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

Mistwell

Legend
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.
Come on man, nobody is "cheating" because they disagree with your view. They're using the text as written. They happen to be correct, but even if you disagree they're not cheating because they disagree with your view. Nobody is trying to use two reactions.

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
NOBODY IS TRYING TO DO BOTH. You're not understanding what they're saying. Read what they're saying once again. You're genuinely not understanding. Digging in will make it worse - just think it through. And yes, your last response tells everyone here you're not following the conversation. You think they're trying to do something they are definitely not trying to do.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
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.
Mod Note:

Argument of the form "you are either ignorant or lying to disagree with me" is not actually an argument of logic - it is just flat insulting name-calling. How about you give a logical argument why they are wrong, instead of making this about who can bluster most?
 

neogod22

Explorer
Come on man, nobody is "cheating" because they disagree with your view. They're using the text as written. They happen to be correct, but even if you disagree they're not cheating because they disagree with your view. Nobody is trying to use two reactions.



NOBODY IS TRYING TO DO BOTH. You're not understanding what they're saying. Read what they're saying once again. You're genuinely not understanding. Digging in will make it worse - just think it through. And yes, your last response tells everyone here you're not following the conversation. You think they're trying to do something they are definitely not trying to do.
You are trying to do both, because you're trying to use the result of the saving throw to determine which one you're going to use. Your argument is (a) triggers before damage, and (b) triggers after damage. What you're saying is "if I make my save then I'm going to use (a), if I fail I'll use (b)." That's exactly using both reactions which is not allowed. If absorb elements was in the Player's Handbook, they probably would've changed the trigger so this eploit wouldn't even exist. This is almost as stupid of an exploit as someone attempting to counter a counter-spell. If you really don't think it's cheating, ask the question in Sage Advise, try it in League Play, and ask your DM to use those expoits against the PCs.
 

Mistwell

Legend
You are trying to do both, because you're trying to use the result of the saving throw to determine which one you're going to use
Both REQUIRE a result from a saving throw before you're allowed to choose to use them. One says, " if you succeed on the saving throw" so you MUST have already made the save to use it. The other says when you take that kind of "damage" which MUST come only after a saving throw and not before. Neither may be used before making the saving throw. You have to use both after you've rolled the save. To argue you must use either before making a save would be to not be following the rules on either one.

Your argument is (a) triggers before damage, and (b) triggers after damage
Neither is triggers before damage. Both must trigger after trying to save.

What you're saying is "if I make my save then I'm going to use (a), if I fail I'll use (b)." That's exactly using both reactions which is not allowed.
No you're confusing a PLAYERS decision-making with a PC action. The decision is not the reaction. You only get one reaction - it's either one or the other but not both. The decision is just a playing thinking about it and not a rule at all.

If absorb elements was in the Player's Handbook, they probably would've changed the trigger so this eploit wouldn't even exist.
It's not an exploit. It's working as intended. You're spending precious resources to put yourself in that position. Those are the intended costs the designers put in the game. If you choose to invest in both that's perfectly fine because it means you lose the opportunity to choose a different feat and spell. You're calling it an exploit because apparently you don't like it for some reason - I am not even sure why as it's not overpowered at all.

This is almost as stupid of an exploit as someone attempting to counter a counter-spell. If you really don't think it's cheating, ask the question in Sage Advise, try it in League Play, and ask your DM to use those expoits against the PCs.
Literally everyone in this thread disagrees with your view. You're the only outlier. So YOU ask Sage Advice - the rest of us are comfortable with how it works. And of course I'd be fine if a DM uses this combination against players. I wouldn't care for a moment. I don't know why you think it's so powerful.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
Shield Master: You can use your reaction to take no damage if you succeed on your Saving Throw.

Absorb Elements: 1 reaction which you take when you take ____ damage

In both cases the reaction is taken after the Saving Throw. In the first case it is taken if the Saving Throw was successful, in the second it is taken once damage is applied.

These are just like the spell Shield. You react after the triggering event. Then their effect can retroactively influence the event.
 
