Houserule: Unarmed Strikes [PEACH]

JohnLynch

Explorer
So the latest Sage advice brought to my attention how awful of an option WotC is determined to make unarmed strike for everyone except the monk. Balance reasons are being invoked so I wanted to see if we managed to improve unarmed strike if we could reveal some of these terribly unbalanced combinations we can create.

Here's houserule #1: unarmed strikes count as Melee weapon attacks.

Here's houserule #2 that goes even further: unarmed strikes count as Melee weapon attacks with the finesse property.

Are both rules broken? Is only rule #2 broken? If so, in what way?
 

miburo99

Visitor
So the latest Sage advice brought to my attention how awful of an option WotC is determined to make unarmed strike for everyone except the monk. Balance reasons are being invoked so I wanted to see if we managed to improve unarmed strike if we could reveal some of these terribly unbalanced combinations we can create.

Here's houserule #1: unarmed strikes count as Melee weapon attacks.

Here's houserule #2 that goes even further: unarmed strikes count as Melee weapon attacks with the finesse property.

Are both rules broken? Is only rule #2 broken? If so, in what way?
I don't think #1 is a houserule, it is an official ruling--see the latest Sage Advice column. Unarmed strikes count as melee weapon attacks, they are just not actual melee weapons.

#2: I personally wouldn't consider this all that broken, but that's just me. I could see some folks not wanting Dex to be too powerful of a stat.
 

bedir than

Adventurer
#2 would make unarmed attacks stack with sneak attack, increasing the effectiveness of rogue/monk build (shadow/assassin makes sense). I don't see anything wrong with it, but it does introduce minor creeep
 

JohnLynch

Explorer
#2 would make unarmed attacks stack with sneak attack, increasing the effectiveness of rogue/monk build (shadow/assassin makes sense). I don't see anything wrong with it, but it does introduce minor creeep
I would disagree with that as a general rule. So long as the monk/rogue is not more powerful than a single classed monk or a single classed rogue I don't think any creep has been introduced at all. If there is some creep then you could also turn the "treat unarmed strike as a finesse weapon" as a feat. I'll try to put together some quick builds to determine if rogue/monks with this rule are more powerful than rogues or monks.
 

JohnLynch

Explorer
I just built Rogue 2, Monk 2 and a Rogue 1/Monk 1 with these rules when I suddenly realised something. Shortswords are a monk weapon (is this correct?). Shortswords are a finesse weapon. Monks can sneak attack with their main attack. So allowing sneak attack on your offhand is a small boost but it isn't completely broken. I'd say if you want to be conservative, make it a feat.
 

miburo99

Visitor
I just built Rogue 2, Monk 2 and a Rogue 1/Monk 1 with these rules when I suddenly realised something. Shortswords are a monk weapon (is this correct?). Shortswords are a finesse weapon. Monks can sneak attack with their main attack. So allowing sneak attack on your offhand is a small boost but it isn't completely broken. I'd say if you want to be conservative, make it a feat.
Yup, that's right. Since you could use a short sword anyway, it's not a huge leap to allow unarmed strikes to be finessed as well. I think it's pretty flavorful actually--Rogue/Monk sneaks up, "JUDO CHOP!" knocks out the baddie, sneaks away.

Again, this would be best done as DM-by-DM houserule, but I wouldn't see a huge issue allowing in a game.

Edit: I wouldn't make it a feat, because it is way less powerful than other combat feats. You could just make it a part of the monk's unarmed strikes ability.
 
I just built Rogue 2, Monk 2 and a Rogue 1/Monk 1 with these rules when I suddenly realised something. Shortswords are a monk weapon (is this correct?). Shortswords are a finesse weapon. Monks can sneak attack with their main attack. So allowing sneak attack on your offhand is a small boost but it isn't completely broken. I'd say if you want to be conservative, make it a feat.
There are 3 things to remember here.

1) If Unarrmed strikes count as finesse weaposn, it's like you attempt Sneak attacks with your 3rd and 4th unarmeded strikes if you miss the first 2 attacks. RAW, if you did FoB Dagger/Fist/Fist and missed with the dagger.... you can't Sneak attack with the fists,

2) 1 level of fighter gets you the dueling fighting style and now the +2 damage apples to the fists.

3) All 2-4 punches get any bonus weapon damage or effect.

Not really a biggie, but a DM has to watch that very closely. The stacking gates are open.
 

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