“I toss the iron chandelier down the stairs.”
OK, sure—but what does that look like mechanically? How heavy is it? How far does it go? How much damage does it do? Can the character lift it? Can the character throw it? If so, how far?
Martial classes often get overlooked for having fewer options, or being less creative than casters: “I guess I whack it with my longsword again.”
In practice though, fighters, barbarians, monks and even (especially?) rogues have even more to do every round, in and out of combat. Plus, everything is available from level one; no waiting for higher level, more interesting spells. The world is your weapon: huck it, smash it, toss the troll into the vat of hot ale (it’s a Chultan thing, hot ale, not recommended).
5e does have rules scattered about for improvised weapons, hit-points for objects, falling damage and other ways to compare defined effects and come up with something reasonable. It’s workable, but they’re scattered all over, generally not memorized by players or DMs, and could use more definition to make them usable in game. That is to say, a giant, iron chandelier probably isn’t going to do the same damage as a getting whacked with a chair, but under the current improvised weapon system it does. So your fighter looks at the chandelier and its 1d4 damage, and then at their longsword, and whacks again.
Here are some basic tools so the world will be your oyster; if oysters were 200lbs and weaponized. We’ve pulled together the information from D&D core books to create a baseline, added stats from real materials, and made a calculator so you don’t have to math too hard (unless you want to).
Giants huck rocks. With a STR of 22–25, depending on time spent at the gym, a giant hucks a 200lb (ish) stone 60ft (240ft at disadvantage) and does 4d10+STR damage.
We’ve used this as our baseline; lighter items will go further but do less damage, heavier items less range but more damage. All modified by STR score.
Your Max throwing weight is determined by your carrying capacity (STR x 15 x ?) where the ? = racial traits, class features, magic items etc. Examples: Powerful Build (x2 carry) or Bear Totem Barbarian (also x2 carry). So a Bear Totem Barbarian with an 18 STR is going to have a carry capacity of 18 x 15 x 2 = 540lbs.
The range you can throw an item is the weight of the object, minus your max weight, divided by -18.7 … This is based on the Hill Giant’s rock toss (22 STR x 15 x 4 huge = 660lbs) tossin’ a 200lb rock for 60ft… turned into a linear equa…
That’s, That’s… thassalottamath. Have a calculator, y'butes:
Use your STR for attack and damage bonuses but leave the proficiency bonus off unless the character is proficient in picnic table.
So you’ve hurled a keg of ale at some rowdy-but-not-altogether-evil-dwarves, how much smashing happens?
Once again starting with the Giant’s rock toss at 4d10 bludgeoning damage at 200lbs, we adjust the damage dice and type up or down according to weight. Starting at 1d4 for a 20lb object, add a die size for every 10 lbs up to 50lbs/d10; then add a d10 for every 50lbs above that. This way smaller items are in line with the improvised weapon rules already in the game, and a 200lb rock does 4d10 just like a giant would.
This is also handy for characters who aren’t strong enough to toss a hay wagon, but could push one off a cliff onto unsuspecting beholderkin. Or pots-of-fun for low-level casters who run out of slots and want to huck a pot of boiling stew instead of fire-bolt, again.
Using the D&D size scale of Tiny to Gargantuan plus real-world density: here is a quick chart showing about how much a thing, of a size, might weigh. There are a lot of ranges here so these should be treated as a starting point.
|Size||Grid (ft)||Height (ft)||Cubic (ft)||Creature (lbs)||Stone (lbs)||Wood (lbs)||Metal (lbs)|
Artwork by: Elisa Serio
Aukun’s Kettlebells (uncommon, min strength 15)
Aukun carried two specially made stones fitted with handles of smooth steel. Each stone is a cubic foot of white granite, weighing 200lbs, carved into the visage of a great polar bear. The addition of handles classifies these stones as simple weapons for determining proficiency. Additionally, if you attune to the stones you can use an action to speak a command word and return a stone to your hand. Per Aukun’s Guide to Hucking and Smashing, these stones do 4d10 bludgeoning damage (non-magical).