Can a Readied Action With a 5-ft Step Be Used To Cancel An Opponent's Attack


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Hello all - maybe the subject line will be all you need to answer this question, if not please refer to the scenario below. This is a three part question...

Scenario:
The player has engaged a melee opponent and has won initiative. At the beginning of combat, the opponent is 15ft away from the player, but the player decides to ready to attack the opponent when the opponent attacks him in melee; this ends the players turn temporarily. The opponent moves adjacent to the player, and makes his melee attack. The opponent's attack trigger's the player's readied action, which is executed, and the player finishes by taking a 5-ft step away from the opponent.

Question 1: Do you need to declare the 5-ft step as part of the readied action?

I'm inclined to say "no" because the rules say "You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action" and a 5-ft step is none of those. The rules further say, "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."

Scenario Continued:
The opponent is now 10-ft away from the player. The player's readied action interrupted the opponent's declared standard action so, due to the fact the opponent has already moved, the opponent's turn is done; with exception of any swift or free actions the opponent might be able to make.

Question 2: Suppose the opponent has a movement speed of 30... Due to the fact the opponent only moved 15 feet, can he move again to be adjacent to the player, and then declare another standard action to attack again on the same turn?

Again, I'm inclined to say "no" because the rules say "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." In this scenario, the opponent is no longer capable of executing his standard action because the player is now out of his range and because you cannot move, attack, move, and attack again his turn would be over.

Question 3: Would this same principle apply to readying to attack an opponent that charges the player in melee?

Thanks for your input!! :)


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Yes, you are allowed to take your 5 foot step, and that might take you out of his attack range.

The question, and this has been debated before is "does he have to attack you, or can he continue his movement". That matters because the readied action occurs before his attack takes place, so since he has not taken the action needed to attack it could be argued that he is still on his move action, and can continue the movement.


5ft step faq question

There are arguments on both sides and the words of the text can be construed to support either argument. Have a read through and ultimately speak to your group to see which way you want to play with and stick to it.

I'm disappointed that with 110 FAQs no-one picked this one up.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Absurdities like this "zeno's paradox" or "precession of the readied equinox" are simply mind exercises that show problems with the logical language used to describe certain in-game actions.

This shows why allowing a 5-foot step as "part of a readied action" doesn't work.

Allowing the adversary to continue movement after such a readied action is one viable workaround. But the whole problem boils down to Pathfinder's attempt (and of course DD3.5's attempt before that) to finesse the "I go, you go" nature of a combat round. Anything we can do to round out the edges of situations like this "zeno's paradox" is helpful.


You can avoid his attack and his attack is used. Just as if you had Readied an attack to hit a spellcaster if he starts casting, he has still started the action and if you hit and he loses the spell, he can't just decide not to cast the spell because you went first.

Granted, there are times when a readied action can't actually precede a triggering action. For instance, if a player readies to attack an enemy opening a door (assuming from the other side), then he can't actually attack that target until the action of opening the door is completed. Otherwise there'd be a door between them. This is a special case and sometimes you have to use common sense judgement.

Again though, perfectly legal to ready an action to step away from an enemy if they swing at you. Just make sure you have it worded that way and not 'if an enemy steps next to me' in which case, the enemy CAN continue their move action to follow you if they have movement remaining.


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The rules can pretty easily be argued either way.

Personally I would never allow my players to attack and negate an attack as part of the same readied action. It too easily turns melee combat into a dance of readied actions and 5 foot steps, which IMHO is frustrating and not remotely fun.


Pizza Lord wrote:

You can avoid his attack and his attack is used. Just as if you had Readied an attack to hit a spellcaster if he starts casting, he has still started the action and if you hit and he loses the spell, he can't just decide not to cast the spell because you went first.

Granted, there are times when a readied action can't actually precede a triggering action. For instance, if a player readies to attack an enemy opening a door (assuming from the other side), then he can't actually attack that target until the action of opening the door is completed. Otherwise there'd be a door between them. This is a special case and sometimes you have to use common sense judgement.

Again though, perfectly legal to ready an action to step away from an enemy if they swing at you. Just make sure you have it worded that way and not 'if an enemy steps next to me' in which case, the enemy CAN continue their move action to follow you if they have movement remaining.

Spells are specifically called out as being disrupted during readied actions. Other actions are pre-empted by the readied action.

PS: I don't like it, but the rules seem to make it possible. It would be better if they had said readied actions can interrupt an action similar to how immediate actions can.


Thanks for the answers thus far!!

So, does the player have to declare he or she wil take a 5-foot step as part of his readied action?

Again, I would say no because a readied action is a standard, move, swift, or free action; a 5-foot step is none of those. The rules instruct you to specify the action you will take under what conditions... And the 5-foot step is written as something that can happen along with your readied action.

Thanks again. :)


Pizza Lord wrote:

You can avoid his attack and his attack is used. Just as if you had Readied an attack to hit a spellcaster if he starts casting, he has still started the action and if you hit and he loses the spell, he can't just decide not to cast the spell because you went first.

Granted, there are times when a readied action can't actually precede a triggering action. For instance, if a player readies to attack an enemy opening a door (assuming from the other side), then he can't actually attack that target until the action of opening the door is completed. Otherwise there'd be a door between them. This is a special case and sometimes you have to use common sense judgement.

Again though, perfectly legal to ready an action to step away from an enemy if they swing at you. Just make sure you have it worded that way and not 'if an enemy steps next to me' in which case, the enemy CAN continue their move action to follow you if they have movement remaining.

Casting spells are specifically called out as a loss of action. Other actions are not.

You do not lose the ability to make an attack just because you are tripped from an AoO or readied action during your attack. You cannot apply the spell casting rules to melee combat.

Like someone above said, there are so many valid arguments with this situation. It basically means you just have to pick a side for your table.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I might rule this as:

A readies action to move if B approaches: A can use his readied action to move, but B can continue moving to follow if B chooses to (this might cause a loss of standard action if it is far enough to require two move actions to follow).

A readies action if B attacks: B attacks and resolves the attack, which then triggers the readied action. This could negate a full attack sequence or the remainder of a multiattack, but not the first attack, which is the trigger. The reason being the readied action is not a free action.

For example: A readies rage if B attacks. Rage is a free action and can go before the attack resolves.


Komoda wrote:
You do not lose the ability to make an attack just because you are tripped from an AoO or readied action during your attack. You cannot apply the spell casting rules to melee combat.

Those aren't the spell-casting rules, it's the Readied Action rules regarding spell-casting. And what you say about still completing your action after taking a hit from a Readied action or AoO is true, which might be why they specifically mentioned an occurrence where an action is flat out negated regardless of the target surviving the AoO or readied action. And like you said, you still make the attempt, even if it now becomes more difficult or even impossible to hit the target. If you go to swing at someone and their AoO or Readied action trips you, you fall prone and (assuming you survive) you continue the action. You don't get to say, "Nah, I don't swing, because now I have a -4 to attack." You're already taking the action that triggered the AoO or the Ready.

If I ready an action to run out of a fireball's area if I see the bead streaking towards me, you don't get to change the intersection you targeted because suddenly there's not a satisfactory target where there was before.

Now there are things you can change in certain circumstances, for instance, you don't pick the targets for spells until you complete casting them, so if your intended target has readied to run out of range when you cast a charm spell (before you actually target someone), then they do so. Once their readied action is done, you continue yours, which is to complete the spell (or you could purposefully lose it) and then choose a different target, but that is expressly stated in how casting and choosing targets works... and that is a spell-casting rule.

Similarly, if you are moving and something happens while you are moving, like a monster readying to step out into a hallway up ahead when you're halfway down it, you may have moved 25-ft. of your 30-foot movement, but you can choose not to move that last 5 feet closer (unless the monster's Ready was specifically to come out as you were moving into that space). You can stop short, or move the remaining movement sideways or even backwards. Just like if you were walking half your movement and reached a corner and saw a group of bad guys around it. You can stop, you can back up your remaining movement, or you can keep moving forward.

There is nothing about making a melee attack that says you can change your target after swinging at them. There are spells or abilities (usually immediate actions) that negate attacks or stop someone from attacking you and they will explicitly note if they let the affected party change targets. You don't get to say you weren't using power attack because the guy you swung at stepped backward. Similarly, you still get to benefit from Fighting Defensively because you did make the attack.

If I ready an action to fall prone if you shoot an arrow at me, and you shoot an arrow at me and would miss because I got a +4 AC against ranged attacks, you don't get to shoot that arrow at someone else. Now if I had said that I fall prone if you 'aim' at me, then you might have a claim to being able to target someone else. Because if Ready requiring specific actions and observable situations, a GM could rule that you aiming, drawing the bow, etc. is reasonable enough to trigger the Ready action (the player does not have to take the action if it triggers). So if I drop prone 'before' you actually shoot and you decide maybe with the +4 AC I would be too hard to hit then yes, you can re-target, but not once you've made the attack, even if while the arrow is in flight something happens to up the difficulty of the hit or even negate it entirely.

Scarab Sages

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This is one of the thing I'm okay with.
But only if the players have no issue with the dragons, ogres and pretty much any creature with 15 ft reach, against the players 5 ft reach, doing the same thing.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander... but not always good for the game.


Blake's Tiger wrote:
A readies action if B attacks: B attacks and resolves the attack, which then triggers the readied action. This could negate a full attack sequence or the remainder of a multiattack, but not the first attack, which is the trigger.

It will not negate a full attack or multi-attack, though the attacker may not be able to attack you with those other attacks. The first attack will miss, because you aren't where he is attacking. If he has multiple attacks they can be directed at any other valid targets (or empty squares if he wishes). If you were the only apparently valid target, then technically that would be true, but it isn't mechanically true. His missing or hitting you does not affect his follow up attacks anymore than just missing you normally does.

Scarab Sages

Blake's Tiger wrote:

I might rule this as:

A readies action to move if B approaches: A can use his readied action to move, but B can continue moving to follow if B chooses to (this might cause a loss of standard action if it is far enough to require two move actions to follow).

A readies action if B attacks: B attacks and resolves the attack, which then triggers the readied action. This could negate a full attack sequence or the remainder of a multiattack, but not the first attack, which is the trigger. The reason being the readied action is not a free action.

For example: A readies rage if B attacks. Rage is a free action and can go before the attack resolves.

The first example is the only valid one. And, that one would work. As the one whose action is interrupted may continue the action if they are able.

But, for the second example...
A readied action is resolved before the triggering event. Thus, they would not be able to make their first attack. Since that was the triggering even, and the movement would happen before the attack.

Also, if it were a readied 5 ft step, it is a free action. It is a standard action to ready an action, but the action you readied acts in all ways like the action would have if you had not readied it.

The first attack would be negated, as the target is no longer in range. But the next attacks the attacker can choose to apply to a different target. As normal.


Blake's Tiger wrote:

I might rule this as:

A readies action to move if B approaches: A can use his readied action to move, but B can continue moving to follow if B chooses to (this might cause a loss of standard action if it is far enough to require two move actions to follow).

A readies action if B attacks: B attacks and resolves the attack, which then triggers the readied action. This could negate a full attack sequence or the remainder of a multiattack, but not the first attack, which is the trigger. The reason being the readied action is not a free action.

For example: A readies rage if B attacks. Rage is a free action and can go before the attack resolves.

For the second trigger, unless he moves more than 5-feet it won't ruin a full-attack sequence as A could follow him with his own 5-foot step.

Scarab Sages

CrystalSpellblade wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:

I might rule this as:

A readies action to move if B approaches: A can use his readied action to move, but B can continue moving to follow if B chooses to (this might cause a loss of standard action if it is far enough to require two move actions to follow).

A readies action if B attacks: B attacks and resolves the attack, which then triggers the readied action. This could negate a full attack sequence or the remainder of a multiattack, but not the first attack, which is the trigger. The reason being the readied action is not a free action.

For example: A readies rage if B attacks. Rage is a free action and can go before the attack resolves.

For the second trigger, unless he moves more than 5-feet it won't ruin a full-attack sequence as A could follow him with his own 5-foot step.

Or they could use a full movement action instead of a 5-foot to prevent that. Better to take one AOO than a full set of attacks.


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Common sense is the order of the day here. Obviously perverse results that use the rules to defy common sense should be frustrated by GMs and Players alike.

If a player readies an action to throw themselves to the floor if an enemy starts shooting at them... go for it.

If a player readies an action to attack a charging enemy, gets to make said attack then move away 5 ft, and then claims the charger (despite having plenty of movement free) cannot move the additional 5 ft and attack... slap them with a wet fish.


CrystalSpellblade wrote:
For the second trigger, unless he moves more than 5-feet it won't ruin a full-attack sequence as A could follow him with his own 5-foot step.

A good catch, CrystalSpellblade. Ashamed with myself that I didn't think to point it out myself.

Scarab Sages

The Sword wrote:

Common sense is the order of the day here. Obviously perverse results that use the rules to defy common sense should be frustrated by GMs and Players alike.

If a player readies an action to throw themselves to the floor if an enemy starts shooting at them... go for it.

If a player readies an action to attack a charging enemy, gets to make said attack then move away 5 ft, and then claims the charger (despite having plenty of movement free) cannot move the additional 5 ft and attack... slap them with a wet fish.

Of course, vs charging all you have to do is move 2 spaces from where you stand mid their charge. Then they can't charge you as it is not a straight line.


Lorewalker wrote:
The Sword wrote:

Common sense is the order of the day here. Obviously perverse results that use the rules to defy common sense should be frustrated by GMs and Players alike.

If a player readies an action to throw themselves to the floor if an enemy starts shooting at them... go for it.

If a player readies an action to attack a charging enemy, gets to make said attack then move away 5 ft, and then claims the charger (despite having plenty of movement free) cannot move the additional 5 ft and attack... slap them with a wet fish.

Of course, vs charging all you have to do is move 2 spaces from where you stand mid their charge. Then they can't charge you as it is not a straight line.

But that can't be done with a 5ft step. If you spend your standard actions to prepare a move action, to avoid letting the enemy place themselves in a position where you get the first full round attack, be my guest.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Pizza Lord wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:
A readies action if B attacks: B attacks and resolves the attack, which then triggers the readied action. This could negate a full attack sequence or the remainder of a multiattack, but not the first attack, which is the trigger.
It will not negate a full attack or multi-attack, though the attacker may not be able to attack you with those other attacks. The first attack will miss, because you aren't where he is attacking. If he has multiple attacks they can be directed at any other valid targets (or empty squares if he wishes). If you were the only apparently valid target, then technically that would be true, but it isn't mechanically true. His missing or hitting you does not affect his follow up attacks anymore than just missing you normally does.

Yes. I was assuming only two people on the dance floor.

Scarab Sages

Rub-Eta wrote:
Lorewalker wrote:
The Sword wrote:

Common sense is the order of the day here. Obviously perverse results that use the rules to defy common sense should be frustrated by GMs and Players alike.

If a player readies an action to throw themselves to the floor if an enemy starts shooting at them... go for it.

If a player readies an action to attack a charging enemy, gets to make said attack then move away 5 ft, and then claims the charger (despite having plenty of movement free) cannot move the additional 5 ft and attack... slap them with a wet fish.

Of course, vs charging all you have to do is move 2 spaces from where you stand mid their charge. Then they can't charge you as it is not a straight line.
But that can't be done with a 5ft step. If you spend your standard actions to prepare a move action, to avoid letting the enemy place themselves in a position where you get the first full round attack, be my guest.

Depends on if they have pounce or not.

Creatures that you know have pounce and a bunch of attacks... or something with a lance... or really, a bunch of things that are nasty on a charge but not so on regular full attacks.

