The [Staff Slinger] a New Trainable Unit from the Siege Workshop

When it comes to siege weapons people usually think of Catapults, Battering Rams and all of these other huge siege engines used for breaching walls or for destroying buildings. But what if I tell you that there was a much smaller siege weapon that could be held by one person?

Let me introduce you to the “Staff Sling” also known as the “Stave Sling” or “Fustibalus” which it was called in Latin. As you can tell by its name the Staff Sling consists of a staff that has a short sling at one end. These weapons were apparently extremely powerful because the stave can be made as long as 2 meters (about 6 feet), which in turn created a powerful lever.

The Staff Sling did apparently have a similar or superior range to the Shepard’s Sling. It was generally suited for heavier projectiles than the regular sling and for siege situations as well. The weapon was good for sieging because it can achieve very steep trajectories for slinging over obstacles such as castle walls. According to Wikipedia the Staff Sling were in use well into the age of gunpowder as grenade launchers, and were used in ship-to-ship combat to throw incendiaries.

The [Staff Slinger] could serve as an early siege unit that can be trained from the [Feudal Age] if the [Siege Workshop] can be built during the second age. But they can also be available in the [Castle Age] where they will serve as a cheaper but short ranged alternative to the [Magonel] and [Onager]. The [Staff Slinger] unit’s siege capabilities will be heavily dependant on their numbers, therefore the more Staff Slingers there are on the battlefield the quicker they will destroy a building.


To be effective it would need to have kinda resistance to archers…
idk if we can fit it in the game.

But in general yeah… something that is available in feudal to reduce the castle age powerspike I support totally.


To be effective it would need to have kinda resistance to archers…
idk if we can fit it in the game.

But in general yeah… something that is available in feudal to reduce the castle age powerspike I support totally.

Hmm… If it is too complicated to give these [Staff Slingers) resistance to [Archers] then how about introducing an additional siege unit who will protect them from harm’s way?

The unit that I had in mind could be a [Mantlet] which will also be available in the [Feudal Age] together with the [Staff Slinger]. It could serve as a simple and cheap variant of the [Siege Tower] but it can’t transport units.

The Mantlet was a portable wall that was used in medieval warfare for stopping projectiles.


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The staff slinger could either get 1 more rage than archers or the dodge mechanic of shrivamsha.
The mantled may be abusable with other units.

I’m a fan of this and think the principle is viable, just a matter of finding the numbers that work. I have a slinger for one of my civs (Muisca) that functions as a mini-mangonel.

I don’t think this is needed, and creating another unit just to make this unit viable seems too complicated. I would recommend just making it similar to a small scale mangonel - high reload time and with an area effect & attack ground, but obviously less attack. I also don’t see why you can’t just give this unit high pierce armor like a mango - it will still die to melee and can be microed by archers due to its slow attack rate.


Hello SirWiedreich!

I am very pleased to hear that you liked the idea of the [Staff Slinger]. Maybe this unit can be improved later in game where they can throw fire bombs, which in turn will make them into even better crowd control units but not as effective as other siege weapons.

Perhaps this fire bomb attack will only be available to some civilisations as a technology.

As for the statement concerning not giving the [Staff Slinger] any pierce armour, was just my response to casusincorrabil who thought it would be troublesome to implement that to the game. Or that is at least how I interpreted his response.


You don’t need to bold the names, you can put the @ symbol before them to reference them. Like this @Bramkurtzio.

Tbf the staff sling (henceforth the SS) doesn’t need to have an imperial upgrade. Like at most it could maybe have a castle age upgrade.

Give it something with high hp and PA, low damage, but bonus Vs buildings and a separate bonus vs “walls and gates”. So literally all its good for is breaking buildings or idling Vils. You give it good PA and hp so it isn’t insta wiped by archers (xbows)

You could even give it a unique cost that incorporates stone. Forcing clever choices instead of being an auto pick for breaking walls

Simultaneously it’s damage potential is curbed since itll primarily rely on its bonus Vs walls, limiting the level of destruction too early

Rough example: 50wood 20stone
5 dmg + 5 Vs standard buildings + 10 Vs walls
Range 5

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I managed to find a short but concise video about the Staff Sling for anyone who is interested. More and longer videos about the Staff Sling can be found on Youtube.

(How to make and use the staff sling (fustibalus) - YouTube)


Here is also a link that contains some information about the Staff Sling:

(Fustibalus: The Bazooka of The Ancients - HubPages)


It’s a cool and nifty unit idea. I don’t like making it require a Siege Workshop or the proposed stats. More talk should be had on the concept of the unit itself, what would it add to aoe2?

