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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Attack speed & counterattacking

    If two characters are to try to attack each other, one as an action and the other as a reaction, is there anything that determines which of the two successfully delivered the blow?

    I知 saying this because someone with a light and/or finesse weapon would likely be able to (given enough reaction time) be able to intercept an attack from a heavier weapon that would take a bit longer to attack with.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    It... doesn't work like that.

    Character A gets to take their turn. They decide to attack Character B. A makes their attack roll, and either hits and does damage, or misses. End of story.

    Now it's Character B's turn. B decides to attack A. B makes their attack roll, and either hits and does damage, or misses. End of story.

    Quote Originally Posted by HamsterKun View Post
    I知 saying this because someone with a light and/or finesse weapon would likely be able to (given enough reaction time) be able to intercept an attack from a heavier weapon that would take a bit longer to attack with.
    The Defensive Duelist feat and and Dual Wielder feat each account for this in their own way. Defensive Duelist lets you boost your AC against one attack as a reaction if you're using a finesse weapon, while Dual Wielder gives you a passive AC boost as long as you're wielding two weapons. Normally, both weapons need to be light for you to dual wield them, but Dual Wielder also removes this requirement.

    It doesn't really need to be more complex than this. AC represents your ability to resist an attack, and then each character makes their own attack on their respective turns. You can flavor it as an attack-counterattack, but mechanically you're both just making normal attacks on your own turns.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by HamsterKun View Post
    If two characters are to try to attack each other, one as an action and the other as a reaction, is there anything that determines which of the two successfully delivered the blow?
    IF someone is capable of attacking as a reaction (for example by taking the Ready action), then both successfully deliver their blows provided they beat the other's AC.

    Quote Originally Posted by HamsterKun View Post
    I知 saying this because someone with a light and/or finesse weapon would likely be able to (given enough reaction time) be able to intercept an attack from a heavier weapon that would take a bit longer to attack with.
    Not really? If you're talking about reality, having an heavier weapon makes it less likely you get intercepted. A one-handed sword can hardly parry a two-handed battleaxe's blow.

    If you're talking about the game, aside from the Parry ability or similar, there is no real way to intercept an attack.

    D&D 5e isn't a reality simulator, and the game designers made so you can't just deny someone their attack just because you can attack too.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2019-05-18 at 05:11 AM.

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    NinjaGirl

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    IF someone is capable of attacking as a reaction (for example by taking the Ready action), then both successfully deliver their blows provided they beat the other's AC.
    Not really, unless you houserule it otherwise, one of them gets first attack and if their attack in some way stops the other's, the second attack doesn't go off.

    As for which goes first, the reaction attack happens after the trigger for the reaction, so it depends on the trigger. If they attack when an enemy moves into range, they get the first attack. If their attack triggers when the enemy makes the attack, the enemy gets the first attack.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunali View Post
    Not really, unless you houserule it otherwise, one of them gets first attack and if their attack in some way stops the other's, the second attack doesn't go off.
    Well yes, I was assuming it was a situation where one attack landing didn't stop the other.

    Point is that it's "if two people attack each other as an action-reaction, then neither attack is inherently denied".

    Of course if you kill your opponent they won't be able to riposte, for example.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2019-05-18 at 09:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by HamsterKun View Post
    If two characters are to try to attack each other, one as an action and the other as a reaction, is there anything that determines which of the two successfully delivered the blow?

    I知 saying this because someone with a light and/or finesse weapon would likely be able to (given enough reaction time) be able to intercept an attack from a heavier weapon that would take a bit longer to attack with.
    The only way this could work is if someone readied their action to attack someone who attacked them. In this case, the readied action would trigger first, regardless of weapon size.

    If you would like, however, you can mine 1st edition's weapon speed charts to determine who would hit first. That would require significantly increasing the complexity of the initiative system, but not impossible.
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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by GreyBlack View Post
    The only way this could work is if someone readied their action to attack someone who attacked them. In this case, the readied action would trigger first, regardless of weapon size.
    The general rule for reactions is that unless otherwise specified they occur after the trigger (DMG p252). The Ready action does not have any such specification so the normal assumption is it would occur after the trigger (so the readied attack occurs after the normal attack).

    You could argue that you could specify in your ready trigger something that would allow the trigger to occur prior to something else happening but that's a discussion a player will need to have with their DM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    I don't allow separate attacks to happen simultaneously (obviously some abilities have multiple simultaneous effects). If a player readies their action for

    "when I'm hit by a melee attack"

    then their action happens right after the 'hit' effects (damage+whatever else). On the other hand, if a player readies their action for

    "when I'm declared the target of a melee attack"

    then their action happens before the triggering melee attack is rolled. In the former case, the triggering attack happens first, followed by the readied action. In the latter case, the readied action occurs before the triggering attack is rolled.

    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    You could argue that you could specify in your ready trigger something that would allow the trigger to occur prior to something else happening but that's a discussion a player will need to have with their DM.
    Personally, I wouldn't allow a readied action to happen before a trigger. Causality is important. The player should think of a different trigger that is likely to happen earlier. You can't respond to things that haven't happened yet.
    Last edited by Tiadoppler; 2019-05-18 at 12:57 PM.
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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiadoppler View Post
    Personally, I wouldn't allow a readied action to happen before a trigger. Causality is important. The player should think of a different trigger that is likely to happen earlier. You can't respond to things that haven't happened yet.
    To clarify what I meant - Tim and Bob are standing next to each other. Tim readies an attack with the trigger 'if I see Bob go to attack me, I'll attack him'. Bob attacks.

    Normal rules are that reaction occurs after trigger so Bob attacks then Tim.

    Tim could argue 'well actually my trigger was seeing him starting to move to attack me, not actually attacking me and he starts to move before he attacks me so my trigger resolves before the attack'.

    Some DMs will respond to that with an 'Ok sure I guess' and some will respond with 'the ready action doesn't specify so it happens after'.

    Depends if your DM is interested in playing the 'careful wording' game of rules interpretation or not really. I wasn't trying to imply anything about causality just the acceptability of triggers like 'when I see something about to happen, just beforehand I'll...'.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    To clarify what I meant - Tim and Bob are standing next to each other. Tim readies an attack with the trigger 'if I see Bob go to attack me, I'll attack him'. Bob attacks.

    Normal rules are that reaction occurs after trigger so Bob attacks then Tim.

    Tim could argue 'well actually my trigger was seeing him starting to move to attack me, not actually attacking me and he starts to move before he attacks me so my trigger resolves before the attack'.

    Some DMs will respond to that with an 'Ok sure I guess' and some will respond with 'the ready action doesn't specify so it happens after'.

    Depends if your DM is interested in playing the 'careful wording' game of rules interpretation or not really. I wasn't trying to imply anything about causality just the acceptability of triggers like 'when I see something about to happen, just beforehand I'll...'.
    There have been long and lengthy discussions in the past about whether or not you could ready an action in response to a trigger "starting". For spells, it's a bit nebulous on whether that trigger is acceptable.

    For attacks, it's not. Making an Attack is a clearly defined process where "choosing a target" and "resolving an attack" happen in the same chain of events.
    Whether you're striking with a melee weapon, firing a weapon at range, or making an attack roll as part of a spell, an attack has a simple structure.

    1. Choose a target. Pick a target within your attack's range: a creature, an object, or a location.

    2. Determine modifiers. The DM determines whether the target has cover and whether you have advantage or disadvantage against the target. In addition, spells, special abilities, and other effects can apply penalties or bonuses to your attack roll.

    3. Resolve the attack. You make the attack roll. On a hit, you roll damage, unless the particular attack has rules that specify otherwise. Some attacks cause special effects in addition to or instead of damage.

    If there's ever any question whether something you're doing counts as an attack, the rule is simple: if you're making an attack roll, you're making an attack.
    Since reactions must be made through an event perceptible to your character (not the player) by the time you're aware in the game world that an attack is going to be made on you, mechanically it has resolved already.

    You're free to rule otherwise though.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    Normal rules are that reaction occurs after trigger so Bob attacks then Tim.
    For most existing reactions, yes, typically the trigger completes fully, and then the reaction occurs afterwards. Exceptions are usually clear, such as Defensive Duelist or Shield.

