Question about the Polearm Master Feat. The first bullet point says (PHB, p. 168, bold added):

  • When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon.

Imagine you are a 5th level fighter with this Feat, and you take the Attack Action while wielding a quarterstaff:

  • First attack: used to Shove your opponent
  • Second attack (from Extra Attack): attack with your quarterstaff

Could you then get the bonus action attack? I'm not sure if the "only" in Polearm Master's text would preclude this or not (it's unclear if it mean you can't attack with other weapons, or that you can't take any actions other than polearm attacks.)

NOTE: This question is further complicated by the fact that it's ambiguous whether or not you can shove with your quarterstaff (since Shove does not require a free hand, and a target must be "within your reach" [PHB, p. 195]). And before an answer comes along saying otherwise, a Shove is an attack, since the rules say

you can make a special melee attack to shove a creature... If you’re able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them. (PHB, p. 195, bold added)

And Jeremy Crawford has stated "Is something an attack? Yes, if... the rules expressly call it an attack."


2 Answers 2


The restrictions for using the Feat are clear:

  • You must have taken the Attack action.
  • You must have attacked only with glaive/halberd/quarterstaff.

The first bullet is easy-go: yes, you took the Attack action. The second bullet is probably a no, since you have attacked (as Shove is "a special melee attack") with something else that does not involve your quarterstaff (per Crawford below).

In a similar question, which asked

Does Shove qualify you to use the bonus attack in Two Weapon Fighting or Martial Arts?

Crawford answered

The shove and grapple options don't involve an attack with a weapon or an unarmed strike, so no. 1

This means that both your interpretations in the "only" part lead to the same thing.

it's unclear if it mean you can't attack with other weapons, or that you can't take any actions other than polearm attacks

You are both "attacking with other weapons (where the other weapon is, probably, your body)" and "taking other (than polearm attacks) action".

1 My interpretation from that is that No, you don't use your quarterstaff for the shove action. The reasoning for that is that if it does not involve an attack with a weapon, it either does not involve an attack (which is false, since it does) or does not involve a weapon (which is the only possible solution). It doesn't require a free hand because you can use your body, you don't need to push the person with your hands.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Deltab You clearly didn't. The point of the comparison is to make clear that the Shove is not a weapon attack (therefore, does not use the quarterstaff). Nonetheless, it is still an attack. Both of this sentences together imply that an attack that does not involve the quarterstaff was made. The text of PAM states that the attack has to be made only with the quarterstaff, therefore the condition is broken. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 18:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ About your two last sentences: Nowhere in the text it says anything about "last attack". And an attack made without any of these weapons is still an attack. But if you disagree, feel free to submit an answer with your interpretation and back it up. Comments are not the place for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 19:00

From my interpretation of RAW, I believe this would work as you intend it to work.

The point of contention is the second requirement of Polearm Master:

You must have attacked ONLY with a glaive/halberd/quarterstaff.

I think the word ONLY in this sentence means that no other weapons would qualify, and NOT that you could only have attacked during the Attack action with one of these weapons.

So, if you shove (or any other attack after having taken the Attack action) and then attack with one of these weapons, in my eyes, you have then fulfilled the requirements to unlock that bonus action.

I believe this would work in any order as well, i.e. attack, then shove, then bonus attack.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se. Please take our tour. Your reading is a fine reading, but it seems inconsitent with other sentences in the book. It would improve the answer if you can exemplify with other statements where the "only" is used in that way/for that purpose. Usually, if it works "only" with specific weapons, it just says it works with these specific weapons. If it says "When you attack with a Longsword", there is no need to specify that no other weapon qualifies - you are already saying that only the longsword works. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 0:11

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