Can I split a necklace of fireballs and hand the beads out to my party for individual use? Or does the necklace have to remain whole until just before a bead is thrown?

My character currently has a necklace of fireballs with 4 beads remaining. We are about to fight a difficult enemy, and the idea of bombarding it with 4 fireball spells in the first round is quite appealing.


2 Answers 2


The magic item description does not say.

The description for the necklace of fireballs states:

You can use an action to detach a bead and throw it up to 60 feet away.

This does not tell us what happens if we detach a bead and don't throw the bead. Thus, it is entirely up to the DM running your game what happens when a bead is detached without the intent of immediately being thrown.

I would rule that once a bead is detached, it's a ticking time bomb and will explode at the end of your turn if you do not throw it. Why? I can throw the bead straight up into the air, and it still detonates when it reaches 60 feet above my head. This tells me that it is not an impact explosive, but rather a timed explosive.

Alternatively, you could rule that the magic of the necklace just knows when it is being used to explode things. The necklace description also says (emphasis mine):

You can hurl multiple beads, or even the whole necklace, as one action.

I can hurl the whole necklace, beads still attached, and it still knows to explode - it knows that I used my action to throw it. Just ask your DM before trying to execute this plan, because it seems to me that there are legitimate reasons for either interpretation.

But we can sidestep the issue entirely.

You get a free object interaction every turn. One thing you are permitted to do with this is:

hand an item to another character

So if your group were huddling close together, and the character holding the necklace happened to roll the highest initiative, they would be able to use their action to throw a bead, and then hand the necklace off to the next person. Just be careful not to throw it at them.

But you should ask your DM if they're okay with this too. Remember, initiative is a game mechanic - and the characters are not aware of game mechanics. If your table is averse to blatant metagaming, this strategy may fall under that umbrella, so you should discuss this before trying it.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the response! For obvious reasons, I like the idea that the item simply knows when it's being activated. The free interaction method is very handy as well, though it may be made a tad more difficult in practice: we're fighting a dragon, and so will be quite spread out to avoid breath attacks \$\endgroup\$
    – BThompson
    Aug 28, 2020 at 19:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ No problem. Welcome to rpg.se, by the way. If you haven't already, take our tour, and do please stick around! We also have a fairly robust FAQ if you have any more specific questions about how we do things around here, and if you can't find your question there, feel free to hop into our general chat. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 28, 2020 at 19:03

You cannot split up the magic item in this fashion.

This is a very clever thought, as the necklace of fireballs seems like it would lend itself to being split up. However, the magic item is the necklace, and the use of it demands detaching and throwing as a single action.

Handing out beads doesn't satisfy the activation predicate

In order to use the item, the wielder "detaches and throws" a bead as a single action. If they just detach a bead without throwing it, or just throw a bead that was previously detached, that doesn't satisfy the condition for use.

A DM permitting splitting up the magic item magnifies its power.

A single thrown bead creates the effect of a 3rd-level fireball spell, which does 8d6 damage. For the holder of the necklace to use multiple beads at once adds 1 spell level (1d6 damage) per additional bead. Permitting the beads to be held as separate magic items by separate characters would be adding an additional 8d6 damage per bead.

A similar effect could be accomplished by passing the necklace as a whole to another character.

Since the magic item doesn't require attunement, the characters could try to orchestrate passing the magic item between each other in combat via the Use an Object action as part of their movement. This is more difficult to coordinate, has a chance of failure in combat, and would likely make for a more colorful story in comparison to permitting the beads to split out ahead of time.

It would be interesting and entertaining for a group to come up with pass the necklace plan. I would recommend setting a very low DC for tossing/catching it, and allow handing it off without failure.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Definitely true that it increases the overall damage dealt by fireballs, however splitting it up also consumes additional player's actions \$\endgroup\$
    – BThompson
    Aug 28, 2020 at 19:10

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