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I read this Q&A about legendary actions not triggering effects from spells that happen at the beginning of the monster's turn. Since I'm playing in Curse of Strahd, I wondered:

Can Strahd von Zarovich, who has the Move legendary action, run (as a legendary action) through sunlight without taking any damage, since the sunlight does damage only when he starts his turn in the area of effect (and not like the moonbeam spell, which affects a creature as soon as it enters the spell's area)?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a reason to think this would work differently than moving through an area of sunlight on Strahd's own turn? (I do think a more interesting thought would be whether he takes damage if he starts a legendary action while inside an area of sunlight - though I don't think that changes the answer at all.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 16 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast since Move legendary action is taken out of his turn, he in theory can run 90 feat in a sunlight. more then 6 seconds, sometimes 18 seconds or more. \$\endgroup\$ – shmulikm Oct 16 at 5:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ A round lasts 6 seconds, with turns occurring nearly simultaneously within that round. Even if Strahd used the Move legendary action on 3 turns in a row, it wouldn't be more than 6 seconds; he could move up to 90 feet without it taking more than 6 seconds. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 16 at 8:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast your correct, i knew it, i got confused. \$\endgroup\$ – shmulikm Oct 16 at 11:49
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Rules as Written, Strahd (CoS, p. 239) won't take any damage from moving through sunlight as a legendary action. He also won't take damage from moving through an area of sunlight during his turn. He (and other vampires) only take damage if they start their turn in sunlight, per the following entry under "Vampire Weaknesses" (bold for emphasis mine):

Sunlight Hypersensitivity. While in sunlight, Strahd takes 20 radiant damage at the start of his turn, and he has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.

In the context of a round in D&D 5th edition (which is 6 seconds long), this makes sense - if he starts his turn in sunlight, he's spent at least a couple of seconds exposed to the sun. If he's just running through, then it's not long enough to cause damage.

Note that he will still suffer disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks during this brief exposure.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with it making sense in the context of D&D, since if, say, a hole were blasted in the roof on the wizards turn immediately preceding Strahd, he hasn't been there at least a couple seconds, since it only happened on the previous turn. I think it is merely a tool to keep things simple. \$\endgroup\$ – RevenantBacon Oct 15 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RevenantBacon There's really no defined length of time between events in different characters' turns. We can say in general that it's less than 6 seconds, but nothing else. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Oct 15 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Except that doesn't work because then everyone is just standing still during everyone else's turns, which definitely doesn't make sense. Technically, there is no length of time in between turns, they all happen mostly simultaneously in the context of the characters in game, and turn order is just an out of game representation of who reacted first. \$\endgroup\$ – RevenantBacon Oct 16 at 12:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, it's all a bit of an abstraction - may not be the best effort on my part to marry actual time and D&D rounds, but that subject could be 3 or 4 books by itself! \$\endgroup\$ – LogicianWithAHat Oct 16 at 14:15
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I agree with LogicianWithAHat's answer that sunlight only does damage to Strahd at the start of his turn, as specified in his stat block.

However, while there are magical ways to produce sunlight during the Curse of Strahd adventure, I think it’s important to remember here that Barovian sunlight itself does not damage Strahd.

The "Sunlight in Barovia" section on p. 24 of the adventure says, in part:

Barovian daylight is bright light, yet it isn't considered sunlight for the purpose of effects and vulnerabilities, such as a vampire's, tied to sunlight.

So this question really only matters in the limited scenarios when magical sunlight is in the environment.

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