It's not an always tactic... but it is a valid and effective one.

Also, if YOU have pounce you can avoid their charge and then make one of your own next turn.


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If you can ready an attack, have the enemy move up to you, attack and step away, leaving them swinging their dick in the air because you reacted to "end of the move action", the game becomes very silly.


Manly-man teapot wrote:
If you can ready an attack, have the enemy move up to you, attack and step away, leaving them swinging their dick in the air because you reacted to "end of the move action", the game becomes very silly.

That's not really a valid trigger, as you don't declare the end of a move action, so its a non-issue. Readying an attack and 5-ft step in response to an attack is valid, and also an non-issue, as it should only ever work once if at all, and incredibly easy to counter, and generally a waste of a standard action if its seen coming.

If a player keeps falling for it by constantly charging into the readied attack, that's more user error than a fault of the rules system.


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wraithstrike wrote:

Yes, you are allowed to take your 5 foot step, and that might take you out of his attack range.

The question, and this has been debated before is "does he have to attack you, or can he continue his movement". That matters because the readied action occurs before his attack takes place, so since he has not taken the action needed to attack it could be argued that he is still on his move action, and can continue the movement.

Show me the rule that says a readied action can include an action PLUS a 5 foot step. You can have one or the other... not both. The readied action has to specify EXACTLY what it is... and in this case, you'd have to declare the direction of your readied 5 foot step.

Scarab Sages

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

Yes, you are allowed to take your 5 foot step, and that might take you out of his attack range.

The question, and this has been debated before is "does he have to attack you, or can he continue his movement". That matters because the readied action occurs before his attack takes place, so since he has not taken the action needed to attack it could be argued that he is still on his move action, and can continue the movement.

Show me the rule that says a readied action can include an action PLUS a 5 foot step. You can have one or the other... not both. The readied action has to specify EXACTLY what it is... and in this case, you'd have to declare the direction of your readied 5 foot step.

A 5-foot step is a free action, not an immediate action.

You are correct, they can not attack and make a 5-foot step. But they could ready a 5-foot step. You don't have to specify exactly down to direction, though.

For example, I ready to move if someone moves next to me... if I had said "I move to this square..then this square.. then this square" I could have chosen an invalid movement if the creature that moves next to me moves into that spot. Not really worth a standard action at that point.

You specify the action, but you can leave the targeting until the action is triggered.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

Yes, you are allowed to take your 5 foot step, and that might take you out of his attack range.

The question, and this has been debated before is "does he have to attack you, or can he continue his movement". That matters because the readied action occurs before his attack takes place, so since he has not taken the action needed to attack it could be argued that he is still on his move action, and can continue the movement.

Show me the rule that says a readied action can include an action PLUS a 5 foot step. You can have one or the other... not both. The readied action has to specify EXACTLY what it is... and in this case, you'd have to declare the direction of your readied 5 foot step.
PRD/CRB wrote:

Readying an Action: 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.


Lorewalker wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

Yes, you are allowed to take your 5 foot step, and that might take you out of his attack range.

The question, and this has been debated before is "does he have to attack you, or can he continue his movement". That matters because the readied action occurs before his attack takes place, so since he has not taken the action needed to attack it could be argued that he is still on his move action, and can continue the movement.

Show me the rule that says a readied action can include an action PLUS a 5 foot step. You can have one or the other... not both. The readied action has to specify EXACTLY what it is... and in this case, you'd have to declare the direction of your readied 5 foot step.

A 5-foot step is a free action, not an immediate action.

You are correct, they can not attack and make a 5-foot step. But they could ready a 5-foot step. You don't have to specify exactly down to direction, though.

For example, I ready to move if someone moves next to me... if I had said "I move to this square..then this square.. then this square" I could have chosen an invalid movement if the creature that moves next to me moves into that spot. Not really worth a standard action at that point.

You specify the action, but you can leave the targeting until the action is triggered.

A 5-foot step is not even a free action. It falls under the "not an action/no action" category.

Scarab Sages

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wraithstrike wrote:
Lorewalker wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

Yes, you are allowed to take your 5 foot step, and that might take you out of his attack range.

The question, and this has been debated before is "does he have to attack you, or can he continue his movement". That matters because the readied action occurs before his attack takes place, so since he has not taken the action needed to attack it could be argued that he is still on his move action, and can continue the movement.

Show me the rule that says a readied action can include an action PLUS a 5 foot step. You can have one or the other... not both. The readied action has to specify EXACTLY what it is... and in this case, you'd have to declare the direction of your readied 5 foot step.

A 5-foot step is a free action, not an immediate action.

You are correct, they can not attack and make a 5-foot step. But they could ready a 5-foot step. You don't have to specify exactly down to direction, though.

For example, I ready to move if someone moves next to me... if I had said "I move to this square..then this square.. then this square" I could have chosen an invalid movement if the creature that moves next to me moves into that spot. Not really worth a standard action at that point.

You specify the action, but you can leave the targeting until the action is triggered.

A 5-foot step is not even a free action. It falls under the "not an action/no action" category.

Yup, you're right. That's what I get for going off memory.

But, this line from the AOO examples is what says it is a free action. Which is what I always remember.
"She could instead limit her movement to a 5-foot step, as a free action, and not provoke any attacks of opportunity."


Lorewalker wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Lorewalker wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

Yes, you are allowed to take your 5 foot step, and that might take you out of his attack range.

