While preparing for my group's first 5e game I was looking at the different classes and stumbled on a question I couldn't answer. For this example I will use druid as the class that the monk multi-classes to, but I suppose touch based cantrips from wizard/sorceror would also suffice.

A druid has access to the following Cantrip:

Produce Flame

Cast time: 1 standard action
Effect: Flame in your palm
Duration: 1 min./level
Save: None
Spell Resistance: Yes

Flames as bright as a torch appear in your open hand. The flames harm neither you nor your equipment. [...] You can strike an opponent with a melee touch attack, dealing fire damage equal to 1d6 + 1 point per caster level (maximum of 5) [...] No sooner do you hurl the flames than a new set appears in your hand. Each attack you make reduces the remaining duration by 1 minute. If an attack reduces the remaining duration to 0 minutes or less, the spell ends after the attack resolves.

To my knowledge (which could be wrong), cantrips level via character level as opposed to class level, so the switch away from druid would not effect the spell growth while building the monk levels.

So, my question is: If a monk were to cast this cantrip pre- or during battle, would their unarmed strikes receive the 1d6+x bonus for each strike as long as the spell had the duration to continue?

I was able to find an answer for the 3.5e rules (Can a monk's unarmed strike be considered as a touch attack?) however I was unable to find a dnd-5e equivalent.


2 Answers 2


The text you've quoted is the D&D 3.5 version of Produce Flame, not the D&D 5e version. In D&D 5e, produce flame does not grant a melee touch attack, but instead allows the caster to throw the flames as a ranged spell attack.

Even if it did involve a melee attack it would be granting a new kind of attack option, not a bonus to damage of an existing attack, and would therefore not be usable with a monk's unarmed attacks.


From what I understand, unless such as in the 3.5e example where the cantrip or spell specifially says the cantrip or spell can be executed in conjunction with an attack, that itself IS an attack or action.

In fact, even if you read the 3.5e version of the cantrip you posted, it says you do a melee touch attack to do the fire damage, it does NOT mention doing the damage in addition to any bludgeoning damage from a martial arts unarmed attack for instance. So I think it's either/or and cannot be combined, you have to choose which one you are performing.

In 5e, an unarmed attack is undescribed (except perhaps by the player flourishing his action with story telling). The monk could be hitting with a open hand, fist, elbow, knee, head, kick, or EVEN with weapons that qualify as monk's weapons (simple weapons). You'd be hard pressed to explain how the flame traveled from the palm of your hand along the shaft of the staff.

Then again, mages can use staffs, rods and wands in touch attacks can't they? I don't have a ready reference to check that for 5e. There is a discussion here Can the Arcane Staff Double as a Quarter Staff about this particular question. It's a bit more broad than your specific question, but may just be part the answer you are looking for by answering whether a staff can double as a quarter staff and THUS be treated for touch when part of an unarmed attack sequence. I don't think it will grant additional damage, but it COULD allow your cantrip to cause 1-6 fire damage rather than 1d4 bludgeoning. I think that would still have questionable effect though since the amount of damage is rather comparable once all bonuses are taken into account, the principle difference being between bludgeoning vs fire damage. I also still don't have my PHB with me, but monks get a elemental discipline called something like Fangs of the Fire Snake or something like that that grants 10 ft reach and 1d10 fire damage in addition to your bludgeoning damage.

I'll update that monk discipline later when I get home. EDIT: Updated Discipline

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ There's no such thing as a touch attack in 5e, and unarmed attacks aren't the same as attacks with monk weapons (though the Martial Arts features apply to both). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 23:12

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