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The Disarm action (DMG p271) allows you to use a weapon attack to attempt to disarm a foe.
I would love to be able to do this to one or more opponents telekinetically, similar to Darth Vader in Rogue One.
Are there any class features, magic items, or spells that might let me accomplish this?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I've only seen Rogue One once, so I consider the iconic Vader disarming scene to be taking Han's blaster pistol in ESB. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Sep 23, 2020 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've edited out the [spells] and [class-feature] tags. Tags should be used to describe the question itself, not the potential answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 24, 2020 at 3:47

3 Answers 3

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Other than straight Telekinesis?

Object. You can try to move an object that weighs up to 1,000 pounds. If the object isn't being worn or carried, you automatically move it up to 30 feet in any direction, but not beyond the range of this spell.

If the object is worn or carried by a creature, you must make an ability check with your spellcasting ability contested by that creature's Strength check. If you succeed, you pull the object away from that creature and can move it up to 30 feet in any direction but not beyond the range of this spell.

Beyond that it is done via physical attacks or DM whim.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is carrying the same as wielding? \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Sep 23, 2020 at 16:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I clearly didn't read telekinesis well enough :) Good call on that being the answer here \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 23, 2020 at 16:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BlueMoon93 wield is a way of carrying a weapon at the ready. Carry is hold and transport. Wield is hold and use. Either way, what you do with it is in your hands. \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Sep 23, 2020 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BlueMoon Well, since it allows for it to work on objects that are worn, for example let's a suit of armor, then yeah wielded items should not be a bigger problem. Also, since wielded items also count as being carried anyway, so the point is rather moot here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat
    Sep 23, 2020 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SamLacrumb it may be the DM didn't know that or may be a counter ruling. I'd discuss it. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 24, 2020 at 20:29
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As detailed in MivaScott's answer, telekinesis is a great option for disarming, especially if you want to do so, uh, 'telekinetically'. If you are willing to simply use a spell to disarm and call it 'spooky action at a distance' flavor, there are several more options:

Command

Not exactly telekinesis, but pointing your finger at someone, telling them to drop their weapon, and then compelling them to do it is at least Vaderesque. The force has a strong effect on the weak-minded. They probably didn't want that death stick anyway.

You speak a one-word command to a creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or follow the command on its next turn...Drop. The target drops whatever it is holding and then ends its turn.

Heat Metal

If your goal is to simply disarm them, rather than also confiscating their weapon yourself, and their weapon is metal (and not, say, a wand or hand crossbow) consider heat metal (emphasis mine)

Choose a manufactured metal object, such as a metal weapon or a suit of heavy or medium metal armor, that you can see within range. You cause the object to glow red-hot. Any creature in physical contact with the object takes 2d8 fire damage when you cast the spell. Until the spell ends, you can use a bonus action on each of your subsequent turns to cause this damage again. If a creature is holding or wearing the object and takes the damage from it, the creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or drop the object if it can.

Denying them the use of the weapon for several rounds may be as good as actually having it yourself depending on the circumstance.

Mage Hand

(emphases mine):

You can use your action to control the hand. You can use the hand to manipulate an object, open an unlocked door or container, stow or retrieve an item from an open container, or pour the contents out of a vial...The hand can’t attack, activate magic items, or carry more than 10 pounds.

The limit to 10 pounds of weight, and the lack of an explicit mechanic to remove an item from someone's grasp as in telekinesis, mean that it is unlikely your DM would allow you to use this to disarm someone with a weapon already in hand (anyone capable of carrying ten pounds in one hand should be strong enough to maintain their grip on their weapon).

However, if you have surprise or initiative and get the drop on them, you might be able to use mage hand to remove the weapon from their person before they have it in hand, such as taking a sword from its sheath before it is drawn (per 'retrieve an object from an open container'). If the weapon was somehow secured or fastened in place, that might require two actions ('open an unlocked container').

While mage hand itself does not say whether it can or cannot be used specifically on items carried by other creatures, the arcane trickster's use of mage hand legerdemain does (and see the link in the comments to Thomas Markov's more detailed examination of legerdemain):

You can retrieve an object in a container worn or carried by another creature.

That this ability specifies that it can be used on other creatures could be interpreted to mean that a non-legerdemain use of mage hand cannot, but such a limitation is not explicit in the description of mage hand itself - consult your DM. Other advantages of legerdemain for pre-emptive disarming include that your use of it may be a bonus action (by using the rogue's cunning action) and that the target may not realize you are doing it (your Sleight of Hand contested by their Perception).

Antipathy (if you have time and proximity)

While most spells that can target objects expressly do not work on objects 'worn or carried', antipathy has no such limitation (emphases mine):

You target something within range, either a Huge or smaller object or creature or an area that is no larger than a 200-foot cube. Then specify a kind of intelligent creature, such as red dragons, goblins, or vampires. You invest the target with an aura that either attracts or repels the specified creatures for the duration...The enchantment causes creatures of the kind you designated to feel an intense urge to leave the area and avoid the target. When such a creature can see the target or comes within 60 feet of it, the creature must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened. The creature remains frightened while it can see the target or is within 60 feet of it. While frightened by the target, the creature must use its movement to move to the nearest safe spot from which it can’t see the target. If the creature moves more than 60 feet from the target and can’t see it, the creature is no longer frightened, but the creature becomes frightened again if it regains sight of the target or moves within 60 feet of it.

Select the weapon as the target of the spell, and the creature you want to disarm as the 'kind'. This has a good chance of making the creature not only discard the weapon, but leave the area as well, making it easy for you to retrieve the weapon if desired (and if you can think of a 'kind' of creature the target is, and you are not).

However, as commenter Erik Burigo points out, Antipathy has a very serious limitation - a casting time of one hour with a range of 60 feet. In a very specific situation such as protracted negotiations with someone that eventually turn to combat, you might be able to precast this on their go-to weapon, but it would be an extreme edge case and highly impractical in general.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In this answer I outline the details of the Arcane Trickster's legerdemain feature. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 23, 2020 at 17:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Command and heat metal are neat options, but mage hand and antipathy really shouldn't be in this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 23, 2020 at 18:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AngeloFuchs True, but notice that it is 'kind' - which is not defined in the rules. It is not type, which has a rules definition. So even if everyone in your party and your target is human, you should be able to find something that specifies the target: 'Blonde', 'bandit', 'enemy', etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Sep 24, 2020 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 Indeed. Because 'kind' has no in-game definition, it is very open to interpretation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Sep 25, 2020 at 3:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ErikBurigo That...seems like a serious limitation that I did not notice from reading the description of the spell. Thank you, edited. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Dec 15, 2021 at 22:54
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The standard disarming rule allows you to disarm instead of a weapon attack. The Battlemaster has the ability to attempt a free disarm if he hits with a weapon attack. So the trick (other than use of Telekinesis itself) is to gain weapon attacks that are "telekinetic". Might I suggest the Dancing Sword? Sure, you're disarming them with a weapon that you're controlling telekinetically rather than disarming them with telekinesis applied directly, but other than that, it seems to fit... and since it's not taking up your class slot, you can do it with a Battlemaster, for extra disarming goodness.

There's also an optional rule in the DMG for creating custom spells. I'd think that a "telekinetic disarm foe" spell, or perhaps "telekinetic action" would be something that you could look at as a downgrade of Telekinesis, giving you similar abilities but only once per casting, and possibly dropping the numbers. It would require DM agreement, but I suspect you could get something that would give you what you want as a 2nd-level or 3rd-level spell at most, if they were willing to work with you at all. Of course, with DM permission you could get it done in a number of ways. It's not like the thing that you're asking for is inherently overpowered, if costed directly. At the low end, you could technically get the thing you want by refluffing a thrown dagger.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Level 3 seems costly for a one-action thing. Given that Command allows forcing Dropping an item and is more versatile, I'd allow it as a 1st level spell, but with a STR Save (with Advantage if item held by more than 1 hand). Item drops to creature's feet. Spending higher level slots improves effect, like making item drop further away, or even a lot further away, or to the sides rather than just "backwards", or even towards you instead... or even ultimately straight into your hands! But who'd waste a high level spell slot just for that heh! \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat
    Sep 23, 2020 at 23:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The standard disarming rule allows you to disarm instead of a weapon attack." - I wouldn't really call this the "standard" rule, given that it's an explicitly optional rule from the DMG. It's also wrong, as the "Disarm" option in the DMG takes your action to do - not just one weapon attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 24, 2020 at 3:45

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