Is this homebrew shortbow unique item balanced?


One of my players would like a magical bow, but I want something more than simply giving flat bonuses or extra damage/effects. Ideally it should be something that I can tie into her story/background/path, and that evolves and grows with her. I would like it to feel special, and flexible, but not overpowered. I’m fine with this to be a unique object and the center of her upcoming quests.

For who’s familiar with the world of Wildemount, this items follows loosely the format of Vestiges of Divergence, which are artifacts that "level up" with the wielder over time after key events (controlled by the DM) happen in game.

I’m looking for feedback about the power and viability of this item. I’m fine if the item has many cool uses outside of combat, but I want to avoid for it to be exceedingly effective in dealing damage or protecting the wearer compared to what the rest of the party can do. Unfortunately this item has to be a weapon, and has to give at least some basic bonus of combat capabilities, so it’s quite a fine line to walk.

The Item:


Simple weapon, ranged weapon, artifact (requires attunement) 1d6 piercing – ammunition (80/320 ft.), two-handed

The shortbow is made of an extremely light wood with a deep brown color which shines golden reflections when exposed to the dawn and dusk light. The grip is wrapped in soft, white leather that seems impervious to dust and grime. All along the upper and lower limbs of the bow, there’s a number of empty nooks and crannies.

Sentience: Chainbreaker is a sentient Chaotic Good weapon with an Intelligence of 15, a Wisdom of 19 and a Charisma of 16. It has hearing and blindsight out to a range of 120 feet. The weapon communicates telepathically with its wielder and can speak, read, and understand Celestial and Sylvan.

Personality: A Curious, incautious and excitable Fey spirit lives within Chainbreaker. It has an insatiable appetite for adventure, bold actions, and a very personal sense of justice and hatred for tyrants and bullies. The spirit wishes to learn more about the world and its inhabitants.

Dormant: The shortbow grants the following benefits in its dormant state:

  • You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.
  • You can speak, read, and write Celestial and Sylvan.
  • While holding the shortbow, you can use a bonus action to speak its Celestial command word, causing a flash of bright light to spark from the bow’s handle. The flash reveals for 1 minute all hidden traps within 120 ft. You can’t use this property again until you take a short or long rest.
  • While holding the shortbow, after you complete an Attack action, you can use a bonus action to magically teleport within 30 feet of the target of your previous attack.

Awakened: When the shortbow reaches an awakened state, it gains the following properties:

  • The weapon’s bonus to attack and damage rolls increases to +2.
  • Your movement speed increases by 10 feet.
  • While holding the shortbow, you can use a bonus action to speak its Sylvan command word, causing a gentle, warm (or cool, your choice) breeze to flow around you for the duration. For 1 hour, you and any creature of your choice within 20 feet of you will benefit from the effects of Freedom of Movement.
  • When you fire an arrow and speak a command word, it transforms into a bolt of pure force, forming a line 5 feet wide that extends out from you to a creature you can see within 120 feet of you. Each creature in the line, excluding you, must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d12 force damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. This property can’t be used again until the next dawn.

Exalted: When the shortbow reaches an exalted state, it gains the following properties:

  • The weapon’s bonus to attack and damage rolls increases to +3.
  • You can channel the winds around you to support you in your movement. For 1 hour you gain a flying speed equal to your walking speed. This property can’t be used again until the next dawn.
  • If you target a creature that is grappling or restraining one of your allies, you have advantage on all your attack rolls against that creature.
  • The shortbow doesn’t need physical arrows when attacking. Translucent arrows of pure force magically appear as soon as you draw the bow’s string. The base damage die of this weapon becomes 1d12, and the damage type becomes force.

The theme

This item is an artifact dedicated to a Goddess which values freedom, exploration, open spaces and hates injustice, bindings, and tyrants. I tried to keep it in the theme of the item with abilities for tactical teleport and bonuses when helping out people that are restrained by others. I’m fine with changing anything as long as it can be traced back to the theme.

Possible problem areas

I’m wary of giving out items that increase the effectiveness in combat for a character. I’m aware of the bounded accuracy concept in D&D 5th edition. I would be fine with re-tuning the +1/+2/+3 fixed bonus.

This item has probably too many things going on for a player to actively keep in mind.