At the moment I have a level 5 monk, and I am thinking about putting one level into fighter to gain the dueling fighting style. Since unarmed strikes count as melee weapons for the purpose of that rule, as per this ruling clarification.

Does that mean I gain +2 to the attack rolls for each of my monk strikes? At level 5, that is 4 unarmed strikes, with flurry of blows used, giving a total of +8 to damage, before other modifiers.

Does the modifier apply to damage rolls that are part of an attack made with a bonus action?


1 Answer 1


You've misunderstood the ruling.

Addressing a nuance in the PH errata: the rule lets melee weapon attacks use unarmed strikes, despite those strikes not being weapons.

In case you need further proof, you can scroll a bit down the page you linked to:

Unarmed strikes never should have appeared as weapons, hence the correction. The monk is barely affected.

And even further down, we have this:

The unarmed strike mistake caused a number of problems in the system. See Dueling in the fighter for one example.

So, in other words, not only are unarmed strikes no longer weapons, they were specifically changed to prevent exactly what you're trying to do.

Now, if we want to ignore Crawford's Twitter and just look at the actual rules, we can see that unarmed strikes are defined as:

Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an unarmed strike: a punch, kick, head-butt, or similar forceful blow (none of which count as weapons).

And just for completeness, here's what Dueling says:

When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

Nothing in there about melee weapon attacks, it's all about actual weapons. Unarmed strikes aren't weapons, so they won't work with Dueling.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I think i may have misunderstood it. So that means then you must have a equipped weapon to use the Stunning Strike at level 5, you cant use your Unarmed Strikes to do it? If so hardly seems like monks are unaffected by the change. Even considering that, Ive got a quarterstaff at the moment, would that mean it could still be worth one level into the Fighter to get +2 onto each of those hits? The quarter staff damage dice go up with monk level as well. Also thanks for the help :) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 4, 2016 at 12:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @WarriorMonks Stunning Strike only requires a melee weapon attack, which unarmed strikes do count as. As for quarterstaff, it's up to you - remember that your bonus action attacks have to be unarmed strikes, so you'd only get the +2 on 2 attacks. Whether it's worth slowing down your Monk progression for that 4 damage is a decision you'll have to make. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Sep 4, 2016 at 13:09

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