[RPG] Can Mage Hand grab opponents’ items


Can Mage Hand be used in combat to grab something from an opponent?

For example, one could grab a bow out of their hands or the arrows from a quiver, or try to push them out of a tree, etc.

Mage Hand can carry up to 10 pounds, but what is its ability to interact in situations like these?

Best Answer

For a Wizard? No.

The basic text of Mage Hand says it can manipulate an object, open an unlocked door or container, stow or retrieve an item from an open container, or pour the contents out of a vial. It cannot attack, activate magic items, or carry more than 10 pounds.

  • Disarming Attack1 is a special ability available to Battle Master Fighters or characters who take Martial Adept (PHB p168). Either way, it requires hitting the opponent with a weapon attack. Mage Hand cannot make attacks and is also not a weapon, so that's out.

  • Shove (PHB p194) is also an attack, so no.

For an Arcane Trickster Rogue? Some of them.

Stealing other items requires looking at the things an Arcane Trickster Rogue (PHB p98) adds to Mage Hand.

• You can stow one object the hand is holding in a container worn or carried by another creature.

• You can retrieve an object in a container worn or carried by another creature.

• You can use thieves’ tools to pick locks and disarm traps at range.

If the specific rules2 for Mage Hand Legerdemain have to call out the ability to stow and retrieve objects from other people, then clearly the intent of the general case is that Mage Hand alone cannot manipulate objects in another creature's possession.

Mage Hand Legerdemain only allows for a Sleight of Hand (Dexterity) check to do the specific things it lists. It does not establish a general case for making ability checks with Mage Hand. An Arcane Trickster has to reach level 13 before he can even use his Mage Hand to be annoying, as a distraction via Versatile Trickster (PHB p98).

Why isn't it a basic "object interaction"?

Can Mage Hand be used on an unattended object? Absolutely. Can it be used on an object in the possession of another creature? That's pick-pocketing, something that requires a Sleight of Hand (Dexterity) check. If taking things off a person is a basic object interaction, any character could walk up to another and take their arrows, and nobody could stop them.

1DMG Optional Disarm? Still an attack, still requires a weapon, still not possible.

2It may be worth noting that Mage Hand Legerdemain does not have the caveat of "open container" that Mage Hand does, another advantage that an Arcane Trickster has over a Wizard.