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College of Valor bards (PHB, p. 55) get the Battle Magic feature at 14th level:

You have mastered the art of weaving spellcasting and weapon use into a single harmonious act. When you use your action to cast a bard spell, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.

Can a Valor Bard Ready a Bard action spell (cast it but hold its power), use Battle Magic to make a weapon attack as a bonus action, and then release their spell?

Here is my use-case example:
Ready a Dimension door, throw a net (which requires you to be relatively close to the target), then release the spell to get far away. In this case, the trigger would be “as soon as the attack has been made”.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking if you can ready the action in 1 turn and then the next turn, make a weapon attack and then release it? Or, in the same single turn, cast the spell, ready it, make a weapon attack (as a bonus action) and then attack with the spell (as your action)? \$\endgroup\$ – Xalbek May 2 at 16:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Second option (do it all in one go, just change the order of operations by Readying the spell). \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L May 2 at 16:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question totally deserves to exist without needing any further information, but for my own curiosity I'm asking: do you have a particular use in mind for this? I'm curious what spells would be better used after you hit someone rather than before. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme May 2 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, and one actual clarification question: do you intend for the trigger of your Readied spell to be your attack? Or are you asking if you can Ready the spell, attack with the bonus action, then have the spell go off later in reaction to some other trigger (e.g. "I will release this spell when he leaves my reach")? \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme May 2 at 16:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gandalfmeansme The use case I thought about (which made me ask the question) is to Ready a Dimension door, throw a net (which requires you to be relatively close to the target), then release the spell to get far away. In this case, the trigger would be “as soon as the attack has been made”. \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L May 2 at 17:00
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Yes.

The Ready action specifies that

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs.

So when you take the Ready action to ready a spell, you have, in fact, used your action to cast a bard spell. You have "cast the spell as normal," RAW. This seems to fulfill the requirements for the bonus action weapon attack: you have used your action to cast the spell. (I might read it differently if it said "if you cast a bard spell as an action.")

This presumes that you are readying the spell to be cast sometime after your weapon attack but before your next turn.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget to cite and/or link your sources! \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 2 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth mentioning, this could run into issues if you use battle magic to cast a spell requiring concentration. \$\endgroup\$ – Roland Heath May 2 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you use your bonus action out of turn? \$\endgroup\$ – Garret Gang May 15 at 19:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GarretGang That sounds like it ought to be a separate question instead of a comment on this one. \$\endgroup\$ – Louis Wasserman May 15 at 19:43
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Unlikely because the Action wasn't to cast a spell. But a DM could rule otherwise.

This spends your turn's Action using Ready. You are using this to cast a spell, but you haven't actually used the Cast a Spell action. You have used the Ready action.

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...

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs.

In this interpretation, you are still casting a spell with your action, but doing so via Ready. It's off the rails, but only slightly, but I think it's up to a DM because of it...

Because you haven't used the Cast a Spell action, you haven't crossed the gate of spending an Action to cast a spell. You've spent an action to Ready.

Without crossing that gate, you can't use battle magic.

The question is does casting a spell mean completing it or just the cast and energy holding. If you didn't actually use the Cast a Spell, you haven't completed the casting by releasing it. It's unclear as to whether or not you have fulfilled the Battlemagic requirement.

Ready a spell vs cast a spell

The specific difference, for me, is that you are using you're action to Ready. The spellcasting and ready rule requires that you cast to hold with the risk of losing it. But the language is still use an action to Ready. This differs from the language of magical items, such as the Staff of Power which specifically states:

...you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells...

In this use of a magic item, you are explicitly casting a spell. With ready, you are readying a spell, not casting a spell. It's a minor difference, but I think this answer hinges on it.

But I don't think it's on the most solid footing, so...

A DM could consider this as casting a spell...because it works without it and has low impact overall.

I don't think it would be unreasonable to allow this. This seems like a capital A attack vs lower case a attack issue and the quote doesn't capitalize "cast a spell."

However, I'm not really sure why you'd want/need to do this as you could just Cast a spell and then use your Bonus Action for Battlemagic attack. You'll have released the spell because you've cast and still gotten your bonus action attack.

