5E Absorb Elements, Shield Master, and Reactions for Saves

Pickaxe

Explorer
Let’s say an eldritch knight is hit with a fireball. The character has the Shield Master feat and the Absorb Elements spell. The feat allows them to take no damage if they save, while the spell gives them resistance to the damage. Both features require a reaction. Does the EK have to choose which option to use before making the save, or can they use their reaction after rolling the save, in which case they would use the feat if they save and the spell if they don’t?

As a more general question, if you are reacting to something that requires a save, do you use your reaction prior to or after the roll?

Axe
 

mortwatcher

Explorer
I would probably guide this the same as rogues uncanny dodge and let them make an informed decision afterwards and narrate to taste
 
It depends on the exact text of the ability that is triggering the reaction. So, for Absorb Elements it triggers "when you take damage". That would be AFTER you make your saving throw. Shield master triggers when you "succeed on your saving throw".

So, the most likely sequence of events would be

1) Make save.
2) If save is successful, use Shield Master. You take no damage.
3) If Save fails cast Absorb Elements. Take half damage.
 

neogod22

Explorer
Let’s say an eldritch knight is hit with a fireball. The character has the Shield Master feat and the Absorb Elements spell. The feat allows them to take no damage if they save, while the spell gives them resistance to the damage. Both features require a reaction. Does the EK have to choose which option to use before making the save, or can they use their reaction after rolling the save, in which case they would use the feat if they save and the spell if they don’t?

As a more general question, if you are reacting to something that requires a save, do you use your reaction prior to or after the roll?

Axe
Yes, that's the point of reactions and bonus actions, you only get one, so you have to select the best one for your situation.
 

neogod22

Explorer
It depends on the exact text of the ability that is triggering the reaction. So, for Absorb Elements it triggers "when you take damage". That would be AFTER you make your saving throw. Shield master triggers when you "succeed on your saving throw".

So, the most likely sequence of events would be

1) Make save.
2) If save is successful, use Shield Master. You take no damage.
3) If Save fails cast Absorb Elements. Take half damage.
This is wrong, you habe to make the decision to cast the spell before the save. This is a reaction. You have to choose one or the other. If it were an ongoing effect like fire shield, sure you can use shield master, and of thst fails you still have resistance. With 2 different reactions, it's one or the other, not both.
 
This is wrong, you habe to make the decision to cast the spell before the save.
No you don't. The spell text says "when you take damage". Depending on the spell and your other abilities, you may take no damage if you save, which would mean you cannot cast the spell.

This is a reaction. You have to choose one or the other.
No. The text for Shield Master say it triggers if your saving throw succeeds. If you fail your save you CANNOT use Shield Master.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
This is wrong, you habe to make the decision to cast the spell before the save. This is a reaction. You have to choose one or the other. If it were an ongoing effect like fire shield, sure you can use shield master, and of thst fails you still have resistance. With 2 different reactions, it's one or the other, not both.
You're misunderstanding. They aren't saying to use two separate reactions, they are saying to decide between the two reactions which have different timing in their triggers, and that the decision to use Shield Master comes before the decision to use Absorb Elements.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
@Paul Farquhar has the right of it here.

If Shield Master's trigger language was "when you take damage" (for some reason) then you'd have to choose which to use right after failing your save.

Absorb Element's trigger language is that way because there are many spells that deal energy damage that doesn't require a save, so a save isn't a good trigger for that reaction.

That portion of Shield Master ONLY helps on the assumption that you've made your saving throw and would normally take half on a successful save, but now you're hunkered behind your shield instead.

They make sense and they are different points in the decision tree after a saving throw that deals elemental damage even on a successful save is made by a PC.
 

neogod22

Explorer
You're misunderstanding. They aren't saying to use two separate reactions, they are saying to decide between the two reactions which have different timing in their triggers, and that the decision to use Shield Master comes before the decision to use Absorb Elements.
Im not misunderstanding anything. You are trying to use wording to cheat. The action economy is a reaction, you have to choose the reaction before you roll the dice. I don't care what the flavor text says, because that's all it is. The action economy says one reaction per round. If you are DMing, and you want you players to abuse this, fine run your games as you see fit. But otherwise, you can't do both, you have to choose before the dice roll.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Im not misunderstanding anything. You are trying to use wording to cheat. The action economy is a reaction, you have to choose the reaction before you roll the dice. I don't care what the flavor text says, because that's all it is. The action economy says one reaction per round. If you are DMing, and you want you players to abuse this, fine run your games as you see fit. But otherwise, you can't do both, you have to choose before the dice roll.
From the PHB
Reactions said:
Certain special abilities, spells, and situations allow you to take a special action called a reaction. A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn ar on someone else's
You chose your reaction at the triggering condition time. Not before. Choosing Absorb elements or Shield Master before you roll a save is incorrect because rolling a save is NOT the trigger condition noted in the spell or feat.

Shield Master and Absorb elements both have different trigger conditions that happen to allow for a decision tree for a PC that has both. It’s not cheating, it’s RAW.
 
