View Full Version : What did you do to the Atlatl? seriously.

mabriss lethe
2007-07-15, 11:10 PM
OK.I was just flipping through Sandstorm and saw their entry for an Atlatl. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlatl)

What were they thinking? They basically made one of the simplest and most effective weapons ever created by humanity into a flaming waste of ink on the page. It's stats are a copy/paste for a sling that does piercing damage with a slightly better critical (X3). On top of that, it's pretty darned expensive and the numbers just don't add up right.

Let's take a look. The atlatl amunition deals damage as per a dart with longer range. It costs more, it weighs more, and you have to carry around the actual spear thrower, to boot. Let's face it. I just don't like how they handled it.

Here's my take on the Atlatl: (by no means perfect...)

Exotic weapon* Atlatl
{table]weapon|cost|damage|critical|range increment|weight|damage type
Atlalt|10gp|special|19-20/X2|50 feet|2 lbs.|Piercing[/table]

Atlatl: the atlatl is a simple, lever-like device used to enhace the range and power of a thrown spear. The butt of the spear is knocked against a spur or cup at the far end of the atlalt and the shaft is held parallel to the atlatl's flattened throwing surface. when thrown, the spurred end acts as an extention of the weilder's arm, effectively lengthening his cast, to propel the spear with greater force than normally possible with a hand thrown projectile. Any spear-like weapon with a thrown range increment may be used as ammunition for an atlatl. (this includes Darts, javelins, shortspears, spears and tridents) Instead of its usual range and damage, it has a 50 foot increment and deals damage one die type higher (see table below). However, any spear-like weapon that can normally be readied against a charge cannot use that ability while it is loaded into an atlatl. Loading an atlatl is a move action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

Atlatl amunition (for medium creatures)
{table]spear type|thrown damage| atlatl damage
Spear|1d8 |1d10

I only added the Tridnt for completeness. It seems to be the only one that doesn't really work right (since it has a 10 ft range increment, all the others are at least 20)

I'm not going to get into a physics debate on how an altatl transfers energy to it's projectile. I know how, I was just trying to say it in laymans terms, even if they aren't 100% accurate. Wanna know more about how they operate? Look it up yourself.)

2007-07-15, 11:34 PM
I like it, though I don't own sandstorm, but for its multiple uses wouldn't it be more expensive?

mabriss lethe
2007-07-15, 11:42 PM
I like it, though I don't own sandstorm, but for its multiple uses wouldn't it be more expensive?

possibly, but all it an atlatl is, when you get to the nuts and bolts, is a hooked stick. with as little woodworking knowledge as I have, I could make a functional one in a couple of hours with a pocket knife and a trip to the backyard

2007-07-15, 11:45 PM
Your Atlatl looks ok but I dislike that a javelin and a trident has the same range as a normal spear and not sure about the damage increase. If you keep the exotic proficiency, the damage increase is fine.

Personally, I'd suggest making it a simple weapon that doubles the range of a single size of thrown spear if you spent a move action loading, as I'm not sure a atlatl made for a half pound dart can throw a 6 pound spear as effectively (but then, I've been wrong before). Thus, a dart sized atlatl would basically be a 40 foot range piercing sling, which is fine with me or you could have a spear sized atlatl that deals 1d8 damage with a 40 foot range, which seems to be what you want to include. Make the atlatl cost and weigh the same as the spear it throws and require the same proficiency. I hope this keeps the atlatl different enough to not step on the crossbow's toes.

mabriss lethe
2007-07-15, 11:51 PM
I was trying to keep it as simple as possible, while still adhering, as best as I could, to the spirit of the critter. I did think about something that would just double the range of the projectile, but discarded it. As for exotic vs simple weapons. Atlatl require a lot, and I mean A LOT of skill and dedicated practice to use. Your average person can learn the basics of archery in an afternoon and at least be hitting something at least some of the time before the sun sets.

I do sort of like the multiple lengths/weights option.....hrrm

2007-07-16, 12:34 AM
I don't know, I personally think a sling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sling_(weapon)) (not a slingshot) would be just as hard to use correctly. If you think an atlatl is harder to use, consider making it a martial weapon, as I'd says its as hard to use an atlatl to hit a target at say 40 feet as to hit a target at 100 feet with a longbow. Exotic weapons usually are a bit stronger (for example, the repeating crossbow), with exotic here meaning unusual rather than foreign.

mabriss lethe
2007-07-17, 03:45 PM
From Seffbasilisk:
Dragon 331 pg 84:

Exotic Ranged Weapon
Atlatl darts: 1d6 19-20x2 80ft range piercing 4gp 2lb
Atlatl Javelins: 1d8 20x3 120ft range

nonproficient users take a -6 to attacks instead of a -4

Atlatl darts cost 5 silver and weigh 1/2 a pound
Atlatl javelins cost 1gp 5 silver and weight 1/2 a pound

Here's another place to start:

I like this one a little better. it steps up the damage but has an obscene range (but actually pretty accurate when compared to the real word version). My take on this one:

The atlatl can load any standard dart or javelin, it needs no special ammunition. When loaded with either, use the damage and range description cited above. (though it must be of the proper size category for the character.)
A character may also load an atlatl with any other throwable spear-like weapon. In such cases, the character takes a -4 penalty on attack rolls, cumulative with the standard -4 penalty for nonproficiency, should he not be proficient with the atlatl. Additionally, when using nonstandard ammunition in an atlatl, it's range increment is as the base weapon +20 feet.

If there's any argument about the range, I'd have no problem dummying it down It's accurate, but that doesn't mean fair in a game.