The question, and this has been debated before is "does he have to attack you, or can he continue his movement". That matters because the readied action occurs before his attack takes place, so since he has not taken the action needed to attack it could be argued that he is still on his move action, and can continue the movement.

Show me the rule that says a readied action can include an action PLUS a 5 foot step. You can have one or the other... not both. The readied action has to specify EXACTLY what it is... and in this case, you'd have to declare the direction of your readied 5 foot step.

A 5-foot step is a free action, not an immediate action.

You are correct, they can not attack and make a 5-foot step. But they could ready a 5-foot step. You don't have to specify exactly down to direction, though.

For example, I ready to move if someone moves next to me... if I had said "I move to this square..then this square.. then this square" I could have chosen an invalid movement if the creature that moves next to me moves into that spot. Not really worth a standard action at that point.

You specify the action, but you can leave the targeting until the action is triggered.

A 5-foot step is not even a free action. It falls under the "not an action/no action" category.

Yup, you're right. That's what I get for going off memory.

But, this line from the AOO examples is what says it is a free action. Which is what I always remember.
"She could instead limit her movement to a 5-foot step, as a free action, and not provoke any attacks of opportunity."

I didn't even know that line existed. That might be why a lot of people think they are free actions.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Sword wrote:

5ft step faq question

There are arguments on both sides and the words of the text can be construed to support either argument. Have a read through and ultimately speak to your group to see which way you want to play with and stick to it.

I'm disappointed that with 110 FAQs no-one picked this one up.

That FAQ request is badly worded. The reply to the generic question: "If I have an action interrupted by another characters readied action (or AoO), and my action is no longer valid as a result, can I choose to take a different action in place of the one that triggered the readied action?" is clear: no.

If you provoke a AoO casting a spell and lose you hae expended your standard action and you can't change your action.
After committing to an action you can't "take it back".

But that isn't what the OP is asking. What he ask is way more nuanced and require a different FAQ request.


We should agree that there are some Readied Actions that you can not declare, or in the case you allow them, you have to work around them in a way that they do not change the combat system.

For all those who allow the D.K. -dancing kobold- tactics, although some others have addressed this same issue on the other thread and haven't been answered either, would you also allow this tactic?

2 ranged contenders, the one who wins the initiative-roll declares the readied action: when I get attacked I make a 5-Feet Step and attack. The result should be the same as with the D.K.: that contender auto-dodges the attack -since was aimed to a point in the space where he is no longer anymore- and gets an attack.

---

The combat system shows us a way to represent the hit/miss/dodge reality, and uses AC/attack-rolls; saying that Readied Actions are included on this, is stretching the concept of Readied Action further than, from my point of view, it was intended for. If you allow that, the Combat System would turn into a rock-paper-scissors-lizzard-Spock comedy as BNW has already pointed out.

---

My intepretation for this kind of situation would be like this:
Character A: declares that he would attack and 5-Feet step if someone attacks him.
Character B: declares, not knowing the instance of character A declaration, that he moves to A and attacks.

When B starts to attack, but not having attacked yet, A attacks him and makes his step. Has B attacked yet? No, because the trigger was not done, as per the Readied rules, then character B continues his actions if able: keeps moving if he still has movement left, and then attacks.

This is how I would handle this situation, and is simple. Did you roll for the attack? Yes? Then confirm hit/miss dependeing on target AC. You didn't? Then the attack did not occur and you can keep doing your actions on the point you left them. And since there is nowhere in the rules that specify when an action ends before the next starts, technically, movement has not ended yet, because the attack has not started yet.

---

The only case where the actions are wasted in a explicit way is the casting of spells, for the rest of situations we have "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".

Note that even the rules say: another character's activities, in plural, and allow him to continue "his actions", not his action. Actually even states the term 'activities', implying that your readied action does not, per se, incur on a cancellation of his activities.

---

At my table, if an archer declares a Ready to auto-dodge the arrow of another archer, I would allow him a 5-Feet step before attacking and get attacked by the second archer, who in turn, amused by the first archer performance, will aim his bow to the place where the dancer is located and will roll an attack-roll and we will compare to the first one's AC in case archer's A arrow haven't knocked out archer B to decide if archer B hits or misses.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

There is no "Zeno's paradox" in this tactic as it require the full collaboration of the enemy to work after the first round and it work only against melee atacks from an enemy that is not adjacent at the start of the turn.

Let's see how it work. Let's hypothesize ideal conditions for the one using this tactic, so featureless plain and 1:1 battle:

1) Char A ready the action: "If attacked I will attack my attacker and take a 5' step away from him".
2) Char B move and attack, triggering the ready action.
3) Char A attack and move away, avoiding that B attack.

What is the result? At the cost of 1 action Char A had made 1 attack and avoided the enemy attack. Note that it work only if he has the same or longer reach than the enemy. If char A has a shorter reach he can't attack and so can't take the ready action.

Next turn.
1) Char A ready the action: "If attacked I will attack my attacker and take a 5' step away from him". He can't move as that would make him unable to take the ready action.
2) Char B move adjacent and ready an action: "If char A attack i will attack him." He can't add a 5' step to his action as he ahs already moved.
3) Neither of the characters make an attack.

