A friend of mine wants to play a variant human monk with the Tavern Brawler feat. He asked me if he could use improvised Weapons as monk weapons.

I personally haven't played a monk, or a character with the Tavern Brawler feat. As such, I'm having trouble judging whether this is unbalanced or totally fine.

Will allowing a character with the Tavern Brawler feat to use improvised weapons as monk weapons cause an unfixable balancing problem? If it does cause balancing issues, how can I address them?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Catar4: Don't answer in comments. Wait for the question to be reopened, and then you can leave that as an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jul 9, 2019 at 22:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Why? What would be the benefit? \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Jul 10, 2019 at 3:37

1 Answer 1


No, probably not unbalanced

The rule on Improvised Weapons states in part:

Often, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the DM's option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her proficiency bonus.

An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon deals 1d4 damage [...]

Depending on what object your monk friend found to use as an improvised weapon, it is entirely possible that it could be treated as a monk weapon. In this case, it would be 100% balanced because the rules explicitly state this is permissible.

If the found weapon is not a close proxy to a monk weapon, the answer is probably still yes-adjacent. Improvised weapons use a d4, which is a very low damage die, and identical to a dagger (which is a monk weapon).

As Someone_Evil points out, monks get to change the base damage of monk weapons:

  • You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike or monk weapon. This die [increases] as you gain monk levels.

As a result, all improvised weapons will increase in their base damage to match the monk's unarmed strike damage so, in the end, the monk is not gaining any real advantage in using the improvised weapon compared to making unarmed strikes.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Monks can use their Martial Arts weapon die instead of the normal weapon die for monk weapons, you may wish to adjust the second to last paragraph to account for this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Jul 9, 2019 at 23:09
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ There is one advantage to using improvised weapons versus unarmed strikes - the monk can throw the improvised weapon up to 60 ft. So they could effectively treat any thrown object as a light hammer. Not really unbalanced, but there is some added benefit. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Jul 10, 2019 at 0:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @mike I thought about thrown weapons, but monks also can use a sling (loaded rock) as an improvised melee weapon. Which, more even than the hammer, is probably the clearest place where things get a little unbalanced. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Jul 10, 2019 at 0:30
  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ This is also a very realistic ruling for a Monk ... if your standard for D&D monk realism is Jackie Chan movies (and if its not, I don't want to know you). \$\endgroup\$
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 10, 2019 at 14:38
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @MikeQ Good catch! My first thought was "no they can't, because the improvised weapons don't have the thrown property." But then I remembered that throwing a weapon like that makes it an improvised weapon! So it'd just default back to being a monk weapon again. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 10, 2019 at 14:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .