Is the Halfling Sling Staff worth an Ancestry Feat?


Advice


On another thread y'all helped me build a halfling ranger. Something that appealed to me about it was using the sling staff. I just like the cosmetic look and feel of the thing. But it has me wondering. Is the halfling sling staff actually worth spending an ancestry feat, especially for someone who gets martial weapon proficiency anyway?

As you consider these things, think about action economy, limited feat supply, and opportunity costs.

Compare:
A composite longbow does 1 less average damage per die, has +20 range, is deadly d10, but volley 30, and perhaps most importantly has reload 0.
A composite shortbow does 2 less damage per die, has -20 range, is still deadly d10, and can be used effectively within 30' and on a mount.

Is it worth spending an ancestry feat just to get a little extra damage and a better crit effect (stun)? Especially since it also has reload 1 and isn't deadly d10 (which makes up for the crit difference)? Reload 1 is a huge cost, considering action economy. One could take Running Reload, but that's just using more precious feats to counteract a poor initial selection, a significant opportunity cost.

I don't think so, which is sad. :(

Maybe let the "staff" portion be used as a light mace? Maybe let rangers use Crossbow Ace with any reload weapon? Is there some other cool idea within balance? Maybe slings and sling staffs should be reload 0? This last idea makes a lot of sense if you've ever actually fired a bow, sling, and crossbow, as a crossbow is significantly slower to load than a sling or sling staff, which in case you didn't know, don't need to be whirled around to fire.

If you agree, how would you change it? If not, what am I missing? Maybe there is something about proficiency or feat economy that I'm missing?

Help!


If you are referring to halfling weapon familiarity - the weapon familiarity feats are mostly for classes that don't normally have martial weapon proficiency - it lets you have a cleric or wizard or druid who can still use their ancestries traditional weapons.

A ranger is already trained in all martial weapons, so they don't need weapon familiarity feats to use a slingstaff, and they get the critical specialization effect from weapon expertise without having to spend feats.

So the only really cost from using a halfling slingstaff is the increased difficulty in getting an uncommon weapon (which likely isn't an issue if you are a halfling) and a slight cost difference.

The slingstaff also gets access to an ancestry feat which increases the damage die size for it against large creatures, which as far as ancestry feats go is very good (it also is the only ranged weapon with a d10 damage die, which with this feat is a d12 against large enemies).

Its actually a pretty fantastic weapon overall, especially when you consider multi-attack penalties making having an extra attack (from not having reload) being not quite as good as a bigger, better attack.


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The sling staff is decent because it does give you that good first damage, though not worth a feat, no. Having to reload dampens its value, though a Ranger w/ Running Reload can overcome that. If your GM lets it qualify as a staff too (since the description calls it a staff), then it's nice having one weapon that's both melee & ranged (although only fair in melee, and not finesse so an iffy weapon for most Halflings).

Titan Slinger, the feat that increases the damage of slings vs. larger foes, does not actually work with a sling staff, a different weapon.
They both fall into the sling group, but unless Paizo clarifies (or your GM allows) the feat applies only to slings, not the sling group.
This was a common error in PF1 as well, with lots of sling feats, few if any which worked with the sling staff. So scout first on these.

Thematically though, it is cool, and it's not a trap to wield one.


Yeah, for me the answer is "no". I was looking into building a Running Reload Ranger and considered the feat, but the fact is Crossbow is just kinda better... as it benefits from Crossbow Ace. It's okay with Running Reload, but unless it's important to your character concept, it's really not worth going.


IMO, what makes it worth using is that it frees up your first level feat as a Ranger, and if you're a fling, consider an animal companion, and maybe one you can ride (available at level 6).

Currently one of my NPC's is a dino riding fling. (My important NPC's are built like PC's)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

IMO, it depends on how important you think critical specialization effects are.

Granted, this takes two ancestry feats (Halfling Weapon Familiarity and Halfling Weapon Trickster; you can pick up another 1st level ancestry feat with Ancestral Paragon), but a ranger only gains "critical specialization effects of all simple and martial weapons when attacking your hunted prey." (emphasis mine) Halfling Weapon Trickster, on the other hand, grants the critical specialization effects vs. any target when "using a shortsword, a sling, or a halfling weapon."

A halfling ranger with maximum Dex that also invests in Str should expect to force fairly frequent saving throws vs. stunned 1 (to reduce the number of actions an enemy can take). However, you may not want to spend an action on Hunt Prey every time you switch targets.


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I interpreted the titan slinger feat as referring to the weapon group, though I could see it being the other way.

