I'm just getting into D&D. I'm looking at fighter and some of the things available to them and came across this:

  • Shield Mastery allows me to knock back/shove an opponent I attack as a bonus action.
  • Polearm Mastery allows me to attack with the base of my quarterstaff as a bonus action.

This is where things get a little hectic: if a monster moves within range of me, Polearm Mastery allows me to get an opportunity attack on them, but I don't understand to what extent.

How many bonus actions are you allowed per turn? If a monster comes within reach on their turn, can I hit them with my quarterstaff, knock them back with my shield potentially making them prone, then get an opportunity attack for my 2nd hit from the butt end of my quarterstaff?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Lomont, and welcome to RPG Stack Exchange. Please check out our tour to see how our Q&A site works. As Purple Monkey asks, we do need you to specify the edition of D&D you're playing -- which one are you using? Is it the latest one (D&D 5e) or another edition? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 19, 2016 at 22:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Bonus action" and "advantage" seems like 5e lingo, but it's better to wait for Lomont's confirmation. Voting to put on hold until such confirmation arrives. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Nov 19, 2016 at 23:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're going to hire a DM? As in, you don't have one yet? You may want to put the more finnicky questions on the back-burner until you have a DM to ask about them. Most RPGs (including D&D) invoke the "Golden Rule" that the DM has final say on how things work in his game, so any answer you get here may well be overruled by your DM before you begin playing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve-O
    Nov 19, 2016 at 23:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I removed the bit about hiring a DM (because that will distract people from answering the rules question) and attempted to reorganise the question a bit. I renamed "advantage attack" to "opportunity attack" because that was the wrong name, and is likely to confuse people trying to answer (attacking with advantage is also a thing, and is unrelated to Polearm Mastery). I also folded together the bottom two bullets, because it made it look like two questions instead of the first being an introduction to the second, more detailed part. Look it over and confirm it's still the question you meant? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2016 at 0:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although I removed the bit about hiring a DM, I did that because I know that got the community's attention. If you are at all interested in why that's something that people would want to address (to the detriment of answering your rules question), may I suggest that you post another question (posting multiple questions is fine!) along the lines of “New to D&D and none of us want to be DM, so we want to hire one. How do we go about that?” or “… Is that feasible?” or something similar? If not interested, that's fine too! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2016 at 0:34

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately no, this doesn't work.

The biggest reason is that a bonus action can only be taken on your turn, not anyone else's. The second biggest reason is that you can only take one bonus action on your turn (see page 189 of the PHB).

Another reason is the wording of both the feats.

Polearm Master

When you take the Attack action [...] you can use a bonus action...

Shield Master

If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action...

Note that Shield Master actually specifically says "on your turn". But anyway, the Attack action is a specific action you must take in order to be able to take a bonus action granted by either of these feats. Polearm Master allows you to make an opportunity attack, and opportunity attacks use your Reaction, not the Attack action.

In the end all this leaves you with is being able to make an opportunity attack against a creature when they enter your reach, should you so wish. No shove from Shield Master, no extra attack from Polearm Master.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe add a paragraph saying explicitly what that leaves you able to do when that monster walks up on its turn? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2016 at 0:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alright so it's not entirely broken when it's not my turn. However, on my turn, if I attack something the sequence would be something like: (1)Declare attack (2)action bonus from Shield Mastery shove/knockback (3)attack with quarterstaff (4)action bonus from Polearm Mastery attack with butt end of quarterstaff is this correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – Lomont
    Nov 20, 2016 at 1:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Lomont Nope - as the answer here says, you can only use one bonus action per turn. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Nov 20, 2016 at 3:11

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