The Master Thrower is a fun character concept that I see a lot of people talk about and wish to create. Characters like this are often reminiscent of Bullseye from Marvel. Essentially, a Master Thrower is character that not only specializes in throwing weapons, but is amazing at it. Their speed, precision, and skill sets them apart from the average rogue who likes chucking a bowie knife across the room. I’m nowhere close to wanting to write a Master Thrower subclass, but I do actually play one in my and Kannah’s duet game. It took me a while to figure out a composition that fit the concept, but I think I landed on a pretty solid class composition that blends the right abilities to really give the character that feel.
Be advised that this build isn’t optimized to be some amazing, game-breaking creation, but a recipe I recommend to bring a character that fits the concept to life. This should be able to fit a character of any race or background.
In order to build a Master Thrower you will want to have levels in Fighter, using the Battle Master subclass, and levels in Ranger, using the Hunter subclass. Keep in mind that this isn’t an definitive solution, but my method. A brief overview of the assets these two bring to the table.
The progression I chose is 12 levels of Ranger, 8 levels of Fighter. You don’t have to take the build to level 20, but it certainly will get you the most out of the concept. The notable pieces from each are:
Hunter Ranger – The Ranger grants us a number of fun features to help bring the Master Thrower to life: Spells like hunter’s mark make the character feel like they have keen aim on a single target, while spell like conjure barrage will help give your character a super human ability to throw an unearthly number of thrown weapons (I prefer knives). The Hunter’s Horde Breaker is a perfect choice if you want your character to feel like the eye in a storm of thrown weapons, only to be later accentuated with Volley, you will be throwing so many weapons, your DM may as well assume you have an infinite supply. (DM discretion of course)
Battle Master Fighter – The Battle Master uses the Maneuver mechanic to essentially give the character “trick shots” and an action surge. A Master Thrower could be made using Battle Master alone, but coupled with Ranger’s Volley, you could be disarming, tripping, distracting, or somehow menacing every opponent you want. Action surge allows you to take two Volley actions, as well as nets you a second fighting style on top of Ranger’s fighting style. My choices for a Master Thrower are archery to help with ranged weapon attacks, (we’ll get there), and Two-Weapon Fighting, to help with your off-hand damage.
Put these together and there is a lot of fun you can have, but with a few extra additions, you might be able to really hit the mark. Consider the following feats when making a Master Thrower:
Dual Wielder – Dual Wielder let’s you, as the name implies, dual wield non-light weapons. It also helps with drawing weapons to avoid the weirdness of the restrictions of drawing a weapon. The slight extra AC bonus is awesome if you are are holding on to weapons that also function in melee.
Elven Accuracy – Elven Accuracy is one of the few race-specific feats that just helps the overall concept. Accuracy is in the name and it will certainly assure that you hit more.
Lucky – Lucky is a popular feat, and in this case is flavorful given the fact you can easily illustrate any throw as a “lucky shot.”
Magic Initiate – This one may come as a surprise, but this one lets you have a very “on-brand” spell: true strike. True strike is an under appreciated cantrip, especially before combat begins. Advantage is great, especially if it is coupled with Elven Accuracy. If you can find another cantrip on the same spell list, and a first level spell that works to the character concept, then even better.
Martial Adept – More maneuvers, more superiority dice, more trick shots. End of story.
Sharpshooter – Sharpshooter is one of those feats that you expect anyone with a bow to have, but ignoring long range, and cover is a fun bonus. Plus, if your DM is cool and lets you use the optional toy I have at the bottom of the article, good for you.
To take the concept a step further, these are suggestions, 3rd party content, and other miscellaneous tools that the Dungeon Master of a Master Thrower might consider to help bring the character to life.
Quickdraw – The player says you can only draw one weapon as part of your movement. A Master Thrower is going to be insulted by this. If your Master Thrower has a cache of thrown weapons on their person, maybe consider letting them draw these thrown weapons as part of the attack. Depending on the weapon, like a dagger, it isn’t too far-fetched to draw a weapon and throw it in the same motion. It isn’t particularly game breaking either to let a character draw a d4 weapon to immediately “disarm” themselves. This is best for a “Rule of Cool” and Narrative/RP heavy DM.
Thrown Arms Master – This feat appears in the Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting and has a number of benefits for characters that prefer thrown weapons in combat. Everything from modifying the range on the weapons to letting you throw things that aren’t meant to be thrown, a character with this feat gets a much needed boost to their capabilities.
Throwing Knives – This introduces throwing knives as a new weapon, to better fit the concept of a thrown weapons expert. In our real world context, whereas normal daggers can be thrown, throwing knives are designed to be thrown. They often lack a crossguard, extra padding in the handle, or embellished pommels. They aren’t meant to be used in melee. In order to alleviate a few of the collisions with rules. Daggers in 5e, as written, can’t be used with the Archery fighting style, or the damage bonus from sharpshooter thanks to the major clause being “ranged weapons”.
Here are my rules for throwing knives in 5e:
Throwing Knife: Martial Ranged Weapon
|Throwing Knife||5 sp||1d4 piercing||1/4 lb.||finesse, light, thrown (range 30/90), special|
Throwing Knife. When you make an attack with a throwing knife, you can draw the throwing knife as part of the attack.
Tell us what you think of the concept of a Master Thrower in the comments or on Twitter! Would you allow any of these rules? Do you like this concept of a character? What type of Multiclass concept would you want to see next? Til then, feel free to at least give throwing knives a shot and see how you like them!
Art: Silver Inlaid Dagger – Austin Hsu, Wizards of the Coast