How many attacks does it take to take the Attack action?
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  1. #1
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    How many attacks does it take to take the Attack action?

    I know, this is a tired topic, but I'm genuinely curious what people think.
    The "Sage Advice" has told us that in order to fulfil "when you take the Attack action" you have to have finished taking the Attack action (a paradox in and of itself), but what do you guys think?

    Do you have to make all your attacks before you're considered to have taken your action? If so, how do you respond to players deciding to take an action after they've attacked, but before they've made all their attacks?

    Do you rule it to require you have completed at least one attack?
    Do you rule it to require you have started at least one attack?
    Do you rule it to merely require they declare they're using their attack action?
    Are there any others I have missed?

  2. #2
    Just for the record, I do consider the Sage Advice ruling to be utterly stupid.

    I've always thought, and personally still do, believe that Shield Master should be able to be used before you make any of your attacks, but when you lead off with it, you're essentially committed to using your action for the Attack action.

    Even if you don't subscribe to that, I don't see how anyone can't at least allow that you've committed to an Attack action when you've made the first attack of it. (And would thus be allowed to use Shield Master after the action's first attack.)
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
    I know, this is a tired topic, but I'm genuinely curious what people think.
    The "Sage Advice" has told us that in order to fulfil "when you take the Attack action" you have to have finished taking the Attack action (a paradox in and of itself), but what do you guys think?

    Do you have to make all your attacks before you're considered to have taken your action? If so, how do you respond to players deciding to take an action after they've attacked, but before they've made all their attacks?

    Do you rule it to require you have completed at least one attack?
    Do you rule it to require you have started at least one attack?
    Do you rule it to merely require they declare they're using their attack action?
    Are there any others I have missed?
    By rule I believe you must take all the attacks to take the attack action. However I believe bonus actions that dont require the attack action can be used any time on your turn, even between attack action attacks.
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  4. #4
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    Part of the absurdity for me is that the "official ruling" treats the present tense as the past tense.
    I mean, if "when you take the Attack action" means you have to have finished taking it, how does this work:
    "When you make an attack with a weapon, you roll
    a d20 and add your proficiency bonus (but only if you
    are proficient with the weapon) and the appropriate
    ability modifier."
    - Basic Rules, p11
    By the same logic, once you've finished making your attack with the weapon, you then... roll to decide whether the attack even hit?

    Or hell, Precision Attack:
    "When you make a weapon attack roll against a creature, you can expend one superiority die to add it to the roll. You can use this maneuver before or after making the attack roll, but before any effects of the attack are applied."
    So you can use the maneuver before or after making the attack roll, but only once you've finished making the attack roll?

    GAAAAAAH! /rant
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  5. #5
    Yeah. The worst part of Sage Advice's ruling is that it made "when" a synonym for "after," when it most certainly is not that in the English language.
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  6. #6
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    The only part of the current ruling I find absurd is requiring no bonus action interrupt the attack action.

    I think the orevious ruling was absurd when they allowed a bonus action to be taken before you even met the requirements of the ability that was going to grant the bonus action.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
    Part of the absurdity for me is that the "official ruling" treats the present tense as the past tense.
    I mean, if "when you take the Attack action" means you have to have finished taking it, how does this work:
    "When you make an attack with a weapon, you roll
    a d20 and add your proficiency bonus (but only if you
    are proficient with the weapon) and the appropriate
    ability modifier."
    - Basic Rules, p11
    By the same logic, once you've finished making your attack with the weapon, you then... roll to decide whether the attack even hit?

    Or hell, Precision Attack:
    "When you make a weapon attack roll against a creature, you can expend one superiority die to add it to the roll. You can use this maneuver before or after making the attack roll, but before any effects of the attack are applied."
    So you can use the maneuver before or after making the attack roll, but only once you've finished making the attack roll?

    GAAAAAAH! /rant
    Agreed, not to mention that you can technically move before and prior the attack action.

    I honestly don't consider this Sage Advice as RAW, because it's not. Then again I DM mostly, so I can do that.
    Last edited by 200orcs; Saturday, 26th January, 2019 at 04:55 PM.
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  8. #8
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    I have performed an extensive experiment, and I have determined it takes three attacks.


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  9. #9
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    In defense of the official ruling, discrete game actions need to be resolved sequentially, so there really is no way to do one thing when you do another. One thing must be done either before or after another. That is why I, personally, wouldnt allow a Shield Master to shield bash before making at least one attack. However, I certainly wouldnt require them to resolve all of their Attacks before they can shield bash. If you can break up your attacks with movement, you should be able to break them up with shield bash as well.
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    Jeremy Crawford should never have forsaken the RAI.
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