Javelins in D&D 5e: A Guide to Using and Crafting the Versatile Weapon

Javelin is a ranged weapon in D&D 5e that is often overlooked by players in favor of more popular choices like bows or crossbows. However, Javelins offer unique advantages and disadvantages that make them a viable option for certain playstyles and character builds.

In D&D 5e, the Javelin is one of the basic weapons available to players. Its history in the game can be traced back to the first edition of D&D, where it was included as a missile weapon. In subsequent editions, it has remained a popular choice for characters looking for a ranged weapon option.

While the Javelin in D&D is similar to its real-world counterpart, it has been adapted to fit within the fantasy setting. For example, magical Javelins with unique properties and enchantments are common in the game.

Additionally, some classes and races are more proficient with the Javelin, reflecting their cultural or training backgrounds.

Mechanics of Javelins

Javelins are a versatile weapon option in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, offering both melees and ranged capabilities. Here are the mechanics of Javelins in more detail:

Javelin Statistics and Damage Output

Javelins are classified as martial weapons, requiring martial weapon proficiency to wield effectively. They deal 1d6 piercing damage on a hit, making them less damaging than other weapons like bows or crossbows.

Using Javelins in melee combat is another way to increase flexibility in combat situations.

Range and Throwing Mechanics

The range of Javelins is 30/120, indicating that a thrower can throw them up to 30 feet without a disadvantage and up to 120 feet with a disadvantage.

To throw a Javelin, a player makes a ranged attack roll using their Dexterity modifier and proficiency bonus (if applicable) against the target’s Armor Class (AC). If the attack hits, it deals piercing damage to the target.

Javelin Proficiency and Class Options

To use Javelins effectively, players need martial weapon proficiency. Classes like the fighter, ranger, and rogue have access to this proficiency, making Javelins a viable weapon option for these classes.

Additionally, some subclasses like the College of Valor Bard and the Paladin Oath of the Crown grant access to martial weapon proficiencies, including Javelins.

Javelin Enchantments and Magical Properties

Javelins have fewer enchantment options than other weapons, which can make it more difficult to customize them to fit a specific character build or playstyle.

However, enchanters can still add properties like +1 or +2 to attack and damage rolls, as well as elemental damage types like fire or lightning to Javelins.  Additionally, some magical Javelins may have unique properties or abilities that make them particularly powerful in combat.

Javelin Item Guide in D&D 5e

Javelins are a type of thrown weapon in Dungeons and Dragons 5e. They are typically lightweight, versatile, and relatively cheap compared to other weapons. Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know about javelins as items in 5e.

Javelin Statistics and Damage Output

It has the following statistics:

Weapon Type: Thrown

Damage Type: Piercing

Damage: 1d6

Range: 30/120

Weight: 2 lbs.

Cost: 5 GP

Crafting Javelins involves using different materials like wood, bone, or metal. The materials used can affect the javelin’s durability and weight. Characters can decorate or adorn Javelins with symbols or sigils to imbue them with additional meaning or significance.

Javelin Symbolism and Meanings In some cultures, javelins hold symbolic or cultural significance. They may be used in rituals or ceremonies, or as a symbol of strength or prowess in combat. Additionally, certain materials or decorations on a javelin may hold specific meanings or associations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Javelin

Sure, here are some advantages and disadvantages of using a Javelin as a weapon in Dungeons and Dragons 5e:


  • Versatility:  Characters can use the Javelin both as a melee and a ranged weapon, making it a versatile option in different combat situations.
  • Availability: Javelins are a common weapon and can be found in most weapon shops or looted from enemies.
  • Thrown Range: The Javelin has a thrown range of 30/120 feet, allowing for attacks from a distance.


  • Limited Ammo: Javelins can only be thrown a limited number of times before they need to be retrieved, making them less useful in extended combat.
  • Limited Damage: Compared to other weapons, the damage dealt by a Javelin is relatively low.
  • Two-Handed Use: When used as a versatile weapon, the Javelin requires the use of two hands, limiting the wielder’s ability to carry or use other equipment or weapons.
  • Inaccurate: Javelins require a Dexterity-based attack roll, and their accuracy can be affected by factors such as distance, wind, and weather.

Javelin Techniques in D&D 5e

Javelins can be a versatile weapon choice in both ranged and melee combat, but proper technique and tactics are essential for practical use. Mastering the methods and tactics for Javelins can make them a powerful weapon option in Dungeons and Dragons 5e.

Practice, experimentation, and creativity are key to using Javelins to their full potential in combat. Here are some techniques and tactics for using Javelins in a Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition game:

Basic Throwing Technique

The basic throwing technique for Javelins involves gripping the weapon toward the back end and taking a short step forward with the opposite foot. The thrower releases the Javelin toward the target in a fluid overhand motion.

The throwing motion should be smooth and follow-through should be natural. Practice can help with mastering this technique.

Advanced Throwing Techniques

There are several advanced throwing techniques for Javelins that can add variety and surprise to combat. These techniques include throwing underhand, throwing sidearm, and throwing with a spin.

Javelin Techniques in D&D 5e

Each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages, so players should experiment to find the best technique for their playstyle.

Javelin Combat Tactics

When using Javelins in combat, it’s important to have a solid strategy to maximize their versatility. One tactic is to use Javelins as a ranged option until the enemy gets close, then switch to using them as a melee weapon.

Another tactic is to throw Javelins from a hidden or elevated position to catch enemies off guard. Players can also use Javelins to create obstacles or distractions on the battlefield, such as throwing them at enemies’ feet to make them stumble or throwing them to block an enemy’s path.

Javelin as a Secondary Weapon

Javelins can also be a valuable secondary weapon when paired with a primary weapon like a sword or axe. This allows players to switch between melee and ranged combat as needed, depending on the situation.

Additionally, Javelins can be used as a backup option when a player’s primary weapon is lost or damaged.

Javelin Character Creation in D&D 5e

If you want to create a character that specializes in using Javelins, there are several options to consider in the Dungeons and Dragons 5e game:

Javelin Character Creation in D&D 5e

Races and Classes that Favor the Use of Javelins

Some races and classes naturally lend themselves to Javelin-wielding characters. For example:

Half-Orcs: Their Savage Attack’s racial ability can give them extra damage to die on critical hits, making their Javelin attacks even more devastating.

Fighters: The Fighter class has access to the Thrown Weapon Fighting style, which allows them to add their ability modifier to damage rolls for thrown weapons like Javelins.

Rangers: The Ranger class has a Fighting Style option called Archery, which provides a bonus to attack rolls with ranged weapons like Javelins. Additionally, the Hunter subclass has an ability called Volley which allows them to make multiple attacks with ranged weapons like Javelins.

Barbarians: The Barbarian class has the ability to use Javelins as a melee weapon with their Reckless Attack ability, which grants them an advantage on attack rolls but also makes them vulnerable to attacks.

Multiclassing Options

Multiclassing can also be an effective way to create a Javelin wielding character.

For example, a combination of Fighter and Ranger classes can provide access to both Thrown Weapon Fighting and Archery Fighting Styles, making the character proficient in both ranged and melee combat with Javelins.

Feats and Abilities that Enhance Javelin Use

There are several feats and abilities in the game that can enhance Javelin use. For example:

Weapon Focus: This feat provides a bonus to attack rolls with a specific weapon, including Javelins.

Sharpshooter: This feat allows characters to ignore cover and long-range penalties when using ranged weapons like Javelins, as well as providing a bonus to damage rolls.

Fighting Style: Thrown Weapon Fighting and Archery Fighting Styles both provide bonuses to Javelin attacks.

Two-Weapon Fighting: This ability allows characters to make an off-hand attack with a light weapon like a Javelin, as long as they are wielding a separate melee weapon in their main hand.

Backgrounds that Fit with Javelin

Wielding Characters There are several backgrounds in the game that can fit well with Javelin-wielding characters, depending on the character’s backstory and personality. For example:

Soldier: Characters with a Soldier background may have experience using Javelins in battle, making them proficient with the weapon.

Outlander: Characters with an Outlander background may have used Javelins for hunting or survival in the wild, making them skilled in both ranged and melee combat with the weapon.

Folk Hero: Characters with a Folk Hero background may have become known for their Javelin throwing abilities, using the weapon to defend their village or town from danger.

