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5E 5E and delaying your turn.

Tallifer

Hero
As I understand it, you cannot delay your turn in the initiative order in 5E (unlike in 4E). Instead you can only ready one action (which means you lose the other actions; and if the trigger does not occur, you also lose the readied action).

Is my understanding correct?

And if so, why did 5E get rid of delaying your turn in the initiative order?
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
That sounds right. I'm not sure why it got axed, but I pit it back into my game right quick.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
You can still move and take a bonus action, if it's not reliant on you taking a specific action (e.g. Attack action), before taking the Ready action. But otherwise, you are correct. Be sure to check out what it means to Ready to Cast a Spell as well (PHB, p. 193).

I feel like I used to know the reason why you can't delay in this edition, but I've forgotten. I haven't missed it.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Like @iserith said, you can still move and take a bonus action on your turn when taking the Ready action (and using your reaction if the trigger specified during the ready action happens).

And do be very careful with spells, because they are actually cast on your turn, even when you use the Ready action. Instead of being "released" on your turn, you are holding them to release to the triggering event. And yes, if the triggering event never happens, the spell (and corresponding spell slot) are both "lost."

FWIW, we also house-rule you can move as part of the readied action (like if you want to move and attack a target for a ready action) if you want to.

As I understand it, they found too many instances of people delaying their turns and slowing the game down, but I could be wrong.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yep, same things as others have said. I don't think it breaks anything if you allow delays as long as you have a good way of tracking initiative. I use laminated index cards (I write notes on them) myself.

The other thing I've seen DMs differ on in addition to being able to move/bonus action on your turn is whether you still get a regular attack action.

I rule that you do, but the wording in the PHB is: "you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn."

I rule that the fighter gets all their attacks and can even action surge. It almost never comes up though.
 

Mistwell

Legend
I do find it annoying there is no form of delay.

My rogue has a familiar. For expediency we ruled familiars always go directly after their owner.

It would be perfect if I could delay until my familiar flies in with the help action, and then I could move, attack with advantage and get sneak attack, and then use my bonus action to disengage, and move back out.

But without delay, I cannot do that. I can move in and ready an action to attack once my familiar moves in and provides the help action, but I cannot then use my bonus action to disengage and finish my move back out.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
I do find it annoying there is no form of delay.

My rogue has a familiar. For expediency we ruled familiars always go directly after their owner.

It would be perfect if I could delay until my familiar flies in with the help action, and then I could move, attack with advantage and get sneak attack, and then use my bonus action to disengage, and move back out.

But without delay, I cannot do that. I can move in and ready an action to attack once my familiar moves in and provides the help action, but I cannot then use my bonus action to disengage and finish my move back out.
Since this is the result of a house rule, you could easily just change it so that familiars go either immediately before or after their owner. It's basically just as expedient.
 

BookTenTiger

Adventurer
Yes, I believe the intention was to speed up combat. When Delay is a choice, it vastly increases the decisions you make because you are balancing what you could do now versus what you could do in the future. Without delay, you are stuck in the present.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
My rogue has a familiar. For expediency we ruled familiars always go directly after their owner.

It would be perfect if I could delay until my familiar flies in with the help action, and then I could move, attack with advantage and get sneak attack, and then use my bonus action to disengage, and move back out.
Is it possible that the house rule was set up the way it was deliberately to prevent you from doing that? If so ... sounds like your group needs to have a talk.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Delay makes "until the start/end of your next turn" not work.

Either the end/start if your next turn follows the delay or not.

If end follows, you can use delay to extend buffs, including "radiating" ones, longer than anticipated.

If end does not follow, you can use delay to dodge 1 turn debuffs.

You could patch this with yet more rules and wording.

If you want an (almost) expoit free verson:

Reorder action. You pick a creature. If they also do the reorder action picking you, you and the creature swap locations in the initiative order next round.

This is costly, and I could probably still exploit it.

"Going right after" is a powerful gamist feature of combat. Not being able to control it means it doesn't have as lasting a strategic value. Delay reitroduces it.

Combat is chaotic; sometimes coordination is eady, sometimes not.

Thr familiar is an example; being able to go right after it is strong. Without that, you have to pick the target, and hope they are still good an average of a half round away.

Because the familiar in your houserule goes after you, you can either help other players, or have to wait till next round to use the free advantage. Or move up and ready an action to attack and not get to disengage.

Imperfect coordination.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
As I understand it, you cannot delay your turn in the initiative order in 5E (unlike in 4E). Instead you can only ready one action (which means you lose the other actions; and if the trigger does not occur, you also lose the readied action).

Is my understanding correct?

And if so, why did 5E get rid of delaying your turn in the initiative order?
As others said, Ready is itself an action, so you can also move and take a bonus action before readying. But you can't by the rules delay your entire turn.

On one hand, adding a Delay option like in 3ed can be a good thing to help players who get stuck not knowing what to do or wanting to see first what the monsters do. It could be as simple as saying you voluntarily decrease your initiative for the rest of the encounter.

The downside is maybe that messing up the initiative order can complicate how the combat is run. Having spells which say "a creature which starts its turn in the area" or "until the end of your turn" would probably require some house rules to switch from the perspective of people's turn to that of effects turns, meaning e.g. to keep track of the initiative number at which spells have been cast.

Not a big deal if it happens occasionally but probably the designers wanted to avoid complicating the combat rules for an option which might not be used by all groups (because you can be sure the most tactically inclined groups would use delays regularly enough to need foolproof rules). I think Ready is complicated enough, and that doesn't even change anybody's initiative.
 

toucanbuzz

Adventurer
Here's the original 2015 Sage Advice article explaining why Delay was taken out. In summary:

  • Slows down play because now you're considering whether you want to take your turn at all
  • Undermines concept of initiative as everyone can change their order at will, extra DM work
  • Shenanigans from 4E where players could change the length of spells, bypass being stunned by "waiting" and so on, which would force the game to add a new set of rules/errata for how spells are affected if turns are delayed
 

aco175

Hero
I should read these rules more. We always just played it like 4e, but it only come up every 10-12 fights so it is not a big deal at my game.
 

Here's the original 2015 Sage Advice article explaining why Delay was taken out. In summary:

  • Slows down play because now you're considering whether you want to take your turn at all
  • Undermines concept of initiative as everyone can change their order at will, extra DM work
  • Shenanigans from 4E where players could change the length of spells, bypass being stunned by "waiting" and so on, which would force the game to add a new set of rules/errata for how spells are affected if turns are delayed
The first two are silly, IMO. The third one is an issue I'm working on explaining in my ridiculously long "alternate initiative systems" document I hope to publish someday.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
No, speed of play is important, and extra decision points slow down play.

What is the benefit of that extra decision point ("should I take my turn") to the value of play? I'd argue it has low benefit; not "benefit to the character doing it" but "benefit to combat being fun".

The cost is real.

And the bigger the benefit to the player making that decision, the higher the cost, because you have to consider it more.

When making a game, you have a "decision budget" in a sense. If you have too many important decisions for a player to make on their turn, the turn takes too long.

Stripping out decisions that are fun-inefficient is a good move. Wasting decision-budget on that, instead of (I dunno) a more complex movement or attack system, is a bad game design decision.

If you have a ridiculously long "alternative initiative system", the question is how much fun does all of those rules add to the game? I really, really get the fun of writing simulation rules and complex rules, but having piles of rules cruft in actual play is a bad thing.

Would you rather have players deciding "do I take my turn now or later", or have more interesting decision to make about what they do do, right then? Because we can enrich the "in turn" decision making instead of the "do I take my turn" decision making.

Heck, move to simultaneous per-round initiative with declaration starting with the person or creature who rolled last (and possibly evaluated backwards). That adds piles of fun complexity and decisions making to the game in a way that is way more fun-efficient than "delayed action" does.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Is it possible that the house rule was set up the way it was deliberately to prevent you from doing that? If so ... sounds like your group needs to have a talk.
No it was set up without regard for which PCs would be playing. The idea was, "It speeds things up to have the familiar go at the same time as the PC, and it would be a buff to some to have it go before the PC every time, so let's just have it go after."
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Here's the original 2015 Sage Advice article explaining why Delay was taken out. In summary:

  • Slows down play because now you're considering whether you want to take your turn at all
  • Undermines concept of initiative as everyone can change their order at will, extra DM work
  • Shenanigans from 4E where players could change the length of spells, bypass being stunned by "waiting" and so on, which would force the game to add a new set of rules/errata for how spells are affected if turns are delayed
For that last bullet point, we always just ruled that effects ended when the turn would have happened without the delay. The beginning and end of turn happened the moment the player delayed their turn.

But for certain people, delay did add to analysis paralysis and I don't really miss it.
 

No, speed of play is important, and extra decision points slow down play.

What is the benefit of that extra decision point ("should I take my turn") to the value of play? I'd argue it has low benefit; not "benefit to the character doing it" but "benefit to combat being fun".

The cost is real.

And the bigger the benefit to the player making that decision, the higher the cost, because you have to consider it more.

When making a game, you have a "decision budget" in a sense. If you have too many important decisions for a player to make on their turn, the turn takes too long.

Stripping out decisions that are fun-inefficient is a good move. Wasting decision-budget on that, instead of (I dunno) a more complex movement or attack system, is a bad game design decision.

If you have a ridiculously long "alternative initiative system", the question is how much fun does all of those rules add to the game? I really, really get the fun of writing simulation rules and complex rules, but having piles of rules cruft in actual play is a bad thing.

Would you rather have players deciding "do I take my turn now or later", or have more interesting decision to make about what they do do, right then? Because we can enrich the "in turn" decision making instead of the "do I take my turn" decision making.

Heck, move to simultaneous per-round initiative with declaration starting with the person or creature who rolled last (and possibly evaluated backwards). That adds piles of fun complexity and decisions making to the game in a way that is way more fun-efficient than "delayed action" does.
I want my players to have the choice.......and in my experience is the same amount of time......and I'm all for a system where the worst roll declares, and players (or opponents) can interrupt. It's a great system. But then, that adds decisions also.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
No it was set up without regard for which PCs would be playing. The idea was, "It speeds things up to have the familiar go at the same time as the PC, and it would be a buff to some to have it go before the PC every time, so let's just have it go after."
That sounds like it was "deliberately set up to avoid you doing that".

Not specifically you, but your strategy.
 

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