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D&D 5E Take the Ready action.

mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
Hey, all! Been a long time!

So, I searched the forums and scanned a few threads. Started a conversation with my group and now I'm overthinking it.

It seems that when you take the Ready action, all you can reasonably use your reaction to do is move up to your speed, make one attack, cast a spell with a casting time of 1 action, or use an object.

I understand the rules to imply that taking the Ready action allows me to use any of the other standard actions listed under "Actions in Combat" when I take my triggered reaction, but in reality that's not exactly true given the limited benefits.
  • You don't benefit by taking the Ready action to Dash.
  • You don't benefit by taking the Ready action to Disengage.
  • You could technically benefit by taking the Ready action to Dodge, but why would you wait before you act?
  • You could technically benefit by taking the the Ready action to Help, but why would you wait before you act?
  • You could technically benefit by taking the Ready action to Hide, but why would you wait before you act?
  • You could maybe benefit by taking the Ready action to Search given the corner case scenario.
I felt as though the precedent of previous editions was informing an assumptive understanding, but now that I look closer I see that Ready hasn't exactly changed, it's just that two thirds of the options aren't really options. Am I misunderstanding something?
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Hey, all! Been a long time!

So, I searched the forums and scanned a few threads. Started a conversation with my group and now I'm overthinking it.

It seems that when you take the Ready action, all you can reasonably use your reaction to do is move up to your speed, make one attack, cast a spell with a casting time of 1 action, or use an object.

I understand the rules to imply that taking the Ready action allows me to use any of the other standard actions listed under "Actions in Combat" when I take my triggered reaction, but in reality that's not exactly true given the limited benefits.
  • You don't benefit by taking the Ready action to Dash.
  • You don't benefit by taking the Ready action to Disengage.
  • You could technically benefit by taking the Ready action to Dodge, but why would you wait before you act?
  • You could technically benefit by taking the the Ready action to Help, but why would you wait before you act?
  • You could technically benefit by taking the Ready action to Hide, but why would you wait before you act?
  • You could maybe benefit by taking the Ready action to Search given the corner case scenario.
I felt as though the precedent of previous editions was informing an assumptive understanding, but now that I look closer I see that Ready hasn't exactly changed, it's just that two thirds of the options aren't really options. Am I misunderstanding something?
If X moves towards me, I dash away.

If X moves adjacent to me, I disengage.

You might want to wait if you're in a tense negotiation. Standing there's bobbing and weaving while negotiating is kinda indicative that you expect to be attacked. So you ready a dodge.

You can't help a person do a thing until they try to do that thing. I can't help you pick a lock until you try to pick the lock. "When X tries to pick the lock, I'll help" is a readied help action. If you're in combat, that precision matters.

If you're poking around a room you're not hiding. If you're not supposed to be there and a guard shows up, ready action to hide.

You aren't going to search a fighting goblin. You're going to search a dead one. If you're in combat, that precision matters.

Basically, it's all about the pressure and precision of timing things in combat. Hence "actions in combat". Initiative order can matter a lot. So certain readied actions can matter a lot.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
You can ready to take a single action or move.
Hey, all! Been a long time!

So, I searched the forums and scanned a few threads. Started a conversation with my group and now I'm overthinking it.

It seems that when you take the Ready action, all you can reasonably use your reaction to do is move up to your speed, make one attack, cast a spell with a casting time of 1 action, or use an object.

I understand the rules to imply that taking the Ready action allows me to use any of the other standard actions listed under "Actions in Combat" when I take my triggered reaction, but in reality that's not exactly true given the limited benefits.
  • You don't benefit by taking the Ready action to Dash.
You can ready an action (dash) or move.
  • You don't benefit by taking the Ready action to Disengage.
There would be no reason to since you wouldn't be able to move afterwards.
  • You could technically benefit by taking the Ready action to Dodge, but why would you wait before you act?
I see no reason to.
  • You could technically benefit by taking the the Ready action to Help, but why would you wait before you act?
You may want to help the next person to do X. How specific the trigger has to be is a bit vague, but I would certainly allow "I will help the next person to attack the orc."
  • You could technically benefit by taking the Ready action to Hide, but why would you wait before you act?
I see no reason to do so. The only exception would be how your DM runs stealth. If, for example the opposition could be coming from the left corridor or the right and you could hide from one direction but not the other because of sight lines. This would be really DM dependent though.
  • You could maybe benefit by taking the Ready action to Search given the corner case scenario.
Perhaps there's something someone else can do to make the search easier or possible? But yes, it would be rare.
I felt as though the precedent of previous editions was informing an assumptive understanding, but now that I look closer I see that Ready hasn't exactly changed, it's just that two thirds of the options aren't really options. Am I misunderstanding something?
 

mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
If X moves towards me, I dash away.