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?
Strawman. No one is talking about Bonus Actions. Bonus Actions use the rules for Bonus Actions, Reactions use the rules for Reactions.
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.
No, I suspect it is you who haven't read the Player's Handbook: "A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind" -PHB p190.

It might also be useful for you to look at the text under the Ready action (PHB p193): "When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger".
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
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.
Flat wrong. There's no verbiage in the rules as to what's allowable as an reaction trigger. It can be literally anything. It's perfectly allowable to use a reaction AFTER a triggering save, or a triggering damage event, if that's what the reaction trigger specifies. The player isn't using the reaction to MAKE the save, the save is being forced on him. So he's perfectly in his rights, indeed, he HAS to wait for the result of the save, and then choose a reaction that's predicated on the results. If the save is successful, then Shield Master can apply. Or, he could use Absorb Elements as a legal reaction, but it would be the inferior choice (from a damage mitigation standpoint). If the save is unsuccessful, he can then use Absorb Elements to halve the damage.

By your logic, you'd have to choose to cast hellish rebuke before seeing if the attack actually hit you.
 
but it would be the inferior choice
Possibly not.

If the EK was battling a trio of fireballing sorcerers, if he succeeds on his save vs the first fireball he could use Shield Master to take zero damage, but then would be unable to use absorb elements (doubly, since he has used his reaction and hasn't taken damage). This would leave him vulnerable to the second and third fireball. He might be better off choosing to forgo using Shield Master and letting some of the damage through. He could then use Absorb Elements (taking 1/4 damage). This would leave him fire resistant to the subsequent incoming fireballs.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
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?
No, and that's not at all similar to what we're talking about, either.

Focus on the triggers for each of these two reactions as that is extremely important here.

You can use one reaction a turn, and whether you use that reaction is determined whenever a trigger for a reaction you have available occurs. If you don't use it for one trigger, it can later be used for another trigger.

Consider this scenario: You have two hostile creatures adjacent to you. One of them moves away from you. This presents the trigger for an opportunity attack. If you choose not to take an opportunity attack against this creature, you still have your reaction available. Then the second creature moves away from you. This presents the trigger for an opportunity attack. Since you didn't use the reaction when the first creature moved away, the first time a trigger was presented, you can still use it now. You could still choose not to use your reaction now to have it available for another effect. If you do use it now, you can't use it on a later effect.

The scenario in OP is similar but a little different as there is a branching decision tree, rather than a linear decision tree.

You make a dexterity saving throw and the effect casing the saving throw deals elemental damage, there are two significant branches that are separate from each other: succeed or fail on the saving throw.
1. You succeed the dexterity saving throw.
a. This presents the trigger for the reaction of shield master's third benefit.
b. If you choose to use your reaction for shield master, you take no damage.
c. If you choose to not use your reaction for shield master, you still have your
reaction available.
i. Since you didn't use shield master, you take half damage from the effect.
ii. This presents the trigger to cast absorb elements.
iii. If you choose to use your reaction for absorb elements, you gain resistance to the
triggering damage.
iv. If you choose not to use your reaction for absorb elements, you still have your reaction available.
2. You fail the dexterity saving throw.
a. You take elemental damage.
b. This presents the trigger for casting absorb elements as a reaction.
c. If you choose to use your reaction for absorb elements, you gain resistance to the triggering damage.
d. If you choose not to use your reaction for absorb elements, you still have your reaction available.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Possibly not.

If the EK was battling a trio of fireballing sorcerers, if he succeeds on his save vs the first fireball he could use Shield Master to take zero damage, but then would be unable to use absorb elements (doubly, since he has used his reaction and hasn't taken damage). This would leave him vulnerable to the second and third fireball. He might be better off choosing to forgo using Shield Master and letting some of the damage through. He could then use Absorb Elements (taking 1/4 damage). This would leave him fire resistant to the subsequent incoming fireballs.
To clarify, it would be the inferior choice in the exact situation as was described (and again, only from a damage mitigation standpoint, there may be relevance to charging up the damage bonus for Absorb Elements). I certainly agree that other possible sources of fire damage in the rest of the round may make Absorb Elements a superior choice, depending on the amount of damage, chance of hit, etc. All the stuff you have to weigh to make good tactical decisions in 5e.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
This is almost as stupid of an exploit as someone attempting to counter a counter-spell. If you really don't think it's cheating, ask the question in Sage Advise, try it in League Play, and ask your DM to use those expoits against the PCs.
Countering a counterspell is also not an exploit. You're simply struggling to rectify your internal model of how spellcasting should work with how it actually works according to the rules.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I see all the arguing in this thread. Trying to bring a fresh description.

