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I want to use two short swords but I am not sure if I can. It sounds like the Bladesong might end in the case of dual wielding:

Starting at 2nd level, you can invoke a secret magic called the Bladesong, provided that you aren’t wearing medium or heavy armor or using a shield. It graces you with supernatural speed, agility, and focus.

You can use a bonus action to start the Bladesong, which lasts for 1 minute. It ends if you are incapacitated, if you don medium or heavy armor or a shield, or if you use two hands to make an attack with a weapon. You can also dismiss the Bladesong at any time you choose (no action required).

emphasis mine

When it describes using two hands to attack with "a weapon" that makes me think I could perhaps use two hands to attack with two weapons?

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10 Answers 10

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Yes, you can dual-wield as a bladesinger.

This means if you're two-handing a single weapon. Bladesong won't end if you have a weapon in each hand. Only if you make an attack while holding one of them with both hands.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Mechanically, is there a reason you'd use a one-handed weapon with both hands, beyond the versatile weapon trait? \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Nov 7 '15 at 21:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nothing is stopping you from doing so. Mechanically there is no benefit to extra-handing a weapon. The idea is that Bladesong won't end if you pull out a two-handed weapon, but will end if you use it. \$\endgroup\$ – Axoren Nov 8 '15 at 1:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Premier Bromanov, the only reason I can think of is to get advantage to resist disarming. \$\endgroup\$ – Greenstone Walker Jul 12 '16 at 20:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Axoren You do more damage with some weapons -- such as long sword or quarterstaff -- depending upon your use of one or two hands. The feature "versatile" spells this out in the weapons table. (p. 46 Basic Rules.) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 8 '16 at 13:55
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Short Answer: Yes. Because it is a singular specification of weapons.

Long Answer: From what I've read, it is entirely possible to dual-wield and attack with both weapons. Unless this gets errata'd out at some point this is the current text for the Bladesong in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide regarding weapons:

(P. 142) You can use a bonus action to start the Bladesong, which lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are incapacitated, if you don medium or heavy armor or a shield, or if you use two hands to make an attack with a weapon.

While you did include this snippet of the SCAG, the emphasis should actually be on the part I've highlighted. I will explain.

Note how the singular "a" is used in this context. This implies that the wielding with two hands must be on a weapon, not the weapons. A one-handed weapon is exempt from this rule, dual-wielded or wielding only one.

It is possible the reason for this part of the Bladesong rule was to ensure a character could not use the longsword, warhammer, or similar versatile martial weapon to increase their damage further, as well as to not have an influx of great sword-toting 9th level spellcasters.

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As a lot of things with this edition (and I personally love that), it depends.

It ends if you are incapacitated, if you don medium or heavy armor or a shield, or if you use two hands to make an attack with a weapon. You can also dismiss the Bladesong at any time you choose (no action required)

Case A: Going strictly by RAW

As is phrased in the rules, it doesn't state "specifically" that you cannot use one arm with one weapon each, so you could pull this off that way. "Rules" don't forbid it.

Case B: Attempting some interpretation

Obvioulsy, this is a subjetive interpretation, so you can dismiss it or think otherwise. But maybe it's worth some thinking. I also think this is one of the points of this edition "lack" of specification.

It seems that the whole idea of the BladeSong feature is that you need to have a certain freedom of movement, and also that you dont have both of your hands occupied at the same time (hence, the restriction of shield and using a weapon with two hands) so it depends on what do you think it's needed for this feature to work, or how it looks like when the character is using it, and THIS is what you should talk about with your DM.

Maybe you need to be gesturing something with the free hand all the time for it to work? Then you shouldn't be able to dual wield.

Maybe you need to be gesturing for MOST of the time, so you can maybe use some kind of projectile without breaking this gesture chain.

Maybe it's something more arcane, and for some unknown reason your hands cannot be "connected" by the same harmful object (hence, A weapon) or the "song" harmony will break. This way, you should be able to use dual wielding.

Etc, etc.


So, it's your call. Anyway, you should talk to your DM (and also to the rest of the party), so nobody feels like you are "cheating" and everybody can have a good time playing.

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War Caster Feat (pg . 170 PHB) could be taken for the ability to "perform the somatic components of a spell even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands."

