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My DM's saying that since the Help action is found in the actions in Combat in the PHB, he's disallowing use of it outside of combat. It's true that it's found in that part, but I thought you could use it even when there's no fighting happening. Is there a particular ruling for this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, why? \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 4:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Couldn't you always attack the air / a stone / a fly ... to change into "combat mode" and then use the action ? \$\endgroup\$
    – Falco
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 11:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Falco if you have to do that you really need a new GM. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tin Wizard
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 19:34

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Helping someone outside of combat is under the header "Working Together".

Yes, you can help another player to give them advantage outside of combat.

PHB 175:

Sometimes two or more characters team up to attempt a task. The character who’s leading the effort—or the one with the highest ability modifier—can make an ability check with advantage, reflecting the help provided by the other characters. In combat, this requires the Help action (see chapter 9).

Being able to help someone outside of combat is still up to the DM's judgment, however. It's limited to situations where a helper would actually be useful, and to where it is possible for the helper to accomplish the task independently.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ An example of this might be two people attempting to scale a fence. One can provide a boost to help the other. In another situation, two people attempting to pick a lock would be more of a hindrance, than anything. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 9:24

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