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Meteor Hammer Feat: How To Play Gogo Yubari in D&D!

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…

Choking Attack

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.

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5 Comments

  1. keith

    This weapon showcases one of the problems I have with D&D. I don’t remember for sure if it goes all the way back to advanced but I think it might. But I think in advanced you had to be proficient with a weapon so it might have been a later edition that ‘gave’ this super warrior ability to everyone.

    And that is the fact that the martial melee weapon category includes just about every type of weapon ever created and expecting us to believe that anybody that trains with martial weapons would be able to use this weapon. That’s just too much for me to allow in any of my games and I don’t even like it as a player. I mean, there are vastly different techniques in using a greatsword vs using a whip vs a warhammer vs a glaive vs a meteor hammer.

    I have limited the weapons my players can use and it actually makes it a little better IMO. this is also because, I use random loot roll tables still(from advanced DM guide) and I allow the players to roll to see what they get. So, when it comes up weapon, everyone is holding their breath ‘hoping’ that it will be something someone can use.

    The main reason I do this is so that a player who has been using a longsword and buckler doesn’t ‘switch’ to a greatsword because they found one that is more powerful than the longsword they have. OK, rant over(maybe you could do an article about this Duncan?).

    As for the monk only, I think I disagree, I could see a Wis-Dex Cleric using this weapon to good effect. And a rogue, but I do agree that it would not have any sneak attacks. This is not something you would see a Str-Con fighter using though.

    As for the damage die and range. I would probably rule that it couldn’t be used within 5 ft(this would be tricky to rule however with 5ft being the standard melee range) as there would not be enough room to use it to its full effect or maybe reduce the damage die as it would need to be used as a hand ‘mace’ as seen in the second video. I would also not ever allow this to be used in any type of dungeon crawl – just not enough room, unless the player is in a large cavern and has room to wield it properly.

    The strength of this weapon is that if being used at range, in order to get into sword fighting distance you are most likely going to take a significant hit and even then the opponent may just back/dance away from you to keep the range open.

    • duncan

      Hi Keith

      That’s a very good point that I kinda haven’t questioned since first reading the Player’s Handbook in 2015 (for me), when I found it really odd how cheap proficiency in every martial weapon was given away. Definitely a topic worth revisiting and I may indeed handle that in a blog post soon! (It does lead into some improbable weapon changes as soon as magical X, Y or Z enters the scene).

      Cheers for the suggestion.

      Ps. If we were being realistic, the meteor hammer looks pretty useless from close range, but in true 5e style I’ve leaned into the fantasy more than the practicalities for the mechanics.

      • keith

        I get the fantasy part of the game and using that as an argument I could allow the use of a meteor hammer in close combat, but I would make it difficult for anyone to master it to that point. I would probably, even with training in the weapon, make it a -2 to hit at close range and a lower damage die until they gain more proficiency in it. It is something I would have to work out with the players to see what is fair. I would probably lean towards intense practice sessions with the possibility of self inflicted damage or finding a true master of the weapon for training.

        • Rick Coen

          Take a lesson from the Net, and then lean into the feat. “Wielder has disadvantage to make attacks with the meteor hammer at range 5′.” (instead of reducing the weapon die)

          Then, let the Meteor Hammer Master feat take away this restriction. Or, elegantly, you don’t even need to mention it — the Bonus Action “wrap it around a body part” provides advantage, *which negates the Disadvantage of attacking at short range*! 🙂 Thus the wielder simulates the moves of shortening the chain and maintaining speed and impact of the weapon.

  2. Justin

    Love what you’ve done here Duncan, as usual!

    TBH though, I’d probably make this a monk-only weapon, and perhaps allow other martial-proficient classes to spend downtime to train with it (monk-only and other ‘uncommon’ weapons requiring specific access conditions are something I really like about Pathfinder 2e).

    Watching those videos, I reckon they’d be able to hurt me from only 1.5m away! So I wouldn’t worry too much about significant penalties for adjacent melee combat, but if you think the weapon needs balance from a game mechanic POV, you could say 1d6 at 5 feet and 1d10 at 10 feet.

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