Ranged Options for All Classes

Lord Twig

Explorer
Thrown weapons are usually used when characters can't make it into melee range on their turn and still want to attack. The assumption is that they will close next round.

If the entire entire encounter happens at greater than a 30' range every attack will be at disadvantage and they will only have enough weapons to engage for a few rounds at most. Plus, depending on the environment you may not get those thrown weapons back.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Thrown weapons are usually used when characters can't make it into melee range on their turn and still want to attack. The assumption is that they will close next round.

If the entire entire encounter happens at greater than a 30' range every attack will be at disadvantage and they will only have enough weapons to engage for a few rounds at most. Plus, depending on the environment you may not get those thrown weapons back.
Javelins only weigh 2 pounds. It should not be a big issue to carry a a fair number of javelins. For example, Paladin starting equipment can include five javelins on top of two other weapons/shield, so it's expected you can carry a fair number. The Quiver of Ehlonna is an uncommon magic item which can carry 18 javelins. And, as they are not ammunition, they don't break as frequently as ammunition and will usually be recovered.

Yes, you will be at disadvantage beyond 30' (same as a hand crossbow or sling and I don't recall people describing those as useless), but otherwise it's a fine weapon doing as much damage as a scimitar or short sword at up to 120' range. People in this thread are claiming you'd "do nothing" in a ranged combat, and I just am not seeing it and my experience doesn't match that. Yes you will not be as effective as you'd be at melee, but your ranged attacker is not as effective as you are at melee usually either.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Apparently some people actually use the "you can only draw one weapon a turn" rule in real, live play with thrown weapons. Who knew?
Sure. But at least you can always throw one. And sometimes you can start with one in your hand and then draw a second on your turn so for some portion you can throw more than one.

Also, nobody is going to carry 20 of them (40 lbs, which appears reasonable). I would guess that people are also ignoring tracking ammunition? We sure do.
You don't need 20 of them as they are not ammunition and therefore do not easily break once used. Paladins can start with 5, and the uncommon magic quiver can carry 18, so it's not unreasonable to have enough to last your typical combat length.
 

D1Tremere

Villager
Isn't this the point where team work and role play are supposed to me emphasized? If I am playing a wizard, I would prefer to help get the melee into range with a big bad then to just DPS it. If I wanted to just DPS I would play a Warlock. The Wizard and Cleric are supporting their team (In Theory), and that means teleporting/Casting Fly/Whatever it takes to help non-casters get to where they are most effective.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
Round 1: Enter with two Javelins drawn. Throw both. Draw 1.
Round 2: Draw a second and throw 2 Javelins.
Round 3: Draw one and perform another useful action, such as assisting an ally, using an item, etc....
Round 4: Draw a second and throw both....

This isn't the hardest thing in the world to manage. Yes, just as a wizard that has used up all their slots is not as effective with their cantrips as they are with spells, your ranged attacks with a javelin are weaker than your melee strikes - which can be devastatingly powerful relative to other PCs. I watched a 12th level Fighter SOLO a beholder in one round. Tell me how a 12th level wizard can do that. It is ok if the ranged combat potential is something you'r not focused upon and it is one of the weakest combat elements out there.
 

Mistwell

Hero
This is 5E. Failure isn't on the table. The only difference is whether the barbarian gets to participate, or whether they go play Mario Kart for an hour.
Again with this canard. Is this a conversation, or you just sitting back crossing your arms and declaring the sky is green?

Explain why a barbarian throwing 1-2 javelins (@jgsugden just detailed how you can throw 6 of them in 4 rounds and help someone else) up to 120' is "not participating" for example.

As a side note, the Dual Wielder feat would allow you to throw 2-4 of them per round as it's third benefit reads, "You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one." Alternatively a 3rd level rogue (thief) with Fast Hands can draw two as a bonus action (in addition to the one you can draw normally).

I am truly trying to understand how "not as effective as you'd be in melee" is the same as "not participating at all" to you. We all understand you're not as effective as you'd be in melee, but there is a vast sea of difference between that and "not participating at all".
 
