[RPG] Does the Returning special weapon quality applied to Harrow Cards prevent the card’s destruction when thrown


The wording of the feat Deadly Dealer is as follows:

You can throw a card as though it were a dart, with the same damage, range, and other features. You must use the Arcane Strike feat when throwing a card in this way, or else the card lacks the magical force and precision to deal lethal damage. A card is destroyed when thrown in this way.

Harrow cards are treated as masterwork weapons when thrown using this feat, but are still destroyed after they are thrown. A harrow deck can no longer be used as a fortune-telling device after even a single card is thrown.

A spellcaster with this feat can enhance a deck of cards as though it were a ranged weapon with 54 pieces of ammunition. This enhancement functions only when used in tandem with this feat, and has no affect on any other way the cards might be used.

Only a character who possesses this feat can use an enhanced deck of cards; she must still use the Arcane Strike feat to activate the cards' enhancement. (Emphasis Mine)

The Card Caster Magus archetype's modified Arcane Focus Pool states:

A card caster's arcane pool can be used to augment only ranged weapons. At 5th level, a card caster can use his arcane pool to add the following weapon special abilities to ranged weapons: brilliant energy, distance, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, returning, seeking, shock, shocking burst, and speed. He can use his arcane pool to augment an entire harrow deck as if it were ammunition. All cards from a deck enhanced with a special ability, such as flaming, must share the same bonus. This ability modifies arcane pool. (Emphasis Mine)

Obviously, the ability allows you to augment ranged weapons other than Harrow Cards, but what happens when you use returning on a Harrow Card? Does the property make it so it no longer breaks when destroyed, as long as the card is imbued with the returning property, or does the "specific trumps general" nature of "Cards are destroyed when thrown" trumps the general of "thrown objects return when enhanced"?

Best Answer

It's unclear per rules as written.

The Returning property is meant to be used on thrown weapons, and those are not normally destroyed upon use. Ammunition do have a 50% chance to be destroyed upon missing an attack, and 100% chance when they hit an attack.

Returning says:

A returning weapon flies through the air back to the creature that threw it.

So, it's safe to say that, as long as the cards miss, they will safely fly back to the attacker.

But if the attack hits, the card should be destroyed and can no longer be reusable, but they will also fly back to you (destroyed).


It's common belief that you can use Mending to repair arrows and shurikens that are destroyed after use. However, from a rules as written view this will not work as the cards are destroyed (not broken) upon use. However, it also says that it can repair destroyed magic items (at 0 hp or less), so it makes no sense that mending shouldn't be able to also repair destroyed non-magical items.

As a magus, you should have access to mending and your GM should allow you to spend 10 minutes per card repairing them when on your downtime or when camping.

Related Topic