I’m theorycrafting a new character with a buddy. We’re debating the following.

Say we have a monk with access to the dissonant whispers spell from something like the Fey Touched feat. When they cast it as their action on their turn when right next to an enemy and the enemy fails the saving throw, the enemy runs away, letting us opportunity attack. Since it’s still that character's turn, does an opportunity attack count as an action, and would it let you use your bonus action to make an unarmed strike from Martial Arts?

TL;DR: Is an attack of opportunity a “an Attack action” that would trigger the monk's Martial Arts? Or is it ruled as a reaction and won’t trigger it as a result?


2 Answers 2


Oportunity attacks are reactions, not normal actions, so this won't work

You can only use Martial Arts with the Attack action:

When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a monk weapon on your turn, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action.

A reaction (such as an opportunity attack) is s special action, and not interchangeable with a normal action:

Certain special abilities, spells, and situations allow you to take a special action called a reaction. A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn or on someone else’s. The opportunity attack, described later in this chapter, is the most common type of reaction.

The Attack action instead is one of the standard actions you can take every turn (PHB, p. 192, Actions in Combat)

Because of this, you cannot use an Attack action in place of an opportunity attack. And because of that, you cannot use Martial Arts bonus actions in an opportunity attack.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the confirmation homie! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 4:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ For completeness, an Opportunity Attack grants a melee attack not an attack action. (If it did grant an attack action, the answer here would be different.) \$\endgroup\$
    – asgallant
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 1:37

An attack of opportunity is classed as a 'reaction'. even if it didn't, the wording for the relevant class feature is: "if you take the attack action on your turn, you can make an unarmed strike as a bonus action". since an attack of opportunity (and most other reactions) happen during the turn of the enemy, the condition for the bonus action attack is not satisfied

  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ This answer ignores the fact that the question specifically is asking about a scenario where the monk is able to force an enemy to trigger an attack of opportunity during the monk's own turn and has laid out a legitimate way to do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcosa
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 21:22

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