Skip to Content

Dodge Action 5e

Dodge Action 5e

In the dimly lit alley, a desperate Wizard found himself cornered by a group of thugs. Panic took over as he realized he was out of spells and defenseless. The bandits closed in, their wicked grins heralding impending doom.

With adrenaline coursing through his trembling limbs, he knew he needed to just survive for a few more minutes. As the first bandit swung their blade, the Wizard’s instincts took over, and he moved with uncanny speed and agility. Dodging like a frenzied dancer, the Wizard seemed almost untouchable.

Exhaustion weighed on the Wizard’s shoulders, and a fleeting moment of distraction allowed one bandit’s blade to graze his side, leaving a painful gash.

As the thugs loomed over the Wizard, ready to make the deathblow, a hammer came flying out of the air. An Orc standing at the alleyway entrance unhooked an axe from her belt.

“Nice moves. I’ll take it from here.” she charged into the alley, blades drawn. It was the last thing the thugs ever saw.

What Does the Dodge Action 5e Do?

The Dodge Action is one of many actions that a player can take on their turn like Attack, Disengage, or Dash

The Dodge Action as the name implies helps the user avoid attacks. By giving up your action during your turn you are forcing enemies that attack you to attack with Disadvantage. There’s a little bit more to it than that, but we’ll get to that in the next sections. 

Dodge action 5e is often overlooked, but it’s an important tool in your arsenal. Players at the very least should be familiar with it in case they ever find them in a situation where it could have saved them. 

Rules of Dodging in DnD 5e

You find the official rules for the Dodge Action in the Player’s Handbook on page 192.

“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 Appendix A) or if your speed drops to 0.”

D&D Player’s Handbook
$49.95 $26.10

Buy on Amazon Buy at Noble Knight
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 04:30 pm GMT

How and When to Use the Dodge Action 5e

Dodge is an often overlooked action in DnD. Typically new and seasoned players will simply attack or perform an action instead of dodging and there are a few reasons for this.

First of all, it’s not flashy. If you have to wait 5-10 minutes for everyone else to complete their turn, the last thing you want to do is say, “I take the Dodge Action.” and end your turn. This is why most new players don’t even know it’s an option. You want to Fireball, sneak attack, stab, shoot, punch, or literally anything that sounds more exciting. 

That doesn’t mean that Dodge isn’t a useful skill, it just means it’s not as flashy. 

Using Dodge can quite literally mean the life or death of your character and there are some really good reasons to use it. Our story at the top is a great example. If you’re surrounded by enemies and need to survive a round until an ally can come help choosing to Dodge may save you. 

For example, if you’re surrounded by 4 bandits. They’re all relatively weak enemies, but your character has taken a few hits and could survive maybe 3 more attacks. If all 4 bandits attack you, then the odds of 2 of 4 bandits hitting you are pretty high and there’s always the possibility that more will hit. If you attack and manage to kill 1 bandit, the odds of getting hit twice are still pretty high. 

In that same situation, if you take the Dodge Action the likelihood of your getting hit will decrease significantly. Each enemy will have to attack with Disadvantage the likelihood of only 1 of the bandits hitting you goes up. 

In this example, it makes more sense to simply stay alive with the Dodge Action, and wait for reinforcements than it is to try and kill 1 of the surrounding enemies. Even though you’ll be subjected to more attacks the likelihood of actually getting hit decreases significantly. There’s a lot of math involved if you want to dive deep into it, but it does support Dodge as a viable option when facing multiple enemies and you need to survive another round or two. 

It is important to note that when you do perform the Dodge Action, that’s where you’re going to stay for the rest of the round. Setting movement speed to zero is one of the major drawbacks to the ability and one of the reasons why players will overlook it. Sometimes it’s better to disengage and run away without provoking opportunity attacks, but if that’s not an option just remember if you use the Dodge Action, you’re not going anywhere. 

Mechanics That Interact With the Dodge Action 5e

There are different rules and mechanics that interact (or don’t interact well) with the Dodge Action. There are only a few different class abilities that grant bonuses, but since the name “dodge” is used so often in the DnD rules there can also be a bit of confusion. Luckily, we can clear up most of that here. 

