What is a Bonus Action in D&D 5e?

Bonus actions are second or minor actions that take the time required to execute. In earlier versions of D&D, it was often called a quick action or a minor action.

Let’s get into the specifics to better understand the bonus actions.

There are a variety of things the player character (PC) could do on their own. These include:

  1. Choose one step.
  2. Take just one additional action.
  3. move in a single step, according to your speed.
  4. You can interact with a single object in the environment for no cost (i.e. open an entrance, draw an object, or draw a weapon).
  5. PCs also have a response they can use at every turn. Reactions aren’t required to be utilized on the character’s turn. They’re most often used during an NPC or the turn of another PC. A reaction usually requires a series of triggering events to take place, for instance, an attack opportunity.

The players can use the options in any order unless the rules specify otherwise. They may use each option only once unless there’s an effective ability that changes the rules. 

In the same way, if a skill or spell requires a bonus, it is not possible to activate it while acting, or vice versa.

A character can make use of their normal actions nearly every turn since there are a variety of things they could do by using their actions. 

It includes tackling, dodging, and casting the majority of spells, and moving twice (AKA dash actions, etc. ).

However, the majority of characters do not make use of bonuses all the time. To be able to take advantage of bonuses, it is necessary for a character to have the ability to use an additional action. 

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It could be racial or class abilities such as magical items such as spell casting or activation feats or similar.

Some characters don’t have any means to take advantage of the bonus action.

A bonus action is a great idea and can be extremely effective, and experienced players often look for ways to make use of both an action and an additional action in their turn.

Since the release of 5e, Wizards of the Coast has been a little more proactive in providing players with an opportunity to utilize the bonus actions. Many of the newly released subclasses include bonus action capabilities.

Common Methods by which low-level characters can benefit from a Bonus Action

Notice: Higher-level characters generally have more opportunities to make use of their bonus actions.

Let’s look at a few possibilities:


casting spells such as Expeditious Retreat, Magic Stone, Sanctuary, activating spell abilities, or activating infusions that give bonus action abilities.


Entering Rage.


Using Bardic Inspiration, casting a spell such as Healing Word, or using spells


casting spells such as Healing Word Sanctuary, Healing Word Shield of Faith, and Spiritual Weapon, or by employing spell abilities.


by casting spells, such as Magic Stone, Shillelagh, and Healing Word, or by making use of spell abilities. Druids of all kinds can leave Wild Shape using a bonus action, whereas Circle of the Moon druids is also able to enter Wild Shape using a bonus action.


Second Wind


A Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense, Step of the Wind


casting spells like Compelled Duel, Divine Favor, Shield of Faith, or spells with “smite” or “smite,” or using spells

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Casting a spell, such as Ensnaring Strike, Hail of Thorns the Hunter’s Mark, or Zephyr Strike, or using spells


Utilizing cunning action to avoid and dash, or even engage.


casting a spell while employing spell abilities, such as Expeditious Retreat, or with Quicken Spell to transform the time a spell’s casting takes from action to additional action.


Casting a spell, such as Hex, or using spell abilities such as reassigning Hex to a new target


casting an enchantment and activating the spell function, like Expeditious Retreat, as well as Flaming Sphere.

Bonus Action Spells

For spellcasters using bonus action spells, you’ll need to know the specific rules you need to be aware of.

  1. When you cast an action by using your bonus action, then you are unable to make another spell with your bonus action, unless the spell is a cantrip
  2. If you use a spell that is one level or more with your action, then you are unable to make a bonus spell.
  3. The ability to activate the spell you’ve previously cast isn’t identical to casting a spell, so the rules listed above don’t apply to you if you use a spell’s ability.

As an example, if, for instance, you apply Expeditious Retrench using bonus actions, a player is not able to cast another ability with their action except if that spell can be a trip.

If a character has an Expeditious Retreat spell on a prior turn, the character may activate the expeditious bonus action and also cast the higher-level spell by taking an action.

Certain spells provide effective effects when combined with a bonus action. Therefore, spellcasters with high levels should consider learning a spell that allows them to utilize their bonus actions.

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For instance, spiritual weapons and animated objects are thought to be particularly powerful spells in their class because they allow the caster to make use of their bonus actions to strike an opponent.