If I’m proficient with a bastard sword, does that qualify as being proficient with a martial weapon?

My character is a Kensai, which means he is only proficient with simple weapons, and one martial or exotic weapon of his choice. He has chosen proficiency with the bastard sword.

A bastard sword is about 4 feet in length, making it too large to use in one hand without special training; thus, it is an exotic weapon. A character can use a bastard sword two-handed as a martial weapon.

Upon reaching 8th level, he would like to enter the Student of War prestige class, but that prestige class requires the character to be proficient with two martial weapons.

I can get longsword proficiency with the Arodenite Sword Training combat trait (technically I can get klar and earth breaker proficiencies with the Shoanti Tattoo trait but for the sake of the question let’s say I’m not a Shoanti), but would I have to take a Martial Weapon Proficiency feat to qualify for Student of War?

How much does this Favored Foe tweak for the Ranger’s class feature from TCoE buffs the Rangers when compared to other martial classes?


I want to tweak the Favored Foe optional class feature for the Ranger from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

I’m fairly disappointed with the Favored Foe optional class feature for the Rangers released in TCoE, it’s essentially just a worse Hunter’s Mark. This feature allows more versatility with your Foe Slayer feature at level 20, but it also locks your concentration. Since it’s a worse Hunter’s Mark, Favored Foe will probably see less use until you get Foe Slayer (and how many games reach level 20?). The only saving grace to this feature is the improved action economy. Two weapon fighting or crossbow expert Rangers might see some use out of this.

While the UA version is definitely better in terms of damage, I’d have to agree with this Reddit post that says that the UA version incentivizes 1 level dip to the Ranger class, but doesn’t incentivize more levels in Ranger. User u/ZatherDaFox added "One of the ranger’s biggest issues has always been a lack of really cool mid and late game abilities to justify taking the class that high."

Now, I’m trying to come up with a solution after Favored Foe was officially published in Tasha’s Caudron of Everything. tl;dr, here’s the changelog:

  • Renamed it to Hunter’s Mark
  • If you take this optional class feature, it replaces your Favored Enemy class feature and removes the Hunter’s Mark spell from this Ranger’s spell list
  • The damage still scales exactly the same as TCoE’s Favored Foe, but now it applies to every attack that hits (even spell attacks)
  • Added the advantage to track and find it bit from the Hunter’s Mark spell
  • Duration is 1 hour, following the Hunter’s Mark spell
  • Number of uses equal to proficiency bonus per short or long rest
  • At level 11, it no longer requires concentration

Hunter’s Mark

1st-level ranger feature, which replaces the Favored Enemy feature and works with the Foe Slayer feature. Furthermore, Hunter’s Mark is removed from your spell list.

When you hit a creature with an attack roll, you can call on your mystical bond with nature to mark the target as your favored enemy for 1 hour or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell). Until your concentration ends, you deal an extra 1d4 damage to the target whenever you hit it with an attack, and you have advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) check you make to find it.
    You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a short or long rest. This feature’s extra damage increases when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d6 at 6th level and to 1d8 at 14th level. Furthermore, once you have reached 11th level in this class, this feature no longer requires concentration.

What this aims to fix:

As stated before, I want people to want to play the Ranger class and experience them at higher levels, not just as one level dips. I play a Ranger in my homebrew campaign, but I use the Revised Ranger UA version because the PHB just seems very DM-/campaign-dependent and, to me at least, is poorly designed compared to the other classes. Tasha’s has introduced a lot of new optional class features for the Ranger that I’m eternally grateful for (I’ll literally never take the PHB Natural Explorer ever again). So it sucks to see that one of them just barely misses the mark (get it? Hahah).

The changes don’t really alter the playstyle of the Ranger prior to level 11, I think. I set the uses at PB per short or long rest since this Hunter’s Mark can’t jump between targets when you reduce one to 0 hit points. And every Rangers still need to contemplate the usual "do I drop my Hunter’s Mark now and try something different, or should I stick with it?" This has always been a problem with me in my campaign, and in its current state I do plan on multiclassing into Rogue very soon, since I don’t think I can utilize many spells because my Wisdom is not that high. I know that sounds more like a me thing but Wisdom is not generally the Ranger’s main ability score either, so it’s usually lower than their Dexterity, de-incentivizing creative uses of spells with a saving throw or a to-hit.