3rd turn.
A is adjacent to B (same situation as if he hadn't taken a 5' step in round 1. If he attack B take his readied action.
If he take a move action he provoke an AoO.
If he retreat as a full round action he can't take a ready action. And B can charge him.
If he take a 5' step he can take it with is readied action.
If he ready his usual action without moving: "If attacked I will attack my attacker and take a 5' step away from him" B can follow him and make his full attack without problems as he will not have moved when A take his ready action and a 5' step can be taken together with a full attack, before, after or even between attacks.

So essentially, who will be blocked by this readied action? People that are unable to adapt.

Let's look this tactic in RL. It exist? Yes, making an attack to stop a enemy momentum and dodging away is a tactic has been used by combatants for ages. And even in Rl there are counters.


You are assuming Char A ready action on turn 2 is "If attacked I will attack..."

Only Char B can adapt? Maybe Char A readied action for second turn would be "If Char B gets adjacent to me I withdraw and move 15 Feet."

All in all, the rock-scissors-paper-llizzard-Spock comedy we were talking about earlier.

Can we play that? Yes. Can we assume that Readied action should be interpreted in another way? Yes, also.

---

Note that I'm not claiming that the Dancing Kobold interpretation is not reasonable, I'm pointing out that, on my opinion, the other interpretation is more reasonable.

EDIT: just to be clear, being two possible interpretations feasible, I suggest using AC/attack-rolls model to settle down if there's a hit or a miss on an attack, and drop the rock-paper-scissors game for another moment, being the two of them possible.


Diego Rossi wrote:
The Sword wrote:

5ft step faq question

There are arguments on both sides and the words of the text can be construed to support either argument. Have a read through and ultimately speak to your group to see which way you want to play with and stick to it.

I'm disappointed that with 110 FAQs no-one picked this one up.

That FAQ request is badly worded. The reply to the generic question: "If I have an action interrupted by another characters readied action (or AoO), and my action is no longer valid as a result, can I choose to take a different action in place of the one that triggered the readied action?" is clear: no.

If you provoke a AoO casting a spell and lose you hae expended your standard action and you can't change your action.
After committing to an action you can't "take it back".

But that isn't what the OP is asking. What he ask is way more nuanced and require a different FAQ request.

No matter what one's opinion is on if you can "take back" declarations of actions or not, it has been shown quite a few times that spells are not the norm. As such, they should stop being used as the example for how all interrupts work.


On the case of the two archers things gets funnier. I'll call the archers A and B.

Case 1, rock-scissors-paper model with shenagians Ready Action.

1st Round:
A: If B shots me I step 5-Feet and shoot back.
B: I shoot at A -B auto-misses because he shoot an unoccupied space and gets attacked by A-.

2nd Round:
A: If B feints to shoot me just to shoot me, I remain still and shoot at him.
B: If A feints and sidesteps at my shoot, then I wait and shoot him on the right square where he is now.
(nobody shoots)

Funny but kind of strange, at the end this model resolves in guessing the readied action of the other contender.

Case 2, AC/to-hit roll:

It looks quite more easier resolve the situation like this:

1st Round:
A: If B shoots me I step 5-Feet and shoot back.
B: I shoot at A -then A sidesteps and shoots- and then, if B is not knocked down, shoots back at A.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Pizza Lord wrote:


Those aren't the spell-casting rules, it's the Readied Action rules regarding spell-casting. And what you say about still completing your action after taking a hit from a Readied action or AoO is true, which might be why they specifically mentioned an occurrence where an action is flat out negated regardless of the target surviving the AoO or readied action. And like you said, you still make the attempt, even if it now becomes more difficult or even impossible to hit the target. If you go to swing at someone and their AoO or Readied action trips you, you fall prone and (assuming you survive) you continue the action. You don't get to say, "Nah, I don't swing, because now I have a -4 to attack." You're already taking the action that triggered the AoO or the Ready.

If I ready an action to run out of a fireball's area if I see the bead streaking towards me, you don't get to change the intersection you targeted because suddenly there's not a satisfactory target where there was before.

Now there are things you can change in certain circumstances, for instance, you don't pick the targets for spells until you complete casting them, so if your intended target has readied to run out of range when you cast a charm spell (before you actually target someone), then they do so. Once their readied action is done, you continue yours, which is to complete the spell (or you could purposefully lose it) and then choose a different target, but that is expressly stated in how casting and choosing targets works... and that is a spell-casting rule.

Similarly, if you are moving and something happens while you are moving, like a monster readying to step out into a hallway up ahead when you're halfway down it, you may have moved 25-ft. of your 30-foot movement, but you can choose not to move that last 5...

I have to disagree completely. There is no rule in PF that says you have to decide what you are doing, declare it, then it happens. If you are moving and get close enough to attack, and the victim moves as part of a readied action, you can then continue to move as long as you have movement left. There is nothing that says you can't continue. If you had made your attack (which you didn't, as the victim moved before your attack) then you would be stuck.

Spellcasting is different, because the rules for disrupting a spell superficially states that you have to make a concentration if you get attacked as the result of a readied action. The readied action is not "to attack when he casts" but "to attack while he is casting to disrupt the spell".
The OP kind of answered this himself. If he doesn't have to declare a 5 foot step as part of his ready would his attacker have to declare his movement. He can move, then move again, as long as he hasn't attacked,and still has movement left.


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Numarak wrote:

On the case of the two archers things gets funnier. I'll call the archers A and B.

