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Oil of Impact: This magical substance is charged with a powerful dweomer which has beneficial effects upon blunt weapons and missiles of all sorts, magical and non-magical. When applied to a blunt weapon such as a club, hammer, or mace, it causes the weapon to both be magical and deliver extra damage. When the oil is applied to a missile, its effect is to make it both magical and very deadly upon impact. Missiles upon which the oil of impact will properly function are hurled hammers, hurled clubs, sling stones, and sling bullets. A flask of this substance will contain from 3-5 applications. Each application will last for 9-12 rounds on a hand-held weapon, but when applied to a missile weapon the substance has but a single "charge." With respect to missiles, however, only a small amount need be used, so that 4-5 sling missiles or 2 larger weapons can be treated with a single application. If the oil is used on a hand-held weapon, its dweomer will bestow + 3 status to the weapon's hit probability and cause + 6 damage on a successful hit. Missiles will be + 3 both "to hit" and to damage.

I'm DMing a game and rolled this item up randomly. It seems like a monk could put this on their fists, gauntlets, feet, or boots, or any character with martial arts that inflict bludgeoning damage. But I'm not sure.

Seems like there's been a ruling on this before as a way for older edition monks to hit weapon resistant creatures. We have a monastic OA character who has a staff as well, so they can either wield the stick and make this work, or, if this makes sense, they can use the oil on their fists/palms. Their damage would be the same either way, so its more of an aesthetic ruling, but might be useful later for other purposes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What's your question? The source of the ruling that the oil can be applied to fists/boots/gauntlets etc? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 14 '19 at 18:13
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The game is yours and if you and your players are ok with that, go for it.

Anyway, if you are looking for an explicit ruling about if the monk could use Oil of Impact in open hand combat, I could not find anything about that in the books.

But, searching through the weaponless combat sub-system in DMG (page 73) states that:

Monks: Even if grappled, pummeled, or overborne, monks are able to conduct open hand combat normally until stunned or unconscious.

Also, albeit we can't find any open hand damage value in weapon tables of player guide, but the monk class specify a damage value in the level progression table.

So, according to these books I would allow to a monk character (or any other using martial arts) to use Oil Impact to oint his hands and use it in combat, because you can assume that, according the rules, the open hand combat of monks or martial arts styles from Oriental Adventures are a totally different combat system respect the weaponless combat that any other class can use.

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I have failed to find any mention of the oil of impact in the Dragon Magazine Sage Advice columns; and the Unearthed Arcana text you have quoted does not address your question. AD&D 2e Dungeon Master Guide has text quite similar, not offering any clues either.

Yet creative uses of the oil of impact should be possible. One such use case was in the novels by R. A. Salvatore, where the priest Cadderly used specially prepared crossbow bolts: darts with glass vials containing the oil. Heroes' Lorebook (1996) states that each dart has a +3 attack bonus and a +9 damage bonus.

So it is up to the DM. I personally would not recommend the use in your question mainly because the impact happens between the target and the body of the monk; so it would also damage the monk herself. The way the oil is novelized, it is a volatile substance and needs great care. Quoting from novel the Canticle:

You are no fool, Cadderly. You know better than to be impatient. This is oil of impact, remember? A most volatile substance. A stronger drip could cause a cataclysm in a shop so filled with unstable potions!

"Oil of impact," he reminded himself, conjuring images of blackened fingertips.

It is also worth noting that Cadderly's wife in the novels, Danica, was a monk and despite having come up with Cadderly's unique use of the oil, Salvatore did not have Danica use the oil the way you proposed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think there's also a mention in book 4 or 5 of the Quintet of one of the Bouldershoulder brothers using oil of impact "barehanded," as it were. I don't remember if it was a head-butt, or a tree branch, or what--I'm going off of very faint decades-old memories, here. But if someone finds that's true, I think it'd make an excellent addition to this lore-answer. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 20 '19 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Thanks for the pointer. I will try to see if I can find the event you mention (it has been a while since I read the novels myself). By the way, I also remembered that Danica was a monk and I believe she did not use the oil in a way that would support the OP's suggestion. Please correct me if I am wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Aug 20 '19 at 19:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I don't remember her interacting with the oil. When I read the question my first thought was "Bouldershoulder!" and Pikel going "he he he... boom!" \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 20 '19 at 19:47

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