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Is there a way for a character to leave melee combat without causing opportunity attacks? Do they have to make an Athletics or Acrobatics check to do so?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the reason this has so many downvotes is that it is basically 'read the book to me'. There isn't any room for discussion or interpretation here, just pointing out a rule in the combat section. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ladifas
    Jun 23, 2016 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I expected as much. There were just some nuances I wasn't sure of. Had been playing with DM's that would require a roll in order to exit the combat. While others would say I didn't need to roll vs the who I was disengaging trying to grapple myself as a reaction. However @Jamie Brace cleared a lot of things up for myself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Francisco
    Jun 23, 2016 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ That said, we should allow this sort of question. See point 2 in the top-voted answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ladifas
    Jun 23, 2016 at 16:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ladifas Yes, downvotes don't mean a question isn't allowed. :) Questions that aren't allowed get closed; questions that get downvoted are merely being sorted downward in the display order of the site (because they're unlikely to help future readers and other questions deserve more visibility). That said, this isn't a “read the book to me” question so much as a “I didn't realise I missed something in the book” question. In any case, the kind of read-the-book-to-me questions that are a real problem are the ones that are trying to get book info for free to avoid buying it. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2016 at 17:50

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The Disengage action

The Disengage action (D&D Basic Rules, p. 72) does exactly this:

If you take the Disengage action, your movement doesn't provoke opportunity attacks for the rest of the turn.

Also, if you're a rogue, you can use Cunning Action to take Disengage as a bonus action.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this activate automatically, as in there is no rolls required by the player? Would a player then be able to Disengage then attack if they have Extra Attack? \$\endgroup\$
    – Francisco
    Jun 23, 2016 at 15:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Francisco no, it's an action you take on your turn instead of Attack, so you would be taking the Disengage action instead of the Attack action, so no, you wouldn't get the Extra Attack, but you are correct in saying there are no rolls involved! EDIT: unless you're a Rogue of course, but I can't remember if Rogue's get Extra Attack or not \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2016 at 15:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Monks also can spend 1 ki starting at second level to disengage as a bonus action. @Francisco on your turn you can move your speed, take one action, and one possible bonus action. Disengage is your action. The extra attack feature says "whenever you take the attack action" so it does not apply when you use the disengage action. I would highly recommend rereading the Your Turn (pages 189–90) and Actions in Combat (pages 192–93) sections of chapter 9. It's all there \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2016 at 17:14
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Disengage

Disengage, as has been given in other answers, does allow you to use your action to move away without provoking an opportunity attack.

If you take the Disengage action, your movement doesn't provoke opportunity attacks for the rest of the turn.

Disengage just happens, no rolls on athletics to see if it is successful.

Rogue's Cunning Action

Rogues starting at the 2nd level can disengage as a bonus action. (Mentioned in Jamie Brace's answer.)

PHB p. 96

Monk's Step of the Wind

Starting at the second level may disengage as a bonus action by spending a Ki point. (As Christopher mentioned in the comments on Jamie Brace's answer)

PHB p.78

Mobility Feat

One of the abilities gained from taking the mobile feat is when you attack a creature, you can move away from it without it being able to take an opportunity attack:

When you make a melee attack against a creature, you don't provoke opportunity attacks from that creature for the rest of the turn, whether you hit or not.

PHB p.168 (Thanks – Tijnkwan)

Shove

PHB, p.195

Using the Attack action, you can make a special melee attack to shove a creature, either to knock it prone or push it away from you. If you're able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them.

Since Opportunity Attack reads:

You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach.

Since he is the creature moving out of reach, he can't take an opportunity attack, and you can use your extra attack action.

This can only be done if the target is no more than one size larger than you, and has to be within your reach. Also, this does require an Athletics roll contested by their Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) roll (the target gets to choice which to use).

Spells or Features

Spells or features that allow you to "push up to X feet away" or make the enemy flee. Each spell will have different attack rolls, or saving throws, depending on the spell.

Push Spells

There are a number of other ways to force an opponent to move, like:

Fear Spells

Likewise, if a creature gains the Frightened condition, the enemy can't willingly move any closer to you. Moreover, a number of spells that impart fear have clauses that force the enemy to expend their movement trying to get away from you.

The creature can't willingly move closer to the source of its fear (PHB p.290)

Spells that contain this language include:

This won't make them move on your turn, but will provide you with an opportunity attack against them.

Take away their Reaction

An opportunity attack requires use of the reaction. If the enemy has already done an opportunity attack, used a readied action, or the like, they cannot take an opportunity attack. Likewise, the spells shocking grasp and arms of hadar prevents the target(s) from using reactions until the start of its next turn.

Don't use Movement to Move

There are a couple ways to move without moving that specifically are called out in the rules for Opportunity Attacks:

You can avoid provoking an opportunity attack by taking the Disengage action. You also don't provoke an opportunity attack when you teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your movement, action, or reaction. For example, you don't provoke an opportunity attack if an explosion hurls you out of a foe's reach or if gravity causes you to fall past an enemy.

So you can either get pushed or use magic to teleport away:

Get Pushed

Also, if you are forced away by getting pushed or shoved you don't open an opportunity attack. If you are afraid, and must move, you still will provoke an opportunity attack. So, if you can get the enemy or an ally to push you, you don't provoke an attack.

Bamf/Poof Away

There are a number of spells and features that let you teleport or poof away or switch places with another creature without using movement.

Blind them or become unseen to them

In order to take an opportunity attack, the attacker has to be be able to see you. If you become invisible by spell, magic item or mundane trickery (sand in the eyes?), successfully hide from them somehow, or otherwise obstruct their vision (darkness, blindness, or throwing a sheet over their head), they will not be able to use an opportunity attack.

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.

Otherwise imparting the incapacitated status condition would also prevent them from taking an attack of opportunity (or any other attacks).

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Pocket sand!" \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2021 at 5:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is it also worth noting that (unlike previous editions) casting spells in melee does not trigger its own AoO? Not sure how common a misconception that might be, as when I went to look, there wasn't a question about it. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2021 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage I'm not as familiar with earlier editions, so you'd know better than me if this was a common misconception, but I'd think it might just muddy the waters. It especially could be confusing because the feat Mage Slayer does let you attack someone with a Reaction if they cast a spell in melee range with you, but that is technically not an Opportunity Attack. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2021 at 14:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ My only other thought is that it might improve the answer to cite the actual rules that state that being pushed away from an enemy or teleporting away from them doesn't provoke an Opportunity Attack. You did a great job citing evidence for the need to be visible, the viability of shoving an enemy, and the effects of Disengage. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2021 at 14:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don’t forget mounts. If your mount takes the disengage action then you and it don’t provoke a attack of opportunity when moving out of enemy range. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jervis
    Nov 7, 2021 at 2:51

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