This question applies to either OSRIC or to AD&D 1st Ed.

The scenario:

A human fighter with strength of 17 has selected "grenade-like weapons" as one of his weapon proficiencies. He carries a small bag with half a dozen mostly spherical baseball sized rocks for throwing at enemies.

He throws a rock at an ogre and scores a hit (not a critical hit or anything, just a normal hit).

How should the damage be calculated?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Curiosity: Does OSRIC require proficiency to use effectively grenade-like weapons? (That is, AD&D makes no mention of needing such a proficiency in the PH or the DMG, and the PH doesn't put grenade-likes on its weapon table, so it'd be, like, a secret if it can be picked and it's needed for proper care and feeding of one's flaming oil flasks.) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 29, 2018 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Funny you should bring up flaming oil potions! It was an encounter with a troll that caused my group to decide that grenade-like weapons proficiency was needed in our campaign. In the end we used baseball as the analogy to explain the difference: Anyone can throw a strike from 10 feet away, and at 40 mph. But it takes an experienced professional pitcher to hit the strike zone from 60 feet away at 90 mph. With the troll, a ranger in our group was trying to hit it with a crock of flaming oil from across a 50 foot wide chasm (this was years ago so I cannot remember the exact distances). \$\endgroup\$
    – zeeple
    Aug 30, 2018 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ignoring the fact that I couldn't throw a strike from 10 ft. away—much less throw anything at 40 MPH!—, I thought one of the reasons to use a grenade-like weapon is that, like the old saying goes, close actually counts, therefore making proficiency unnecessary even though a to-hit roll's still required. However, if I compose an answer, I'll keep in mind your house rules. (Also note that I never use the term house rules pejoratively!) Thanks for the info. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 30, 2018 at 13:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hey I Can Chan, you're absolutely right. I withdraw that comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tuorg
    Nov 2, 2018 at 11:12

3 Answers 3


If you don't mind befouling your Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign with rules from that upstart impostor Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition, the supplement Player's Option: Combat & Tactics (1995) has on its (extensive) Master Weapon List an entry for the typical, everyday can-be-thrown-by-a-normal-human rock (132).

(Note to New Readers: Just to be clear that this suggestion isn't overreaching, unlike later editions that change the game substantially, the differences between AD&D and 2nd Edition are far smaller, and a great deal of 2nd Edition material can be used without significant changes in AD&D campaigns.)

To summarize, a Combat & Tactics's rock weighs 1 lb., is size Small, has a rate of fire of 2/round, and deals 1d3 points of bludgeoning damage to a Small or Man-sized target yet only 1d2 to a Large target. Its short/medium/long ranges are 2/4/6 like a dagger. Unsurprisingly, a rock is free.

This DM would be comfortable using these statistics in an AD&D campaign despite their provenance were a PC to pick up a rock and chuck it at Orcus. They're reasonable and unrewarding statistics for a commonly available free weapon. Further, this DM would penalize the PC's to-hit roll by whatever nonproficiency penalty the PC's class normally suffers unless the PC had the foresight to take rock as a weapon proficiency.

Note: This reader is unaware of a direct statement in AD&D that mandates proficiency in grenade-like weapon. Further, this DM never demanded such a proficiency from PCs in his campaigns, and this player never had a DM demand such a proficiency from his PC or the PCs in his party. That's not to say it's a bad idea, but it may very well be a house rule—which, by the way, is totally fine: every table has them. However, given this, the DM should make it clear at the campaign's outset that such a proficiency is necessary for proper use of grenade-like weapons lest tragic hilarity ensue.


Dragon Magazine #97 addresses this for AD&D

On page 10 of the May, 1985 issue of Dragon Magazine is an article by Stephen Inniss entitled "Sticks, stones, and bones: Weapons to use when the enemy swipes your sword."

The article covers the use of many improvised weapons including rocks ranging from small (with a weight of 2, meaning 0.2 pounds) through very large rocks weighing 15 pounds or more. A medium rock by this article's estimation weighs half a pound and does 1-2 damage against S and M size opponents and 1 against L opponents. A large rock, weighing 3.5 pounds, does 1-3/1-2. The article suggests a rate of fire of 2 for medium rocks and 1 for large and limits damage bonuses (though not to hit bonuses):

The maximum allowable damage bonus is +1 for small rocks, +2 for medium-sized rocks, +3 for large rocks, and +4 for very large rocks, whether the bonus is due to strength, skill, magic, or a combination of these factors. However, "to hit" figures are not subject to any such restrictions.

The article categorizes the suitability of non-weapon objects as weapons into classes ranging from an actual weapon, to "same form, but different purpose" (class 1, -1 to hit penalty) down to "poor design for combat use" (class 3, -3 to hit penalty).

Specially selected stones of an ovoid or spherical shape may be classified as actual weapons, ordinary rocks of good material but not carefully sorted qualify as class 1, those chosen in greater haste or from less desirable material are class 2, and those merely snatched up or chosen from very poorly shaped material are class 3.

Large rocks have a range of 1/2 S, 1 M, 1 1/2 L and use the same armor class adjustments as a hurled hammer.

Medium rocks have a range of 1 S, 2 M, and 3 L and use roughly the same armor class adjustments as a sling stone.

The article covers a wide range of objects and also hot liquids such as boiling water and irritants such as sand and lye.

Special tip: a kettle of hot syrup is a dangerous weapon!


Here is how I decided to handle it. The base damage for the rock is 1d4. You get your strength bonus, but it decreases over distance at the rate of -1 per 10'. So if your strength bonus to damage is normally +3, and hurl a rock mightily at an enemy 5' in front of you your damage will be 1d4 +3. However, if that same opponent is 25' away from you there is a -2 distance penalty so your damage would be 1d4 +1. If the opponent is >= 30' away, then you just get the 1d4. Seems fair, and vaguely physicsy.


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