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So I just read Weekly Roll #53 and saw that the paladin used a sock full of silver coins against a werewolf, would that really work?

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Ask the DM, but probably not.

The rules for silvered weapons are somewhat specific; it seems to be that silvering for the purposes of harming creatures weak to silvered weapons is a specific process:

Some monsters that have immunity or resistance to nonmagical weapons are susceptible to silver weapons, so cautious adventurers invest extra coin to plate their weapons with silver. You can silver a single weapon or ten pieces of ammunition for 100 gp. This cost represents not only the price of the silver, but the time and expertise needed to add silver to the weapon without making it less effective.

This specificity is consistent with the werewolf's resistance description:

Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren't Silvered

The use of the word "silvered" in this description tells me that silvering a weapon is a particular, intentional process, that harming these kinds of creatures requires a level of craftsmanship not found in a sack of coin. There is also the question of "if it did work, why would people bother with getting weapons silvered?" If a sack of 50 silver pieces (5 gp) were effective against silver-weak creatures, why am I spending 100 gp to have my weapon silvered properly?

However, as is always the case with improvised weapons, it is up to the DM.

For 1000 silver pieces, I'll allow it.

The real objection outlined above is that any amount of silver coins less than 1000 creates a cost imbalance - I can get a functional silver weapon for less than the rules say such a weapon should cost. However, if there's 1000 coins in that sock, then that imbalance is eliminated. Initially, I thought to myself, "1000 coins would weigh too much", but of all the things D&D 5e lacks rules for, coinage weight is not one of them:

A standard coin weighs about a third of an ounce, so fifty coins weigh a pound.

So you're looking at a 20 pound sock, well within a strong character's ability to swing around dangerously. So for no less than 1000 coins, I'll give you a silvered weapon dealing 1d4 damage on a hit, per the rules for Improvised Weapons:

An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon deals 1d4 damage (the DM assigns a damage type appropriate to the object).

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would think even if you were inclined to allow it, a sock full of coins (or cosh, if you like) wouldn't work because the silver isn't going to actually touch the werewolf's body. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2022 at 15:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DarthPseudonym That is the issue with 999 silver pieces - 1000 sp is the bare minimum to get sufficient thread stretch upon impact. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2022 at 15:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ As funny as that is, I'd also point out that a sack of silver likely doesn't do a whole lot of damage, 1d4 using normal improvised weapon rules, and almost definitely doesn't allow proficiency (which the rules imply is the benefit of paying the 100g). Besides that, I'd say hitting such a creature with exposed silver coins would overcome it's resistance feature in a pinch. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jan 31, 2022 at 18:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso: An example where you're hitting them with exposed silver coins, and it's an effective means of attack, I would include using Animate Objects to animate a swarm of silver coins. They're not magical weapons, but they're as silver as can be, which is enough to meet the "real world" weaknesses of lycanthropes, even if D&D chose a weirdly restrictive reading. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2022 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ 20 pounds of silver coins inside a sock: I'm not worried about the character being too weak to wield it, but I'm worried about the sock being too fragile and being torn apart. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stef
    Feb 1, 2022 at 12:41
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A sock filled with silver would not work.

It is, at best, a weapon filled with silver, not a silver(ed) weapon.

After that it gets murky and basically everything is up to the DM's discretion.

Personally? I'm all for improvising things and giving the players a chance to do and say something other than "I attack enemy number 3", so if they suggest that their character can hastily make a silver(ed) weapon, then it seems to me that we could work something out.

The real advice here is:

As a player, make sure that you and your DM are on the same page about ingenuity

Not everything is going to work, and that's okay.

As a DM, make sure that you reward players for creative thinking

Creativity is why we do this hobby and not just hit a button that says "you hit!" 65% of the time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Reading this, I realized that you can just use adhesive (and it does exist in D&D, Sovereign Glue proves it, there was also nonmagical glue too) to quickly glue silver coins to bludgeoning weapons or you can just use the Fabricate spell on silver coins... \$\endgroup\$
    – Rp_Master
    Jan 31, 2022 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rp_Master excellent job thinking creatively ;) . My first thought was actually to nail a bunch of silver coins to a club/great club to fashion a make-shift tetsubo; it would only take like 150 coins. \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Jan 31, 2022 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ that actually sounds more cool \$\endgroup\$
    – Rp_Master
    Jan 31, 2022 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Those would still make improvised weapons though--notice specifically that to get a weapon crafted to do silvered damage properly, you have to spend 1000 gp. Typically DIY crafting solutions end up costing a significant percentage of the cost to have someone else do it, if not the same cost. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bill K
    Feb 1, 2022 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BillK *100gp (or 1000sp). But I'd say that a tetsubo is close enough to a (great)club, since it is just a studded club. Again, though, the goal here is to reward creative thinking within a limit. slapping 150 silver pieces on a club isn't going to bypass DR/silver forever, but should work for this fight this time. maybe most of the coins are "lost" after the battle, maybe they have to take their weapon back to a weaponsmith to get back in working order afterwards. I'd have to consider those things later. But at the table? reward creativity. ♥ \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Feb 1, 2022 at 20:21
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It will not work

I think RAW it would not work. Here are the damage immunities of a werewolf (as an example lycanthrope):

Damage Immunities Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing From Nonmagical Attacks Not Made With Silvered Weapons

The sock full of silver coins is not a silvered weapon. You can also argue that the silver never will get to touch or bludgeon the werewolf, as the sock fabric is between the coins and the werewolf skin.

But what about the flavor and fun!?

The idea behind being vulnerable to silvered weapons is obviously the trope that werewolves can be hurt with silver and cannot stand silver. And it is a cool and creative way for a low-level group lacking silvered weapons to handle a lycanthrope they face. The GM could decide to encourage and reward this.

If the fabric is coarse, one could argue that enough silver will touch the monster's skin upon impact to maybe deal damage. Clearly it should not be as effective as a proper silvered weapon where the whole surface is silvered and the cost to buy adds 100 gp. And it would deal damage only like a small sap, which on this homebrew page is listed with a reasonable 1d4, like an improvised weapon. You could halve that damage, as with resistance, for the fabric in the way.

Using a torch or damage cantrip is more effective, so I see no harm in allowing this from a power perspective either.

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RAW, it's up to the GM.

You explicitly pick another weapon to use the stats for for an improvised weapon. Only if the weapon bears no resemblance at all to a weapon (like hitting someone with a duck, or a pair of pants) do you use the basic d4 improvised weapon traits.

Often, an Improvised Weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the GM’s option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her Proficiency Bonus.

An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon deals 1d4 damage (the GM assigns a damage type appropriate to the object). (5e PHB, 147-148)

This means that if the GM decides a sock filled with silver coins is most similar to a greataxe, you use the stats for a greataxe. If they decide it's more like a silvered club, you use the stats for a silvered club. Etc.

From answers on this website and forum posts, many GMs have not read this section of the rules, or assume that anything that is not explicitly a weapon bears no resemblance at all to a weapon and thus must use the 1d4 with no traits (which bears little resemblance to reality, where a fireplace poker is considered a deadly weapon by most legal codes, and people can and do kill other people with pretty much anything heavy, sharp, or able to be swung at head height). However, rules being regularly ignored does not make it not rules, so RAW, it's up to the GM and should usually be ruled to be like whatever weapon it most resembles.

If a GM refuses to allow a sock filled with silver coins to hurt a lycanthrope, though, that is generally a sign of a bad GM.

The inability to do simple math (1d4 silvered vs 2d6/1d8 silvered of a proper weapon like a greatsword or battleaxe), 'strict' readings of the rules that ignore anything creative or interesting (including rules text to the contrary) in favour of restricting player action as much as possible, and cutting short cinematic moments (the kind people talk about for years) in order to 'enforce the rules' are all hallmarks of a bad GM.

