Per the rules of Bonus Action:

You choose when to take a bonus action during your turn, unless the bonus action's timing is specified, and anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a bonus action.

Features like Cunning Action do not have a timing element; they can be used at any time. But the feat shield master contains this line about timing:

If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action to try to shove a creature within 5 feet of you with your shield.

I cannot do the bonus action first (it doesn't work to pinky swear that the character will use the Attack action next). Many melee classes offer some form of "Extra Attack", with language similar to:

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

So my question is, given that my Attack action allows for two attacks, do I need to take both attacks in order to fulfill the requirement of shield master? Or, after one attack, have they "taken the Attack action" and can do a bonus action in between attacks?

This is important for timing.

If the character must use all attacks before considered having taken the Attack action, then they cannot shove a character prone until they have no more attacks in which to take advantage of being next to a prone enemy. Or, can the character attack once (to take the Attack action), then bonus action shove the opponent down, and follow up with a second attack at advantage (opponent is prone)?

The question Shield Master - Can the shield push be taken before an attack? is different as it's trying to perform the shove before any attack. This is about making one attack, THEN perform the shove. The difference is minor, but due to timing/wording, it can make a huge difference.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch, as I pointed out, Cunning Action is not a valid comparison as it has a very different timing element; the character hasn't moved yet which is a completely binary yes/no. In my question, I'm trying to find out if the character can do half an action, one out of two attacks possible during an attack action, to trigger the bonus action, or do they need to use up all the whole attack action. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 20:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ This appears to be a duplicate of a different question. However, I think the thing to do here would be to not frame it general terms and just ask about the specific order of events using the specific features that you care about. Something like “can I do this sequence on my turn?”, then explain what you’re trying to do. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 31, 2023 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ By my reading I can't see any part of this question that isn't covered by one of the linked duplicates. The original version was a duplicate and this updated version is just a duplicate of a different question. The interaction between Bonus Action and Action has been fairly extensively explored and I don't see how this case is unique. I've added multiple dupe targets and suggest leaving it closed unless you can adequately explain what isn't covered by the existing questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 3:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a side note; while there are no rules against it, it is generally considered poor form to use your gold tag badge to reopen your own question unless the dupe closure is clearly in error. In this case 6 users (including a mod) closed it as a dupe but due to the peculiarities of the system you had the authority to reopen it single-handedly. Not assuming ill-intent just an FYI to all that gold badge dupe-hammer is a powerful privilege and you should exercise additional caution when using it, particularly on your own posts. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 3:19


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