5E Natural Attacks

Seramus

Adventurer
You said it was still vague, citing older text in the MM. So is it your position that every errata and update is vague, because the original material is always still out there?
My position is that Jeremy Crawford is obscure, D&D should not require sifting through Sage Advice to play, and if there is going to be an official redaction of the Monster Manual then it should be in the Monster Manual errata.
Then no offense, but your AL is in violation of the AL rules. As an AL DM myself previously, that would surprise me that an AL DM would say that. The cardinal rule is that we have to follow the PHB and no other unofficial supplement or house rule.
That's okay. Remember, AL is not a monolithic entity run entirely by rules lawyers. It's run by people who might be well versed on the rules (at best) but usually fall somewhere in the middle and make rulings based on their interpretations of the rules in the heat of the moment. Also, I asked him about casting magic weapon on your fists, not about Unarmed Strikes being weapons.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
And magic weapon required a weapon. And fists (unarmed attacks) aren't weapons, as the part of the PHB I quoted states. Therefore, your DM is not adhering to the PHB in which is a requirement for all AL DMs.

Also, you seem to be acting like no one would know what the actual rule is without Jeremy's Twitter. Which is false, because again reference the aforementioned PHB. Even if there are these large swaths of gamers who never saw Twitter, or know of sage advice, or don't know how to use Google, I don't think it's a far grasp to assume they would have seen a PHB for the game they are playing over the past few years.

Jeremy didn't change the rule. He only reiterated what was already there (as examples in the PHB quote from above). Unarmed attacks aren't weapons.

Also, you never answered my question. If Jeremy's "unarmed attacks are not weapons" is vague because an older MM reference stated natural attacks were weapons, then it seems to infer that no errata can ever be anything other than vague, since the original ambiguous material is still out there,because thats the reason you have for it not being a settled issue
 

Seramus

Adventurer
And magic weapon required a weapon. And fists (unarmed attacks) aren't weapons, as the part of the PHB I quoted states. Therefore, your DM is not adhering to the PHB in which is a requirement for all AL DMs.
Unarmed Attacks are not weapons. Fists can definitely be weapons, which we can see from the improvised weapon rule.
Also, you seem to be acting like no one would know what the actual rule is without Jeremy's Twitter. Which is false, because again reference the aforementioned PHB. Even if there are these large swaths of gamers who never saw Twitter, or know of sage advice, or don't know how to use Google, I don't think it's a far grasp to assume they would have seen a PHB for the game they are playing over the past few years.
The PHB doesn't say what you think it says. At least, that's my opinion. You believe the opposite. The fact that we disagree = vagueness. Even disagreeing that it's vague = vagueness.
Jeremy didn't change the rule. He only reiterated what was already there (as examples in the PHB quote from above). Unarmed attacks aren't weapons.
Sure. But fists can be improvised weapons.
Also, you never answered my question. If Jeremy's "unarmed attacks are not weapons" is vague because an older MM reference stated natural attacks were weapons, then it seems to infer that no errata can ever be anything other than vague, since the original ambiguous material is still out there,because thats the reason you have for it not being a settled issue
Simple. Update the errata.
 
Something like Magic Weapon can be used the same way on whatever is the weapon in the attack. Restricting it to "weapons which are weapons" or something just limits the game needlessly, and it is solely because the almighty "JC" says so.
Just a correction here, the Magic Weapon spell has been in the game since at least 2nd edition (possibly 1st), and it has never worked on body parts (well, I can't speak for 4e), long before JC had any say so.
 

FarBeyondC

Explorer
The part where it specifically says natural weapons count as weapons in the monster manual. 🙈
Which part is that? Because I couldn't find it in my monster manual.

I mean, on page 10~11 I see this:

Monster Manual said:
The most common actions that a monster will take in combat are melee and ranged attacks. These can be spell attacks or weapon attacks, where the "weapon" might be a manufactured item or a natural weapon, such as a claw or tail spike.
 

