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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Can immediate actions interrupt?

    With the gradual introduction of swift and immediate actions into the game, it seems that some aspects were never fully laid out. In particular, it's not clear to me how immediate actions can (or should) be used. I think there's an element of interpretation here, so I'd like to solicit other people's opinions.

    My central question is set out in the title of this thread - can immediate actions interrupt? They can be used in other people's turns, but when, exactly? Some of the spells and magic items that were created after the introduction of immediate actions seem to require interrupting other people's actions in order to work (for example, wings of cover from Races of the Dragon or the enduring amulet from the Magic Item Compendium). But is it really the intention that when the DM says "Okay, the bad guy casts cone of cold at you - everyone make a reflex save" the player can say "Hold on a minute - I'm going to activate my enduring amulet"?

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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Yes.

    And it is not like everyone needs to hold on for a minute; the activation is immediate as a reaction to, say, imminent danger.

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Gwendol is right. Ideally, of course, the DM shouldn't say "The enemy wizard casts Cone of Cold". Spellcraft to see what's coming, after all. It might be he was casting a defensive spell, and you might waste an immediate action if you're too jittery.
    Last edited by hymer; 2012-02-28 at 11:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    I'd say it depends on the decription of the specific immediate action in question but in the absence of such descriptive text ask yourself:

    If it could not be used to interrupt an action, would the character taking the immediate action need to somehow have precognitive abilities in order to use this action effectively?

    If so, then likely it should be able to be used to interrupt an action.

    The enduring amulet is an example of the above. If it were not used as an immediate action to interrupt, how could it be used effectively unless one knew, in advance, what was going to go down?

    My default, in the absence of descriptive text, is therefore "yes, they can interrupt".
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    Goblin

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    There are stranger things, like being able to counterspell a swift action spell using a readied standard action. And it takes virtually no time at all to identify the swift spell. There are various ways to explain it, but it's unlikely any of them are satisfactory, and therefore I think it's best just to accept it as one of the mysteries of the laws of the D&D universe.

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Interrupt or not interrupt...

    An immediate action effectively happens before the triggering event is resolved. It doesn't necessarily ruin the triggering event. This is mentioned in the Miniatures Handbook (the original specification of an immediate action, as far as I know), and in the description of some immediate action abilities, notably Wings of Cover.
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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Ya they can interrupt. You do them in response to something about to happen before it finishes. So you need a way to predict what's about to happen right before it happens. In the case of falling (feather fall) or a weapon swing that's easy to see. To interrupt a spell you need a spell craft to know what spell it is based on its verbal and somatic components, otherwise you can still interrupt it but you don't know what you're interrupting (not even "some kind of cold blast" because it hasn't been cast yet).
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2012-02-28 at 02:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    FYI, since some Immediate and Readied Actions require that the PC knows what's happening, it's helpful if you allow them the ability to Take 10 on any Spellcraft, Psicraft, or Knowledge check in combat, even though that's not normally allowed without a special ability. That way, the DM just knows when he should announce what's happening (the Evil Wizard is casting a Cone of Cold at you), and when he should just announce the results (the Evil Wizard points at you and curses in an arcane language. Make a Reflex Save).

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I agree that some of these abilities must interrupt in order to make them work. But doesn't that then imply that all immediate actions can interrupt other actions?

    Thanks for the tip about the Miniatures Handbook. I don't have a copy, but I'll try to look it up.

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Callum View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I agree that some of these abilities must interrupt in order to make them work. But doesn't that then imply that all immediate actions can interrupt other actions?

    Thanks for the tip about the Miniatures Handbook. I don't have a copy, but I'll try to look it up.
    Yeah, that's exactly how it's meant to work - they can be used at any time.

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Yeah, all immediate actions can interrupt, even other immediate actions. If a chain of this occurs, then you have a situation like the stack in MTG, where the last action to be used is the first one to resolve.
    Last edited by Chess435; 2012-02-28 at 04:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Yes, that's pretty much the idea. Immediate actions, readied actions and attacks of opportunity (plus others) can even interrupt other interrupting actions like themselves. I'm not sure it's addressed in D&D's rules, but the way for it to work logically is using 'stack' procedure: the latest effect takes place first, then the one before it and then the one before that until the entire chain of actions has resolved.

