Is reflavoring without changing the mechanics that big of a problem
By - flash317
Sometimes reflavoring inadvertently makes something a little more powerful. Depending on the style of game you play, this might be an issue here.
For example, if the maul is really your fist, it can’t be seen or taken away from you (by enemies, thieves, or guards, etc). It also can’t be targeted by the spell heat metal. This is just off the top of my head, so I could understand your DM being concerned about this.
On the other hand, I totally see why you would want your monk to have cool, powerful punches! Maybe ask if flavoring the maul as something like brass knuckles is ok with your DM? That’s sort of a compromise.
This seems like the right path. Have the maul represented in a different way instead of trying to drop it either way. You can keep the heavy property no problem, but the maul's two-handed is going to be hard to replicate. I also don't think the maul is a monk weapon by default which would make the bonus action not possible.. There are some subclasses that make this ok, but could also cause the DM to say no.
I think two handed could be just that there’s two and it’s flavored as when you strike with it equipped your doing a strike that incorporates two fists (think TOS Star Trek double fist clubbing). I think it would also worked if they were little L shaped weighted metal police baton style things that didn’t extend much further than the clenched fist. That gets them to be heavy, explains the plus to damage, makes them disarmable, etc. I’d probably say they only give the plus (or give less otherwise) when using them as a two handed joint strike.
Either way it’s a good idea for some specialized monk fist weapons which D&D has always lacked.
I didn't actually think of my weapons being stolen, I feel like I would just use unarmed strikes if that happens, but the brass knuckles is also a good idea.
Reflvaour the maul to brass knuckles that can be dropped. Easy
Why can't you hide your brass knuckles on your person?
Make em big thick gauntlets then
Big thick gauntlets are better, but there are still potential situations where a pair of gauntlets don't work the same a maul, and the player needs to be ready to figure out how to make their reflavour jive with the reality of the game world.
They glow and say “Hey! Look! Listen!” If you ever try to hide them
If I recall monks have special weapon requirements for using stuff like flury of blows. There is a whole class of monk weapons that go with it. Maybe your dm doesn't want you to be able to get away with using a higher damage dice than those other weapons. I'm not sure on the exact limitation but talk to your dm. It sounds like you are going to other people online to win an argument with your dm. That is not the way to do it. IMHO ether you trust him to make the ruling or you should find new dm. That's not to say that rule discussions and disagreements shouldn't happen, but you should be able to go "he won't let me do this, it's his world that he's running, I enjoy playing with him and playing in his world, screw it I guess I can't do the thing I wanted to do".
Maybe your dm will let you change characters since you can't play how you imagined you could. Or maybe he has thought it over and decided that an extra damage dice isn't that op. Or maybe you decide that hey a monk running around with a heavy ass maul throwing its weight around is a really cool idea and better than just punching harder. Maybe your dm will create a maul monk weapon in the game and you can trade it out (like a two handed staff with a heavy ass hammer/weight on one end, that you can swing around and use as an average for flipping yourself into comvat).
yeah, I get that, but I already said in the post that I'm still using the unarmed strike damage for flurry of blows and bonus attacks and I've already switched my character during this campaign and I was so excited using him, I also went through it with him once before and he accepted it but once the character actually got into the campaign (which was quite a while after I actually showed it to him) he must have forgotten about it and now doesn't think it's a fair idea
Like I had said before. You should really talk to you dm about this. Scour the rule book. If you are using martial arts to get the unarmed strike, then you won't be able to use both the maul attack and the unarmed strike. For you to use martial arts, you need to use your attack action to attack with a monk weapon. But monk weapons are simple melee weapons that are not heavy or two handed. A Maul is both Heavy and Two Handed. At that point why are you playing a monk.
Fortunately you can still use ki points after a Maul attack.
I did the math for what you miss out on with not using a maul. Unfortunately, I closed this shit app mid post and lost everything 😭. With the maul you average 12 damage a round (when you use flurry of blows) and 7 damage after you run out of Kai points. This is before you take into account strength bonuses that apply to your maul damage.
