In general, can the results of an attack of opportunity (AOO) prevent another AOO if both are triggered by the same exact action? If so, is the prevented AOO already triggered and therefore “spent”, or not?

Specific example #1:

An enemy provokes an AOO from two characters. The first character kills the enemy with their AOO. What happens with the second character? Is their AOO for the round used up now?

Specific example #2:

The Deception subdomain grants the ability "Sudden shift", which allows a cleric to take an immediate action when missed by a melee attack to teleport away "in the blink of an eye".

If two creatures (A and B) want to make an AOO against cleric (C) for some provoking action, then would the cleric be able to blink away from the second AOO if the first one missed? Do both attacks resolve and then the cleric gets the opportunity to use their sudden shift?


1 Answer 1


Yes, one Attack of Opportunity can potentially prevent another, or make it pointless.

Although Attacks of Opportunity, Immediate Actions and Readied Actions interrupt the flow of combat, they still occur in time order.

There are no rules specifically for order when a creature provokes an attack of opportunity from more than one opponent. However, it's reasonable to assume initiative rules apply:

If two or more combatants have the same initiative check result, the combatants who are tied act in order of total initiative modifier (highest first). If there is still a tie, the tied characters should roll again to determine which one of them goes before the other.

Once that's been established, have the creatures act in initiative order. If the first to act kills the enemy, then the second character no longer has an opportunity, at least not against a live opponent. There's nothing preventing him from taking his attack of opportunity, but it may be futile.

Is their AOO for the round used up now?

Not unless the second creature attacks. The second actor doesn't attempt to attack and then get interrupted. The circumstances change before the attack.

In the case of the immediate action, the rules state:

Much like a swift action, an immediate action consumes a very small amount of time, but represents a larger expenditure of effort and energy than a free action. However, unlike a swift action, an immediate action can be performed at any time — even if it's not your turn. Casting feather fall is an immediate action, since the spell can be cast at any time.

So, once again, if the order of Attacks of Opportunity is determined and the first attacker misses, triggering the cleric's immediate action, then the second creature no longer has an opportunity as the cleric is "away".

And also, once again, the second actor doesn't attempt to attack and then get interrupted. The circumstances change before the attack, so the AoO is not used.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie RE: "[A]t least not against a live opponent." I'd let a dude make an attack of opportunity against a creature that died after provoking an attack of opportunity from the dude's ally. However, I think this would be clearer with a header that said Have creatures take attacks of opportunity in initiative order. (And, Wyrmwood, consider using colons to introduce information instead of semicolons.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7, 2018 at 23:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I think the question is getting at whether one’s once-per-turn AoO is consumed in such situations. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2018 at 1:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie You mean, like, Does a creature who can make an attack of opportunity still expend that attack of opportunity if the creature doesn't make that attack of opportunity? or something? I guess the question could be read that way, but that's enough of a departure from standard play that I don't think it's incumbent on this answer to read it that way. Ask the question author maybe? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2018 at 1:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie assuming that AoO's can be prevented, I see the question of whether you see it as a nullification (AoO cannot be attempted, no AoO spent) or interruption (AoO started when trigger was accepted but failed since attack was impossible due to changes in situation.) Difference is in whether or not you see it as the AoO's instantly queueing up when triggered or if AoO's are executed as they come. To me it's just part of the overall question here, which is whether or not AoO's can be interrupted and what happens if/when they are. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeutnarg
    Dec 8, 2018 at 3:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jeutnarg I edited your question to make this element harder to miss. It wasn’t being picked up by every reader. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2018 at 7:53

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