I’ll play along with the proposed stats, but a Feudal Age staff slinger @PlumpDucklin
Here’s the cost for a staff slinger rush with no fletching: 5 staff slingers costs 150 wood for a blacksmith (to unlock siege workshop), 200 wood for a siege workshop, 250 wood for the slingers and 25 wood for the houses, 625 wood 100 stone total. 1 Range 5 Archers with Fletching would cost 100w (Mining Camp), 150w (Blacksmith), 25w (House), 175w (Barracks), 175w (Archery Range), 125w 225 gold, fletching 100f 50 g, total: 100 food 750 wood 275 gold
Assuming staff slingers take the same amount of time to train as archers, archers should be out sooner if both players reach Feudal Age at the same time because it takes longer to build BS->SW than rax->range, but the lack of needing to build a mining camp, research fletching or a barracks means that staff slingers are significantly cheaper to put on the field

50 HP and 4 PA lets the staff slinger stand in town center or tower range and idle your farms with laughable ease (either by garrisoning or by making villagers chase them) even if you just have one of them. They have enough HP to tank melee troops (even scouts) attacking them until they reach friendly spearmen/scouts/archers (ofc then you want to add a rax). 5 base damage and 5 base range makes these basically slow firing crossbowmen, but 50HP + 4 PA makes it broken as towers do nothing to them. 5 Range and 5 Damage is very scary too.
Let’s say that I invest into a streamlined wood-stone economy. I add towers. I kick you off stone. If you make a defensive tower, I can start adding staff slingers to raid you because they ignore all pierce damage and deal high damage and outrange other units.
I’m not even sure how you’d scout this build out. scouting an all-in-feudal slinger rush would probably involve seeing lots on wood, 0 on gold/stone, looking for nonexistent rax, so scouting info would be crucial. Slinger rush is so cheap that a really fast feudal might be worth it, and it’s trivially easy to switch into farms once you stop producing slingers or add villagers on stone and start adding towers.

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we should leave militia line as it is. these traditional AOK stuff should be left untouched for the most part other than maybe simple stats change

There could also be an upgrade for the [Staff Slinger] that will be available for some civilisations later in the game where they can be upgraded to the [Fire Bomb Slinger] or the [Fire Bomb Grenadier].

When it comes to the Byzantines, the Eastern Romans, they did apparently use incendiary pots that were thrown by hand or launched by siege engines during warfare. According to a website known as the “Ancient & Oriental” ( these weapons became popular during the crusades (11th-13th century AD) and were used until the Mamluk era (13th-16th century AD).

The Byzantine fire bomb did apparently vary in shape and size so here is one example as for how it looks:

(Edit: I also recall that I read another source about the Staff Sling, which I can’t remember the name of, but according to it the Staff Sling had another use except for being a ranged weapon. If an enemy got too close for a Staff Slinger to use their weapon at range, they could then use the Staff itself as a melee weapon for blocking attacks from other melee weapons. Therefore the Staff Sling could be used both as a ranged weapon and some kind of a Quarterstaff if there was a need for it).

(But now that I think about it, this source was probably some kind of fantasy or game wiki, though this melee blocking trait would be a cool mechanic if it ever was added to the game).

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This can be interesting regional unit or replacement/upgrades of petards for some civs with weak siege

A sketch showing a “Castilian Grenade Thrower” using a Staff Sling to the left side. The man to the right who is clad in yellow and red is supposed to be “Ferdinand I of Aragon”.


with the new DLC return of Rome. This unit (staff sling) could be an upgrade of the slinger for the iron age with greater attack power and range compared to the slinger. this unit could have an even higher attack against archers as well as buildings (and turrets).

Perhaps so. But after learning more about the staff sling since I made this post, it seems that the staff sling wasn’t completely superior to the hand sling in terms of range. Maybe in some cases it could outrange the hand sling if a person using the hand sling was less skilled with it for example.

According to a user named SplitSling from a forum that centers around slinging he mentions that projectiles from a hand sling can be spun with the axis of rotation in the direction it travels, which is something that the staff sling cannot do. The staff sling can apparently only provide a backspin to the projectile. In other words the hand sling has better range than the staff sling because it offers better propulsion to the projectile when a person is using the spinning motion for throwing. The performance of the hand sling will be improved even further if ammunition such as lead bullets are used, which offers the minimum size and therefore minimum air resistance.

The biggest advantage of the staff sling was that a person could throw a heavier projectile further than they could do by hand, including throwing volatile projectiles like incendiaries more safely from it. The staff itself could also be used as a melee weapon if need be. But since the staff sling was generally used for throwing projectiles that weighted more than than ones from a hand sling they would in turn be affected more by gravity. I haven’t found any information if there was a type of ammunition developed for the staff sling that would offer better flight travel just like the lead bullets for the hand sling, but according again to SplitSling the only practically shaped projectile for a staff sling is a sphere [or something similar to it] because no other shape when given a backspin will fly well. Though he adds that maybe it could work for a disc shaped projectile for the staff sling.

If there is going to be an upgrade for the [Slinger] in Age of Empires 1 I think an upgrade called “Improved Slinger” or perhaps the “Bullet Slinger” would be better than them replacing their hand sling for the staff sling. If it is possible another idea would be to make the staff sling into a technology that can be researched from the [Market] which will make the [Slinger] able to switch between the hand sling and the staff sling. There could also be a new technology called “Fire Bombs” that can be researched from the [Government Center] where the [Slinger] will throw fire bombs instead of boulders when switching to the staff sling.


your idea is also interesting. turn it into a technology to affect slingers. Such technology could allow slingers to gain extra bonuses against buildings and siege units, or increase attack strength, but without changing the physiognomy of the slinger itself. or another alternative would be the possibility to research a slinger staff as well as the advanced bow to enable the creation of the slinger staff and thus coexist both as units but one being anti-archers and the second anti buildings and anti siege units.

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