Opportunity Attacks are as close to gambling as you can get in DnD 5e.
The reason for me saying that will become obvious later on in the article. But first, what are opportunity attacks you may ask? And more importantly, how many can you make per turn?
These questions, and a few more we will try to answer today.
As such, we’ll be looking at what they are. How the mechanics work for them, and some extra information that might be useful regarding them.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
What are Opportunity Attacks in DnD 5e?
Opportunity Attacks are circumstantial attacks that you can perform if certain conditions are met. Specifically, if an enemy within your reach tries to move outside of it. The Player’s Handbook explains it as such.
“In a fight, everyone is constantly watching for enemies to drop their guard. You can rarely move heedlessly past your foes without putting yourself in danger; doing so provokes an opportunity attack.
You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach. To make the opportunity attack, you use your reaction to make one melee attack against the provoking creature.”
Now, to elaborate on what was said in the quote above.
Opportunity attacks are attacks that you perform to an enemy combatant within your reach – trying to leave it. Now, that isn’t to say that you are an untraversable dome. It just means that if the enemy is foolish enough to try to leave with their guard down, well; they’ll suffer the consequences.
Now, to talk about the mechanics.
The Mechanics of Opportunity Attacks
Opportunity Attacks in DnD 5e only work within your range. Usually, that range is a mere 5 feet, which is a single square on a battle mat. This opportunity attack can only be performed with a melee weapon – or if you don’t have one, with an unarmed strike.
How do you get out of this situation you may ask? As the enemy gets them as well.
Well, you have to use your turn to perform a Disengage. If you perform a successful Disengage you do not suffer the consequences.
As stated above. The usual range in which you can perform an opportunity attack is 5 feet. This increases if you are wielding a polearm or weapon with a long reach. This also increases if you are playing as a race with a long reach.
And one final thing. You only get one opportunity attack per turn. Yes, that’s right. Only one. And not only that, any other reactions you may have are considered null if you opt on using an opportunity attack. So, always think carefully about the tactical situation you are in.
FAQs About Opportunity Attacks
Are there any ways I can get more opportunity attacks?
No, you only get one opportunity attack per turn. And abilities like Extra Attack don’t apply.
How does opportunity attack affect flying combatants?
The same as regular movement. If a flying creature attacks you, then moves out of your range – then it provokes an opportunity attack just the same. Even if it flies up straight into the air. In an instant, you’ll develop a higher vertical jump than Michael Jordan.
Take notice which creature is attacking you though. Certain creatures like the Owl have the Flyby ability that doesn’t trigger an opportunity attack.
How do spells affect opportunity attacks?
Certain spells that force your enemy away from you do not trigger an opportunity attack. So if an ally blasts an enemy that was in your face 10 feet into the next wall – you don’t get an opportunity attack.
What about the environment?
Well, if your DM is cleaver and decides to include a collapsing floor underneath your feet – this will not trigger an opportunity attack. Environmental effects affect both the player and NPC.
What are the most useful feats for opportunity attacks?
The two most useful feats are War Caster for spellcaster characters, allowing you to attack with a spell instead of just with a melee weapon.
The other feat that is quite useful is Sentinel. It improves opportunity attacks in every way possible. Slowing the enemy who is hit, disregarding Disengage, and the ability to use opportunity attack on an enemy who is going after another target.