Suppose we meet a patrol of three hostile goblins. The DM already called for initiatives. On the first round of combat, my turn comes first, and I decide to bribe the goblins to leave us alone.

The iniative looks like this:

Me - Ally1 - Ally2 - Other goblins - Goblin Chief

When does the goblin respond? Is it immediately after I offer the bribe (after rolling skill check)? Or when his turn comes up?

This is important since my allies are murder hobos, and as a pacifist character I want to resolve the encounter without spilling blood. If my allies have chance to act, they might be able to kill one goblin (or more, with spells) or the chief.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Just by the way: Trying to force a resolution for an encounter which goes against the way the rest of the group would like to play will lead to conflict in the long run. It sounds like there is some kind of disagreement in your group regarding how you want to play. An out-of-character session about expectations might be in order. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Apr 4 '18 at 8:54

RAW, the target can only respond on their turn.

According to PHB 190, you can only speak on your own turn:

You can communicate however you are able, through brief utterances and gestures, as you take your turn.

The only thing that can take place on other creatures' turn is a reaction, and you cannot use a reaction to simply speak, since reactions have to be granted by something:

Certain special abilities, spells, and situations allow you to take a special action called a reaction.

Therefore, a creature cannot interrupt another creature's turn by speaking.

Functionally, responding is ok

As a DM, I've allowed my players to have brief two-way conversations on their turns. I find that dragging out conversations across the initiative order is pretty tedious, and there's not much to be lost by allowing an enemy to respond. Generally, I use initiative orders pretty fluidly--as a DM, I find it useful to enter and exit them whenever it's convenient.


Talk to your DM

Initiative is for dealing with combat - social encounters don't use/need it.

It appears that your DM assumed that an encounter with goblins would automatically be a combat - you need to tell her that you would prefer to deal with encounters where surprise is not an issue with a social interaction first - you can always roll initiative if that doesn't work out.

Of course, if, in the middle of a battle you call for a parley or surrender or suggest that the multiple casualties so far incurred were all the result of a big misunderstanding, then you can do that on your turn and everyone else can choose what to do with that on their turn - your allies could take the Ready action to attack the goblins if the parley is not accepted and wait to see what happens.


Talking is not necessarily tied to initiative (at the option of the DM). You could make the offer right away, and they could respond verbally right away. Then everyone takes actions in initiative order. So if the goblins do verbally surrender, then your allies would hear that, and could ready actions to see if the goblins actually do surrender on their turn (or your allies could ignore the surrender offer and kill them anyway, of course).


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