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D&D 5E Making an multi-attack with a non-light weapon in each hand

auburn2

Adventurer
The term "two-weapon fighting" in 5e refers specifically to a bonus attack. The rules state that both weapons must be light (barring a feat) and the character does not receive damage bonus from the offhand. I believe RAW this only refers to using the bonus action to attack with a second weapon and does not apply to multi-attack.

Say a 5th level fighter has a longsword in one hand and a spear in the other. To my knowledge there is nothing to prevent the fighter or other character with multi-attack making one attack with the long sword and his second attach with the spear.

My understanding is this is totally legal in terms of RAW and both of these attacks in this scenario would get his strength bonus because they are both a normal attack as part of the attack action and this is not "two-weapon fighting".

If the character had polearm master he could follow this up with a bonus action attack with the butt of the spear for 1d4+strength.

Is this a correct interpretation of the rules?
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
The term "two-weapon fighting" in 5e refers specifically to a bonus attack. The rules state that both weapons must be light (barring a feat) and the character does not receive damage bonus from the offhand. I believe RAW this only refers to using the bonus action to attack with a second weapon and does not apply to multi-attack.

Say a 5th level fighter has a longsword in one hand and a spear in the other. To my knowledge there is nothing to prevent the fighter or other character with multi-attack making one attack with the long sword and his second attach with the spear.

My understanding is this is totally legal in terms of RAW and both of these attacks in this scenario would get his strength bonus because they are both a normal attack as part of the attack action and this is not "two-weapon fighting".

If the character had polearm master he could follow this up with a bonus action attack with the butt of the spear for 1d4+strength.

Is this a correct interpretation of the rules?
Yes. This is 100% correct.
 

Voadam

Legend
I don't have the text in front of me, what does the polearm master feat say? It seems odd to use both the pointy and the butt end while wielding it one handed instead of using it like a two handed weapon the way most polearms are wielded.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Yes, this is correct. The Attack action merely says that you make "a melee or ranged attack," and Extra Attack allows you to do this twice (or three times, or four). Nothing in there forbids you from holding a weapon in each hand, nor from switching off between them as you attack.

You would even add your stat bonus to damage with both weapons.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
I don't have the text in front of me, what does the polearm master feat say? It seems odd to use both the pointy and the butt end while wielding it one handed instead of using it like a two handed weapon the way most polearms are wielded.
In the PHB, the feat doesn't mention needing to use the weapon two-handed. I've fixed that error in my own campaigns, but I completely acknowledge that as a houserule.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I don't have the text in front of me, what does the polearm master feat say? It seems odd to use both the pointy and the butt end while wielding it one handed instead of using it like a two handed weapon the way most polearms are wielded.
Polearm Master says nothing about using the weapon two-handed. Many of the weapons listed have the Two-Handed property, but spears and quarterstaves do not.
 

Voadam

Legend
So I pulled my PH out, it says glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff for the butt end part of polearm master. Is there errata for that which added spear?
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Yeah. In the PHB errata.

Polearm Master (p. 168). A second sentence has been added to the first benefit:
“This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack.”
Both instances of “or quarterstaff” have been changed to “quarterstaff, or spear.”
 

Is there a reason other than aesthetics that you would do this though?

You lose both the possibility of carrying a shield and the potential bonus action off-hand attack, and gain ...?

I mean if the reason is just "IT LOOKS METAL AF!" then you do you, I'm just wondering if there is a missing assumption somewhere.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Is there a reason other than aesthetics that you would do this though?

You lose both the possibility of carrying a shield and the potential bonus action off-hand attack, and gain ...?

I mean if the reason is just "IT LOOKS METAL AF!" then you do you, I'm just wondering if there is a missing assumption somewhere.
Are you saying that you've never played a character "sub-optimally" just because it looks metal AF?

I mean, the main reason to play most fighter classes is to have a metal AF character.
 

Heh, most of my characters are sub-optimal in the service of entertainment value. I am 100% on board with that as long as it is a deliberate choice.

I just wanted to make sure the OP didn't have a faulty underlying assumption there was some mechanical benefit to their choice.
 


embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Heh, most of my characters are sub-optimal in the service of entertainment value. I am 100% on board with that as long as it is a deliberate choice.

I just wanted to make sure the OP didn't have a faulty underlying assumption there was some mechanical benefit to their choice.
My problem is that my childhood exposure to wizards were (A) Mickey from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice; (B) Schmendrik from "The Last Unicorn"; (C) Gandalf from the Rankin-Bass "The Hobbit" and the Ralph Bakshi "Lord of the Rings", and; (D) the wizard character from the D&D cartoon.

Meanwhile, my exposure to fighter characters were from (A) Conan the Barbarian (both the movie and Frank Frazetta drawings); (B) Thundarr the Barbarian; (C) The Incredible Hulk; (D) The Thing; (E) countless hack-and-slash arcade games like "Golden Axe", "Rastan", "Altered Beast", and "Gauntlet", and; (F) Heavy Metal: The Movie.

