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A sling normally does 1d4 bludgeoning damage on a hit (PH, p. 149).

However, the Magic Stone cantrip (EEPC, p. 20; XGtE, p. 160) imbues pebbles with magic, which can then also be hurled with a sling:

You touch one to three pebbles and imbue them with magic. You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack with one of the pebbles by throwing it or hurling it with a sling. If thrown, it has a range of 60 feet. If someone else attacks with the pebble, that attacker adds your spellcasting ability modifier, not the attacker's, to the attack roll. On a hit, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier. Hit or miss, the spell then ends on the stone.

What damage dice are rolled when a creature is hit by a magic stone hurled with a sling, and why?


For example: A druid named Agar has +3 to his spellcasting ability modifier, he carries a sling and has already cast magic stone on a few pebbles carried in his pocket. As a goblin approaches, Agar slings a magic stone toward it. Before the goblin can react, it is struck by the stone.

  • Does the goblin take 1d6+3 bludgeoning damage?
  • Or does the goblin take 1d4+1d6+3 bludgeoning damage?

I see two plausible interpretations:

  1. The magic stone spell's effect amplifies and thereby replaces the regular damage of the stone hurled by the sling.
  2. The sling is hurling the stone at high velocity causing regular damage, and the spell's effect causes additional damage on top of that.
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3 Answers 3

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The magic stone always deals the same damage regardless of launching method

The relevant parts of the spell text are:

You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack with one of the pebbles by throwing it or hurling it with a sling. [...] On a hit, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier.

The normal damage of the sling is irrelevant, because you are not using it to make a weapon attack. Instead, you are making a ranged spell attack, which deals damage as described in the spell.

In your example, the damage will be 1d6+3.

What if I'm using a +1 magic sling?

A +1 weapon states:

You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.

Since this text doesn't limit the bonus to only weapon attacks, this +1 bonus applies to both the ranged spell attack roll and damage roll of a magic stone launched using the sling.

What if the target is more than 30 feet away?

The rules for the range weapon property say:

Range. A weapon that can be used to make a ranged attack has a range in parentheses after the ammunition or thrown property. The range lists two numbers. The first is the weapon's normal range in feet, and the second indicates the weapon's long range. When attacking a target beyond normal range, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. You can't attack a target beyond the weapon's long range.

As with the +1 weapon case, the rule for weapon range does not limit itself to only weapon attacks, so the disadvantage beyond the sling's normal range also applies when using the sling to make a ranged spell attack with the magic stone.

The same principles can be applied to any other questions about which properties of the sling apply to the magic stone attack and which ones don't: if the property applies only to weapon attacks, it is not relevant, but if it applies to all attacks made with the sling, it applies to the magic stone attack.

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RAW

Slings are a Simple Ranged Weapon (PHB 149) thus allowing a ranged attack. While using the magic stone in a sling after the spell been cast is considered a ranged spell attack (Elemental Evil Player's Companion , pg. 160).

You touch one to three pebbles and imbue them with magic. You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack with one of the pebbles by throwing it or hurling it with a sling

With D&D 5th edition rule that specific beats general (page 7). I would rule that the 1d6+spellcaster ability modifier would substitute for the normal sling damage as the normal ranged attack is converted to a ranged spell attack per the spell's description

Commentary

It would be a trade off using a sling versus being thrown. As the sling attack would be made at a disadvantage after 30 feet. While with throwing the magic stone by hand will allow a ranged spell attack out to 60 feet.

If thrown, it has a range of 60 feet.

The advantage of using a magic stone with a sling over throwing is to allow an attack with a disadvantaged ranged spell attack roll out to 120 feet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The rules say it is ranged spell attack is you "by throwing it or hurling it with a sling". You are still making the spell attack with the sling. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 19:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Changed my answer to cover the sling information which I missed the first time around. \$\endgroup\$
    – RS Conley
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Possibly of note is that the magic stone damage does not have to substitute out. You could still use the stone as a normal sling ammunition as it states "You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack..." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 19:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2. The spell states shortly after that quote "If someone else attacks with the pebble, ". I have to conclude that anybody choosing to use a magic stone has no option but to make a ranged spell attack whether it is thrown or used in a sling. Without a statement explicitly mentioning adding in normal sling damage, the guidance of General versus specific means we have to substitute in what the spell says. What not substituted is the ammunition trait of (30/120) \$\endgroup\$
    – RS Conley
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 19:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah I had assumed there was an implied "If somebody else attack with the pebble after having chosen to be making a ranged spell attack with it" but that makes sense as well, I may ask that as its own question \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 19:56
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1d6+3

As the spell states:

You... can make a ranged spell attack with one of the pebbles by... hurling it with a sling

When Agar performs the Readied action, he is performing that spell attack, and follows the rules that the spell describe:

On a hit, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier.

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