The PHB would seem to indicate that no, this lets them pass through without provoking opportunity attacks. (The hand is moving between enemies, not trying to shove them.)

From the description of opportunity attacks (PHB, p. 195):

You also don't provoke an opportunity attack when you teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your movement, action, or reaction.

Does this let someone rescue an unconscious ally by using Bigby's hand to carry them across the battlefield back to the cleric for healing without provoking attacks of opportunity, for example?


2 Answers 2


You would not provoke any Opportunity Attacks using this method (and neither would the hand)

The PHB tells us when an opportunity attack is provoked:

You also don't provoke an opportunity attack when you teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your movement, action, or reaction.

So you are correct in saying that the unconscious carried creature would not provoke any Opportunity Attacks from enemies whose reach it leaves because it is not using movement, actions, or reactions to move. So enemies can't lay a finger on you in this way.

Thus, this plan works as you say.

Side note: RAW Bigby's Hand cannot provoke OAs

I realize this is a bit nonintuitive, but as written there is no way for the hand to provoke OAs because it is not a creature. Per the description of the Bigby's hand spell (or arcane hand, as it is listed in the SRD):

The hand is an object...

And only creatures provoke OAs, per the description of opportunity attacks:

You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach.

Even if you houseruled that the hand could be handled as a creature, it still would not provoke OAs because of the rule we cited earlier. Since the hand is not moving using its action, reaction, or movement to relocate because the caster is using their bonus action to control and move it.

When you cast the spell and as a bonus action on your subsequent turns, you can move the hand up to 60 feet and then cause one of the following effects with it.

It is your bonus action that you spend to move the hand. The hand does not even have any actions or movement of its own that it can use.

So, unintuitive as it may seem, the hand cannot provoke OAs because it is an object and because it doesn't use its own actions or movement to move.1

So, yes the technique works and avoids OAs against the carried creature and the hand and is a clever and handy strategy to use in cases like the one in question.

1 - Note: Even if you houseruled that the hand provokes OAs (despite all the rules reasons that it should not), the attacks would have to be directed at the hand itself and not at the carried creature. There is no way by default to redirect an OA at another target that did not provoke an attack.

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    \$\begingroup\$ it is also a clever technique to gain the ire of a GM with this... \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 13:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish some might even consider it underhanded. ;) Still, I don't really see anything broken about this. The caster is using a lot of resources to make this work (spell slot, concentration, action to cast, bonus actions each turn) and it seems to work as intended. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ it might work but it is also rules-lawyering par excellence, so the ire of the GM is just. He might - and should - counter by setting the whole battlefield ablaze, as entering into a field that does environmental damage does damage, no matter if you move yourself or are moved. Bonus: environmental damage can happen several times a round, as it triggers on entering the dangerous field. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 13:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish I actually disagree with the clasification of this as rules lawyering. I think the only reason it would be classified as such would be because the hand part is unintuitive, but it really isn't the player's fault if something is commonly overlooked/misunderstood. That being said though the only thing that actually matters for the purpose of attacking the carried creature is the first section and that is 100% not rules lawyering. That is the rules working as intended and a very obvious application of that rule. Same thing would apply if another character went in and dragged them out. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 13:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ And to be fair, the hand doesnt get OAs on passing creatures, either. It's an object with all of the rights and responsibilities associated with it. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 13:49

No, it does not provoke Attacks of Opportunity on the player

But the Hand is still fair game.

You've already provided the most relevant piece to this information, as some kind of resource must be spent in by the provoker to allow an Attack of Opportunity.

For additional reference, Jeremy Crawford has explained further in his explanation of Dissonant Whispers:

Would the movement caused by a failed save on Dissonant Whispers be willing or unwilling movement?

If a spell forces you to move, as dissonant whispers does, you're not moving of your own volition.

Does that mean the movement from Dissonant Whispers doesn't provoke opportunity attacks?

The movement in dissonant whispers can provoke opportunity attacks, since it uses your reaction (PH, 195).

In your instance, there is no reaction, movement, or any resource spent from your unconscious friend that is causing the movement, so they are not the one provoking the attacks of opportunity.

However, a DM may decide that the player being carried is a targetable object on the Hand, and decide to attack the player anyway. There would be no RAW support for this, but a DM may make that ruling anyway.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The hand does not provoke OAs because it is not a creature, it is an object. "You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach." Objects do not provoke OAs. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 0:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rubiksmoose You can attack the hand, it can move, it can attack you, it has defined AC and HP. Defining it in a way that prevents AO's from happening is one way to look at it, but you might as well make it untargetable by Eldritch Blast too. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 5:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can houserule however you want, but the rules clearly define it as an object and objects do not provoke OAs. There's not much else to it. I'm not sure there is really any other way to interpret the rules here. And yes you cannot target it with EB (or any other spell that only targets creatures) either actually. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 5:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I think the answer probably needs some clarity that it is a houserule, but in spirit I think it is a far more likely interpretation than going by RAW. The idea of opportunity attack is that as something moves past you they drop their guard and you swing away, object vs creature is quite a pedantic differentiation. Most objects don't move either, so potentially an oversight. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I have updated my answer with another reason beyond the creature/object distinction that the hand would not provoke OAs, but post further critiques of this under my answer since this has diverged from talking about Daniel's. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 13:26

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