That, coupled with the very real possibility of a Level 8 wizard with 11hp who is of no use after casting Sleep that one time, I tended not to play squishy magic-users.
 

You chose the wrong Bakshi movie!

Avatar.png
 

Dausuul

Legend
Is there a reason other than aesthetics that you would do this though?
As a standard tactic? No.

But if you're dual wielding (with the feat), I can see where the question would arise in specific cases. Maybe you used your bonus action for something else, and one of your weapons provides a 1/turn benefit but is otherwise inferior. Or you're fighting different types of enemies and one of your weapons is specialized for one of those types.
 

Is there a reason other than aesthetics that you would do this though?

You lose both the possibility of carrying a shield and the potential bonus action off-hand attack, and gain ...?

I mean if the reason is just "IT LOOKS METAL AF!" then you do you, I'm just wondering if there is a missing assumption somewhere.
Some contrived scenarios where it would be good:

If the weapons do different damage types and you don't know which works best on this monster,

or you will need to switch damage types as you change targets (ie you're fighting a mix of skeletons and blights),

or one weapon has a save-or-suck effect on a hit, so you want to use that until they fail the save and then use the other (more damaging, presumably) weapon once the condition is applied.

You likely won't be able to swap weapons between (which, RAW, you can't do without dropping), especially if you think you'll need to switch back, so just holding one of each makes a bit of sense. Maybe not a lot, but some.
 

If the character had polearm master he could follow this up with a bonus action attack with the butt of the spear for 1d4+strength.

Is this a correct interpretation of the rules?

Not quite, as far as I can tell the post-errata feat reads (bolding mine):

"When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, quarterstaff, or spear, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack. The weapon's damage die for this attack is a d4, and it deals bludgeoning damage."

So if one of the attacks is not with a glaive, halberd, quarterstaff, or spear then the bonus action attack isn't kosher. Now I'm working from my own earlier print copy of the PHB and what errata I can find. If someone has a an absolutely authoritative text that lacks the "only" then I'll happily stand corrected. The second google hit for "polearm master" is an entry at Home - D&D 5th Edition that doesn't have the "only", but then it also doesn't have the errata'd in second sentence and references to spears, and has other things that seem to presumably be someone's own unofficial wording.

My own Fighter/Barbarian character is very fond of making mixed weapon series of attacks, and would love for this not to interfere with his blunt end spear attacks, so I'd love to be wrong on this. Though usually the mixed weapon attacks have to do with throwing weapons or handcrossbows. This does bring up the interesting wrinkle that polearm master does not say the attacks on the action have to be melee attacks, so if one throws the spear at an enemy there is nothing to stop you from picking it up and making the blunt end attack as a bonus action in the same turn (though unless the first attack broke the enemy's concentration on a spell that was hampering your movement I can't think of when that would ever make any sense).
 

auburn2

Adventurer
Is there a reason other than aesthetics that you would do this though?

You lose both the possibility of carrying a shield and the potential bonus action off-hand attack, and gain ...?

I mean if the reason is just "IT LOOKS METAL AF!" then you do you, I'm just wondering if there is a missing assumption somewhere.
Yes there are a few reasons.

If one of the weapons is poision or if it is magic and causes some kind of affect on a hit, you might want to lead with that and if it hits then follow up with a weapon that does more damage.

If you are a bladesinger using shadowblade you can attack with your shadowblade and then follow up with booming blade or green flame blade for your second attack from another weapon (which is part of the attack action in this case). In strict RAW, if the other weapon is small you could then use two weapon fighting and get a BA attack with the shadowblade and without str/dex bonus. This is an 8 DPR boost from the BA, or 12.5 if it is a 3rd-level shadow blade.

With Sentinel feat, you can use a whip in one hand to attack a creature with reach and mark that creature, Then attack another with a better weapon doing more damage thereby giving you the ability to make two AOOs if they both move.

If you have a thrown weapon and both your weapons are light but the thrown weapon is more effective, you might want to attack with the thrown weapon in melee then attack with the other light weapon and then throw the thrown weapon as a BA at a different enemy (without S/D dmg).
 
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auburn2

Adventurer
Doesn't GFB use the Cast a Spell action (which includes a Melee attack) and not an attack action? So you wouldn't get the second attack from Multi-Attack?
Normally GFB is part of the cast a spell action, but not if you are a bladesinger at 6th level or more. In that case GFB, or for that matter any other cantrip, can be cast as part of the attack action as long as you make a weapon attack.

Here is the relevant exerp from the two weapon fighting rule:

"When you take the Attack Action and Attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand ....."

You are taking the attack action and you are also attacking with a melee weapon when you cast GFB so I would allow it as long as that weapon was light and you also had a light weapon in the other hand.
 
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