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Pathfinder - Practical Guide to Slings and Sling Staves


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I've never seen a sling used on an ongoing basis. Occasionally a character might pick one up and use it for lack of any other weapon, but most players never consider slings as a permanent fixture in their arsenal. I think that this is a mistake.

Slings have many wonderful features. They're certainly not as cool as bows, and they have a certain association with poor Commoners, but a player clever enough to give them a look will find a truly wonderful weapon.

Why are Slings Great?

Why are Slings Bad?

Slings vs. Sling Staves

Ultimate Equipment introduced the Sling Staff, an exotic weapon that's basically a sling at the end of a stick. It has many of the benefits of slings, but there are some trade-offs.

The first issue with the Sling Staff is that it's an exotic weapon. Few exotic weapons are worth the feat to gain proficiency, but if you're building to use slings the Sling Staff is at least worth considering. The sling staff double's the sling's damage die size, increases crits to 20/x3, and increases range from 50 feet to 80 feet. This is massively better than what most exotic weapons offer over their simple or martial counterparts (compare a longsword to a bastard sword). On top of all of that, you can use it as a club! This means that you can switch from ranged combat to melee combat with ease, you can make attacks of opportunity and you can make full attacks and easily transition from clubbing to shooting. On top of all this, halflings get to treat Sling Staves as martial weapons!

However, there is an opportunity cost for using a sling staff: the Prone Slinger and Sling Flail feats don't work with Sling Staves. If you plan to use Sling Flail, skip the Sling Staff. Otherwise, the Sling Staff is a clear improvement over the sling.


Example Build - Halfling Sling Fighter

It shoots bullets!

This is a fairly straightforward build to maximize your damage output with slings. It doesn't rely on a lot of fancy gimicks, though it will take a class dip into Witch. I'm going to focus on ranged combat, so we'll look past Sling Flail and its potential with combat maneuvers.

The order in which you choose feats is somewhat arbitrary. Beyond Point-Blank Shot there aren't many prerequisites, so you're free to choose which feats fit for your party's needs. You might choose to take Precise Shot earlier than I do if you find that your allies are getting in the way by fighting in melee.

I'll list our expected full attack output by level in the table below, but keep in mind that it won't include a lot of conditional bonuses: point-blank shot, magic weapons, buffs, improvements to your Strength from spells or items, etc.. This is a build about getting a ton of sling attacks, so things like damage properties added to your weapons and enhancement bonuses to your ability scores are very powerful.


Maximize Dexterity, and balance your remaining points between Strength and Consitution. Make sure to take at least 11 Intelligence (12 is better) so that you can get some use out of your Witch spellcasting. I'll assume that you're starting with 20 Dexterity and 12 Strength.


Halflings are an obvious choice for a sling build. Access to Sling Staves as martial weapons saves us a feat, but the bonus to Dexterity and the size bonus to attacks will improve our attack rolls. The penalty to Strength is annoying, but not too much of a problem. Humans could also work in this build, using their bonus feat for Exotic Weapon Proficiency, but I thought halfling would be more fun and thematic.


Fighter is the core of the build. Vanilla Fighter works great for our purposes. Armor Training will help you to capitalize on your high Dexterity to boost your AC, and Weapon Training will provided useful bonuses to attack and damage. For this build I'll avoid an archetype, but you might consider the Mutation Warrior archetype to boost your ability scores. Two-Weapon Warrior is also worth consideration, but I don't recommend it. We'll be picking up two-weapon fighting relatively late in the build, so you'll be extremely ineffective at low levels.

We'll be making a single-level dip in Witch to pick up Prehensile Hair. You'll need to choose a patron and consider an archetype, but with only one class level your spellcasting is going to be extremely minimal. The Healing Patron combined with the Hedge Witch archetype lets you spontaneously cast Cure spells, which can be useful. Portents is good for Ill Omen, which doesn't allow a save. Stars is good for Faerie Fire, which may be your only way to expose invisible creatures. Strength gets you access to Divine Favor, but your caster level will never be high enough to give you more than a +1 bonus.


