where I don't know when enemy fights start), so I get a decent amount of use out of gymnastics and sniper. Gymnastics also adds evasion, and Sniper adds War Curse/Weakness Curse/Slow/Poison (only the last one is bad), so they have some effects beyond the chance at an extra action.


I'm starting to think Adrenaline Rush and Haste need to be redesigned. Haste is so cheap to cast that if you're able to prepare before battles, you can easily start most fights with battle frenzy, and get 4 attacks per character (although gymnastics/mercuric equipment does give a chance at 5) on the first turn. AR also just makes about every other battle discipline go unused. The increase of the hit floor from 5% to 20% is also a bit painful for anyone specializing in dexterity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was thinking about the gymnastics + 1 AP item case while playing. At 12 gymnastics, that's 6% bonus to chance for 2 attacks per point. But at say 4 gymnastics, you still get a 34% chance of 2 actions, which is 8.5% per point.


Going with a piece of mercuric armor in combination with even just the 2 trainable points of gymnastics seems a decent option for most character types. With 2 points and the +1 AP item, you have a 19% chance of 2 attacks every round before any buffs.


By the way, I recall in some older games you could sometimes get 2 extra APs from gymnastics. Is that still the case?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I more frequently don't have haste than have it (at least for my first runthrough of a game where I don't know when enemy fights start)

Right, but there is probably a very strong correlation between how difficult a fight is and whether or not you haste. So, these become skills that make relatively easy fights easier, but don't help much against hard fights. Since you can't skip the hard fights, it would seem more prudent to invest in skills that make all your fights easier...


I'm starting to think Adrenaline Rush and Haste need to be redesigned.

This is absolutely true! If you check out my A:EFTP remix, you'll note that they were. Adrenaline Rush is less of a problem in A2:CS because the weapon-boosting equipment is much harder to access, but it still does obliterate the other disciplines pretty nicely. (And the 20 skill battle discipline is *heinously worse* than Adrenaline Rush in nearly all circumstances. Ugh.)


Also note that Haste is actually *extremely* nerfed from what it used to be. In most games through Avernum 4 or 5, a first-level character's Haste spell would double your AP... a higher-level character's Haste spell would TRIPLE your AP! (It was single-target, but still!! Plus there was a higher-level spell that would haste the party in most of those games.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By the way, I recall in some older games you could sometimes get 2 extra APs from gymnastics. Is that still the case?

Assuming it's the same in CS as in EFTP, you can theoretically get as many extra AP as you have ranks in gymnastics. Each rank gives you a separate 10% chance of an extra AP. If you have two ranks, you have a 1% chance of getting 2 extra AP each round. The odds get better as you raise the skill, obviously, but they're never going to be great.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

FF4, FF9, Angband, I'm sure there are more...


i mean in Angband it kind of is incredibly powerful in the early game, it's just that because of the way speed works you're pretty much expected to have enough permanent speed increases by the late game to make haste irrelevant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, but Angband is full of brief extremes, despite being an interesting game with a ton of nuances. I mean, what's more OP in Angband... Haste Self, Ringil, stat potions, Mass Genocide, Teleport Away... Haste Self doesn't measure up to the others at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am I reading the Sniper description wrong in-game, or mistaken about the effect I seem to notice? It says nothing about action points, it says "5%/level chance of taking a bonus shot in a combat round." In practice, when it triggers, I notice my shot seems to do more damage (as if I were firing two arrows at once), and I see no refund of action points. I am playing version from GoD. Can someone explain this discrepancy? Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...