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From the Bestiary, Cairn Wight (CR 4):

Some societies deliberately create these specialized wights to serve as guardians for barrows or other burial sites. A cairn wight is an advanced wight that fights with a weapon, typically a sword, that channels its energy drain attack and affects creatures damaged by the weapon as if they had been struck by the wight’s slam attack.

The variant monster description says it typically fights with a sword, but does not specify that it must use a melee weapon to channel its energy drain special attack. I am not aware of anything published by Paizo that prohibits a Cairn Wight from channeling its energy drain with a ranged weapons, so can it do so?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimpleLime (Getting the question's title and the question's body so that the underlying question can be answered identically is exactly the kind of editorial change users should make to others' question. In the future, feel free to do so yourself when you notice that kind of disconnect.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 29 '17 at 12:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimpleLime I've edited the question body to match the question title as suggested. \$\endgroup\$ – Addamere Sep 29 '17 at 13:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SimpleLime That's a valid concern, and, sincerely,—as a dude who's more than once tackled such questions exactly as they stood instead of changing them—I appreciate it, but it's also up to those who've risked an answer to subsequently curate their answers when the question's updated… especially if the question's been updated to be better! (And thanks for that update, Addamere.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 29 '17 at 17:02
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It will work on ranged or melee attacks. Your quoted description doesn't prohibit a ranged attack, and the energy drain ability itself says:

This attack saps a living opponent’s vital energy and happens automatically when a melee or ranged attack hits.

With no specific rule for the cairn wight beyond being able to use Energy Drain with a weapon, the general rule applies. Fire away.

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RAW, yes, it appears to work with any weapon, melee or ranged. I'd be surprised if that was the intent, though. As another example of a similar creature, the Ragewight has Energy Drain on both it's sword and bite attacks, but not it's thrown Javelin attack.

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Yes, it works with ranged weapons, too. 'Weapon' refers to any sort of weapon, the books specify 'melee weapon', 'ranged weapon', 'projectile weapon', 'manufactured weapon', etc. as they need to.

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