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In D&D 4e (4e PHB pg.288) you can Delay, which allows you to save all your actions for a later time, coming back into the Initiative Order "After any other combatant has completed a turn."

Is there a similar mechanic in D&D 5e? I know about being able to "Ready" (5e PHB pg.193), which is similar to 4e's "Ready An Action" option. My players want a similar Delay ability in 5e, but there doesn't appear to be anything specific in the rules. Is there something I've missed?


marked as duplicate by Purple Monkey, Oblivious Sage, Miniman dnd-5e Jun 5 '17 at 23:53

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There is no current way RAW to move your turn to a later initiative. The closest you can get is as you described, use your action during your turn to Ready, and take your reaction later in the round.

Per the 5e PHB,

The order of turns is determined at the beginning of a combat encounter, when everyone rolls initiative.

As usual, you can talk to your DM about allowing a Delay in 5e, or maybe "taking a knee" (willingly becoming the last one to take a turn) during the initiative roll.

Per Improvising an Action,

Your character can do things not covered by the actions in this chapter... The only limits to the actions you can attempt are your imagination and your character’s ability scores. ... When you describe an action not detailed elsewhere in the rules, the DM tells you whether that action is possible and what kind of roll you need to make, if any, to determine success or failure.

Alternatively, there is a combat variant in the 5e DMG, page 270, "Side Initiative"

Under this variant, the players roll a d20 for their initiative as a group, or side. [The DM] also roll[s] a d20. ... When it's a side's turn, the members of that side can act in any order they choose.

So while the answer to your question is still no, there is a workaround in the rules.


Nope. You can take one action, one reaction and one bonus action (if you are able) per round only - unless you are a hydra where you can take 2 reactions. You can take unlimited free actions.

You can pass your action by just standing still, or you can ready your action where you turn it into a reaction for a later date, but you can't delay your action to use as well as your normal action on another round.

Page 189 of the Player Handbook says:

On your turn, you can move a distance up to your speed and take one action.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You may want to clarify that you can only take one bonus action on your turn if you have a trait or spell that allows you to take a bonus action, such as Cunning Action. \$\endgroup\$ – C. A. Jones Jun 5 '17 at 20:37

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