What do you call an Airbender born in the 1950s? A boomer-aang.
Anywho… There are traditional indigenous thrown hunting weapons from all over the world — the throwing iron from Africa, the tomahawk from the Americas, and even the simple but effective rabbit-stick from Europe.
One of the most popular traditional thrown hunting weapons is the boomerang of Oceania and Australia because of its nifty ability to cut back to the thrower.
The particular shape of the boomerang causes it to cut through the air a certain way and create resistance as it spins through the air. The air resistance puts more pressure on one side of the boomerang than on the other, causing it to change direction and return whence it came provided it doesn’t hit anything along the way. Which is kind of the point. You want it to hit. But if it doesn’t, you get a do-over!
This post is all about the boomerang in DnD 5e. What are its stats, what do they mean, who should use the boomerang, how to use the boomerang, and how to improve upon the boomerang.
What Is a Boomerang in DnD 5e?
A boomerang is a simple ranged weapon that does 1d4 bludgeoning damage and has a range of 60/120 feet. It returns to the thrower on a miss.
Type: Simple Ranged Weapon
The boomerang is a ranged weapon, and any creature proficient with the javelin is also proficient with this weapon.
On a miss, a boomerang returns to the thrower’s hand.
What Does the Stat Block Mean?
Who Is Proficient?
As a simple, ranged weapon, every character class excepting the sorcerer and wizard can use the boomerang.
Cost and Weight?
It costs nothing. This doesn’t mean you can pick up any stick and throw it but not without proficiency in woodcarver’s tools. You should consider things like the availability of quality wood and good craftsmanship. Not all trees and craftsmen are the same.
It also weighs next to nothing. As a simple stick, it can be stuffed in a belt or tied to a sack without slowing anyone down.
This is a ranged weapon, so you apply your Dexterity modifier to attack and damage. Therefore, the boomerang does 1d4 + your Dexterity in bludgeoning damage. This may not seem like a big deal, but other than the sling, it is the only ranged weapon in the game that does bludgeoning damage.
The range on a boomerang is 60 ft./120 ft. This means you can throw it 60 feet with no penalty and up to 120 feet with disadvantage.
Do Boomerangs Really Return to Their Thrower’s Hand?
The RAW says that yes, on a miss, the boomerang returns to the thrower’s hand. However, your DM may require a reaction to catch it. Sometimes, a DM will say the boomerang returns to the square from which it was thrown, and if you move to a different square, you will not be able to catch it.
Ultimately it is your DM’s call, but for simplicity’s sake, it is probably best to stay with the RAW. If a weapon gets too complicated, it stops being fun. If it isn’t fun, then why are we even playing?
Who Should Use a Boomerang?
Anyone can use a boomerang, but not everyone should. For those characters who do not have access to bows, crossbows, or ranged spells or for those martial characters who want to keep a hand free, the boomerang is a great choice!
So who does that leave? Rogues and bards have crossbows; rangers have bows; barbarians have higher strength scores and so should use hand axes or javelins; paladins have any weapons they want…
That leaves one class for whom the boomerang is the best ranged option: The monk.
As far as ranged weapons go, the monk gets darts, slings, and boomerangs. The boomerang is superior in the monk’s case because the range of a boomerang is 60 feet. The range of a dart and a sling is no more than 30 feet, and your speed bonus will allow you to close into melee at that distance, which is where you belong.
In addition, as a monk weapon, it will increase damage as your martial’s damage die increases, meaning it will keep pace with you as you level up.
Boomerangs vs. Other Ranged Weapons
Boomerangs vs. Martial Ranged Weapons
If given the choice between a boomerang and a crossbow or bow of any type, don’t go with the boomerang. The damage is paltry, and the range is laughably short in comparison.
You could make an argument for throwing the boomerang in order to free up your hands as you close into melee with a two-handed weapon, but at that range, you could just stow your bow without taking an action.
Boomerangs vs. Simple Ranged Weapons
Compared to a dart or a sling, the boomerang does just as much damage but has a greater range.
The dagger is a better choice because it is also a melee weapon, but the range is so short you should almost never need to throw it unless you can get sneak attack. You can simply go into melee with your finesse weapon.
The handaxe and the javelin use your strength modifier, so make that decision accordingly. If your strength is higher, don’t use ranged weapons if you can help it, and you can simply throw your ax or javelin without relying on a lower Dexterity.
Improving the Boomerang
There are several ways to improve your abilities with this particular ranged weapon. While these feats and abilities work with any ranged weapon, the boomerang especially benefits because of its already long range.
This feat is perfect for all ranged weapon specialists. It doubles your distance and allows you to ignore cover.
For a boomerang, this gives you a 120-foot range with your weapon and the option to deal an additional 10 damage if you hit. If you miss, the thing just comes right back and you can try again!
Fighting Initiate/Thrown Weapon Fighting Style
For fighters, paladins, rangers, or anyone who takes this feat, you will get a +2 to damage on your boomerang. We’ve already discussed why fighters, rangers, and paladins shouldn’t be using boomerangs, but if you happen to be a multi-classed monk, consider taking this option at higher levels if you have everything else you need for your build.
This feat basically allows you to cast elemental weapon once per long rest on your own weapon. This is an easy way to add 1d4 damage to your boomerang.
Don’t forget that the boomerang is a bludgeoning weapon. This feat will allow you to knock a creature into a different square with your boomerang. On a critical, you can even give a target a nice debuff and give your allies advantage on attacks.
Talk to your DM about this, but if any ranged weapon could benefit from shillelagh, it would be the boomerang. Just like the club and quarterstaff, it is a nonmagical wooden weapon. It’s basically a stick you carved.
This would give you a 1d8 out to 60ft, which is identical to produce flame, excepting your damage is magical bludgeoning instead of magical fire. It works!
Considering the boomerang is the best choice for monks, you may as well consider making it your kensai weapon. While the longbow is still probably the best choice because of damage and distance, the easy snatch-and-throw nature of the boomerang still makes this a valid choice.
In the published material, there aren’t many options for a magic boomerang outside of the standard +1, +2, and +3 you get with every other weapon. Some of the specific campaign settings like Storm King’s Thunder and Critical Role will offer enchantments that are universal, such as storm boomerang and corpse slayer boomerang.
You can always add elemental damage or specific creature-type damage to any weapon, but if you want something special, we here at the Citadel have designed a few homebrew choices that will work especially well with boomerangs over other items.