As for the hunt prey thing - rangers generally only get crit spec when they hunt prey for all weapons, so you are no more better of using a bow than a sling when it comes to crit specs, so weapon familiarity feats are the same investment either way (one that I don't think is worth it for a ranger of any ancestry, as as a ranger I would probably be hunting prey most of the time, as with the precision hunters edge, the extra damage on your first hit is a lot more reliable than trying to hit a second time by not using the hunt prey action).

Until you get running reload, it does make it a choice between hunt prey and moving however, which is a difficult tradeoff to make.


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I'm kind of surprised the sling stick requires 2 hands not 1+ hands..

if it was 1+ hands I could see uses.. but 2 handed its a hard sell for fair few classes

I feel l ike it should let you use it as a staff though. Because it calls out "staff" in its name, as opposed to "rod" or "stick" or any other descriptor


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Zwordsman wrote:

I'm kind of surprised the sling stick requires 2 hands not 1+ hands..

if it was 1+ hands I could see uses.. but 2 handed its a hard sell for fair few classes

I feel l ike it should let you use it as a staff though. Because it calls out "staff" in its name, as opposed to "rod" or "stick" or any other descriptor

The old PF1 one worked as a club and is said to be "a specially designed sling attached to a short club" and not a 2 handed staff. I too am surprised at 2 hands as the old one also says "You can fire, but not load, a halfling sling staff with one hand".

It seems odd that it lost both aspects in the change over...


Agreed, it being 1+ hands and having the stats of a staff otherwise (which would allow two-handed) would make it a more interesting weapon choice for me. Otherwise, it kinda seems on par with crossbows. The propulsive, especially for halflings, seems more like a penalty than a bonus...


Good clarification on feat usage. That does make it slightly better, but again, not as nice as a crossbow or bow most of the time because of other effects. The "deadly" on the bow makes it usually better for crits anyway. Needing to spend a feat on "running reload" is a bummer, as bow-rangers can spend a feat doing something else (including animal companion, etc).

I think I'd find it more appealing if it could be used as a light-mace, or let crossbow ace work with any reload weapon. If we house-ruled that, would you see it as still essentially balanced?


Heh, so the way Crossbow Ace is worded, even if it said "any reload weapon" it wouldn't be as good with sling staff, as it still says "simple crossbows". Sling Staff is not a simple weapon, so you'd get the +2 circumstance to damage, but not the increased weapon damage die.


tivadar27 wrote:
Heh, so the way Crossbow Ace is worded, even if it said "any reload weapon" it wouldn't be as good with sling staff, as it still says "simple crossbows". Sling Staff is not a simple weapon, so you'd get the +2 circumstance to damage, but not the increased weapon damage die.

Wouldn't taking the ancestry feat make you treat the sling staff as simple?

As to it still saying "simple crossbows" I think if it were to be allowed to work on any reload weapon, you could simply remove that qualification. There are only 3 non-crossbow reload 1 weapons: Blowgun (1 dmg), sling (1d6 dmg), and sling-staff (1d10 dmg).


When I try to imagine a sling on a staff in my head I have a lot of difficulty picturing using it one-handed, even if the staff was just the length of a baton.

I feel like putting a one handed sling on a stick would just be more awkward to use one handed without really giving any real benefit? But I can picture it being useful two handed as then maybe you can propel a bigger bullet than you could with a one handed sling.


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Tender Tendrils wrote:

When I try to imagine a sling on a staff in my head I have a lot of difficulty picturing using it one-handed, even if the staff was just the length of a baton.

I feel like putting a one handed sling on a stick would just be more awkward to use one handed without really giving any real benefit? But I can picture it being useful two handed as then maybe you can propel a bigger bullet than you could with a one handed sling.

People are suggesting 1+ hands, indicating you could hold it in one hand but when loading/firing, would require 2 hands. This seems perfectly fine for a weapon that's designed like a staff (which is also one-handed).


Yep.

visually its just like shepards staff, (slightly shorter than a normal one, slightly longer than a walking cane), that has a Y crook. both to hold when walking (depending on what you need when walking), and to serve as the Y shape in the sling shot.
So basically visualize the 90's cartoon's crutches, the deep Y that goes under the arm pit is the Y that fires the slings (ala s ling shot in my visuals), while the main stick portion is the staff.

So when firing you hold it just under the Y (the 1 hand), and pull the sling /draw ammo with the + extra hand.
which you could smack with the 1 hand, or apply both hands for full double handed staff.

I personally enjoy the idea that its a Sling Shot kind of sling, but it would work with centripical force as well.

