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The hunter's mark (and also hex) spell contains the following text:

[...] If the target drops to 0 hit points before this spell ends, you can use a bonus action on a subsequent turn of yours to mark a new creature [...]

Does this passage prevent the following scenario:

  1. Cast hunter's mark on somebody
  2. Your turn ends
  3. Another one of your turn's begins
  4. You kill the targeted creature
  5. You place hunter's mark onto a new target as a bonus action

Is step 5 in the above prevented from working due to the wording of the hunter's mark spell? It seems like it would be to me, but perhaps I've missed something somewhere.

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No, you can't

If the target drops to 0 hit points before this spell ends, you can use a bonus action on a subsequent turn of yours to mark a new creature.

The trigger here is "the target drops to 0 hit points", so on "a subsequent turn of yours" (that is, one that happens after they drop to 0 hit points) you can change targets. If you drop them, you have to wait until next turn before transferring it - if you do it on the first attack of an Extra Attack, your subsequent attacks on other targets will not benefit from the spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Extra Attack lets you make an additional attack when use the Attack action. I don't think you can take a Bonus Action in the middle of an Action, you have to wait for the action to be completed first. This is lampshaded by Move which explicitly allows you to move between attacks in an Attack action. \$\endgroup\$ – jgn Nov 15 at 6:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ The argument still stands at least. For example, if you kill a creature, you can't benefit from both Two-Weapon Fighting and the spell on your next turn \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Nov 15 at 6:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jgn This question discusses this confusion properly. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Nov 15 at 14:26
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Yes, you can.

The hunter's mark spell description says:

You choose a creature you can see within range and mystically mark it as your quarry. Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 damage to the target whenever you hit it with a weapon attack, and you have advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) check you make to find it. If the target drops to 0 hit points before this spell ends, you can use a bonus action on a subsequent turn of yours to mark a new creature.

Specifically, the quoted sentence uses "a subsequent turn of yours" to mean "a subsequent turn after the one on which you initially cast the spell". If the creature you've marked dies, then on any subsequent turn as long as you're maintaining concentration on that casting of the spell, you can mark a new creature.

The reason it says "on a subsequent turn of yours" is to make it clear that you can't cast the spell, kill a creature with your weapon attack as your action, and then move it to a new target all on the same turn.

That said, this is pretty redundant because you only have one bonus action per turn anyway; once you've cast the spell, you no longer have a bonus action with which to move it to a new target until you get another turn anyway. I suppose the designers just wanted to make it clear that the bonus action with which you cast the spell can't be the same one with which you move the mark to a new creature.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just my thoughts on this spells' descriptions: I think adding the sentence "on your subsequent turns" only creates confusion since ... well you only get a bonus action per turn, Hunter's Mark is cast as a bonus action so you technically never could cast it (bonus action) then move it (bonus action) in the same turn. \$\endgroup\$ – Catar4 Nov 15 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Catar4 Perhaps this is a clue that subsequent turn is not supposed to refer to "subsequent to casting" but "subsequent to a target dropping to 0hp"? Designers tend to avoid redundant language and mechanics. It would be strange if they not only worded the mechanics incorrectly, but also made a mistake in even including them in the first place. How can we play d&d while assuming everything was designer missteps and mistakes? \$\endgroup\$ – jgn Nov 18 at 0:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jgn You are very possibly right. And to answer properly I will say that even though no edition of D&D ever was perfect imho, it always gave us a proper system to operate even considering the many such oversights. There's a difference between pointing out an oversight and saying "everything 5E is designer missteps". In this instance, I'm comfortable saying this since D&D 5E is, generally, a very streamlined ruleset with a focus on NOT bothering to keep track of such details as "when it happens". Generally, bonus action spells that can be "moved" dont include that "weird" sentence about timing. \$\endgroup\$ – Catar4 Nov 18 at 4:46

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