D&D 5E GWM+Longbow

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Ah but if you keep the qualities of the original weapon you do, because that ALSO means you keep the ammunition quality, which means you’d also need to use that ammo whenever making a melee attack.
If you’re going to assume you keep all qualities, then you have to use all qualities, not cherry pick them.

except that ammunition rules state each time you make an attack (any attack. It doesn’t specify ranged only except in the fluff description) you must use ammo, which thus triggers loading.
Incorrect.

You can use a weapon that has the Ammunition property to make a ranged Attack only if you have Ammunition to fire from the weapon.
Bold added for emphasis.

but again, it’s all moot as it’s already been pointed out where Crawford clarified an improvised weapon loses all its original qualities when used as an improvised weapon.
His rulings are frequently inconsistent with a technical interpretation of the text. It’s certainly valuable insight for deciding how one wants to rule in their own games, but it is not really relevant when discussing RAW.

You know, like the RAW says (unless you can point out where it says in improvised weapons that the ranged weapon used in melee keeps its original qualities)
It doesn’t need to say it retains its qualities because D&D’s design is exceptions-based (sometimes summarized as “specific beats general”). The general rule is that a longbow has the heavy property. If there is a use-case where it is meant to lose that property, the rules for that use-case need to specify so. In the absence of a more specific rule to follow, the general rule applies.

So...yeah. Either they keep them all and you use stuff like ammunition and loading along with heavy, or they don’t.
As demonstrated, the ranged quality only requires ammunition to be used when making a ranged attack, and the loading property only limits the number of times ammunition can be fired from the weapon. Neither restrict melee attacks made with the weapon in any way.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Also, if ranged weapons lose their properties when used to make a melee weapon attack and melee weapon lose their properties when thrown, then not only can a halfling throw a great axe 20 feet without disadvantage, they can do so one-handed (dealing only 1d4 damage on a hit, of course.) YMMV on if that strains suspension of disbelief, but it certainly does for me.
 

the Jester

Legend
You know, like the RAW says (unless you can point out where it says in improvised weapons that the ranged weapon used in melee keeps its original qualities)

I mean... I agree with the sentiment that improvised weapons lose other qualities, but "it doesn't say that it doesn't" is hardly a good argument for saying that it's RAW. It doesn't say that it does, either. In general, "the rules don't say that it does" is a much stronger argument. And again, citing a Crawford tweet is highly unconvincing.
 

Olrox17

Hero
As demonstrated, the ranged quality only requires ammunition to be used when making a ranged attack, and the loading property only limits the number of times ammunition can be fired from the weapon. Neither restrict melee attacks made with the weapon in any way.
Wait a minute. So, a medium sized dude can swing an heavy crossbow in melee without worrying about the Loading and Ammunition properties, and using GWM to boot thanks to Heavy. OK.

What if the same guy tries to chuck the crossbow at some orc. Now he suddenly needs to use ammo to do it? Because it's a ranged attack? Why does he need ammo to throw a crossbow?
Oh! And if the orc wants to pick up the crossbow and throw it back at the dude's face, he needs to reload it, first.

This is silly. I'm with Crawford on this one.
 
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IMO when you use something as an improvised weapon it is, ipso facto, not a weapon. Otherwise you’d apply your proficiency bonus, no? And if it’s not a weapon then it’s not a heavy weapon.

This is flatly not correct. You don't add the proficiency bonus because you aren't proficient, not because an improvised weapon is "not a weapon". You can gain proficiency by taking the Tavern Brawler, and then you do add your bonus, so your logic here is just totally off. Sorry.

Also, if ranged weapons lose their properties when used to make a melee weapon attack and melee weapon lose their properties when thrown, then not only can a halfling throw a great axe 20 feet without disadvantage, they can do so one-handed (dealing only 1d4 damage on a hit, of course.) YMMV on if that strains suspension of disbelief, but it certainly does for me.

