This is the scenario:

Three creatures A, B, C are facing an enemy X, who is within 5'of all three of them. All have their reactions available. It comes to X's turn and X moves 5' away from the line of A, B and C provoking an opportunity attack from each of them as below:

  - - -         - - -
 |A| | |       |A| | |
  - - -         - - - 
 |B|X| |   →   |B| |X|
  - - -         - - -
 |C| | |       |C| | |
  - - -         - - -

It is ascertained that the order of these attacks comes in A, B, C order (see this question for answers about how this might be done).

A has not cast a non-cantrip spell this round and has the feat War Caster (PHB p.170) which allows the following:

When a hostile creature’s movement provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell at the creature, rather than making an opportunity attack. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action and must target only that creature.

A casts Hold Person (PHB p.251) using their feat, X fails its Wisdom save and is paralysed. As the following is true of an opportunity attack (PHB p.195):

The attack interrupts the provoking creature’s movement, occurring right before the creature leaves your reach.

then X never actually attempts to move out of the reach of B or C.

Do B and C get their opportunity attacks?

Are they cancelled as a result of the reaction taken by A or were all three triggered regardless of each other's subsequent interrupting reactions?

I would like answers supported by RAW, sage advice or the like as much as possible please.

I would like to remind you that it will be more problematic to argue that all opportunity attacks occur simultaneously as it is quite possible to have mutually incompatible reactions taken (two Polymorph spells cast simultaneously into different creatures for instance).

@RothbardWasRight's answer uses a phrase that states the crux of the issue for me: "This is simply a special case of initiative." If it is then it is a compelling argument that B and C get no OAs.


2 Answers 2


Yes, they still get their Opportunity Attacks

Re-quoting the passage you have, it says about opportunity attacks:

The attack interrupts the provoking creature’s movement, occurring right before the creature leaves your reach.

To be able to get your OA in, the creature doesn't have to leave your reach. Rather, they have to move in such a way as to intend to leave your reach, but your attack happens before they leave it.

In other words, if OAs only ever happened if a creature could certifiably leave another's reach, then an OA can only happen after the fleeing creature has left the range of their attacker, because that is the earliest time you can prove they did leave the offender's reach. And if that was true, OAs could never hit, because as soon as you can prove an OA should happen, they're already too far away to hit.

Also, X does attempt to leave the reach of A, B, and C in this case. By attempting to leave A's reach in the way he did, he must also simultaneously be attempting to leave the reach of B and C. Note this is not the same as saying all their OAs happen simultaneously: rather, this is saying the trigger for their OAs is the same thing, so they all experience it simultaneously.

Since X does indeed attempt to leave the reach of B and C (it's just that he fails to do so), B and C still get to have their OAs in.


No further attacks of opportunity if the movement action is impeded. The actions of A make a realistic argument for B and C to make OAs null. RAW attempt to codify and simplify the procession of events. Take initiative itself, though each combat round is only 6 seconds, every character gets a turn to act in a nearly simultaneous manner. Think about your scenario as though occurring in a regular combat round. We wouldn't say that the actions of a character with lower initiative aren't affected by those of a character acting a moment earlier. This is simply a special case of initiative.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "This is simply a special case of initiative." is a compelling argument and I think this is the crux of the problem. If it is a then B and C do not get OAs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Protonflux
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 10:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ While this is a well thought out answer, if (X) had to get out of reach for the OA to work, the attack would not be able to reach the target (X) so no OA could be made due to being out of reach. It is the act of moving to leave reach, which begins in the adjacent square to the party with a potential for an OA: otherwise, think about the "non voluntary movement" issue with thunderwave which does not allow for an opportunity attack even though movement-out-of-reach is involved. (The other (separate?) question - "does the spell hold (X) before or after the move out of reach is completed") \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 12:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ To be clear, I think of OAs as beginning when X attempts to leave the adjacent space, not actually leaving the space. For melee OAs this is an especially important distinction. X lets it's guard down (unless using the disengage action) to begin the move. A, B, and C seize this opportunity to attack. Almost as important as the initial question of whether B and C still get to attack; do they still want to? This is why I feel the initiative/order question is more important than whether the move action was completed, though that is still interesting to consider. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 18:07

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