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With the wording of produce flame, it seems like you take the cast the spell action to make the flame appear. You can then attack with it later - it does use the wording "ranged spell attack." It never addresses what you can do with it otherwise, even though you are still holding a handful of flame.

What if a tavern brawler or a Monk punches with the hand holding the flame, or uses that hand to make a special melee attack (grapple or push?)

Would that be considered a spell attack, or an unarmed strike because the hand is passively holding the flame? Could you use the flame as an improvised weapon?

Or would it be something else?

Note:
I am making a character for a silly one shot. I am not planning on trying to pull this off for a serious campaign, but it is worth trying as a goofy concept. This side note probably won't affect any answers but I wanted to include it anyway.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What are you trying to achieve? Why ranged spell attack isn't good for this? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Apr 8 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had a silly concept and wondered "can I pull this off?" If you have some fire in your hand what is stopping you from slapping someone with it? (remember this is not a very serious question) \$\endgroup\$ – Josiah Riggan Apr 8 at 18:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related on Can you cast and hold produce flame and then wield a weapon and shield? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Apr 8 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I checked similar questions and used some of that information to ask my own, I skimmed over the answers and did not see anything regarding unarmed strikes if you know of something that does please cite it. \$\endgroup\$ – Josiah Riggan Apr 8 at 18:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, I fully understand that you should not be able to punch with the flame in the same round as casting the spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Josiah Riggan Apr 8 at 19:50
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The flame does not affect an unarmed strike or a grapple

Holding a flame in your hand does not influence the mechanics of an unarmed strike. An unarmed strike is:

a punch, kick, head--butt, or similar forceful blow... [which on a hit] deals bludgeoning damage equal to 1 + your Strength modifier.

Nothing restricts you utilizing an unarmed strike while holding the fire from produce flame, but nothing about the spell description affects the unarmed strike.

It's unclear to me how a hand that is currently holding a flame could be considered free, but even if it is, the same would hold for grapples as would for unarmed strikes. Nothing about the spell implies any different interaction.

Improvised Weapon

In order to qualify as an Improvised Weapon, the thing in question must be an object (emphasis mine):

An improvised weapon includes any object you can wield in one or two hands

The fire from produce flame is a spell effect, not an object.

Ask your GM

Since this is for a silly one shot, ask your GM if he can work with you to allow this anyway in some form.

It may be fairly balanced if it is simply changing the damage type of your unarmed strikes or serves as an improvised weapon (dealing 1d4 damage). However, I caution against allowing the full cantrip damage on top of the normal attack damage as that will drastically increase your monk's damage output, affecting game balance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch my understanding was that, as an improvised weapon, it would be dealing 1d4 damage. I edited to make my balance statement more detailed \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 8 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch seems like a few questions, I tried to address each \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 8 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch That will likely depend on how the GM handles it. If it is just a melee attack version of the spell attack, then balance is probably affected. If it is just a damage type change then maybe not. I will just leave my general balance statement, as there are many different ways to implement the idea \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 8 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking that it would deal 1d4 damge. \$\endgroup\$ – Josiah Riggan Apr 8 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ See my related link on ability to hold things in a hand with produce flame \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Apr 8 at 19:11

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