By a strict reading of the material, a dual-wielding casting Bladesinger build is possible.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Bladesinger is not a spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Jul 12 '16 at 17:01
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Arguably YES. The new Sword Coast cantrips described immediately following the Blade-Singer specs require no somatic gestures, so they can be cast when wielding two weapons. Of course, one hand must be free to cast other spells with a somatic component.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you've answered one possible question the title suggests without referencing the actual full question. This is about the Bladesong. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jul 21 '16 at 22:15
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It says in the Player's Handbook (page203) that in order to cast a spell with a somatic or material component you need a free hand. This is why I believe they are shown to be single blade users as they are a wizard first and foremost. Personally I would value that more than a second weapon.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question appears to ask about the actual legality of using a second weapon. While the value of doing so is relevant, this isn't answering the legality issue. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jul 12 '16 at 10:17
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I don't think it is viable with 2 weapons for RAI. It would be easier to dance a versatile weapon 2-handed than two weapons, so if the former is disallowed (as it clearly is) then logically the latter should be. With a versatile weapon between your turns you are dancing, ducking, dodging, using a non-attack reaction etc with one free hand and you grip your weapon with your off hand only when you make your attacks. With 2 weapon fighting both your hands are tied up all the time. It would seem shortswords would be a far bigger hindrance than a longsword.

Also the SCAG tonebox on bladesong styles repeatedly says "the " or "a/an ".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer doesn't seem to address the rules, and your first sentence is entirely unclear, i'm not sure if you're even addressing the question the OP asked. RAI is subjective and does not actually address whether or not bladesong ends when dual wielding. -1 \$\endgroup\$ – Eidolon108 Jul 11 '16 at 7:44
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No, you can't, the text is just badly written

The Bladesinger Prestige class has been around for years, and in other editions it's been clear that Bladesingers can wield only a single, one-handed weapon e.g. in 3.0:

Bladesong Style (Ex): When wielding a longsword or rapier in one hand (and nothing in the other)

Also as someone else pointed out, it's pretty clear in the Players Handbook that to cast a spell you need a free hand, and Bladesingers are all about the casting spells while fighting. So I think it's a pretty safe bet that this is intended by the text in 5e too, it's just not written very clearly. I certainly would not allow a Bladesinger to dual-wield in any campaign I'm running.

Quote above from the free Web Enhancement for Tome and Blood should you want to look further into it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The fact that other editions did things differently does not, itself, prove it should work the same way in D&D's 5th edition. Editions are, after all, an opportunity to change things, and change things D&D 5e has. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jul 12 '16 at 10:12
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Based on the above comments I would say that "as-written" you can dual wield. "As-intended" is an entirely different animal. Think of this way, according to another poster above "It says in the Player's Handbook (page203) that in order to cast a spell with a somatic or material component you need a free hand." Based on that poster's comment then at least one free hand is needed to be able to cast spells with somatic or material components, in which case dual wielding would not be possible.

Then again, the "bladesong" according to the text in "SCAG" is a "secret elven magic". One could argue that this secret elven magic might at least allow the bladesinger to substitute a somatic component with movements of the bladesong itself, thus allowing for dual-wielding. It could also be argued that the bladesong could allow for material components to be "auto-magically" used if the spell requires it and if you do possess the component on your person.

All those arguments for and against dual-wielding and/or using a 2handed weapon for bladesinging are ultimately going to be a decision made by the DM of your game. It all depends on whether allowing or disallowing one thing or another is going to unbalance the game by making the bladesinger too powerful.

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I suggest you take a look at the original description of the bladesinger in the 2nd edition supplement, "The Complete Book of Elves". This provides the basis of the bladesinger traits. Primary of these is that the bladesinger can cast with one hand while wielding his weapon with the other. Based on this you cannot duel wield during the bladesong, you must have one hand free to maintain the ability.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a good bit of background knowledge for someone to have, but it doesn't really seem to answer the question posed. Specifically, it's got no reference to 5e's rules that would govern the querent's situation. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Sep 8 '16 at 4:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ There was an anonymous suggested edit adding significant new material to this answer, which was rejected. If that edit was by the post author without being logged in, please log in, request your accounts to be merged if necessary, and try again. (Large suggested edits by anonymous users are typically rejected because we have no way to confirm that it is the author, or whether it's just a “helpful” stranger with no special insight into the author's real intent — or worse, someone trying to add their own answer and doing it wrong.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 10 '16 at 3:02

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