# Readied action to step away from a charge

### Rules Questions

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How does this work?
Harry Rogue looks over at PC he goes before in Init... and decides to dodge (5 ft. step) if the PC charges (been watching to many bull fights). He pulls out his cape and Readies An Action if he is charged.

Crazed Barbie sees Harry and (you guessed it) charges.

When C.B. is next to Harry, Harry takes an attack and then 5 foot steps to the side, out of C.B. reach.

Does this work? If not, why not?

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nosig wrote:

How does this work?

Harry Rogue looks over at PC he goes before in Init... and decides to dodge (5 ft. step) if the PC charges (been watching to many bull fights). He pulls out his cape and Readies An Action if he is charged.

Crazed Barbie sees Harry and (you guessed it) charges.

When C.B. is next to Harry, Harry takes an attack and then 5 foot steps to the side, out of C.B. reach.

Does this work? If not, why not?

First, a clarification: at first you have Harry readying against "a PC", then you have him reacting to C.B. Is that supposed to be the same person, or is he readying against one enemy and then responding to a different enemy?

sorry - same guy. Should have said Harry was Readying against an action from C.B.

The prepared action triggers, attacking the charging character, but since your 5ft step does not take you out of their threaten range you still get hit (this presumes they were going straight at your center). If you step back they could still have movement left and complete the charge.

Clearing up my example:
H.R. has an Init of 20
C.B. has an Init of 10
H.R. "Readies An Action" to attach and 5-foot-step if he is charged.
C.B. Charges.
H.R. Readied action triggers as C.B. gets to 5' from H.R. and ...
H.R. takes an attack and then 5 foot steps to the side, out of C.B. reach.

Does this work? If not, why not?

Before Charge
C . . . . .
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. . . H . .

After attack
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
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. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . C . . .
. . . . H .

lol! it removed my spaces ... trying this again

C.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.H.x.x

C.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.C.x.H.x
x.x.x.x.x.x

 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Technically a readied action resolves just before resolving the action/event that triggered it. So if your trigger condition is "he charges me", then you actually take your action before he moves. This can still work out, if you use your readied action to move into a position where he no longer has a legal charge lane. However, I'm unsure how to resolve the rest of C.B.'s turn in that case - he obviously can't charge you, but does he get a "refund" on his full-round action and get to do something else? Does he perform as much of the charge as possible (i.e., move in the original direction)? Has he spent a full-round action to zero effect? I honestly don't know - might be a GM call on that one.

Come to think of it, even if you ready with the condition "he attacks me", then technically the triggering action is the full-round action of a charge, and your readied action should occur first... which is weird. That makes me think that maybe the Readying rules are using the term "action" more loosely than they should be (one of my few gripes with PF rules) and they really mean action in a more general sense rather than a Rules Term sense.

If I were GMing, I would personally allow you to ready for when he gets halfway to you during a charge, and let you interrupt his movement. But you should probably check with your GM on that.

EDIT: Multi-ninja'd. Also, I didn't realize you were readying to attack and 5' step. I thought you wanted to move out of the way to "waste" his charge.

In PF, a charge doesn't have to be in a straight line -- it just has to be directly toward the target.

So if the target moves in the middle of your charge, you can keep moving as long as the direct path is still clear and you have movement left.

Avalon, do you mean a charge doesn't have to be down a grid line? I know that one (but I'm amazed at the number of persons who don't).
But, you are correct, a charge has to be "directly toward" or "straight at" the target, along the shortest path. Kind of like the bull chargeing past the bull-fighter - because he stepped out of the way.
At least, that's the way I think it works.

nosig wrote:

Avalon, do you mean a charge doesn't have to be down a grid line? I know that one (but I'm amazed at the number of persons who don't).

But, you are correct, a charge has to be "directly toward" or "straight at" the target, along the shortest path. Kind of like the bull chargeing past the bull-fighter - because he stepped out of the way.

And what I'm telling you is that, if the rogue steps out of the way, the barbarian can continue to move at him -- which in this case would involve turning.

Moving on a Charge wrote:

You must move before your attack, not after. You must move at least 10 feet (2 squares) and may move up to double your speed directly toward the designated opponent. If you move a distance equal to your speed or less, you can also draw a weapon during a charge attack if your base attack bonus is at least +1.

You must have a clear path toward the opponent, and nothing can hinder your movement (such as difficult terrain or obstacles). You must move to the closest space from which you can attack the opponent. If this space is occupied or otherwise blocked, you can't charge. If any line from your starting space to the ending space passes through a square that blocks movement, slows movement, or contains a creature (even an ally), you can't charge. Helpless creatures don't stop a charge.

If you don't have line of sight to the opponent at the start of your turn, you can't charge that opponent.

You can't take a 5-foot step in the same round as a charge.

If you are able to take only a standard action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed) and you cannot draw a weapon unless you possess the Quick Draw feat. You can't use this option unless you are restricted to taking only a standard action on your turn.

If the rogue steps out of the way in the middle of the barbarian's charge, nothing in those rules stop the barbarian from changing direction and continuing to move toward the rogue. As a matter of fact, the rules would require the barbarian to do so, in order to complete the charge.

AvalonXQ wrote:

In PF, a charge doesn't have to be in a straight line -- it just has to be directly toward the target.

So if the target moves in the middle of your charge, you can keep moving as long as the direct path is still clear and you have movement left.

+1

The shortest path is a straight line between two fixed points, but if one point moves, then the short path will now be a straight line from wherever you were when the target shifted, and the target´s new location. If there´s intervening terrain/characters it´s still pretty easy to ´break´ a Charge though. (or just position yourself so your allies can take AoO´s vs. the Charger)

Also, Ready isn´t actually so ´Action´ dependent, it´s actual wording says:

Quote:
...the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it.

If an action doesn´t cause the specified CONDITION immediately, rather only at a later portion of the action completing, the Readied Action doesn´t trigger at the beginning of the action, but when the CONDITION is satisfied (e.g. somebody moves into range to attack me). As soon as that condition triggers the Readied Action, the Readied Action occurs, interrupting (happening before) any ONGOING action(s). THe last sentence I´m quoting doesn´t actually match up very well with the fact that Readied Actions trigger off of CONDITIONS, though you can see how it was written with the idea in mind of Readying vs. somebody Attacking you or Casting a Spell at you... But if you imagine Readying an action to Shoot somebody as soon as the lights are turned off... Well, do you shoot them just BEFORE the lights turn out, i.e. when it is still light? :-) Given that line is subsequent to SEVERAL mentions of Readied Actions happening in response to conditions, I believe that conditions are the main thing here, and Readied Actions can be understood to ´interrupt´ any ongoing action (i.e. for an attack, ´beginning to attack me´ can trigger my Readied Action, which happens before the attack actually completes).

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Quandary wrote:

Also, Ready isn´t actually so ´Action´ dependent, it´s actual wording says:

Quote:
...the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it.
If an action doesn´t cause the specified CONDITION immediately, rather only at a later portion of the action completing, the Readied Action doesn´t trigger at the beginning of the action, but when the CONDITION is satisfied (e.g. somebody moves into range to attack me).

Ah, good catch. Of course, there's this:

Quandary wrote:
THe last sentence I´m quoting doesn´t actually match up very well with the fact that Readied Actions trigger off of CONDITIONS,

...which is the gripe I'm referring to. Most of the time, "action" is supposed to mean something very specific, and then here it gets mixed in with other wording (like "condition"). Really wish PF rules language could rise to the level of MtG. Oh well.

Quandary wrote:
though you can see how it was written with the idea in mind of Readying vs. somebody Attacking you or Casting a Spell at you... But if you imagine Readying an action to Shoot somebody as soon as the lights are turned off... Well, do you shoot them just BEFORE the lights turn out, i.e. when it is still light? :-) Given that line is subsequent to SEVERAL mentions of Readied Actions happening in response to conditions, I believe that conditions are the main thing here, and Readied Actions can be understood to ´interrupt´ any ongoing action (i.e. for an attack, ´beginning to attack me´ can trigger my Readied Action, which happens before the attack actually completes).

That seems reasonable. I just wish we didn't have to temporarily suspend the typical definition of "action" to get there. *sigh*

wait, I thought I couldn't turn during a charge?
If the charger can, and it seems you are saying he must, then the target can drag him around like a puppy on a teather. Around a corner and out of the room? Perhaps even back the way he came (180 degree turn)? ("Please follow me mister charger sir, down this line of my fiends and into this trapped square or better yet back the way you came.")

yeah, but if people readied vs. charges on a regular basis,
then everybody would think the brace weapon property is really powerful.
even if you can specify the condition in a flexible way, wasting your whole round to ready a move action just isn´t that powerful a move in most situations.

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nosig wrote:

wait, I thought I couldn't turn during a charge?

If the charger can, and it seems you are saying he must, then the target can drag him around like a puppy on a teather. Around a corner and out of the room? Perhaps even back the way he came (180 degree turn)? ("Please follow me mister charger sir, down this line of my fiends and into this trapped square or better yet back the way you came.")

If it got really weird (like the full 180), I think it would be reasonable for a GM to stop the charge rather than turning to follow.

If H. is the target of a charge from C., and he has a readied action to move behind the pit behind him (H.) and C. changes ....

C. charges (interupted as he starts moving)
H. move to the other side of the pit.
C. charges into pit.... or does he charge around the pit?

nosig wrote:

wait, I thought I couldn't turn during a charge?

If the charger can, and it seems you are saying he must, then the target can drag him around like a puppy on a teather. Around a corner and out of the room? Perhaps even back the way he came (180 degree turn)? ("Please follow me mister charger sir, down this line of my fiends and into this trapped square or better yet back the way you came.")

Yes, it is possible to break a charge or put the charger in danger in this way. This isn't a hugely big deal, though, since you have given up your standard action for the turn just to move strategically.

The "five-foot step to negate a charge" rule would be a bug. The "devote my whole action just to make the charge more dangerous" rule is a feature.

nosig wrote:

If H. is the target of a charge from C., and he has a readied action to move behind the pit behind him (H.) and C. changes ....

C. charges (interupted as he starts moving)
H. move to the other side of the pit.
C. charges into pit.... or does he charge around the pit?

Neither. He can't charge at all and has to do something else instead, because the direct path required by the charge now has an obstacle in it.

Some have argued that he can ignore an obstacle that he can avoid while still taking a straight path, such as by jumping. The rules are a little unclear on this.

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AvalonXQ wrote:
nosig wrote:

If H. is the target of a charge from C., and he has a readied action to move behind the pit behind him (H.) and C. changes ....

C. charges (interupted as he starts moving)
H. move to the other side of the pit.
C. charges into pit.... or does he charge around the pit?

Neither. He can't charge at all and has to do something else instead, because the direct path required by the charge now has an obstacle in it.

Are you sure about that part? If he's already initiated (and partially executed) a full-round action which gets ended, are you sure he gets to do something else?

wait, why wouldn't he just charge around the pit? if he can turn during a charge is he limited in the number of his turns?

And he has already charged hasn't he - else H. would not have gotten his readied action.

Oh god, please don't get us started on the jumping during a charge argument.

He cannot charge around the pit because he has to take the most direct route possible. In the earlier example, that route changed, but remained a legal route. In this one, the route changes and is no longer a legal route. Thus the charge fails. I would say that the charger has lost his full-round action in this case, as it is the charging equivalent of a counterspell. The readier has spent their whole round and dropped themselves lower in the initiative. They should get more bang for their buck than just being safe from a charge (which they could have done with a move action on their old initiative, leaving themselves a standard to do something useful).

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nosig wrote:
wait, why wouldn't he just charge around the pit? if he can turn during a charge is he limited in the number of his turns?

He can't charge around something. He has to take a direct path. If the target moves, then that alters the identity of the most direct path, and he has to follow it. The result will be a turn, but that doesn't mean that he can just choose to turn whenever.

Aside: I'm picturing an Acrobat rogue with Peerless Maneuver readying to backflip over a pit when he gets charged.

C. has a reach weapon, so H. readies an attach when C. charges to 5-ft.-step and attack.
C. charges to 10', H. 5' steps inside the reach and swings (missing), can C. then step BACK and swing? does he still count as charging?

nosig wrote:

wait, why wouldn't he just charge around the pit? if he can turn during a charge is he limited in the number of his turns?

And he has already charged hasn't he - else H. would not have gotten his readied action.

Chicken or egg?

Because of the nature of a turn-based combat system as opposed to simultaneous combat system you are going to end up with paradoxes, it's inevitable.

I always allow a player to change their action because on any readied actions. This doesn't mean they get to start over they merely have to pay for the actions they've used. If you are charging and move less than half your move when the readied action is triggered (and you can't or don't want to continue), your turn resumes with you having expended x feet of movement. You may now perform any valid action.

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nosig wrote:

C. has a reach weapon, so H. readies an attach when C. charges to 5-ft.-step and attack.
C. charges to 10', H. 5' steps inside the reach and swings (missing), can C. then step BACK and swing? does he still count as charging?

He couldn't step back, because he can only move toward the target when charging.

Actually this sort of came up in a game with my Bard as the target.
I have no effect attacks - I'm the party face. In the front to talk to the bad guys (we didn't know they were bad guys).
the encounter goes to Init. My bard (winning Init.) gets ready to run if charged. Sure enough - crazy badguy rushes me and I bolt for the back of the party. This caused me to wonder what my options were, so now I am checking on them. My Judge had the Charger stop just before I bolted, so he was 10 feet from our TWF. But it sounds like I could have lead him back thru my party while everyone took AOOs at him.

it's a great image. Chelaxian Harlot in Dominatrix outfit being chased by a raving man who in turn is being beaten by adventurers....

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nosig wrote:
it's a great image. Chelaxian Harlot in Dominatrix outfit being chased by a raving man who in turn is being beaten by adventurers....

/facepalm

it's even better when you realize my "tag-line" for my character is "Usually, this costs extra".

nosig wrote:

C. has a reach weapon, so H. readies an attach when C. charges to 5-ft.-step and attack.
C. charges to 10', H. 5' steps inside the reach and swings (missing), can C. then step BACK and swing? does he still count as charging?

Here's where I hope I'm playing with a GM that will apply some common sense and squelch this abusive nonsense.

I'd simply say that for you to able to use the trigger to step 5-foot and attack it won't trigger until after the charge attack.

Some call me Tim wrote:
nosig wrote:

C. has a reach weapon, so H. readies an attach when C. charges to 5-ft.-step and attack.
C. charges to 10', H. 5' steps inside the reach and swings (missing), can C. then step BACK and swing? does he still count as charging?

Here's where I hope I'm playing with a GM that will apply some common sense and squelch this abusive nonsense.

I'd simply say that for you to able to use the trigger to step 5-foot and attack it won't trigger until after the charge attack.

I disagree and see this as the most legitimate use of readying against a charge so far. If you see someone with a reach weapon, and are willing to spend your standard on the chance that they approach you, I see no reason why you couldn't ready:

"When Reach Weapon Magee comes within 10' of me, I will 5' step to be adjacent to him and attack."

If Reach Magee happened to be using a charge action to get to that spot, then he would be completely hosed. It's what readying an action is for. It allows you to interrupt other character's actions and mess with them.

the "step inside of reach" is also the most real world example. It's why swordsmen were used to fight pike armed troops (Romans, and later Spainish Sword and Buckler vs. Pike).

nosig wrote:

lol! it removed my spaces ... trying this again

C.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.H.x.x

C.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.x.x.x.x
x.x.C.x.H.x
x.x.x.x.x.x

Assuming that I'm reading this right, H moves from 7-4 to 6-5. That's a diagonal move, and I'm not confident that's allowed in a 5-foot step. Yes it is called out as being allowed by moves that provoke, but this isn't clear. I think I'd only allow it when it didn't change the outcome, which means I'd rule against it in this case.

Further, I think I'd rule that C merely charges 6-4, rather than 6-3.

Because, and I think others have touched on this before, Ready says:

Quote:
The (readied) action occurs just before the action that triggers it.

So you move just before he charges, which would change where he's aiming, since the rules say he must charge right at you.

In your specific case, yes you could take a step that causes AoO's to occur, or even a move action (but not two since Ready is/costs a standard action itself) but the charge doesn't happen until you stop moving. If it is still a legal charge, it still happens. But 'puppy on a tether' probably doesn't make chronological sense.

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Bascaria wrote:
Some call me Tim wrote:
nosig wrote:

C. has a reach weapon, so H. readies an attach when C. charges to 5-ft.-step and attack.
C. charges to 10', H. 5' steps inside the reach and swings (missing), can C. then step BACK and swing? does he still count as charging?

Here's where I hope I'm playing with a GM that will apply some common sense and squelch this abusive nonsense.

I'd simply say that for you to able to use the trigger to step 5-foot and attack it won't trigger until after the charge attack.

I disagree and see this as the most legitimate use of readying against a charge so far. If you see someone with a reach weapon, and are willing to spend your standard on the chance that they approach you, I see no reason why you couldn't ready:

"When Reach Weapon Magee comes within 10' of me, I will 5' step to be adjacent to him and attack."

If Reach Magee happened to be using a charge action to get to that spot, then he would be completely hosed. It's what readying an action is for. It allows you to interrupt other character's actions and mess with them.

Gonna have to agree here. Just because it situationally hoses someone doesn't make it "abusive nonsense".

Bascaria wrote:
If Reach Magee happened to be using a charge action to get to that spot, then he would be completely hosed. It's what readying an action is for. It allows you to interrupt other character's actions and mess with them.

