October 26, 2008

[4E] New Ranged Weapons for your game

Out of the box, the 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook provides PCs with a somewhat limited set of options for ranged weapons. They are limited to (mostly) using melee weapons that you can throw at things (hammers, daggers, etc), or your usual choices of bow or crossbow.

Oh, and there were slings for the halflings among us and shurikens for the manga fans...

Then the Adventurer's Vault came along. Two more thrown melee weapons were added: Tridents and a new Dragonborn doodad called a Tratnyr™. The AV also included three additional ranged weapons: the Repeating Crossbow, the Greatbow, and the Superior Crossbow. I'll refrain from being critical of these imaginative choices, just say that it was a good thing they included a few more options for people looking to shoot at things.

Then Stargazer introduced a couple of nice firearms into the mix: the Blunderbuss, Dragon Pistol (which rox), and the Musket Rifle. And along came a new weapon group as well: Firearms.

This is all well and good, but I was still thinking there were some things missing. So, with a little bit of research and thought, I'd put together the stats for five additional ranged weapons that you might include into your 4E weapon mix: the Harpoon, Dart, Atlatl, Blowgun, and Barbed Bolas. Introducing these new weapons creates two additional weapon groups (Dart, Net) and two additional new weapon properties (Stealth, Entangling).

Stealth: These weapons allow the attacker to remain hidden even after the attack provided they make a successful Stealth check, with a -5 penalty, against the defender's Passive Perception skill.

Entangling: These weapons are capable of tripping and immobilizing their targets. On a successful hit with an entangling weapon, the attacker is granted a secondary attack versus the defender's Reflex defense. If the secondary attack succeeds, the defender is entangled by the weapon and immobilized (save ends). For entangling, heavy thrown weapons, the defender is also knocked prone if the secondary attack succeeded by 5 or more.

Here are the details for the new ranged weapons...

Weapon Type Prof Hnd Dmg Rng Price Wght Group Properties
Atlatl Military +3 2H 1d6 15/30 10 gp 2 lb. Spear Load minor, high crit
Superior +2 2H 1d3 3/6 10 gp 3 lb. Net Entangling, heavy thrown
Blowgun Superior +2 2H 1 4/8 20 gp 2 lb. Dart Load minor, small, stealth
Dart (10) Simple +2 1H 1d2 3/6 5 gp 1 lb. Dart Light thrown
Harpoon Simple +2 2H 2d4 5/10 5 gp 5 lb. Spear Heavy thrown, high crit

I've also included them in my 4E Core Weapons list - so if you download the new version (2) of that PDF, you'll get them from there as well.

BTW - The "research" I mentioned simply meant that I went back to 1E and dug around in various texts looking for interesting ranged weapons, then walked forward through the editions. So, basically, the above weapons are conversions of the same weapons for compatibility with the 4E ruleset. There are numerous weapons I could have included that have previously been in past editions (thong clubs anyone?), but I left them out for now. The Atlatl, Blowgun and Harpoon are from the 1E Unearthed Arcana. The Barbed Bolas were drawn from 3E Complete Warrior. The Darts... well, that's from OD&D. Come on... my magic-users always had a whole bag of darts to throw when they used up their one spell for the day!

Enjoy the weapons, and let me know what you think!

Art Credits: The inset artwork was taken from the 1st Edition Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (1986). The illustrations were done by Jeff Easley [1] and Jim Roslof [2].

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  1. have they really trademarked the weapon names? That is so sad...

  2. Naw... it isn't trademarked. It was just a little ribbing for WotC. I occasionally try to slip those in as part of my job at the Ministry of Misinformation; but it looks like you caught me!

  3. haha! so who is the greater cynic, you or me?

  4. I would suggest that the blowgun not be superior (thus more PCs might use it) and that the harpoon be considered military (because of its high crit).

    Otherwise, I like the list.

  5. @Jatori

    Great suggestions! I think moving the Harpoon to military is something I'll do. As for the two-handed blowgun; have you ever fire one of those? It requires an immense amount of lung strength to do so. Plus, since I've added this new "stealth" property, I figured making Superior was appropriate. For my own list - I'll meet you 1/2 way and change the Harpoon, but leave the blowgun where it is. Of course, do what you will for your own homebrew game.


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