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One of my players is thinking about going artillerist but they don't have enough hands to hold a shield, an arcane firearm, and a sword. In going down the rabbit hole of animated shields and dropping items I noticed they could craft a wand sheath that would allow them to use a wand hands-free. However they are a forest gnome and wand sheaths require attunement by warforged.

Would it be unbalanced to allow them to use one they made themselves? I am not concerned with the flavour.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Questions about balance tend to be highly subjective based on the reader's definition of what balance is, within a given system. While I understand the question in terms of a general sense of balance, I can't help but think of subjective answers to it, which aren't appropriate for RPG.SE. One can only safely assume the intent of RAW is, by-design, balance. On that assumption, deviations from RAW, however minor, are inherently unbalanced. As such, this is a difficult question to answer objectively. \$\endgroup\$ – Zigmata Dec 6 '19 at 17:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zigmata Subjective answers are appropriate for RPG.SE. However, the guide lines for Good Subjective answers are that they should quote relevant experience. For example, Problem Player questions are often highly subjective as to what the “best” answer is. As such, answerers are required to back up their answer with experience of how effective the solution they’ve given was. Theres plenty of articles and Role-playing Games Meta questions that will help you give Good Subjective answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Liam Morris Dec 6 '19 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Liam Noted . . . I'd been chastised here before for providing a subjective answer so I'll keep this in mind moving forward. To that end, I'll recant my earlier comment, but I'll leave it for the sake of posterity. \$\endgroup\$ – Zigmata Dec 9 '19 at 22:53
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No, it would not be unbalanced

In my opinion, it would not be unbalanced for several reasons:

  • Firstly, most wands require an action to use. This means that they are either going to make an attack with their weapon or with their wand, they can’t do both in the same turn. This quickly curbs any possible issues about them getting multiple attacks per turn, as it isn’t possible according to the Action Economy.

  • Secondly, they would be able to achieve a similar thing anyway within the rules. Drawing or stowing a weapon takes an object interaction. It is well within the rules for this character to make an attack with their weapon, use their object interaction to put it away and then, next turn, use their object interaction to draw their wand and their action to use it. All the wand sheath would do is remove the need to expend an object interaction.

So, for these reasons, I feel it would not be unbalanced to allow for the non-warforged character to use a wand sheath.


If you felt that it might cause an imbalance, you could say something along the lines of “because your wand sheath is homemade, you need a free hand in order to use it. However, sheathing or unsheathing a wand into the wand sheath does not cost an object interaction”. What this would mean is the player would have to use their object interaction to put their weapon away before they can use the wand. If you wanted to justify the reasoning behind that, look at this image of a retractable dagger which requires a free hand to use:

enter image description here Source:https://mobile.twitter.com/assassinscreed/status/855535369009459202

Imagine if that blade was a wand and spun the other way so it was pointing upwards relative to the hand. You could claim this is the reason the homemade wand sheath requires your free hand to use it where as the regular wand sheath design (the one used by the warforged) is significantly different.

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It would not be unbalanced, but it would be a house rule resulting in a buff to the player. Allowing it would be better than the War Caster feat's free somatic usage since the player also gains the benefit of the Arcane Firearm, but it's still insignificant in terms of balance because they can only have one action to either use the Firearm or swing the Sword.

You can have them make do within the rules which imposes some drawbacks. If the player has the Sword out and wants to use the Firearm, they can drop the Sword for free, pull out the Firearm as their object interaction, and then use it for an attack. This will result in them not having the Sword ready for Opportunity Attacks, and they'll have to swap back next turn. If they have the Firearm out they'll need to drop it to draw their Sword. In either case, having their alternate weapon on the floor could present a liability and limit their movement if they intend to pick it up. This is how I handle such cases.

As a halfway measure, you could offer the player a Quick-Sheathing Firearm that lets them draw or sheath the Firearm once per turn as a free action. This would have the benefit of not making them drop items on the floor but still limit their readiness for Opportunity Attacks based on whether they had the Sword or Firearm readied last.

I think it would be reasonably thematic and flavorful for a Gnome Artificer to create either the Quick-Sheathing Firearm or a Wand Sheath for themselves.

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I dont have enough experience in 5e or DND in general to give you a weighted answer on balance, so I will just state my feelings on this matter.

Given that a Wand Sheath basically allows a user to bypass the 2-items-only limit, and is available to Warforged, I dont think it would hurt balance much if at all to allow another creature to use one.

If you were to consider a limiter for it, perhaps you could rule it to only work with artificial limbs, such as the Prosthetic Limb ,though this would require your player to use 2 attunement slots (though they can eventually attune to 6 items at once).

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