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A few sessions ago, my group killed a T-Rex and made its claws into gauntlets which they forced upon my monk. I was trying to figure out what kind of weapon they’d be classed as (simple or martial, they’re obviously melee).

From what I can find, a simple weapon is described as

a basic weapon that requires little skill to use properly

and I personally feel that the only barrier to using these death claws would be the strength to swing them around, which is a barrier even the most basic of swords share.

I’m asking for more opinions on this before asking the DM, mostly because I’m rather new to D&D and am worried I’ve missed something obvious and would sound like an idiot…

Thank you for your time. :)

Would clawed gauntlets be considered simple weapons?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are they aware of how large and unwieldy such gauntlets would be? Was it a baby T-rex? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 2 at 16:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ "they forced upon my monk", is this an RPG horror story in the making? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 3 at 5:54
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Do ask your DM

I’m asking for more opinions on this before asking the dm, mostly because I’m rather new to dnd and am worried I’ve missed something obvious and would sound like an idiot…

That's popular sentiment for a new players, but misguided one. It was your DM who allowed the creation of the clawed gauntlets, so hopefully he knows what he meant to allow.


Now to what your gauntlets really are. Basically, unless your DM intended otherwise, and unless the PC who built them is proficient with tools needed to create weapons, they are improvised weapons.

If improvised weapon is similar enough to regular weapon, it is allowed to use its statistics, for example table leg can be used as a club so it is improvised but treated as simple if you need. I cannot find in D&D 5e anything that looks similar to the gauntlets you described, but D&D 3.5 had spiked gauntlets that dealt d3 damage, was simple weapons and were treated as unarmed strikes whenever beneficial. It seems like a sensible stats to use, and beneficial for your character, but ultimately see the first part of my answer. It's between you and your DM, no random dude on the Internet can make this decision.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would appreciate information about the downvote. But, of course, that's not required. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Jan 2 at 17:07
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A similar item, the Claws of the Umber Hulk, is neither simple nor martial.

There exists a magic item crafted from the claws of a slain creature, the Claws of the Umber Hulk, from the adventure Princes of the Apocalypse:

You can use a claw as a melee weapon while wearing it.

The description does not state the claws are simple or martial, so they are neither.

So there is precedent for a similar weapon being neither simple, nor martial. However, when it comes to homebrewing new weapons, it is entirely up to the DM.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good find that there is a 5e analog to these. You might wish to note their source - Princes of the Apocalypse? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jan 2 at 17:31
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It’s up to the DM, as everyone is saying

It’s a new weapon, it could be improvised, simple, martial, or none of the above; there aren’t really hard-and-fast rules about what falls in each category. You probably want to consider the nature of the weapon, both narratively (how hard would this be to use?) and mechanically (how much damage is this doing? what other properties does it have?), but deciding how those factors work out into the decision here is a subjective call that the game leaves to the DM.

But that answer isn’t super helpful

It’s good to know there isn’t any official “do this” answer—if there was, you should probably use it—but knowing that, by itself, doesn’t solve your problem of figuring out where to put this weapon. Saying “it’s up to the DM” does the reader no good, if, say, they are the DM, and looking for advice.

Which is why most answers also give opinions on what it should be. To not do so would, in my opinion, leave an answer incomplete.

So what should it be? (TL;DR: Simple)

Ultimately, the choice here is “who should have proficiency?” or maybe “how hard should it be to get proficiency?” Simple weapons are easiest (almost every class gets that proficiency for free), martial weapons a bit harder (only some classes get that proficiency for free), improvised weapons considerably harder (generally requiring a feat), and an answer of “none of the above” implies proficiency is impossible.

Simple or martial are the most appropriate choices

To me, “who should have proficiency?” is very, very close to asking “who should ever consider using this?” Attacking without proficiency isn’t impossible, of course, but the relative accuracy of attacks with proficiency means there’s almost never any reason to choose a non-proficient weapon. Maybe the claws of the umber hulk that Thomas Markov mentions have unique magical properties that justify it, but for anything you could just as easily replace with something you do have proficiency in, there’s not much contest.

So that leaves “none of the above” out as a reasonable answer. At that point, the DM is basically deciding you can’t really turn it into a functional weapon. And if that were the case, improvised would be far more appropriate.

But if we’re saying you actually manage to fashion a functional weapon here, it should be simple or martial. If it’s simple, its damage and properties should be worse; if it’s martial, its damage and properties should be better. But since you’re designing a weapon from scratch, you have a choice which way to start: you could start with stats and assign category accordingly, or you could start with a category and assign stats accordingly.

Historical precedent: Simple

D&D has had clawed gauntlets before. The “v.3.5 revised edition” of the game has both spiked gauntlets and punch daggers as core weapons—and they are both simple. (Weapon stats are different enough between 3.5e and 5e that the other 3.5e attributes of these weapons probably aren’t too meaningful for 5e.)

This also matches your own intuition, and the precedent set by stuff like the 5e dagger and sickle weapons, which seem most “clawlike” to me. Also, ultimately, the claws of a natural creature lashed to a gauntlet just... wouldn’t be that great a weapon, not next to steel swords and the like. So simple-weapon-like stats are probably most appropriate.

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A NPC's precedent suggests simple.

The Anchorite of Talos npc (from Dragon of Icespire Peak) has a "Clawed Gauntlet" attack which deals 1d4+3 (presumably the Achorite's Strength of 16) slashing damage. There are no martial weapons that deal 1d4, which suggests a simple weapon with the light property, similar to the dagger.

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It's up to the DM

Rules as written, such gauntlets are improvised weapons, which deal 1d4+STR damage without a proficiency bonus to the attack roll. In order to make them more useful, the DM has to homebrew a new kind of weapon, something like "T-Rex Claw Gauntlets (martial, finesse, light), 1d6 piercing damage". The DM can even introduce a unique trait, e.g. "when wielding both gauntlets, you are still considered to have a free hand", or something like that.

It worth noticing that "simple" or "martial" weapon type matters only when we talk about proficiency bonus. It's all about combat balance, not about a weapon being hard to use. Basically, more potent weapons are "martial", hence, are not accessible for some classes, including Monks. These particular gauntlets don't look thematically like ​a monk weapon, but your DM might say otherwise.

Ultimately, it's the DM who has to decide the weapon type. They can also say the gauntlets are neither nor simple not martial, so nobody gets the bonus when wielding them. This wouldn't be fair though, so I personally suggest reskinning an existing weapon. For instance, the DM could use the stats of a Shortsword for each Gauntlet.

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It is definitely up to the DM

. . . as others have pointed out.

But . . . maybe it's reasonable to treat the gloves like a dagger (a simple weapon), or a scimitar (a martial weapon).

The PHB says:

Often, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the DM's option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her proficiency bonus.

To me, it's quite simple to treat it as a dagger or scimitar.

Or maybe you want to suggest that the claws are better weapons than a dagger or scimitar. Okay, you can certainly suggest to the DM that maybe the claws are like a dagger, except they do 1d6. Or they're like a scimitar, but they do 1d8.

Good luck! Sounds like fun!

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