Topic: Darts – Question: What the Fuck Is Up With Darts?
Introductory Aside: I am not at all suggesting new table rules to the Cuthbert Campaign, I am just raising some discussion-worthy questions about game mechanics.
The AD&D Players Handbook is actually pretty fair with Damage and Range as far as Darts are concerned when indoors: Damage vs Small and Medium creatures: 1-3 and Large is 1-2
Short Range: 1.5 (15 feet); Medium Range: 2 (20 feet); Long Range 3′ (30 feet)
It is important to note that anything beyond Short Range for all weapons should instill penalties to hit at neg 1 for Medium, and Long Range at neg 2.
However Outdoors, the Range becomes yards instead of feet – so now we are talking: 45 feet for Short; 60 feet for medium; and 90 feet for Long.
These become rather improbable distances for dart throwing – and it got me to thinking -wait, why are players always throwing darts in First Edition?
We imagine our wily Magic Users throwing darts when they employ them. (I suppose a Thief might use them as well, though it is a rare thief who uses a precious weapon prof on darts instead of throwing daggers or bows – Assassins get an additional weapon prof to the Thief subclass, so I could imagine that class utilizing them.)
They do have a rather attractive triple rate of fire per round, which does indeed make them a viable combat option (for mages in particular), but it got me to thinking: Why would anyone throw a dart in combat? We are used to the idea of thrown darts, but this is purely(?) from the game of darts, not the weaponization of darts. If anyone has illuminating information on the martial use of darts, hit me the fuck up, but the only effective uses of darts in a combat or hunting setting that I am aware of entails some sort of blowgun, or a similar means where the dart becomes a projectile. (Note: not talking about poison traps and the like – thought even then there is usually some sort of spring or propulsion mechanic)
Should (in a not by-the-letter D&D setting) dart usage beyond short range necessitate a blow gun? Don’t those outdoor distance figures imply a blowgun or some means of propulsion beyond a hand toss? Are outdoor dart-users supposed to be lobbing darts up to 30 yards?
I’m not interested in fudging ranges, rate of attack, or damage- I am simply questioning the concept. What do people think? Should Dart-Tossers be carrying around blowguns? In a non by-the-letter campaign would you just nerf the outdoor distances and leave it as is? Does anyone care about Darts at all? So many questions, and only YOU can supply the answers.
Next up in my D&D Q&A: Weapon Proficiencies- Why Magic Users Can’t Use Slings, and Why Druids Can Use Machetes (Scimitars) But Not Bows and Arrows.