Ranged Weapons

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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

Ranged Weapons is a skill that governs launchers, weapons which fire missiles from a distance, including slings, bows, and crossbows. Being able to attack enemies at any distance in line of sight is a strong perk. But it comes at a cost: not only are ranged weapons weaker than their melee counterparts, but they suffer penalties when wearing heavy body armour.

Players can use ranged weapons in melee range at no penalty. However, monsters require the "Don't Melee" flag in order to consider using them in melee.

All ranged weapons use dexterity instead of strength for damage calculations. See Ranged Combat for a list of commands.


At Ba DE Dg Ds Dj Dr Fe Fo Gr Gh Gn HO Hu Ko Mf Mi Mu Na Op On Sp Te Tr Vp VS
-3 0 3 -1 -1 -2 -1 N/A 0 0 -1 8 -1 0 3 -2 1 -2 -1 0 -3 0 1 -4 -2 -1

List of Ranged Weapons

Name Dam Hit Delay Min delay Hands Size Cuts Hydras?
Sling 7 0 14 7 (14 skill) One Any No
Shortbow 8 +2 14 7 (14 skill) Two Any No
Orcbow 11 -3 15 7 (16 skill) Two Any No
Arbalest 16 -2 19 10 (18 skill) Two Any No
Longbow 14 0 17 7 (20 skill) Two Medium+ No
Hand cannon 16 +3 19 10 (18 skill) One Any No
Triple crossbow 23 -2 23 10 (26 skill) Two Small+ No


Main article: Brand#Launchers

Ranged weapons have a separate set of brands from melee weapons, though most are similar to their melee counterpart.

Ranged weapons can get pain or holy wrath (but not distortion) from Kikubaaqudgha's and The Shining One's capstone gifts. These brands cannot be obtained by other means.

Armour Penalty

Ranged weapons are uniquely penalized by armor encumberance. The more encumbered you are, the slower you attack. The penalty, in decaAut, is as follows:

1/2250 * encumbrance^2 * (90 - 2 * armour_skill) / (str + 3)

Therefore, lower strength species without armour skill suffer more from heavier armour.

For example: a character wearing plate armour with 20 strength and 10 Armour skill will attack 0.43 decaAut slower. This is rounded to integer aut (i.e rounded to 0.1 decaAut) in a weighted fashion, then added to attack delay.


Ranged weapons come with some large sacrifices: less damage per turn, hefty penalties from armour, and most common launchers are two-handed (precluding use of shield). Also, ranged weapons don't trigger auxiliary attacks.

Due to the lighter armour, rangers are squishy, favoring Dodging as a defensive skill. Therefore, a ranged character will play closer to a "caster" than a "melee brute". Many characters can hybridize into spell magic, since they aren't being encumbered by armour or shield.

If you want to play with Ranged Weapons, the following species can be good:

  • Spriggans can kite enemies with their fast movement speed. However, they cannot wield longbows or triple crossbows.
  • Formicids can wield two-handed weapons with a shield, negating one of Ranged Weapons' greater penalties.
  • Minotaurs have great aptitudes with all weapons, including ranged weapons.
  • Kobolds and Deep Elves have amazing aptitudes in Ranged Weapons, but are harder to play than Minotaurs. Also, kobolds have short LOS, so they can't shoot as far.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you don't have a better ranged option, you might as well use a sling against melee enemies. Switch to the sling, fire as the enemy approaches, then switch back to whatever you were using before.

See also


  • In 0.29, ranged weapons were reworked. Prior to this:
    • Ranged weapons were split into Slings, Bows, and Crossbows, with their seperate skills. Slings crosstrained with Throwing.
    • Launchers required ammo to use (stones/sling bullets, arrows, bolts, respectively). Okawaru gifted ammo, and enemies using launchers would have plentiful amounts of it.
    • Weapon stats as a whole were drastically different. They scaled off strength instead of DEX, and attack speed was not encumbered by armour.
    • Fustibali existed as an upgrade to slings, slings were named hunting slings, and Throwing weapons were informally considered ranged weapons (as they were more similar; Throwing went mostly unchanged).
  • In 0.27, monsters with ranged attacks got unlimited ammunition (except nets). Throwing ammo was reduced as a result.
  • In 0.24, throwing weapons were streamlined. Darts replaced blowguns/needles, boomerangs replaced tomahawks and brands were simplified.
  • Prior to 0.18, each weapon had a strength weight percentage that determined how the weapon would benefit from your strength and dexterity. Additionally, more types of ammunition could have brands of their own.
  • Prior to 0.15, ranged combat was significantly more complicated; among other differences, min delay was heavily influenced by your stats. Additionally, 0.15 introduced greatslings (later called fustibali), hand crossbows, and triple crossbows, and removed the old version of darts.
  • Prior to 0.14, daggers, spears, hand axes, and clubs could be thrown.
  • Prior to 0.11, ammunition could have its own enchantment bonuses.
  • Prior to 0.6, darts could be fired from an early version of hand crossbows instead of being thrown by hand.

Retired Weapons

Over the years, a few ranged weapons have been retired or reworked into new forms:

Returning Weapons

Weapons Short BladesLong BladesRanged Weapons

AxesMaces & FlailsPolearmsStavesUnarmed CombatThrowing

Physical FightingArmourDodgingStealthShields
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