5E Action Types - Rules As Written
+ Log in or register to post
Page 1 of 9 123456789 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 87
  1. #1

    Action Types - Rules As Written

    In 5e, the rules as written for when a character can do things, sometimes seems vague, odd, or incomplete.

    The basic types of action seem clear enough:

    1 ‘Action’ and 1 ‘Move’ per ‘Turn’. Standard.

    1 ‘Reaction’ can happen at any time, depending on when the specified ‘Trigger’ happens.

    1 ‘Bonus Action’. Even this seems clear. Only some features grant an ‘additional action’.



    Now the vagueness starts.

    1 Object Interaction. This allows a kind of quick minor action that is part of an other action, such as drawing a sword as part of an attack ‘Action’, or opening a door as part of a ‘Move’. Except the technical term doesnt actually exist. It just says you can ‘interact’ with an ‘object’, and if you want to interact with a ‘second object’ it costs an ‘Action’ to do it. The need to create a technical term changing a verb into a noun is still clear enough, but this is when the rules as written start drifting into homebrew.

    (?). ‘You can communicate’ ‘as you take your turn’. Only once? Several times?

    Wait. Players are forbidden to communicate when not their turn? Is that what the rules as written are saying?

    As far as I can tell, there is no type of action called a ‘Free Action’: such as dropping a weapon during your turn, or shouting out a warning to your ally during your allys turn.



    I get it, as DM I can adjudicate anything. But sometimes, when describing a feature or creating a new feature, it is necessary to refer to technical language in order to clarify intent.

    Did the vague wording on when to ‘communicate’ intend to mean, no communication when not ones turn? So that if one player asks a question during combat, it is forbidden for the other player to answer until the next turn, maybe during the next round. Really, that was the intention?

    Im probably going to write down the word ‘Freely’ or ‘Free Action’ in the sense of, you can do it anytime, during your turn or not, whether there is a trigger or not. Heh, I assume this homebrew houserule is clear enough?
    Last edited by Yaarel; Thursday, 7th December, 2017 at 07:49 AM.
    XP 77IM gave XP for this post
    Laugh pming laughed with this post

  2. #2
    If you're looking for technical language and comprehensive answers, they intentionally left that out. The vagueness is explicit and the foundation of the design. The rule is really, "You can do what you can do in about 6 seconds, and if it's not explicitly limited already like attack, cast a spell, or move, don't sweat it so much." I think it's why Mearls has said he would eliminate bonus actions if he had it to do over again. Not because they aren't useful, but because you shouldn't want to care so much about the action economy.
    XP Quickleaf, Bardbarian, Hussar, Li Shenron, bedir than and 7 others gave XP for this post

  3. #3
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    988
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    ø Block Horwath


    ø Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon Bits View Post
    If you're looking for technical language and comprehensive answers, they intentionally left that out. The vagueness is explicit and the foundation of the design. The rule is really, "You can do what you can do in about 6 seconds, and if it's not explicitly limited already like attack, cast a spell, or move, don't sweat it so much." I think it's why Mearls has said he would eliminate bonus actions if he had it to do over again. Not because they aren't useful, but because you shouldn't want to care so much about the action economy.
    Vagueness is both good and bad, depending on DM and players.

    Someone can bend the rules up to 99,9% of brakind and some follow the rules like scripture.

    I would also kick out bonus action and mold its features into regular Action.

    Smite spells and hunters mark could work like regular divine smite. After you hit spend a spell slot for that specific effect.

    Two weapon fighting just adds offhand attack to main hand attack action.

    Same as Polearm master or crossbow expert.

    Rogues could make instead of one action, perform one extra action per turn, Like fighters extra action but limited to: Dash, Disengage, Hide.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    In 5e, the rules as written for when a character can do things, sometimes seems vague, odd, or incomplete.

    The basic types of action seem clear enough:

    1 ‘Action’ and 1 ‘Move’ per ‘Turn’. Standard.
    Sight correction. ‘Move’ is not a type of action you take. ‘Movement’ is a resource, the unit of which is ‘Feet’. You have a number of ‘Feet’ of ‘Movement’ equal to your ‘Speed’, which you can expend to change your position at any time on your turn. Each ‘Foot’ of ‘Movement’ spent allows your character to move one foot in any direction. There are a few other things ‘Movement’ can be spent on, such as ending the ‘Prone’ ‘Condition’ (which costs an amount of ‘Movement’ equal to half your ‘Speed’) and some things increase the movement cost to change your position. For example, in ‘Difficult Terrain’, changing your position by one foot costs two ‘Feet’ of ‘Movement’ each. Continuing on...

    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    1 ‘Bonus Action’. Even this seems clear. Only some features grant an ‘additional action’.

    1 ‘Reaction’ can happen at any time, depending on when the specified ‘Trigger’ happens.
    Another minor correction, a ‘Reaction’, much like a ‘Bonus Action’ can only be used when another ability allows you to do so. One such ability is ‘Ready’, a type of action (not to be confused with an ‘Action’, the resource you expend to perform actions such as ‘Ready’) that, when used, allows you to choose an action (the category of activity) and a ‘Trigger’; when the chosen ‘Trigger’ occurs, you can peform the chosen action, expending your ‘Reaction’ instead of your ‘Action’ (the resource) to do so.

