The Fighter archetype Arcane Archer gains the Arcane Shot feature at level 3. It also seems to be the most prominent feature of the archetype. But its description includes this:

when you fire a magic arrow from a shortbow or longbow (XGtE 28)

Which would mean that you need a way to fire a magic arrow. You do not necessarily have something like that at level 3. Is it a typo or do I understand it wrong?

Does taking the archetype force the DM to give you a magic item so that you can use it? Or should you simply not take it if you do not have a magical bow? There is no similar restriction on any other archetype.


3 Answers 3


It's an error; you shouldn't need to obtain magic arrows

Jeremy Crawford (5e's lead rules developer) sent out a tweet about this issue last month saying:

The Arcane Shot feature unfortunately contains an error: the feature is not intended to require a magic arrow.

He clarified in a later tweet that this error would be corrected in future printings.


Exactly as written... yes. You would need a magic arrow to be able to use that ability (and at level 7, you can treat nonmagical arrows as magical and bypass that).

But that's weird. As you say, no other archetype (of any class!) is required to receive something from the DM just to use their signature ability.
I, as a DM, would assume that is a typo - a holdover from the UA version where you had to create the magic arrow to use in your Arcane Shot beforehand, and I would let you apply that to nonmagical arrows.

Bottom line: talk to your DM about it - draw the parallel between this ability and superiority dice (it's a more powerful effect but you get half the uses).
And if your DM is a stickler for RAW, you might just have to wait for errata (or wait until level 7, I suppose)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Technically, the Battlerager Barbarian from SCAG requires a unique type of armor that's under DM control for their signature abilities. The price is in line with other mundane equipment, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – starchild
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 18:47

Level 3 ability

Arcane Arrow: When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you learn to channel magic into your attacks with a longbow or shortbow.

Create Magic Arrow. As a bonus action on your turn, you can create one magic arrow in your hand. The arrow lasts until the end of the turn or until it hits or misses a target. You can fire the arrow from a shortbow or longbow. The arrow is a magic weapon that deals an additional 2d6 force damage on a hit. You have two uses of this feature, and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a short or long rest.

In short, you create the magic arrow you need for the ability in question

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is not in XGtE. Was this in UA? \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes it is in Unearthed Arcana. \$\endgroup\$
    – KDodge
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 15:58
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ UA is playtest material only. Also, the archetype features are different in this case. Referencing UA is not an acceptable answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 16:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega It does help explain where the typo came from, for what that's worth. They rejiggered the Arcane Archer and that one word slipped through in editing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 21:47

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