Skills don't really matter for this guide since skills and sling don't interact.


Traits don't really matter for this guide since skills and sling don't interact.


Level Feat(s) and Features Notes and Tactics
1 - Fighter 1
  • Feat: Point-Blank Shot
  • Bonus Feat: Rapid Shot

I like Rapid Shot over Deadly Aim at first level. If you start with 20 Dexterity, a single attack is +7 to hit (Dex, BAB, size). That's good, but nowhere near a guarantee. Rapid Shot makes it more likely that you'll hit simply because you're rolling a second time.

Full Attack: +5/+5 1d6+1

2 - Fighter 2
  • Bonus Feat: Deadly Aim
  • bravery +1

Now that you can reliably hit at least once per round, Deadly Aim is a better investment. You could go for Weapon Focus instead, but I think you probably want a damage boost as soon as possible, and you won't get Weapon Specialization until at least 4th level no matter what.

Full Attack: +5/+5 1d6+3

3 - Fighter 3
  • Feat: Weapon Focus (Sling Staff)
  • Armor Training 1

Not a very exciting level, but you get some nice numerical boosts. I haven't discussed armor for this build because it's not central to the sling theme, but I recommend Chain Shirt, Kikko, or Tatami-do. You'll want to get Mithral because this is a high-dexterity build, so your choice of armor largely comes down to cost/benefit. Kikko will get you one more AC than Chain Shirt, and Tatami-do will get you another, but Mithral gets very expensive very quickly, so you might choose to spend that money elsewhere on other AC boosts with a lower price point.

Full Attack: +7/+7 1d6+3

4 - Fighter 4
  • Ability Score Increase
  • Bonus Feat: Weapon Specialization (Sling Staff)

Finally another damage boost! Weapon Specialization gives us +2, and Deadly Aim moves up a step.

Full Attack: +7/+7 1d6+7

5 - Fighter 5
  • Feat: Precise Shot
  • Weapon training 1 (Thrown)

The "Thrown" weapon group includes slings, halfling sling staves, and clubs, so no matter how you use your sling staff you get the bonus.

Full Attack: +9/+9 1d6+8

6 - Fighter 6
  • Bonus Feat: Two-Weapon Fighting
  • Bravery +2

You might choose to swap this level with the Witch class dip, but you won't be able to get Two-Weapon Fighting until 7th level so I don't recommend it. Unfortunately two-weapon fighting won't do us any good at this level since we can't reload.

Full Attack: +10/+10/+5 1d6+8

7 - Witch 1
  • Feat: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
  • Cantrips
  • Hex: Prehensile Hair
  • Witch's Familiar

Prehensile Hair solves our reloading problem, and we go straight to Improved Two-Weapon Fighting. Unfortunately Witch won't advance your BAB, but you get an impressive 5 attacks! You also get some spellcasting, but that's not really important for the build.

Full Attack: +6/+6/+6/+1/+1 1d6+8

8 - Fighter 7
  • Ability Score Increase
  • Armor training 2

Delaying Fighter by one level means that now you're going to get two feats every two levels instead of one feat every level.

Full Attack: +7/+7/+7/+2/+2 1d6+8


Delaying Fighter by one level means that now you're going to get two feats every two levels instead of one feat every level. It also delays your BAB advancement, which is slightly annoying, but the extra attacks from Two-Weapon Fighting will make up for the attacks delayed by your BAB falling behind, and it will make up for the damage output from Deadly Aim.

At this point, the build is really simple. Keep taking fighter levels and keep taking the Weapon Focus/Specialization chain and Two-Weapon Fighting chain (You might even take Two-Weapon Rend even though it makes no sense to rend with bullets at range). You'll have a lot of open feats, so consider options like Improved Critical to capitalize on your massive number of extra attacks.