FarBeyondC

Explorer
That's the one.
That's technically expanding/explaining what all falls under weapon attacks (as opposed to spell attacks), not saying that natural weapons (or manufactured items that aren't actually weapons) count as weapons everywhere the game refers to a weapon.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
Of course words have meaning separate from author's intent. Linguistics has advanced in the last 100 years mate.

If I type a bunch of words that are frankly abusive and rude about you, but inform you that they are intended as love and cuddles, my intention doesn't remove the existence of abusive words and make them love and cuddles. Only if every reader agrees with the intention over the plain text does the fact they are, in plain text, "abusive words" not matter at all.

Words are tools. Words that don't say what they intend to are poor tools. Educating every single player what the words really mean based off the intention of the original authors is a waste of resources here.

Game rules are tools. Game rules that don't say, in plain text, what they are supposed to say are poor tools. When the game you get from reading the plain text has issues, going to intention is a great plan! When the game you get from reading the plain text works just fine, ignoring the plain text because the author didn't intend to say that is a waste. Especially in a social game, where the rules are a common touchstone.

Use intention as a guide when rules have problems. Use updated versions if available. But it is madness to not read the words as written when the intention was different than what they wrote, when reading the words as written doesn't cause a problem.

I cannot identify a problem with treating weapons as weapons that matters much.
You seem to have missed my point, which, given the subject, seems kind of ironic.

I agree that a text can have a meaning other than the one the author intended. I didn’t say it couldn’t.

What I did say is that for any meaning to exist at all, whether it’s the meaning the author intended or some other meaning, someone has to read the text and interpret it that way.

I think the text expresses the intended meaning just fine. I’m not advocating for not reading the text. I’m advocating being receptive to an interpretation that aligns with the author’s intent. You seem to think no other interpretation of the text is possible besides one that doesn’t express the intended meaning, and that’s really on you.
 

Seramus

Adventurer
That's technically expanding/explaining what all falls under weapon attacks (as opposed to spell attacks), not saying that natural weapons (or manufactured items that aren't actually weapons) count as weapons everywhere the game refers to a weapon.
To me, it's an extremely clear example that "manufactured items" and "a natural weapon, such as a claw or tail spike" count as weapons everywhere the game refers to a weapon. But we're free to disagree. And that's why I think the wording is vague. Not because I personally find vagueness there, but because I know other people arrive at different conclusions from reading the same text.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
To me, it's an extremely clear example that "manufactured items" and "a natural weapon, such as a claw or tail spike" count as weapons everywhere the game refers to a weapon. But we're free to disagree. And that's why I think the wording is vague. Not because I personally find vagueness there, but because I know other people arrive at different conclusions from reading the same text.
I used to interpret that passage the same way you do. In fact, I think I referenced it up thread three years ago in support of natural weapons being actual weapons. When it was pointed out to me that wasn’t the case, I realized the scare quotes around the word weapon, which admittedly I had been ignoring, actually support the opposite reading, that natural weapons (as opposed to items manufactured as weapons) are not actual weapons.
 
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dnd4vr

Keeper of the Seven Keys
Just a correction here, the Magic Weapon spell has been in the game since at least 2nd edition (possibly 1st), and it has never worked on body parts (well, I can't speak for 4e), long before JC had any say so.
In 1E it was the 4th-level Magic-User spell Enchanted Weapon. But, of course then, the distinction between pummeling and grappling and melee attacks were more precisely worded.

As I said about "the glow", I don't mind if Magic Weapon doesn't apply to natural weapons and unarmed strikes, I just wish it was better worded (not the spell itself, mind, but the whole thing in general).

Finally, in this edition, it is because JC says so. He had the power to make things simpler, clearer, and such, allowing for greater freedom in the game, and choose not to do so.
 
Finally, in this edition, it is because JC says so. He had the power to make things simpler, clearer,
Earlier editions where perfectly clear: "You cannot cast this spell on a natural weapon, such as an unarmed strike."


You play the game your way, fine, but don't try to impose your preferences on other players.
 

dnd4vr

Keeper of the Seven Keys
Earlier editions where perfectly clear: "You cannot cast this spell on a natural weapon, such as an unarmed strike."

