22
\$\begingroup\$

There are clean rules for moving between actions and between attacks granted by those action (e.g. a fighter with four attacks can move between them freely).

But the monk's Flurry of Blows feature is different. It states you can make two unarmed bonus attacks immediately after your attack action. The wording is fuzzy even more because the monk's Attack action can be melee or ranged as well.

  1. Does word immediately deprive you from movement?
  2. When you kill an enemy with your first normal unarmed attack and the nearest other enemy is 10 ft. from you, can you move to him?
  3. What about if you made ranged attack with your Attack action?
  4. Can you move between first and second Flurry of Blows attack?

Not allowing move will hurt even melee attacks very badly. A fighter with 4 attacks is able to move freely between them but a monk with 2 attacks + 2 flurry attacks will be able to move only between the first two attacks - possibly not taking the other two at all.

\$\endgroup\$
11
\$\begingroup\$

This is a surprisingly complicate issue, and I don't think tht there is one right way to do it. My short answer is:

Yes, you can move between an attack and an attack granted by Flurry of Blows.

It also does not matter whether you attack at melee or at range and you can also move between the attacks granted by Flurry of Blows.

For my reasoning, an explanation follows. It is rather lengthy since there are quite a few things that come into play here. Let's start with moving between attacks.

Moving between attacks

If you take an action that includes more than one weapon attack, you can break up your movement even further by moving between those attacks. (Player's Handbook, p. 190)

Flurry of Blows clearly qualifies for this since it is an action that includes two weapon attacks. So you can move between the two attacks granted by the Flurry of Blows. This interpretation is also supported by the Mike Mearls tweet that Miniman also linked.

On the other aspects, Flurry of Blows is quite nebulous. The feature is defined as follows:

Flurry of Blows

Immediately after you take the Attack action on your turn, you can spend 1 ki point to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action. (PHB, p. 78)

There is one major issue to be resolved here: when have you actually taken the Attack action? As I see it, there are three possibilities:

1) After you have made the first attack.

2) After you have made all the attacks (should you have any Extra Attacks).

3) Before you make the first attack.

The first option is based on reasoning that the first attack is the actual Attack action, and any possible Extra Attacks are just that: extra. The second option is based on reasoning that the Attack action is not really over until you have taken all the attacks it grants you. And the third one is based on reasoning, that the Attack action does not really mean that you have to actually make an attack in order to qualify for taking the action, rather the Attack action just grants you a "pool" of attacks that you can draw from. This definition is important since the Flurry of Blows says that it has to be taken "Immediately after you take the Attack action".

The important parts defining the Attack action are as follows (flavour text and simple examples omitted):

Attack

With this action, you make one melee or ranged attack. Certain features allow you to make more than one attack with this action. (PHB, p. 192)

This doesn't really give us much to work with, so I'll rely on reasoning based on what follows from every interpretation.

Following the first interpretation, you would have to decide to use the Flurry of Blows after you have resolved your first attack, so you have only the result of that first attack to figure out if you feel like you want to use Flurry of Blows. Additionally, you would then have to make (at least) the first unarmed attack granted by Flurry of Blows before you can make any further attacks granted by the attack action, since it grants attacks and would therefore have to be treated the same way as the Attack action, meaning you haven't taken it until you have made at least one attack. To me, this feels overly restrictive and unintuitive and as such I would not personally follow this interpretation.

Following the second interpretation that your Attack action is over only after you have made all the attacks granted by it, you get the most information out of your attacks before having to decide if you want to use Flurry of Blows. The drawback is that you cannot make any Flurry of Blows attacks before you have made all the attacks granted by the Attack action. Alternatively, you could choose to forgo your remaining regular attacks and declare the action is over (this has to be possible or you will run into some serious trouble, e.g. people having to attack targets they don't want to) to use Flurry of Blows, but then you would lose those regular attacks. This interpretation also seems restrictive and weird, so I would not follow this one either.