1+ and usable as Staff would make it quite a fair weapon


The art I have seen depicts sling staffs as being a staff with a conventional sling on the end, as opposed to the more comical giant slingshot you describe. Personally I prefer the former, as it feels more elegant and I can picture it being used a lot better, and realistically a slingshot made with pre-modern materials can't really achieve enough force to be lethal.

example

Edit: which on further googling, turns out to be an actual weapon the Romans used which follows the design I originally assumed


Yes, its a real historical weapon. And it definitely required two hands to use. But it's no different from a longbow in this regard, which is also 1+. I think the idea of 2 hand items is that you can't use the other hand to do anything, even when carrying it? That seems a bit unrealistic and harsh.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As with other 2-handed weapons, you should be able to release one hand and still carry it in the other, but you'd have to spend an action to regrip before using it to fire. In addition to the relaod action.

And yes, you should be able to use it as a staff in melee combat. Even if the description doesn't come out and say so, it's still physically a staff. Common sense would allow you to smack someone with it, either one-handed or two-handed like a normal staff.

The CRB description of a Y-shaped staff is b%~#%%&s. Pity nobody caught that before publication.


Tender Tendrils wrote:

The art I have seen depicts sling staffs as being a staff with a conventional sling on the end, as opposed to the more comical giant slingshot you describe. Personally I prefer the former, as it feels more elegant and I can picture it being used a lot better, and realistically a slingshot made with pre-modern materials can't really achieve enough force to be lethal.

example

Edit: which on further googling, turns out to be an actual weapon the Romans used which follows the design I originally assumed

Ah the weapon I was trying to describe is this. Except where the two leather straps are attached, that portion is the Y/U shape. the rest is normal stick.

This was actually a sold item up in Alaska, I don't know if its just based off of that original one and just modified when stretchy material became a thing. It was just a walkin stick with a Squirrel sling shot. Worked fairly well with ball bearing ammo.

Pathfinder also has elastic materials both sortas via alchemy.
So think either design works pretty great IMO depending on materials and visuals. And either can certainly kill if strong enough,d epending on ammo as well.


The problem with the slingshot design is that it's force would be dependent largely on the strength of the elastic and the strength of the person pulling it, which doesn't sound halfling-ish. The real staff-sling from history used technique and leverage to create velocity and force.

Dark Archive

Tbh, I've always kind of pictured this as more of a lacrosse stick, though I've seen some vids on Youtube using the classic cords & cup attached to a stick for increased leverage.

My halfling ranger makes use of the reload limitation with the Ranger's Precision option for more of a move-n-shoot style, rather than picking a spot followed by shoot-shoot-shoot.


Either form would work fine. With the alchemical elastic. I'd just envisioned like in the movie .... I think it was Willow? Or a movie similiar in the same 90's time period
Where the hold the sling, slide the stick onto the ground/ braced on the leg, lean onto the stick to "draw " it allowing for a lot of insant strength (Because you're just keeping your arm extended instead of arm strength-your arm/holding it out while your body pushes the stick thats braced on your leg/foot crook--so most of the strength is full body kenetic strength that causes the action action). Though aiming that is wonky. But it was rather neat.

So I'm pretty in the camp of all the fluffs-whichever is cooler.
In game description it is more like the lacross one I think though


Styrix wrote:

On another thread y'all helped me build a halfling ranger. Something that appealed to me about it was using the sling staff. I just like the cosmetic look and feel of the thing. But it has me wondering. Is the halfling sling staff actually worth spending an ancestry feat, especially for someone who gets martial weapon proficiency anyway?

As you consider these things, think about action economy, limited feat supply, and opportunity costs.

Compare:
A composite longbow does 1 less average damage per die, has +20 range, is deadly d10, but volley 30, and perhaps most importantly has reload 0.
A composite shortbow does 2 less damage per die, has -20 range, is still deadly d10, and can be used effectively within 30' and on a mount.

Is it worth spending an ancestry feat just to get a little extra damage and a better crit effect (stun)? Especially since it also has reload 1 and isn't deadly d10 (which makes up for the crit difference)? Reload 1 is a huge cost, considering action economy. One could take Running Reload, but that's just using more precious feats to counteract a poor initial selection, a significant opportunity cost.

I don't think so, which is sad. :(

Maybe let the "staff" portion be used as a light mace? Maybe let rangers use Crossbow Ace with any reload weapon? Is there some other cool idea within balance? Maybe slings and sling staffs should be reload 0? This last idea makes a lot of sense if you've ever actually fired a bow, sling, and crossbow, as a crossbow is significantly slower to load than a sling or sling staff, which in case you didn't know, don't need to be whirled around to fire.

If you agree, how would you change it? If not, what am I missing? Maybe there is something about proficiency or feat economy that I'm missing?

Help!

I am came to the same sort of conclusion when I was helping build that character. That while you can certainly build a sling staff character, far and away the character would be better if you simply built it with a reload 0 weapon like a long bow. Assuming you start with proficiency in short bows or long bows there's very little reason that you would want a sling staff.


I think the Halfling Weapon Familiarity makes sense IMO as it also gives you access to the Uncommon Halfling Weapons... without the feat you can't have access to those weapons.

I like the 80ft range... with Point-Blank Shot you get +2 dmg up to 80 ft... not bad... then it's propulsive, so half your STR bonus, +2 for PBS... so what if you have to load, the thing is 1d10.

Overall, like! :)


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The problem is that reload 1 locks you out of hunter's flurry and hunted shot. The fact that you only make 3 attacks per 2 rounds and your other actions are spent reloading vs 4 attacks in 2 rounds with 2 extra actions (1 each round) means the bow wins hands down. The slight damage bonus just doesn't make up for it. Purely on action economy it loses.


I'm not convinced the bow wins. Bows now have a -2 penalty within 30 feet unless you take PBS to cancel it. The second attack from your bow is at -5 (-7 if you count the volley penalty); the third attack is at -10 (-12 with the volley garbage).

So, lining up one good shot is now better in my opinion, and has the benefit of speeding up the game...


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Halfing (or i guess human-trick) who are a class without martial weapons, its pretty fair. (Better still if its also Staff weapon usage).

In a full martial class with the innately smoother weapons+ the combat feats to follow up. It loses pretty hard.

I'm personally of the camp the biggest issue is still 2handed, instead of 1+handed. If it was 1+ then it would open up for various classes that aren't martial but also tend to value having an open hand. (Halfling Alch's would rather enjoy them if it was 1+)


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GM PDK wrote:

I'm not convinced the bow wins. Bows now have a -2 penalty within 30 feet unless you take PBS to cancel it. The second attack from your bow is at -5 (-7 if you count the volley penalty); the third attack is at -10 (-12 with the volley garbage).

So, lining up one good shot is now better in my opinion, and has the benefit of speeding up the game...

That's only the longbow. Short bows also exist if you think you're going to regularly within 30ft of your target. Short bow vs sling staff is 2 point of damage on average, but the extra damage you get from additional successful attacks will more than cancel that out.

Plus with Hunter's Flurry and Hunted Shot you can (semi-reliably) spend two actions to make 3 attacks and still command an animal companion.

In order for the sling staff to keep up on damage they need to spend all their actions firing and reloading.


Grr... you guys are making me reconsider my 1st level halfling feat now... hmm... still a great battle opener though, as you can safely assume one can pre-load while exploring... but yeah... I'm a bit disappointed the 1E problems seem to continue to plague halfling fighters in 2E...

Q: are there other non-core halfling resources thus far? (is there something that builds upon the halfling sling staff?)

Scarab Sages

I always thought the sling staff was used by planting one end in the ground and using both hands to pull back the sling to fire. Hence how a halfling could do that much damage. I guess that would be more of a slingshot Staff or rather haphazard personal catapult.


I think a single shot combat style can be pretty cool with the precision Edge and Running Reload. It seems worth trying in contrast to the machine gun turret style of the Archer.

The big issue for me is that the sling staff is competing with the crossbow master ace. Same damage dice, and for propulsive to overcome the +2 damage bonus you need high strength which isn't likely to be a halflings forte. But it is a decent option for casters or what have you.


My halfling fighter is STR 16 and DEX 14, and with Point-Blank Shot is at 1d10+4 or 1d10+3 dmg with halfling sling staff (depending if half STR bonus gets rounded up or down in 2E)


Bhrymm wrote:
I always thought the sling staff was used by planting one end in the ground and using both hands to pull back the sling to fire. Hence how a halfling could do that much damage. I guess that would be more of a slingshot Staff or rather haphazard personal catapult.

Sling staff IRL

Basically you makes slings much more deadly by attaching a big lever arm to it. Levers are huge force multipliers.


GM PDK wrote:
My halfling fighter is STR 16 and DEX 14, and with Point-Blank Shot is at 1d10+4 or 1d10+3 dmg with halfling sling staff (depending if half STR bonus gets rounded up or down in 2E)

You still round things down, as far as I know. At least when you consider damage bonuses, they certainly aren't going to give you extra for free.


