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Consider this scenario. A sorcerer climbs 20 foot up a tree and gets surprised by a large snake. The snake misses, and then the sorcerer wins initiative and decides to let go of the tree branches. This results in the sorcerer falling to the ground and taking damage.

Does the snake get an opportunity attack?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: "When can I make opportunity attacks?" \$\endgroup\$ Jun 6 '20 at 19:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suppose this boils down to "does voluntarily falling count as willing movement?" This isn't as obvious as I first thought it might be... good question. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Jun 6 '20 at 19:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that initiative is rolled before the snake attacks. Surprise affects the first round of combat; any surprised creature can't take actions on its first turn of combat, and can't take reactions until the end of that turn. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jun 7 '20 at 21:52
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Player handbook section on Opportunity Attacks says (pg 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. For example, you don't provoke an opportunity attack if an explosion hurls you out of a foe's reach or if gravity causes you to fall past an enemy.

(Emphasis mine)

From this I'd say letting go is being moved without using the sorcerer's movement, they don't need to turn their back on the snake or focus on moving themselves. The specific example given is a person falling past an enemy (into and out in one fall, as I read it) so granted they would probably be moving faster but I'd still say that no, falling doesn't cause an opportunity attack.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "...letting go is being moved without using the sorcerer's movement" -- and furthermore, is not using an action or reaction. Interacting with an object is a free action; the PHB uses opening a door as an example of this, so surely letting go of a tree branch would also be a free action. Since letting go of a tree branch is itself not something that would provoke OA, and since the motion also is not a result of something that would provide OA, it doesn't. IMHO the answer could be improved by emphasizing that nothing in the scenario involves any type of action or reaction either. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 8 '20 at 4:37
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The language of an object interaction in the PHB seems important here: "You can also interact with one object or feature of the environment for free, during either your move or your action" (p.190). The object interaction, while not costing your action or movement, does happen as part of them (which is important so that someone who's paralyzed can't open a door for example, since incapacitate doesn't specify anything about free actions). This means that the condition for AoO exempt movement, "something moves you without using your movement, action or reaction" is not met, and an AoO can be taken.

Combined with the fact that the AoO section specifically says "an explosion hurls you out of a foe's reach or if gravity causes you to fall past an enemy." It says "out of reach" for one and "past" for the other, makes me think you would in fact provoke an opportunity attack in this situation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If I read correctly, you say, that letting go of a tree branch in fact is "using your movement, action or reaction". You could spell that out more clearly in your answer. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29 at 6:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ In reference to your final line, there is no limitation on providing answers to old questions as long as you believe said answer to be more accurate than those already presented. Welcome to the site! It is definitely a good idea to check out the Tour of this site (it's a quick one-page explanation of what we do here... and you get a badge!). \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jan 29 at 6:29

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