The opposite, the GM who allows any wacky or zany action to automatically succeed regardless of plausibility, can also be a bad GM but in this case we have a creative solution to a problem that works within the rules as they are written in the book ('treat improvised weapons as whatever weapon they are most similar to' - sock of silver coins, silvered -simple bludgeoning weapon-) that is creative, visually interesting, a great story, and exactly in-genre (adventurers coming up with solutions to fight powerful monsters is what D&D is about), and that is perfectly balanced - a proper silvered weapon is not a 1d4-1d6 improvised weapon, it is a purpose made one like a greataxe, greatsword, maul, battleaxe, longsword, etc. It does a lot more damage, and is not prone to the GM deciding your sock begins to give out and sprays silver coins everywhere making it mostly useless as a weapon, etc.

So if the GM balks at this, you can be fairly sure you've got a GM who will not appreciate creative solutions or cinematic moments in the future, will never bend the rules even if the rules make no sense in that situation (something the PHB and DMG explicitly say to do) and likely lacks other skills (like encounter design - which is a function of being able to tell that, for example, 1d4 is less than 2d6) which will impede their ability to run the game.

Perhaps this is a blip, they hate improvised weapons, they love lycanthropes, who knows. But it should be treated as a red flag in general, and be a sign that perhaps you are better off finding another game with a GM who does not suffer from these impedances.

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Frame challenge: It's a paladin; it doesn't matter whether it works

A werewolf, as referenced in the linked comic, is a CR3 creature. Any Paladin facing it is going to have at least three first level spell slots, which means they can power three Divine Smites. Note that Divine Smite triggers on any weapon hit, you do not actually have to do damage (emphasis mine):

Starting at 2nd Level, when you hit a creature with a melee weapon Attack, you can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon's damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot...

Even if the sock of coins' damage is reduced to zero by the werewolf's damage immunity, as long as it was a hit with a melee weapon, the Paladin can Smite for 2d8 radiant damage, to which the werewolf is not immune, and which represents more damage than the werewolf was likely to take from a silvered weapon anyway. For that matter, however, the Paladin should just be attacking with their regular melee weapon to begin with, since they will then get their Proficiency bonus on the attack roll, and then Smiting on hits. Although spell slots are a limiting resource, since a typical 5e combat lasts about 3 rounds, the Paladin would have to be lucky to hit all three times and have the chance to use up all of their Smites before the combat was over anyway.

RAW, no

So you have a Paladin that wants to try the sock idea, regardless of whether it is irrelevant. OK, then that's a simple decision. Does the DM want this to be able to work? If not, that's an easy no - because it doesn't work RAW. A werewolf's damage immunity is to:

Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing From Nonmagical Attacks Not Made With Silvered Weapons

The rules actually define what a silvered weapon is, and a sock full of silver coins is not a silvered weapon. In fact, even a silver weapon won't do - so don't try grabbing the solid sterling silver knife off the Baron's dinner table to use on the werewolf, because it won't work either. The werewolf has damage immunity to piercing from weapons that are not silvered, and the solid silver knife has not been silvered. If you find that to be an overly pedantic and silly ruling, I agree, but it just emphasizes my point: if the DM doesn't want the sock of coins to work, it is simple enough to say it is not RAW, but if the DM does want the sock to work, it doesn't matter that it is not RAW.

If allowed, it's a matter of balance

Suppose the DM wants to permit a sock of silver coins to damage a lycanthrope. Well, that's their prerogative by Rule 0. So then it becomes a matter of balancing its use against other game options. In a world where a handful of silver coins in a sock will work against lycanthropes, why would anyone pay 100gp to have an honest weapon actually silvered? One way to balance this would be to require 100gp worth of silver coins - but that is a thousand silver coins, or twenty pounds' worth. For me, that breaks verisimilitude more than coins in a sock do. We embrace a variety of playstyles here, and if that works for your group, great. At my table I would immediately note that the heaviest weapon on the list with any range of motion is the maul, which at 10 pounds has both the Two-handed and Heavy properties and likely represents the upper limit for what a character could swing around effectively. Yes, the pike and heavy crossbow are heavier, but no one is whipping those about at speed. A better equivalent for the kind of motion used with a weighted sock would be a flail, and that is only two pounds.

