I have a 5th level fighter with the Two-Weapon Fighting fighting style.

What is the number of attacks I can make?

I say 4 attacks, but others say 3 because they say the rule on page 72 states that I get (only) 1 extra attack.


3 attacks, that's the answer.

It could go up to five with Action Surge, though.

Let's detail it:

Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB, page 195)

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. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative. If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it.

A bonus action is different from an Action.

When you are a 5th level fighter and you take the Attack action, you can make two attacks. You can also use your bonus action to make an additional attack and you only add your ability modifier to that damage if you have the Two-Weapon Fighting style.

Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB, page 72)

When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.

Therefore you are making your Attack action (2 attacks) and then your bonus action (1 attack) having then a total of 3 attacks if you're using your Action plus your Bonus Action. There's a clear difference between them.

Action Surge lets a 5th level fighter attack 5 times.

Action Surge (PHB, page 72)

Starting at 2nd level, you can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment. On your turn, you can take one additional action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again. Starting at 17th level, you can use it twice before a rest, but only once on the same turn.

Which means you would have 2 actions and still have your bonus action. So with this you can take your Attack action (2 attacks), then another Attack action (2 more attacks) and finally, your Two-Weapon Fighting bonus action (one more attack) making for a total of 5 attacks during your turn.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well explained but somehow I'm still unclear. From your explanation, WITHOUT using Action Surge a 5th level fighter with Two-Weapon Fighting has two attacks as per normal. With extra attack granted at 5th level, this would only be one extra attack (with one weapon, not two). Is this correct? The Action Surge would allow the player to make an additional action which could be an attack (2 attacks for Two-Weapon Fighter) or some other action like casting a spell etc.. Have I got that right? \$\endgroup\$ – Fogcutter Sep 28 '15 at 18:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Fogcutter Without using action surge, a 5th level fighter attacks 3 times as clearly explained. 2 attacks from your attack action and one attack from your bonus action. You are not granted one extra attack when you are 5th lvl. Your attack action, when you're 5th lvl, allows you to attack twice instead of once with one weapon. It doesn't matter if you have only one sword. Two-Weapon Fighting allows you to attack, using your bonus action, with your off-hand-weapon. Total of 3 attacks (Action + Bonus Action) Action Surge allows you to use Action+Action+Bonus Action (5 attacks) \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Nov 4 '15 at 17:21

Extra Attack, player's basic rules, page 25:

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

Note that it specifically says 'whenever you take the Attack action'. Not whenever you attack.

From Two-Weapon Fighting, page 74:

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 your other hand.

This doesn't allow you to take the Attack action twice, it just gives you an extra (lowercase) attack.

So you take the Attack action, use your Extra Attack to attack twice, then use the bonus action attack from Two-Weapon Fighting to attack a third time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also worth noting that pretty much no matter what else happens the off hand attack still is a bonus action and you only ever get 1 of those. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Jan 19 '15 at 15:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ If it did say "whenever you attack" instead of "whenever you take the Attack action", it would be an infinite, exponential loop. "I attacked, Extra Attack lets me attack twice. Two attacks means Extra Attack lets me attack four times. Four attacks means Extra Attack lets me attack eight times..." \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Feb 6 '18 at 20:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. it would be infinite, but not growing exponentially because no matter how many attacks you could perform in a row you can only ever make one attack at a time. \$\endgroup\$ – Cubic Jun 2 '20 at 19:31

When you take a bonus action it means that you take an action for free just like uncanny action phb 96. So when the two weapon fighting says you can you bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon does not says only once. It would be only once if it would say you can use bonus action to make one melee weapon attack just like Charger Feat phb 165.

Both bonus attacks in charge and TWF are attack actions with exception of making 1 roll (with bonus) in charge and in case of TWF making attacks with off hand but it has to be light weapon and you don't add bonus. If the exception was 1 melee attack if you wont throw it then they would have written it down on the book. Since they did not changed it all those years you can attack more than once with off.

Well imagine in case of action surge 4 melee attack with main hand and 1 with off its ridiculous it would be more realistic even you did not read the rules to see a character make 2 attacks with main 2 with off and at the end 2 with main again.

I did some research and i concluded that you take 3 and not 4 attacks but you can choose which weapon you want to attack with each attack and which target but the bonus one does not have +modifier bit -modifier if exist and has to be with the other weeapon that did not begin the attack.Thats all

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPGSE Pavlos. The tour, help center, How to Ask and How to Answer provide guidance on how to best operate on this site. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 10 '20 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer incorrectly interprets what a bonus action is (it's not just "a free action"), and is wrong as a result. Things aren't "the Attack action" unless they say they are. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 11 '20 at 7:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for helping community clear some things-rules. Please give me an example where phb seperate attacks from attack actions. i am just following the exacts things that phb says as a law. Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, you can go into a frenzy when you rage. If you do so, for the duration of your rage you can make a single melee weapon attack as a bonus action on each of your turns after this one. When your rage ends, you suffer one level of exhaustion. For example here PHB emphasizes in single melee weapon attack unlick TWF \$\endgroup\$ – Pavlos Koutsoukos Aug 11 '20 at 11:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ From the Player's Handbook: "The most common action to take in combat is the Attack action, whether you are swinging a sword, firing an arrow from a bow, or brawling with your fists. With this action, you make one melee or ranged attack. See the "Making an Attack" section for the rules that govern attacks. Certain features, such as the Extra Attack feature of the fighter, allow you to make more than one attack with this action." \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Aug 11 '20 at 12:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's definitely confusing! Take a look at this Q&A on upper case A vs lower case a. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 11 '20 at 12:47

I believe there is a critical misstep in the thinking on both of these previous answer. I believe that your original assertion of 4 attacks is correct. Here is my justification:

Extra Attack PHB25:

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

Two Weapon Fighting PHB74:

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 your other hand.

The last important piece that others are missing, and, I believe, incorrectly interpreting.

Bonus Actions PHB189:

Various class features, spells, and other abilities let you take an additional action on your turn called a bonus action.

Thus, you have to break things down the way you would a math problem. What happens first? Action. You choose Attack Action (Two Weapon Fighting). This Action receives Extra Attack, so you swing your weapon twice. And now, TWP grants you a bonus action. This bonus action is, as stated in the handbook, an additional action in which you choose Attack Action. This Attack Action also benefits from Extra Attack, so you swing your second weapon twice. Thus, 4 total attacks (lowercase).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this extended conversation about the Theory of Types as applied to [bonus] actions has been moved to chat. I'd encourage voters to take a look before just looking at the topline conclusion and casting a vote. It's piqued my interest, at least. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 17 '20 at 21:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ worth reviewing this comment \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 18 '20 at 12:50

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