So, I'm kind of trumped right now, and I need to know what the rules are in terms of the type of action required for one player to pass an item to another player during combat.

You see, my friend has come up with a theoretical way to make a gnome rail gun in the 6 second space of one turn by that each turn is chronological but also simultaneous. So by lining up a group of people (NPCs and Players) with decreasing initiative roles he can pass a gnome from one player to the next in the space of the 6 seconds thus accelerating the gnome to a ridiculous speed due to the theoretical space the gnome has crossed in one turn.

Now, I'm all for interesting ideas, but this is insane, I know the combat rules can find a way to allow it, but this is some sort of temporal anomaly within the combat rules, no?

So yeah, back to the point, passing ANY object, and then receiving said object , large or small, takes what kind of action from either player?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This technique is called Commoner railgun and this guy probably read this: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19911222/… . This is pure munchkin and only demonstrate that rules are not everything. Just use common sense for dealing with those situations. \$\endgroup\$
    – user4000
    Aug 24, 2012 at 13:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ This verges on not being a real question about a real problem. 1. Is it really coming up in play or is this just theory noodling, and 2. If you're the DM say "no." \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 24, 2012 at 13:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ The situation seems ridiculous, but I think the question itself is valid. He wants to know what action it is to had someone something, and if it requires an action to receive something. I would call it a minor action to hand an item to an adjacent player, but I can't quote any rules to back that up. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2012 at 14:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Question is legit about how do you pass something to another character (move action, standard?). The fluff text under it is simply a concern about the rule flaws. I suggest Jack Meek edit the question to respect format \$\endgroup\$
    – user4000
    Aug 24, 2012 at 14:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I like this post from the above thread. ". Sadly, the same rules that allow moving the rock along the line so fast also make that speed completely irrelevant for throwing it - the last commoner in line throws it just as hard, fast, and far as if he were completely alone." Honestly its an improvised thrown weapon at the end, the game never really factors in any sort of physics except when falling. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2012 at 15:05

2 Answers 2


Well, the simple answer is to disallow it as the DM. However, since your players want to pull in physics not written into the rules, you should do the same.

They're forgetting some physics. For one, mass increases with speed. So, that object becomes impossible for players to pick up due to the increased weight.

If my players tried to pull something like this, I'd let them go through the whole scenario and break down their plan (let them dig their own hole), even let them calculate the damage rolls. Then I'd make them each roll strength checks to pick up the ever-increasingly heavy gnome. Eventually, one would fail and I'd roll the damage on that player.

But then, I'm a mean DM.

Oh yeah, and picking up an object is a minor action, dropping it is a free action, RAW.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for countering physics with physics, and having the RAW answer to the actual question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Colin D
    Aug 24, 2012 at 14:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks, +1 for your rule consideration. Apparently this whole idea revolves around dropping objects, rather than throwing them unfortunately. \$\endgroup\$
    – deltree
    Aug 24, 2012 at 14:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ You would have to use 24000 commoners in this railgun to gain 0.00000001% increase in mass. You are mean indeed. \$\endgroup\$
    – jva
    Aug 24, 2012 at 14:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jva then we get to see if they really did their research. Don't forget to account for air resistance, and friction. The gnome might even catch fire! *If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. \$\endgroup\$
    – deltree
    Aug 24, 2012 at 17:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @deltree you can do even better than air resistance and friction: how about a fusion reaction that takes out the entire line of people passing the gnome around? what-if.xkcd.com/1 \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2012 at 17:56

This does not really address the question about passing objects, but the rail gun would be an improvised ranged weapon:

1d4 damage and a range of 5/10.


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