This changes in level 11, though. This Ranger’s Hunter’s Mark now no longer requires concentration. I read somewhere (can’t find it anymore) that advised people who wants to homebrew stuff to stay away from altering the concentration mechanic in D&D 5e, among other things (action economy was also mentioned). I removed the concentration at level 11 because it’s entering a new tier of play, so I think it’s a fitting jump in terms of prowess for this class. Also, since it no longer requires concentration at this level, Rangers can now try more experiments with their spells! It removes one decision point in combat for the Ranger, which I think is a good thing.

The Ranger’s current level 11 class feature is tied to their subclass, so this adds another oomph to those as well. But, I am also deathly afraid that messing with concentration like this is going to overpower the Ranger when compared to the other martial classes. My biggest argument is that the Paladin gets Improved Divine Smite also at 11th level, which is very similar to this Hunter’s Mark since it a straight damage buff.

tl;dr, the question: do these changes for Favored Foe, now renamed Hunter’s Mark, significantly buffs the Rangers, to the point of overpowered when compared to the other martial classes?

Under what conditions does a Martial Spellcaster need the Warcaster feat to comfortably cast spells?

I had a player recently come to me about playing an Eldritch Knight character, and they had questions about their ability to cast spells while holding a weapon (or two), and were debating taking the Warcaster feat (PHB, 170) to mitigate specifically those issues. At my table, I try to take the somatic/material component requirements of spells seriously, so I want to make sure I have a grasp of what can or cannot be done when a spellcaster holding weapons tries to cast a spell, or return to attacking after having cast a spell.

One thing I’m especially interested in is the degree to which the character can "comfortably" do the actions listed. "Comfortably" in this context means that the character isn’t taking certain actions which might be technically legal according to the rules of the game, but which might inconvenience them under common circumstances. A common example is a Two Weapon Fighting character who drops a weapon to the ground to grab their spellcasting focus for casting; if they have to move, they risk leaving their weapon behind on the ground, so from my perspective, this wouldn’t qualify as a "comfortable" maneuver.

So, for the following builds, under what conditions is the character able to cast spells, and to what degree does the Warcaster feat improve their ability to do so?

  • Holding a one-handed weapon
  • Holding two one-handed weapons
  • Holding a one-handed weapon and Shield (neither Cleric nor Paladin)
  • Holding a one-handed weapon and Shield (Cleric or Paladin)
    • I’m separating these two out because Clerics and Paladins both get the ability to affix a Holy Symbol to their shield and therefore use their Shield as they would a Material Component. So I think the answer to this question is necessarily different depending on whether the spellcaster is a paladin or an Eldritch Knight, for example.
  • Holding a two-handed weapon

Can I combine Martial Arts and Horde Breaker?

Can I use the martial arts feature on the second attack granted by horde breaker?

I.e., hit the first target with a weapon, use martial arts to unarmed strike, then use hoard breaker to jump to the second target and repeat?

I know I can’t use Horde Breaker multiple times, perhaps I was unclear in that. My question is, does Horde Breaker give me another full attack round thus allowing me to use Martial Arts again in that attack’s bonus round?

Ki-Fueled Attack Optional Feature Versus Martial Arts Feature

The Martial Arts feature allows for a bonus action unarmed strike after a main attack of an unarmed strike or a monk weapon attack. The Ki Fueled Attack feature allows for either an unarmed strike or a monk weapon attack after spending a ki point (such as on a stunning strike) as part of the action. Am I right in saying that the differences between the two are limited to the following?:

  1. Martial arts has to be an attack, Ki Fueled can provide for something else, such as a subclass feature.
  2. Martial arts only has an unarmed bonus attack, Ki Fueled attack can be a weapon attack.
  3. Both and/or either in any way only allow for 1 additional attack as a bonus action.

Can I use a maneuver to meet the prerequisites for a martial stance, then swap out that maneuver later?

I’m a Warblade in the process of reaching level 6. I have one level 1 Diamond Mind maneuver. Is the following possible:

For my level six feat, I want to take Martial Stance to attain the Diamond Mind stance Pearl of Black Doubt. It needs one Diamond Mind maneuver as a pre-req.

Can I take that feat and add that maneuver, the swap out that maneuver for one of a different school as per the Warblade leveling rules?

