I’m in the middle of an epic duel with a fearsome foe. Unfortunately, he reduces me to 0 hit points and I fall unconscious right beside him. My wizard-friend tries to finish him off with a spell, but our opponent counterspells. Before my turn, my trusty bard-friend heals me with a healing word and I’m back in the fight. On my turn, I stand up and evaluate my chances. I decide to flee.

Do I know that my sworn enemy cannot take an attack of opportunity if I move away without disengaging, even though I was unconscious when he used his reaction for counterspell?

Or more generally: Do I know if someone already used their reaction?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Theik I think that is the basis for the question, and your comment would make a solid answer - whether a reaction is a meta-concept or something the PC is aware of. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Aug 27, 2018 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


It depends on your table

"Reactions" are a game concept, it's not something your character is aware of. So it depends entirely on what kind of seperation of in-character and meta-knowledge your game table uses.

There is no real right or wrong answer here, even if you do not allow meta knowledge, your character might still be able to realize this fact because their opponent is "occupied".

A round happens "at the same time", so they could dash out while they spot the wizard casting his counterspell. It seems likely that they wouldn't be able to focus on casting something and striking you down at the same time.

Alternatively, as mentioned by NautArch, your teammembers could shout when it's safe to go, if you decide to 'rule' that your character isn't completely aware of what was going on around him while he's downed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with spoting the wizard casting his counterspell. Your character can have a quick look at the enemies to see if they are busy or not (= used reaction already or not). \$\endgroup\$
    – Zure
    Aug 28, 2018 at 7:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd just like to add that staying within the opponents range because your character doesn't know if he has used his Reaction yet or not might well be considered acting on meta-knowledge as well. If you were just cut down by the enemy and want to get away, it doesn't make a lot of in-character sense to stay within his reach just so he won't get an AoO. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark
    Aug 28, 2018 at 9:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ My take on it is that - in general - out-of-game knowledge has an in-game analogue that could be used to justify using it in-game. For example: players might be able to tell from the way a fighter handles their weapons how good they are at it (and therefore guess their attack rolls), and they can estimate HP left from how beat up the opponent seems. It's easy to narrate OPs situations: "as the wizard counterspells, you take the chance to get out of range". I do, however, reserve the right to lie to my players if the enemy is also concealing something. This is all covered in session 0. \$\endgroup\$
    – Arkady
    Aug 28, 2018 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ This could all come down to a perception roll, i wager? (I haven't played 5e but in previous editions (and other games entirely) this would be my go to - not sure if your character noticed something? Roll perception! \$\endgroup\$ Aug 28, 2018 at 16:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mark: It is not about whether you stay or run, it's about wheter I have to disengage or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – hohenheim
    Sep 28, 2018 at 8:51

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