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My player is a monk 3/wizard 2 multiclass. To help him feel like a magic pugilist, I am using a house rule that allows his monk a Bonus Action to attack after casting specific cantrips. Since the cantrips Green Flame Blade and Booming Blade involve making a melee weapon attack, I've allowed the player to be able to make the bonus unarmed strike, so long as the weapon attack involved with the spell is a monk weapon.

This seemed like no big deal at first when he was low leveled. Now at level 5, these cantrips get a damage boost, and I'm worried his character may unfairly out-damage other players.

Can I allow this to continue, or should I say, "The damage increase is too much, from now on those cantrips will not combo with your unarmed strike bonus action"?

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    \$\begingroup\$ We need a lot more info about your homebrew class. Is the monk/wizard following the wizard archetype line, or the monk one? Is it multi-classing? How many levels? You need to tell us exactly what your homebrew class is before this can be answered effectively. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Aug 17 '16 at 4:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are these home brew cantrips as well? If not, where can I find them. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Aug 17 '16 at 4:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM they're from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Aug 17 '16 at 4:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ The class is not a homebrew. It is simply a lvl3 monk/ lvl2 wizard multiclass. \$\endgroup\$ – Costello Aug 17 '16 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I want to understand if I gave my player an unfair damage spike at "lvl5". I want to know if my homebrew RULE overpowered, not the class. The class is normal multiclass. \$\endgroup\$ – Costello Aug 17 '16 at 17:27
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Well, it really is up to you, and you could wait to see how his damage output actually compares to the others. But for an idea of how powerful he is in combat, here's a comparison for you to consider.

The bonus unarmed strike from Martial Arts allows the ability modifier to the damage, effectively making them comparable to a fighter/wizard with the "Two-weapon Fighting" fighting style being allowed to use their bonus action off-hand attack after every time they use said cantrips.

However, a quarter staff is versatile, therefore a monk can use it two-handed for 1d8. This would mean our fighter/wizard needs the dual wielder feat to dual-wield non-light weapons, as no light weapon does 1d8 damage.

In regards to spells: the quarterstaff's versatility means that your monk can carry it one handed, freeing his other hand for somatic and material components of spells. To do this same thing, our fighter/wizard with the Duel-wielding feat would also have to take War Caster to be able to do the somatic parts of spells with weapons in both of his hands, and he still wouldn't be able to access any material components.

With your homebrew rule, your monk/wizard is effectively more useful than a fighter/wizard with two feats slapped on.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the insight! A well written answer too! My player thought about doing an eldritch knight, but he wanted to punch. He wanted to emulate FMA's Alex Louis Armstrong. I made this rule to help him throw punches mixed with magic from the wizard's spell list. \$\endgroup\$ – Costello Aug 17 '16 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ You already have a good answer to your question, but I'd like to remind you that if you want a "fighting caster with punchs", fighters can hit very hard with Unarmed Strike \$\endgroup\$ – Calabacin Aug 18 '16 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, the errata and Sage Advice Compendium has confirmed that you are not naturally proficient with unarmed strikes and they only do 1 + str mod., so the fighter would have to take the Tavern Brawler feat, which would also increase it to a 1d4. The monk starts with proficiency and 1d4, and by 6th level their punches do 1d6 and are considered magical for overcoming resistance and immunity. \$\endgroup\$ – J Nason Aug 23 '16 at 5:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JNason: The first part of that is inaccurate. Everyone is proficient with their unarmed strikes. But you are correct that the fighter would only do 1+Str damage by default. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 19 '18 at 17:10
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Your houserule is not overpowered

It is very much needed just to keep the Monk/Wizard competititve.

Compare the damage he does to a 5th level Monk

Both versions are using a Quarterstaff, they have no reason not to.
To show that the player is not only behind because he did not have an ASI yet (to boost Dexterity for example) the example L5 Monk does not have it either.

Monk L5
With Extra Attack, the damage would be 2x(1d8+3)+1d6+3 = 21.5

Monk 3/Wizard 2
With Green Flame Blade, the first target takes 1d8+3+1d8+1d4+3 = 17.5
As it was the accepted rule of thumb on the now defunct WotC forum, we calculate with half the damage the secondary victim takes (it might not even exist, and killing the primary target is more important than spreading damage). So the final damage is 17.5+(1d8+3)/2 = 21.25
Even if he gets to Extra Attack, it can not be used with Green Flame Blade, so this is just a temporary patch anyway.

Admittedly, the wizard levels give it more versatility, but actually make it weaker. And do not forget, that he is as MAD as can be because the monk needs Dexterity for attack and defense, Wisdom for defense, Intelligence for casting, and Constitution because everyone needs a decent value in that ability score.

This is an exception

This only works because there is hardly any synergy between Monks and Wizards. A Cleric of Arcana (SCAG) can use the cantrips, but based on Wisdom. For them this house rule would be overpowered.

Conclusion

Monk/Wizards are on the weak side of multiclassing, so giving them this minor advantage just helps them not to be too far behind.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Every 4 levels in a class, you gain an Ability Score Increase (ASI), increasing one ability by 2 points, or two abilities by 1 point. This is tracked separately per class, thus the Wizard/Monk does not get an ASI because he has not reached level 4 in either class, whereas as the pure monk would've. \$\endgroup\$ – Kyyshak Jun 19 '18 at 13:57

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