D&D 5E 5E - Time for Attacks of Opportunity to die?

Should D&D next have attacks of opportunity?

  • Yes

    Votes: 54 34.8%
  • No

    Votes: 29 18.7%
  • Maybe, in a tactical module.

    Votes: 72 46.5%


First Post
I don't personally care for them, they don't promote (or rather they discourage) the sort of play I like, but I don't see any reason for them not to be included as an optional rule for those that do like them. I'm really hoping that this coming edition drives home an idea that has sort of been lost over the years, the idea there isn't just one way to play, that it's your game and you can change it however you want. People need to be made to understand that modules are essentially just playtested suggestions for houserules, that there isn't any reason that you can't do it yourself, that what's in the book isn't sacrosanct.

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After the last L&L, it's clearer than ever that 'that D&D feel' that is so important to 5e is the feel of old-school D&D (OD&D, Basic Set, AD&D). Not so sure about the others, but AD&D always had mechanicsm for interrupting spells and for the 'parting shot' when you just moved away from an enemy rather than doing a 'fighting withdraw.' Those are both basically OAs. So, the OA has been with D&D a long time, and needs to stay, at minimum, for running away from melee or casting in melee.


I hate them. They're both extremely unrealistic AND massively time consuming, the worst of both worlds. IRL you don't break off from fighting foe A to stab foe B as he runs past - if you did, A would hit you. Readied actions are all that's needed.

Also, bring back facing. :D


On the free attack vs someone who runs away - it's not realistic, breaking off from combat is usually much less dangerous than actually fighting, until a faster enemy pursues you and runs you down. But I can see a case for it; in my 1e game I let an elf Fighter run back from a melee opponent and shoot arrows at her in the same round; the free attack each time she broke contact balanced it out. The approach where you can either move back & attack, sucking up an OA, or double move back, no OA, works ok. Realistically though you wouldn't really be able to move back & attack before your pursuer caught up with you.

Li Shenron

I moderately liked AoOs in 3ed.

OTOH I hated the inflation of action types, immediate, swift and whatever was added later...

I think it would be best for everyone if this type of rules are going to be modular/optional, and low-complexity combat can work without them (meaning that the first version of combat described in the core PHB doesn't use any of those).


Staff member
[D][/D]I voted "no"...because my fat fingers missed "yes" on the touch screen. I'm 100% a fan of having some kind of AoO mechanic.

Oh well.

Nahat Anoj

First Post
I like OAs, but they should be in a tactical module, with relatively simple-to-remember triggers. 4e does this pretty well IMO. In addition, I think OAs should to be trained into. Some classes (like fighters) know how to do OAs by default, but IMO a wizard should be required to take a feat or something.


OA's seem to me the perfect way to distinguish between "simple" tactical rules and "advanced" tactical rules in the new all-powerful modular 5E, but all tactical combat options should have them in some form.

I imagine the "simple" tactical combat rules being similar to the old free attack mechanic: if you move away from someone, you get whacked. The "advanced" tactical rules should have OA mechanics similar to 4E's, where different types of action attract free hits and thus the shift/five-foot step remains a cornerstone option.


First Post
I think OAs/AoOs are connected with initiative and the grid, so that those choices necessarily influence each other. If you use 3e/4e style cyclical initiative and a grid, your possible OAs will look very different than if you use no grid and roll initiative each turn after actions are declared.

Personally, I like cyclical initiative because it's faster. I even use a single roll for the other side, so that after the first round (+ surprise round) the initiative can be resolved by side. This makes combat simple and lets slower players think while the others' actions are resolved. There's also no need to use the Delay action in 3e rules.

Example: rogue rolls 22, fighter 13, cleric 8 and mage 7, the zombies roll 10. First rogue and fighter go. Then zombies go. After that it alternates between the PCs and zombies without need to track individual order.

When I'm playing gridless, I would prefer not to need OAs at all, because I do it when I want to resolve the combat quickly. Spellcasting is the only thing that in my opinion needs it for balance (assuming cyclical initiative), so if that could be solved another way I'd be happy. One round casting time for most spells would do it, as I've mentioned elsewhere.

With grids, OTOH, I want OAs that encourage tactical actions. Maybe you should never trigger an OA from an enemy you attack with a melee weapon? This would make the difference between fighting retreat and running clear. The 3e rule on withdrawing actually made it work the other way, which seemed weird. This way the Wizard who is sucked into melee could hit with his staff to disengage safely, or run away triggering an attack (but get to start casting immediately).


First Post
Everyone's talking about casters and withdrawal, but those aren't the things which AoOs are really about. AoOs are necessary for reach weapons and melee battlefield control to be worthwhile. You should not be able to charge a wall of pikes with your dagger and get away with it. Nor should you be able to completely ignore the fighter standing in a 15 foot hall and run past him to gank the wizard.


First Post
Everyone's talking about casters and withdrawal, but those aren't the things which AoOs are really about. AoOs are necessary for reach weapons and melee battlefield control to be worthwhile. You should not be able to charge a wall of pikes with your dagger and get away with it. Nor should you be able to completely ignore the fighter standing in a 15 foot hall and run past him to gank the wizard.

My preferences on those two things: For reach weapons, allow the wielder to take his next attack early, instead of giving him extra attacks. Treat running by someone the same as engaging and then disengaging.

Crazy Jerome

First Post
I'd be extremely interested in your system and experiences.

What I've been doing up until now in 4E is supposedly doing the cyclic initiative on index cards, complete with individual rolls, but grouping monsters and characters based on those roles. So it is as much DM art as anything else. If Jasmine and Velvet are the two characters going between two sets of monsters, then they act together.

We are starting Gardmore Abbey this weekend. I'm switching to an overt side by side process that mirrors the actual practice of the way I've been doing, with players rolling initiative every round to determine which bracket they go in--before the monsters, after the monsters, or in big fights, between two groups of monsters.

I'll post something in the 4E forum once I see how it works out.

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
I'd like to see OA in an optional module - along with alternative ways of handling the same thing, such as having zones of control (star wars d20 original edition gave one easy way of handling this, there are others).


Just mostly dead

The "Free swing if you try to leave melee" has a long heritage in D&D (although memory fails me about whether and when it was an actual rule vs common house rule.) So a simple thing like that should probably be core.

Full-on "you get this many" "you threaten these squares" "you get a bonus if..." that sounds like tactical combat module, to me.

Eric Tolle

First Post
I like attacks of opportunity because I really hate the idea that say, an ogre for example, could win initiative, and wander past three ranks of fighters and squish the mage. Especially when I'm playing the mage.

Attacks of Opportunity are important in making melee fighters actually useful; of the fighters can't protect the casters, what good are they?


First Post
I like opportunity attacks. But I can see some adjustments.

In 4e more PC's have meaningless opportunity attacks than monsters/NPC's. As such, it would be interesting to make "opportunity attack" a class feature, and a monster trait (call it "threatening reach 1" if you will). For instance, all defenderish classes and soldier-like monsters would have the threatening feature. For the rest, it could be selectively or even conditionally decided. Ranged characters, and artillery monsters wouldn't have it. An avenger might be able to make opportunity attacks against his oath. Add to other classes and monsters as flavor demands it.

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