The 10 Best Uses Of A Free Action In D&D

There are many things to consider when playing your character in a game of Dungeons & Dragons. What is their alignment? What tools do they use? Do they have a stupid accent? Of all these options, combat just adds more decisions to make, especially if you’re focused on the action economy.

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Making the most of your movement, action, and extra action can make or break an encounter for your party. It’s never fun to see someone go back to a blank character sheet after slipping up in battle. One part of combat that players often forget about is their free action. Although it can’t be used as much as a full action or bonus action, using it correctly can make each of your turns much more productive.



10 Communicate with your team

D&D 5e Adventuring Party Scaling Cliff
Strixhaven Adventuring Party by Wizards Of The Coast

It may seem basic, but it never hurts to remember that your party may not know exactly everything that you and your character know.

A free action mid-battle is a good time to communicate important information to your party members. Emphasize an enemy’s weak point, show ambushes, or request a specific spell; there are many possibilities. Your CEO may have rules about how much you can say, probably without rambling monologues, but it’s safe to say that some general information is probably fine.

9 Interact with the object

D&D: Barbarian smashes the door to the dungeon
Kick In The Door by Justine Cruz

The fight can take place in a variety of locations. In these places, there will certainly be the possibility of occasional interaction with some scenery.

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As with most D&D, your options are as limitless as your creativity. Turning off a lamp, pulling a lever, and even opening or closing a door fall into this category. Knowing what’s around you is key to making the most of this free spin opportunity. Ask your GM for a description of the area and what is available to interact with. It never hurts to have a live image of your arena.

8 Go lying down

Ignatius Inkblot finds a body on a train
The Affair on the Concordant Express by Andrew Marr

Not just for Call of Duty, prone in combat situations can save you from some not-so-fun death saving throws in the future.

The main reason for this is that it can make you a much harder target. Maybe not so much in close combat as you’ll just be lying on the ground in front of your enemy. But with ranged and spell-focused combat, it can be a big help. Getting back up will cost a portion of your action or movement, so make sure you know the risk and reward of what you’re doing.

7 Loss of concentration

Dungeons & Dragons - A Dungeon Master's Guide featuring an angry undead mage who controls the dead
Dungeon Masters Guide via Wizards of the Coast

This is a big thing for those wizards in your party to remember. Although it can also be used for the Barbarian’s rage mechanic.

Many spells require you to maintain concentration in order to continue the spell’s effect. This can be dropped due to damage and a failure of a concentration saving throw, or from another concentration spell. But many forget that it can be done even so voluntarily and it does not even require an action or an additional action. This is great for an element of surprise or for dropping an area of ​​effect spell to allow your comrades to enter the space.

6 Drop the object

Empyrean, a hammer-wielding Titan from Dungeon & Dragons (D&D).
Empyrean from the Monster Manual via Wizards of the Coast

More than likely your characters have a lot of equipment. Sometimes it’s best to leave some of that behind, at least for a moment.

Anything your character is carrying or wielding similarly can be dropped with a free action. This is great for characters who like to switch between weapons, but don’t enjoy the time-consuming process of putting away one weapon and drawing another. Drop one for now and come back to pick it up later.

You can also use this when you want to throw an object but don’t mind it landing at your feet, such as a smoke bomb or caltrop.

5 Flourish your weapon

a gnomish bard named Gimble
Gimble by Wayne Reynolds

The Rule Of Cool is always alive and well in D&D. It’s fun to play as an adventurer, especially one who is probably the big hero.

A cape billowing in the wind while you fend off enemies only makes sense to occasionally take a little swing to add a little pizzazz to your playstyle. Shoot blood from your sword, shake your staff menacingly, or start spinning your broom; they’re all valid options, and they’re all pretty cool.

4 Command the summoned creature

The knight from the circle calls the ancestors
The knight of the circle summons the ancestors through the wizards of the shore

Wizards and the like often use summoned entities to aid them in battle. This can get a bit unwieldy, as it’s best to decide how to use your move to account for the moves of two creatures now.

Fortunately, if the creature’s Intelligence and alignment allow, you can command any summoned entity with a free action. It cannot be a long command by itself, but can be a short short sentence about what they need to do during combat. This way you can focus them on enemies as you see fit without using too much of your own moves.

Whether it’s a free action, bonus action, or full action depends on your summon spell or ability. Be sure to read the text for everything you called so you know for sure.

3 Taunt The Enemy

D&D The Essentials Kit - Dragon Of Icespire Peak Cover Art Of An Adventurer Fighting The Dragon
Cover of Dragon Of Icespire Peak by Grzegorz Rutkowsk

Any combat scenario can be frustrating. What’s better than blowing off steam and getting under your opponent’s skin at the same time?

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It’s not just for bards, though it might not be as caustic. An illegal move or remark on your enemy might not be the most useful choice for your free actions, but it’s satisfying. Who knows? If you run it past your GM, the incredibly hurtful comments can land you at a disadvantage or make you a prime target for the enemy’s next attacks.

2 Release the grip

D&D - Wulfgar of Icewind Dale by Aleksi Briclot, a barbarian stands in front of a building with a warhammer over his shoulder.
Wulfgar of Icewind Dale by Aleksi Briclot

You probably won’t use this option often, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind for fighters and other hand-to-hand combatants.

Dealing with the target ties them up pretty well, but the same goes for you. Unleashing it before or after the rest of your turn to allow other players to effectively attack a creature without damaging you is a great way to use the mechanic to your advantage. Just make sure you’re prepared for possible retaliation from the enemy when you do.

1 Anything else your GM allows

A pink-haired goblin wields a dagger and a glowing spear
Goblin Javelineer by Mike Jordan

Every GM is different. While these may be the free actions mentioned in the source material, there are potentially other options.

It’s never a bad idea to touch bases with your GM, either in-game or out-of-game, to see what they approve of as free action options. Consider your character and playstyle, but more can come up with each scenario. It never hurts to look at what’s available to you, and the results can be a lot of fun.

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