5E PHB Errata Nerf Unarmed Strikes!? WHY??? :(

I dont know if you know what ‘silver plating’ means. But it is a very thin foil over the metal. Think ‘tin foil’ but much much thinner.

The silver itself does zero damage.
It doesn't matter how thick it is. If you wrap your hand in silver foil the silver foil is a weapon - a manufactured object that you use to damage a target.

It's the silver that does the damage. The object underneath it supplies the kinetic energy that enables the foil to do the damage.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
It doesn't matter how thick it is. If you wrap your hand in silver foil the silver foil is a weapon - a manufactured object that you use to damage a target.
Foil isnt a ‘weapon’, any more than a sheet of paper towel is.


It's the silver that does the damage.
No.


The object underneath it supplies the kinetic energy that enables the foil to do the damage.
It is the kinetic energy (blade swing, punch throw) that does the damage.

Silver is what allows the kinetic energy to hit.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
If something can only be harmed by paper, and you use a paper towel against it, then you are using the paper towel as an improvised weapon.
The paper towel itself would deal ... 0 damage. Maybe a sheet of printing paper could inflict a vicious paper cut.


Notice, a silver-plated dagger deals dagger damage. A silver-plated greatsword deals greatsword damage.

The silver itself adds zero to damage.

It is the dagger, the greatsword, and the punch that deals the damage.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Ultimately the why according to Jeremy Crawford is that it was never intended to be represented as a weapon in the first place:

They clearly did NOT want Unarmed Strikes being used with rules that had RAI meant only to apply to weapons:

It is a deliberate design framework and choice they are making and stating for 5e & D&D in general in terms of class boundaries, weak as they may appear in this day and age:

But even the designers admit it's not perfect!

Some, Twitter, Links, For, The, Above, Quotes (confusingly and with apologies, these links are not in quote order. Sorry!)
Thanks for all the legwork. I guess it is simply a matter of where the game designers and myself disagree. I have no issue with anything that applies to weapons applying to unarmed strikes. As I have said repeatedly, it allows for greater variation and more fun without breaking the game. Some of the issues that have been brought up, like Dual Wielder and a +1 AC bonus, to me are relatively inconsequential.

Except even when Unarmed Strikes were weapon’s, they weren’t light...
But especially when they were considered weapons, they should have been light. Again, it only makes sense.

Characters without specialized Martial Arts training (i.e. monk levels) being unable to make unarmed strikes as a bonus action makes sense enough to me. Attacks are pretty abstract to begin with, and unarmed strikes even more so as they represent attempts to lash out with the body, which may well involve more than just one punch. At any rate, “[thing] doesn’t make sense” in an RPG just means “I am unwilling to come up with an explanation for [thing] or accept any that are offered.”
I agree some further form of training should be required beyond mere proficiency. Something like Tavern Brawler or a martial arts feat, even the grappler feat, would satisfy myself in this respect.

Attacks are pretty abstract. At this point I recognize this is simply a difference in game design and preference from the WotC team. I am not unwilling to consider explanations if someone else they makes sense, but I have yet to hear an argument other than "that's the way we want it" that would convince me to change my stance

I'll freely admit my own stance is about what I think makes the most sense and brings the most fun to the game and keeps things as uncomplicated as possible.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
To me the most glaring example is the wording that ‘melee weapon attack’ is not a weapon.

I am amazed that the convolution of plain language is for the sake of ... flavor enforcement.



As for ‘silvered’ unarmed attack, punch while wearing a silver ring.

Again, flavor.
It’s still not just flavor. Again, Unarmed Strikes as weapons makes the Dueling fighting style non-functional and makes the dual-wielder Feat always on. It causes various unintended interactions in terms of actual mechanical effect, not just flavor. And again, by the time they caught it, it was too late to change the name of “melee weapon attacks.” I’m sure if WotC could go back and launch 5e again with the benefit of hindsight, the attack types would be like “melee/ranged spell attack” and “melee/ranged martial attack” or something to remove the weirdness of unarmed strikes being “melee weapon attacks” without being weapons. But unarmed strikes being weapons makes the rules function counter to design intent.
 

