I am working on a mage for a D&D 2e party I'm joining -- they need the arcane support! However, I was reviewing the weapon restrictions list in the 2e PHB, and while the intent (weapons that require little training or strength to use, or are otherwise useful to the mage) is clear and sensible to me, the list of weapons in the PHB does not seem completely consistent with the intent.
In particular, why are crossbows of any type nowhere to be found on the list? Their ease of use and learning compared to practically any other ranged weapon, -- even blowguns and to some extent slings (which are allowed for mages) -- is what made them such a thorn in the side of RL knights; furthermore, the PHB itself states that "Strength bonuses or penalties do not apply to crossbows, as they are purely mechanical devices", which would make them quite attractive to a (presumably physically weak) arcanist.
Is there some game balance concern at work here I'm not seeing? I will be asking my DM about this later on...
Also, why is the use of ranged weapons by wizards considered so stylistically inappropriate? It makes far more tactical sense for them to maintain range even when in a situation where they are out of magic or can't make productive use of their spells for whatever reason, as range is the armor of the mage!
Finally: how much training does a crossbow require to be basically competent with it, vs a blowgun, a throwing knife or a sling? I have a hard time imagining that you'd be any bit accurate with any of them without some training, which is what really makes me scratch my head here.