Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Default What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    In a recent game I was DMing a level 20 brawny Goliath barbearian under the effects of Enlarge (with 30 strength) decided he would like to remove an enemy from the area by just hurling the poor guy away. Since I allow Brawny and Powerful Build to stack at my tables, the character had an effective size of Gargantuan*2 for the purposes of carrying weight. I allowed him to treat the human enemy as an improvised throwing weapon because it was funny and I figured 60 feet was probably well within throwing distance for him, though it wouldn't be super accurate.

    That got me think in though, could someone like that really treat another person as an improvised throwing weapon?

    So, I sat down and did some questionable math after the game to try to see just how much weight something that strong could throw that far. To start, I did some looking into as far as what "normal" humans could do. The the lifting part of carrying capacity scales closely enough to actual bench-pressing (with 20 strength and Brawny a character can lift 600lbs, 15% lower than the world record for the bench press without a bench shirt) that we can just take the carry weight as a comparative measure of lifting strength. I'd use deadlifts, but that's almost double the weight a human in D&D could manage without magic or extreme levels, but we'll keep that for the low-end.

    So, how much can that barbearian lift? An enlarged 30 strength brawny Goliath can lift 3600 lbs (30*15*2*2*2). For reference, that's just over five times as much as the bench press and just over three times as much as the world record deadlift, so he's somewhere between 3 and 5 times as strong as any modern human as far as carry weights go.

    So, how heavy of a weight can a human throw 60 feet? Well, we've got a pretty good record of that since we have an Olympic sport that's all about throwing a ball and tends to get just a bit beyond 60 feet, the shot put (closer to 70, but if you can throw a weight 70 feet you can throw it 60). The shot put weighs in at just over 16 lbs.

    So, multiplying the weight of a shot together with the relative strength, we get a max weight of between 48 and 60 lbs if you want to get 60 feet out of it.

    In the end, even assuming everything I could in favor of the max strength Enlarged Brawny Goliath Bear Totem Barbarian, it can't really throw something much bigger than a halfling.

    Anyone see anywhere I might have screwed up (other than assuming carrying weight mapped to throwing distance which is admittedly completely wrong) or see any way to increase that weight so a character could toss around other people?
    Last edited by rmnimoc; 2019-05-19 at 09:41 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Somewhere
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    RAW, if you can lift it, you can throw it, and the distance is the same, no matter the weight.

    RAW, you can't use another creature as improvised weapon, as improvised weapon rules specifically refer to objects.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    There's a few ways to look a this. We'll start with the guidelines on improvised weapons.
    -Held in one or two hands
    -Must be an object

    So that puts our "strictly RAW" stance at "No, you can't throw your enemy as a weapon".

    That's no fun though. Let's expand to "what does it break to allow this".
    -Nothing
    -This Goliath has 30 Strength and can carry things that an Ancient Dragon would struggle to lift
    -Dude could flex on atoms and survive the nuclear explosion
    -Seriously just let him throw the guy.

    Oh and also Giants have a variant ability in SKT that allows them to pick up and throw creatures, we could just use that for reference.
    Fling. The giant tries to throw a Small or Medium creature within 10 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or be hurled up to 60 feet horizontally in a direction of the giant’s choice and land prone, taking 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it was thrown.
    This seems to be most aligned with what you were trying to accomplish. Considering the immense levels of strength this Goliath was pouring out I might even have expanded his range of creature size to large.

    Weight is generally not used to determine how players interact with creatures, it's more for how objects/spells interact with creatures. We have to suspend our disbelief in many instances where it isn't very logical for something to mechanically pan out a certain way. I recall another thread recently bringing to attention that a prone gargantuan creature is suddenly a more difficult target for an archer, despite being as wide as they are tall even when prone.

    Short answer: Don't worry about the weight, it was probably a very cool moment for the player. The rules don't offer much in the way of realism anyway, if he was able to lift it he would be able to throw a 10lb object just as far as a 3000lb object.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    I don't think the shot put is the best comparison for throwing as a weapon. I've seen weight-throwing competitions, and the judges on the field just step out of the way of the flying weights. I think you're looking for fastball pitchers.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    RAW, you can't use another creature as improvised weapon, as improvised weapon rules specifically refer to objects.
    ... in part I want to agree with the notion that you shouldn't be able to use living opponents as improvised weapons, but technically you can use a creature's body as an improvised weapon RAW.

