log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 2E Ability score modifiers and missile weapons

SonOfFeanor

Villager
I’ve been going through my 1e and 2e books lately, trying to get a better understanding of certain things. I expect I’ll have several questions. Here’s a big one for me. Would anyone be able to tell me how strength and dexterity modifiers (“to hit” and damage) affect missile weapons by-the-book in 2e? If you care to read them, I gathered a bunch of pertinent quotes to save you the trouble of looking for any yourselves. They are from the 2e PHB (1995 black cover version) unless otherwise noted. Apologies for the length. Many thanks for any replies!


——— Dexterity ———
- p. 20 - “Missile attack adjustment is used to modify a character’s die roll whenever he uses a missile weapon.”

- Player’s Option Combat and Tactics p. 146 - “Characters may use their reaction adjustment for high Dexterity when throwing or firing any kind of missile weapon.”

- p. 132 - “Dexterity modifiers to the attack roll are applied when making a missile attack with a hand-held weapon. Thus, a character adds his Dexterity modifier when using a bow, crossbow, or axe but not when firing a trebuchet or other siege engine.”

>> What is a “hand-held” weapon? Is it just anything other than a large trebuchet-type weapon? Axes can be hurled, so wouldn’t you use the Str. bonus to hit (as per the rules below)?


——— Strength ———
- p. 20 - “The [Strength] damage adjustment also applies to missile weapons, although bows must be specially made to gain the bonus; crossbows never benefit from the user’s Strength.”

>> The Str. bonus applies to damage for all hand-held missile weapons except crossbows and non heavy-pull bows?

- Player’s Option Combat and Tactics p. 146 - “[Characters] do not use their Strength bonuses unless the weapon is thrown…Firearms, bows, slings, and crossbows are not normally affected by a character’s Strength.”

- p. 131 - “Attack roll and damage modifiers for Strength are always used when an attack is made with a hurled weapon. Here the power of the character's arm is a significant factor in the effectiveness of the attack.”

>> So the Str. bonuses are only for hurled weapons then? Do you use the Str. or Dex. modifier to hit? Above it says to use the Dex bonus to hit.

- p. 96 - “Characters with low Strengths suffer their usual penalties when using a bow (they are forced to use weaker bows or simply cannot draw back as far). The pull of a bow seldom prevents a character from using the weapon, only from gaining the full effect.”

>> Is this penalty to hit, to damage, or both? If it’s to hit, what happens if you have a low Str. but a high Dex.?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

A hand held weapon is basically a non-siege weapon. It's listed that way because your abilities don't really matter when dealing with that type of equipment.

When using a missile or thrown weapon, you always look at the dexterity attack modifier and might look at the strength damage modifier. You will never use the strength attack modifier.

Firearms and crossbows never have a strength modifier, since the damage is not based on the users ability. IIRC, slings used to add your strength damage modifier. Either they changed/clarified that with Combat and Tactics, or I'm remembering incorrectly.

Bows only look at a positive strength damage modifier if a compound bow is used. Bows always look at a negative strength damage modifier, since a weaker character can't gain the full draw on the bow. Neither affects the attack roll.
 

SonOfFeanor

Villager
I appreciate the reply.

A hand held weapon is basically a non-siege weapon. It's listed that way because your abilities don't really matter when dealing with that type of equipment.
Glad I at least got that one right.
When using a missile or thrown weapon, you always look at the dexterity attack modifier and might look at the strength damage modifier. You will never use the strength attack modifier.
I had only ever used Dex. (not Str.) to modify the attack roll for all missiles. I was thrown off when I read, “Attack roll and damage modifiers for Strength are always used when an attack is made with a hurled weapon” [emphasis added]. Wonder if that’s an error in the PHB.
Firearms and crossbows never have a strength modifier, since the damage is not based on the users ability. IIRC, slings used to add your strength damage modifier. Either they changed/clarified that with Combat and Tactics, or I'm remembering incorrectly.
Yep you’re right, PO:C&T says slings aren’t affected by Str.
Bows only look at a positive strength damage modifier if a compound bow is used. Bows always look at a negative strength damage modifier, since a weaker character can't gain the full draw on the bow. Neither affects the attack roll.
Thanks for clearing that one up too.
 

SonOfFeanor

Villager
Just to be crystal clear, I compiled all the missile weapons from the Arms & Equipment Guide and noted which ability score modifiers I believe are used for each. Feel free to chime in anyone if you see some that are wrong/you disagree with.


- Arquebus [should you choose to allow it], blowgun, crossbow (light, heavy, hand), sling, and staff sling - Dex. modifies the attack roll, but no Str. damage adjustments

- Bola, dagger, dirk, knife, dart, throwing/hand axe, harpoon, javelin, spear, trident*, warhammer, club*, and hammer*** - Dex. modifies the attack roll, and Str. modifies damage

- Bows (long, short, composite long, composite short) - Dex. modifies the attack roll, and Str. penalties will reduce the damage. Strength bonuses will only increase the damage if the bow is specially-made to take advantage of the user’s strength.

- Lasso and net - Dex. modifies the attack roll, but Str. is N/A since these don’t cause damage.

- Siege weapons - no Dex/Str modifications


*Can tridents be thrown? It didn’t explicitly say.

**Apparently clubs can be missile weapons. I assumed their inclusion on the “Missile Weapon Ranges” table in PHB was a mistake, but the Arms & Equip Guide cited some historical example of Saxons throwing them in battle.

***The “Missile Weapon Ranges” table also includes a “hammer.” I wonder if they mean a war hammer, or if it’s a separate weapon. The A&E Guide says war hammers can be thrown, but this PHB table didn’t specifically say “war hammer,” which is why I wonder if “hammer” = “war hammer."
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top