    Continuing on...

    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    Now the vagueness starts.

    1 Object Interaction. This allows a kind of quick minor action that is part of an other action, such as drawing a sword as part of an attack ‘Action’, or opening a door as part of a ‘Move’. Except the technical term doesnt actually exist. It just says you can ‘interact’ with an ‘object’, and if you want to interact with a ‘second object’ it costs an ‘Action’ to do it. The need to create a technical term changing a verb into a noun is still clear enough, but this is when the rules as written start drifting into homebrew.
    Not so! A big design goal of 5th Edition was to use less mechanical jargon and more natural language, but this is Wizards of the Coast we’re talking about. They invented the rules lawyer. They don’t do natural language, they just obfuscate the mechanical jargon. ‘Interact With an Object’ is another type of resource, which you can expend to interact with an object, in much the same way that you have one ‘Action’ you can spend to perform an action, and 30 ‘Feet’ of ‘Movement’ you can spend to move one foot each. You can only spend your ‘Interact With an Object’ to interact with an object immediately before or after performing an action or expending 1 or more ‘Feet’ of ‘Movement’. You can also spend an ‘Action’ instead of an ‘Interact With an Object’ to interact with an object, allowing you to interact with a maximum of up to two objects on your turn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    (?). ‘You can communicate’ ‘as you take your turn’. Only once? Several times?
    Since communicating doesn’t have an associated resource cost, we can conclude that you can communicate as much as you want on your turn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    Wait. Players are forbidden to communicate when not their turn? Is that what the rules as written are saying?
    By a strict interpretation of the rules, yes. I don’t think I’ve ever met a DM who has held their players to this particular rule though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    As far as I can tell, there is no type of action called a ‘Free Action’: such as dropping a weapon during your turn, or shouting out a warning to your ally during your allys turn.
    That is correct. Under a strict interpretation of the rules, dropping a weapon is interacting with an object, and should therefore cost an ‘Interact With an Object’ or an ‘Action’, but again, I’ve never met a DM who held their players to that. Most waive the resource cost for interactions with objects that require negligible effort, such as dropping an object, and nobody really cares about limiting talking on or between turns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yaarel View Post
    I get it, as DM I can adjudicate anything. But sometimes, when describing a feature or creating a new feature, it is necessary to refer to technical language in order to clarify intent.

    Did the vague wording on when to ‘communicate’ intend to mean, no communication when not ones turn? So that if one player asks a question during combat, it is forbidden for the other player to answer until the next turn, maybe during the next round. Really, that was the intention?

    Im probably going to write down the word ‘Freely’ or ‘Free Action’ in the sense of, you can do it anytime, during your turn or not, whether there is a trigger or not. Heh, I assume this homebrew houserule is clear enough?
    Again, I’m pretty sure Wizards of the “we make Magic the Gathering” Coast doesn’t know how to do plain language in games, but there was so much backlash over how (if you’ll pardon the term,) “gamey” the language of 4e got, so they just made 5e’s jargon deliberately obtuse in hopes of hiding the fact that it’s still a ‘Game’ with ‘Mechanics’. That’s also why we have ‘Bonus Actions’ and ‘Movement’ instead of ‘Minor Actions’ and ‘Move Actions’, because they were so committed to pretending there’s no action economy, only one kind of action that you can use one of once on your turn. Credit where it’s due though, some pretty clever design did come out of that constraint, like Movement as a resource and the Ready Action.
    Last edited by Charlaquin; Thursday, 7th December, 2017 at 08:55 AM.
    XP Coroc, Sorcerers Apprentice, Yaarel gave XP for this post

  5. #5
    Member
    Hydra (Lvl 25)

    Hussar's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Fukuoka, Japan
    Posts
    20,398
    Reviews
    Read 1 Reviews

    ø Block Hussar


    ø Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlaquin View Post
    /snip

    Again, I’m pretty sure Wizards of the “we make Magic the Gathering” Coast doesn’t know how to do plain language in games, but there was so much backlash over how (if you’ll pardon the term,) “gamey” the language of 4e got, so they just made 5e’s jargon deliberately obtuse in hopes of hiding the fact that it’s still a ‘Game’ with ‘Mechanics’. That’s also why we have ‘Bonus Actions’ and ‘Movement’ instead of ‘Minor Actions’ and ‘Move Actions’, because they were so committed to pretending there’s no action economy, only one kind of action that use one of once on your turn. Credit where it’s due though, some pretty clever design did come out of that constraint, like Movement as a resource and the Ready Action.
    Pretty much this. Despite the fact that the 5e mechanics are actually pretty close to 4e (and, frankly, 4e really wasn't as far from 3e as people like to pretend), they had to bury this so deeply to avoid the endless kvetching and bitching. It's actually really, really amusing to me to watch people try to say how much they hated 4e while loving 5e at the same time. Completely blows my mind how important "voice" is when writing the books.
    XP Charlaquin, DEFCON 1, Gadget gave XP for this post

  6. #6
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    988
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    ø Block Horwath


    ø Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Pretty much this. Despite the fact that the 5e mechanics are actually pretty close to 4e (and, frankly, 4e really wasn't as far from 3e as people like to pretend), they had to bury this so deeply to avoid the endless kvetching and bitching. It's actually really, really amusing to me to watch people try to say how much they hated 4e while loving 5e at the same time. Completely blows my mind how important "voice" is when writing the books.
    People hated 4E because every class was the same, more or less.

    Every class got same number of spells(powers/attacks), of the same type at the same level.
    They were just named differently.

    also the +1/2 per level on everything. It was a number treadmill.

    But, if you removed +1/2 per level it was a good game.

    Little bloated with HPs, but better than default.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Horwath View Post
    People hated 4E because every class was the same, more or less.

    Every class got same number of spells(powers/attacks), of the same type at the same level.
    They were just named differently.

    also the +1/2 per level on everything. It was a number treadmill.

    But, if you removed +1/2 per level it was a good game.

    Little bloated with HPs, but better than default.
    There were a lot of things people hated about 4e, many of them poorly founded, but can we not get into it here?

  8. #8
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Arborea
    Posts
    12,414
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews
    Forgotten RealmsPlanescapeRokuganD&D

    ø Block Li Shenron


    ø Friend+
    Personally I think it helps me to keep in mind the simultaneous nature of everything you do on your turn.

    On my turn, I think my PC is taking her action at the same time she's moving, and a bonus action is also taken together with both, and with talking or doing other minor things. If you don't play in ToTM mode, it may become necessary to specify the order of them, but it's more like an artifact to help the description and the adjudicating.

    The game needed "bonus actions" to be defined rather because of the "not more than 1 at a time" rule, than because of a true need for an addition to the action economy. I agree with Mearls that they aren't strictly needed, but I don't think he could easily pull off the design of a whole game with lots of abilities meant to be usable on top of your main action, without the design trick which is a bonus action. The verbosity of the game would probably get out of hands.

    Reactions are also there for specific gaming reasons: they definitely wanted opportunity attacks, readying, and counterspell being in the game, as well as a few specific spells (Feather Fall being the one most needing a special rule). So the designers were looking for a unified rule to cover different things for simplicity.

    The "free" object interaction rule is perhaps the most fuzzy. In some parts of the text it even sounds like you should already count attacking with a weapon as interacting with it, while in general it seems the RAI was to allow you to interact with another object beyond the weapon used to attack. But then, is an arrow a separate object from a bow or not? I don't think the game says you to treat them as a single object, but it does explicitly allow you to draw ammunitions as part of attacking, thus removing the practical issue. But perhaps technically this doesn't remove the fact that you are in fact interacting with many objects at once, so you may not necessarily be allowed to interact with yet one more object.

    In addition, the object interaction rule seems concerned with the number of objects rather than with the number of interactions. You are free to draw and sheath and and draw the same weapon as many times you want, and maybe end up handing it to another character too, but you are forbidden to switch between weapons.

    A practical example:

    XP briggart, Yaarel gave XP for this post

  9. #9
    The intention of the vague rules is that the DM decides what to do based on what's most fun for your group.

    If talking during combat improves the group's experience, allow it. If you feel like the urgency is lost in combat because your players discuss for 5 minutes about their strategy every single round? Stop them.

  10. #10
    Member
    Hydra (Lvl 25)

    Hussar's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Fukuoka, Japan
    Posts
    20,398
    Reviews
    Read 1 Reviews

    ø Block Hussar


    ø Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Horwath View Post
    People hated 4E because every class was the same, more or less.

    Every class got same number of spells(powers/attacks), of the same type at the same level.
    They were just named differently.

    also the +1/2 per level on everything. It was a number treadmill.

    But, if you removed +1/2 per level it was a good game.

    Little bloated with HPs, but better than default.
    See this? This right here? This is what I'm talking about. Guess what, remove the 1/2 per level and you get 5e. Instead of a treadmill, you get flat math where you start on the treadmill at 1st level and never get off. Your odds of success barely change from 1st to 20th level. Which, in play, is pretty much exactly the way 4e worked. But, because they phrase it differently, people think it's a big change.

    Every class was the same. Unlike now where 33 out of the 36 classes cast spells. Yeah, that's a HUGE difference.
    XP Jacob Lewis gave XP for this post
    Laugh DEFCON 1, KahlessNestor, Satyrn laughed with this post

+ Log in or register to post
Page 1 of 9 123456789 LastLast

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Similar Threads

  1. Too many action types in action economy
    By Ferghis in forum Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: Tuesday, 15th November, 2011, 01:32 PM
  2. Action Types and Swift Actions
    By Ogrork the Mighty in forum Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Monday, 6th August, 2007, 02:39 PM
  3. Full Round Action for Low Level Fighter Types
    By Romotre in forum Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Wednesday, 3rd July, 2002, 03:59 PM
  4. Streamlining Action Types
    By dcollins in forum Pathfinder, Starfinder, Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, OSR
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Tuesday, 4th June, 2002, 10:27 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •