Hand Crossbow vs. Sling

DM_Blake

First Post
Not mentioned yet, but it's worth noting that it's much easier to fire any crossbow when you're prone than it is to fire a sling.

Also worth mentioning is that it's very very difficult to accurately fire slings at a downward angle, like when you're the castle defender up on the parapet.

While we're at it, loopholes, manchiolations, and other castle defenses designed to allow defenders to fire weapons at attackers outside the walls without exposing themselves to return fire would be almost useless to anyone armed with a sling.

On the plus side, when you run out of crossbow ammunition, you can't easily just wander around your campsite shuffling your feet to turn up some suitable ammunition. But, if your weapon of choice is a sling, scrounging up a pocketful of stones of reasonble size and aerodynamics to make serviceable ammunition is a task that can be completed during a short rest in most stony environments (sandy beaches or deserts, icy arctic wastes, the deck of a sailing ship, the puffy cloud at the top of Jack's Beanstalk, or other strange environments might be relatively devoid of scroungeable sling ammo).
 

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ShinRyuuBR

First Post
Not mentioned yet, but it's worth noting that it's much easier to fire any crossbow when you're prone than it is to fire a sling.

Also worth mentioning is that it's very very difficult to accurately fire slings at a downward angle, like when you're the castle defender up on the parapet.

While we're at it, loopholes, manchiolations, and other castle defenses designed to allow defenders to fire weapons at attackers outside the walls without exposing themselves to return fire would be almost useless to anyone armed with a sling.

Those are very good points... except the game doesn't account for any of them. Only DM' discretion can put such favor on the crossbow's side of the balance... which is kind of stupid of the game, really. Unless it's there and I haven't seen it.
 

StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
In 3e, you needed a feat to use a hand crossbow, and even then it was pretty much identical to a sling. The only difference is that hand crossbows in 3e crit on 19-20.

Hand crossbows were quite lame in 1e/2e, as well, IIRC.

I think the designers of every edition actually hate hand crossbows, since I can't remember an edition where they haven't sucked.

-O

Actually, in 3E you could take the Rapid Reload feat and full attack with a hand crossbow, but you couldn't use the feat with a sling. It was still inferior to the light crossbow, but at least that's a major point over the sling.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
What I find surprising is that both sling and crossbow get +2 to hit from proficiency, because a sling is much harder to aim with than a crossbow (I've spent a long time trying to get proficient with a sling and in my experience it is much harder to hit a target consistently with than a bow or crossbow).

I'd have been tempted to give slings just +1 for proficiency, which would probably balance the choices somewhat better.

I'd choose a hand crossbow for style every time though :)
 



For more fun reading on slings vs. hand xbows, check out this thread. No major insights regarding RAW, but some fun historical points and other factors that may be relevant depending on whether your DM intends to use any "common sense" adjudication. For example, your DM may not allow you to use a sling while benefiting from the cover of an arrow slit.
 

NeoNick

First Post
@ ShinRyuBR

I think your findings was interesting and I'd say that your point was valid. :)

Then comes arguments pro X-bow that people have mentioned, like style, ammo-weight and shooting prone or in strange situations. Those are IMHO a either depeninding on player prefernces (style) or more because of situational or campaign oriented bonuses. But they can be important anyhow!

I agree with all the above pro X-bow arguments, but I can state a few pro-Sling arguments to show that there are other considerations.
a) a sling is in most cases easier to smuggle in somewhere. In some campaigns that can mean the same effect as today's smuggling in a revolver to shoot somebody.
b) I have a friend who loves slings and he thinks them really cool (which I don't, I just tolerate them) :)
c) kobolds use slings in creative ways that players can learn from; glue pots (immobilize effect) or stinkpots (-2 to attack roll). You could even argue that you can send a firepot that attacks the square instead of the target. The X-bows hasn't got all the advantages as many would rule they do with poison.

Lastly there are different ways campaigns and DM's handle things. So in some campaigns I think that the DM and players don't want to spend time on counting ammo (except in very special situations). In other campaigns they do the same thing with weight, so nobody could care less for a few pounds here and there. And in some even gold isn't counted by the piece.

I'm not trying to be a besserwisser, only to perhaps show some more perspective - the same way many of your above post got me thinking! :)
 
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