An alchemist has the ability to throw bombs.

His opponent is a monk with the Snatch Arrows feat.

Snatch Arrows (Combat)

Instead of knocking an arrow or ranged attack aside, you can catch it in mid-flight.

Prerequisites: Dex 15, Deflect Arrows, Improved Unarmed Strike.

Benefit: When using the Deflect Arrows feat you may choose to catch the weapon instead of just deflecting it. Thrown weapons can immediately be thrown back as an attack against the original attacker (even though it isn’t your turn) or kept for later use.

You must have at least one hand free (holding nothing) to use this feat.

Deflect Arrows (Combat)

You can knock arrows and other projectiles off course, preventing them from hitting you.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Improved Unarmed Strike.

Benefit: You must have at least one hand free (holding nothing) to use this feat. Once per round when you would normally be hit with an attack from a ranged weapon, you may deflect it so that you take no damage from it. You must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed. Attempting to deflect a ranged attack doesn’t count as an action. Unusually massive ranged weapons (such as boulders or ballista bolts) and ranged attacks generated by natural attacks or spell effects can’t be deflected.

If he as a free hand, can he throw back a bomb supposed to explode on impact ?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It's all in the reflexes. \$\endgroup\$
    – sirjonsnow
    Jul 5, 2017 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ For all the questions it raises, does anyone ever really take the feat Snatch Arrows? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2017 at 14:57

3 Answers 3


You can catch them, but you cannot use them.

Alchemist's bombs cannot be used or carried by anyone else other than the alchemist who created them:

An alchemist’s bomb, like an extract, becomes inert if used or carried by anyone else.

This means you can deflect and even catch a bomb, but you cannot throw it back and expect it to explode (it won't). If you throw it back, expect it to be an improvised throw weapon and cause equivalent damage to throwing a vial or cup of glass at someone (probably 1d2 or 1d3 damage).

This also means that, even if the alchemist creates a bomb and hands it over to a friend so they can throw it, the bomb becomes inert as soon as it is held by another character.

James Jacobs (Paizo's Creative Diretor) also confirms that bombs, being ranged attacks, can be deflected by monks (and whoever has the feat).

The bomb still explodes if deflected, but since it is not directly hitting your character, she takes no damage from it. Normally, missing a bomb would cause at least the splash damage, but the character is protected from the text of Deflect Arrows:

Once per round when you would normally be hit with an attack from a ranged weapon, you may deflect it so that you take no damage from it.

Everyone else within the splash radius should still take damage from the explosion if the bomb is deflected, but not if the bomb is snatched. If a bomb is snatched, it did not hit any target, not even the ground. If there is no direct hit, the bomb doesn't cause splash damage.

A hit deals direct hit damage to the target, and splash damage to all creatures within 5 feet of the target.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ In this case, though, it sounds like Snatch Arrows still has a unique use here. From what you're saying, it sounds like Deflect Arrows protects the monk, but not anyone nearby, since the bomb still explodes. Snatch Arrows would actually stop the explosion (since the monk holding the bomb would inactivate it), thus protecting allies too. Still not as good as being able to throw the bomb back, but still decidedly more useful than Deflect alone. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2017 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do they detonate, and would that detonation be triggered by "catching" it? \$\endgroup\$
    – godskook
    Jul 5, 2017 at 15:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @godskook the bomb has two triggers to explode, direct hit and missing the target (which would prompt a misdirection d8 roll). The alchemist didn't miss, nor the bomb did directly hit the target. Things like these can happen in the rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jul 5, 2017 at 15:33
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Arguably on what raw basis? It did not hit because the feat says it didnt hit. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jul 5, 2017 at 15:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This scenario i just described has been discussed to death on paizo message boards regarding Crane Wing and Crane Riposte, if you need more details. The attacker missing his attack is different from the defender deflecting the attack. Both are misses as far as defining if the defender takes damage or not, but the attacker wouldnt trigger mechanics that happen on missing your attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jul 5, 2017 at 15:39


The "ranged weapon" denomination in Deflect Arrows covers thrown weapons (that's not clear but considering that Snatch Arrow have a special section for thrown weapons it seems intended). It's not a "massive ranged weapon" (unless thrown at a very small monk) neither it's "generated by natural attack or spell effects": Deflect Arrows should work.

Snatch Arrow doesn't raise any other constraints on the kind of weapons, so bombs can be snatched too.

Note1: in the rules about Alchemist's bombs:

Bombs are unstable, and if not used in the round they are created, they degrade and become inert

So you can't snatch the bomb and keep it for later, you have to use it before they degrade (it's not clear if "the round they are created" ends at the beginning of the alchemist's next round but it seems to be a coherent interpretation).

Note2: one could argue that this ruling is not realistic, but Snatch Arrow is never realistic to start with, even with regular projectiles. Physical considerations like momentum don't work well with Pathfinder rules.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "Bombs are unstable, and if not used in the round they are created, they degrade and become inert" What if your turn is after the thrower's turn? You snatch it in the thrower's turn. When your turn comes, it's still the same round, so... couldn't you use it? \$\endgroup\$
    – xDaizu
    Jul 5, 2017 at 11:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xDaizu: probably, but the point is that you can't just store them to throw them later on a different fight. Edited anyway. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5, 2017 at 11:49

That depends on how the bomb's explosion is triggered. If it is triggered by an impact, the change of speed and momentum from catching it would let it explode in the monk's hand. If it is triggered after a predefined time independent of what happens in the meantime, this is viable as the possibility to immediately throw back a thrown weapon is explicitly described. You therefore should ask for additional information from the GM or player on the type of bomb and its explosion mechanism.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Personally, I would even let the monk catch a impact-triggered bomb if he knows (or assumes) its nature, by having him catching it like you would catch a water balloon (e.g. turning on yourself and slowly slowing down), although maybe at a action cost like no throwing back immediately or no other immediate action until his turn. Unless the bomb has a very complicated/magical "post-throw activated" impact trigger, or is just extremely sensible and was drop from above rather than thrown, I think it would work. \$\endgroup\$
    – Luris
    Jul 5, 2017 at 9:33

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