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What kind of action is it to stop concentrating on a spell?

Our party's initiative order is like this:

  • 20 - Bard
  • 19 - Bad guy
  • 18 - Bad guy
  • 17 - Bad guy
  • 16 - Bad guy
  • 15 - Nobody
  • 14 - Ally
  • 13 - Ally
  • 12 - Ally

Can my bard cast calm emotions such that the bad guys cannot take violent actions on their turns, and then stop concentrating as a free action at initiative position 15 so that my allies can act fully?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm having a little trouble getting the wording on this question right. Edit suggestions welcome and invited. \$\endgroup\$ – JoshuaD Aug 31 '19 at 21:00
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Technically, no, you can’t—free actions can only be made on your turn unless something explicitly says otherwise (as with talking). But this largely doesn’t make any sense, see this answer for more details on why I would say you can.

But even if you can, you can’t guarantee what your foe will do. If they recognize calm emotions for what it is, for example, they could easily delay their turn until you stop concentrating (which would have them come after that turn, so you would get one ally’s turn in), or ready an action until you stop concentrating (which would happen immediately, but only be a standard action). Even if they don’t recognize calm emotions, they can always do non-aggressive things to improve their side’s chance of success—even someone magically compelled to remain calm could see value in buffing their allies for a situation that they see as not yet dangerous but possibly threatening to become dangerous.

But sure, against many foes, it will be pretty effective.

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