While you can maintain a Readied action for 6 seconds, how quickly does the resulting action take place? Can it occur before a fireball reaches me? Or an arrow?

For example, if I Ready the teleport spell with the trigger: when a projectile is within 5 feet of me, will I be able to avoid the effect?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Timing of the Ready action when the trigger is associated with spell casting? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 2 '18 at 19:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: What are limits on the trigger of a readied action? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 2 '18 at 19:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is sometimes helpful to remember that this game is not run with a computer clock speed, but 'it's all happening at the same time' and the use of turns is a gamism to help play move along. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 2 '18 at 22:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Korvin That is the root of my question. While imitative determines the order of action selection, my understanding is that all actions take place throughout the 6 second frame. As such, I wondered if instantaneous actions are considered extemporaneous or can be predictive to the degree outlined in the question. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 3 '18 at 6:15

Basic Readying

Per Ready, emphasis mine:

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. [...] When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger. Remember that you can take only one reaction per round.

The trigger completes before your Reaction activates.

The distances are irrelevant and unneededly specific. Fireball or arrow, you can say "when I'm targeted with a ________". As soon as the attacker lets fly, the fact that you're the target becomes a "perceivable circumstance" and your Ready triggers.

Readying Spells

However, if you are trying to ready a spell, there are other concerns:

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs. To be readied, a spell must have a casting time of 1 action, and holding onto the spell's magic requires concentration. If your concentration is broken, the spell dissipates without taking effect.

If the trigger never occurs, you can't release the held spell. You're concentrating on it until you cast it. That prevents you from casting other concentration spells. This also ends any spell on which you are currently concentrating.


To do so, you can take the Ready action on your turn, which lets you act using your reaction before the start of your next turn

You're now in the position of having cast a spell, burned a spell slot, and possibly having no effect of the spell if the trigger doesn't occur.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Keep in mind that what you are asking is well within the rights of the DM to veto as a reasonable and valid trigger as well. I certainly wouldn't allow such a trigger from being used for a readied action. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Mar 2 '18 at 19:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth I am the DM, but I like getting other ideas before making hard rulings for my players in case these situations come up in future games (my impromptu ruling was to force a Perception (Dexterity) check which is what I usually do for reaction time style actions.) \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 2 '18 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron It was work-in-progress. :) \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Mar 2 '18 at 19:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. I would suggest that you make it clear that whether you are able to loose the spell or not you have actually cast it and therefore burned the slot. I seems as though that part might be unclear. Because in either instance you have cast the spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Mar 2 '18 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, took it upon myself, hope you don't mind. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Mar 2 '18 at 19:48

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