    Quote Originally Posted by PHB page 147, Improvised Weapons
    An improvised weapon includes any object you can wield in one or two hands, such as broken glass, a table leg, a frying pan, a wagon wheel, or a dead goblin.
    You can go by a strict rules as written interpretation that if you are using a creature as a weapon it must be both dead and a goblin, but I'd think in the spirit of the rules, this line in the book does open the door to using any creature as a weapon assuming you're able to lift and swing it around

    Spoiler: Image for context
    Show


    And if you can swing it, throwing it should also be possible.
    Last edited by Zhorn; 2019-05-22 at 02:03 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhorn View Post
    ... in part I want to agree with the notion that you shouldn't be able to use living opponents as improvised weapons, but technically you can use a creature's body as an improvised weapon RAW.

    You can go by a strict rules as written interpretation that if you are using a creature as a weapon it must be both dead and a goblin, but I'd think in the spirit of the rules, this line in the book does open the door to using any creature as a weapon assuming you're able to lift and swing it around

    Spoiler: Image for context
    Show


    And if you can swing it, throwing it should also be possible.
    The criteria that is important is "object", which is why it's specified as a dead Goblin. Living Goblins are not objects, they are creatures. A living creature is not an object, a corpse is.

    Improvised Weapons don't offer a whole lot of "realistic" feel. The criteria for them is just restrictive enough to prevent you from grappling a living creature and using them to bludgeon another creature but broad enough that an enlarged creature could swing or throw a tree, so long as they are able to lift it without exceeding their carrying capacity, with the same strength and accuracy as a gnome would throw a wooden chair leg.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    I had a 20 str Goliath Bear Totem Barb and the DM let the 6th level Bear feature stack with Powerful Build. I threw enemies and used enemies as weapons all the time. The DM usually made the ruling on how far and how much damage a swinging goblin body would do on the spot. Damage was usually d6+str to both the enemy getting hit and the enemy being swung but varied a little. Thrown distance differed even more. I could only throw human guard about 15ft but I threw a Skeleton well over 60ft. Not sure he even said how far, it was just far enough to be completely removed for the combat for good. I would roll a str check and that would determine how far I could throw.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    The criteria that is important is "object", which is why it's specified as a dead Goblin. Living Goblins are not objects, they are creatures. A living creature is not an object, a corpse is.
    Which is why I led with
    Quote Originally Posted by Zhorn View Post
    I want to agree with the notion that you shouldn't be able to use living opponents as improvised weapons
    Which for reasonable on the fly rulings makes a lot of sense and is a fair enough restriction.

    But (and there's always a but), the listed objects are not meant as a finite list but rather general examples, and the 'form' of a corpse doesn't differ any if at all from the form of its living counterpart. It is in part a joke answer on my part in going into the strict RAW interpretation of using a creature as a weapon it must be both dead AND a goblin, but is also reasonable interpretation to bring attention to since a dead goblin was the explicit wording used in the rules. If you can deviate from a dead goblin to a dead non-goblin, what is the limitation preventing you going from a dead goblin to a non-dead goblin? It's still only removing one of the two conditions given under a strict RAW, with a dead non-goblin is already a deviation from.

    [note: before I continue with this mockery of RAW interpretation, I want to be clear this is not an argumentative call-out, but intended as discussion for entertainment purposes]

    Then there's also the consideration: is a paralyzed creature viable to be used as an improvised weapon if a corpse is fair game? How about an unconscious/sleeping creature? If it's a ruling of the creature mustn't be able to resist, then is a willing creature a viable improvised weapon (see barbarian wielding a stag, or Thor throwing Loki in 'get help')? If not, what is the exact defined restriction that allows a corpse to be used as an improvised weapon that those conditions cannot satisfy?