So if not balanced through cost, then what? A sock is certainly an improvised weapon, so it gets d4 damage and likely no proficiency bonus. More to the point, though, it is hardly durable and won't survive more than a few hits, even if the socks are leather rather than cloth. I would assign some chance of breakage for each hit, resulting in a shower of silver coins, a ruptured sock, and no more attacks. This allows players to use the silver coins in a sock idea in a story-appropriate way; rewarding innovation in an extreme situation when no one has the time or money to silver a weapon, but not something they are then going to carry around with them on every adventure.

Finally, if the DM does allow this, they should not be dissuaded by naysayers claiming it won't work because the cloth of the sock means the silver doesn't actually touch the werewolf. There is no explanation in 5e for why silvered weapons harm lycanthropes, we just know that they do. Positing that the silver must somehow come in contact with their skin is adding a rules detail that does not exist. A player who insists that this would not work, deserves to be met by werewolves wearing long-sleeved robes who are now immune to bludgeoning damage even from silvered weapons, since those weapons never touch their skin, either.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "why would anyone pay 100gp to have an honest weapon actually silvered?" Well a sock would do 1d4 as an improvised weapon. And I would gladly pay 100gp to have a 1d8 or 2d6 weapon die instead of 1d4. People pay thousands for a +2 on their weapon and the step between 1d4 and 1d8 is +2 on average. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Feb 2, 2022 at 17:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Toddleson Sure they do, but those +2 weapons can be used all the time, including on creatures resistant to non-magical damage, so it's not a fair comparison. Would you pay 100gp for a weapon that you were only ever going to use on lycanthropes if you could instead put a few silver coins in a sock for slightly less damage? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Feb 2, 2022 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ That seems like a very fair trade-off. 100gp is affordable but not trivial, there are clear benefits (using a real weapon instead of improvised), and it presents each player with meaningful decision making (no clear answer). All those points would make me as a DM want to allow this in my game. \$\endgroup\$
    – Toddleson
    Feb 2, 2022 at 19:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Toddleson And would you count the sock as a light weapon, permitting dual wielding? ;) Seriously though, whatever works for your game is great - I was just trying to lay out some considerations. Another thing to factor into the decision of whether 100gp is a better deal than the sock - what is my likelihood of facing a lycanthrope in the future before I have a magic weapon? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Feb 2, 2022 at 21:31
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I would think that a sock/sack filled with 1,000 silver coins would be just that - a 20-lb weight being swung at the creature. None of the silver actually touches the creature, so there's no silver bonus.

While I agree that silvering a weapon takes skill and costs money, improvising a silver weapon might not. Using a holy object (that happens to be silver) and cutting off the end (on the diagonal) to make a weapon may be highly effective (but this is outside the scope of the original question).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ive realized now that you can either nail silver coins on a club or just use glue to stick the coins into blunt weapons \$\endgroup\$
    – Rp_Master
    Feb 1, 2022 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ If they are solid silver coins, sharpening their edges could work (both to stick them into a blunt weapon and to do damage). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2022 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why would this answer be down-voted? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2022 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi @KarlWolfschtagg, it might be your answering to another answer (about a sack of 1,000 coins), while the actual question was about a sock full of coins (much smaller). It may be that you mention a "silver bonus" (which does not exist, the creature has a non-silver immunity), or it might be the somewhat opaque description about creating an improvised weapon. Either way, it is hard to know without the downvoter making a comment about their reason to help you improve. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 7:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin Not that while the linked comic is a sock, the title of the question is a "bag of silver", so presumably the OP is interested in any similar container, sack or sock. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Feb 2, 2022 at 19:46

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