Bacon Bits

Explorer
It shows up every now and then, a distinction between ‘hold’ versus ‘use’/‘wield’.

For example, in Xanathars Guide, the Kensei Monk Agile Parry gets +2 AC if ‘holding’ a weapon, as opposed to ‘wielding’ it to attack.

In the case of the Fighter Fighting Style, Dueling, the natural weapon isnt being ‘wielded’ to attack, so the one-weapon attack gains the +2 damage bonus.
I agree that the books use different terms and that they have different meanings. Indeed, if you read my post being responded to, you'll see that my argument relied on that fact. TheCosmicKid said that you can't use inference or fuzzy logic like that when evaluating a rule.

My point is: If you're not supposed to infer things or use fuzzy logic, then what is the game definition of wield? Because, as you may have guessed, there isn't one. If we need to rely on the strict wording of abilities like fighting styles, how do the rules tell us we're meeting the requirements? There's no rule that says "If you do X you're wielding, if you do Y you're holding." Indeed, the only game way to tell that you're wielding a weapon is if you took an action that required you to be wielding one! Whether or not you are or are not wielding a weapon is 100% based on the collective agreement of the table and nothing else.

So, if wielding a weapon is not strictly defined, then why should we think that it isn't reasonable to judge rules by comparing the perceived ideal case with the case that your player is attempting? If we're already asked to make a judgement call just to use the fighting style in the first place, why does it seem so unreasonable to make a call that an unarmed strike doesn't count for purposes of the fighting style?

Think of it this way. The argument was that unarmed strike cannot be a weapon because things like duelist say you can't do it while wielding a second weapon. What about a metal gauntlet? No character in full plate can use duelist? Okay, say we adopt a rule that a metal gauntlet just increases damage from unarmed strikes. If a metal gauntlet also isn't an unarmed strike, what about a cestus? How about just spiked gloves? What about a Battlerager's spiked armor? What about a spiked shield? What about a normal shield? What if I've got Polearm Master and I'm using a spear (errata) or a quaterstaff in one hand? Does the bonus attack get the duelist bonus?

How about if you're a 12th level Fighter holding a spear. You attack once (duelist bonus), attack again and throw the spear (no bonus), and then draw a dagger and attack again. Do you get the duelist bonus with that dagger?

The only way it makes sense is if you say, "The point of the duelist fighting style is that you're representing a particular style or form of melee combat. If you're using just one-handed combat forms and attacking with a weapon intended for one-handed combat forms, you meet the requirements. Nothing else really matters. As long as the forms your character is using are the forms of a one-handed duelist and they're doing them with a weapon meant to be used in one hand, you get the bonus."

In other words, it boils down to what your character is actually doing and not at all what the rules say.
 
The paper towel itself would deal ... 0 damage. Maybe a sheet of printing paper could inflict a vicious paper cut.


Notice, a silver-plated dagger deals dagger damage. A silver-plated greatsword deals greatsword damage.

The silver itself adds zero to damage.

It is the dagger, the greatsword, and the punch that deals the damage.
A weapon is any tool used to attack an enemy. That is what a weapon is. If you attack an enemy with anything that is not part of your body you are using a weapon.

By you own definition a punch is not a weapon because if you punch a wall, or a rock, or someone in metal armor it does not do any damage.
 
A gauntlet isn’t a weapon. It’s clothes.
If you punch someone with it it's a weapon, and one that is actually quite effective. Knights actually trained in punching with gauntleted fists, and knuckle dusters/knuckle spikes are just gauntlets with the defensive bits removed.

An unarmed strike doesn’t become an attack with an improvised weapon when you put gloves on.
If those gloves are made of metal or otherwise make your attack effective then yes it does.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
It’s still not just flavor. Again, Unarmed Strikes as weapons makes the Dueling fighting style non-functional and makes the dual-wielder Feat always on. It causes various unintended interactions in terms of actual mechanical effect, not just flavor. And again, by the time they caught it, it was too late to change the name of “melee weapon attacks.” I’m sure if WotC could go back and launch 5e again with the benefit of hindsight, the attack types would be like “melee/ranged spell attack” and “melee/ranged martial attack” or something to remove the weirdness of unarmed strikes being “melee weapon attacks” without being weapons. But unarmed strikes being weapons makes the rules function counter to design intent.
When unarmed strike is a weapon, the Dueling Fighting Style works exactly correctly.

If you have a sword ‘in your hand’, and dont ‘wield’ the unarmed strike, then you get the +2 damage bonus to the sword attacks.

Dueling works exactly the way it should, when unarmed strike is a weapon.
 
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Yaarel

Adventurer
A weapon is any tool used to attack an enemy. That is what a weapon is. If you attack an enemy with anything that is not part of your body you are using a weapon.

By you own definition a punch is not a weapon because if you punch a wall, or a rock, or someone in metal armor it does not do any damage.
A punch can do damage, especially when adding a Strength bonus to it.

Normally, when someone is wearing a helmet, you can still punch the jaw, and so on. Better armor just means more coverage and higher AC to hit. A hit does damage.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
When unarmed strike is a weapon, the Dueling Fighting Style works exactly correctly.

If you have a sword ‘in your hand’, and dont ‘wield’ the unarmed strike, then you get the +2 damage bonus to the sword attacks.

Dueling works exactly the way it should, when unarmed strike is a weapon.
Are you sure that’s the ruling you want to go with? Cause by that logic there’d be no way to make an unarmed strike as a TWF bonus action (even if they were light or you had the dual-wielder Feat).
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
By you own definition a punch is not a weapon because if you punch a wall, or a rock, or someone in metal armor it does not do any damage.
Actually, it does 1 + STR mod damage. ;)

Seriously, though, people punch holes in walls (I have done this myself), break rock (also done this), but hitting people in metal armor is something I haven't done yet (though I am sure others have).
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Are you sure that’s the ruling you want to go with? Cause by that logic there’d be no way to make an unarmed strike as a TWF bonus action (even if they were light or you had the dual-wielder Feat).
Maybe I am just missing your logic, but how so?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Maybe I am just missing your logic, but how so?
“When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you're holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you're holding in the other hand. You don't add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.”

Either you are “holding” your unarmed strike when you’re not wielding another weapon in the hand, in which case you’re never wielding only one weapon and can never benefit from the Dueling fighting style, or you aren’t, in which case you don’t meet the requirements to make a TWF Attack. Can’t have it both ways.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
“When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you're holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you're holding in the other hand. You don't add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.”

Either you are “holding” your unarmed strike when you’re not wielding another weapon in the hand, in which case you’re never wielding only one weapon and can never benefit from the Dueling fighting style, or you aren’t, in which case you don’t meet the requirements to make a TWF Attack. Can’t have it both ways.
That'd be easy to reword.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
“When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you're holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you're holding in the other hand. You don't add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.”

Either you are “holding” your unarmed strike when you’re not wielding another weapon in the hand, in which case you’re never wielding only one weapon and can never benefit from the Dueling fighting style, or you aren’t, in which case you don’t meet the requirements to make a TWF Attack. Can’t have it both ways.
Yeah, here I agree with you.

Because BOTH of these weapons must be ‘held’ ‘in your hands’, they cannot be unarmed attacks.

On the other hand, heh, two-weapon fighting sucks, and needs rethinking anyway.

Mainly, spending a bonus action is too expensive.

The rewrite can (and should) keep unarmed attacks in mind.

An important fighting style is a sword in the mainhand and grappling with the offhand. This would normally allow various unarmed attacks as well.
 

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