If X moves adjacent to me, I disengage.

You might want to wait if you're in a tense negotiation. Standing there's bobbing and weaving while negotiating is kinda indicative that you expect to be attacked. So you ready a dodge.

You can't help a person do a thing until they try to do that thing. I can't help you pick a lock until you try to pick the lock. "When X tries to pick the lock, I'll help" is a readied help action. If you're in combat, that precision matters.

If you're poking around a room you're not hiding. If you're not supposed to be there and a guard shows up, ready action to hide.

You aren't going to search a fighting goblin. You're going to search a dead one. If you're in combat, that precision matters.

Basically, it's all about the pressure and precision of timing things in combat. Hence "actions in combat". Initiative order can matter a lot. So certain readied actions can matter a lot.
When you take the Dash action, you gain extra movement for the current turn.
If you take the Ready action to use Dash, you can't also move.

When you take the Disengage action, your movement doesn't provoke opportunity attacks.
If you take the Ready action to Disengage, you can't also move.

You can ready to take a single action or move.

You can ready an action (dash) or move.

There would be no reason to since you wouldn't be able to move afterwards.

I see no reason to.

You may want to help the next person to do X. How specific the trigger has to be is a bit vague, but I would certainly allow "I will help the next person to attack the orc."

I see no reason to do so. The only exception would be how your DM runs stealth. If, for example the opposition could be coming from the left corridor or the right and you could hide from one direction but not the other because of sight lines. This would be really DM dependent though.

Perhaps there's something someone else can do to make the search easier or possible? But yes, it would be rare.
Thank you! Very helpful.
 



MarkB

Legend
Are you sure? I understand the Dash action to offer extra movement equal to your speed, but you still have to move to benefit, no?
Exactly. You don't actually move when you take the Dash action, you simply unlock extra movement that you can take during your current turn. Using Dash as a readied action does literally nothing - it doesn't even let you move your normal speed.
 


mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
Rounding back on these so as not to ignore...
You might want to wait if you're in a tense negotiation. Standing there's bobbing and weaving while negotiating is kinda indicative that you expect to be attacked. So you ready a dodge.
When you take the Dodge action, you focus entirely on avoiding attacks.
Bobbing and weaving not required!

You can't help a person do a thing until they try to do that thing. I can't help you pick a lock until you try to pick the lock. "When X tries to pick the lock, I'll help" is a readied help action. If you're in combat, that precision matters.
When you take the Help action, you lend your aid to another creature in the completion of a task that must be performed before the start of your next turn.
It doesn't matter if you take the Help action on your turn, or take the Ready action to Help when you take your reaction. The creature gains advantage on the next ability check it makes to perform the task you're helping with either way.

If you're poking around a room you're not hiding. If you're not supposed to be there and a guard shows up, ready action to hide.
If you take the Ready action to Hide when you take your reaction, you must have already moved into position to hide otherwise you're stuck mid-poking around.

You aren't going to search a fighting goblin. You're going to search a dead one. If you're in combat, that precision matters.
I said above that there are maybe certain corner cases, but I agree with Oofta that such instances would be rare.

Basically, it's all about the pressure and precision of timing things in combat. Hence "actions in combat". Initiative order can matter a lot. So certain readied actions can matter a lot.
I don't disagree!
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
PHB, p193. Under Ready.

First, you decide what perceivable circumstance will trigger your reaction. Then, you choose the action you will take in response to that trigger, or you choose to move up to your speed in response to it. Examples include "If the cultist steps on the trapdoor, I'll pull the lever that opens it," and "If the goblin steps next to me, I move away."
 





mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
That’s not right. You get these things in a round: action, move, bonus action, reaction. You can both move and act.
We were discussing the Ready action. I added an edit above to clarify.

EDIT: And it's no guarantee you get those things. On your turn, you can move a distance up to your speed and take one action. Bonus actions and reactions are additional actions that rely on class features, spells, other abilities and situations.
 
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Taking the Ready action to Dash has been covered in Sage Advice.
As far as I can tell, and I'm pretty sure this is the case, the Ready action is the rare example of an intentionally designed "trap" option, or more generously, "intentionally suboptimal" option in 5E.

In general in 5E they work hard to try and make stuff equal, or where something isn't, they signpost it.

With Ready, for some reason they refused to signpost that it was a trap choice, and they made it really outstandingly bad.

