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The Protection fighting style is described (SRD, p. 24) as:

When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.

Picturing a scenario where a creature (presumably an ally) is beside you and is attacked by an enemy, the Protection fighting style is used. It raises the following questions:

  • Does the reaction make the Paladin move in between the Attacker and creature you were protecting?
  • Should the movement be deducted from the Paladin's available movement next turn?
  • If the Paladin moves in between the two creatures, which position should it take? The attacker's (moving the attacker one tile away) or the protected creature (moving it behind the Paladin)?
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No, the Protection Fighting Style does not move the Paladin

The full text you give says:

When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.

I've highlighted the only mechanical benefit you gain as a Paladin. You grant a disadvantage to their attack roll, nothing more, even if the visual is you trying to protect them with your shield.

Consider that, in grids, characters do not actually occupy the full 5ft x 5ft square they are standing on (people are not 5'x5' cubes). Instead, they just "control" that square. So you can imagine that your Paladin moves inside their space enough to try to protect their ally, without actually standing in the way of the attacker.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks markovchain. Yeah, this makes sense. Guess it's just kinda hard to picture why the Shield is needed if the result of the Fighting Style is to actually just give out an aura/intent that you want to protect a creature. \$\endgroup\$ – AL. May 25 '17 at 3:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AL. I imagine your Paladin holding a shield in front of the ally. This makes hitting the ally difficult, because there is a shield in the way. Holding other things like weapons in front of an ally doesn't cover enough area to impose disadvantage on the attacker. And of course you must be able to see the attack coming, otherwise you don't know where to hold your shield. If it was an aura-like effect sight would not be necessary. \$\endgroup\$ – nwp May 25 '17 at 7:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nwp Yeah. Kinda realized that after going through possible scenarios with friends. \$\endgroup\$ – AL. May 25 '17 at 8:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nwp I honestly think you're overestimating the effort neccessary to impose disadvantage. He's not blocking or taking the attack himself - just quickly jabbing anything towards the attacker would be enough to force him to modify his attack. Holding a weapon in front of someone is definitely enough to force them to change their approach vector. Are you assuming the attacker would just impale themselves to disregard disadvantage? Naturally, a Paladin might be trained to perform this "jab" with his off-hand shield as to not give his own attacker advantage. \$\endgroup\$ – Naltharial May 25 '17 at 13:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Naltharial If the attacker is at a distance, maybe using a long bow and shooting from 100 feet away, the paladin can still impose disadvantage on the attacker. That seems to be a job for a shield. I don't understand why attackers would need to impale themselves to perform an attack. Standing the regular 5 feet away and doing regular attacks and possibly also taking attacks is the norm and does not impose disadvantage. \$\endgroup\$ – nwp May 25 '17 at 21:18

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