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I can't clearly understand why my answer to What reasons have the designers given for why unarmed strikes aren't 'light melee weapons'? was downvoted and deleted. How could I make the answer eligible?

The OP asked:

Given that Unarmed Strikes do not have the light property, this implies that you can't use your bonus action to attack with them. Unless you're a monk. However, why is that?

Mechanically speaking, why can you attack twice with two daggers, but you can't attack with a dagger and then punch, or even punch twice?

From my point of view, the confusion arises when you treat "unarmed strike" as a single punch with left or right hand (hence "why can't I punch twice" question - pretty logical, since you have two hands). OP was asking about kind of a special rule, that explicitly restricts unarmed strikes.

So my answer was based on the official Basic Rules, which says

Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an unarmed strike: a punch, kick, head-butt, or similar forceful blow (none of which count as weapons). On a hit, an unarmed strike deals bludgeoning damage equal to 1 + your Strength modifier.

The OP asked for any "stated reasoning behind this rule". That was the reasoning - since "Unarmed strike" is a not a term for hitting with one (left or right) hand, but for making an attack when being unarmed, you still make a single attack per action (unless something - a specialized weapon or a special class feature - gives you more opportunities). Mechanically, there are no other special rules or restrictions here.

In contrast, "Light" weapon property is explicitly about two-weapon combat:

A light weapon is small and easy to handle, making it ideal for use when fighting with two weapons.

So it's not about just having two hands. It's the weapon that actually gives you an opportunity for a more dangerous attack:

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand.

However, the answer was deleted with a comment "New answers still need to be an answer to the question asked".

Is there any reasons for undeleting the answer, or is it really off-topic?

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Your logic was excellent, but according to the title and body of the question (in its latest iteration) the asker wanted to know what the designers themselves have said is the justification for the rule. This means that a correct answer must include a statement from the designer (or documentation indicating that there is no such statement if that were the case).

In other words, while your logic was good and based on a sound interpretation of the rules, we don't know what the designer's intent was behind writing those rules in that way. They could have chosen to write the rules in a different fashion, yet they chose to write them as they did. So it's entirely possible that the designer's intent for writing those rules in that way was based on motivations that are not captured in the rules themselves and are completely unknown to us.

If you can get a response from Mearls or Crawford indicating that your line of reasoning was indeed their design intent, then you could get your answer undeleted and add the appropriate citation. Otherwise, your answer is just very sensible speculation about what the intent might have been.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could it be the XY problem? The OP asked for stated reasoning behind a special rule, a rule that restricts unarmed strikes. But in fact, there is no such rule. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Mar 1 '17 at 12:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure about that. There are indeed rules that restrict unarmed strikes in that way (you made them clear in your answer and the asker seemed to know about them), but the rules don't state why the designers wrote them. There's almost nothing in the core books that states why anything was done the way it was done, except in the forewords. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Mar 1 '17 at 12:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ How could I make my answer eligible? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Mar 1 '17 at 13:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Find a citation where the designer has stated that the intent behind the rules is the reasoning that you provided. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Mar 1 '17 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ironically, the accepted answer didn't address the question as well. The answer says "according to Mearls' twitter, designers had their reasons" , but the question was "what reasons". \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jul 2 '18 at 12:09
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From what I understand, there is actually a mechanical difference to unarmed attacks being considered light vs not. Right? You're describing the nature and intricacies of the mechanical difference to us here and in your answer.

However, the question is not asking for an explanation of the nature and intricacies of the mechanical difference.

It is acknowledging there is a difference, and is asking: “What gives? Why did they create that difference?”.

Even if they got the details of the difference wrong, explaining the difference accurately does nothing to convey why there is one. It doesn't really matter what difference they acknowledged or whether it was correct; consider that they could've left out describing what the difference was at all and it would've still been the same question.

Note that they ask explicitly for the designers' explanation:

Mechanically speaking, why can you attack twice with two daggers, but you can't attack with a dagger and then punch, or even punch twice? What is the stated reasoning behind this rule? Is it for balance terms, or is it so the Monks have a defining feature other classes don't have? Or is it even historical?


