Inspired by this recent question

What would be the balance implications of allowing all natural weapons to count as monk weapons (for the purposes of enabling the martial arts feature)? I am aware that it would be a straight power increase for the class, but am unsure of the extent of the increase and whether it could be acceptable.

Though the major application of this would be for a Monk/Druid multiclass, there may however be other less common interactions that could be problematic balance-wise. Ideally answers would address these as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While being a monk weapon does not suffice for that, do you also intend this to entail that said natural weapons can be used instead of unarmed strikes of the Martial arts feature, Flurry of blows etc? \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Nov 27 '19 at 10:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kviiri My understanding of the rules is that wielding monk weapons was enough to enable the use of martial arts. Regardless, edited for clarity. \$\endgroup\$ – Count Quizzical Nov 27 '19 at 10:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps I wasn't being clear --- I mean the parts of Martial Arts (and other Monk class features, eg. Flurry of blows) that specifically call for an unarmed strike to be made. Eg. the extra unarmed strike one can make as a bonus action. Do you want the player to be able to attack with their natural weapons in lieu of making unarmed strikes, something a monk weapon couldn't do? \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Nov 27 '19 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ perhaps it's not that much of a stretch to allow certain natural weapons as monk weapons anyway. Monk weapons are defined as: "any simple melee weapons that don’t have the two-handed or heavy property" - perhaps a lions claws are not that different from a dagger for example. \$\endgroup\$ – Max Colledge Nov 27 '19 at 10:57

Not much

Effectively this would allow the monk to trigger Martial Arts and Flurry of Blows and a few other effects with natural weapons instead of unarmed strikes/monk weapons. Of course, the actual extra attacks they provide would still need to be unarmed as normal.

At lower levels this could provide a slight damage boost if the natural weapon does more damage than the monk’s unarmed strike but this is probably not significant. At higher levels, the monk’s unarmed strike is probably on par or better than the natural weapon so it would only be advantageous in those rare cases where the target was more vulnerable to the natural weapon’s damage type than magical bludgeoning damage. How often does that come up?


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