Last Updated on December 21, 2022
A must-have DnD weapon with unique properties.
“Without warning, the Chultan Dwarf pulled out a long, strange-looking spear. I didn’t imagine she could launch such a behemoth, until it rained down from above…”
What is a Yklwa 5e?
The Yklwa is a spear that is the only one-handed simple weapon to deal 1d8 damage in DnD 5e. The one-handed ability allows a free hand for a shield or spellcasting, making the Yklwa an ideal choice for non-martial characters. The Yklwa can also be thrown, giving it additional versatility.
The Yklwa5e is tied with the Greatclub for the highest simple weapon damage in DnD 5e (1d8), but with the additional properties of being able to be wielded one-handed and thrown.
Wielding a Yklwa one-handed is greatly advantageous, while throwing it is less so since you get disadvantage when throwing farther than 10 feet.
Yklwa 5e stats
|1gp||2 lbs.||1d8 (piercing)||Thrown (Range 10/30)|
Yklwa 5e description
The Yklwa 5e is a spear with a flat 18-inch blade on top of a 3-foot pole. The long blade gives the Yklwa greater damage than a typical short spear while making it more unbalanced for throwing. Some fancier Yklwas can be crafted with gems flattened into the steel blade, and mounted with sinew and cowtail.
A Yklwa’s shaft or pole is usually made of hardwood, while the blade is usually made of stone or steel. The blade can also take up to 40 percent of the Yklwa’s total length instead of the standard 18 inches.
How does the Yklwa work?
The Yklwa is great for close quarters, and for adapting to battle conditions.
Say you are fighting a Beholder with an army of Goblins. After Jumping over the first wave…you land smack-dab in front of the Goblin leader. Luckily, your Yklwa lets you wield a shield at the same time. You Shove your way past with your shield.
On your next turn, you stab a few more Goblins and then Misty Step with your bonus action, since your Yklwa also gives you a free hand to cast spells.
On your next turn, you notice you are suddenly within 10 feet of the Beholder, which is in the Yklwa’s normal range. You take aim, and launch your Yklwa right at the Beholder’s meaty eye! This blinds it temporarily so your crew can avoid its stony gaze, and get into a better position.
GameCows Tip: Though Yklwas are fun to throw, they are rarer than spears and javelins and have much less range (20/60 range for spears and 30/120 for javelins, compared to 10/30 for yklwas). If you are building your character around throwing projectiles, save your trusty Yklwa for special occasions.
Is Yklwa 5e a good weapon?
Yklwa 5e is such a good weapon that many DnD players think it’s overpowered, and some DMs outright ban it from their tables. No other simple, one-handed weapon does 1d8 damage in DnD 5e except the Yklwa, and as a bonus, you can even throw it.
Martial weapons in DnD 5e are a higher category than simple weapons, and usually require training to unlock all their potential. Some martial weapons such as the Flail, the Morningstar, and the War Pick deal the same damage as the simple weapon Yklwa, yet don’t have any special properties such as thrown.
Additionally, the Yklwa 5e costs 1 gp and weighs only 2 lbs. This makes it easy on both your wallet and your back. Gold and carrying capacity are hard to come by in DnD 5e, so every penny or pound saved is valuable.
Flavor-wise, the Yklwa is great for any races that lean towards martial arts, such as Kalashtar, Goliath, or Tortles. The Yklwa offers additional fun since it can be thrown too. Break the Levitate of that annoying monster mage floating above you by launching the Yklwa at their unsuspecting head!
Yklwa 5e Pros and Cons
The Yklwa’s main Pro is that it can be wielded one-handed. The Yklwa’s main Con is its limited throwing range.
- Good flavor for warrior-types
- Heavy-hitting at 1d8
- Can be thrown
- Can hold a shield simultaneously
- Can cast spells simultaneously
- Limited throwing range (only 10 feet without disadvantage)
- Long, hard to hide
- Rarer, you might waste it if thrown
- Piercing damage is weak compared to Slashing and Bludgeoning
Yklwa 5e name
The name Yklwa is an onomatopoeia for the sound the Yklwa makes when its blade is plunged into, and then extracted, from the heart of a dinosaur, a primary hunting target for Chultan warriors who wielded Yklwas.
Yklwa 5e pronunciation
Yklwa is pronounced ˈjɪkʊlwɑː or YICK-ul-wah
Yklwa 5e Lore
Yklwas were traditionally used by Chultan warriors two-handedly, and by Tabaxi Chultans (not to be confused with the Tabaxi race) with a shield called a hlang. The gladiator-merchant Ekene-Afa famously sold Yklwas acquired during her travels in the lands of Chult.
Yklwa 5e vs. spear
The spear is the Yklwa’s closest 5e comparison. The spear is 1 gp cheaper, and 1 lb. heavier than the Yklwa. Both do piercing damage and can be thrown, but the spear does 1d6 one-handed while the Yklwa does 1d8. The spear can do 1d8 damage only by using two hands with its Versatile property.
Yklwa vs. other Simple weapons
|Dart||5 cp||¼ lb.||1d4 piercing||Yes||Yes|
|Club||1 sp||2 lbs.||1d4 bludgeoning||No||Yes|
|Sling||1 sp||N/A||1d4 bludgeoning||No||Yes|
|Dagger||2 gp||1 lb.||1d4 piercing||Yes||Yes|
|Sickle||1 gp||2 lbs.||1d4 slashing||No||Yes|
|Light Hammer||2 gp||2 lbs.||1d4 bludgeoning||Yes||Yes|
|Handaxe||5 gp||2 lbs.||1d6 slashing||Yes||Yes|
|Mace||5 gp||4 lbs.||1d6 bludgeoning||No||Yes|
|Javelin||5 sp||2 lbs.||1d6 piercing||Yes||Yes|
|Shortbow||25 gp||2 lbs.||1d6 piercing||No||No|
|Quarterstaff||2 sp||4 lbs.||1d6, 1d8 two-handed||No||Yes|
|Spear||1 gp||3 lbs.||1d6, 1d8 two-handed||Yes||Yes|
|Crossbow||25 gp||5 lbs.||1d8 piercing||No||No|
|Greatclub||2 sp||10 lbs.||1d8 bludgeoning||No||No|
|Yklwa||2 gp||2 lbs.||1d8 piercing||Yes||Yes|
As you can see, only the Quarterstaff, Spear, Crossbow, Greatclub, and Yklwa can manage 1d8 damage as a simple weapon. But only the Yklwa can do so with one hand, and be thrown to boot. In addition, the Greatclub is quite heavy at 10 lbs and the Crossbow is quite expensive at 25gp.
Conclusion: Yklwa 5e is throwable, cheap, light, and deals heavy damage. All hail the Ykwla!
Is a Yklwa a real weapon?
A Yklwa 5e in real life is called an iklwa, and is a symbol of the Zulu revolution led by King Shaka in South Africa in the early 19th century. The implementation of the iklwa was one of King Shaka’s key strategies that strengthened his Zulu army and emboldened them to conquer parts of South Africa and create the Zulu Kingdom.
A real-life yklwa has about a 2-foot long shaft with a one-foot blade, as compared to the 3-foot shaft and 18-inch blade of DnD’s yklwa. The name iklwa derived from the sound made when the iklwa was extracted from a human body, instead of a dinosaur heart like in DnD 5e. The iklwa is also associated with stabbing fleeing warriors in the back.
Real-life Yklwa History
The iklwa was not invented by Shaka Zulu, even though he is sometimes credited as doing so. He standardized and broadened iklwa use to the degree that the weapon is synonymous with the rise of the African kingdom. The iklwa had a bloody reputation, as a Zulu troop directive was to “let no one remain alive,” including women and children.
The iklwa is so closely associated with Shaka Zulu’s legacy that it is sometimes called “Shaka’s Spear,” even in the present day. For example, in the 1990s the Inkatha Freedom Party stated that “the Zulu Nation is born out of Shaka’s spear.” The iklwa also appears on the cover of the famous 1980’s miniseries Shaka Zulu.
Is a Yklwa a light weapon 5e?
Though the Yklwa only weighs 2 lbs., it doesn’t have the Light property. The Yklwa is already a powerful weapon, so giving it Light would make it too overpowered.
Is the Yklwa a finesse weapon?
The Yklwa does not have the Finesse property or any other kind of property except Thrown.
Does the Yklwa 5e count as a spear?
Yes, the Yklwa 5e counts as a spear for rules purposes.
How far can you throw a Yklwa?
A Yklwa can be thrown 30 feet, but you receive disadvantage when throwing a Yklwa further than 10 feet. You cannot throw a Yklwa past 30 feet.
How much damage does a Yklwa do?
Yklwa does 1d8 piercing damage on a hit. This is regardless of whether you wield a Yklwa one-handed or two-handed.