My beef with the thrown magic weapons

I know magic weapons are hardly a focus at this present time, but I still just wanted to share some of worries regarding a few magic items. Specifically the ones that are able to be thrown.

These would be:

Dwarven Thrower
Hammer of Thunderbolts
Javelin of Lightning

What I see as being a bit annoying about these weapons is that once thrown, you're just sitting there unarmed and now without your great magic weapon. You also have to hope that the enemy won't survive the attack or otherwise they may just take your weapon and run. It's kind of pathetic to envision a player throwing a Javelin of Lightning at the enemy, only to miss, and needing to run 100ft around the enemy in order to get it back. I feel like there should be a way to get the weapon back somehow without taking a long jog. Perhaps by expending a move action to recall the weapon (so that it either flies or teleports back)?
In 4e, magic weapons automatically return to hand. Sorta like Thors hammer, and Xenas frisbee thingy.
In 4e, magic weapons automatically return to hand. Sorta like Thors hammer, and Xenas frisbee thingy.



I don't think they did unless the weapon specifically said so.
The rule applies to all magic weapons. Its in the Players Handbook (232), in the Equipment section, discussing Magic Weapons.




Thrown Weapons: Any magic light thrown or heavy thrown weapon, from the lowly +1 shuriken to a +6 perfect hunter’s spear, automatically returns to its wielder’s hand after a ranged attack with the weapon is resolved. Catching a returning thrown weapon is a free action; if you do not wish (or are unable) to catch the weapon, it falls at your feet in your space.

In 4e, magic weapons automatically return to hand. Sorta like Thors hammer, and Xenas frisbee thingy.



I don't think they did unless the weapon specifically said so.



it was a property given to all enchanted weapons with the 'thrown' poperty.

Rules Compendium page 282 
The rule applies to all magic weapons. Its in the Players Handbook (232), in the Equipment section, discussing Magic Weapons.




Thrown Weapons: Any magic light thrown or heavy thrown weapon, from the lowly +1 shuriken to a +6 perfect hunter’s spear, automatically returns to its wielder’s hand after a ranged attack with the weapon is resolved. Catching a returning thrown weapon is a free action; if you do not wish (or are unable) to catch the weapon, it falls at your feet in your space.




Then I stand corrected. Hoping that they add this clause into the Next magic item rules.
That is the mechanic... but its rather without flavor, I call it.


Weapon Bonding / Tethering magic



The bond
There is a great deal of myth and legendry of warriors becoming one with  their weapons. The tools of their trade become very quickly a part of their identities and a part of their myths. Ownership is said to reinforce over time but the sense of "this is mine" combined with a "touch of a hand" creates a bond resistant to many especially minor magics and intertwines with magics that are created in most if not all magic weapons and implements. The warriors aura can actually be seen to extend around his equipment.... it is a fairly natural magic. Many warriors will simply not allow another to "handle" their weapon.  This mystic connection is exemplified in the swordmage who are all about and also intensify that bonding by an active ritual which among its other cool effects seals the weapon from accepting or bonding another.Numerous enchantments are able to key off of these connections which are created by the bearer and at minimum are reinforced by their wielders personal magic.

cleaving: this magic causes the grip of a melee weapon to cling comfortably to its wielders hand...for some this touch is warm or tingling like the blades magic is alive to others they can't describe the feel of the pommel because... its just connected with no otherness to it.
returning: this magic causes a thrown weapon to return to the hand of its wielder. (returning like cleaving also takes many forms... some even self teleport others float ...or fly in insubstantial ghost like form others seem to just ricochet... or dont appear in his hands til he goes to use them again or become energy throughout the attack)

Tethering magic is sometimes blatant many weapons glow extends up around the hands gripping it or when thrown streamers of magical energy extending from the hand of its wielder to the handle. Other times only active arcane discernment will show the connections... Tethering magic is occasionally very subtle it seems only fate is binding blade to hand... interestingly fates weaves may be the strongest tethering magic yet. "The warrior instead of allowing himself enfeebled by a trickster hurls the weapon high and far... it bounces from cliffside rock to rock catching on a root and moments later when the warrior is once again ready and in need of it the last strand of fate falls in to place and it drops in to his grip once more."

The heros of D&D are in some ways on the fast route to becoming like the Norse Thunderer or the shadowy Greek Nemesis or the Once and Future King of Arthurian Myth.
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Making all thrown weapons work like the old Dwarven Thrower was a good idea.  I can recall a time or two when someone threw a magic weapon, only to have the target make off with it, delighted at the windfall...
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While I understand and appreciate the mechancs of the returning thing, I just can't get behind the flavor of every magic weapon working that way. (And one of the most jarring things for me in 4e was  the fact that you could attack a blast area full of creatures with one magic dagger.)

I'd rather see other solutions, like gloves of throwing that make your thrown weapons magical.
Perhaps an endless bandoleer of daggers? The daggers will disappear after a round, but it would be a neat magical item.

Thrown weapons may not be as bad of an issue in DDN, however, since most of the damage won't be coming from the item. Having a "master of knives" styled character would be feasible with just a dozen or so regular knives on their person.

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In 4e, magic weapons automatically return to hand. Sorta like Thors hammer, and Xenas frisbee thingy.




While I understand that this was added specifically for the purpose of addressing the "problem" the OP mentioned, that players were bothered by loosing their thrown weapons... that rule is actually very poor game design.
Not only it makes magical properties more boring because all thrown weapons do the same thing, taking away diversity in something that is so cool when it's unique, like a magical weapon...
But if I were to play a game where every single thrown magical weapon was ping-ponging back and forth throughout the battlefield it would be a very strange scene to imagine (kinda silly, actually), especially in a high-magic campaign where you're likely to find many of those.

In medieval warfare thrown weapons were disposable things. Men threw a couple of them before engaging in melee.
(and usually in D&D that's how they're used too, as a secondary resource for melee characters)

Although in a game we have no compromise with historical accuracy or reality, it's always a good source of ideas.
So I suppose if magical properties for thrown weapons followed that thought it would work better and be less weird.
Instead of making a single powerful thrown weapon that you would likely loose after throwing, magical properties for thrown weapons could be more of a "one use" thing, and of course it should be easier/cheaper to craft them (or batches of 6... 10... of those) than a permanent magical weapon.

And the "returning" property could be left for the really cool and expensive/rare magical weapons, such as Thor's hammer.
 
Whatever happened to people simply having a back-up weapon handy?  Throw the first weapon and follow it into battle with the Sword of Sorrows or something.
Personally I say any magical weapon specifically designed to be thrown that doesn't in some way return, or break upon use, is freakin stupid, and was designed by an idiot savant.  Like literally if I was in real life handed a magic item called a dwarven thrower and was the told throwing it would be a bad idea because someone could just run off with it I'd frigin clobber the guy that made it.  Any item designed specifically to be thrown such as:

Dwarven Thrower
Hammer of Thunderbolts
Javelin of Lightning

should have some kind of returning quality.

Now I'd be down for most of them happening in different and fairly item specific ways.

like the dwarven thrower does the bounce back thing.  The hammer of thunderbolts is summoned to your hands directly (disappearing and reappearing) with a move action, the javelin of lightening merely never leaves your hands when used as a magical lightening bolt.  stuff like that

 
In 4e, magic weapons automatically return to hand. Sorta like Thors hammer, and Xenas frisbee thingy.



It's a chakram!  Just one tier above the katana in die damage and cool factor.  
Magic thrown weapons that automatically return, or ones that are thrown in general should be rare, unless the later is easy to produce. For example an elf enchanter that is well versed in life shaping, could create hundreds of iron wood daggers much cheaper then using metal. While a dwarven master weaponsmith may be hard to come by, but they know the secrets of metal to call it back to the wielders hand.

The type of setting, flavor of magic, race, spells, rituals should all be considered, versus giving default properties to a whole group of weapons, that is not inherent to it's basic functions.
While I understand and appreciate the mechancs of the returning thing, I just can't get behind the flavor of every magic weapon working that way. (And one of the most jarring things for me in 4e was  the fact that you could attack a blast area full of creatures with one magic dagger.)

The really jarring part was that you could do that before you had a magical dagger. I'd probably rule that it would take at least one dagger per target... but then again, there's a reason I don't play 4E.

Of course, the 3E solution was excessively inconvenient. If you wanted to throw a sword, you would need to enchant it separately with the throwing and returning properties; for the same price as a +1 sword of throwing and returning, you could get a +3 longbow. They could have saved a lot of trouble by just bundling those two properties together (under the assumption that nobody would want to throw away a magical weapon), and allowing every magical throwing weapon (javelins, daggers, chakrams) to automatically return (under the assumption that those items are explicitly designed to be thrown, and the enchanter would take that into account).

I'd rather see other solutions, like gloves of throwing that make your thrown weapons magical.

I think this is a good solution, kind of along the lines of a magical quiver. I know I've seen gloves that create magical knives and shurikens (that only stick around for a round or two).

