The Dungeon Master's Guide provides some optional Action Options (p. 271). One of those options is the Mark option, which can give a free opportunity attack with advantage that doesn't use up a reaction when the marked target provokes. While all of the other options require you to give up an attack, or your whole action/bonus-action, and additionally call for an ability check, the Mark option just works.

When I as the DM allow this option, are there any downsides or is it just a strict buff for melee combat and thus an increased problem for ranged combatants in melee range?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Minor edit for clarity, please review to make sure that the question has not changed. I did not see how "oversee" fit into the final question since you are looking for the side effects/downsides of allowing this option in combat. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 23, 2016 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


By itself, Mark is a slight buff to the party's melee combatants (but also to the GM's melee combatants), and a slight annoyance to ranged combatants. Having advantage on opportunity attacks makes being in close quarters more of a threat, and increases the necessity of the Disengage action, especially for characters who don't want to be in melee range. It could be considered a higher value for the DM than for the party if combat encounters tend to have a much larger number of enemies - you would be able to have several enemies "lock down" the party's movement, which would force them to either continuously Disengage and use their bonus actions to attempt to fight off their enemies, or be locked into melee (especially if there isn't a difference in speed between the PC in question and the pursuing enemy). It forces the party (and you) to more carefully consider their positioning in combat - if that's the kind of thing your players enjoy, it could be a great addition. If you do introduce it into your game, I would make sure the party knows about it before any combat occurs, so that both sides are able to use it to their advantage.

Where Mark starts to shine is when it is combined with certain feats and combat abilities. While Charger cannot be used to create opportunity attacks, it does allow characters to re-position enemies, interrupting the enemy's ability to use its Mark. If a Fighter (or another melee class) uses Mark in combination with Sentinel, they gain advantage on the opportunity attack (which they are allowed to make even if the opponent disengages) and if they successfully hit the enemy, it is forced to remain in close combat (where the Sentinel Fighter can attack it again during their next turn, and renew the Mark. Polearm Master is also worth a mention, as it allows the Fighter to Mark and make opportunity attacks against creatures within 10' instead of just within 5'.

Lastly, while Mark does allow an Opportunity Attack without expending a reaction, without Multiattack / Extra Attack, this doesn't increase the total amount of OA's by more than one - combatants now get one OA against a target they attacked on their turn, and can use their reaction to make a different OA against a different target (provided one is available). Combatants are still limited to one OA per turn - meaning that unless they are in melee combat with two enemies, Marking is unlikely to increase their damage output. It does allow a combatant to preserve their reaction, which seems to benefit PC's slightly more than monsters, as they seem to have more reactions available to them.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget combining Mark with a Rogue's Sneak Attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – LeHill
    Aug 24, 2016 at 17:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Marking only limits your Opportunity Attacks to one per turn, not per round, meaning you can get a lot more than one extra attack. Also, you mention Multiattack / Extra Attack, but neither of those interact with Opportunity Attacks at all, you still only get one attack per Opportunity Attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Taxi4Dave
    Jun 20, 2018 at 23:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Combined with warcaster it allows for 2 opportunity attacks in a round because the wording of warcaster says reaction instead of opportunity attack. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 5, 2021 at 21:12

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