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The description of the Primal Companion optional class feature for Beast Master rangers says, in part (Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, p. 61):

In combat the beast acts during your turn. It can move and use its reaction on its own, but the only action it takes is the Dodge action, unless you take a bonus action on your turn to command it to take another action. That action can be one in its stat block or some other action. You can also sacrifice one of your attacks when you take the Attack action to command the beast to take the Attack action. If you are incapacitated, the beast can take any action of its choice, not just Dodge.

As far as I know, a creature can only take one action on their turn.

However, I watched a video from Dungeon Dudes on YouTube where they rated the Ranger subclasses. Around the 23:18 mark, they mentioned that the new Beast Master's Primal Companion feature from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything can allow the Ranger to forgo one of their attacks to allow the Beast to take the Attack action, on top of the action that they can make using the Ranger's bonus action.

Is this a specific ruling for the Primal Companion since it doesn't have its own turn because "it acts on your [the Ranger's] turn?"

Also does this mean that the ranger can break up their movement, actions, and bonus actions with the primal beast's on their turn, essentially controlling two characters freely?

In the video, Monty mentioned that a level 11 Beast Master ranger can make one attack and have the primal beast attack four times, which is crazy in my opinion.

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    \$\begingroup\$ DungeonDudes have actuually responded to comments pointing out their mistake: "Second, many commenters have pointed out that commanding the Tasha's Beastmaster's beast twice to attack probably does not generate additional attacks (as it doesn't give the beast extra actions). This is a well-reasoned correction. " \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Dec 30, 2020 at 11:28

2 Answers 2

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You can use your bonus action to allow the beast to take an action other than the dodge action in which case you'd be using your bonus action to command the beast to attack.

Additionally, you can sacrifice one of your attacks when you take the Attack action to command the beast to take the Attack action instead of its standard dodge action.

Nowhere is it stated that you are imbuing the beast with special powers allowing it to ignore the established action economy and take multiple Attack actions per round. You're merely commanding the beast to attack in whichever way is most convenient to you at the time.

Whether you give the command once or twice, in the end the beast can still only take a single Attack action per turn.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Huh. Actually, on a ridiculous technicality, from a particularly precise reading of the rules, sacrificing an attack to give it an order to attack doesn't actually make it attack. It just gives the order. "the only action it takes is the Dodge action, unless you take a bonus action on your turn to command it to take another action". By an excruciatingly precise reading of the rules, no other way of giving it commands would function. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Dec 30, 2020 at 20:39
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It is open to interpretation.

This is the text that adds the additional option:

You can also sacrifice one of your attacks when you take the Attack action to command the beast to take the Attack action.

The "you can also" could be read as an alternative option instead of using your Bonus Action, or it could be read as an additional option as well as using your bonus action. It is ambiguous.

There is not a hard global rule about only taking one Action in a turn, even though that is the default. The Haste spell allows it (with a caveat for Attack action), as well as the Thief's Fast Hands (again with a caveat), as does the Fighter's Action Surge ability, without caveat. You could argue that the text above allows for it, with the caveat of only the Attack action.

It is worth noting that the text of all the above multiple-action options does specifically call this out unambiguously. E.g Action Surge:

On your turn, you can take one additional action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action.

The Primal Companion text does not call that out explicitly, so it is possibly not what is intended, and you could argue that the omission of explicit clarity means it is not, but we do not know for sure.

Hence the open to interpretation answer.

Now, if you interpret it as the Dungeon Dudes initially did, you could argue that a level 11 Beast Master getting 4 beast attacks and 1 regular attack is too powerful without spending any resources, and that might be an argument for a limited interpretation, which is fair IMO.1

But I do not think it is definite from the text alone, as the current answer implies.

1 I kind of love the irony that this interpretation could make one of the historically lowest ranked subclasses actually be a strong option!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps of note is that other features that involve forgoing an attack in order for an ally to do something (such as Battle Master Fighter's Commander's Strike Manuever and the Pact of the Chain Warlock) have the ally use their reaction to perform those actions. At the very least, it would be unusual, though certainly not impossible, that Primal Companion lets an ally act without using their traction \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17 at 23:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is a really good point I had not considered. I think overall the likely correct interpretation is for only a single attack. I just don't think it's as clear as the other answer suggests. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17 at 23:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Per the general rules describing your turn: "On your turn, you can move a distance up to your speed and take one action." \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 17 at 23:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Right, that's the default. But there specific places that break that (e.g. Action Surge), so it's not a hard rule that you can't have more than one. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18 at 13:54

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