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Me and my DM are trying to figure this out for an upcoming one-shot. I'm playing a level 17 Astral Self Monk and I think that Awakened Astral Self will trigger this ability from Arms of the Astral Self:

When [you summon the arms of your astral self], each creature of your choice that you can see within 10 feet of you must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take force damage equal to two rolls of your Martial Arts die.

I say this should work because Awakened Astral Self says

you can spend 5 ki points to summon the arms[...]

My DM thinks that the 2 martial die damage only applies when you specifically use the Arms of the Astral Self because using 1 ki point to summon astral arms and using 5 to awaken the astral self are two different things that just have very similar functions.

Is there an official ruling on this? Or does anyone have any useful insight for this ruling? Thanks in advance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se. That is an interesting question — while you are here, please take the tour and if you want to understand more about how this site works, consider using the help center :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Dec 26, 2021 at 22:36

2 Answers 2

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Your monk does indeed use this feature

When you awaken your astral self you

[...] summon the arms, visage, and body of your astral self [...]

and, by extension

[...] summon the arms of your astral self. When you do so, each creature of your choice that you can see within 10 feet of you must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take force damage equal to two rolls of your Martial Arts die.[...]

There is no debate here, you can do this AoE effect. It is the same bonus action as 3rd level feature, it is the same subclass' ability, that only expands upon it, improves it, not introduces something entirely different and not tied to previous features.

In my honest opinion, realistically at 17th level 2d10 damage on failed save as bonus action(you can instead use to make two attacks for total more than that feature gives you, mind you) is close to nothing, and being stingy on it does not bode well in behalf of your GM.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it's accurate to say this is the only possible interpretation of the rules, but I agree that in context it would be a very stingy GM that doesn't allow it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I, for one, will debate you, by pointing out that starting the quote of the feature description where you did favors your interpretation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 19:24
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Your DM's ruling is quite valid

Let's dig further into the text of Arms of the Astral Self:

As a bonus action, you can spend 1 ki point to summon the arms of your astral self. When you do so, each creature of your choice that you can see within 10 feet of you must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take force damage equal to two rolls of your Martial Arts die.

This to me implies that the force damage occurs when you spend a ki point to summon the arms. The action verb of the sentence is spend a ki point. We can make an argument that "when you do so" could mean only the summoning, but your DM has already ruled otherwise.

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