Cool slingshot vs. staff sling comparison!


and now I also want a Slingshot 1+ hand reload 0 weapon


Captain Morgan wrote:

I think a single shot combat style can be pretty cool with the precision Edge and Running Reload. It seems worth trying in contrast to the machine gun turret style of the Archer.

The big issue for me is that the sling staff is competing with the crossbow master ace. Same damage dice, and for propulsive to overcome the +2 damage bonus you need high strength which isn't likely to be a halflings forte. But it is a decent option for casters or what have you.

I understand. I'd like to make a sniper sort of build. The equivalent of carrying a .303 or 12.7mm rifle (and of course problems when enemies are unsporting enough to get in up close and personal). Crossbow ace does look like the best way around that for now tho -- the break-even between that and propulsive is STR 18. Not that it's unattainable, but it's a little hard for most halflings to get to.

Wonder if the heavy crossbow is worth consideration or if it's still Not Worth It.


GM PDK wrote:
Cool slingshot vs. staff sling comparison!

As per the video, I think they need to errata a melee option for the sling staff... 1E could be used as a club; I now wish 2E would have a few extra words in the weapon description to say 'can be used as ###'...


GM PDK wrote:
GM PDK wrote:
Cool slingshot vs. staff sling comparison!
As per the video, I think they need to errata a melee option for the sling staff... 1E could be used as a club; I now wish 2E would have a few extra words in the weapon description to say 'can be used as ###'...

I remember asking in the 1E forum but forgot if it was ever answered, but it was: would an enchanted halfling sling staff keep its compatible magic bonuses when used as a melee weapon?


Qaianna wrote:
GM PDK wrote:
GM PDK wrote:
Cool slingshot vs. staff sling comparison!
As per the video, I think they need to errata a melee option for the sling staff... 1E could be used as a club; I now wish 2E would have a few extra words in the weapon description to say 'can be used as ###'...
I remember asking in the 1E forum but forgot if it was ever answered, but it was: would an enchanted halfling sling staff keep its compatible magic bonuses when used as a melee weapon?

Yes, IMO. A lot of these versatile weapons are not that good, so I've allowed it in my games. There were specific rules in regards to double weapons and shield spikes, for instance, but when there were no specific restrictions written INTO the weapon, I allowed magic weapons to be magic for all their 'intended' uses.


That the sling staff shown in that video makes a sound reminiscent of a gunshot when it hits plywood is terrifying.


Qaianna wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

I think a single shot combat style can be pretty cool with the precision Edge and Running Reload. It seems worth trying in contrast to the machine gun turret style of the Archer.

The big issue for me is that the sling staff is competing with the crossbow master ace. Same damage dice, and for propulsive to overcome the +2 damage bonus you need high strength which isn't likely to be a halflings forte. But it is a decent option for casters or what have you.

I understand. I'd like to make a sniper sort of build. The equivalent of carrying a .303 or 12.7mm rifle (and of course problems when enemies are unsporting enough to get in up close and personal). Crossbow ace does look like the best way around that for now tho -- the break-even between that and propulsive is STR 18. Not that it's unattainable, but it's a little hard for most halflings to get to.

Wonder if the heavy crossbow is worth consideration or if it's still Not Worth It.

Halfling stealth options are pretty good for letting you hide in melee as well, which is good for getting flat footed targets. The range a sniper can achieve in this game is pretty astounding, but you got to make sure you have something to do in close quarters because you can't rely on always being far away.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Qaianna wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

I think a single shot combat style can be pretty cool with the precision Edge and Running Reload. It seems worth trying in contrast to the machine gun turret style of the Archer.

The big issue for me is that the sling staff is competing with the crossbow master ace. Same damage dice, and for propulsive to overcome the +2 damage bonus you need high strength which isn't likely to be a halflings forte. But it is a decent option for casters or what have you.

I understand. I'd like to make a sniper sort of build. The equivalent of carrying a .303 or 12.7mm rifle (and of course problems when enemies are unsporting enough to get in up close and personal). Crossbow ace does look like the best way around that for now tho -- the break-even between that and propulsive is STR 18. Not that it's unattainable, but it's a little hard for most halflings to get to.

Wonder if the heavy crossbow is worth consideration or if it's still Not Worth It.

Halfling stealth options are pretty good for letting you hide in melee as well, which is good for getting flat footed targets. The range a sniper can achieve in this game is pretty astounding, but you got to make sure you have something to do in close quarters because you can't rely on always being far away.

Of course. Spiked gauntlet would be the simplest option of course, and worst case you can argue that the stock of your crossbow should do some decent damage (unless you have a bullpup-layout crossbow, in which case what are you doing?).

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