This leaves us with the third option that the Attack action is not actually tied to any actual attack, but rather is the source of a pool of attacks. This option is the most restrictive on when you have to decide to use Flurry of Blows (i.e. before you have even attacked a single time) but the least restrictive on when you can make those additional unarmed attacks, since it would then also just grant you an additional "pool" of two unarmed attacks to use when you want in addition to whatever attacks you gain from the Attack action. This may not be the most elegant way to handle it either, but definitely the best one that I can argue for based on rules-as-written. It would also seem to fit the general design philosophy of a turn of combat, where you can quite freely mix and separate different actions.

This leads to the conclusion that you have to use the Flurry of Blows feature, spending the bonus action and one Ki point, immediately after you declare that you will be attacking this turn, but before the first attack is resolved. You are then able to use your regular attacks and Flurry of Blows attacks in any combination and moving between any of them if you want.

\$\endgroup\$
18
\$\begingroup\$

The Monk can move between the Flurry of Blows attacks. It's less clear whether they can move between the Attack action and the Flurry of Blows action. The exact rule for moving between attacks is (PHB, page 190):

Moving between Attacks

If you take an action that includes more than one weapon attack, you can break up your movement even further by moving between those attacks. For example, a fighter who can make two attacks with the Extra Attack feature and who has a speed of 25 feet could move 10 feet, make an attack, move 15 feet, and then attack again.

This says that if you take an action that includes multiple attacks, you can move between those attacks. It doesn't say it has to be the Attack action specifically, so any action that includes multiple attacks (for example, a monster's Multiattack action) will allow you to move between them. This includes Flurry of Blows.

The ambiguous part is whether the Monk can move between the Attack action and the Flurry of Blows action. On the one hand, Flurry of Blows says "immediately after you take the Attack action", which suggests that you can't move between the two actions. On the other hand, you can move freely in the middle of the Attack action, so you might be able to move after all your attacks, but still within the Attack action.

The RAW here is probably that you can't move between the two actions, but it's sufficiently unclear that I'd rule in the Monk's favour. It doesn't seem particularly unbalancing, and Flurry of Blows is one of the Monk's most important features.

Flurry of Blows makes no distinction between a ranged attack and a melee one, so whether you make a melee or a ranged attack won't affect this issue at all.

For completeness' sake, I'll include links to these three quotes from Mearls, none of which really clear it up.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually links are helpful. I'd rule monk can move between all attacks. Still not sure about ranged attack. Can I throw dagger and rush into enemies? \$\endgroup\$ – Tangente Jan 30 '15 at 12:18
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Tangente There's no difference between attacking in melee, then moving, then using Flurry of Blows and attacking at range, then moving, then using Flurry of Blows. Whichever way you decide to go with melee, ranged will be the same. Edited that into my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jan 30 '15 at 12:20
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It is still a bit hard for us 3.5 veterans to stop thinking in movement as a 3.5 Move Action. On 5e, it is now more like a passive speed than anything else. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Jan 30 '15 at 12:45
5
\$\begingroup\$

Here is some additional support for Miniman's answer.

Flurry of Blows as a reference.

Flurry of Blows

Immediately after you take the Attack action on your turn, you can spend I ki point to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action.

First from page 190

Vou can break up your movement on your turn, using some of your speed before and after your action. For example, if you have a speed of 30 feet, you can move 10 feet, take your action, and then move 20 feel.

Then as miniman points out we have this also on page 190

SO we know that this allows the following.

(Move in part)---(Attack action)---(Move in part)

Moving between Attacks

If you take an action that includes more than one weapon attack, you can break up your movement even further by moving between those attacks. For example, a fighter who can make two attacks with the Extra Attack feature and who has a speed of 25 feet could move 10 feet, make an attack, move 15 feet, and then attack again.

Allowing

(Move in Part)---(1st Attack)---(Move in Part)---(2nd Attack)---(Move in Part)

With Flurry of Blows added in

The full sequence becomes

(Move in Part)---(1st Attack)---(Move in Part)---(2nd Attack)---(Move in Part)---(1st Strike)---(Move in Part)---(2nd Strike)---(Move in Part)

The wording for Bonus Action timing (Page 69 of the Basic D&D 5e Players Guide)

You choose when to take a bonus action during your turn, unless the bonus action’s timing is specified, and anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a bonus action.

