Magical Bows vs Magical Arrows

Hi guys,

A quick query regarding the wording of this section of the rules:

“In addition, magical weapons will provide bonuses to attack throws and damage
rolls. For instance, an arrow +1 gives a bonus of +1 to damage. A bow +1 gives a bonus of +1 to attack.”

Will a magical ranged weapon ONLY provide a to-hit bonus and NOT a damage bonus? Whilst Magical ammunition provides a damage bonus only.

Secondly - if a creature is only harmed by magical weapons, which of these combinations will work:

  1. Normal Bow, Normal Arrows.
  2. Normal Bow, Magical Arrows.
  3. Magical Bow, Normal Arrows.
  4. Magical Bow, Magical Arrows.

I’m assuming that 1 will not harm the creature while 2 and 4 would. I’m unsure whether 3 would or would not. I suspect, by RAW, it would not.

Hello James,

1) This is very clumsily written and I apologize. In my early drafts, magical ranged weapons only provided a bonus to attack while magical arrows only provided a bonus to damage. Unfortunately this produced some odd inconsistencies. Among them was the fact that either a magical spear became less sharp when you threw it (because it was now a "ranged weapon") and that crafting magical bows and arrows was now twice as expensive relative to the bonus provided. I fear I didn't do a good job of fixing this problem.

Leaving aside the Rules as Written, which are vague, I would recommend you allow both bows and arrows to have a +1 bonus to hit and damage. Melee weapons benefit from STR bonus and a wide variety of magic items that increase STR bonus (gauntlets of ogre power, girdles of giant strength, etc.). Given that arrows are always expendable items, it helps archers to let the bonuses stack a bit.

2) Normal missiles projected by magic bows count as magical missiles. This is mentioned under the spell "Protection from Normal Missiles" but it applies generally.


Thanks Alex. That clears it all up nicely.

My usual response would have been to have bows doing +1 to hit and damage, and causing normal arrows to count as ‘magical’ when shot, since that’s how other similar games I play have it. I wanted to clarify it because I’m trying to play as close to RAW as possible in a bid to emulate a more OD&D feel without carrying over assumed knowledge from stuff like Pathfinder.

That you’re suggesting a similar approach means less cognitive dissonance for me, which is great :smiley:

Happy to keep things simple :)

Well, we’ve been doing it wrong :-).

Vulfelind will be glad to know that her magic bow is useful against magic-only creatures, though.