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I have a game running and my PC's are trying to bludgeon an enemy with a sword to capture it.

Is this a valid move or do they need to get a bludgeoning weapon from the weapon shop?

And what dice do they throw if they are able to hit with the pummel of the sword?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

This is explained in the PHB, page 198:

Knocking a Creature Out

Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable.

You don't need a bludgeoning weapon or any special die roll. All the PCs need to do is declare they would like to knock the creature out instead of killing it when it hits 0 HP.

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