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So I wanted to do a dual wielder rogue and I had a question about the bonus-action attack.

Can I take the bonus-action attack first and without taking an Attack action?

Basically, if I'm face to face with a big strong dude, can I take a bonus-action attack, and if that hits, do a Dodge action to help protect myself?

Or do I have to take the Attack action to do the bonus-action attack?

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No, you cannot make an attack as a bonus action unless you also take the Attack action.

The text of the Two-Weapon Fighting rule is pretty clear about this:

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.

i.e. the ability to make a melee attack as a bonus action is contingent upon you using your action to take the Attack action.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @András If you have an alternate answer, please use an answer post rather than starting a chat about it in comments on another answer. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 10 at 7:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András The back-and-forth discussing the problems with adding it to this answer indicate that it’s not minor. That’s a good signal to either post it yourself with all the details worked out, or drop the tangent. Especially since it’s not even what the question was asking. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 10 at 17:54

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