How does using Throwing Daggers interact with the Ammo system?

The throwing dagger does not have the "ammo" tag. However, it is still thrown using Volley, which has a risk of expending additional ammo.

Volley covers the entire act of drawing, aiming, and firing a ranged weapon or throwing a thrown weapon. The advantage to using a ranged weapon over melee is that the attacker is less likely to be attacked back. Of course they do have to worry about ammunition and getting a clear shot though.

Expending additional ammo is one of the main possible disadvantages of making a ranged attack using Volley, and it is one of the choices on a partial success.

  • You have to take several shots, reducing your ammo by one.

How does using such a dagger interact with the partial success option of expending additional ammo? Can this option simply not be selected? Does it result in the dagger being permanently (or semi-permanently) lost?

Are daggers counted as single weapons, like a sword or axe, or as ammo, like a quiver of arrows? Daggers are typically a very versatile weapon in most RPGs (as they are in real life), and often are used in both possible ways: some people carry around a single dagger, throw it while needed, and then retrieve it after the battle, while others might carry a huge bandolier full of a dozen daggers and treat them as expendable ammunition (and perhaps still try to retrieve them later).

The intention of the ammo system in DW seems designed to cover post-battle ammo retrieval, at the cost of being somewhat abstract, by never revealing exactly how much ammo you have left (until you're completely out) and assuming that retrieval is automatic and "behind the scenes". On the other hand, it feels a bit more awkward to be unsure of exactly how many daggers you have compared to arrows - perhaps because they can also function as melee weapons, which tend to be kept track of individually. If someone buys a throwing dagger, do you tell them that they "actually bought somewhere between one and infinity daggers"? A throwing dagger seems to be in that awkward space between being a melee weapon and being an expendable ranged weapon.


4 Answers 4


Actually, throwable weapons are dealt with using their own tag : Thrown.

Thrown: Throw it at someone to hurt them. If you volley with this weapon, you can’t choose to mark off ammo on a 7–9; once you throw it, it’s gone until you can recover it.

(from the Equipment chapter, under Weapon Tags)

So, technically, unless the weapon has the Thrown tag, it cannot be thrown; your GM may rule it has the tag if it simply makes sense (eg. a well-balanced knife) or add a cost to it ("Wanna throw your bastard sword? Hmmm sure, but if you miss the blade might break after hitting the stone wall - or even hurt one of your buddies. What do you do?"), in the spirit of "Offer an opportunity, with or without cost" move.

See @BlackVegetable's answer about a related class move.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ ...Wow, I totally didn't notice that! That's pretty clear, actually. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't worry, I had to look it up too. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – SolarBear
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 19:40

The one case where you can throw a weapon without the thrown tag (and have a volley-like effect anyway) is via the higher level Thief advanced move:

Strong Arm, True Aim

You can throw any melee weapon, using it to volley. A thrown melee weapon is gone; you can never choose to reduce ammo on a 7–9.

Even here, although the move doesn't state adding the thrown tag to all of your gear, the text is functionally identical to having your melee weapons all gain the thrown tag while you wield them. So no; no expending an additional long-sword to ensure a hit.


Ammo can make sense with thrown weapons.

None of the stock thrown weapons have an ammo rating, but nothing's stopping you from custom-brewing something like

brace of knives (hand near thrown 3-ammo 1-weight)

This doesn't give them an option on Volley to spend more ammo, because the thrown tag prohibits that. One throw is one ammo gone.

But it will work with, say, Blot Out The Sun, which lets you spend multiple ammo to hit additional targets. It doesn't stop you from doing other things that ask for ammo spends, either:

To finally hit that annoying zwee pixie, spend at least 1-ammo and roll +ammo spent...


Ammo with throwing weapons that makes sense

As @Glazius already said, there are times when it is just logical to have ammo used with throwing weapons, but I would even go so far to say, there are throwing weapons (not the throwing dagger) that make even more sense with ammo than without.

Just think about a thief character that is a little bit of a ninja and uses throwing needles, he doesn't have to track how many of them he has hidden all along his body, but I would simply compare this to a quiver of arrows, so it would just use ammo and once there is no ammo left, he has to get new needles, as they disappeared, got broken or what ever there is that happened to the needles he used.

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