DnD Ball Bearings: 11 New Uses and Homebrew Ideas

Last Updated on November 7, 2023

Ball Bearings (bag of 1,000)


As an action, you can spill these tiny metal balls from their pouch to cover a level, square area that is 10 feet on a side.

A creature moving across the covered area must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or fall prone. A creature moving through the area at half speed doesn’t need to make the save.

What Are Ball Bearings in DnD 5e?

Ball bearings are small metal spheres that come in a Burglar’s Pack. They have about a million different uses. The Stat block for the humble ball bearing assumes you have bought a bag of 1,000. These are very small little spheres, slightly larger than a BB gun pellet but smaller than a standard sling bullet or toy marble.

You can get ball bearings in the usual way. They can be purchased through the standard equipment guide for 1 gp. While this may seem like a hefty price for a common item, they are a bit of a specialty tool made from a valuable material.

Ball bearings also come standard in a Burglar’s Pack, which should give you a clue as to what you can use ball bearings for.

That stat block provides a single use for them: to spill out on the ground in a 5-foot square in order to trip anyone walking through the area. 

While this is funny and useful, it falls short of the truly Home Alone-styled chaos you can create with these wonderful little toys. 

How To Use Ball Bearings in DnD 5e

The only limit to what you can use ball bearings for is your imagination and ability to argue with your DM. While not an exhaustive list, we made a hefty one here for you:

  1. Throw the ball bearings on the ground as listed in the item description.
  2. Use the ball bearings as the target for individual light spells. If you want to spend a half-hour casting light up to six times per minute, you can enchant 180 ball bearings and then throw them in a scatter so the villain can’t hide. 
  3. Leave the ball bearings behind you like breadcrumbs. If you can position them in small piles or somehow detect them, you can trace your way back through a maze.
  4. Put a few in your sling, and shoot a 15-foot-cone blast of ball bearings instead of a single shot. Your targets would need to make a Dexterity save of 8 + your Dexterity modifier + your proficiency bonus to avoid damage.
  5. If you are fighting a construct, you can make a sleight-of-hand check to dump the ball bearings into the gears of the automaton and grind its movement to a halt.
  6. Throw the ball bearings one at a time to distract a sentry.
  7. Replace a money pouch with ball bearings — they will weigh about the same.
  8. As the focus of a Command spell. Command works by yelling a single word, so Just yell “Gather!” as you dump the bag on the ground and watch the city guard pause to pick them all up.
  9. Use ball bearings as the object of a Catapult spell.
  10. Stuff a glass jar with blasting powder and ball bearings to make the kind of thing that will get Black Citadel on a watch list if I type it out. After you throw it, all you will need to do is ignite it. This can be done with a handy cantrip, such as Prestidigitation, Produce Flame, Create Bonfire, Thaumaturgy, or the like. Everyone, structures included, in the radius of the blast will take damage in accordance with the blasting powder plus an additional 1d6 piercing damage per bag of ball bearings you stuffed inside.
  11. Use ball bearings as the object of a Locate Object spell after slipping one inside the villain’s pocket.

We hope we were able to give you something you can use in your game tonight whether you are a player or a DM.

Roll well, my friends!

1 thought on “DnD Ball Bearings: 11 New Uses and Homebrew Ideas”

  1. About the Light spell cast on 180 ball bearings: “The spell ends if you cast it again or dismiss it as an action.”

    So if you would do this, it would still only be the last ball bearing that have a light spell cast on it, making this a wasted 30 minutes.

    About the catapult one: “Choose one object weighing 1 to 5 pounds within range that isn’t being worn or carried. ”

    So that cannot be done either, since they each weigh 1/500 pound.

    As a DM I would nix a few others as well, such as the sling one, and the construct one. I would not have my shop sell more than three bags, either, since it is limited by available inventory stock, and not many costumers are interested in this item. Plus, they would be tedious to make for very little return of investment, so not many are interested in creating this item.

    Some of the other uses are clever, though, such as the money bag one. I would allow this at my table.

    I am surprised you did not suggest having 250 balls cover a 5 by 5 area, since 1000 cover a 10 by 10 area, so that you can use if four times instead of one time, if you know exactly where the bad guy will walk. I have had a player try this, and I allowed it. Hilarity ensued as the orc fell on his face.


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