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Situation:

Fred the Fighter wants to survive another round in the ring with Bob the Barbarian. He's a skilled fighter, and has taken Combat Maneuver feats. Bob moves in to attack, but Fred readied to perform a Combat Maneuver. He specifically says "when the Barbarian attempts to melee attack me, I Bull Rush him". Bob is pushed outside of his reach from Fred.

What does Bob's turn look like? He's already moved, and was in the middle of attempting a melee attack (which no longer has a valid target).


Would any of these situations change the situation enough to justify another question?

  • Bob's was already within reach, and it was his first attack in a Full Attack action
  • Fred's Bull Rush leaves Bob near a different valid target (ally or not)
  • Fred ready-Grapples Bob instead
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Loosely inspired by this question; Related from D&D 3.5 \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 23 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this essentially the same as this question? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 23 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah essentially. I think it still stands on its own though, because different mechanics are used as the interruption (and my searching didn't bring up the other question, so it may allow more people to find their answer) \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 23 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ O, by the way, Paizo messageboard post with associated—and, of course, unaddressed—FAQ request here. (Number of FAQ requests for this issue as of this writing: 52.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 24 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh wow. Yeah I come here before Paizo message boards for a reason. I don't understand why they can't just answer questions that get FAQ'd like this... and now they may never if v2 ever actually kicks off. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 24 at 21:07
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The melee attack fails and he has no actions left

Readied Actions happen before the action that triggered them:

You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character’s activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action.

If the target still has actions left (5 foot step, swift action and free actions), he may still do them, but he already spent his move and standard actions.

Unless, of course, you are still within his reach, then he may still attack you because you didn't push him further than what would be necessary for you to be out of his reach.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify how "just before the action" causes them to lose the action? \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 23 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ " you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action." \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras May 23 at 19:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso If I may: Andy has readied the action Shove Bob and the trigger If Bob takes a swing at me. Bob takes a swing at Andy. Before Bob's swing, Andy shoves Bob to where Bob can't reach Andy. Committed to the swing but unable to perform it, Bob loses his action. (Yes, that's as terrible as it sounds, and you are not alone if it makes you want to take a swing at both Andy and Bob.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 23 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well I'm going to post a competing answer and see what others vote for before accepting \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 24 at 11:57
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The melee attack is prevented, but they can perform a different Standard Action

Because a Readied action happens before the triggering action, the action was never taken.

You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character’s activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action. Notably,

  • Your action occurs before their action
  • The rules make no mention of them not being able to change the action or losing the action
  • The allowance for them to resume after their turn includes the term actions not "that action"
  • Other readied actions (for instance, casting Baleful Polymorph or Hold Person "if they try to attack me") could make someone not capable of continuing their actions
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Be it for good or ill, this is also my take. Here's a broader question that asks the same thing for 3.5. Pathfinder's developers, to my knowledge, have neither contradicted nor clarified the 3.5 positions. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 24 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Bob can't change the action without causing a paradox loop. If Bob changed the action it wouldn't trigger the readied action from Fred which would mean Bob would have no reason to change the action from his initial choice. The triggering action is spent. In this case Bob has used his move action, and his standard action, so all he has left is what Hey I Can Chan outlined in the comment on the other answer. \$\endgroup\$ – niekell May 27 at 3:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @niekell It's a paradox either way. That is, if Andy takes his ready action before Bob takes his action therefore preventing Bob's action, Bob now didn't and currently can't take the action that triggered Andy's ready action. Really, what flavor paradox do you prefer? (I prefer this answer's paradox because losing actions sucks, and because this way doesn't force a declare phase.) :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 27 at 5:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @niekell there's no paradox... the ready triggers off "if he attempts to attack me"... he attempted it, but never actually performed an action... by my reading. The Ready pre-empts doing something, but I don't see any language that says it cancels it out \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 27 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hey-I-Can-Chan I respectfully disagree with Andy/Fred "preventing" Bob's action. Bob is still able to swing his weapon at Andy/Fred, but as Andy/Fred is out of range he will not hit Andy/Fred. Andy/Fred interrupts in less than a second if his readied action goes after Bob's move action and before Bob's standard action used to attack. Bob has no time to stop, contemplate his new out of range position and choose another standard action. His limbs are committed to the action his brain sent at the start of his standard action. Bob fans the air, Andy/Fred smirks from 5' (or more) away. \$\endgroup\$ – niekell May 28 at 5:41

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