The metagame is not the game.
While I understand and appreciate the mechancs of the returning thing, I just can't get behind the flavor of every magic weapon working that way. (And one of the most jarring things for me in 4e was  the fact that you could attack a blast area full of creatures with one magic dagger.)

The really jarring part was that you could do that before you had a magical dagger. I'd probably rule that it would take at least one dagger per target... but then again, there's a reason I don't play 4E.

Of course, the 3E solution was excessively inconvenient. If you wanted to throw a sword, you would need to enchant it separately with the throwing and returning properties; for the same price as a +1 sword of throwing and returning, you could get a +3 longbow. They could have saved a lot of trouble by just bundling those two properties together (under the assumption that nobody would want to throw away a magical weapon), and allowing every magical throwing weapon (javelins, daggers, chakrams) to automatically return (under the assumption that those items are explicitly designed to be thrown, and the enchanter would take that into account).

I'd rather see other solutions, like gloves of throwing that make your thrown weapons magical.

I think this is a good solution, kind of along the lines of a magical quiver. I know I've seen gloves that create magical knives and shurikens (that only stick around for a round or two).




No, I'm pretty sure only magic items returned to your hands when you threw them. If you throw a non-magical dagger in 4e, you're either gonna have to pick it up after the battle or be short 1 dagger.

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While I understand and appreciate the mechancs of the returning thing, I just can't get behind the flavor of every magic weapon working that way. (And one of the most jarring things for me in 4e was  the fact that you could attack a blast area full of creatures with one magic dagger.)

The really jarring part was that you could do that before you had a magical dagger. I'd probably rule that it would take at least one dagger per target... but then again, there's a reason I don't play 4E.



Actually, you couldn't (not without breaking the rules, anyway).  The 4e rules clearly state that for a multi-target attack with a ranged or thrown weapon you need one piece of ammunition per target.  Please stop spreading falsehoods.
While I understand and appreciate the mechancs of the returning thing, I just can't get behind the flavor of every magic weapon working that way. (And one of the most jarring things for me in 4e was  the fact that you could attack a blast area full of creatures with one magic dagger.).



Sorry, not true.  Here's a quote from pg. 270 of the 4e Player's Handbook, under the heading "Ranged Attack":

If you’re using a projectile weapon to make a
ranged attack against multiple targets, you need one
piece of ammunition for each target, and if you’re
using thrown weapons, you need one for each target


It's true for magic weapons. I'm AFB, but I'm quite confident that they all return.

And a lot of powers would be pretty useless if they didn't.
I guess that depends on how you interpret the rule Haldrik quoted earlier.  The thrown weapon returns after the attack is resolved.  Is a power that target multiple creatures one attack or multiple attacks?  RAI, I think it's only one attack, but if you want the weapon to return to you once per creature then that's your choice.

Edit: fixed formatting glitch
Actually, RAW makes it also appear to be one attack. E.g. "a burst attack"
  RAI, I think it's only one attack



The ambiguity of the word "attack" is at issue.. who knows what RAI, actually is. But in general since the weapon returns to hand and the power use is really over 6 seconds of time it makes as much sense as anything to allow the weapon to either return to hand between each target or be visualized as a Xena bounding Chakrum move.

Or even I throw the dagger and it hits a cave wall splintering pieces that blind my enemies...
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Three options for how they should deal with ranged throwing weapons:

1. All weapons automatically return, as in 4E. Kinda cheesy but works.
2.  A single magical throwing weapon should do much more damage, so it's like a mini-nuke. Instead of rolling [W], you roll 2[W]. Or it's an automatic crit on hit. Or you get to add +Xd8 fire damage. Or it's a burst attack that damages multiple enemies. Or whatever.
3. Most throwing weapons come in a set of 5-20 and are equivalent to the cost of one regular weapon. They can easily be retrieved after battle and may even "know" how to avoid being lost to the owner (i.e., they miraculously boomerang or ricochet to avoid falling into dark pits).
While I understand and appreciate the mechancs of the returning thing, I just can't get behind the flavor of every magic weapon working that way. (And one of the most jarring things for me in 4e was  the fact that you could attack a blast area full of creatures with one magic dagger.)

I'd rather see other solutions, like gloves of throwing that make your thrown weapons magical.



I couldn't agree more, there's more than one way to design a magical thrown weapon.  There might even be a purpose for a magical throwing weapon not to return.  Making them all functionally identical is boring.

My issue with the 4e weapons was that it was automatic to every weapon. The stab-stabbity rogue that sticks in melee but uses a dagger, well if they choose to they can hurl the dagger at any time and it returns despite being a dagger designed for melee.

