by Ramanan Sivaranjan on July 31, 2014
Magic Arrows have a +1 chance of hitting their target and do additional damage. Thus, a Magic Arrow normally does from 2-7 points of damage when it hits. — Original Dungeons and Dragons: Monsters and Treasure,
If your D&D game is full of boring magical arrows this is easy to remedy. Magical arrows are a much more prominent feature of the Hindu epics than they seem to be in Western fantasy literature. Most of the battles in the Mahabharata are fought on chariots, the heroes shooting arrows they summon from the heavens at one another. You don’t need to read these epic poems looking for examples to pull out for your game: the good people at Wikipedia have done some of that work for you. For example:
[The Narayanastra] would create showers of arrows and discs. The astra’s power would increase with the resistance offered to it. This weapon had to be obtained from Vishnu directly, and could be used only once. If the user were to attempt invoking it a second time, it would rebound on him, and possibly, his troops.
That’s a little bit more interesting, no?
The greatest weapon in the Mahabharata is the Vasavi Shakti / Naikartana, gifted to Karna by the god Indra, which could kill any one foe. He is goaded into using it against the half-demon Ghatotkacha who is terrorizing the Kaurava army. This prevents him from using it against his biggest foe, Arjuna.
Inflamed with rage like a wrathful lion and unable to brook the assaults of the Rakshasa, Karna took up that foremost of victory-giving and invincible darts, desirous of compassing the destruction of Ghatotkacha. Indeed, that dart, O king, which he had kept and adored for years for (achieving) the slaughter of Pandu’s son in battle, that foremost of darts which Sakra himself had given to the Suta’s son in exchange for the latter’s ear-rings, that blazing and terrible missile twined with strings and which seemed to thirst for blood, that fierce weapon which looked like the very tongue of the Destroyer or the sister of Death himself, that terrible and effulgent dart, Naikartana, was now hurled at the Rakshasa. — The Mahabharata: Ghatotkacha-badha Parva
That’s a mother fucking magical arrow.
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