I made a weapon to give to my party at level 5. Is this overpowered to give (one) to a level 5 party of 4 characters?

The Halting Rod

Uncommon (unique), 2 lbs.
2d4 force damage
Properties: Light, Finesse, Special (Use of special feature requires attunement)

Special:

Whenever the wielder of this weapon is attacked by a melee weapon, they can use their reaction to make an special non-damaging attack roll with the weapon, the AC for which is 11 plus the attacker's attack modifier. On a successful hit, the attacker's damage is stopped. Twice per day, when the wielder successfully blocks an attack with this weapon, they can cast thunderwave (save DC 16) as a second-level spell centered halfway between themselves and their attacker.

  • 1
    I assume from context that if the special non-damaging attack "hits", the triggering attack is blocked? – Miniman Oct 10 at 4:08
  • that is correct @Miniman – qazwsx Oct 10 at 4:11
  • 1
    How does casting thunderwave between them work? Does that mean both of them are affected by it, or does it burst outwards towards the enemies side? Or does the wielder get to target it? – Erik Oct 10 at 4:41
  • does the damage of Thunderwave scale? – András Oct 10 at 11:57
  • I'm not so sure about the force damage... not many monsters have resistance to force damage and that makes it fairly powerful in comparison to other damage types like fire or the base three. – rpgstar Oct 12 at 0:52
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It seems fine

The damage and attack properties make it Uncommon. Compared to a +1 Shortsword it has +1.5 damage and -1 attack. This part looks fine.

Avoiding Attacks

Reaction is a high cost, Attunement is higher, and I don't see any special combos to make it great for anyone.

This looks to be created for Rogues, with the Light property.

Rogue

A 5th level Rogue can spend its reaction on Uncanny Dodge, halving one damage instance without question.
This weapon's special property turns it into a gamble; you can roll for zero damage, but if you fail, you get all the damage. The chance to succeed is around 50%, so in the long run you gained nothing.
And it still occupies one of the 3 attunement slots you have. I would replace it at the first opportunty for a +1 weapon that does not require attunement.

Other classes

Light is only useful for dual wielders without the Dual Wielder feat, and two-weapon fighting is subpar for everyone.
Still, if you are willing to sacrifice your shield for a chance to negate one attack per round at the cost of your reaction, it is not horrible.
I would pass however, especially with the need for attunement.

Thunderwave

2d8 damage twice a day on level 5 is mostly inconsequential, even more so on higher levels. It is nice to have, but will not break anything.

  • Thunderwave can hit multiple targets so 2d8 could be compounded. Shortsword is martial and is therefore locked behind proficiency, this homebrew is not which is why I compared it to a simple weapon – David Coffron Oct 10 at 13:33
  • I'm really shocked to see you claiming a free thunderwave is "inconsequential". This isn't 'cast thunderwave twice per day', it's as part of the reaction, which makes the whole blocking effect even stronger... – Darth Pseudonym Oct 10 at 15:25
  • @DarthPseudonym its damage is less than a cantrip's on this level, and while it can target multiple enemies, you can't move for better positioning, so quite often you will have friendlies in the area, or very few enemies. – András Oct 11 at 14:22
  • I agree with this answer. One detail that you might want to add: at the moment, it doesn't specify what kind of action-economy resource needs to be spent to cast Thunderwave. I assume it is meant to be cast using the same Reaction that cancelled the damage, but if that's the case the author should make it explicit. – Gandalfmeansme Oct 11 at 17:32

This weapon should be Very Rare

A 2d4 Light, Finesse weapon is already about as strong as an Uncommon magic item. It has the damage output of a Rare +2 Dagger, but not the attack modifier, placing it at Uncommon without the Special property with attunement.

Other Rare weapons

Another weapon approximately equal to the Uncommon +1 weapon but with added benefits for attunement can be found in the Berserker Axe. The Berserker Axe's upside is increasing HP by 1 per level. This equates to 5 more effective HP, while your weapon has the chance to gain substantially more. This doesn't even consider the reaction casting of thunderwave, which is on its own fairly powerful (equivalent to an Uncommon magic wand).

Should Level 5 characters have the weapon?

This largely depends on the level of magic in your campaign, but the guidance on giving out magic weapons in Xanathar's Guide to Everything does allow for a single Very Rare magic item at the levels 5-10. It calls for a Very Rare "minor item", but the only guidance for what constitutes a minor item is referencing the Dungeon Master's Guide explicitly. As such, considering this is not a characer-defining item, I would call it minor. However, keep in mind that it will affect party balance when handed out this early in the second tier.

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