Does having natural weapons prevent a wild-shaped monk from using Martial Arts?

The monk’s Martial Arts feature’s benefits all require a monk to be “unarmed or only wielding monk weapons”. Even if you’re a Way of the Kensei monk, that only lets you add a couple of new simple or martial weapons to your monk weapon list.

The druid’s Wild Shape forms all come wielding natural weapon attacks. Natural attacks are not unarmed attacks, nor are they monk weapons, nor are they simple or martial weapons that can possibly be chosen by a kensei.

Therefore, a beast is never “unarmed”, and thus can never use a druid/monk’s martial arts benefits even if it wanted to choose to use unarmed strikes instead of its natural attacks.

Is this accurate? Or, can a beast choose not to “wield” it’s teeth and claws?

This blanket prohibition on Martial Arts when one has natural weapons seems overly-restrictive; it would mean, for example, that a Minotaur can never be a monk, since they are “never unarmed.”

I am explicitly not answering the (already answered and very obvious) question of whether animals can make unarmed attacks. I am asking whether they can ever choose not to “wield” their own natural weapons, so as to be able to use martial arts in the first place.

Does Martial Arts Damage Apply to Ranged Attacks with Monk Weapons?

Inspired by an answer to What is the Attack Roll for Deflect Missile?.

The Monk’s Martial Arts feature states that monk weapons are, “…short swords and any simple melee weapons that don’t have the two-handed or heavy property.” (emphasis mine)

For the purposes of my question, I am assuming a 17th level Monk, so that the Martial Arts damage die is 1d10.

My question is that when making a damage roll with a weapon that can be either melee or ranged, like a dagger, which damage die do I roll on a hit for a ranged attack? I am assuming this uses 1d4 because this isn’t a simple melee weapon anymore, but a simple ranged weapon based on the definitions for melee and ranged weapons as defined on page 146 of the PHB:

“A melee weapon is used to attack a target within 5 feet of you, whereas a ranged weapon is used to attack a target at a distance.” (emphasis from the PHB)

Does a monk get martial arts die damage on improvised thrown monk weapons?

The monk’s martial arts ability states:

Your practice of Martial Arts gives you mastery of Combat styles that use unarmed strikes and monk Weapons, which are shortswords and any simple Melee Weapons that don’t have the Two-Handed or heavy property.

I am specifically asking about a shortsword, which is a monk weapon by definition, but this question could apply to any monk weapon that does not have the thrown property.

The monk’s martial arts ability also states:

You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding only monk Weapons and you aren’t wearing armor or wielding a Shield… • You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your Unarmed Strike or monk weapon.

I would be more comfortable if this said "You can roll the Martial Arts Damage Die shown in the Monk Level / Ability Progression Table" rather than "you can roll a d4", but the other questions I looked at in researching this took that as an assumption and no one challenged them, so…

The rules for using an improvised weapon state…

If a character uses a ranged weapon to make a melee Attack, or throws a melee weapon that does not have the thrown property, it also deals 1d4 damage.

Consider a monk wielding a shortsword and fitting all other requirements for using the martial arts ability.

The shortsword is a melee weapon that does not have the thrown property and has a base damage of d6.

If the monk throws the shortsword it would become an improvised weapon, and thus normally would deal d4 damage. However, in this case does specific beat general and allow the monk to replace the "normal damage" of an improvised weapon with the martial arts die damage, which would be d6 at 5th level?

Or, does the fact that the monk is throwing the shortsword as an improvised weapon disqualify it from being considered a monk weapon, in the same way that one cannot use proficiency for an improvised weapon attack because throwing a melee weapon without the thrown property is no longer a weapon with which one is proficient?

This question: Does Martial Arts Damage Apply to Ranged Attacks with Monk Weapons? affirms that monks get their martial arts die damage on ranged weapons, but the question only considers melee weapons that already possess the ranged property, not improvised weapons.

This question: Does using versatile weapons with 2 hands disqualify them as Monk weapons? affirms that monks get to use their martial arts feature on all monk weapons, even when they use them in ways that would disqualify them from being monk weapons (in this case, using a versatile weapon two-handed).

Somewhat related: Does a Monk's Martial Arts die replace all of a magic weapon's damage, or only the die portion of it?