I'm looking into making a Bard. While looking at subclasses in the 3rd party supplement Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else, I found that the College of Discord subclass feature Melodic Mayhem allows the character to literally use an instrument as a weapon. This makes me have to ask (mostly for pure curiosity's sake), can there be an instrument with an attack bonus? I mean, is it possible for a DM to make (or allow a character to make) an instrument that has an attack bonus despite it being an instrument? How does that work with the rules?

To clarify, some weapons have text reading You gain a +X bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon., so I'm wondering if an instrument can have this kind of modifier, since this Bard College can use instruments as literal weapons.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch note that they aren't required to provide a quote. Sure, it will help, but the only people who should be answering should be people who have access to and are familiar with this source already. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 25 '19 at 23:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the exactly wording on the Melodic Mayhem feature? Do you make a perform check to attack a ranged spell attack? \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Mar 26 '19 at 1:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Melodic Mayhem; Beginning at 3rd level, you gain the ability to use your musical instruments effectively in martial combat. When you wield your musical instrument in one or two hands, and no other weapons, it becomes a weapon that deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage and has the versatile (1d8) property. When used in one hand, it gains the finesse property. Wielded with two hands, your Armor Class increases by 2. \$\endgroup\$ – Smart_TJ Mar 26 '19 at 1:14

There are no official weapon-instruments

While no currently official published resource includes an instrument with an attack modifier, a DM is absolutely within their rights and abilities to create such a magic item.

A note on the subclass

It is important to note that this is a homebrew class that has been made available via DMSguild. As always, check with your DM as to whether or not they think it's balanced and/or will allow it at their table.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I do have to note that such an instrument would be extremely niche since only that one subclass could ever use it as anything other than an improvised weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – Allan Mills Mar 26 '19 at 5:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AllanMills Yup, but it's also a homebrew class, so there's that, too. It created it's own niche. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 26 '19 at 15:10

Previous editions had masterwork instruments

As NautArch says there are currently no officially published instruments with attack modifiers in D&D 5e. However there is precedent for magical instruments in previous editions.

In Pathfinder, there are masterwork instruments. These instruments provide a +2 to all perform checks associated with the instrument. More importantly however as a masterwork item these instruments can be enchanted with enhancement bonus to hit and to damage. So it was perfectly possible to have +2 Violin of Smashing or similar.

Since you are using 3rd-party material it is difficult to give you a RAW answer for this. Possibly there is something on it within the ruleset you as using but since I don't have access to it I can't tell you.

I would suggest you discuss with your DM, since they have allowed you to use this subclass they should be open to allowing magical instrument weapons. They should treat these the same as they would magic weapons for any other class.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you explain how an item's existence in Pathfinder helps at all when considering a 5e question? Pathfinder is an entirely different game, published by a different company, with vastly different mechanics for magic items, enchantments and bonuses. While what you say is true, how does that help with an issue in 5e at all? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 26 '19 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose When I am homebrewing solutions I usually look for precedent in previous editions then work on how to adapt it for 5e. I thought it might be useful to the OP to know they weren't the first person to ask for this. I believe they also existed in 3.5 but I haven't played it in enough detail to be sure. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Mar 26 '19 at 22:03

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