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As a poor level 1 rogue, my group is encountering mobs that have DR or immunity to physical damage. Rather than pick my nose when fighting physically immune creatures (I think they were shadow cats), I was wondering if I could use a silver piece as ammo for a sling and make an improvised weapon attack. Or maybe melt a few silver pieces in advance to look like sling ammo and use that? Just too poor right now to pay 100gp to silver 10 pieces of ammo. (PHB p.148, "Silvered Weapons")

The goal would be to count as a silver weapon and go through the DR or immunity to normal weapons.

If possible, in the answer, please detail the mechanics of how it would work. For example, is this an improvised weapon that is the same as a weapon and thus get the proficiency bonus? Would the damage die still be a d4? Could I still get the +10 dam with sharpshooter feat?

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1.Can you use silver pieces for silver sling ammunition?

[When first writing this I'd not considered the mass of the coin compared to sling bullets. Both Dale M in his answer and Trish in her comment make good points that a GM might also... weigh when exercising their discretion.]

A. Yes, at your GM's discretion.

Improvised weapons are completely at the GM's discretion, per "Improvised Weapons" at PHB pp.147-148.

One can easily imagine a GM saying "it takes you a few minutes to mangle the silvers enough to fly as well as a stone, but that's not a problem." Or a GM saying "purchased sling bullets (PHB p.150) are akin to 18th-C. bullets: crafted materials that will do lethal harm at range. You can't just use any-old rock or coin." And there's nothing in the rules to tip the scales in one direction or the other.

B. Yes, with some downtime, and perhaps a little less discretion.

If you craft these silver bullets (PHB p.187), you can make a lot of silver sling bullets. Like, 2500 in a single day.1 Again, crafting requires a lot of work with your GM, but I think there's a much better case to be made that even one untrained in weaponsmithing could mangle coins into pretty-good ammo-shape given a day and a hammer.

You could even call the first hundred your "practice bullets," then re-craft those raw materials, selecting the best twenty to put in your pouch, in under an hour!2 All for just the cost of 10 sp.

[Note: there's nothing actually in the book about crafting over "partial" days. Union rules may require you to work the full day.]

2.What attack bonus/damage options would exist?

Whether or not this ammunition is similar "enough" to "real" sling bullets to allow you to exercise proficiency is, again, completely at your GM's discretion per "Improvised Weapons."

On the damage front, you've lucked out: improvised weapons do d4 damage unless it "is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such." But your sling bullets already do d4 damage, so either way the GM rules you're looking at d4 damage.3

Lastly, there's nothing in "Improvised Weapons" nor in Sharpshooter to rule out sharpshooting with these coin-bullets. Unless, as already discussed, the GM rules that you're not proficient in mangled-coins-in-twirled-fabric-straps.


1 - That's 5gp-worth of crafting divided by 4cp/20 bullets, for 2500 total bullets, given the input materials. Of course (assuming one coin per bullet), if you actually had that kind of silver at hand, you'd not need to ask this question. So you'll get to take a long lunch and clock out early, probably.

Again, I had not originally considered mass; If you like Dale M's answer these numbers would need to be adjusted by a factor of ~4.

2 - So that's 200 bullets crafted (albeit destroying 100 and rejecting another 80) for a total value-created of 40cp, or less than one-tenth a crafting day.

3 - Unless the GM decides, as is completely their prerogative, that these improvised bullets should have a different damage. Like, say, 1 or 1d2.

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if I could use a silver piece as ammo for a sling and make an improvised weapon attack?

No

A silver piece weighs 0.02 pound (PHB p.143) and a sling bullet weighs 0.075: 3.75 times as much. Even if you could sling it with the same velocity (you can't because proportionately more of the energy from your arm is used overcoming air resistance due to the lesser weight at the end of the sling), that is approximately 1/4 of the energy initially. In addition, the coin is about as badly shaped for aerodynamics as you can get so it will loose its energy more quickly and deviate from the intended path. So, you can't aim it and even if you hit it would do bugger all damage.

