I'm slightly confused by the use of the word "action" in the text. The section on "Reactions" states:

Certain special abilities, spells, and situations allow you to take a special action called a reaction...

And then there are times where you cannot take actions such as the dream spell which states:

[...] While in the trance, the messenger is aware of his or her surroundings, but can't take Actions or move...

There are also time where something explicitly says you can't take reactions like the Incapacitated condition which states:

An incapacitated creature can't take actions or reactions.

And then there is this phrase from the section on "Bonus Actions":

[...] anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a bonus action.

There is no similar phrase in the "Reactions" section so I am left wondering:
If something, like the spell dream, prevents you from taking actions, but not reactions, can you still take a reaction?


Preventing a creature from taking actions does not prevent them from taking reactions

The section on "Bonus Actions" explicitly states:

[...] anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a bonus action...

This is all that is said, and no similar phrase exists for reactions so we would not assume one secretly does.

Similarly certain features, like haste, and dream explicitly prevent only actions:

[...] When the spell ends, the target can't move or take actions until after its next turn, as a wave of lethargy sweeps over it.

And then there are things such as the [Incapacitated condition] which prevent both actions and reactions:

An incapacitated creature can't take actions or reactions.

It would seem unlikely that the phrase stating that bonus actions are prevented is just extra text (it hasn't been errata'd out) and that the existence of these different phrases when describing features is also accidental (none of them have received errata either).

Thus if something prevents you from taking actions is prevents you from taking bonus actions but not reactions.

This is also supported by the lead game designer, Jeremy Crawford:

Actions and reactions are different. If an effect, like the haste spell, shuts off one, it doesn't necessarily shut off the other.

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Yes, and technically the additional phrase in the Bonus Actions section is unnecessary.

First of all, let's look at what Dream does (and what other similar effects do): can't take actions or move.

Your standard Action is a no-brainer: you can't do it.

Bonus Actions and Reactions are, as quoted/linked in the question, an additional action and a special action respectively; the additional adjectives don't really matter as the important part is that they are still actions. Since Dream says you can't take actions, you can't take a bonus action or reaction either.

The part of the Bonus Actions section which specifies that anything depriving you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a Bonus Action technically isn't even needed because a Bonus Action is still an action and is affected by anything else that affects taking actions. Reactions are no different.

For a common-sense illustrative example, consider that an Opportunity Attack is technically a reaction, and it would be silly to be able to make an OA on a fleeing foe while you were under the influence of Dream.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't say the additional phrase is unnecessary, as much as a poorly-worded, poorly-placed, and overly-specific clarification, myself. ;P It should be at the end of the Actions section, and specify that effects pertaining to your ability to take actions apply to every type of action, including bonus actions and reactions. \$\endgroup\$ – Justin Time - Reinstate Monica Sep 3 '19 at 1:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm curious then, would you say that the Fighter's Action Surge feature grants an additional action? But that this action could instead be a bonus action? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Sep 16 '19 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Action Surge does grant an additional action (it specifically says so in its text) but the section on bonus actions says you can only use them when an effect says to do so, which Action Surge doesn't. Anything you use the additional action for would need to have a casting time of "1 action". \$\endgroup\$ – John Clifford Sep 17 '19 at 9:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah my point was that ordinarily you can only take one bonus action per turn. Action Surge isn't any sort of action it simply let's you take an additional action at some point. I was wondering if reading "action" to mean "any kind of action" would mean action surge could be "used" for a bonus action / reaction (you don't use action surge, I just happens). But I think I see your conclusion \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Sep 17 '19 at 16:54

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