Can a Zen Archer Monk making a full attack with a longbow react to subsequent ranged attack against him with deflect or snatch arrows? Or does the full attack require both hands during his entire turn?


1 Answer 1


You need both hands to use a bow, but only during your turn. During enemy turn, you can hold it in one hand and have a free hand to use Snatch Arrows.

It also works when you use a two-handed melee weapon and release your grip on one hand at the end of your turn as a free action (but you won't be able to use your weapon for attacks of opportunity in this case).

From the combat rules FAQ :

What kind of action is it to remove your hand from a two-handed weapon or re-grab it with both hands?

Both are free actions. For example, a wizard wielding a quarterstaff can let go of the weapon with one hand as a free action, cast a spell as a standard action, and grasp the weapon again with that hand as a free action; this means the wizard is still able to make attacks of opportunity with the weapon (which requires using two hands).

As with any free action, the GM may decide a reasonable limit to how many times per round you can release and re-grasp the weapon (one release and re-grasp per round is fair).

No matter how you choose to interpret it, you always have a solution to have a free hand during enemy turn.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to clarify that, while removing your hand from a 2-hander is a legal Free action, it also prevents you from using the weapon between your turns (such as for Attacks of Opportunity). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 19:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That is particularly relevant for a Zen Archer, @Ifusaso, since they do end up with the Reflexive Shot ability. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this answer, but can you give me a RAW reference for: "You need both hands to use a bow, but only during your turn. During enemy turn, you can hold it in one hand and have a free hand to use Snatch Arrows." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 5:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I swear this discussion just occurred. Isn't there some debate as to whether a bow is technically a two-handed weapon (like a typical greatsword) instead of it just needing two hands to use? (So in the latter case, removing your hand isn't even necessary—you're not using the bow anyway.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 9:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @IsaacKotlicky In such a case, doing so with bow then doesn't require taking the free action at all, so if the GM's placed some arbitrary limit on the number of free actions, that limit wouldn't apply. It also saves Dumpster-diving through the FAQ to get the free-action-remove-hand ruling and, if true, makes for a more accurate answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 9:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .