Should it be possible to ready an activity?


General Discussion


The Ready action reads:

Playing the Game: Basic Actions - Ready p308 wrote:

You prepare to use an action that will occur outside your turn. Choose a single action you can use and designate a trigger. Your turn then ends. If the trigger you choose occurs before the start of your next turn, you can use the chosen action as a reaction (provided you still meet the requirements to use it).

-snip-

(Emphasis mine)

This explicitly only allows readying a single action, which precludes readying a spell. The rules for the Cast a Spell activity also seem to actively prevent any kind of readying shenanigans, where you partially cast a spell during your turn, then ready the final spellcasting action using the Ready action.

Spells: Casting Spells - Cast a Spell p195 wrote:

You Cast a Spell you know or have prepared. Casting a Spell is a special activity that takes a variable number of actions depending on the spell, as listed in each spell’s stat block. You can spend those actions in any order you wish, provided you do so consecutively on a single turn. As soon as all spellcasting actions are complete, the spell effect occurs.

-snip-

(Emphasis mine)

The bolded text makes it impossible to spread out the casting of a spell using the Ready action. The removal of this text would allow the readying of a spell, by allowing the completion of the final spellcasting action using the Ready action. Additionally, it would allow multiple-round casting duration spells to be cast during combat - and also allow the stacking of metamagic feats by allowing a spell's casting to extend to multiple turns by adding multiple metamagic casting actions to a single spell casting.

To me, none of these changes seem unreasonable, though it's possible there was an explicit design intent to prevent this. Either way, I've had multiple players express frustration when they are not able to ready spells by RAW. It's definitely something players expect to be able to do, especially because it was possible to do so in PF1e. Unless, of course, I've missed a rule somewhere that does allow this?


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I've been allowing it on a technicality: If you think about it, the Ready action is the final action of the spell (since using a Ready is a reaction), so by taking the first action and then readying the second you technically are taking all of the actions needed to cast the spell "consecutively on a single turn".

Probably not RAI, but I think it works with a strict reading of RAW.

And obviously you should be able to ready spells; any reading of the rules that doesn't allow you to is clearly incorrect. :P


That's an interesting way to run it. My idea was to make a 3-action variant that lets you ready a 2-action activity (So it also works for things like Stunning Fist and Vital St-I mean Power Attack.). Which also makes it less obvious what you are doing, as putting out a Verbal or Somatic action and then waiting in anticipation is a bit of a tell. XD


You can ready a spell. It's just that the spell list has so few single action spells that it usually plays as if you can't.


MaxAstro wrote:

I've been allowing it on a technicality: If you think about it, the Ready action is the final action of the spell (since using a Ready is a reaction), so by taking the first action and then readying the second you technically are taking all of the actions needed to cast the spell "consecutively on a single turn".

Probably not RAI, but I think it works with a strict reading of RAW.

And obviously you should be able to ready spells; any reading of the rules that doesn't allow you to is clearly incorrect. :P

I fully agree it should be possible. I personally like the removal of the “all spellcasting actions must be spent during a single turn” stipulation of the Cast a Spell activity, because it also enables the multi-metamagic’d spell, and the trope of “protect the caster while they cast a multiple-turn spell”, while also fully enabling readying a spell.

I’ve denied readying a spell once, and allowed it another time, with two different groups. It hasn’t come up very often, but the time I allowed it, it did not feel overpowered. I think the rules around this should be revised for clarity and to allow even more flexibility when casting spells.


Tridus wrote:

You can ready a spell. It's just that the spell list has so few single action spells that it usually plays as if you can't.

Right, which is why I worded this question as “should it be possible to ready an activity” not “ready a spell” :)


tmncx0 wrote:
Tridus wrote:

You can ready a spell. It's just that the spell list has so few single action spells that it usually plays as if you can't.

Right, which is why I worded this question as “should it be possible to ready an activity” not “ready a spell” :)

Ah, yeah. Sorry, I always forget what "activity" means because it rarely comes up.

Then yes, you probably should. Single action is extremely limiting.


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tmncx0 wrote:
Tridus wrote:

You can ready a spell. It's just that the spell list has so few single action spells that it usually plays as if you can't.

Right, which is why I worded this question as “should it be possible to ready an activity” not “ready a spell” :)

To be fair you also posted: "This explicitly only allows readying a single action, which precludes readying a spell."


You can't ready a spell, but i think you can hold a spell after you cast it without using a ready action(but i'm not sure of that).


"As soon as all spellcasting actions are complete, the spell effect occurs."


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I didn't find anything about holding a spell in the playtest book when I looked for it a couple months ago.

Maybe I missed it.

Me, I have been allowing casters to use one action to start a spell then ready one action as the second spellcasting action to finish that spell, but they are considered to be "casting" for that whole time which makes it much easier for enemies to disrupt the spell on their own turn (no need for the enemies to ready their action if they happen to have their turn between the caster's first and second actions).

Pretty sure I can't support that by RAW, but it seems wrong that casters who want to ready an attack can (mostly) only ready weapon attacks. Who knows, maybe that was intended.

On the bright side, at least casters can ready a (weak) Magic Missile to try to disrupt enemy casters, so I guess that's something.


The issue I see is purely a narrative one.

You can ready a single action, because a reaction is equally in time as a single action.

In my eye, activities take longer to accomplish (2/3rds of your turn as opposed to 1/3rd). You wind up a big swing building momentum to give it extra weight (power attack), you make two attacks tearing apart an enemy (double slice) and etc.

A reaction is inherently faster as I see it, at most equal to a single strike, move and etc.

So, "readying an activity" somehow ends up compressing time.

Balance wise, I have no issue, but thematics wise it looks something like that:

I take more time in the start of my turn to somehow give that extra time on a later time.

With 1 action reactions, that's not an issue because, time wise, it's already established that 1 action = 1 reaction, but you end somehow making 1 reaction = 2 actions because you spent more time at some other time.

It just doesn't make sense narrative wise in most occasions

Having said that, if you can somehow "split" the activity in a reasonable manner (like the above spellcasting houserules with split somatic/verbal) then it can work.

But flat out blank "spend 3 actions ready a 2 action activity" would have been a no from me.


Readying a long activity is functionally the same as delaying your turn, which is also something the game lets you do. The difference is that delaying goes after the opponent and lets you choose what you want to do at that moment, while readying goes before the opponent but you have to commit to an activity and trigger in advance, requiring some foresight and planning. I don't see a problem with it.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Readying a long activity is functionally the same as delaying your turn, which is also something the game lets you do. The difference is that delaying goes after the opponent and lets you choose what you want to do at that moment, while readying goes before the opponent but you have to commit to an activity and trigger in advance, requiring some foresight and planning. I don't see a problem with it.

But the thematic is that with ready you do something while the trigger happens (you don't Strike either before the caster starts his spell or after, you strike while he's casting)

So it has to be something that's achievable considerably faster.


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I agree with shroudb; I'm against being able to spend 3 actions to ready any 2-action activity.

There just needs to be an explicit way to ready 2-action spells, because it's something that literally every caster is going to want to do at some point.

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