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Character A readies an action to counter a spell if Enemy Wizard casts a spell

Character A is then attacked by Enemy Rogue, and uses an immediate action (like Windy Escape, or in this example, Emergency Force Sphere) to avoid being hit.

Enemy Wizard was also secretly holding a readied action for if Character A was to cast a spell, as Enemy Wizard knows Character A is also a caster.

So: Character A readies an action to dispel Enemy Wizard if he casts spell > Enemy Rogue attacks Character A> Character A immediate action Emergency Force Sphere> Enemy Wizard's readied action dispel Character A if he casts a spell goes off on Emergency Force Sphere > Character A's readied action dispel Enemy Wizard if he casts a spellgoes off on Enemy Wizard's dispel

DM Ruling: Character A can't use his readied action to dispel Enemy Wizard's dispel of Character A's immediate action because a readied action is an immediate action, per:

Immediate Reaction: A readied action is an immediate reaction. It takes place after your enemy completes the action that triggers it. Interrupting an Enemy: If you want to use a readied action to attack before an enemy attacks, you should ready your action in response to the enemy's movement.

Is this correct? Or what should actually happen here?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Where is the Immediate Reaction text from? I don't see it in the Ready section of Combat. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Aug 16 at 0:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I also do not see it in D&D 3.5's SRD, Pathfinder 2e, nor Starfinder rulesets. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Aug 16 at 0:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ This was just the text I was given from my DM, so maybe it's from another source or something? I'm not sure \$\endgroup\$ – Mazu Aug 16 at 0:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I found the text here, which is an unofficial site for D&D 4e / Points of Light. Are you sure you're playing Pathfinder 1e? \$\endgroup\$ – MikeQ Aug 16 at 1:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MikeQ To be fair, D&D 4e has a far clearer definition of the ready action, especially in the context of its own action economy. I'd not mind if a GM made a house rule that changed the Pathfinder ready action to be more like it, but such a house rule demands more than just saying, "This campaign will use D&D 4e style ready actions." \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 16 at 6:43
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Ready Actions are not Immediate actions

The Ready Action allows you to

prepare to take an action later, after your turn is over but before your next one has begun. Readying is a standard action.

The results are pretty clear and do not mention absorbing other actions

You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition.

The one caveat is Readying a Swift Action

Swift and Immediate actions are the 'same type' of action and you only get one of either per turn. In your example, Dispel Magic is acceptable, but they would not be able to cast Quickened Dispel Magic after Emergency Force Sphere.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the reply! I'll pass this along. \$\endgroup\$ – Mazu Aug 16 at 0:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mazu If you find this to be correct, make sure to click the check mark to select it as the accurate answer. There's no harm in waiting to see if any other answers are provided or if you GM provides sourcing on the quote that brings it into question. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Aug 16 at 3:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hey, I appreciate that. I'll of course continue to read the other answers given but I felt like this was a clear and valid answer. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Mazu Aug 16 at 14:24
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Ifusaso's answer does a good job on breaking down the difference between the two types of actions, I want to address the situation at hand.

The way I see it.

The rules for readied actions state:

You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character’s activities, you interrupt the other character.

The part on counterspelling states:

Readying to Counterspell: You may ready a counterspell against a spellcaster (often with the trigger “if she starts casting a spell”). In this case, when the spellcaster starts a spell, you get a chance to identify it with a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell level). If you do, and if you can cast that same spell (and are able to cast it and have it prepared, if you prepare spells), you can cast the spell as a counterspell and automatically ruin the other spellcaster’s spell. Counterspelling works even if one spell is divine and the other arcane. A spellcaster can use dispel magic to counterspell another spellcaster, but it doesn’t always work.

Due to the fact that counterspelling doesn't take place until after you start casting a spell, Character A would be unable to counter their opponent's dispel.


The flipside.

The readied action rules also say this:

You can ready a standard action, a move action, a swift action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character’s activities, you interrupt the other character.

Due to the fact that readied actions take place before the action that triggers them, the immediate action would technically not have been used yet, thus allowing Character A to dispel Character B's dispel before casting their Emergency Force Sphere.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The specific information about counterspells largely makes the last portion unimportant. It is a valid point that a GM may disallow casting two things "at the same time". \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Aug 16 at 5:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso I don't disagree with you, but it is relevant information, and is technically correct, hence why I included it in its own section. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Aug 16 at 5:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Due to the fact that counterspelling doesn't take place until after you start casting a spell, Character A would be unable to counter their opponent's dispel. In this case Character A cast first with his Immediate Action spell, Emergency Force Sphere. Character B/Enemy Wizard begins casting their Dispel - at this point they are casting before Character A, are they not? At the very least they are casting before Character A's dispel, enabling Character A to dispel Character B, no? \$\endgroup\$ – Mazu Aug 16 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mazu and that's why I say it's technically correct. I feel that the fact that you've started casting a spell means you've started taking another action and thus you can't take your readied action anymore. But as written, yes, A would be able to dispel B while casting EFS. \$\endgroup\$ – william porter Aug 16 at 15:09
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