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Saelorn

Adventurer
Explain why a barbarian throwing 1-2 javelins up to 120' is "not participating" for example.
Because making one attack roll, with Disadvantage, where success deals a trivial amount of damage, is not engaging for the player. Even in the unlikely event that you hit, ~8 damage is a tiny sum, compared to the vast HP reserves of a high-level boss and the 20-30 damage that everyone else is dealing. If the boss dies in three rounds, whether or not you take your actions, then your actions were literally meaningless.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Because making one attack roll, with Disadvantage, where success deals a trivial amount of damage, is not engaging for the player. Even in the unlikely event that you hit, ~8 damage is a tiny sum, compared to the vast HP reserves of a high-level boss and the 20-30 damage that everyone else is dealing. If the boss dies in three rounds, whether or not you take your actions, then your actions were literally meaningless.
First of all, you're usually throwing two (and definitely if you have the feat or Fast Hands). Second, it's definitely not a trivial amount of damage as it's almost the same amount of damage you'd deal in melee since you still add your strength to the damage roll as normal (it's the same as a short sword or scimitar - except thrown). Third, so now this is only applicable in your mind to boss battles, and only if that boss battle is always beyond 30'?

This is becoming silly. I wish you'd articulate your objection in a more straight manner than the whack-a-mole style of argumentation you're adopting here. Is it that you want them to do as much damage as they'd do in melee? What is your objection aside from the canard of "playing mario cart instead"? Let's have it straight, without the exagerations.
 
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Bacon Bits

Explorer
Sure. But at least you can always throw one. And sometimes you can start with one in your hand and then draw a second on your turn so for some portion you can throw more than one.
To be clear, that wasn't meant to be disparaging of you, it was meant to be disparaging of the rule. I don't understand the reason the limit exists. What abuse are we closing, and how often does it actually happen? Shouldn't the rules just distinguish between what's readily available and what isn't?

You don't need 20 of them as they are not ammunition and therefore do not easily break once used. Paladins can start with 5, and the uncommon magic quiver can carry 18, so it's not unreasonable to have enough to last your typical combat length.
No, but you're not always in a position to go and retrieve the weapons. OP's scenario involved a lake of lava. Presumably that would make retrieval of javelins a bit complicated. Even in the open wilderness, you may end up with javelins all over the place in several directions if you're battling and flying enemy.
 

Mistwell

Hero
To be clear, that wasn't meant to be disparaging of you, it was meant to be disparaging of the rule. I don't understand the reason the limit exists. What abuse are we closing, and how often does it actually happen? Shouldn't the rules just distinguish between what's readily available and what isn't?



No, but you're not always in a position to go and retrieve the weapons. OP's scenario involved a lake of lava. Presumably that would make retrieval of javelins a bit complicated. Even in the open wilderness, you may end up with javelins all over the place in several directions if you're battling and flying enemy.
I agree, but at levels where you're fighting dragons or Big Bads behind lava, someone in the party should have a bag of holding, portable hole, handy haversack, or Efficient Quiver by then too. Not to mention javelins are pretty common items to retrieve off of mook monsters, and easily bought in town. So far my (now 8th level) fighter has never run out of javelins, and he dumped Dex and uses javelins for ranged attacks when needed.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Round 1: Enter with two Javelins drawn. Throw both. Draw 1.
Round 2: Draw a second and throw 2 Javelins.
Round 3: Draw one and perform another useful action, such as assisting an ally, using an item, etc....
Round 4: Draw a second and throw both....

This isn't the hardest thing in the world to manage. Yes, just as a wizard that has used up all their slots is not as effective with their cantrips as they are with spells, your ranged attacks with a javelin are weaker than your melee strikes - which can be devastatingly powerful relative to other PCs. I watched a 12th level Fighter SOLO a beholder in one round. Tell me how a 12th level wizard can do that. It is ok if the ranged combat potential is something you'r not focused upon and it is one of the weakest combat elements out there.
Who walks around with two drawn javelins? Javelins are not light so you can't use two-weapon fighting without a feat. You can only help someone with an ability check, to aid in attacking you have to be within 5 ft of the target. I don't remember an encounter where that would have been useful.

If using a light weapon (hand-axes/daggers) so you could throw one with a bonus action, your range is limited to 40 ft.

So 1 attack per round, likely at disadvantage is all you're getting. Meanwhile the dex based guy is probably as good at melee and far superior at ranged using a weapon that realistically require a fair amount of strength. I don't care too much about realism in D&D and not everything needs to be balanced but this is one area I choose to not ignore an issue that I can easily fix.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
First of all, you're usually throwing two (and definitely if you have the feat or Fast Hands).
You're throwing one, unless there's a house rule to mitigate that (or you have a feat or class feature). House rules can provide good solutions to systemic problems, but that doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist.
Second, it's definitely not a trivial amount of damage as it's almost the same amount of damage you'd deal in melee since you still add your strength to the damage roll as normal (it's the same as a short sword or scimitar - except thrown).
Nobody goes into melee with a short sword and nothing to back that up. Everyone who would want to use a short sword will also have some sort of ability which increases that damage. And since you can't use Extra Attack (unlike, for example, an archer who is forced into melee), that means you're dealing less than half as much damage as anyone else.

