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Should a player be permitted to attempt recovery of a single arrow fired into battle? Phrased another way; if a player fires a single arrow into battle, and no more, should it always be unrecoverable?


The question "Is ammunition recoverable?" is not specific enough to address the case where a player fires a single piece of ammunition.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Should X?" is a question type which often have some problems with the SE format. What is the actual problem you are trying to solve? \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Feb 22 '20 at 23:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Who is contending the question, exactly? I also ask, what actual problem are you trying to solve? \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Feb 22 '20 at 23:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close because "there may not be enough awareness in the D&D community that a player firing a single arrow may not be able to recover that arrow" (emphases mine) doesn't seem like a real problem, particularly taken with the last couple of questions you've asked. It really seems like there's something going on: you're arguing with a player, you've been on the staff of a con where you had to break up multiple fights over ammunition rules, your character was killed by an arrow you contend shouldn't have existed... something. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 23 '20 at 1:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to suggest that people take any further discussion of this post (objections or otherwise) to Meta as I suspect the discussion that would be required would well exceed the limits of comments (and would be better served there regardless). \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 23 '20 at 1:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ This post is being discussed in this Meta \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 23 '20 at 3:07
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RAW, a single arrow fired is unrecoverable due to the "round down" rule

The Ammunition property describes how to recover expended ammunition after a battle:

At the end of the battle, you can recover half your expended ammunition by taking a minute to search the battlefield.

If you expended an odd number of arrows, then you divide by 2 and round down to determine the number of usable arrows recovered, because the general rule is to always round down fractions to the nearest integer when an integer is required (which is definitely the case when counting arrows):

Whenever you divide a number in the game, round down if you end up with a fraction, even if the fraction is one-half or greater.

Unfortunately, this means that by strict RAW, if you attempt to recover half of only one expended arrow, you end up with zero arrows recovered.

If you don't like it, change it; you won't break anything

If you (as the DM) find this unsatisfying and you are not playing in an official context where strict RAW is important, feel free to implement a special case for when only a single arrow was fired. For example, you can roll a d2 and say that the arrow is unrecoverable on a 1. Any change you make will have a minimal impact in practice because firing exactly one arrow in an encounter is very rare. If nothing else, the vast majority of ranged weapon users will have Extra Attack by level 5, which means that if they fire any arrows at all, they will almost always fire at least 2 of them, which means the special case of 1 arrow will rarely, if ever, come into play from that point onward.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There is an alternative to this: roll the dice and use any kind of 50% indicator (even or odd, high low) to discover if this arrow is recoverable or not. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 24 '20 at 13:13

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