D&D 5E 5e Unarmed Gloomstalker

bilbybobo

Villager
Hello,

I’m currently playing an unarmed monk. The build is to run as many attacks as I can without going too far into multi-classing fighter (I’ll go two levels in to pick up action surge). I’m considering multiclassing into Ranger as well, and to take Gloomstalker For the Dread Ambusher extra attacks. However, I’m not entirely clear whether it is compatible with unarmed strikes.

The first part of the feature is fine: “you can make one additional weapon attack as part of that action." An unarmed strike is a weapon attack, so no problem.

However, the next line says: "If that attack hits, the target takes an extra 1d8 damage of the weapon's damage type."

The attack wouldn’t be with a weapon. Does this mean that:

a) unarmed strikes cannot be used with the Dread Ambusher ability at all; or
b) that they can be used, but will not benefit from the D8 extra damage?

I could of course ask my DM very nicely if he’ll allow me to use it without penalty anyway.

Obviously I could just bring a weapon too, but since I’ll be hoping to pimp out my unarmed with insignia of claws and hand wraps, the weapon will be a lower chance to hit. Also, it’s not the flavour I’m after to use weapons.

Any thoughts on this welcome!

Also, any tips to make best use of all these attacks, either by way of damage or control of the battlefield gratefully received! Gloom stalker will give me access to Hunter’s Mark, but that’s a bonus action so does conflict with Flurry of Blows.
 

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Gorck

Prince of Dorkness
I have no "official" ruling on this. But I would say that, as a Monk, your body parts (fists, feet, elbows, knees, forehead) ARE your weapons and, therefore, would qualify. I assume that's also why your unarmed strikes are considered weapon attacks in the first place. But I'm also a very benevolent DM.
 

5e just likes having great fun with natural language, like 'weapon attack' is different from 'attack with a weapon'.

In this case, that only helps the first part (because 'weapon attack' just means 'an attack that isn't a spell'). The extra damage, however, references 'the weapon's damage', which does indeed refer to something on the weapons list, which unarmed is not (after they errata-ed it away).

As Gloomstalker Ambush triggers per action, you could look into getting Haste cast onto you as well, as it doesn't give you an extra attack, but an extra action which you can use to do an extra attack...
 
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ECMO3

Hero
Hello,

I’m currently playing an unarmed monk. The build is to run as many attacks as I can without going too far into multi-classing fighter (I’ll go two levels in to pick up action surge). I’m considering multiclassing into Ranger as well, and to take Gloomstalker For the Dread Ambusher extra attacks. However, I’m not entirely clear whether it is compatible with unarmed strikes.

The first part of the feature is fine: “you can make one additional weapon attack as part of that action." An unarmed strike is a weapon attack, so no problem.

However, the next line says: "If that attack hits, the target takes an extra 1d8 damage of the weapon's damage type."

The attack wouldn’t be with a weapon. Does this mean that:

a) unarmed strikes cannot be used with the Dread Ambusher ability at all; or
b) that they can be used, but will not benefit from the D8 extra damage?

I could of course ask my DM very nicely if he’ll allow me to use it without penalty anyway.

Obviously I could just bring a weapon too, but since I’ll be hoping to pimp out my unarmed with insignia of claws and hand wraps, the weapon will be a lower chance to hit. Also, it’s not the flavour I’m after to use weapons.

Any thoughts on this welcome!

Also, any tips to make best use of all these attacks, either by way of damage or control of the battlefield gratefully received! Gloom stalker will give me access to Hunter’s Mark, but that’s a bonus action so does conflict with Flurry of Blows.

IMO this works, However I think that is a large investment in at least 3 levels that is going to cut into your Ki, your Unarmed Strikes die and your subclass abilities. Overall I would say your character would be weaker in combat compared to a straight Monk at most levels.

Also when you multiclass is going to be difficult. You don't want to delay Extra Attack and Stunning Strike. So after Monk 5th level is I guess the best time to do this and then go 4 levels in Ranger, getting an ASI before back to Monk. At that point though you are getting 5 ki per short rest instead of 9 and you did not get Evasion or your 6th level subclass ability which is usually significant. Very high levels is where the Monk really starts to take off, getting all the save proficiencies and becoming probably the most powerful non-caster overall and you are either never going to get to those levels or get to the first couple of them very late. So if you did it this way - went 5 in Monk then 4 in Ranger, you are probably more powerful at 8th-10th level as compared to a straight Monk, but worse at 6th-7th and at all levels above 10.

HM is generally a better bonus action than FOB, especially since it does not use ki and on subsequent rounds it will combine with your FOB if it is the same enemy. Honestly though, I don't like using FOB much at all, I think my current 9th level Monk has only used it twice total in the whole 1-9 campaign so far.

You don't really need Ranger for Hunters Mark. You can pick it up through Fey Touched while also boosting Wisdom. You won't be able to cast it as often, but a single level in Cleric to get more slots is a better option than 3 or 4 levels in Ranger I think. Light, Death and Tempest all work extremely well on a 1-level dip with Monk. Also you can consider Hex through Fey Touched as an alternative to HM. It does similar 1d6 damage but it is a better spell than HM.
 
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