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This question is for the Pathfinder ruleset. It involves the Snatch Arrows feat:

Snatch Arrows

When using the Deflect Arrows feat you may choose to catch the weapon instead of just deflecting it. Thrown weapons can immediately be thrown back as an attack against the original attacker (even though it isn’t your turn) or kept for later use.

You must have at least one hand free (holding nothing) to use this feat.

The problem I am having is the verbiage. The title is clearly 'Snatch Arrows' which leads one to believe this will work against arrows. But the description says "Thrown weapons can immediately be thrown back as an attack against the original attacker (even though it isn’t your turn) or kept for later use."

Does this mean you can only 'snatch' arrows to prevent them from doing damage, and nothing more? Or can you return the projectile to them, even it they are arrows and not a thrown weapon?

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Your interpretation is correct. The text specifies that Thrown Weapons can be immediately thrown back. An arrow is not a type of thrown weapon - it is a type of weapon ammunition. And even if you consider it a weapon, it is still not a thrown weapon, as specified in the description.

Since it does not specify that ammunition can be thrown back, the arrow cannot be thrown back at the target.

Additionally, I'd say that even if the catcher had a bow, it'd probably qualify as a standard action to take the caught arrow and fit it to the bow to fire it. As a DM, I wouldn't allow the catcher to immediately shoot the arrow back as a part of catching it (if your players are thinking about doing this).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I recall (but don't have time to verify) there is another feat or archetype that allows you to fire arrows back, further indicating that it isn't normally do-able. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 11 '17 at 19:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso: At 19th level, the archer archetype of fighter actually mentions that "as an immediate action, he can catch an arrow fired at him and shoot it any target he chooses, as if he had the Snatch Arrows feat." (Emphasis Mine.) Meaning that Snatch Arrows actually does have rules for letting you fire caught arrows, and you can do so as an immediate action. \$\endgroup\$ – whatdice May 11 '17 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. Makes sense that it'd have to be a level 19 archer archetype as that would be a phenomenal feat to pull off in combat, especially for a low level, general fighter character. Good to know! \$\endgroup\$ – DS_ May 12 '17 at 16:25
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Snatch Arrows allows catching and hurling back at the attacker only thrown weapons

When a foe makes what would have been a successful ranged attack roll with a thrown weapon against a creature that possesses the feat Snatch Arrows, the creature can—instead of either deflecting the thrown weapon harmlessly or harmlessly catching and keeping the thrown weapon—harmlessly catch the thrown weapon and immediately make a ranged attack with that thrown weapon against the foe that attacked the creature with it originally; this is not an action.

A thrown weapon is typically usually a melee weapon possessing a printed range increment, like a club or shortspear, although there are exclusively ranged thrown weapons like the javelin. Alternatively, a thrown weapon is any weapon that has been thrown yet was not designed to be thrown. (Ranged attacks made with these weapons—including improvised weapons—have but a 10 ft. range increment and the attacker suffers a −4 penalty on his attack roll). Thus a creature possessing the feat Snatch Arrows could catch and hurl back, were one chucked at him, a throwing axe or a clumsily tossed longsword.

However, arrows, blowgun darts, crosbow bolts, sling stones, sling bullets, and the like are specifically ammunition—projectiles used in projectile weapons and not thrown weapons. Ammunition launched from a projectile weapon can be either deflected harmlessly or harmlessly caught, but such ammunition can't be thrown back at the attacker. (Note that shuriken, although functioning in some cases like ammunition, remain thrown weapons.)

It's possible—although rare—for a desperate foe to use a piece of ammunition as an improvised weapon, and then it's possible—and even rarer—for a foe to make a ranged attack against the creature with the feat Snatch Arrows by throwing that ammunition at the creature! In this weird case that I've never had come up in my campaigns ever, this GM would totally allow the creature that possesses the feat Snatch Arrows to harmlessly catch the thrown improvised weapon and immediately make a ranged attack with that thrown piece of ammunition against the foe, albeit with the appropriate and significant penalties (i.e. typically suffering at least a −4 penalty on the attack roll but possibly instead a −8 penalty if the GM rules the penalty from also using an improvised weapon stacks with the previous penalty).

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Yes, you can, but not immediately

Ammunitions are also weapons, but that normally requires another weapon to be used properly. Also, despite the name of the ability (Snatch Arrows), you are not limited to arrows, the name is simply a identifier of the ability, what matters for the rules is the ability's text.

However, unless you catch one of the few ammunition types that can be thrown without a ranged weapon (example: throwing arrows), you will be using an Improvised Weapon, because you are not using the weapon on the way it is supposed to be used.

Since you are attempting to throw a weapon that is not designed to be thrown, you treat this weapon as improvised, and any weapon can be thrown as long as you take the -4 penalty for not using a weapon designed to be thrown.

It is possible to throw a weapon that isn’t designed to be thrown (that is, a melee weapon that doesn’t have a numeric entry in the Range column on Table: Weapons), and a character who does so takes a –4 penalty on the attack roll.

Keep in mind that, even if used as improvised, the weapon does not become a Thrown Weapon, and thus it cannot immediatelly be thrown back at the attacker like with a real thrown weapon.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The feat only lets you immediately return fire with thrown weapons. If you want to throw a weapon that is not a thrown weapon (such as most arrows), you'll have to wait until your turn to do so. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage May 11 '17 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question is about immediatelly throwing the arrow back? \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras May 11 '17 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I updated the lede/title to match the update you just made. Does that look ok? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie May 11 '17 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hah. @SevenSidedDie was quicker on the editing of my title. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras May 11 '17 at 15:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RuleofThree Please ask the Manyshot question separately. I know it's a pain, but, really, that deserves its own topic. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 11 '17 at 15:46

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