For using just a monk weapon and using your bonus unarmed Strike attack your damage averages to 11 damage a round (with flurry of blows) and 6 damage a round after you run out of Kai points.
So you loose 1 point of damage by choosing to use a monk weapon. But you also gain a second chance to hit a target. This is especially useful against high ac targets. Most classes are forced to take dual wielding or wait to level 5 to get this opportunity. You can also spit the damage up allowing you to kill one creature with your staff, the move onto another with your punches.
On a separate note, why do you want to deal more damage? If you look at game balance, you don't need to deal damage. A monks purpose is to apply martial status effects to creatures. This allows them to controll the battle field. They are mobile so they can maneuver in and out of combat. But at high levels you should almost never be trying to smack something really hard. Leave that shit for a fighter or paladin, or ranger, or wizard. You should be a stunning strike machine. A factory that stuns every single monster the dm throws at you. Run arrou d the battle field stunning shit. I'd you want to deal damage and be a brawler play a barbarian or something.
It seams like you have some class identity problems.
Also talk to your dm, and recognize that It feels bad as a dm to have a player show up and be like "look at all these eye-pleasing online who think you are stupid and dm badly. Just let me do the thing I want to do". That shit can end friendships. Ask your dm why he changed his mind on the ruling. It's probably because monk weapons should deal d6 damage and yous would deal 2d6 damage.
You can bring up to him that you would be loosing out on early level multiple attacks a round. If you are the only front line fighter, bring up that the party will be low on damage.
(Also just so you know, here is the passage on monk weapons. You should read up on this before you talk to him).
At 1st level, 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.
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 use Dexterity instead of Strength for the Attack and Damage Rolls of your unarmed strikes and monk Weapons.
You can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your Unarmed Strike or monk weapon. This die changes as you gain monk levels, as shown in the Martial Arts column of the Monk table.
When you use the Attack action with an Unarmed Strike or a monk weapon on Your Turn, you can make one Unarmed Strike as a Bonus Action. For example, if you take the Attack action and Attack with a Quarterstaff, you can also make an Unarmed Strike as a Bonus Action, assuming you haven’t already taken a Bonus Action this turn.
Certain monasteries use specialized forms of the monk Weapons. For example, you might use a club that is two lengths of wood connected by a short chain (called a nunchaku) or a Sickle with a shorter, straighter blade (called a kama). Whatever name you use for a monk weapon, you can use the game Statistics provided for the weapon.
it never says that you have to use a monk weapon to get the bonus attacks, just if you take the attack action
What about the part where it says "When you use the attack action with an **unarmed strike or a monk weapon** on your turn, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action?"
Except it does. 5th paragraph in the quote.
A maul is a martial weapon and at base a monk can't use them. Maybe that's what your DM is trying to articulate? Cause it is heavy a kensei monk couldnt use it either.
Do you mean a mace? That's a simple weapon and honestly shouldn't be disallowed. As you say flavor it how you like.
As for it doing more or equal damage, you're allowed to use said weapon before going ham with flurry of blows etc. It shouldn't be a problem from a mechanical pov
I forgot to mention that I'm multi-classing into barbarian
Monk is designed around using Monk weapons and unarmed strikes in tandem. You can't use flurry of blows or martial arts when using a Maul and waiving that rule just because you want one more d6 of damage is a bit iffy at best.
I would say reflavoring a weapon as an unarmed strike would cross the line for me personally. If you want the damage from a maul, use a maul. I always like to take it to the extreme when I make exceptions: would it be fair if a fighter wanted to use a longsword, flavored as unarmed strikes? I personally don’t think so. Reflavoring is usually something I’m all for, but it seems you are trying to use it only to get some extra damage out on your turn.
That is a fair point but I'm not changing anything inherently mechanical, it's also for character purposes, I never wanted him to use a weapon but if I actually don't use a weapon then I won't be able to fair well during a fight.