So, in short, this would be a good answer:

They did because (reasons). Here's a quote explaining the reasons and a link to the interview the quote is from.

Also, you're confused on the difference this makes. It actually works like this...

This is not an answer at all, it's a tangent:

You're confused on the difference this makes. It actually works like this...

Great, now we understand better what the difference is, but we still don't know why it exists. Explaining more mechanics to me doesn't explain why they decided to write the mechanics to behave that way.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ OP didn't say the stated reasoning must be from kind of an interview. The rules contain reasoning as well. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Mar 1 '17 at 12:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I never said they had to be from an interview. (I only mentioned interviews in an example.) They did ask for designer statements though. That's the designer making statements describing their own work. The rules do not self-arrange, they are that way because someone wrote them that way — for reasons. Those reasons are being asked about. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 1 '17 at 12:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ The OP asked for stated reasoning behind a special rule, a rule that restricts unarmed strikes. But in fact, there is no such rule. How this question should be answered? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Mar 1 '17 at 12:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ The rule does actually exist. Unarmed strikes are not light weapons because they do not have the light property (a weapon only has a property if it is stated to have a property). \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Mar 1 '17 at 12:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the rule doesn't exist, and there is fundamentally no actual difference in the end result, the it would be worthwhile being very clear straight out of the door that you're challenging the notion there's any difference at all: "There is no effective difference. The rules take different routes to get there. Here's how they reach that point anyway." If you are trying to explain that, you're not making it very clear that's your point. Try this basic intro/body/summary format: tell 'em what you'll tell 'em, tell it to 'em, then tell 'em what you told 'em. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 1 '17 at 12:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Mind you, as a frame challenge answer, you'd be under a bit more pressure to make the answer excellent -- and some may still wonder "so why do they take two different routes?". \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 1 '17 at 13:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener "From what I understand, there is actually a mechanical difference to unarmed attacks being considered light vs not" - not exactly. There are no "light attacks" in D&D 5. There are weapons with "Light" property. The property name itself is confusing, since it means "weapon for 2-handed combat" and have nothing with the weapon weight. It is the weapon that gives you an ability to use bonus action for making an additional attack. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Mar 1 '17 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bloodcinder "Unarmed strikes are not light weapons because they do not have the light property" - not exactly. Unarmed strikes are not light weapons because they are not weapons. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Mar 1 '17 at 13:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suggest someone who understands the mechanical issue in contention here may want to ask a question along the lines of "is there actually any real difference" on main site; debating in comments on a single meta answer is not the ideal place to settle whether there is one. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 1 '17 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not "not exactly." Yes, unarmed strikes are not weapons. Yes, they also do not have the light property. Either is easy to cite, but, again, we're interested in a design statement about why those rules were implemented. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Mar 1 '17 at 14:03
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It was deleted because it was not an answer

A comment on the post pointed out that the post didn't answer the question. You replied with a comment that seemed to me to say that you didn't think it was necessary to answer the question, because another post already did:

I think your commentary is reasonable and accurate, but it doesn't technically answer the question because the asker wants to know what the designer's intent was. You've given a very sensible justification of your own, but you are not one of the designers (to my knowledge), so I think that's the reason for the downvotes. – [a user]


@[user] but the rest was alreasy covered by Adam's answer – enkryptor

Since the post didn't answer the question, and it seemed to me that you knew the post didn't, I deleted the post for not being an answer.

Because I wasn't sure whether you were already aware that answer posts need to answer the question themselves, I left this comment as an explanation:

New answers still need to be an answer to the question asked, regardless of what other answers have done already.

However, knowing or not isn't really the issue. Regardless of knowing or not, it remained that the post didn't answer the question and that was enough for me to delete it. The comments just supported that decision.

If you wish to revise the post to contain an answer to the question though, the post can still be edited while it's deleted. If the post was edited to be an answer, it would be valid to undelete it.


Related FAQ: Should I be requesting people answer the question independently?

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