D&D 5E Action Types - Rules As Written


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Hussar

Legend
From a 4e perspective, one thing I do really like that 5e has done is reduce (drastically) the number of bonus and off turn actions. Yes, there are still some, but, in 4e it could get blood ridiculous with every action chaining off multiple reactions from multiple characters. It was an issue that got worse as the books got churned out. Everyone and their mother had off turn actions and interrupting actions, it seemed.

Shaving a lot of those off has really sped up the action in 5e.
 

From a streamlining point of view, eliminating the bonus action makes sense. However, this is one of 5e's interesting tactical considerations in combat (what should I do to get a bonus action, if I have multiple choices which one do I take etc etc) and I fear that removing it may be *too* simplified.

Nah, that's not true. All that would happen is that everything that's currently a bonus action would say, "You may take one extra action this turn. A character can take only one extra action each turn."

Additionally, you can open up the design space that way. Bonus actions don't restrict the regular action, but with this pattern it's easy to do: "You may also attack this turn as though you had taken the Attack action." "You may also make a single melee or ranged weapon attack as a part of this action this turn." "You may also cast a spell of level 2 or less as a part of this action this turn." Obviously I've had to word these a bit generically, but you can see where it heads.

They can also change two weapon fighting to: "When you take the Attack action and are wielding two weapons with the Light property, you may make one attack with your off-hand weapon as a part of the Attack action. You do not add your ability modifier to damage for off-hand weapon attack." Although, realistically, they could've (and should've) worded it that way already.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
They can also change two weapon fighting to: "When you take the Attack action and are wielding two weapons with the Light property, you may make one attack with your off-hand weapon as a part of the Attack action. You do not add your ability modifier to damage for off-hand weapon attack." Although, realistically, they could've (and should've) worded it that way already.
I get why they had it cost a bonus action though. Without any other abilities such as fighting styles and Feats, dual-wielding shortswords allows you to do 1d6 + Damage Mod with one attack and 1d6 with the other, for a total of 2d6 + Damage Mod possible damage per turn. A Greatsword also does a possible total of 2d6 + Damage Mod per turn. But the dual shortswords gives splits that damage up between two attacks, which slightly increases its average damage per round. Not by much, but having it cost a bonus action helps to balance out the slightly higher average damage and potential to go Dex-based.

Of course, Extra Attack messes with this balance, but I’m pretty sure that’s still the thought process behind dual wielding costing a bonus action.
 

Uchawi

First Post
I can only assume the vagueness catered to a specific subset of DMs that for whatever reason had a hard time with rules lawyers. For every DM that prefers consistency, there is another that likes ambiguity. I guess in the that sense 5E appeals to a large base of DMs.
 

Hussar

Legend
I can only assume the vagueness catered to a specific subset of DMs that for whatever reason had a hard time with rules lawyers. For every DM that prefers consistency, there is another that likes ambiguity. I guess in the that sense 5E appeals to a large base of DMs.

What do you mean by consistency though? Consistency between tables? Does that actually matter? Does it impact your table what I do at my table? So long as I make a ruling, that ruling is consistent for my table.

What it really is, IMO, is a rejection of the idea that RAW is king. That there is this "one size fits all" set of mechanics that everyone is expected to follow. Considering the flak that WotC took in 4e for trying to tell people the "right" way to play (apparently, judging by how a very vocal group of gamers reacted to the game) it's not a big surprise that they punted on RAW this time around and left it up to individual tables.
 

Uchawi

First Post
As you stated consistency is most important for the table. I do not believe a well defined action economy introduces choice paralysis. If we learned anything from 4E, it was the ability to interrupt other actions that added a lot of complexity. I believe 5E tried too hard with efforts to introduce natural language (or being vague) to attempt to make it easier to play. I believe it adds more confusion, instead of just spelling things out. The DM always has the final say in any D&D game, from the very beginning to present. A paragraph in the PHB or any other book that is released referencing that fact is all that is needed.
 

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