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The Centaur player race has a "Charge" feature (GGtR, p. 16): If they move 30 feet, the Centaur can attack against the target with its hooves as a Bonus Action.

The Giant Elk beast has a similar "Charge" feature: If they move 20 feet, the Giant Elk does extra damage and might knock its target Prone.

If a Centaur druid uses Wild Shape to turn into a Giant Elk, can they benefit from both "Charge" features in a single turn?

I'm hoping for a RAW answer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Apr 8 at 14:19
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Yes. Both features are usable.

Physically able

From wild shape:

You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so.

The giant elk has hooves. The centuar racial feature requires hooves. It is reasonable to assume an elk can perform the charge racial feature of the centaur.

Non-overlapping actions.

Both features have a precondition of some amount of movement. Moving the requisite amount makes both features viable.

Centaur's charge provides a bonus action. Giant elk's charge provides an additional effect to a successful ram attack.

The character can use both their movement and bonus action in the same round. These features do not preclude one another.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I think it's a good question because it's an edge case of, "what happens when you have two features of the same name that do different things altogether?" It's defined for effects and features with the same mechanics, e.g. darkvision 60' and darkvision 120' or fire resistance and non-magical fire resistance. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Apr 8 at 15:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Technically, it is the same name, so by the DMG errata they would conflict... except that the effect duration cannot overlap. One has a duration of "your standard attack" while the other has a duration of "your bonus action". \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Apr 8 at 15:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden I'm not sure I'd say that those are durations - but this is squirrely enough to either way at this point. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Apr 8 at 15:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch my point is that, gong by media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/DND/DMG-Errata.pdf, the overlap rule only applies when the durations of the effects overlap. There is an argument to be made that there is no effect duration and therefore it simply doesn't apply at all, but even without that argument, the only things that make sense for "effect durations" don't overlap, and therefore you still don't get a conflict. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Apr 8 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting that if you decide that both features are usable, they can't be used on the same attack: the centaur's Charge allows a bonus-action hoof attack, whereas the elk's Charge feature only applies specifically to the Ram attack, which is explicitly listed as an action. Nothing to stop you from making the Ram, knocking prone, and then getting advantage on your bonus-action hoof attack - in fact, it makes narrative sense too, in that you're knocking them down and then trampling them underfoot. I'd allow it. \$\endgroup\$ – anaximander Apr 9 at 10:36
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No, you only get the best one

From the Druid's Wild Shape feature:

You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so.

Which (as the Elk form also has a charge feature) is quite clearly applicable. Therefore in Elk form the centaur feature is still available. However, from the DMG p. 252 (provided in the errata, thanks NautArch):

Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap. For example, if a target is ignited by a fire elemental’s Fire Form trait, the ongoing fire damage doesn’t increase if the burning target is subjected to that trait again. Game features include spells, class features, feats, racial traits, monster abilities, and magic items. See the related rule in the “Combining Magical Effects” section of chapter 10 in the Player’s Handbook.

The Charge features are included in this and so only the best one is applicable (if it is ambiguous which the best, you choose).

The kind of situation this rule prevents, in addition to the same spell and similar Auras etc., is that if an Elk gains 6 Druid levels and takes the Circle of the Moon (let's not worry how) and Wild Shapes into a Giant Elk it would otherwise have two instances of the same charge feature (admittedly with different DC's). If both of these were to apply the attack in question would deal and extra 4d6 and cause two Strength saving throws against being prone'd.

In the specific example there are two different features (Centaur and Elk charges), but with the same proper name (Charge) and so only one of them should apply.

A character ending up with two copies of the same feature is otherwise avoided by the games rules trough the special rules for multiclassing which would otherwise be the way to obtain those. For example if two of your classes would give you the Extra Attack feature, only the best one applies or of your would gain a feature called Unarmored Defense and you already have one, you simply don't get the new one (even if it uses a different AC calculation). (See PHB p. 162)

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    \$\begingroup\$ They do not "affect a target at the same time" though. You could activate them once after the other. So do the Giant Elk's Charge first, then swap the Giant Elk's Charge for the Centaur's Charge. The Centaur's Charge requirements have been fulfilled, so it can be triggered as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Merudo Apr 8 at 14:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Merudo they are features you have at the same time, with the same proper name \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Apr 8 at 14:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Charge is not an affect. It's a racial feature. The passage from Xanathar's is only about effects. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Apr 8 at 14:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GcL yes. I was agreeing with you. Class features don't really have durations per se, which supports the argument that the line in Xanathar's was not referring to them. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Apr 8 at 14:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GcL The DMG Errata rewords that part to say "Different game features" instead of "effects", and clarifies that "Game features include spells, class features, feats, racial traits, monster abilities, and magic items", which I think makes it pretty comprehensive. \$\endgroup\$ – anaximander Apr 9 at 10:46

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