This question is a follow up to my broader question, What's the point of blowguns?, in which I asked about their overall purpose in the game and how they compare to other weapons. Generally speaking, the comments (some of which have since been deleted) and answers explained overall how the weapon isn't an "optimal choice" and explained reasons why it might exist, but the answers did not cover what I eventually realised was the thing that didn't make sense to me the most:

Why did the designers list this weapon as a martial weapon?

It's just a small tube that you blow on one end and needles fly out the other end. It's not comparable to, say, a longbow, or even a net, in terms of skill or complexity. Not to say that it's super easy; I'm sure it's harder than it looks IRL to actually hit your target with one of those things at its maximum range. But if a shortbow — another weapon that's harder to use than it looks — is listed as a simple weapon, why is a blowgun listed as a martial weapon?

My perspective on this has led me to conclude that it must have been a mistake; as the DM during a certain game in the past (when I asked my original question) a certain PC wanted one but was only proficient in simple weapons, so I just ruled that they had Blowgun Proficiency as a free proficiency to "fix" this mistake. Such as thing should surely be listed as a simple weapon, but it's not been mentioned in any errata so this implies that the designers do genuinely consider it a martial weapon.

Since it's not explained in the PHB or anywhere else, I imagine that only the designers would be able to shed some insight on this matter, hence I'm looking exclusively for the reasons the designers have stated — if any — to explain this design choice (and I've included the tag).

What it is about the blowgun that makes it on par with weapons like longbows or nets (or any other ranged martial weapon) rather than shortbows or darts?


closed as off-topic by Oblivious Sage, Rubiksmoose, Conduit, KorvinStarmast, KRyan May 2 '18 at 14:44

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    \$\begingroup\$ Answers not citing designer reasons will be deleted - don't guess. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Nov 9 '17 at 3:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ So far, the answers point out that a using a blowgun is harder than it looks. This is something I've already pointed out in the question. However, the reasoning used to back up these claims is equally applicable to, say, the shortbow. Why is that not a martial weapon then? This is why I wanted [designer-reasons]. Also remember that not everyone is proficient with simple weapons. Wizard and Sorcerers, for example; they can't use shortbows with proficiency. So even if blowguns were a simple weapon there would still be people in the world (even some adventurers) who can't use it with proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Nov 9 '17 at 9:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Existing answers have been deleted. Please remember we don't want guesses, opinions, or how "you would do it." We require facts as to why it was made that way in the game. That could be via game text, via designer quotes, or similar evidence, but not via "because bloguns R hard". \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Nov 9 '17 at 17:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the designers didn't give any reasons, it is OK for this question to remain unanswered. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 23 '18 at 12:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the community has decided that designer-reasons questions are off-topic \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage May 2 '18 at 13:00