I'm new to DMing; have played a handful of sessions. This situation arose in our most recent one, and I wasn't quite sure how to handle it.

There's a barbarian in the party, and he is playing with a high-risk high reward style on purpose. He uses Reckless Attacks and Great Weapon Master on everything possible.

A situation came up where he was able to make an opportunity attack, and he did his normal thing of rolling at advantage with the feat penalty. I immediately realized that I wasn't sure if that was technically allowed or not. But I didn't want to slow things down, so I just let it go and said I would look it up later.

I now know that he can't use Reckless Attack during a reaction, since it specifically says "on your turn." But Great Weapon Master only ever says "when you make an attack," and an opportunity attack is still making an attack. So my question is, are you allowed to use Great Weapon Master on reactions?


Yes, you can use Great Weapon Master on an opportunity attack

Great Weapon Master says:

when you score a critical hit with a melee weapon


Before you make a melee attack with a heavy weapon that you are proficient with

As you say, making an opportunity attack is still an attack.

To make the opportunity attack, you use your reaction to make one melee attack against the provoking creature.

As long as you make the opportunity attack with a melee weapon that meets the qualifications, there is no reason why it would not apply to the opportunity attack.

You may have been thinking that this was not possible because the barbarian was not taking the Attack action, but none of the abilities require an Attack action just a melee weapon attack. For more on that difference see this Q&A.

Side note: reactions can be taken on your turn

Your say:

he can't use Reckless Attack during a reaction, since it specifically says "on your turn."

But that is not actually correct.

There is no rule that says reactions must be taken outside of your turn.

Jeremy Crawford has also clarified this:

It is indeed possible to take a reaction on your own turn. Your reaction resets at the start of your turn. #DnD https://t.co/EJbIbCefyw

Reckless Attack says:

When you make your first attack on your turn, you can decide to attack recklessly. 

So you actually can, in rare cases, use Reckless Attack on an attack made as a reaction, since reactions can be used on your turn. All other conditions of Reckless Attack must still be met of course.

Barbarian example

@Prof. Bear makes a good point when pointing out that higher level barbarians could do this consistently under certain conditions:

In the case of a level 14+ Berserker Barbarian hitting a target that causes damage to them on hit, they could then make use of the Retaliation feature to immediately use their reaction for another attack, which could be both Reckless and Great Weapon Master.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Another thing that you might want to add is that a Barbarian cannot use Reckless Attack with an Opportunity Attack made outside of their turn. \$\endgroup\$ – MrNattious Feb 7 '18 at 4:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MrNattious that's already mentioned in the question ...? \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Feb 7 '18 at 13:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MrNattious thanks for the suggestion. I didn't want to repeat what OP already knew, but this comment did make me realize that OP had a misconception about reactions so I added something about that. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 7 '18 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I misunderstood the part about reactions (English is my secondary language) - but to me this sounded like I could delay reactions until my turn begins, which would be a paradox, as it resets with the start of my turn. Does this simply mean if I, for example, move away from a creature, which then executes a successful attack of opportunity against me, I can take a reaction like hellish rebuke before continuing my turn, e.g. moving further or taking another action? Edit: Oops, hit enter on accident, sent an incomplete comment \$\endgroup\$ – Maz Feb 7 '18 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Maz correct, the only requirement being that you were damaged by a creature you can see (which may require you to back away instead of turn and walk). Also see UA Spore circle druid, which can use a reaction on their turn to launch spores. \$\endgroup\$ – Baergren Feb 7 '18 at 14:54

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