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In 3rd edition, you could ready a partial charge. From the PHB, p134:

Only partial actions can be readied. To do so, specify the partial action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it.

Also, PHB p121:

As a general rule, you can do as much with a partial action as you could with a standard action minus a move. Thus, you can attack once as a partial action or move your speed, but you can’t both move and attack unless you are performing a partial charge action.

In 3.5 edition, there is no such thing as a partial action. Readied actions are described thusly (PHB p160):

You can ready a standard action, a move action, or a free 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. For instance, if you move up to an open door and then ready an action to swing your sword at whatever comes near, you can’t take a 5-foot step along with the readied action (since you’ve already moved in this round).

On the other hand, there is also this:

If you are able to take only a standard action or a move action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed). You can’t use this option unless you are restricted to taking only a standard action or move action on your turn (such as during a surprise round).

So you can definitely charge during a surprise round, but what about as a readied action? It appears to meet the criteria of situations where you are restricted to only a standard action or a move action, but the wording still seems a bit ambiguous to me.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Even if the wording doesn't seem ambiguous to me, their meaning is.

As you correctly pointed out, you can perform a partial chargeD20SRD only when you are restricted into taking only a standard action or move action on your turn (for example, when you are staggeredD20SRD). Unfortunately, this is not the case of a readied action (with the exception stated below). So...

No, you can't perform (nor ready) a partial charge in normal conditions.
But, you can do it if odds are worse (that's the nonsense).

The only way you can ready a partial charge is when you are limited to a standard action or move action per turn. In that case you can use your standard action (the only action you have) to ready a partial charge (and you can perform it because of you are limited in the current round).

Partial charge seems to be a later addendum to the rules set, designed to provide a way for staggered creatures to attack while covering some distance.
I, ad a DM, will feel comfortable in letting anyone perform (and prepare) the standard-action partial charge at any time (this is actually similar to the 4th edition charge). But, to prevent a partial charge/then move away tactic, I'd state that your turn ends after a partial charge (as per 4th edition charge).

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I don't think you get a regular action after you use the readied action; the readied action becomes your turn (so you couldn't move away afterward). –  RMorrisey Apr 20 '11 at 12:35
    
My statement is that of letting anyone perform a partial charge at any time (even during a normal, non-prepared, turn). In this case you could partial charge (standard action) and then move away (move action) unless a special ruling (end of turn after charge) is introduced. –  Erik Burigo Apr 20 '11 at 12:42

The "rules lawyer" in me (a very, very small part of me indeed) would say no, you can't ready a charge (in D&D3.5). As you say,

"Readying an Action: You can ready a standard action, a move action, or a free action. (...)"

( d20srd: Ready )

vs

"Charging is a special full-round action (...)"

( d20srd: Charge )

True, the description of Charge also says:

"If you are able to take only a standard action or a move action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed). You can’t use this option unless you are restricted to taking only a standard action or move action on your turn."

But even this part does not say that in these cases Charge becomes / is to be treated as a special standard or move action. Charge remains a special full-round action, and full round actions cannot be readied.

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2  
I am giving +1 for the rules citation; however, I disagree with the conclusion. As a DM, I would rule that the caveat 'If you are only able to take a standard action' applies to a readied action. When you use the readied action, it becomes your turn (your spot in the initiative order moves to that point in the sequence from then on.) –  RMorrisey Apr 20 '11 at 12:28

Yes, you can perform a "partial" charge as a readied action.

Common sense says that, since partial charges exist in the physics of the world at all ("If you are able to take only a standard action or a move action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed"), then it is only common sense that other conditions in which such a partial charge would be physically possible also allow a character to make that kind of charge.

D&D 3.anything is not as strongly a legalistic game as some others, although it tries in places. In the big picture of the game, common sense is what knits the rules together and the system becomes nonsensical when that's ignored.

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1  
+1 to what the answer should be. –  mxyzplk Jan 28 '11 at 1:37

Many extremely useful maneuvers are require a standard action and an attack. Being able to make a charge into a readied standard action would open up a wealth of options. Also it lets you move in ways that would break the full-round move charge. Leaving the restrictions for the full-round charge baffling. After all why limit it for a full-round charge when you could move without restriction, ready, and immediately complete a standard action charge.

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