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I have a player who would like to multi-class as a Druid and Blade Pact Warlock, using their pact weapon while in Wild Shape form.

In this particular instance, they want to adapt the weapon to fit their animal form, say, adding spikes to hooves or a pointed helmet to some kind of charging animal.

Would arming an animal be feasible and/or practical (now I'm imagining a bear with a Pickelhaube...)? Even if you could give a bear a sword, I don't think it would do as much damage as its natural weapons anyway. But maybe adding extra spikes to an elk's horns might add bonus damage? Would this, in and of itself, seem to break anything? I'm tempted to say no, as you can armor a horse, add lasers to a shark, etc.

Is there a unique advantage to arming said animal via a pact weapon? It would give proficiency, be magical, etc. But again, it may deliver less of an impact than the animal's natural weapons, or just give a little boost to DPS or something, but that could negate itself just by being MAD.

I'm conflicted here. I don't want this to just be some way to powergame, but if there's no real advantage (beyond what you might achieve with something like Druid/Barbarian or similar) and just makes for good RP then I'm obliged to allow it.

Will this break things? Am I missing something?

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Maybe.

When wild shaped, "any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form" and you still have access to any features granted from your class, race, feats, and so on. (PHB, pg 67)

Pact of the Blade says "you can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand." You are also proficient with it while you wield it. (PHB, pg 107)

That being said, if you wild shape into a beast that has hands, such as a gorilla, then you can use pact of the blade to create a pact weapon, and you will be proficient with it.

However, if you are an elk, you do not have hands, thus you cannot use the pact of the blade class feature.

If you wish to take the course of action described in your question, such as allowing an elk to gain extra "spikes" and deal extra damage with his natural attacks, you are stepping over the threshold into homebrew territory.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there a source or citation that says beasts cannot wield melee weapons? It would seem to be common sense for most beast types, but certainly an ape could wield a club? \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Nov 16 '16 at 2:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @keithcurtis There isn't. I brushed up on the pertinent rules and modified my answer accordingly. Using your example, you actually can wild shape into a gorilla and make use of the pact of the blade class feature to summon a pact weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Nov 16 '16 at 2:33
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You could use an action to create a weapon that a beast can wield (for example a spiked harness for a bear) in your hand. Then you wildshape and have an ally put the weapon onto you. As long as the weapon is not more than 5ft away from you for 1 minute it remains.

Pact of the Blade You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it. You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Your pact weapon disappears if it is more than 5 feet away from you for 1 minute or more. It also disappears if you use this feature again, if you dismiss the weapon (no action required), or if you die.

emphasize mine

  • You create the weapon in your empty hand - check
  • You choose the form - check
  • You are proficient - check
  • It remains unless more than 5ft away for a minute - check

With the help of an ally it seems you could wield a pact weapon while in wildshape IF you create the weapon before shifting

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is it always valid to choose the form of the melee weapon arbitrarily, even if that form isn't listed on the melee weapons table? Or would that be a DM call? \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Nov 18 '16 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoelHarmon The ability text states that you can chose the form without pointing towards the weapons section. So as written you can chose any form. The gm then is the one to tell you what stats this weapon has. Certainly, as always, the gm can tell you: No \$\endgroup\$ – Umbranus Nov 18 '16 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Umbranus point made. If you make a minor edit then I can change my downvote. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Nov 18 '16 at 12:34
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Wild Shape PHB p67

You can’t cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form.

You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so.

Pact of the Blade PHB p107

You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand.

Clearly you have access to the class feature when Wild Shaped. However the Pact of the Blade states creating the weapon takes an action and needs an empty hand and Wild Shape states your ability to take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form.

These taken together clearly state that you can only use the feature if your beast form has hands able to wield the weapon, which will be a judgement of your DM.

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