So, in a melee combat situation in D&D 5E, I am to understand that there are 4 options as to the variants of weapon-wielding a person can use.
- Two-handed. A character wields a single, usually heavy/two-handed/versatile weapon with two hands. The advantage of this is increased damage per hit.
- Dual-wielding. By default (ie. no feats), a character can wield a light weapon in one hand, whilst wielding another light weapon in their offhand. They can use their bonus action to attack using the aforementioned offhand, without applying their ability modifier to the damage.
- One-handed with a shield. Easy to understand - foregoing damage for a shield to give a +2 bonus to AC. Moreso if the shield is magical, etc etc.
- One-handed. Here is where my question lies.
Now, as far as I can see, every option has a strength that makes it more attractive than the others for various reasons. All except #4: one-handed. Two-handed allows more damage, dual-wielding allows more damage/versatility, shield allows extra AC, but what does plain old one-handed give?
What I have found so far: classes like ranger can give a +2 damage bonus if you pick the dueling fighting style. You also have the freedom of a free hand during the fight (for grappling, though a two-handed fighter can reasonably take one hand off their weapon to grapple), as well as the ability to use your bonus action for something other than attacking with your offhand. Still, this feels weak.
So, what is there that one-handed fighting offers that other styles do not?