Ehhhhh I don't think that's too bad, because they're clearly just lobbing it - it's no worse than a Halfling throwing any other bulky, 7lb+ object. If that strains your suspension of disbelief, presumably a Halfling throwing a chair, or a small cask of ale/whiskey/etc., or a bag of flour or whatever also does.

What that means though isn't that it's wrong for a Halfling to be able to lob a greataxe specifically, it means you are gonna need house rules re: small people lobbing heavy things.

Maybe just halve the range if you don't meet a certain STR/weight ratio?

Just as an aside, I don't think a longbow actually has the Heavy trait because it is physically heavy, but rather hard-to-draw. So even if as a DM, I ruled some weapons retained some traits, I wouldn't rule a longbow retained the heavy trait. A heavy crossbow maybe, because you could really clonk someone with one of those things (and it's hardly broken to allow GWM with a weapon that is likely non-proficient, and only does 1d4 damage, I mean, ooooh, I'm so scared of the Fighter with GWM getting a -1 to hit and doing 1d4+4+10 damage, instead of +2 to hit and doing 2d6+4+10 (for example).
 
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jaelis

Oh this is where the title goes?
This is flatly not correct. You don't add the proficiency bonus because you aren't proficient, not because an improvised weapon is "not a weapon". You can gain proficiency by taking the Tavern Brawler, and then you do add your bonus, so your logic here is just totally off. Sorry.
"You don't add the proficiency bonus because you aren't proficient": I think the presumption is that you are indeed proficient with longbows, and that is what you're attacking with.

The reason you don't add your proficiency bonus is because the rules say to treat a longbow as an improvised weapon. What defines an improvised weapon? It is something that is not a weapon. So you are treating the longbow as if it were not a weapon.

To the contrary, if you claim that you are still treating the longbow as a weapon, then you should follow the rules for treating improvised weapons as weapons, in which case you do get to add your proficiency bonus. (You might reasonably do that, and treat the bow as a quarterstaff.)

Tavern Brawler can say whatever it wants, it carves out its own exception. Obviously if the player here had TB they would add their prof bonus. But TB doesn't say you can treat improvised weapons as weapons.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Wait a minute. So, a medium sized dude can swing an heavy crossbow in melee without worrying about the Loading and Ammunition properties, and using GWM to boot thanks to Heavy. OK.

What if the same guy tries to chuck the crossbow at some orc. Now he suddenly needs to use ammo to do it? Because it's a ranged attack? Why does he need ammo to throw a crossbow?
By a strict technical interpretation of the rules as written, yes. A DM would be silly to rule this way, but that is technically consistent with the letter of the rule.

Oh! And if the orc wants to pick up the crossbow and throw it back at the dude's face, he needs to reload it, first.
Nope, because the loading property prevents you from firing more than one piece of ammunition from a weapon. The orc has not fired any pieces of ammunition from the crossbow before throwing it.

Nobody ever said it was a good idea to run strict RAW.

This is silly. I'm with Crawford on this one.
There are more options than “run strict RAW even when it leads to nonsense” and “do what Jeremy Crawford says.”
 

jaelis

Oh this is where the title goes?
Not everyone sees Crawford's tweets as very convincing, regardless of WotC's official stance on a given day. His "roll 1d4+1 and it's for all of your magic missiles" post alone removed all his credibility as a rules guru for some people, just to post one example.
I don't have any strong feelings about how much credibility you want to give Crawford, but I don't really understand the problem with what he said about magic missile. This is the tweet you mean right?

No need to get into it here but there must be a long thread outlining the issue. I didn't immediately find it, can you direct me?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
If there is a use-case where it is meant to lose that property, the rules for that use-case need to specify so. In the absence of a more specific rule to follow, the general rule applies.

5e DMG, Page 5: "The rules don't account for every possible situation that might arise during a typical D&D session."

So, the RAW is not intended to cover every use case, and the RAW explicitly tells us that. They do not have a specific thing they "meant" for every conceivable action, and they should not be read as if they do.

Trying to strictly interpret 5e RAW for all cases may be an interesting intellectual exercise, but doing so in play is not actually following RAW. To truly follow RAW, you must occasionally step beyond the RAW.
 