I also think that the difference between damage types is a bit to much to reflavor, I'm still using bludgeoning damage while a longsword would obviously use slashing damage.
you are changing something inherently mechanical. you are changing a mechanic of design inherent to dungeon and dragons fifth edition. With that out of the way! What you are doing is quite drastic, the trade off between using a weapon and using your fists is quite multi faceted. not only in the roleplaying and story potential aspects but most importantly in balance and mechanics. using a weapon has its positive and negative traits, you can be disarmed, you must take out the weapon to use it, it can be broken or lost or not on your person, etc. while using your unarmed attacks are completely inconspicuous, you do not need to equip them, worry about losing or breaking them, have them in just about literally every situation (as long you have a head, arms or legs). there are features to the game that you are making obsolete through your reflavoring mainly the monk class and unarmed fighting style. Now thats all the actual balance stuff out of the way, DO WHATEVER YOU WANT!! its ultimately about fun at the end of the day! but make no illusion, by making weapons obsolete by giving the exact same stats to unarmed strikes you are drastically changing the balance and system.
TL DR: Reflavoring equip-able weapons as unarmed strikes breaks certain systems of balance and story telling. there are tools within 5e for you to make your unarmed strikes better. but who cares do whatever you want have fun!
EDIT: woah! didnt even see you are a monk! this is a whole nother can of worms design wise! the reason why monks use dex instead of strength is because they are mad as heck to begin with. if you are worried about damage and numbers etc (wanting your unarmed strikes to do as much as equipable weapons), monks are dex for a reason! they are mad as heck! needing dex, wiz and con to be effective you are now also adding str to the mix! dex is used as the tent pole for this class because it does so much for the class, ac, attack, saves and initiative and a LOT of skills. this offsets the madness. going strength would be a huge huge downgrade, either if you replace dex with str or keep them both as your main attributes. even if you were to re write a whole bunch of rules specifically for your character to make str replace dex, using str for ac and initiative you are still missing out on so many skills that dex would afford you. You may do whatever you wish in your games but just know that changing one rule is a domino effect and these dominos are set up likes this for a reason.
TL DR PART 2: if you are worried about numbers, str is one of the worst skills in the game and will hurt your monk numbers wise RAW! but again, magic dragon game follow your bliss!!
I see where you're coming from here, but I'm in a party that doesn't really care about taking out weapons before or during a fight and I've already said in multiple comments that I'm very open to the "maul" being taken away then I'd only be using the unarmed strike damage, I'm also not changing the unarmed strike damage, I'd only be using the maul damage for attack actions, not bonus actions or anything
pardon me! then yeah that sounds perfect to me! if its strictly in name then that wouldnt change a darn thing! go beat the shit out of people for me!! im cheering you on!!!
PS. I added another nightmarish blurb about str monks if you wish to read it
Maybe talk to the DM about reflavouring it to a singular knuckle brass that you wear on one hand?
That way you have a weapon, you got justification for extra damage in those hits and you are still punching the people
it really depends, for me, why they want to do it (flavor or mechanical advantage), how big a change it is, if there are potential side effects and if they're doing it to try to get around something and how important the thing is they're trying to get around.
if someone wanted to take a lizardfolk sorcerer and say that his dragon-blood lineage abilities are really his ancestor spirits and play a sort of pseudo-shaman, I don't see any real issues there it doesn't have any significant effects it's mostly swapping one flavor text for another.
on the other hand, if someone wanted to play an antipaladin but reskin it to be some kind of good-aligned non-divine avenger class, absolutely not, side effects all over and it's intentionally dodging the core aspect of the class: "must be lawful evil" to get access to the powerful normally-bad-guy-only abilities of a class not fully balanced for players.
in your case? I'd come down on the side of "no" myself. first you admit it's really just to get a bigger die, just mechanical advantage, not roleplaying or story.
second, the mechanics are totally different, it would require way too many judgement calls on interactions (if you get bracers that increase natural attack damage does it apply? if so is that giving you an unintended advantage of enchanting a weapon with an item meant for less powerful attacks only? how would that interact with damage resistance /magic weapon? etc) and it breaks the core class features-- lower base damage than a weapon is a price monks pay for their outstanding other abilities.
