Attacks of Opportunity with a ranged weapon seems like an insane concept. The way I understand it, if a creature were to move within range of a PC's light crossbow it would trigger an AoO. If so that makes ranged weapons way too powerful, and brings up the question of whether making a ranged AoO gives another creature an AoO on you. This concept just seems like one endless series of AoOs.

Am I misinterpreting something, or are ranged weapons just that strong?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if you can use it, but the spell Arrow Mind (dndtools.eu/spells/complete-adventurer--54/arrow-mind--367) allows for AoO ranged, only in your melee-threatened squares. \$\endgroup\$
    – Squera
    Jun 6, 2014 at 14:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ it's unclear if you're concerned about one of the specific powers that allows this, or if you're under the mistaken belief that anyone with a ranged weapon can make AoO within its range. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Jun 7, 2014 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've edited your question to try to bring out where I think the confusion lies. If you disagree, feel free to change it again. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dakeyras
    Jun 8, 2014 at 0:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Synonym suggested: [attack-of-opportunity] -> [opportunity-attack] \$\endgroup\$ Jun 8, 2014 at 3:48

3 Answers 3


You threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, so this usually is not a problem, because melee attacks don't usually get huge reach.

Whenever some element in the game allows you to make AoOs with ranged attacks instead, they usually give you specifics about the working range.
If they don't, you still threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack, even if you can make it with a ranged weapon, so you probably need some melee weapon that's still useable while you wield the ranged one and that sets your AoO range.


So to be more clear - without a special ability of some sort, missile weapons do not threaten opponents and can not be used to make attacks of opportunity. Only melee weapons do and can.

This "light is shed" by reading the rules, which say

Making an Attack of Opportunity

An attack of opportunity is a single melee attack, and most characters can only make one per round. You don't have to make an attack of opportunity if you don't want to. You make your attack of opportunity at your normal attack bonus, even if you've already attacked in the round.

Emphasis mine.


Ranged weapons don't actually allow a creature to take attacks of opportunity.

To provoke an attack of opportunity for movement, a creature has to move out of a threatened square. Without a special ability, ranged weapon users don't threaten squares outside of their normal melee range (which can be effectively no range). If a creature is holding a ranged weapon and no melee weapon (remember, some creatures have more arms than others), they are considered unarmed, which means they don't threaten squares (barring special ability, such as Improved Unarmed Strike).

  • \$\begingroup\$ The note about adjacency only applies to Medium creatures with no reach-altering effects, mxy. Thank you for the other case, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Firebreak
    Jun 14, 2016 at 8:45

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