Dodge Vs. Uncanny Dodge

Dodge and the Uncanny Dodge Feat are two completely different and separate things. The Dodge Action when used forces enemies to attack you with Disadvantage. 

Uncanny Dodge is a Rogue ability that uses a player’s reaction to reduce damage by half. They have similar names but do completely different things. 

Dodge Action Vs. Shoving & Grappling

The Dodge Action does not work against special attacks that require opposed ability checks. If you’re up against a grappler that tries to shove or grapple your character, they do not get Disadvantage on the roll. This is because when they make the attack they are making an opposed Strength/Dexterity roll instead of a normal attack. 

Any bonuses that would affect the appropriate ability check roll still apply. 

Your DM may house rule that they still have Disadvantage, but that’s up to them. Personally, I think that it’s such an underutilized ability and it makes sense to have the attacker at Disadvantage, but the rules as they are written say that the Dodge Action does nothing in this case. 

Dodge Vs. Invisible and Unseen Attackers

Because the rules clearly state that you have to see your attack, the Dodge Action will not work if you are in complete darkness (without Darkvision) or if your attacker is invisible. You still get the advantage of Dexterity saves. 

Patient Defense

Monks have a special Ki ability that allows them to spend 1 Ki point to use the Dodge Action as a bonus action instead of their main action. This means that they can still get off an attack, and then get ready for the next turn by using Dodge. It’s not always going to be useful because of the Ki cost, but if they’re swarmed by a ton of little enemies they should be able to hit everything around them, and then survive with dodge before being overwhelmed. 


If you don’t want to give up your advantage and gain the same benefits you can cast the Blur spell. This does the exact same thing as the Dodge Action but lasts 10 rounds of combat. 

Dodge Action 5e Tips for the DM

One of the tricky aspects of being a DM is giving players knowledge or pointing them toward a certain goal without making it feel too constrained or railroading your players. You could simply hold a DnD rules workshop for your players to learn about different actions and how to play, but that’s not nearly as much fun as showing them. 

Just like in the real world, sometimes it’s best to give them hands-on experience. A good way to showcase how the Dodge Action can be used is by a simple henchman. If we’re using the bandit example again you can create a scenario where a bandit leader is fleeing and throwing henchmen in the party’s way. A single high armored guard standing in a corridor with a shield can potentially stop the entire party in their tracks. 

Showcasing specific mechanics through enemy actions is a great way to teach your players how to use more advanced mechanics and it’s much more fun than giving them reading homework from the player’s handbook. 

If you want your players to do something other than all-out attacks you need to first teach them that other tactics are more effective and then build scenarios that give them the opportunity to do so. If every fight ends up in an open field with an opponent for each character it’s going to be a series of 1v1 duels. If you constantly alter the scenario, intelligence level of enemies, and fighting ground you’re players will be forced to make different decisions and use different strategies. 

D&D Player’s Handbook
$49.95 $26.10

Buy on Amazon Buy at Noble Knight
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2023 04:30 pm GMT

Dodge Action 5e FAQs

What is the Dodge Action 5e?

The Dodge Action is one of the possible actions you can take on your turn like attack or disengage. It sets your movement to 0 and anyone attacking you that you can see will have Disadvantage.

Is Dodge an Action or Bonus Action?

Dodge is an Action.

Is Dodge and Uncanny Dodge the same thing?

Dodge is an action that everyone can choose to use. It forces attacking enemies that the player can see to have Disadvantage on attacks against them.
Uncanny Dodge is a Rogue ability that uses a reaction to reduce damage by half.

Is the Dodge Action Good?

The Dodge action is great for staying alive until help can arrive. It is especially useful if the player is surrounded.

Can anyone use the Dodge Action?

Yes, anyone can use the Dodge Action. This includes player characters, NPCs, and enemies.

Where in the Player’s Handbook are the Dodge Action Rules?

The rules for the Dodge Action can be found in the Player’s Handbook on Page 192.