Wrist Launcher Free Hand

Rules Questions

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Does a wrist launcher/heavy wrist launcher allow you to have a free hand when not firing it? It doesnt outright say you do, but I can't imagine you wouldn't because, well, its a wrist launcher. Usually these things are explicitly stated in the description though.

Liberty's Edge

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The wrist launcher weighs 1 lb, a heavy wrist launcher 2. Both require the hand crossbow proficiency to be used without penalties. A buckler weighs 5 lbs and for some "empty hand" it matter, for some it doesn't.

As a rule of thumb, the wrist launcher wouldn't matter for any ability that would allow the use of a buckler. For the more stringent abilities, I would say that the wrist launcher is at least against RAI.

Not a great reply, as I am giving an opinion, not citing rules, but, AFAIK, there isn't a hard rule to cite.

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Perhaps I should have clarified, my intent was to wield a two handed weapon most of the time, but be able to stop and instead make a single attack (standard action) with a wrist launcher. (Not twf or anything crazy)

I assume the main draw of a heavy wrist launcher is the fact it doesnt occupy the hand and that's what separates it from the hand crossbow which is otherwise identical, barring the wrist launcher's considerably higher price.

(I was intending to rip off the style of guts from beserk, surprising enemies with sudden wrist gadget, albeit with the character still having both hands.)

I take it the wrist launcher works for this purpose? It seems obvious, but the lack of text spelling it out concerns me, so I'd like opinions.

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Spring loaded wrist sheath and tube arrow shooter on each arm. If you end up with an unfavorable ruling on the wrist launcher or want to just duck the issue.

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The wrist launcher does not take a hand. It is strapped to the wrist and is fired by a twist of the wrist, rather than requiring a clenching of the fist, movement of fingers, or even slapping of the wrist launcher with the other hand. However that triggering action is described is the GM's call. There could certainly be secondary reactions, such as a clenching of the fist as you make the wrist movement or trigger, but that's probably just somatics.

I see nothing that would indicate you can't be holding something the hand of the same arm that the launcher is strapped to. There likely isn't a rule specifically for this, since it falls under common sense, just like a boulder helm doesn't fill your hand as a weapon, but if your PC took his helm off and was swinging it around like a chamber pot (improvised weapon), it obviously would be.

Having said that, this does mean that there might be certain objects in the wrist launcher owner's hand that a GM might rule interferes with the shot (whether preventing it from being fired or just saying it shoots but is blocked or jammed). There's too many possible objects in the world to not assume there's an exception (or even hundreds). The GM might rule that any particular object does hinder the ability to make the ambiguously described 'twist of the wrist', and that's their prerogative.

Normal use, the wrist launcher clearly doesn't require a hand that is empty, or even a hand at all (if it was severed at the wrist), assuming your character can make whatever 'twist of the wrist' activation movement that is needed to fire it, of course.

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okay, AFAIK the hand is still free.
HOWEVER your home GM may give you circumstance or cover modifiers IF you have things in that hand. It's hard to imagine spidey man shooting his web through a klar. (yes - I used something super obvious and likely conflicting for my example)

Personally a hand crossbow is pretty useless unless the dart is poisoned and Poison is a losing proposition unless the PC gets it super cheap (harvesting or making) and that involves Feats and/or Class skills. As levels and saves rise the usefullness drops as pricing for higher DCs outpaces save gains and damage.
Just preload your heavy crossbows and keep them in your handy haversack or have your Unseen Servant crank them for you. Save the wrist slot for two spring loaded wrist sheaths with wands in them. Buy a cestus (or MW cestus with Cold Iron or Mithral) and wear that.

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Thanks for all the replies. The consensus appears to be that while it is a fairly underwhelming option and there are many better items available (thanks for all the suggestions) it does not require a hand to be worn and will work just fine for the purposes I described. (Only shooting with it when not wielding my weapon in two hands)

Seems to be a nice, thematic little weapon that will save me from dropping my ranged option after shooting, if at the expensive of a extra gp and a proficiency feat.

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Borgoff Marcus, in Vampire Hunter D, is always the first character I think of when wrist launchers are mentioned. He can sling some MF'ing arrows with that thing, and when D catches the arrow... beautiful scene, just really well done, overall.

Nothing more to add, but if you haven't watched the Vampire Hunter D movies... you probably should.

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