6
\$\begingroup\$

The Oathbow magic item says

When you make a ranged Attack roll with this weapon against your sworn enemy, you have advantage on the roll. In addition, your target gains no benefit from cover, other than total cover, and you suffer no disadvantage due to long range. If the Attack hits, your sworn enemy takes an extra 3d6 piercing damage.

But one of the UA fighter archetypes, Arcane Archer (coming in the Xanatha's Guide next month, but previewed in Unearthed Arcana), has the ability to imbue their arrows with magic and two of them seems like it might conflict with the oathbow's trigger condition.

Piercing Arrow. You use transmutation magic to give your arrow an ethereal quality. When you use this option, you don’t make an attack roll for the attack. Instead, the arrow fires forward in a line that is 1 foot wide and 30 feet long, before disappearing. The arrow passes harmlessly through objects, ignoring cover. Each creature in that line must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a target takes damage as if it were hit by the arrow, plus an extra 1d6 piercing damage. On a successful save, a target takes half as much damage.

Seeking Arrow. Using divination magic, you grant your arrow the ability to seek out your target, allowing the arrow to curve and twist its path in search of its prey. When you use this option, you don’t make an attack roll for the attack. Instead, choose one creature you have seen in the past minute. The arrow flies toward that creature, moving around corners if necessary and ignoring three-quarters cover and half cover. If the target is within the weapon’s range and there is a path large enough for the arrow to travel to the target, the target must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, it takes damage as if it were hit by the arrow, plus an extra 1d6 force damage, and you learn the target’s current location. On a successful save, the target takes half as much damage, and you don’t learn its location.

So how does this work with RAW? I know some situations override things going both ways in favor of exploitation and prevention.

Does the class skill let you bypass the attack roll while getting the oathbow's power buff or do you not get the buff?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ If you wait a month, Arcane Archer won't be UA anymore. (It's been announced in Xanthar's Guide to Everything as one of the included classes). It might be worth returning to this question with the final version of the class to see if the question still has legs. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 16 '17 at 12:27
20
\$\begingroup\$

You don't get the buff, because the very first part of Oathbow reads:

When you make a ranged Attack roll

And with these spells, you don't make a ranged Attack roll. So nothing happens with the Oathbow.

\$\endgroup\$
1
\$\begingroup\$

Piercing arrow and seeking arrow require saving throws from the target. There is no attack roll, ranged or otherwise. Oathbow effects would not apply with these attacks, just as Oathbow effects would not apply with a Fireball or a Lightning Bolt. Applying damage “as if it were hit with the arrow” emulates the magical effect. Lightning Bolt could say “as if it were hit by lightning from the sky,” but it would not have been not hit by lightning from the sky; rather it would have been hit by a spell.

\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

This is unclear. The main issue is this line:

On a failed save, a target takes damage as if it were hit by the arrow, plus an extra 1d6 piercing damage.

"As if it where hit with the arrow". This is talking about a counter-factual; "the arrow didn't hit the target, but we are talking about a situation where it did, and extract from that situation the damage it would do".

What, exactly, is that counter-factual situation emulating?

As if "someone picked up the arrow and hit you on the head"?

As if "someone, not you, shot the arrow and hit the target"?

As if "you instead of using this power made a normal ranged attack on the target, and hit the target"?

I would argue that choice 3 is what people are implicitly emulating. They are applying your dex bonus to damage, any enhancement bonuses, any feats you have, etc.

By RAW, however, the first (someone bonked them on the head with the arrow) is just as supported, in which case the damage should be that of an improvised weapon at most with no modifier to damage from attributes.

When you make a ranged Attack roll with this weapon against your sworn enemy, you have advantage on the roll. In addition, your target gains no benefit from cover, other than total cover, and you suffer no disadvantage due to long range. If the Attack hits, your sworn enemy takes an extra 3d6 piercing damage.

The next question is, does the counter-factual "as if" case involve you making an attack roll before the arrow hits? If that counter-factual "as if" case involves you hitting the target after making a normal attack on them, then "as if the arrow hits" would deal an extra 3d6 piercing damage.

If it doesn't include you making an attack roll before the arrow hits, I'm uncertain where in the rules you can hit a foe with an arrow without first making an attack roll. So the rules are unclear how much damage it does, ignoring this feature entirely.

Or you could choose to read the ranged attack portion as being severable where the hitting is divorced from the attack roll portion, in which case this doesn't apply.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.