    If the player is readying an action, though, it seems sensible that they could specify a reaction to go off before the trigger. This, however, would be dependent on them being able to observe the trigger in time to react to it before it was fully carried out. So you can't say something like, "I ready an action to move out of the way if the trap gets triggered." You won't know the trap is about to be triggered until it's already been triggered, so you can't possibly move out of the way fast enough to avoid getting caught in it.

    On the other hand, if your trigger is, "When the enemy is about to attack me, I'm going to shove them backwards." Well, you can see the enemy running towards you and winding up for a swing, so it's reasonable that you'd be able to anticipate it quickly enough to react before the attack happened. However, the DM can decide that you might misinterpret what's going on; perhaps that creature wasn't attacking you, they were attacking another enemy standing behind you. Or maybe they were about to cast Cure Wounds instead of Shocking Grasp, but you couldn't tell the difference and hit them in the face while they were trying to help you. Most of the time this shouldn't be an issue, since the enemy is likely doing exactly what you expect (i.e. attacking you), but it might screw you over a couple of times.

    If there's ever any doubt, you can always resolve the action and reaction simultaneously. For example, if two creatures are attacking one another and one drops to 0 HP, it still gets to make it's attack before dropping. Or, if one of them paralyzes the other with their attack, the paralyzed creature still makes their attack, and then gets paralyzed. If dealing with Extra Attacks, the additional attacks are subsequent to the triggering attack, and thus would definitely occur after the reaction and/or trigger.

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    The general rule for reactions is that unless otherwise specified they occur after the trigger (DMG p252). The Ready action does not have any such specification so the normal assumption is it would occur after the trigger (so the readied attack occurs after the normal attack).

    You could argue that you could specify in your ready trigger something that would allow the trigger to occur prior to something else happening but that's a discussion a player will need to have with their DM.
    That's fair enough. I'm used to my players wording their triggers carefully, so I'd expect a trigger like, "When an enemy combatant moves into range to attack me, I'm going to attack them." If it's worse worded differently, like, "I'm going to counterattack the first enemy who attacks me," then it would go after.

    Sorry, that was my thought process.
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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    To clarify what I meant - Tim and Bob are standing next to each other. Tim readies an attack with the trigger 'if I see Bob go to attack me, I'll attack him'. Bob attacks.

    Normal rules are that reaction occurs after trigger so Bob attacks then Tim.

    Tim could argue 'well actually my trigger was seeing him starting to move to attack me, not actually attacking me and he starts to move before he attacks me so my trigger resolves before the attack'.

    Some DMs will respond to that with an 'Ok sure I guess' and some will respond with 'the ready action doesn't specify so it happens after'.

    Depends if your DM is interested in playing the 'careful wording' game of rules interpretation or not really. I wasn't trying to imply anything about causality just the acceptability of triggers like 'when I see something about to happen, just beforehand I'll...'.
    In your example, it depends on how the trigger is worded. If it's the wording you gave ("if I see Bob go to attack me, I'll attack him") then it happens after the trigger, because you wouldn't see Bob attacking until after he attacks by RAW. If the wording was more like, "If Bob moves into my melee range to attack," the movement ends, then the counterattack happens, then the regular attack happens.

    Again, if you want more realism here, you can look at the old 1st edition rules for weapon speed and modify them accordingly, but be warned that is a rabbit hole that 5e is not prepared for out of the box.
    Last edited by GreyBlack; 2019-05-18 at 05:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by GreyBlack View Post
    Again, if you want more realism here, you can look at the old 1st edition rules for weapon speed and modify them accordingly, but be warned that is a rabbit hole that 5e is not prepared for out of the box.
    Actually you can't; if you want more complexity and less realism then go to the old 1st edition rules, but expect the level of realism to drop. In actual fights, the person with a longer weapon will generally hit first, being able to land a hit while your opponent has to get closer to counter is a huge advantage. Watch some HEMA or SCA matches on youtube to get an idea of how reach works for real combatants (and then realize that safety and scoring rules hinder the longer reach person more than they would in a real fight), someone armed with a dagger should not expect to land their attacks before the person with a longsword, mace, zweihander, spear, or other longer weapon.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    More DMs complaining that a guy who wins init and conditionally take an action is too strong, must be nerfed.


    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    Since reactions must be made through an event perceptible to your character (not the player) by the time you're aware in the game world that an attack is going to be made on you, mechanically it has resolved already.
    A character who is poised to strike (Ready an action with higher initiative) when the orc starts his attack can perceive the orc start swinging its sword or pull back to throw its spear or draw the bow.

    You are claiming that the mechanical process of selecting a target, determining to Hit, and rolling dice cannot be interrupted by the mechanical process of Ready Action.
    I don't see that claim expressed in the rules. The trigger isn't a mechanical thing (he chooses his target), it is a real-world thing (he draws the bow and aims)
    I don't see it in the narrative either. Tim has fast reflexes, that is why he won the initiative.

    edit for my intent: I don't see that by RAW, the mechanical process of selecting a target -> roll to hit is not interruptable. it is a reasonable assertion, just as is the assertion that a character can perceive the start of an attack and react before his opponent complete it.
    Last edited by NaughtyTiger; 2019-05-20 at 09:43 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Just, please don't. Insisting on that technicality improves nothing.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    For attacks, it's not. Making an Attack is a clearly defined process where "choosing a target" and "resolving an attack" happen in the same chain of events.
    This. Very much this. While any DM is free to rule otherwise, I'd argue that raw, you can't ready with the trigger "he chooses me as a target" because that's a part of a single process, the attack itself, and you can't divide that attack up.

    By contrast, you could absolutely specify that you ready an attack against any enemy who moves to within your reach with a melee weapon drawn, or similar wording. In this case, you're taking a gamble on whether or not they're actually planning to attack you, but you'd make your attack before theirs if they were in any case, because their attack isn't what triggers your readied action; their movement does, and that happens before they start making an attack.
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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    The way this is represented is that often times people using light/finesse weapons have a better dexterity mod, representing their quick reflexes. So they have a better mod for initiative.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by HamsterKun View Post
    If two characters are to try to attack each other, one as an action and the other as a reaction, is there anything that determines which of the two successfully delivered the blow?

    I知 saying this because someone with a light and/or finesse weapon would likely be able to (given enough reaction time) be able to intercept an attack from a heavier weapon that would take a bit longer to attack with.
    Since combat is happening at the same time, initiative decides who attacks first (most of the time)

    If you are trying to replicate the faster attacks with light weapons, consider speed factor initiative in the DMG: cantrips, daggers, and halflings are faster than minotaurs with a maul. (for me, I run it without any dice, modifiers only at the start of the round. i find it speeds combat)
    Last edited by NaughtyTiger; 2019-05-19 at 05:01 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Just, please don't. Insisting on that technicality improves nothing.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    One thing I don't understand in all of the argument about readying to attack someone if they attack you - what's the advantage of doing this? Why don't you just ready an attack for "if this enemy steps near me" or "if anyone hostile steps near me"? That would give the same result in game without any of the controversy. I think that if you're worried about the results of a readied action, but there's another readied action that would provide the same benefit without the controversy, let it work like the non controversial actin and move on.

    Quote Originally Posted by NaughtyTiger View Post
    If you are trying to replicate the faster attacks with light weapons, consider speed factor initiative in the DMG: cantrips, daggers, and halflings are faster than minotaurs with a maul. (for me, I run it without any dice, modifiers only at the start of the round. i find it speeds combat)
    Consider it if you must, but consider also that it doesn't reflect reality. Make a foam dagger and a foam maul, and have the foam maul user and foam dagger user try to swing at each other. The foam maul user is almost always going to get in the first hit unless there is a huge mismatch in physical ability.
    Last edited by OverLordOcelot; 2019-05-19 at 06:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OverLordOcelot View Post
    One thing I don't understand in all of the argument about readying to attack someone if they attack you - what's the advantage of doing this? Why don't you just ready an attack for "if this enemy steps near me" or "if anyone hostile steps near me"? That would give the same result in game without any of the controversy. I think that if you're worried about the results of a readied action, but there's another readied action that would provide the same benefit without the controversy, let it work like the non controversial actin and move on.
    Neither of your triggers works if you're already in melee.

    The situations where you'd want to ready rather than just attack in those situations are admittedly quite niche but then again its an RPG and players often don't do the optimal thing because of reasons.

    An example might be two players trying to 'convince' a cultist to reveal the secret to stopping the ritual while other players hold off the remaining cultists. Player A is intimidating while Player B has him grappled and readies an action to stop him if he tries anything.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by OverLordOcelot View Post
    Consider it if you must, but consider also that it doesn't reflect reality. Make a foam dagger and a foam maul, and have the foam maul user and foam dagger user try to swing at each other. The foam maul user is almost always going to get in the first hit unless there is a huge mismatch in physical ability.
    Not sure if you were rocking the sarcasm or not.

    Foam maul doesn't have the weight of a real maul, or the damage of a real maul.
    Real maul would have a much lower acceleration than a real dagger.
    Last edited by NaughtyTiger; 2019-05-19 at 08:12 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Just, please don't. Insisting on that technicality improves nothing.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiadoppler View Post
    "when I'm declared the target of a melee attack"

    then their action happens before the triggering melee attack is rolled. In the former case, the triggering attack happens first, followed by the readied action. In the latter case, the readied action occurs before the triggering attack is rolled.
    Unless a (n)pc says, in game "i declare you as my enemy to die", then there is no in game option to represent when you are declared. You find out when the weapon is being hurled at you. So, better to state "when i am being attacked"
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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by NaughtyTiger View Post
    A character who is poised to strike (Ready an action with higher initiative) when the orc starts his attack can perceive the orc start swinging its sword or pull back to throw its spear or draw the bow.

    (1)You are claiming that the mechanical process of selecting a target, determining to Hit, and rolling dice cannot be interrupted by the mechanical process of Ready Action.
    (2)I don't see that claim expressed in the rules. The trigger isn't a mechanical thing (he chooses his target), it is a real-world thing (he draws the bow and aims)
    (3)I don't see it in the narrative either. Tim has fast reflexes, that is why he won the initiative
    (1) Yes I am, because those mechanical effects are not perceivable to your character. Your character is only able to perceive an attack being targeted against them after it has resolved.
    (2) The last line I bolded from the rules "If there's ever any question whether something you're doing counts as an attack, the rule is simple: if you're making an attack roll, you're making an attack." You have not been attacked unless an attack roll has been made. This is a distinction that has caused its fair share of issues within the rules (Magic Missile and Pre Errata Sanctuary just to name a few) but it's consistent.
    (3) Tim can roll a high initiative and still be surprised in the first round of combat. Narrative doesn't have a whole lot to do with the outcome when the rules make exceptions. Tim having fast reflexes doesn't automatically allow him to supercede the guidelines set out in the PHB. Separate the narrative from the game rules, except where it tells you that they are meant to key off eachother. For example, when Ready Action tells you that your trigger must be a perceivable event and that your reaction will occur afterwards.

    This is also explained in the "How to Play" guidelines where the DM decides the outcome of the narrative the players are trying to achieve, using the rules if they fit or making it work in the best interest of the players if it doesn't. It also makes specific mention that Combat is designed to be more rigid in its flow, which is why only the third (and actually perceivable) part of Making an Attack is considered to be an attack.

    You are 100% allowed to rule differently, but in the instance of "making an attack" there is no suitable trigger that will allow you to attack before they hit you with the absolute certainty that they were planning to attack you. You can react to their movement or to their weapon being drawn or even to their battle shout but "when they start attacking me" is not acceptable, if your goal is to strike first.

    On the italicized note I also disagree. Your reflexes gave you the chance to act first, choosing to respond to their actions both mechanically and narratively delays your ability to react. Your opportunity to be faster was lost when you hesitated to act. I'm not at all surprised however that someone would argue having a higher dexterity bonus could let you bend the rules to your whims, Dexterity is the best stat in the game after all so it should affect your mental acuity as well as your physical.

    To summarize, as clearly as I can, through the default rules you cannot preempt an attack using the Ready Action. If you set your trigger to "if I am attacked" you will first be attacked and then respond. You are free to rule differently and I would encourage you to do so if that is in the best interests of your table. No one is telling you that you must follow the rules, someone asked for an explanation and your disagreement with the explanation does not immediately invalidate it. Play the game the way you enjoy it, understand that others enjoy it differently. I am aware that the last sentence smacks of irony, I'm telling this to myself as much as anyone else.
    Last edited by ProsecutorGodot; 2019-05-19 at 09:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    (1) Yes I am, because those mechanical effects are not perceivable to your character. Your character is only able to perceive an attack being targeted against them after it has resolved.

    *snip*

    To summarize, as clearly as I can, through the default rules you cannot preempt an attack using the Ready Action. If you set your trigger to "if I am attacked" you will first be attacked and then respond. You are free to rule differently and I would encourage you to do so if that is in the best interests of your table. No one is telling you that you must follow the rules, someone asked for an explanation and your disagreement with the explanation does not immediately invalidate it. Play the game the way you enjoy it, understand that others enjoy it differently. I am aware that the last sentence smacks of irony, I'm telling this to myself as much as anyone else.
    (Edit: Oopsy, I was wrong about this. Most reactions cannot preempt attacks retroactively. Shield and Cutting Words are a special kind of reaction - DMG 252. I still think that it's a valid option to make a reaction to an event prior to an attack, but I acknowledge that it's not as straight-forward as 'Reactions can preempt attacks'.)
    I respectfully disagree. A readied action is a reaction. Reactions can preempt attacks. The phrasing for Shield or Cutting Words (for example) suggests that the order of events violates causality:

    Step 3: Your spell/insult prevents the attack from hitting
    Step 1: Attack hits Attack misses
    Step 2: In response to being hit, you cast a spell/shout an insult

    If, by RAW, an insult can travel back in time to shake somebody's confidence during his backswing, I see no reason that another reaction could not do the same thing:

    Step 3: Your sword blow kills your opponent mid-swing
    Step 1: Attack hits Attack misses
    Step 2: In response to being hit, you swing your readied sword at your foe.

    My personal preference is to modify the description to avoid breaking time itself:

    Step 1: Opponent turns to you and raises his sword to strike
    Step 2: Your readied sword thrusts forward into his heart
    Step 3: Your opponent dies, toppling backwards. He never gets a chance to roll his attack

    I understand that there's no clear RAI on this specific subject (re:Readied Actions and parts of an attack), but the RAW that a reaction can interrupt and prevent an attack is quite explicit.
    Last edited by Tiadoppler; 2019-05-20 at 11:31 AM.
    The battle cry of a true master is "RAW!!!"

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiadoppler View Post
    I respectfully disagree. A readied action is a reaction. Reactions can preempt attacks. The phrasing for Shield or Cutting Words (for example) suggests that the order of events violates causality:
    SNIP
    I understand that there's no clear RAI on this specific subject (re:Readied Actions and parts of an attack), but the RAW that a reaction can interrupt and prevent an attack is quite explicit.
    All of those specific reactions you mentioned say when and how they are used. Ready Action says it happens after. The way other reactions work is not permission to use Ready Action the same way.

    Shield requires that the attack has already resolved "a reaction which you take when you are hit by an attack or targeted by the magic missile spell" and has further wording to allow the outcome of the step 2 modifiers to change "including against the triggering attack"

    Cutting Words also requires for you to use it on step 3 "When a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll/damage roll" and doesn't actually interrupt the flow at all, it simply adds a further modifier between "make an attack roll" and "on a hit, roll damage". It has its own specific interaction with this chain of events. Remember, one of the core rules of every aspect of DND is that Specific beats General.

    And you are correct that reactions can interrupt the steps in Making an Attack. Ready Action, however, is not such a reaction, it has no opportunity to do so with how it is worded. The only timing we have as reference is "after the perceivable trigger has occurred" which, following the more rigid rules structure of combat, means that you can only perceive being attacked once the attack has been rolled and determined to be a hit or miss. Steps 1 and 2 are purely mechanical.

    I feel the need to repeat, I am only arguing this from a strictly RAW standpoint. There's nothing wrong with including your own rulings on determining whether someone glancing/aiming their weapon in your direction in combat is an acceptable trigger for "they are definitely starting to attack me and nothing else". In fact, I think it would be a good use of some passive skills. Passive skills tend not to get a lot of love and using a passive insight score as a threat detector is something I would like to test.
    Last edited by ProsecutorGodot; 2019-05-20 at 12:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    (1) Yes I am, because those mechanical effects are not perceivable to your character. Your character is only able to perceive an attack being targeted against them after it has resolved.

    (2) The last line I bolded from the rules "If there's ever any question whether something you're doing counts as an attack, the rule is simple: if you're making an attack roll, you're making an attack." You have not been attacked unless an attack roll has been made. This is a distinction that has caused its fair share of issues within the rules (Magic Missile and Pre Errata Sanctuary just to name a few) but it's consistent.
    You are blurring the perception of the player and the character.
    So if Kevin (player at your table) says "I will attack if we are attacked", who said that Kevin, or his character, Kronk?
    Since Kronk doesn't know about attack rolls or other rules, clearly Kronk will consider that Vorpal the Destroyer launching a fireball at the party is an attack.
    If Kevin said it, did he mean "any act of aggression" or did he mean "if Vorpal makes an attack roll"? If a DM requires that a player and a character to use strict language rather than intent, then you are playing against an adversarial DM.


    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    (3) Tim can roll a high initiative and still be surprised in the first round of combat. Narrative doesn't have a whole lot to do with the outcome when the rules make exceptions. Tim having fast reflexes doesn't automatically allow him to supercede the guidelines set out in the PHB.
    Yep, we agree. I didn't think it was necessary to list an exception (surprise) that neither you nor the OP included in the message. But yes, there are exceptions.


    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    Separate the narrative from the game rules, except where it tells you that they are meant to key off eachother. For example, when Ready Action tells you that your trigger must be a perceivable event and that your reaction will occur afterwards.
    The event must be perceivable to whom though. As I stated, the character can perceive the sword start swinging, the bow being drawn....
    The player can perceive the individual steps for selecting of a target, the roll. we know this because there are specific abilities that affect the individual steps.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    in the instance of "making an attack" there is no suitable trigger that will allow you to attack before they hit you with the absolute certainty that they were planning to attack you. You can react to their movement or to their weapon being drawn or even to their battle shout but "when they start attacking me" is not acceptable, if your goal is to strike first.
    2 parties are facing off (no surprise) but combat hasn't started yet. goblin yells Breyarch, targets the barbarian, and makes an attack roll.
    this is an example where the fast elf can act after the goblin started her attack but before she finishes it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    On the italicized note I also disagree. Your reflexes gave you the chance to act first, choosing to respond to their actions both mechanically and narratively delays your ability to react. Your opportunity to be faster was lost when you hesitated to act.
    Now this one is interesting.

    So Kregath and Vorpal are facing off, waiting for the other to start something. Vorpal rears back to swing his hammer. Roll initiative. Kregath wins. Kregath knows that combat started. Kregath knows Vorpal reached for his pouch.

    Two rounds of combat in, Kregath is higher in initiative again. Kregath is gaging whether Vorpal (almost dead) is going to continue to fight or surrender, so Kregath thinks "If Vorpal starts his swing again, I will strike the killing blow first". Vorpal rears back to swing his hammer.
    [Tiger's view] Kregath sees this like he did the first time, and strikes true, killing Vorpal mid swing.
    [Godot's view] combat is already started, so he can't make the decision to attack in time, Vorpal gets his hit in..

