12
\$\begingroup\$

Looking at the wording of Flurry of Blows, I may be overthinking it, but the description of the feature (PHB, p. 78) says:

Immediately after you take the attack action on your turn, you can spend 1 ki point to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action.

Does this imply that a monk must finish the attack action (initial attack + extra attack) and only afterward can optionally use the Flurry of Blows bonus action immediately, or does take mean that a monk must start/commit to doing an attack action, and before finishing the attack action (or even make any attack rolls), initiate Flurry of Blows to get 2x unarmed strikes. Can the flurry attacks be before (or be interspersed in any order) the two regular attacks?

Somewhat relevant is Mike Mearls' tweet that movement can occur in-between/during Flurry of Blows attacks.

The thought is to gain the benefits of the Open Hand monk's knockdown ability tied to flurry of blows, and benefit from the prone status on the 2x regular attacks.

Example:

  1. First Flurry of Blows attack, target fails save and becomes prone
  2. First "regular" attack - target dies
  3. Move to new target, use second Flurry of Blows attack, target fails save and becomes prone
  4. Second "regular" attack.

(Alternatively using the Flurry benefits to remove reactions, etc.)

\$\endgroup\$
9
\$\begingroup\$

The rules on bonus actions say:

You choose when to take a bonus action during your turn, unless the bonus action’s timing is specified

Here the timing is specified: "Immediately after you take the Attack action".

You must take the attack action which means, in practice, that you must make an attack using the Attack action (which you can substitute a trip or grapple etc. for) and then you can use your Flurry of Blows. To my mind, based on the ability to move between initial and extra attacks within an Attack action, you should be able to use your flurry anytime after that first attack i.e. before or after any extra attack.

So, you cannot use it the way you describe - you can, of course, substitute a trip for your initial attack if you want.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice contrast: the Shield Master feat says "If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action to try to shove a creature within 5 feet of you with your shield". No timing specified, and Jeremy Crawford has stated that this can be done before the attack. \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Hutton May 29 '17 at 4:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ To me taking an action would mean completing it. I do not think you can start your bonus action before finishing your Attack (ie. before te extra attack). \$\endgroup\$ – Szega May 29 '17 at 8:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the implication of what Paul is saying is that you are now locked in on the attack action. Since Crawford said you could use the bonus prior to making the attack, it means you can do them in any order, but you HAVE to use the prerequisite for the bonus action if you use the bonus first. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli May 29 '17 at 12:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli To my knowledge JC did not say that. Link plz? \$\endgroup\$ – Szega May 29 '17 at 14:09
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ sageadvice.eu/2015/01/29/shield-master-feat - This contradicts what Dale posted here, and is why I've downvoted the answer. I know that logically taking the attack action means making an attack, but the rules don't say that. Specifically, they don't say that taking the Attack Action means you have to make an attack, especially since grappling and shoving are options you can take instead. It just means you are locked in to taking the attack action. So I couldn't bonus action shove and then cast a spell for example. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli May 29 '17 at 20:44
4
\$\begingroup\$

Based on Jeremy Crawford's tweet, going to answer this myself since the other answers aren't quite what he clarified:

  1. start and complete the attack action ( 1 attack for level 1-4, or both from level 5+).
  2. Immediately after the attack action completes, may use bonus action and spend ki point to flurry of blows.

I came back to this answer after reading the clarifying tweet about shield mastery, since now we have a consistent answer for both questions. So ready to resolve this one!

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is correct! I believe you can still move before/between the unarmed strikes that are part of Flurry of Blows, but the Attack action (including any extra attacks) has to be fully completed before you can use Flurry of Blows. Crawford's response here matches up with his revised Shield Master/related rulings, in that "When you take the Attack action" does specify the timing. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 13 '18 at 23:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point. I thought of adding the movement within FOB and regular attacks, but didn’t want to add complexity. \$\endgroup\$ – General Anders Sep 14 '18 at 18:17
-1
\$\begingroup\$

PHB page 192, Attack action:

With this action, you make one melee or ranged attack. See the “Making an attack” section for the rules that govern attacks. Certain features, such as the Extra Attack feature of the fighter, allow you to make more than one attack with this action.

We know that a character can move or use other actions between multiple attacks, so I'd say that you can take the Attack action on the start of your turn, and move or use other actions (such as Flurry of Blows) before the first or any other attack of your Attack action, allowing you to effectively use FoB before the Attack action.

Somewhat relevant and mentioned above, Jeremy Crawford confirmed in the Sage Advice that you can do the Shield Master shield bash before the Attack action. The wording in Shield Master is "if you take the Attack action on your turn (...)", and the explanation of how it's possible can be the same as the one I provided for FoB.

All in all, this seems to me as a bit roundabout way of doing this, and it may not be RAI, but I'd allow it, since the power boost doesn't seem that big.

\$\endgroup\$
-1
\$\begingroup\$

Jeremy Crawford answered this question on 12 Jan 2018 on Twitter:

can a monk move between the hits of Flurry of Blows?

Whenever you take an action that includes more than one weapon attack, you can move between those attacks if you have enough movement to do so. This rule applies to bonus actions, which are a type of action, and to unarmed strikes, which are weapon attacks.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.