Shield master may trigger on succeeding on a saving throw vs. a DEX save to take half damage.
Absorb Elements may be cast when you take damage of the appropriate type.

So the order of actions is:

1. Spell is cast.
(Neither is valid to use at this point.)
2. Save is made.
2a. IF the save is successful and qualifies (DEX,etc.) and IF there is an available reaction (not used earlier), the player MAY use their reaction to trigger Shield Master.
3. Damage is taken.
3a. IF there is an available reaction, the player MAY cast Absorb Elements.

It seems clear. They have different times when you need to make the call, one of them has additional restrictions. And only one reaction can be done.

So assuming the reaction is available and the save made, the player must make the call to use Shield Master at that point. Deciding to cast Absorb Elements happens later, and again is only if you have a reaction available.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Countering a counterspell is also not an exploit.
How could it be an exploit? WotC owns D&D, of course, the rules for opposing reactions now line up with MtG "Instant" actions where the "card", in this case, the last counterspell on "top", i.e. last, resolves with priority, countering the counter of the other thing!

Luckily for us there is already a sage advice for this one, which @neogod22 has said is worthwhile since he requested all of us who have different opinions from him to ask for one on the OP question.

Sage Advice said:
SA Compendium 2019
Can you also cast a reaction spell on your turn?
You sure can! Here’s a common way for it to happen: Cornelius the wizard is casting fireball on his turn, and his foe casts counterspell on him. Cornelius has counterspell prepared, so he uses his reaction to cast it and break his foe’s counterspell before it can stop fireball.
See? Not an exploit. RAW working as written!
 

neogod22

Explorer
No, and that's not at all similar to what we're talking about, either.

Focus on the triggers for each of these two reactions as that is extremely important here.

You can use one reaction a turn, and whether you use that reaction is determined whenever a trigger for a reaction you have available occurs. If you don't use it for one trigger, it can later be used for another trigger.

Consider this scenario: You have two hostile creatures adjacent to you. One of them moves away from you. This presents the trigger for an opportunity attack. If you choose not to take an opportunity attack against this creature, you still have your reaction available. Then the second creature moves away from you. This presents the trigger for an opportunity attack. Since you didn't use the reaction when the first creature moved away, the first time a trigger was presented, you can still use it now. You could still choose not to use your reaction now to have it available for another effect. If you do use it now, you can't use it on a later effect.

The scenario in OP is similar but a little different as there is a branching decision tree, rather than a linear decision tree.

You make a dexterity saving throw and the effect casing the saving throw deals elemental damage, there are two significant branches that are separate from each other: succeed or fail on the saving throw.
1. You succeed the dexterity saving throw.
a. This presents the trigger for the reaction of shield master's third benefit.
b. If you choose to use your reaction for shield master, you take no damage.
c. If you choose to not use your reaction for shield master, you still have your
reaction available.
i. Since you didn't use shield master, you take half damage from the effect.
ii. This presents the trigger to cast absorb elements.
iii. If you choose to use your reaction for absorb elements, you gain resistance to the
triggering damage.
iv. If you choose not to use your reaction for absorb elements, you still have your reaction available.
2. You fail the dexterity saving throw.
a. You take elemental damage.
b. This presents the trigger for casting absorb elements as a reaction.
c. If you choose to use your reaction for absorb elements, you gain resistance to the triggering damage.
d. If you choose not to use your reaction for absorb elements, you still have your reaction available.
I get what you're saying, all I'm saying is you should declare your intent before you roll dice. The examples you stated, you have to declare intent before rolling. Nothing is automatic. If a DM gets ready to moce a creature away from you, they usually ask, "are you making an opportunity attack?" If you roll the dice and miss, you can't take it back. That's the something I'm saying about using Shield Master and Absorb Elements. I get on activates if you take damage, and the other activates if you make your save. I've even said, you're free to change your mind before you roll dice, but once you're about to roll, you need to declare intent. It's also like the Shield Spell. Which States when attacked, you get to choose to up your armor class. It can be after the roll but before the results. You're not supoosed to know if the shield spell stops the hit or not. It's supposed to be a gamble, do I use a spell slot to attempt to prevent the hit, or just take the results of the dice?
 

