To try and promote more movement in my game I'm considering a ruling where all Opportunity Attacks have disadvantage. Are there any ways this would significantly change the game? Party consists of two bards, a blood hunter, a drakewarden ranger, a fighter and a druid. Thank you!

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Not a duplicate, but this Q&A on making combat less static focuses in on the general problem with multiple solutions in answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 16:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would discourage implementing any drastic homebrew rules after the players have already made their characters. Rules should be set before character creation. \$\endgroup\$
    – anon
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 23:58

3 Answers 3


The wizard won't like it.

The big negative impact this would have, in my view, is that it makes it significantly harder to maintain a defensive front line. If enemies can pretty much run past the fighter/paladin/barbarian with impunity to reach the low-AC low-HP casters in the back line (at least, without expending their action on a Disengage), then the casters are going to be taking a lot more knives to the kidneys, and they typically don't like that.

The traditionally high-AC classes like fighters and paladins want to encourage enemies to attack them in favor of the weaker targets, and the biggest tool in their toolbox is punishing anyone who tries to ignore them. Making it harder for them to dole out that punishment is going to make the casters feel bad as they spend more time laying on the floor, and make the front-liners feel bad as they're failing in their party role.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Unless you have the War Caster feat. _"...you can use your reaction to cast a spell at the creature, rather than making an opportunity attack." It's not an opportunity attack, it's a spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ And even if you say, "It's still a opportunity attack," just cast a spell that uses a saving throw rather than an attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 19:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MivaScott Even if a wizard took warcaster (which is really more a gish move IMO), wizards don't usually get to make OAs anyway. Getting next to the squishy caster is usually the goal here -- once you shank him, he'll either be on the floor and not making any OAs anyway, or he'll be up and you don't want to leave your new punching bag/knife holder. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 20:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wasn't suggesting the wizard get War Caster, but the front line guys. The gish becomes more important as they would stop the zerg rush to get to the wizard in the back. Even if they only have a single attack cantrip, it might be better than swinging at disadvantage. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 21:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ The fact that one specific build suffers less from this house-rule doesn't really change my analysis. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 14:19

Not a direct answer about balance, since that's been covered, but if the real problem is that tank-intensive combat is getting boring, you might get more fun movement by changing the structure of the encounters rather than changing the mechanics:

  • Perhaps a running battle where PCs are trying to get some NPC to safety?
  • Or maybe a complex kill-zone trap room where PCs try to simultaneously pull several widely-separated levers? If one or two of the levers are obviously within the enemies' area of attack, then the tanks have to abandon the wizards.
  • Maybe the dungeon is collapsing, and PCs have to fight their way to the exit?
  • Or a magic weapon / shield that provides an increased benefit when the wielder is moving?
  • Or provide movement-enhancing spell scrolls / magic items?

In my experience, once players get in a few sticky situations where there are obvious benefits to changing tactics from their norm, they start getting creative about their tactics, and start looking for opportunities to re-use those new tactics.


This will favour mobility based builds

Your group's specific builds determine how much impact this will have.

For example, a bard can be College of Lore focusing on battlefield control and spellcasting, or College of Valor bard getting in there. A fighter can focus on ranged combat with Sharpshooter and not care, or on melee and movement. If the fighter is a Polearm Master, it will weaken them, if they are Mobile and built around high movement rates, it will strengthen them significantly.

The change looks symmetric on the surface, but it can be quite asymmetric if your group is heavily optimized for this or relying on making opportunity attacks. If they are not, I do not think it is "game breaking".

I have not played with this changed rule, and like most things that change a fundamental aspect of the game, the best method may be to try it out, with the up-front proviso that you'll take it off the table again in case it does not work well. That way, your players will be warned to invest in building characters around it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your conclusion seems backwards here. Mobility-based builds are typically defined by having means to deny their opponents the ability to make opportunity attacks in the first place. For example, the Mobile feat you mention's biggest advantage is the "melee targets lose ability to opportunity attack you that turn"; if the odds of them hitting with such an attack drops by a third (from ~65% to ~42%), so does the benefit from the feat. It's the characters that aren't ordinarily mobile that suddenly become more mobile. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 23:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @shadowranger It’s possible that there is a use of the term that implies you are stacking up on feats to help offset getting hit that I’m unaware off, what I mean are high movement characters that want to weave through enemies to target weak ones like casters. Those will cost much less investment to protect. I’m aware of that benefit of Mobile, but you still need to avoid any other creatures from hitting you, for example. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 3:31

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