Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?

Setting: The simple shepherd’s sling is cheap, reliable, and omnipresent. As a weapon of war it can crack skulls and scatter formations. Cast lead bullets work best, of course, but stones are everywhere. Some of these carry magic with them. Roll d10.

1: Ghoststone: If watched carefully when slung, this bullet fades from corporeality and turns a pallid, misty grey. It passes breathlessly through metal and wood, only expending its energy when it hits flesh (living flesh, or that that’s been tanned and boiled, for instance.)

2: Shrieker: This is a bullet cast in the shape of the head of an elfwoman. The hair is blown back, as though in the wind, and the mouth gapes in a perpetual howl. When slung it emits a quivering shriek as it flies, drawing attention even over the tumult of battle.

3: Starstone: This is a coal-black ferric stone, tumbled round and smooth. When slung, it glows with a blinding magnesium light familiar only to alchemists and stargazers. While giving off no heat and no more dangerous than a normal stone, it has found use by captains of slingers in directing their units’ fire.

4: Slicks: A wobbling, too-heavy-by-half bullet seeming to consist of quicksilver bound into a roughly round gelatinous clump. Handling it leaves a greasy sheen on the hand. When it strikes a hard surface, whether hurled at a target or simply dropped, it splatters into a thousand tiny replicas of itself, anything splattered nigh-impossible to grasp or stand upon.

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Cheap and effective.

5: Sticks: This is a leaden bullet of ordinary make, save the small dimple at one side and the slim spike at the other, as though it had been miscast and the flashing unremoved. When let fly the spike extends to a slim, strong line; when it impacts a solid object, the bullet sticks, anchoring the trail-line, strong enough to support a climber.

6: Stoneshower: Despite the name, this bullet is a knobbly lump of lead consisting of smaller pellets sintered together. When slung it franges apart into its constituent pellets, each becoming a full-sized sling bullet; it gives one slinger the capability of a squad.

7: Nightlight: An actual stone gilded with gold leaf. When slung high into the sky, as it reaches the apogee of its arc, it bursts into a golden light, illuminating an area the size of a marketsquare. It brakes, slowly penduluming back to earth, the light casting blackline shadows that dance crazily with the swing.

8: Baleful Eye: This leaden bullet is cast in the form of an eyeball. When slung high into the sky, it transmutes into a prodigious spectral eye that looms over the battlefield. It turns and fixes its gaze on enemies of the slinger, each in turn, crumpling them with an ineffable fear.

9: Messenger: These are small, cobalt-tinged bullets, perfectly smooth. When spoken into and slung into flight, they speed to their intended recipient, out to a distance of ten miles or so. Upon arriving they hover before their listener, upon which the speaker’s voice is replicated, delivering the message. Once delivered, the bullet falls to the ground, spent and useless.

10: Smoke: The remains of an ensorcelled bonfire are condensed down to a coal-black ball the size of a baby’s fist. Upon breakage the entirety of the bonfire’s smoke billows forth.

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2 thoughts on “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?

    • Those of us who are dirty little powergamers at heart (myself especially!) are always attracted to the biggest, most powerful effects. But I think it’s little things like #9 that are the most powerful, despite seeming almost mundane. It’s not the Iowa-class battleship ruling the day, but the little nimble network-centric information conduits.

      I like low-magic settings, so in my mind I went the opposite way from you: I’m thinking one little Messengerissued to each warband, treasured in the captain’s pouch, used only for emergencies. But enchant a whole pile of the things in a different setting, launch them out of a trebuchet, and have each fighting-man receiving perfect up-to-date command and coordination….

      Like

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