Normally you get to choose if the Bonus action goes off before your action or after. Flurry Blows restricts in two ways. First that it comes after the action, and second it comes after a attack option. Not a Use an Object, Dodge or the other types actions.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This is completely supported by Mike Mearls: "when in doubt with the monk, ask "What would Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan do?" That answer is probably correct." Can you imagine Bruce or Jackie not being able to move so as to punch, kick or hit with a convenient broom handle all four of their opponents, stunning each one along the way? \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Dec 16 '16 at 16:18
1
\$\begingroup\$

I think this is what the writers had in mind using the word "immediatly". But I have struggled to comprehend it, and it is room for a discussion.

  1. Does the word immediately deprive you from movement?

The word "immediately" gives restrictions on when in our turn you can make the "flurry of blows" bonus action. As described under Bonus Actions (PH 189), you can make your bonus action whenever you decide in your turn unless the timing is specified.

You can still move your speed in your turn, but the bonus action has to be made immediately after an attack

  1. When you kill an enemy with your first normal unarmed attack and the nearest other enemy is 10 ft. from you, can you move to him?

Yes, but here again, you cannot make your flurry of blows - saving you a ki point. You can still however make the bonus action from Martial Arts, giving you an additional unarmed strike as a bonus action, since this bonus action has no specific timing like "Flurry of Blows".

  1. What about if you made ranged attack with your Attack action?

Then I would use the Martial Arts Bonus action to make a "fly kick" if I have to move to reach the target. If the target is within reach, you can use the Flurry, as you can do it IMMEDIATELY after your attack action - ranged or melee.

  1. Can you move between first and second Flurry of Blows attack?

Flurry of Blows makes you do two strikes as a bonus action IMMEDATELY after your attack.

Example

You have to wait for extra attack in Level 5 to make the combo:

move - attack - move - attack - two unarmed strikes as a bonus action - move

Moving between the two attacks in your action, then IMMEDIATELY after one of the attacks you use your bonus action to make two additional unarmed strikes - Triple punch - or how you imagine your martial arts combo.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems like a pretty good answer, but you should cite where you get the line “Unless the bonus action’s timing is specified,” as without that I’m left wondering where that came from. And I think the last two paragraphs are kind of condescending and detract from the answer. Martial arts combos often involve movement, and there is no reason to assume anyone’s goal was to steal spotlight. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 8 '18 at 22:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ TY, man :) Better now? \$\endgroup\$ – Ewin Dalathan Feb 8 '18 at 23:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can still do tons of martial arts combos in your turn, even without house rules. Kensei Tradition found in Xanathars Guide to Everything, gives you ability to use a bow as a monk weapon aswell. But I have to wait to level 5 to get the awesome combos involving archery and flurry of blows combined with movement. Will propably work well with a Mobile feat in level 4. A Monk "Archer" is therefore on the way :) \$\endgroup\$ – Ewin Dalathan Feb 8 '18 at 23:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, looks better. I applied some formatting to your answer—starting a paragraph with > makes it a quote, which seemed appropriate for the questions you quote, and then ### makes a header (and ## and # make progressively bigger headers), which seemed better than just using all-caps. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 9 '18 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice :) Anyways I think I overcomplicate the whole thing. According to sageadvice, where Mike Mearls confirms that you can move between attacks and before using flurry of blows.... sageadvice.eu/2016/02/29/can-monk-move-between-all-attacks \$\endgroup\$ – Ewin Dalathan Feb 9 '18 at 0:31
1
\$\begingroup\$

Jeremy Crawford specifically answered this in Jan 2018. Question posed to @JeremyECrawford: can a monk move between the hits of Flurry of Blows? 12 Jan 2018

His answer:

Whenever you take an action that includes more than one weapon attack, you can move between those attacks if you have enough movement to do so. This rule applies to bonus actions, which are a type of action, and to unarmed strikes, which are weapon attacks.

https://www.sageadvice.eu/2018/01/20/can-a-monk-move-between-the-hits-of-flurry-of-blows/

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.