So, last night i was cooking up a new character and had this in mind. While reading the Wild Shape topic from PHB, i couldn't find anything that rules out the option to turn into an Ape/Giant Ape that can wield a Spear/Club.

Is it possible?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What makes you think it can't? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 17:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why would you want to? An Ape attacks twice for d6+3 with its fists. If you grab a weapon, the mutiattack will not apply and the highest damage would be d8+3 with a greatclub. Also, you cannot WildShape into a Giant Ape, as that is CR7, which is off limits to even Circle of the Moon. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 I just never heard of a situation like that, and assumed that there was a catch somehow. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 17:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega It's just for additional flavor, i'm aware of the damage outcome. But maybe with magic weapons, or enchanted, that could change. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega But yes, never going full Giant Ape :/ ... There goes the Oozaru dream. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


Yes, a wild shaped druid can wield a spear.

Let's look at the relevant rules for wild shape:

Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast, but you retain your alignment, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature.

And this part:

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.

Since you retain your mental statistics, and apes have opposable thumbs, there is no reason to restrict a wild shaped druid ape from wielding any sort of weapon.

The only question is, does weapon proficiency apply? My ruling is yes, your proficiencies in any weapons must apply, since proficiency is a measure of skill and knowledge using a tool/object. My thought behind weapon proficiency being omitted from the wild shape rule is simply that most animals don't have thumbs which let them wield weapons with any sort of success.

Then again, even if your DM rules that your proficiency doesn't apply, that doesn't mean you can't use it; it just means you can't use it as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! As the last DM of the group, i would allow the proficiency to apply, since the PHB often treats the proficiencies as knowledge as you said. Let's see what the new DM will think about it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 17:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ You have gained your weapon proficiencies with your humanoid body. Beaing a beast is a different experience. You have different strength, dexterity, balance, possibly size. I would be hesitant to grant proficiency to a martial or ranged weapon to the druid in beast form. Also consider that if your size changes, but the weapon is the same size that can lead to shenanigans too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega 5e doesn't have weapon size (other than heavy weapons, which are prohibited from use by small sized races). As for the rest of it, it's really up to the DM. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 18:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega Sure, but again that's in the DMG. It's up to the DM, and that specific case you quoted is for giants and the like, right? I'm not sure why that matters at all here. The ape is a medium sized creature and likely the only beast that has opposable thumbs and which can be wild shaped into by the druid. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 18:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RafaelCosta - Physical stats aren't knowledge proficiencies. They're muscle memory and training. No matter how high the Barbarian's stats are on Str and Con, ripping Bob's book of how to build better boats! in half and eating it won't teach him how to sail. But he could drag that boat himself over land by hand thanks to his training. Knowing how to do something is a lot different than actually doing something. Sure it gives you a starting place, but it still takes training to get there. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 15:05

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