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I believed this was straight forward, but I had a discussion with one of my players who didn't see it the same way as I did.

According to the Way of the Astral Self's subclass features, at 3rd level:

[...] immediately after you use the Attack action with your astral arms on your turn, you can make one extra attack with your astral arms as a bonus action. The number of extra attacks increases when you reach certain levels in this class, increasing to two at 11th level and three at 17th level.

Pretty straight forward: at level 3, you can make a total of two attacks (1A and 1BA), at level 11 three attacks (1A and 2BA) and at level 17 four attacks (1A and 3BA)

Then at level 5 as every martial class you get Extra Attack:

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Also, at level 17 you get the "Complete Astral Self" feature, which provides the following benefit among other:

Astral Barrage. Whenever you use the Extra Attack feature to attack twice, you can instead attack three times using your astral arms.

The difference of opinion lies on whether the Extra Attack feature, means you are taking the Attack action. As such my player suggests that the astral self monk scales as follows:

  • at 3rd level can make 2 attacks (1A and 1BA)
  • at 5th level can make 4 attacks (1A + 1BA + 1 extra attack + 1 astral self attacks (1 per attack action taken) as BA)
  • at 11th level can make 8 attacks (1A + 1 extra attack + 4 astral self attacks (2 per attack action taken) as BA)
  • at 17th level can make 12 attacks (1A + 2 extra attack + 9 astral self attacks (3 per attack action taken) as BA)

First of all, that seems absurd, even if it satisfies my Jojo fantasy. The way I interpret is:

  • at level 17th he could make 6 attacks (1A + 2 Extra attack + 3 astral self attacks as bonus action).

All of the instances above take into account the BA the monk would have needed to summon the astral self.

What are your thoughts? I feel that typing this out, solidified that the answer should be 6 attacks, but I would like to hear other people's opinions on the matter.

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Extra Attack does not mean you take the Attack action multiple times

The Attack action

This is simply an action available to anybody and it allows the Monk to make one attack.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

This feature requires you to take the Attack action to receive its benefits and it causes your Attack action to involve making two attacks instead of the usual one attack. This feature does not allow you to take the Attack action twice, it simply modifiers how many attacks you make when taking the Attack action.

Arms of the Astral Self

Immediately after you use the Attack action with your astral arms on your turn, you can make one extra attack with your astral arms as a bonus action. The number of extra attacks increases when you reach certain levels in this class, increasing to two at 11th level and three at 17th level.

In order to benefit from this feature you must take the Attack action and at least one of the attacks made during the Attack action must be made using your astral arms. Using this feature requires you to use your bonus action and grants you one additional attack, at level 11 it grants you two attacks, and at level 17 it grants you three attacks. It does not matter how many other attacks the Monk made, this feature scales independently of all the rest.

Astral Barrage:

Whenever you use the Extra Attack feature to attack twice, you can instead attack three times using your astral arms.

This feature just scales up Extra Attack so your Attack action now involves three attacks and not two.


Thus we have all the data we need:

  • 3rd level: You can make 1 attack with the Attack action and 1 using Arms of the Astral Self

  • 5th level: You can make 2 attacks with the Attack action (because of Extra Attack) and 1 using Arms of the Astral Self

  • 11th level: You can make 2 attacks with the Attack action (because of Extra Attack) and 2 using Arms of the Astral Self (because of how it scales)

  • 17th level: You can make 3 attacks with the Attack action (because of Extra Attack and Astral Barrage) and 3 using Arms of the Astral Self (because of how it scales)


For some further related reading on the differences between an attack and the Attack action there is the following: What does upper-case-A-Attack action vs. lower-case-a-attack mean?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, since the arms of astral self is a bonus action, you can only use it once per turn! \$\endgroup\$ – D. Ben Knoble Apr 5 at 2:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't Astral Barrage also kick in on the Arms of Astral Self at 17, since it's also defined as "extra attacks"? So at 17 it would be 3 and 4? \$\endgroup\$ – cde Apr 5 at 7:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @cde no, Astral Barrage specifically says "Whenever you use the Extra Attack feature" - the increased number of attacks on the Arms as a bonus action is not the Extra Attack feature. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Apr 5 at 8:22
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You're right - Extra Attack grants multiple attacks, but it is not multiple Attack actions

Normally, the Attack action allows you to make one attack. Extra Attack allows you to make more than one attack per use of the Attack action, but they don't count as individual uses of the Attack action; you still only get one action per round, you're just making multiple (lower-case a) attacks with that one action.

With that in mind, when manifesting all their astral abilities, the Astral Self monk has a full attack routine as follows:

  • 3rd: 2 attacks - 1 from Attack action, 1 from bonus action
  • 5th: 3 attacks - 2 from Attack action, 1 from bonus action
  • 11th: 4 attacks - 2 from Attack action, 2 from bonus action
  • 17th: 6 attacks - 3 from Attack action, 3 from bonus action

Even if this weren't the case and each individual attack counted as the Attack action, your player's calculations would be incorrect, since you may use at most one bonus action per round, and the number of extra attacks granted by the bonus action of Arms of the Astral Self is only based on the monk's level, not the number of other attacks the monk has made that turn.

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