Note: This is based on the weights in the PHB, real sling bullets and stones varied considerably in mass and material over the nearly 10,000 years of the sling's existence. Projectiles as small or smaller that the sp were used by the Romans (perhaps as terror weapons and hurled in groups). Notwithstanding, sling stones were initially round and latter ovoid in shape (why?) so a coin remains a poor substitute.

Or maybe melt a few silver pieces in advance to look like sling ammo and use that?

Sure

Sling bullets are simply ellipsoid shaped rocks or leads. The rock ones are shaped and the lead ones are made by pouring lead into a mould - the way anglers can home make lead sinkers. While silver has a higher melting point than lead (962C vs 328C) all that is needed for silver is a blacksmiths forge (lead can be done with a campfire).

Of course, this gives a solid silver bullet which would be slightly larger for the same weight (or slightly lighter for the same size - about 8% either way). However, the PHB only requires silvered weapons to be silver coated, so you could just take your regular lead bullets and dunk them in molten silver (more or less).

So, given that a single piece of silvered ammunition costs 10gp and that this technique would use 1sp at most, you appear to be paying 99sp for the workmanship. Perhaps there is room to negotiate with the NPC silversmith?

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Simple solution.

Melt 5 silver coins, dip your shots in the molten silver.

There you go, thats easily silver to coat 20-30 shots, it doesn't even require any real skill.

The prices of silvering weapons in the book generally refer to edged weapons not blunt weapons as edged weapons require much more skill/effort to silver as you also have to maintain the cutting edge, silver been a lot softer than steel makes this much more difficult.

If your GM is insisting on using the book prices for items that simply make no sense (aka anyone could do it much more cheaply as illustrated above), then hes been a bad DM. Any realistic silversmith or armourer would do this for you for very little, hell any world where creatures like this commonly existed, they probably would be constantly doing this.... Anyone trying to charge the listed book amounts would get mocked out of existence and out-priced by people who would do it for a far more realistic price.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please excuse my unfamiliarity with both 5e and metallurgy, but in previous editions, silver weapons were often called alchemical silver weapons, differentiating them from, for example, silver flatware and jewelry. Is that no longer the case in 5e? Further, are 5e silver pieces actually full-on, totally, 100% silver or a mix like contemporary coins? (And I'm pretty sure it's not entirely fair to call a DM that uses book prices—even when the book prices seem dumb—a bad DM: the game's designers might've set those prices because of considerations other than realism.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 10 '16 at 10:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ It wasn't that was in 3rd ed, it was any silver that worked. Alchemical silver was steel treated to have the properties of silver which was entirely different. Very very few coins from medieval periods were anything other their true metals, thats a recent thing, almost all fantasy world follow the same trend, hence why you can weigh coins to check their value. I didn't actually say he was a bad DM, just in this instance hes been a bad DM by blindly sticking to the book prices regardless of common sense and logic. \$\endgroup\$ – Drenzul Aug 10 '16 at 10:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough. I'm no numismatist, either. :-) And while I can (and, honestly, did) understand the difference between he's been a bad DM and he's a bad DM, that's still a very subtle distinction and liable to be taken the wrong way. Just a heads-up. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 10 '16 at 11:00
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Yes you can use it to overcome DR/silver

Your DM might consider it as stone instead of regular ammunition for the damage, but it will make damage against monster weak against silver weapons.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ what does considering it a stone verse regular ammo do? Would it still be a d4 on the damage die? Could I still use "sharpshooter" feat and get the +10 damage? A sling is a simple ranged weapon, what changes (if anything) using a silver piece. Just want to make sure I understand the mechanics/damage output. \$\endgroup\$ – Al Sun Aug 9 '16 at 4:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see sling stones anywhere in 5e materials, so I think you need to expand on exactly what the consequence is of "your DM might consider it as a stone for the damage." \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 9 '16 at 4:34

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