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Help me understand range increments and reloading crossbows


Beginner Box


Range Increments:

On the Rogue pre-gen sheet, it shows the range on the dagger as only 10 feet, yet the Cleric's sling has a range of 50 feet. On page 56 of the Hero's Handbook, under "Ranged Attack", it says the following: "The maximum range for a thrown weapon is 5 times the range increment listed in the weapon description. For example, a dagger has a range increment of 10 feet, so you can throw it a maximum of 50 feet." Okay, fair enough, that makes sense so far. However, it then says: "The max range for bows, crossbows, and slings is 10 times the range increment listed in the weapon description." Well, the sling on the cleric's sheet says range increment of 50 feet, so does that mean she can actually throw it 500 feet? If it's actually just 50 feet, why doesn't it say "5 feet" for the range increment? How are you supposed to know when to multiply and when to leave it?

Reloading Crossbows:

On page 56 of the Hero's Handbook, it says "drawing arrows, crossbow bolts, or sling bullets isn't an action at all--you can do it as part of using your standard action to attack with a bow, crossbow or sling." Then below, it says "Moving or manipulating an item is usually a move action. This includes opening or closing a door, getting something out of your backpack, reloading a light crossbow, knocking over a table or chair, and so on." So first it says drawing crossbow bolts doesn't count as an action, then it says reloading a crossbow is a move action. What is the difference between these 2 things?

Thanks!

Lantern Lodge

i would say yea 500ft but after 50ft you start taking - to hit. 500ft, 150 yards,nfl qb can toss a football 70 yeards so a small rock in a sling would go about 500ft i would think?

Sovereign Court

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The range increment is the gauge for determining the penalties to hit. Basic rule of thumb is if it is thrown the maximum range is 5x the range increment (so the dagger with a 10' range increment has a max thrown range is 50') and if it is fired (via bow, crossbow, sling, etc) the maximum range is 10x (so the sling with a 50' range increment has a max range of 500').

You take a -2 penalty for each range increment beyond the first on your rolls to hit. That dagger has the following modifiers then 0/-2/-4/-6/-8 for 10'/20'/30'/40'/50' throws. The sling has 0/-2/-4/-6/-8/-10/-12/-14/-16/-18 for modifiers for shots at targets who are 50'/100'/150'/200'/250'/300'/350'/400'/450'/500' away.

As to the second question, you can draw the ammo (i.e. - pull it out of the quiver) as part of your standard action. Reloading a light crossbow requires you to not only nock the bolt (which would be similar to nocking an arrow in a bow), but also to pull the string and latch it before nocking the bolt and aiming at your target. Hence the move action requirement for light crossbows. There are feats that reduce the reload time for crossbows, however, so that is fluid depending on the feats you take.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

For Ranged Attacks:
The range increment is a game mechanic that models how accurate a ranged weapon is.

From range 0 up until the range increment of the weapon, you don't have a range penalty to your attack roll.
For every chuck or partial chucnk of the weapon's range increment beyond that, you have a -2 penalty on your attack roll.

A dagger's range increment is 10 feet.
A sling has a range increment of 50 feet.
A light crossbow has a range increment of 80 feet.

So a dagger has no penalty up to 10 feet, a –2 penalty for up to 20 feet, –4 for up to 30 feet, and so on.
A sling has no penalty up to 50 feet, a –2 penalty for up to 100 feet, –4 for up to 150 feet, and so on.
A light crossbow has no penalty up to 80 feet, a –2 penalty for up to 160 feet, –4 for up to 240 feet, and so on.
So you can see how a weapon with a bigger range increment is more accurate than a weapon with a smaller range increment. At 50 feet range, a dagger's range penalty is –8, but a sling or light crossbow has no penalty at all.

The maximum range penalty is a game mechanic that prevents you from making impossible shots.

Say you see an orc that's 1000 feet away. According to the range increment rules, throwing a dagger at that orc would have a –198 penalty on the attack roll. BUT, because you always hit on a natural 20, in theory you could roll a 20 and still hit that orc from 1000 feet away, because the natural 20 always hits, even if your penalty is –198 or –1,000,000. Which is silly. So the game tells you that ranged weapons have a maximum range: anything farther than that range is unhittable.

For projectile-firing weapons like crossbows, bows, and slings, that maximum range is 10x the weapon's range increment. For thrown weapons like daggers, that maximum range is just 5x the weapon's range increment.

So a dagger's maximum range is 5 x 10 = 50 feet.
A sling's maximum range is 10 x 50 = 500 feet.
A light crossbow's maximum range is 10 x 80 = 800 feet.

So yes, the cleric can use her sling to hit things up to 500 feet away. The range increment rule means she'd have a –18 penalty (9 full range increments past the first one x –2 for each) on her attack roll, but there's still a chance to hit.
And the rogue can use her dagger to hit things up to 50 feet away. The range increment rule means she'd have a –8 penalty (4 full range increments past the first one x –2 for each) on her attack roll, but there's still a chance to hit.

For Reloading Crossbows:

Reloading a crossbow is a two-step process.
One, you have to grab a bolt from your quiver. This doesn't cost you an action at all, because a quiver is designed so you can easily take bolts from it.

Two, you have to pull back on the wire, lock it into place, and put the bolt in the slot so the back of it rests against the wire. For a light crossbow, this is a move action. For a heavy crossbow, this is a standard action.

So drawing a bolt isn't an action.

Reloading a light crossbow is a move action.
And reloading a heavy crossbow is a standard action.

If it helps, think of reloading the crossbow as including (for free) the act of taking a bolt from your quiver.


Thank you, everyone, for all your answers.

The Exchange

sort of off topic, but did you know irl that the maximum range of a sling is longer than a bow.


Lem the hunter wrote:
sort of off topic, but did you know irl that the maximum range of a sling is longer than a bow.

Did you know that you replied to a thread from 2012!?

Anyway, cool fact. Do you have a source to back it up?

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