I've been searching for this book for Tavern Brawler. The torch says that it is a weapon, it deals with a fire. Improvised weapons, however, use a d4 for damage. 1d4 bludgeoning damage (with maybe 1 fire damage but the torch has a chance to go out). 1d4 fire damage OR 1d4 bludgeoning damage if you hit it, depending on how you use it. Certainly not both.
But I'm here to talk about the torch, I'm talking to you about something more interesting and complicated.
Using the Grappling Hook as an improvised weapon
This thing is essentially a whip (both use 1d4 as their damage dice) but it loses the finesse property and gains a lot of range. I'm not sure if you can throw 50 ft of hempen rope in one turn, but that's the longest ropes I've come across in my career as an adventurer, and that would be an insane reach for a melee weapon. Not to mention that there are magical ropes that are effective .... endless. So this obviously needs a maximum range. I mean, 15f of range is already a lot for a melee weapon in my opinion. Then again, a lunging attack with a whistle from a battlemaster can already achieve this, and you can even booming the blade with the Distant Magic Metamagic.
As its name suggests, a grappling hook also has the actual part that grapples and hooks, which either consists of spikes (piercing damage), serrated blades (slashing damage) or does not deploy while you throw it (bludgeoning damage). You could argue it takes action to pull it back, or a bonus action, but its nature is to get stuck to its target, in this case to enemy. If you can pull them towards you, I'm tempted to say that you can use them to do a Strength or Athletics contest. But this is in my opinion, so a very strong effect,
Not to mention that, with the Dual Wielder feat, you can do dual wield these things. Honestly, I am looking forward to seeing you, but I'm really excited to see all the crazy things you can do with these things.
So, to recap:
Grappling hooks are often overlooked but very useful as improvised weapons. You can not sneak attack with them as they paint the finesse property, but they can do a variety of other things and act like whips, which are pretty weird but at the same time actual weapons.
- Longer reach than a whip (anywhere between 10 ft and whatever seems reasonable, 15-25 ft for example)
- Damage variations depending on the type of grappling hook (spikes vs. serrated blades vs. undeployed)
- Can be used to pull people or objects towards you
- Can be used to aid in climbing
- Can be used to tie people up
- Longer ropes can be added to it (50 ft for example)
- Dual wielding grappling hooks is a very cool image (swinging from chandelier to chandelier)
- You need to be able to add your bonus to your attack rolls
- No finesse means no sneak attack
- You might have trouble pulling in one turn if you attack someone at full reach
- Once you've hooked someone, it might just be easy for you to get them straight from the grappling hook (if it does not have those nasty curved spikes)
tl; dr: a simple grappling hook is often overlooked as an improvised weapon, but has some major advantages over a whip although it loses the finesse property and the ability to sneak attack with it. It is in any case a far more attractive weapon to use, and my next character is going to specialize in the highly unconventional and perhaps impractical way of the grappling hook..