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Haste provides an extra action that can be used to Attack (one weapon Attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object.

In combat, the defender shares your initiative count, but it takes its turn immediately after yours. It can move and use its reaction on its own, but the only action it takes on its turn 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. If you are incapacitated, the defender can take any action of its choice, not just Dodge.

Can a hasted steel defender benefit from its extra actions? Or is limited to one action total?

  • For example can a steel defender be commanded to attack twice using its normal attack and the extra attack provided by haste?
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The interaction is unspecified, so a ruling is required

This is one of those cases that the rules don't account for. The text of Haste, of course, doesn't mention the Steel Defender, and the rules for the Steel Defender don't explicitly call out Haste. The DM will need to make a ruling, and there are a couple of defensible rulings I can think of:

  1. Each use of your bonus action allows the defender to use one action. Since you only get one bonus action, only one of the defender's actions can be used for anything other than dodging. If you order one of the actions allowed by Haste, the defender can take this action and then use its "regular" action to dodge. Otherwise, it must use its regular action to carry out your order and forfeit its hasted action.
  2. You use your bonus action to issue a single command, and the defender may then use as many actions as it is allowed as long as it is following the command you issue. For example, if you order it to dash, it could take the Dash action twice.
  3. As long as you use your bonus action to issue orders, the defender can take any allowed combination of actions. For example, it could disengage and then dash.

Personally, I would favor ruling 3, which effectively treats your bonus action as the cost to "activate" the defender on a given turn, after which it can act as normal. (This follows the principle of not looking for excuses to stop your players from doing cool things.) However, any of the above rulings seems to be consistent with the rules as written.

The defender can attack with its Haste action (probably)

There is some disagreement over whether named attacks in a monster's stat block (such as the Steel Defender's Force-Empowered Rend or a panther's Bite and Claw) count as an ordinary attack action or their own actions. However, the consensus seems to be that even if these are their own actions, they are also weapon attacks available to the creature that can be used with an ordinary attack action, which means they should be compatible with the additional action granted by Haste. (This makes sense, since these attacks are also usable as attacks of opportunity.) So, under rulings 2 and 3 above, Haste would allow the defender to make 2 attacks in one turn, by taking two attack actions, while ruling 1 would allow it to attack and dodge on the same turn.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Or, alternately, if you're only able to command one action, it can Dodge with its regular action, then take an action from the list of actions that Haste grants it. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Feb 22 at 7:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Many monster stat-blocks use the name of the attack used for its action instead of saying "attack action". A wolf that uses the attack action effectively attacks using its "bite weapon". I really don't see why in your opinion the force-empowered rend action is not part of the Attack action for a steel defender, nor why it isn't a weapon attack for it. \$\endgroup\$ – Kogarashi Kaito Feb 22 at 10:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Both good points. I'll edit my answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Feb 22 at 13:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Notably people do not agree whether named action in monster statblocks are actually made using the Attack action. They could instead be their own, entirely separate action \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 22 at 14:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 From that link it sounds like the answers there still agree that the attacks listed as named actions in the monster's stat block are also usable with the "normal" attack action, so it seems like you arrive at the same conclusion either way. Regardless, I'll edit when I get the chance. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Feb 22 at 14:42

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