The big issue is the combination of one attack with Disadvantage on the attack roll. If you could make two attacks, and had a reasonable chance of hitting with those, then you'd be dealing enough damage that it might actually matter. That's where the Dex-based fighter stands, even if they're specialized in melee.
Third, so now this is only applicable in your mind to boss battles, and only if that boss battle is always beyond 30'?
We're talking about the very specific situation mentioned in this thread, which is a boss battle against a boss monster that can stay at range. It might seem like a corner-case scenario, but that's what dragons are, so it's definitely worth considering.

In most other situations, the barbarian will be fine. Either it isn't a boss monster, so a javelin is still meaningful, or there will be some way to close the distance.
This is becoming silly. I wish you'd articulate your objection in a more straight manner than the whack-a-mole style of argumentation you're adopting here. Is it that you want them to do as much damage as they'd do in melee? What is your objection aside from the canard of "playing mario cart instead"? Let's have it straight, without the exagerations.
The disparity in efficacy between a specialist and a non-specialist is too great, and it gets worse as you gain levels. It's a systemic issue with Bounded Accuracy, that every relevant aspect of an enemy will always improve across levels, while only specific aspects of PCs will improve. At higher levels, the game is balanced for specialists to operate within their areas of specialization, and trying to operate outside of that zone is an exercise in futility.

As a secondary issue, Dex-based melee fighters have a much broader area of specialization than Strength-based melee fighters. They can stray further from their wheelhouse, before experiencing that drop-off. It's bad game design when players are sidelined for long periods of time, but when some character concepts are sidelined more frequently than others, then it's also un-fair. (See also: The Problem with Deckers.)
 

Mistwell

Hero
You're throwing one, unless there's a house rule to mitigate that (or you have a feat or class feature). House rules can provide good solutions to systemic problems, but that doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist.
Two. jgsugden already detailed how that is done with no house rules. Maybe you have him blocked?

Nobody goes into melee with a short sword and nothing to back that up. Everyone who would want to use a short sword will also have some sort of ability which increases that damage. And since you can't use Extra Attack (unlike, for example, an archer who is forced into melee), that means you're dealing less than half as much damage as anyone else.
My comparison to short sword is just to say the damage is not that far off. Plenty of people go into battle with a battleaxe or longsword, and they're only one point more average damage - and you're comparing to an archer, which is also just one point off. And again, jgsugden already explained how you can in fact use your extra attack with the javelin for most rounds of combat.

The big issue is the combination of one attack with Disadvantage on the attack roll. If you could make two attacks, and had a reasonable chance of hitting with those, then you'd be dealing enough damage that it might actually matter. That's where the Dex-based fighter stands, even if they're specialized in melee.
Yes disadvantage is the main difference. If you can mitigate that, great. If not, that's the drawback of ranged for you. Much like the ranged character is going to get hit more often in melee due to a lack of a shield, or doing less damage than a two handed weapon user.

We're talking about the very specific situation mentioned in this thread, which is a boss battle against a boss monster that can stay at range. It might seem like a corner-case scenario, but that's what dragons are, so it's definitely worth considering.
This thread is not just about the specific lava scenario because if it were you wouldn't be making all these generalizations about how strength based attackers are useless at range in general. Again, I wish you'd be more straight in this thread because we'd all be having a better conversation.

In most other situations, the barbarian will be fine.
Agreed, so why all the generalizations about them sucking?

As a secondary issue, Dex-based melee fighters have a much broader area of specialization than Strength-based melee fighters. They can stray further from their wheelhouse, before experiencing that drop-off. It's bad game design when players are sidelined for long periods of time, but when some character concepts are sidelined more frequently than others, then it's also un-fair. (See also: The Problem with Deckers.)
And there it is again - the claim the PC is sidelined...because they have disadvantage sometimes in the rare instance they cannot get closer or mitigate that disadvantage. WHY the exagerations Saelorn? You already know they're not sidelined and that's not what this topic comes down to, so why do you keep claiming they are, given it sure doesn't appear to be swaying opinions by mistating the situation.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
So ... if I have a setup where dragons are attacking, I should always run the dragons stupid? Lower the challenge rating because I know my melee PCs are going to be ineffective?

