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Suppose a druid is shapeshifted into a beast of large size and adjacent (within 5 ft) of an enemy with a reach of 5ft.

On the druid's turn, he reverts to humanoid form, reducing his size from large to medium and placing him out of the enemy's reach. The druid can now move away without giving the enemy an opportunity attack.

Is this correct?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is the point of reverting merely to avoid an attack of opportunity or use a bonus action to revert, move, and then use a normal action? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think for a RAW answer, rules specifying how a user is place when they change size should be references. Specifically the wording for which square you occupy when you shrink. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ RAW, there is no need to consider squares unless you are using a grid \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 22:14

3 Answers 3

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This sounds like a clever way to avoid an Attack of Opportunity.

The Druid is not moving, merely using a magical effect to take up less space. This is less "moving" than teleport, which expressly does not trigger an AoO. The druid has used a bonus action, and has not expended any part of their Speed.

Also consider that the druid has expended one of his or her most valuable resources to accomplish this action. Since the rules do not specifically call change shape a movement, I would rule that this enough of a sacrifice on the part of the druid to warrant tipping the judgment toward loss of AoO on their enemy's part.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Reverting from beast form is a bonus action for both archetypes \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer heads in the right direction. The biggest selling points are the "not using their speed" and "the rules do not specifically call change shape a movement" bits \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KumosAgosta Thanks. I didn't know that reverting was a bonus action for both archetypes. I don't think I've ever known someone who played something other than a Moon Druid. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 0:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not at all. Teleportation doesn't trigger an AoO, and that is actual movement (though not using your Speed), in the sense that you are now occupying a different position. Changing your shape to fill a new space is not movement. You are still overlapping your old space; you haven't moved. You are just occupying fewer squares—squares that are not adjacent to an attacker. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 7:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ You could not use those 5 feet of movement to count toward a running jump or a charge. It can't be classified as Running, or Flight, or Swimming. You can revert while grappled (though you would likely still be grappled), because that only stops movement. It's not movement. In the absence of a clear ruling, it comes down to a judgement call. This is how I would justify that call. I'd be happy to debate this further, but in chat, since this is getting too long. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 7:19
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It seems overly punitive to have opportunity attacks from shifting out and changing size. Let's look at two examples:

  1. A mammoth is a huge creature and takes up a 3x3 grid. 16 medium creatures can surround it. If it shifts into the middle of its 3x3, people who think opportunity attacks should be used would then get 16 opportunity attacks against the druid (and is it in caster form? Arguably no, it would still be in mammoth form).
  2. A dire wolf is a large creature and takes up a 2x2 grid. 12 medium creatures can surround it. It has to choose 1 of 4 spaces to shift out of wild shape. It can lose adjacency to 7 of them, but it is still adjacent to 5. Taking 7 opportunity attacks would be devastating especially when low level.

Furthermore, it doesn't use the action, reaction, or movement as stated in another post. It is a bonus action. (Phb 195)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding your last bit, notably the Sage Advice Compendium does state that One With Shadows ends when taking a bonus action. The Invocation's text is: "When you are in an area of dim light or darkness, you can use your action to become invisible until you move or take an action or a reaction." And the SAC says: "Taking a bonus action breaks the invisibility of a warlock’s One with Shadows. A bonus action is an action." Which seems to contradict your stance at least somewhat \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 6:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough. So the alternative way the druid gets to avoid getting slaughtered for shifting into caster from a melee-tolerant form is to use the Disengage action and the bonus action to shift, so a full turn is lost to do nothing but safely shift into caster. I'm assuming this is not intended for a moon druid, who is given a swift shift into forms to allow actions to be taken immediately in that form and being able to use forms in combat. But who knows what was intended. Having to use Disengage prevents the moon druid from healing allies and forces it to wait a full turn. \$\endgroup\$
    – user66810
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 4:40
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No

A character provokes an opportunity attack when he moves out of a hostile creature reach:

You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach. phb pg. 195, emphasys mine.

And this same character can avoid the OA if he teleports, or someone or something moves him without his action/movement/reaction.

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. Ibidem

I would rule that, because shapeshift is an action, this action is the one that moves the character, and this action was made by the character, then the character can't avoid the OA.

Keep in mind that this OA happens just when the character use his shapeshift action to get outside the hostile creatures reach. He can move freely after that, the enemy already used his reaction.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Since reverting from beast form is just a bonus action, does the action here still apply to bonus action? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would argue that the action/bonus action/reaction bit is aimed at mechanics that have an effect that lets you move, like the Vengeance paladin's Relentless Avenger feature, which lets him move as a reaction after hitting with an opportunity attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wild shape meets the requirements of moves you without using your movement or action. The action of using wild shape to change forms doesn't move you, it changes your size. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough. Removed that comment. Still don't agree based on the fact that changing size isn't movement. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:50

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