A werewolf from the MM has the following in its stat block:

Damage Immunities: Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing Damage From Nonmagical Weapons That Aren't Silvered

And as established in the errata, unarmed strikes aren't weapons.

Weapons (p. 149). Unarmed strike doesn’t belong on the Weapons table.

and

Melee Attacks (p. 195). The rule on unarmed strikes should read as follows: “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). On a hit, an unarmed strike deals bludgeoning damage equal to 1 + your Strength modifier. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes.”

And confirmed by Jeremy Crawford

Addressing a nuance in the PH errata: the rule lets melee weapon attacks use unarmed strikes, despite those strikes not being weapons.

Does this mean my fighter, who doesn't have a magical or silvered weapon can, instead, punch a werewolf in the face for 4 damage?

up vote 67 down vote accepted

This does not work.

Your quote is outdated.

The Monster Manual Errata shows that you no longer should reference weapons. Meaning it doesn't matter what you attack with so long as that attack, not weapon, meets the criteria in the entry.

In this case you can make an attack with your unarmed strike that doesn't count as a weapon, but the fact that it is not considered a weapon is made irrelevant.

Damage Resistances/Immunities. Throughout the book, instances of “nonmagical weapons” in Damage Resistances/Immunities entries have been replaced with “nonmagical attacks.”

So the "corrected" entry would read as follows:

Damage Immunities Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren't Silvered

This is in fact what the errataed werewolf entry on D&D Beyond now says.

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    Disappointing, but, honestly, the only sensible outcome. – Matt Rick Nov 13 at 16:26
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    @MattRick Not sure... the fighter can still punch the werewolf... it makes a good scene, that the fighter does so out of ignorance or desperation. Mechanically it doesn't work but thematically and for the sake of a story it is a good fit. – Slagmoth Nov 13 at 16:28
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    What if the fighter is wearing a silver ring? Would that work? – Tezra Nov 13 at 17:32
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    @Tezra That is a tricky question and would depend on your DM. On the one hand if you used a silver goblet as an improvized weapon I think the rules as well as the intent would support that but for some DMs it would be a hard sell to state that a ring on your finger would be considered an improvised weapon. – Slagmoth Nov 13 at 18:00
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    @user45114 Or like Mr. T and have a bunch of rings that would pretty much amount to a large set of brass/silver knuckles. At which point I would probably consider it a weapon, similar to a cestus. But for realism, you wouldn't have the same support and could have some damage yourself localized to your hands... but like I said, table mileage on that will vary as not all DMs will agree. – Slagmoth Nov 13 at 19:36

Unless your PC is a level 6+ monk, fists aren't magical attacks

And your characters hands aren't silver. Thus, the attacks are non-silvered, and non-magical, per the MM requirement on how to damage a werewolf.

Damage Immunities Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren't Silvered

What might work is ... wearing silver rings on the fighter's fingers

The "silvering" of a weapon is left a little vague, albeit it is expensive for a low level character.

You can silver a single weapon or ten pieces of ammunition for 100 gp. This cost represents not only the price of the silver, but the time and expertise needed to add silver to the weapon without making it less effective. (Basic Rules, p. 47)

What is "silvering" at your table? How does it work? Discuss this with your DM.

With that in mind, and with Crawfords SA input considered...

Addressing a nuance in the PH errata: the rule lets melee weapon attacks use unarmed strikes, despite those strikes not being weapons.

... wearing silver rings on your fingers might count as "silvered" for purposes of attacking a lycanthrope with a fist/punch. Work with your DM; it seems a reasonable approach for "silvering" the attacks with your character's hands.

Aside: I've read any number of short stories where were-creatures are foiled by silver rings, silver guitar strings, silver amulets ... but that's a literary reference, not a D&D 5e rules reference.

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    Crawford's response to the idea of actually silvering your fist: "From PH errata: An unarmed strike is a nonweapon [you can't silver a fist] that can make a melee weapon attack. [...] Please report to an ER immediately if you have tried to silver your fist." :P – V2Blast Nov 13 at 20:56
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    @V2Blast well, you can silver your fist, if you're willing to silver everything else at the same time... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argyria – Geoffrey Brent Nov 13 at 22:30
  • @GeoffreyBrent There was an Eddie Murphy line in a movie about having part of his body bronzed (in 48 hours) that is a funny variation on your comment, but not a good fit for this question and answer. – KorvinStarmast Nov 13 at 23:03
  • The question OP, with input from their DM could homebrew up a gauntlet or a set of brass knuckles. Silvering the knuckles and using the "Uses your unarmed damage" variation would be a good compromise solution – Robotnik Nov 14 at 3:48
  • @Robotnik depending on why silvered blunt weapons actually manage to damage a werewolf when non-silver ones don't, potentially a roll of silver coins in your fist might be sufficient. Which could prove entertaining. – Perkins Nov 14 at 21:10

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