Readying spells to interrupt spellcasting


Rules Questions


This question is about the Ready action. As a standard action, you can ready a standard action to trigger to a certain event. My question concerns readying spells to trigger when an opponent casts a spell.

Say I am fighting a wizard. On my turn, I ready casting Scorching Rays on him if he casts a spell. He does, I hit with my two rays and deal 28 points of damage. Does he have to make a concentration check against 38 + spell level for being damaged while casting, or not?

The confusion arises from the fact that on the one hand, Readying is described as happening before a trigger, so one could say the spellcaster has not yet started casting the spell and thus doesn't have to make a concentration check. On the other hand, you can explicitely ready an attack to disrupt the spellcaster while he is casting a spell. And making an attack is that same action as casting a spell: A standard action. The Ready description explicitely says "If the triggered action is part of another character’s activities, you interrupt the other character." Does that mean he has to make a concentration check if interrupted while spellcasting?

So another ways of asking this questions seems to be: Is the proceding described under "Distracting Spellcasters" on Core p. 203 just an explanation to the ready mechanics and you can do the same with other standard actions, or is it a special rule that works differently?

If this is legal, it seems to be a much more effective way of dealing with spellcasters that counterspelling, as you both deal damage and stop them from casting.

Sczarni

just consider part of the readying action to be part of the spell is "ready" so when you see someone bringing their spell online you blast it out of them...

in short, yeah he's got to make a steep concentration check (hence why it's better unless you've got some ability to as an immediate action dispell... to just do damage)


It might be more effective, but it isn't guaranteed, whereas a counterspell always works so long as you can identify the spell and counter it with something other than dispel magic. But yes, damaging the caster is typically more useful than counterspelling.

But yes, readying an action to damage the caster and thereby disrupt the spell is very legal:

Quote:

Injury

If you take damage while trying to cast a spell, you must make a concentration check with a DC equal to 10 + the damage taken + the level of the spell you're casting. If you fail the check, you lose the spell without effect. The interrupting event strikes during spellcasting if it comes between the time you started and the time you complete a spell (for a spell with a casting time of 1 full round or more) or if it comes in response to your casting the spell (such as an attack of opportunity provoked by the spell or a contingent attack, such as a readied action).

"Such as" is not exhaustive, so it's no stretch to go from "readied attack" to "readied scorching ray", especially since the latter is also an attack.


harzerkatze wrote:


Say I am fighting a wizard. On my turn, I ready casting Scorching Rays on him if he casts a spell. He does, I hit with my two rays and deal 28 points of damage. Does he have to make a concentration check against 38 + spell level for being damaged while casting, or not?

Yes.

Quote:
The confusion arises from the fact that on the one hand, Readying is described as happening before a trigger, so one could say the spellcaster has not yet started casting the spell and thus doesn't have to make a concentration check.

Not quite: the readied action start AFTER the trigger, but resolve BEFORE. In order:

1)the triggering action start (starting to cast)
2) you have the trigger, so you start your readied action, and cast scorching ray or whatever
3) your action end
4) priority on the caster that has already started to cast, so he's damaged, so he need to make conc check.
5) if he pass the check, he can continue to casting, completing his action.


Blackstorm wrote:
harzerkatze wrote:


Say I am fighting a wizard. On my turn, I ready casting Scorching Rays on him if he casts a spell. He does, I hit with my two rays and deal 28 points of damage. Does he have to make a concentration check against 38 + spell level for being damaged while casting, or not?

Yes.

Quote:
The confusion arises from the fact that on the one hand, Readying is described as happening before a trigger, so one could say the spellcaster has not yet started casting the spell and thus doesn't have to make a concentration check.

Not quite: the readied action start AFTER the trigger, but resolve BEFORE. In order:

1)the triggering action start (starting to cast)
2) you have the trigger, so you start your readied action, and cast scorching ray or whatever
3) your action end
4) priority on the caster that has already started to cast, so he's damaged, so he need to make conc check.
5) if he pass the check, he can continue to casting, completing his action.

Technically speaking under readying an action it does state that the readied action happens BEFORE the action that triggers it. That said, there are rules for distracting a spellcaster, and I see no reason why it wouldn't apply to using damage spells.


harzerkatze wrote:
Say I am fighting a wizard. On my turn, I ready casting Scorching Rays on him if he casts a spell. He does, I hit with my two rays and deal 28 points of damage. Does he have to make a concentration check against 38 + spell level for being damaged while casting, or not?

Believe he has to make a seperate concentration check for each ray.

Say ray 1 did 15 damage and ray 2 did 13 damage, then he has to make concentration check 1 at 10+15+spell level and a second check at 10+13+spell level.

Keep in mind that if you readied a spell that does not do any damage (like say a slow spell) he needs to make a concentration check too:

Quote:
If you are affected by a spell while attempting to cast a spell of your own, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell you are casting. If the spell affecting you deals damage, the DC is 10 + the damage taken + the level of the spell you're casting.


Lifat wrote:


Technically speaking under readying an action it does state that the readied action happens BEFORE the action that triggers it.

In fact, I said it resolve before. But there's no way it start before: it it would be the case, you should start without even know that the trigger is activating. As a forum user said once: it's like a Marine, if you aim a gun in his face, he's able to detect the moment when you try to shoot him, and he can act in a fraction when you start to pull back the gun trigger and can "resolve" his action before you can shoot him. I always stick with this view, as I see it as really consistent: the action start, triggering the readied action, and your readied action resolve before your enemy can continue the action.


Causality in D&D (and Pathfinder) is obviously broken, and we just have to deal with that. Official ruling I got back in the day, which I assume would apply to PF as well, is that a normal-casting-time spell can interrupt a quickened spell. Nevermind that this is obviously impossible, it happens.

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