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Out Of Combat Action Surge Uses

Mistwell

Adventurer
In my opinion, Action Surge can be used out of combat. Here is the text, "Starting at 2nd level, you can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment. On your turn, you can take one additional action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action."

It says actions and turns, but then spells say the same thing (and yes I can quote plenty of places in the Spells section which mentions turns and actions)...but everyone agrees you can cast spells outside of combat as well, right? So by that logic, there should be no rule against using action surge out of combat in the appropriate situation.

What is the appropriate situation? Any encounter or challenge out of combat with a time constraint involved where normally the DM would ask the PC for their action. In such cases, a Fighter should be able to choose an action (like a skill check) and then action surge to apply a second action (like another skill check).

So what are some examples of out of combat challenges where action surge could help?

Here are some of mine.

1) Party is scaling a wall or cliff to enter a building and doing it quickly is of concern because they don't want to be spotted by the roving guards. Where others can climb 15 feet in 6 seconds, the fighter could climb 30 feat with an action surge.
2) The party ducks into the Count's bedroom during the ball to search for a key, and they have moments before they must leave or be caught. Where others can make either an active perception check or an active investigation check in 6 seconds, you can do both with an action surge.
3) Any sneaking: Where others can move 15 feet when sneaking, the fighter can move 30.
4) Some persuasion checks can benefit from PC knowledge mid-conversation. When the DM says "You can make either a history or religion check to try and remember something quickly to help you persuade the priest you mean well" others must choose one of those checks but you can make both checks with an action surge.
5) Chase: Where others can dash once per six seconds away from or after someone you can dash twice.
6) Any situation involving a quick skill check. Normally when you blow a skill check in those time-sensitive situations, you're screwed...but not you, sometimes. You can blow a skill check and where appropriate spend an action surge and try it again or try an alternative skill check. Do you need to get into the room quick before the villian slays your friend? Attempt to pick the lock with a thieves tools check, and if that fails action surge to try and bash the door open with an athletics check.
7) [MENTION=6801204]Satyrn[/MENTION] mentioned a situation that happened to me as well. An ally fell in rapids and was being swept towards a waterfall (in Forge of Fury). Anyone near the shore down stream had one chance to try and grab our ally before he went over the falls...except my fighter. I tried, failed, action surged, and succeeded on my second try!

What are some examples you can think of, and have you used Action Surge out of combat?
 
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5ekyu

Explorer
In my opinion, Action Surge can be used out of combat. Here is the text, "Starting at 2nd level, you can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment. On your turn, you can take one additional action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action."

It says actions and turns, but then spells say the same thing (and yes I can quote plenty of places in the Spells section which mentions turns and actions)...but everyone agrees you can cast spells outside of combat as well, right? So by that logic, there should be no rule against using action surge out of combat in the appropriate situation.

What is the appropriate situation? Any encounter or challenge out of combat with a time constraint involved where normally the DM would ask the PC for their action. In such cases, a Fighter should be able to choose an action (like a skill check) and then action surge to apply a second action (like another skill check).

So what are some examples of out of combat challenges where action surge could help?

Here are some of mine.

1) Party is scaling a wall or cliff to enter a building and doing it quickly is of concern because they don't want to be spotted by the roving guards. Where others can climb 15 feet in 6 seconds, the fighter could climb 30 feat with an action surge.
2) The party ducks into the Count's bedroom during the ball to search for a key, and they have moments before they must leave or be caught. Where others can make either an active perception check or an active investigation check in 6 seconds, you can do both with an action surge.
3) Any sneaking: Where others can move 15 feet when sneaking, the fighter can move 30.
4) Some persuasion checks can benefit from PC knowledge mid-conversation. When the DM says "You can make either a history or religion check to try and remember something quickly to help you persuade the priest you mean well" others must choose one of those checks but you can make both checks with an action surge.
5) Chase: Where others can dash once per six seconds away from or after someone you can dash twice.
6) Any situation involving a quick skill check. Normally when you blow a skill check in those time-sensitive situations, you're screwed...but not you, sometimes. You can blow a skill check and where appropriate spend an action surge and try it again or try an alternative skill check. Do you need to get into the room quick before the villian slays your friend? Attempt to pick the lock, and if that fails action surge to try and bash the door open with an athletics check.
7) [MENTION=6801204]Satyrn[/MENTION] mentioned a situation that happened to me as well. An ally fell in rapids and was being swept towards a waterfall (in Forge of Fury). Anyone near the shore down stream had one chance to try and grab our ally before he went over the falls...except my fighter. I tried, failed, action surged, and succeeded on my second try!

What are some examples you can think of, and have you used Action Surge out of combat?
As i recalk Sage has made it clear that "turns" do happen out of combat during regular time as well as in combat.

Imo too many folks interpret formatting and layout as rules but hey folks need to keep busy.

Mostly i saw action surges for a sprint ooc.
 

