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If you tie up a Shield Of Returning to the back of a minecart, and you position yourself at the front end of the minecart and call the Shield to you. Would the minecart be pushed forward by the Shield?

Edit: The DM has given me some freedom and allowed a Shield with the Returning property. I assume it behaves like a shield when held in hand, and thrown weapon with Returning when out of hand. I should also add that i think the shield is also sentient due to also being a Sassy Friend.

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    \$\begingroup\$ One answer clearly states that shield of returning is not an item in the default rules, so we really need to know exactly how this item behaves by the rules in your game before we can properly answer. Do you have the full description? \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Oct 29 '19 at 18:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I dont know if you are notified when an answer is edited, so I am leaving this comment to let you know your question is fully addressed. \$\endgroup\$ – Journer Oct 31 '19 at 15:07
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Given your edit, you technically have 2 separate questions to answer, with a special condition. For this reason, I am giving a three part answer.

By RAW, a Returning Weapon does not move other objects.

Also by RAW, the Returning Weapon only returns after making an attack, preventing the listed scenario about the cart.

Given that the shield appears to be sentient, the normal limits of Returning Weapon may not apply.

Returning Weapon states

prerequisites: A simple or martial weapon with the thrown property
This magic weapon grants a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it, and it returns to the wielder's hand immediately after it is used to make a ranged attack.

So, returning weapon, by UA RAW, can only be applied to a weapon with the Thrown property. A shield is classified as being armor, not a weapon, so this infusion cannot be applied to it RAW.

Further, Returning weapon states that 'it' returns to the wielder's hand, and makes no mention of it bringing anything along. So it explicitly mentions the weapon itself only.

Finally, the infusion only applies after making an attack with the weapon, which means that the user cannot attach it to an object, then summon it to them, as that is not a form of attack.

Since you state in your edit that the shield may be sentient, it may not need to have the Returning Weapon infusion to be mobile, it may be able to move on its own. In this case, you need to work with your DM to determine its limits of capability, such as carrying capacity, or push/drag/lift capacity, speed, and what conditions negate its abilities.

If it still requires Returning Weapon to be mobile, it likely has no capabilities beyond sentience and returning, but, again, you need to discuss this with your DM.

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The shield of returning is not a standard item in DnD 5e.

I found a homebrew entry here that states it returns at the end of the attack phase, indicating that the property gives it return arc when thrown (like a boomerang) and does not make it directly propel back to you at will (like Thor's hammer).

If you're allowing a shield to follow the returning property that can typically apply to weapons, it has the same condition of returning immediately following an attack.

Following either set of rules would not accomplish what you're asking.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It’s a magic item behaving in a way no non-magical item would (even an actual boomerang isn’t going to return if it hits something), so I’m not sure how you can claim that it “is not magically propelled back to you.” Doesn’t mean this trick works, but your supporting evidence seems weak to me. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 29 '19 at 15:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Implied—but it should be explicitly stated, and even better, backed up—is the notion that the returning item will stop returning if it cannot return to you immediately after an attack. I think that is probably a fair reading—after all, other alternatives like the item crashing through any and all obstacles, or freezing the game as the stated rule cannot be completed, are preposterous—but that kind of argumentation should be in the answer itself. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 29 '19 at 15:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Uh... no it isn’t? It’s literally what your answer implies, and relies upon to actually answer the question. You have that the weapon does not return at-will, and then you say that means this trick won’t work. There’s a disconnect between those two statements that needs to be filled in. The OP could just as easily “call” the weapon to them by throwing it. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 29 '19 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that’s an extremely, unnecessarily, and unhelpfully narrow view of the question and the answerer’s responsibility towards the OP and future readers. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 29 '19 at 15:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I often see answers broadening the question asked to cover more ground. Alternatively, the question in the header is quite different from that in the body (which is rather short) \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Oct 29 '19 at 15:48

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