I'm a Fighter and I want to slow down an enemy. I have one weapon in each hand, so grappling isn't an option.
Can I somehow reduce a nearby enemy's movement to half its normal value — or even less — without grappling them?
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PHB pg. 169
This feat provides 3 benefits:
- When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature’s speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.
- Creatures within 5 feet of you provoke opportunity attacks from you even if they take the Disengage action before leaving your reach.
- When a creature within 5 feet of you makes an attack against a target other than you (and that target doesn’t have this feat), you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against the attacking creature.
As a bonus, this also encourages creatures to focus you, and gives you Attacks of Opportunity if they don't, or if they try to get away. It's a fantastic tanking feat when combined with a Quarterstaff and Polearm Master for maximum AoE crowd control.
There are two main ways to accomplish this. One is the Sentinel feat, which prevents creatures you've hit with an opportunity attack from moving for the remainder of their turn. The other is knocking the creature prone, since the prone condition means they either have to spend half their movement standing up or move at half speed to crawl away.
Obviously the Sentinal feat can be picked up anytime your fighter would get an Ability Score Increase, or at level 1 if it is a Variant Human. For knocking them prone any character can use an Attack action to shove another creature that is no more than 1 size larger by making a Strength(Athletics) check opposed by their Strength(Athletics) or Dexterity(Acrobatics) check. If you chose the Battlemaster Archetype you also have the maneuver Trip Attack which knocks the prone on a failed save when used.
In addition to the Sentinel Feat already mentioned:
Even without explicitly fixing a target to the spot, you can still restrain its movement by blocking its path. It is a viable tactic to block a narrow passage to, say, cut your enemies off from a vulnerable ally.
There are magic items in the DMG which allow you to restrain target's movements.
For instance, the Wand of Web description says:
This wand has 7 charges. While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 of its charges to cast the Web spell (save DC 15) from it.
The Web spell creates a web, making creatures Restrained:
Each creature that starts its turn in the webs or that enters them during its turn must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is Restrained as long as it remains in the webs or until it breaks free.
You said "I have one weapon in each hand, so grappling isn't an option", assuming that you need a free hand to grapple someone. However, there's no reason why you can't free a hand during combat. You can sheathe a weapon as a free item interaction on the same turn when you grapple. See PHB p.190:
Here are a few examples of the sorts of thing you can do in tandem with your movement and action:
- draw or sheathe a sword
PHB p. 195 describes Grapple and Shove actions as examples of possible contests during combat:
Contests In Combat
Battle often involves pítting your prowess against that of your foe. Such a challenge is represented by a contest. This section includes the most common contests that require an action in combat: grappling and shoving a creature.
If you see a possibility to restrain an enemy's movements somehow, describe how you do it. Then it's up to DM how this contest should be resolved.
People have already suggested the sentinel feat but I want to add on:
These would involve multiclassing but for other people looking to slow someone else down, I thought they'd be helpful:
The warlock invocation "lance of lethargy" slows an opponent by 10 feet when hit by eldritch blast, which can be cast as a bonus action in the right circumstances.
Lots of ice magic involves slowing an opponent down, such as "Ray of Frost." I'm sure there are other, higher level spells, too, but that's an easy 1st level artificer/warlock/sorcerer spell. So look for those debuffs.
There are probably more ways to do things like this, but I'm still looking for them.