D&D 5E Can you use dueling and TWF at the same time? I think you can RAW.

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
If Unarmed Attacks are considered weapons? I seem to recall there's some weirdness involved with them (I literally checked out on the debate when I got told you can't Smite with a natural weapon).

EDIT: specifically, if they are considered one-handed weapons, which they probably do not, since just about any part of your body is able to deliver an Unarmed Strike.
 

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Dausuul

Legend
Hmm...does this mean you can use Dueling with Monk's unarmed attacks (if you had a monk weapon in your primary hand) and Flurry of Blows?
Sure, that should work. Your other hand is empty, so you don't have a weapon in it, so you can use Dueling for the hand that does hold a weapon.

If you rule that an empty hand constitutes a "weapon," then no one can use Dueling at all unless they're holding an object (that isn't a weapon) in the off-hand, which I'm pretty sure is not the intent.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
I think you can.

I am looking at a Bugbear build and the 2d6 damage boost that comes in the first turn.

I think with dueling you can start a turn with a light thrown melee weapon in one hand and a light melee weapon in the other. Use the attack action to throw the thrown weapon then close and use TWF to attack with the other weapon and get the dueling damage bonus on the second weapon (but not your dex/strength bonus).

I think this works RAW.

TWF: "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. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative. If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it."

So you take the attack action with the thrown weapon then the other weapon qualifies for a TWF bonus action attack even though you are now only holding one weapon

Now Dueling: "When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon."

Since you threw the thrown weapon already you are now holding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, so I think the bonus action attack gets the dueling damage bonus.

Once you have extra attack I think you could get 2 attacks with the melee weapon (one using Extra attack and one using TWF) and get the dueling bonus on both of those attacks. On a Bugbear you would also get +2d6 on each of these attacks if the opponent has not yet had a turn, which is an extra 6d6 damage once extra attack is online.
I agree. This totally works. The trade off is you’re using a light weapon for your main attack.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Which is slightly better (+1 average damage) than using a non-light weapon (ie, if you have Dual Wielder). Not that Dual Wielder is bad, you'd still get +1 AC out of it, but the opportunity cost is real.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Really this entire argument comes down to this consideration....at what point do you check the dueling condition to get the bonus?

1) For example, if you rule that you have to have meet the condition at the start of your turn, then the TWF combo is not possible. However, that also means that if a person were to pick up a weapon (starting with none), they could not gain the benefits of dueling either, as the condition specifically says you only get the +2 damage with the weapon you are wielding...which in this interpretation would be the weapon you were wielding at the beginning of the turn.

2) If we instead say we check dueling at the moment the attack is made...than this combo is legal RAW.

3) If we check dueling when the attack action is started, than the combo would not work, as at that point you have weapons in your two hands and so would activate TWF, but would not activate dueling. However, this interpretation also means that you could not attack, draw a weapon into your second hand, and attack with TWF bonus (you would have to draw the weapon first, then attack twice....in 99% of cases this is is just ordering semantics, there is probably SOME scenario where that matters, but its super rare).

We can then consider this in the context of another scenario, to "test" how your DM runs their interpretation.


If you make an attack, and then move through some myst that poisons you (aka half damage) and then make a second attack, do you rule that the second attack's damage is halved or not?

If you rule that it does, than your saying the damage modifiers are not checked until the attack is made (scenario 2 above). If you rule that it doesn't, we are probably more in Scenario 3 territory.


My assumption is that most people utilize scenario 2 above, they don't actually consider modifiers until the attack is happening. In which case, the TWF + dueling thrown combo is street legal. Is it RAI...probably not. Is it OP?....eh, I mean you need two fighting styles to make it work and your using thrown weapons which aren't normally on any optimizers christmas list, so its probably not that bad.
 


No rule set with the complexity of D&D is going to be perfect, there will always be some things that are open to interpretation. This is one of those edge cases that really does come down to "ask your DM".

I'd tell a player to either just go with two-weapon fighting or duelist and use a shield. The difference in combat effectiveness is minimal, but literalist interpretations that ignore the context of the rules is just something I don't want to deal with.
Oh, to be sure, I don't think it speaks bad of the game to now have this iron-clad exclusively spelled-out to one and only one interpretation (or anything like that). At the table, the only thing I would want is a consistent ruling and would be good.
what doesn't help of course, is the general D&D-ism that "two weapons = more attacks" which... isn't really how double weapons were used in real life. This robs us of some of the "does this make sense" capacity to make a sound ruling.
I think the shield warrior thread also leans into this quite a bit. Emulating real life can have a host of issues (one of course being is being realistic important to a power fantasy?). The (in many ways defensive) values of 2wf are hard to model in D&D (at least without making them either a strictly-better or never-better option to shields), and thus instead they get this. Same with 3e flails (hard to model their real benefits, so instead they get trip/disarm bonus). Or things that just plain wouldn't work in the small-skirmish-group dungeon-crawling game that D&D still sometimes is (pikes out of formation and slings in low-ceiling dungeons, for instance). Given how often the 2wf rules have been either overpowered (2e), underpowered (5e), or niche (maybe 3e crit-fishing...?), I'd hazard that it probably wouldn't be worse to go back to realism and making them a defensive option better than nothing but worse than shields, but I think a lot of people want to make dedicated 2wf character concepts, which this doesn't well serve. 'tis a tricky wicket, that one.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
That was my initial thought, but OP clarified it's for a very specific scenario. The character has Dueling and will normally attack with just the one weapon (they have a lot of bonus action abilities). However, the character also has a racial ability which grants a big damage bonus to each attack at the start of combat, so they want to make as many attacks as possible on the first round.

