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In the mechanics of using a bow, you would hold the bow with your off hand and draw with your primary hand. My question has to do with the action economy of passing the bow from my off hand to my primary hand.

Let's say that I have completed my two standard attacks using my bow as a fighter at level 5. At which point I'd like to pass my bow from my off hand to my primary hand. Using my free item interaction with my off hand, I'd like to draw a dagger, and then, using my bonus action, throw the dagger as an off-handed attack.

Would this be permitted?

Since moving the bow from 1 hand to the other is not stowing or drawing it, would I therefore still have the free item interaction available to perform this act? Or would the passing between hands effectively count as my free item interaction meaning that I would need to use a full action to draw the dagger on the same turn?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If that's allowable but using your primary hand to throw the dagger isn't (latter bit seems clear RAW) that seems pretty weird to me. Interested to see how this pans out. \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Aug 29 '18 at 22:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify, what feature allows you to throw the dagger "as an off-handed attack"? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Aug 29 '18 at 22:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ 5E does not have any concept of "primary hand" and "offset hand". It just has some things that require one hand and some things that require two hands. What exactly is it that you are trying to do? \$\endgroup\$ – Greenstone Walker Aug 29 '18 at 23:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ PHB page 195: Two-W eapon F ighting When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative. If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it. \$\endgroup\$ – Dustin Aug 30 '18 at 2:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Right. So since you didn't attack with a light, one-hand, melee weapon (you attacked with a two-handed, ranged weapon) you don't qualify for two-weapon fighting's bonus action. Is there some other feature that gives you the bonus action? (War Priest would be an example.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 30 '18 at 2:28
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Jeremy Crawford is saying it's not an action to shift a weapon between one or two hands. So you could draw you dagger as part of a move or as part of your Attack action, after you fired the bow twice.

However, I do not know of any way to use a bonus action to attack in your example, as the situation doesn't qualify for dual wielding, nor the Crossbow Expert's condition for bonus attack.

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    \$\begingroup\$ War priest would do it, but only WIS times per short rest. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 30 '18 at 2:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 +1, but one doesn't need to shift a weapon to do that anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – AntiDrondert Aug 30 '18 at 13:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, the hand-shifting thing's a red herring in any case. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 30 '18 at 13:30
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You don't need to swap hands, because 5e has no rules for handedness, primary hands or off-hands. If you want to swap hands anyway for flavor, other answers here clearly show that it's not an action and you should have no problem in doing so.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Since 5e has no rules for handedness, there is no rule that you don't need to swap hands. It's up to your table to decide whether you need to. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Aug 29 '18 at 23:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells that is some mind-bending logic there, so much so that I don't follow. Since 5e has no concept of handedness why would there be any reason that you would need to swap hands? Sure, you could houserule this (as with anything), but lack of a rule does in fact usually mean that you don't have to do something. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Aug 29 '18 at 23:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm saying that whether you need to use your dominant hand for certain tasks is one of the great many questions that the rules don't answer, and it's a mistake (as always) to read that silence as an implied "No." \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Aug 29 '18 at 23:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells having to use the weak hand to throw a dagger doesn't sound sensible. \$\endgroup\$ – DonQuiKong Aug 30 '18 at 11:46
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This specific situation is not possible, due to the Two-Weapon Fighting rules

The Two-Weapon Fighting rule states that the first attack must also be made with a "light melee weapon" to allow the bonus-action attack to be available. This is covered on PHB page 195. As a result, making any attacks with a bow as your action disqualifies you from benefiting from Two-Weapon Fighting. (I was initially unaware that the first attack had the same qualifier as the second.)

To clarify, if you swing the dagger with the first 2 attacks on your Attack action (from Extra Attack) and then throw or swing the dagger as your bonus-action attack for a third attack on the turn (from Two-Weapon Fighting), that would be allowed regardless of the hand being used to do so. This bonus-action attack would not get the ability modifier applied to damage, unless the character has the Two-Weapon Fighting fighting style or an equivalent ability.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You've asked two opposing questions ("Is it X? Or is it Y?"), so it's not immediately clear what you mean by "no"... \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 30 '18 at 4:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast My question above is specifically in the case of a bow on the attack action, in the answer here my response as No is relative to that question. I added the second case to clarify where the primary intent of the question (another attack) would be allowed. \$\endgroup\$ – Dustin Aug 30 '18 at 4:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm just pointing out that your question says this: "Would this be permitted since moving the bow from 1 hand to the other is not stowing or drawing it would I therefore still have the free item interaction available to perform this act? Or would the passing between hands effectively count as my free item interaction meaning that I would need to use a full action to draw the dagger on the same turn?" ...So, rather than just saying "The answer is no", it would be clearer to say something like "This situation is not possible, due to the Two-Weapon Fighting rules". \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 30 '18 at 4:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm sorry that including the disqualifying case interpretation in the initial question may have muddied the waters. I will try to keep future questions to affirmative of negative dispositions. \$\endgroup\$ – Dustin Aug 30 '18 at 5:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've tried clearing up the wording in your answer a bit. However, to clarify: you do need to use two different one-handed (light) weapons to use Two-Weapon Fighting; you couldn't use the same dagger for all your attacks if you do use TWF. You can make any set of attacks for your Attack action, but at least one needs to be with a light weapon for TWF - you can then use a different one-handed light weapon from that one in your other hand to make your bonus-action attack. (You could even attack once with each dagger as your Attack action, and then use either dagger to do the bonus attack.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 30 '18 at 5:11

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