I play in a game when everyone plays the way they want on their own turn : saying to another player what he should do is forbidden. Your turn = your action.

I think this is pretty fun and it adds a lot of stress in difficult fights since we can't coordinate ourselves in real time, but sometimes someone makes a mistake that could be avoided in a roleplay way.

Is it possible to use our own action to interrupt another player's action that was played earlier in the same round?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This sounds like you're trying to solve a communication issue via combat mechanics, which is treating a symptom of a larger problem. Does your DM prohibit players discussing tactics or trying to coordinate? \$\endgroup\$ – JRodge01 Dec 3 '19 at 16:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not that there is no communication in the fight, you can speak on your turn to say short sentence (like someone could do in a real battle) but we can't communicate as a group and coordinate ourselve while we're fighting. It's made like this to add a level of stress and realism in the fights. For instance, we can't do something like "Hey, I think that you should do that" \$\endgroup\$ – cdauphin Dec 3 '19 at 16:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, how does the DM handle this for their own actions? Do the monsters not work together, either? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 3 '19 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The DM appears to be applying to basic rules, page 72, Other Activity on Your Turn You can communicate however you are able, through brief utterances and gestures, as you take your turn. You can also interact with one object or feature of the environment for free, during either your move or your action - FWIW, I have found that when DM's do this combat does not bog down as often. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 3 '19 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I always looked at that rule for the characters activity and not the general activity of the players at the table. But extending that to the table is reasonable, but I still wonder how a DM limits their own actions to create a level field (or maybe they don't!) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 3 '19 at 17:47

In between your own turns, you can only interfer with the ongoing combat via a reaction.

The section The Order of Combat of the PHB outlines the fundamentally turn-based nature of combat in DnD. As is explained afterwards under Your Turn (PHB, page 189), you usually act only on your turn, unless you act as a reaction:

A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn or on someone else's.

So, unless triggered by circumstances defined by your own class features, feats, spells, etc., you cannot act outside of your turn. There is a way to define such a trigger yourself, though.

If it is your turn and you expect an ally to do something on their next turn that you disagree with, you could set it as the trigger for a readied action to interrupt it.

If you expect your ally to do something specific, you may decide to wait for it and react to it when it happens. The Ready action (PHB, page 193) enables you to do this:

Sometimes you want to get the jump on a foe or wait for a particular circumstance before you act. To do so, you can take the Ready action on your turn, which lets you act using your reaction before the start of your next turn.

First, you decide what perceivable circumstance will trigger your reaction. Then, you choose the action you will take in response to that trigger, or you choose to move up to your speed in response to it. Examples include "If the cultist steps on the trapdoor, I'll pull the lever that opens it," and "If the goblin steps next to me, I move away."

When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger. Remember that you can take only one reaction per round.

For this to work, you'd have to anticipate and describe with sufficient precision an action an ally would take. A trigger as vague as "one of my allies does something I don't agree with" will probably not be allowed by most DMs. If your DM accepts your trigger, you can then describe what you will do if the trigger actually occurs. But keep in mind that

  • a readied action replaces the action you would take on your own turn (you can still take a bonus action on your turn),
  • it is limited to either movement or an action (not both and no bonus action),
  • if the trigger occurs and you use your readied action, you can no longer use your reaction for anything else
  • if the trigger does not occur and no other circumstances let you use your reaction, you have essentially wasted your complete contribution to this round (unless you have multiple actions due to Action Surge (PHB, page 72) or Haste (PHB, page 250) or anything similar).

Taking into account your playing style and your efforts to avoid meta-gaming, you would of course have to declare the trigger and the readied action to your DM in secret, so that the other players do not know your intentions.

If an ally has already taken the action to which you object, only powerful magic can make it undone.

Under certain circumstances, you could use the Wish spell (PHB, page 288) to try to undo what an ally has done on a preceding turn. However, it depends on the DM to which extend this is actually possible. Anyway, this is hardly an everyday solution.

  • \$\begingroup\$ While it perfectly answer my question, the only problem I see with that answer is that I somehow give an indication to another player about how he should play its turn. It seems pretty understandable that he won't do what I was ready to interrupt. \$\endgroup\$ – cdauphin Dec 3 '19 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @cdauphin As I said, you'd have to tell the DM in secret. Whisper in their ear, pass them a written note or whatever. Still, your allies will at least know that you probably readied an action, since you did not act on your turn. I don't see how to solve this issue. But at least they won't know what exactly you are anticipating and how you plan to react. \$\endgroup\$ – Mars Plastic Dec 3 '19 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ But also, if they don't perform the Action you didn't want (because of your Readied response), you're kind of accomplishing your goal in a roundabout way. Could definitely lead to in character (or even out of character) conflict, which varies in acceptance from table to table. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Sep 23 '20 at 17:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lfusaso That's an interesting thought. It only works though, when the OP's player is able to use words or gestures on their turn that the other characters understand in an ongoing combat. \$\endgroup\$ – Mars Plastic Sep 23 '20 at 17:36

Once your turn is over, you can no longer act unless you have a specific ability, typically one that involves you using your reaction, that allows you to act outside your turn.

Every creature can do this using the Ready action, and this might be exactly what you're looking for.

From the SRD:

Ready: Sometimes you want to get the jump on a friend foe or wait for a particular circumstance before you act. To do so, you can take the Ready action on your turn, which lets you act using your reaction before the start of your next turn.

So, to summarize you could very well interrupt an ally's action by using the Ready action as your action, declaring that you'll do something at the same time or in response to one of their actions.


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