That being the case, OP wants to see if they can find a way to get the Dueling bonus on some of those initial attacks.

By the book, I see no reason this wouldn't work. And given the extremely narrow use case and the tradeoff of not getting to use a shield, I don't think it presents a balance concern, either. I prefer to keep my house rules limited to a single page, so I'd allow it.
Agreed. I don't think it's particularly overpowered, though it definitely is a nasty combo with the updated Bugbear, and the rules seem to allow it,.

The idea of a duelist/swashbuckler opening a fight with a thrown dagger into someone is also very true to trope. I've definitely seen that a bunch of times in movies and books. Of course, in a Three Musketeers-level of tech, it would be a pistol. But it's exactly the same.

The outnumbered hero takes out one mook with a thrown dagger sinking into his chest (or single shot pistol, for a musketeer), and leaps into the fray with the others, sword flashing.
 

Oofta

Legend
Oh, to be sure, I don't think it speaks bad of the game to now have this iron-clad exclusively spelled-out to one and only one interpretation (or anything like that). At the table, the only thing I would want is a consistent ruling and would be good.

I think the shield warrior thread also leans into this quite a bit. Emulating real life can have a host of issues (one of course being is being realistic important to a power fantasy?). The (in many ways defensive) values of 2wf are hard to model in D&D (at least without making them either a strictly-better or never-better option to shields), and thus instead they get this. Same with 3e flails (hard to model their real benefits, so instead they get trip/disarm bonus). Or things that just plain wouldn't work in the small-skirmish-group dungeon-crawling game that D&D still sometimes is (pikes out of formation and slings in low-ceiling dungeons, for instance). Given how often the 2wf rules have been either overpowered (2e), underpowered (5e), or niche (maybe 3e crit-fishing...?), I'd hazard that it probably wouldn't be worse to go back to realism and making them a defensive option better than nothing but worse than shields, but I think a lot of people want to make dedicated 2wf character concepts, which this doesn't well serve. 'tis a tricky wicket, that one.
Throw in that people are basing ideas of how two weapon fighting should work is based on movie. Top it all off with the fact that things like two weapon fighting was designed for a very specific type of fighting against specific types of enemies. Don't have to worry about archers? Fighting a duel or in a street fight? Dual weapon fighting with rapiers (or rapier and some type of dagger) can work.

But it's hard to model fighting that will work in all the situations you'll hit in D&D. In the real world we don't have to worry about going from one fight with street thugs to a fight with a hill giant using a decent sized tree as a club. So the rules are always going to be a bit wonky.

P.S. My 3E 2WF fighter with dual battle axes some cheesy feats was just ... wrong. Lots of fun, but kind of broken. As in telling the other 5 people in the party "You take that [definitely not LOTR fell beasts wyvern/dragon-like monster who's name I don't remember], I've got this one." We finished killing our respective monsters on the same round.
 

I think this works RAW.

TWF: "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. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative. If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it."

So you take the attack action with the thrown weapon then the other weapon qualifies for a TWF bonus action attack even though you are now only holding one weapon

Now Dueling: "When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon."

Since you threw the thrown weapon already you are now holding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, so I think the bonus action attack gets the dueling damage bonus.
No.

Character moves forward with, say, rapier and dagger drawn. Currently qualifies for TWF but not Dueling. Uses bonus action to throw dagger per TWF. The dagger attack resolves under that state. Character finishes move, say, and attacks with the rapier. The character no longer qualifies for TWF but does for Dueling. Successful attacks with the rapier are now at +2 damage.

Since, to me, Dueling is meant to evoke 15th - 17th Century duels, I would allow a buckler, cloak, or armored gauntlet in the off hand, but not a shield.
 


ECMO3

Hero
Uses bonus action to throw dagger per TWF.

This is where you have the example wrong. Character uses an ACTION to throw the dagger, NOT a bonus action. Throwing the dagger is his main attack action.

