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I have a character who routinely uses a shield. He has an Efficient Quiver and there are some spears in the quiver.

Spears are two-handed melee weapons and have a range increment of 20 feet.

Can I, while wearing a shield, draw a spear from my Efficient Quiver and make a ranged attack with it?

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2 Answers 2

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You only need one hand to throw a spear

The spear is listed under „two-handed melee weapons“ because you need two hands to wield it in melee. It doesn’t say that it takes only one hand to use a spear as a thrown weapon – but this is simply self-evident. Throwing a spear with two hands doesn’t make any sense at all.

You can draw a spear from the quiver as a move action and throw as a standard action. You can do this with one hand while holding a shield in the other.


The rules text about thrown weapons which states that "throwing a two-handed weapon is a full-round action" only refers to weapons that are not designed to be thrown. This becomes clear when you read on. The last two sentences of the entry state "Regardless of the type of weapon, such an attack scores a threat only on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a critical hit. Such a weapon has a range increment of 10 feet." But a spear, for example, does triple damage on a critical hit and has a range increament of 20 ft.

To eliminate any uncertainties the Rules Compendium clarifies this rule (emphasis mine):

It’s possible to throw a melee weapon that isn’t designed to be thrown (one that doesn’t have a numeric entry in the Range Increment column on the table where its statistics are delineated), but a creature that does so takes a –4 penalty on the attack roll. Throwing a light or onehanded weapon that isn’t designed to be thrown is a standard action, and throwing a two-handed weapon that isn’t designed to be thrown is a full-round action.

Rules Compendium (p 150)

Attacking with a ranged weapon generally is a standard action. It is not a full-round action to throw a spear.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "It doesn’t say that it takes only one hand to use a spear as a thrown weapon – but this is simply self-evident." - so you don't have a citation that throwing a two-handed melee weapon is a one-handed action? \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    May 30, 2023 at 16:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Yakk I don’t say that throwing a two-handed melee weapon is a one-handed action in general. I just refer to the spear - which is actually the only two-handed melee weapon in the core rules with a range increament and, thus, also designed to be thrown. The rules don’t say how many hands you need if you use it as a ranged weapon. – But ... have you ever tried to throw a spear with both hands? \$\endgroup\$
    – Peregrin
    May 30, 2023 at 17:21
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Throwing a spear is a full round action

This is under Thrown Weapons in the rules:

Daggers, clubs, shortspears, spears, darts, javelins, throwing axes, light hammers, tridents, shuriken, and nets are thrown weapons. [...] Throwing a light or one-handed weapon is a standard action, while throwing a two-handed weapon is a full-round action.

Since drawing the spear from the quiver is not a free action1, you cannot in the same round draw and throw the spear (wether you have a shield in your other hand, or not), as a full-round action only allows you to take free actions and a 5-foot step.


1 Drawing a weapon is a movement action. Only ammunition for bows can be drawn as a free action.

P.S. Aside on wether you can throw the spear with one hand

Weapons are categorized as Light, One-Handed, Two-Handed melee weapons in the rules, that is the handedness applies to their effective use as a melee weapon:

Light, One-Handed, and Two-Handed Melee Weapons
This designation is a measure of how much effort it takes to wield a weapon in combat. It indicates whether a melee weapon, when wielded by a character of the weapon’s size category, is considered a light weapon, a one-handed weapon, or a two-handed weapon.
Two-Handed
Two hands are required to use a two-handed melee weapon effectively.

The rules are not explicit about not needing both hands when using these weapons as thrown weapons, but (a) they only demand two hands to use them as a melee weapon effectively, (b) at least for spears, the mechanics of throwing make no sense for using two hands and (c) the rules above for thrown weapons provide an alternative cost penalty (a full rund action) for throwing two-handed weapons.

So, I believe you should be able to throw the spear with one hand, but it will still take you a full-round action. For your question however, it does not matter if you carry a shield or not: you cannot draw and throw the spear in the same round, either way.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are we sure about the sentence that specifies a full-round action? It follows a sentence about throwing non-ranged weapons, and I interpreted the "full-round" sentence to also refer to non-ranged weapons. Also, why isn't pulling a ranged weapon from a quiver a free action? Certainly pulling an arrow from a quiver is. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sam Azon
    May 29, 2023 at 21:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ The rule on ammunition is under ammunition ("When using a bow, a character can draw ammunition as a free action;"); the rule for Drawing a Weapon is under Combat > Action Types. It is a movement action. \$\endgroup\$ May 29, 2023 at 22:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ The sentences after the full round sentence say "Regardless of the type of weapon, such an attack scores a threat only on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a critical hit. Such a weapon has a range increment of 10 feet." If those two sentences are applied to a spear, then they contradict the table that says spears have range increment 20 and are x3 on a crit. So that sort of implies that the two sentences are referring to non-ranged weapons. Which again makes me think the full-round sentence only applies to non-ranged weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sam Azon
    May 29, 2023 at 22:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since the Efficient Quiver specified that, "once the owner has filled it, the quiver can produce any item she wishes, as if from a regular quiver or scabbard." Thus the Quick Draw feat, or any other effect that allows drawing a melee weapon as a free action would work. Of course, that's not exactly what was asked, so consider me as emulating KRyan for this comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    May 30, 2023 at 2:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Rules Compendium (p 150) clarifies that throwing a two-handed weapon is a full-round action only in the case that the weapon "isn’t designed to be thrown". \$\endgroup\$
    – Peregrin
    May 30, 2023 at 8:21

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