Mistwell

Adventurer
As i recalk Sage has made it clear that "turns" do happen out of combat during regular time as well as in combat.

Imo too many folks interpret formatting and layout as rules but hey folks need to keep busy.

Mostly i saw action surges for a sprint ooc.
Ah yes thank you! Crawford ruled on it. "The benefit of the Survivor feature happens at the start of each of your turns, whether those turns are inside or outside combat."
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
I’m not really sure what an action surge looks like out of combat. It’s not that it can’t be done but I’m not sure what doing it looks like and how that differs from him not using the ability.

In general I’d say it can be used to save you time out of combat but defining more than that isn’t actually written.
 

Mistwell

Adventurer
I’m not really sure what an action surge looks like out of combat. It’s not that it can’t be done but I’m not sure what doing it looks like and how that differs from him not using the ability.
The 7 examples given didn't provide context to know what sorts of things we're talking about?
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
1) Party is scaling a wall or cliff to enter a building and doing it quickly is of concern because they don't want to be spotted by the roving guards. Where others can climb 15 feet in 6 seconds, the fighter could climb 30 feat with an action surge.
2) The party ducks into the Count's bedroom during the ball to search for a key, and they have moments before they must leave or be caught. Where others can make either an active perception check or an active investigation check in 6 seconds, you can do both with an action surge.
3) Any sneaking: Where others can move 15 feet when sneaking, the fighter can move 30.
I frequently bring up one of my favorite PCs in fighter threads. In AD&D, he was a halfling f/t. When I converted him to 5e, he was a straight champion fighter with the criminal background and skulker feat, but I played him the same way.

Those items above? I've used them a lot.

Also, there have been times when it didn't go so well and i was detected and initiative was rolled, and I did things like steal from the chest anyway, and then attacked the mook (or ran away if the mook was too tough) using AS.
 

aco175

Explorer
I agree with the examples based of things like athletics and even acrobatics. The description of AS says strenuous activity which I would be hard pressed to include things like negotiation, unless it is negotiation with a lightsaber.
 

CleverNickName

Adventurer
What [MENTION=6795602]FrogReaver[/MENTION] and [MENTION=27385]aco175[/MENTION] said. I'm sure that Action Surges can be used out of combat, they just aren't. A player won't normally want to "waste" the ability trying to force a door or climb over a wall or whatever, because they will want to hang on to that surge for whatever might be lurking behind it.

I'm sure our DM could engineer a very specific situation that might force a player to use an action surge out of combat, but it hasn't happened yet. (Or if it has, we have found other ways around it. We're pretty stingy with our per-rest abilities.)
 

Mistwell

Adventurer
The description of AS says strenuous activity
No it doesn't. I quoted the description above. It doesn't say anything about strenuous activity. It says you can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment That's not strenuous activity. It can be intellectual or physical as the phrase "normal limits" applies fine to either.
 

Mistwell

Adventurer
What [MENTION=6795602]FrogReaver[/MENTION] and [MENTION=27385]aco175[/MENTION] said. I'm sure that Action Surges can be used out of combat, they just aren't. A player won't normally want to "waste" the ability trying to force a door or climb over a wall or whatever, because they will want to hang on to that surge for whatever might be lurking behind it.

I'm sure our DM could engineer a very specific situation that might force a player to use an action surge out of combat, but it hasn't happened yet. (Or if it has, we have found other ways around it. We're pretty stingy with our per-rest abilities.)
Waste? Why would those activities be more important than a chase scene or not getting caught? I'd say those are usually more important than an extra set of attacks, in the grand scheme of a campaign. Plus, if you are already out of combat, an hour of non-strenuous activity is easier to come by to regenerate the ability.
 
Combat or not, if the characters are not in a situation that requires initiative to be rolled, then there is no such thing as an "action". Otherwise, turns and actions do not matter and there is only the player saying what they want their character to do and the DM saying whether they can or not. I would also limit it to physical actions. If it were supposed to include mental actions, why don't the Int-based classes get it too?
 

CleverNickName

Adventurer
Waste? Why would those activities be more important than a chase scene or not getting caught? I'd say those are usually more important than an extra set of attacks, in the grand scheme of a campaign. Plus, if you are already out of combat, an hour of non-strenuous activity is easier to come by to regenerate the ability.
I should have phrased it better. Instead of writing "A player won't...", I should have written "Our players won't..." I shouldn't try to speak for everyone.

I've never seen a player use an action surge out of combat. (Unless you count disengaging from an enemy and then dashing to safety. Does escaping combat count as being "in combat" or being "out of combat"? Because I've seen that done a couple of times.)
 

S'mon

Hero
I don't think I would use #4 or #6 out of combat, because picking locks or talking persuasively are not things I see as normally being done in a couple seconds like that, and I don't have "remember stuff" take an action. But certainly I'd allow feats of athleticism using AS.
 
