D&D 5E Is this weapon balanced?

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I just looked up the throwing distance of an atlatl, and 300 feet seems to be a common distance listed for it so the 80/320 seems suitable as the range.
I find that weapon range in D&D is very... suspicious. There is an old OSR blog where they presented some very conclusive evidence of where Gygax got his data for bow ranges, and how said data was not interpreted correctly (basically the error is is the effective range vs a mass of enemy vs the effective range vs a single person). Sadly I have lost the link. (edit: if anyone has it...)

Because of this, I find relative range between weapons to be a good guide. It "feels" to me that a bow should have a longer range than an atlatl.
 
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I find that weapon range in D&D is very... suspicious. There is an old OSR blog where they prevented some very conclusive evidence of where Gygax got his data for bow ranges, and how said data was not interpreted correctly (basically the error is is the effective range vs a mass of enemy vs the effective range vs a single person). Sadly I have lost the link.

Because of this, I find relative range between weapons to be a good guide. It "feels" to me that a bow should have a longer range than an atlatl.
Indeed. D&D weapon ranges are rather messed up. Longbow max ranges are more the limit of how far you could get an arrow to travel, and maybe hit a block of troops rather than a range at which you could hit a human figure, let alone with any degree of precision.
As a guide, modern bow hunters, using equipment better than any medieval bows, regard 50 yards as an extreme range to try to kill an unarmoured, medium-sized creature that is stationary and unaware of the hunter.
Medieval warbow arrows are much slower and less accurate, and actually aiming for specific areas of a person engaged in combat is generally impossible, simply due to their random motion during the flight time of the arrow.

From what I know of the atlatl and the communities that use them, effective range and accuracy is about equivalent to a shortbow.
Shortbows are generally regarded as superior for hunting however because they do not require such a large motion as the atlatl, and so are less likely to be noticed and spook the target mid-shot.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I thought I would mention weapon ranges in another important RPG game: Warhammer frpg.

They are expressed in the game as yards, but I converted it to feet

Bow: 72/144
Crossbow: 90/180
Pistol: 24/48

If we use the bow as an example, up to 72 feet there are no penalties. between 72 and 144 feet, you have a -20% to hit (or -4 in D&D terms, basically disadvantage). You can also take an extreme range shot - where you can shoot up to double the range of the long shot (so 288 feet), but doing so requires you to take an aim action and even with the bonus to aiming this provide, you still have a 30% hit penalty.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
The pre-existing finesse keyword on a ranged weapon lets you attack with strength or dexterity, by the way.

I'd make it a martial weapon, give it 1d8 damage, and cut the range on it. And it shoots javelins as ammo; spears are almost reach weapons in 5e. Too long.
 



Quartz

Hero
This is a ranged weapon with ammunition, not a thrown weapon. :)

For a ranged weapon to use strength, it needs to be Finesse. Like Darts.

That's correct but not relevant.

PHB said:
For attacks with ranged weapons, use your Dexterity modifier for attack and damage rolls. A weapon that has the thrown property, such as a handaxe, can use your Strength modifier instead.

This uses muscle-power to launch spears and javelins, which both have the thrown property.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
That's correct but not relevant.



This uses muscle-power to launch spears and javelins, which both have the thrown property.
So it uses muscle power yes, but there is an intermediate - a bow also uses muscle power. I think the closest analogy would be a sling. If a sling is a ranged weapon, so should this should be.
 

Quartz

Hero
So it uses muscle power yes, but there is an intermediate - a bow also uses muscle power. I think the closest analogy would be a sling. If a sling is a ranged weapon, so should this should be.

It's different. Both the spear and the javelin have the thrown property; sling bullets and arrows do not. (Actually, I think the bow and sling should key off Str, not Dex, but that's for another thread.)
 



Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
It's different. Both the spear and the javelin have the thrown property; sling bullets and arrows do not. (Actually, I think the bow and sling should key off Str, not Dex, but that's for another thread.)

The sling, the bow and the spear thrower are all devices - you know what a spear thrower is right?


a sling is a variant of the same principle, so the same rules should apply.
 




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