You play the game your way, fine, but don't try to impose your preferences on other players.
And where is that quote from? It isn't in my PHB, is it in yours?

LOL I am not imposing my preferences, I am calling out the 5E designers to do a better job. If your intent is one thing, write the game that way.

You're focuses on Magic Weapon, fine, but there are SO many other place and features where this is a problem and new players continue to not get the preferences of the designers with the way they wrote it.

If you don't like my posts, you have no obligation to continue to respond.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
Relevant quote from the 5E PHB vis-à-vis weapons and unarmed strikes (because I assume that’s what’s being asked for):
Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an unarmed strike: a punch, kick, head-butt, or similar forceful blow (none of which count as weapons).​
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Unarmed Attacks are not weapons. Fists can definitely be weapons, which we can see from the improvised weapon rule.
The PHB doesn't say what you think it says. At least, that's my opinion. You believe the opposite. The fact that we disagree = vagueness. Even disagreeing that it's vague = vagueness.
Sure. But fists can be improvised weapons.
Simple. Update the errata.
I’m sorry, but you’re objectively wrong here. This isn’t a matter of opinion. I’m reminded of that Issac Asimov quote about the problem being people want their opinions counted as equally as fact.

the book doesn’t refer to unarmed attacks or natural attacks as “weapons everywhere it mentions weapons”. It literally says unarmed attacks aren’t weapons. It has “weapon” in quotes when talking about natural attacks, which if you knowhow quotes are used, tells you they aren’t really considered a weapon how the game describes that.

there are only four types of attacks: melee weapon, ranged weapon, melee spell, and ranged spell. Unarmed attacks and natural attacks have to fall under one of those four. Which category would you choose? That doesn’t mean they are defined as weapons because that’s a different thing. We know this not just because Jeremey has repeatedly said so, but because the book literally tells you unarmed attacks are not weapons

If you’re arguing that unarmed attacks aren’t weapons but a fist is, I think you need to step back and look at how your argument has progressed. Read what you wrote again. Even if you ignore the ridiculousness of that, the book gives examples of what unarmed attacks are, which include using fists. But that shouldn’t even be needed, because no reasonable person would say I’ve suddenly become armed with a weapon every time I made a fist, and unarmed every time I opened my hand.

So when the book says, “unarmed attacks are not weapons”, that’s not something vague you can disagree with. It’s a clear stated fact. Tell me what other way you can interpret that sentence?
 

Seramus

Adventurer
I used to interpret that passage the same way you do. In fact, I think I referenced it up thread three years ago in support of natural weapons being actual weapons. When it was pointed out to me that wasn’t the case, I realized the scare quotes around the word weapon, which admittedly I had been ignoring, actually support the opposite reading, that natural weapons (as opposed to items manufactured as weapons) are not actual weapons.
I see the quotes as an acknowledgement that some items in the list might not be considered weapons by some, but are considered weapons by the system. I've got nothing against your interpretation, and definitely see how you could arrive at it, but I don't consider it to be the most likely one.

I’m sorry, but you’re objectively wrong here. This isn’t a matter of opinion. I’m reminded of that Issac Asimov quote about the problem being people want their opinions counted as equally as fact.
I'm reminded of the crusades. Massive ecclesiastic schisms have come about because two different people can read the same text and arrive at different conclusions, but then one party says "There is only one true way!" and suddenly there's armies and murder.

there are only four types of attacks: melee weapon, ranged weapon, melee spell, and ranged spell. Unarmed attacks and natural attacks have to fall under one of those four. Which category would you choose? That doesn’t mean they are defined as weapons because that’s a different thing. We know this not just because Jeremey has repeatedly said so, but because the book literally tells you unarmed attacks are not weapons.