Case 1, rock-scissors-paper model with shenagians Ready Action.

1st Round:
A: If B shots me I step 5-Feet and shoot back.
B: I shoot at A -B auto-misses because he shoot an unoccupied space and gets attacked by A-.

2nd Round:
A: If B feints to shoot me just to shoot me, I remain still and shoot at him.
B: If A feints and sidesteps at my shoot, then I wait and shoot him on the right square where he is now.
(nobody shoots)

Funny but kind of strange, at the end this model resolves in guessing the readied action of the other contender.

Case 2, AC/to-hit roll:

It looks quite more easier resolve the situation like this:

1st Round:
A: If B shoots me I step 5-Feet and shoot back.
B: I shoot at A -then A sidesteps and shoots- and then, if B is not knocked down, shoots back at A.

Why wouldn't B just shoot at your new location? Your action triggers before the attack roll, B isn't obligated to shoot at the empty square.


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No. It would make the game unplayable.


Sure... It works... But OTOH, you're giving up your full attack and gambling on guessing correctly what the enemy will do.


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I limit the triggers that players can declare to things a mechanics-unaware character can observe. This reduces any "after he ends his move action but before he begins another action" shenanigans. Those are mechanics not observable by a character. A character CAN observe the opponent entering or leaving certain squares, so those triggers are perfectly fine.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Numarak wrote:

You are assuming Char A ready action on turn 2 is "If attacked I will attack..."

Only Char B can adapt? Maybe Char A readied action for second turn would be "If Char B gets adjacent to me I withdraw and move 15 Feet."

All in all, the rock-scissors-paper-llizzard-Spock comedy we were talking about earlier.

Can we play that? Yes. Can we assume that Readied action should be interpreted in another way? Yes, also.

---

Note that I'm not claiming that the Dancing Kobold interpretation is not reasonable, I'm pointing out that, on my opinion, the other interpretation is more reasonable.

EDIT: just to be clear, being two possible interpretations feasible, I suggest using AC/attack-rolls model to settle down if there's a hit or a miss on an attack, and drop the rock-paper-scissors game for another moment, being the two of them possible.

"If Char B gets adjacent to me I withdraw and move 15 Feet."

Withdraw is a full round action. You can't ready it. You can move away, but you provoke an AoO.

I don't have problems with someone using his actions to flee. Rarely my NPC want to fight to the death. Sadly (for them) generally the time between "I can't win" and "Dead" is to short to be able to flee.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Numarak wrote:

On the case of the two archers things gets funnier. I'll call the archers A and B.

Case 1, rock-scissors-paper model with shenagians Ready Action.

1st Round:
A: If B shots me I step 5-Feet and shoot back.
B: I shoot at A -B auto-misses because he shoot an unoccupied space and gets attacked by A-.

False example. You target a creature, not a square.

Numarak wrote:


2nd Round:
A: If B feints to shoot me just to shoot me, I remain still and shoot at him.
B: If A feints and sidesteps at my shoot, then I wait and shoot him on the right square where he is now.
(nobody shoots)

"If B feints to shoot me just to shoot me," ???

Again, you target a creature, not a square. If the creature move you are still firing at the creature, unless it get total cover.

Numarak wrote:


Funny but kind of strange, at the end this model resolves in guessing the readied action of the other contender.

Case 2, AC/to-hit roll:

It looks quite more easier resolve the situation like this:

1st Round:
A: If B shoots me I step 5-Feet and shoot back.
B: I shoot at A -then A sidesteps and shoots- and then, if B is not knocked down, shoots back at A.

Third time is the charm. You target a creature, not a square. If the creature move you are still firing at the creature, unless it get total cover.


Numarak wrote:

1st Round:

A: If B shots me I step 5-Feet and shoot back.
B: I shoot at A -B auto-misses because he shoot an unoccupied space and gets attacked by A-.

2nd Round:
A: If B feints to shoot me just to shoot me, I remain still and shoot at him.
B: If A feints and sidesteps at my shoot, then I wait and shoot him on the right square where he is now.
(nobody shoots)

1st Round:
A: If B shoots me I step 5-Feet and shoot back.
B: I shoot at A -then A sidesteps and shoots- and then, if B is not knocked down, shoots back at A.

I want to respond to how these would work, Numarak, because a Readied action trigger must be specific or at least reasonably specific. Unfortunately, in all fairness I can't tell if the examples of what 'A' is using as a Ready trigger are actually what you mean or if you just aren't fluent in English. I don't mean that in a bad way, I still get what your implying, but you also have to understand that what you're typing isn't exactly meshing well.

For instance:

Quote:
A: If B shots me I step 5-Feet and shoot back.

'shots' should be 'shoots' and I don't know if you literally mean 'shoots [me]' or 'shoots at [me]'. Both are valid triggers for a Ready action. If it's 'shoots me' then if character B actually 'shoots you' and you get hit, then your ready triggers (though it obviously will not preempt him shooting you, though you will still move your initiate to just before his for next round).

If it's 'shoots at me' then when he fires an arrow that you perceive as coming at you then you take your Readied action. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean that he has to target you. For instance, if you're standing in front of an ally and he shoots at your ally but you would provide cover, then technically the DM could say something like, 'B is shooting at C and you're in the way and may be hit, so since he's 'shooting at' you that is reasonably similar to the trigger you declared. Do you wish to take your Readied action and move?" You don't have to do so, and if you do, then you obviously will not be hit (though your ally will not get the +4 cover bonus you were otherwise granting.)

