Bonus Actions

During combat, characters can move, take an action, and – if one is available – take a bonus action.

Bonus actions can be very powerful. When considering strategy, it is important to consider whether a useful bonus action is available.

Sometimes, a bonus action is only available at the expense of some other useful action. In that case, the trade-off should be considered.

In the examples that follow, note that each Bonus Action will have listed requirements; If you don’t meet the requirements, you don’t get the bonus action.

Example 1: Two Weapon Fighting

Requirements:
Class: Any
Level: Any
Connecting Action: Attack (first attack must be with a LIGHT weapon)
Other requirements: None
Bonus action: Attack with second weapon (must be a LIGHT weapon, reduced damage only)

Two-weapon fighting lets you attack with two weapons in the same round. The second weapon is an extra attack on top of your existing attacks.

The first attack can be melee or ranged (but only where the weapon is a THROWN quality weapon).

The bonus attack with the second weapon can be melee or ranged (once again, only where the weapon has the THROWN quality).

Example 1.1 In Play

Breena (gnome rogue) is wielding a shortsword (a light weapon, see PHB p 149) and a dagger (a light weapon).

She attacks a kobold with her shortsword, hitting for normal damage (1d6 + 3). She then uses her bonus action to attack a second kobold with her dagger for reduced damage (1d4 – she does not get her modifier added to damage).

Because she is a rogue, if she meets the conditions for sneak attack, she can add sneak attack damage to one of the successful attacks (but not both).

Example 1.2 In Play

Saladir (elf monk) is wielding two daggers.

Because the daggers have the thrown quality, he can throw the first for 1d4+4 damage, and the second for 1d4 damage.

(He can’t use two weapon fighting to do the same with a dart as that is not considered to be a light weapon.)

Example 1.3 In Play

Leondithas (aasimar paladin) has to choose between using a greataxe, a longsword and shield, or using two shortswords with two weapon fighting. He is high enough level to attack twice with the attack option, meaning two weapon fighting would give him three attacks. He has the Dueling fighting style, which gives him a bonus on damage when using a single, one-handed weapon.

If he uses the greataxe or the two shortswords, his armor class is worse because he isn’t using a shield.

The greataxe will give him 1d12 + d, or 2d12 +8 over two attacks. Average damage is 21 per round ignoring criticals (23.1 with crit chance).

The two shortswords and two weapon fighting will give him 1d6 + 4 for two attacks (2d6 +8), and 1d6 for the third attack with the second weapon. Average damage is 18.5 ignoring criticals (20.35 with crits).

The longsword gives him better armor class and two attacks of 1d8+6 each (2d8 + 12). Average damage is 21 ignoring criticals (23.1 with crits).

The longsword is the best option because it gives the equal best damage outcome with the best armor class.

Variants on Two Weapon Fighting:

Monk – Martial arts (first weapon can be any monk weapon (no LIGHT requirement), second weapon must be unarmed strike.)

Monk – Flurry of Blows (as with Martial Arts, except make two unarmed strikes and spend 1 ki point.)

Fighter/Ranger – Two Weapon Fighting style (as with Two Weapon Fighting, except add ability modifier to damage of second weapon.)

Bonus Actions

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