If there was a scenario where you want to land the spell after, I'd discuss it with the DM to see if it's a reasonable method and if they're okay with it once or if they are creating an exemption as something you plan on using a lot.

With your particular use case, I'd probably allow this. You're using high-cost resources for low-output attack with the net. There's nothing that really breaks here, it's a neat sequence, and you've burned resources (a 4th level spell slot and lost a net.)

A further note on Bonus Actions and timing

In general, I'm not a huge stickler for order of operations at the table. While I think that the intent is that you use Cast a Spell and not just "cast a spell" in order to trigger the Bonus Action, I don't think that sticking hard to that rule is doing anyone any favors. I've played at tables where we've allowed Shield Masters to take their bonus action first and I think it's just fine. This is a similar case where I'd have no real issue with allowing the Bonus Action attack followed by the Cast a Spell action - especially if it means bypassing mental gymnastics to approve the turn.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder where this would put you on, say, using one's action to read a spell scroll + battle magic? Is the stumbling block for you that the spell isn't past-participle-cast in this instance, or that the Cast A Spell action wasn't taken? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 2 at 17:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 That's a really good point - and I'd probably read it the same way. I'm not sure if there's a Cast a Spell difference like there is Attack/attack elsewhere in the rules. But I am reading it as you need to spend your Action to Cast a Spell. I'd say Ready/Activate are equivalent and different than Cast a Spell. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 2 at 17:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ A characters still casts a spell from a magic item even though the action is activate object. They still used their action to cast a spell as a result. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL May 2 at 19:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ The feature doesn't say it requires the use of the Cast a Spell action, simply that the spell has been cast. When you use the Ready action you still cast the spell (as is noted in the Ready spell text). \$\endgroup\$ – illustro May 3 at 2:10
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No, not unless your readied action is triggered on your turn somehow.

College of Valor bards (PHB p.55) get the Battle Magic feature at 14th level:

You have mastered the art of weaving spellcasting and weapon use into a single harmonious act. When you use your action to cast a bard spell, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.

Ready action (PHB p.193)

To do so, you can take the Ready action on your turn so that you can act later in the round using your reaction.

Bonus Action (PHB p.189)

Various class features, spells, and other abilities let you take an additional action on your turn called a bonus action.

Specifically the Battle Magic feature requires a bonus action to make the weapon attack. The Ready Action uses your Reaction later in the round, when you do not have a bonus action available. You only get a bonus action on your turn, not on anyone else's.

Therefore you can cast the spell of course, but cannot use the Battle Magic feature unless the Readied Action is somehow triggered on your turn (and you have not already used your bonus action).

For instance if you move as part of your turn after making a Ready Action and trigger an Opportunity Attack from an enemy and your trigger was something like "If I get attacked I will cast a mirror image", then you would still have your bonus action available as it is still your turn and so would cast the spell and make an attack as per the Battle Magic rules.

However if you were attacked on someone else's turn, then you would not have a Bonus Action available, so would just cast the spell.

The same is true of the Eldritch Knight War magic feature (PHB p.75).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "The Ready Action uses your Reaction later in the round, when you do not have a bonus action available." - As you acknowledge in the subsequent paragraph, you can indeed ready an action whose trigger happens on your own turn (though there's rarely a benefit to doing so). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 17 at 8:11
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I'd say you could make the bonus-action weapon attack before the casting of the spell as an action.

I'm not sure if it follows RAW, but at most tables I've played at, the DM rules that "when" does not necessarily mean "after" and is more like they happen simultaneously since they are on the same turn. If you declare which spell you are casting, which spell level you are casting at, and how you will use it as your action, you then meet the requirement to use the Battle Magic feature to make a weapon attack as a bonus action. You should be able to make the bonus weapon attack and would not be able to then change your action, so the spell would be cast as you declared before knowing the outcome of the weapon attack.

Basically it's like you throw the net as you are casting the spell; you are already locked into casting the spell a certain way before you know the outcome of the attack.

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