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Li Shenron

Adventurer
In my opinion, Action Surge can be used out of combat. Here is the text, "Starting at 2nd level, you can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment. On your turn, you can take one additional action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action."

It says actions and turns, but then spells say the same thing (and yes I can quote plenty of places in the Spells section which mentions turns and actions)...but everyone agrees you can cast spells outside of combat as well, right? So by that logic, there should be no rule against using action surge out of combat in the appropriate situation.

What is the appropriate situation? Any encounter or challenge out of combat with a time constraint involved where normally the DM would ask the PC for their action. In such cases, a Fighter should be able to choose an action (like a skill check) and then action surge to apply a second action (like another skill check).

So what are some examples of out of combat challenges where action surge could help?

Here are some of mine.

1) Party is scaling a wall or cliff to enter a building and doing it quickly is of concern because they don't want to be spotted by the roving guards. Where others can climb 15 feet in 6 seconds, the fighter could climb 30 feat with an action surge.
2) The party ducks into the Count's bedroom during the ball to search for a key, and they have moments before they must leave or be caught. Where others can make either an active perception check or an active investigation check in 6 seconds, you can do both with an action surge.
3) Any sneaking: Where others can move 15 feet when sneaking, the fighter can move 30.
4) Some persuasion checks can benefit from PC knowledge mid-conversation. When the DM says "You can make either a history or religion check to try and remember something quickly to help you persuade the priest you mean well" others must choose one of those checks but you can make both checks with an action surge.
5) Chase: Where others can dash once per six seconds away from or after someone you can dash twice.
6) Any situation involving a quick skill check. Normally when you blow a skill check in those time-sensitive situations, you're screwed...but not you, sometimes. You can blow a skill check and where appropriate spend an action surge and try it again or try an alternative skill check. Do you need to get into the room quick before the villian slays your friend? Attempt to pick the lock with a thieves tools check, and if that fails action surge to try and bash the door open with an athletics check.
7) [MENTION=6801204]Satyrn[/MENTION] mentioned a situation that happened to me as well. An ally fell in rapids and was being swept towards a waterfall (in Forge of Fury). Anyone near the shore down stream had one chance to try and grab our ally before he went over the falls...except my fighter. I tried, failed, action surged, and succeeded on my second try!

What are some examples you can think of, and have you used Action Surge out of combat?
With the exception of 4) (I don't run Knowledge checks as "trying to remember" actions) I don't see any reason to disallow any of these uses.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
I should have phrased it better. Instead of writing "A player won't...", I should have written "Our players won't..." I shouldn't try to speak for everyone.

I've never seen a player use an action surge out of combat. (Unless you count disengaging from an enemy and then dashing to safety. Does escaping combat count as being "in combat" or being "out of combat"? Because I've seen that done a couple of times.)
I can't say I've ever seen a player use an action surge outside of combat, either, but Mistwell's example of getting one last try to catch someone from falling would be a compelling instance. It's just that for anyone who has action surge, it's not often remembered in out of combat situations - it's like a bard starting with regaining bardic inspiration on a long rest, and then four levels later they start getting it back on short OR long rest - it can be easy to forget until you get used to it.
 

aco175

Explorer
Combat or not, if the characters are not in a situation that requires initiative to be rolled, then there is no such thing as an "action". Otherwise, turns and actions do not matter and there is only the player saying what they want their character to do and the DM saying whether they can or not. I would also limit it to physical actions. If it were supposed to include mental actions, why don't the Int-based classes get it too?
I might be careful with this one. Most of the time conversation and such turns to combat and initiative is rolled, then traditional actions are used. If we are just talking and I turn to a player and ask what his PC is doing- it is his turn and I feel he is using actions to talk and such. When we need to determine who gets to do more than this I may ask for initiative to know if one thing will influence the next. Walking across the old bridge I may call for a marching order but not initiative. If the fighter wants to use Action Surge to grab someone falling, I would most likely allow it if he is next to the other PC. Would the others want to use their reaction though if the fighter is not next to them? Typically I give falling PCs a change to grab something after they failed their first check before actually falling though.
 

Plaguescarred

Villager
So what are some examples of out of combat challenges where action surge could help?
When you want to give your partner a another round :cool:

Seriously though IMO you gave good exemples of Action Surge usage i'd say any time where a PC can take actions (which is just about anytime), he should be able to benefit from Action Surge, more common will involve an ability check or skill check of some kind.
 

CleverNickName

Adventurer
I can't say I've ever seen a player use an action surge outside of combat, either, but Mistwell's example of getting one last try to catch someone from falling would be a compelling instance. It's just that for anyone who has action surge, it's not often remembered in out of combat situations - it's like a bard starting with regaining bardic inspiration on a long rest, and then four levels later they start getting it back on short OR long rest - it can be easy to forget until you get used to it.
"Did you know a sword can also be used as a mirror to look around corners, or to reflect sunlight as a signal?"

"Honestly no. I usually just stab things with it."
 

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