QUESTION: If a Barbarian enters a Rage on their first turn, and does not attack, and furthermore has taken no damage yet in this fight, does the rage cease at the end of that same turn?
Reference: A player at our game wanted a multiclassed Moon Druid/Barbarian to combine Wild Shape and Rage. They stated that in a tough-looking fight they'd use their first turn's Action to Wild Shape and their Bonus Action to Rage, and start a frantic fight the next round. This led me to wonder about the mechanics:
The pertinent wording of Rage says (PHB, page 48):
Your rage lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven't attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then.
So, as I see it, strictly RAW:
If something happened in this battle prior to your turn and you took damage, that should let your rage continue after this first turn because the feature never states you had to be raging when the damage was taken.
If, however, you took no damage prior to your turn, and you didn't attack, then AT BEST there is only one other option to consider:
- If the last time you took damage was in your last fight, and that damage took place ON or BEFORE your turn (for example, you got the killing blow or just weren't harmed after your last turn), then you've neither attacked nor taken damage since your last turn, and Rage ends now.
- If the last damage you took was IN ANY WAY inflicted since your last turn, whether that means an enemy hit you after your last turn and a party member finished it off, or you got hit by a dart trap, or you just stubbed your toe really hard and took 1hp of damage while exploring, then the Rage SHOULD CONTINUE because you technically took damage since your last turn, even if that turn was yesterday.
Counter-argument for #2: "Turns" represent your actions in each 6-second window. Therefore looking at your previous "turn" only goes back 6 seconds, so unless that Dart Trap was REALLY fresh, your "last turn" probably just involved walking through a doorway or listening to the party Bard trying to talk his way out of the jam you're in. And if the Dart trap is that fresh, it was probably part of the same encounter anyway, and renders the thought exercise irrelevant.
Notes: In all reality, if I was DM here, I would probably allow this on the first turn, because the Barbarian is "revving up" for the fight, and then check this the next turn. But if it was later in the fight, I'd probably be looking more carefully at damage taken between turns, potentially. And I would almost certainly not count damage taken an hour ago from another group of enemies to count as damage "since your last turn." But in a purely RAW sense, is this interpretation accurate, or am I missing something?