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In this question, Comments suggested that a creature with feat Improved Unarmed Strike that wanted magic weapon special abilities for his unarmed strike get a pair of masterwork gloves, have them given a magical enhancement bonus (presumably by the spell greater magic weapon which may be able to target the gloves as improvised weapons?), then get the now +1 gloves imbued with magic weapon special abilities.

  1. Is it legit to imbue masterwork nonweapons with magic weapon special abilities in this fashion?
  2. If so and assuming that a creature makes unarmed strikes exclusively with its fists (although any creature can make an unarmed strike with different body parts), will a creature wearing, for example, +1 flaming gloves gain the gloves' enhancement bonus and the weapon special ability flaming when the creature makes attacks with his unarmed strike?

(Whether mastertwork clothing can have magic armor special abilities is addressed by this question.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this about getting magical weapon effects on non-weapons (as the title suggests), monks applying magical weapon effects to their unarmed strikes (and/or methods to do so, as the body suggests), or both? \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Jul 3 '15 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o Potentially both. I'm not sure how much good many magic weapon effects would do someone on their boot, but it's worth an ask, yet if that's possible, I'm not sure if a +1 boot would be any good to someone with the feat Improved Unarmed Strike. I'll revise the question when I've more time to make that clearer (but the first linked question might interest you, too). \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 3 '15 at 22:57
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This is probably not how the rules were intended to work. If you look at monk NPCs provided by Wizards in published material, none of them have magic gauntlets; for example the "example monk NPC" on page 118 of the DMG has a +3 kama but does not have a gauntlet.

As to the legality of magic gauntlets using the rules-as-written: after reading the description of the "gauntlet" in the Weapons section of the equipment list, I do believe it's legitimate to enchant one and apply the bonus to your unarmed strikes. However, under the Monk's Flurry ability, it says: "The monk can’t use any weapon other than a special monk weapon as part of a flurry of blows." An enchanted gauntlet is clearly a weapon and so I think this rule applies.

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Yes (Subjective).

First, lets look at "gloves" that are directly related to Monks:

Ki Straps (p. 113, Magic Item Compendium)

This will add "passive" enhancement bonus, such as +2 to the DC of your Stunning Fist attack.

The crafting requirements are:

Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Stunning Fist, magic weapon.


Now lets look at a common glove:

Gauntlet

This metal glove lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with unarmed strikes. A strike with a gauntlet is otherwise considered an unarmed attack.


Let's look again at the Monk's Unarmed Strike:

A monk also deals more damage with her unarmed strikes than a normal person would, as shown on Table: The Monk. The unarmed damage on Table: The Monk is for Medium monks.


There are a multitude of magically enhanced gauntlets in the Magic Item Compendium that add damage in some fashion, and even store charges to do verious things.


Throwing it all together

Could Ki Straps be enchanted? Yes. They are obviously a masterwork item, that required Craft Wondrous Item, requires Magic Weapon cast on them, and offers an enhancement bonus to your Stunning Fist attack.

If it can have one enhancement, there are no rules stating it can't have another enhancement bonus.

Regarding information from "Gauntlets & Spiked Gauntlets: How do they work?" there is no real reason why you can't enhance the gauntlets (as it is a glove), as a weapon, and it still treated as your Monk's Unarmed Strike.

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To directly answer your question: no, non-weapons cannot have weapon enhancements added to them. The few cases where this appears to be allowed are armor or shield spikes, which are weapons and follow the rules for such (attack rolls, listed damage, etc). Some rods and staffs also function as weapons, but that's called out in their descriptions. Enhancing those would be an entirely different discussion.

What you're looking for is the amulet of mighty fists. It'll give you a +1 to +5 bonus on your unarmed attacks. I've let monk players use some of the enhancement bonus to substitute in weapon special abilities, so it might be worth talking to your DM about.

For example, a +1 flaming amulet of mighty fists would cost the same as a +2 amulet. Weapon abilities that add a flat cost are trickier, but the general pricing is 3x that of a weapon, so you could follow that same increase and be fairly safe.

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Any item can be treated as an improvised weapon. Any item can be crafted as a masterwork version of its kind. Thus any item can theoretically meet the requirements to get (at least some) magic weapon special abilities added, even without magic weapon.

Gloves, boxing or otherwise, are not a weapon. You can make unarmed strikes with your gloved fist, but that doesn't employ the glove on the fist as a weapon, according to the rules. You can employ the glove on your fist as a weapon, describing it as punching someone in the face, but it most certainly isn't an unarmed strike; it is at best an improvised gauntlet or improvised unarmed strike. An unarmed strike is a weapon, by the way, not a kind of attack.

It is probable that your DM will rule gloves capable of functioning as an improvised unarmed strike (or, equivalently, a gauntlet) when used as a weapon. If so, this works (though you take a -4 non-proficiency penalty, you were already doing that as a monk, so there's not even that disadvantage!).

However, weaponized gloves may well not be allowed to function as an improvised unarmed strike nor gauntlet and, if they are not, will not affect a monk's unarmed attacks. It is possible that your DM will nonetheless allow the gloves to be used as an improvised monk special weapon (such as nunchaku), in which case you would still be able to use it in flurries and such, but doing so is not at all an effective way to augment one's combat performance as a monk.

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