Hand of the Apprentice vs. Snatch Arrows


Rules Questions


tl:dr - If Hand of the Apprentice (HotA) comes up against Snatch Arrows (SA), then which "wins"?

One of my PCs is a universalist wizard with the HotA ability. One of my mooks in a recent fight was a monk with the SA feat. The wizard chose to use HotA to throw his bonded object, a masterwork elven curve blade, at the monk. It seemed to me that the monk might try to catch a weapon like that and I don't mind challenging players to solve problems, especially problems that they create by making bad tactical decisions. And then the argument began...

The conditions of Deflect Arrows, an SA prereq, and SA were all met. The monk was aware of the wizard's attack, wasn't flat-footed, and hadn't deflected or caught anything in the round. The wizard's ranged attack roll was high enough to "normally" hit the monk. And, as I said, the monk (me) "chose" to catch the sword.

The player's argument was that the sword instantly returns to his hand. My argument was that the sword returns after hitting the target and the snatch precedes and negates the hit to the target. From the HotA description: "You cause your melee weapon to fly from your grasp and strike a foe before instantly returning to you."

In an effort to keep things from bogging down, I decided to make an attack roll for the monk to actually catch the sword. That probably would have mollified the player if the monk had missed, but he rolled a 19. In the end, I had the monk throw the sword away (and away from the wizard) and keep fighting with his hands because, well, he was a monk. And not proficient with the sword anyway.

So, how does everyone feel about the interaction of HotA and SA? How could I have handled this better? The player feels that I'm trying to gimp his character by depriving him of one of his abilities. I feel like he made a bad decision and the consequences were reasonable. But I also hate having unhappy players.


hmmmm, I probably would have ruled it as an automatic deflection, aka still negating the hit, but that it still would have returned to the wizard. or, actually, reading hand of the apprentice, it treats it as a thrown weapon, so I would probably rule it the mook could snatch the weapon, and if he chose throw it back, but would either way return to the wizard at the end of the round. however I think you still ruled it correctly at the time, and it's usually better to just make a decision during play and stick with it till time can be taken out of game to look further into the issue.


You didn't have to make the attack roll from your monk at all. That's putting yourself in a bad spot where player complaints run the game instead of rules. You caught it. The sword is now yours.

I did the same thing to one of my players, but his sword was also his arcane bond. Big dummy.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
PRD wrote:
Hand of the Apprentice (Su): You cause your melee weapon to fly from your grasp and strike a foe before instantly returning to you. As a standard action, you can make a single attack using a melee weapon at a range of 30 feet. This attack is treated as a ranged attack with a thrown weapon, except that you add your Intelligence modifier on the attack roll instead of your Dexterity modifier (damage still relies on Strength). This ability cannot be used to perform a combat maneuver. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
PRD wrote:

Snatch Arrows (Combat)

Instead of knocking an arrow or ranged attack aside, you can catch it in mid-flight.

Prerequisites: Dex 15, Deflect Arrows, Improved Unarmed Strike.

Benefit: When using the Deflect Arrows feat you may choose to catch the weapon instead of just deflecting it. Thrown weapons can immediately be thrown back as an attack against the original attacker (even though it isn't your turn) or kept for later use.

You must have at least one hand free (holding nothing) to use this feat.

Hand of the Apprentice say clearly that the weapon is treated ad a throw weapon. The returning ability, blinkback belt and so on don't stop Snatch arrow from working, so I don't see why Hand of the Apprentice would work.


It seems like the weapon is intended to fly back to your hand after the attack regardless of what happened during the attack. Otherwise, the weapon wouldn't come back if you miss the target either. I'd allow the immediate throwback of the weapon though since that's more immediate.

And I don't see why a blink back belt wouldn't work similarly. Magic trumps feats.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Melkiador wrote:


And I don't see why a blink back belt wouldn't work similarly. Magic trumps feats.

Because generally magic don't teleport stuff that is in possession of another character.

Melkiador wrote:

It seems like the weapon is intended to fly back to your hand after the attack regardless of what happened during the attack. Otherwise, the weapon wouldn't come back if you miss the target either. I'd allow the immediate throwback of the weapon though since that's more immediate.

Why it shouldn't return back if you miss?

On the other hand, if someone take possession of your weapon, who should win the tug of war? Magic is no inherently stronger than a creature grasp.
Some magical effect is stronger, some weaker. Generally you can't remove an object from a creature grasp with magic without some kind of check (failed save, CMB vs BMD check and so on).


Because it's not a battle of strength, the weapon apparently teleports, since it returns "instantly". It's no different for the weapon being in a monk's hand than stuck in some orc's head.


Apport Object is a 2nd level spell that lets you (with preparation) teleport something out of an unwilling target's possession, so it's not unprecedented even outside minimally fleshed out items and abilities.


It's a tough call, but the OP's decision wasn't unreasonable.

I would've ruled that the attack was deflected and then put back into the PCs hands as normal (assuming the Monk didn't want to throw it back at the PC). The only thing with the OP's decision is that you're making deflection abilities more powerful than what they already are, especially since the Devs thought Crane Wing was too powerful for what it does (even though Deflect Arrows is less restrictive, more powerful, and also more flexible than Crane Wing ever was).

Diego does raise a good point; if the PC would've missed the attack normally, would you have ruled that the weapon doesn't teleport because the attack missed? Because that's basically what happens when you deflect the attack (it just isn't counted as a miss for effects related to missing, based on a relevant FAQ).

Also, minor derail:

Diego Rossi wrote:
Magic is no inherently stronger than a creature grasp.

Tell that to the Caster/Martial Disparity.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Hand of the Apprentice vs. Snatch Arrows All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.