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5ekyu

Adventurer
Im not misunderstanding anything. You are trying to use wording to cheat. The action economy is a reaction, you have to choose the reaction before you roll the dice. I don't care what the flavor text says, because that's all it is. The action economy says one reaction per round. If you are DMing, and you want you players to abuse this, fine run your games as you see fit. But otherwise, you can't do both, you have to choose before the dice roll.
Nobody said you can do both. This has not bedn about "can I do two reactions" but about "when do I have to choose" between the two options. Its not cheating
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
You get to choose after the Saving Throw. Technically Shield Master comes first but they both happen after the Saving Throw has occurred so it doesn't matter.

Im not misunderstanding anything. You are trying to use wording to cheat. The action economy is a reaction, you have to choose the reaction before you roll the dice. I don't care what the flavor text says, because that's all it is. The action economy says one reaction per round. If you are DMing, and you want you players to abuse this, fine run your games as you see fit. But otherwise, you can't do both, you have to choose before the dice roll.
There is no such thing as 'flavour text' separate from the rules. They're all rules.
 

neogod22

Explorer
You get to choose after the Saving Throw. Technically Shield Master comes first but they both happen after the Saving Throw has occurred so it doesn't matter.



There is no such thing as 'flavour text' separate from the rules. They're all rules.
You allowed to choose whatever you want to do until you roll dice. Once you decide to roll dice you're committed. If the shield master ability didn't have an action economy, sure you could do both but since it does, you have to choose.

If you need an explanation on why, a round takes six seconds. In those six seconds, you move, take your bonus action to shield bash if you're a shield master, use you action to take multiple attacks, and use a reaction. You don't get to use infinite bonus actions and reactions just because you have more than one option. It's in the rules under reactions.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
You allowed to choose whatever you want to do until you roll dice. Once you decide to roll dice you're committed. If the shield master ability didn't have an action economy, sure you could do both but since it does, you have to choose.

If you need an explanation on why, a round takes six seconds. In those six seconds, you move, take your bonus action to shield bash if you're a shield master, use you action to take multiple attacks, and use a reaction. You don't get to use infinite bonus actions and reactions just because you have more than one option. It's in the rules under reactions.
Again, you're misunderstanding the question in the OP.
 

neogod22

Explorer
If you took 18 lvls of fighter amd 2 levels of paladin, you habe the ability to use 7 smites in a round, possibly 8 or 9 because smite has no action economy, and neither does action surge, but everything with an action economy. There's nowhere in the rules that says you can take 2 reactions in a round. You choose your reaction, and you take the results.
 

neogod22

Explorer
Address the logic of the post, not the person of the poster.
Again, you're misunderstanding the question in the OP.
Wrong, you either haven't read the Player's Handbook, and don't know the rules of combat, or you're purposely trying to misinform people to cheat.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
If you took 18 lvls of fighter amd 2 levels of paladin, you habe the ability to use 7 smites in a round, possibly 8 or 9 because smite has no action economy, and neither does action surge, but everything with an action economy. There's nowhere in the rules that says you can take 2 reactions in a round. You choose your reaction, and you take the results.
No one is saying take 2 reactions.

Reactions have trigger conditions. You don't have to choose whether to take a reaction until that trigger condition occurs.

Rolling a d20 is not a trigger condition for either Absorb Elements or Shield Master's ability. Therefore you don't have to choose to use either until after the d20 is rolled AND you know the result. You can't choose to use Shield Master until you know that you've saved.
Shield Master said:
you can use your reaction to take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw,
So you need to know if you've succeeded before you decide on shield master, otherwise there is 0 point.

Absorb Elements similarly says "when you take damage" as it's trigger condition. So you don't have to decide on it until you've taken damage.

If you roll and fail, you can't use shield master, but you can use Absorb Elements. If you succeed, then you could decide to use shield master OR absorb elements OR neither. PC's choice.

The language on this isn't that complicated.

Wrong, you either haven't read the Player's Handbook, and don't know the rules of combat, or you're purposely trying to misinform people to cheat.
Your replies in here are incredibly strong. No one is purposely trying to get people to cheat.

You are seeming to be misreading or misunderstanding how reactions work.
 

Pickaxe

Explorer
To clarify, I do understand that you only get one reaction per round. In fact, that was what prompted my question regarding two features that both use reactions triggered by similar events. The responses spelling out the trigger condition language make a compelling argument that the feat and the spell have independent triggers that don’t precede a saving throw roll. Thanks for the help with this!
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
Wrong, you either haven't read the Player's Handbook, and don't know the rules of combat, or you're purposely trying to misinform people to cheat.
You should probably read it a few more times. Both of these are definitely reactions where the decision to use them comes after the dice are rolled. Read the triggers again for the feat and spell. Those triggers make no sense if you have to choose them before the dice roll.

They are reactions because you are reacting to the specific trigger. In both of these features cases, the triggers are not the saving throw itself but something you would only have the knowledge to act on after the result of the saving thrown is known.
 

neogod22

Explorer
You should probably read it a few more times. Both of these are definitely reactions where the decision to use them comes after the dice are rolled. Read the triggers again for the feat and spell. Those triggers make no sense if you have to choose them before the dice roll.

They are reactions because you are reacting to the specific trigger. In both of these features cases, the triggers are not the saving throw itself but something you would only have the knowledge to act on after the result of the saving thrown is known.
So if a bonus action like shield bash says "you can do it as a bonus action when you make a melee attack" and you use the bonus action before you make the melee attack, by your logic, does this mean you still have the opportunity to cast a spell instead based off the result if the shield bash?
 

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