[RPG] replace the off-hand attack from Two-Weapon fighting with a grapple/shove attempt


The rule for grappling allows me to replace an attack with an attempt to grapple.

The Two-weapon Fighting rule allows me to use a bonus action to attack using my off-hand.

Can I replace the off-hand attack with a grapple/shove attempt?

Best Answer

Tl;dr: Nope. Not as your primary action, and not as your Two Weapon Fighting attack. Try using haste instead!

There are two places in the rules for you to consult - the rules for Two-Weapon Fighting in the Combat section of the Player's Handbook:

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.

If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it.

...and the rules for Grappling directly adjacent to them:

When you want to grab a creature or wrestle with it, you can use the Attack action to make a special melee attack, a grapple. If you’re able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them. The target of your grapple must be no more than one size larger than you and must be within your reach. Using at least one free hand...

There are two reasons that you can't make an "off hand attack" that initiates a grapple. Firstly, the rules for grapple specify that you can only use the Attack action (note the capital) to initiate a grapple, while Two Weapon Fighting allows you to use a bonus action to make an additional attack with a light weapon. The second reason is that Two Weapon Fighting requires you to be holding a light weapon in each hand, while grappling requires a free hand.

However, you may not have to abandon hope of Barbarian attacking+grappling shenanigans with your high Athletics score - provided you can convince a friendly caster near you to provide you with a cast of the haste spell.

Choose a willing creature that you can see within range. Until the spell ends, the target's speed is doubled, it gains a +2 bonus to AC, it has advantage on Dexterity saving throws, and it gains an additional action on each of its turns. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action.

When the spell ends, the target can't move or take actions until after its next turn, as a wave of lethargy sweeps over it.

Unfortunately, an attempt to grapple is not a "weapon attack", and so you can't use your Haste action to grapple them. However, there's nothing to say you can't use your regular action to grapple them, and them hit them upside the head with your Haste action.