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No need to get into it here but there must be a long thread outlining the issue. I didn't immediately find it, can you direct me?
I’ve seen the issue elsewhere ( and I think there is a more specific tweet by Crawford): basically, if you only roll the damage once, for the purposes of the Evoker’s special ability, he gets to add his Int prof to each missile, which adds +9 dmg to even a 1st level et l magic missile.

Many of us, myself included, feel that the wizard class did not really need this power boost 3d4 + 9 seems a little high for a 1st lev el autohit attack, and it gets worse if you use a higher level slot (since each slot increases damage by 2d4 + 8).
 

Olrox17

Hero
By a strict technical interpretation of the rules as written, yes. A DM would be silly to rule this way, but that is technically consistent with the letter of the rule.


Nope, because the loading property prevents you from firing more than one piece of ammunition from a weapon. The orc has not fired any pieces of ammunition from the crossbow before throwing it.

Nobody ever said it was a good idea to run strict RAW.


There are more options than “run strict RAW even when it leads to nonsense” and “do what Jeremy Crawford says.”
I don’t always follow Crawford’s gospel. That’s why I said that I’m with him, on THIS one.
His interpretation of the Raw, in this case, is less silly than the one allowing GWM longbow bashers and requiring crossbows to be loaded before you can throw them at somebody.
 

jaelis

Oh this is where the title goes?
I’ve seen the issue elsewhere ( and I think there is a more specific tweet by Crawford): basically, if you only roll the damage once, for the purposes of the Evoker’s special ability, he gets to add his Int prof to each missile, which adds +9 dmg to even a 1st level et l magic missile.

Many of us, myself included, feel that the wizard class did not really need this power boost 3d4 + 9 seems a little high for a 1st lev el autohit attack, and it gets worse if you use a higher level slot (since each slot increases damage by 2d4 + 8).
Thanks I see... so not the MM interpretation in itself, but how it interacts with Empowered Evocation. Not sure I'd agree that Crawford is exactly wrong here but his claim that "RAI: It doesn't matter" doesn't make much sense, since it fact it does matter fairly significantly. Anyway, different topic.
 

the Jester

Legend
Thanks I see... so not the MM interpretation in itself, but how it interacts with Empowered Evocation.

That's the dislike due to mechanics approach. For me, empowered evocation has nothing to do with it- I just think rolling one die and applying it to each of the missiles is dumb. That has never been how magic missile worked in the past, and I find it personally distasteful to do it like that. Each missile gets its own roll, as Gygax intended, in my game.

But that's totally a matter of personal taste, and I don't for a second pretend that people who rule with Crawford are wrong, just wrong for my tastes.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
5e DMG, Page 5: "The rules don't account for every possible situation that might arise during a typical D&D session."

So, the RAW is not intended to cover every use case, and the RAW explicitly tells us that. They do not have a specific thing they "meant" for every conceivable action, and they should not be read as if they do.

Trying to strictly interpret 5e RAW for all cases may be an interesting intellectual exercise, but doing so in play is not actually following RAW. To truly follow RAW, you must occasionally step beyond the RAW.
I don’t disagree.
 


