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The hobgoblin player race from "Monsters of the Multiverse" has an ability called Fey Gift which allows you to take the Help action as a bonus action and which reads (in part):

Starting at 3rd level, choose one of the options below each time you take the Help action with this trait:

It then lists 3 options, each of which makes reference to

... the creature you help...

This earlier question addresses the Help action broadly, but this question specifically focuses on how Fey Gift works. For the purposes of this question, I am only concerned with taking the Help action to grant advantage on an attack roll against an enemy, not with granting a creature advantage on an ability check.

The answers to the question I linked suggest that you do not choose an ally to help when taking the Help action to distract an enemy, thus when Fey Gift references "the creature you help," that is an unknowable value until a creature actually attacks your chosen enemy, suddenly becoming "the creature you help." How do the extra benefits of your Fey Gift (the options unlocked at 3rd level) interact with this timing?

For example, assume I am a hobgoblin who is 3rd level, and I use Fey Gift to distract a bandit within 5 feet of me.

Because I am 3rd level, I am able to choose one of Fey Gift's additional options, I choose the option that says:

You and the creature you help each gain a number of temporary hit points equal to 1d6 plus your proficiency bonus.

What is the timing on how these temporary hit points are doled out? Do I gain my temporary hit points immediately, and then when my goliath ally attacks the bandit, the goliath gains the temporary hit points?

If I am unable to choose the helped creature (as the linked question suggests), then there must be a built-in delay for the granting of the benefits. Am I missing something?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome back Sten! Glad to have you here. Due to Wizards' odd release schedule (grumble grumble), Monsters of the Multiverse is likely not available to many of our users, so we may not exhibit our typical expediency in answering this question. I'm sure some of our readers have the book and fingers crossed may come along and work this out. I've bookmarked this question, and will return to give it a shot if it hasn't been worked out by the time I've got the book. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 8, 2022 at 18:04

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You must choose the ally you are helping.

The test for the Help action states (emphasis added):

Alternatively, you can aid a friendly creature in attacking a creature within 5 feet of you. You feint, distract the target, or in some other way team up to make your ally's attack more effective. If your ally attacks the target before your next turn, the first attack roll is made with advantage.

The Hobgoblin entry from Monsters of the Multiverse list the Fey Gift options as follows (again emphasis added:

Starting at 3rd level, choose one of the options below each time you take the Help action with this trait:

Hospitality. You and the creature you help each gain a number of temporary hit points equal to 1d6 plus your proficiency bonus.

Passage. You and the creature you help each increase your walking speeds by 10 feet until the start of your next turn.

Spite. Until the start of your next turn, the first time the creature you help hits a target with an attack roll, that target has disadvantage on the next attack roll it makes within the next minute.

In both cases the text lists a singular ally.

This implies one of two answers:

  1. Fey Gift is only used when Helping on an ability check.
  2. When used to aid an attack, the Help action requires you to select both a target and an ally (despite the answers to the linked question).

Of the Fey Gift options, Passage has limited utility outside of combat and Spite is only beneficial in combat. It seems far too limiting to only be able to use Fey Gift with an ally you Help on an ability check in the middle of combat.

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I'd like to share an answer that works under the assumption that Monsters of the Multiverse doesn't shed any additional light to this question, because I don't have access to the book yet but I think this is a fascinating question.

They both gain temporary hit points only when/if the advantage granted by the help action is used.

The 5e Basic Rules give two options for taking the "help" action --

The first:

You can lend your aid to another creature in the completion of a task.

The second (more relevant):

Alternatively, you can aid a friendly creature in attacking a creature within 5 feet of you.

The second option is ambiguously worded for the sake of this question, so I'll refer to this top answer, and its source for further detail from an official source.

The 5e Dungeon Master's Screen Reincarnated claims that during combat you target one creature within 5 feet of you:

You help one creature with a task, giving that creature advantage on the next ability check it makes for that task. Or you distract one creature within 5 feet of you, and the next attack roll that an ally of yours makes against that creature has advantage.

I believe this is enough evidence to answer your question practically.

When the character with Fey Gift begins to distract an enemy, the character is performing the "help" action without an ally target. This is a valid state for the game to be in, but it does not allow the wording of Fey Gift to be valid therefore it cannot trigger and there are no temporary hit points granted at the time of using the help action. Taking the help action does not guarantee that you will actually help a friendly character, they may choose to do something else or may lose the ability to even attack.

Once another friendly creature accepts the help in the form of gaining advantage on their attack both the friendly creature, and the one who took the "help" action with Fey Gift, will gain the temporary hit points.


An interesting point to note, under certain circumstances a DM may allow a ruling that you still "helped" an ally in a way that doesn't use the advantage for a dice roll. This would be rare but perfectly within the DM's right to do so RAW. In that case, the creature with Fey Gift and the ally they helped should both gain temporary hitpoints immediately upon the ally being "helped".

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You gain the chosen effect1 of Fey Gift when you take the Help action. If you do not designate a specific ally to help, your ally gains the effect when they make the attack.

Based on the answers from your linked question, there seems to be some level of debate regarding RAW and RAI in terms of whether you need to choose a specific ally to make the attack, so let's just consider both options.

If you choose a specific ally to help:

The text of the Fey Gift feature says that, starting 3rd level, you choose the additional effect "each time you take the Help action". Of the three options available to choose from, none of them include anything in their description to suggest the effects would not be immediately applied, so they come into effect for both you and the creature you help when you choose them as part of taking the Help action.

If you do not choose a specific ally to help:

Using the interpretation that the Help action in combat can apply to "the next ally who attacks the target", as phrased in the Crawford tweet, the "creature you help" isn't yet a phrase that has a specific referent, so we're forced to assume that the otherwise immediate effects of Fey Gift can't be applied to the "creature you help" until that creature designates themselves by making the attack that benefits from your Help action. So they would gain the temporary hit points or the speed bonus after making their attack.

As for if this interpretation leads to a delay in when they apply to you, we can look at the effect of the Passage option for Fey Gift. Passage grants you a 10ft increase to your walking speed "until the start of your next turn".

Setting aside uncommon scenarios like the Commander's Strike maneuver, the creature you help won't typically be able to make an attack until after your turn has ended. That means that if the effect a "built-in delay" as you assume, the speed bonus would immediately end at the beginning of the first turn you have the ability to freely benefit from it, rendering the bonus almost entirely pointless for you.

Given that there is nothing that specifically states that the effects are not immediately active and that interpreting a delay would essentially remove half of the benefit of one of the options, it stands to reason that the effects apply to you immediately upon being chosen during the Help action.


1 Only the Hospitality and Passage options apply to both you and the creature you help. If you choose the Spite option, no effect is applied to you directly.

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