I'm thinking of having a dancing weapon made, but the biggest problem that I'm running into (at least I think so) is that an enemy could try to snatch it out of the air and thus, for all intents and purposes, make it their own.

Are there any enchantments for a weapon that would either debuff or hurt anyone trying to use the weapon who isn't the "owner"?


2 Answers 2


You probably don’t have to worry about dancing

If the wielder who loosed it has an unoccupied hand, she can grasp it while it is attacking on its own as a free action

(emphasis mine)

Since you loosed it, not your enemy, they cannot grasp it, at least not with this special free action. The DM may allow them to, say, use disarm to try to grab it the same as disarm could grab it from your hand, and presumably you would take a penalty on that, but that still isn’t automatic or free, and if they lack Improved Disarm you get an attack of opportunity against them, and that stops them if it hits.

I would guess that the penalty most DMs would impose would probably replace the bonus or penalty for the handedness of the weapon, and probably being worse than the −4 you would otherwise have in the worst case (a light weapon), so if someone is good at disarming, then dancing could be problematic, but how often do you fight dedicated disarm-ers? The point is that the dancing weapon probably tries to avoid being grasped by anyone who isn’t you, so a disarm or similar still is necessary.

But the question itself could still be valid

Nevertheless, someone could steal your magic weapon, dancing or otherwise, either with disarm or just by taking it when you weren’t using it. You might still want to prevent them from using it against you. So the question of whether or not you can is still absolutely valid.

Under “other considerations” for custom magic item cost, we have

Item Requires Skill to Use

Some items require a specific skill to get them to function. This factor should reduce the cost about 10%.

Item Requires Specific Class or Alignment to Use

Even more restrictive than requiring a skill, this limitation cuts the cost by 30%.

In theory, being even more specific, i.e. keyed to precisely you, should cut the cost even more.

However, in my experience, most DMs take a pretty dim view of these guidelines—since players usually only care about using an item themselves, they don’t care if the item is specific to a skill they have, or specific to their class or their alignment, so it’s just pure savings. If anything, as you say, it’s a benefit—it limits the people who can use it against you! So most DMs don’t actually allow players to make their items cheaper this way. If anything, they make it more expensive.

But the problem for you is, 1. being specific to a single person, rather than requiring a particular skill, class, or alignment, isn’t covered by the rules at all, and 2. the rules only suggest these discounts, which we’re rejecting—that leaves us without any rules at all for how much these should cost.

Ultimately, you will have to ask your DM; the rules don’t cover this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ as for grabing back like you said i was planning to upgrade it to the better version when i can (the one that goes out much farther) and i should have added that but your answer is more than good enough. thank you. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Firealarm
    Mar 12, 2018 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Might be worth mentioning: d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicWeapons.htm#dancing calls out "it is considered wielded or attended by the creature for all maneuvers and effects that target items", strongly implying that there would be no penalty for a disarm attempt. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Mar 12, 2018 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would think the cost reduction for item restrictions should only be used for penalty-based restrictions (i.e. something to make an item potentially harder for you to use). Building a magic weapon encoded for a specific person sounds more like a feature than a restriction, and as a DM I would be likely to not reduce the cost at all, and perhaps even increase it for having what amounts to a weapon chain attached to the on-off button. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2018 at 2:31

A Dancing Sword requires attunement, which cannot happen during combat (because it requires a short rest). Therefore, even if a monster were to grapple it, it would not be able to utilize its magical properties. It could potentially prevent the weapon from moving though, and how to resolve that situation would fall within DM purview.

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    \$\begingroup\$ there is no attunement in 3.5 (i looked into that cuz i saw it on this site for 5e and wondered if it was in 3.5) and the enhancement says nothing about it \$\endgroup\$
    – Firealarm
    Mar 13, 2018 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Crap, this is a 3.5e question. Derp. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2018 at 1:46

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