Throwing/Returning – a Variant

Thunderthrower PrCImage Credit: Green Ronin’s Hammer and Helm.

One of the more fun and flavourful enchantments for a weapon in D&D is the ability to take a normal weapon and make it a throwing weapon. Battleaxes, Longswords, hell even Greatswords. There is little scarier than a huge piece of metal flying at you.

But while it’s fun, it’s ultimately not that useful, and doesn’t increase the effectiveness of a weapon by a whole lot. It doesn’t alleviate the need for a bow, as the range on Throwing weapons sucks. Usually, it just means you don’t need to reach for a dagger to hit a flying enemy.

Add to that the fact that the Throwing property is almost never used on its own, and we have ourselves a small set of rules that need a rewrite.

So first off, is Returning even worth the +1 bonus?

Is it worth it to spend 10,000 gold to add returning to a +1 Flaming dagger? Heck no. I can enchant a +1 Flaming shortbow for only 8000, and use that instead. The bow will be more universally useful than the dagger, as well, which is only more useful when you don’t have the move action to spare to draw the bow.

As you get to higher enhancements, the effective cost actually goes down (enchanting a +3 weapon costs 18,000, +4 costs 32,000, so you can’t get a +3 ranged weapon for the difference) but I believe the point still stands. Returning isn’t really worth the +1 bonus.

Add to that the fact that Throwing is pointless to have on its own (non-throwing weapons are too large to carry many of, so a non-returning Throwing greatsword just ends up disarming you), and we need to find a solution.

First off, I propose we combine the abilities.

Throwing/Returning

A melee weapon crafted with this ability gains a range increment of 10 feet and can be thrown by a wielder proficient in its normal use. If the weapon already has a range increment, it increases by 10 feet.

Once the throwing attack is resolved, a throwing/returning weapon flies through the air back to the creature that threw it. It returns to the thrower just before the creature’s next turn (and is therefore ready to use again in that turn).

Catching a throwing/returning weapon when it comes back is a free action. If the character can’t catch it, or if the character has moved since throwing it, the weapon drops to the ground in the square from which it was thrown.

That’s better.

Now, is this new ability worth a +1 bonus?

Well, it’s probably worth it at some levels, but not at others. I’m going to take a page from the new Magic Item Compendium (great, great book), and give it a set value instead.

Hmm… Not nearly as useful as Prismatic Burst (hits target with Prismatic Spray, +30,000 gold), definitely more useful than Sizing (adjusts size to wielder, +5000 gold), maybe not as useful as Vanishing (1/day Dimension Door after a successful hit, +8000 gold).

How’s +7000 gold sound?

Throwing/Returning

Price: +7000 gold
Property: Melee weapon
Caster Level: 7th
Aura: Moderate; (DC 20) transmutation
Activation: –

A melee weapon crafted with this ability gains a range increment of 10 feet and can be thrown by a wielder proficient in its normal use. If the weapon already has a range increment, it increases by 10 feet.

Once the throwing attack is resolved, a throwing/returning weapon flies through the air back to the creature that threw it. It returns to the thrower just before the creature’s next turn (and is therefore ready to use again in that turn).

Catching a throwing/returning weapon when it comes back is a free action. If the character can’t catch it, or if the character has moved since throwing it, the weapon drops to the ground in the square from which it was thrown.

Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armour, telekinesis.

Cost to Create: 3500 gp, 280 XP, 7 days

4 Comments

Ronin  on December 21st, 2007

I like the idea of combining them. Because to really make the weapon worth while. You really need both anyways.

I like the idea of an all in one weapon. That can be used in ranged or melee combat. Granted its still not a great ranged weapon. But I can deal with that.

I’ll take this all a step further. How about a gnome hooked hammer with throwing/returning feature. So not only do you have a melee/ranged weapon. But a weapon capable or bludgeoning, and peircing damage.

Dave T. Game  on December 21st, 2007

Well, there are certainly times you take Returning without taking Throwing first (if it’s already a thrown weapon.) But vice versa? Yeah, combining them is much cooler and will get used more often as a flat cost upgrade.

Probably there’s a number of enhancements in the DMG that would benefit from the MIC costing. I shouldn’t be forced to choose between extra +1d6 energy damage and something like ghost touch.

ChattyDm  on December 21st, 2007

Here’s a though, why not make it a Weapon Crystal?

Each of the 3 Power levels sees a Range Increase and a More rapid return so that the highest power allows a GreatAxe to be Thrown, returned and thrown back as many tines as you have iterative attacks?

I’m just saying…

Graham  on December 21st, 2007

Hmm… Weapon Crystal could work as well. Right now I’m just trying to keep it simple, but that could be an interesting variation.

Dave: actually, most MIC enhancements are still X modifiers, mostly due building off the formulas of the DMG enhancements I think, but more of them are set costs. It’s a nice change.

Ghost Touch should definitely be a set value, I think.

And yes, there are times when you’d take returning without throwing. That’s why I had this enchantment give a +10 to the RI of a throwing weapon. Does that sound like a good trade? Let me know.

Ronin: For the Gnome Hooked Hammer, technically this still only applies to a single head, so only that head would be “throwable”.

That’s rather silly, though. I’d allow it for both. It’s not unbalanced.

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