7
\$\begingroup\$

Normally, when a creature moves, they may choose to split up their movement across actions. For example, a creature can move 15 feet, attack another creature, and then move another 15 feet, all within the same turn, with a base movement speed of 30 feet per round.

Is the action required to move a Mage Hand permitted to split its movement up the same way?

For example, let's suppose an Arcane Trickster (which makes them able to move their Mage Hand as a Bonus Action) has got a Mage hand holding an object (like a stone) upon which I've cast the Light spell. I then try to take the following actions:

  1. I move 15 feet towards a target hiding in Darkness, whose location I know, but if I try to attack them, I'll get Disadvantage on the roll
  2. I use my Bonus Action to move the Mage Hand 15 feet forwards, illuminating my target (and myself) with Dim Light.
  3. I use my Action to attack the target.
  4. I move the Mage Hand back 15 feet, using the remainder of the movement permitted for Mage Hand, covering us both in Darkness again
  5. I move back 15 feet with the remainder of my own movement, avoiding the Attack of Opportunity because my target is no longer able to see me.

So the core question is, is step 4 legal? Or is that not permitted?

Note: This question is only about splitting up the movement on Mage Hand. This isn't an XY-Problem, and any comments or answers that try to address whether step 5 would resolve the way I've described are off-topic.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Tiggerous, Step 5 provides justification for why you would want to take step 4, but the legality of it is not in question. I assume. \$\endgroup\$ – Fifth_H0r5eman Oct 11 '18 at 14:45
7
\$\begingroup\$

No, it cannot.

Rules as written, you cannot do this as you cannot interrupt your own bonus action with with your own action. And it takes an action/bonus action to do the movement as per the text of the mage hand spell;

You can use your action to control the hand.

Or as specified by the Arcane Trickster's Mage Hand Legerdemain ability

... In addition, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to control the hand.

This firmly establishes that the movement of the hand is part of the (Bonus)Action.

The rule of breaking up you movement is:

You can break up your Movement on Your Turn, using some of your speed before and after your action.

As written this means you can only move before/after your action not during. And while bonus actions are not specifically mentioned they are a special case of action so the general rule should apply. The only exception to this rule is for when you take an action that includes multiple attacks.

If you take an action that includes more than one weapon Attack, you can break up your Movement even further by moving between those attacks.

Casting a spell is not an attack so this rule can in no way be applied.

Having said that, as a DM I would probably allow it as long as you are not abusing it too much.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Adding rules support to show why you can't do this would improve this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 11 '18 at 15:31
3
\$\begingroup\$

No.

The relevant text is:

You can use your action to control the hand. ... You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

That is, to move the hand any distance, you must use your action. (Or in this case your bonus action.) If you want to move it again, you must use your action again. The key words are "each time".

\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

Mage Hand can only be moved if an action (or Bonus Action in the case of an Arcane Trickster) is used to control it

The relevant text of Mage Hand is:

You can use your action to control the hand. [...] You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

In order to move the hand you have to first have used your action to control it.

The exception to this is an Arcane Trickster Rogue who has this class feature

In addition, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to control the hand.

The other potential exception is if you are under the effect of the Haste spell, which gives you an extra action.

Assuming you can control the Mage Hand in this way (ie you don't need to use your action to activate it)...can you split up the movement of the Mage Hand?

As written this is ambiguous. The general rule is that you can split up movement around Actions and Bonus Actions, however that rule applies to creatures...and the Mage Hand is not a creature.

There is also a question as to whether or not the movement is part of the inciting Action (or Bonus Action) or if the fact that you used it gives the Hand 30ft of "movement" to be used up during your turn.

As a DM I would allow the character to break up the movement as described, provided they could activate the Mage Hand to trigger the movement.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ My question specifically established that the person using this feature is, in fact, an Arcane Trickster capable of controlling the hand using a Bonus Action. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Oct 11 '18 at 15:01
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Xirema and the second part of my answer addresses that. I chose to call out the action part explicitly for future readers who may only skim the question (and miss the Arcane Trickster portion) \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Oct 11 '18 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ (As the title of the question is ambiguous, even if the body of it is not) \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Oct 11 '18 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you suggesting that movement is the same thing as being moved? If so, can you support that? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 11 '18 at 16:03
0
\$\begingroup\$

Not as you describe it

You must use your action to control the Mage Hand.

You can use your action to control the hand. ... You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it. (PH p.256)

The Arcane Trickster's Mage Hand Legerdemain grants the expection:

In addition, you can use the bonus action granted by you Cunning Action to control the hand. (PH p.98)

This allows you to both control the mage hand and attack on the same turn. Steps 1-3 are covered but without a fighter's action surge or being under the affect of haste you can't also do step four.

However....

Ready action

The rules on readying an action state:

Sometimes you want to get the jump on a foe or wait for a particular circumstance before you act. To do so, you can take the Ready action on your turn so that you can act later in the round using your reaction. ... When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger. (PH p.193)

If your DM allows it the sequence would then be:

  1. You move 15 feet towards a target hiding in Darkness
  2. You Ready the attack action for when you can see the target
  3. You use your Bonus Action to move the Mage Hand 15 feet forwards, illuminating the target and triggering your readied action.
  4. You use your Reaction to attack the target
  5. You complete your bonus action by moving the Mage Hand 15 feet back, covering you in darkness again
  6. You move back 15 feet with the remainder of your own movement, avoiding the Attack of Opportunity because your target is no longer able to see you.

This has the downside of also using up your reaction which will limit other options until your next turn, but if you plan on retreating out of combat this might not be such a big deal.

Problem

The problem is in the wording "after the trigger finishes". Depending on the DM this could either be ruled as:

The trigger is finished as soon as your condition is fully met

or

The trigger is finished at the end of your bonus action

Under the second ruling, unfortunately this plan will not work. So best to discuss with your DM about if they will allow this.

Personally I lean towards allowing it so long as you didn't abuse it. Forcing you to also use your reaction might make them more likely to accept it, without it I would be worried about the possibility for abuse.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.