I'm a DM of a party of 3. As a new DM, I'm still learning the rules (yes, I screw up. I'm not the best DM) but the rules on space are very confusing. All 3 PCs are melee attackers - a phantom rogue, a bladesinger, and a melee war cleric. My problem is that in the PHB, it says;

You can move through a nonhostile creature's space. In contrast, you can move through a hostile creature's space only if the creature is at least two sizes larger or smaller than you. Remember that another creature's space is difficult terrain for you. Whether a creature is a friend or an enemy, you can't willingly end your move in its space. If you leave a hostile creature's reach during your move, you provoke an opportunity attack, as explained later in the chapter.

How can melee attackers work with this if they have to use their action to disengage every time they enter someone's space, or risk an opportunity attack? This seems to promote only ranged attacks and spell casters.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ ThomasMarkov's answer presumes that you are assuming a melee PC has to enter the space of an opponent to attack. Was this the misunderstanding that was confusing you? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Notice that by quote you provided you cannot enter hostile creature space at all, unless it is Tiny or Huge (for Medium characters). \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 27, 2023 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


Your reach is five feet, so you don’t have to enter the target’s space to attack.

The rules for Melee Attacks state:

Most creatures have a 5-foot reach and can thus attack targets within 5 feet of them when making a melee attack.

Since your reach is (at least) five feet, you do not enter the target’s space to make a melee attack against them.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ That is: if you're playing on a grid, an attack with a reach of 5 feet can hit an enemy in any of the 8 squares adjacent to a medium creature's space. Larger creatures have a larger space (eg., a large creature's is 10x10), so an attack with 5 feet of reach could target any of 12 adjacent squares. An attack can target a creature if any part of their space is threatened (eg., a medium creature can hit a large creature with a 5-foot-reach attack even if they can only target a corner of the large creature's space). \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 19:23

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