Most of the time, when you think of throwing a weapon like an axe or a spear, it's done with one hand. However, some weapons like the trident are versatile... is there anything that says you can or can't throw the trident two-handed for 1d8 instead of 1d6 damage? I guess for a blunt thrown weapon you could do it like the olympic hammer toss, but that doesn't apply with things like the trident.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you looking more for rules or narrative justification? \$\endgroup\$ May 16, 2014 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you ever played soccer? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2016 at 22:05

4 Answers 4


From a balance point of view, you will have paid the cost (of not having a shield or second weapon equipped in your off hand). So that's OK.

In terms of rationale, watch someone throwing a javelin. The off hand is used for balance and additional momentum. There is definitely more force when the off hand is free*. So that's OK too.

I'd allow it.

Note that is not a RAW interpretation, due to the wording of the Versatile property specifically mentioning improved damage to a melee attack only. I may still allow it, so will leave the answer here. As far as I can see the melee-attack only constraint is in v0.3 of the online rules, but I cannot search further back. If anyone has older versions and can verify whether/when the wording has changed, I am happy to update the caveat just for accuracy's sake.

* yes this is a little facile. Don't look too hard at the narrative argument. Don't sweat the rationale to the point that a degree in Biomechanics is required. Don't ask me about hit points :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd say yes but at a penalty to-hit because you're losing that guiding/balancing off-hand. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    May 16, 2014 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there really more force if the hand is free vs holding a small rock? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMNoob
    May 21, 2014 at 11:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GMNoob: I have no idea. A quick Google for javelin throwing suggests that distance at least is related to form and technique - so might be spoiled even by small distractions. I suspect if you gave an athlete a rock to hold and no extra practice time, that the rock would spoil their technique. However this is getting into realms of reasoning where (a) I don't know and (b) I don't care. Rationalisations in D&D have to make sense narratively, and often that calls out to reality in a "just so" way. The general case of versatile weapons has the same problem as well. \$\endgroup\$ May 21, 2014 at 11:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GMNoob: I found this trying to research an answer: youtube.com/watch?v=gCVt9rRE0bk - but it doesn't really answer, other than "don't think too statically, combat is very dynamic". Back to the plot: Perhaps simply being able to accurately balance the heavy trident on the off hand immediately before the throw to guide it better could be an equally good rationale. But instead of generating more feasible rationales, I've defended my initial glibness as being in the spirit of RPG systems. \$\endgroup\$ May 21, 2014 at 12:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ The versatile property specifies that it only works with melee attacks. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2016 at 19:42

I would say no and here is why:

Thrown. If the weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon at a target to make a ranged attack. ... Versatile. This weapon can be used with one or two hands. […] when the weapon is used with two hands to make a meele atack

Thus being Throw a ranged atack Versatile (meant for meele atacks) would not apply.

However as aforementioned if the player can make it sound right and it would make us enjoy the game more I would allow it.


By RAW, I'd say it is ok if the weapon is specifically thrown versatile. Without penalty.

Thrown. If the weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon at a target to make a ranged attack. ...

Versatile. This weapon can be used with one or two hands. ...

RAI I really don't know. Balance wise, I think requiring both hands is cost sufficient for the improved damage dice which only average out to 1 damage.


Go outside, find a broom or something else with a long shaft. Try and throw it with 2 hands. It is near imposible for you to coordinate a throw with both hands and also hit something. And also most of the time one of the hands will break the speed insted of increasing it.

Is it like an axe or hammer, where you can with both hands raise it over your head, and then throw it with both hands, it is another thing. (But you did mention trident so thats what i thought for reference)

This is where you need to ask your self, does the rules count or does realism count? Almost always, if it sounds plausible, if the player can argument (he is a 1000BC ninja with roots in the special two handed trident diciplin that he have been training for his entire life - ofcause he can), or if it is possible in real life, id allow it. Else, id allow it with a penalty, penalty varys depending on dificulty.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There is a difference between "using both hands to grip then throw" and "benefitting from having a free hand". The literal interpretation of the former stance (if you use both hands you must grip with two hands) is not required to rationalise extra damage from a versatile weapon or even a two-handed one. \$\endgroup\$ May 19, 2014 at 11:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ In that case, having the counterweight from a shield in your offhand would help you launch the spear an extra meter, I get your point but it do not have to be a free hand then. \$\endgroup\$ May 21, 2014 at 9:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually I don't know if that would make a difference, although I suspect the bulk of the shield would also count against it (due to restrictions on free movement and awkwardness of raising it up in order to get the counter-swing). Obviously they don't do this during the Olympics :-D The only way to know for sure would be to have some people try it. \$\endgroup\$ May 21, 2014 at 9:23

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