I know the basic advantage to blowguns is that you can't accidentally poison yourself when applying poison to the darts, but is that really it? I feel like delivering the poison via d8 crossbow with a 5% chance to poison yourself would be better than a d2 blowgun with a 0% chance of poisoning yourself. Unless the flavor text "They are nearly silent when fired" is implying that it would be harder for your target or anyone who didn't see the dart to locate you. Oh I should also mention CRB only.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To anyone looking to answer this, feel free to note that there's actually a class in the Advanced Class Guide, the Warpriest, that ensures that you have a minimum damage die size for weapons you have Weapon Focus in, in addition to granting you a Weapon Focus feat of your choice. This means you could deal 1d8 damage with a blowgun, as early as 5th level. \$\endgroup\$
    – Firebreak
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 7:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it seems to be a hidden Designer Intent question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ As the question stands, if it's put on hold, I'll vote to reopen. Believing the asker is hiding a different question than what's actually asked is unfair to the asker. Verify then close. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do personally think the question might be unclear, but I'm not sure it's asking about designer intent. It seems more focused on asking "What's the advantage of using blowguns to deliver poisons over other methods?" but it's not totally clear. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Granted, It's also a 5-year old question, so you're not likely to see an update from the poster. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 3:16

2 Answers 2


A creature needs only the feat Simple Weapon Proficiency and a blowgun to make all of its iterative ranged attacks

The blowgun is the only simple ranged weapon capable of making iterative attacks without devoting additional resources to doing so. Unlike a crossbow or sling, no extra time's needed to load a blowgun. Unlike a thrown weapon, the feat Quick Draw isn't needed to retrieve a replacement as a free action after each attack.

This is actually a significant change for Pathfinder as Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 had no such weapon in the Player's Handbook, leaving the DM's intelligent but feat-starved monsters' iterative ranged attacks much more difficult to use effectively.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @ninjahX Flavor text does whatever the DM says it does. It's really difficult--without mechanics to back it up--to say what flavor text means in a campaign I've neither played nor run. One DM may say that crossbows are just as quiet as blowguns, and another may say that crossbows make harsh mechanical twangs when fired while blowguns emit near silent poooshes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 6, 2014 at 10:09

Slightly off because this is not a direct answer, but if I may, let me examine the premise of this question a bit...

There does not always need to be "a point" to a weapon, in the sense that every weapon is superior to all other weapons in some game technical fashion. Weapons have been invented in different cultures and at different points in time. Because of this, chances are overwhelming that some weapons are inferior to other weapons in every way that a game system might hope to simulate.

However, this does not make a weapon useless or less cool. E.g. those tree-dwelling, monkey-like assassins will surely give a different impression if they are wielding sleek blowpipes instead of clunky crossbows.

I guess my take on this is that "the point" of a weapon does not need to come from statistics alone.


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