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The Tavern Brawler feat says:

When you hit a creature with an unarmed strike or an improvised weapon on your turn, you can use a bonus action to attempt to grapple the target.

Disarming says:

A creature can use a weapon attack to knock a weapon or another item from a target's grasp. The attacker makes an attack roll contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) check or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If the attacker wins the contest, the attack causes no damage or other ill effect, but the defender drops the item.

Since disarming is a weapon attack directed at the opponent, can I use it to disarm a character, then grapple them as a bonus action?

I really want to smack a sword out of someone's hand, grapple them, and take their sword away telling them they can have it back when they've shown they can be responsible adults.

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Probably not. Tavern Brawler requires you to "hit the creature" with a weapon attack. While the Disarm rule involves making an attack, it's not clear that that attack involves hitting a creature. Normally, hitting a creature requires beating its AC:

When you make an attack, your attack roll determines whether the attack hits or misses. To make an attack roll, roll a d20 and add the appropriate modifiers. If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target’s Armor Class (AC), the attack hits. The AC of a character is determined at character creation, whereas the AC of a monster is in its stat block.

Since the attack you make to Disarm isn't against a creature's AC, it probably doesn't involve hitting a creature, and therefore can't trigger Tavern Brawler.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A great, but disappointing answer. Time to rework my Pacifist Barbarian build \$\endgroup\$ – PacisfistBarbarian Dec 22 '16 at 15:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PacifistBarbarian you could still disarm and pick up the weapon without grappling them. All the grapple adds is preventing them from running away afterwards. But if this is something you really want to do, talk to your DM; it hardly breaks anything to allow it. \$\endgroup\$ – Doval Dec 22 '16 at 15:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PacisfistBarbarian Honestly this is a very nice concept for a build. As Doval mentions, you aren't breaking the game by adding a grapple into it. Talk to your DM. Such a nice concept (I would love to see how you integrate raging into the concept :P) definitely deserves some tweakings of skills and feats. \$\endgroup\$ – Patrice Dec 22 '16 at 15:54
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Rules as Written? No. Rules as Interpreted? Unclear. Rules as Fun? Why not?

Keep in mind that the Disarm rule you quote is an optional one (DMG, p. 271), so this is all assuming it is allowed at your table to begin with. If you are using a Battlemaster's Disarming Strike (which is normal attack roll with damage), there is no ambiguity and the rules support your combo.

The Tavern Brawler Feat requires a hit, but general Disarm is a To-hit roll vs. an Ability Check, which borders on the gray. A strict DM would probably disallow the grapple to follow the disarm. However, it's not a terribly unbalancing maneuver, and without a follow-up of some kind, Disarm is a largely underpowered maneuver. See Why does Disarm seem so trivial?

Since the distinction between a hit and a contest here is so trivial, I would be inclined to allow it, because it just makes narrative sense. Once again, not RAW, but RAF.

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Maybe.

Note that Tavern Brawler doesn't just require an attack with an improvised weapon, it requires a "hit". These two concepts aren't synonymous: shoving and grappling are classified as melee attacks but don't result in a hit.

Here's where it gets murky. The disarm option doesn't explicitly call a success a hit - it talks about winning the contest. On the one hand it jumps straight to saying the attack does no damage, going off the assumption that a hit has occurred. On the other, it's clear you're not hitting the creature, just what they're holding (which is further supported by the fact that the target's AC is irrelevant.) It's difficult to claim you've hit the creature.

I would say "no", but ask your DM.

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