I have a question about the Ready action. I've read the book, but it does not offer a lot of examples.

I had a moment yesterday where one character wished to use the Ready action to wait until the spell guidance was cast on him to use Persuasion on an enemy. Can this condition be used for the Ready action?

Generally, can you ready an action to obtain a bonus later in the round to attack? Or does the ready action have to be something physical like "the bandit comes closer" or "my ally retreats"?

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    – Secespitus
    Jan 9, 2018 at 14:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have edited the question to remove the reference to Reaction to avoid confusion since the question is about the Ready action and not about Reactions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Luke
    Jan 9, 2018 at 23:27

2 Answers 2


That sounds like a reasonable use of Ready.

Here's the relevant rules text (my emphasis):

First, you decide what perceivable circumstance will trigger your reaction. Then, you choose the action you will take in response to that trigger, or you choose to move up to your speed in response to it.

A character can (usually, see below) perceive when another character finishes casting a spell, or when they signal that they have done so, such as by shouting "OK, go". Characters can use Ready to coordinate their actions provided they give each other that type of perceptible cue. Guidance specifically requires that the caster touch the (willing) target, so that is also clearly a perceivable circumstance.

How perceptible a spell is when being cast depends on its components, of course, so in oppositional scenarios, where a character wants to Ready with an enemy spellcaster's spell as the trigger, the DM will need to account for how well the character can see or hear the caster, whether the spell has verbal, somatic, or material components, whether modifications to those components are in use (via subtle spell metamagic or other effects), and so on.

In short, the trigger has to be something the Ready-ing character is aware of, but not necessarily a physical event.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You might note that "A character can perceive when another character has finished casting a spell" provided the spell has components, since that's kinda the whole point of the Subtle Spell metamagic. It's probably irrelevant because you should probably be able to sense a spell being set on you anyway, but as you said, that's a DM ruling. (I'd personally find the alternative to be obnoxious and oppositional DMing -- trying to stop the players from using their chosen abilities for no clear reason is poor DM behavior.) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 9, 2018 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DarthPseudonym I've added some words related to that, thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Jan 9, 2018 at 15:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Even if you cannot sense the spell being cast, the caster ought to be able to use a "free" action like talking or gesturing that you can Ready for. \$\endgroup\$
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 9, 2018 at 18:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DarthPseudonym "It's probably irrelevant because you should probably be able to sense a spell being set on you anyway, but as you said, that's a DM ruling." The spellcasting chapter of the PH says that you don't automatically notice being targeted by a spell unless it has perceptible effects or the spell says so. This is also explained in more detail in Sage Advice Compendium \$\endgroup\$
    – Doval
    Jan 9, 2018 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Considering guidance says to "touch one willing creature" when cast, I would say that that's something the willing creature chould percept. \$\endgroup\$
    – Arthur
    Jan 10, 2018 at 10:02

Your ally casting a spell at your character is almost certainly a fair circumstance for a Readied action. The trigger for a Readied action is defined in the Basic Rules (pdf link, page 72) as a "perceivable circumstance", and that's perceivable. Even if it was otherwise hidden, you could agree on your ally to say a code phrase after the spell is cast.

When you Ready an action in DnD 5e, you have to choose two things: a condition for a trigger and an action. When the condition of the trigger happens, you can choose to take the action chosen as a reaction, if it is possible at that time.

The action chosen as a response to the trigger can be movement or any action, but not a bonus action. For example, you could ready an Attack action to strike at the bandit if it moves next to your character, or to run away if a foe starts moving your character's way.


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