He then uses a bonus action to attack with the light melee weapon which DOES meet the requirement for TWF (he made the attack action with a light weapon with a weapon in another hand). It also meets the requirement for dueling as he is only holding one weapon when he makes this bonus action attack.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
You do realise what you just said makes no sense? If you are only holding one weapon you are not holding a weapon in the other hand. ergo you do not qualify for a bonus action.
It says explicitly in the description you can throw either weapon. You are holding a weapon in the both hand when you make the attack action you meet the requirements.

Now if you threw the dagger and then drew another you would not meet the requirements, you need to have a light weapon in each hand when you make the attack action.
 

ECMO3

Hero
No, it's not tied to when you take the attack action. As soon as you drop your second weapon you cease to qualify for a bonus action.
This is not true. Read the underlined portions:

"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. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative. If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it."

It says right there in the description that I can throw one weapon and attack with the other one using a bonus action.
 

ECMO3

Hero
At the point you take the attack action, you have two weapons equipped or you don't. A PC doesn't get multiple attack actions, they may may get multiple attacks using their attack action. The OP is conflating an attack with the attack action.

So you have two options:
  1. You take the attack action with two weapons equipped. Because of this, you get a bonus attack.
  2. You take the attack action with one weapon equipped. You get the +2 bonus from dueling.
The only way to get around this would be to use an action surge to get a bonus attack action. Which makes it even more pointless.

So to start with I am talking about the two weapon fighting mechanics (not the style just the action-boonus action sequence) and the dueling fighting style. It is not an either or proposition and I think you are the one conflating an attack with the attack action.

1. You take the attack action with two weapons equipped. Because of this, you get a bonus attack.
This is absolutely true. If you take the attack action with 2 light melee weapons equipped you qualify for TWF.

In the example I did this - I have a weapon in each hand and take the attack action to throw one of those weapons. I therefore qualify for TWF per the rules on TWF. As a bonus action I can throw the second weapon or I can attack with it in melee (assuming both had the light and thrown properties). In this case I am choosing to make a melee attack with it.

2. You take the attack action with one weapon equipped. You get the +2 bonus from dueling.
This is absolutely untrue. Using the attack action is not a requirement at all for the dueling fighting style RAW. Dueling says nothing at all about the attack action.

Dueling Fighting Style: "When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon."

If you have this fighting style you do +2 damage to an opponent with a weapon you are holding in one hand as long as you are not holding another weapon. This has nothing to do with attack action and applies to all damage with a weapon being held in one hand as long as you are holding no other weapons. You even get the dueling bonus on a reaction attack or on an attack with a haste action or on any attack you make with the weapon while only holding it.
 
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This is where you have the example wrong. Character uses an ACTION to throw the dagger, NOT a bonus action. Throwing the dagger is his main attack action.
Ah, my bad. Thanks for the clarification.

He then uses a bonus action to attack with the light melee weapon which DOES meet the requirement for TWF (he made the attack action with a light weapon with a weapon in another hand). It also meets the requirement for dueling as he is only holding one weapon when he makes this bonus action attack.
But he can't, because he only has one weapon since he threw the other one away. You can't do two weapon fighting if you don't have two weapons. That must have been my source of confusion, since the only way he can get two attacks is to throw the dagger with his bonus action from TWF and then using his attack action with Dueling.

Two weapon fighting is for fighting with two weapons. Dueling is for fighting with one weapon. It's either/or; you can't benefit from both at the same time.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Ah, my bad. Thanks for the clarification.


But he can't, because he only has one weapon since he threw the other one away. You can't do two weapon fighting if you don't have two weapons. That must have been my source of confusion, since the only way he can get two attacks is to throw the dagger with his bonus action from TWF and then using his attack action with Dueling.

Two weapon fighting is for fighting with two weapons. Dueling is for fighting with one weapon. It's either/or; you can't benefit from both at the same time.
But the last sentence of two weapon fighting says you can use it to throw either of the equipped weapons (unless I'm missing your point of confusion). Thus throwing a dagger triggers the clause for the bonus action attack.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
Ah, my bad. Thanks for the clarification.


But he can't, because he only has one weapon since he threw the other one away. You can't do two weapon fighting if you don't have two weapons. That must have been my source of confusion, since the only way he can get two attacks is to throw the dagger with his bonus action from TWF and then using his attack action with Dueling.

Two weapon fighting is for fighting with two weapons. Dueling is for fighting with one weapon. It's either/or; you can't benefit from both at the same time.
No, if you're holding two light thrown weapons, you can throw both weapons with two-weapon fighting. That means I can throw the first weapon using the Attack action which qualifies me for a bonus action attack with the second weapon, which I can also throw.

(Ninja'd by @James Gasik.)
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
You could actually get it for every attack for 2 turns if you both surprise an enemy and beat him in initiative,
No, a surprised creature still has a turn in the first round, it just can’t use actions on that turn (and can’t use reactions until after it.)
 

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