Over the past few weeks, I’ve journeyed to Ebonscale Reach, chasing tales of two master craftsmen capable of creating the best firearms in Aeternum. My weapon of choice has always been the blunderbuss, a versatile instrument of destruction for the many dangers found in the wilds. As a cannoneer on my ship before it crashed into the storm wall, the familiarity of its explosive qualities has become a natural fit in my adventures. Whether working on quests to keep the local Settlements safe, fighting hordes of Lost, or just waving off those accosting me to join their Company or Guild, a good blunderbuss has always been the perfect tool for the job. Having recently come into some coin after encountering some formidable Angry Earth guarding a chest, I thought it high time to upgrade my weaponry.
That’s how I arrived here, currently listening to two of the most famous crafters in Aeternum bicker - Wang Tang Zhi and Alvaro de Villanueva. Upon entering Ebonscale Reach, I proposed that the two of them collaborate on a blunderbuss for me, and, due to a combination of the challenge and coin, they agreed to meld their respective knowledge to create a near-perfect weapon.
What feels like weeks have passed, and in that time, not much progress has been made. A schism has opened between the two, their ideas of perfection drastically differing; clashing between the technical engineering perfections that could be made and the perfect weapon for an adventurer - good in the hand, easy to use in the field, while still looking beautiful for any formal occasions. And here they stood, still red in the face from arguing.
Realizing this particular argument was going nowhere anytime soon (and lacking the engineering know-how needed to chime in) I strode into the workshop, attempting to find any sort of amusement to occupy my time. I poked around the various half-finished products, but after a stray elbow sent an ornately decorated gun barrel clanging down onto the ground, I kept my distance from the piles of parts. Looking at one table, I saw a series of documents, and walked over to pick it up. What ended up being a blueprint and manual were titled, reading: An Instructional Manual - The Ideal Blunderbuss.
It looked like the pair had at least made some progress, but it was also clear that two unique sets of handwriting had been scribbling out various names for the weapon this manual was meant to accompany. While a name had yet to be determined, the two had agreed on one fact - the culmination of these efforts would yield the ideal blunderbuss. A short introduction was listed below the title:
The blunderbuss is a ranged weapon that offers high-mobility coupled with potent close-to-mid range damage. It’s the first weapon to scale on strength and intelligence, making it a good companion for bruiser builds or mages.
The writing was heavily annotated, seemingly a combination of general disagreement on the purpose of the weapon alongside suggestions. The most prominent note read: “The blunderbuss is an artistic instrument of death, requiring strength and intelligence to wield gracefully. From the loud ringing as it fires to the imperfect, but beautifully unique spread of every shot and explosion, the blunderbuss itself— through ease-of-use, decorum, and beauty— should be treated as the wonderful weapon it is.”
After the introduction, the manual was fairly straightforward, going over the many uses in the battlefield and ways for adventurers to employ the unique strengths and abilities for the blunderbuss on the battlefield. As I listened to their boisterous voices continue to bicker, I flipped through the pages, hoping to pick up a useful trick or two. The document read:
You will be able to progress through two weapon mastery trees, allowing choices between two distinct playstyles, or an amalgamation of the two as wielders of the blunderbuss become more familiar with its arsenal of assault options and customize their selections. The two trees are Containment and Chaos. The Containment tree is all about closing the gap and unloading hot lead into your enemy’s face. Conversely, the Chaos tree focuses on keeping your distance and bombarding areas with explosive AoE damage.
Net Shot - 20s Cooldown
Fire a large net of the blunderbuss that deals 40% weapon damage and slows targets it hits by 40% for 2.5s. If standing still or moving backwards, the recoil from this attack will knock you further backwards. If moving sideways or forwards, you will continue forward unhindered. Ability Upgrades:
Fast Hands - If Net Shot hits a target, reduce cooldown by 20%.
Apparatus - The net now inflects a 50% slow that degrades to normal move speed over 5s.
Barbed Netting - Net Shot’s initial hit is reduced to 5% weapon damage. However, it now deals 35% additional weapon damage as bleeding each second for 3s.
Claw Shot - 20s Cooldown
Shoot forward a four pronged claw attached to a chain from the muzzle. The projectile will up to 14m and cannot pull you upwards more than 3m. If it connects to an enemy it will deal 40% weapon damage and inflict root for 1s before quickly pulling you towards them. The pull can be canceled by any ability use or primary fire. Root ends early if the target is hit 4 times. This ability is Taunt Gem compatible. Ability upgrades:
In-And-Out - Upon usage, restore 8 stamina every second for 10 seconds.
