Basics: Checks | Ability Scores | Movement | Conditions | Environment | Taking Action: Exploration | Actions | Combat/Attack Basics | Damage & Healing | Resting | Between Adventures | Magic: What is Magic? | Casting a Spell | Combining Magic Effect | Minor Spells & Rituals

Actions in Combat

This section lists the typical actions you can take during your turn. During most rounds, you might attack with a sword, fire a bow, cast a spell, and so forth.

Some special abilities allow you to use several of these actions at once. For example, high-level fighters can make extra attacks, in addition to doing something else.


The most common action to take in combat is the Attack action, whether you are swinging a sword, firing an arrow from a bow, or brawling with your fists.
With this action, you make one melee or ranged attack. See the “Making an Attack” section for the rules that govern attacks.

Certain features, such as the Extra Attack feature of the Fighter, allow you to make more than one attack with this action.

Cast a Spell

Spellcasters such as wizards and clerics, as well as many Monsters, have access to Spells and can use them to great effect in combat. Each spell has a Casting Time, which specifies whether the caster must use an action, a reaction, minutes, or even hours to cast the spell. Casting a Spell is, therefore, not necessarily an action. Most Spells do have a Casting Time of 1 action, so a spellcaster often uses his or her action in combat to cast such a spell.


When you take the Dash action, you gain extra Movement for the current turn. The increase equals your speed, after applying any modifiers. With a speed of 30 feet, for example, you can move up to 60 feet on your turn if you dash.
Any increase or decrease to your speed changes this additional Movement by the same amount. If your speed of 30 feet is reduced to 15 feet, for instance, you can move up to 30 feet this turn if you dash.


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


When you take the Dodge action, you focus entirely on avoiding attacks. Until the start of your next turn, any attack roll made against you has disadvantage if you can see the attacker, and you make Dexterity saving throws with advantage. You lose this benefit if you are Incapacitated (as explained in Conditions ) or if your speed drops to 0.


You can lend your aid to another creature in the completion of a task. When you take the Help action, the creature you aid gains advantage on the next ability check it makes to perform the task you are helping with, provided that it makes the check before the start of your next turn.

Alternatively, you can aid a friendly creature in attacking a creature within 5 feet of you. You feint, distract the target, or in some other way team up to make your ally’s attack more effective. If your ally attacks the target before your next turn, the first attack roll is made with advantage.


When you take the Hide action, you make a Dexterity (Stealth) check in an attempt to hide, following the rules for Hiding. If you succeed, you gain certain benefits, as described in the “Unseen Attackers and Targets” section.


Sometimes you want to get the jump on a foe or wait for a particular circumstance before you act. To do so, you can take the Ready action on your turn, which lets you act using your reaction before the start of your next turn.
First, you decide what perceivable circumstance will trigger your reaction. Then, you choose the action you will take in response to that trigger, or you choose to move up to your speed in response to it. Examples include “If the Cultist steps on the trapdoor, I’ll pull the lever that opens it,” and “If the Goblin steps next to me, I move away.”

When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger. Remember that you can take only one reaction per round.

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs. To be readied, a spell must have a Casting Time of 1 action, and holding onto the spell’s magic requires Concentration. If your Concentration is broken, the spell dissipates without taking effect. For example, if you are concentrating on the web spell and ready Magic Missile, your web spell ends, and if you take damage before you release Magic Missile with your reaction, your Concentration might be broken.


When you take the Search action, you devote your attention to finding something. Depending on the nature of your search, the GM might have you make a Wisdom (Perception) check or an Intelligence (Investigation) check.

Use an Object

You normally interact with an object while doing something else, such as when you draw a sword as part of an attack. When an object requires your action for its use, you take the Use an Object action. This action is also useful when you want to interact with more than one object on your turn.

Bonus Actions

Various Class Features, Spells, and other Abilities let you take an additional action on your turn called a Bonus Action. The Cunning Action feature, for example, allows a rogue to take a Bonus Action. You can take a Bonus Action only when a Special ability, spell, or other feature of the game states that you can do something as a Bonus Action. You otherwise don’t have a Bonus Action to take.
You can take only one Bonus Action on your turn, so you must choose which Bonus Action to use when you have more than one available.
You choose when to take a Bonus Action during your turn, unless the bonus action’s timing is specified, and anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a Bonus Action.

Moving Around Other Creatures

You can move through a nonhostile creature’s space. In contrast, you can move through a hostile creature’s space only if the creature is at least two sizes larger or smaller than you. Remember that another creature’s space is difficult terrain for you.

Whether a creature is a friend or an enemy, you can’t willingly end your move in its space.

If you leave a hostile creature’s reach during your move, you provoke an opportunity attack.

Flying Movement

Flying creatures enjoy many benefits of mobility, but they must also deal with the danger of Falling. If a flying creature is knocked prone, has its speed reduced to 0, or is otherwise deprived of the ability to move, the creature falls, unless it has the ability to hover or it is being held aloft by magic, such as by the fly spell.

Creature Size

Each creature takes up a different amount of space. Table: Size Categories shows how much space a creature of a particular size controls in combat.
Objects sometimes use the same size categories.


A creature’s space is the area in feet that it effectively controls in combat, not an expression of its physical dimensions. A typical Medium creature isn’t 5 feet wide, for example, but it does control a space that wide. If a Medium Hobgoblin stands in a 5— foot—wide doorway, other creatures can’t get through unless the Hobgoblin lets them.

A creature’s space also reflects the area it needs to fight effectively. For that reason, there’s a limit to the number of creatures that can surround another creature in combat. Assuming Medium combatants, eight creatures can fit in a 5-foot radius around another one.

Because larger creatures take up more space, fewer of them can surround a creature. If five Large creatures crowd around a Medium or smaller one, there’s little room for anyone else. In contrast, as many as twenty Medium creatures can surround a Gargantuan one.

Squeezing into a Smaller Space

A creature can squeeze through a space that is large enough for a creature one size smaller than it. Thus, a Large creature can squeeze through a passage that’s only 5 feet wide. While squeezing through a space, a creature must spend 1 extra foot for every foot it moves there, and it has disadvantage on attack rolls and Dexterity saving throws. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage while it’s in the smaller space.

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