[RPG] Can Monks use Shortbows


Haven't played D&D since ABBA was hot, and I'm trying to retool on 5e, playing a Wood Elf Monk.

I see that on p78 of the PHB it states in Martial Arts that monk weapons are "shortswords and any simple melee weapons."

However, as a Wood Elf, I am proficient with "longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow" (PHB p 24).

I also read in Diskmaster's 5e Monk Guide in section 1 that the Shortbow is recommended.

Am I allowed to use a shortbow? What, if any, class limitations apply?

Best Answer

So, first up - anyone can use any weapon. Proficiency merely determines whether you can add your proficiency bonus to your attack rolls.

Proficiency with a weapon allows you to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll for any attack you make with that weapon. If you make an attack roll using a weapon with which you lack proficiency, you do not add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll.

If you look under your Monk proficiencies, one of the things listed there is "simple weapons". The shortbow is a simple weapon, so you don't need to be a wood elf to be proficient with it.

As you've said, monk weapons are shortswords and any simple melee weapons. The shortbow is not either of these things, so it is not a monk weapon. However, this doesn't mean you can't use it - it just means that it won't benefit from your Martial Arts ability.