    Here's an example of how a bunch of reactive actions can interact:
    • Warrior readies his action to attack Caster when she casts a spell.
    • Caster tries to cast a spell within Warrior's reach.
    • Warrior chooses not to take the readied action yet and first attempts the attack of opportunity that Caster provoked.
    • Caster teleports 10ft away using her Shadow Cloak item as an Immediate action, outside Warrior's reach.
    • The AoO misses. Caster is still casting her spell.
    • Warrior uses Abrupt Jaunt from his wizard level to shift right beside the caster again as an Immediate action.
    • She's still casting the same spell, so he doesn't get to try an attack of opportunity again even though he has Combat Reflexes because each action only provokes once.
    • He takes his readied action to attack her now, and hits.
    • Caster's spell fails.
    • Caster curses at her enemy in anger because talking is a free action that can be taken any time.
    • Fourteen of Caster's crafted contingent Apocalypse from the Sky spells activate, each in response to another's activation.
    • Caster's crafted contingent Plane Shift spell activates in response to the last Apocalypse from the Sky spell; since each part of this chain actually interrupts the one before, none of the AftS spells have actually gone off at this point even though the contingent spells themselves have all been triggered.
    • Caster dies from overwhelming Constitution damage anyway because she forgot that items bearing Corrupt spells inflict their gruesome price when activated instead of when they are created, as an exception to the general rule.
    • Everyone else within 170 miles dies, especially Warrior.
    • Atropus's readied action to take up orbit over a planet and extinguish all life over the following weeks triggers when Apocalypse of the Sky goes off and kills tens of thousands.
    • End of turn.
    Last edited by FMArthur; 2012-02-28 at 06:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Quote Originally Posted by FMArthur View Post
    I'm not sure it's addressed in D&D's rules, but the way for it to work logically is using 'stack' procedure: the latest effect takes place first, then the one before it and then the one before that until the entire chain of actions has resolved.
    It is, in the Miniatures Handbook.

    Immediate: (Spell/Ability Keyword and Action Type) A type of swift action (see that entry, below) that a creature may trigger instantly at any time, even when it is not its turn. This action may interrupt other actions, taking effect just before they do. The last immediate action declared takes place first.
    No idea why later books don't make the last two sentences more explicit.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Thanks again, particularly to FMArthur for his detailed example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernir View Post
    It is, in the Miniatures Handbook.

    No idea why later books don't make the last two sentences more explicit.
    No - in fact, those sentences are dropped from all further explanations of immediate actions, while the clarification that it's the swift action from your next turn that's used up by an immediate is added.

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    I have some questions about movement abilities and immediate actions.

    If you have an ability that allows you to move as an immediate action (abrupt jaunt, or constant guardian from DotU), does it waste an enemy's attack? Can you teleport away as your enemy swings his sword and thereby waste his attack action? Or can the enemy simply react to your movement, move elsewhere, or spend his attack action on someone else? What about a ranged attack? Can you move out of the path of an arrow that has already been shot as an immediate action? Does the immediate move action have to be used before or after the attack roll is made?

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    There is no "during" for an attack, so while you could Abrupt Jaunt away from an opponent before he swings his sword, he could attack any other valid target within range (but not, for instance, move away and then attack). He could move after your teleport (since you decide after the first attack whether it's the only one you make or whether you'll be making the rest of your iteratives) but couldn't attack after the movement.

    For ranged attacks, the attacker could just target you again if you're still in range after teleporting, because again there is no "during" for an attack.

    For either option, you would have to use it before the attack roll is made. After the attack roll, the attack has already hit you.
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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    I view it like this:

    If the action you're trying to interrupt takes a free, swift, or immediate action, no. You cannot interrupt what takes no time to do.

    If what you're trying to interrupt takes a move action or greater, yes.

    So, if you step on a trap of lightningbolt, you're zapped.
    However, if it's a swinging pendulum, you have time. If someone's attacking you, you can.
    So, you can't dodge Quickened spells, or triggered spells with Abrupt Jaunt. Can't dodge Attacks of Opportunity.
    Can dodge a charge, a normal attack, a normal spell, etc.
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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rossebay View Post
    I view it like this:

    If the action you're trying to interrupt takes a free, swift, or immediate action, no. You cannot interrupt what takes no time to do.

    If what you're trying to interrupt takes a move action or greater, yes.

    So, if you step on a trap of lightningbolt, you're zapped.
    However, if it's a swinging pendulum, you have time. If someone's attacking you, you can.
    So, you can't dodge Quickened spells, or triggered spells with Abrupt Jaunt. Can't dodge Attacks of Opportunity.
    Can dodge a charge, a normal attack, a normal spell, etc.
    I see no rule basis for this. The amount of "time" something takes is entirely irrelevant to the action economy.

    I agree fully with Flickerdart's reading.
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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernir View Post
    I see no rule basis for this. The amount of "time" something takes is entirely irrelevant to the action economy.

    I agree fully with Flickerdart's reading.
    Oh, I do too. I was just supplying another way of looking at it. But Flickerdart's interpretation is definitely the most correct.
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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    As a related question, you only get one immediate OR swift action a round right? The rules on immediate actions are a little foggy. I did figure they could interrupt though. This means I'll be able to manifest prowess in response to a second enemy provoking an AoO :3

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Technically you can get in a Swift action then an Immediate action before your next turn, but on that turn you won't have a Swift action.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    Technically you can get in a Swift action then an Immediate action after your current turn has ended and before your next turn, but on that turn you won't have a Swift action.
    Just added a few words to the above sentence to clarify it a little!

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Indeed. Immediate actions take your NEXT swift action. So if you won initiative as a Wizard, you could cast something that required a Standard, then cast something quickened, move, cast something that requires an immediate. It gets pretty ridiculous, especially if that move action sets off a contingeant spell or is to activate a magic item of some kind.

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    Default Re: Can immediate actions interrupt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Callum View Post
    Just added a few words to the above sentence to clarify it a little!
    Yeah, but you can declare the immediate action right after you say "okay, end of turn".
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