[RPG] Does Dual Wielding count as two attacks, and therefore two actions


I’m not sure if two-weapon fighting and dual wielding are the same thing.

I’m very new, like first-game new. What I’m wondering is:
If I have the Dual Wielding feature, do I make two separate weapon attack rolls? Or do I make one attack roll with two instances of damage?

This came up because I attempted to stab someone with both weapons at once, and since my whole group is new we had no idea how that would work.

Best Answer

Two-Weapon Fighting is two attacks, using an Action and a Bonus Action to perform

The section on Two-Weapon Fighting in the Player's Handbook describes how this works:

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you're holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you're holding in the other hand. You don't add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

So in a normal combat round, your sequence of events is

  • With a Light melee weapon (Club, Dagger, Handaxe, Light Hammer, Scimitar, Shortsword, Sickle), you make an attack, using your Action.
    • This attack doesn't necessarily have to be a melee attack; like, for example, you're throwing your Dagger or Handaxe instead of melee attacking with them. The weapon itself is required to normally be a melee weapon though.
  • If you have the Extra Attack feature (given to Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, Barbarians, Monks, and some other subclasses of other classes), make however many additional attacks you are entitled to as part of that same action.
  • If you're also holding a Light melee weapon in your other hand, you make an additional attack, using your Bonus Action. This attack does not add your ability modifier to your damage rolls (but still adds it for its attack rolls)

The PHB doesn't emphasize the phrase "Bonus Action" in that description, when it probably should, to emphasize that it's a proper noun. A "Bonus Action" is not a second "Action", it is its own thing, that permits specific actions.

Dual Wielder is a Feat that removes the requirement for the weapon to be Light

The Dual Wielder feat is also found in the PHB (p. 165):

You master fighting with two weapons, gaining the following benefits:

  • You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand.
  • You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one-handed melee weapons you are wielding aren't light.
  • You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one.

So in addition to the other benefits, the only change to your fighting style is that you could now two-weapon fight using Rapiers or Longswords or other non-two-handed melee weapons. Check the PHB for the full list of weapons to figure out which weapons are permitted using this feat.

The Two-Weapon Fighting Fighting Style is a Fighting Style that permits the Bonus Action Attack to benefit from your ability modifier to your damage rolls

Many martial classes are permitted to take the Two-Weapon Fighting Fighting Style as their choice of Fighting Style. The Bonus Action attack does not normally benefit from your ability modifier on damage rolls, but with this fighting style, it does.

The description appears like this for Fighters, and is not modified for other classes that use it:

When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.