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I know that I can take my actions in any order when I'm by myself, but are there any restrictions on ordering when I'm dealing with summoned creatures or followers?

For instance, could I order my actions like:

  1. PC: move action
  2. Summoned creature: swift action
  3. Summoned creature: attack action
  4. PC: attack action
  5. Summoned creature: move action

or must the PC and summoned creature act as if they had distinct initiatives?

If possible, an answer that covers both the PC and DM contexts (per the comments) with a reference from the SRD would be ideal!

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This is a great question. I find myself as a DM splitting monster actions this way to get flanking: M1 move, M2 move, M1 attack (with flank), M2 attack (with flank). Increases combat speed and threat, but may not be RAW. –  F. Randall Farmer Jun 25 '12 at 17:10

2 Answers 2

For most kinds of creatures (such as mounts, or druid companions), there's nothing that says you can take an action in the middle of another creature's turn, except for a readied action or an immediate action.

Most DMs will allow this kind of mixing, for speed and ease of play, if both creatures are at the same point in the initiative sequence.

When using the Summon Monster spells, the rules say: "It appears where you designate and acts immediately, on your turn." I think you could interpret that to mean that you could mix actions; but, it isn't entirely clear.

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Readying actions is something you're allowed to do, but it would get really messy and require forethought to do right. Allowing mixing would be the easiest solution.

Here's an example: There's one enemy. You summon the monsters (A and B), they get to act immediately.

The first (A) delays it's turn until after the second (B), which readies the action to attack the enemy after A moved in place behind of the enemy. Then it's A's turn, who moves into position to attack, gets interrupted by the readied action of B, who moves into position and attacks. Then A gets to continue their action (if capable, i.e. unless the enemy is now already dead). -- Both monsters got flanking bonus, thus the outcome is the same as though you had allowed mixing.

However there's an important difference! Here you can't see the results and change your action depending on the outcome. If monster B does in fact kill the enemy, then monster A's standard action (to attack the enemy) is wasted, if I understand correctly. -- That makes some sense if you imagine it happening in non round based mode. Both monsters would be running towards the enemy at the same time and attacking at the same time.

I'd allow mixing, but deciding the entire sequence before starting it.

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