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I ran into a couple of questions while playing D&D 5th:

  1. Does drawing a weapon take an action?
  2. Does picking up a weapon from the ground take an action?
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2 Answers 2

up vote 17 down vote accepted

No, drawing a weapon does not take an action. Nor does picking up a dropped weapon. Both answers are found in a sidebar on page 70.

Interacting with Objects Around You

Here are a few examples of the sorts of thing you can do in tandem with your movement and action:

(omitted)

  • draw or sheathe a sword
  • pick up a dropped axe

(omitted)

Note that you are allowed to interact with only one object per turn for free (p. 70, Other Activities on Your Turn). You can draw or sheathe a weapon, for free, but to do both in same turn you need to take the Use an Object action (p. 72).

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So long as you move and attack you never have to drop weapons on the ground, you sheathe your current weapon as part of your move and as part of your attack you draw your next weapon. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Aug 5 at 11:53
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@JoshuaAslanSmith Please note that you are allowed to interact with only one object per turn for free (p.70, Other Activities on Your Turn). You can draw or sheathe a weapon, for free, but to do both in same turn you need the Use an Object action (p.72). –  Sheepy Aug 5 at 14:08
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@Sheepy I think your comment should be edited in to the answer. –  smcg Aug 5 at 15:23

You can draw, or pickup a weapon without using an action, but only one of them.

In the Player's Handbook there is a feat called Dual Wielding. One of the benefits of this feat is the ability to handle two weapons for free during your turn, rather than just one. Player's handbook page 165

You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one.

This makes it clear that the initial rules about only interacting with one object as a free action is not only RAW but also RAI. So you can draw, or pickup a weapon, but only once. If you want to interact with a second object, you will need the "Use and Object Action" unless you have the Dual Wielding feat, in which case you can draw or stow two weapons.

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The term "free action" is somewhat misleading since it implies that it's a rules concept akin to Free Actions in 3/4e. Could you rephrase that somehow? Maybe just "for free" instead of "as a free action." –  SevenSidedDie Aug 13 at 16:42

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