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Let us picture this scenario: I am standing next to two enemies, and attempt to move directly away from them both, meaning I leave a space in the reach of both. Both of them really want to hit me with their reaction attacks. The first one swings at me, and connects. Unfortunately (for somebody), that enemy also has the Sentinel feat (PHB, p. 169), which means:

When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature's speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.

I was just hit with an opportunity attack, and thus cannot move, so do I even give the other creature a chance for a reaction attack?

(This is of course just one example of such a situation; another is an opportunity attack which grapples me or drops me prone with insufficient movement left, leaving me unable to move.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you moved outside the range of the second creature when your speed becomes zero? \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Aug 30 at 13:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you put up a diagram of positioning? I think that'll help us understand the situation. \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Aug 30 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VLAZ I am moving outside the range of both creatures at the same time - imagine they're north and northeast of me, and I move south. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 30 at 13:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Re: "The first one swings at me, and connects". If the first one has Sentinel, and the second does not, does the order of resolution matter? Who / what is deciding which reaction takes place first? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Aug 30 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is why Magic needs al those complex rules about the stack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rad80
    Aug 31 at 7:45

2 Answers 2

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The rules on opportunity attacks state (emphasis mine):

To make the opportunity attack, you use your reaction to make one melee attack against the provoking creature. The attack occurs right before the creature leaves your reach.

It is up to the DM to adjudicate situations like this, as 5e does not have order of events or interruptions. Ultimately, however, as long as the creature is leaving both opponents' reach by exiting the same space, the fact that they can't actually make it out of the space should not change that both opportunity attacks occur, as they occur "right before" the creature actually leaves the square within reach.

(If instead the creature would first exit one opponent's reach, and then later exit another opponent's reach via a different space, then being prevented from leaving the first space would prevent the second opportunity attack from taking place, since the trigger for it never occurs.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Xanathar's Guide does have a "Simultaneous Effects" rule, but it makes a mess of this situation, rather than helping. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 30 at 13:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ The sentence structure in this answer was a bit hard to follow... I've made an edit to try and clarify it a bit. Feel free to edit/improve it further as needed. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 30 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the action is triggered "right before" an event, but the event never happens, it's not really "right before" the event anymore, is it? Who knew opportunity attacks were in superposition? Sentinel breaks causality! \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael W.
    Aug 30 at 23:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelW. unfortunately for causality breaking fans, the sequence of events is more like 'person turns and runs', 'person they are fighting goes to hit them from behind', 'person they are fighting hits them from behind in such a way they are forced to spin around and defend themselves to avoid being skewered', so the back-turning and fleeing still happens, it just doesn't get very far. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Aug 31 at 9:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user2754 They are definitely not avoiding being skewered when being stopped by a Sentinel. They are very much skewered. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael W.
    Aug 31 at 15:26
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Both triggers happened. Both attacks can happen.

If you leave two character's range at the same time, the trigger for the opportunity attack's reaction has happened for both of those characters. As long as nothing inherently prevents the second attack from taking place, such as the target of the attack becoming an invalid target for a melee attack, the trigger was triggered, so the second attack can take place as soon as the first one has been resolved.

Some examples of the target becoming "invalid" can be the target being pushed/teleported outside of the second attacker's melee range, or the target being killed. Do note that the target simply being reduced to 0 hp does not make it an invalid target, and the second attack will still be able to force a failed death save.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @vonBoomslang I'm myself curious to see if there's anything that supports the opposite. By that, I mean I'm looking for some rule text that would imply that a reaction trigger can be invalidated somehow after it has been triggered already. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Aug 30 at 14:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Matthieu The only thing that comes in mind is some ruling about the interaction of features involving being hit and the Shield spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Aug 30 at 14:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ The rule you are looking for is that the DM describes the outcome. Player declares they will move, other players shout opportunity attack, sentinel kicks in, DM declares the character can't move. Doesn't matter how many people shouted opportunity attack, the DM describes the character never moved. The declared opportunity attacks, based on a declared statement of what would happen clash with what actually happens. Now if the sentinel went last you have an odd situation, but that's why a DM has a brain, or at least one benefit of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Aug 31 at 7:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri to trigger the effect of Sentinel and stop the character from moving, you need to trigger the opportunity attack. If Sentinel stopped the character from initiating such a trigger, Sentinel couldn't trigger itself in reaction to the movement attempt. In other words, since both the regular and the sentinel opportunity attacks depend on the same trigger, you can't remove the trigger while keeping only one of the two, except if they specify otherwise. This "otherwise" is what I'm looking for, since the trigger isn't "moving out of range" but rather "attempting to move out of range". \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Aug 31 at 8:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like this has to be the answer. Otherwise the outcome would depend on the arbitrary order in which the opportunity attacks are taken, which makes no sense, as there is nothing specifying the order. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31 at 12:04

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