August 2015 Rules Answers
By Jeremy Crawford, Game Design Architect – D&D TRPG Studio
August 17th, 2015
Updated spell lists, delaying your turn, extradimensional spaces, and more – time to dive into another batch of rules conundrums!
If you have questions for a future installment of Sage Advice, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach me on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford).
The PDF of spell lists has been updated to include corrections to the list of rituals:
D&D Spell List (version 1.01)
Does the fighter’s Action Surge feature let you take an extra bonus action, in addition to an extra action? Action Surge gives you an extra action, not an extra bonus action.
Does the Archery fighting style work with a melee weapon that you throw? No, the Archery feature benefits ranged weapons. A melee weapon, such as a dagger or handaxe, is still a melee weapon when you make a ranged attack with it.
If a monk uses a staff or another versatile weapon two-handed, does it still count as a monk weapon? Yes. A monk weapon must lack the two-handed property, but nothing prevents a monk from wielding such a weapon with two hands. Fundamentally, a monk weapon counts as such no matter how a monk uses it.
Does the Martial Arts feature turn monk weapons and unarmed strikes into finesse weapons? Nope. The feature grants a benefit that is similar to the finesse property, but the feature doesn’t confer that property. It would say so if it did.
Can a ranger move between the attack rolls of the Whirlwind Attack feature? No. Whirlwind Attack is unusual, in that it’s a single attack with multiple attack rolls. In most other instances, an attack has one attack roll. The rule on moving between attacks (PH, 190) lets you move between weapon attacks, not between the attack rolls of an exceptional feature like Whirlwind Attack.
Does the attack granted by the third benefit of the Sentinel feat take place before or after the triggering attack? The bonus attack takes place after the triggering attack. Here’s why: the feat doesn’t specify the bonus attack’s timing, and when a reaction has no timing specified, the reaction occurs after its trigger finishes (DMG, 252). In contrast, an opportunity attack specifically takes place before its trigger finishes—that is, right before the target creature leaves your reach (PH, 195).
Are extradimensional spaces, such as a demiplane or the space created by rope trick, considered to be on a different plane of existence? An extradimensional space (aka an extraplanar space) is outside other planes. Therefore, if you’re on the Material Plane and your foe is in an extradimensional space, the two of you aren’t considered to be on the same plane of existence.
Can you delay your turn and take it later in the round? Nope. When it’s your turn, either you do something or you don’t. If you don’t want to do anything, consider taking the Dodge action so that you’ll, at least, have some extra protection. If you want to wait to act in response to something, take the Ready action, which lets you take part of your turn later.
For a variety of reasons, we didn’t include the option to delay your turn:
- Your turn involves several decisions, including where to move and what action to take. If you could delay your turn, your decision-making would possibly become slower, since you would have to consider whether you wanted to take your turn at all. Multiply that extra analysis by the number of characters and monsters in a combat, and you have the potential for many slowdowns in play.
- The ability to delay your turn can make initiative meaningless, as characters and monsters bounce around in the initiative order. If combatants can change their place in the initiative order at will, why use initiative at all? On top of that, changing initiative can easily turn into an unwelcome chore, especially for the DM, who might have to change the initiative list over and over during a fight.
- Being able to delay your turn can let you wreak havoc on the durations of spells and other effects, particularly any of them that last until your next turn. Simply by changing when your turn happens, you could change the length of certain spells. The way to guard against such abuse would be to create a set of additional rules that would limit your ability to change durations. The net effect? More complexity would be added to the game, and with more complexity, there is greater potential for slower play.
Two of our goals for combat were for it to be speedy and for initiative to matter. We didn’t want to start every combat by rolling initiative and then undermine turn order with a delay option. Moreover, we felt that toying with initiative wasn’t where the focus should be in battle. Instead, the dramatic actions of the combatants should be the focus, with turns that could happen as quickly as possible. Plus, the faster your turn ends, the sooner you get to take your next turn.
If you use the Help action to distract a foe, do you have to stay within 5 feet of it for the action to work? No, you can take the action and then move away. The action itself is what grants advantage to your ally, not you staying next to the foe.
If I’m a cleric/druid with the Disciple of Life feature, does the goodberry spell benefit from the feature? Yes. The Disciple of Life feature would make each berry restore 4 hit points, instead of 1, assuming you cast goodberry with a 1st-level spell slot.
Can you concentrate on a spell while transformed by polymorph? You can’t cast spells while you’re transformed by polymorph, but nothing in the spell prevents you from concentrating on a spell that you cast before being transformed.
Sage Advice Compendium
This month’s questions and answers are now part of the Sage Advice Compendium (version 1.02).