    The same situation, but your interpretation has a different outcome.
    Why didn't Kregath's initial hesitation (before initiative) delay his ability to act?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    You are 100% allowed to rule differently,
    You can rule your way, too. your interpretation is not more correct than mine. both are within the rules.
    Last edited by NaughtyTiger; 2019-05-20 at 10:08 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Just, please don't. Insisting on that technicality improves nothing.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    What the OP is suggesting isn't 5e. There are game systems out there that have this level of detail, if that's what you're looking for.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by darknite View Post
    What the OP is suggesting isn't 5e. There are game systems out there that have this level of detail, if that's what you're looking for.
    the OP asked a question, and listed a rationale for his question. he didn't make a suggestion.

    moreover, speed factor initiative is an option in 5e.
    Last edited by NaughtyTiger; 2019-05-20 at 10:13 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Just, please don't. Insisting on that technicality improves nothing.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by NaughtyTiger View Post
    the OP asked a question, and listed a rationale for his question. he didn't make a suggestion.

    moreover, speed factor initiative is an option in 5e.
    Then use that.

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    Default Re: Attack speed & counterattacking

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    All of those specific reactions you mentioned say when and how they are used. Ready Action says it happens after. The way other reactions work is not permission to use Ready Action the same way.

    Shield requires that the attack has already resolved "a reaction which you take when you are hit by an attack or targeted by the magic missile spell" and has further wording to allow the outcome of the step 2 modifiers to change "including against the triggering attack"
    You are correct. I was basing my statement solely on the description of Readied Actions on page 193 of the PHB, but the clarification on page 252 of the DMG supports your argument. Shield and Cutting Words are special reactions, and most reactions do not behave like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    The only timing we have as reference is "after the perceivable trigger has occurred" which, following the more rigid rules structure of combat, means that you can only perceive being attacked once the attack has been rolled and determined to be a hit or miss. Steps 1 and 2 are purely mechanical.
    I cannot find any rules to support that statement. Do you have a page number for reference? The idea that during combat you can only perceive mechanical actions is an odd one. Can you perceive in-character speech? Hand signals?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    There's nothing wrong with including your own rulings on determining whether someone glancing/aiming their weapon in your direction in combat is an acceptable trigger for "they are definitely starting to attack me and nothing else". In fact, I think it would be a good use of some passive skills. Passive skills tend not to get a lot of love and using a passive insight score as a threat detector is something I would like to test.

    I agree. The RAW for Readied Actions has a major flaw in that it does not take the perception of the player character into account.

    By RAW, you pick a perceivable circumstance to trigger your reaction, and an action to take.
    When that trigger occurs, you can choose to take the reaction or not. The provided example, "If the cultist steps on the trapdoor, I'll pull the lever that opens it," (PHB 193) has a significant flaw. For example:

    What if the cultist is (unknown to the player) an illusion created by the real cultist? The illusion of the cultist appears to step on the trapdoor. Does your Readied Action trigger? Are you able to pull the lever or not? By RAW, the triggering circumstance has not happened (Trigger: cultist steps on the trapdoor. Event: illusion appears to step on the trapdoor), but your character believes that the trigger has occurred.

    Therefore, I think it's important for DMs to rule that the trigger for a Readied Action is mental and internal to the player character. If the player character believes that the trigger is occurring, they can take their Readied Action.

    Additionally, it would be my ruling that if a player character decides on a triggering circumstance of "I am about to be attacked" or "I am targeted by an attack", they would be able to take their Readied Action when the character believes that circumstance is happening. They could well be wrong, but that doesn't affect their ability to take the reaction. I like the idea of using passive Wisdom(Insight) in that situation.


    Edit:
    On a separate note, how would you rule a readied attack when the trigger is "when I am hit by an attack"? The reaction would happen after the attack roll, but before the damage roll (there's a different trigger for "when I am damaged by an attack").

    Step 1: Enemy's attack roll hits you. Your reaction triggers.
    Step 2: You make your attack roll.
    Step 3: You make your damage roll. The damage kills your enemy.
    Step 4: (A: The dead enemy makes their damage roll) (B: The dead enemy makes their damage roll using updated ability score modifiers, e.g. a Strength of 0) (C: There is no damage roll)
    Last edited by Tiadoppler; 2019-05-20 at 11:40 AM.
    The battle cry of a true master is "RAW!!!"

    I play Devil's Advocate. Why does a devil need an advocate? Because only bad lawyers go to hell. The good ones find a loophole.

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