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The Thri-Kreen playable race from Unearthed Arcana 2021: Travelers of the Multiverse has the following property:

Secondary Arms. You have two slightly smaller secondary arms below your primary pair of arms. The secondary arms function like your primary arms, with the following exceptions:

  • You can use a secondary arm to wield a weapon that has the light property, but you can’t use a secondary arm to wield other kinds of weapons.
  • You can’t wield a shield with a secondary arm.

As soon as I heard about this, I thought of the many fun ways you could make use of a multi-armed character, many of which involved Two-Weapon Fighting. But I took pause when I read the Dual Wielder feat in detail: particularly the first bullet point (PHB, p. 165, bold added).

  • You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand.

My original thought was that you could use one of the Thri-Kreen's primary arms to hold a shield, then the other three arms (one primary, two secondary) to hold weapons of various kinds. But when I read the above feat's requirement, I was unsure if it would apply!

On the one hand (snicker), the word "each" implies that every hand the character has would need to be holding a weapon, which is not the case. On the other hand (hehe... still funny to me), when the feat was originally written, the requirement that you are wielding "a separate melee weapon in each hand" would only require you to be holding two melee weapons, and this character is holding three! So it seems to satisfy the requirements the Feat originally had... in a way?

I'm at an impasse on this one, so I'm throwing this question to the community:

Can a Thri-Kreen character use a shield with a primary hand, and one-handed melee weapons with the other three, and still get the first benefit of the Dual Wielder feat?

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RAW: It says "each hand", it means "each hand", whether you have 2 hands, 1 hand, or 4 hands.

RAI: You could well be right, and the feat may have been written in the context of all races having two hands - the name "Dual Wielder" does indeed seem to imply "2". However, I have not heard any designers say this is the case.

At your table: Ask your DM!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does that mean that a character (with the feat) that lost a hand gain a +1 AC when holding a weapon in its single hand? \$\endgroup\$
    – JFL
    Oct 15 '21 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jfl That depends on the first clause being pure fluff in the feat. It talks about using two weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Oct 15 '21 at 14:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Yakk Technically, the first clause says "You master fighting with two weapons, gaining the following benefits:". It doesn't say that you gain the benefits when fighting with two weapons. By way of example, the Lightly Armored feat says "you have trained to master the use of light armor," and "increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1," but it would be illogical to assume your Strength or Dex is only only increased when wearing light armor. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15 '21 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JFL even if they did, it wouldn’t unbalance at all (a two-handed charecter could just use a shield for one more AC and one more feat) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15 '21 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agree. My comment was merely humor. \$\endgroup\$
    – JFL
    Oct 15 '21 at 16:50

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