on top of that it introduces too many incidental bonuses-- you use a weapon but are immune to upkeep requirements, *sunder*, *disarm*, magical spells that target equipment directly or indirectly (E.g. if you enter a *magnetic field* do your fists become weaker because you had to 'drop' your 'weapon'), encumbrance, social effects (if you go into a Duke's palace where all the characters are disarmed do your fists magically become weaker because you "should have been searched and disarmed"?). and then if I do that for you what do I say when the ranger sees all these benefits and wants to skin his bow as if he's throwing darts like a composite longbow?
these are all fair points, I have commented on all of them in other comments and I'll most likely edit the post or make a part 2 or something collating all the arguments against and trying to give my opinion on them
I initially thought I might allow it, because it should be _possible_ to work around all those situations ("if you get hit by an effect that would make you drop your weapon, your unarmed Strikes go back down to 1d4 until you go to the spot where it happened and pretend you're picking up a weapon on the ground").
I changed my mind when I considered how it creates a lot of situations where players get pulled out of immersion just to realize OP's fantasy.
that's fair. to me the biggest issue is it turns a monk into "a fighter but better in every way". the low damage die is the price you pay for so many other outstanding abilities as a monk.
but yeah your solution sounds a little... LARPy to me? because that's how you handle dropped gear in a LARP when people aren't going to want to leave a very expensive prop they spent good money on laying around where it could be stepped on or stolen just because they got disarmed, or you have a prop that has to be represented on an index card because of safety or liability reasons (E.g. a shotgun, you aren't allowed to have prop guns under any circumstances because we don't want the SWAT team shooting up the comics store)
It looks like you want to have your cake and eat it too.
A rule that I follow for reflavoring is that it does not exceed a cosmetic effect. And if it does, then there be a good drawback or something that can be used as a hook in the story or something. Here the difference is clear and not merely cosmetic. An equally-levelled and identical monk without maul for hand is at a clear disadvantage against a maul-for-hands monk. It is a change to the actual rules nd creates complications as regards your "maul arm." I prefer not to make special rules for specific players as it can be seen as unfair.
If it were something that creates opportunities for storytelling or complicates your character in a roleplay aspect, like example having actual Mauls for hands. I'd actually allow it. I'd like to see how a player would handle those limitations given the obvious buff to their damage die.
But here, your weapons-averse monk wants to have a higher damage die for his standard attack unarmed strike. It doesn't seem fair to me and it seems reasonable why your DM might disallow it.
That said, I've seen this been allowed in homegames, When the DM pitied the monk who was about to stop playing because their character was not as useful in terms of DPS when it came to combat and gave them a reflavored maul (as a steel tonfa, i think) so that they can feel useful during combat.
Edit: I forgot, cheers and good luck (personally I'd just get the unarmed fighting style and be done with it.)
This isn't really a reflavour though, you're wanting one thing to be something else entirely.
Reflavouring is changing something cosmetically, not mechanically.
It's using a maul but reflavoring it to be an unarmed strike. I wouldn't hesitate about allowing it at my table, but if he's ever in a situation where he couldn't use the maul (eg holding something in his hand) it'd be a regular unarmed attack.
this is exactly what I've been saying, there is no mechanical difference between an unarmed strike and a maul except for the damage, I just believe that my character wouldn't use a weapon so I want him to punch instead, but if I only use unarmed strikes then I'm not doing my part as a monk to hit really hard
except there are tons of differences, in terms of what abilities alter your strikes, monks get tons and tons of modifiers to unarmed strikes that are designed to take something that's not normally viable for non-monster races (natural attacks) and make them viable, if not superior in some cases
adding those bonuses to a weapon make them basically a fighter that is better in every regard. the low base damage is the balance factor for all their bonuses.
I don't see the mechanical change at all, I've gone through all the mechanics that it gives except for the fact that they can take a maul away but most likely not my fists, if they do take the maul away then I'll just use the unarmed strike damage instead.
the mechanical change is that you just use a weapon that can't be used by monks and diasables their features.
It's like a Rogue saying "yeah I'm dual-wielding greatswords, it just increases my damage die, range and damage type are still the same"
or a ranger saying he's throwing darts but wants the damage of a composite bow.
But...they can’t take away your fists. Verisimilitude, or the feeling that the world you’re playing in is real, is important. Although the DM knows this, a hypothetical enemy isn’t going to “know” your fists are actually a secret maul and try to disarm you. They won’t know to heat metal your knuckles. The point is they won’t take a maul away or acknowledge a weapon that doesn’t exist.
You appear to have come here to get proven right, and not to get feedback/listen to others and see the other side. YOUR DM ALREADY MADE A RULING. So you coming back to him later on with this thread as some sort of gotcha proof that you deserve your invisible 2d6 is bad form.
Reflavoring is highly encouraged, this is true. The artificer in particular thrives on it. Weapon types and weapon damage are 100% mechanical, though, so should not be changed.
A good example of reflavoring for weapons would be a warlock using a bow to fire an eldritch blast. No arrow is actually used, and the bow provides no benefit, so it has no effect on overall damage output.
It's slightly an edge case, but in the case of Monks there are quite a few abilities that involve unarmed strikes, so treating that more powerful weapon attack as an unarmed attack is changing mechanics as well as reflavoring. Think of it this way, at 6th level your maul would count as magical. Way of Mercy monk could add necrotic damage to the maul hit. Way of the Four Elements could extend the maul attack to 10 feet and do fire damage. Path of the Kensai will have a much easier time getting the +2 AC.
As a secondary (and more important) issue, the Maul is very specifically not a monk weapon (not even as a Kensai) due to being Heavy. Several abilities only come into play if you have made an attack with an unarmed or monk weapon and these would now come into play if all you've used is the Maul.
So yes, I can see why the DM is reluctant. You shouldn't even be proficient with the Maul so I assume you've taken a feat or class to enable it, but it shouldn't trigger your Monk abilities.
So what you want is to replace 1d4+DEX attack action with 2d6+DEX (DEX as you're Monk, doubt you'd desire to use STR instead). This isn't reflavor. This is upgrade/buff/boost.
Reflavor would be using a "maul" (would count as mace from game mechanic standpoint) as monk weapon/unarmed strike, which scales accordingly with Martial Arts damage table.
I am indeed playing a stronk, but I'm not replacing unarmed strike, it's only for the attack action that I would use this damage
Think of it this way, reflavouring should make sense.
If you get struck by Heat Metal or disarmed and suddenly do less damage with your fists (because mechanically you dropped your weapon) that doesn't make sense.
Reflavouring a longsword or scimitar and calling it a Katana can make sense.
Use a quarterstaff. 1d8, it's a monk weapon, flavour flurry of blows as pole vault double kick. Add pole arm specialist and way of the astral self monk. Also having blunt weapon specialist too for repositioning.
If you want to use an unarmed strike, use an unarmed strike. If you want to use a dagger, use a dagger. There are plenty of different types of knives out there for many different purposes, but mechanically they're all still a dagger. A maul is not a fist, leg, or other body part and therefore is not an unarmed strike.
Reflavoring implies that nothing is changed mechanically. Trying to reflavor a maul as an unarmed strike changes several mechanics:
1. The damage die is changed. This is a mechanical change.
2. It sounds like you would be attempting to use Flurry of Blows despite using a weapon instead of an unarmed strike. This is a mechanical change.
Unarmed strikes are already a weapon available to every adventurer with their own properties and rules and trying to reflavor any weapon to be an unarmed strike feels like an attempt to circimnavigate those rules in order to provide an unfair advantage. Think about it from another perspective:
A level 1 druid wants to reflavor their quarterstaff as unarmed strikes. Their strength modifier is 0, so their actual unarmed strikes deal 1 damage on a hit. Now, with this reflavoring, their unarmed strikes deal 1d6 or 1d8! That's equivalent to 6 or 11 levels in monk depending on if they want to attack with one hand or two! Even worse, this druid might be able to cast Shillelagh on their "quarterstaff" (they ARE attacking with a quarterstaff's statistics, after all) to further enhance their "unarmed strikes"!
It's very important to consider all of this when it comes to reflavoring. If you have to change ANYTHING mechanically be it damage types, damage dice, or weapon properties, it's not a reflavoring. It's an attempt at homebrew that you should approach your DM with and accept the ruling with grace whether or not you like the result. It's always their table, it's always going to be their rules and you're welcome to stop playing at any point if you don't enjoy them.
This isn't *too* big a deal, but reflavoring should be in the same category if they makes sense.
Like... I'm not a fan of rapiers as a weapon in a fantasy game. They are civilian unarmored dueling blades. Instead I asked my DM if I could flavor it as an arming sword (for those unfamiliar, it's essentially a longsword style blade but shorter and designed for use with one hand. Longer than a shortsword, shorter than a longsword). It's about the same size, it deals 1d8 (1h longsword is 1d8), rogues are proficient with longswords anyway, DM said sure. We'll even change it to slashing damage because that's not a big deal.
What you *shouldn't* do, and this is an extreme example but I had someone trying to defend this... They wanted their Ranger to reflavor their bow shots as teleporting to the enemy, stabbing them, then teleporting back. This doesn't make sense because now the Ranger can translocate many many times in a 6 second window despite not being able to do so before at all. Furthermore this creates problems because now there could be a hard to reach area and the Ranger could just shoot from his longbow and teleport over there.
A less extreme example is spell appearance. You can usually flavor a spell's appearance to look however you want. Eldritch Blast from a Celestial Patron may look like golden streaks of energy, but it shouldn't deal radiant. From a Fiend Patron may look like a condensed smoke ball with trailing embers, but it still deals force damage. These are cool and fun! But keep it consistent. If you reflavor the appearance all the time (say just changing the color), you now gain an unforseen advantage. You can shoot off different colors into the sky to communicate over a distance for example.
Really though you are changing the mechanics. You're increasing the damage of your strikes to that of a maul whilst ignoring the downsides of the weapon which can cause a balance issue.
I play a character who also uses a maul that is reflavoured as an oversized wrench. It adds extra depth to my melee Artificer without giving any extra advantages.
Reflavouring is changing a fireball to a heat shockwave instead of an explosion.
Using a weapon and calling it an unarmed strike breaks some mechanics.
Pick up the Crusher feat:
You are practiced in the art of crushing your enemies, granting you the following benefits:
- Increase your Strength or Constitution by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- Once per turn, when you hit a creature with an attack that deals bludgeoning damage, you can move it 5 feet to an unoccupied space, provided the target is no more than one size larger than you.
- When you score a critical hit that deals bludgeoning damage to a creature, attack rolls against that creature are made with advantage until the start of your next turn.
That way you can flaver your big punches once per turn if you want. No Maul needed :)
that's not really the point of the reflavor and is also super situational
Normally I’d say reflavoring without changing mechanics is auto approved. Thing is here that by taking the maul out of the equation you are changing the mechanic because you can not be disarmed or otherwise deprived of the maul. I would rule this as like brass knuckles or something – or ideally something that can be held perhaps like escrima sticks (think daredevil). The key being that it should be something you have to carry that can be taken away from you. One of the pros of an unarmed build is that your best weapon is one that essentially can not be taken from you which is a mechanical advantage that needs to be balanced.
That said if your campaign is one where no one makes attempts to disarm or grapple weapons and you’re not likely to end up ever being captured or whatever then your DM might see no real point in the stat increase being tied to an object that can be taken from you.
I've already talked about this a lot in other comments but when the maul is taken away I'll just use the unarmed strike damage
Which makes sense I’m just saying that it needs to be something that can be taken away.
It's definitely up to the DM at that point, in a situation where the "maul" would be taken away, he can just tell me to use the unarmed trike damage instead
Normally, I'm on the side of reflavouring, but this is where you lost me. If you want to reflavour something, it's your job to figure out how it works with the mechanics. The DM already has enough shit to do.
You figure out how you can be disarmed. You figure out why you can't throw your massive punches with a torch in one hand. You figure out why you're so much weaker at a dinner party, in a jail cell, or in any other situation where weapons aren't allowed. Any time your reflavour conflicts with mechanics, it's up to you to make it work.
How would the maul be taken away if the maul is just your fists?
Keep in mind that if you're playing a DEX monk, using a maul will and should not work well. As with a maul you will have to use strength for an attack because it's not a valid monk weapon. Keep in mind it's also a martial weapon so make sure you have the proficiency for it.
If you use the Maul you also don't have the bonus attack with unarmed strikes.
I am indeed playing a stronk, and I've already said in multiple comments that for bonus actions I'll just use the normal unarmed strike damage as the bonus actions like the bonus unarmed strike or flurry of blows only require that you do an attack action
If you don't use a monk weapon for your attack action you are UNABLE to make a bonus action unarmed strike. Read through the Martial Arts feature.
Exactly this, and maul are martial weapons. But we don't know how much hand waving the DM is with the rules because some monk features like flurry of blows would be ridiculous with maul damage.
he said that he uses normal unarmed stikes damage 1d4/1d6 for bonus action and FoB, but it still doesn't work that way.
Maybe try to reflavour your maul to reasonably huge knuckles or gauntlets that your character wears. So this still be kind of weapon, and you still be punching enemies with fists.
And for unarmed attacks your character can use legs to kick someone)
Gauntlets are actually a really good Idea
If I remember correctly, a maul can't be a monk weapon. So if that was a rules oversight, check with your DM. if it's something they have allowed already then I don't see what the big deal is
I feel that as long as you're using the weapon in the way mechanically, then it shouldn't be a problem. TCoE even mentions reflavoring stuff to better suit your character. For example the artificers whole schtick is reflavoring it's spells into some sort of device or potion. It's the same here because nothing changes mechanically
You're subverting more rules than simply "reflavoring attacks".
When you use a non-monk weapon, you can no longer use the unarmed attack die. Using a heavy two handed weapon (with 2d6) precludes you from making the monk's quick effective strikes.
>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. This die
changes as you gain monk levels, as shown in the
Martial Arts column of the Monk table
Your bonus action unarmed strike keys off of you making an unarmed strike / monk weapon (maul does not count, ie. the 2d6 weapon you're subbing).
>When you use the Attack action with an unarmed
strike or a monk weapon on your turn, you can make
one unarmed strike as a bonus action.
A level 20 monk punches with a d10. Average 5.5. The maul hits with 2d6. Average 7 damage. You're attempting to punch way above your class level (pun intended) at, essentially level 2 (I saw you multiclassed with barb).
You're essentially asking if you can add a d6 (or so) to your primary attacks, the same as an always on Hunter's Mark / Hex, and get the benefit of Monk's exclusive features (unarmed attacks dmg die and bonus action unarmed strike).
Now, flurry of blows is fine, you can use that Ki point and attack twice with your BA. FoB rules just state you need to make an attack, not an unarmed strike/monk weapon. However, you have to use normal unarmed attack rules, not the monk's dmg die.
So, if you want to go down this route, you're hitting with the 2d6 maul, but you can't bonus action attack, but you can Flurry of Blows for 1 + Str mod. Those are the rules. And you can reflavor THAT as being done with punches and kicks. That's what reflavoring means. It means to follow the proper mechanics but change the aesthetics. You are not trying to follow the mechanics. You're trying to have ~~your cake and eat it too~~ two cakes, ignoring the one cake per person rule.
Is it wrong to cheat? Yes.
Reflavouring is fine if its done right. Perhaps consider turning the mall into a weapon that would fit your character better - like a huge knuckle buster.
I think I would usually agree that it isn’t a problem, but I think it’s a change that needs a clear explanation for why. Why do these punches deal SO MUCH MORE DAMAGE?Are you using a ridiculous fighting style the involves doublefist smashes like Captain Kirk? Do you earthbend stone onto your hands, smashing and losing the stone coverage with your swings?
Because if you are you just throwing punches, there’s already a damage die for that. Your martial arts die.
Jazz it up. Dress that damage up as something fun or clever.
Reflavoring is absolutly fine if the mechanics match the skin. Changing the aspect of a weapon is no problem, going from having a weapon to having none represents some mechanical issues. The damage coming from your unarmed strikes means that the weapon cannot be stolen or broken. Say you're fighting a rust monster. You now have an unfair advantage over the rest of characters. If you meet someone important and the guards require you to leave the weapons behind, it doesn't affect you. Some spells like heat metal, some class features like voice of authority, and even manouvers like disarming attack don't take any effect on you. There's also the problem with ki-empowered strikes, where your unarmed strikes counts as magic but not your weapon attacks.
Now, all of those things are rare to happen and they are all solved by "you may use any weapon reflavored as unarmed strikes, but all the mechanics that apply to a weapon still affect you". Or it can be changed to another weapon, like nunchakus, metal staff or even brass knuckles. So if you really want it, I'd probably insist.
I'd never allow it just because it would inevitably create moments of confusion over whether you're using a weapon or not. More importantly, it's not something the DM can take away from you, which is inherently problematic. It could never be dropped in combat, nor stolen by an enemy to be used against you, nor broken without crippling you. If your party goes to a clandestine meeting or something, and the entire party is meant to either willingly relinquish their weapons or roll slight of hand to keep some small weapon, you would be able keep your weapon with no slight of hand while your party wouldn't.
I’m confused by why you are even using a maul? It pretty clearly states in the monk’s martial arts feature that monk weapons are “shortswords and any simple Melee Weapons that don't have the Two-Handed or heavy property.” Mauls are two-handed and heavy…
And if you are attacking with a weapon that isn’t a monk weapon, you don’t get to make the bonus action attack.
I re flavored the Warhammer of my Dwarf Monk as obsidian plates he hid in his hand wraps. (He was an underhanded brawler)
First off, if the DM says no then that’s the way it is. I don’t think your DM is being unreasonable and I wouldn’t press the issue.
That being said, I agree with you and don’t know why any of the comments in this thread changed your mind. Let’s say you have the maul on your back. Then it still makes sense to cast heat metal on it, that someone could steal it, etc., and if they do, that particular unarmed strike is affected. It has no effect on mechanics in that case. It just makes you feel better about your character without gimping yourself (on an already weak class).
Follow up thought- you're allowed to use a spear or a quarterstaff at base monk level. These are versatile, so you can legitimately get a d8 weapon when attacking two handed before going into your bonus actions.
If you go kensei you get some martial weapons so could pick a longsword for d10 (versatile) or a battle axe or warhammer also come out on the d10 (check that one tho and don't quote me on it).
If you want the damage, there's a feat:
Fighting Initiate - TCoE, pg. 80
You learn one Fighting Style option of your choice from the fighter class.
Unarmed Fighting - TCoE42
Your unarmed strikes can deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6+1 on a hit. If you aren’t wielding any weapons or a shield when you make the attack roll, the d6 becomes a d8.
At the start of each of your turns, you can deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage to one creature grappled by you.
This isn’t reflavouring and you are changing the mechanics. 0/10
I won't belabor the good points herein about balance and unintended consequences of "flavor" changes.
I'll just note that Pathfinder 2E "solves" this problem – in large part – for [Monks by using stances](https://2e.aonprd.com/Feats.aspx?Traits=112).
Pathfinder 2e's action economy consists of 3 actions per turn. For 1 action you can enter a stance (drawing a weapon is also 1 action). While in that stance, the only unarmed strikes you can make are of the specific type, with various larger damage dice, traits and other effects. Leaving a stance is free, same as dropping a weapon.
[monk ranged weapon](https://www.deviantart.com/venjix5/art/Extendable-Boxing-Glove-Gun-vector-797805384)