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I have a question about how the rules handle holding a two-handed weapon and then drawing and attacking with a one-handed weapon. You are able to drop a weapon (or in the case of a two-handed weapon, let go of it with one of your hands) without expending your free object interaction (according to this clarification). According to the PHB, you can then use your free object interaction to draw a weapon, let's say a Shortsword in this case.

PHB Page 190. You can also interact with one object or feature of the environment for free, during either your move or your action. For example, you could open a door during your move as you stride toward a foe, or you could draw your weapon as part of the same action you use to attack.

The PHB Errata also says that two-handed weapons require two hands to use, but not to simply hold.

PHB Errata. Two-Handed (p. 147). This property is relevant only when you attack with the weapon, not when you simply hold it.

So, my question is, can I perform this sequence of events during my turn?

  1. Let go of my longbow with one hand without consuming a free object interaction or action, leaving it to be held in one hand.
  2. With my free hand, draw a shortsword as a free object interaction.
  3. Use my action to attack with the shortsword.

And if so, in the following round, can I do the following?

  1. Sheathe the shortsword as part of my free object interaction.
  2. Use my action to Attack with the bow, now having my other hand free to "use" the weapon as specified by the two-handed property.

This comes up as a result of this question's answer. It seems to be that you can let go of your bow to do something such as cast a spell with somatic gestures using the now-free hand, so I was naturally wondering if you could do other such things with your free hand.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome! If you have time you can take the tour to find out more about the site. This seems like a good, well formatted question to me. Nicely done! \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Jun 6 '18 at 16:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would move everything from "You are able..." to "hold it." from the question to an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 6 '18 at 18:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why are you dropping the long bow? You can hold it in one hand, you just can't attack with it using one hand. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 9 at 3:31
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On recommendation I'll post what I believe to be the correct answer in relation to the rules.

Both Sequences of Rounds Are Legal

Jeremy Crawford's tweet in relation to object interactions classifies dropping a weapon as free and "not requiring extensive effort" in contrast to picking up a weapon, explicitly stated to be an object interaction. Therefore, we can assume that dropping or letting go of your weapon (be it with one hand or two hands) does not consume your free object interaction on your turn. So one can simply let go of the bow with one hand and leave it to be held in the other.

The PHB Errata clarifies that is perfectly legal for a character to hold their 2H weapon with one hand, ostensibly leaving the other hand free for whatever interaction one wishes.

PHB Errata. Two-Handed (p. 147). This property is relevant only when you attack with the weapon, not when you simply hold it.

Then, according to the PHB, we can use our free object interaction to draw a one-handed weapon (or perform other actions/gestures requiring the use of a free hand, such as casting) with our free hand.

PHB, Page 190. ...or you could draw your weapon as part of the same action you use to attack.

Seeing as everything done up to this point requires no action, the sequence of events in the question are perfectly legal. A character wielding a longbow would be able to hold their bow with one hand and attack with a Shortsword (or similar, or cast) with the other after drawing the appropriate weapon in the same turn.

As for the second round of events, sheathing the 1H weapon would also qualify as our one free object interaction for the round. There is also no indication in the rules that you must use any sort of object interaction to allow the use of your longbow for an attack as long as it is equipped. The two-handed property only specifies that the weapon requires two hands to use, and we have functional use of both. Any interaction with the weapon with both of our hands would fall under the domain of our attack action.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I generally allow this in my games, but a question occurs to me: does pulling an arrow from a quiver not count as your free interaction for the round, meaning you can’t sheathe your sword and pull an arrow to use with the bow? \$\endgroup\$ – Guybrush McKenzie Oct 20 '18 at 7:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GuybrushMcKenzie rpg.stackexchange.com/a/115813/28591 \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Oct 20 '18 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose aha - makes sense! Thanks for that, I missed it. \$\endgroup\$ – Guybrush McKenzie Oct 20 '18 at 22:01
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Yes

This is something you can do. If you have two attacks from the Extra Attack feature, you can even fire from the longbow, then hold the bow in one hand, draw the sword, and attack with it for your second attack. You can also sheathe the sword and attack with the longbow again on your turn in the following round. You seem to grasp the limitations of those actions.

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As other people have already outlined, yes, both sequences are quite legal. According to the PHB, you get one free interaction with the item per round that can be used, among other things, to draw or sheathe a weapon with a free hand. Additionally, consider the following.

Let's split the action "attack with a longbow" into a sequence of sub-actions. Let's also assume that you already have your bow "equipped" and ready to shoot. So, you

  1. Holding a bow with one hand, pull an arrow from a quiver or similar container with your second hand,
  2. Nock the arrow to a bowstring and pull the string backwards,
  3. Aim and, finally,
  4. Release the bowstring, letting arrow fly towards the target.

Notice how, immediately prior and after the "attack with a longbow" action, you have one hand free. It requires literally nothing else to have your second hand free to use short sword or anything else, really. Just don't forget to free it up again for another arrow when you need it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So that this is a real answer on its own, it's preferable that it answer the question independently by including any necessary statements, and not refer the reader to other answers (except perhaps to give due credit). See the FAQ in that link for details. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 9 at 5:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Reworded a paragraph to add direct reference to rulebook. On an unrelated note, "guys" is actually gender-neutral. Consider that My Little Pony characters always refer to their (all female) friends as "guys". \$\endgroup\$ – Draco-S Jan 14 at 3:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Draco-S: Eh, it varies depending on culture and setting... But that's a matter for a different stack :P \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 14 at 4:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ “Guys” is a bit more complicated than that, so is only sometimes gender-neutral. In a male dominated context (like RPGs), it’s not usually read as gender neutral by non-male readers, and a writer using it in such a context to mean gender-neutral has failed to communicate accurately to the audience. (MLP being a female-dominated context strips the gendered original meaning and makes it read as gender-neutral.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 14 at 7:08

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