The Great Weapon Master feat (PHB, pg. 167) states:

On your turn, when you score a critical hit with a melee weapon or reduce a creature to 0 hit points with one, you can make one melee weapon attack as a bonus action.

The flavour of Great Weapon Master ("You've learned to put the weight of a weapon to your advantage, letting its momentum empower your strikes") suggests that this should apply to heavy weapons (or at least versatile weapons) only.

But as it's written, it appears that any melee weapon can benefit from this. It doesn't appear to specify that it needs to be a heavy weapon or anything (like the other bullet point of this feat, which does).

So someone with a dagger and shield could potentially get this feat and make additional attacks as a bonus action (if they crit or drop someone to 0hp).

Is that right?


1 Answer 1


You are right

To use the first ability of Great Weapon Master feat, you only need to attack with a melee weapon. Dagger is a melee weapon and as long as you crit or reduce a creature to 0 hit points, you can make a melee weapon attack with your bonus action, including with different weapon other than the one that procs the GWM.

I believe it is intentional, as you can see from this published article from Sage Advice:

When designing a feat with a narrow use, we consider adding at least one element that can benefit a character more broadly—a bit of mastery that your character brings from one situation to another. [...] shows that some of the character’s expertise with one type of thing—crossbows, in this case—transfers to other things.

  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 This quote is a nice find. I suppose they may have tried to include these more widely applicable benefits within certain feats so that if a PC finds an amazing magic weapon that doesn't exactly fit their build then using it won't break your character build completely. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tiggerous
    Aug 24, 2018 at 12:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the Compendium. I've never thought it might be used this way. Though it kinda disturbs me, given how powerful GWM already is, giving it even more flexibility is downright overpowered (even if it is correct by RAW and RAI I would still forbid it, though its just me ranting). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2018 at 13:39
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @AntiDrondert Why bother forbidding it? If somebody is taking GWM and not using a weapon that allows them to take full advantage of the feat, they're self-nerfing. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Aug 24, 2018 at 14:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @AntiDrondert Add that to the way I rationalize the ability to do what it says by allowing the considerable momentum carry the massive weapon around for multiple attacks. Doesn't seem right for that to happen with a dagger. I personally probably won't restrict it but it does leave a bad taste in my mouth. I have only banned two feats thus far from the PHB, and all the racial feats. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Aug 24, 2018 at 14:29
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Am I right in thinking that an attack with a dagger will do less damage than an attack with a two-handed weapon and, because of that, the chance of triggering the "reduce a creature to 0 hit points" criteria is lower with a dagger? It seems like you could use the first ability but, even then, it's diminished by not using a big, heavy-hitting weapon. I'm considering the balance issue that @AntiDrondert raised. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kalmino
    Aug 24, 2018 at 19:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .