The Barbarians +2 damage when raging, does it apply to weapons such as the Dwarven Thrower when thrown?

3 thoughts on “The Barbarians +2 damage when raging, does it apply to weapons such as the Dwarven Thrower when thrown?

  1. D. Walker says:

    Seriously, they made “weapons” and “attacks” way more complicated and contradictory than they need to be.

    Throwing a hammer is already represented in the game as being mechanically the same as swingin a hammer – it just reaches farther.

    The hammer is classified as a “melee weapon”, even when thrown. It relies on the Strength attribute for attack rolls and damage, even when thrown. It doesn’t count as, or act like, a “ranged weapon” for any purpose other than calculating distance. But it DOES count as a “ranged weapon attack”.

    So if a bonus applies to “melee weapons”, it counts for a thrown hammer.
    And if a bonus applies to “ranged weapons”, it doesn’t count.

    But if a bonus applies to “ranged weapon attacks”, it DOES count?
    But if a bonus applies to “melee weapon attacks”, it DOESN’T count? Huh?
    Even though a throw acts like a “melee weapon attack” with increased reach?
    Even though it’s an attack made with a “melee weapon”?

    It’s just flatly badly written.

    • Tyler Wilkins says:

      Agree maybe. I think it might have been made better by omitting essentially all instances of “weapon” in “weapon attacks” so you’d have ranged attacks and melee attacks. They had to make a special rule that unarmed attacks were melee weapon attacks. I think they wanted it like that to distinguish between ranged spell attack and melee spell attacks, but this difference spell and weapon doesn’t come too much and maybe could have resolved it when it does by calling them ranged/melee attacks “from weapons” vs “from spells” or “physical” vs “magical” or “non-physical” for the few times they need to be specific. That would be much more clear semantically and could maybe omit some the extra clarification like the unarmed strikes bit.

  2. I Anderson says:

    RAI: The phrasing should likely be ‘strength based attacks made with melee weapons’. Thrown weapons are ‘melee weapons’ with the ‘thrown’ property.

    Rage applies damage to strength based ‘melee weapon’ attacks, not ‘melee attacks’ (so no spell attacks or ranged weapons). A thrown weapon is a ‘melee weapon’ that uses STR (or DEX) for melee or ranged attacks. So rage damage applies to thrown weapons using STR. The reasoning being that rage is buffing strength.

    This is an issue of inconsistent terminology.
    Jeremy Crawford is misreading the RAW by replacing the phrase ‘melee weapon attack’ (MWA) with ‘melee attack’. He is reading it as ‘melee attacks with a weapon’. And he is reading it that way, because it’s the standard reading.

    But the phrase MWA is not in the index of the PHB. There is no ‘melee weapon attack’ RAW, even though the term is used in the PHB it is undefined. The terms ‘melee attack’, ‘melee weapon’, ‘ranged attack’ and ‘ranged weapon’ are in the index and defined. PHB p.146 “A melee weapon is used to attack a target within 5 feet of you, whereas a ranged weapon is used to attack a target at a distance.” is a problem. Thrown weapons are treated as ‘melee weapons’ mostly (except net), but even on p14 of the PHB it is questioned if they are ranged weapons. In truth reach weapons are ranged weapons RAW when used beyond 5 foot range. PHB Errata makes it clear that this is not the correct reading and clarifies that melee weapons are always melee weapons. But still leaves the vagaries of ‘within 5 feet’ and not ‘within reach’.

    On to spells. A weapon attack or a spell attack is important for balance. There are unintended effect if spells are also MWA.

    So MSA and MWAs are parallel systems. So let’s compare thrown weapons and distant spell.

    Here Mr. Crawford is saying that melee spell attacks that use Distant spell are still melee attacks at range. So a “thrown” melee spell is still a MSA.

    But a throwing a throwing axe is a RWA and not a MWA. Note that a melee weapon making a RWA makes it default to a DEX based attack, thus this is not RAI and conflicts with weapon properties. (again p14 and p146 PHB)

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