Does a specter's Incorporeal Movement ability provoke attacks of opportunity?

casper 09/20/2017. 2 answers, 836 views
dnd-5e monsters opportunity-attack incorporeal

The Specter has the ability Incorporeal Movement, which states,

The specter can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 5(1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.

Does moving through a creature grant an attack of opportunity to the creature it's moving through? It seems like it should, but that lessens the "coolness" of the ability.

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2 Answers


Icyfire 09/22/2017.

It behaves like any other creature would.

The PB states that any creature that moves out of your reach provokes an opportunity attack (195):

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

If the specter moves through a creature and out of their reach, then it will provoke an opportunity attack. If it passes through a creature but stays within its reach, it does not provoke an attack. This is, of course, the same for any other creature.

If a creature can avoid opportunity attacks, it's explicitly listed in the listing. For example, the Giant Owl (MM 327):

Flyby. The owl doesn't provoke opportunity attacks when it flies out of an enemy's reach.

Specters do not have such an ability, so they are subject to opportunity attacks if they move out of a creature's reach.

Compare to a ghost

It's worth noting that a ghost has a similar incorporeal movement ability and an Etherealness ability, which truly allows it to float through anything freely (MM 147):

Etherealness. The ghost enters the Ethereal Plane from the Material Plane, or vice versa. It is visible on the Material Plane while it is in the Border Ethereal, and vice versa, yet it can't affect or be affected by anything on the other plane.

This ability would allow the ghost to ignore any opportunity attacks (though it would still technically trigger them).

1 comments
3 Mindwin 09/20/2017
You can still take the AoO against the ghost if ti triggers one. It is most likely to not do any harm because its ethereal, but you can take the reaction even if you don't have some weapon able to affect ethereal beings: the attack will just miss.

daze413 09/20/2017.

No

Opportunity Attacks can only be taken when the target leaves your reach, it hasn't left your reach (you can, presumably, reach yourself) so it doesn't provoke an OA by just moving through you.

PHB 195

Opportunity Attacks

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

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