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Would a monk with the Tavern Brawler feat have improvised weapons count as monk weapons?

It states in the monk's Martial Arts feature (PHB, p. 78) that:

At 1st level, your practice of martial arts gives you mastery of combat styles that use unarmed strikes and monk weapons, which are short swords and any simple melee weapons that don’t have the two-handed or heavy property.

The Tavern Brawler feat (PHB, p. 170) states that:

You are proficient with improvised weapons and unarmed strikes.

And the rules for improvised weapons (PHB, p. 147-148) state:

In many cases, 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. An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon deals 1d4 damage.

If the improvised weapon does not resemble a weapon, is simple, and is not heavy or two-handed, could a monk replace the d4 dice? For example if the monk is level 6 and has a unarmed attack of a d6, with a d6 dice instead?

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In many cases, 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 ...

This is the crux of the matter, If the weapon can be treated as a qualifying simple weapon, then the DM may allow it. Else you only escape the non-proficiency penalty.

At the end of the day everybody is playing by "House Rules"

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No, a monk can't use their Martial Arts feature with improvised weapons. Monk weapons are:

short swords and any simple melee weapons that don’t have the two-handed or heavy property.

Unfortunately, simple melee weapons are weapons that are in the "Simple Melee Weapons" category on the weapons table, and improvised weapons aren't present there. (Otherwise everyone who was proficient with simple melee weapons would be proficient with improvised weapons.)

So improvised weapons aren't simple melee weapons, and therefore they aren't monk weapons either and can't be used with Martial Arts.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Martial Arts also state that the bonuses apply to unarmed attacks and weapons the monks are proficient with. The tavern brawler makes anyone who takes it proficient with improvised weapons. I think you might have missed that part of the feat's description @Miniman \$\endgroup\$ – Catar4 Jul 9 at 21:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Catar4 Martial Arts works with Monk weapons, not with any weapon that a Monk happens to be proficient with. As quoted in the question, "monk weapons, which are short swords and any simple melee weapons that don’t have the two-handed or heavy property." \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jul 9 at 22:06
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I'm not an experienced DM but I am a very experienced player (playing weekly for almost 4 years now) so take this with a grain of salt.

Under the Monk's Martial Arts:

...unarmed strikes and monk weapons, which are short swords and any simple melee weapons that don't have the two-handed or heavy property.

Even though the Tavern Brawler feat says:

you are proficient in improvised weapons.

Proficiency is not the main concern here.

On page 147 in the PHB under improvised weapons it states:

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...

However, if you are playing a monk with the Tavern Brawler feat and use an improvised weapon that doesn't require two hands or is heavy then you could use that object as a monk weapon. A broken bottle, for example, could act as a sickle or a small tree branch could act as a quarterstaff. At the end of the day the DM's judgement overrules all arguments.

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se! Take the tour and visit the help center to learn how things work around here. This is a pretty good first answer that is well supported, you could improve it by editing to make it a bit clearer when it counts and when it doesn't rather than having it all in one paragraph at the end. Thanks for participating and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Apr 11 at 1:36

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