It’s been voted the best fight in cinema history… and if you’re fresh from watching Kill Bill recently, then you probably finished the film with a (violent?) urge to play Gogo Yubari on a Dungeons & Dragons table very soon.
The only problem is… the meteor hammer (an ancient Chinese weapon) doesn’t exist in D&D.
And how would you use it anyway?
Meteor Hammer: Stats
Well, let’s start by stating it out. It’s clearly a martial melee weapon, as it requires (a lot of!) special training to use. Its components… two metal balls and a rope/chain, shouldn’t make it too expensive. 5 gold pieces seems about right. Given its similarities to a flail, 1d8 bludgeoning damage seems fair, and weight wise I’ll hazard a guess at 5 lbs – two pounds for each head (which I feel need to be pretty hefty to deal a good amount of damage) and a pound for the rope. Properties-wise, it clearly has reach and the two-handed property. It seems to be a weapon that favours technique over strength, so it should also have the finesse property (even if I’m not convinced it should be used to deal sneak attack damage… however I will say that only monks can use it, outside of those proficient in martial weapons). I’m going to as well create a special property for the meteor hammer, and that’s when you strike an opponent from 10 feet away (instead of five) the weapon’s damage die increases to a d10. This is to reflect the fact that the impact of one the meteor hammer’s heads increases when it has time to build to a higher velocity. I’ve watched several videos on the weapon and it seems to be most effective from further away (in reality it might even be pretty rubbish at less than 10 feet, and while there’s no need to get too caught up in that – this is D&D after all – there’s a slight reflection of that in the feat below).
Note: I imagined a two headed meteor hammer when stat-ing this out. Since a one headed meteor hammer would require two hands anyway to manipulate the rope properly, it makes little difference. The one handed version would obviously restrict you to using the second bonus action option of the feat only… you could perhaps extend the range out to 15 feet to compensate for this loss.
A New Feat…
Weapons on their own are extremely boring in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons… but thankfully the designers gave us several cool martial feats, like Polearm Master and Defensive Duelist, that enable us to bring some gritty mechanical advantages to our weapon choices.
Following their lead, we’ll need to do the same if we want to be able to mimic some of the cool moves that Gogo Yubari throws at Beatrix Kiddo…
Meteor Hammer Master
When wielding a meteor hammer, you gain the following benefits:
- When you take the Attack action, you may use a bonus action in one of two ways. You can either make an additional attack using the hammer’s second head. The range of this attack is 5 feet and you don’t add your ability modifier to the damage. Or, provided there is no hostile creature within 5 feet of you, you may wrap the meteor hammer’s rope around part of your body, such as your shoulder, neck or thigh, confounding your target and giving you advantage on your next attack roll with the weapon.
- Other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.
Design Notes: In essence, the feat is very similar to Polearm Master, but given that the bonus attack damage here is d8, not d4, and the weapon has the finesse quality, we have to take away the ability damage modifier. The second way of using the bonus action represents the style of use I’ve seen in both documentary and fictional videos showcasing the meteor hammer. Using Jeremy Crawford’s ruling that a bonus action which depends on an action should take place after the action it depends on, I’d rule that those with only one attack must wait until the next round to get their advantage (since this is a powerful feature, I might even rule that they have to maintain concentration, like a spellcaster concentrating on a spell, meaning taking damage in between their turns could see them lose the benefit), but for those with the Extra attack feature, I’d let them attack, use the bonus action (for advantage) then take their Extra attack. This also makes it less valuable for rogues, for whom the weapon is not intended (as it pairs too well with Sneak Attack).
There’s actually more that I want to do with this weapon, and since I’ve heard a little soundbite from Jeremy Crawford about ‘6th edition‘ featuring stacked feats, aka feat trees / chains, why don’t we go right ahead and jump the gun…
Meteor Hammer Supreme Master
Prerequisite: Meteor Hammer Master
- You learn two maneuvers of the Battle Master archetype from the following list, which you can perform while wielding a meteor hammer. Choking Attack (see below), Disarming Attack, Distracting Strike, Menacing Attack, Pushing Attack, Sweeping Attack and Trip Attack*. If a maneuver requires your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver’s effects, the saving throw DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice).
- You gain two superiority dice, which are d6s. A die is expended when you use it. You regain your expended superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest.
*Plus any you deem appropriate from my own homebrewed maneuvers.
Design Notes: It bugs me that Martial Adept only gives you one superiority die, although I concede that two would be OP. Given that this feat however depends on picking up another feat first, and that the dice can only be used in tandem with the meteor hammer (not other weapons) we can afford to give two away here.
A New Maneuver
We can’t leave Meteor Hammer Supreme Masters without Gogo Yubari’s signature move…
When you hit a Large creature or smaller with a meteor hammer, you can use your bonus action and expend a superiority die to attempt to choke it. You add the superiority die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, it is grappled. A creature that is grappled in this way can use its action to repeat the saving throw. Dealing 5 slashing damage to the weapon’s rope (AC 10)*, also frees the the creature. Starting on your next turn, your weapon attacks automatically hit a creature grappled in this way.
*Warriors who utilise the Choking Attack often wield meteor hammers with a chain, which breaks on receiving 10 slashing damage (AC 16). Such weapons cost 10 gp.
Some More Inspiration…
So there you go…. I’ll leave you with some video inspiration.