Wednesday, October 6, 2010


A pretty mundane topic. Pointy sticks with feathers. One silver will buy you a score. Of course once you get into the magical variety they start getting real snazzy and all of a sudden archers and DMs are keeping track of where those puppies fly. Who hasn't had an Arrow of Slaying that stayed in their quiver for many adventures?

Back to the normal arrows. Never gave them a second thought until Oriental Adventures came out. Always a fan of having options all of a sudden there were four additional arrows to choose from. And one did d8 damage instead of the d6. All of a sudden there were a few to choose from.

Arrow, armor piercing: d4+1 vs. S or M and d4 vs. L. Sounds cool, but never meant anything in game terms. I would give these arrows +1 to hit, non-magical.

Arrow, frog crotch: d6 vs. S or M and d4 vs. L. First, I would change the name. In the description it mentions it can cut things. Umm, okay. So on a successful hit these arrows can cut ropes or anything rope like.

Arrow, humming bulb: d2 vs. all. Whistles loudly when fired. So this is more of a signal arrow than an attack arrow, but it can be fitted with oil soaked cloth or straw that can inflict another d3 of damage. My version is any arrow can be made into a flaming arrow so that property isn't special, but having it make a noise that can be heard a mile away might intimidate some critters. So it could have a result in morale in combat.

Arrow, leaf head: d8 vs. S or M and d6 vs. L. I bought a fistful of these guys when OA got into my hands. The additional damage is enough to put regular arrows in the unemployment line, but in my old school way of thinking I would increase the cost of each arrow. Instead of 1sp for twenty, it might be 1sp for six. On the adventure side of things that will mean very little, but when a lord needs to buy thousands of them, the normal arrows will still have a place in the campaign.

Magic Arrows: You basic enchanted arrow with a bonus ranging from +1 to +'whatever'. The 1st edition DMG says there is a 50% chance on a miss that the arrows becomes useless and on a hit is automatically destroyed. That's fairly harsh. My version would to keep the 50% on a hit or miss so at least a player has a chance to retrieve his arrow on a hit.

Arrows of Slaying: This one got me to laughing a bit. There are 24 listed categories and they are fairly general naming classes, or general monster groups except for two, ki-rins and titans. Someone must not like ki-rins. Don't think I ever used on in my campaigns or ran into one in someone else's campaign. Besides these twenty-four categories you can make them specific to any creature or individual. A rival group created one arrow of slaying for each party member. These arrows automatically are destroyed when hitting their special target.

More magic arrows tomorrow.


  1. Nice post! Arrows do tend to get a short shrift. When I play, I generally rule that arrows have a base chance to be recoverable when they strike something, say 1/6, and that they can always be recovered when they miss. And then magical arrows get a bonus to be recovered, say, a 3/6 for an arrow +2.

    It doesn't really make sense to me that some guy would put a might enchantment on a projectile and not put some sort of "non-breaking" spell on it.

  2. Arrows of slaying are the ICBMs of high level AD&D play.

    Of course, I don't recall EVER seeing an arrow of ki-rin slaying in any game. Ever.

  3. N Wright> Recovering magic arrows I was thinking that same thing, give a bonus to the plus. Simple and works well I think.

    JB> Yeah me either, thought it was funny out of all the critters they single out list was a ki-rin. I can see trolls or even xorns (even that one is a sretch), but the poor ki-rin?

    Tomorrows post I'm going to compile a bunch of magic arrows in modules and books. Should be interesting.