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Can a Warforged have a ranged weapon affixed to them like an armblade or is it strictly just melee weapons only? I was curious if a crossbow could be used in place of it possibly.

Also, is the main function of an armblade just so you can't be disarmed?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose the Armblade was published in UA back in October of 2018. It's apparently an excerpt from the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, available to DM's guild. The real question is whether any ranged weapon versions exist in the base document. They certainly did in 4th ed. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden May 17 at 18:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden That may be true, but we don't actually know that is, in fact, what OP is asking about. We can't just make that assumption. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 17 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch If he's asking about 5e (which he tagged it with), and he's asking a rules question, it's reasonable to assume that he's working from official or semi-official sources. The armblade does actually show up in a semi-official source. It's at least a reasonable preliminary assumption to make. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden May 17 at 19:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden At the end of the day, if folks want to make assumptions and answer, then that's totally fine. Personally, I'd prefer if Synn let us know. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 17 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 18 at 7:32
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Yes, but 5th edition has no rules for doing it

Ranged weapons can definitely be attached to warforged in Eberron; we have plenty of examples of that happening in older editions of D&D. But 5e doesn’t provide any rules for doing so: the armblade component is limited to melee weapons, and no “armbow” component exists in 5e.

Historical precedent: 3.5e armbow

In the 3.5 edition of D&D, the original Eberron Campaign Setting included an armbow attached warforged component right next to the armblade. However, the armbow was vastly more expensive (20,000 gp to the armblade’s 2,300: nearly an entire order of magnitude). On the other hand, the armbow arguably had greater functionality. It added +2 to attack and damage (compared to the armblade’s +1), it auto-magically created and loaded ammunition (which the armblade, obviously, had no need to do), and it could automatically cast align weapon on that ammunition for the unusual price of 3 hp per shot (thanks to 3.5e’s greater power level, recovering this damage was extremely trivial by about 2nd level).

Personally, I’d call the 3.5e armbow preposterously overpriced, even before getting into the implication that it was impossible to fire more than once per round even if you were supposed to have that ability, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, the existence of the 3.5e armbow establishes that attaching ranged weapons to warforged is a totally consistent and appropriate thing in Eberron—but doesn’t answer what the 5th edition rules for doing so would be.

5e situation: Eberron still seems to be “in flux,” and no armbow exists (yet?)

Unfortunately, 5e Eberron is rather difficult to pin down—they keep publishing Unearthed Arcana or test material for it, but Wizards of the Coast has yet to publish anything finalized for the setting, including the warforged race itself. That said, the 2018 Unearthed Arcana article “Magic Items of Eberron” defines the armblade as follows:

Armblade

Weapon (any one-handed melee weapon), common (requires attunement by a warforged)

An armblade is a weapon designed to integrate with the forearm of a warforged. If you’re a warforged, you can attach an armblade by attuning to it. An attached armblade cannot be disarmed or removed from you against your will, but while the weapon is attached you cannot use that hand for other actions. You can spend one minute to end the attunement and remove the armblade.

As the first line there says, it only applies to a “one-handed melee weapon.” So while armbows are things in Eberron, they aren’t (yet?) defined in 5e. Unfortunately, there just doesn’t seem to be any more information available on this subject.

Ultimately, the armblade requires attuning—an extremely valuable resource, since you can only attune 3 items—and then its only benefit is that it can’t be disarmed. “Magic Items of Eberron” even includes a sidebar explaining that armblades are not magical weapons and don’t overcome resistance as if they were—though it does say you can make an armblade from an already-magic weapon. Whether that would now require attuning twice, once as an armblade and once for the magic weapon it actually is, is unclear. If not, that could maybe make an armblade worthwhile, but if so—or if dealing with a non-magic weapon or magic weapon that did not otherwise require attunement—this rendition of armblade is a terrible choice, consuming an extremely-scarce resource for an extremely-small benefit.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The most current official version of the armblade can be found here. At a brief glance it looks identical to the UA version. I think that WotC considers this to be a published item though it is confusing. Similarly the warforged race can be found here. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 17 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Last I heard, Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron was still considered playtest material, though Rubiksmoose’s link (where they are selling it for $19.99) suggests my information is out of date (I double-checked, too, but I suppose Google also pulled up an out-of-date page for me). \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 17 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Searching more, I see Keith Baker continuing (as of July, the apparent release of that product) to say “it’s treated as Unearthed Arcana content,” see here. Since that FAQ isn’t dated (that I can see?), hard to say which statement is more recent/accurate—or if he considers Unearthed Arcana content “official” despite the huge asterisk on it. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 17 at 18:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The answer is “Yes, ranged weapons can be attached to warforged in Eberron, but the rules for doing so don’t exist for 5e, and the existing 5e rules for armblade are limited to melee weapons.” \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 17 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 17 at 18:59
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Armblades can only be one-handed melee weapons

According to Unearthed Arcana: Magic Items of Eberron:

Armblade

Weapon (any one-handed melee weapon), common (requires attunement by a warforged)

An armblade is a weapon designed to integrate with the forearm of a warforged. If you’re a warforged, you can attach an armblade by attuning to it. An attached armblade cannot be disarmed or removed from you against your will, but while the weapon is attached you cannot use that hand for other actions. You can spend one minute to end the attunement and remove the armblade.

But as comments by Rubiksmoose and NautArch to this question and its answers point out: the armblade has also been released in Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron. I don't own this book, so unfortunately I cannot check how the latest version of this race feature is worded in it. In any case, consult your DM if you are interested in having a ranged weapon as armblade.


Regarding the "main function" of a race feature: as far as I know, this website doesn't cover designer intent.

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    \$\begingroup\$ WGtE hasn't yet been changed since the first UA was published - I assume they're waiting until the artificer (the apparent final piece) finishes going through UA, and then will update the whole thing based on the survey feedback for the various parts that have gone through UA. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 18 at 7:34

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