By RAW, the Beast Master Ranger can command their companion to move with no action and to Attack or take other actions by using their own action. What about reactions, such as opportunity attacks, and bonus actions, such as the one that the panther can take (PHB p. 308)?

I recognize that the RAW interpretation is probably that a panther companion can never take its bonus action, since it takes no actions unless commanded and there's no mechanism to command it to take a bonus or reaction.


2 Answers 2


Yes, they can take reactions

The last paragraph outlining the companion (added in an errata after the first printing).

Like any creature, the beast can spend Hit Dice during a short rest. If you are incapacitated or absent, the beast acts on its own, focusing on protecting you and itself. It never requires your command to use its reaction, such as when making an opportunity attack.

This tells us three things.

  1. Animal Companions get a Reaction
  2. Animal Companions can take Opportunity Attacks (using their Reaction)
  3. You don't have to expend any command (i.e. - an action) to cause/allow your companion to make an Opportunity Attack as a Reaction

Crawford's tweet seems to indicate that he agrees, but I wish he'd been more direct about it.

Maybe a Bonus Action (probably)

As you mentioned, there's not normally a situation that would grant a companion a valid bonus action. They can't two-weapon fight or cast quickened spells. I can't definitively say "There is absolutely no situation that would grant an Animal Companion a Bonus Action", so I won't.

In the case of the Panther's Pounce special quality, I don't know. It's something I'd have to see in play to make a ruling on. The RAF and RACS answers seem to be that the animal companion gets to use its bonus action, like any other creature. But what about RAI and RAW?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the paragraph your answer is based on is errata that didn't exist when this question was asked. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman Thanks for the insight! I didn't realize that, as I usually get my information online, despite owning the book. I think that it's still good to post new answers as errata is published ^_^ \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 0:05
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Of course! But you should probably highlight on your answer that it's based on errata. If the original querent was to read it as is, they would just find it confusing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 2:18

As you state, there is no RAW precedent for the Beast Master's companion being able to make opportunity attacks.

The PHB doesn't have any rules for what would've been "instinctual actions" in 4e. I can't find any words to backup the Beast Master's companion getting to make an opportunity attack.

The designers however think its perfectly valid to rule that the Companion gets an opportunity attack.

In a tweet response, crawford has supported houseruling the beast master's companion to be able to make opportunity attacks. He makes no statement on whether or not this should cost the Ranger their reaction or not; that would have to be up to you to decide.

Pounce and Keen Smell are not actions, but rather properties/traits for the creature

I'm not sure of the exact rule term for this in 5e, but the Panther's pounce ability is something that should be useable by the Beast Master when controlling his companion. It does get a bit murky with the Bite attack being granted if the target is prone (as a bonus action). I think its entirely valid to allow the beast to make that bonus action attack at the expense of the Ranger using up their bonus action for the beast to do so.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your link has Crawford interpreting the rules-as-written to say than an animal companion can make an opportunity attack. (Adding prof to saves was the house-rule mentioned, not opportunity attacks.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Bleep
    Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DougM This one is in the list too. Here's the actual twitter link \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 3:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's the exact same text @mattdm; she didn't say it's a "house rule", but that she'd judge RAW to say that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bleep
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 15:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .