According to this tweet by Jeremy Crawford:

Unarmed strikes have always been weapon attacks. Here's where the confusion comes in: your unarmed strike (fist, elbow, knee, butt, etc.) is not considered by the rules to be a weapon the way a longsword is a weapon. But the rules let you make unarmed weapon attacks anyway.

This ruling is clear for features like a barbarian's Rage, but less so for something like the Enlarge function of the enlarge/reduce spell:

The target's weapons also grow to match its new size. While these weapons are enlarged, the target's attacks with them deal 1d4 extra damage.

An unarmed strike qualifies as a melee weapon attack, but does it qualify as a "weapon" under these circumstances?

It's relatively obvious for effects that specify a weapon as an object, like the Forge cleric's Blessing of the Forge, but this seems like a grey area.


1 Answer 1


“Unarmed Strikes” are not “weapons”. “Unarmed Strikes” make “weapon attacks”

If a feature affects “weapons” it does not affect “Unarmed Strikes”. If it affects “weapon attacks” it does affect “Unarmed Strikes”.

Enlarge affects “weapons”, not “weapon attacks” so it does not affect “Unarmed Strikes”.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This is yet another example of why you should pretend JC's twitter doesn't exist. No normal person would understand this artificial distinction from reading the rules or even thinking about the situation logically. JC's ruling just muddies the waters for minimal, if any, benefit to the game. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14, 2019 at 17:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @jgn the distinction between unarmed strikes and weapons is useful and necessary to avoid non-sensical conclusions is other interactions. The problem is that some effects seemingly were written as though that distinction does not exist. In other words, don't blame the distinction, blame enlarge/reduce for being poorly written. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Dec 16, 2019 at 5:15
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @Ruse Using "weapon attack" to mean anything other than "an attack made with a weapon" is going to cause confusion. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 16, 2019 at 6:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you actually support this answer please? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2021 at 13:50

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