I'd appreciate your guidance on the rules governing the picking up of a dropped item within 5e and Adventurers League rules.

Here are two scenarios:

  1. My character, equipped with a two-handed weapon, uses the Battle Master maneuver "Disarming Attack" on a wizard causing him to drop his wand at his feet. Can I use the "Other Activity On Your Turn" mechanic to pick up the wand and stow it in my belt? Although I am carrying a two-handed weapon, since this is the "Other Activity On Your Turn" mechanic and I am not attacking with the weapon for the moment, I would like to assume that I can use one of my hands to pick up and stow the wand, and then return that hand to the pommel of the two-handed sword.

  2. Does your answer change if I am using a one-handed weapon and have a free hand?

Here is the text in the Player's Handbook (page 74) regarding "Disarming Attack":

When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one superiority die to attempt to disarm the target, forcing it to drop one item of your choice that it's holding. You add the superiority die to the attack's damage roll, and the target must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, it drops the object you choose. The object lands at its feet.

Here is the text in the Player's Handbook (page 190) regarding "Other Activity On Your Turn": (Personal note: the term "free action" does not seem to appear in 5E)

Your turn can include a variety of flourishes that require neither your action nor your move... You can also interact with one object or feature or the environment for free, during either your move or your action. For example, you could open a door during your move as you stride toward a foe, or you could draw your weapon as part of the same action you use to attack. The DM might require to use an action for any special care or when it presents an unusual obstacle. For instance, the DM could reasonably expect you to use an action to open a stuck door or turn a crank to lower a drawbridge.

So I'd appreciate your guidance on the rules and mechanics governing this situation.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The game term "free action" is from a different edition. Please edit the tag. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29 at 17:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast The tag Info states "a term for activities in RPGs that take very little time or effort to perform" This seems to be a valid tag for an edition neutral term. There a couple more 5E Questions that also have this tag. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29 at 19:08

3 Answers 3


You cannot both pick up and stow for free

There is a list of the kind of interactions that count as free; it includes

  • draw or sheathe a sword
  • pick up a dropped axe

Each picking up a weapon from the floor, and stowing it, would be an object interaction, and you only have one free per round, so you cannot do both, unless you use your action for the other.

Taking a hand off your two-handed weapon does not consume anything from the action economy, but putting it back on might require an object interaction too. That will then mean you would need three object interactions to disarm, take a hand of, pick up, stow, and put the hand back on.

Also, if the weapon drops at the feet of your opponent, that is in their controlled space. And you cannot just freely enter their space, it would be up to your DM if they make you do some acrobatics check or something to do so, if they allow it. (You might not need to move fully into their space, but it clearly is in their interest to stop you from grabbing their weapon -- as it would be in the player's interest that a monster can not just snatch their dropped weapon, without them being able to do anything about it.)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ These are the correct cites for picking up and stowing being separate. OP asked about taking a hand off a 2H weapon to do that and there you can cite PHB errata. Yes, the wand is in the foe's space, but do you have to enter the space to pick it up? If you have reach enough to hit the opponent with an unarmed attack without entering their space, perhaps not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented May 29 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt, thanks for the suggestion, I added a reference about the two-handed weapon handling. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Excellent point on the dropped wand likely being in the space of the opponent. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Commented May 29 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ With the Halfling's Nimble feature you can enter an opponent's controlled space, so a Battle Master Halfling fighting against medium or larger creatures could pull this off quite easily. (tho, as you point out, stowing would have to be done on the next turn) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 31 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ My only question would be would grabbing it be somewhat contested?...yes, you could definitely disarm them -- but, could you grab it after it was dropped or is it a free-for-all to pick it up? or can the wizard get an attack-of-opportunity/reaction for you entering/leaving their space? \$\endgroup\$
    – David Fass
    Commented Jun 3 at 16:39

"Free Action" is player shorthand for the "interact with one object or feature or the environment for free" reference that you mentioned.

You could certainly pick up a wand or weapon as this free object interaction. It might be a matter of DM interpretation whether you can pick it up and stow it in your belt as a single interaction. But as long as you're not doing much else, you can certainly disarming attack, pick up wand, then on your next turn, stow wand in belt, then make your attack for that turn.

That said, most DMs are pretty lenient on interacting with objects, as keeping track of it is tedious and doesn't add a lot of fun, so it'd be totally reasonable to ask if you can do both, but be prepared for being able to only do half of what you want to.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To complete this shorthand explanation, I think I've seen more players and DMs talk about "free interaction", mostly to show the difference between this and actions/bonus actions/reactions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Commented Jun 6 at 9:43

You can pick up the item

The Two-Handed Weapon property is described on page 147 of the PHB as, emphasis mine.

This weapon requires two hands when you attack with it

This confirms your suspicion, that you would have a free hand before and after attacking on your turn, with which you could pick up an item, such as the disarmed Wizard's rod.

But you can probably not stow it with the same object interaction

However looking at the list of possible activities that you can perform on the Interacting with Objects Around You sidebar on page 190, it seems unlikely, that you would be able to both pick up the item and put it onto your belt. Take a look at these two examples:

  1. Pick up a dropped axe.
  2. Draw or sheathe a sword.

This tells us that you can use your Free Object Interaction to pick up an item from the ground OR put something that you have in your hand onto your belt. Both of these are possible, but they are each described as seperated uses of your object interaction. I don't believe this to be 100% clear and am sure there might be a way to argue otherwise, but I think it is highly likely that a DM sticking fully to RAW, which is what I understand they do in AL, would tell you that you cannot both pick up the wand and stow it with the same object interaction.

Though there are other ways to do all of this

The DM would than probably tell you to either do this on two seperate turns or to use your object interaction AND your action on your turn to achieve your goal. But as you are a Fighter this might not be that much of an issue for you, as you could then use your action surge to do all that you want: Disarm as an action, pickup with the free object interation and then stow away with your surged second action.

If you want to know how a certain DM would rule it, ask them

I have explained what I personally find to be the most likely RAW scenario here, but in the end this is just me guessing what another DM might rule, with the way the rules are described. If you want to know for sure what your AL DM is going to rule in that situation your best bet is to just ask them beforehand. Perhaps you can arrive 15 minutes early to your next gaming session and ask your DM if they could tell you how they would rule in that combat scenario?


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