We had a session recently wherein a character went down in combat due to a creature attack. Two other characters stepped up to engage the creature while a third attempted to stabilize the downed character and thus help/circumvent the character having to make his death saving throws. Our DM stated that the character attempting to stabilize would have an attack of opportunity from the creature. (The character providing aid did not move out of the reach of the opponent.)

As I remember from the rules as written, in 5e attacks of opportunity are only generated when a character moves out of a creatures threat range. Was my DM right?


2 Answers 2


Your DM is mistaken.

Willingly moving out of a hostile creature's reach is the only thing that provokes an opportunity attack, as stated on page 195 of the PHB.

Nowhere in the rules for either opportunity attacks or stabilizing a creature is it mentioned that attempting to stabilize a creature would provoke an opportunity attack.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Would an attacker in range get advantage if the person they attack is busy doing something like stabilizing though? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2016 at 1:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexisWilke Doesn't matter - stabilizing is an action. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Feb 26, 2016 at 1:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @AlexisWilke Are you asking "If I attack someone who's busy stabilizing their ally should I get advantage?" If so, perhaps that question's worth researching/posting on its own. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Feb 26, 2016 at 1:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I asked a separate question here: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/76202/… — that being said, I think that the question here may be more like: what should the DM have done? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2016 at 2:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. If really your DM wants to impose a penalty, while not RAW, he may proc things like stealth attack if the creature is rogue, but as long as he's stabilizing "in range" of the creature, no AoO. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 29, 2016 at 10:50

I have to disagree with above. While there is no mention if stabilization provokes Opportunity Attack, it simply makes sense that it would as you are defenseless. Sometimes you have to do what makes sense, and not strictly follow rules.
As a DM I would most certainly say that this qualifies as Attack of Opportunity if opponent is within melee range.
For range opponents you would be at a disadvantage, as you are defenseless and preoccupied.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I downvoted this. The asker used the [rules-as-written] tag, which shows that they are only interested in answers that follow directly from the rules. Had they not included that stipulation, this would would have been a great way to answer. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2016 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are no rules as written about this, and thereby it falls under "rule 0" territory, i.e. interpretation. This is why I mentioned in my reply that there are "no mention if stabilization provokes Opportunity Attack". Hence I covered both the spirit of the question, as well as intention. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2016 at 19:01
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @JacekPerry "You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach. 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." There is no room in that text for interpretation. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2016 at 19:14

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