If I multiclass from a monk into a fighter, do any of the Fighting styles apply to my unarmed strike?


2 Answers 2


No, there is no Fighting Style that benefits an unarmed strike.

  • Archery: Only applies to ranged weapons.
  • Defense: Only benefits AC.
  • Dueling: Specifically requires you to be wielding a melee weapon in one hand, and only benefits that weapon.
  • Great Weapon Fighting: Specifically requires you to be wielding a melee weapon in both hands, and only benefits that weapon.
  • Protection: Only affects enemy attack rolls.
  • Two-Weapon Fighting: Only benefits two-weapon fighting, which doesn't work with unarmed strikes anymore.

While Defense and Protection can be used while using unarmed strikes, Defense requires you to wear armour and Protection requires you to use a shield, both of which would disable your Martial Arts ability.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Might I suggest specifically mentioning the errata to avoid any misunderstanding? The link does correctly include the changes from the errata but I think you could improve your answer by including it yourself! \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ How would the Unarmed Fighting style from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, interact with the monk's unarmed fighting? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 16 at 7:41

Yes, because the monk class feature allows you to substitute your monk's martial art damage in place of your unarmed strike or monk weapon damage.

PHB pg. 78

You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike or monk weapon. This die changes as you gain monk levels, as shown in the Martial Arts column of the Monk table.

What this means is that even while wielding weapons, you can attack as if you were using unarmed strikes. This allows you to effectively roleplay a monk using unarmed strikes while adhering to the rules to gain benefits from the class features that use fighting styles.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So...what are you actually suggesting here? Using a quarterstaff with Great Weapon Fighting and calling it an unarmed strike, or what? \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 0:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ This makes unarmed strike damage or monk weapon damage optionally use another damage die, but I don't see how it changes unarmed strikes into something that works with any of the Fighting Styles. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mag Roader
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 0:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer appears to be assuming that when it says “martial arts” on p. 78 that equals “unarmed strike”, but that's not true in the game or in real life. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 0:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman - precisely. Just because the monk is wielding the quarterstaff, doesn't mean he's striking with it. He could be using it for leverage to slam an enemy into his fist or foot, or be coming down from above with knees and elbows flying. As the damage supplement replaces either unarmed strike or monk weapon without regard to the damage, it clearly infers that the monk is striking with their body rather than the weapon. So yes Seven, martial arts does equal unarmed strikes, and that is true even in real life as martial arts focuses on the body and trains with weapons in addition to that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 2:25
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli That's you inferring a conclusion from the statement. The statement itself doesn't do any deductions or interpretation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 2:36

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