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The description of the druid's Wild Shape feature makes it clear that, whilst transformed:

You can't cast spells [...]

With the caveat that:

Transforming doesn't break your concentration on a spell you've already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as call lightning, that you've already cast.

The description of the Ready action says, in part:

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy [...] and holding onto the spell's magic requires concentration.

Could a druid therefore ready a spell, Wild Shape into a beast, and then release the energy of the readied spell?

To give a more concrete example, could I have my druid:

  • Ready the beast bond spell
  • Wild Shape into a bear, to better win the friendship of a bear and thus make her an eligible target for the spell
  • Release the energy of the readied spell, with the newly befriended bear as the target?
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: How long can a readied spell be held before it's lost? - this has limited utility as you must use the reaction before the start of your next turn \$\endgroup\$
    – Lovell
    Oct 21 at 9:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think "I'm a bear since 2 seconds, that other bear is now friendly to me" is a bit of a leap to put it mildly, but that wasn't really the part you were asking about. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Oct 21 at 10:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just a note that beast bond is almost entirely useless once you become a bear, because you already understand all the things the spell let's you understand and you has to study bears before becoming a bear so already have a good understanding of how to build rapport and get a bear to assist you. If that is a real example (likely not) I suggest you talk to your DM about what being a druid means because just as a bard doesn't have to charm person everyone, druids shouldn't need magic to befriend animals. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Oct 21 at 11:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri the target of Beast Bond can understand and respond to your telepathic messages and has advantage on attacks whilst within 5 feet of the caster. There is no suggestion in the rules that a druid 'has to study bears before becoming a bear' - they merely need to have seen a bear at least once. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lovell
    Oct 21 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lovell ooh I never read the last line. I stand corrected! Doesn't happen often that I get persuaded lol \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Oct 21 at 13:08
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Yes, you can (if you're a Moon Druid)!

You already quoted the relevant rules.

  • To ready a spell, you cast the spell with your action in your normal shape, and start concentrating on it. Only thing that's left is releasing it.

    When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs. To be readied, a spell must have a casting time of 1 action, and holding onto the spell's magic requires concentration.

  • Then you use the Circle of the Moon druid's Combat Wild Shape (PHB, p. 69) to transform into something using your bonus action. Don't forget, you spent your action to Ready the spell, and you need to release it before the start of your next turn, so Wild Shaping now is your only chance!

    The description of the Wild Shape feature says:

    Starting at 2nd level, you can use your action to magically assume the shape of a beast that you have seen before. [...] Transforming doesn't break your concentration on a spell you've already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as call lightning, that you've already cast.

    The Moon druid's Combat Wild Shape feature description says:

    You gain the ability to use Wild Shape on your turn as a bonus action, rather than as an action.

  • And finally, you release the spell, spending your reaction and stopping your concentration.

I think your plan to mix beast bond with a Combat Wild Shape is very creative, and I'd love my players to come up with things like this. Fun games!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Providing that the trigger happens, of course. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Oct 21 at 11:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM although of course, the trigger can be "once my wildshape transformation is done". \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21 at 11:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ You guys are ruining this epic RP moment with nitpicks about when to trigger the damn reaction! \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Oct 22 at 9:31

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