Bit of an odd one but I want rulings for this scenario:

Yes this is PVP and it ended up been fun at the table, and no one was upset.

Playing a Level 7 College of Swords Bard with a Homebrew Magic item that gives me access to the Blink Spell.

Fighting a Level 7 Paladin who is a new party member and wants to test their skills.

We are sparring with each other: the goal is first to score three hits or to KO the opponent.

During the fight, the Bard casts Blink, ends their turn, the roll is lucky - he gets a 15 and enters the ethereal plane.

The Paladin, not knowing what to do, readies an action to attack when they reappear.

On the Bard's turn, the Bard reeappears and attacks. The Bard is a dual-wielder and has multi-attack.

The DM rules that the Bard gets their first attack, then the Paladin gets their ready action (reaction) to attack back.
After that, the Bard can then take their second attack, and then their bonus attack, if they wish.

Note that the Paladin had cast a spell a few turns ago that on their next hit the target has to pass a Wis-save or become Frightened of them - I can't remember the spell or ability

The first attack by the Bard is a miss.

The Paladin hits back and misses as well.

The Paladin uses a second Attack which the DM allows them before the Bard gets theirs and hits, the Bard fails their save-throw, is now frightened and at disadvantage.

The Bards second attack misses at disadvantage.

The Bards off-hand-attack misses at disadvantage.

The Bard rolls their blink, but the roll is low, so they stay.

The Paladin takes two attacks and both hit, accumulating three hits and is declared the winner.

We laugh and move on.

I think it should have gone different.
The Bard should have been able to use all three of their attacks before the Paladin got any, and the Paladin should have only been able to attack once - Since a second attack should have only have been on their turn.

It might have made no difference, but the attacks could still have missed.
I felt that the bard, who used a smart tactic of Blink - using their speed over the Paladins strength, was punished by the DM.

Did my DM make a correct ruling?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to asking questions on rpg.se. Please take the tour. I have edited your question to be more appropriate to our format :) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2021 at 11:54

2 Answers 2


Regarding who strikes first, it depends on the trigger, but probably the Paladin would go before the Bard even gets their first attack:


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.

If the trigger is "attack when they reappear", then as soon as the Bard pops back in, the Paladin is there to take a swing. Note that this is the same thing that'd happen normally if you'd ready an attack "as soon as they get in range", you would get your attack before they do.

Regarding the number of attacks, you are correct that the Paladin should only get one attack. Extra Attack requires you to take the Attack action on your turn, but you don't if you take the Ready Action instead.

So going by the rules, the order of actions would be:

  • Bard blinks into the material plane
  • Paladin makes their single attack
  • Bard makes their full string of attacks

Note that the Bard, perceiving the Paladin standing ready to strike (they have vision from the Ethereal Plane onto the Material) could have decided to not appear next to the Paladin and make a ranged attack instead. That way, the Paladin would have gotten no attacks at all.


Allowing a full attack action to be held seems to be a fairly common house rule

Erik has provided an excellent RAW answer, but it might be worth mentioning that in every game I have played or DM'd (plus watched, because they use the same house rule on Critical Role) a full attack action has been allowed as a held action.

So your DM might not have 'ruled wrongly' they might just be using a house rule that hasn't been properly explained to the party.

I rule this way because players in my experience are very loathe to hold attacks at the best of times, and using both an action and a reaction is quite a heavy cost for getting a single attack, it also becomes a heavier cost as characters level up, which is counter-intuitive (IE: A level 1 fighter holding an attack still gets their full abilities, but suddenly at level 5 holding an attack is only 50% as effective, which sounds wrong to me).

My recommendation either way would be to speak with your DM and get some clarity so you know how they will rule it going forwards. Don't accuse though, even if this was a mistake it was probably an honest one.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not sure that's a 'fairly common houserule'. I think you could just say what you do at your table and how it works out. But maybe it is /shrug. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 1, 2021 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I can't say how common it is in the grand scheme of things, but that is why I noted about every game I have played or DM'd. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Feb 1, 2021 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worthx I've always seen that rule. But that may be more ignorance of the real interaction (and less frustration for the player) than strict houses rule. But if CritRole is using it, it's probably safe to assume it's not very rare. \$\endgroup\$
    – 3C273
    Feb 1, 2021 at 15:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ My main problem with this answer is that it doesn't address the main question beyond referencing Erik's answer. (I didn't downvote the answer, for the record. Just not upvoted. \$\endgroup\$
    – 3C273
    Feb 1, 2021 at 15:59

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