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Asked in a different way: Can I still protect myself while taking an action that requires some focus on what I am doing? (i.e. it is probably not limited to stabilizing someone)

So the scenario would be:

  1. Two players are fighting one foe
  2. One of the players reaches 0 hp
  3. Second player wants to take one action to stabilize his friend because he has more than enough hp to survive one hit

The player does not disengage since there is no other backup.

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How are you expecting to be attacked during your action? – Miniman Feb 26 at 2:18
Is this any different from… ? – Adeptus Feb 26 at 3:07
@Adeptus, opportunity attack != advantage, is it? – Alexis Wilke Feb 26 at 3:11
True. Similar scenario but different specific question. – Adeptus Feb 26 at 3:12
By using the [rules-as-written] tag, are you wanting to get strict, logical interpretations of the rules that might result in counter-intuitive answers? More generally: the question itself contains no mention of the RAW concept; could you describe what you're expecting readers to understand from your addition of the tag? – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 at 7:26
up vote 15 down vote accepted


Your combat medic took an action on their turn. (Stabilizing, in this case.)

That's no different than the character who takes any other action on their turn, yet is able to competently defend on the attacker's turn. For instance, a character who chooses to Help or Use an Object during combat is not subject to advantaged attacks.

(For comparison, some things that would subject your medic to advantaged attacks include being Paralyzed, Petrified, Prone, Restrained, Stunned, or Unconscious. But even being Grappled or Incapacitated don't create advantage for the attacker. "Busily bandaging" seems to fall far short of those two, so it's hard to argue it should create disadvantage. See "Appendix A: Conditions" at PHB p.290-292.)

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No, advantage is not granted.

"When you take your action, you can action you gained from your class," (PH p. 192) and "You can use your action to administer first aid." (PH p 197)

It's just another "action in combat."

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Depends on the DM

Player's Handbook p.173

You usually gain advantage or disadvantage through the use of special abilities, actions, or spells. Inspiration can also give a character advantage... The DM can also decide that circumstances influence a roll in one direction or the other and grant advantage or impose disadvantage as a result

In 5e RAW it's the DM's prerogative to grant advantage/disadvantage as a circumstance bonus/penalty. If the DM decided that stabilizing another character during a fight was distracting enough to grant advantage it would be so.

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Any of your thoughts on how a DM should make that decision? Ultimately everything's up to the DM, so I don't think this answer feels complete stopping there. – user24510 Feb 26 at 17:07
@user24510 RAW the DM is given no guidance on how to make that choice that I'm aware of. It's simply at their discretion. – Ceribia Feb 26 at 17:25

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