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The Drow House Captain (MToF, pg. 184) has a whip attack with the following description (bold for emphasis):

Whip. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) slashing damage. If the target is an ally, it has advantage on attack rolls until the end of its next turn.

The ally bit is confusing. Why would hitting an ally grant advantage? Why would you choose to hit an ally? How does this attack work?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is this just a less useful help? \$\endgroup\$ – NeutralTax Feb 13 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NeutralTax What? \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Feb 13 at 23:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NeutralTax No, because it can be done from 10 feet away and it's part of the captain's Multiattack routine. Good question, though. I've addressed it in my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Feb 14 at 15:19
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The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Performance Improves

It does exactly what it says it does. The Drow House Captain can attack an ally with the whip, and that ally gains advantage to attack rolls. The Captain is flogging subordinates in hopes it will make them fight better, and in this case, it actually works. Note that the whip attack does not include the 4d6 of poison damage the scimitar attack has. If the whip was meant to be used on enemies, you can bet a drow would include poison there, too.

It's also different from the Help action, because it doesn't take up the Captain's whole turn - it's part of the Multiattack routine - and can be done from 10 feet away. Sure, it does a little bit of damage, but that strikes me (or the drow's ally, as it were) as a fair trade off for the other advantages it has over Help.

There's at least one WOTC-published hardcover (Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage) that features a "whipping chamber" with two drow "engaged in a consensual act of torture" (WOTC's words, not mine). Other scattered references indicate that some drow are just into that kind of thing. Combined with the Drow propensity for slavery, and real-world historical ties between slave driving and whipping, driving people with a whip exemplifies the cruelness of Drow.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ha! I was writing up an alternative answer about an error, but by jove, I think you've got it. Love this. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 15 at 14:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer Regarding "since when would being suddenly whipped by an ally make you fight better?", it might have made more sense for it to work like Reckless Attack, where they fight harder but at the expense of their own safety, because they're now more afraid of their own captain whipping them again than of the enemy! \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jan 15 at 14:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS I had exactly the same thought, actually - I'd definitely be on board with it if that was the mechanic. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Jan 15 at 14:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS Knowing drow and their love of mmm... alternative chemistry, the whip could also be laced with performance enhancing substances. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jan 15 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Other scattered references indicate that some drow are just into that kind of thing. And regular people. A third of people have tried some form of BDSM, and another third fantasise about it. If anything, like gay characters in fantasy fiction, it's well under represented compared to reality. psmag.com/.amp/social-justice/… \$\endgroup\$ – Graham Jan 16 at 9:01

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