neogod22

Explorer
Countering a counterspell is also not an exploit. You're simply struggling to rectify your internal model of how spellcasting should work with how it actually works according to the rules.
It is, if you read the spell, 2 things the spell mentions, 1. You attempt to interrupt a spell you see being cast and, 2. The spell only has a Somatic component, which is you point at the caster. Unless you can predict another when another wizard is about to counter a spell and point at him before he could ppint at the other caster, you won't successfully interrupt them.
Also, if you are that caster the wizard is trying to counter, and stop concentrating on your spell you are trying to cast to try and counter the counter, well your original spell fails, and your counter even though at this point would be irrelevant, will be cast, but will also fail.
 

neogod22

Explorer
How could it be an exploit? WotC owns D&D, of course, the rules for opposing reactions now line up with MtG "Instant" actions where the "card", in this case, the last counterspell on "top", i.e. last, resolves with priority, countering the counter of the other thing!

Luckily for us there is already a sage advice for this one, which @neogod22 has said is worthwhile since he requested all of us who have different opinions from him to ask for one on the OP question.



See? Not an exploit. RAW working as written!
I will challenge this. Even though you cant cast spells, for Counter-spell, you only need to point. Please make a video of you trying to out point your friend when you when you see him attempting it to point at you while you're attempting to do something else. I can tell you it's a physical impossibility, but try and prove me wrong without rigging thr experiment.
 
You're not supoosed to know if the shield spell stops the hit or not.
Wrong. Shield triggers "when you are HIT by an attack". You can't cast Shield before the dice are rolled because if the attack misses the trigging condition doesn't occur and you can't cast the spell. Since you know the dice roll (unless you use secret rolling - not a core rule) and you know your AC, you will normally know if the spell will stop the triggering attack from hitting or not. (Not 100% - for example a battlemaster could respond to the casting of Shield by making a Precision Attack.)

Yes, causality works differently in 5e than it does in real life. The cause can happen after the effect. An attack hitting can trigger an event that prevents the attack from hitting. That's how the game works.
 
I will challenge this. Even though you cant cast spells, for Counter-spell, you only need to point. Please make a video of you trying to out point your friend when you when you see him attempting it to point at you while you're attempting to do something else. I can tell you it's a physical impossibility, but try and prove me wrong without rigging thr experiment.
This explains your difficulty: you are confusing D&D with Real Life(TM).

If you look at D&D closely, you might find a couple more things that are physical impossibilities in Real Life(TM)...
 

the Jester

Legend
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.
The text you are describing as flavor text isn't- it's rules text. It tells you when you can use the spell and what it takes to do so. You use a reaction in response to a trigger. Sometimes that means you have to do so before dice are rolled, but often, that simply isn't the case. In addition to this spell, look at things like bardic inspiration, 'regular' inspiration, etc. Many even say you can use them after the dice are rolled (sometimes with the "but before you know the results" caveat). Contrast to the diviner's portent ability, which explicitly states that you have to use the portent dice before dice are rolled.

Not all reactions work the same.
 

the Jester

Legend
You allowed to choose whatever you want to do until you roll dice. Once you decide to roll dice you're committed.
Can you show a place in the rules that says that this general rule overrules specific exceptions? Because exception based design is at the core of this edition of D&D.

Another example would be the shield spell.

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.
And nobody is claiming you can use infinite, or even multiple, reactions.
 

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