Take the 2-minute tour ×
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can a Defender's interrupt ability stop an opportunity attack? If so, can I get a page reference?

share|improve this question
Your title is a little different from your body text; an action can interrupt another action without stopping it. I'll try to address both issues. –  BESW Apr 7 '13 at 0:11

1 Answer 1

Yes, the defender's action will interrupt -- and under certain conditions it will render ineffective-- the opportunity attack.

They are both essentially immediate interrupts. The opportunity attack is triggered by an external event, the defender's feature is triggered by the OA. The OA interrupts the external trigger, but the defender's feature interrupts the OA.

This means that if the defender's feature causes an effect which makes the OA impossible, then the OA is wasted.

That was confusing.

Let's dig into the rules, shall we?

An opportunity action is not an immediate interrupt, but it acts like one:

Just like an immediate interrupt, an opportunity action interrupts its trigger, taking place before the trigger finishes. (Rules Compendium 196)

An immediate interrupt jumps in when its trigger occurs, taking place before the trigger finishes. If an interrupt invalidates a triggering action, the triggering action is lost. (RC 195)

Now, an opportunity action is not always an opportunity attack.

Trigger: Each opportunity action—usually a power—defines its trigger. The one type of opportunity action that every creature can take is an opportunity attack. (RC 246)

Barring exceptions, the opportunity attack is triggered by movement or by a ranged attack. Let's say it's a ranged attack, for the purposes of example [largely because if our OA is provoked by movement, then we add the extra layer of resolving the move, and that's not necessary to answer this question].

Example time!

Heroic ranger Dae'eravin shoots an arrow while villain Davith the Wicked is standing next to him, provoking an opportunity attack. Davith takes the opportunity attack, but Dae'eravin's fighter friend Kamola is standing right there and has Davith marked.

Kamola decides to use his Combat Challenge power in response:

Combat Challenge - Immediate Interrupt

Effect: Whenever an enemy marked by you is adjacent to you and shifts or makes an attack that does not include you as a target, you can make a melee basic attack against that enemy. (PHB1 76)

The Combat Challenge attack interrupts Davith's opportunity attack, and if it hits then Davith will take damage before he can roll to attack Dae'eravin. If this damage drops Davith to 0 or fewer hp, then Dae'eravin is never hit because the Combat Challenge damage landed before the opportunity attack could be made.

If the damage from Combat Challenge does not incapacitate Davith, then Davith still gets to make his opportunity attack after Kamola has smacked him upside the head.

You can improve your chances of stopping actions with your interrupts

What if Kamola had the Shield Bash feat?

If you hit a foe with an attack granted by your Combat Challenge class feature, you push the target 1 square after dealing damage. (PHB1 200)

Now even if he doesn't drop Davith from damage, on a hit he can still push Davith away from Dae'eravin and make the opportunity attack fail because Davith can't reach the ranger to stab him.

There are a number of feats, items, and features, which improve defender interrupts in this way. Most, like Shield Bash, are tailored to a specific class's powers and features.

share|improve this answer
The Knight (fighter subclass) in 4e is almost wholly built around the interrupt idea since you punishment is an opportunity action and not an immediate interrupt as many other defenders' are. The knight can attack, hit, and then push anyone violating their aura 1 per turn (instead of round). –  Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 9 '13 at 16:32

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.