Assuming you can grapple and lift both enemies, if you attack one enemy with the other, I assume this would be considered an improvised attack. Would this only be 1d4 damage to [Enemy B] in the following scenario or would the rules of Improvised Weapons allow for a higher damage die?

  1. [Enemy A] and [Enemy B] are both Grappled by [Player] who is physically capable of lifting one enemy.
  2. [Player] uses the Attack action to use Enemy A as an improvised weapon to hit Enemy B.

Does the scenario change at all if [Player] is capable of lifting both enemies and wanted to smash them together like a pair of cymbals as an attack? Would both enemies take damage, or would [Player] be required to announce one of them as the weapon and the other as the target?


3 Answers 3


Quoting from the 5e SRD's section on improvised weapons:

Sometimes characters don't have their weapons and have to attack with whatever is at hand. An improvised weapon includes any object you can wield in one or two hands, such as broken glass, a table leg, a frying pan, a wagon wheel, or a dead goblin. Often, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the GM's option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her proficiency bonus.

An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon deals 1d4 damage (the GM assigns a damage type appropriate to the object). If a character uses a ranged weapon to make a melee attack, or throws a melee weapon that does not have the thrown property, it also deals 1d4 damage. An improvised thrown weapon has a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet.

You'll note that improvised weapons are described as "objects". And the closest example to what you're trying to use is "a dead goblin". With that in mind I'd rule that if the enemy is alive and actively resisting you can't use them as a weapon, even if they're grappled, because being grappled doesn't do anything close to making someone "an object".

If for some reason they're not able to resist (i.e. they're dead, they're unconscious, they're paralyzed, etc.) then sure, Enemy A is now an improvised weapon who does 1d4 damage.


For creature A to use creature B as a weapon, two things are required. If these are met then A can certainly pick B up and smack C with them.

First, carrying capacity. B (including gear) needs to be under 5 × A's STR (using the variant encumbrance rules).

Second, leverage. B needs to be big enough compared to A to be able to pick A up. At least one size bigger, maybe 2.

I would rule that wielding an elf as a weapon is similar to a club. Maybe a mace, if the elf is armoured. I'd give A disadvantage on the attack if the elf is wriggling and doing their best not to be used as a weapon. :-)

If A just wants to smack B and C together (like the movie cliché of smacking two guards' heads together), then leverage and weight is not a requirement. It would just be a shove aside attempt on one of the targets, with some damage from the shove (exactly the same as if they were shoved into a wall).


Really in this context it depends on;

  • a) Size of PC
  • b) Strength of PC

  • c) Size and weight of Enemy

  • and d) State of Enemy eg. Consciousness and so on

You shouldn't need to worry about factors such as encumbrance and so on in this situation just presume that unless the character lifting the enemy up is a t least two size classes larger than the enemy, as long as the PC is the same size or larger than the enemy they should be able to make a Str check with no disadvantages unless the enemy is still conscious or is not bound in any way. You may even want to allow smaller creatures to pick up larger ones but with a much harder check and disadvantage.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This answer could be greatly improved by adding references on the rules for being able to do this, basically just back up your statement that "the PC... should be able to make a Str check with no disadvantage." \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Feb 20, 2017 at 7:58

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