Reactions can be quite literally live-savers in DnD 5e. But what are they exactly?
We’ve done a post previously on opportunity attacks. While it’s true that opportunity attacks are a type of reaction – they are not the only ones. And not the only way to trigger a reaction. The keyword here is trigger. As you need a trigger for a certain reaction for it to even be able to happen in the first place.
So, today we will be looking at the mechanics of reactions, how they work, what can trigger them, and other generally useful information about them.
Let’s get right into it.
Table of Contents
What Reactions are in DnD 5e
I think it’s best here if we give an example of a definition from the Basic Rules themselves.
On page 73, this is what is said about reactions:
” Certain special abilities, spells, and situations allow you to take a special action called a reaction. A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn or someone else’s…
When you take a reaction, you can’t take another one until the start of your next turn. If your reaction interrupts another creature’s turn, that creature can continue its turn right after the reaction.”
And now to explain what was said in this quote.
As the quote tells us. Reactions are a once per turn actions that you can choose to do if the right conditions are met for it – i.e a trigger occurs. But they are unlike regular actions which you can perform freely. The main difference between an action and a reaction is that reactions are conditional, while actions are not.
These conditions vary from context to context. But there are a few general and common situations that can trigger them.
Things like getting attacked by a certain weapon or spell, getting attacked while you have a certain feat, a creature performing a certain move, a creature performing a move while under a certain condition, etc …
As you can see from the previous paragraph, the things that can trigger a reaction vary. So let’s be a bit specific in the next part.
Which Conditions Give you Reactions
As we mentioned earlier, certain feats and spells can give you a reaction if the proper conditions are met. So let’s list them in alphabetical order instead, so that you may have a reference at least.
Feats that give reactions
- Defensive Duelist
- Gift of the Chromatic Dragon
- Gift of the Gem Dragon
- Gift of the Metallic Dragon
- Mage Slayer
- Orcish Fury
- Second Chance
- Shield Master
- War Caster
Spells that give reactions
- Absorb Elements
- Feather Fall
- Hellish Rebuke
- Temporal Shunt
- Soul Cage
Before we move on to the next part, I’d like to add a closing comment on these lists.
As new rulebooks come out this list may change, so always keep in consideration that what is written here, may not be a full list at the time of reading this.
FAQs about Reactions in DnD 5e
Can you prepare a reaction beforehand?
Yes, you can. That’s the beauty of the “ready” action, it allows you to do just that.
But not only that. maneuvering into the right position at the start of the battle, or during the course of a battle will most likely offer you the chance of a reaction if the conditions are met.
Can players work together to create reactions?
Remember that scene in The Two Towers where Aragorn throws Gimli? Well, you can totally create those kinds of situations in Dungeons and Dragons as well. If the players are creative, they can come up with some pretty interesting situations that may trigger a reaction.
Am I able to have multiple reactions per turn?
As the definition for reactions states. You cannot take more than one reaction per turn. The reason for this is that reactions are quite powerful, if you are able to perform a reaction on every single action in the game; then it just breaks the game completely.
Do reactions trigger reactions?
This one is entirely up to your DM. As far as I am aware, nothing in the RAW talks about this specific instance. So, to answer the question, I’ll just simply recommend that it be left up to your DM.