The Character in question is a Large half-Minotaur Goliath who is using monkey grip.

Normally a Large Goliath could wield a Huge weapon with no penalty. Monkey Grip allows you to wield a weapon 1 size larger at a -2 penalty without changing the effort it takes to wield. So, would these effects stack and allow me to wield a Gargantuan 1-handed Weapon?


4 Answers 4


No, they do not stack.

The reason they don't is that both the racial trait and the feat reference your normal size category.

Powerful Build:

A Goliath can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty

Monkey Grip:

You can use melee weapons one size category larger than you are

In the case of a Goliath with Monkey Grip, both would be referencing the Goliath's actual size, which is Medium.


It seems to me that the qualitative nature of the respective descriptions should allow for powerful build (Races of Stone 56) and Monkey Grip (Complete Warrior 103) to stack at the DM's discretion.

Powerful build refers to the nature in which a creature is physically constructed: similar to a dwarf's stability trait (Player's Handbook 15)— that is, it appears equivalent to a racial bonus. Monkey Grip represents innumerable hours of training and exercise to increase one's natural capabilities—while obviously a feat, it can be considered something developed rather than innate.

I recognize that allowing for Monkey Grip and Powerful Build to stack is in no way necessitated by the respective descriptions. However, I believe that they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

First, there are many qualities to a weapon that experience a simple numeric change as the weapon's size category increases (Player's Handbook 114). How is stacking a character's ability to manage these numeric changes any different from a character's ability to manage purely numeric changes due to multiple increases to a weapon's range, or multiple increases to critical ranges and modifiers. Both increases stack unless specifically mentioned.

Second, on the note of specificity, the description of the strongarm bracers (Magic Item Compendium 139) says

When wearing strongarm bracers, you can wield weapons as if you were one size category larger than normal. (You don’t take any penalty when using weapons as normal for your size.) For example, a human wearing these bracers could wield Large or Medium weapons without penalty. The effect of these bracers doesn’t stack with the powerful build trait (such as that possessed by the half-giant and goliath races).

This description specifically prohibits the ability from stacking with powerful build. This demonstrates a need for specific prohibition in relation to what kinds of abilities stack for wielding larger sized weapons. Moreover, the strongarm bracers do not specifically prohibit stacking with Monkey Grip, allowing for a Medium creature that has the Monkey Grip feat and wearing the strongarm brazers to wield huge size weapons as if they were Medium weapons at a -2 penalty. There only reason the stongarm bracers should stack with Monkey Grip but not Powerful Build is that the feat and the trait represent different kinds of benefits, and the benefit of the strongarm bracers is too similar to the powerful build trait for them to stack.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused by this answer: it starts with "GM Discretion", but by the end has a very strong case for "yes". I think it'd be a much stronger answer if it picked one of the two options and stuck with it. ... for the record, I'm pretty sure the "yes" answer is what it's arguing for ... \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Dec 29, 2015 at 15:26

It depends on the exact wording of the Goliath's Powerful Build, which I believe states that they count as Large whenever it would benefit them. Since counting as Large for the purposes of Monkey Grip benefits you, they would stack.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Please provide a quote to support your interpretation. \$\endgroup\$ May 12, 2013 at 7:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Pohpoh You may be thinking of this sentence from Powerful Build's description: "Whenever a goliath is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), the goliath is treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to him." There doesn't appear to be any statements like what you're describing. \$\endgroup\$ May 13, 2013 at 4:29

The benefits of this racial trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject’s size category.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Powerful Build doesn't change the subject's size category, though - their size category is just considered one greater for certain specific things. It lets them wield larger weapons than normal, which seems to be the relevant thing here, but that isn't as a result of their size category being considered one greater for the purposes of equipping weapons. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2013 at 4:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Please take a look at the tour and the help; they're a useful introduction to the site. And once you have 20+ rep, feel free to join the chat! \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Oct 22, 2013 at 11:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ not much meat n potatos to this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novian
    Oct 15, 2014 at 18:04

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