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What projectile weapons could a civilization of merfolk build without the use of magic.

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closed as too broad by James, Aify, JDługosz, Separatrix, Hohmannfan Feb 15 '16 at 17:08

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  • $\begingroup$ Not a duplicate but see also worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/30561/… $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 15 '16 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ Bryan can you narrow this down a bit, the potential options for underwater projectiles are extensive. If you could provide some limitations or provide a scenario that would help narrow things down. $\endgroup$ – James Feb 15 '16 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe a torpedo? $\endgroup$ – Jay Feb 15 '16 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ @James the projectale weapons must becomposed of stuff built in the sea and must be able to be built underwater. $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Feb 15 '16 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ @James guns and longbows for example wouldn't work underwater and can't be built underwater. $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Feb 15 '16 at 16:44
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The problem with most undersea projectiles is that water resistance makes them fairly range-limited - unless, like a torpedo, they have built-in propulsion. Other than that, compressed air or springs can power harpoons (with or without exploding tips) without too much technical know-how. Heck, even an old school crossbow can do the job over a short range.

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  • $\begingroup$ can these be built underwater? $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Feb 15 '16 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ Depends on the level of technology of your mer-folk. Forging a spring, might be tough. Building a hand-pump compressor to compress air or water - easier (heck, its a kids toy! amazon.com/Water-Powered-Action-Rocket-Classic/dp/B000GKXY5C). A crossbow made of whale-bone and wound sinew - definitely doable. Heck, items made of rock, bone, and sinew from sea animals was the mainstay of Inuit technology for centuries.. $\endgroup$ – Michael Broughton Feb 15 '16 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ There is some discussion on it on this archery forum. Might give you some leads to follow up... archery-forum.com/showthread.php?17666-Underwater-archery $\endgroup$ – Michael Broughton Feb 15 '16 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ I suppose the Merfolk have not considered the Shkval underwater rocket yet? $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Feb 16 '16 at 3:05
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sure the Merfolk will consider that once they develop solid fuel propulsion systems! $\endgroup$ – Michael Broughton Feb 16 '16 at 15:06
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I don't know what technology level your merfolk have, but I'd suggest harpoon or spear guns based around compressed air.

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They could extract weapons/projectiles from these sea creatures :

1 - Poison projectiles :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laticauda_colubrina

2 - Electrical projectiles :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_fish

3 - Ink projectiles :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squid

4 - Sharp spears :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swordfish

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