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4 Magic Bows

There is always a need for more magic weapons in D&D. Simply having a +1 just doesn’t feel that satisfying a lot of the time. I like items that are little more varied than simply doing more damage.

This time I am going for bows. There is something compelling about the archer character and there a lot of ways to build them in 5E. Any of these would be great for a ranger, a fighter, a rogue, even some monks. Hopefully, some of these will prove useful for additions to your games.

Arcane Bow

Arcane Bows were created by mages long ago to protect a long-lost kingdom. Their utility made the prized around the world. While they are no longer made, the ones that still exist are well prized by all who find them.

Arcane Bow

Weapon (shortbow), Rare (requires attunement) Magical

You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon

Whenever the Arcane Bow’s string is drawn, a magical arrow appears on the string. The damage is considered magical for all things requiring magical damage. When the bow string is drawn, the original arrow dissolves as the new one appears.

Additionally, 3 times a day, you may cast Light on the arrows fired from the bow. The spell lasts till that arrow is made to dissolve by drawing the bow again.

Notes: Bonus: Magic, Damage, Combat, Range

Designer Notes: This was clearly inspired by Hank’s bow in the D&D cartoon from the 80’s.  

Staff Bows

Staff Bows are found in various green places around the world. The earliest ones were made by elves, but their secret was shared long ago. Each one bears the stylistic marks of the one who made them.

The Staff Bow

Weapon (longbow), common (requires attunement)

As a free action, this weapon can transition from staff, to bow or vice versa. When in the form of a staff, there is no excess string or any sign it isn’t a simple wooden staff. When in the form of a bow, it is indistinguishable from any other long bow.

Notes: Bonus: Magic, Damage, Combat, Range

Designer Notes: This was a little bit inspired by the bow Hawkeye uses in the MCU, the all too frequent use of bows as melee weapons in comic book shows, and the general idea of disguisable weapons.

Tether Bows

Tether Bows are weapons created in the deeper forests. Their dark green wood is distinctive and ornately carved. They are some given to the most revered wandering protectors of deep forest kingdoms.

Tether Bow

Weapon (shortbow), rare (requires attunement)

This bow has 5 charges for the following properties. It regains 1d4 + 1 expended charges daily at dawn. If you expend the bows’ last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the bow crumbles into ashes and is destroyed.

Expending a charge allows you to attach a magical dark tether any arrow fired from the bow. On a successful hit, the target must succeed at a DC13 Strength saving throw or be grappled. They may, on their turn, attempt to break out of the grapple with a DC 13 Strength (Athletics) check.

Alternatively, the tether can be used for climbing.

Notes: Bonus: Magic, Damage, Combat, Range

Designer Notes: I liked the idea of an almost utilitarian magical bow. It is a bit like trick arrows in comic books, but with a nice magical theme to it.

Death’s Reach

The weapon known as Death’s Reach was created in a long-forgotten war. It was intended to kill titan’s, devils, and other seemingly immortal being.  Dark rituals bound an angel of a death god to the bow.  It exists to kill and drive anyone who wields it to kill. It is never satisfied, and it cares nothing for mercy or reason. It exists solely to end life.

Death’s Reach

Weapon (longbow) Artifact (requires attunement)

Language: Abyssal, Common, Celestial

The bow is made from the wood of a great druidic tree and two severed horns from unicorns.

Sentience. Death’s Reach is a sentient Neutral Evil weapon with an Intelligence of 14, a Wisdom of 18, and a Charisma of 14. It has hearing and darkvision out to a range of 240 feet.

The weapon communicates telepathically with its wielder and can speak, read, and understand Abyssal, Common, and Celestial.

Personality. An angel death named Nihilous was bound into this bow. The presence will try to convince the wielder to use the bow to take lives constantly, even their own if no one else is available.


The bow grants the following benefits in its dormant state:

You can speak, read, and write Abyssal and Celestial.

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.

You can attempt to curse any creature that is hit by arrows fired from the bow. The creature must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or receive a curse that makes it so they can not heal by normal or magical means.


When the bow reaches an awakened state, it gains the following properties:

The weapon’s bonus to attack and damage rolls increases to +2.

The saving throw DC for the weapon’s curse increases to 15.

The weapon gains a new ability to mark a target hit by its arrows. The struck target must succeed on a DC 15 wisdom saving throw or be marked. This mark can be removed with a remove curse spell. While concentrating, you can detect the distance and direction of anyone marked by the bow for up to an hour per day. You may do this a number of times a day equal to your proficiency bonus.


When the bow reaches an exalted state, it gains the following additional properties:

The weapon’s bonus to attack and damage rolls increases to +3.

The saving throw DC for the weapon’s curses and marks increases to 17.

The weapon’s curses or marks requires a Wish or divine intervention to remove, and it cannot be done by people under its effects.

Notes: Bonus: Magic, Damage, Combat, Range

Designer Notes: This is my first time using the Vestiges style of magic items. I was going for an almost reaper-like theme on this. A lot of how this would work in game would depend on how the DM presents it. It has potential to be disturbing to have a voice constantly telling you to kill people including friends and family. A constant whisper telling the PC to just kill.

Let me know if you would like to see more content like this. Should I do more bows, or something else. I am trying to get back in the habit of writing more and much of it will end up here on the blog.

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One Comment

  1. Matt Matt

    Love these bows! It’s always so much more fun to give/receive a weapon that isn’t just +1 or an extra d6 of a random damage type, and these are great examples of adding some flair to something that could be just a slightly better weapon

    It’s also really cool to see a weapon like Deaths Reach, with scaling so the player gets to feel consistently powerful as they level up!

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