Combat Readiness - Landing a pellet, even if blocked, lowers the cooldown of this ability by 2% each.
Mobile Overload - Successful pulls will automatically grant one loaded ammunition. If you currently have 2 loaded ammunition this will exceed the max cap and grant a third.
Azoth Shrapnel Blast - 14s Cooldown
Fire 5 shots in a horizontal fan in front of you while pushing yourself backwards. Each shot will deal 58% weapon damage. Every consecutive hit on the same target will deal 15% less damage than the previous hit. Ability Upgrades:
Reach - Increase the range of this attack from 12m to 16m.
Discord - Fire 4 additional pellets with each use of this ability.
Refresh - Each individual hit from this ability or from the blunderbuss primary fire will lower the cooldown of this ability by 1.5%.
Azoth Bomb - Fire a singular bomb down the center of the fan. This bomb will implant itself in the world and explode dealing 100% damage in a 3m area after a .5s delay.
Future Endeavors - If you land 4 or more pellets in a single shot, restore 1 stamina per pellet hit.
Run and Gun - Reloading gives you a speed boost of 40% that decays over 1s.
Ramp - Reloads give you a damage boost of 4% for 6s. Stacks up to 4 times.
Deep Load - The last shot loaded into the blunderbuss will do 15% increased damage.
Fortifying Aggression - Successful hits within 3m grant Fortify, increasing damage absorption by 10% for 2s.
Unload - The next shot fired within 6s after triggering an ability will have 9 pellets instead of 6.
Splitting Grenade - 30s Cooldown
Shoot a grenade out of the blunderbuss that can bounce up to 4 times. The Splitting Grenade will detonate after 1.5s but can be detonated early be reactivating its ability key within this time period. Upon detonation, it will create 3 mini grenades that will disperse and explode 1s after landing, dealing 85% weapon damage in a 3m area. Each successive grenade hit against the same target deals 40% less base damage. Ability upgrades:
Soften - Deal 25% increased damage to targets greater than 50% health.
Delayed Escape - Any grenade hit grants haste, increasing movement speed by 20% for 3s. Multiple hits will refresh the duration when they hit.
Incendiary Bursts - Splitting Grenade explosions inflict Burn on hit, dealing 10% weapon damage per second for 10s. Stacks up to 3 times.
Mortar Charge - 18s Cooldown
Load the blunderbuss with heavy canisters. For the next 15s or 3 shots, shots will no longer fire multiple pellets but instead will fire a heavy, fast, diving, mortar-style canister that causes a tall explosion upon impact, dealing 100% weapon damage in a 3m area. If the target is 10m away or further, they will take 35% increased damage from the mortar. Ability upgrades:
Steady - Each hit grants 7 stamina.
Freedom - With each shot fired, gain a burst of 50% move speed which decays in power over 3s.
Streak - Gain an extra canister, you can now fire up to 4 shots.
Blast Shot - 30s Cooldown
Blast immense wind out of the blunderbuss knocking down any target immediately in front of you. Blast Shot deals 70% weapon damage. Ability upgrades:
Preparation - Blast Shot applies Rend, increasing damage applied to all targets affected by this ability by 10% for 6s.
Lingering Flow - The area 10m in front of you remains influenced by wind for the next 8s. You and your allies gain a 25% move speed bonus while in the area.
Future Planning - Using an ability reduces all other ability cooldowns by 4% of their remaining time.
On A Roll - Triggering an ability decreases all damage taken by 3% for 10s. Stacks up to 5 times.
Bite Back - Every pellet that is a headshot reduces all cooldowns by 0.5%.
Buckshot - Deal 10% increased damage to any target as long as you have not damaged them in the last 8s.
Artillery - Direct damage from abilities is increased by 15% if the victim is 10m or further away.
Last Chance - Whenever you take a hit and your health is below 50% gain 50% damage reduction for 4 seconds. 30s cooldown.
Extended Chamber - Holding onto 2 loaded ammunition for 2 seconds after a reload will load a 3rd active ammunition.
Double Down - Once every 30 seconds, your next ability used will have its cooldown reduced by 50%.
As I wrap up reading, I can still hear loud cries of the argument continue. I tip my hat over my head, lean back and sigh. I hope this is their last argument. I’m eager to assist them in crafting, and want to get my hands on this weapon. I gather the courage to intervene, and stand. Wish me luck.