Monk’s Martial Arts and Polearm Master

I have a problem with an interpretation of the outcome of a monk with the Polearm Master feat, wielding a quarterstaff.

  1. You can take the Attack action and attack with a quarterstaff using Dex instead of Str and dealing 1d4 (monk), 1d6 (normal) or 1d8 (versatile) damage.
  2. Then you can use a Bonus action and make an unarmed strike using Dex instead of Str, dealing 1d4 (monk) damage.
  3. Or you can use a Bonus action from from Polearm Master and make a weapon attack using Dex instead of Str, dealing 1d4 (polearm master) or 1d4 (monk) damage.

Note: Monk’s Martial Art damage goes higher with levels up to 1d10.

Am I right with my interpretation? Especially the part of using a monk’s damage die instead of the Polearm Master die. I don’t know which “die replacement” is more specific.

Polearm, reach homebrew weapon for Kensei Monk balance

I will be running a campaign and one of my players wants to play specifically a Kensei Monk with a polearm weapon that has reach and is not heavy or special, so he can use it as kensei weapon. He wants to play variant human with the sentinel and polearm master feats. At level one I presume he would pick one of those. To balance a weapon for him I read this question and they say it would be balanced with either a 1d6 long quarterstaff or 1d8 long spear. But it seems to me that the combinations with feats is still too strong especially with the sentinel feat at level 1. I wanted to allow either a 1d6 weapon with any starting feat, or a 1d8 weapon with the condition that the first feat cannot be sentinel. My reasoning is that the character would have too much damage and too good control at level 1. Reducing the movement speed to 0 on a wrong move seems very strong.

So I see two possible solutions:

  1. The answer to the linked question applies to this one regardless of feats, in which case sorry to bother.
  2. My reasoning would be a better balance and can be applied.

Which of the two proposed solutions is correct?

Let me know if any more information is necessary.

Thank you for your time!

Is a character with the Polearm Master and Sentinel feats unbeatable in a duel?

One of the benefits of the Polearm Master feat (PHB, p. 168) is:

While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

One of the benefits of the Sentinel feat (PHB, p. 169-170) is:

When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature’s speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.

So if an enemy aproaches, you hit it with the opportunity attack from Polearm Master, and because of Sentinel it is now stopped 10 feet away from you. They can not hit you, you hit them on your turn and move back 5 feet.
Repeat at will.

Is this unbeatable in a duel? Am I not seeing something?

Can a character with the Polearm Master feat make an opportunity attack against an invisible creature that enters their reach?

The second benefit of the Polearm Master feat (PHB, p. 168) says:

While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, quarterstaff, or spear, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

The regular rules on opportunity attacks state:

You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach. To make the opportunity attack, you use your reaction to make one melee attack against the provoking creature. The attack occurs right before the creature leaves your reach.

Obviously, Polearm Master lets you use your reaction to make an opportunity attack when a creature enters your reach, in addition to the opportunity attack any character can make when a creature leaves their reach. However, does the opportunity attack from Polearm Master follow the same restriction on needing to see the creature, or can this attack be made even without seeing the creature that enters its reach?

If an invisible creature enters the reach of a character with the Polearm Master feat, can the character make an opportunity attack against that creature?

Does Polearm Mastery have a disadvantage on adjacent targets?

Does a character that has taken the Polearm Mastery feat have any trouble with targets closer than 10 feet? i.e. standing immediately in front of them (5ft).

The feat wiki tells me this:

Polearm Master: You can keep your enemies at bay with reach weapons. You gain the following benefits:

When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and the attack deals bludgeoning damage.

While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

It says that it keeps them at bay, does this mean no creature can get closer to attack it?

I’m thinking about something along the lines of Ranged Weapons, where when a target is adjacent (5 ft.) you have disadvantage when trying to hit them.

Aiming a ranged attack is more difficult when a foe is next to you. When you make a ranged attack with a weapon, a spell, or some other means, you have disadvantage on the attack roll if you are within 5 feet of a hostile creature who can see you and who isn’t incapacitated. (BD&D p73)

Does this make sense? I want my players to have fun using their feats but I was curious if the rules say something about this specifically.

Can you combine Polearm Master with War Caster to cast Booming Blade as enemies approach?

The Polearm Master feat (PHB, p. 168) says:

While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

The War Caster feat (PHB, p. 170) says:

When a hostile creature’s movement provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell at the creature, rather than making an opportunity attack. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action and must target only that creature.

On this very topic, Mearls has said it requires an attack with the same weapon that’s granting you the trigger:

Q: Do Polearm Master and War Caster combine to allow a magic user to make a spell opportunity attack when they enter reach?
A: No – polearm master applies only if you use the weapons it lists to make the attack

Another question on this very topic: Which is likely to provide more chances to opportunity attack, Polearm Master or Sentinel (with War Caster)?

But since then, we now have spells like booming blade (SCAG, p. 142):

As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell’s range, otherwise the spell fails. On a hit, the target suffers the attack’s normal effects, and it becomes sheathed in booming energy until the start of your next turn. If the target willingly moves before then, it immediately takes 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends.

So, with the addition of booming blade, if I have a quarterstaff + War Caster + Polearm Master, could I use my reaction to cast booming blade if someone steps into my reach?

What are the practical Opportunity Attack values for a bugbear, holding a reach weapon, with the Polearm Master feat?

I have crafted a Barbarian bugbear that uses a halberd weapon, and will take Polearm Master as a feat.

Bugbears have the Long-Limbed trait:

When you make a melee attack on your turn, your reach for it is 5 feet greater than normal.

The description of the Reach weapon property says:

This weapon adds 5 feet to your reach when you attack with it, as well as when determining your reach for opportunity attacks with it.

I am trying to determine the cut-off ranges for various situations. Making a standard melee attack is pretty straight-forward. He can attack anyone in 15′ (5′ for normal, plus 5′ for bugbear, then add 5′ for reach).

But how do I calculate opportunity attacks?

You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach.

So my reach is generally 15′. But per the bugbear description, that extra 5′ is only when I make an attack on your turn. So his effective reach is only 10′.

So an opponent can be next to the character and safely back away 5′ because they have not left the 10’/15′ reach. But what happens at 10′ and 15′?

At 10′, they are still within my normal reach, but only on my turn. At 15′ they are leaving my reach, but I only get that extra 5′ on my turn so it would not be available as a reaction.

P.S. There is a sister question about Polearm Mastery and entering my threat range.

At what distance can a bugbear, holding a reach weapon, with Polearm Mastery, get their Opportunity Attack?

I have crafted a Barbarian bugbear that uses a halberd weapon, and will take Polearm Mastery as a feat.

As a bugbear:

Long-Limbed. When you make a melee attack on your turn, your reach for it is 5 feet greater than normal.”

Using a reach weapon:

Reach. This weapon adds 5 feet to your reach when you attack with it. This property also determines your reach for opportunity attacks with a reach weapon.”

And Polearm Mastery:

“While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, quarterstaff, or spear, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

Making a standard melee attack is pretty straight-forward. He can attack anyone in 15′ (5′ for normal, plus 5′ for bugbear, then add 5′ for reach).

At what distance can he attack someone coming towards him?

So my reach is generally 15′. But per the bugbear description, that extra 5′ is only when I make an attack on your turn. So his effective reach is only 10′.

Per Polearm Mastery, I can take an Opportunity Attack when they enter my reach; which is normally 15′. But I only get that extra 5′ on my turn, and since this is another creature using it’s movement, it’s not the character’s turn.

So can he attack when someone is 15′ feet away, or does he have to wait until they are within 10′?

P.S. There is a sister question about Polearm Mastery and leaving my threat range.

Does the bonus attack from Polearm mastery feats receive ability modifier for damage?

PHB page 168 says:

Polearm Mastery: You can keep your enemies at bay with reach weapons. You gain the following benefits:

When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and it deals bludgeoning damage.

While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

Does this bonus attack benefit from ability modifiers for damage?

Using shillelagh with polearm master [duplicate]

This question already has an answer here:

  • Shillelagh and Polearm Master Interaction 1 answer

If a character with the shillelagh spell and polearm master feat can they use a d8 for their second attack with a quarterstaff?

Shillelagh

For the duration thereafter, you can use your spellcasting ability modifier instead of Strength for the weapon, and its damage die becomes a d8.

Polearm Master

When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, quarterstaff or spear, […] the weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and the attack deals bludgeoning damage.

One could argue that the feat makes it clear that your extra attack with Polearm master says that it deals a d4, period. But one could also say that the d4 is one of the quarterstaff’s damage dice, and therefore becomes a d8 because you are making a second attack with the weapon.