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I've seen many people on StackExchange and other forums mention that you can drop something as a free action, but I've never seen it sourced, or come across support for it in the Player's Handbook. The "Other Activity on Your Turn" section (p. 190) makes no mention of dropping items.

I've personally been ruling that dropping an item counts as an "interaction with the environment", but seeing how frequently I've seen people say otherwise I'm assuming I'm missing something.

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The only indication we have within the rules that dropping things might be free is that dropping an object is not included in the (fairly extensive) list of example object interactions.

However, Jeremy Crawford has stated in an unofficial tweet from April 2015 that dropping something you're holding is not intended to require any action.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Might be off topic, but does Crawford's opinion seem incompatible with being unable to cast a spell while holding a two handed weapon? You can't take a hand off a weapon in one context, but in the other its fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnionDruid
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 15:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OnionDruid I haven't heard of anyone objecting to taking one hand off a two-handed weapon to cast a spell before... \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Crawford tweet is ambiguously stated ("no appreciable effort" has no game meaning). However, I agree with your answer and run my table that way. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ A two-handed weapon requires two hands to use, but not hold. Relaxing/releasing your grip does not require active effort. Gravity will take objects once its force exceeds the amount of resistance given by your grip. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aaron
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 19:02
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Dropping a weapon isn't specifically listed in the Player's Handbook, but I think it would be covered under "interacting with an object/the variety of flourishes" as described in the section "Other Activity on Your Turn":

Your turn can include a variety of flourishes that require neither your action nor your move.

You can communicate however you are able, through brief utterances and gestures, as you take your turn.

You can also interact with one object or feature of 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.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's the "free object interaction action", which you only have one per turn. Some have argued that dropping an object is truly free, in that you can both use the free object interaction action and drop an object in the same turn. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 20:06
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You can do the flourishes and it says later you can ALSO interact for free. That would indicate the flourishes are not part of the interaction and therefore would not take the free item interaction allowing you to perform the flourish for free and then interact with an item for free as well.

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 of the environment for free, during either your move or your action.

If that was not the case they would have said that you can do a flourish or interact with an object for free once per turn to indicate you could only do 1 of those each turn and you had to choose.

That being said, in the end, it is always the choice of the DM (I remember seeing somewhere in the official rules that basically stated the dm can choose to customize/change rules as they see fit).

If I was a DM and a player was throwing a fit because I did not allow them to do this all for free I would give in but have something happen as soon as they set the item down (perhaps a slight earthquake, an animal, an npc, or a trap but something) and this thing would either move the weapon away or steal it outright (possibly making the player lose the weapon for good).

Do that periodically and it would quickly teach them a lesson of why arguing with the DM may not always be the best idea.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While this was intended as a comment, it can stand as an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 0:16
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The Player's Handbook does not provide a direct ruling for the mechanics of dropping a weapon. What the Player's Handbook (p. 190) does state is that you can interact with one object or feature for free and then goes on to provide a list of example interactions. Dropping an object is not included in the list of example interactions. As dropping an object is not referenced anywhere else in the rules it is reasonble to conclude that dropping an object fits best within the provided examples of free object interactions.

Some have argued that dropping an object can be considered a flourish and I would counter that by saying that a "flourish" would be best interpreted as something that conveys no mechanical advantage.

For example:

  • Free object interaction = Draw your dagger
  • Action = Attack the Bandit with your dagger
  • Flourish = Spit in the Bandit's face

The only exception here might be when the act of dropping an object is intended purely as a flourish i.e. mic drop, stage exit.

Others have pointed to Jeremy Crawford's tweet on this topic that states "letting go of something requires no appreciable effort". I would consider this a RAI response rather than a RAW response, as it cannot be related to any RAW terminology and therefore should not be considered in a RAW interpretation.

In conclusion, the best RAW fit for dropping a weapon is to include this action under the "interact with one object or feature" list, however as the rules are not explicit this does require a DM ruling.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to sum this up by pointing out that it requires a ruling by a DM at table, since RAW is silent on the matter. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Drawing your dagger, in and of itself, would be a free object interaction. But if you then use the dagger to attack a bandit, drawing the weapon is PART of the attack action, and did not use the free object interaction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 17:00

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