Like I said, I don't want to argue against your examples when what I am pointing out might just be a language barrier, unfortunately when discussing Ready actions, they do require a bit of explicit statement.

Quote:
A: If B feints to shoot me just to shoot me, I remain still and shoot at him.

If you say the above, and B just shoots at you, that won't trigger your Readied action. B would have to do something that could logically be interrupted as a 'feint'. By that, I mean an attempt to actaully use the Bluff/Feint skill in some way to hinder or distract you or even for some unknown reason B just decided to point his bow at you and pull back then string and then go "Ha! made you flinch!"


Yep, English is my third language, I would rather write in two other languages than English, but won't help much if I'll do.

I intended to type "shoots at me".

The main point of all the arguments I brought, though, was that there is not mechanical difference between readying "when I get attacked with a melee weapon I attack back and 5-Feet step away" and "when I get attacked with an arrow, I attack back and 5-Feet step away from where I was".

For those who say that on the first instance, the kobold gets his attack plus auto-dodges the hit, you should accept that the kobold is able to auto-dodge the arrow. There is no an inter-phase in ranged attacks between attack declaration and attack execution. In the first case B attack fails because the kobold is not there anymore to be hit. Is either that, or accept that the attack has not started yet and you can still move -if you have movement left-, follow up the kobold, and then attack.

For me is more reasonable to play all this mess as noretoc or BNW play it, or even SlimGauge or Alex1976 have suggested, not allowing meta-gaming decisions to determine the readied actions.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Numarak wrote:

Yep, English is my third language, I would rather write in two other languages than English, but won't help much if I'll do.

I intended to type "shoots at me".

The main point of all the arguments I brought, though, was that there is not mechanical difference between readying "when I get attacked with a melee weapon I attack back and 5-Feet step away" and "when I get attacked with an arrow, I attack back and 5-Feet step away from where I was".

For those who say that on the first instance, the kobold gets his attack plus auto-dodges the hit, you should accept that the kobold is able to auto-dodge the arrow. There is no an inter-phase in ranged attacks between attack declaration and attack execution. In the first case B attack fails because the kobold is not there anymore to be hit. Is either that, or accept that the attack has not started yet and you can still move -if you have movement left-, follow up the kobold, and then attack.

For me is more reasonable to play all this mess as noretoc or BNW play it, or even SlimGauge or Alex1976 have suggested, not allowing meta-gaming decisions to determine the readied actions.

No. The difference is the reach of the against the range at which the bow can hit.

If I am a giant with a reach of 15' ad attack you when I am 10' away, even if you take a 5' step you are still within my reach and I can attack you. If I am a tiny creature with a reach 0' and you move away after I have entered your square, even if youa re within 5' I can't attack you.

A bow can hit at a very long range. As long as you don't move outside that range or in total cover it is possible to attack it.

You make a basic mistake: when attacking you don' t target a square, you target a creature. If the creature move but is still within the range of your attack you can still attack it.


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It would be a reach problem if wasn't because those who say that the attacker (B) can't keep moving after the readied action takes place.

For me is a problem defining readied actions. There are some that should not be allowed because allowing them would imply meta-game knowledge from the character.

No character has knowledge of when exactly an attack starts, more even, the precise moment of a movement ending and the start of an attack.

For me, makes sense that the kobold waits til Mr. Fighter gets close enough, then attacks and retreats 5-Feet away. That is ok. But leaving Mr.Fighter stuck there, staring blankly at the kobold, unable to move 5 more feet and hit because the kobold knew the precise instant that would block Mr. Fighter's actions? No, sorry.

---

And as I did not make myself clear enough, the idea with the two archers was: A: when the arrow leaves the bow, I shoot one arrow and 5-Feet sidestep.

If you believe this is a non-possible ready action declaration, you should not allow the Dancing Kobold either.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Numarak wrote:


And as I did not make myself clear enough, the idea with the two archers was: A: when the arrow leaves the bow, I shoot one arrow and 5-Feet sidestep.

Maybe someday you will get it:

You don't target a square, you target a creature!

If the creature move and you are still in range for your attack you can attack it.

- * -

Let's try something different.

I ready an action to cast dimension door if you attack me.

You think you can still attack me even if I am 600' away from my previous position?


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Is it a rule that the dancing kobold can attack, five foot step, and thus deny the fighter the rest of the round? No. This is a very vague, murky area of the rules.

Does the dancing kobold interpretation enhance the game? No. it pretty much wrecks it, obviates melee, makes the game the unholy love child of rock scissor paper and pedantic genie rules lawyering.

Thats all the reason in the world you need to toss out a rule, much less a hackneyed interpretation of a rule.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Really BNW? The "dancing Kobold" use a standard action to get 1 attack and avoid an enemy attack if he guess right, nothing if he guess wrong.
Once in an encounter (unless the enemy collaborate with kobold), as I have shown above.

Having a enemy that don't use dumb "hold the line and die easily" tactics enhance the game? Yes.

It wrecks the game? I don't see how avoiding 1 attack and forcing the opponent into thinking a bit "wrecks the game".

Honestly it sound like some people want to have a "I win" tactic that always work and hate everything that slow it down.

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