Gear: Dart Throwers
When mankind loses the ability to make firearms and laser weapons, he* goes back to the technologies which served him well for over 50,000 years – flinging sticks with sharp pointy bits stuck on the end at the things he wants to kill. Throwing basic rocks, axes, spears, knives, and javelins are covered in the section on melee weapons, this section covers projectiles which use extra mechanical advantage to achieve higher speeds and penetrations than can be acquired by a good throwing arm alone.

Stone throwers are also included in this section, just to keep everything tidy.

* "He" is used in the generic and literary sense here, as the female component of mankind is also perfectly capable of raining sharp, pointy death on hapless prey and maurauding enemy tribespeople. In fact, historically they often have done so.


An atlatl is a notched stick used as extra leverage and elastic energy storage to fling slender, javelin-length darts. Treat an atlatl-flung dart as a thrown melee weapon, with a +1 RS to Speed. The listed mass and price is for the darts themselves – the throwing stick component of the atlatl masses 0.1 kg and costs $0.5. Atlatls have Spread +16, Speed = Value of [7 + Brawn/2], and maximum range of Speed×Speed×1.5.


The projectiles launched by atlatls are called darts.
  • Light Darts: Atlatl darts can be lighter than listed. This increases Speed by half a row on the Score-Value table and maximum range increases to Speed×Speed×1.5. However, Pen decreases by 1 RS.
  • Stone Points: The damage listed for darts assumes a bladed metal head. On worlds where metalworking technology has been lost and not re-invented, chipped flint and obsidian (or relic glass from the ruins) can act as a substitute, but with Pen and Sharp both reduced by ½.

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    The term "bow" is used here to refer to any contrivance used to snap a drawn string straight using a pair of limbs in order to propell a dart (called an arrow, bolt, or quarrel, depending on the details of how this occurs).

    Arrows, Bolts, and Quarrels

    Bows and crossbows are assumed to fire medium-weight broadhead arrows or quarrels, with Sharp +2 and a Blunt Wound equal to the listed Wound -1. Other kinds of arrows are also available:
    • War arrows are heavier, increasing the Pen by +1 RS but reducing Speed by half a row on the Score-Value table and maximum range decreases to Speed×Speed×1.5 (150 for Speed 10). DA doubles. Double the mass and cost.
    • Flight arrows are lighter with smaller, more aerodynamic fletching. This allows them to go faster and farther, at the expense of less hitting power and lower accuracy. Increase Speed by half a row on the Score-Value table, Spread decreases by 2, and maximum range increases to Speed×Speed×1.5 (approximately 300 for Speed 15). Pen is reduced by 1 RS. Halve the mass of the arrow.
    • Featherweight arrows are as light as flight arrows, but with normal-sized fletching for accuracy. Increase Speed by half a row on the Score-Value table, and maximum range increases to Speed×Speed×1.5 (approximately 300 for Speed 15). Pen is reduced by 1 RS. Halve the mass and DA of the arrow.
    • Blunt arrows lose two RS of Pen and one RS of Wound, and have AP +0 and Sharp +0.
    • Stone points are broadheads made out of chipped flint or obsidion. They reduce Pen and Sharp by ½ RS.
    • Target points use conical heads the width of the arrow instead of triangular cutting broadhead blades. Using a target point reduces the Wound of the arrow by 1 RS. Target points have Sharp +2 RS.
    • Flaming arrows are wrapped in oil soaked rags and set on fire. They have half the range and Spread is reduced by 2 points, but they may cause what they hit to catch fire (especially if they stick to it).
    Arrows need to be matched to the bow they are shot from. If you use an arrow made for a bow with different Minimum Strength or Size, Spread becomes 8. This does not apply to crossbows and other similar mechanical bolt-flinging devices (such as gastraphetes, arbalests, and ballistas). Compare the mass of the arrow to standard, flight, and war arrows for your bow to determine performance ... if the arrow mass lies well outside of these figures, lower Pen (for light arrows) or speed (for heavy arrows) even further.

    Self Bows

    The simplest kind of bow to make, a straight bow is formed from a single piece of wood. They are common in regressed areas, where they are used for hunting and warfare.


      Horse Bows

      Strongly recurved bows made of laminated horn, wood, and sinew, horse bows allow a longer draw from shorter limbs so that they can be better used from horseback. They require considerable time and expertise to make, and are vulnerable to delaminating in damp or wet weather.



        A bow set on a stock, with the string held at full draw with a mechanical catch.The limbs tend to be shorter than for a normal bow, requiring a higher draw weight for the same projectile energy. They use mechanical spanners to allow normal people to draw them. Large crossbows are sometimes called arbalests.

        Crossbows have two Str scores. The first is the strength needed to draw the bow unassisted. The second is the Strength needed to shoot the bow if it is already drawn and cocked. If your strength is less than that needed to draw the bow you can use a lever or pulley to draw it, but this takes a number of actions given by the value of the strength difference.



          A ballista is a torsion bow. Resembling a crossbow, with a cross piece to hold the string at full draw, it stores energy in twisted ropes, with the bow limbs as levers to torsion the ropes further when drawn, or to transfer the motion of unwinding into the bow string and ultimately the dart projectile. Ballistae are large weapons, used for seiges and assaulting ships or fortresses rather than an individual fighting bow.

          Ballistae use the same rules as crossbows for spanning the bow when your Strength is less than the first listed Str score. Often, two men can work the levers to cock the ballista faster than one could alone – ⊕ their Strength scores together to find the effective Strength of both men.



            A sling holds a stone or metal bullet in a pouch attached to a cord or thong that gives extra mechanical advantage for whirling and flinging the projectile. Like an atlatl, the flung stone or bullet is treated as a thrown weapon with +1 RS to Speed. The listed mass is for the stone or bullet, the sling pouch and cord have negligible weight. Slings have Speed = Value of [7 + Brawn/2] and maximum range of Speed×Speed×1.5.

            Sling Projectiles

            Slings are assumed to fling stones, which are generally free, and have Spread +14. Other options are:
            • Clay Bullets have a consistent, aerodynamic shape, improving accuracy. Spread increases to 16. Cost is 0.1.
            • Lead Bullets can be used if lead-smelting is a known technology. Increase Pen by 2 RS, DA by a factor of 2.5, and decrease Wound by 1 RS. Consistency of shape improves Spread to 16. Cost is 0.25.
            • Light projectiles, either stones or bullets, increase Speed by half a row on the Score-Value table and maximum range increases to Speed×Speed×1.5; DA is reduced to 34 of its original value; Pen is reduced by 1 RS; and ammunition weight is halved. Further decreases to weight reduce Pen and DA even more but leave Speed and Maximum Range unchanged.
            • Payload: Miscellaneous small objects can be flung. This may be useful when delivering vials of alchemical mixtures or grenades. Payloads significantly heavier than the standard stone will decrease Speed and Maximum Range.
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