I know why they did it, because previous versions of this sort of thing (in previous editions) were both drastically more powerful and made turns much more complicated than they had to be, but at the same time, I think it's one of the few bits of outright bad design in 5E, because they didn't like, explain to players that they should not be taking it (the wacky and slightly counter-intuitive design of surprise is another one).

It basically screws the players in absolutely every way possible. You only get a move OR an action, you only get ONE attack if you take the attack option (which is bullcrap given you can cast a spell like Eldritch Blast and will get all your attacks with that, or use another cantrip which gets full damage which is equivalent to multiple attacks).

My players played a lot of 4E and 3E, and they still keep thinking "Okay, I can be tactical and Ready an action!" and I have to keep explaining to them that nah, in 5E you can't do jack crap with Ready. You're just stuffing yourself in 99 cases out of 100 (given Counterspell is already a Reaction).
 

Exactly. You don't actually move when you take the Dash action, you simply unlock extra movement that you can take during your current turn. Using Dash as a readied action does literally nothing - it doesn't even let you move your normal speed.

I guess that's how it works. I've got to confess I've always conceived as the Dash action as involving taking the movement, not just "unlocking" it; referred to readying an action to move as holding the Dash action; and taught other people the game based on such terminology and it has worked exactly the same as had I conceived of these things according to the official doctrine.
 

mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
As far as I can tell, and I'm pretty sure this is the case, the Ready action is the rare example of an intentionally designed "trap" option, or more generously, "intentionally suboptimal" option in 5E.

In general in 5E they work hard to try and make stuff equal, or where something isn't, they signpost it.

With Ready, for some reason they refused to signpost that it was a trap choice, and they made it really outstandingly bad.

I know why they did it, because previous versions of this sort of thing (in previous editions) were both drastically more powerful and made turns much more complicated than they had to be, but at the same time, I think it's one of the few bits of outright bad design in 5E, because they didn't like, explain to players that they should not be taking it (the wacky and slightly counter-intuitive design of surprise is another one).

It basically screws the players in absolutely every way possible. You only get a move OR an action, you only get ONE attack if you take the attack option (which is bullcrap given you can cast a spell like Eldritch Blast and will get all your attacks with that, or use another cantrip which gets full damage which is equivalent to multiple attacks).

My players played a lot of 4E and 3E, and they still keep thinking "Okay, I can be tactical and Ready an action!" and I have to keep explaining to them that nah, in 5E you can't do jack crap with Ready. You're just stuffing yourself in 99 cases out of 100 (given Counterspell is already a Reaction).
  1. Great avatar! Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham is my spirit animal.
  2. I don't know that I agree they intentionally designed the Ready action as a suboptimal option. I think they delivered on their intent to avoid the issue of delayed actions and the cascade of interrupts that plagued editions of yore, I just think there's a lot of the cross-referencing confusion that could've easily been avoided by including a bulleted list of explicit opportunities when you take your reaction. Right now it's just maddening.
 

mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
I guess that's how it works. I've got to confess I've always conceived as the Dash action as involving taking the movement, not just "unlocking" it; referred to readying an action to move as holding the Dash action; and taught other people the game based on such terminology and it has worked exactly the same as had I conceived of these things according to the official doctrine.
Don't stress it! It's a common confusion. I've seen it played that way many times.
 

  1. Great avatar! Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham is my spirit animal.
  2. I don't know that I agree they intentionally designed an suboptimal option. I think they delivered on their intent to avoid the issue of delayed actions and the cascade of interrupts that plagued editions of yore. Really, all of the cross-referencing confusion could be easily avoided by including a bulleted list of explicit opportunities when you take your reaction. Right now it's just maddening.
Thanks!
Re: 2, I don't see how that's different from what I said, sorry. It's an intentionally suboptimal option you generally shouldn't be using that's confusing given similar options in previous editions were solid. That should be highlighted. But I totally agree that it needs a explicit bullet-point list of things that you can/can't do.

I feel like it's one of the worse pieces of design in 5E for several reaons really:

1) Yeah no explicit list of how it works, just a sort of mumbly and confused three paragraphs.
2) Secretly limits you to one attack without explaining that - you have to infer it - most players, even smart ones, do not - many DMs do not.
3) Weird usage of Concentration that comes out of nowhere and is never used again, feels like it's from an earlier edition.
4) Doesn't explain that it's intentionally limited - the natural assumption is that you're not taking an action so you can take an action later, but it's a not true, you're not taking an action so that you can specify how you want to use your Reaction, in a really limited way that isn't properly explain.

Awful.

Re: Dash yeah it is confusing. It wasn't until I played BG3 that I realized how it was supposed to work - in practical terms it always worked fine without knowing that, though.
 

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