Havloch

First Post
I think one thing that is being overlooked here is that "Heavy" weapons do not earn their property by their weight. Bows are lighter than most martial melee weapons, coming in at 2lb., and a longbow and shortbow share the same weight yet only the longbow is considered "heavy." Why? Well, if you read the key part of the property definition, "A heavy weapon's size and bulk make it too large for a Small creature to use effectively." That tells you the property is all about size and bulk, and that is what determines if you are able to use the weapon "effectively." It no longer being "effectively" used just means you are imposed disadvantage.
Now that the definition of heavy has been cleared up as simply being size and bulk.. just because a weapon is being used for a different purpose, the size and bulk has remained the same, no? So.. that property should not be lost. Also like others have pointed out, the section on improvised weapons states "Often, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the DM's option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her proficiency bonus." I would say that a longbow is akin to a quarterstaff due to the way you would use it for a melee attack, so you would get the proficiency bonus if you are proficient with simple melee weapons. However that section does also specify "If a character uses a ranged weapon to make a melee attack ... it also deals 1d4 damage" and since a longbow is classified as a ranged weapon before being utilized as a melee weapon, that would apply. So by strict adherence to these guidelines my take is when making a melee attack with a longbow you are using it as a 1d4 quarterstaff (and you could have the simple weapon proficiency bonus), but it should still be classed as a heavy weapon due to its size and bulk remaining unchanged.
Nowhere in the improvised weapons section does it say a weapon's properties magically disappear just because it is being used for a different purpose or being reclassified, all that section is doing is redefining objects as falling under a different class of weapon; improvised weapons; just like simple melee weapons, martial melee weapons, etc.. Which is why a key part of the Tavern Brawler feat is to be proficient with them.. Or, what that section is doing is allowing objects to be redefined as an existing type of weapon at the DM's choice.
So my answer is YES, it should qualify for the perk of Great Weapon Master feat to gain -5 attack and +10 damage. As silly as it may be, and not in the players interest to do, due to sub-optimal damage and feat use.
But I will also argue that NO, using a longbow to make a improvised melee attack does NOT also qualify for the Sharpshooter feat's -5 attack +10 at the same time, allowing -10 attack +20 damage... Because, this should really go without saying, you are no longer using the longbow as a ranged weapon, you are using it as a melee weapon. Should the Sharpshooter feat's bonuses instead be qualified for use with an improvised thrown weapon, or any other weapon attack made from range? Yes, I believe it should.

As far as the gnome and greataxe throwing example that seems to keep being brought up.. Gnomes are 40lb, do you really think they can't lift something 7lb and toss it in an improvised fashion, even one handed? ...Can they not do a single push up, 20lb per arm? For reference, the rules say a gnome is capable of doing a grapple with only needing one free hand on another creature up to one size larger, so medium creatures... which can be up to 500lb, not to mention all the gear they could be carrying! Oh! And then they can carry or drag them up to half movement speed.. does that not have a greater disruption of suspension of disbelief?! I mean, if a gnome can pull off that feat of strength, I certainly think it can toss a measly 7lb object up to 60ft. I would say however, that a gnome should still be imposed disadvantage on throwing any weapon with the heavy property at any range, because by the property definition of heavy I went over earlier, it is still of a larger size and bulk. Keeping with that logic, I would say anything too large or bulky should impose disadvantage if used as any classification of weapon by a small creature, improvised or otherwise.
 

A longbow used for striking somebody is nothing more than a 2-lb stick with a taut cord on it. It weighs half what a quarterstaff does. A weapon property applies to its use; and if you're no longer using it by the book, you don't get the benefit of the properties. I would expect to see an errata clarifying this if players insisting they can use the GWM feat to hit somebody with a longbow ever becomes a problem in AL.
 

FWIW, my reading of the RAW is, and has always been, that an Improvised Weapon is simply its own thing. It doesn't inherit combat properties from the object you're improvising with. Normal weapons to do not add the Improvised Weapon property to their other properties when misused, as though they're some kind of Special Improvised Weapon that no frying pan or goblin carcass could ever aspire to be; they simply become Improvised Weapons. If you throw a Greatsword, for the purposes of adjudicating the action, it is no longer a Greatsword, but a standard Improvised Weapon. The weapon properties apply to the a weapon's proper use; they're not immutable characteristics that still apply when you're no longer using a sword to stab or a bow to shoot arrows
 


auburn2

Adventurer
Dammit, this guy used his longbow as a pretty fearsome weapon in melee, bashing people's faces with it. However, unless he was proficient in
improvised weapons," aka "clubs" (an improvised simple weapon" that resembles the attack he's doing), GWM feat won't do much good. But if he knows simple weapons, it appears the rules as written say he can bash away with "great weaponmaster feat."


View attachment 122150
I think in MAW (Myth As Written)he used a sword in melee.
 

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