Is the DMG’s Disarm option an entire action, or a replacement for a single weapon attack?

My confusion comes from the somewhat ambiguous wording of the Disarm action as described in the Dungeon Master’s Guide (p. 271):

A creature can use a weapon attack to knock a weapon or another item from a target’s grasp. The attacker makes an attack roll contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) check or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If the attacker wins the contest, the attack causes no damage or other ill effect, but the defender drops the item.

Two things stand out to me:

A creature can use a weapon attack

One way to interpret this is to mean that this is replacing a normal weapon attack, disarming the target instead of dealing damage. The other way to interpret this is that this weapon attack is special; that despite being called an attack, it’s intended to be its own action type.

If the attacker wins the contest, the attack causes no damage or other ill effect

This also stands out to me. If this were its own action, and not a replacement for a regular attack, then it wouldn’t be necessary to specify that damage is negated; it would simply be presumed to deal no damage.

What is the correct way to interpret this action? Is it its own action, or a replacement for a single attack as part of the Attack action? If a character gets the Extra Attack feature, can Disarm replace every attack they’re otherwise allowed to make?

Dropping a Throwing Weapon & Range Increment

If you drop a throwing weapon from a height onto an enemy, does that incur range increment penalty, and if so, how much? I am asking, because a question in our group came up whether gravity or higher ground rules apply to "Throwing" a weapon downward, but we could not find anything.

For instance: My Paladin Sir Isaac, is standing on a bridge, and there is a goblin below him, 60 ft. He attempts to drops an alchemist flash on top of the Goblin’s head.

If you have cast Spiritual Weapon and then you are polymorphed, can you make melee spell attacks?

I have a player that would like to cast Polymorph on the party’s cleric.

If the cleric has already cast Spiritual Weapon on himself (this is not a concentration spell) and he is Polymorphed into say a Giant Ape, does he still have the ability to make Melee spell attacks as a bonus action?

I know that you can continue to concentrate on spells that you cast before you Polymorph, and that you cannot cast new spells. But would a great ape be able to make a “melee spell attack”?

Can a weapon be a holy symbol?

So I’m being part of a DnD campaign soon, and I’m making a tempest cleric that worships Thor. Since Thor’s weapon is a Warhammmer, and I also use a Warhammer, could the hammer count as a holy symbol or would there need to be some form of engraving/emblem on it for it to count?

Fey Ancestry says “Magic can’t put you to sleep” and Brass Dragon has the ability to “exhales sleep gas”. Does the breath weapon affect elves?

I always assumed that elves/half elves were just immune to sleep effects, but re-reading Fey Ancestry, it says “magic can’t put you to sleep”.

Brass Dragons and Kamadans (Tomb of Annihilation p225) have Sleep Breath, and I just assumed it wouldn’t affect elves, but now I’m not so sure.

Am I just overthinking it?

Are there any other magical sleep effects besides the Sleep spell? If not, then I would assume it’s intended to include sleeping gas. But maybe the Fey Ancestry is a mix of magic resistance and “elves don’t sleep” so it really is just against magical sleep?

Can I interact with my spiritual weapon, (say a quarterstaff) and use my bonus action to move US 20 feet?

Say I create a spiritual weapon in the form of a (horizontal) quarterstaff. Can I grab it and use the bonus action to move it (and myself) 20 feet. Say move me across a pit, or allowing me to take the rest of my normal movement, or even avoid introducing and attack of opportunity. My character happens to have a pole-dancing proficiency… Can she conjure up a pole and perform with it? What about a net, and cradle myself up a tree? "The weapon takes whatever form you choose." Can a spiritual weapon be any object? A Pillow — I really want to have a pillow fight dealing 1d8+ChMod A bed, a surfboard, a ladder, a chair?

Is an improvised weapon treated as similar enough to a weapon to use its properties still considered “improvised”?

In PHB, the 2nd paragraph of the description of Improvised Weapons (p. 147) states:

In many cases, 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 DM’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.

If I am understanding this correctly, then the mentioned table leg (or similar object) can be treated as a club. If that is correct, then it would have the light property, as the club has it. If that is also correct, that would mean I can wield a light weapon in one hand and an improvised club-like weapon in other hand, and use Two-Weapon Fighting with those, as both are light.

If all of that is still correct, then can an improvised weapon that is similar enough to a real weapon – e.g. a table leg used as a club – still be treated as an improvised weapon for the purpose of the last bullet point in the Tavern Brawler feat (PHB, p. 170)?

Specific scenario that I am wondering about: I wield a Scimitar (a light weapon) in one hand and a table leg (treated as a club, so also light) in the other hand. On my turn, I attack with the table leg as my Attack action. Then one of two things happen:

  1. I miss – then, as both wielded weapons are light, I proceed to attack with my scimitar (per Two-Weapon Fighting)

  2. I hit – then I drop one of my weapons to free one of my hands and attempt to grapple the target.

Of course this is assuming that I have the Tavern Brawler feat, which states:

  • You are proficient with improvised weapons.
  • Your unarmed strike uses a d4 for damage.
  • When you hit a creature with an unarmed strike or an improvised weapon on your turn, you can use a bonus action to attempt to grapple the target.

Does all of that work as I’ve described, or is there somewhere a flaw in my reasoning?

What is the weapon attack damage of a tentacle rod?

The tentacle rod’s description includes the following (emphasis added):

Made by the drow, this rod is a magic weapon that ends in three rubbery tentacles. While holding the rod, you can use an action to direct each tentacle to attack a creature you can see within 15 feet of you. Each tentacle makes a melee attack roll with a +9 bonus. On a hit, the tentacle deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage.

Answering this recent question, I concluded that the three attack feature of the tentacle rod is incompatible with extra attacks. In this older question, it was concluded that it is also incompatible with opportunity attacks.

However, I was then wondering, how making a normal weapon attack would work with the tentacle rod (without the three attacks property). This is clearly possible and in the case of the opportunity attack it can very well be worthwhile if you do not have better plans for your reaction. Usually, magic weapons have the respective item category (e.g. the scimitar of speed, which says "weapon (scimitar)") which defines a weapon damage in that those weapon types are detailed in the PHB (p. 149).

The description clearly states that the rod is a weapon (vide infra), its category, however, is rod. The magic item categories (DMG pp. 139-140) state that a magic staff can be used as a quarterstaff unless stated otherwise, while a rod is "A scepter or just a heavy cylinder". This was confirmed in this question about rod of the pact keeper.

It seems therefore, that the tentacle rod is a weapon by RAW but has no weapon type or weapon damage defined.

The rules on improvised weapons (PHB pp. 147-148) state:

An improvised weapon includes any weapon you can wield in one or two hands, such as broken glass , a table leg, a wagon wheel, or a dead goblin. Often an improvised is similar to an actual weapon an can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club.

It further states:

An object that bears no resemblence to a weapon deals 1d4 damage (the DM assigns a damage type appropriate to the object).

Now the last part should not apply because the rod clearly is a weapon. I can simply decide what weapon the rod is like (probably a quarterstaff, club, or a whip). I am wondering, however:

Is there anything more clear on the subject, either additional rules on improvised weapons, or specific information on the tentacle rod, that would give guidance on the matter?