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Magic Stone says: "You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack with one of the pebbles by throwing it or hurling it with a sling. If thrown, it has a range of 60 feet. If someone else attacks with the pebble, that attacker adds your spellcasting ability modifier, not the attacker’s, to the attack roll. On a hit, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier."

Thrown Weapon Fighting says: "...when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a +2 bonus to the damage roll."

It appears to me that throwing a Magic Stone is making a ranged attack with a thrown weapon. If so, should the damage on a hit be 1d6 + 2 + spellcasting ability modifier when thrown by someone with Thrown Weapon Fighting?

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2 Answers 2

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Rules as Written

With the rules as written, I'd say no. It is a ranged spell attack, not a thrown weapon attack. Especially since even if someone else throws the stone, they use your ability score modifier for the attack and damage roll.

Rules as Intended

Without a Sage Advice covering this, we can't say what RAI is for this situation.

Rules as Fun

By all means, go for it. Would the extra 2 points of damage unbalance the game in any way? I personally doubt it. Could it bring a combatant down one round earlier? Sure, but that's just going to make the combat more exciting.

Final Thoughts

If you're the DM, I generally advise rule in favor of the player when uncertain about something. If you're the player, you'll have to abide by what your DM rules.

Of course, we don't know the situation in which this question has arisen. Is it something a player has tried, or wants to try? Is it a tactic for a bad guy that your planning? I'd still say allow it in both situations. Just remember how it's ruled so it can be played the same way should the situation arise again.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 I does say "thrown property" so I agree with your "No" answer to RAW. This only covers a few weapon items in D&D 5e anyway, e.g: dagger, dart, handaxe, javelin, light hammer, net, spear and trident. So NOT a stone. Rules as fun, I think would be up to the DM. I'd probably say "no"; if they want to use thrown weapons as a main offensive tactic, then use a thrown weapon! :) ...otherwise they can simple use another spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 8:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I generally advise rule in favor of the player when uncertain +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Senmurv - The applicable RAW is quoted above, and does not say 'thrown property'. (That's only in reference to what you can draw.) Magic Stone explicitly makes the pebble a throwable weapon. \$\endgroup\$
    – wumpus7
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 21:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wumpus7 which in 5e's more colloquial parlance it is quite easy, and probably expected, to be read as a weapon with the thrown property. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 15:21
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Up to the DM

Thrown is a defined weapon property. This is explained on page 146, PHB under Weapon Properties

Many weapons have special properties related to their use, as shown in the Weapons table.

Thrown is one of the properties:

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.

Not anything you can throw to attack is a thrown weapon, only weapons with the property. For example if you use an improvised weapon it's a thrown weapon that does not have that property:

If a character uses a ranged weapon to make a melee attack, or throws a melee weapon that does not have the thrown property, it also deals 1d4 damage.

Usually, you only use common English definitions to fall back upon for when there is no defined game game term, like there is for thrown weapons. Alas, there is no defintion of what is a defined term either, and very few sections actually call out they talk about the game's defintions (like what counts as an attack, or what counts as an object).

Language for weapon property in game features

The text snippet of Thrown Weapon Fighting that you cite does not say "a weapon with the thrown property", but neither do some other features that clearly refer to a weapon property, for example the Defensive Duelist feat about weapons with the Finesse property is worded like this

When you are wielding a finesse weapon with which you are proficient (...)

Great Weapon Master says:

Before you make a melee attack with a heavy weapon that you are proficient with (...)

If that were not the weapon property, any weapon that weighs enough to be considered heavy would work with GWM (and the heavy property is really not about weight, it is badly named and is about unwieldiness).

However, there are also counterexamples. The Great Weapon Fighting style says:

The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.

So the use of language is not consistent. In some cases, the game does say "with the xyz property", in others it does not. Wether the word "property" is present does not really give us conslusive evidence if the weapon needs to have the property or not.

Finally, the full text of Thrown Weapon Fighting (Tasha's Cauldron if Everything, p. 42) is:

You can draw a weapon that has the thrown prop­erty as part of the attack you make with the weapon.
In addition, when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a +2 bonus to the damage roll.

Is the "property" language omitted in the second paragraph because it would be awkward to read otherwise, or is it omitted because this benefit purposefully applies to any thrown weapon, not just to those with the property? For feats, if the rules want to separate out independent benefits, they use bulleted lists. This is not done here, but there are two separate paragraphs.

The paragraphs, which serve to represent a separate thought could be used as an argument that the second benefit works for any weapon you throw, not just those with the Thrown property, like in the first paragraph. They otherwise could have worded the features as something like:

When using a weapon that has the thrown property, you gain the following benefits: (...)

Conclusion

I think in the end, this is really too ambiguous a case. There is no clarification in Sage Advice for it. As in other cases where the rules do not provide a clear answer, your DM must decide if they allow this for any thrown weapon (in the common English sense), or just for those with the Thrown property.

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    \$\begingroup\$ “Thrown” is a weapon property, yes, but it doesn’t say “weapons with the thrown weapon property,” it says “thrown weapons.” It’s not at all clear to me that this would automatically and necessarily mean “thrown[-weapon-property-having] weapons,” and your answer just asserts that it does, rather than back that up. I think it would be important to do so. My a priori reading of the sentence would not interpret it as you have and a claim that yours is the correct way to interpret it should be backed up. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 4:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I did review the language of how weapon property keywords are used for other properties, and think you are right, and amended my answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 5:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't agree unfortunately on this one. I think this means weapons that are thrown, and the thrown property just makes some easier to throw than others. I can see your interpretation (another poke in the eye for how badly 5e is written), but I start at what makes most sense and to me it makes sense that the fighting style is about throwing stuff, not throwing certain stuff. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 9:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan What instances are there in 5e where "thrown weapon" doesn't mean "weapon with the thrown property?" Within the context of the game, it's easy to assume the two are equivalent. I don't think it's intended for the player to throw a halberd or a whip. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 20:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o What instances are there in 5e where “thrown weapon” clearly and unambiguously means “weapon with the thrown property” without actually specifying that or being part of it? What context are you referring to where it becomes clear that the two are equivalent? I don’t know that it’s “intended” that a player should throw a halberd or a whip—but they can, and if they do, that weapon has been “thrown,” and I don’t see why someone who is good at throwing weapons shouldn’t get their damage bonus when they do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 21:30

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