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As stated in the title: is an arrow, bolt, or other object that is generally used as ammunition, count as a weapon when determining bonus effects from other feats/abilities? For example:

Dreadful Strikes - 1d4 psychic damage - TCoE, pg. 58

When you hit a creature with a weapon, you can deal an extra 1d4 psychic damage to the target, which can take this extra damage only once per turn.

It seems clear that hitting a creature with a sword via melee, or even a thrown weapon, like a dart or dagger, would benefit from this feature. But since Arrows and Bolts are “considered” ammunition, they would not (unless used in some other improvised way).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just to clarify: are you asking if properly shooting arrows/bolts with bow/cross bow triggers feats and/or abilities? Or are you asking if, for example, stabbing an enemy with an arrow triggers feats/abilities? \$\endgroup\$ – Eddymage Dec 28 '20 at 8:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage; “[does] properly shooting arrows/bolts with bow/cross bow triggers feats and/or abilities?” Is a somewhat accurate restatement of the question. Perhaps I’m getting caught up in semantics with regard to “what counts as a weapon” in noting that arrows are not listed as weapons on lists such as roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Weapons#content. The title has been updated to reflect this. \$\endgroup\$ – Radioactive_Lego Dec 28 '20 at 9:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perfect, I find the question a little bit cleare now! \$\endgroup\$ – Eddymage Dec 28 '20 at 9:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Radioactive_Lego I've rewritten the title further to try to clarify what you're asking about. If I'm off target then please feel free to revert it. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Dec 28 '20 at 18:33
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Yes, the arrows activate the ability

It's important to note that "hitting a creature with a weapon" refers to hitting with a weapon attack (and would usually be phrased as "when you hit a creature with a weapon attack"), which is mechanically distinct from just making contact between the target and a given weapon. This distinction doesn't usually need to be made, because the phrase "weapon attack" is used. The clause "with a weapon" exists to prevent this ability from being used with a spell attack, and so a ranged weapon attack such as an arrow fired from a longbow is valid and could trigger the ability.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be helpful to reference the section defining "hitting with an attack" from the PHB/dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/combat#AttackRolls \$\endgroup\$ – user60913 Dec 28 '20 at 9:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, your specific argument is contentious - rules interpretation consensus generally holds that "hit with a weapon" is not equivalent to "hit with a weapon attack", largely because unarmed strikes are explicitly not weapons despite being considered to be melee weapon attacks, which has consequences for certain features (e.g. Improved Divine Smite doesn't trigger on a paladin's unarmed strikes). \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Dec 28 '20 at 11:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer While that is an issue with "weapon attacks" generally, it's not relevant here since unarmed strikes don't have ammunition. The most precise (and most annoying) way to express the concept would be "when you hit a creature with a weapon attack using a weapon". \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Dec 28 '20 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells eh - the logic here appears to rely on the idea that making a weapon attack intrinsically means you are hitting with a weapon, which is not borne out in the rules interpretation. In both the case of the unarmed strike and a ranged weapon that uses ammunition, the scenario is that a weapon attack has been made, but the target may not have been "hit by a weapon". (I would absolutely rule that hitting someone with ammunition fired from a weapon counts as hitting them with that weapon, but I wouldn't depend on the definition of weapon attacks to do it.) \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Dec 28 '20 at 19:06

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