The scenario is I have a level 6 fighter in 5E that has two attacks per Attack action. When there are multiple targets (say 2 orcs) and he wants to attack, he feel that PHB states he would announce his action to attack. Do his first attack and see what the result is, then decide how he would use his second attack.

He wants this to avoid 'wasting' attacks. If the first attack killed the first orc, he would then use the second attack to kill the second orc.

How I read it as the DM is you announce what your Action is during combat on your turn. Then if you have multiple attacks, you indicate which each one is doing. Then you roll for each attack in the sequence you are doing them.


He wants to attack both orcs. He would roll to see if he hits the first, then the damage and then he would roll to see if he hits the second and then damage regardless if the first orc dies. I would indicate once his Action is complete what the results are.

Can I please get feedback as which way makes more sense? I am arguing that you have 6 seconds for your turn and hitting a target to see what the results are before doing your second attack is not possible within 6 seconds.


2 Answers 2


The Fighter gets to declare and resolve each attack severally, as he likes:

This follows directly from the "Making An Attack" section of Chapter 9: Combat.

Whether you're striking with a melee weapon, firing a weapon at range, or making an attack roll as part of a spell, an attack has a simple structure.

1. Choose a target. ...

2. Determine modifiers. ...

3. Resolve the attack. ...

This three-step sequence happens for each of the lowercase-a-attacks provided by the fighter's Extra Attack feature when they take the uppercase-A-Attack action. If you look very closely at lowercase vs. uppercase attack/Attack usage in the PHB, it's actually really consistent and informative. And nigh-impossible to notice!

  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ Severally defined, for whoever proposed the edit. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Jul 26, 2017 at 16:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it is not a good idea to pick a hardly known word instead of "separately". If you have to post its definition, it is too obscure :) \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Jul 26, 2017 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation about all the ways one could intersperse movement with many attacks has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Jul 26, 2017 at 20:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @András I dunno... my dad taught me always to use the word that best fits and to graciously educate anyone who doesn't know it. Raise the bar, rather than going under it, and all. Plus, I don't think it's that obscure: books.google.com/ngrams/… \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Jul 27, 2017 at 12:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ And my dad taught me not everyone is a native English speaker :) \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Jul 27, 2017 at 15:55

this also makes sense as you can move between (small a) attacks.

So for that capability to make sense you would have to completely resolve one attach before (literally) moving on to the next.

Including any possible attacks of opportunity.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer seems somewhat incomplete. I'm not really sure what it's saying. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jun 2, 2018 at 17:27

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