    There's also the matter of creatures in the Monster Manual that have the ability to throw other creatures (living or dead) as part of an attack (see Kraken's 'Fling' attack as an example). This establishes that such an occurrence is possible given sufficient size/strength.

    For my own table's use, I'm thinking I'm going to have to set up some rough strength/size/distance tables for guide lines on what can be reasonably thrown as an attack (be it object or creatures), as going by what can or cannot be under a strict RAW reading is a little arbitrary (plus one of my players is expressing interest in a warforged barbarian the fights like the hulk, so it's bound to come up at my table some time).

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Somewhere
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    The rules actually don't have definition of "creature", but DMG does have a definition of object: "an object is a discrete, inanimate item like a window, door, sword, book, table, chair, or stone, not a building or a vehicle that is composed of many other objects."

    Emphasis mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhorn View Post
    But (and there's always a but), the listed objects are not meant as a finite list but rather general examples, and the 'form' of a corpse doesn't differ any if at all from the form of its living counterpart. It is in part a joke answer on my part in going into the strict RAW interpretation of using a creature as a weapon it must be both dead AND a goblin, but is also reasonable interpretation to bring attention to since a dead goblin was the explicit wording used in the rules. If you can deviate from a dead goblin to a dead non-goblin, what is the limitation preventing you going from a dead goblin to a non-dead goblin? It's still only removing one of the two conditions given under a strict RAW, with a dead non-goblin is already a deviation from.
    The limitation is that the improvised weapon must be an object. Objects are mechanically handled differently from creatures... you may note a lot of spells don't work on objects, or have even weirder interactions... Fireball can damage a creature or ignite flammable objects that aren't. You can hold a sheet of paper while being Fireballed all day, and it'll be perfectly fine, but it'll burn the moment it leaves your hand. Another weirdness is that animated objects count as creatures instead of objects for those kind of interactions.
    Then there's also the consideration: is a paralyzed creature viable to be used as an improvised weapon if a corpse is fair game? How about an unconscious/sleeping creature? If it's a ruling of the creature mustn't be able to resist, then is a willing creature a viable improvised weapon (see barbarian wielding a stag, or Thor throwing Loki in 'get help')? If not, what is the exact defined restriction that allows a corpse to be used as an improvised weapon that those conditions cannot satisfy?
    Not by RAW. Paralyzed or unconscious creature is still a creature. The exact defined restriction for improvised weapons is "object (wielded in one or both hands)". Again, creatures are not objects. No, not even animated objects, weirdly enough.

    There's also the matter of creatures in the Monster Manual that have the ability to throw other creatures (living or dead) as part of an attack (see Kraken's 'Fling' attack as an example). This establishes that such an occurrence is possible given sufficient size/strength.
    No, it establishes that there are special abilities that allow certain monsters to throw other creatures. It doesn't create any general rule beyond those specific abilities. Notably, kraken's "Fling" has its own rules, and doesn't have anything to do with improvised weapons.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    -snip-
    And to most of that I do agree, again I still generally hold the opinion that living creatures shouldn't be used as improvised weapons.
    I just think that rules behind it are silly if you think about them.

    You can have four goblins in front of you (A,B,C,D):
    • A is up and ready to attack you
    • B is blackout drunk and sleeping it off
    • C is paralyzed (catatonic)
    • D is dead

    all the goblins are identical in every other way

    A is a slippery little sucker and resists and attempt you have to slam them into the ground. Fair enough.
    B,C and D however react to you moving them around in that they don't. They don't resist you, can't dodge you, and are just goblin shaped dead weights in your hands. But of all 3 of them, D is the only one you can use as a weapon to beat on A.

    When I come across rulings like this, I tend to think it's more reasonable to put those rules off to the side and favour a house ruling that would feel more consistent with other things in the game.
    I tend to follow RAW most of the time, but everyone should have a cut-off point where they opt to choose rules as fun over rules as written.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Troll in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Somewhere
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhorn View Post
    And to most of that I do agree, again I still generally hold the opinion that living creatures shouldn't be used as improvised weapons.
    I just think that rules behind it are silly if you think about them.

