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In many campaigns, the sling is a second-class weapon. It might be used as a backup ranged weapon, carried by characters for use only if the situation calls for it. Indeed, all base classes except the wizard are proficient in its use. But how many times is a sling actually used in such a game? Bows and crossbows overshadow the sling due to their greater damage potential and range increments, and faster reload times (using Rapid Reload for crossbows), and their higher cost is not a challenge for successful adventurers.
Slings are largely misunderstood from a historical perspective. They have had widespread use in many armies at different points in time. They were cheap to produce and a conscript could be trained in their use in minimal time. The ammunition was also inexpensive, and often stocked by the thousands. Slings are generally seen as a peasant's weapon, though a halfling PC might use one in order to benefit from his racial bonus in its use.
When wielded by a master, a sling can be deadly. Contrary to popular images, when properly used a sling is not swung around many times before being released. All that is needed is a single, powerful swing before loosing the ammunition. An overhand motion is used at close ranges, while an underhand motion is generally used for long-distance shots. A master slinger is able to fire his shot and reload the sling with his free hand in a single, fluid motion, allowing a rapid rate of fire.
To qualify to become a slinger, a character must fulfill the following criteria.
Base Attack Bonus: +4.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (sling).
Special: A halfling can become a slinger without meeting the Weapon Focus (sling) requirement.
Hit Die: d8.
Class Skills: The slinger’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Ride (Dex) and Swim (Str).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
|Level||Base Attack||Fort Save||Ref Save||Wil Save||Special|
|1st||+0||+0||+2 +||0||Free-hand reload, sling bonus +2|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+0||Far Shot, melee strike, quick sling|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+1||Sling bonus +3, sneak attack +1d6|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Improved Critical, Improved Far Shot|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+1||Sling bonus +4, sneak attack +2d6|
Weapon and Armour Proficiency: A slinger gains no proficiency in any weapon or armour.
Free-Hand Reload (Ex): At 1st level, a slinger can reload a sling as a fee action. He cannot be holding anything in his free hand (including a shield), because he needs this hand to reload the sling. Normally reloading a sling is a move action. This ability therefore allows a slinger to move and attack with his sling in the same round, and also allows him to take advantage of his iterative attacks when using the full attack option at higher levels.
Sling Bonus: At 1st level, a slinger gains a +2 bonus on all attack rolls when using a sling. At 3rd level, this
bonus increases to +3, and at 5th level, this bonus increases to +4.
Far Shot: At 2nd level, a slinger gains the benefit of the Far Shot feat when using a sling; its range increment in increased by 50% (that is, the range increment increases to 75 feet). If the character already has the Far Shot feat, he gains no additional benefit from this ability.
Melee Strike: Starting at 2nd level, a slinger can use a loaded sling as a melee weapon. He uses his melee attack bonus (including Strength modifier), and the sling deals the same damage as when it's used as a ranged weapon.
Quick Sling (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a slinger does not provoke attacks of opportunity when attacking with a sling.
Sneak Attack: At 3rd level, a slinger gains the ability to cause extra damage by making a sneak attack. It applies to melee attacks made with a sling, and ranged attacks when the target is within 30 feet of the slinger. This additional damage is 1d6 starting at 3rd level, and 2d6 at 5th level. Otherwise this ability follows the rules for the rogue ability of the same name.
If the slinger has sneak attack damage from another source (such as rogue levels), it stacks with the sneak attack damage stacks he gains from his slinger levels.
Improved Critical: At 4th level, a slinger gains the benefit of the Improved Critical feat when using a sling. If the character already has Improved Critical (sling), the benefit from this ability stacks.
Improved Far Shot: At 4th level, a slinger's range increment when using a sling in double the normal range increment (100 feet).