If you’re arguing that unarmed attacks aren’t weapons but a fist is, I think you need to step back and look at how your argument has progressed. Read what you wrote again. Even if you ignore the ridiculousness of that, the book gives examples of what unarmed attacks are, which include using fists. But that shouldn’t even be needed, because no reasonable person would say I’ve suddenly become armed with a weapon every time I made a fist, and unarmed every time I opened my hand.
I'm not arguing about unarmed strikes, and I don't know why you keep bringing it up in a conversation with me. You're having that argument with other people, not me. The multitude of posters arguing against you are not a monolithic entity either. We each have slightly different positions.
But that shouldn’t even be needed, because no reasonable person would say I’ve suddenly become armed with a weapon every time I made a fist, and unarmed every time I opened my hand.
The improvised weapon rules say it counts as a weapon when you make an attack with it, and then not as a weapon as soon as you finish the attack. And then you get into the Rip Off Your Arm/Picked Up By A Giant trap other posters have mentioned.
 
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Todd Roybark

Explorer
Earlier editions where perfectly clear: "You cannot cast this spell on a natural weapon, such as an unarmed strike."
If I am not mistaken you are quoting the 3e version of the spell. 3e also had Magic Fang which worked on natural weapons.

1e’s Enchanted Weapon spell did indeed only work on weapons, it was also Reversible and a 4th level spell. Frankly, in 1e I saw it used as Disenchant Weapon more than as Enchanted Weapon, as magic weapons in general were more common and required. 1e monks could also technically by RAW stun and kill creatures they hit, but did no damage to, e.g. hitting a demon with an unarmed strike and rolling well.

2e I believe was similar, except of course no Monks as a PC class, and Druids were an example of Specialty Priests.

Also I think if fair to state, 1e and 2e were not balanced systems.

As I have stated, the rules being discussed, are in 5e almost identical to the 3e rules, except for the removal of Magic Fang as a separate spell, and a change to the verbiage of 2nd level Magic Weapon, away from the clear verbiage that Paul F quoted to the more broad “non magical weapon” language currently employed today.

The clear impact engendered by this change is the 5e Magic Weapon spell, wether by intent or accident, can in one handy dandy package handle the duties of both 3e spells Magic Fang and Magic Weapon.

As for the claims by Sanc and Paul F regarding people “telling them how to play”, myself and others have only detailed how we hold the testimony of Crawford’s Tweets as having less evidentiary value than yourselves. I wish this was less threatening for you.

That said, I have still not seen a convincing argument for why Magic Weapon would be unbalancing if applied to natural weapons in 5e.

History Synopsis:

1e: Wildly different rules ecosystem to 5e( like comparing the Tropical Antarctica of the past to the Antarctica of today), Enchant Weapon 4th level spell
2e: as 1e only No Monk class, Druids are one of many Specialty Priest classes...rarely used imho.
3e...see post above
4e...wildly different rule ecosystem, power verbiage is specific to class/power in most cases.
 
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Seramus

Adventurer
Yeah. I want to be clear that I like and respect Crawford. Balancing game mechanics is incredibly hard and he deserves credit for getting most of it right. But digging through Sage Advice, and I do mean DIGGING, should never be a requirement to play D&D.

Give me the book. Give me the errata document. Done.
And some tables don't even do the second part.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
Just a correction here, the Magic Weapon spell has been in the game since at least 2nd edition (possibly 1st), and it has never worked on body parts (well, I can't speak for 4e), long before JC had any say so.
Is there some 3e magic fang spell (druid) in 5e? Do not have books at hand atm. Was magic fang already in 2e also?
 
Is there some 3e magic fang spell (druid) in 5e? Do not have books at hand atm. Was magic fang already in 2e also?
5e doesn't have "Magic Fang", it replaces it with "natural weapons count as magical" class abilities for moon druids, monks etc.

I don't think Magic Fang was in 2nd edition, but I never owned all the books. In 1st edition there was a rule that natural weapons for creatures over certain hit dice counted as magical.

The role of pets was rather expanded in 3rd edition, in comparison to both 2nd and 5th, so it was necessary to give them some way of hitting mundane-weapon immune monsters. It was already well established that Magic Weapon (and similar spells like Bless Weapon) did not work on natural weapons.

Technically "Magic Fang" didn't work on natural weapons either - it targets the creature, not it's claws/teeth directly.
 
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