Weapons designed to be thrown, they absolutely should have the potential to return. Some might magicly return slowly, such as during the next rest. Others might ricochet back and have to be caught. Others might just teleport back into you hand. But it should be less standardized and more reflecting the items. And if it's just a basic straight dagger +1... well, sometimes you just have to be careful and remember to pick up your weapons. 

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If you’re using a projectile weapon to make a
ranged attack against multiple targets, you need one
piece of ammunition for each target, and if you’re
using thrown weapons, you need one for each target

So... if you're making a burst against four enemies, and you're level 17, then you need to own four distinct +4 daggers? That doesn't quite seem correct either, with the way the that they'd otherwise tried to simplify the bookkeeping to only one magical weapon per hand. I mean, it's less silly than throwing one non-magical at all four of them, but it's counter to their otherwise-unified design goal of simplifying rules for convenience.

Eh, I'm not an expert on obscure 4E rules.
The metagame is not the game.
Yeah, I agree that requiring someone to have four +4 daggers to make a power work "properly" seems silly.  Personally, I think the problem stems from allowing thrown weapons to be used when making burst attacks.  I don't think anyone would have batted an eye if they required a projectile weapon instead.
I loathed the 4e rule that all magic weapons returned but it was there basically as a maths fix because those classes that had powers based around ranged attacks would be gimped if their magic weapon bonuses that were essential to the attack progression were lost in one throw.  It was even sillier when you rogue did a burst attack with his one magical dagger.  Mechanics triumphed over flavour.

DDN doesn't assume magic in the attack vs AC progression so one shot thrown weapons are fine.  I agree that some weapons should automatically return as a special property (maybe an attuned property) while you should be able to call other items back with will power (a DC15 Charisma check available if the item is attuned perhaps).  But overall I want those items to be special attuned properties.  A bog standard dagger should not be returning or bouncing from one target to another.
My group allowed the flavor to change based on the power in question and player whims.

I've seen bouncing chakram type attacks; a magic dagger that acted like a hyperactive yo-yo, bouncing between the rogue and each of his targets; a magic dagger that appeared to split into a hundred shards when thrown without ever actually leaving the rogue's hand; and with my Artificer, daggers that exploded on impact and then remateralized in his hands.
My group allowed the flavor to change based on the power in question and player whims.

I've seen bouncing chakram type attacks; a magic dagger that acted like a hyperactive yo-yo, bouncing between the rogue and each of his targets; a magic dagger that appeared to split into a hundred shards when thrown without ever actually leaving the rogue's hand; and with my Artificer, daggers that exploded on impact and then remateralized in his hands.



Those are all cool!  But I wouldn't want them to be standardised that way.
They could take the D&D Online approach:
1) Magic thrown weapons without the returning property are treated as ammunition. They always lose their enchantment (and/or break) when used, but they are 1/50th of the cost of a permanent magic item. If you find them, you tend to find them in fairly large numbers.
2) Magic thrown weapons with the returning property are as common/expensive as equivalent non-thrown magic weapons. (In DDO it is a +1-equivalent enchantment, probably for legacy reasons. I would drop this like a bad habit: thrown weapons are already weaker than their melee and projectile peers, they don't need be a +1 behind the curve in addition. For 3.5/DDO this may be balanced by adding str to damage, which bows don't necessarily do. For 4e/next, bows tend to have +dex or similar so returning thrown weapons don't need to be behind the curve.)
3) DDO doesn't really have this third category, but D&D Next could also have non-returning, throwable, permanent melee magic weapons. For example, the Jester mentions the stabbity rogue with his dagger that he could throw but generally doesn't. So he gets a non-returning enchantment and on the off chance that he finds a need to throw the weapon, he will have to go recover it. My only issue here is that implicitly there will be some tradeoff involved. The returning dagger rogue who is designed to sometimes stab and sometimes throw with the same magic dagger will have to pay some opportunity cost to get a returning enchantment. Maybe there's a best (or favorite) enchantment for melee and a best (or favorite) enchantment for ranged (which is returning).. the player would rather have the melee one but with the freedom to sometimes throw, but instead has to chose the returning one to not lose his weapon. (Assuming he even has a choice. In many campaigns the DM will chose, so the mixed-range dagger rogue might just be given a disappointing non-returning dagger.)


Of course, all of this seems needless complicated compared to the 4e way, but meh.     
Yeah, I agree that requiring someone to have four +4 daggers to make a power work "properly" seems silly.  



Nor is that how anyone I know interprets it.. attack doesnt have a rigorous definition after all really each target was attacked.
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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
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"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."