Ready has some tight time-based components, though. It allows you to take an action BEFORE the action that triggered it.

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mcbobbo wrote:
Bascaria wrote:
If Reach Magee happened to be using a charge action to get to that spot, then he would be completely hosed. It's what readying an action is for. It allows you to interrupt other character's actions and mess with them.
Ready has some tight time-based components, though. It allows you to take an action BEFORE the action that triggered it.

Have a look up-thread, where Quandary and I discuss that very fact.

Basically, they misused the term "action" in that line of the Ready rules (should've been something more like "event" or "the remainder of the action" or something). For instance, if you ready an action to attack someone if they charge you (*cough*braceweapons*cough*), it wouldn't work because it would try to go off before the charge action happened, which would mean they wouldn't be in your reach yet.

Needs a little cleaning up.

wow - ready goes before the action that triggers it. So, I can't ready an action to heal someone if they are hit - but I can ready an action to give someone a Shield of Faith before they are hit. What happens if they aren't hit then? does the Readyed spell still get cast? we are drifting into Time Paradox....

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nosig wrote:
wow - ready goes before the action that triggers it. So, I can't ready an action to heal someone if they are hit - but I can ready an action to give someone a Shield of Faith before they are hit. What happens if they aren't hit then? does the Readyed spell still get cast? we are drifting into Time Paradox....

Exactly. Have a look at the post I ninja'd you with. ;)

thanks Jiggy - yours was much clearer (mine had to much sarcasm in it I am afread). the Before action makes it hard for my Bard to disarm someone as they charge her. (she uses a whip) which has lead to some interesting problems (and why she is now putting skill points into escape artist - Disarmed sweaty fighter type attacking me, goes for the grapple. Oh my, what's a girl to do?)

nosig wrote:
thanks Jiggy - yours was much clearer (mine had to much sarcasm in it I am afread). the Before action makes it hard for my Bard to disarm someone as they charge her. (she uses a whip) which has lead to some interesting problems (and why she is now putting skill points into escape artist - Disarmed sweaty fighter type attacking me, goes for the grapple. Oh my, what's a girl to do?)

Just designate it "Disarm when attacked." It's arguable that for those purposes, a charge is a movement and an attack, and that your attack would resolve after their movement but before they strike.

Alternately, consider this: It makes sense. When a person runs down the street to attack another person, it is possible for that person, properly prepared, to hit first.

Agreed Troubleshooter, I was just pointing out to Jiggy that I had encountered the "Readied action goes before..." problem before. I had a Judge explain to me that I could not "ready to disarm" someone who was outside my 15' reach with the condition "when they get in reach". It was explained to me that I could not disarm him because a) he had not drawn a weapon yet, and b) he was 30 feet away. and as my Ready action came before his (move/draw/attack combo) my disarm would fail. It doesn't work that way. Except at tables with that judge (or others with that view).
YMMV.

Alternate ending: "I attack when he is two squares away from me." Now you attack when he is 15 feet away and attempts to close in.

Trouble - I agree with you. What I am trying to say is that Mcbobbo appears not to (unless I am mis-understanding him). I have encounted other Judges who rule it this way to.
I ready a move for if I am charged with the condition "just before he can swing at me, I withdraw" and McBobbo says -
"So you move just before he charges, which would change where he's aiming, since the rules say he must charge right at you."
Result I move out of reach and the Charger doesn't, or charges to my new location. Or charges someone else.
The action that I readied for does not take place ... so how come I took my readied action? We'll have to ask McBobbo.

I'd rule in favor of the readied action.

The charge is a Move then a Swing.

If I readied an action 'Stab the charger in the face with my Large Bastard Sword of Beat Down' he would close to me, I would cut him and if I downed him he wouldn't get to 'swing back', he'd just crumple in a neat (or not so neat) pile at my feet.

Why would the moving be any different?

Charing Barbie does Move part of charge, ends next to me. Procs my 'tumble 3 squares away from threat' readied action. Barbie has finished the move part of the dance and unless he can grow 20' reach, he has no target.

If I ready an action to counter spell the person casting doesn't get to change their spell once they learn they are being countered. Reading an action, especially in this case, is a very specific and reactive use of your turn. It's a good stall tactic, and maybe in the right battle field it could be tactically useful, but overall it doesn't change much save for maybe force a character to adapt their tactics.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
nosig wrote:

How does this work?

Harry Rogue looks over at PC he goes before in Init... and decides to dodge (5 ft. step) if the PC charges (been watching to many bull fights). He pulls out his cape and Readies An Action if he is charged.

Crazed Barbie sees Harry and (you guessed it) charges.

When C.B. is next to Harry, Harry takes an attack and then 5 foot steps to the side, out of C.B. reach.

Does this work? If not, why not?

Yes it works, but it takes at least a standard action to do so. You can't ready anything less than a standard action.

Correction: Yes you can ready a free action. But you can only ready one action a round. And it says specifically that readying a 5 foot action means you lose any other movement for that round.

The ready action lets you prepare to take an action later, after your turn is over but before your next one has begun. Readying is a standard action. It does not provoke an attack of opportunity (though the action that you ready might do so).

You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character's activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action.

You can take a 5-foot step as part of your readied action, but only if you don't otherwise move any distance during the round.

going to need to go - but I'll pick this up tomorrow. Not sure what the overall results of this is though (other than YMMV, depends on the Judge). So, back to the original question.

Can you step 5' away from a charging attacker, to get out of his reach?

Most of the responses so far have been to the effect that the Charger will take more movement (if he has any. Also, if he wouldn't reach the target it seems some people are saying he is reset to his original spot, or gets to take a different action of some sort from his new one.)

I'd say it as this. If you ready an action to 5ft when the charging creature gets to you, the charging creature could be allowed to modify the LENGTH, but not direction, of his charge if he has enough movement to do so. Allowing players to modify their direction in a charge opens up a big can of worms.

On an open field this wouldn't help, as the charger would be charging directly at his target. But in situations where the charger can only charge into an adjacent square, it allows for clever use of line of contact rules.

LazarX wrote:
nosig wrote:

How does this work?

Harry Rogue looks over at PC he goes before in Init... and decides to dodge (5 ft. step) if the PC charges (been watching to many bull fights). He pulls out his cape and Readies An Action if he is charged.

Crazed Barbie sees Harry and (you guessed it) charges.

When C.B. is next to Harry, Harry takes an attack and then 5 foot steps to the side, out of C.B. reach.

Does this work? If not, why not?

Yes it works, but it takes at least a standard action to do so. You can't ready anything less than a standard action.

Correction: Yes you can ready a free action. But you can only ready one action a round. And it says specifically that readying a 5 foot action means you lose any other movement for that round.

The ready action lets you prepare to take an action later, after your turn is over but before your next one has begun. Readying is a standard action. It does not provoke an attack of opportunity (though the action that you ready might do so).

You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character's activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action.

You can take a 5-foot step as part of your readied action, but only if you don't otherwise move any distance during the round.

You can ready an action, as long as it isn't a move action to move, and you didn't use your move action to move, to include a 5' step as part of your readied action.

End result:

Harry stands still, maybe uses his move action to draw a weapon, then uses his standard action to ready an action when CB gets within range:
"When C.B. gets into my threatened area, I attack C.B., then take a 5' step to move out of his threatened area."

Now, CB charges H, H attacks, then uses his 5' step to go away from CB, but in a direction out of the line of charge. H is unable to make his attack, even if he has move left, because following H would break the charge rules.

If H uses his 5' step in such a way that he is still on the line of charge, CB can keep moving to him, if he has any movement left, and H has not somehow put a hazard in the line of charge.

Absolutely the charger may NOT change direction. The charger may not continue the line of the charge (at least without rideby, flybye or something similiar). The charger may not change his action - not to a double move, not to a move, not to a withdraw, not to a spring attack.

He may, however attack anyother person that is adjacent to the square whereupon he ended his charge.

In other words, absolutely the chargee may use a 5ft step to disrupt the charge.

The charger charges to the square nearest the victim and may then make a single attack.

If your readied action is to take a 5ft step on an attack on a charge, or alternately, to ready an attack upon a charge - and then take a 5 foot step away - rendering you outside the range of the chargers weapon - this is all PERFECTLY legitimate.

Consider: you had a choice of delaying or readying. On a delay you would get a full attack after the charge. You are conceding a full attack in order to avoid the consequences of his charge. Additionally, situationally you are risking taking no action whatsoever should the attacker charge someone else, or not trip the readied action.

This is entirely analagous to an archer readying a bow attack on the wizard spell casting.
The caster starts casting; the bowyer shoots, scores, and the resulting damage causes the spell caster to fail his concentration check, losing the spell.

You may also ready a move, to move away from the charge square.

Quotes:

"You can always take a move action in place of a standard action."
And

"You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. "

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