A former DM has had the same recurring NPC/GMPC since I started playing in his game. This was 20+ years ago and we started in 1st edition and slowly made our way through the years and editions. We updated our characters as we went to the new editions. Now this NPC/GMPC is the most reviled in his games, any time he shows up all the players immediately want him dead. We stick to character though.

The question will be broken up to hopefully get expert answers from each of the editions in which we played in this particular question it will be specific to 2e. I am skipping 4e (as we all hated it and only played one session) and 5e because I know for a fact that it is not possible there (yet).

The question is as follows:

Give the following constraints what is the maximum number of attacks in this edition:

  1. NPC is an Elf (This is just to set the prerequisite for the below multiclass possibility).
  2. He was a Thief-Acrobat and I assume multiclassed, probably Fighter-Thief.
  3. The weapon of choice was throwing knives.
  4. Assume unlimited ammunition as he had a bandalier that had the knives return.
  5. I know he could throw 3 knives at a time (pretty sure this was a thing for shuriken from Oriental Adventures).
  6. Assume all official sources and Dragon Magazine since the first issue are open.
  7. I know of this question and assume there is a variant with knives.
  8. If I recall he threw with both hands as well.
  9. I recall the DM and I both hating Skills & Powers but let's assume he took what he liked from there, if anything is applicable.
  10. We were always between 8th and 15th level when I met this character.
  11. I do not recall spell-casting but not ruling it out entirely but main build would likely have been focused on mundane means.
  12. Assume focused magical item augmentation as well, just calling it out even though the aforementioned bandolier alluded to it, but for the most part official items other than that.

The end result in game was quite literally at least 2 dozen attacks per round, perhaps more. Which I have questioned him multiple times about the build and legitimacy but he as refused to provide any answers. I know DMs do not have to justify but this, combined with a number of other things over the years has lead to distrust. I have since stopped playing his games altogether, so this is just a verification on whether I have overreacted.

This was broken into 3 questions for each of the editions.

AD&D, AD&D 2nd Edition, and Dungeons & Dragons 3.X.


2 Answers 2


The answer is calculated thusly -

Just kidding. This isn't something that can be answered to your satisfaction. A knife has a ROF of 2. If the NPC was a Fighter (or multi-classed to sufficient level to use the Fighter extra attacks), we'd need to know his level in order to fully answer.

If you went through all those Dragon magazines and supplemental books, you could probably find a way to powergame a silly number of attacks per round. In the end, AD&D is ruled by the "Throw out what doesn't work and do your own thing" rule for GMs.

Having said all that, your GM has introduced an element that sucks all the fun out of the game. It's apparently long past the point where you should confront him directly and explain that not only does it not make sense, it's not fun. You don't enjoy it, and you won't continue to play.

Trying to argue facts and logic with someone who's using their power to abuse you is a waste of facts and logic. They don't care.

  • \$\begingroup\$ He is not the type to lie, tbh, although he has been confused a number of times on rule wording, and I already stated in my answer I have since stopped playing with him. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Apr 24, 2018 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I missed the bit about you not playing with him anymore. In my mind, it makes the point moot, unless you were just looking for some validation, which I'd say you're more than validated in dropping him. I wasn't insinuating that he was lying. My original point was that between all the different supplements and optional rules in the game, you can justify just about anything, especially if you are the GM and choose to the ultimate rule "throw out the rules and do as you please". \$\endgroup\$ Apr 24, 2018 at 17:12

Using Skills & Powers (but not Combat & Tactics), this NPC can reach the first level of mastery at level 8 (this does not imply any change of number of attacks, but clarifies that the char already is a specialist - at level 4 for multiclass fighter), so, if he is level 13, he had the 5/1 rate of attacks/round. If he uses both hands, we now have 6/1. Under a Haste spell, this elf could throw 12 daggers in a single round. I will stop here, if we were talking about Dark Sun we could go faaaaaaar away, including psionic powers like Accelerate, Magnify and their power score results.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not super clear that a character can get additional attacks from an off-hand throw. The references in the PHB, S&P, C&T seem to imply that this is an option for two melee weapons (based on the organization of the relevant passages and that two-weapon fighting is a different "fighting style" than missile weapons), but it's not spelled out. Also, C&T grand mastery would allow an additional attack per round, but may not be allowed to multi-classed fighters (S&P makes that possible up to mastery level, but doesn't touch on grand mastery). \$\endgroup\$
    – ucbpaladin
    Nov 17, 2019 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ucbpaladin I agree with you, both situations (additional attack for throwed weapon and multiclass grand mastery) are opened to interpretations. A DM can argue multiclass cannot become grand master because there is no cost and minimal levels indicated in S&P (C&T is explicit denying even first level mastery to multiclass fighters). I used only the specialist rate in my calculations, and considered logical the use of the left hand to throw daggers, but as you said, it is not spelled out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lucas
    Mar 1, 2020 at 22:07

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