Unintended consequences from knife-throwing feature?

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
I'm writing a fighter subclass to update a player's master thrower character from 3E to 5E. I came up with this feature:

When throwing a dagger at a creature within 20 feet, you exercise enough control over the blade to treat the throw as a melee attack instead of a ranged attack if it would be more beneficial to do so.

This simultaneously does a lot of things that I like for the subclass. It lets them ignore disadvantage from close combat, attack prone targets with advantage instead of disadvantage, and use the shove and grab actions to emulate master thrower tricks. But obviously, it's kind of weird and very open-ended. So what are the rules consequences from this that I'm overlooking?
 

Mistwell

Hero
One of the first builds I worked on for 5e was a dagger thrower. It didn't end up working in Rules as Written, but I seem to recall your change would make it work. Which should show most of the things you could do with it.

 

MarkB

Hero
Of note would be that it could count as a Monk weapon for a multiclassed character, allowing a Fighter / Monk to make effectively ranged attacks and apply their class features to them - so you'd be able to substitute your Martial Arts damage die for the dagger's, and could Stunning Strike an opponent from 20 feet away.

I don't think such a build is likely to be particularly synergistic in more general terms, so it's probably not a balance issue.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I'm writing a fighter subclass to update a player's master thrower character from 3E to 5E. I came up with this feature:

When throwing a dagger at a creature within 20 feet, you exercise enough control over the blade to treat the throw as a melee attack instead of a ranged attack if it would be more beneficial to do so.

This simultaneously does a lot of things that I like for the subclass. It lets them ignore disadvantage from close combat, attack prone targets with advantage instead of disadvantage, and use the shove and grab actions to emulate master thrower tricks. But obviously, it's kind of weird and very open-ended. So what are the rules consequences from this that I'm overlooking?
My first thought was to look at Fighter(Battlemaster), but then I remembered you were building this as a fighter subclass, not a rogue subclass.

If you built this as rogue you'd have to know how you wanted Lunging and Sweeping Strikes to work with it, but as a fighter... I think mostly any issues are going to come from mutliclassing or feats.

If you took Martial Adept to grab Combat Maneuvers, then my note above applies. on lunging strike and sweeping strike. not that they can't/shouldn't mesh with this, you just need to think about them.

  • Barbarian: All the base class abilties would trigger with this ability if you used Str and not Dex:
    • Rage would add the rage bonus to the damage (normally it's not supposed to)
    • Reckless attack would function even though it's normally only for melee attacks
    • Brutal Critical 1/2/3 would all work to add extra crit damage dice even at range
    • Subclasses:
      • Berzerker's Frenzy would work, though you should just be doin TWF instead
  • Monk
    • Stunning strikes out to 20' with a dagger throw since it triggers on melee weapon attacks
  • Paladin
    • Divine smites at range
  • Rogue
    • Subclass
      • Swashbuckler
        • Fancy Footwork: you could throw daggers at someone and THEN run by them and they wouldn't be able to make Opp. Attacks
          • I mean you could always run up to someone attack and then keep running RAW, but maayyybe there's a situation where this would apply.
  • Spells:
    • Blinding, Searing, Staggering, Thunderous, Wrathful Smite would all work to 20' with this ability as they are "melee weapon attack" and Range Self
    • Booming Blade/GFB - shouldn't probably work, but you might be asked because of Multiclassing or Magic Initiate or something.

Basically anywhere a rule specifies a melee weapon attack or a melee attack, this ability would allow it to trigger. I can't think of them or find them all, above is just some examples I thought of quickly.

I also don't know that any of these are a "problem", just things that would work that wouldn't otherwise.

Of note would be that it could count as a Monk weapon for a multiclassed character, allowing a Fighter / Monk to make effectively ranged attacks and apply their class features to them - so you'd be able to substitute your Martial Arts damage die for the dagger's, and could Stunning Strike an opponent from 20 feet away.
Dagger is already a simple weapon so it is already a monk weapon and qualifies for all the martial arts die ext. I think Stunning Strike is the only real shift I could find in the class.
 

MarkB

Hero
Dagger is already a simple weapon so it is already a monk weapon and qualifies for all the martial arts die ext. I think Stunning Strike is the only real shift I could find in the class.
True. For some reason I was thinking it would only count as a Monk weapon for melee attacks, but of course that's not the case.
 

aco175

Adventurer
The shove and grab part is a bit weird, but most likely not come up in my game much to parse the overall rules. I like the idea and feel that it fits with the idea of a dagger master. I would like to see this as a thief subclass as well.
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
The shove and grab part is a bit weird, but most likely not come up in my game much to parse the overall rules. I like the idea and feel that it fits with the idea of a dagger master. I would like to see this as a thief subclass as well.
Shoving is pretty central to the concept. The 3E master thrower was notorious for tripping opponents with thrown weapons.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Wait, can you grab someone with a polearm?

If not, this wouldn’t allow grabbing with a thrown dagger.

Edit to clarify: the fact that it’s a melee [weapon] Attack doesn’t mean you can grapple. The wording of the grapple section does specify that you attempt to grapple with “at least one free hand”. It doesn’t just say you must have a hand free, it says “Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target by making a grapple check”.

Shoving is fine, and is only really weird because they decided to call it “shove” even though there are ways to do it that don’t really involve shoving.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
What about opportunity attacks at range? Like, give an ability to threaten out to 20ft, and attack as a Reaction if someone moves into your threatened space?

Less powerful than it would be on a rogue, but still very cool.
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
What about opportunity attacks at range? Like, give an ability to threaten out to 20ft, and attack as a Reaction if someone moves into your threatened space?

Less powerful than it would be on a rogue, but still very cool.
Thought about it. Decided keeping track of that magic 20-foot line whenever I'm moving a bad guy on the map would be more trouble than it's worth in practice. My current draft has something else to do with reactions instead: an expanded Defensive Duelist feature. Much more obvious trigger.
 
Just change the wording to, "When you throw a dagger on your turn...". That will eliminate it being used for opportunity attacks, if that is something you don't want.
Also, it won't change anything for attacking a prone target because the prone condition doesn't specify melee/ranged. It says that attacks within 5 ft have advantage and if they're further then it's disadvantage. So even a melee attack with a reach weapon at 10 ft would be at disadvantage.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
It might be easier to just reword Crossbow Master, which already allows ranged attacks w/in 5 feet without disadvantage. Just change the additional BA from hand crossbow to dagger and you're pretty much set. Personally, I'd rather leave it a ranged attack and continue to be able to use Archery style and sharpshooter. Maybe toss in allowing sneak attack at range, which is the only reason I can think of for people going melee over range with a dagger.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
If you really want it to work with stuff that would normally only work with melee, just let the character have 20' reach with daggers on their turn (but they still have to throw the thing).

But I think the above is the most correct in that giving the "no disadvantage attacking within 5 feet" part of crossbow mastery is really the most elegant solution. This removes the ability to shove (you couldn't grapple anyway, that requires a free hand with the same reach) but that isn't really the worst loss. Plus, you could just say they can do it as a feature as well.
 

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