I would certainly agree with what other folks have been saying. This is a bad ruling as you are completely removing the reason most people take this feat. Also it is actually a reasonable thing to charge into combat shield first, using that to knock someone on their butt…….
— Michael White (@TahnGoldenmane) May 18, 2018
Narratively, it is reasonable to charge in with your shield first, but that has nothing to do with the words in the feat. My ruling boils down to the following: the feat does what it says. As always, the DM decides how things work at a particular table.
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) May 18, 2018
5 thoughts on “This is a bad ruling as you are completely removing the reason most people take Shield Master”
And if a DM decides to use it the way most people use it anyway, then it won’t matter at all. Ultimately it’s up to the DM how each little nut or bolt works in his world.
Is it permissible, as written, to break up a series of attacks (like those granted by Extra Attack or maybe even Flurry of Blows) with the bonus action? ie, I declare I am attacking my opponent, make an attack roll, then shove with my shield, then take my additional attack rolls.
Per other responses (of many) that JC made, there is no mechanism for “nestling” a cause-effect Bonus Action in this way relative to the trigger (Attack Action, in this case, which includes Extra Attack). Unlike with Movement, which explicitly has the mechanism for taking place between discrete (A)ttacks, BAs predicated on their trigger do not. (Mind you, I side with the group that says JC should errata this to allow EA to permit the bash between attacks as it is highly counter-intuitive to think that someone could move, say, 30′ between attacks that they make but not make a shield bash, but what he is saying *is* “sound” relative to his basing it on the rules-as-presented.)
What I don’t get is why Crawford won’t just errata it.
Clearly people hate this interpretation. So why does Crawford ride so hard for it?
Even if he wants to argue that the wording of the feat can ONLY mean this interpretation (which is false – the wording is vague, like much of the wording in 5E thanks to their beloved reliance on “natural language”), the question is, why not just change the wording?
Clearly Crawford has a reason for wanting to rule to work this way. What is that justification? Because he could easily rewrite the rule. He is not a slave to the language currently used.
He chooses to KEEP that wording, for some unknown reason he seems unwilling to disclose. Which is bizarre, because for a long time, he DIDN’T have any such reason, because he actually interpretted the rule in the opposite way for years.
In fairness, it’s less so that JC said “x” for years and more so that he mistakenly made a tweet/response based on a general application (Bonus Actions w/o triggers can be used whenever during your turn) that, per the rules-as-presented, *didn’t* apply in the *specific* instance being cited. He then several years later made a correct-to-the-rules-as-presented correction tweet… which had the unfortunate effect of (justifiably) upsetting a number of people. He didn’t say the first tweet for years but rather made it and then didn’t revisit the specific issue for several years — that’s a critical distinction in this regard, as it isn’t that he arbitrarily “reversed” a judgement but rather realized he had made a response in haste without realizing that what he was saying *wasn’t* correct to the feat-as-written-and-contextual-to-the-rules.
As far as how the feat is worded, per his later responses, it isn’t that the feat’s wording is vague in this regard but rather there is no mechanism for “nestling”, as he said, a BA within its triggering (A)ction when such exists. Unlike with (M)ovement, which does have such a mechanism, an Action-triggered BA must have the triggering (A)ction be completed in order to have the BA take place. In that regard, he is in fact correct relative to the rules and mechanics of the game. (However, you and many others are correct: it would have been easy for him to have errata’d — and added a clarification/allowance — within the feat to allow for the nestling, similar to Movement, as part of the feat. I understand his not wanting to make a more general change relative to “nestling” because that could create a number of mechanical-and-intuitive issues for many other situations/circumstances, but in this particular case the “nestling” makes total sense and *not* having it exist as part of the feat is very counter-intuitive relative to common sense.) Again, though, his correction (albeit years later) was, indeed, correct relative to the rules-as-written/presented; he just needs to apply common sense to the feat’s application and make a correct addendum.