Javelin Use in Combat Scenarios

The Javelin offers both ranged and melee capabilities in combat scenarios, allowing the wielder to strike enemies from a distance or use it as a secondary weapon in close-quarters combat.

Characters looking to soften up their opponents will find the Javelin to be a great option as it can be thrown at enemies to weaken them before engaging in melee combat.

Javelin Use in Exploration Scenarios

In exploration scenarios, the Javelin can be used as a tool for hunting and fishing in D&D 5e, as well as for clearing obstacles and setting traps. Its range and accuracy make it a useful weapon for characters who are exploring unfamiliar territory, as it allows them to engage threats from a safe distance.

Javelin Use in Social Scenarios

While the Javelin may not be the most obvious weapon choice in social scenarios, it can still be useful in certain situations. For example, it can be used to intimidate or threaten enemies during negotiations or to defend oneself in a social conflict.

Additionally, characters with proficiency in the Javelin may be able to use it to impress or entertain others with feats of skill and accuracy.

Javelin Use in Special Scenarios (Sieges, Chases, Etc.)

In special scenarios, such as sieges or chases, the Javelin can be a useful weapon for characters who need to engage enemies from a distance. The Javelin’s ability to be thrown quickly and accurately makes it an ideal weapon for characters who need to take out targets while on the move.

Its versatility in a variety of situations comes from the fact that it can be used in both ranged and melee combat.

The Javelin of Lightning

The Javelin of Lightning is a powerful magical javelin in Dungeons and Dragons 5e. This enchanted weapon is imbued with the power of lightning, making it a deadly weapon in the hands of skilled fighters.

The Javelin of Lightning has a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls, and it deals an extra 4d6 lightning damage on a successful hit. Additionally, if the target is wearing metal armor or carrying a metal shield, they must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or take an additional 4d6 lightning damage.

This makes it particularly effective against heavily armored opponents.

In addition to its powerful offensive capabilities, the Javelin of Lightning has a unique ability to call forth lightning strikes.

When thrown, the wielder can use a bonus action to speak the command word and call down a bolt of lightning from the sky, dealing 4d6 lightning damage to all creatures within a 5-foot radius of where the javelin lands. The wielder can only use this ability once per day.

Warriors and adventurers alike seek after the rare and valuable magical weapon known as the Javelin of Lightning. Its lightning abilities make it a deadly weapon in combat, and its ability to call forth lightning strikes can be a powerful tool in certain situations.

However, it also requires a skilled and experienced wielder to fully utilize its potential.

Javelin Variants

There are three basic variants of Javelin in Dungeons and Dragons 5e:

Javelin Variants

Poisoned Javelin

Description: Typically, a Javelin is coated with poison by either dipping it in a vial of poison or applying poison to its tip.

Effect: When the Poisoned Javelin hits a target, the target must make a Constitution saving throw or take additional poison damage. The damage and DC of the saving throw depend on the type of poison used.

Advantages: The Poisoned Javelin can deal additional damage and has the potential to incapacitate or weaken the target.

Disadvantages: The process of coating the Javelin with poison can be time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, using poison may be illegal or considered dishonorable in some settings.

Flame Javelin

Description: A Javelin that has been imbued with fire magic, typically by enchanting the Javelin or by coating it with a flammable substance.
Effect: When the Flame Javelin hits a target, it deals additional fire damage. The damage depends on the level of the spell or enchantment used to imbue the Javelin.
Advantages: The Flame Javelin can deal additional damage and has the potential to ignite objects or enemies.
Disadvantages: Imbuing the Javelin with fire magic can be time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, using fire magic may be illegal or considered reckless in some settings.

Enchanted Javelin

Description: Typically, a wizard or artificer enchants a Javelin with magical properties.
Effect: Depending on the type of enchantment used, the Enchanted Javelin can have a variety of effects. For instance, it may deal additional damage, have an extended range, or return to the wielder after they throw it.
Advantages: The Enchanted Javelin allows the wielder to tailor it to their specific needs and playstyle, with a wide range of possible effects.
Disadvantages: Enchanting a Javelin can be very expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, finding a wizard or artificer who can perform the enchantment may be difficult or require significant favors or resources.

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