I run NPCs and monsters the best I can given their intelligence and goals. A dragon will almost never land to go toe-to-toe (there are exceptions to all rules of course). Why should they lower themselves to the level of earth bound worms? These are intelligent, evil opponents, many of whom have been around for centuries. They fight dirty. Breath fire, pick up boulders and drop them on the PCs, swoop down and grab the pesky ranged guy and drop them from half a mile up (being careful not to get in melee range). That's how dragons fight.
Not sure what you replied to that seemed to you to be telling you how dragons fight?

But as for your question about lowering CR - to whatever extent you make use of CR as GM a GM is well advised to take into account scenario and terrain encounter variables as they impact the estimated CR. That's covered in the DMG. If the scenario setup will leave half the party weak, that will adjust your effective challenge and should affect the estimated CR.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Two. jgsugden already detailed how that is done with no house rules.
Except that he's incorrect. Javelins are not light weapons, you can't use two weapon fighting to throw the second one as a bonus action. [EDIT: unless you have the two weapon fighting feat, of course]

In addition you had mentioned things like quiver of efficiency, but that has no impact on the object interaction rules, it's still only 1 per turn. Unless you're pulling arrows because ummm ... reasons.
 
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Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
Except that he's incorrect. Javelins are not light weapons, you can't use two weapon fighting to throw the second one as a bonus action. [EDIT: unless you have the two weapon fighting feat, of course]
He is correct in the example that is being discussed: of the character with multiple attacks. The character is not throwing a second javelin as a bonus action, they are throwing it as part of their Attack action.

No two-weapon fighting required.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
Two. jgsugden already detailed how that is done with no house rules. Maybe you have him blocked?
One. The process detailed only applies when you know the situation you're going into, because it requires a round of preparation, and even then it only holds for two rounds. There's not necessarily a "useful action" that you can provide on turn three, and even if there is, it probably takes your free item interaction for the round.

If you did know the situation you'd be getting into, and you choose to move forward anyway, then you may well decide to go with the longbow. With twice the rate-of-fire and no Disadvantage on the attack roll, your chance of hitting is substantially increased.
Yes disadvantage is the main difference. If you can mitigate that, great. If not, that's the drawback of ranged for you. Much like the ranged character is going to get hit more often in melee due to a lack of a shield, or doing less damage than a two handed weapon user.
The main drawback is that you don't get to use your cool sword, or any of your feats or class features which specifically work in melee combat. Disadvantage on the attack roll is more like adding insult to injury. The ranged character may have -2 AC against melee attacks, but at least they can still fight back.
This thread is not just about the specific lava scenario because if it were you wouldn't be making all these generalizations about how strength based attackers are useless at range in general. Again, I wish you'd be more straight in this thread because we'd all be having a better conversation.
It's not just about that scenario, but it is primarily about that scenario, or other similar ones. Those are the situations where it matters that the barbarian can't fight at range. If there's no lava, and the barbarian can just run over there, then ranged combat ability becomes irrelevant. If it's not a boss fight, then it will be over quickly anyway, and it doesn't matter how little they contributed.

If you claim that they aren't bad at range, because they can easily get into melee, or because the fight will be over quickly, then that does nothing to change the fact that they're bad at range; and sometimes - often in the most important and climactic fights of the campaign - they will be forced to fight at range. No matter how much you try to re-frame the conditions of the argument so that they seem irrelevant, that doesn't change the reality of the situation when those conditions are in effect.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
Yes, unprepared folks tend to be less efficient, so if you are surprised by a foe that attacks at a range, you're at an even weaker position. If you scout the enemy and are prepared for them, a 5th level (or higher) strength fighter can launch 2 javs per turn for 3 of 4 rounds at the start of combat.

All of these specifics are pointless to argue over:

A primarily melee PC is INTENDED to be weaker at range, and is attacking at low efficiency when doing so. Like a spellcaster with cantrips, you're not going to shine as a star, but you are contributing some. You don't need to have more because every class has weaknesses - and this is yours.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
He is correct in the example that is being discussed: of the character with multiple attacks. The character is not throwing a second javelin as a bonus action, they are throwing it as part of their Attack action.

No two-weapon fighting required.
Ah, I misread. Apologies. But as [MENTION=6775031]Saelorn[/MENTION] pointed out it assumes you know you're going into a particular type of combat and doesn't make a difference after the second round.
 

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