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In the new Path of the Giant Barbarian subclass for 5e, a weapon you're holding while raging gains the thrown property with a 20/60 range. If I give that to my greatsword, do I have to throw the weapon with one hand or two? As a light follow up, if I have to use two hands to throw it, then does that support being able to throw a spear with two hands to get the versatile damage there?

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2 Answers 2

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Yes to the first, no to the second

The rules for weapons states:

Two-Handed. This weapon requires two hands when you attack with it.

A ranged attack is still an attack so this rule is not overwritten.

The rules also state:

Versatile. This weapon can be used with one or two hands. A damage value in parentheses appears with the property--the damage when the weapon is used with two hands to make a melee attack.

The last sentence clearly states that the damage increase only applies when making a melee attack. It won't apply to a ranged attack.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth noting for the sake of realism that "requires two hands" doesn't necessarily mean you actually throw it with two hands. Chances are that when you throw a greatsword, you only hold it with one hand but you still need the other hand (and in fact your whole body) to execute the throw. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Aug 2, 2023 at 22:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @biziclop True, but it depends on what you are throwing and how you are throwing it. Think of it as javelin throw vs. hammer throw in the olympics. You could toss a greatsword using either method in theory (well, not exactly javelin style since it would be hard to grab the centre of mass). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2023 at 23:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Grabbing the centre of mass of a sword, especially a big, two-handed sword is pretty easy, half-swording was a common technique with them. But what I'm saying is, even in an olympic javelin throw you have to involve both hands. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Aug 3, 2023 at 9:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @biziclop: While you are correct that the second hand (arm, really) is involved in a Javelin throw, I would argue it's irrelevant here. The two-handed requirement is about exclusivity: you need to hold the weapon with two hands, thus cannot hold anything else with those hands. This is not the case when throwing a Javelin. You can perfectly hold a dagger in your other hand, as that hand is only used for balancing. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 3, 2023 at 9:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. I would definitely not want to hold a dagger while throwing a javelin, accidentally stabbing yourself is not a great look. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Aug 3, 2023 at 10:15
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It still needs two hands

Per the list of weapon properties:

Two-Handed. This weapon requires two hands when you attack with it.

And for completeness, here is the thrown property:

Thrown. If a weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon to make a ranged attack. If the weapon is a melee weapon, you use the same ability modifier for that attack roll and damage roll that you would use for a melee attack with the weapon. For example, if you throw a handaxe, you use your Strength, but if you throw a dagger, you can use either your Strength or your Dexterity, since the dagger has the finesse property.

Nothing in the thrown property changes how the weapon is handled. In fact, it makes it clear that, if the weapon normally uses your Strength modifier when performing a melee attack, you still use your Strength modifier when you throw it. So adding thrown as a property does not change any attack principles other than, well, it can be thrown so there is a range.

And as highlighted, the two-handed property states that the character must use two hands when attacking. Throwing is still attacking and therefore still needs two hands.

I do not have access to the new Giant's book, but based on what you've said, nothing would change the properties of the greatsword, as in, it would lose the requirement of attacking with two hands.

For your follow up

Versatile. This weapon can be used with one or two hands. A damage value in parentheses appears with the property--the damage when the weapon is used with two hands to make a melee attack.

The spear already has the thrown property, and the versatile property. So absolutely nothing changes with regards to a spear. You could always use two hands, and you could always throw it. However, per the last line, it must be a melee attack so throwing is not on the table.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth observing that from a simulationist roleplaying perspective, throwing a spear with two hands is probably way worse than one hand in real life. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2023 at 21:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkovisonStrike As I said in my other comment, the way I'd imagine it is that you throw with one hand in both cases, but in a "one-handed" throw you generate the power from the shoulder and your arm muscles, while a "two-handed" throw is more like in Olympic javelin throwing, holding your off hand out in front of you and twisting your upper body to maximise the force of the throw. \$\endgroup\$
    – biziclop
    Aug 2, 2023 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's probably also worth mentioning, any weapon has the thrown property (20/60) if treated as an improvised weapon, although you would not add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll. This feature allows you to retain that bonus. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Aug 3, 2023 at 12:10

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