    You can have four goblins in front of you (A,B,C,D):
    • A is up and ready to attack you
    • B is blackout drunk and sleeping it off
    • C is paralyzed (catatonic)
    • D is dead

    all the goblins are identical in every other way

    A is a slippery little sucker and resists and attempt you have to slam them into the ground. Fair enough.
    B,C and D however react to you moving them around in that they don't. They don't resist you, can't dodge you, and are just goblin shaped dead weights in your hands. But of all 3 of them, D is the only one you can use as a weapon to beat on A.

    When I come across rulings like this, I tend to think it's more reasonable to put those rules off to the side and favour a house ruling that would feel more consistent with other things in the game.
    I tend to follow RAW most of the time, but everyone should have a cut-off point where they opt to choose rules as fun over rules as written.
    Agreed. I would allow any sufficiently pacified creature to be used as improvised weapon.

    Speaking of dead weight: corpses are harder to drag around than living creatures. Moving a corpse uses encumberance, potentially making some creatures too heavy to move, dragging living, grappled creature doesn't, though the grappler's speed is halved. There's a trick (involving twinned Enlarge/Reduce) that allows medium grapplers to drag gargantuan creatures, but once the creature is dead, good luck with that.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2019

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    I like thinking that death is a condition— Much like incapacitated, only that you cannot regain hitpoints. I think I would rule incapacitated targets as fair game for throwing based on that definition. That way, spells and abilities that affect creatures still technically work.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Mesquite, TX

    Default Re: What is the max weight you can treat as an improvised throwing weapon?

    So, I just read this thread and came up with the following set of basic houserules.


    Lifting and Throwing creatures

    If a player wishes to attempt to throw another creature, use the following rules a guideline

    1) If the target is not incapacitated, you must first begin a grapple with the subject, once you are grappling proceed to step 2.

    2) make a Grapple check, which the target resists with either a Strength(Athletics) check or Dexterity(Acrobatics) check as normal, on a success you are able to lift and throw the target, on a failure the Grapple ends immediately. You do not need to make a check to throw an incapacitated creature.

    3) compare the target’s weight to your Str score to determine how far you may throw them;

    Less than or equal to one-third your maximum carry capacity: Treat the target as an improvised weapon with the Thrown property (10/30). Multiply the normal and maximum range by 2 if you are larger than the target and divide it by 2 if you are smaller.

    Less than or equal to two-thirds your maximum carry capacity: Treat the target as an improvised weapon with the Thrown property (5/15).

    Greater than two-thirds your maximum carry capacity but less than your maximum: You manage to lift the target above your head but can only throw it 5ft away, if you attempt to target another creature you perform the attack roll at Disadvantage, on a failure you drop the creature on top of yourself, taking damage as if struck (see step 4).

    4) If you throw the target against a hard surface or into another creature, both the flung creature and whatever it strikes take damage based on the thrown creature’s size;

    Tiny: 1 + thrower’s str mod

    Small: 1d4 + thrower’s str mod

    Medium: 1d6 + thrower’s str mod

    Large: 1d8 + thrower’s str mod

    Huge: 1d10 + thrower’s str mod

    Gargantuan: 1d12 + thrower’s str mod

    When targeting another creature, you make a ranged attack roll using Strength, as normal. On a miss the thrown creature lands in a space adjacent to the target. When you throw a creature smaller than yourself it lands prone in whatever space it ends up in. When you throw a creature at another creature smaller than the thrown creature, on a hit the targeted creature is knocked prone. When throwing creatures of size Large or bigger, you may target an area equal to the creature's fighting space.

    If the exact weight of the target is unknown, it can be approximated by size and creature type using the following chart;

    Creature Size - Weight
    Tiny - 9lbs, 6oz
    Small - 37lbs, 8ozs
    Medium - 150lbs
    Large - 600lbs
    Huge - 2,400lbs
    Gargantuan - 9,600lbs

    Quadrupeds and Constructs weight twice as much as normal creature of their size. These modifiers stack so a Quadrupedal Construct would weigh four times as much as a normal creature of that size.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •